Monday 19 August 2013

1... to go...eek!!!

So I am writing this post a little earlier than usual today as we have a bit of a full day ahead of us.

The morning has started off well though as my Disney's Photopass+ arrived today - phew!  This will be the first time we've used this so it'll be interesting to see the results in a few days time and see just how many photos we can manage!

The morning then struck a hurdle when Virgin Atlantic decided that it wouldn't let me check-in online!!  Which was very frustrating, but after chatting with their online help it would appear they restrict a random selection of passengers from online check-in for security reasons - so that means that we are going to try 'Twilight Check-In'.  So we will check-in, in person, early this evening which will mean that all our luggage will be checked so that tomorrow it will be straight through security and wait for the flight.

So I've had a quick re-arrange of the luggage and Simon has been tidying around the house so that we are already to leave and get this vacation officially underway!

Not sure if I will be able to post whilst we're away but please follow me on Twitter (@JaynePhipps) for regular updates!

See you soon :)

Sunday 18 August 2013


2...days to go!!!!!!

Well we have 2 days to go till we get to WDW!!  And it's all getting very exciting.

So what has today brought us?  An awful lot of packing and getting ready. Simon has been sorting all the tech stuff; cameras, video camera, Go-Pro camera, i-pods, phones and i-pods, you name it and we've probably got it.

While I've been getting everything else sorted and packed making sure we are under our weight limit so that we have the all important space for bringing home lots of Disney goodies.

And to round the day off we are watching vacation video from our last WDW vacation, specifically watching our attempts at playing miniature golf at Disney's Fantasia Gardens and now we're on to Winter Summerland miniature golf at Disney's Blizzard Beach - wonder who will win this year?

Saturday 17 August 2013


3...days to go!!

So here we are with only a matter of days to what have we been up to?

Well the boys in the family paid an early morning visit to the barbers to get themselves all smart and handsome for our vacation and then we were into a pretty usual Saturday.

Our daughter had her usual guitar lesson which meant Simon and I got chance to chill out with s Starbucks whilst she learnt to 'rock out'.  This did get me thinking that our next Starbucks may well be on Main Street, USA!!

This afternoon saw us doing a multitude of tasks; Simon continued with his mission to get our old vacation home videos onto some form of digital format (he thinks he may have succeeded after much swearing and frustration), I continued with getting a few bits together ready for packing tomorrow and making sure that we have directions for our overnight hotel on Monday.  We also went visiting our parents; we are both lucky enough to have parents that live within a 3 miles radius of where we live so we can pop into see them whenever we can.

This evening has involved Simon playing about with the Go-Pro camera and editing some video that he had taken last weekend whilst I've been painting my daughters nails; a combination of orange and green on her toes and a blue/green colour on her fingers!! Her choice!

And now I think I shall put my feet up with a glass of wine and some of my favourite chocolate...well it is a Saturday night after all, I can spoil myself :)

Friday 16 August 2013


4...days to go!

It's getting closer...and my mind is now in overdrive.  The excel spreadsheet on my laptop is open all the time so that I can note down things to pack, jobs that need doing or new items to our itinerary.

Speaking of which we have today received confirmation that Simon and I will be parasailing this time next week at the Sammy Duvall's Watersport Centre at Disney's Contemporary Resort.  I have to admit that I am both excited and nervous but really looking forward to it, something neither of us have ever done before so it'll definitely be something to remember.

The day started off though with a visit to the hairdressers for my daughter; nothing major just a good cut to get it all neat and smart.  I even had a little trim off my fringe...even though I'd had it cut last week I just knew my fringe wouldn't last till after the vacation so took advantage of being at the hairdressers to have a little more removed!

This afternoon has seen me getting together everything we need to take with us; the toiletries, the clothes, the raincoats, make-up etc etc. So hopefully when we do the packing in a day or so everything will be ready to just go in the bags.  And a first for this vacation has seen me pack my running gear...something I never ever thought I would be doing for a vacation.

We have just rounded the day off with a quick trip to a local sports shop to take advantage of knocked down prices on surf shoes so we are now all kitted out ready to hit the water parks.  And as both Simon and our eldest, who has been working for Simon's company this summer, officially finished work at 6.00pm this evening we thought what better way to start the vacation than a visit to McDonalds - we know how to live ;)

Thursday 15 August 2013


5...days to go

Well it's getting closer but what has today brought...well a combination of mundane tasks and a surprise treat!

