Just Me · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

How is it April already?


Wow it’s April already. I am seriously still in shock that our Disney Vacation is over and I’m coming to the end of one of my college modules already. I though I’d scheduled lots of Disney posts while I was away, turns out I didn’t schedule them properly so I keeping them for the times when I don’t have much creativity and want to post something (some may call this cheating, I call it being resourceful lol).

Our vacation was completely and utterly amazing. I have a whole post done coming up next week about it but honestly I hate to be home. Next trip isn’t until September to China so lots of time and staycationing between then and now which is kinda depressing but hey it’s worth it for China which has been on my bucket list since I can remember.

April is the start of another No Spend Month for me. Trying to kick start more responsible management of my money. I have been doing so well since the last no spend month but feel myself slipping back to the old spending habits so time to kick my butt back into being fiscally responsible (look how adulty I sound!) I haven’t been taking my supplements and honestly got into a bit of trouble health wise because of it so have to get started back on those and being consistent.

Things I’m loving at the moment are:

  • Shadowhunters on Netflix.
  • Garlic toasties with bacon and cheese.
  • Hillsong Y & F – Youth Revival.
  • Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig.
  • Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense advanced day & night creams.

Well thats an update on whats going on with me. Hows everybody else doing? Any exciting news to share?

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Disney · Lifestyle · Travel

Disney Advance Dining Reservations…


When looking to eat at Walt Disney World in a sit down restaurant you need to book in advance. Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) open 180 days in advance and honestly they fill up quickly. The booking opens at 6am Eastern Standard Time (or Orlando time for us in Ireland) for online reservations and the phone lines open an hour later.

If you want a meal at Be Our Guest or Cinderellas Royal Table you will need to be online when booking opens. Be Our Guest is the only quick service restaurant that takes reservations for Breakfast and Lunch. The theme and decoration of the restaurant as well as the good food make it a must do for many people. The atmosphere, the princesses and the fact that you get to eat in the castle make it Cinderellas Royal Table highly sought after reservation. Take this fact combined with Cinderellas Royal Table being one of the smallest restaurants on property means that reservations are hard to get.

Every menu can be found on the Disney website as well as many other places online. Do you want character meals? Unique dining experiences? Dinner Show? Make all of these decisions ahead of time and you’ll be golden.

Here are my Top Tips for dining reservations:

  1. Use the website: Menu’s, costs, pictures and descriptions of the experiences at each restaurant can be found on the website which are great tools for deciding where you want to eat. Make sure you have registered for a My Disney Experience account in advance of your 180 day window. Have a payment method registered and become familiar with how the website works so you’ll be set to go when its time.
  2. Dining Plan or No Dining Plan?: This is a choice only you can make for your family. There are three main dining plans the quick service dining plan, the Disney dining plan and the Deluxe dining plan. There is also two higher tier ones the Premium and Platnium dining plans as well. I will have another longer post on this later on. But this page is a great place to start your research: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/
  3. Plan in advance: Before your booking window opens spend time on the website and decide where you want to eat while you are visiting. Write these down and make a list of importance to you to eat at each restaurant. Remember only table service meals need a reservation. The only exception to this is Be Our Guest which is a QS Restaurant but requires reservations for Breakfast and Lunch due to its popularity.
  4. Rank your choices in order of importance: Remember that lots of other people will be online trying to make the same reservations. Making a list will help you be prepared for when your booking window opens and always try to get your must have reservations first. 
  5. Be online when your booking window opens: When your booking window opens try and get your reservations in order of which is most important to least important. Pick the time that suits you or closest suits you and book that. You can try change these times over the next while but make them as close to what will suit your family as possible as it is not always possible to change.
  6. Book Cinderellas Royal Table and Be Our Guest first!: These book up quickly and usually for families with children they are must do restaurants.
  7. Make breakfast reservations before park opening: If you are planning on having breakfast inside a park the restaurant should open approx an hour before the park opens for reservations. This way you can be ready to go and hit all the major rides once the park officially opens and you can get some great photos with few people in the park.
  8. Plan enough time for Character Meals: Character meals vary in how long the times are. On our last trip we were served all three courses, met all 5 princesses and made a special wish in Cinderella’s Royal Table in 40 minutes, whereas our Hollywood and Vine Disney Junior Breakfast took 90 minutes. If you have somewhere you have to be (fireworks or parade etc) make sure you leave enough time to eat and enjoy your meal and still get there in time.
  9. Keep checking back if you don’t get the reservation you want: If you don’t get all your reservations keep checking back in the weeks coming up to your trip. A lot of people cancel reservations especially coming up to the 24 to 48 hour mark as that is when you will be charged if your party doesn’t turn up. Plans change and you may just snag the reservation you want.
  10. It’s not as scary as some people make it sound: Some people make it sound like a military maneouver and if you don’t do it a certain way you won’t get the reservations and your vacation will be a disaster and your children will be neglected from the magic. None of this is true. We have taken trips where we have not done a single ADR and trips where we had an ADR every night. Some people go to the parks with no ADR’s and are able to get reservations at restaurants that are hard to get but this is usually not the case. Make your reservations that you can and remember to have fun!
Disney · Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

