Monday 31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012 and Hello 2013

As we get ready to see the old year out and the new one in I thought I would take the time to reflect and look forward.

After a couple of years mulling over various ideas 2012 saw me finally pluck up the courage to get my very own blog up and going.  My chance to share with all of you my thoughts about Disney, my vacation planning journey and my adventures into the world of running!

And talking of running, 2012 saw me put on a pair of trainers and get out for a run - well more like jog-walk-jog! - but after a shaky start back in April I eventually built up to a 25 minute run (about 2 miles), which I was really rather pleased about.  However, the onset of cold (and very wet) weather plus dark nights has seen my running come to a stop...but only a temporary one, I am determined that 2013 will see me out and about again.  Now armed with cold weather running gear (thanks Simon!) I have no excuses and need to get back out there and get moving - I shall keep you informed of my endeavours.

The power of Disney and the internet has opened up a 'whole new world' this year and introduced me to new people, new friends and new communities, for which I am very grateful.  It is good to know that there are so many people out there that have the same silly obsession as I do :)

So as we look forward to 2013 I already have a few things planned - a WDW Radio UK Fan Group meet up, friends getting married and as from tomorrow I will be able to say 'this year I'm going to WDW', so lots to look forward to and plan for, bring it on!

Happy New Year!

Thursday 27 December 2012

Was Santa kind to you?

Well let it never be said that I'm hard to buy for.

I was a very lucky girl this Christmas and got all that I asked for as well as things I didn't even realise I wanted.

I have already started reading 'Realityland' and 'Poster Art of the Disney Parks' both of which are proving to be good reads.  Especially loving the artwork in the 'Poster Art' book, simply amazing stuff and I think I may have to seriously consider purchasing a poster or two when I visit WDW next year!!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful time this Christmas and that you are still enjoying the festive season.

Off to read a book or two ;)

Monday 24 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 24

24th December

Today is an important day in my household, yes it's the Eve of Christmas but it is also our eldest's birthday.  Our son was born 15 years ago this very eve...and here's what happened.

So off we went for a scheduled ante-natal appointment, I was feeling pretty rubbish but put that down to having had no breakfast as I was due a fasting blood test at 8.30am as my glucose levels were being monitored.  Blood test over and done with I went for my ante-natal exam...high blood pressure and protein in my water led to concern about pre-eclampsia and I wasn't going anywhere.

As nurses looked after me with tinsel in their hair and carol singers passed by the delivery ward singing 'Away in a Manger' our son was born that evening; it was probably one of the most surreal experience of my life.  But it also meant five days in hospital over Christmas...I couldn't wait to get home and start getting to know my baby.

But even at this early age the Disney influences were everywhere!!

I gave birth in a Mickey nightshirt (honest)..oh and full make-up, nail varnish and Christmas themed earrings!

Our son's first Christmas present was a small Winnie the Pooh plush...

...and look at his bedroom!

Well his bedroom is a little different now and the only real Disney influence these days is his collection of Vinylmations!!

But Christmas Eve still means last minute preparations for the big day. First there was gingerbread...

Of Mice and Men!!!
...and then the Christmas cake was iced and suitably decorated!!

Mouseketeer snowmen and Hidden Mickey snowballs
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday 23 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 23

23rd December

Well my day today has been spent mainly in the kitchen.  I have made almond paste for my home-made Christmas cake (thanks Mum!  Would like to say I made the cake but alas no, and besides my Mum's cake is sooo good), a batch of mince pies and some apple sauce to go with pork on Christmas Day.

Mince Pies - kinda Hidden Mickey display!!

And just as I had the kitchen all clean and tidy I suddenly have both kids saying 'Muuuummmm....can we do some baking?'  How typical is that? Clean kitchen and my kids want to make it all messy again!  So we have come to a compromise; we are making the dough tonight to then chill over night (as per recipe) and then tomorrow we are making Mickey Gingerbread :)

Oh and also today I saw my best friend, who popped round for a 'Mickey-ccino'...
The Simes patented 'Mickey-ccino' - the only way to drink coffee :)
...and it was also an opportunity to exchange gifts...I just love the gift tag on my pressie!

Thanks Paula xx

Saturday 22 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 22

22nd December

So today Simon and I decided to head off into Nottingham to do some last minute Christmas shopping.

Today was a very wet and soggy day!  So our first port of call just had to be Starbucks for a mocha and cinnamon swirl (me) and a macchiato and rocky road (Simes) and once fueled with sugar and caffeine we were ready to go.

We actually had a very good shop, we knew exactly what we were looking for and were all shopped and back at the car in 3 hours; not bad for a wet and busy Saturday this close to Christmas.

But one thing that helped us out, and kept us dry, was my trusty umbrella...not any old umbrella of course but my Disney one...and not any old Disney one but one all the way from Tokyo Disney Resort.

Simon was lucky enough to visit both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Sea whilst visiting Japan with work back in 2007.  During his visit it rained rather heavy one day and so he bought himself the umbrella which has naturally now become my umbrella!!
Simes at Tokyo Disney Sea - here comes the rain!
But he did bring me back this lovely handbag and purse...

The detail is amazing

Luggage tag, says Go! and Stop!

Handbag lining
Purse and its gift box
The detailing is very subtle, so I hope you can see it on the photos.  The one thing Simon found when shopping for  goodies in Disney Tokyo was that everything was either tiny (lots of mobile phone charms) or very subtle compared to the merchandise that you see in the other parks.

I love my bag and although I don't use it as often as I should do it is very lovely, it came in very handy for a hen weekend back in November when I used it as an overnight bag!!

