Flashback Friday – Florida Part Two…

We drove down to Key Largo the Looooong way round (thank you very much SatNav!) and stayed 3 days at Ocean Pointe Suites
 
Our suite once again came with a full kitchen, of which we only used the kettle, a double and twin en suite rooms and a balcony. The place was almost empty, we often had the pool to ourselves. I imagine during peak season this is a very busy resort, but in September it was perfect, and great value for money.
 
We stopped of here to catch up with old friends who are lucky enough to live in this end of the world. Our days mainly consisted of pancakes for breakfast, lounging by the pool and having a relaxing time after the busyness of Orlando. We also went manatee searching down by the marina, but with no success.
 
Whilst we were here I celebrated my 25th Birthday. We had a big get together and the locals took us to Dillons Pub and Grill  – an Irish bar where the food was really tasty – especially the French onion soup, and the company was perfect. It was a lovely way to celebrate quarter of a century. 
 
After a peacfull few days, we packed up the car once more and headed down the highway to Key West. At least this journey was only one road so we could’t get lost and go on a massive diversion.
The Beach at Ocean Pointe Suites.
The Walkway at Ocean Pointe Suites.
The beginning of the drive down to Key West.
One of the many traumatising bridges that Mo had to tackle.

Our base of operations in Key West was The Inn at Key West. This was the most expensive of all our hotels, and the smallest room too. We were well on the outskirts of town – we stupidly walked it, just once. Taxis were used the rest of the time, and the fare wasn’t too high. But other than that it was worth the money.I don’t have any pictures of the pool area, but you should click on the link and have a look at the gallery, the pool was amazing!

Luckily we were right next to an ihop, so we breakfasted there most days, and spent the rest of the morning by the pool. In the early afternoon we would head down into town and wander the streets. Often after stopping at Fat Tuesdays first.

I adore Key West. The style of houses, the general laid back attitude.

And the CHICKENS. 

There are chickens everywhere, even in the cemetery, which is well worth a look around.

We did all the touristy things, we rode the Conch Train tour, went to the Butterfly Conservatory. We ate Key Lime Pie and a huge breakfast at Two Friends Patio. There is so much to do and EAT, and that is one of the reasons we are going back next year!

One of the highlights of this trip was what we did for B’s 25th Birthday. On the last night we took a sunset cruise on the boat recommended to us by our friends in Key Largo – The Western Union. For $59 you get taken way out to sea to catch the sunset, unlimited champagne, beer, wine or soft drinks. You get the chance to help with sailing, and as it was B’s birthday, she got to steer whilst the entire boat sang happy birthday! It was a beautiful sunset to boot!

When we were coming back into harbour, we happened to be by the front of the boat when we noticed that dolphins were playing with us in the surf. It was a magical end to an amazing holiday, even if I did get snotted in the face by one of them. 


The hangover the next day was the worst I have ever felt. Ever. And I had to get a morning flight up to NYC, in what felt like the worlds smallest plane  – I honestly felt like I had to get out and push to get it going.

I’ll include a few pictures from my trip to New York. I have been a few times, partly because one of my best friends lives out there. This time I managed to get to the 9/11 memorial site, which I suggest everyone goes to, even if it’s just to get a sense of the size of what happened. It’s a simple and yet beautiful tribute.

So that was the second part to last weeks Throwback Thursday!

We have already started planning next years trip, and we are once again discovering that Key West is going to eat up so much of our budget. If anyone has any suggestions of where to stay, or where to eat for that matter leave them below in the comments.

Also – hello to all my readers! I have readers! It makes me so happy that people are reading what I am writing, and even occasionally commenting!

Have an amazing weekend!

Much Love,

-amanda 

Throwback Thursday – The Florida Blues Part One…



This time in 2012 the girls and I were getting ready for two weeks in Florida. We started our trip in Orlando and made our way down to Key Largo and ended in Key West.

We are planning this trip again in 2015, and so at the moment are all suffering from a mild case of the Florida Blues, looking back at past photos and planning where to stay next time.

This makes it a perfect case for a series of Throwback Thursdays!

In Orlando we stated at The Westgate Palace on international Drive. Like most of the big hotels in Orlando if offered free shuttles to all the big theme parks, and also had the advantage of being just around the corner from Wet and Wild.
The suite we stayed in was fantastic value for money. It was self catering, with a full kitchen if we wanted to cook (we didn’t) and a washer dryer if we wanted to do laundry ( we didn’t), but it was very nice to have the option to do so. With views across the lake, two bedrooms to bathrooms and a sofa bed, it was a brilliant base of operations whilst we theme parked to our hearts content.

