My To-Buy list – pre-holiday

Last week I booked my summer holiday. Hooray! I’m off to Barcelona for a week at the end of this month. Sean’s brother lives there, so it’s amazing that it’s taken me so long to book a trip.

I’m very excited, but I’m going to need reading material. Partly for the beach, where I will drag Sean against his will, and partly to stave off my plane anxieties. Here is what I have so far.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

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I know nothing about this book but I’ve seen enough people talking about it that I thoroughly want to read it.

Plus mermaids are cool.

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

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I really like Holly Black, but I haven’t read her books for years. Tithe, Ironside and Valiant were staples on my bookshelf when I was first getting into urban fantasy. The Cruel Prince sounds like my cue to get more involved.

Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

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Slightly ashamed of myself for not owning this already, particularly as I loved the other two Sara Barnard books. This might be an airport pick-up…

Whatever the first Sarah J Maas book is

court ofIt’s probably not this one.

I have no idea how many of these there are but in my head its about 600. I’ve never heard people be so conflicted about an author’s, so even if I hate it I’m going to buy one and I’m going to read it. And then I’ll probably read more because I have FOMO.

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If you’ve read any of these and there’s one or two in particular that I MUST get, let me know. Particularly if it’ll distract me from my fear of meeting a fiery end in a Ryanair plane.

Here you leave today…

Florida! The obligatory holiday roundup, delayed due to the fact that I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the past few weeks wanting to leave the planet. I ended up leaving my job instead. Oy vey.

Before we start, shout out to Dan who came round a while ago and informed me, when conversation turned to this blog, that he “doesn’t care about the content, [he’s] here for the tone and the sarcasm”. Thank you Dan, I’m delighted to learn that I’m giving the fans what they want.

The rides

Last time I came to Florida I was ten and refused to go on anything that I thought might upset my fragile disposition. For this trip I decided that since I am now (allegedly) a grown up I should probably do theme park stuff, since I’d spent an entire month’s mortgage payment on the tickets.

This approach had mixed results.

It got me on Space Mountain, which I loved, in probably the biggest surprise of the trip given my jangly nerves and my preclusion to suffer from motion sickness. I went on it three times, entertaining Megan and Andrew with my “rollercoaster noises” all the way through. (A demonstration of these noises can be provided upon request.)

Then there was Expedition Everest.

It’s worth pointing out that Megan and Andrew actively conspired to get me to go on Expedition Everest. They knew if they explained it I’d refuse, but if I enjoyed it I wouldn’t be scared any more. Exposure therapy.

So they told me it was a higher up version of Thunder Mountain. “Sounds neato!” said I, skipping into the queue.

Reader, they lied to me.

I certainly don’t remember Thunder Mountain shooting off backwards in the dark and culminating in an 80ft drop. Once I realised I’d been had all bets were off and I spent the rest of the ride terrified, which culminated in this now-iconic photo.

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At least my dad appears to have found serenity throughout the experience, whereas I could barely walk when I got out of the ride vehicle. At least my family have stopped lying to me.

Circue Du Soleil

Prior to this trip I had no idea what Cirque du Soleil was. I assumed that it was ballet-type twirlings with ribbons and shit, and I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic.

As you all know I live to be proven wrong, and I was. Highlights included the clowns – who I could have watched for an hour and a half on their own – and the little Chinese girls who have more co-ordination and talent at about ten years old than I have ever had.

Honestly if you’re anywhere in the world and Cirque du Soleil are performing, go.

My Birthday

Remember when I said I was going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios for my 26th birthday?

I was summoned to Hogwarts instead.

So off I went to Diagon Alley to get my school supplies, including robes (which I wore until I got unbearably warm) and a wand. Ollivander’s wand shop both looked and smelled exactly like I always imagined it would, although I was quite perturbed by the face that my family kept elbowing me in the back while we were waiting.

It made sense when I was duly summoned to perform wand choosing ceremony. It’s very cool – right down to the “I wonder…” line just before you get given YOUR wand, and then the wind starts and the lights go mental like they do in the movie and CHILLSSSSSSS. My mum cried.

The whole thing is very, very authentic – there’s a real Hogwarts Express steam train, a real Hogsmeade and a real Hogwarts castle containing my favourite ride in the whole of Florida, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I didn’t know being swung around on a hydraulic arm could be so much fun.

Miscellaneous memorable moments

  • Telling Megan and Andrew that I’d give them $10 each if they could recreate the “lift” scene from Dirty Dancing in the pool. They didn’t, but it was hilarious to watch, particularly given Andrew nearly accidentally drowned my sister.
  • “Meats cheese millet” – the ultimate gluten free breakfast.
  • Chef Brandon in the Boathouse in Disney Springs, who promised me a gluten free Bundt cake that would change my life. It did, and when I confirmed this with the waiter Brandon was duly whisked back out so I could tell him in person. He sat with us at our table, told us how to make it ourselves and then gave me his business card so I could email him when I got home if I forgot anything or had any questions. I LOVE BRANDON. He’s the real MVP.
  • Watching the video of the Irish family trying to catch the bat in their kitchen at least once every single day and laughing until we cried every time.
  • Not dying on any of the flights (score!) and only bursting into strangled tears once when we hit turbulence. Apologies to the nice Australian man on the end of our row – I was the Scot who cried and needed to pee a lot.