The other good thing about Simon's trip to Japan is that it introduced me to one of his work colleagues, Nana, and although we have never met we chat about nails,baking and future trips to Tokyo via the internet. And the really great thing is that Nana and I are actually going to meet in person in less than a weeks time as she is here in the UK for Christmas...we are then going to start the planning for a visit to Tokyo in 2014 :)

Friday 21 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 21

21st December

So today was my last day at work before Christmas, and the bonus of working in education is that I now have two weeks off to spend with family and friends.

However as we are now on the final countdown to the big day I find myself running around trying to get all manner of things done.  Now I have to admit in years gone by I would be racing around supermarkets with trolleys full of stuff, and then waiting till Christmas Eve to go and buy all the fresh ingredients because that made all the difference (why I don't know!) but over the years I have mellowed.

The advent of online shopping and home delivery from supermarkets has transformed the way I now shop, but tonight we decided to brave our local ASDA (or for my American friends Walmart!) and get those last minute nibbles and fresh veggies.

The advantage of actually going into a store to shop, rather than sat at my laptop, meant I had all these temptations right in front of me, I felt the urge to buy things just because I could, and 'just in case we need it' or 'we don't want to run out' - why do we feel the need to buy food in excess when it comes to Christmas, it's like we're expecting the apocalypse or something!! (see what I did there?  Topical joke!)

But there was one impulse buy I just couldn't resist...and it's Disney of course :)

Well, a girl has to treat herself every now and then :)

Thursday 20 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 20

20th December

So today was my pre-school's Christmas Party.  Two hours of 40 children aged between 2 and 4 years having a brilliant time, chasing each other, dancing around, party games, popping balloons and of course a visit from Santa.

But after the mornings festivities it was back to normal for the afternoon and what better way to calm the children down than with a DVD.  Now of course, it can't be just any old DVD, and as manager I felt it only right that I should have the pick of what to watch.  So this meant bringing into work some classic Disney animated fun, the children then settled down to a little 'Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas'.

A fair few years ago I remember having a VHS tape of Disney Christmas animated classics called 'A Walt Disney Christmas' that included some really old classics such as 'Santa's Workshop', 'Once Upon a Wintertime' and 'The Night Before Christmas' as well as some classic character shorts such as 'Pluto's Christmas Tree' 'On Ice' and 'Donald's Snow Fight'.
This video tape was watched over and over again, especially by our then very young son who was captivated by the animation.

As DVD came along we invested in newer Disney releases which still retained these old classics - 'Celebrate Christmas with Mickey, Donald & Friends' and 'Winter Wonderland'. Then along came 'Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas', 'Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas' and 'Mickey's Magical Christmas - Snowed in at the House of Mouse' to give us even more entertainment.

And this year for my birthday I was bought one of Disney's newest Christmas offerings 'Prep & Landing' which is simply adorable.  (Just a shame that over here in the UK we can't get hold of a UK version of the next 'Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs Nice' - maybe next year)

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 19

19th December

So here we are with only a few days to go till the big day, most of us are busy at work (I have 2 more full days left but then the bonus of working in education is I get two weeks off!) but some lucky people have already finished for the holidays. One such person being my husband, Simon!

Now to be fair to Simon he's had a very busy year and as such has had very little holiday up until this point, so he is now enjoying the start of his three week break!

This has given Simon the time to do some of those jobs he's been putting off, one being to go back over our old holiday video and 'capture it'; converting it from old video tapes into modern digital format, that we will then be able to watch very easily on numerous computer technology things!!  You can tell that I leave all the technical stuff to Simon!

But it has meant that each night when I've come home from work I've been greeted by the sound of WDW from back in the early and mid 1990's.  We have had everything from the 'Junkanoo Bus' in Epcot, Mickey's Backyard BBQ with 'Dancing Dan' and the Electrical Water Pageant in 1996 to video of the Skyway at the Magic Kingdom on our first visit in 1991.

Here are some screen shots from the captured video!

Magic Kingdom 1991 - Various shots of the Skyway between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

Epcot 1996 - Brilliant, lively, upbeat street show, and getting the children involved was such fun to watch.

Fort Wilderness 1996 - Having a little drink at Mickey's Backyard BBQ...
...and a bit of line dancing with Dancing Dan!!
Various shots of the Electrical Water Pageant on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, taken from the beach at Fort Wilderness, after the BBQ.

Don't you just love memories...and the good thing is that we can now share these memories with our children and friends who weren't there when they were created - how cool is that?

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Countdown to Chritsmas - Day 18

18th December

I thought I'd continue the decoration theme a little bit today, well I suppose they're more ornaments than decorations but it all started with a visit to WDW way back in 1991.

Back in the early 90's at the then named 'Disney Village Marketplace' there was a Christmas shop called the 'Christmas Chalet' and in there was a display of model houses, all set in a lovely scene of snow and ice.  I fell in love with them straight away.

Now these houses were by a company called Department 56, and the houses that I first saw were in their Dickens' Village Series.  The houses were inspired by the classic novels of Charles Dickens and echoed famous names such as 'Scrooge & Marley's Counting House', 'Bob Cratchit's House', 'Olde Curiosity Shop' and 'Fagin's Hide-A-Way'

Department 56 - mainly Dickens' Village Series

Scrooge & Marley's Counting House

Cratchit Family House

So over the years I have collected these houses, some actually being brought home...very carefully...from WDW.  The only problem with my collection is that I struggle to find anywhere in the UK that stocks Department 56 products.  In the late 90's we did find a couple of stockists local to us, but they had limited stock and once it was gone it was never replaced, I even ended up with some ex-display models.

But by the power of the internet I have been able to expand my collection through either Ebay or stockists based in the US (the downside being shipping costs and import taxes!). Then I discovered that Department 56 even produced Disney themed houses...well I obviously just had to start collecting them too :)

Here's a few of my collection...