Florida Planning Part 5 - ADR's Done

Image taken from https://www.deviantart.com/
Well here we are with update number 5 on our Florida 2018 holiday. We are now 160 days away from our trip and I can now confirm that all our onsite Disney dining is booked! Thankfully we got all the ADR's (advance dining reservations) that we wanted with the exception of one. Unfortunately the one we didn't get was Be Our Guest which was actually top of my list, however I knew that it would probably me the hardest one to get and wasn't in the least bit surprised when I saw that it was all fully booked for the our dates. I will continue checking right upto the last day, you never know we may be lucky enough to bag a slot if there have been some cancellations.

Below is the list of the Disney park and resort dining that we have reservations for. Of course there will be plenty of other places that we try once we are actually there but these are the places that we knew we wanted to eat at and that were essential to book for in advance to guarantee this.

1 Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom
We have a lunch reservation for Crystal Palace and I am so excited for this one, in fact I think that this was the very first character dining experience that we saw in a vlog and said straightaway that we wanted to do it. Its an all you can eat buffet experience that is set in a Victorian inspired greenhouse which is full of natural light, plants and tropical palms. While you are eating Winnie the Pooh and his pals will come around the room to take photos and interact with you, what's not to love about loads of yummy food and hugs from everyone's favourite chubby bear!

2. Garden Grill - Epcot
Another buffet restaurant but this one is with a slight difference as the restaurant revolves around visuals from Living with the Land. Garden Grill also offers character interactions, this time with those naughty and cheeky chipmunk's Chip & Dale. The menu here includes family style dining and serves salads and pot roasts amongst other things. Best of all is that many of the veggies that are served here are grown in Epcots very own Living with the Land greenhouses.

3. Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre - Hollywood Studios
This was one of the places that Tom said he really wanted to try after we saw it on a couple of vlogs. Your table is a car shaped booth and the restaurant is laid out to look like an old fashioned drive in movie theatre, there is even a big screen showing clips from movies and cartoons. The food at the Sci Fi diner serves traditional American fare of burgers and sandwiches. Should be a fun dining experience with plenty of photo opportunities.

4. 'Ohana - Polynesian Resort
This is a resort restaurant and we have opted to have breakfast here for the character dining experience that is included. 'Ohana serves up a American breakfast that is inspired by Polynesian flavours - we have heard great things about the pineapple bread and are really looking forward to trying that out. This the is place to come if you are a Lilo and Stich fan as they are the character's that will be on hand to entertain you and of course grab that all important picture with.

5. Yak & Yeti - Animal Kingdom
In a bid to eat other things other than just the standard park fare of burgers etc we thought we would give Yak & Yeti a try on one of our days in Animal Kingdom. Its a table service restaurant that serves pan-Asian cuisine and is situated at the base of the Expedition Everest ride (think we will do the ride prior to eating!). This restaurant comes highly recommended by just about everyone we have spoken to, our friends Shaun and Caroline from See Shaun Vlog are joining us for this one so should be a great and fun filled lunch.

6. Sanaa - Animal Kingdom Lodge
Another resort hotel and another restaurant that was high on our list of places to try. We are coming here for dinner (again with Shaun and Caroline) after hearing fab things about it from so many people. At Sanaa you experience African cooking with Indian flavours whilst watching the animals roam the Savanna of Animal Kingdom. We are really looking forward to eating here and experiencing all that is on offer, am pretty sure this will be one of our highlights. As an added bonus there is a terrace you can go out on where night vision goggles are provided so you can still see the animals after dark.

7. The Yachtsman Steakhouse - Yacht Club Resort
This is our choice for our 'date night' meal, its a fine dining restaurant that will allow us the chance to get a dressed up and enjoy a slightly fancier night out. The Yachtsman is a New England style steakhouse that serves up premium steaks and seafood in very elegant surroundings. This is another place that we have high expectations for so hoping it lives up to the hype and doesn't disappoint. Apparently the garlic bread that's served as a starter is amazing.

8. California Grill - Contemporary Resort
So we have saved the best for our very last night. California Grill serves up American, Seafood and Sushi cuisine right at the very top of the Contemporary resort where you will get panoramic views of the lagoon and Cinderellas castle. What makes this place even more special is that there is an observation deck outside where you can watch the Happily Ever After fireworks show complete with the music and sounds being piped in. This is going to be the most perfect way to end our holiday and to make it even more special we will be sharing this meal with Shaun & Caroline and Gareth & Laura.

So there you have it, as it currently stands that's our ADR's all done, next job is Fast Passes which I think I can start picking sometime in August.

