Layout Share – Quirky Funicular and Love Is

When we got back from America I was itching to get scrapping. I hadn’t made pages for a while and was inspired. I love that bit about a trip. A change of scene, and adventure or two and some new experiences drive you on when you get back.

I spent time selecting photos to print from our trip but also took a look back to the USA holiday Gav and I had in 2015. That album is very full now but there are a few stories that I have yet to tell.

Quirky Funicular was one of those stories.

The journalling reads –

About a year before our trip I stumbled on photos of this little railway in Downtown LA. It had to be visited. Unfortunately it hasn’t run for a few years but it was great to see it all the same. We were having an eventful afternoon, what with the parking manoeuvre, the unusually hot temps in April, the museum that was closed and that trip to tetchy street. But it all ended up fine and we headed home to Pasadena.

 

The next layout is all about doughnuts! Two 3 x 4 photos of a box of the good stuff that H and I trekked into Leeds for one Sunday last year.

I got the spray inks out for this one!

The little paragraph of journalling reads –

Sunday morning of the double sleepover 2016 and H and I went to town for doughnuts. Oh yeah! They are so bad but I love them so and once in a while is ok right?

Not a very in-depth story but one I wanted to tell.

Happy to be back scrapping again!

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Bloom 2017 – Studded with Purple

I mentioned that I have a few more flower arrangements up my sleeve even though the season is changed and the cutting patches have all but given up.

I’d actually forgotten all about this arrangement until I was sorting photographs for Project Life. How could I have overlooked such a lovely crop of flowers?

This was arranged back at the end of July when the Ammi had just got going and the Salvias were the backbone of the cutting beds.

Along with those two there are Euphorbia, Scabious, Cerinthie and Silver Birch foliage. I seared the ends of the Cerinthie and Birch in a little boiling water before arranging.

I like mixing tree foliage into my vases and must remember to try and do it more often. I was still trying to get that whole asymmetrical thing working…….

I think I must pop outside today and harvest all that I can before the strong winds flatten everything that’s left. It might make for a stunning final vase full!

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Eating at Disney World – Our Experience of the Dining Plan for Vegetarians

Before we dive into this topic I’d like to add a disclaimer…… I love food! There I said it….

We booked our Disney part of the holiday way back in June 2016 because there were some great deals to be had if you booked so far in advance. One of the deals was the inclusion of a dining plan package. We did a bit of research at the time but in the end just went for it.

There are several different dining plans but the one that was included in our price was the ‘quick serve’ plan. This includes two self-serve meals and two snacks. We decided to upgrade and paid about £200 to get a table service meal and a quick serve meal instead of the two quick serve ones.

The research I had done back in 2016 about eating at Disney basically said don’t bother with the dining plan if you were a vegetarian. However, as we were only paying £20 a day for both of us I felt it was well worth it.

When you look into the information that is out there on the web about these plans they focus on value for money. The reason those sites say don’t do the dining plan if you are a vegetarian is based on the fact that most veggie options in the parks and hotel restaurants are so much cheaper than meaty ones, therefore if you have paid for the dining plan you may end up out of pocket. I just did a check and for 2018 the quick serve plan is $52 a day and the regular dining plan is $75 a day. Based on those figures you would be out of pocket if you paid full price for the plan and ate vegetarian food.

But for us, because it came as part of the holiday package and we only paid for the upgrade it was absolutely worth it.

When you book the dining plan with table service meals you are able to book those meals 180 days in advance! Crazy. But even though it seemed crazy I decided that when the 180 day mark came around I was going to book most of the table serve meals and I’m so glad I did.

Here are a few points to remember.

