Stories of 2019 #41

Happy Galentine’s Day 2019!

Queue some oldies but goodies…

Galentines, palentines, (early) valentines – however you want to spend it, today is a day for showing a bit of love to your friends. Or, an excuse to eat some extra chocolate! Which I have successfully achieved.

Imagine a world where you did not have your best friend or your group of friends who you have been through thick and thin with? Who would you share them embarrassing moments with or spending hours texting about boys with or find yourself laughing for hours over nothing with? Life would not be the same. I mean I cannot tag myself in memes on Facebook and that is why we have friends is it not?! Joking. No, my friends are amazing. They hold all my secrets, they nudge me in the right direction, push me out of my comfort zone and pick me up when I am down and I love every single one of them!

For me, I have found that quality over quantity is important when it comes to your friends. I do not have tons of friends but I have four who I hold dear. At various points in your life friends can change, you gain some and you grow apart from some, but three of my friends have stuck with me through it all and one, a later edition in my life, I know will be there for the rest.

I wish I was spending palentines with them all, cooking dinner, drinking gin and tonics and laughing about things we have done! But with everyone here, there and everywhere – sadly, it would be hard. Anyway, they all know I love them so we can get together and have a late celebration (we do not need an excuse or persuasion haha).

Here are my Galentines – Jessamyn, Mollie, Katie and Jess.

I get so so excited to hear when Jessamyn is coming back from university as it always put a smile on my face seeing her and pizza is always a definite. Mollie, also my cousin, I text her constantly. I would go as far as to say she is my rock. From the decision of whether I should go to the gym or in a meltdown about jobs – Mollie is there. Katie, I lived with at university in our final year and we’ve grown up together, shes the pepper to my salt haha. And, finally, Jess, who I only met over a year ago now but shes is a gem! One of life’s lovely people and I am lucky to have her.

So happy Galentines to this fabulous four!

Stories of adventure #40

Another weekend is done and dusted. How do they go so quick when the week can go so slow… But I have had such a lovely weekend with my parents, spending the weekend exploring the beautiful city of York. The reason for our visit was my dad. It was his birthday last weekend and when we went to Edinburgh last year on the train, he saw a sign for the National Railway Museum and has always wanted to go ever since. So, just to show that dreams do come true we got back on the train and made a special visit to the museum.

To mine and my mums surprise the National Railway Museum was actually really good. From seeing the Mallard to the Royal carriages that Queen Victoria rode in, to the Eurostar – there was so much to see. Personally, I preferred the Royal carriages and I loved seeing how the inside of their carriages looked with opulent lampshades and plush sofas, as well as tiny little baths and narrow double beds.

Here are a few photos of our time at the museum.

Stories of 2019 #39

I just bumped into one of my old school friends in the town today and we got discussing what we are up to in life. She has been to university and studied dance and we were saying about life after uni… What they do not tell you!

You have your degree. And you have worked so hard for that. Late nights in the library fuelled by coffee, endless amounts of reading and learning about certain topics and coming up with your best ideas so you can write your 10,000-word dissertation. But now, you have your certificate and you are set to get a job – a wonderful job too! However what if you don’t? What if three, or even 10 months down the line you are still applying or still figuring out what you want to do for a career? University life is simply cut off. If you are studying away you move back home more commonly, your friends are now dotted around the country, some are in amazing jobs smashing life and no longer do you have that structure in your life of education. Most people go to university straight from school or college and therefore, have spent the majority of their lives within education. It can be tough to finish university and studies have shown that people do suffer from university blues. And it seems silly because university is such a privilege and there are far worse things out there that people are suffering from but I wanted to write about this so people knew they were not alone.

My friends (four in total lol) are either still studying or excelling in their field of work and it makes me so happy to see that the hard work they have put into their education and even the application process of their careers has paid off! But seeing an old friend today made me realise that it is not that simple. It seems there is a misconception around university degrees and work, simply people thinking that people with degrees should go straight into a job. So, when they see graduates working in a shop or being unemployed they tend to make jokes about spending all that money to work where? Yes, people may laugh it off but inside they may be feeling lost and lacking some confidence. Despite 82% of graduates being in employment (yippee!), it does take time to secure a full-time position, according to the Office of National Statistics. So, graduates, have faith in your path and if you are currently unemployed or not yet using your degree – do not worry! Take this time to enjoy life whilst you have the time off and work out about yourself or find a hobby because once you are in a full-time position, it may be a long time until you are out of one.

