The Williams and Walt Disney World

I have been blogging for 18 months now, and the one subject I have not yet written about is Walt Disney World in Florida. So here goes with my first post about my favourite place on earth.

2011 - Walt Disney World

2011 – Walt Disney World

2011 – We went on our ‘once in a lifetime’ trip in April 2011. We chose that year as we were celebrating 10 years of marriage and the hubby was turning 40. We went for 2 weeks and stayed in a huge villa, along with my mum, step dad, step sister and her family. This was the first time I had been to America, and I fell in love with Orlando and of course Disney.  Our children were 8 and 5 at the time, and it was a great age for their first visit. Walking up Main Street and seeing the castle for the first time took my breath away, and we made many memories during those 2 weeks. At the start of the holiday we were already discussing that we should return in 2 years. This soon led to ‘lets do it next year’. As our plane touched down in a dreary Manchester at the end of an amazing holiday, I was already planning our return for the following year.

2012 - Walt Disney World

2012 – Walt Disney World

2012 – So after a lot of planning, and eating beans on toast for tea, we returned to Orlando. This time we went with my mum and stepdad, and for the first week they went off on their own around Florida golfing. We were staying in a Disney hotel for the first week, and then joining the parents in a villa for the second week. I never imagined we would be able to afford to stay in a Disney hotel, but with the offer of FREE dining for the first week, it made it affordable. We decided on Old Key West, which is classed as a deluxe villa resort on Disney property. All our meals were included during our hotel stay, and this meant we could dine in pretty much ANY of the Disney restaurants, including the character meals. The highlight of the first 7 days was dining in the actual castle, amazing experience made even better by being on the Disney Dining Plan. The second week in the villa was taken at a more relaxed pace, and we visited NASA and SeaWorld.

2013 - Walt Disney World

2013 – Walt Disney World

2013 – Yep another year and we were back again to our favourite place, 1 year almost to the day we had last been. This time it was just the 4 of us, and because neither myself or husband fancied driving in America, we decided to stay in a Disney hotel for the full 2 weeks. As we had loved Old Key West, we had to return. As we were only doing Disney on this trip, the pace would be much more relaxed. We had plenty of days chilling out by the pool which has such a relaxed atmosphere. Again we had the FREE Disney Dining plan for the whole 2 weeks. Again we ate at some truly amazing restaurants, and loved visiting the different hotels within Walt Disney World. It was such a relaxing trip, and we were truly in a Disney bubble for 2 whole weeks.

2014 - Corfu

2014 – Corfu

2014 – So this is the first year we have not been since our first visit in 2011. This year Disney was replaced by going to Corfu and watching our wonderful friends get married. Totally different holiday, but we had an amazing time. The children had only been on a plane to Orlando, so a 3 hour journey to Corfu was a piece of cake for them. As for our future plans we will probably definitely return in 2016. I LOVE all the planning that comes with a Florida holiday, and really missed it this year.  Though I am sure the husband was glad I wasn’t nattering on about Florida this, Disney that the whole year !

Have you been on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Walt Disney World ? And has anyone managed to go just the once ?

527034_10150879035478386_822380404_n

 

Pesto Restaurant – Trafford Centre

logo

On Friday evening hubby and I decided to go to Pesto which is in the Trafford Centre. This was the very first time we had visited a Pesto. I was looking forward to it as I had heard good things about it from my best friend. When we got there, we were quickly seated and handed our menus. What I love about Pesto is that it is an Italian restaurant, but the portions are served on small plates. Like an Italian Tapas ! Ideal restaurant for those people who want to try a few different dishes as they can never make up their mind….. yep that is me !

securedownload (23)

We decided we would have 2 dishes each and then 1 to share. I decided on deep fried Risotto balls and Hungarian beef stew. Hubby had a Risotto dish and Meatballs, and we shared a spicy potato dish. The dishes were typically priced under £4.00 which I thought was really good value. I have to say the food was delicious, and we quickly polished off our 5 dishes between us. And we even had room for dessert. I opted for the 3 mini puddings on one plate and hubby had a chocolate dish. Again all delicious and fresh tasting.

securedownload (24)

With soft drinks the bill came to £37.00 which I thought was good value for the quality of the meal. Our server was friendly and attentive throughout, and I loved the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. We will definitely return to Pesto next time we visit the Trafford Centre, and I think it will also be a good place to bring the kids as they can try different dishes.

