My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Monday, 30 April 2012

14/04 - Florida Here We Come!

There are only two good reasons to be up before 7am. One is snow, and the other is going on a plane. Fortunately this time the snow held off, and so we were able to get to the airport! :D

Manchester to Florida (Sanford) is a 9 1/2hr flight. I cannot sit still for that long. I don't even sleep for 9 1/2hrs at a time, so sitting on a plane for that long in a state of wild giddy excitement was not a good thing.

Thomas Cook airlines was kind of blah. I'm used to Air Canada quality flying, so it was a bit of a down-grade, I think, the little personal TVs were weird, the films all started together (instead of being able to flick to one and start it when you want), and so you had to wait for them all to finish before choosing a new one. It was comfortable though and the food was good (and for once I didn't regret eating it the next day, which is rare for me and aeroplane food).

When we last outside in England it was a) just after 5am and b) just over 5°C. When we arrived in Florida, it was just after 2pm local time, and heading for 26°C. I lasted until we got to the car rental place in the Gongshow hoodie, and then I had to give in and carry it rather than wearing it.

We rented a car from Alamo, who were kind enough to give us a free upgrade, because the travel agent had only booked us a compact car, and our cases wouldn't have fitted in it!! We ended up with a Toyota Yaris, the most important part being that it had air conditioning.

We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Seaworld. Two weeks at that hotel was the same price as one week at the cheapest Disney resort. I'm glad we stayed where we did, we were barely in the hotel and spending extra money just for a Disney resort would have been a waste. We didn't even have time to use the pool at the hotel, and we didn't use any of the other facilities either, besides the internet cafe which we used to book tickets, etc. I emailed a few days before we went to request a tower room, which was no additional charge. I received an out of office reply, and then nothing further. When we arrived, we were booked into a room in one of their older motel-style blocks, which at first I wasn't that happy about! However, the room was lovely, and being on the ground floor motel block meant that we were never parked more than a few meters away from the bedroom door. That came in handy after 12+hrs at the parks!

Because a 3am wake-up call and a 9.5hr flight just isn't enough activity for one day (well, it wasn't for me!) we headed out to Downtown Disney for something to eat.
The first glimpse of Disney property. *squee*

Characters In Flight balloon. Yes, I am carrying a jumper. I did not yet trust that it wouldn't get chilly at nights. In fact, it did not get chilly ever.

World Of Disney. Pirate Stitch spits water, hence the wet floor. World of Disney was AMAZING. It is the biggest Disney Store in the world. Each of the rooms is decorated with massive sculptures and lights, like Disney Stores always used to be over here.

Fulton's Crab House. The restaurant is inside The Empress Lily, which was built for Walt Disney's widow Lillian. She held the first ever character breakfasts on the boat (which is actually a building, with foundations in the lake).

The original plan was to go to T Rex for a Porkasaurus burger, but when we saw the queue, we opted for Pollo Campero instead. The food was good, chicken burgers, chicken strips, and skin-on fries. I think we paid about $10 each with a drink. Then we followed the delicious smells to Girardelli's. Girardelli's is split in two, half is a chocolate shop (go in, you get a free sample!!) and coffee shop, and the other half is an ice cream parlour where they make fresh waffle cones.

Meet the first giant food of the trip. That ice cream was amazing, by the way, and the waffle cones were to die for.

Guess Who's Home?

