Saturday 21 December 2013

Squirrels v Foxes (QPR v LEI 21.12.13)

Well today was one of the few times recently that I've been disappointed at Loftus Road .  We started pretty brightly and had some good chances on goal.  THEN a flipping (insert your own word) squirrel arrived on the pitch.  

Yes a squirrel.  A grey one, not endangered or anything, and the referee stopped the match.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an animal lover and all that, and wouldn't want to see roadkill on our beautiful pitch, but really????  What followed was pure comedy gold, well was funny at the time.   Joey Barton tried to get the squirrel off, then a Leicester player tried - all this whilst officials just stood around, it was all a bit surreal. Clint Hill gave it a good effort, then eventually a group of players got together in a pincer movement to walk towards the squirrel, who finally got the hint and buggered off.

I guess that was the best piece of teamwork we'd see all game after that.

What followed was a niggly affair.  The players were getting agitated and we really weren't playing as the team that we can be.  I hate to mention referees, I didn't have the benefit of Sky Sports, but I'll go as far to say that it was not a flowing game.   With our own players having a go at each other, it was like watching a QPR team of old *shudders*.

With a clearer head on let's say we lost to a better, organised team.   Playing 1 up front doesn't work for us, but you know what, we are still up there and I couldn't do a better job.

Onwards and upwards people, we've been in worse positions at Christmas.  Let's eat, drink and be merrily on a high up top of the table.

See you all soon my lovely Rangers......

Annie x

p.s. no I didn't mention individual players, we all know what happened and not in the mood to vent that much.  Sorry to disappoint, I'm looking to Boxing Day now..........

p.p.s. I'm not actually blaming the squirrel, I'm just saying it as I see it...........

Friday 6 December 2013

A letter to my big brother Gary.......

Dear Gary/Gaz/Shifty

It was a pleasure growing up as your little sister, am just so sorry that I was such a pain in the ass!   I realise now, having had a Summer boy followed by a Winter Girl, that life is just so unfair sometimes, but that you know what you are just super awesomeness..............

I have just had to stop Jasper from creeping into Scarlett's room to scare her - at 9.30pm!  Do you remember reading me ghost stories before bed, unbeknownst to mum and dad, and then setting up something by my bed to fall on me half hour later, yeah nice one!   That was the cue for them to swap bedrooms around and for their's to be in the middle hee hee :)

I guess that's payback for us being little swots when it comes to reading, writing, rithmatic *coughs*.  Didn't really mean to show you up but you see we were always listening in the background when you were learning, and I guess it was indoctrinated.

And then the starting school thing altogether.  You and my Jasper were the little pioneers, might as well have said you were going to the moon as to school, as it meant nothing....but you boldy went for it, with a few tears, and eventually worked out it had to be.   Myself and Scarlett just strode in behind our big bruvs with familiarity and a need to do everything right for our female teachers (thats for another day).

I guess I'm saying it's quite bitter and sweet, and would love to hear your take on it.   You became a fabulous engineer - and I followed in your footsteps, from a child who struggled to read and write you became a Director of a major company, I always believed in you even if the school didn't.   And now you own a pub, I may love you a little bit more hee hee.

l.ove you Gary, we need to talk about this stuff (course you don't you're a bloke and am over this shit)!

Anne/Annie/Shifty's sister

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Slow Cooker Fish Curry, delicious for the kids :)

I know this recipe could probably take about 5 minutes if you fried the fish, but I find it easier to prep around lunchtime, when little ones sleep, and then put in the slow cooker a few hours before the school run.
Chris and I had this for our dinner and the kids ate most of it, so the next night I did it for them, and again they devoured it!

For 2 - easily doubled!
250g firm white fish, cut into strips
3 tbs natural yoghurt (I use fat free Greek)
1/2 tbs Tandoori Masala Powder (found in the ethnic section in Sainsburys)

Combine the yoghurt and the Masala powder.  Coat the fish and chill for 20-30mins.
Put into the slow cooker and cook on low for around 3 hrs.

Served with rice for the kids, to ours I added mushrooms to the fish, and accompanied with sliced red onion, tomato and coriander (as per pic).

Annie x

Friday 11 October 2013

A collection of the guest posts/ramblings I've been asked to write..........

I have now been privileged to be invited to guest write a number of posts, newspaper articles etc. so thought I'd put them all together in one place for prosperity my mum.