Thanks for stopping by for a read, love and hugs.

Jane xx

Five Fave Things - May 2018

Back in Feb I did a Five Fave Things post, as May has just ended I thought I would do another one letting you know what I am currently loving.

1. TRESemme Keratine Smooth Shampoo, Conditioner & Mask
I am a bit of a junkie when it comes to hair care products and I am forever on the lookout for something new to try out. Just recently my hair hasn't been in the best condition which is down to the colour effect that I had put in last year and my almost daily use of straighteners. Over the last few months I have tried a couple of new ranges but nothing seemed to deal with the dull and dry ends until I found the TRESemme Keratin Smooth range. I bought the shampoo, conditioner and mask on a bit of a whim as it was on a half price deal in Boots. To be honest I have tried this brand before and wasn't overly impressed with it so I wasn't expecting great things but the price and the promise of smooth frizz free hair was enough to tempt me into trying it out. All I can say is wow, this has worked wonders and although the dry and split ends are still there they are far less visible and my hair looks and feels in far better condition than it did before. This is one range that will be a definite re-buy for sure.
Image from Google search
2. Converse
I am a huge Converse fan and currently have several different pairs on the go. I practically live in them both for work and at the weekends, I find them so comfy even when I am walking for long periods of time. I bought this very pretty pair last month (link here) with the idea of putting them away and saving them for our holiday in November. The problem is they are far nicer than I thought they would be and I am desperate to start wearing them now, especially as the warmer weather is here. They are going to look so nice with pretty Summer clothes. Maybe I will just have to buy a second pair in a different colour to put away....watch this space!

3. Holiday Planning
Yes the planning for Florida is still going on and we have now started working on an itinerary which is quite exciting, especially as we now know that we will be meeting up with our friends Shaun & Caroline and Gareth & Laura while we are there. A couple of weeks ago we reached the 180 day mark which meant that we could start making our ADR's (Advance Dining Reservations) for the Disney restaurants that we want to eat at. So far we have secured bookings at Crystal Palace, Garden Grill and the Sci Fi Diner. Just a few more to try and then we will be done until its FastPass time!

4. Water
Yep good old H2o has made it onto my list of things I am loving right now - bet you are all surprised that its not gin!!. I don't know if its the warmer weather or the fact that I am trying my hardest to keep on track with Weight Watchers but over the last few weeks I have been making sure that I get my full daily quota of water in me. My Weight Watchers #winning bottle is perfect for when I am on the go and for at work as it shows how much I should be drinking each day as its divided up into hourly portions to make it more manageable. Mostly I am just having it straight but occasionally I will add a shot of squash or some fruit to flavour it up a bit. I used to drink a lot of diet coke and the like but I now find if I have too many fizzy drinks that they upset my tum so I am trying to avoid them wherever possible.
5. British Summer Time
I absolutely love this time of year, its something I have said many times before and I am sure I will say it many times again but I am a true Leo and a Summer girl through and through. Being able to be outside and not have to be bundled up in layers and layers of clothes is absolute bliss to me, I love the feeling of the sun of my skin and of wearing lighter looser clothing. Getting home from work is a joy as it means I can throw open the windows to let in the light and air rather than pulling the curtains and whacking up the heating. We don't have a garden but we are lucky enough to have a little outside space where we have some plants and flowers and where we can sit when its nice enough. With the exception of Christmas time I would be more than happy if it was BST all year round.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, please feel free to leave me a comment or give this post a like.

Love and hugs, Jane x

A Review of Tower Tandoori

There is no denying that one of Tom and I's favourite things to do is to eat out. We are big foodies who love to visit and try out new places as well as those tried and tested regular haunts. We eat out probably around once a month although sometimes its more depending on what we have going on. With this in mind I thought I would have a go at reviewing some of the places we go to, as our most recent meal out was at our local Indian restaurant I am dedicating my first restaurant review post to them. Let me know if you like this kind of post and if you would like to see more of them.

Tower Tandoori
Tower Tandoori has been standing on its current site in Tower Bridge Road since 1978 and its a real Bermondsey icon. You can read more about the restaurant, its history and what it offers by clicking on this link. I have been a customer for far longer than I care to remember and together Tom and I have been visiting for 18 years now. Over the years there have been a few changes, when we first used to visit the restaurant was run by the lovely Shab, while his sons could be found learning the ropes and helping out after school. Now days you will find Shab relaxing and chatting with the customers while Suhel, Emon and Russel are doing all the hard work. The d├ęcor has changed too, the restaurant is a tasteful light terracotta in colour with lots of cut work ceiling and wall lamps which create a beautiful ambience. Red leather seats and white linen clothed tables all add a touch of luxury and make Tower Tandoori a step above your usual 'curry house' which is something it is far from.
As regulars whenever we visit we are greeted and treated like family, for us this is a very important part of eating there. Its not just about going out for something to eat, its about seeing friends and supporting a local business that we care about a lot. On the night we visited we hadn't booked as it was a bit of a last minute decision to eat out but we were seated without any problems. If your party is very small you probably wont always need a reservation but if there is to be a group of you then I would highly recommend booking in advance. It was a lovely Spring evening so the front of the restaurant had been opened up to make the most of the warmer weather and let the evening sunlight shine in.

