My 2018 Goals/To Do List - Part 1

I know that we are already a month down but I thought I would make a start on a to-do list for this year. Its really just a list of things I want to do, get done or just achieve in the coming 11 months. Don't worry, I am not setting myself any unrealistic goals, I certainly don't have plans to be running marathons or climbing mountains. Most of this is just everyday stuff with a few new challenges chucked in for good measure.

1. Complete Project Life - This is now underway am so far I am up to date although we are only 4 weeks in. I am determined to keep it up this year and have a wonderful album full of memories to look back on when its finished.

2. Read More - I love to read and my Kindle is full of books, a lot of which are read but quite a few of which are not. My plan is to try and read one new book a month, the Kindle is now fully charged so I have no excuses. Any suggestions for a good read will be gratefully received.

3. Keep on Track with Weight Watchers - As many of you will know I joined WW a just over 2 years ago and I successfully managed to lose 2 stone. A little of that has gone back on (around 4/5 pounds at present) but I know that if I don't take 'control' of my eating a whole lot more will go back on too and that is something I am not going to let happen. I have started menu planning again which definitely helps with staying on track. I really want to get back to a weight that I am happy with and hopefully with a little bit more willpower and work I may even get to my golden goal!

4. Be Kinder to Me -  This one is really all about self care, its something I have read an awful lot about recently and its something I really want to focus on. My main goal is to learn to say no, whether its to a certain someone or to situations and events. I am not a particularly strong person and I always like to make other people happy. Because of this I have a tendency to say yes when I really want to say no and I quite often allow my self to be bullied/pressured into things that I don't really want to do. This year I am going to take control and stand up for myself, I know there are a few people that probably wont like it but they are just going to have to suck it up. Its my life and I will live it how I want to.

5. Photography - I love taking photos, I always have and probably always will. Yes, I am that annoying family member/friend that always has a camera and wants to snap pics of everyone!! Photos are so important to me as they are such precious memories of our lives, they are also a very essential part of my scrapbooking. I have had various cameras over the years, none of which I have taken the time to find out how to use on any mode other than auto. As I am planning on buying a 'big camera' later this year I will be doing my research on courses and on-line tutorials that will help me push myself out of the auto safety zone and into something a little more creative.

6. Video Editing - Tom and I have quite often taken a camcorder on holiday with us, especially when we have gone to the US. We have a whole load of footage that we watch back but some of it is a little messy in parts and it could do with being made nicer to watch. As we have gotton more and more into vlog watching I have realized that with the right software there is so much that can be done to make your footage look and sound a little more professional. I am going to buy some Adobe Photoshop software and getting playing to see what I can do. With all our Vegas footage and this years holiday in Nov I am certainly going to have my work cut out but its a task that I am really looking forward to undertaking. Like the photography point above I will be looking for on-line tutorial's to guide me though this whole process, I am actually really looking forward to getting stuck
into this one and learning more.

As the year progresses I am sure I will add a few more things to my list, I will keep you updated on how I get on with all of the above as well as any new things I add.

What are your goals for 2018, have you set yourself any challenges or resolutions?

Love and hugs - Jane x


January 2018 - So Far So Good

Well that's January almost over, just one more week and then the worst month of the year is done. To be fair this year hasn't been that bad so far, apart from the awful cold and wet weather its been better than in previous years. Saying that I always seem to feel really down and kind of flat in Jan, which I think is caused by combination of the come down from Christmas, the long dark days and the cold weather. I have been trying to keep myself busy, occupied and motivated so I don't end up in a fog of being totally miserable and fed up. I found this quote below on line and I now have it printed off and stuck in my planner as a reminder to try and find something positive in every day.
We have had a couple of birthdays to celebrate this month which has been nice. One was for a friends Mums 80th which was a surprise at home party. The other was my friend Cath's birthday and for that a group of us went out for a meal and drinks. We went to a place in Bermondsey called Texas Joes which is somewhere Tom and I have been saying we will try since it opened. As the name would suggest its an American BBQ restaurant which is just the kind of food we like. I had smoked slow cooked pork belly and Tom had brisket both of which were served with pickles, slaw and bread. We also shared sides of macaroni cheese and sweet potato fries. The food was amazing, the meat I had was so juicy and tasty and it literally melted in my mouth. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures as I was so hungry I just wanted to tuck in and devour the meaty goodness that was in front of me. We are planning to return again soon so I will make sure that next time we go I snap some pics to share with you all. After the meal we all headed to the local pub where we continued the night, there was lots of drinks, fun, laughter and chatter - all in all it was a really lovely Saturday night.