I actually thought Pesto was a huge national chain, but they only have 6 restaurants, and we are lucky that 3 of them are local to us. Looking forward to trying the restaurants in Widnes and also at Cabbage Hall in Tarporley in the very near future. Thank you Pesto for a lovely meal and service.

 

Beanies Coffee – Review

Beanies Coffee

Beanies Coffee

It seems only fitting that I write this blog post with a nice cup of Nutty Hazelnut Beanie Coffee next to my laptop. Mmmmm just what you need on a horrible wet Autumn day. I heard of Beanies Coffee a few months ago in my Slimming World class, and I was sent 4 of the flavours to review. After trying them for the past few days I absolutely love them all, and really can not pick out a favourite. So I thought I would do my top ten reasons why Beanies Coffees are fab !

1 – Each serving has 2 calories. Yep 2 teeny tiny calories in each cup of coffee.

2 – Which brings me nicely onto number 2….. They are SYN FREE for anyone doing Slimming World like myself. I cannot believe that something so nice is SYN FREE. Obviously you need to count for any milk you put in, but still this coffee is great for us slimmers.

3 – They taste GORGEOUS. I love a coffee but sometimes you want something a bit more and this definitely fills the gap. I have one every evening and it actually stops me snacking. Though I would rather be drinking a cup with a large slice of carrot cake.

4 – They have a range of 12 different flavours ! With 3 flavours (Mulled Spice, Winter Warmer, Christmas Pudding) being from their Christmas collection

5 – They have just launched a fantastic ‘Stash Box’ which contains 9 jars in a gorgeous gift box with free delivery. Please Santa can I have one !

Beanies Stash Box

Beanies Stash Box

6 – You can order the full range from online at http://www.beaniesflavourco.co.uk or Tesco and Sainsburys have limited flavours in their stores and online.

7 – They look cute ! I am a sucker for nice packaging, and I LOVE the Beanies jars. They look great in the kitchen all lined up together.

8 – You can use them in cooking. Because the flavours are so versatile, who would not want to use their Beanies to make Irish Cream Coffee and chocolate cupcakes or Amaretto pancakes !

9 – The price is only £2.50 for a 50g jar which I think is great value. Just think how much a Starbucks coffee is compared to a whole jar of yummy flavoured coffee.

10 – All flavours are 100% sugar free which means they can be enjoyed by everyone including Vegetarians and Vegans.

I was kindly sent 4 jars of coffee from Beanies to try and all words are my own. Thank you Beanies !

securedownload (22)

Balls to that !

untitled (6)

Would you believe that today, 7th November 2014, is World Vasectomy Day. Wow they really do have a World Day for everything, though I think the hubby would prefer World Chocolate or Beer Day ! How do I know this interesting fact ? Well, I was watching This Morning yesterday where they were showing a LIVE vasectomy. Yep there was a very brave gentleman, who basically looked like a lamb about to be slaughtered, which of course was not far from the truth. Anyway it got me thinking to my husbands vasectomy, and after I consulted him (well it was his bits I would be writing about) I decided to write this post.

Having 2 children we both knew our family was complete, and we talked about hubby having the snip when our 2nd child was a baby. Said baby was 7 when hubby had the snip. Yep it took him a whole 7 YEARS to get round to it. After a frank discussion last year, he admitted he was scared on having his ‘delicate bits’ being operated on. After I made some sympathetic noises towards him (whilst all the time I wanted to scream ‘try having a huge baby come out your delicate parts’) he actually made the appointment the following day, to ahem ‘get the ball rolling’.  A few weeks later we found ourselves at the local hospital having our ‘counselling session’, and a very lovely lady of around 70 explaining all about the procedure. I hate to admit that while she was explaining the importance of ‘scrotal shaving’ prior to the op, I digressed from a pretty mature 39 year old to a giggling 16 year old !!! Sorry…..

About a week later it was V day. Typically it coincided with the tween going to a Rugby match with school, so I literally had to dump hubby at the hospital whilst running the tween round. How ironic that he was off to watch some men round a field chasing after an odd looking ball !!! Odd looking balls seemed to be the order of the day ! Anyway before I knew it I was off to pick the hubby back up. He came gingerly walking out of the hospital, and I got him settled onto the settee where he pretty much spent the whole of the weekend. Whilst he was having his op, the nurse informed him he had a cyst in one of his testicles which needed looking at when he had recovered from the op.  So a few days after he went to the docs and they referred him for a scan. The cyst needed removing, and for the second time in as many weeks poor hubby was looking at his ‘delicate bits’ being hacked into again. This was made slightly better by the fact it was done at a local private hospital.

