A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


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SAL – Crazy cat lady #1

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs and A whole lotta latte has temporarily been retired. After not stitching for a few weeks, mainly due to being on holiday, I got Latte back out with every intention of getting lots done for this update. I put a couple of colours into the stripey cup and when I went for the next colour, there was none left. After checking to see how much was left to do in the rest of the colours, I realised that another colour had run out and two didn’t have enough left either.

Not good. After checking online, it seems that Dimensions do not use DMC so although you can find conversion tables, they’re really only useful if you’re converting the whole project. I managed to track down an email address for Dimensions and asked if they could supply the missing threads. I got a reply quickly enough and they promised to send what I needed, but explained that it would take about four weeks due to international post.

I didn’t want to sit twiddling my thumbs for four weeks so I thought I’d start a new project and go back to Latte later on.

This is the new project.Don’t you just love it? And isn’t it so me! I’ve been waiting to start this for ages.

I’ve got a bit done to it already and I’m loving it.That doesn’t look much but it took hours with all the partial stitches in different colours. Notice that I’m doing the backstitch as I go? I have no plans to do all that at the end *shudders*.

It’s a bit more interesting to stitch than Latte as not only are there normal full crosses, but there are straddled crosses too, which feel wrong as normally you’d avoid moving the crosses over half a stitch. There are also diagonal half-crosses, horizontal half-stitches and vertical half-stitches. It gives much better detail but you need to concentrate a bit more. I like it. I’m glad I replaced the aida fabric with evenweave though. Doing those half-stitches and straddled crosses on aida would be very tricky.

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

AvisClaireGunLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristina Kathy,
 MargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine,  Mary MargaretTimothy, Heidi, Connie, Jackie

Look how many of us there are now! Do allow for people being in different time zones, so not posting all at the same time, but it’s well worth doing a bit of blog hopping to see all the lovely projects that are being worked on.

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WDW holiday, 11th Oct – Flying home

Wednesday/Thursday

We had to get up at 5.30am this morning. Our flight wasn’t until 11.40 but Disney does like to get you to the airport nice and early. We’d had notification that we were being picked up by the Magical Express at 7.15 and to get there 15 minutes early.

I only had a couple more things to pop into the suitcases and they closed easily, thanks to my expert packing skills 😉 (plus we hadn’t done much in the way of shopping)

We made it to the bus stop in plenty of time and the coach arrived bang on 7.15. I do like using the Magical Express. It’s a door to door service and you can just sit back and relax. They play cartoons and trivia games on the overhead screens and the seats are comfortable. Much better than the stress of driving back and having to faff about returning a hire car at the airport.

The airport was quiet this morning and once we’d used the self-service kiosks to print our boarding passes and luggage tags, (I’d already checked in online), we were seen straight away at bag drop. There was only a short queue at security, but we were able to go through a different line as our boarding passes had ‘TSA Precheck’ on them. It was brilliant. The laptop stayed in my hand luggage, our jackets could have stayed on, if we hadn’t been carrying them, and our shoes didn’t need to come off. Five minutes from flashing our boarding cards to walking out of security the other end. We have never got through that quickly before. Maybe they decided to give us a break after my pat down last year, and Stephen’s this year LOL

Once airside, we headed for Starbucks for a light breakfast. Stephen had a sandwich and I had some pumpkin loaf – yum. Then we headed for our gate and sat and waited. We had over two hours before our flight departed but I’d rather be two hours early than two minutes late 🙂

We were quite looking forward to the flights, for a change. I love flying, but hate cramped seats, especially on transatlantic flights. We were so happy that we’d got such a good deal on premium economy with Air Canada. It’s definitely easier now that we’re getting older.

We were almost the first people on the plane and settled in to our lovely comfy seats. We had some juice while we were waiting for take off, and were handed menus to select our lunch option.

The food was delicious, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about airline food before. We both had the chicken tandoori and there was loads of really tasty chicken. I love the hot towels that you’re given to freshen up before eating, and I love that they clear your tray as soon as you’re finished. It’s completely different to what we’re used to in economy.

