travel

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Florida

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During our last trip (the epic road trip/cruise), I realised after our first night staying in Walt Disney World – ticking off my last Disney value resort ; ) , we would be driving south down the coast, and what is there – Disney’s Vero Beach Resort! It isn’t even that far, its less than 2 hours drive.

Once seeing all that information put together, I knew it was fate/destiny – we HAD to stay there. I had to ring USA to book it, as there is no online option. We booked one night as we was restricted with days and dates.

Disney’s website describes it as “this elegant old-fashioned hideaway is located on Florida’s scenic Atlantic Treasure Coast”.

Upon arrival we parked out front and checked in, I loved the mural behind the reception. There is normally cookies on offer until a certain time, which had ended but she went and got us some anyway! There was also always iced water available.

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The Cast Member insisted on giving us first time visit badges, and we had a quick look round the lobby. We had a room in the main building, so you could see the hotel door from the lobby! The view was unfortunately facing the front so it was the car park (we was only there one night so wasn’t too fussed).

We dropped the cases off, then went out the back of the lobby and went exploring. We turned left and walked along, we found the fire pit, and then turned the other way, there was the pool, the entrance to the beach, hammocks, the restaurant, a grab and go food place, the outside bar etc.

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We didn’t go in the pool as it was slightly chilly (we was there in February). We explored all inside, there was so much to look at on the walls! The shop (I didn’t buy anything!), there was a spa down one end, and just before that was a games room – there was books to borrow and board games and puzzles set up. There was also a digital changing display of all the daily activities available at the resort (and nearby – we was intrigued by a local brewery tour but couldn’t make the times).

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That evening, we stayed in the resort – we went to The Green Cabin Room which is the resorts main lounge. It was cool as you could access it from inside and outside. There was some decking outside that overlooked the sea (I read that on a Sunday they offered sunrise mimosas!). We had a few drinks and dinner in there as they had a live singer who played lovely chilled music. It must have been quiet season as the resort didn’t feel too busy.

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The room was nice, and I do believe within the last 18 months – 2 years they had all been refurbed. It was a studio room so had a mini kitchen too. Beds was nice and comfy, very clean.

The next morning we had breakfast at the resort, at the Wind & Waves Grill, I chose pina colada pancakes! After we went for a walk on the beach and I took some photos looking back at the resort (see first picture), had another wonder around. They had all cottages along the resort that was named after different turtles, they looked so cute!

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We didn’t actually get time to see the grounds opposite with the sports equipment/games etc! Check out was 11am and we had a drive and next resort booked.

I’m so glad I got to see and stay here, it’s always kind of been on my radar of Disney things to do (parents have stayed a few years ago). It had a old beach club/yacht club vibe feel. It was very chilled, no one was rushing and the children there was minimal (I’m guessing summer is different!). I would like to have taken part in some of the activities, but we was pressed for time. It was quite expensive – to stay, eat and drink etc, but it was more of a deluxe Disney resort. I’m sure all Disney fans have been or are planning to stay one day.

Have you ever visited or stayed here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

disney cruise

Rapunzel’s Royal Table, Disney Magic

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On my last cruise, I got to eat at the new (ish) restaurant of Rapunzel’s Royal Table, as you can guess from the name its based on the film Tangled.

I’ve already eaten at Tiana’s, so I had high expectations! I was on a 5 night cruise, so sadly on my itinerary only dined here once.

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As you approach there are “thugs” welcoming you in, and making fun of people. We arrived early so we (well I) could see the restaurant without it being packed. Its very pretty, as the overhead lights are all the lanterns. The main colour is purple, with lots of gold.

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I will say now, it was very dark so my photos are quite awful, but hopefully you can still enjoy them. Our table was quite near the front, and was same layout as Tiana’s.

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The theme of the evening was that its Rapunzel’s birthday and we are all there to celebrate with her. There was a live band with singers. The thugs wondered round the whole meal, sometimes stopping for photos, other times just annoying people – they was so funny to watch! Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene also came round each table for a picture (if you wanted one).

