Wednesday, 31 August 2016

My Bucket List 2016 Update


This is SO overdue. Since starting this blog in 2011 I've probably done 3 versions of a bucket list, updating it, changing it and now I've changed it up completely by organizing in a whole new (a lot better) way.
Usually, I'd link previous posts that are similar but the bucket lists before this aren't really worth the read haha. I've kept many of the items that were one those, as well as the ones I've crossed off, then added a few more so each topic has 15 points.
The items that are underlined are ones I have completed already :) though those that have been completed yet state 'more' or 'again' I'd like to do more. Here is my Bucket List for Life as of 2016!



Adventure
Go on a super long road trip.
Travel to all 7 continents via boat or train.
Go on a Skiing/Snowboarding holiday again.
See one of the Wonders of the World.
See animals in their natural habitat on a Safari.
Go on a proper camping trip.
Visit Disneyland Paris in each season.
Bathe in some kind of natural baths.
Climb one of the Worlds Top 10 mountains.
Have a 'Lost' style experience on a desert island. 
Climb a massive tree.
Travel on a boat to the US West Coast.
Walk through a waterfall.
Go Quad Biking somewhere beautiful.
Abseil/slackline/rockclimb somewhere super cool.


Charity
 Organize my own charity event. 
Re-home another dog.
Support fundraising friends more.
Do a considerable length sponsored walk.
Be on the organ donor register.
Make it to 10 consecutive Race for Life events.
Give any profits from an annual calendar of mine to a good cause.
Volunteer more.
Do something huge for someone deserving.
Help at an animal sanctuary/reserve.
Provide rest bite for Guide Dogs / Foster rescue dogs.
Raise over £1000 in one event.
Give a homeless person with a dog, a care package.
Sponsor an endangered animal again.
Collect all of my change/coppers for a year and donate it.


Experience
Photograph a famous set of caves
Skydive
Travel 1st Class
See 'The Lion King' on the West End
Visit the set of a TV Show/Movie I love.
Ride a horse
Send a message in a bottle.
Walk over hot coals.
Meet a 'wild' animal up close (in the right circumstances)
Watch a movie at the cinema alone.
Get a reading from a physic medium.
Be an extra in a film.
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon.
Stay overnight in a haunted house.
Visit the Harry Potter attraction in London.


Life
Be employed by the Walt Disney Company
Own a house in the country.
Raise and train a Border Collie.(or BC cross) 
Have more of my photography published/sell my work. 
Adopt a child & homeschool them.
Become semi self-sufficient. Solar/wind power, grow own food etc. 
Find out even more of my family tree. 
Save a life.
Read all the books I buy.
Learn some BSL and/or another language
Plant a tree in the grounds of my bought home.
Enter an image of mine into a competition.
Conquer my sugar addiction.
Photograph the dolphins that visit our town eventually.
Help someone else complete a bucket list item.

----

Out of those completed, you can see any corresponding blog posts or videos in the links below -
Organize a Charity Event



Woohoo! 60 things I'd like to achieve in my lifetime! Some I know I will do, some I'll have to really try for and a few aren't that likely to happen...but we must dare to dream, you never know what is possible.
If you have a bucket list I would LOVE to see it so link it below in the comments, or if we share any life goals let me know that too :) 








Monday, 29 August 2016

Kielder Forest Charity Walk // Day 2, Part 1


This is the 4th post in the little mini-series about Dad and I's 30-mile charity walk back in June. Before you see this one, take a moment to check out the others below that came before it and see more of our trip.


Now as I mentioned in the first post, Dad has spondylitis and I have arthritis and asthma so we split our walk over two days. Our first day we did 17 miles and the second day 15. We stayed at The Black Cock Inn in Falstone and I really wish I'd taken more photos to be able to review it as it was so lovely! Maybe we'll return at some point, as dogs are encouraged guests. 
So anyway, day 2 we woke around 7-8 and went down for breakfast. We were the only guests that night as it was before the Summer season started, which was quite nice. As we left the owners ever so kindly handed over a donation toward our walk which was amazingly generous of them, and pointed us in the right direction.
If you're familiar with Kielder and the Riverside Walk you'll be saying 'but it's only 27 miles!', well that's because after the trail ended we had to walk another few miles to get to the Inn and the same upon leaving to get back to the trail. That walk up the hill below (it doesn't look as steep as it was) seemed to take forever and then we finally got to the dam and took a couple tourist snaps before setting on our way.