I finished my book on the Kindle during the flight, (Earthly remains by Donna Leon – very good) and started another, (the latest Stephanie Plum – Turbo twenty-three by Janet Evanovich). Stephen watched Passengers on the iPad that’s provided.

Our flight took off slightly early and landed about 30 minutes early. We had ages to wait for our next flight but it went fairly quickly. We went for coffee, and had a walk round a couple of times. I bought some maple chocolate, which was yummy.

Boarding went smoothly again and we settled down for our longer flight. Once again we got the juice, hot towels and a lovely meal. No photo of the food, but I did get a pic of the menu. I had the chicken and Stephen opted for the beef. Both were very nice indeed!

I slept for most of the flight after we’d eaten and I think Stephen managed to get some sleep too.

We landed a bit earlier than scheduled and were through security and waiting at the courtesy bus stop by 7.10am. The bus came ten minutes later and we were soon in our hire car and on the road. We stopped at Oxford services for some breakfast and finally got home at about 11am.

Stephen had to take the hire car back and while he was gone, I tidied up. I’d moved a few things to give the cats more space to play so had to rearrange the furniture a bit. I washed all their blankets and quilts too as they’d been well used and needed freshening up.

The cats were happy to be let out into their enclosure and seemed very happy to see us. They look as if they’ve been well looked after while we were away. Kitty Angels do a brilliant job. I’ll post some of the photos that they sent us when I get time.

We had a brilliant holiday, seeing some new things and revisiting old favourites. Yes, it was very hot and humid and occasionally very rainy, but we still managed to do everything that we wanted and spent plenty of time relaxing too.

 


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WDW holiday, 10th Oct – Hollywood studios

Tuesday

We had a slightly later start this morning but we were at Pepper Market, the quick service restaurant at Coronado, by 8.30am. We had a nice breakfast there. I had pancakes and sausages and Stephen had a breakfast sandwich. Once we’d finished eating, we went for a stroll round the resort.

Coronado is split into three areas, all with different styles and landscaping. We’re in Casitas and are just a couple of minutes walk from the central area with the shop and eateries. The landscaping is lovely all around the resort. It’s a pretty place to walk around and we enjoyed having a little explore.

We had our FastPasses at Hollywood studios today but needed to pop to the Swan first to return our hire car. We needed a photo of it first though. It’s a holiday tradition.

From the Swan it was just a short boat ride to the Studios. We got there in plenty of time for our first FastPass on Tower of Terror. Stephen didn’t feel like riding it though so he sat in the shade while I went on by myself. I had a blast, but sadly the people in front of me had their hands in front of my face for the photo. We did get a magic shot with the balloons though. We had fun getting it done.

Next we went over to do the Muppet show and spotted a lonely photographer when we came out. He had no customers at all so we hijacked him to take some shots in front of the Muppet theatre. We asked if he had any magic shots and he walked us round the corner and took this one.That’s another one that I’ve been after so I was a happy bunny.

We were getting a bit peckish so had a bit of lunch at PizzoRizzo. We split a small pizza between us but had a dessert each. What can I say? It’s our last day and we needed a treat.

Next up was Toy Story Mania, which we love, and Stephen actually managed to beat my score this time. I’ve beat him every time on Men in Black, TSM and Buzz Lightyear apart from this time, so I guess I can let him have one win 😉

We spotted one last photographer taking pics with the Star Wars sign in the background so joined the queue. He took a few normal poses and then told us to do this.
We did have one more FP to use but we needed to get back as I wanted to take my time doing the packing. We have a very early start tomorrow as the Magical Express will be picking us up at 7.15am.

We got back to our room to find that housekeeping had been busy.So pretty!

We had a little relax before starting the packing and then Stephen hauled the suitcases out. I like that in this room, they fitted nicely under the bed so were out of the way. Packing, as usual, consisted of me organising and packing, while Stephen hovered waiting for instructions.

It took a while to get everything as ready as we could, and we were getting hungry so decided to walk over and get something to eat. We’d been eyeing up the table service restaurant here, the Maya Grill. It’s about a three minute walk from our room so we popped over and got a table.