Just incase you were wondering, that who would be me. :)
I have to stop right now (I know, I hadn't even properly started yet), and say that if you hate:
Space Ships
Photographs of all of the above
You may wish to stop reading my blog for the next month or two. If you hate too many of those things, you might also like to spend that time questioning why you are here in the first place, because I just don't know if I can be your friend any more... :P
So, we did Disney World. And I mean we REALLY did Disney World. Like, "out from 9am until at least midnight almost every day" did Disney World. Most of that time was spent walking. Which is good, because otherwise I would have needed rolling back on to the plane a la Violet Beauregarde of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame, thanks to the GIANT American food, and my love of eating as much of it as possible. I think it was the first Tuesday before we saw our first vegetable of the trip. And even then it was only a fleeting glance. Though I am VERY disturbed to report that, even in the Magic Kingdom, the place where dreams come true, you can't get chocolate fudge cake for breakfast (looks like Mum was right, it just isn't a breakfast food). Anyway...
I took 3288 photographs whilst we were away. That doesn't include Photopass pictures, or Seaworld photographer shots. Don't worry, I will be editing them down before I blog them. No more that 2500 will be posted. ;) Because of this, and the speed of the whole uploading thing, I'm going to tackle each day one at a time with a post of it's own.
I am from a land where tax is included on the tag (which is far more sensible, IMO). So, I will just be posting the prices that were posted on the tags. If you want to know the full price, add a little bit on (I can't remember how much, but it certainly wasn't our UK 20% tax, I think it's between 1-10% ish).
So, on with the show. I will tag each holiday post with "Florida", and each Disney post with "Disney" and "WDW" and also the parks/areas concerned, so if you want to find anything it should be easy to find.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Listography - Top 5 Albums by Male Solo Artist.

This is so hard to pick! I have different favourite albums/artists every week, so this is a rough selection of the ones usually in the favourites pile. I'm going to number in reverse order, to complete the chart-style countdown.

5). Jim Steinman - Bad For Good
Never heard of it? No, I thought not. Jim Steinman didn't just write for other people, and Bad For Good is an awesome album of his (often very cheesy) solo stuff. Time to get Dance In Your Pants!

4). Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell
The original, and still the best.

3). Bryan Adams - 18 'Til I Die
My favourite Bryan Adams album, and also my first. I got 18 'Til I Die from one of my very best friends, on a cassette, when I was about 12 (that and Bon Jovi - These Days). That cassette lived in all of my cars, right up until my current one which has no cassette player (damn you, modern technology). Still just as good as it was when I first got it! 

2). Toby Keith - 35 Greatest Hits
Yup, picking a Greatest Hits album IS a cop-out. But, it really is a great album, there are no tracks where you think "Hmmm, Greatest Hits? Wouldn't have picked that one..." Plus, the last track is a brand new one, "She's a Hottie", which I love.

1). Undiscovered Soul - Richie Sambora

Possibly my all-time favourite album of all-time. Ever. There isn't a single dud track in my opinion. Who knew that Richie Sambora had a solo album? In fact, who knew that he had two? Way more bluesy than anything Bon Jovi ever did, Richie Sambora has a far better voice than Mr Bon Jovi lets on...

Monday, 9 April 2012

Listography: Top 5 Reasons Why I Hate Olympics 2012

This summer is going to drive me to distraction. The Olympics have been slowly seeping into everyday life since Christmas. I HATE the Summer Olympics. I hate them even more now that they are actually in my own country. Here is a small selection of reasons why.

1). The mascots are STUPID.

I refer to Fetlock and Mandible. Or Wedlock and Pimblico. Whatever the hell they are called (yes I know it says it on the picture above...But I can never remember their names during my infuriated rants, so they are more often known as Fetlock and Mandible). London Mayor Boris Johnson said that "It's hard to imagine a mascot more in tune with the times." Which just proves my point, because he's a pillock. They are vile. And the BS little story made up about their forming is rubbish. The story should read "Once upon a time, someone with a graphic design degree was paid crap-loads of money to design an Olympic mascot. Unfortunately they got drunk the night before and came up with sod all, so they had to take one of their kids' drawings of their pet gerbils off the fridge instead. The end." Also, they are supposedly made of steel. Whoever came up with that idea completely forgot that if anywhere in the UK is known for steel, it's Sheffield (check your forks, people). Does Sheffield get a mention? No.

2). We only got the Summer Olympics.

Everyone knows that the Winter Olympics gets all the cool and/or dangerous sports. Skiing. Snowboarding. Luge. Ice Hockey. Speed Skating. Bobsled. Figure Skating. Curling. (OK, I said that Winter got all of the cool sports...NOT that all of the sports were cool). The Summer Olympics is essentially school sports day but without the beanbags and hula-hoops. I'm not saying that the Summer sports don't require massive talent and skill and dedicated lives of training, but it's just not as exciting watching someone pull off the perfect long-jump as it is watching someone hurtling down a chute on a tea-tray they are essentially steering with their butt-cheeks, with death snapping at their heels (or rather, head, with them going down feet-first...). You know? I'm fairly certain no-one ever died hurdling. People DIE at the Winter Olympics (RIP Nodar Kumaritashvili). There is an actual risk of death.

