25 Things That Make Me Smile

Well hello again, welcome back to my blog and my first post since our trip! I was tagged by the lovely Hayley at Thrice Upon a Dream to do this post before I went away but I didn't have time to complete it so am doing it now. Thanks for the tag Hayley, I have really enjoyed completing this challenge.

The title of this post really needs no introduction but it has really made me think about some of the less obvious things that make me smile and bring a little bit of joy and sunshine into my life. Apart from the first few things this list is in no particular order of favourites.

If you have a blog of your own then I tag you to do this list too, just make sure to let me know so I can check it out.

1. My Hubby Tom
I guess this is the most obvious one of all really and had to be the number 1 thing to make me smile. Tom and I have been together for about 19.5 years now and have been married for 17.5 years. We were introduced to each other by mutual friends who thought we would get on, even though at the time I was adamant I wasn't looking for a partner. Things moved pretty quickly, within 6 months we were living together and 2 years to the day of our first proper date we were married. At our wedding my Dad said that he knew the first time he met Tom that I would marry him so we were obviously meant to be! At times he drives me nuts and he can be the most annoying person I know but that is what makes him who he is. I could not be without him, he makes me smile on a daily basis and his love and support is unending.
2. Family
Both of us have small immediate families who thankfully live close by which means that we get to see them on a fairly regular basis. With my Dad having been quite poorly this year the importance of family has never been stronger.

3. Friends
We have friends spread far and wide, up and down the country and on the other side of the world but one way or another we manage to stay in touch. We may not see all our friends as regular as we would like but just a quick message via WhatsApp or on Social Media is enough to make me smile and cheer my day.

4. Our Pets - Daisy and Zampa
Daisy is our little Westie and she is now 10.5 years old, Zampa is our Meyers parrot and he will be 16 next January. They are both so full of personality, our home just wouldn't be the same without either of them.

5. Cooking
Creating tasty home cooked meals is something I love doing, whether its just for us or for family/friends. I am always looking our for new recipes to try and I like to try and menu plan our meals for each week.

6. Our Home
It may well be just a little 2 bedroom flat but its our home and we love it. I am actually one of those crazy people who enjoy housework - sitting down in a nice clean, tidy and cosy flat is more than enough to make me smile!

7. Christmas
Its no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Christmas, its only October right now but I am already counting down the days until I can put up my tree and decorations. I love everything about the festive season and cant wait to start hearing Christmas songs on the TV and radio.

8. My Craft Room/Scrapbooking

You name the 'craft' hobby and I will have probably tried it, from cross stitch to flower arranging I have tried them all. With the exception of crochet (see No. 8) its the only one that's stuck and has since become my passion. I absolutely love spending time in my craft room creating pages for our albums. We love looking back at the albums I have made, its a fab way of preserving and remembering your memories.

9. Crochet
Another hobby but this is one I can sit and do whilst curled up on the sofa watching TV. I only make blankets and shawls but I love making them and them gifting them to family and friends. I think home/hand made gifts are so much nicer than some of the mass produced things you buy in shops.

10. Baths
I have a bath every day except when its really hot or I am short on time and will shower. Relaxing in a hot bubble filled bath with some candles alight is the perfect way for me to relax and unwind.

11. Music
My taste in music is very eclectic, from Barry Manilow to Paul Weller and from Soul to Country, I have the most random playlist ever! I don't watch a huge amount of TV so quite often there will be music on while I potter about at home.

12. Summer
Apart from Christmas there is nothing I like about the Winter months. I hate the shorter and darker days along with the cold and wet (and sometimes icy and snowy) weather. Give me long hot Summer days anytime.

13. Coffee
I cant start my day without a dose of coffee, and the stronger the better. We now have a filter machine at home and a nice big stash of coffees to choose from.

14. Disney & Disney Holidays
Need I say more......from the watching movies, planning a trip or actually being in one of the parks. I don't care what anyone says, you are never too old for Disney.
15. Planning & List Writing
I have always been a big stationary fan and the little basket that is next to my side of the sofa contains various notebooks and journals and each one has its own use. I also like to make travel journals when we go away as they are almost like mini scrapbooks.

16. Flowers
Having a bunch of pretty & fragrant flowers in my home is something that always cheers me up. They don't have to be the most expensive or fanciest either, a simple bunch of daffodil's or tulips instantly brighten the place.