Q&A with Bolton ahead of our game 28/1/14

QPR Fans Weird and Wonderful Superstitions in the Brent and Kilburn Times Jan 2014

Stonewall Post in the Brent and Kilburn Times

My all time QPR XI for the QPR InsideR Online Magazine

Bolton vs QPR August 2013

The Highs and Lows of Being a QPR Fan

there are a couple more floating around somewhere which I'll add when I remember where I sent them, oh dear..........

Annie x

Sunday 6 October 2013

Record Breakers QPR v Barnsley 5-10-13

I reckon there may be some sore heads amongst our hoopers this morning, and for good reason!

Saturday 5th October 2013, at home to Barnsley, and a club record breaking moment on the cards for @Robert1Green
Back in 1967 (the year of my birth), the late Peter Springett was the last QPR goalkeeper, before Rob, to keep 7 clean sheets in a row.  

The pressure was on Rob today, to make it a record-breaking 8, but you wouldn't have known it as he was his usual calm between the sticks.  

During the second half, particularly at 2-0 up (more about that in a bit), a lot of us fans were chanting "Greeno" but smiling he simply gestured for us all to calm down haha!

Before I go back to the match itself, take a little looksee at how the table ended that year, makes interesting reading indeed.

Our very own @RodneyMarsh10 played that season too, and he was at the game to watch, and was very excited about Rob getting the record.  Just brilliant.

The game itself was fairly boring in the first half, we didn't look too troubled, though there was nearly a scrambled Barnsley goal, and we went in 0-0 at half-time.  The second half was much livelier, and a 66th min strike by Charlie Austin saw us off the mark.   He also performed his trademark #slidingmoves for our @elmodedude - you need to watch the fans forum (minute 22) featuring our Emily for this to make sense, even @OfficialQPR tweeted about it during the game.   Loving the #QPRTwitFam before, during and after!  By the way 'Arry this is our Emily, Queen of the Park Rangers Blog :)

The second goal was a penalty on 87 minutes, again calmly taken by "our" Charlie Austin.   What a fantastic day.   We are now second to Burnley (Charlie's previous club of course) on Goal Difference, with a game in hand.

Next game we are away to Millwall, never an easy fixture, but come on you Super Hoopersssssssssssssssss.

This was also the 60th anniversary of Floodlights being installed at Loftus Road by the way.  We played Arsenal that day back in 1953, let's hope we get to play them again some time soon (shhhhhhhhhhhh don't jinx it)!

Annie x

Friday 4 October 2013

Slow Cooker Nepalese Lamb Curry

Kauli Matar Ra Masu
(Lamb Curry with Cauliflower and Peas)

In 2001 Chris and I travelled to Nepal.  It was a fantastic place, we did some great trekking, and throughly enjoyed their local fayre.   Unfortunately our holiday was cut shot by the killing of the Nepalese Royal family.   As the news spread, all the men shaved their heads and we even saw the funeral pyre, as it is custom to burn the bodies immediately.   We basically got the last flight out of the country!   I feel for them as tourism has been majorly effected, but I would definitely be back in a heartbeat!
Whilst there I picked up a Nepalese cookbook.   I hadn't looked at it in years, but decided to have a thumb through recently.  I thought I'd have a go at converting one for the slow cooker, and this is the result :)

Tbsp Oil                                                                                           4 garlic cloves chopped
1 cinnamon stick                                                                               Pinch of black pepper
2 bay leaves                                                                                     150g peas, fresh if possible
4 cardamom pods, bruised                                                                1 tbsp ground coriander
1kg lamb                                                                                         1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh ginger sliced                                                                  1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste                                                                                     2 red chillies (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric                                                                                  Fresh chopped coriander to garnish
1 small cauliflower

Preheat the slow cooker to low.  Heat oil in a large frying pan, add all the ingredients - APART FROM CAULIFLOWER AND PEAS - and ensure lamb is sealed and coated well in all the other ingredients.   Add to the slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours.   As you can see from my pic I added the cauliflower from the start too, but although it tasted lovely, it was mush having cooked too long, so I would now add the cauliflower and peas after the 6-8 hrs, stir well to coat, and then cook for a further 45 mins to an hour.

I will also add a further chilli next time - but then I do have a cold so it might have affected my taste buds :)

Annie x

Wednesday 2 October 2013

A Right to Reply following Homophobic Backlash

I was privileged to be asked to write a guest article on the Brent and Kilburn times recently.  I chose to write about the recent Stonewall campaign, and how proud I was that QPR and, in particular, Joey Barton were #RBGF (right behind gay footballers).  You can see the article here!