To make matters worse the first sample came back, and there was still live sperm showing. A further second sample a few months later also came back as showing as not worked. The next option was a ‘hot test’. This meant doing a sample at home and hot footing it to the hospital within the hour so it could be tested. A week later we finally got the letter to say it had worked. This was the middle of August and hubby had the snip at the end of November 2013. So not as straight forward as it should have been, but on the positive side having it done meant them finding the cyst, and of course the joy of unprotected sex (sorry to my parents who read this !!).  Hubby is still glad he had it done, even though he admits it was ‘fucking painful’ !!! But then again so is having kids. And they are expensive buggers !

Frankie and Bennys – Halloween Fun

"frankiesfangs at Frankie and Bennys

#frankiesfangs at Frankie and Bennys

At the weekend we visited our local Frankie and Bennys in Widnes. We LOVE the Frankie and Bennys brand, and we tend to go every few months. It always has a great atmosphere, and last Saturday when we walked in, we were met by a lit pumpkin and all the staff dressed up for Halloween. We were booked in at 4.30pm and the whole place had a great party atmosphere. We were lead to our table and greeted with party hats and streamers, which I thought was a nice touch. Daughter soon made use of them.

securedownload (17)

We decided to order the double dip dough balls to share which came with 2 sauces. OMG these were gorgeous, and the cheesy jalapeno sauce was to die for. Only wish we had ordered 2 portions, as we soon polished them off. Main meals were as below. The tween decided to stick with his ‘I only ever order a burger when I go out’ tradition ! I opted for the Cajun Chicken pasta which was lovely. I don’t usually order pasta dishes, but having a sore throat I thought the steak would be too much of a challenge !  Husband had the Calzone Pizza which he thought was delicious and fresh, and believe me he is a connoisseur of all things pizza ! Daughter had the Spaghetti Bolognaise, which true to form ended up with half of it down her top.

securedownload (18)

Plates all cleared, and daughter was the only one who had any room for a dessert. We watched as she happily munched her way through her bananas and custard….. well that is one of her five a day ticked off ! Then came the fun part. Frankie and Bennys are running a campaign called #frankiesfangs. The idea is you get some sweetie fangs at the end of your meal, and take some pictures wearing them.  You can tweet them using #frankiesfangs and be in with the chance of winning a family meal. We had so much fun taking the fang pictures as you can see below !

securedownload (16)

Even though the restaurant was really busy, our server was excellent and was really friendly towards our children. We had a fun night out filled with yummy food at our favourite restaurant. All the servers looked great in their Halloween costumes, and the place looked extra spooky. We will no doubt be back very soon, especially as they have a £10.00 off voucher on their website when 2 mains our purchased from Sunday – Thursday. Great offer from Frankie and Bennys.

securedownload (15)

We were given a £50.00 voucher towards our meal and all views are my own. Thank you to Frankie and Bennys for a great night. 

Airkix Indoor Sky Diving – Manchester

images (6)
Last weekend we went to Airkix Indoor Sky Diving Centre which is in Manchester near to the Trafford Centre. I had cashed in some of my Tesco Clubcard vouchers, and bought an experience for my husband for Fathers Day. He always says he wants to do a proper sky dive one day, and I thought this would be the cheaper option. For my sons 12th birthday I also got him a voucher which I purchased from Amazon Local. This was £23 for the sky dive experience, plus a dvd and a photo. Great value for money.  It was easy to book their sessions online, and I arranged their time for 4pm last Sunday. You have to be there at least an hour before your jump time as you go through a talk with your instructor about safety.

Airkix Indoor Sky Diving in Manchester

Airkix Indoor Sky Diving in Manchester

We booked in at reception and we were told we would be called soon for the talk. We went upstairs to where a small café is and more importantly the wind tube. Am sure it has a more fancy name than ‘wind tube’ but hey ho ! From the minute we walked in we were all mesmerized seeing the people doing sky dives. There is plenty of seats around the wind tube and my daughter and I got a seat at the front so we could see the boys in action. The instructors do it in groups of around 15, and you get two goes in the tube. The first one is for two minutes and this is finding your feet in there, and basically about getting your balance. The instructor is with you all the time, holding on to your flying suit if needed. It looked really hard to just get your balance in the flying position, and I must admit both hubby and son did really well.