Our little bird Zampa was 14 this week, I cant really believe that in a few months time we will have had him for so long. He can be a noisy, messy little thing at times but we wouldn't be without him now. He certainly keeps us entertained and most of our family and friends too when they come to visit.
Tom has been working a fair bit of overtime again so I have kept myself busy just pottering about at home. I am quite busy with my crochet at the moment and currently have three C2C baby blankets on the go. One is more or less finished, I just need to complete the border and tie up the loose ends and then it will be off to its new home. I really love making these blankets, they crochet up so quickly and they make lovely new baby gifts. I have also been keeping up to date with Project Life and I have even managed to do a couple of scrapbook pages.

I also went to the cinema with a neighbour to see the new Disney/Pixar film called Coco. Its set around the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations and is about a young boy who dreams of becoming a musician despite his families complete ban on music. It was a really good film and it conveys a very strong message about the importance of family, memories and following your dreams. Visually it was beautiful, with wonderful colours and images throughout, its a little emotional too and certainly had me reaching for my tissues a couple of times.

I hope that you are all having a good month so far? Leave me a comment below along with a link back to your own blog if you have one and I will pop over and have a read.

Love and hugs, Jane

Florida Planning Part 2 - Its Starting to Get Real!

As its now 2018 I can officially say that I am going to Florida THIS YEAR! Yay, there is finally a little light at the end of a very long tunnel. Since my last post announcing our holiday (which you can find here if you missed it) we have made a lot of progress in the planning and preparation department. We have now ticked quite a few things off of our list of things to do and my little holiday planner/journal is starting to fill up nicely.

1. Flights
In the past we have always flown Virgin Atlantic when flying to the USA, we collect flying miles and often use them to upgrade our flights from economy to premium economy. Its an airline we both like and trust and we have always had great service from them. At the point when we started looking the exact dates for our holiday hadn't been released but based on data that we found on line it was starting to look like Virgin was going to cost far more than we were wanting to pay. This came as quite a shock given that we were going out of high season and out of school holiday time. Hmmm, maybe now was the time to shake things up and try someone different?

We did some more searching and both liked the look of Norwegian and as the reviews were pretty good we were willing to give them a go, however as with VA the flights for our dates hadn't yet been released so we couldn't get an exact price. Next I decided to check British Airways and to be honest I was totally expecting their prices to be even higher than Virgin as in the past when we have compared them they have always been the most expensive. I did a search on-line and was shocked at the price that came up, I actually came right out of the website and when back in again to check as I though that maybe there was some sort of blip. I quickly called Tom to tell him and he said that he would ring them to double check as he was just as shocked as I was. Fifteen minutes later not only did we have our flights booked but we also had reserved PE seats and had car hire too. All for less than VA now want for flights alone, so glad we took the chance and booked when we did. Now the flights are booked the countdown can officially begin, as it stands today we are currently at 306 days!! I cannot wait to land at Orlando and have my picture taken in front of the famous Disney wall.
2. Park Tickets
After the cost of the villa and the flights the WDW park tickets were the next most expensive thing we had to pay for. Originally we had hoped that a 14 day ticket would suffice but as we have extended our holiday by a few days it became apparent that if we wanted to be able to go into the parks on our first and last days that this wouldn't suffice. In the end we had to opt for a 21 day pass which is more than we need but it was cheaper than buying a 14 day pass and adding on the extra days as we need them. The park tickets are expensive but when you work out what you get and split the cost up over the number of days you are there they don't work out too bad. As we have the Ultimate 21 day pass we have access to all 4 park's (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). We also get unlimited access to the Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks and we get one round of mini golf per person each day. Also now included in the cost of the ticket's is Memory Maker which is the Disney photo pass service where you can get your picture and sometimes videos taken in/on rides, attractions, locations and with character's free of charge. The images are linked to your MDE (My Disney Experience) app and they are then yours for you to download and keep forever. We did have this service last year in Disneyland California but it was something that we had to pay extra for. I will be taking full advantage of it this year and I plan to get as many pictures as I can all over the parks and rides.

3. Disney Hotel
This was by far one of the harder decisions we had to make. As we have decided to extend our holiday by a few days and as the villa we had booked wasn't available we needed to find a hotel. The original plan was to stay somewhere on I Drive but a friend pointed out the benefits of staying on site (90 FastPass reservations, free parking and free Magic Bands) so we decided to indulge ourselves and start the holiday with some Disney magic. There are loads of Disney hotels to choose from, starting with budget friendly value places right up to budget busting deluxe villas and lodges. We watched loads of You Tube videos to see what each resort and room type was like and we made a short list of the ones that we liked the best. Top of the list was a studio at Old Key West, however that room type wasn't available we decided to book a room at Port Orleans Riverside.
We are both really excited to be staying here, it looks like such a pretty resort and its close to Disney Springs which will suit us perfectly. The resort has loads of facilities like a gift shop, bar, restaurant and food court so it will be perfect place for us to begin our holiday.

