Top Ten of Twenty Thirteen

The story of Lofty

When me and Lewis were visiting home from University at the beginning of November, we woke up to find a black cat was hit by a car outside his house and passed away. After asking the houses down their road, we discovered it was stray. Kate and Colin, Lewis’ parents, also informed us that they’d found a dead kitten in their garden the night before, but none of us put two and two together. By the next night, we were back at university, but Kate and Colin heard a very scared little meow whilst they were trying to sleep. After a lot of searching, It turns out the mother cat had somehow got into their loft from the outside and had given birth to two kittens up there. So this little lonely kitten, now named Lofty, had never seen daylight or humans before. Kate and Colin were so caring, and gave him lots of love and food but because they have two golden retrievers and live on a road where quite a few cats have been hit by cars, little lofty now lives at my house, settling in with Bubble, Jimmy and Boots. So we’re all winners, Lofty is now living with three other cats on our farm, and is a very smitten kitten and we now have a fourth cat to add to our cat zoo.

Image

Birthday Bubble

As my previous post has told you all, I love Bubble as much as I love my entire family. I got him when I was 5 and he’s my absolute world. As far as pets can go, I don’t think I will ever have one that means just as much to me as Bubble does. This year he turned 15 and although that’s old, it’s okay because he’s got at least another 15 years in him, he promised me.

 Image

Unforgettable Florida

This Summer, in June, I was completely spoilt and taken to Florida with the Everett’s as part of Lewis’ 21st birthday present. We got to swim with Dolphins at Discovery Cove, go to Disney Land, Universal, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet and Wild, Epcot, Amazing Beaches, Massive Shopping Centres and restaurants which served incredible food (in my sort of portions). I will never, ever forget my time in Florida, and will always be grateful for being taken there, and even more grateful for my boyfriend and his family. I’m a very lucky girl.

Image 

Special Sandbanks

 I have been to Sandbanks once a year since birth, with my Parents, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Great Granny, Great Aunty, Brother, Sister and cousins and each year we have the most amazing year. Sandbanks’ is an incredible place to be and has recently been in the news, as explained in my previous post, but to me it’s more about the memories and traditions that my family have there. And our time in Sandbanks, in 2013, was no different.

Image

 

Second Year grades

Whilst in Sandbanks this year I got my grades for second year, which I was extremely happy about! I worked my absolute bum off last year and am so happy I did because I received a 2:1 and that’s what I had hoped for.

 Image

Our special Lily

Valentines day is about the people you love, but unfortunately Janurary 14th in 2013 was the day I had to say goodbye to someone I love dearly. My great granny, Gar, sadly passed away at the end of January last year and valentines day was the day of her funeral. Although it was one of the hardest days of my life, it was one of my most truly memorable moments of the year as it was a day to celebrate her life, to send her off in the way she would want and deserved to be and to show her just how much she meant to us all.

Image

20 years on

As always, I love to celebrate my birthday with my nearest and dearest, and this year was no different. Some of my friends came from just up the road, and others travelled over 5 hours on a train to be there, and that made me extremely happy. I had an amazing night… Bring on my 21st next year though. Everyone keep August 2nd free 😉

Image

The two L’s

Although me and Lewis spend a lot of time together due to us living in the same student house, we rarely get a moment when it’s just me and him. So London is our little getaway, and this year we’ve been twice and, as always, both times were very special.

Image

Fingers Crossed

Getting an interview at UEA for a PGCE in KS2 primary is definitely one of my highlights of 2013. If I get a place I will start in September, and will be on the road to where I want to spend the rest of my life. My heart has always been in teaching, and I know it’s the career I’m destined to be in. I’m due to hear back from UEA within the next two weeks so fingers crossed!

Image 

Together Again

When I was at High School I would see my best friends almost every day, but now being at University I know how much I took that for granted. On Christmas Eve this year me and 5 of my oldest, best friends were reunited after about a year and it was like we were never apart.

 Image

I’m grateful for everything 2013 brought to me, and everyone that was a part of it. 2013 was a memorable year for me, and I hope 2014 is just the same! I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

You don’t need fairies to experience magic

Yesterday I had the most magical day of my life and I’m going to try my best to put it into words for you but I have a feeling it isn’t going to do it much justice.

We’ve been in Florida 11 days now and although every day has been absolutely incredible, deep down we’ve all been waiting for today. At 7.30am we arrived at Discovery Cove where we were given our snorkel, wet suit and the time of our dolphin swim, 12.10.

