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Holiday planning – India

As well as planning a trip to Orlando in December this year, we’re also thinking of going away to India. I know they seem like two very extravagant holidays for someone who has just moved into a new house that needs completely renovating but we’ve both been saving hard for these trips for a few years now. The trip to India would be to celebrate Nick’s 30th which was in January but at the time we just went to London for a few days because we were waiting to exchange on our new house so we decided to put off the trip until later in the year when we were all more settled.

I’ve been to India before about 10 years ago and it was so fabulous. I was lucky enough to trek around the Himalayas, get lost in Delhi and marvel at the Taj Mahal. (Cue cringey photo…)

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This time around it will be slightly different because we’ll have Huxley with us. This is the main reason I’ve been searching for more luxurious holiday ideas and hotels in India rather than the usual cheap-and-cheerful style of holiday that Nick & I usually go on! As lovely as India is, due to the noise & dustiness, it would be nice to be able to escape back into a clean, quiet hotel when the day is over. Once Huxley gets older I’m more than happy for him to experience India a bit differently but while he’s still so young, safety is my main priority.

There’s so many things I’m excited about that I don’t even know where to begin! The wildlife is definitely a big draw for us, especially after seeing how excited Huxley was at the zoo recently. When I was in India, I saw elephants just walking down the street and to see Huxley’s little face watch an elephant stroll past while he’s eating lunch would be worth it’s weight in gold. I’d also like to visit a tiger sanctuary, although I’ll be doing lots of research into which ones treat the animals properly and aren’t just dreadful, inhumane tourist attractions.

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Nick is always really keen to visit cities and ‘tick them off his list’ so as well as visiting Delhi, I think we’d travel around a little bit and try and see some other places around the country. Jaipur is only 4.5 hours drive so maybe we’d try and get the train down there or something. As well as seeing the Hawa Mahal, it would be great to try out some of Rajahstan’s regional street food to see how it differs from that in Delhi.

hawa mahal

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While in Delhi, we’d be silly not to make the trip to the Taj Mahal. Although I’ve been before I certainly wouldn’t mind going again as it was so serene and peaceful there. It was quite funny actually because we were one of the few groups of western tourists there. I expected the place to be packed with western backpackers but it was mostly full of locals or Indian tourists. In fact, we stuck out so much that several of us got collared by groups of Indians asking to have their pictures taken with us, which led to several embarrassing situations of being partnered up with other people from my group and asked to hold babies while photos were taken! It was so bizarre!

india-taj-mahalWhile Nick is always keen to see the hustle and bustle of cities, I’m always badgering him to get out into the countryside a bit more. When we went to Japan, we only visited Tokyo and I wish we’d made the trip out into the hills as I think it would have been much more relaxing. I’d love to travel around the countryside in India a bit more as it’s such a huge and diverse country that I feel we’d be missing out if we just stuck to the cities. I’d love to visit a tea plantation.

India-sceneryHave you ever been to India? Where do you want to visit on your next ‘big’ birthday?

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Holiday planning – Orlando

In December, Nick’s cousin is getting married at Disney World in Florida. I’ve been saving up for it for about 2 years now and it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited about it. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Nick & I are obsessed with America and have been to 17 states so far. Neither of us have visited Florida before so we’re excited to have the opportunity to explore somewhere new.

As it’s drawing closer I’ve been glued to my computer searching for florida flights to see how the price fluctuates throughout the year. I keep reading things about ‘last-minute’ flights not being cheaper anymore but I’m yet to see any evidence of that. From what I can gather, it’s about £500 cheaper to fly into Orlando‘s lesser known airport of Sanford (and it’s direct!) than the main airport that most people fly into. It’s a little further away but I think it’s worth it when you’re saving that much!

Here’s the top 5 things I’m most excited about:

harryBeing a huge Harry Potter fan, this is obviously top of my list for a trip to Orlando. I’ve visited the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London and it’s awesome but it doesn’t have rollercoasters.

cuban sandwich

I’m a little ashamed to admit that this very nearly beat Harry Potter to the number one spot as the main reason that Nick & I travel is to eat. How much do you want a cuban sandwich right now? Look at that picture! We’re desperate to eat one of these, especially after watching the film Chef not so long ago.

typhoon lagoon

Huxley is only going to be two years old when we go so he’ll be a bit young for a lot of the rollercoasters in the parks. One thing we will be able to all enjoy together is the water parks. I’m particularly excited about Typhoon Lagoon and the lazy river ride. Doesn’t that just look like the pinnacle of relaxation.