You can see from some of the comments that this drew out some of those homophobes, and when I mentioned the campaign on twitter a few weeks ago I had the same crap!   Whilst I was proud my club were behind the campaign, I am disgusted at some of the fans we have, who display exactly that behaviour.

My lovely friend @AndyBasildon sent me the following, which I think is brilliant!

"You are at an away match, it’s the last few minutes of the game. The one goal is all you need to make it to the final, a break! He makes a run for it, the goalie is off his mark this is the chance.....GOAL!! On the pitch your top man runs to the terrace, his shirt above his head, all the others players have lifted him up, hugged him. But you don’t notice any of this! The elation from the terrace, the noise to your left, a total stranger to your right.........  A woman, you can`t hug a woman in case her husband flattens your nose, even though she has the same team shirt on as you, and have just experienced the same joy and elation. Instinctively you turn to the man next to you and hug, shout, bounce up and down, your pint is flying in all directions, the joy!

Press pause for a moment: Homophobia – What the hell just happened there? “Homo” is short for Homosapien or Man, to use its other shortened word.  “Phobia” is fear of something like spiders etc. So you have a fear of another man?  In elation you have just hugged a complete stranger, and on the pitch witnessed grown men show an act of what could be classed as homoerotic, hugging another man... So what if a player is a homosexual? What do you think he is going to do on the pitch when a goal is scored, give goal scorer a BJ in front of the crowd?

Comments online have said things like “next Stonewall will be bringing on the Village People at half time”. So is it acceptable to the ladies in the crowd to bring on a couple of lesbians in a paddling pool full of jelly? 

Football isn’t about sex it’s about the great game!

Stats claim 6.1% of heterosexual man have had or thought about a homo or Bi sexual experience. Count the men on the pitch, now look around the terrace. Do you think a gay man is going to buy an expensive ticket to a match in the hope the team will score a goal just so he can hug you? Get Real.

It’s not about which side of the team a player bats for off the pitch, it’s about the team he plays for ON the pitch. Homophobia in football – Man up!."

Cheers Andy, for the record they don't want us birds there either, thank the Lord these idiots are in the minority!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Return of the Prince - in support of the Kiyan Prince Foundation!

What QPR fan could forget that fatal day in 2006, when Kiyan Prince, a member of QPR's Centre of Excellence, was stabbed to death outside his school gates.   He was 15 years old.  Kiyan was set for a big future in football, but we, his family and friends will never be able to watch his progress.

Kiyan's Father, Mark Prince, set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation "to try to halt the volume of gun and knife crime that had plagued the inner cities in the UK. The foundation was designed to increase awareness and address the consequences of gun and knife crime via education and mentoring".

On Oct 4th, former WBO/IBF Inter-Continental Champion boxer Mark, is preparing to return to the ring, after a 14yr hiatus, in a bid to raise the profile of his important Foundation.

Let's all get behind Mark, I've bought my T-Shirt and have been wearing it with pride.    You can purchase tickets here!  And visit the shop and order your own merchandise here!  It doesn't show the logo on the site but check out the picture of Mark wearing his and see the picture of mine.

Oh, and don't forget to follow Mark on Twitter @markno1prince 

Go Mark and COYR's........... Let's hope Mark is as successful as our boys have been so far!

Annie x

Disclosure:  I have not been paid for this blog and paid for the T-Shirt myself in support of the Kiyan Prince Foundation.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Mushroom Burger to die for...........

My husband introduced meat free Monday to me.  He often complains since that he would prefer a lamb chop with it, but rules are rules.

If you've never tried the mushroom burger I would urge you to do so, it is so tasty and meaty - ironically - and its a healthy twist on a favourite dish!

Mushroom Burger
Olive oil
Portobella Mushroom
Cream Cheese - I use Philadelphia Light
1 Garlic clove chopped
Roll of choice
Lettuce, tomato etc. or whatever you wish to load it with!

Brush the mushroom all over, lightly, with the oil, and place under a medium grill for 6 minutes each side.   Mix the garlic into 2 tbsp of cream cheese then place the mixture around the stem.   Put mushroom back under the grill for a further 6 minutes and its done.  Load it into a roll, with whatever you like, and enjoy! :)

Annie x

Monday 16 September 2013

Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, a review........

The Monday of the second week we finally got around to going to Universal Islands of Adventure.   The Harry Potter ride was on my radar, but apart from that had no real expectations.  Boy oh boy what a treat!   This turned out to be one of THE best ever days on this trip.   And this was agreed by all of us.   We also chose to go back on the Thursday, the day before we left for home, so we really got the best out of it.