 As always we started our meal with a few poppadum's, you get a mix of plain and spicy although you can opt to have just one type. They are served with a small selection of chopped onion, mango chutney and lime pickle. For drinks Tom chose a pint of Kingfisher and I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
As we were trying to be a little healthier I opted for the Shatay Murgh as my main course and Tom had the Chicken Shaslik. Both these dishes come with the sauce on the side, however as both sauces are quite similar Suhel said he would arrange for my dish to come with something different. As side dishes we shared a pilau rice, spicy chickpeas and a garlic naan bread.

Chicken Shashlik
Shatay Murgh

Spiced Chickpeas

Garlic Naan
The food was delicious, very flavoursome and the portion sizes were just right, not too much and not too little. Toms meal had the sweet shashlik sauce and mine had a more spicy and sour sauce which was lovely and perfectly complimented the chicken. The Tower Tandoori naan bread is absolutely the best, I could honestly go here just for a portion of that and some spicy sauce to dip it in. If you are unsure of what to order or if you want to be adventurous and try something a bit different just let one of the staff know and they will be happy to assist you with your choices.

We didn't have a pudding as we were both stuffed after our mains and sides, despite this and the place being pretty busy we were not rushed at all and the bill only came over after we actually asked for it.
Overall we both highly recommend Tower Tandoor, its most definitely in our top 5 places to eat out when we want somewhere that is close to home. They also offer a take away service which can either be collected or home delivered, they even offer a corporate service if you have an event that you would like catered.

* This is not a AD or a sponsored post, the meal was paid for entirely by us and we have received nothing at all from Tower Tandoori for my posting this review.


Bank Holiday Bliss

Good morning and welcome back to my blog. I hope that you all had a nice bank holiday weekend and that you enjoyed the glorious weather that we had.

Tom and I had a lovely few days, for the first time in ages he didn't have any overtime so we had the weekend completely to ourselves which was very nice indeed. We didn't do anything major, we just pottered about and generally chilled out and relaxed.
Image Created on the Pic Collage App
On Saturday we went to Bluewater so Tom could spend the last of his Christmas/Birthday vouchers and money. He bought himself a pair of wireless Sony headphones to go with his new iPhone, yay to no more tangled wires getting in the way or caught up. The ones he got are also noise cancelling so they will be perfect for any long haul flights that we take. I didn't get much on this visit, I was very sensible and just got a couple of bath bombs from Lush and a new mop from Lakeland. We had planned on having lunch while we were at the centre but we couldn't decide on where we wanted to eat so we didn't bother. Instead we popped into my Mums on the way home to say hello and have a quick cuppa. Once we got back to our home we went straight outside to enjoy the afternoon sunshine, after all the awful weather we have had it was so nice to feel the sun on our skin. Far better than being stuck inside with all the windows closed and the heating on. Before long our conversation turned to what we were going to have for dinner, after much debate we settled on going for a curry and headed for the wonderful Tower Tandoori (watch out for a separate blog post/restaurant review). As is always the case when we eat at TT the food and service were first class, we have been eating there for at least 18 years now and whenever we visit we are welcomed and treated like family. It was the perfect way to finish off what had been a very nice day indeed.

Sunday saw us get up fairly early, it was another beautiful day and even at 9am you could feel the heat from the sun. Our plan for this morning was something that we had been putting off doing for a good year or so, but with Tom at home and the weather being good we had no excuse - it was time to clear out the garage. In the end it only took us about 2 hours to do and we managed to get rid of a whole load of rubbish - I cant believe some of the stuff that we had in there. Its all done now and once the last few bits have been disposed of and some other stuff has been taken to the charity shop the garage will once again be usable. The rest of the day was spent outside enjoying the sun before we headed in to watch a YouTube live stream that was hosted by our friends Shaun and Caroline (and not forgetting Dave & Harley of course) of See Shaun Vlog. It was a great stream and although there were some serious issues discussed there was also a lot of fun and laughter. Tom and I are both really looking forward to meeting up with them next weekend when they come to London and hopefully again in Nov when we are all in Florida at the same time.

