When my friend asked me a few months ago if I wanted to go on a city break to Poland, I jumped at the chance as this had been on my bucket list for so… More
This month I visited Disneyland Paris for the first time and it honestly exceeded my expectations on every level! Me and my boyfriend, James, went for our first holiday together to Paris, with Disneyland being at the centre of our trip. We were in Paris from Monday to Friday and spent two full days in the park. Continue reading “Disneyland Paris May 2017”
In November 2018 I took my mum back to Florida for her 50th birthday. We had only ever been to Florida once before, 10 years prior for her 40th! So this was a great reason to go back and see how things had changed since we were last there!
We stayed for 2 weeks at the Rosen Plaza hotel on International drive. I was so surprised at how nice this hotel was for the amount we paid – don’t ask me how but we somehow managed to get an incredible deal where the hotel and flights were around half of their usual price for those dates! We certainly weren’t complaining!
Day 1: As soon as we arrived we were greeted by friendly staff on the door and when we went to our room on the top floor, we realised that the staff had left my mum a birthday balloon with a big bag of M&Ms – cute! We spent the evening wandering up International Drive and had THE BEST parmesan pizza at Pizza Hut – why can’t we get it here!?
Day 2: On our first full day in Orlando we originally wanted to visit Universal however we then found out that we’d missed the transport which was a little annoying – it was advertised as free transport but this only ran at 7.30 (who’s up that early when the parks don’t open till 10?!). So we decided to use our free Itrolley passes (gifted by Virgin) to visit SeaWorld instead. I was amazed at how much has changed in SeaWorld since we were last in Florida. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on attractions such as rollercoasters and water rides as opposed to animal entertainment. It was nice to see that they’d made some changes to use shows to educate about the animals rather than performing tricks.
As we aren’t massive rollercoaster people, we opted for the tamer attractions in the park – Antartica, Turtle Trek and the Wild Arctic (I really wouldn’t recommend this one, it broke down on us and we both got sore ribs/necks as it’s extremely jerky!). We ate at the Spice Mill restaurant which was purely a choice made by sore feet and hunger, however the food was nice. The Christmas Celebration Wonderland was also quite spectactular to see with lots of entertainment around the park and beautiful decorations. On the way back we stopped for tea at Ihop – it was on my bucket list! However I thought the food here was fairly average which was a little disappointing! The unlimited peach iced tea was definitely the highlight!
Day 3: We ventured off to Universal Studios and quickly realised that the crowds were going to be big due to it being Thanksgiving week. We managed to get on Jimmy Fallon’s race through New York, Shrek 4d (which literally hasn’t changed in 10 years!), Simpsons and Fast and Furious. We had dinner at Richter’s which was a blast from the past! Despite the crowds, we did actually get quite lucky with character meets and just happened to be in the right places at the right times. We met Bumblebee, three blind mice from Shrek, the penguins from Madagascar and the Knight bus characters. We were also accosted by a wizard in Diagon Alley who hilariously just wanted to be in a selfie as ‘nobody knew who he was’! We wandered around Diagon Alley which was just incredible, and watched the Macy’s holiday parade.
Day 4: We decided to take a break from the parks as the crowds were set to be even bigger, so we headed out onto Idrive to check out the random shops and attractions nearby. We went to Denny’s for dinner (another bucketlist place!) and had the holiday sandwich which was essentially an entire Christmas dinner on a sandwich – incredible! My mum wanted to go to a Michaels as we don’t have them in the UK so we walked a fair way to get there and spent a few hours browsing craft supplies!
Day 5: The crowds were slightly lower so we went to Islands of Adventure. We managed to meet Cyclops as we were passing through Superhero island, then headed to Hogsmede. It is definitely one of my favourite places in the parks as the whole area is just beautiful! We decided to brave the 60 minute queue for Forbidden Journey and I completely fell in love with the ride. We also had our photos taken with the Triwizard group! After that though the queues tripled so we went for a chilli dog at the Fire eaters grill by Poseidon’s Fury. We ended up meeting a lovely old couple there and it turned out the man’s birthday was the same day as my mum’s! Small world!
We did the meet with the raptor in Jurassic World and it was a little intense! The raptor bit my mum on her hand and really hurt her – lesson learnt don’t stick your hand in a dinosaur!
Later on we met with Spiderman and headed back to watch the Shield procession with the superheroes entering the island on their motorbikes. Superman high-fived me on the way past and tried to steal my Fitbit! Then we queued for a few minutes to meet Storm and Rogue before heading to the Spiderman ride to finish the day.
Day 6: It was Thanksgiving so we watched the parade on TV and had Thanksgiving dinner in the hotel. They put on a huge buffet and we tried typical American foods that we’d never had like pumpkin pie – delicious!
Day 7: We headed out to Discovery Cove, which was by far one of my favourite days of the holiday. We managed to get a fairly early time of 10:40am for our dolphin swim which gave us time to make full use of the unlimited food at the breakfast buffet and watch the dolphins from the beach. Swimming with dolphins was high up on my bucket list and an incredible experience! Even though the slots didn’t seem like a long time, we never felt rushed and we had plenty of interaction with the dolphins. We actually got to interact with all of the dolphins in the pool as there wasn’t a massive amount of people there that day which was great! Afterwards we snorkelled in the coral reef with sting rays and tropical fish which was terrifying but amazing. We also fed tropical birds in the aviary and made full use of the unlimited snacks and drinks – non-alcoholic Pina colada was the one! I would highly highly recommend Discovery cove.