  1. Research. Gav and I are seasoned researchers. I always tell the story of us living on croissants and water during a trip in France twenty years ago as the seed that started off our planning in relation to food. To be honest France is not geared up to Vegetarian foods, it’s not in their culture and I have to say that many, many parts the America are the same. So the answer is to plan and research. The way I did my Disney planning was to look at each restaurant’s menu to determine that they were part of the plan scheme and to check there were vegetarian options. I made a note of all the ones I liked the look of ready for when I could book them.
  2. Ask the waiter/waitress if they have other vegetarian options available when arrive at the restaurant. We ate at eight different table service restaurants during our ten day stay. All but one gave us an extra choice of vegetarian main course when we asked. Also check out the childrens menu as there may be a simple pasta option on it that can be made up into an adult meal.
  3. As I mentioned above I booked the table serve meals 180 days (more or less) in advance of our trip. Having those meals plans sorted means that yes, you have to be at a certain location at a certain time but also that you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to eat in a busy and, usually, very hot theme park. It also gives you a framework to plan other aspects of your trip around which I found helpful. There is so much to do it can be overwhelming therefore having a basic plan set down is good.
  4. Expect to be very full up! I didn’t believe this would happen but oh my it did. Really even now I don’t want to think of another Brownie Fudge Sundae……
  5. Use your snacks wisely. One of the reasons we got rather full was because we picked a larger sized snack (so our own fault that we gained weight!) For example you could have a piece of fruit which counts as a snack or a great big Brownie Fudge Sundae… I also recommend finding the Dole Whip locations. If you’ve not had one and like pineapple they are worth seeking out.
  6. We were able to swap a quick serve meal for three snacks. This came in very handy when we discovered that Starbucks, located in all the parks allows the redemption of you dining plan credits. Good job we didn’t find that out until our final three days.
  7. Take away pizza is available for two table serve credits at some hotels. As you know we love pizza so having that option was a bouns for us and I would stay at a hotel with the delivery service again. We stayed at Caribbean Beach.
  8. Don’t limit yourself to eating only at your hotel. We of course had the car but even on the Disney transport it’s worth seeking out other restaurants. We ate at the Contemporary hotel twice. Both for breakfast buffets and they were very good value. Chef Mickeys has character dining too so perfect for a photo op with Mickey et al. Other favourites at the parks include Tony’s Town Square Restaurant at Magic Kingdom, Mama Melrose Italian Diner at Hollywood Studios, Chip and Dales Harvest Lunch at the Garden at Grill Epcot and the quick serve Deluxe Burger at Disney Springs.

I feel like this post is never ending…. There are lots of things to consider and I’ve only scratched the surface, but I was glad I planned it out.

Just for fun here are two actual days worth of food for me….. (don’t judge we were on our holidays!)

Day 1

  • Breakfast – Cereal with milk, cinnamon roll, banana (swapped quick serve meal for three snacks) Available from the hotel ‘markets’
  • Late lunch – Tony’s Town Square restaurant (table serve meal)

Day 2

  • Breakfast – Chef Mickeys – buffet style (table service meal)
  • Snack – Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae (snack)
  • Early Dinner – Veggie Burger at Deluxe Burger (Quick serve meal), Fries (snack)

You can get the picture that I loved planning and then eating my way through all our dining plan credits I would consider doing this again even as a vegetarian.

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Photo a Day – Week Thirty and Thirty One

Nothing better than starting the week off with toast…. And the Pumpkin mug is out!

Beautiful autumn colour in the garden.

On the walk to work, a sunlit River Wharfe.

I am just a collector of things. (Be better if it was in focus…..)

The light was wonderful.

Lunch out. We both had the scarily non-slimming meal! Deep fried Halloumi cheese, chips and onion rings….. It was so good.

And to finish off the week I baked a cake for Gav’s birthday.

Still playing catch up so here are some more….

Treats and a book in bed. I’ve had the worst cold I can remember. We were heading into my third week of it so a little resting was required and what better way to rest than with a doughnut….. (Our diet is pretty poor right now by the looks of these photos!)

Yellow flowers are not my thing but these Rudbeckia are very lovely indeed.

Had the chimney swept and the log stove is back in perfect condition something one little fella is all too pleased about.

More wonderful colours.

We brought home a Mickey Mouse pancake mould……..

Misty walk in the park. That’s Buddy running off ahead.

Working on preparing the greenhouse for the winter.

And there we go again. Almost caught up!

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Bloom 2017 – Take Four Sunflowers

Still a favourite way to display flowers and one that doesn’t need long elegant stems or armfuls of blooms. And it is the perfect excuse for collecting little vases…..

Simple and effective flower arranging that packs a punch.

Running out of blooms now in the garden but have a couple more arrangements to share soon.

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What I’ve been Reading 2017 – The Run Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel

I’ve just spent a few minutes looking back and realised I haven’t been writing about my reading activities this year! How did that happen? I’ll round them up and do an update. Although it hasn’t been a great reading year I have read more than two!

This one was read while we were away on our holidays. We didn’t get much reading time but I managed to finish the book while we were away.