This side of the lake is my favorite. My life would be perfect if I could have a little cabin up in those woods...it was so quiet, hardly any other people minus the odd cyclist and the views - wow!! :O
We saw Canada Geese with their babies and a bird of prey that I could swear was a Golden Eagle, though that is quite unlikely. Perhaps it was a Buzzard, either way, it was one of the biggest birds I've seen out in the wild and seemed rather red. Unfortunately, I was only able to get the one quick photo before it disappeared behind the trees.
Other than that wildlife was rather scarce this day. The only other flying object being planes from the nearby RAF base in practise flights. Can you see what it says on the red parts underneath the plane...? Scary!

Part 2 coming soon!


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Weekly Reflections // Week 99

21st - 27th August

Favorite Photo
[Gutted this was over exposed. It was taken outside against the house wall but the sun came out from behind the cloud hence the over exposure. However, it was too cute and funny not to use so I'll have to deal :P ]

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Super deep cleaning the living room.
♥ A crazy amazing sunrise.
♥ The Goosanders tiny feet moving all cute and fast under the water. 
♥ Jungle Book DVD release day!
♥ Jake disposing of the child of Aragog that held me hostage.
♥ Baker's 4th birthday <3
♥ Keeping up traditions.
♥ Baker opening his birthday gifts.
♥ Baker's birthday BBQ.
♥ Baker loving his new harness and being the best, most intelligent, caring little man ever!


Blogs Posts I've Enjoyed.
[!] The Rookie     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] Night Crossing     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] Angels in the Outfield     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] Miracle in Lane 2     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] Tall Tale     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] The Jungle Book 2016     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Other Articles etc of Interest.
Favorite post from this week - All About Meal Plans at Disneyland Paris
This week in 2013 -  What is Animal Cruelty?
This week in 2012 - Jessie J at Alnwick Castle



Friday, 26 August 2016

All About Meal Plans at Disneyland Paris


Where to start? I suppose with the statement that food is expensive and extra so at Disneyland Paris. It might just be me personally, as I don't have a great relationship with food, but I resent having to spend so much money on it. Therefore it's inevitable that I would obviously rather use my hard saved for spending money on pointless souvenirs instead of sustenance.
That is where meal plans come in.
I am their biggest advocate. I recommend them to everyone going to Disneyland Paris. I love them!
As a quick explanation, DLP meal plans come in two varieties. Full Board and Half Board. For both there are three 'tiers' so to say - Standard, Plus and Premium which have different costs to suit your budget and needs. And now, I'll tell you more below...


What You Get -
Half Board // 1 x Pause Gourmand (Teatime Treat) & 1 x Main Meal  per person, per day.
Full Board // 1 x Pause Gourmand (Teatime Treat) & 2 x Main Meal per person, per day.
Teatime treats can be used in exchange for a hot drink and cake between 3-6pm.

What it Costs -
Half Board //  Standard = £21/11 pp pd     Plus = £27/13 pp pd     Premium = £45/23 pp pd
Full Board // Standard = £37/20 pp pd     Plus = £47/23 pp pd     Premium = £77/39 pp pd
The two varying prices above are that of adults vs kids, the lower, obviously being the child cost.


How to Buy -
You must be staying at a Disney hotel to take advantage of this awesome money saving scheme and it is only available to book in advance of your trip. We always book it alongside the rest of our package when booking the hotel.
If booking your holiday online, you will have the option to add this to your package when going through the extras.
If you have already booked and want to add this to your package at a later date, you can call the Disneyland reservations line on 08448 008 111.
The vouchers themselves will be included in your welcome pack when you check in at your hotel.


How to Use -

You can check the full list of where you can use your vouchers here as well as checking individual restaurants menus. Remember that you still need to reserve your table to avoid disappointment as your meal plan does not guarantee a seat!
I personally always like to inform the server upon entering the restaurant that we are on a meal plan, then if it is a buffet you can present them and pay right away and if it is table service, you can use them to pay afterward.
Be aware that in table service restaurants, there may be a set menu you must choose from when using vouchers, depending on your tier. You can also buy extras, or order from other menus and pay the difference once the value of your voucher has been deducted.


What is Standard?
Restaurants you can eat at - 7/24
These 7 are all buffet style, 3 situated in different Disney hotels, 2 in Disneyland Park, 1 in Walt Disney Studios and 1 in Disney Village.
I have gone for this option in half board once and found it very adequate. For fussy eaters or people not too bothered about trying different restaurants, this is a great option to still get value for your money.