Why planning a Walt Disney World vacation reminds me of Monica from Friends…


When it comes to Disney you are either a Disney person or not. I am a full blown Disney person and proud of it. You can tell me to grow up, you can tell me its for kids, you can tell me I’m not normal (but seriously we all know I’m not normal and its for many different reasons, this is not one of them), you can tell me it’s hot and crowded and full of screaming kids and parents and generally a nightmare. I will listen then tell you to bibbidi bobbidi back up out of my life but nicely with a smile because I’m a Disney person.

There are two camps when it comes to a Walt Disney World Vacation. First is the most crowded camp which is plan your meals, Fastpasses, Touring Plans etc months in advance and down to a tee. Second is the rebels who like to go with the flow and see what happens, don’t make plans and try to work it out when there. Anybody who knows me know I am very clearly stationed permanently in camp one, though I must admit I am envious of those in camp two.

Now planning a Walt Disney World vacation is a lot of work. It involves making plans months in advance. It involves research for everything from Fastpasses to dining reservations to transport. If you want to dine at Cinderellas Royal Table or Be Our Guest and want to get a FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train then you need to plan.

Basics you need to know are do you plan on staying on or off site? What restaurants do you definitely want to eat at? What do you want FastPasses for? If staying off site how are you going to get to parks? Shuttle, rental car or taxi? Villa or hotel? If staying on site what days are Extra Magic Hours? Dining Plan or no? I feel the inner Monica Geller come out as I write this!

If this seems like too much work for you then its probably not the best place for you to go. Alternatively you can use a travel agent who can take care of all of this for you. I will reccomend Jacquie Skurla over at A Touch Of Pixie Dust Travel for all your Disney needs. Jacquie is so helpful and has a great knowledge of every aspect of Disney from cruising to the parks. I use her as my TA for cruises and couldn’t recommend her more.

Over the next few days you will be seeing some posts about planning. How I do it and tips I have found useful. Hope you enjoy.

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Just Me · Lifestyle

It’s been too long…


So my resolution to blog at least once a week is well and truly been broken but lets get back to it.

It’s been over a month since I last blogged about my goals and today honestly I don’t really have anything overly insightful or interesting to write about. So why you ask am I writing? The answer is simply because I want to. I am trying to get back to this blogging thing. A little update on my goals:

I am slowly but surely getting to my goal weight. I for the first time since my surgery put on weight in the second week in January. It was only 1.2lbs but I was a bit upset with myself if I’m honest. I haven’t been putting as much effort as I should into meal planning and was going for what was convenient instead of what was healthy but I’m back on track and am working towards the goal weight (which by my calculations I should hit by September 9th providing everything going to plan which lets face it it usually doesn’t). Health wise I finally got rid of the wisdom teeth and baby tooth that were causing all the problems and I have been drinking my water (mostly) and taking my supplements. This one has been harder to keep to but I have managed to whittle our grocery budget down to €35 a week by shopping at Aldi and not buying crap. College is going fantastically. I am on track (for the first time ever) and starting my second module.

Apart from that I have been in planning mode for our Disney trip in March! I can’t wait. There will be lots of planning posts coming so if you don’t like Disney I apologize. My life is pretty much taken up by dancing, scouts, work and college. My social life has never ever been exciting but seriously there are corpses with better social lives than me at the moment. So I need to start making time for my friends and you know actually spending time having fun. It’s on the list for next month.

Well this was just a short post to dip my toes back into the world of blogging. Hope everybody has been good. Hows the resolutions going for you?

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Family · Just Me · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

New Years Resolutions…


New year, new me or so the saying goes. I was never one that was big into new years resolutions, any year I made them I lost steam by January 6th. However last year on New Years Eve while I was home with Walt being the boring old lady I am I decided to set my goals for 2015. I like the idea of goals so much more than New Years resolutions. I believe that constant improvment is a key to success in life. If we keep striving to grow, physically, emotionally and spiritually there is no stopping us. I constantly use #neverstopimproving and I truly believe it.

I had my first appointment with my surgeon in the first week of January for my gastric bypass so that was goal number 1. I wanted to go back to college so that was goal number 2. I had other goals centering around my family, friends and my faith and I feel like I knocked all of them out of the park. Yeah there were some unrealistic goals like wear a bikini on the cruise ( I don’t have the confidence to wear one), do a skydive (I’m not saying I’ll never do one the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself) and declutter the attic (don’t even get me started).

So considering how they went well last year I decided to set some small goals for this year. So below is a short list.