This morning started off with general mundane tasks getting done; cleaning the house and more laundry.  The thing is leaving the house for a couple of weeks and arriving home with jet lag means I'd like to come home to a house that's clean and tidy.  Although I'm guessing we may have a repeat of our return last time we went away as depicted by Simon's drawing as part of his 365 Mickey's project...
The downside of living in the countryside - spiders!!
I even ended up doing some more pre-school work today, having to speak to the dreaded Ofsted (our national governing body) about our annual fees...suffice to say I was right and they were wrong!

I then decided it was time for my run (or as I like to call it my bouncy walk), but before I went out I had an idea.  I had been struggling to decide which colour nail varnish to wear for my vacation so I posted a photo on Facebook and asked my friends for some advise.
The possibilities...
So off I went for my run/bouncy walk and did myself proud even if I do say so myself.  I've only been back running a few weeks but I can feel it getting easier each time I go out.  I'm never going to be doing marathons but I am enjoying what I'm doing and am looking forward to a few runs around Lago Dorado in a few days time!

But when I got back I had a number of replies to my nail varnish dilemma all of which contradicted each other but one reply offered another solution.  To actually get my nails painted by a I'm not one to do this sort of thing I always manage to talk myself out of it but a spur of the moment decision led to an appointment this afternoon and look...

Matching toes and nails, a lovely neon pink in gel nail varnish which should last me over my vacation :)

Wednesday 14 August 2013


6...days to go!

So today saw the conclusion to the on going saga with my dollars.  Sure enough this morning I received the order that I had placed yesterday and now no longer require as my original order had eventually turned up yesterday afternoon!

So after a phone call to the company supplying the dollars I was given instructions as to how to return the second order which meant a trip out to my local post office - again!  The lady at the counter recognised me from yesterday and we had a good laugh about the whole situation.  Hopefully everything is now sorted and I can rest easy and start putting dollars into my 'mousekeeping' envelopes.

Talking of 'mousekeeping' envelopes I had some stickers arrive today that will suitably 'bling up' the envelopes...another job to do but a fun easy one.

I have spent the day with my excel planning spreadsheet open and adding things to it as I thought about them.  Mainly just practical stuff like things not to forget to take with the 'mousekeeping' envelopes!

Other than that today has been getting more jobs done around the house, keeping on top of the washing and ironing and confiscating any clothes for the vacation so I don't have to wash them again!

I took my daughter out today to buy a new pair of trainers; we'd ordered some off a well known shopping website at the end of July and they still hadn't been despatched so we'd decided to cancel the order and go shopping today.  Thankfully we had a successful shopping trip as we have a really good sports shop close by!

My daughter is now busy sorting out which pieces of jewellery to take with her...she is 12 years old...don't know where she get's it from!

We also had a bit of a girly night last night sorting our nails out; getting rid of old polish and filing and shaping. So the next dilemma is what colour nail varnish...

Decisions, least I'm down to a choice of three my daughter has at least half a dozen bottles lined up to choose from! Wish me luck!

Tuesday 13 August 2013


7...days to go!

Well what has today brought..well it's been another quiet day.

I have been catching up on some work related jobs because when we return from our vacation I will be straight back into work the following day!  So I have been getting a few odds and ends sorted just so that first day back can be as smooth as possible.

The other achievement of today has been to sort the matter of the missing dollars!  Now the company I had ordered them from were brilliant they called me back this morning at exactly the time they said they would and were very understanding of the whole situation and promised that I would not be liable for the missing money.  However, they had not been able to find out anymore information from Royal Mail and that nothing could happen until the signature of the receiving party had been tracked down.

Worried that I wouldn't have any dollars for my vacation I decided to place another order this morning.

At 12.45pm I had a knock at the door, and opened it to find my postman with a 'missed delivery card'.  To cut a long story short the original delivery had gone to a similar address in the next village along, but as the occupants weren't in a 'missed delivery card' had been left.  Today the occupants had took the 'missed delivery card' to our local post office who thankfully were doing their job correctly and realised that the delivery did not belong to them!  They then let my postman know about the mix-up and he very kindly came out of his way to drop the 'missed delivery card' off with me.