Most importantly stay positive.

Stories of 2019 #38

I recently was sent mine and Jess’s video from our Walt Disney World trip and I thought I would share it with you.

Thank you to the WDW team for putting this lovely memory together for us. Lots of smiles and shocked faces on some of the rides ha ha.

Stories of 2019 #37

The land of endless enchantment, where your ultimate Disney fantasy’s become reality.

As soon as I stepped into this park, I was mesmerized. Walking down Main Street with a smile on my face and my eyes wide to take everything in. It truly is the most magical place on earth. All my senses were going. I could hear people singing, see the iconic castle at the end of the street from the parade square, smell the delicious buttery popcorn from the stand and feel the sun beating down on my skin.

Where to begin? There is so much to do in this park from places to eat (honestly if I had not just eaten a massive buffet breakfast I would have eaten my way around the park), shopping and then there are the characters and rides! Our guide took us straight to Space Mountain before we had to meet the group at the castle for photographs. In Tomorrowland this thrill roller-coaster dips and whips around in the darkness as you shoot off in your rocket to space. Queue screaming…

Nothing like a fast roller-coaster to shake up the breakfast! After getting the adrenaline hit of the first ride of the next four days we went to the iconic Cinderella castle. Surrounded by lush rose gardens and a tranquil moat, the magical castle is the perfect place to get your perfect Disney photo.

We did not get to go inside the castle but they showed us from the outside the windows to the Cinderella suite. Imagine staying inside the suite! There is also the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where fairy godmothers can sprinkle their magical dust and transform you into a prince or princess. Or, dine with Cinderella, Belle and all the other Disney princess’s at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

We were so lucky also to have such beautiful weather.

But it was only to get better as we were led to a private rose garden just opposite the castle. And believe it or not, we were greeted by a very very special character. Cinderella herself had met us in the rose garden! Pretty as a picture she was.

Photos complete, me and my hair were ready to be thrown around on some rides. Starting off on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before screaming our way around Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. Then, we took a more relaxed route and went on “It’s a small world” as well as, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spinner.

One of the highlights of having the VIP Disney tour guides is that there is little to no waiting for rides, which is unheard of at Walt Disney World. You all have fastpass+ so you manage to get lots of rides done within probably the time you are queuing without it. I once remember we queued for three hours for the Peter Pan ride back in 2004!

With time to spare before the Festival of Fantasy parade we stopped for lunch. We went to Gaston’s Tavern and had, I think the world’s largest cinnamon bun. I cannot describe to you how amazing this warm, dreamy cinnamon bun was. Alongside this swirl of cinnamon dough heaven I had LeFou’s Brew. It was a must whilst there, so rude not to.

Topped up on sugar, we went to the parade. A celebration of your favourite Disney music and characters dancing their way through the Magic Kingdom. Be sure to spot Mickey and Minnie Mouse in a huge hot-air balloon, Alice in Wonderland chasing after her rabbits and Maleficent on her fire-breathing dragon!

And the excitement just continued as we headed to the Town Square Theater where we were fortunate enough to meet the duo Minnie and Mickey in their celebration outfits. This is a once in a life-time opportunity as you do not often get to meet them both together so be sure to meet them before the 30th September.

Turning dark, we finished off the busy day at the Magic Kingdom with the most spectacular firework display above the castle. Happily Ever After is a dazzling journey of colour, light and music that bought me and many others to tears. There is nothing more special than this firework extravaganza. Simply memorizing. Take your 3D glasses too to see the secret Mickey’s!

I know what you are thinking… India you have not had sugar in a while are you feeling OK? I know my cinnamon bun was what only a few hours ago? But do not worry, America have us covered and we arrived home to a cake on our bed!! I could get used to this life easily.

Tomorrow – Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and of course, more sugar fueled treats!

Stories of 2019 #36

Having surprisingly slept through-out the night, no jet-lag in our room, we woke up to alarms at 5:45 am. I know, unbelievably early but the group was meeting at 7am and we needed to be photo ready. The day was jam packed and we were so excited looking at our itinerary.

