Blogmas 2019 - Part 2

Hello again and welcome to my second Blogmas 2019 instalment. Since my last post things have improved somewhat and we have now made quite a large dent in our 'things to do/buy' list. More presents were purchased at the weekend along with cards and wrapping paper. Obviously the cards still need to be written and posted and the gifts need to be wrapped but its a start. I have even sorted everything out into little piles on the spare bed - woohoo go me!! Actually as I am typing this post I realized that I haven't bought tags yet, back to the shops I go then!

On Friday evening I spent some time updating my December Daily, I added some journaling and photos and prepped the pages for the next few days. It now needs updating again now but I have the images I want to use saved on my phone so it shouldn't take too long to do. I might even attempt to do that tonight.
On Saturday morning Tom went to work for a couple of hours so I pottered around the flat and did a few chores. I really want to stay on top of the housework etc right now as I don't want to have to be rushing around over the last couple of days before Christmas. Anyway as it is I am currently winning and the flat is pretty clean and tidy.

We took ourselves out for a walk Saturday afternoon, we both felt the need for some fresh air and as there is a Christmas market on between Tower Bridge and London Bridge we decided that we would go explore. As it was that stretch of the riverfront was jam packed and we couldn't get anywhere the stalls to have a look and see what was on offer. In hindsight I guess Saturday afternoon was totally the wrong time to try and have a look, we are hoping to go back for another look but at an earlier time in the day when it (hopefully) wont be as busy.

While we were on our walk we did spot this most amazing superyacht which was moored just by Tower Bridge in front of Butlers Wharf. The yacht which is called Bravo Eugenia is owned by an American gent called Jerry Jones who is the owner of the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys, apparently it cost him a whopping $250 million to buy!! As I am sure you can imagine there was a lot of interest being shown in the boat by people walking along the riverfront, especially as at one point you could see a ton of luggage and shopping being taken aboard. I don't know if it is the owners or someone else staying on it right now but whoever it is certainly doesn't travel light.
I have a real fascination with superyachts, they are just so fabulous and glamorous. I would love to actually go onboard one and have a look around, I am sure its just as amazing inside as it is outside.

Saturday evening saw us attend our first Christmas party of the season which was at Toms sisters house. Linda and Bill hold a dinner every year and as much as we love going we also find it a bit of a struggle as they are not very good at keeping to time schedules. In previous years things have been so delayed that we haven't starting eating until around 10pm! We were told that it would be a 8.30pm sit-down which we knew would never happen, however we were pleasantly surprised to actually sit down and start to eat at 9pm. Its still a bit too late for us to eat a big meal but we both enjoyed the evening and it was good to catch up with people we haven't seen for a while. We didn't get home till just after 1.30am which is very late for us, thankfully I got a bit of a lie-in on Sunday morning but Tom didn't as he had to pop to work.

The rest of Sunday saw us do a little more Christmas shopping, we also put the new festive bedding on and bathed the dog. We spent the afternoon and evening just relaxing at home and watching tv, the perfect kind of Sunday as far as we are concerned. We did want to watch some Christmas films but we couldn't find any we fancied so we settled on catching up on Florida vlogs.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Jane xx
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Blogmas 2019 - Part 1

So back in Dec 2017 I made my first attempt at Blogmas and despite struggling here and there I managed to do it. At the time I said never again, I had enjoyed it but it had been a little tedious and too much hard work at times. Fast forward to 2019 and here I am ready once again to give Blogmas another go although this time I will not be putting any pressure on myself to daily blog, instead I will post as and when I can or when I have something I want to share. In all honesty I had wanted to start on Dec 1st but being sick last week and having a busy weekend put an end to that. Anyway I am here now with my first post.....

Decemeber Daily
Another thing I said I wouldn't do again is a Christmas journal. I have started them so many times and apart from one year I never got past the first couple of days so they just ended up getting ripped apart and binned. As my creative mojo appears to have returned I decided to do one again this year  but make it a little simpler by doing something along the lines of a Project Life journal. For this years December Daily I am using a Simple Stories Snap album and papers that I got from a online store called Craftie Charlie. In addition I will be adding bits and pieces from my stash to decorate and embellish my pages. I also have some ideas saved on my Pinterest that I am planning to try and use within the album. The pictures below show the album and some of the pages that I have made so far, and I have to say I am actually enjoying it. As well as daily pages/photos I also have some ideas to fill the album with details of our Christmas traditions etc.
As the days and month progress I will share some more pictures of my journal both on here and over on my Insta page (there is a link to that on the right hand side of this page). I would love to know if you do any thing like this at Christmas, leave me a comment below if you do.

