Wednesday 29 May 2013

Jogging along...

Thought it was time I gave you a little update with my running efforts as it's been a couple of weeks.

So at the end of April I completed a local 3K race raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, but what have I done since then...

...well confession time...not a lot if I'm honest.  That's not to say I haven't been out running because I have but I haven't done as much as I would have liked.  The good old British weather has played its part with some pretty awful wind, rain and cold temperatures. And then finding time after work, juggling the mundane aspects of life, has been against me so my opportunities to get out there and run have been somewhat limited.  But I still have that goal of running around Lago Dorado at Coronado Springs to spur me on and I am determined to get there.

So in conclusion, if this were a school report I think it would read 'must try harder'!!

Sunday 19 May 2013

93 days or 13 weeks...

So it's now 93 days or 13 weeks till our next visit to WDW. Which do you think sounds closer?

Whichever it is I just know that the chance to visit my favourite place (apart from home, of course) is getting closer. And most days my thoughts turn to one element or another of our vacation.

The vacation is now paid for (took us 13 months to do it, but it's all done now!).  We have two weeks staying at the Coronado Springs Resort with the Quick Service Dining Plan 'thrown in for free' with our package deal.  So now my thoughts turn to the details before our vacation can begin.

Being based in the UK we have to sort ESTA's (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) for the whole family, a minor expense at $14 each and at least they will last us 2 years.

Another minor expense is hotel accommodation the night before we fly.  We live about a 3 - 4 hour drive away from our departure airport and as check-in for our flight is around 8.00am it is a lot easier to travel down the day before and stay overnight in a cheap hotel close to the airport.  So I have been doing a bit of internet searching and have managed to find a really cheap deal for the night :).  Another, not so minor expense, is what to do with the car whilst we are away on vacation...thankfully there are lots of different options at different prices.  I think I have settled on an option that will mean the car is ready and waiting for us at the airport when we return from our two weeks away - I hate having to think about the end of a vacation before it's even started!!

It will be our first time staying at Coronado Springs Resort so that in itself is something to look forward to.  I have been checking out all the information I can about the resort, liking Facebook pages and following Twitter accounts.  I really like to go in knowing what to expect so I can start to plan in my head what we will be doing whilst there!  The Rix Lounge looks very inviting for a bit of adult time, thankfully our kids are old enough to look after themselves now which means me and Simon will be able to sneak a couple of hours drinking cocktails!

The grounds look amazing and we are already discussing taking runs around the lake. I think the main pool area is going to be a big draw for our two kids and will be fantastic when we have a chill out day away from the parks....oh ok half a day away from the parks!

I still haven't made any ADR's, and at the moment there is really only one restaurant that we can all agree on, which is Teppan Edo in the Japan pavillion at Epcot.  I think we enjoy the freedom of roaming the parks with no real ties too much and are finding it really hard to commit ourselves to ADR's...and as far as we are concerned the 'quick service' options are so varied that we are quite happy eating on the go.  Plus any ADR's we do make will have to be extra to our Quick Service Dining Plan and out of our 'expenses' budget!

We do however, have one date set whilst on vacation and that is to meet up with good friend Michelle from The Minnie Minxes podcast who is organising a little get together in Epcot one day to travel our way around the world....hopefully including food and drink!!

So vacation planning is taking shape slowly but surely and I shall fill you in with more details the closer we get :)

Saturday 11 May 2013

Love is in the Air

So I've had a bit of a hectic few days (hence no blog post for over a week) which culminated in good friends getting married.

Now I have to admit to loving a good wedding and this one was a bit special because Simon had been asked to do the artwork for the wedding invitations and even had his artwork turned into cake toppers!
Hayley & Kieran comic book style!

As you maybe able to tell from Simon's artwork our friends love comics and computer games and the wedding took on a 'geeky' feel and it suited them down to the ground.

Now whenever I am lucky enough to attend a wedding it always makes me think to back to my own nearly 24 years ago...and always seems to get us talking about what we would do if we were getting married now!

Back in 2010 as we approached our 21st anniversary we were lucky enough to renew our wedding vows...and we renewed them in style...Vegas style!

So there we were all booked for my first visit to the West Coast USA, and more importantly my first visit to Disneyland.  As part of our vacation we had booked some nights in Anaheim, some in Las Vegas and some in San Francisco and as we got into planning mode we started joking about getting married in Vegas.  Now it was something that we had always joked about over the years but here we were actually going and it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.  Now we couldn't get married but we could renew our vows, but where??  Well, there was only ever going to be one choice of vow renewal and it had to involve Elvis; my parents (who were with us on vacation) are massive Elvis fans and I had been brought up with his music.  We then embarked on a bit of online research and found the original Graceland Chapel and picked their Blue Hawaii package.

But before we got to Vegas we had a few days staying in Anaheim and visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and whilst there we did a bit of obligatory Disney shopping :).
Disneyland :) 
This is where I came across a ring that I now where most days, a very simple silver ring that only cost a few dollars but one that came in very handy when renewing our vows!  I didn't want to remove my current wedding ring so decided that a new ring would be rather nice, but as the expensive kind were out of the question a Disney ring seemed the next best, and most appropriate, option.
The ring - it has 5 Mickey's and 4 'sparkly' gems

How I wear it most days :)
Once in Vegas we met up with our close friend Alex who had flown in from New York to join us and set about enjoying the sights and sounds of Vegas!!

We got ourselves ready, suitably attired in Hawaiian inspired prints, and made our way, via limousine, to the Graceland Wedding Chapel.
Our limousine outside our hotel
Living it large inside the limousine

The original Graceland Wedding Chapel

We had the most fantastic time renewing our vows with Elvis, we danced, sang and laughed our way through the short ceremony.  I can wholeheartedly recommend anyone to do it, it was such a fun experience and created memories that we will treasure forever.
With Elvis!!!
After the ceremony with our Lei's 
But what to do after the ceremony?  Well, we were in Vegas so we had no shortage of options, the limousine took us back to our hotel where we decided to go for ice-cream!! Then we got in our car and headed out of town, only taking a brief stop...
The infamous 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign
...before playing...
Miniature golf!!
...indoor, glow in the dark, Egyptian themed, miniature full wedding outfits with Hawaiian Lei's!!!  It seemed the most appropriate thing to do after renewing our vows...!!!

When we got back to our hotel later that night we couldn't resist getting our photo taken...
So if you ever get the chance to renew your vows, or even get married in Las Vegas, I would say 'go for it', it maybe one of the most surreal things you'll ever do but it'll be one of the most fun, happiest things you'll ever do.