  1. Reach my goal weight before the end of 2016.
  2. Drink more water and take all my supplements (I have completely been ignoring them which is not healthy)
  3. Stay on track with college work and don’t use the fact that it’s not a physical building I have to attend as an excuse to slack off.
  4. Budget better and try to live within my means.
  5. Be more grateful and thankful in general.

Well those are my goals I will try post a bi monthly update as to how they are going. Did you make any resolutions this year? What are your goals?

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Family · Just Me · Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

Christmastime in Edinburgh…

Here is the trip report from our day trip adventure to Edinburgh. We really had a great time and it definitely got us in the festive mood.

So the preparation started the night before. We finished dancing and miss K was staying over in my house. We had decided that we were going to wear matching tshirts but I had left it on the long finger (surprise surprise) so we ended up making them once we got home. I did the computer part and K did the weeding and pressing and in about an hour we had three fabulous shirts to wear, great teamwork. We did different designs but same colours so they were similar but not matchy matchy (pictures of us wearing them will be below). I wasn’t too sure what I needed to pack for a day trip so settled on an empty backpack, purse, keys, lip balm, phone charger and a hat. I was so glad I didn’t bring anything else as it was a whirlwind day and that really was all I needed. Then it was shower and bed (for a whole 4 hours before we had to be up lol)

We set off for the airport at ridiculous O’clock (4:30am) on a cold dreary Tuesday morning. Neither myself or miss K are morning people but we were excited (in so far as you can be at 4am) Mam dropped us to the airport and security took about 20 minutes. After that we changed K’s money (the exchange rate completely sucks at the moment), took a look around the shops and went on the search for orange juice (with no bits cause seriously ewwww). It is surprisingly hard to find orange juice in the airport but thanks to the eagle eyed miss K (who seen it on the counter when we walked past the bar) I was happy. img_0572

Once our gate was announced we set off and did the long walk down to the Ryanair gates. I never queue to get on a plane because seriously my seat number is assigned and it’s not like it’s going to leave without me but the gate that we were leaving from had no seating  and just a queue so we did break that rule and queue to get on. It took us about 40 minutes to get on the plane. The flight took off late but we didn’t mind because it was still ridiculous o’clock and we had plenty of time. Also feel the need to point out that travelling since my bypass is a lot less strenuous than before but the little thing that meant the most to me was on this flight I could close the belt with ease and had to for the first time in my life pull it tighter! But back to the story.


When we landed we headed straight for the bus. This is where I made our first mistake. We knew we had to get the airlink into the city centre but when we got there the ticket office was closed and there was a sign to say if you had tickets join this queue if you didn’t please purchase them from the ticket office. We walked back towards the terminal so I could ask somebody when we spotted there was another bus stop that said it went to where we needed to go so we got on that. The bus went around every single industrial estate and every housing estate and we literally spent longer on that bus to get to the National Museum of Scotland than we did on the plane to get there from Ireland! We alter found out that you can in fact pay in cash on the Airlink bus but oh well you live and learn.

The National Museum of Scotland was absolutely fantastic. I am going to write another long post of a review but seriously if you ever get the chance to go, do it because you won’t regret it. The building itself is just beautiful and the exhibitions are fantastic. We visited on the day that Major Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake )was being launched for his mission to the ISS so there were a lot of cool things going on for that including where you could put on a space suit and be green screened into your very own rocket launch as well as an indoor pop up planetarium. There were various arts and crafts stations as well. I have to say the staff at the museum were so friendly and helpful and I would strongly recommend a visit. After that we went up to the roof and took the obligatory picture of Edinburgh Castle.


The time we spent in the museum completely flew in and soon it was time to go and meet Elaine at the Scott monument. It was a short walk and the Christmas market was already buzzing with people. After hugs and I’m so glad you’re here exhanges we headed into the Christmas market to start being jingly little elves. The smell of all the foods in the market was mouth watering. Chocolate fountains, fresh baked cookies, Donughts, hot dogs I could keep going because it was amazing. But we decided to get ice skating out of the way first.

The prices stated that it was £12.50 per adult with concessions available. Seen as Elaine and myself are poor students and K is under 16 I was hoping we would fall under the concession umbrella. I was very pleasantly surprised when I asked for two students and one child and was told the grand total was £15! Yay poor students! Now to this ice skating thing. I SUCK at ice skating. I fall and am just generally a mess but I am proud to say this time I didn’t fall at all. I tripped on more than one occasion but I managed to stay on my feet for the whole time. K and Elaine were pros at it even racing each other in a speed lap of the rink. I generally clung to the wall for the first part but eventually I was skating along without holding on due to encouragement from K and Elaine (but I was still close enough that I could grab it if I needed to because I’m a wuss). Michael Buble was playing over the loud speakers and it was very festive altogether.


