Florida 2018 - Part 1 - Bloc Hotel & Gatwick South Number 1 Lounge

Although we have now been back for about 6 weeks the holiday is still so fresh in my mind although it does feel like it happened a lot longer ago than that. My original plan had been to actually do these blog posts while we were away but that just didn't happen at all so I thought why not start writing some stuff up now. The holiday was almost three weeks long and there is a lot to share so I will break it down into several posts and focus each one on a certain element of the trip (parks, accommodation, excursions etc). If you want to know about anything in particular please leave me a comment and I will do my best to cover your request.

We travelled down to Gatwick the night before our flight, we typically don't like to travel to the airport on departure day as we are always worried that something will happen to delay us and we will be late or even worse miss our flights. Our usual hotel of choice at Gatwick is the Premier Inn on Airport Way however this time we were keen to try somewhere different and after watching several YouTube videos we settled on the Bloc Hotel at Gatwick South Terminal. The hotel is right in the terminal building so you don't have to worry about bus transfers etc, you come right out of the hotel and security to the departure lounge is directly on your left. The hotel is also right next to Giraffe, the airport Wetherspoons and a coffee shop so there are plenty of places to get food & drink.Its not the cheapest airport hotel around but in the grand scheme of what the whole holiday had cost we were not worried too much about that. We booked an Aspire Double room as they are slightly larger than the standard rooms, they also have a window which not all of the rooms at this hotel have. Check in was super smooth and only took a couple of minutes. We were actually allocated a Aspire family room so as well as the double bed we also had two pull down bunk beds and as an added bonus we had a runway view which was something we had really hoped to get. The room was very compact, its certainly not the roomiest place we have ever stayed in but for us it was perfectly adequate and we would have no problems in staying here again. The bed was really comfy, there was enough space to put our stuff for the evening and despite our location we were not disturbed by any noise at all. All the blinds and lighting in the room are controlled by a little bedside tablet which is very handy but my one complaint is that there didn't seem to be any USB charging points in the room - we checked everywhere so I am pretty sure we didn't miss them but if you know differently then please let me know. Also by the bedside you will find a little booklet which is full of vouchers you can use around the hotel. We took ours to the Nicholas Culpepper in the North terminal and got 15% off our meal and drinks, a great start to the trip! We didn't have to worry about checking either, we literally got up, dressed and left.

Airport Security is one of those thing we both hate as we always seem to end up in the slowest queue or behind the person with the forgotten liquids in their hand luggage. We had booked Premium Security, and at £5.00 each it seemed a no-brainer especially when you have hand baggage full of cameras and all the assorted paraphernalia that may result in your bags getting an extra search.  As it was the regular queues actually were not too bad on our departure day but the premium desks were empty and we were literally through in about a minute. At such a minimal cost this is something we would book time and time again for the pure frustration free security checks.

We had a quick whizz around Duty Free and then made our way to the No.1 Lounge which I had booked as a treat for us. We had discussed booking this at great length in the run up to the holiday as we were not sure if we thought it would be worth the money as we don't tend to eat and drink much prior to boarding our flights. As it was I ended up finding a great deal on-line so went ahead and booked it as I thought it would be a nice way to start our travel day. We were both quite apprehensive that the lounge wouldn't be all that but we needn't have worried at all, it was absolutely perfect. For the costs you get one hot food item (choices are dependant on the time of day), Tom had a bacon roll and I just had some toast & jam. You also get unlimited tea, coffee & juices along with pastries, fruit and cereals that you help yourself to. There is a bar where you can get yourself an alcoholic drink, Tom had a couple of pints and I, of course had prosecco to start my day off! Despite being quite busy the bright and airy lounge still felt quite calm and relaxed and there were plenty of areas where you could sit and just chill out till your flight is called. We managed to bag a table by the window which overlooked the runway so we could see the planes coming in & taking off which was rather nice. In addition to all the other plus points the lounge was spotlessly clean, the staff were polite & friendly, there were charging points all around and complimentary newspapers too. We both really enjoyed it and will definitely be booking it again as it was far nicer than just sitting in the departures lounge which can sometimes be a little noisy and crazy. You book a time slot dependent on your flight departure time and you have around 3 hours to spend in the lounge however if your flight is delayed you are allowed to stay on which is good to know.

Next post coming soon will cover our flights with BA and our 3 night stay at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for reading.

Jane
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Hello 2019

Well hello there, long time no blog post! I cant quite believe that its almost 6 months since my last post, I honestly had so many ideas in my head and for one reason or another they never saw the light of day. I am making no promises that 2019 will be any better but I will do my best to try and share something at least once a month.