Whilst we were tucking into our unlimited breakfast buffet we decided that we would begin by taking the rapids through the aviary, otter and mandarin habitats which allowed you to be within a metre of all these animals, pet and feed them.

We then headed over to the ‘Great Reef’, which was a man-made coral reef covering 2.5 acres of land, home to 10,000 different fish, stingrays and sharks including 125 different species.

So we put our snorkel and goggles on and dived straight in. Well, we tiptoed in very slowly, easing our bodies into the cold water, trying so carefully not to get in the way of any fish. But I soon learnt that the fish were ready for me and soon darted out of the way.

And down I went, gazing deep into the reef, absolutely mesmerised by what was below, around and on top of me. Suddenly being cold was no longer an issue and it was just me and the fish, amazed at the flashes of colour and the variety of species and shapes. As I floated in a dream-like state, I watched the fish live their lives in their schools, delving into the reefs grottos and crevices, un-phased by my company. And then a pair of massive bloody stingray’s were heading towards me and the grace I had been carrying soon turned into a mess of screaming and splashing. I kicked as fast as I could, until me and my embarrassed face were washed up to shore.

And then I looked at the time and It was time to go down to the dolphin pool, the pool where it would be just us, the trainer and a dolphin… We were also teamed with a family from Texas but lets forget about them.

Soon we were introduced to Thelma, a beautiful dolphin who we were going to spend the next 30 minutes with. Thelma was a 20 year old mother to 4, who had lived her whole life at Discovery Cove.

For centuries, mankind have often referred to dolphins as ‘the angels of the sea’, and I was about to see just how perfectly they suited that description. Thelma glided over to us, popped her tail above water level and gave us a welcoming wave. All 9 of us, including Thelma, were soon smiling from ear to ear.

Our time began by the trainer telling us a little about Thelma, where she would respond so humanlike with nods, shakes, waves and squeaks. The trainer would shout “shark!”, and Thelma would squeal and cower. He would twist his wrist in a certain manner and Thelma would glide away about 10 metres to surprise us all with a perfected back flip. The nicest thing about it was that she was so willing to do it, with a few fish fed to her throughout, Thelma was the happiest thing.

Next we were able to have our photo taken with her, where she would kiss us and smile alongside us for a photo. She then took us separately for a ride where we held onto each of her fins and she would, so delicately, glide us through the water where it was so clear how protective she was of us. One of the younger boys from the Texas family accidentally let go and Thelma, with no hesitation or command, quickly turned around and picked him up again, this brought a tear to my eye.

I was worried that holding onto their fins would cause discomfort to her and mentioned this to the trainer who soon assured me that Thelma was quite happy to partake and that if any of the 46 dolphins at Discovery Cove don’t want to do anything, they won’t, and the trainers allow this and simply just use another dolphin.

After a few more photos and tricks our 30 minutes had very quickly come to an end, well they do say that time flies when you’re having fun.

What amazes me the most about dolphins is the emotions they can make you feel. Thelma was full of grace, with a loving and protective nature. Everything she did, she did with elegance and a smile, and it seemed that nothing could dampen her mood.

I’ll never forget the poise, pride and grin that Thelma had about her, and I will never forget my day at Discovery Cove. That 30 minutes of my life comes on par with my Australian Skydive, and I insist that if anyone is planning on a day with Dolphins, they should pursue it at Discovery Cove, Orlando. It needs no hesitation, I can promise you will have one of, if not ‘the’, best experience of your life.

1010040_10151557880213402_256826836_n998657_10151557880493402_1619469829_n

Sun, Sea and Shamu

Feet up, radio on, sun shining.. Stuck in a stuffy car for around an hour and a half, for the second time today. But bloody hell was it worth it.

Today we’ve been to St Pete beach at St Petesburg. White sand, Blue Sky, Sea like a bath… you get my drift. And since my last post, 3 days ago, we haven’t stopped so it has been really nice to relax today and get a little more burnt.

Over the past few days we’ve been back to Universal as we had an early entry pass to the park so that we could go on the Harry Potter ride without having to queue. It was a moving simulator ride, with effects so powerful that it takes complete control of your senses and was, hands down, my favourite ride I’ve been on so far.

We’ve also been to Seaworld to watch the Sea-Lion and Killer Whale show, which was breath-taking. Although I had been told beforehand that a few years ago, Shamu, the oldest killer whale had eaten one of the trainers during training. So I was a little concerned at how “mind blowing” the show was going to be.