The park itself is very manageable, and only has 7 “lands”.  We headed straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.  The Floridian kids were back to school this last week of August and queues were no longer than 20mins.  Having said that, they do have a child swap room, to make life easier, so 1 parent stays with the young one/s, and then walks straight on the ride when the first parent comes off.  They were in fact playing the 1st  Harry Potter film in the Child Swap room, with gory bits deleted in case of very young ones.  Scarlett was a little star the whole trip, and patiently sat out rides whilst the three of us took our turns.   They also have a single rider queue by the way, as most of them do, and they don’t seem to mind if groups go together, as long as they understand that they will be split up when they get to the front.
Hogwarts School
Enjoying a family Butterbeer

I absolutely adored this ride.  I actually squealed when it felt I was flying high above the Quidditch pitch!!!!  However, Chris wasn’t a fan, and neither was Jasper.  We’ve worked out now that Jasper doesn’t like anything in the dark, and Chris is a purest Coaster boy… doesn’t like jerky.   For me it was the visuals that did it, and if you relax and go with it am sure you’ll love it too.  Actually, I can’t swear that you will love it, but having ridden it around 7 times over 2 days, I loved it so much.  (Do let me know)! 

The whole Harry Potter area in itself was something to behold.   The Hogwarts Express was there of course, as well as the conductor, the train station next door, and rising spectacularly up in front of you, amidst the blue sky and fluffy clouds, is Hogwarts itself.  All the little shops mentioned in the books and films are there too, and you can buy Butter Beer of course!   What’s not to love?  It really was magical.   Within the area are some other rides too, a tamer coaster for younger ones called Flight of the Hippogriff, and another double coaster called Dragon Challenge.   You have to ride both of them as they are both separate in themselves.
Dragon Challenge

There was something for everybody here, and I was particularly pleased that Jasper got his big-ride-mojo back and rode Hulk in Marvel Super Hero Island.  He went on with Chris first and then dragged me on.  Thinking it was just another coaster it has some wicked surprises, I loved it too, best coaster ever (though Seaworld’s Manta up there too hmmmm).  The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man was a great ride/simulator for all of us too.   Scarlett was a bit wary, but loved it.

For Scarlett herself (5yo), there was Seuss landing, perfectly designed for her age group (though I confess to loving the Cat in the Hat ride too).  Although our children weren’t really brought up with Dr Seuss, the area is really fun, like you are actually walking through a children’s book, with fun rides, a high up train around the area and also a carousel.

If water rides are your thing then head to Toon LagoonJurassic Park has a cute, soar through the air over the park *thing*, but it’s an 80 second ride and probably didn’t warrant the 20 min wait. 
No Queues

Just a fantastic park, if we were booking to go back (here’s hoping in a few years) visiting this park would make us all very excited.  If you are in the area it is a must see, for at least 1 day!

Annie x

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Florida, Seaworld's Aquatica, a review.............

After the second morning at Seaworld, we got the bus over to their Sister waterpark Aquatica.  That way you only pay 1 parking fee!

It was fabulous.  More wave machines, but there were downtimes too.   Unfortunately I'd run my battery down taking pics at Seaworld (Shamu Show part 2), but it also had some great rides and features, and also the free life preservers.

One thrill was anything but a lazy river, Roas Rapids.  The artificial current propels you all around the park.  Whilst it was fab, I went with Scarlett, in a life vest, but I was still concerned when she went a head of me.  Of course she loved it, she has been quite the thrill seeker this trip!

As it comes with your ticket it's well worth using on a blistering hot day.   It hit 91 the afternoon we were there.

We only did 2 water parks, this and Typhoon Lagoon, which was part of Disney.   Both were excellent but at a push I'd say the the Typhoon Lagoon felt a little dated in comparison.  Having said that, it was the only park we visited that didn't ask for a parking fee, so maybe they bear that in mind?

Annie x

Florida, shopping, a review.............

Well I'm not a great shopper, a day's shopping would  normally fill me with dread.  However, we were told by many that we had to go shop at the Premium Outlet Centre/s (there are 2, 1 at either end of International Drive).

They weren't wrong, my indulged in some Converse, Timberland and Vans, of course.  BIG TIP!!!!   After we had bought our Timberland, at the information centre in the Food Court, we found discount cards for 15% off!   I was all set for taking our bits back, and re-buying with the coupon, however Chris thought it would be wrong.