After we were finished we decided to go look around the market. Elaine had a real fear that she might buy the first food that she seen because they all looked and smelled so good so we said we would have to look around all the stalls and then decide what we wanted. There were stalls selling everything from hand carved decorations, Christmas cookies, bow ties, fake snow, dolls, chocolates, jewellery just general market stall affair. Most of it was quite expensive which is to be expected. I didn’t get many pictures because I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere lol It was then we came across the best smelling stall that has ever existed. I am not even exaggerating when we all smelled it we knew that was where we were getting our treat from. They made fresh doughnuts and  cakes with melted nutella and powdered sugar. We all got them and it was like heaven in my mouth. Even thinking about it makes me long for another one.


Here are the best doughnuts in the world!img_0754

After the amazing doughnuts we decided we wanted to go and try the Christmas Tree Maze. It was £3 per person and I have to say it was great fun. You were given a card and had to find 5 stations in the maze to stamp the letters, once you had them you made a Christmas word and got a prize from the elf hut. Once Elaine and K found out there was a prize they were all like “game on bitches!” and went into stealth mode. I on the other hand was too enraptured by all the twinkling lights and smell of Christmas tree to be competitive. One of the funniest things of the day was when I’d look around a corner and see them running around trying to find the letters (screw Christmas spirit I’m gonna win lol). Eventually we all got our prizes (surprise surprise) and we went to have a look on Princes Street in the shops.



At this stage the tiredness was setting in and K’s feet were sore from all the walking so we went to a local place called The Boozy Cow for dinner. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is worth a visit. It had great reviews and Elaine was in the mood for a burger as she is so busy with college she and I quote “doesn’t have time to cook meat”. We were seated by a really friendly waitress who explained the reason we had a roll of kitchen roll on our table is because they serve their food somewhat unconventionally and we would be needing it because it gets messy. They don’t use cutlery and serve the meals on metal trays one between two. We all ordered burgers (I ordered a gluten free one) and we shared sides of regular chips, sweet potato chips and onion rings. The drinks were served in tin can glasses too. img_0719img_0723img_0722


The food was nice. The burgers were about a 7/10 but he sweet potato chips and onion rings were some of the best things I have ever tasted. Because I had ordered a gluten free burger we all got individual trays instead of the normal way of serving (which I was kinda bummed about. I am not allergic to gluten but I find that gluten free options when available sit better in my stomach). The burgers were huge and required a lot of maneuvering to get into our mouths. I would rate the experience overall of an 8/10 but the service from the staff was a 10/10. Altogether for the three of us it came to £38 which was reasonable.

We then went to get on the Ferris Wheel at the Christmas market. K had never been on one so it was top of her list to do while we were there. Once again we got concession tickets (students strike again!) and it cost £6 each instead of £9. We waited until last because we wanted to go up while it was dark so we could see the lights. It was really magical. The voice over told you stories about the local area and you got quite a good amount of time on it. K was happy and gave it two thumbs up.


After that it was straight to the airport (on the right bus that only took 30 minutes!) and we flew through security. We were cutting it close with time as the ferris wheel had taken longer than expected but once we got to the airport there was literally only one person in front of us at security. There were more staff than passengers. We headed straight for our gate and were on board in no time. I fell asleep before the plane had even taken off and once we landed we dropped K home and I collapsed into bed ready to sleep for a week. It was a whirlwind day but it was so much fun. It’s definitely the start of a new tradition the #cousinsdayout maybe we’ll do London or Paris next year and invite more cousins.

Well that’s all for now.

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Family · Just Me · Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

I love cheap flights…


A couple of weeks ago on one of my search skyscanner for flights and see where we can go binges I found flights to Edinburgh for €20 and you can’t say no to that really. It is flying with Ryanair but for that price I’ll take it (and hopefully won’t regret that sentence) So tomorrow myself and Miss K are off to Edinburgh on a day trip to visit Elaine.

As we’re only going for the day I’m only bringing a backpack (empty in case we shop), wallet, phone, passport and change of socks (just in case). I’m hoping to pick up a few trinkets and get a picture of somebody in a kilt just for the cliche.

I love Edinburgh and have been there a good few times. The scenery and architecture are amazing. The accents not bad either lol. Once we get there there are a few things I want to do. I want to visit the National Museum of Scotland and see a few of the exhibitions. I have seen the castle as we preformed for a month on the Edinburgh Military Tattoo one summer so I will be giving that a miss, most we will do is get a picture outside. I want to try out a hot chocolate float at Mary’s Milk Bar. I have a list of restaurants (like Oink) I want to eat at while we are there (I may even try haggis it can’t be that bad right?). I can’t wait to see the Royal Mile all lit up and visit the Christmas market. We are planning on going ice skating and just being general jingling little elves.

Just a short post today. So I’ll put a trip report up on Wednesday.

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.