It’s lovely inside and the menu is short but everything looked lovely. I had the beef short rib and Stephen had a pork chop. The flavours on both were delicious. My beef just fell apart and was excellent.

Back to our room after that and an early night, ready for departure in the morning.


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WDW holiday, 9th Oct – Animal Kingdom

Monday

This morning we were up early and managed to get to Animal Kingdom for early entry at 8am. It was hot even then at 26° with 97% humidity. Apparently this is July weather rather than October’s. We’ve never felt heat like it here and even though we’re here a month earlier than usual, we really didn’t expect this.

The lines for both Pandora rides stretched for what looked like miles so we went to the Safari and had two goes on that. It would have been nice to get another ride on Flight of passage but we’ve been on it twice so can’t complain.

A lot of the animals weren’t out yet on our very early safaris but we did see all three lions together which was worth the early start alone. On one of the safaris we managed to get a shot of the lion and one of the lionesses together.On the other ride we got my favourite ever lion photo.We also managed to get a nice shot of one of the black rhinos as he’d come down to the water at the front of his area.

My camera didn’t like the heat & humidity. The lens misted up and wouldn’t clear. My glasses have been misting when going from the air con to the heat, but clear in seconds. My lens was still misty an hour after leaving our room. In the end I had to gently wipe it. I’ve never seen that happen before but luckily Stephen had his camera on him so we didn’t miss out on any of the photo ops on the Safari.

We were getting peckish once it got to 9am but had a walk round the park trying to get a few more photos before we left Animal Kingdom for the last time this trip. We got the elusive Simba magic shot on the Harambe bridge.

The photographer told us that there would be a photographer in Dinoland in about 15 minutes, when we asked about the dino bone magic shot. I’ve been trying to find that one since we arrived in Disney World but there’s never been a photographer in the area. We crossed our fingers that our luck had changed and headed over. We got some nice photos over in Asia on the way.When we got to Dinoland, there was indeed a photographer and she was very obliging. She took several shots of us posing in front of the huge dinosaur and then took us to the side to do our dino bone shots. Stephen’s is definitely the best.

I was starting to get a migraine by the time we left so instead of heading out to find breakfast somewhere, we came back to Coronado to pick up something to take back to our room. It was blessedly cool inside so we decided to relax for a while after eating, and go back out to the Magic Kingdom later for our FastPasses.

By 2pm we knew we weren’t going to the parks that day. The temperatures were up to 33°, but with the lack of a breeze and the high humidity it felt like 40°. We just couldn’t face it. Stephen has had a cold for a few days so had a nice long nap and I read for a while.

Once it had cooled down, and after doing a bit of research on what was showing, we headed for Disney Springs to go to the cinema. We saw The mountain between us and quite enjoyed it. We had hot dogs and popcorn in there and called that dinner 🙂

After the film, we walked down to The world of Disney store and got another three charms for my Pandora bracelet. There are charms that are exclusive to the Disney parks so I can only get them here. I got a purple Mickey charm, one with the castle and fireworks on it, and a red/black/silver Minnie charm. They’ll add a bit of colour to my bracelet.

We looked round a few other shops then took a slow walk back to the car park and headed back to Coronado.


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WDW holiday, 8th Oct – Coronado Springs

Sunday

This morning we got up fairly early and packed everything up as it was time to leave the Royal Pacific. We’ve loved our stay there. It’s a beautiful hotel and all the staff are so friendly and helpful. The room was full of luxurious little touches but at the same time was cosy and comfortable. Add to that the short walk to the parks and having Express pass access to the rides, and it’s a great place to stay for a few nights.

It wasn’t quite time to go home though as we were off to Coronado Springs on Disney. It’s a resort that we haven’t stayed at before but I’d read great reviews of it and it looked and sounded lovely. On the way there, we stopped off at IHOP for breakfast. I had a pancake combo again but this time with chocolate pancakes with a mocha espresso filling/topping. It was yummy.

We checked into Coronado Springs just before noon. Our room was ready but the cast member asked us if we’d like one of the newly renovated rooms instead. I said that I’d like that very much and she said we’d have to wait up to an hour as housekeeping were still in there but that I’d get an email when it was ready.