17. Watching Old Home Movies
For most of our holidays we have taken a camcorder or video camera of sorts and filmed bits and pieces of where we are and what we are doing. Every so often we will dig out some of the discs or memory cards and spend an evening reminiscing.

18. Going for a Walk
We are super lucky that we live close to the River Thames which gives us a great place to go out for a walk. However no matter where we are you will often find us going for a stroll to explore and get some fresh air in our lungs.

19. Gin
Its no secret to anyone that knows me that I am a big fan of gin. Don't get me wrong, you wont find me coming home from work and heading straight for the bottle but a nice G&T on a Friday night ends the week perfectly.

20. Reading
Its not something I do as often as I should but I really enjoy reading and getting lost in a good book.

21. Shopping
Another one that is a pretty well known fact about me! Whilst I now shop a lot less than I used to and I am more choosy about what I buy I do love a day or even just a visit to the shops. Of course there is also on-line shopping, so exciting coming home to parcels of goodies.

22. Being Kind
I always try to treat people exactly as I would like to be treated. Being kind and courteous isn't a hard thing to do and if one single act of kindness can make someone else smile then that makes me smile too.

23. Social Media
This is a bit of a contentious one as I do agree that SM is not always the best of things. However its where I met some of the people who I now count as some of my closest friends. Its also a great place for meeting and talking to like minded people and for finding inspiration and ideas.

24. Beauty & Make Up
Whilst I am not a beauty guru or expert I do like to wear make up and take care of my skin. You don't have to have the most expensive top of the range products either, you can find some great items in your local Supermarket (Aldi I am looking at you!) or Boots/Superdrug.

25. My Blog
I really dont update this blog as often as I should but I do enjoy writing posts and looking/reading back on years gone by. I dont plan to give it up anytime soon but I will try and make some more regular posts although my blog is written mostly for me, I am not trying to make anything from it. If other people enjoy reading it then thats a bonus!

Out of Office

So that's it, we are done with work and regular life for the next two weeks, now get us on that plane. Florida here we come......

Posts will resume once we are home.

Florida 2019 - Its The Final Countdown!

So here we are, a little under a week away from our next trip to Florida. Its not been the best lead up to our departure as my Dad was admitted to hospital a week or so ago and is currently still in. He is on a ward for the care of the elderly where he will get all the help and support he needs to regain some of his strength and mobility. So far he is doing ok and appears to be making very small steps in improving, his doctors are monitoring him for a couple of other underlying issues and his treatments will be looked at when they have done all their tests. Thankfully they are not willing to discharge him until he is well enough to go home and when that does happen their will be a care package in place to assist him and Mum as needed. As you can imagine my emotions have been all over the place in regards to us going away, we have even discussed the option of cancelling however as I write this post we are still planning to go. Dad is in the best place right now and getting the care he needs to aid his recovery, we will be in touch with my Mum and Sister every day and if need be we can cut our trip short and head home.

Pretty much everything we need to do is now done, we just need to finish the packing and do the final few chores at home before we head off to Gatwick for a pre-travel overnight stay at the Premier Inn. Tom still has to go and get a shave and a haircut and I need to sort my holiday beauty stuff plus we have to drop the pets at their holiday homes but these are all things that will be done on pre-travel day.

We actually first decided on this trip last year, I think we booked our villa around March time and then the flights in December when they were released. Once again we used the Dibb for our villa, we have gone for a different one to last year simply because we wanted to try somewhere different and have a villa with a larger pool deck. The one we have opted for is on Highlands Reserve and is called Pine View Villa - if you want to take a look the link for it is here. Our flights are with Virgin simply because they offered us the better deal, we had some flying club points that we managed to use to upgrade to Premium Economy which is what we both prefer as it offers a little extra comfort (and luggage allowance!!).

Our friends Shaun and Caroline are going to be there at the same time as us along with Jason & Josh, Paul & Cheryl, Nathan and Gary & Becca - we didn't know this at the time we booked, we just picked that time of year so we could experience MNSSHP and HHN. There are a couple of group meets ups planned, plus we will all be getting together to celebrate Caroline's 40th birthday which should be great fun. However I am sure we will bump into each other on more than once occasion in and around the parks.

I know these last few days are going to drag, and no doubt at some point there will be a slight panic over something we have 'forgotten' but I know all will be just fine. If you want to follow along with our trip please add me on Instagram, that's the place you are most likely to find our daily posts, photos and insta stories.