I've since found out that they would have been fine about it, and almost expect it.  Hmmmmm, I may keep the receipt (not really, not that sad, but we would have saved around $25)!

We only brought 2 big bags and 2 smaller bags for the kids.  Never time it will be 4 big bags to leave space for such goods!

Have fun!
Annie x

Florida Kennedy Space Centre - a review......

Scarlett had her Princess day at the Magic Kingdom, booked from the UK, and today was Jasper's treat, lunch with an Astronaut at NASA - Kennedy Space Centre.   It was a surprise for him and he was very, very excited.

We started in the Rocket Garden, and managed to grab a walking tour around it, with a very knowledgeable guide.   Whilst I was very interested in everything that we saw, it became ever more evident to me that I have no desire to go into space.   Spending weeks in a capsule, side by side with another person, having to do bodily functions in a space suit, erm no thanks.   My claustrophobia alone wouldn't cope with it.  But hats off to the boys and girls who do!

And talking of girls, Jasper hated the sign below that I kept quoting to him!  Ahem, #girlpower

We then headed over to see a film all about The International Space Station.   It was absolutely fascinating what they have done up there.   It was narrated by Tom Cruise, which seemed fitting (no idea why), but we all really enjoyed it.

After that, Chris and Jasper went off to have their lunch with John Creighton, their astronaut for the day.   He said it was absolutely brilliant, fantastic food and a fascinating chat.   Of course one kid asked about the ablutions etc.  It involves vacuumed space and stuff.   The liquid stuff gets let out into space, the other stays in there for someone to clear out at a later date.   Anyway......... Whilst the boys were being enlightened about such stuff, Scarlett and I went to the soft play they have.   It is all space ship type climbing stuff and slides, not very big, but big enough to entertain Scarlett for half an hour or so.

We experienced a space shuttle launch, which made Scarlett laugh watching my face!!!!   And plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with the shuttles and exhibits showing the Apollo series etc. It really is fascinating, and I didn't think I was going to get as much out of it as I did.

There are busses leaving every 15 minutes to take you around the rest of the place, which is also home to lots of wild birds and animals?  We saw the launch pad, which was very exciting, and you are taken to another exhibition centre with lots more rockets and shuttles to see.   Truly breathtaking!    It wasn't until here that we saw any reference to man landing on the moon, phew!   Even the Fodor book we were using as a guide didn't mention it?   Anyhoo, it was a really good day out.   We got to do everything we wanted to do, but could have done more.

Your ticket also gets you into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.  It is just a short way further down the road, but we'd run out of time.   Will have to go back another time.

Well worth a day out.   Even just for the NASA fleece, T-Shirts and space ice-cream, as you do!
Annie x

Saturday 7 September 2013

Year 5 Swimming (aged 9 and 10) Gogglegate!!!!!

Some of you may have heard the @OC reading out my tweets on @absoluteradio, about the letter I received home regarding my son's school swimming sessions.

Here is the letter that left me open mouthed.   Goggles, hazardous? Really? I would bang on about the need for a coat too, but in the shadow of gogglegate I shall let that pass.

Call me a terrible mother, but I have indeed written a letter accepting full responsibility for any accident that may occur. I shall worry terribly for that half an hour I have allowed his exposure to potentially hazardous goggles, but I think this will be absolutely fine character building!

Shoot me now!
Annie x

Monday 2 September 2013

Walkers Mighty Lights

We were sent Walkers Mighty Lights during the Summer, but as we had been away, they arrived 2 days before back to school, and back to packed lunch time!  Having just come back from America, and a fortnight being frustrated at not being able to buy a "normal" sized packet of crisps, they were refreshing indeed!

Today we took advantage of Inset day to go to our local farm.  First stop the tractors and Scarlett decided to use hers to distribute the Walkers to the others.

They claim to be "mighty in flavour" and "lower in fat".  The kids agreed with the first statement - Jasper said they were "immense", whilst the second claim ticks boxes for me.  It's often a challenge providing a healthy packed lunch that the kids will enjoy.  I try and make sure they have a balanced lunchbox, and they know they have to eat their sandwich before their treat, which this would be.  They are crinkle cut too which is new to them, so win win here.

As well as being
✔30% less fat than standard crisps, they are also
✔made from real potatoes
✔a source of fibre
✔no MSG
✔Suitable for vegetarians
✔no artificial colours or preservatives

Give them a go, Walkers are certainly coming up with some great new products!  For more information you can look at

Annie x
Disclosure - I was sent packets of Walkers Mighty Lights to review.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Florida, Disney's Magic Kingdom, a review...............