We had a look around the central area while we waited and then drove over to the nearest car park to our room. The email came just after that and we unloaded the car. The room is lovely. It’s quite large and has a really nice bathroom area with lots of storage space in it. It looks like we got an upgrade too as we booked a standard room but have a preferred room. We got a decent coffee maker again, the same type as we had at Royal Pacific. There were plenty of USB charging points as well as standard sockets.

There is some construction going on at Coronado at the moment, which we knew about when we booked. We didn’t think it would impact us that much so we weren’t worried. I thought it was a nice touch that Disney left a little gift in our room because of it though.

We unpacked the essentials and drove over to Animal Kingdom to use our FastPasses. We went on Dinosaur and hammed it up for the photos again. I don’t think we’ll ever tire of that 😉

We found a photographer who was doing magic shots with the butterfly. We hadn’t found that one before so were quite chuffed. I do love the way Stephen really gets into it.We also found the magic shot for the Lion guard.We did the Safari and saw the Nemo show, which I love to bits, the Lion king show, also brilliant, and It’s fun to be a bug. At one point we walked over to Africa from Pandora, using the new path. It was a nice walk with a lovely view of Harambe as you approach it.

We had lunch in Satu’li canteen again. Stephen had the same as the last two times, the beef bowl, but I tried something different and had the cheeseburger bun, which was something a bit different and although not as yummy as the chicken bowl that I’ve been having, was still very nice.

When it got dark enough we headed over to Pandora as I’d been dying to see it lit up at night. It was beautiful. I didn’t attempt to take any photos, partly because it was raining a bit but we did get a couple of photos taken by the Photopass photographers.

I love this animated shot with the wood sprites.

After we’d had a good look round we headed back to our room to finish unpacking.


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WDW holiday, 7th Oct – Universal

Saturday

Today we managed to get up and out before 9am and headed straight for Universal Studios. This was going to be our last day at the Universal parks so we wanted to do any rides we’d missed and revisit a couple that we’d already done.

We headed straight for the Minions ride, which was hilarious, and then went to the new Jimmy Fallon ride. This one was completely new to us but we loved the pre-show, which was clips from The Tonight show. They were really funny and it seemed like no time before we were called into the main part of the ride. It’s a simulator and was really good.

We needed something to eat after that as we’d come out without breakfast after last night’s late meal. We headed to The Leaky Cauldron over in Diagon Alley and had a very early lunch. I had a stew in a breadbowl and Stephen had bangers and mash. Both were quite nice.

We took a few photos in Diagon Alley. I love all the details in there. It’s just like walking into the book.

We didn’t want to do any big rides after eating so we watched the Animal actors show and then went on E.T. We thought we’d head over to Islands of Adventure after that, but swung by Diagon Alley on the way to grab ice creams from Florean Fortescue’s. I had orange marmalade and Stephen had sticky toffee pudding. Both yummy.No photos of the ice-cream, sadly. It was melting in the heat so we had to eat it quickly.

We stopped to watch Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees for a while. I love that they have live entertainment dotted around the parks. Some of it is really good.

Then it was onto the Hogwart’s Express and over to IoA. After a quick refreshment break – bottles of water because it was insanely hot, we went on the Jurassic Park river ride. I was hoping to get a bit wet on there to cool me down but sadly only got splashed a little.

Then it was one more ride on Skull Island: Reign of Kong and we headed out of the park. We had to swing by the front of Universal to pick up a package and had a quick look around the Hard Rock shop. I managed to resist adding to my bear collection, but it was a close thing.

We got back to our room and settled in for a relax before deciding where to eat later on. We were talking about how hot it’d been and how lucky we’d been with the lack of rain as it’d been forecast as a possibility from 12pm onwards. It was now 5pm and it’d been dry all day. As we were talking, we heard a noise outside and looked to see that it was bucketing down with thunder & lightning too. What brilliant timing to get back just before it started!