The second time they went in was a minute long. This is where you can, if you want to, be spinned around and took to the top of the tube with the instructor holding you all the time. This happens twice and is an extra £5.00. My hubby opted to do this and he said it was fantastic. My son suffers motion sickness sometimes, and he was scared he would be sick in the tube. Not a good look I am sure !!

securedownload (14)

From being a spectator I thought Airkix was very well organised, and the instructors looked as if they loved their job. At the end of each group, two instructors go into the tube and put on a short show. WOW is all I can say. We could have watched them all day doing their tricks and turns in there. Amazing to watch. At the end of the session you are presented with a certificate and the dvd. The photo is downloaded from their website and you can then post to your social media to share.

The boys had a fantastic afternoon there, and it has certainly given the husband the buzz to do an actual sky dive one day. As for me, would I do it ? I am the wuss in our house, but to be honest whilst I was sat there I thought yeah why not have a go one day. So maybe if I got an experience as a present, I couldn’t exactly wuss out on that could I !!!! Thanks Airkix for a great experience for my boys.

Our ‘us’ time

untitled (5)

Last week the hubby and I managed some fantastic ‘us’ time. I really think that its important to get away once in a while if you can, and enjoy some  time just being a couple. We are lucky because I have a great Mum, and we try and get out at least once a month for a meal or a trip to the cinema. For birthdays and anniversaries we like to get away, and a night away in a Premier Inn does us just fine. Well it was hubs birthday last Wednesday (he turned 43 if you are wondering), and as we had booked to see John Newman in concert in Manchester we just had to combine it with a night away. My Mum was booked in, and I was quickly on the Premier Inn website. We chose to stay at the Premier Inn at the Trafford Centre. Basically Lady Gaga was also playing in Manchester, and the prices of the hotels in the city centre were crazy. I have stayed at the Trafford Centre West around 12 times and love it there. I paid £35.00 which I was more than happy with.

So last Tuesday we set off around 1.30pm, and checked in at 2.00pm….. yep the official check in time. I am never one to waste some hotel time. We took the bags to ‘our room’…. Yes I have a favourite room and always ask for it !!! We went over to the bus station at the Trafford Centre as we were getting the bus into the city centre. Last time I was on a bus was in Disneyworld in Florida. As you can imagine, the sights were ever so slightly different. However, we did drive past Old Trafford (yawn) and also past the HUGE Hilton Hotel which has about a million floors, and for our 10 year anniversary we stayed on the 21st floor.

Hilton Hotel through the Manchester rain !

Hilton Hotel through the Manchester rain !

As I knew retail therapy was not on the cards (couldn’t really turn up to a concert with shopping bags in hand), the only other option was to eat and drink. We chose to go to Bem Brasil. This is somewhere where we had both wanted to visit for ages. I made sure we got in there before 4pm as the price before is £13.95, and after 4pm a whopping £26.95. Bem Brasil was amazing. The food was to die for, and after eating half a zoo we literally had to be rolled out of there, into the howling wind and rain. We walked up to the Printworks and indulged in a few more drinks, whilst people watching. Around 7pm we took a taxi over to The Apollo which is on the out skirts of the city centre. We were seated and enjoyed the support act, and then John Newman came on at 9.15pm. WOW what a concert. He was amazing live, and if you don’t know who he is please seek him out on you tube. After the concert we got a taxi back to the hotel and had a few more gins….. for the road of course.

Next day it was hubby’s birthday. I had only took one present to the hotel, as the kids wanted to be there when he opened his main presents. So I opted to give him this present. Yep having an ‘unique’ name meant I had to order him a special coke bottle with his name on. He was made up.

securedownload (10)

Finally it was time for some retail therapy, and we had a day of wandering around the Trafford Centre to look forward to. Hubby had some birthday money which he spent, and I even let him have some ‘man’ time in the Apple Store ! It was time for some lunch, and as it was his birthday I said I would treat him to anywhere in the Trafford Centre. After a five second think he chose……… Burger King ! Lunch done and a few more hours of wandering and it was time to head home to pick the kids up from school. We had such a fantastic time, and I am really grateful that we get the chance to go away and have fun together. It was a blast and can’t wait for our next night away. Do you get the chance for ‘us’ time or even ‘me’ time ?