What is Plus?
Restaurants you can eat at - 20/24
These 20 restaurants are a mix of buffet and table service, located all over both parks and the village, only omitting character dining  options (minus Cafe Mickey which is included) and the restaurants in the Disneyland Hotel.
I have gone for this option in full board once and very much enjoyed it. It made choosing somewhere to eat less of thought as we could pretty much go anywhere. Remembering that in table service places there are set menus, you still get fantastic value.

What is Premium?
Restaurants you can eat at - 24/24
By paying a little more, you get great benefits. You can eat at all 24 restaurants on the list, including the character dining Auberge de Cendrillon and Inventions in Disneyland Hotel. Oh, it also includes Buffalo Bills dinner show too apparently, though I am unsure for which seating catagory and can't find any info on that.
This is the only option I haven't personally taken, purely as the plus is enough for us and we don't do fancy places!


So now you can see it all broken down, let me give you a couple proper scenarios so that you can see how it can be worth it.
This year we have booked the Plus Half Board meal plan. This costs £27 per person, per day, totaling £270 for our whole trip. It seems costly when you see a huge price tag like that but just wait...

Each day of our trip we get a free breakfast as part of being in a Disney Hotel. 

Day 1
Snack at Cable Car Bake Shop -
Hot Drink €2.69  x2
Cake €3.59 x2 
Total for afternoon snack = €12.56 

Meal at Chuck Wagon Cafe -
Adult Buffet with soft drink €27.49 x2
Total for evening meal = €54.98

Total for 2 people for day 1 =  €67.54  approx. £58.21 



Day 2 
Snack at Restaurant En Coulisse -
Hot drink €2.69 x 2
Muffin €3.99 x 2
Total for afternoon snack = €13.36 

Meal at Bistro Chez Remi -
1 Starter & 1 Main Course €45.99 x 2
Soft drink €4.49 x 2
Total for evening meal = €100.96 

Total for 2 people for day 2 = €114.32  approx. £98.53


I won't go on and on working out each day but let's use these as an example. For meal plan, you pay £27 x 2 for one day which would equal £108 for those two days... or pay cash for each meal, at a considerable difference - £156.74.
Obviously, different restaurants make your prepaid meal plan more worth it than some, however, all do save you at least some money.
The money saving isn't the only upside to meal plans of course. They are handier to have and quicker to use, no need to carry large amounts of money or occur debit card charges.

That's pretty much it I think! I'll include a link or two below to websites that may be of use and other than that I'd love to hear from you on how you find the meal plans at Disneyland Paris. Have you used them? Do you think they're worth it? If you haven't would you consider it in the future?

Disneyland Paris Website - Meal Plans
DLP Guide Website - Meal Plans
DLP Guide Website - Restaurant Menus




Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Project 365 2016 // July

I have had so many posts ready and scheduled that it's been a bit of a funny month for trying to squeeze things in! This and other monthly 'series' type posts have kind of been on the backburner kind of, but because I do do them every month I don't want to just stop them or miss one out. That is my long way of explaining why it's taken until the 24th of the month to get this up haha.




My Top 3 photo from this month are -
Day 187
Day203
Day 209


The best moments from this month were -
- My morning with the Seal and more.
- The return of the Canada Geese.
- Mam and I doing our 6th Race for Life in 6 years :)
- My last ever DMR arriving.
- Baker recovering for the vet from hell visit.
- Laura coming to visit.
- Seeing the BFG!
- Finishing my first book in over a year.
- Lots of messy fun with Baker.
- Extra early starts.

Check out this month in previous years here -
Project 365 2015
Project 52 2014
Project 365 2013




Monday, 22 August 2016

Exploring Northumberland // Kielder Birds of Prey Centre


[This is post 3 of 5 from our Kielder walk. Please have a peek at part 1 to find out what we were doing along with some photos & check out part 2 here for more photos of the rest of day 1.]

During our charity walk around Kielder water, we took our dinner break on the first day and visited the wonderful birds and staff and Kielder Birds of Prey. I can't believe it's been since September 2012 since we were last there and that was the trip that fully spurred on my passion for birding photography as well as adoring birds of prey.
(Check out the post with photos and video from our 2012 visit here)
We had a great time seeing all the beautiful species, as well as a few babies and of course, got the chance to fly them again. However, I had no one to photograph/video me this time so that's a bit of a shame. I did try and take a few photos though, while making the most of our time there, so that is what you will see below.
Again, as with the other two posts in this mini-series, I will make it a photo-dominant post and say goodbye now. Let me know in the comments which bird you like the best and if you have ever had an experience with birds of prey!