The second in a trilogy the author is writing about the same characters, I read the first one last year. It’s funny reading that post again now because of course I have indeed taken up scouring charity shops for vinyl as my sister bought me a record player last Christmas.

Anyway back to the book.

Overall I enjoyed it. There is a different feeling in this one as Cartmel has quite successfully moved the characters ‘arc’ on a little. He set the scene in the first book so we are familiar with our protagonists’ line of work and obsession with vinyl. There were mysteries to solve and it did feel like a detective story. My only surprise was that it all seemed to get wrapped up in a few pages but I will probably pick up the third and as I say overall it was an okay read.

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Photo a Day – Week Twenty Eight and Twenty Nine

Still playing catch up……

I wasted no time in ordering photos from our trip. Just a few…..

More harvesting. Gav has managed to grow Beetroot!

Raindrops on Euphorbia leaves. Love the textures here.

Bud isn’t that impressed by my find.

Bought myself a new t-shirt at Disney. I mean who doesn’t need a Star Wars t?

There is no wonder Bud is never impressed by my conker finds…… He’s seen it all before. A very autumnal scene here and as usual I’m not ready!

Great family walk to round off the week. Only managed to get one of the pooches in the shot….

And following on from that I thought we’d have a Buddy-centric week of photos……

Because he is the cutest!

And sometimes very cheeky!

Oh bless his little cotton socks! We adore him so.

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The Click Tick List – Visit 30 of the 50 USA States – Update

Crossed another six states off my list. Woo hoo. That’s what happens when you do a long drive….. If we’d have had time I would have driven a few miles north and a few miles south to cross a couple more off but it was all too packed in to take those detours. Still six in one trip is pretty good!

Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana!

That brings my total to nineteen. Just eleven till I reach my target of thirty.

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100 Brushscript Quotes – Thoughts on the Completed Project

100 days. Seems like an age ago. Time has flown by since it was completed, almost another 100 days in fact!

Here is my original post at the start of the project. And here is the link to the official pages from the host Elle Luna.

I’m mentioning the ticking away of time quite a bit here recently mainly because I seem to be finding it hard to sit and blog, so ideas I had planned to write about have passed me by or, as in this case, what I’m writing about was ages ago. However, I still want to document and share my feeling about the 100 days project so here we go…..

First of all I surprised myself. I was amazed that I completed it and that I posted a photo of my handwritten quote everyday on Instagram. I was also pretty impressed that not only did I post the quote but that I interspersed those posts with other photos that gave my feed a chequerboard effect! Loved that, thanks Gav for pointing it out.

Secondly, I liked that I was quite picky about the quotes I chose to write. Although many of the comments I made attached to the image on Instagram didn’t mention the quote itself, I did find that I wouldn’t write just any old quote. I had to love it, it had to speak to me. More on that below. I also think that deciding to change it up part way through and adding in the movie quotes and then the Friends quotes shows something of my personality. Glad I mixed it up and added those into the process.

Thirdly, I found right after the end I didn’t want to stop! I missed it so very much at first and I still want to work on my style and practice more. As the time has gone by though I’m happy that I did it for the 100 days and now am finished. I can pick up the brush at any time and keep up the practice and I intend to do just that.

I also need to remember that I carved out 15-30 minutes a day to do this. What other creative thing could I do in that time?

I hope to go back and read and digest the words/quotes I wrote. Why did I pick them? How do I want them to impact my life. I chose them because they ‘spoke’ to me so I want ti think about why? Not just to leave it there I’d like to it think about the words more.

Overall then, it was a great success, I have a book of words documenting a project and also a period in my life. Love that tangible stuff! And I’m looking forward to doing it again next year maybe something a little more of a challenge??

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Photo a Day – Week Twenty Six and Twenty Seven

What a way to start the week…….It had to be done!

Room service Mickey Pizza delivery!

Oh yes we did.

A little night swimming.

Waiting to dine in the Beasts Castle……

Out last visit to Magic Kingdom and we stayed for the fireworks. Amazing.

A last wander around our hotel area.

And then we were home and the garden had gone wild.

But that also meant lots of vegetables to pick too.

Obsessed with the light in the garden. Especially on the sunflowers.

Trying to eat a little healthier……

And Gav was trying to recreate the iced tea we had in New Orleans. Ice tea works here in the UK for about three weeks of the year but……

The onions are drying nicely.

More flowers. I have featured this beauty before it is such a stunning Dahlia.

And there we go two more weeks on record.

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