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Ive also included photos of the menu and my food. My choices that evening were: Starter – the Ahi tuna tartar (I’ve had this on a previous cruise, and its so light and refreshing), my main course was the Tangled pasta and my dessert was of course – Rapunzels fry pan sweet bread, it was served in an actual pan! (it tasted like beignets).

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I would have liked to eaten here twice, as its such a speicla restaurant, and it would have been amazing on the night the Tangled show was on!

Still, I got to try it and experience it 🙂 , So I’m very glad. One of our table mates was such a Tangled/Rapunzel fan she literally had booked the cruise JUST for the restaurant!

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I’m sure every fan of Rapunzel (and I know a few) would absolutely love it. I think these themed restaurants are very popular and I believe they have been tests for the future ships. I think they will be on each new ship.

Which got me to wondering, if there was different themes/restaurants what would you like to see?? I’m thinking Moana – a bit of south pacific food with fish and exotic flavours, yellow carpet, blue walls, palm tress and a little show too. And being AT sea would feel perfect!

 

 

disney cruise · travel

Disney Cruise Number 4 – Disney Magic

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Well, I did it! I’ve cruised on all 4 (current) Disney ships! The Magic was the last to do, and now I’ve completed a big fat tick off my Disney bucket list! Eeeeeeee : )

We sailed on the Bahamian itinerary – Disney Magic for 5 nights from Miami, the stops were Key West, Nassau, Castway Cay, MARVEL day at sea (I will do a separate post about this) and then back to Miami.

The Magic is the sister ship to the Wonder, so it is the other smaller one. It had also been in dry dock not too long ago, so there was some fairly new addition’s like Rapunzel’s Royal Table (will also do a separate blog), and the Tangled show.

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I had actually booked this cruise on my last one, so I had a slight discount and I had on-board credit ($99 worth). We was on deck 7 with a navigators verandah.

We felt this one was very busy, as we got off the ship every day in a port, we did the 5k at Castway Cay, and then Marvel day at sea! We ate loads, (yes I got 2 desserts one dinner) did all the shows, had brunch at Palo, I did the Art of the magic theme tour and also managed to find some chill time on our verandah.

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I can’t tell you how much of a cruise convert I really am. The 5 nights wasn’t long enough for me, but I was restricted with the itinerary’s as we didn’t want a European cruise (where the Magic sails in Summer).

At Key West, we didn’t book any Port Adventures, we just explored by ourselves. I saw Mile Marker 0, the southern most point of the USA, we visited the little White House, had Key Lime Pie and hired a moped.

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In Nassau I booked the jeep adventure tour (you have a jeep for each group and follow thw guides, also in a separate car, you drive all round and they communicate via a walkie talkie), stopped at a beach, had lunch and then the rest of the day is up to you.

Castway Cay, we completed the 5k in the morning, and then sat on Serenity Bay and just chilled, had lunch and a small bit of shopping.

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Highlights were – the Tangled show, its very good (a few tears did leak out), a Cast member from last year on a different ship recognised me!, Palo brunch, our balcony was lovely, new friends from our dinner table and the Marvel day.

All in all, another successful cruise! Just in awe (and shock) that I did manage to cruise all 4 ships. They are all so pretty, well maintained, fun to explore and the Cast Members are amazing.

Do you have any plans to cruise this year, or sometime in the future? If you have any questions, let me know!

 

travel

Flashback Friday – Copenhagen, Denmark

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Back in early December, I went on a Christmas city break. I went to Copenhagen with my friend, Tor for three nights. We flew from London Gatwick. We booked flights and hotel separate, not as a package.

The flight is lovely and short (less than 2 hours) and we had an early afternoon flight. We made the decision to buy the Copenhagen card before we went (it’s the best buy for there – all travel, and one entry to all the massive attractions included), so we picked that up from the airport and got the train to our hotel.

We stayed in a basic hotel (to save money). The first night we got a taxi to the meat district and had dinner and a wonder. We decided on an early night as we had a lot to pack in the next few days.

My neighbour is actually Danish, so he recommended a bakery to me – I NEEDED to have Danish pastries whilst in Denmark. It was called Lagkagehuset, it is a chain but I loved the pastries and decent coffee. I ended up having one every morning!