3). Every other goddamn product is now being advertised in connection to the Olympics. Washing up liquid. Dog food. Laundry detergent. Chocolate. Cars. Televisions. Holidays. Supermarkets. Trains. I am SICK of hearing the word "Olympics" in relation to completely unrelated products. Unless you're selling sportswear or cures for insomnia, I don't want to hear about the summer Olympics in relation to your product, because it's not related.

4). We don't deserve the Paralympics. End of story. I know it's kind of a BOGOF deal, win the Olympics get the Paralympics free, but even so. We are flooding London, one of THE most wheelchair-unfriendly cities to traverse in the country, with legendary disabled atheletes. Who I'm sure will be fine, because they will be ferried everywhere in luxury cars in London's bus lanes. However, if they were to actually have to travel around the city like every other wheelchair-bound person, how would they find it then? They could use certain Tube platforms...to wave people off from. Could they get on the actual Tube train by themselves from those platforms? Probably not. Could they take advantage of any of the awesome shopping? Probably not, because most of the really cool shops are too old/small to have to obey current regulations, and so you can't get into/around them with a wheelchair. Some places in this country are wheelchair friendly. A hell of a lot of them aren't. "Wheelchair Accessible" doesn't mean "We've only got one or two steps" (yes, people really DO say that). It doesn't mean "You can get to the doorway, but people will have to bring you things to look at to the door." It doesn't mean "You can get in and sit down for a meal, but our toilets are upstairs, is that a problem?" Britain on the whole is pretty abysmal with regards to disabled access, etc.

5). The opening ceremony. We're going to try. Really hard. We're going to get an A* for trying. But, given the logo and the mascots, I'm guessing it will probably suck. Lets face it, Canada aced the opening and closing ceremonies. They had Bryan Adams. Michael Buble. Bobby Orr. Wayne Gretzky. Joni Mitchell. Sarah McLachlan. They had "...The always enjoyable, giant inflatable beaver...."

There is no way that we can beat giant inflatable beavers. Game, Set, Match, Canada.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Listography: April Goals

This is another Listography from the lovely Kate Takes 5 blog.

When I saw that the topic was "April Goals" I wondered whether to do this one because I'm only in the country for 15.5 days of April. And then I thought, that's just even more of a challenge!!! :D


Top 5 April Goals:

1). Actually put the "For The Loft" Pile in the loft. Hopefully before we go away. Actually, that should probably be "For The Loft" Piles, seeing as how every room seems to have one, including the landing which isn't even technically a room. :S Fortunately I am stocked up on boxes!!

2). Build a pond! I'm sure this will get a "Project:..." post all of it's own one day soon, but at the moment I have two buckets full of frogspawn/tadpoles waiting for a home! It will possibly be the frog equivalent of a trailer park before we go away (ie, a storage box sunk into the ground in the space where the pond will be), but will be a "proper" pond by the summer. Maybe with fish! Yay! Fish! A step up the ladder! ;) *

3). Use the phones more sensibly. I get 100 free minutes on my mobile. I get cheaper evening and weekend calls on my landline. But as well as that, to phone banks, etc on toll numbers it is cheaper to plan ahead and phone from my landline, rather than waiting and having to phone on my break on my mobile at work. I've already saved about a fiver a month, but I could be more careful!

4). Sort out all the bills/finances before we go away so that I don't have to worry about things not getting paid whilst we are away.

5). Have an AWESOME time in Disney World!!!! I've been waiting for 25 years to go (I'm sure my first recollection of what Disney World was would have been when I was about 3, and we went to watch someone else's holiday videos from their trip)...*squeeeeeeeeeee*

* For those who don't know me in real life, our stock answer to "So, when are you guys having kids?" is "Well, we're starting with a house plant and working up...". The Lucky Bamboo has survived for 2-3 years, so now we're onto tadpoles. If we get to frogs, maybe it's time for a fish or two! ;)