20130620-202448.jpg

Yesterday we went to Epcot at Disney World for the morning but we spent most of the day at Animal Kingdom mainly because Kate and Colin knew how desperate I was to see some Oodays (thats the noise elephants make, obviously). And it was my favourite day, ever, especially the African Safari.

As crazy as I am about animals and zoo’s, I often leave a little upset at the way the animals are forced to live. But what I loved about Animal Kingdom was how big and ‘natural’ their habitats have been made, allowing them to live happily.

20130620-203749.jpg

Over the past few days we’ve been to a couple of shopping malls where I brought all my family a present. Even though my parents order me not to bring anything back for them, I have to. I love buying them presents. Plus, I owe it to them.

It’s been really weird not being home for Fathers Day today, but I sent him a soppy text in which he replied “what do you want?”. Little Daddy’s girl aren’t I.

The weather here is more up and down than me once a month. I started writing this post with the windows down, dazed by the heat and the sunlight. And within 10 minutes of typing, the windows are now shut and the rain is so heavy that the few cars I can see ahead of us are all travelling less than 10mph with their hazard lights on.

If you don’t believe me, these two photos below were taken within 20 minutes of each other.

Thank you for reading xxxxx

20130620-210009.jpg

20130620-205737.jpg

Good morning America

Really struggling to find time to blog at the moment, but today I set my alarm an hour earlier than I needed so that I could write a post on yesterday, which was easily one of the best days of my life.

I should probably start off by saying I’m not in England, I am in fact laying in an air conditioned room, lit by nothing but the scorching sunshine, still a few hours before my breakfast, whilst everyone in the UK would be digging into their Lunch, in Orlando, America.

Not only is Lewis a dream to be with but his parents, Kate and Colin, are two of the most generous people in the world. For Lewis’ 21st his parents said they’d take him to Florida, as it’s his favourite place in the world and that they wanted me to go with them. So here I am, nursing sunburn, after just one full day In America.

Yesterday was our first day and after waking up at 7am, partly because my body clock has no idea what’s going on, but also because I was too excited to sleep again, we headed to Denny’s. Denny’s as Colin always says is “The best place to go for breakfast because all the police go there”. Although there were no policeman parked outside and I struggled to fit through the door on the way out, I had one of the best breakfasts ever.

Looking at the menu and around at all the Americas, I realised that a full English at least double the size we normally eat at home, alongside a side of 4 pancakes drowned in butter cream and maple syrup is ‘your average breakfast’.

So after a few minutes deliberating I decided to give the American way of life a go, as I should. I ordered what were called ‘Puppies’, balls of pancake batter, coated in sugar and cinamon, deep fried and, of course, swimming in maple syrup. And my gosh, take me back. (I also had a bacon English muffin, because a breakfast isn’t breakfast without a bit of bacon).

We then planned on popping to Universal, “for just a few rides”. Within minutes of arriving that all changed. Kate and Colin decided to treat us all to get unlimited fast pass on every ride at both parks, I felt so bad and guilty. But there was no time to, we had just over 9 hours, till the park closed, to go absolutely crazy. And so we did.

Im not going to sit here and describe every ride because we’ll be here for days, but my favourite three were The Simpsons, Hulk and Popeye and Bulto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. Regrettably we begun on Hulk, less than an hour after I’d demolished my breakfast. But it was amazing. Your typical fast, loop-de-loop, upside down ride.

We did Popeye’s ride about midday, meaning that around 8 hours later, when we left the park, we were only slightly damp. This ride is when ten people sit In a circle facing inwards, and ride down the rapids, it was so exciting as you had no idea how soaked you were going to get round the next corner. Plus, Colin clearly sat in the daring seat and came off the ride absolutely drenched, haha.

The Simpsons is more of a 4D simulator ride, and its absolutely incredible. Made me tummy go, like it does on a normal roller coaster, even though I was barely moving.

We then watched the Cinematic experience when the park closed which involved water falling, creating patterns and images, celebrating 100 years of Universal. Once this had finished, we left the park with only two parks unridden, and within minutes of my head touching the pillow I was fast asleep.

Yesterday was an absolutely amazing day, and I can’t wait to go back there. I am an extremely lucky girl and still have 13 days of this!

Speak soon xxxxxx

20130613-131633.jpg