We still have a ton of stuff to look into and book before we go, but for now the most important things are done. If you have been to Orlando I would love to know any hints or tips you may have - its always good to hear what other people suggest or recommend.

As always thanks for stopping by and for reading. I would love it if you could leave me a comment to let me know that you have been here.

Jane xx

Project Life 2018

If you are a long time follower of mine you will know that I have attempted and completed Project Life a couple of times in the past. However its not something that I have had a go at in quite some time, the last time I actually completed a full year was in 2014. I did start it again in 2015 but I never actually got round to finishing it, I think I made it to about August before I lost my way and gave up. Despite having a ton of PL cards I really haven't looked at it since then, although I did sort through my cards at one point last year to gift them to a fellow crafter who was just starting out.
As 2017 drew to a close I started thinking about getting back to scrapping and crafting as I really didn't do much at all last year. I am so behind where scrapbooking events such as holidays and birthdays are concerned and to be honest I am a little daunted as to where to start as I know I need to go back at least a year and a half to even begin to catch up. The only exception to this is our holiday to LA and Vegas last year which gave me a bit of renewed enthusiasm to scrap again, however I still have a long way to go before I can say its complete. When I first started the album I felt a little out of my depth mostly due to having lots and lots of pictures that I wanted to include so I decided to do some of the pages Project Life style as it meant I could add plenty of images and as well as being able to add journaling. This was definitely the kick start that my motivation needed and I now feel ready to attempt to get my albums up to date. I have been looking on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and now have plenty of inspiration to create pages and pages of proper 12x12 layouts.
In addition to getting back to scrapping and with a new year upon us I decided that I would once again do Project Life. Its such a quick and simple way of keeping up to date with all the moments and memories that wouldn't necessarily warrant a individual scrapbook page. I feeling really motivated and am planning to do it weekly although when there isn't so much to record I will just combine the weeks. I am really excited to be doing this again, its my challenge to myself to keep it up to date and complete it. Like a true crafter I have plenty of PL stash, however I may just need to add some of the newer collections to my supplies.......ssshhhh don't tell anyone but the deed is already done and a new kit is currently on order. There are loads of kits available and plenty of UK suppliers, my faves are Hey Little Magpie and Papermaze.
So here are the first two pages of 2018, the next two are prepped and ready to have journaling and images added to the pockets.
Are you planning on doing anything creative this year, or are you planning on recording your memories in a special way? Leave me a comment and let me know, if you have a blog of your own leave me a link and I will pop over and take a look.

Thanks for stopping by, love and hugs as always.

Jane xx

Hello 2018

Hello and welcome to my first post of 2018. Its a new year and we have a brand new 12 months ahead of us to fill with all sorts of wonderful things. I am so excited to get this year started and to begin making lots of new memories. At the moment we don't have an awful lot planned other than the holiday in November and a couple of parties in the next few weeks, however I am sure that as the year progresses the planner will start to fill up with get together's and other events. We are also hoping to try and fit in a couple of long weekends away if we can.

So here we are, back at work and back to 'normality' after the holidays. I hope that you all had a great Christmas and New Year, ours was lovely and as usual I was thoroughly spoilt by Tom who got me lots of fab gifts. Quite a few of which had a Disney theme to them this year, amongst other things I got some new charms for my Pandora bracelet, some headphones, a Cath Kidston x Disney backpack and various other bits and pieces. I am very lucky to have such a kind and generous hubby.
We saw both of our families over the break, we were at my Mums on Christmas Day and then on Boxing Day Toms family came to us. The rest of the time was pretty much spent at home relaxing and doing nothing more than watching films and vlogs. On New Years Eve we went out for dinner at our favourite Argentinian steak restaurant Constancia. As is usual we had a great meal, the steaks were delicious and the home made brownie that we had for dessert was to good to say no too. Honestly if you are ever in the SE1 area I highly recommend that you pay them a visit, its not a cheap restaurant but it is very good and is well worth the money for a special occasion. We were back at home by 10pm and we saw the rest of the night out in our usual way which is watching curled up on the sofa until its time to watch the London fireworks from the top of our block.
I hope that you had a great Christmas and New Year and I hope that 2018 is filled with health and happiness for you all.

Love and hugs, Jane x