I then went to the post office and collected the package, quickly tore it open and was very happy to see dollars inside...the only problem now is that I'm due another delivery of dollars tomorrow and so will have double the amount I need - argh!!  Oh well that's a problem for tomorrow to solve!

Monday 12 August 2013


8...days to go!

Well today has been a relatively quiet day mainly getting jobs done around the house.

Firstly I raided everyone's wardrobes to make sure that any clothes they were likely to want to take on holiday have been washed (I know...I just made more work for myself but better today than when I come to pack!) and also to confiscate all the clean and ironed clothes so that they can't wear them between now and when we pack!  Method in my madness you see!

Then I was faced with the task of trying to sort my missing dollars.  So as a recap my dollars were due to arrive 3 days ago and according to our postal service, the Royal Mail, they were delivered and signed for...shame we never got them.  Anyway after tweeting about it I was contacted today via twitter by a very concerned Royal Mail and I am now still waiting to see what the outcome is.  I have also contacted the sender who are also not very happy with the Royal Mail and are also trying to sort it from their side of things...I await further developments.

This afternoon saw me starting off our 'Mousekeeping' envelopes; these are simply an easy way to sort tips for the housekeeping staff to make sure that whilst we are there all the staff who look after us get recognised for their efforts.

Oh and I also managed a run this evening, only a short one but I am getting better at running for longer and this evening only walked three times and ran the rest so I was really pleased and even more confident for that run around Lago Dorado at Disney's Coronado Springs!

Sunday 11 August 2013


9...days to go!

Well today has seen us talking and testing tech!  Simon has been busy sorting through old vacation video formatting it into a digital copy as well as testing some new tech.  We are fortunate enough to have access to a 'Go-Pro'camera; this is a very small compact digital camera that is often used to capture video of extreme sports.  So today Simon went out for a run with our eldest on his bike and the 'Go-Pro' attached to either Simon's chest or our son's bike helmet.  We're hoping that we can then use this on vacation to capture some of the rides, and even some of the water park rides as we have a waterproof case for it - should be interesting!

And talking of extreme sports we have also been debating whether or not to do some parasailing this vacation.  This is due to us listening to a WDW Radio podcast where Lou Mongello was discussing the numerous ways to enjoy the water whilst at watch this space to see if we decide to go ahead and who out of our family decides to go for it!

We have also had a bit of a Disney movie weekend to get us in the mood!  Last night we watched 'Teen Beach Movie'...the sing-a-long version no less and I have to confess it was my second time of watching and I rather enjoyed it!  It's fun and easy to watch with catchy tunes and produced to the usual Disney standards.

Tonight we have watched for the first time 'Frankenweenie' and we were all really impressed by it.  Now I have to confess to being a bit of a Tim Burton fan anyway but I just loved the storytelling and all the references to the classic horror movies.  A definite must see would be my recommendation.

I wonder what tomorrow will be bring!!

Saturday 10 August 2013


10....days to go!!

So here starts the final countdown to our vacation.  Today has mainly seen us getting to grips with jobs that need doing before we leave.

Simon has a couple of paintings to take with us to pass onto Lou Mongello of WDW Radio for their upcoming auction and so we have been figuring out the best way to transport them.  We have a portfolio case which they fit into lovely and so I have been chatting online with our airline as to whether or not we could take them as a carry-on piece of luggage.  Thankfully we can but it does mean that the portfolio case will take the place of a normal piece of carry-on luggage...a bit of careful organisation will be needed I think!!

I was supposed to have our dollars delivered yesterday but thanks to our postal service something appears to have gone awry.  According to the 'Royal Mail' our package was delivered and signed for...but we have had nothing!  Suffice to say I'm not overly pleased with the to wait for their system to upload the signature of the person who signed for it before we can go any further.  Very frustrating!

I am trying to get ahead with all the washing and ironing so that when it comes to packing in a few days time everything will be sorted and ready to go in the bags...I hope...remember I have two teenagers to cope with! Simon, as tech support for the trip, is getting his head around all that we will need with us and making sure that we have all the right chargers and adapters and enough video tapes and memory cards.