* For some of the birds it was the time of year the moult hence the ones who look a little raggedy haha


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Weekly Reflections // Week 98

14th - 20th August

Favorite Photo

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Semi-good news at the doctors.
♥ A great visit with Nana and enjoying the sun with her & Baker.
♥ Waking up to the news I'd won Fiona's Giveaway!
♥ Having a garden to sit in.
♥ My happy boy and our fun in the sunshine.
♥ Being productive within normal working hours.
♥ Going back to the hell hole & seeing Jake.
♥ Solving the DVD mystery of 2016.
♥ Sleeping in my own bed.
♥ A trip to the shop with Jake.


What I've Watched.
[!] Love Happens     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[!] The Guilt Trip     ⭐️⭐️
[!] The Heartbreak Kid     ⭐️


Other Articles etc of Interest.
Kevin Smith has some advice for his daughter's cyberbully
True selflessness: This young man and his friends are mowing their neighbors' lawns and asking for nothing in return.
Friendly Duck Appears Out Of Nowhere To Cheer Up A Heartbroken Dog
Everyone In Denny’s Freezes When Dick Van Dyke Starts Belting ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’
Ten Reasons Why Voldemort May Still Be More Likeable than Umbridge
Meet Ingo and Poldi: Tiny rescued owl and dog are madly in love
The Egyptian team are changing the face of beach volleyball
400-year-old Greenland shark is oldest vertebrate animal
Which Disney Princess Are You Based on Your Zodiac Sign? (I'm Libra btw :P)
Police Officer Adopts Dog After Hit-and-Run and Pays for Surgery to Save His Leg
10-year-old helps create playground for children of all abilities
Hero Spots Exhausted Pit Bull Who’s Been Stranded In Floodwaters For 16 Hours
Community Rallies for Disabled Dog Whose Wheelchair Was Stolen
Postman Writes Little Letters For Dog Who Loves Getting Mail


Posts from the Past. 
Favorite post from this week Pete's Dragon 2016 [MOVIE REVIEW]
This week in 2014 Baker's New Toys Review.



Friday, 19 August 2016

20+ Disney Movies That Are NOT For Kids!


One huge thing about Disney movies that annoys me is not people saying 'Disney movies are just for kids', but more so the people who are Disney fans and say 'I'm such a kid haha' or even worse 'You're never too old for a Disney movie'...because, well, duh!
It may be a surprise to you but despite Walt Disney Pictures being so well known for it's animated productions, it's live action catalog outweighs the animations by about 2 thirds (and that's not including the 18 or so hybrid movies).
Of those 250+ live action movies many are not and were not made for children. Ooohh! I know how hard that is to believe because Disney isn't for adults right? Whether they are not suitable due to the subject, language or themes such as violence etc or just not something that would interest or be understood by a child there are many, many films that fall into the 'Disney Movies NOT for Kids' category.
Below is a list I have compiled of such releases from the 1990s to present day.



White Fang (1991) Rating PG - 
Death, violence (including that of animal mistreatment/cruelty/killing) as well as general harsh living conditions in the mountains make this a very serious and unsuitable watch for anyone younger than teen-age. 


The Rocketeer (1991) Rating PG -
Action-style violence such as car chases, gun fights and explosions are part of the Rocketeer. Mild bad language and slight sexual content can also be seen. Suggested teenage viewing at least.


Newsies (1992) Rating PG -
Rough, tough, gang theming. Violence such as fist fights, threatening scenes and smoking is seen too. Another to leave for the teen years.


The Mighty Ducks (1992) Rating PG - 
A well known and loved series of movies about a hockey team may seem harmless enough but this movie does indeed include many things little ears and eyes shouldn't witness. Slightly worse than mild language is included (some of which may be less strong in the US but are quite bad in the UK). There is also some 'more for adults' humor and sexual innuendos.


A Far Off Place (1993) Rating PG -
The first warning I have here may apply to some adults too as an animal is killed in a poaching incident, this whole scene inparticular is very upsetting. . There is also murder of people and occasional bad language.


The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993) Rating PG -
As with the time it's set in it features things that would be the norm then, such as drinking alcohol, smoking and being drunk. Again there is violence in the form of fighting, threatening with knives and  more as well as the killing of an animal (however that scene is not too over the top gory). Lots of mild bad language also.


Iron Will (1994) Rating PG -
Dangerous/harsh living scenes, death and graphic violence involving dogs. Mild bad language and sad scenes. More rewarding for adults to enjoy the story line however, pre-teens may be able to watch if they give it time and pay attention to the story if they are not upset seeing dogs being hurt.