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We headed straight for the Canal Tours Copenhagen, and got on a boat without no queue. It was raining at this point, and super cold, but the boat was enclosed with a roof. We did a whole circle trip and got off where we started, and there was our first Christmas market! There we tried our first Glogg wine – Danish version of mulled wine. We also found we was quite in the centre at this point, so popped into a shop called Royal Copenhagen – Danish celebs do up Christmas tables!

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Also on Tors to do list was Royal Smushie Café, which happened to be next door! So we had lunch. We tried the famous Danish open sandwiches. (exactly as you expect – a sandwich open). It was pretty in there, and busy!

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After that, was the moment we had been waiting for – Tivoli Gardens! It was getting a bit darker, but had stopped raining. The main entrance led you onto The Gardens – the prettiest part with lots of photo ops including sleighs, all the shops were wooden sheds and you could smell glogg wine or hot chocolate, it was pure Christmas! Another bucket list item completed for both of us. We also chose to do one ride, and because it was so cold, it wasn’t a roller coaster, and we are big kids – it was the The Flying Trunk, A journey in a trunk through Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tales. It was cute, but a bit expensive!

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We went and had a hot drink in Cakenhagen (great name!), as it was just icy rain at that point. we felt like we had done what we wanted do, and was just cold now, so we left. We cut through the Food Hall (not that special) and walked back to the hotel.

The next day we woke up to sun! So breakfast at the bakery, and straight to Nyhavn – we both loved this place (its the cliché picture which is always shown of Denmark with the pretty coloured houses along the canal). There was another Christmas market there, we saw father Christmas or Julemanden in Danish (Christmas man). Its really not to be missed if you do visit. After this we looked at the Copenhagen Card to see what else we could get into. We got the bus to H.C. Andersen Fairy-Tale House – honestly I’m glad we didn’t pay for this. It was basically empty and we did it in less than fifteen minutes. Bit of a shame as he is such a huge important author.

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After that we walked to another Christmas market, and had (in my personal experience) the best mulled wine ever! We sat in the stall/shed, there was Christmas songs playing, the drink was lovely and warming and we was slightly tipsy. It was great! We also met Father Christmas and had a picture.

After we walked to have lunch at a Illum’s Boglihus which is a department store (my neighbour recommend for decent open sandwich). After that, on Tor’s to do list was La Glace, which is the oldest in Denmark. There was a queue outside! once inside, we had a hard time choosing, the menu was quite big. I had the Karen Blixen, which was a chocolate / coffee combo one and we both had The Glace tea.

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After our sugar shot, we had another small wonder (it was now dark) and then began the walk / bus trek back to the hotel to pack. It was poruing down on the last morning so we got a taxi to airport, We had a nice flight time back, so a shop round the airport (was surprisingly big and lots of shops), and another pastry for me!

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Overall, I think we managed a lot in our city break, it’s a very manageable town (very flat and no hills – bonus!), things are walking distance, but at points the weather was just too cold and rainy, so buses was used. I really liked Copenhagan and the Danish were very friendly. I would like to go back and see another part of Denmark, possibly in warmer months.

If you have any questions, let me know!

travel

Flashback Friday – Berkshire, UK

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Back in late November, three friends and I stayed in a cabin in Berkshire for two nights. The company is called The Dream Lodge Group. The original cabin was found on Wowcher, but I think we ended up booking direct, which was good as was offered a very cheap upgrade! We ended up staying in a La Grande Casa with a hot tub.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and left late Monday morning. The weather wasn’t great, but we didn’t care as we was just there to hibernate for two days!

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We did a food shop on the way – we bought goodies, prosecco, dinners and breakfast foods. We also came prepared – I bought Cards against humanity with me, another friend bought DVD’s (the cabin supplies a DVD player and a few DVDs), a speaker for music – we was set!

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The cabin was lovely, really nicely decorated and laid out. Lots of space for four of us – two bedrooms with double beds and two bathrooms. Plenty of seating – bar stools in the kitchen, dining table for six, and two sofas!