I miss Disney World. Who wants to go back, and drink Le Fou’s brew in the sun and watch the fireworks?

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See Ya Real Soon.

The world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy.

I’m going to Florida with my family next month! Have I told you yet? If not, buckle up: I’m about to get really annoying for the next four weeks.

My sister – who has been at least once a year since 2014 and for whom the word “obsessed” is putting it lightly – doesn’t believe I’m excited, despite the fact that I’ve spent the past three years bawling whenever she’s shown me her photos. When we booked the flights a full twelve months ago she nearly battered me with a spade because I “wasn’t excited enough”.

She spends a lot of time watching review videos, POV videos, Vlogs and stuff. She wants me to do this too, so we can be excited together. I refuse. To quote River Song: spoilers.

I’m not unconvinced Megan moved to England earlier this year to avoid throttling me out of frustration.

So, because I’m pretty sure she won’t let me onto the plane unless I stop saying “I don’t know, everything” whenever she asks me what I’m most excited about, I’ve dug deep into my surface level knowledge of Disney World and picked the five things that have me at MAXIMUM HYPE.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I turn 26 right in the middle of the trip. 26 is a horrible number. It’s on the wrong side of 25 and dangerously close to MY LATE TWENTIES. I will no longer fit into the 18-25 age bracket.

Obviously the way I’m going to counter this is by regressing into my ten year old self and bawling my eyes out in a Harry Potter theme park for the day. If my family don’t think I’m going to embarrass them all by running around in Ravenclaw robes with a wand and an owl under my arm then they don’t know me at all. I’M NOT SORRY.

Disney BoardWalk

I’m finding it difficult to look at the entire BoardWalk and not just shout YAAAAAAS whenever I see it. In an ideal world I’d be here most evenings. It looks AMAZING. Arcades, food, a great big lake with boats and a bar that sells eight different varieties of margarita? When can I move in?

I hope there’s mini golf. We love mini golf.

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The Magic Kingdom

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This was my first response when Megan asked me what I was MOST excited about. (I hope I’m more excited than she is in that photo.) She said “yeah, but what about it?”

Like…what do you mean, “what about it”? EXISTING THERE.

But I continue to aggravate her with vague answers, so I looked at the map as much as I could and still be spoiler free and picked the highlights.

  • Main Street, U.S.A. – they do a song and dance when the park opens and then you get to walk right up the middle to the statue of Disney holding Mickey’s hand and Cinderella Castle? SISTER HOLD ME I’M CRYING ALREADY.
  • Thunder Mountain – I HATED rollercoasters or anything vaguely scary as a child. I’m not overly enamoured with them as a bigger child, but I remember crying and freaking out on the walk up to Thunder Mountain – yes, the tamest coaster in all the land – so I’m going to on this one to prove a point.
  • The Peter Pan ride – this was my absolute favourite when I went last time because it was so pretty and chill.
  • Fantastic show – I might be cheating with this because I can’t remember if it’s in the Magic Kingdom or not but whatever, I cry every time Megan plays clips of it and I’m going to cry when we’re there. No regrets.

Epcot

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Epcot is the park that I liked the least when I was there last time. In hindsight I was probably too young to actually appreciate it since it looks cool af now. There’s Future World and fireworks and stuff, but let’s get real: hello World Showcases.

I like food and I like atmosphere. I’m very keen to inhale lots of both. There’s also a Drinking Around The World challenge, which is where you have to have a drink at each of the eleven World Showcase country pavilions in one day, sounds right up my avenue. Will I be able to walk out of the park afterwards? Who knows. I’m not sure if there’s a prize for managing it, but by the time I get there I doubt I’ll care.

Also the Epcot International FOOD AND WINE Festival is on while we’re there and y’know.

these are a fwe of my favourite things

The Disney water parks

For someone who spends so much time indoors and is paler than Casper, nothing makes me happier than brightly coloured alcohol and sun. I’m literally going to drink cocktails and spin through shades of brown faster than a Dulux mixing machine. I’m not one for flumes or being dumped into pools because I’m hopeless and I will drown, so really the rides don’t matter here and Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are equally going to do it for me. Mainly because they’ve both got those things where you sit in the middle of a rubber ring and float round a river.

Those things are awesome.

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There you go Megan. Happy trip planning. It’s going to be awesome and I hope we’re as stylish this year as we were in 2002.

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