My excel spreadsheet is beginning to take shape quite nicely and seems to be expanding as I add new bits to it.  At the moment I have transferred all my lists onto the one spreadsheet so that everything is in one place and I can just add to as I think of something we need to pack or shop for or a change to our itinerary; it is ever evolving!

Thursday 8 August 2013

Another Run Day

Just a quick post to update you on my running efforts.  I now seem to be back into my stride (pardon the pun!) and have completed two small runs today.

I decided that as I wanted to visit my mum who only lives a short distance away, that rather than jump in the car I would run there.  So I put on my running gear and off I set.  I decided to make the route a little more interesting and a little longer by going off the most direct route and so a short 20 minutes later I had completed 1.5 miles through a combination of running and walking.

I then spent a good hour catching up with my mum before heading home, which I did with a straight run home following the direct route.  So I managed 1 mile in just under 15 minutes which included a walk to start, followed by my longest uninterrupted run since getting back out onto the road and then finishing with a short walk.

I reckon that I must have ran for around 10 - 12 minutes without stopping, which is a great achievement for me and makes my target of running around Lago Dorado at Disney's Coronado Springs look very achievable.

I have just over a full week before we set off for WDW and I reckon I can get at least another 3 runs, if not 4, done before then which should set me in good form for achieving my goal.  And as soon as I have done it I will let you all know!

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Two Weeks to Go!!

That's right it is only 2 weeks to go until we see that 'Welcome Home' sign!! This vacation was booked approximately 16 months in advance and although at times it has seemed a long way off it really is nearly here!

So we are now down to the finer details in the planning process; from those last minute purchases to making sure all bills are paid before we leave to actually deciding on which park we will visit on which day (I keep putting it off because it's hard to decide).

So the Excel spreadsheet is up and running and I have key dates already marked out. Our first and last days are in my mind a 'no-brainer', it has to be The Magic Kingdom; it is after all the epitome of all that Disney conjures up, and nothing beats that feeling of walking under the railroad and down Main Street USA heading towards Cinderella Castle. I then have dates put aside for a few other things;

  • We have our ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) at Teppan Edo
  • We will be attending WDW Radio's Meet of the Month at Disney's Blizzard Beach
  • We shall be joining Michelle of The Minnie Minxes for a 'Drink Around the World' at Epcot
  • And another date with Michelle will be over at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop when we will hopefully tackle the infamous 'Kitchen Sink Ice-Cream Sundae'

I have sorted our Photopass+ and ordered new raincoats for the kids as would you believe it they have grown somewhat since our last trip back in 2011.

I am hoping to book at least one more ADR, this time for Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge so I need to make some decisions as to where we are going on which days so that I can tie this reservation in nicely.

I am also, along with the help of my daughter, going to make up some envelopes ready for tipping 'Mousekeeping' - a creative few hours with pens, envelopes, glue and more decorating envelopes for those oh so important tips.

So over the next few days I shall let you know how the planning is coming along and just how excited we are all getting!

Running Where?

Well it's been awhile since I wrote a post about my running endeavours and to be honest that's because there hasn't been an awful lot to write about until now.

Since the end of May I have struggled for one reason or another to find the time, and inclination, to get out and run but I have now re-found my mojo and am back out running...or as I like to call it 'my bouncy walk'!

So I have hit the roads with a combination of running and walking, I'm not following any special plan just simply listening to my body and switching between running and walking when it feels right for me.

I always start with a good paced walk for a couple of minutes and then launch into my run and see just how far I can go before I need to slow down, walk and get ready for the next run.  This seems to be working really well for me, and even though I have had a break of a couple of months it is both surprising and re-assuring how my body has responded. Simon has always said that once your body has experienced running it will pick it back up relatively quickly and I have to say he's right.  So apart from a few muscle aches all is going well so far.

As I run I set myself goals of where I think I should be able to run to and then surprise myself when I run further!  I am also changing my route; todays run was completely different to my usual route which made it more interesting for me with more things to look at and more hills to run up!!  I am fortunate to live in a semi-rural area so I have some lovely places to run around, even if it does mean dodging overgrown nettles and local wildlife! I got surprised today by a bird running out of a bush in front of me, I'm not quite sure how we missed each other!

I am pleased that I am back out there and running the best I can and am looking forward to the challenge of running around Lago Dorado at Disney's Coronado Springs in a couple of weeks time :)