Bank Holiday Monday saw me in my craft room for a couple of hours early on. I tidied a few of the cupboards and even managed to do two layouts before we decided to make the most of the day and headed out for a walk along the river. Even at 11am the crowds were out in force and the stretch of riverfront between Tower and London bridges was packed. Tower Bridge is my most favourite of all the bridges that span the river Thames, I never tire of admiring it, especially on a beautifully sunny day.
We came home via Bermondsey Street and stopped in the B Street Deli, Tom had a coffee and a doughnut and I had coffee and Spanish toast. Once we got home we spent the rest of the day sitting outside making the most of the gorgeous afternoon & evening. It had been a wonderful weekend and we really didn't want it to end. Oh well, only 3 weeks until we have another one.

Thanks for stopping by to read, love and hugs as always.


Goodbye April

Hello and welcome to another chapter in my little life.

Can you believe that it will be May next week? Is it me or has this month flown by, it really doesn't seem five minutes since Easter and the beginning of April and here we are now almost into a new month. Thankfully May brings a couple of Bank Holidays which is always good news - doesn't everyone love a long weekend? Hopefully the warmer weather will make a re-appearance too.

I haven't done a weight watchers update for a while now so I thought I would use this post to share how the past few weeks/months have been going. I have been for a weigh in this morning and I am happy to report that today I had a loss of -2lbs which I am feeling pretty chuffed with. I have struggled a bit over the last few months, I have still been going to class but my losses had dropped to just .5lbs per week. It seemed that no matter what I did the weight just wasn't coming away as much as I wanted it to. We then had Toms birthday and our weekend away which resulted in a gain of 2.5lbs which was to be expected after a few days of eating and drinking whatever I wanted. Once we were home I got myself straight back on plan and menu planned for the following couple of weeks and I even went back to using my app to track my points. Last week I didn't lose anything but I didn't gain either, which I wasn't entirely happy with but these weeks happen from time to time (I think Mother Nature may have had a helping hand there). Anyway this week I have been making better choices and have upped my fruit, veg and water intake and voila, its paid off. I am now 10 stone 1 pound and my next target is to get back in the 9's. My goal weight for our holiday is now only 8-10lbs away and I have six and a half months to get there. There will be plenty more highs and lows along the way as life happens and I wont be starving or denying myself anything but I wont give up, I refuse to go back to being that chubby/tubby/overweight/unhappy person that I was before. I feel so much happier now and I know that I am healthier and fitter than I ever was.
Image from Google search

Last weekend I met my friend Nathalie for a girly day out, we went to Wimbledon for a little shopping trip and then headed to the village for some more shopping and lunch. I treated myself to a new Cath Kidston menu planner, a very pretty summer scarf and a glass tray from TK Maxx which I am using to display my perfumes on. I have been wanting to add one of these to my dresser for ages now and I am really pleased with the way it looks. I might have to pop back to get a couple more for my other bits and pieces - at only £7.99 it was a total bargain!

We also paid a visit to the Neom Organics shop which was an absolute joy, it smelt amazing and was a little oasis of calm and tranquility. Now I am fairly new to the wonderful world of Neom and only have a couple of their Scent to Sleep products so this was the perfect chance to take a look at the other ranges and treat myself. In the end I opted for the mini Scent to De-Stress kit as I thought this would be perfect to keep in my handbag for all those fraught and frazzled on the go and at work moments. I have a load more things on my wish list to try out, they do a set of mini travel products which I think I will treat myself to for our holiday later this year.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, 

Love and hugs, Jane x


Birthday Celebrations

Last week saw Tom celebrate his birthday, I wont divulge his age on here although if you know either of us you will know what the number was!!

We both took the day off work which we started with coffee, cake and of course cards and presents. Tom was pleased with all the bits I bought him, especially his Tim Tracker t-shirt which he is looking forward to wearing while we are away in Florida. The big hope is that we manage to bump into the Trackers while we are there so he can grab a pic with the man himself.
After a lazy morning we headed up to Covent Garden for lunch. The weather was gorgeous, so as we were early we wandered about for a little while taking in the sun whilst watching the street performers and drooling over all the lovely shiny things in the Apple store. We had a reservation at Joes Southern Table and we headed in feeling a little nervous as since we had made our booking the website had been updated to say that it was about to close down. Luckily our fears were unfounded and we had a really lovely lunch, food and service were both excellent and they honoured the 25% off voucher we had. Its a shame that it has now closed as its somewhere we would have gone back to if we had been in the area again. The sun was still shining when we left so we took a leisurely stroll home along the South Bank. It was really busy, think the good weather had bought everyone out to enjoy the last few days of the Easter hols. We stopped in the Woolpack in Bermondsey Street for a quick drink before we headed home for an early night and the rest of the weekends celebrations.