Christmas Planning
Usually by this time in December I am one of the smug ones who is happily announcing to everyone that we are done and all the gifts are bought, wrapped and under the tree. This year its a totally different story in that we are nowhere near done, we still have a load of gifts to buy, nothing is wrapped and we haven't bought one single Christmas card let alone written any out. Thankfully we still have a few weekends until the big day so there is time to get it all done, in fact I am hoping that we can get a big chunk of it done this coming weekend.

How's your Christmas planning and shopping going? Are you all done or are you still running about trying to get everything organized?

Jane x
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Florida 2019 - Part 2 - Our Villa

Going on holiday means time to escape reality and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation and no matter where our destination our holiday accommodation is something that is very important to us. We probably spend as much time deciding on where to stay as we do deciding where & when to go!

Last year we did a split stay, we had 3 nights in a Disney resort (Port Orleans Riverside) and then a townhouse on Windsor Hills. We enjoyed both aspects of that trip however it made us realize that space is important to us which is why this year we opted for something different. There was nothing wrong with the Disney resort, in fact we were both quite pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. We are just not the kind of people that can spend 2+ weeks in one room with very little storage space and no facilities to be able to cater for ourselves, no disrespect here to those that do and can, its just not for us. The townhouse we had was really nice too and its location was absolutely spot on, in fact I think that Windsor Hills has been cited as one of the closest communities to the Disney parks. The only thing that we didn't like about it was that it didn't have a very large pool or pool deck and that the outside area was very overlooked. We like to be able to sit outside with a coffee in the morning and of an evening to unwind before bed and in this property we just didn't feel comfortable or really have the space to do that. So with all that in mind it was time to start looking for somewhere else to call home.

As with last years trip our villa search started and ended with The Dibb. We looked at several properties but only one seemed to have everything that we were looking for, it looked and sounded perfect even though it was a little on the large size for just us two. We contacted the owner who got back to us within a matter of hours and before the week was out we had confirmed our dates and made a reservation. The whole process was so simple and straightforward and the owners were really helpful with all our questions prior to our departure. The villa that we chose is called Pineview Villa and its located on Highlands Reserve which is a golfing community location just off the US 27. Its a two story 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom property with a gorgeous pool deck that overlooks the golf course.
It was a beautiful property which was spotlessly clean and super comfortable with everything we could possibly need. The master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom was downstairs along with the kitchen and living room, upstairs was another smaller living area that overlooked the main downstairs room and two further bedrooms with a family bathroom. The outside area comprised of a decent sized pool with spa, a table and chairs, sun loungers and a lanai where there was a couple more chairs, a sofa and a coffee table. Just off the main hallway there was a small utility room with a washer and a dryer, the garage was adjacent to that and has been converted into a games which is pretty cool. 
Each bedroom had a tv and a hairdryer, and in both the living areas there were tvs, games consoles, dvd & cd players, docking stations and a telephone with free national and international calls. The kitchen had a big American style fridge freezer with ice maker, coffee machine, toaster, cooker & dishwasher. The whole villa (except kitchen) was carpeted throughout which was lovely, even in the heat it was nice not to have cold feet when walking about. There was also a safe in the master bedroom, a security alarm and air conditioning throughout and ceiling fans in each room. Highlands Reserve is a mix of residential and holiday lets and even though we had neighbours on either side we were not disturbed at all, it was just so peaceful. We loved the outside area the most and I think we pretty much started and ended every day out there.

Just a 5 min drive away was a Publix supermarket, a gas station, IHOP, Applebees and a few other smaller shops. Another 5 mins further along the US 27 is an area called Cagans Crossing and that's where the closest Walmart is. The Disney parks were about a 20/30 min drive away depending on the traffic, the sat nav took us various different routes but we found the most direct route was along the 27 and then onto the 192. Universal & Sea World were a little further but not that far, however the traffic was awful on some days which made the journey time a little longer than we would have liked.

We absolutely fell in love with the villa, we had found our Florida 'forever' holiday home! We both said that as soon as we were home we would start planning our next trip and contact the owner to re-book. However the sad news is that after 16 years the owners are selling up in 2020 and at this point they don't know if the new owner will keep the property on the rental market. I honestly could have cried when I read the email and Toms reaction wasn't much different when I told him. So now the search is on to find another villa, there is no rush though as we don't have any plans to go back next year.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have enjoyed this post.

Jane
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