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Outside on the decking which wrapped around half of the cabin, was the hot tub (it did feel like it needed a roof, or some side enclosures), was another set of table and chairs, and a mini outdoor kitchen with a place for a mini BBQ!

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The staff were nice, the actual grounds (on this particular site) aren’t still 100% completed but we rang them with a small issue and they was there in minutes. They helped unload the car and take the cases to the cabin (it was less than a minute walk!), we had a box of chocolates left for us (they had ran out of prosecco).

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The hot tub was lovely, a really big sized one with temperature and lights you could control.

Another highlight was the bath in the main bedroom, we wish we had bought some Lush goodies to fully appreciate it! Next time, we will!

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Overall, it was a really nice cabin, the finishes felt high end and it felt new. We would definitely stay again with The Dream Lodge Group, maybe at a different location. I feel like Forest Holidays have monopolised the cabin holidays recently (but they are expensive!) so maybe look up this company to see if there is one near you to travel to?!

http://www.thedreamlodgegroup.co.uk/

It’s not much of a post, but just wanted to highlight this company if anyone was looking into / researching for a cabin break next year, and hoping the photos help!

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Outings

Brooklands Hotel, Weybridge

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Last weekend I had a lovely start to the week! We had booked a Sunday Group Getaway at the Brooklands Hotel, for £110 each (based on 4 sharing). For that price: One night accommodation in a two bedroom suite, one treatment each (we all had the back massage), use of the spa facilities, use of bathrobes and slippers, afternoon tea, breakfast and a 2pm late check out.  I think it was such a good deal, and we booked it over six weeks ago.

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We arrived just after check in (about 3.30pm), and the room was ready. The room was huge, one of the biggest I’ve ever stayed in! One bedroom had a double bed, the other two singles, each had a big bathroom, there was a desk/office area, a living room area with sofa and TV, and a big table with six chairs plus our own huge decking area outside with table and chairs – which overlooked the racetrack!

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Our treatment was actually booked on the first day, so we all rushed down to the spa and had our twenty five minute back massage each (massages are always so nice and relaxing right?). The spa part was unusually busy, so all the chairs and beds were taken and the hot tub was full. We also wasn’t feeling the sauna and steam room (unusually placed in the changing room). So we headed back to our huge room, and just sat in our robes and slippers and chilled on the deck. We had bought our own prosecco, snacks and small bites to eat. Also to note – there is no pool here.

The hotel is actually next to/inside Mercedes Benz world, so I had great fun watching people drive and race around the track. That ended at 6pm, so it wasn’t at all noisy in the evening, it was very peaceful and relaxing.

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We had a very late night, also random point, the bed was so soft, like sleeping on a marshmallow (bit too soft for all of us).

The next day we had breakfast (the lovely thing was it was served until 11!), there was a whole mini room of food on offer! One side was full English (mmm fried bread!) and the other was continental, there was juices too, and we had hot drinks to the table. It was very tasty, and the restaurant wasn’t too busy.

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We also had decided we was getting a go in the hot tub before we left, so we changed and headed back to the spa. It was delightfully empty and quiet up there. We think everyone had left for room check out but as we had the late one, we was all good! So we claimed a round comfy bed, and chilled for a bit. The hot tub is outside but underneath a ceiling/awning and watched the cars (all Mercedes) and then got into the hot tub. So luxurious  on a Monday morning/afternoon and I had no Monday blues that week!

We spent a while here, ( so much nicer and calmer without loads of people) I did want to go to The Meditation Room (it was a twenty minute slot, but had to be pre-booked). So back to the room, (the showers was also very nice and powerful!) and changed. Packed and ready for afternoon tea.

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The restaurant was basically empty, but they took a while to bring the drinks and food out. It was nice, but I’ve had a lot better. The top tier of cakes etc, they were all too sweet and none of us managed to try everything. My favourite was the chocolate and caramel shortcake, but after that I had enough sugar.

Overall we had a great time, the room was amazing, the Monday at the spa part was great, the deal was definitely worth doing and we all wished it had been a two night stay. They do have other deals on at the moment, so for a treat for you and friends, I would recommend it!