Kissimmee airboat rides

Not technically in Orlando, but only a 30-minute drive away is Kissimmee where you can take an airboat ride over the Everglades. This just looks like so much fun and I can just imagine Huxley with a little helmet and life jacket on squealing his head off with excitement as the wind blasts him as we speed around!

Blue Springs State Park Again, not technically Orlando but only a 40-minute drive is Blue Springs State Park where you can swim in the natural pools or watch the manatees. Unfortunately swimming with the manatees is not permitted. You can also go fishing, camping, hiking and canoeing here or take a boat tour.

Have you been to Orlando? What activities would you recommend?

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Garden decorating

So I have some pretty exciting news! We FINALLY exchanged on our new house this morning! Our offer was accepted in November and we thought we’d be moving in before Christmas but there was delay after delay, Christmas came and went and we moved out of the flat and into my in-laws in January thinking we’d only be there for a couple of weeks. Fast forward to March and we’ve finally exchanged! Phewph! It’s been a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait.

The main reason we moved out of the flat is that we wanted a garden for Huxley to play in. It was so frustrating in the summer to not be able to open the doors in the lounge because we were three floors up and if we wanted to go outside it was a massive rigmarole because we’d have to pack a massive bag full of everything we’d need just to go and play outside. Now, we’ll be able to chuck Huxley out in the garden while we sit on the patio with a cup of tea. We’re going to be outside so much more often now. Also, I love the beach and the sea and we’ll definitely still go but cleaning up sand can get a bit tiresome so grass will make a nice change. Our garden is super private and not overlooked at all too so we’re very lucky.

So yeah, sorry if things get a little interior-focused over here for a little while as that’s going to be my main focus for the next few months as I get square eyes from browsing Pinterest for garden decorating for hours on end. The house is a massive project and is a bit of a mess at the moment so I will of course be taking before-and-after shots for you to keep up to date with how we’re getting on and it’ll be nice for us to keep inspired by tracking our progress and seeing how far we’ve come.

One of the things I’m most excited about is getting to take the garden back to it’s bare bones and spend some time planting the flowers and trees that I love. Decorating our outside space to include seasonal plants, an allotment as well as modern factors like lighting, means we’ll be spending plenty of time out there. I’ve got some ideas from Lampcommerce and the local gardening centre to optimise the area to its fullest, for Huxley and us too!

One of the first things we’re ordering is a Weber Smokey Mountain BBQ so we can get some ribs going in the morning and by the time we finish working at the end of the day, we’ll be able to stuff our faces with awesome food.

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I can’t wait to plant a ton of pretty trees. I’m desperate for a camellia tree/bush. They are just so beautiful. A magnolia would also be rather lovely, as would an acer for the autumn. I just want the whole garden to be absolutely bursting with colour.

garden globe string lightsLighting is going to be really important in our garden as there aren’t any street lights so it’s going to be super dark. It’ll probably be one of the first things I buy as I love seeing trees lit up in fairy lights and I see so many lovely pictures on Pinterest of American backyards with string lights, not to mention patio lamps and wall lights perfect for entertaining on warm summer evenings with the aroma of ribs in the air.

garden playhouse

How cool is that playhouse??? I can’t wait to get/build something like this for Huxley. We wanted a treehouse but haven’t really got any suitable trees in the garden but if we keep a little corner overgrown and bushy then it will feel like a little secret den.

garden bar

You would not believe how excited Nick was when I showed him this picture! I can’t imagine we’ll ever have a bar this elaborate in the garden but it would be cool to try and recreate something similar for special occasions.

veg garden

This isn’t technically ‘decorating’ but we’ve always wanted a vegetable garden. We’re desperate to grow some herbs because they’re so expensive to buy in the shops! We’re hoping things will grow quite well as it’s a south-facing garden so it should get a lot of sunlight.

Do you have any future ideas? What would be in your dream garden?

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