Tall Tale (1995) Rating PG -
Tall Tale is set in the Old West and therefore has such themes including violent fights, shooting, a possible rail accident and drinking etc. More for teens and adults.


Operation Dumbo Drop (1995) Rating PG -
Set in war-torn Vietnam, as you can imagine, shooting and violence feature heavily. An animal is killed, though nothing is seen it is still upsetting. I also noticed the odd racial slur. It is classed as an adventure comedy but the comedy is not that of which kids would split their sides at.
(Based on a true story)


Tom and Huck (1995) Rating PG -
Like 'The Adventures of Huck Finn', issues of the time setting are featured. An alcoholic, drunks, threats to kill and lots of other violence/danger, as well as references to kids sneaking away from home, make this another one for the older kids.


The Straight Story (1999) Rating U -
The first of it's type in this list it shows nothing throughout the movie that is likely to upset, offend or scare children but it is a serious tale and would not be of any interest to anyone younger than mid to late teens.
(Based on a true story)


Remember the Titans (2000) Rating PG -
Remember the Titans deals heavily with racism. There are racial slurs and mild bad language as well as a lot of threats, segregation and actual violence in the form of fist fights. A serious plot for young adult and over to appreciate.
(Based on a true story)


National Treasure (2004) Rating PG & National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007) Rating PG -
A conspiracy theory treasure hunt featuring violent action such as explosions, hostage situations, gun fire, car crashes and, in the sequel, some slight sexual references. Neither appropriate or interesting to viewers under the late teen range.


Prince of Persian: The Sands of Time (2010) Rating 12 -
Violence is the predominant issue in this video game turned movie. The rating is more reliable although I would even say 14+ due to the sheer amount of violence and not great role models. 


Alice in Wonderland (2010) Rating PG -
Of course, Tim Burton's twist on the classic Carroll story is always gonna be a little more intense than other versions. The violence and threat level warrant the PG rating but I still think certain scenes nearer the end of the movie, in particular, are a little brutal for under 12s.


Pirates of the Caribbean Series (2003, 2006, 2007, 2011) Rating 12 -
I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain why these movies are 100% for adults... If you are among those haven't seen any of the Pirates movies these include alcohol consumption, sexual references and prostitutes, bad language, violence, intense and somewhat scary atmospheres and lots more.


John Carter (2012) Rating 12 -
Despite having this in my DVD collection I am personally yet to watch it, purely down to the fact I have heard to compared to Star Wars a lot and I am not a fan of that genre. However, I have looked into it and war, gore, strong violence, torture and bad language are all present. I feel it should, by the descriptions, be rated 15.


The Lone Ranger (2013) Rating 12 -
100% should be an 18, The Lone Ranger is extremely violent and includes scenes that could be distressing to some. Rape, cannibalism, many deaths, mild language and other slight sexual references are some of the themes included.


Tomorrowland (2015) Rating 12 -
Limited in it's content that would cause any issues, my main reason for mentioning this is that it takes an older audience to understand and appreciate it's message. There are some risky situations, a little violence/shooting and a tiny amount of mild bad language.


McFarland USA (2015) Rating PG -
Another inspiring sports movie similar to 'Remember the Titans', McFarland USA deals with race, class and privilege issues. There are some fights and mild language but on a whole, it is probably okay for mid teens to see, though they may not hold interest.
(Based on a true story)


The Finest Hours (2016) Rating 12 -
Intense, perilous and about a natural disaster. This movie is a little too dramatic and scary for anyone other than adults to focus on and appreciate to it's fullest.
(Based on a true story)




Before I say any more I have to state, these are my opinions and I do not expect you to agree so please keep the comments amicable.
I find that these days in particular ratings are far too lax. Children are subjected to, or should I say, allowed to see and experience things that can cause a negative impact on their character and choices in life...why can't children just be children and enjoy innocence?
A website that may be of use to any parents out there that don't have time to fully watch a movie before letting their child see it is, www.commonsensemedia.org . As you can see it seems ratings aren't always that helpful, so please don't assume a PG label means it is okay for your child to see.

Enough of the 'too much too soon' talk, I hope this more than proves my point that DISNEY IS NOT JUST FOR KIDS and it doesn't need to be stated as it's obvious! There will actually be a part 2 coming at some point because as you can see I only went as far back as 1990 ;)
Let me know your thoughts (without getting too angry at me) in the comments below.