First stop was Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, for a breakfast with some very special characters. But before we left the Animal Kingdom Lodge we were introduced to our VIP Disney tour guides – a group of guides who would make our trip that extra special, not just through what they are able to do for you whilst you are at Disney but also their amazing personalities and Disney knowledge. You would not believe how much there is to know about the wonderful world of Disney. These guides spent the whole five days with us, taking us here, there and everywhere, joining us on rides and getting us straight on the rides (through the back exit anyone?), eating with us and also dropping us off to various parks in their cars. You are treated like a true VIP by these amazing guides who go above and beyond! With our group of 22, we had around six guides but you can also do this experience with smaller groups. When I spoke to our guides, Meghan, she said that she often has families who have returned to Disney World multiply times and request her and she says she has become like a member of the family and she now know how she can tailor the trip just how they would like it.

Anyway, they showed us to the cars and we drove to the Beach Club Resort, a New-England styled hotel right on the Crescent lake. The hotel interior was beautiful with plush pale blue arm chairs and white flowers. Did you know each Disney resort has its own designed smell? I mean, the attention to detail at Disney is just on another level!

Once we were sat the beach bash breakfast started and the coffee began to be poured and we all headed straight for the buffet. Mickey Mouse waffles, chocolate-chip pancakes, tots, eggs, crispy bacon – it was a true American style breakfast and it was bloody delicious, especially the Mickey waffles. Buffets always make you look at your plate and think, what a mix I have on my plate right now. I think I had waffles with banana caramel next to tots and stir-fried tofu? It is all about that sweet and salt mix is it not?

But it would not be Minnie’s beach bash without Minnie Mouse would it! She was dressed in a beach best and was joined by her friends, Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy Duck. We got photos and autographs, of course.

Stuffed from breakfast, we went out into the sun and checked out the beach (!!) and the view of Hollywood Studios. From this hotel you can walk to Epcot and get a quick boat ride over to the Hollywood Studios, so is a central spot for attractions.

Fed, watered and photographed we were on to our next spot – the iconic Magic Kingdom. But I am going to keep you waiting until tomorrow!!

Stories of 2019 #35

What an incredible trip I have recently had to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was truly MAGICAL! And yes, it deserves to be in capital letters because it was the most unbelievable week.

I have been to Walt Disney World before back in 2005 when I was only eight but I only remember a few things such as breakfast with Minnie and going on Splash Mountain and it being an amazing trip. However, going back as an adult, I found it so much more special. Previously we stayed in a villa just outside of Disney World but for this trip, I stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was so special. I mean it was a dream waking up in the morning, stepping out onto your balcony and spotting giraffes!!

Here are some gems from my previous trip to Walt Disney World. Look how young we look!! These beauties are scanned in from the Florida photo album ha ha.

My friend Jess took me on her trip and we had such a lovely time. We flew out of Gatwick airport last Monday at 11:40am. Both very excited we bounded into the airport early in the morning, met the others who were also on the trip and got all set for our 9-hour flight to Orlando!

The time flew by (literally), especially with good films and food. Afternoon tea miles high in the sky was a particular highlight for me, with Rodda’s clotted cream too… Virgin knows how to do a proper scone.

Once we had arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were greeted by Zoe and Dave – the amazing Disney PR’s that took care of us – in the grand lobby of the hotel with our magic bands and hotel packs. They took us to our rooms and that is when the excited screams began…

Towels, pillowcase, Minnie ears, personalised hats and tons of sweet goodies – Thank you, Mickey! We were completely spoilt from the word go. The room was wonderful, all African inspired with wooden interiors and quirky wallpaper with animals and mountains on.

It was quite late by the time we had reached the hotel and settled in but around 7pm we all met for dinner. The first meal was within a restaurant at the hotel called Jiko – the African cooking place. Food that was vibrant, spicy and packed full of flavours paired with South African wines set for a lovely evening.

To start, me and Jess shared the Inguday Tibs in Brik which was a samosa-like dish. Mushroom and spinach in a crispy Tunisian filo pastry with apple and curry vinaigrette. Following this for main I had the West African Koki Corn. Mushrooms and avocado on a poblano-tomatillo puree with roasted red pepper sauce matched with a smooth, rich red wine.

But jet-lag hit the group and everyone headed to bed as some stayed behind and had a slice of white chocolate cake – the first signs that I would not feel hunger for the next five days. Not long after we headed back to the room, excited for what was to come the next day when we were off for breakfast with the characters and a day in the Magic Kingdom!