Day 8: Busch Gardens was on the agenda for this day, and in hind sight I’m glad we went, but I probably wouldn’t bother again. Almost nothing had changed since we went 10 years ago and the park was looking pretty shabby with a lot of things closed down. The shuttle included in our tickets was hard work as the pickup location was unclear and quite a way from our hotel – it was also unrecognisable as a Busch Gardens shuttle! As most of the rides are rollercoasters, we spent the day looking at the animals which was fairly similar to a lot of other animal parks we’ve been to. We decided to watch the Elmo show to escape the heat. After waiting 40 minutes we were told it was cancelled – cue crying kids in 3,2,1…! The only other thing to watch was the ice show so we headed there only to be told it was full half an hour before show time; we had to wait another two hours to see this. It wasn’t anything to write home about…The last thing we attempted was the ‘sing-along’ train which was as it said on the tin. We were told we’d be able to see some animals however there were no lights so we didn’t, however we had a decent 20 minute rickety journey in the dark with people screeching Christmas carols – Festive!
Day 9: Taking another break from the parks, we headed out to the Florida Mall and spent the day shopping and eating cupcakes from Carlos’ Bakery. We also had our first experience of Target which was…interesting?
Day 10: We decided to give Volcano Bay a try for something different. The park is really interesting and the Volcano was definitely a Wow factor! I’m not a fan of waterparks despite my mum being insistent on exposing me to them over the years! Last time we visited we went to Wet ‘N’ Wild and she tricked me into going on H2o. This time I relived my nightmare by being tricked onto the Ika Moana (I think?) waterslide. After regaining the feeling in my legs we spent the afternoon on the winding river and in the wave pool. We were told that due to a colder front coming in, it was the last day it would be open on our holiday so we timed it well!
Day 11: We headed back to Universal studios and the queues were a lot smaller! We managed to ride: Minions, Transformers, Gringotts, Men In Black, Hogwarts Express (to IOA), Flight of the Hippogriff, Forbidden Journey (yay), King Kong and Spiderman! We did quite a few character meets as well including a Minion, Shrek and Donkey, Captain America and Wolverine. We also had a video shoot at Shutterbuttons in Diagon Alley which was a bizarre experience! If you haven’t done one, they basically shout instructions at you whilst you stand in front of a green screen dressed in robes! The pictures ended up being really cool though and the video was hilarious!
Day 12: We headed to the premium outlets to do some shopping – mainly in the Disney character warehouse! We then walked back towards Idrive and ate LOTS of food. A fairly relaxed day!
Day 13: We ventured back to Universal for the last time 😦 in an attempt to view all the shows we had missed, due to them being too busy or at times we were busy! We watched the Superstar parade in the studios and rode the Mummy ride which has become 50x more intense since it’s been remade! I wasn’t a fan! We ate dinner at Krusty burger and by chance happened to walk straight into a meet with SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward! Then we walked literally 30 seconds and bumped into Scooby and the gang who took pictures with us too! We headed over to IOA to watch the Hogwarts Christmas light show which was AMAZING! Then we legged it back over to the Studios to catch the Cinematic Spectacular which was also incredible! An amazing way to end our Universal adventure!
Day 14: On our last day we spent the morning by the pool and did some shopping on Idrive with another stop at Denny’s. We also went to Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not’ museum on Idrive as this was on my bucket list.
Overall we had an amazing time! The weather was lovely and warm (around 26 degrees (C)) for most of the holiday with only a couple of minutes of light rain on one afternoon and two days of colder weather (around 10 degrees!) but still sunny! A lot has changed in ten years and it was really interesting to see! We ticked off a lot of things from our bucketlists and had a lot of fun. Hopefully I’ll manage to find a way back there in the future!
I’ll also be putting up my videos from this trip on YouTube, if anyone would like to watch them (or subscribe!) my channel is – Justmekellymarie Youtube
Finding decent things to eat that aren’t a calorific nightmare is a really hard task at the best of times. Yes, an orange may be the better choice, but what if I’m really craving a chocolate bar?? I know, I know you can beat the cravings… but sometimes you just gotta be a bit naughty!
Recently I’ve been tracking my food intake and monitoring my calorie expenditure (check me out!), following the advice of a friend studying nutrition See Prestagefitness. My main complaint was that I wanted to lose a bit of weight, tone up and just generally feel a bit healthier. Ideally I would like to not be out of breath walking to the fridge! However, having tried totally healthy ‘diets’ in the past, I know that the upkeep of this for me is not feasible – I can never stick to them because I don’t enjoy them!
So whilst I take it one step at a time, increasing my fruit/veg intake and getting up off my bum a little more often, I have been looking for better alternatives to the snacks I’m just not ready to part with yet.
So here are some of the snacks I’ve found for under 100 calories…