2018 Update
The last 6 months of 2018 were pretty hectic for us. Tom continued to do all the overtime that he could in readiness for our trip to Florida although we did manage to escape to Spain for a few days in late September. It was just a quick 4 day break to the Costa del Sol where Toms sister has an apartment and it was just what we needed to relax and re-charge our batteries. Below are a couple of pics that I thought you might like to see. Its slightly further along the coast to where we usually go and for that reason we wasn't too sure if we would actually enjoy it but we did, so much so we are going back this year for 10 days.
In October I went off for a couple of days on my own to a Go-Go scrapbooking retreat which was held just the other side of London in Hertfordshire. Prior to this weekend I had done hardly any scrapbooking at all and I was a little worried that I might struggle but I needn't have done so. The classes and other ladies at the weekend filled me with ideas, inspiration and re-newed enthusiasm for my hobby. I came away having completed around 12 layouts and also brimming with ideas for my Florida photos. I might have also had a 'little' bit of new stash in my tote too thanks to the lovely ladies at Hey Little Magpie who bought the shop to the venue.

Pretty soon November arrived and we were on the plane heading across the pond to our much anticipated trip to Florida. Now I could go on at length about this holiday but I will save that for another post and just say for now that we had the most amazing time EVER. Everything totally exceeded our expectations and we are very excited to be returning later this year, again I will share  more on that in another post. I posted a ton of pics on my Instagram while we are away, if you haven't seen them you can find them either by scrolling through my feed or by using the #osullivansinorlando, below are a couple of my favourite Disney Memory Maker pictures. It total though we have over 1000 images and hours of video footage to keep our memories alive.

So here we are now in a new year, Christmas is just a dim and distant memory (or at least it feels like it to me) and there are a whole 12 months ahead of us to enjoy and fill with memories, some of which I am will be sharing with you all on here.

Thanks for sticking with me and for reading this post. I hope to be back soon with another post for you.

Jane

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August Update

Well my plans to blog regularly last month didn't quite go to plan. I did have a few posts in draft but they are well past their sell by date now so I thought I might as well delete them and just get on with a whole new one. So here we go with a August recap. We had a couple of busy weekends and the first one was my birthday - oh joy I am now another year older! I had a fab weekend though and was thoroughly spoilt by Tom and my family and friends. I got loads of cards and some really lovely gifts which included flowers, chocolates, gin, bubble bath, beauty products and wine. Tom bought me a bottle of Aviation which is my fave American gin, he also bought me a new handbag from Cath Kidston and some more charms for my Pandora bracelet.
I was at work on the morning of my birthday but my bosses kindly sent me home just after lunchtime which was a great start to the weekend. After a couple of hours of chilling out and eating cake Tom and I went to the B Street Deli for a bite to eat. Our fave table in corner at the back of the bar area was gone but we managed to get a table right on the deli counter which was perfect. As always it was fab and we had our usual platter of cheeses and meat, all of which were delicious and more than enough to fill us up. Saturday was spent doing some shopping at Bluewater followed by a trip to my Mums for some more cake! The Sunday was a lovely lazy day at home, we did some gardening and spent the rest of the day sitting outside enjoying the sunshine.
On August 11th we took a trip to Peterborough to attend the Reeves Family BBQ. It was a fantastic day spent with some of the friends that we have recently made through Twitter and You Tube. We got to meet some of our fave vloggers which was just amazing, finally after months of seeing these people on our TV on a weekly basis we were actually talking to them in real life. I am not ashamed to admit that I had several fan girl moments!! Everyone was so lovely and we were made to feel very welcome into the whole #Disfam community despite the fact that we are not proper 'vloggers' (yet!). We are already looking forward to attending next years event and to watching all the new vlogs that are going to be appearing in the coming months especially as a lot of these guys are soon going to be jetting off to Florida later this month.

The rest of the month was pretty easy going with nothing too much to report. We had a family BBQ at Toms sisters house for her birthday and I had a Scentsy party which I did really well at and means that I get to stay active as a consultant for another three months. We went to the Disney store to get our August Micky Memories and we had a meet up with our friends Gina and Ian who were in London to watch the rugby at Wembley. I also had a hair cut and Tom did a couple of overtime shifts. The Bank Holiday weekend was a very laid back and chilled out one, I even managed to finally spend some time in my craft room. I had a good clear out of some old stuff and finally started to get myself a little more upto date with Project Life and Scrapbooking. Fingers crossed there will be a lot more weekends like that coming up, I really want to get as upto date as I can especially as there will be a lot of scrapping to be done after our hols.

I honestly cant believe that we are now in September and that the Summer is almost over. There is definitely an Autumnal chill to the air now and the nights are starting to draw in. As sad as I am to see that happen I am also excited by it as it means that out holiday is drawing ever closer. We have 70 days now until we fly out and just 10 days until I can start booking our fast passes. I have booked next Friday as a days annual leave so I can stay home with my laptop and hopefully get us all the fast passes we want. However we do need to sit down this weekend and make some kind of list as to what rides we want to do and when. If you have any hints and tip for booking fast passes please feel free to leave a comment below.

As always thanks for stopping by for a read.

Love and hugs - Jane x

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