 

 

 

travel

Day Trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina

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Whilst on our latest holiday to Dubrvonik, we talked about tours and trips. I suggested looking on the Viator website, as I had used them twice before for a tour.

So on a lazy morning, we both used the apartment’s wifi and browsed. I was keen on Montenegro but the fiancé wanted Bosnia-Herzegovina, as I had chose the destination and the apartment, I thought I had better compromise somewhere! So we booked one up (also as I had a new email address I was registered as a new customer so got a 10% off promo code!).

The tour we chose was described as “Pair Bosnia-Herzegovina’s beautiful outdoor scenery with its historic monuments on this 10-hour excursion including a visit to Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls. Cross the Croatian border and stop to admire the splendor of these 80-foot (25-meter) cascades. Then head to Mostar for a guided walking tour of the Old Town, famous ‘Stari Most’ (bridge), and much more. Extra value for all our clients is free entrance ticket to Turkish house in Mostar, the most visited museum in this city.”

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We decided on this one as it was a small group rather than a huge bus.

It was a very early start, we got picked up outside a local hotel at 7.10am! The minibus did the usual of driving around hotels and picking people up. Once we was on our way, the friendly guide gave us facts about Croatia and the towns we passed. We seemed to drive along the main road which curved the coast, so it was very scenic.

In total we did six border crossings! You leave Croatia, then go into Bosnia-Herzegovina and then there is a strip of land 22km long which is then Croatia again, then back to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The tour guide takes your passports and gets off the bus to the little office. I was quite hoping for a stamp, but they didn’t do one!

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Once we was safely in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was a short stop of 15 minutes then we was on our way to the Kravice waterfalls. I am going to admit here, you need more time allocated here then the town. This is a natural beauty and was so nice to sit and admire. I would have liked to have gone for a quick dip, but I felt so rushed! It was a long steep walk down, with lots of stairs and it was so hot already (and it was still the morning!).

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So we did have a walk round and down as far as we could go, so we sat there and cooled off in the shade, took a few photos. Then it was the hard slog back up! In total, I think we was off and on the bus for about an hour and fifteen. Then we was on our way to Mostar. Again passing towns and the tour guide giving us information and facts.

Once we was in Mostar, the bus parked in a car park and another tour guide collected us. She was local, and said was a walking tour about an hour, and would also include the trip to Turkish house. I was slightly concerned as she said people dress up as tourists but they are actually pickpockets! She said they wouldn’t do it whilst with her, but watch ourselves on the way back.

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We walked by the local church and down the streets, where some buildings still showed huge damage from the war in the 90’s. We then went to old town, where the streets were narrow, very busy and cobbled. There was restaurants, stalls and shops but we didn’t pause much as she was walking and talking along the way.

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We then got to the Stari Most bridge, Prince Charles re-opened it after some destruction and its now a UNESCO site. Lots of local men now jump from the top (they have to be physically fit and tested) and ask for money before jumping. It’s also now a stop on the Red bull cliff diving competition. We continued on, walking to the Turkish House – what they mean by this, is the house was a traditional Turkish family home and had been left to look around. We had to take our shoes off, as the carpets were old and hand sewn. So the tour guide talked again about tradition’s, and showed us a few things.

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There was a few minutes more walk, and then the tour was done – and we had our own free time, I think it was about an hour and a half. We had a fifteen minute walk back to the bus in that time. So me and my partner went to a restaurant, and had a sit down. We both had a iced coffee and a baklava (the slice was huge!). We then wondered back the same way we came, through the markets and over the bridge. It really was so hot that day, definitely hotter than Croatia! So we walked back to the car park and waited for the cool air conditioned bus.

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We then started the same drive back – with the three border crossings, and back to Croatia. As we was the third pick up, we was the third drop off. We didn’t get back into the room until about 6.50pm. I was so shattered!

I liked the tour, it wasn’t my favourite that I’ve done, it was definitely interesting to see another country whilst already visiting a new one! I didn’t think i would ever expect to tick that country off my list too! I wouldn’t return to Bosnia-Herzegovina, as it’s not my type of holiday. Have you done a day trip / tour on a holiday? Where did you go?