By 8pm we were hungry so decided to walk over to City Walk to get some dinner. It wasn’t raining and the forecast was dry so we thought we’d be ok. There was some fine rain with thunder & lightning while we were walking there, which made us a bit nervous, but the rain held off apart from a teeny shower while we were eating.

We had planned on going to one of the restaurants but we didn’t think we were hungry enough to justify it so we just had hot dogs. There’s a place that has a lovely selection of different ones. I had an Arizona and Stephen had the Boston. Both very nice.

Back to our hotel for a bit of TV for Stephen and some reading for me. Packing in the morning as we’re heading back to Disney World.

 


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WDW holiday, 6th Oct – Universal

Friday

We didn’t do early entry this morning. We’d planned to see what the weather was doing and see how we felt about getting up early. It doesn’t really make any difference to the rides this year as the Harry Potter rides both have Express pass, where last time they didn’t. Early entry was the best chance of going on those without a queue back then.

We did get out by 9am though and walked over to Islands of Adventure. The walking path to City Walk is lovely. It goes along the waterway and is all leafy and jungle-like. Very pretty. Islands of Adventure is very close to where the path comes out at City Walk so it’s not far at all.

We headed straight for a ride that’s new since our last visit here, Skull island: Reign of Kong. It was brilliant. The standby line was only ten minutes and they advised us to go that way as you miss the fun if you go in the Express line. It was really dark and things leap out at you, which made us jump. It was great! The ride itself was 3D with dinosaurs trying to eat you and a huge Kong attacking the dinosaurs. We loved it.

Next we went on the Spiderman ride. That was amazing when it was new but even that is starting to feel a bit dated with all the amazing new rides they’re bringing out. It was still good fun though.

We didn’t eat before we came out so headed for The croissant moon bakery for some breakfast. I really fancied one of the huge cheese danish and a coffee but was very sensible and had a breakfast burrito and water. Sometimes being sensible is very boring, even if the burrito was quite nice.

We walked up through Seuss landing after we ate and took a few photos before going on the Seuss trolley train ride. It’s very sedate, but lovely to sit and see the view from over the top of Seuss landing.

We carried on walking round and when we got to Hogsmeade, decided to take the train over to Universal. First stop there was Men In Black, where I beat Stephen’s score again 😉

Next was the Mummy ride, which was brilliant but I think it was a bit too much as my head started banging when we came off. It was very, very hot again and really humid so I think it was a combination of things. We decided to go back to our room and take a break and see if we fancied going back out again later.

After a couple of hours relaxing, we popped back to Universal Studios so we could go on Terminator. It’s one of our favourite rides, as we love the films, and it closes this week. We needed to say goodbye to it.

On our way into the park, we bumped into Tracey and family again and had a quick chat. We saw them twice more that afternoon too, which is amazing considering the size of the place.

We had a thirty minute wait before the last Terminator show so we had a cheese danish and a coffee. See, I got my danish in the end 😉

Terminator was brilliant, as always. It’s sad to see a favourite go, but hopefully it’ll be replaced with something amazing.

We were debating walking over to Islands of Adventure, as Universal was closing ready for another Halloween party, but decided to call it a day as the skies were looking a bit dark. It was probably the right choice as the heavens opened on the path back to our hotel and we got drenched.

I was impressed by the service in the hotel again as they had a staff member handing out warm towels at the entrance to anyone coming in dripping wet. It was very welcome as it’s a bit of as shock to the system coming in to the air conditioning, and even more so when you’re wet.

We quickly got changed into dry clothes and made a dive for the car. Stephen has been after some special reading glasses and we hoped that we might get them at Target, and by coincidence there was a Joann next to it so I could look at craft goodies.

We didn’t manage to get the glasses but I did pick up some scrapbooking stickers in the sale. I only made a tiny purchase as space is tight in the suitcases but I’m pleased with what I got.

We stopped off at a Denny’s on the way back for some dinner. I had the French toast grand slam. It came with bacon, eggs and sausages, but I’d tucked in before remembering to take a photo. I was starving! Stephen had a hotpot which he really enjoyed.

Then back to our hotel, where I had the glamorous job of hand-washing some socks. It’s not all fun and games!