We had a two week theme park pass for Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure and Wet and Wild. Whilst this was still fab value for money I do wish there was a pass with shorter time, as we were only in Orlando for four days. It still did save us money but it also made us feel like we were wasting money by not using all the time we had purchased.


Our first stop in our theme park tour was Universal Islands of Adventure – and in particular Harry Potter World. 
Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life, I’ve gone to midnight releases and lined up for film premiere’s so walking through Hogsmede was a magical experience, looking in shop windows and buying every flavour beans was something I never imagined I would do. Not to mention the rides were amazing, especially Harry Potter and the ForbiddenJourney. How they managed to get the videos to sync up personally with each rider is a technology way beyond my understanding.


We hit up the Jurassic Park water ride, and then the rapids and both log flumes. That is the soggiest I have ever been on a water ride in my life, thank god it was so hot that we were dry within half an hour.


In my opinion the other side of Universal is not as good. It’s much more of a classic theme park, but it needs a little updating. There were still some good rides, such as Twister (one of my favourite films) and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, but most of our time at universal was spent in Islands of Adventure.


Another day was spent at Wet and Wild, and after being traumatised by one of the flumes, we spent most of our time split between the Lazy River and the Wave Pool.


All together we had four days in Orlando. We feasted on IHop for breakfast at ate dinner at Wild Jacks Steak and BBQ. Margaritas were drunk in Margaritaville, and slushy’s were had at Fat Tuesdays.




The end of September is a brilliant time to go to Florida if you want to go to the theme parks. We never queued for more than an hour, and in some cases, got off the ride, walked around and got right back on it.


At the end of our four days we were ready for some relaxing though, and packed our bags, jumped in the car and headed south for Key Largo.


As we are heading back next year I want to hear about your suggestions for any places we should head to, and most importantly, any food we should be eating!

Much Love

-Amanda x


An RSC Hamlet flashback…..

Okay, so I have been in Norfolk-land for pretty much 2 weeks (minus last weekend when I was in London BBQ-ing and handing in essays of DOOM)…. and the verdict.

I AM BORED!
I knew this would happen, it always does. Which is why I am always loathe to come back here.
So I am job-hunting, reading and watching American TV shows.

So you are going to get an odd *flashback* blog.

I read all the extra chapters in A Writers Tale, about Doctor Who, and one of the chapters reflected a really interesting part of my life, which also made me go back and read my old blog.

In December 2009, as many of you know, I was FOH on the RSC’s Hamlet, with David Tennant and Proff Xavi- um, I mean Patrick Stewart. The chapters in AWT, where they are exchanging emails and mention all the drama about him hurting his back, really made me think back on that month. I remember saying ‘your joking right’ when I first was told. I remember audience members getting angry, demanding refunds, or, in some chances, being relieved that he wasn’t on. I remember feeling SO tense for his understudy ( the lovely Ed Bennet).
New year came and went and we were of the opinion that he wasn’t going to come back but then one friday I aimlessly wandered into the auditorium as usual, to find him rehearsing. We still weren’t told that it was definite, and it was just to see how he was. Ed went on as usual, and so we just assumed no.

The Saturday was already going to be an interesting day as they were announcing the new Doctor (Matt Smith – yey) so we were all a tad nervy. Once again I walked into the auditorium whilst they were doing the warm up, and low and behold, hiding at the back was DT. It was only confirmed about half an hour before curtain up that he was, and we were not allowed to announce it, but took the understudy signs down, and if anyone asked, told them that, yes, he was back. I remember my friend, Nicola, who had seen his last show before he went off was in that night as well, so she was going to be rather happy.
The cheer that went up when it was announced he was back was jaw dropping, like something at a football match. He carried the whole show, and completed the rest of the week.

Random memories from the last night include them smuggling DT and Georgia Moffet in through a side door right next to where I was sitting, which made me jump about a foot in the air. Standing at the bar with DT on one side and Patrick Stewart on the other and my friend just saying ‘this is a bit weird’ isn’t it. Shaking hands with PS, and finally getting the guts to talk to DT, shaking his hand and pretty much running away afterwards lol.
I met amazing people during the whole RSC season and had some fun adventures with them, such as wEDnesday and Haaawkman.
I love how one chapter in a book can make me think back about, lets face it, a rather important time in my life. I am glad it did.
I am now going to look back at the wEDnesday pictures.
And watch Hamlet.

xx