On Friday we flew up to Glasgow to spend the weekend with our friends Ray and Michele and their family. In the past we have driven up but its such a long and tiring drive that we now try to fly whenever possible, its a far nicer and less stressful way to travel. We didn't do anything special this time, we just relaxed and enjoyed being in the company of our friends, as usual the food and drink were flowing and there was much chatter and laughter. As is always the way our visit was far too short and before we knew it we were heading back to the airport for the flight home. We already have plans for our next visit, we just need to firm up a date so it can go in the diary.

That's all for this post, just a short and sweet one for now.

Love and hugs, Jane x

Easter 2018

Well didn't the long weekend just fly past, did we really just have four days off work instead of the usual two? Still, on the plus side this week is another short one for me as I am only at work today and tomorrow, Thursday is Toms birthday and on Friday we are heading up to Scotland to spend the weekend with our friends.
Image taken from www.veteransdayusaquotes.net
Despite the rubbish weather we had a nice Easter break although Tom was working some of it so we didn't get to spend the entire weekend together. We went to Bluewater on Friday to do some shopping, we both had some vouchers left over from Christmas to spend so we went to see what we could treat ourselves to. In the end Tom didn't get anything, he is saving his until after his birthday but I got a shirt, a t-shirt, a new laptop case, a book on photography and a few new Disney DVDs for our collection. We went for lunch in Tapas Revolution which as usual was fabulous, it was quite busy so we had to wait a while to get a table but it was so worth the wait. The food and service here are always first class and its now our fave place to go when we are craving a little taste of Spain. Our food choices consisted of :- chorizo cooked in cider, calamari with aoli, cherry tomato, olive and goats cheese salad, tortilla, garlic & tomato bread and patatas bravas. For dessert we shared a portion of churros with chocolate. I think the bill for all of this with drinks came to about £48.00 including a 10% service charge.
While we were at Bluewater and out of curiosity we decided to pop into Virgin Holidays to price up a package trip to Florida for next year. I am not quite sure how much we expected it to be but the total cost of doing it as a package was way more than we thought it would be, especially given that you don't actually know what villa you will be staying in. I think that if we do return we will be going DIY again, we have a couple of villas on our wish list so we need to check their availability and costs and then make THE decision!! Watch this space......

Saturday was a bit of a nothing day really as Tom worked overtime on Saturday night. We just did a quick Tesco run in the morning and I cooked us a late lunch before himself headed to work and I curled up on the sofa with Daisy and my iPad. Of course I had a couple of G&T's too, would have been rude not to!!
While Tom slept off his night shift on Sunday morning I pottered around, did a few chores and watched Aladdin before we headed over to his sisters house for a family Easter lunch. We had a lovely afternoon, lunch was a delicious roast followed by meringue's with fruit and cream and then a cheeseboard. The highlight of the afternoon was seeing our gorgeous great nephew who is now 15 months old. We don't see him as often as we should/would like but I definitely want to change this and start to see more of him as he grows up. Once we were home we spent a couple of hours catching up on vlog watching before we headed to bed. Oh I should also add that the Easter bunny came and paid me a visit, I got a lovely Lindor egg and a Easter Stitch!
Tom was at work all day on Easter Monday and was up and out by 6am! I managed a bit of a lie in then got up and headed to my craft room to have a play. I spent an hour or so catching up with Project Life and then I decided it was time to re-arrange some of my scrapbook albums. Now this was no small job as I have loads of albums, some of what cover special events like holidays etc and up until yesterday the rest were kind of sporadically split. I had one that was just layouts of us, one of friends, another of London etc, etc. The albums that are for big holidays like Vegas/Disney will stay as they are but all the other albums were emptied and the layouts are now 'filed' by year. It was a bit of a mammoth task and it ended up taking me about 5+ hours to complete but I am so happy with how my albums are, plus going forward it will make scrapping and looking back on events a whole lot easier. All I need to do now is make tags for the albums so I can see at a glance what's in each one. Tom got home about 7pm and we spent the evening having some snacks, chatting and watching a few more vlogs, it was the perfect way to spend the last few hours of the long Easter weekend.

As always thanks for stopping by to read, if you like my blog please feel free to leave me a comment to let me know you have been here. If you have a blog of your own leave a link and I will pop by to check it out.

Love and hugs, Jane xx