Ok, this probably sounds bad, but having been to EuroDisney in Paris we quickly realised that it was a carbon copy of the original Magic Kingdom.   This was however very helpful as we already had an idea as to how to tackle it.  

It is fairly easy to navigate around the different "lands", and the maps, as always, are an excellent source of information - as they should be!

Just a reminder though, where they say 3D over here, you might want to prepare you little ones that they actually mean 4D, so you will get more special effects, like smoke and water etc.

We headed straight for Tomorrowland, and fast passes for Space Mountain.  We then headed for Buzz Lightyear's ride, a fun time zapping at targets.  We also did Stich's Great Espace, a kind of 4D theatre show/ride, Monsters Inc laugh show, with much audience participation, and then the Astro Orbiter.

#Lighbulb moment - it has just occurred to me that they didn't have representation of a lot of the Disney Pixar movies, nothing here for Cars, only the Buzz ride, unlike Paris where they have whole areas dedicated to Cars and Toy Story, which my children thought were fabulous! I wonder if keeping it purest to original Disney characters works better for the American market?   Just a thought!

Anyhoo, heading back to Space Mountain at our designated times, I have to say that I was very disappointed.  The ride was in the dark and jerky, and frankly seemed dated.  Glad I've done it, but not a huge fan in the wake of Manta, Everest and Hulk etc.  Jasper also loved Speedway as he got to drive mummy around in a hotrod, whilst Scarlett drove daddy :)

After that, my lovely cousin from Burnley took Jasper for me, whilst we headed to our pre-booked package to make Scarlett a princess, details here!

I have to say it was just wonderful, and I cried reading out her invitation (yes I'm that soppy).  To be honest this was my favourite part of the day.   As we finished we came out to see Merida (from Brave), and Scarlett was very excited to be meeting her.   Just perfect.

Of course there was much much more to do, but we were all done for the day.

You can stay for dinner and fireworks (make dinner reservations way before you go).  However, we didn't feel like we'd missed out and no need to go back.

Two Disney Princesses
Jasper driving mummy in his hot rod!

To be fair, apart from the films themselves, my two weren't really brought up on Disney, so this didn't prove as exciting as some of the other parks over here, though we did have a fabulous time.
Annie x

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Florida, Disney's Animal Kingdom, a review.........

Thursday we headed over to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  We went straight over to Everest to get fast passes for this epic coaster, then back to do the truck safari.

On route we got the kids up and ready for being Wilderness Explorers (foc), where they go around collecting badges, in exchange for learning about various animals, and countries etc.   Scarlett particularly got into it, and I loved that the Wilderness Explorers themselves were actually in the same uniform as Russell from UP :)

Everest and the Safari (obviously) are in Asia and Africa within the parks, and having travelled to both continents I can say they have got the scenery and surrounds breath-takingly bang on!

The Safari was amazing, and having been to the Serengeti, I can tell you they got that so right too, and much to my amazement we did see lion and cheetah, elephant, rhino, hippos etc.  Really well done, huuuuge enclosures and bumpy roads, just like the real Africa.  (Well not enclosures in Africa but you get my drift)!

Everest Coaster itself was pretty hardcore, having said that my 5yo rode it twice and my 9yo wouldn't!  I went on first with Scarlett and having whizzed around and then stopped at a precarious point, midway, she said "mummy I'm scared", I could only respond with "me too".  Not going to win mum of the year (yet again), but as I said she went straight on again with her father :)

Whilst in Asia we also rode the Kali River Rapids, and got absolutely soaked, but in the heat over here you are dry again within the hour and it is actually quite refreshing.

In Dinoland we saw a magical musical version of Nemo, just fantastic acting and visuals, and in Discovery Island we saw a film of "It's Tough to be a Bug".  Over here what they call 3D we would call 4D, as it is much more than just the visual, expect special effects all around you!   We also saw Festival of the Lion King with sing alongs, acrobatics and audience participation.

As well as meeting Jamaican Kennedy, who lived in Peckham and supported QPR, a top day out!  Oh, and how can I forget, the kids met the *actual* Mickey and Minnie* yayyyy!
Annie x

Florida, Seaworld, a review..................

Wednesday morning we headed over to SeaWorld.   We are big animal lovers and it's an easy park to navigate around.    There are mainly shows to schedule, a couple of rides to get on to, and then other standard exhibitions to have a look around.

Our first problem however was getting in through the door.  Having brought our normal packed lunch, this was the first place we were stopped and couldn't bring in sandwiches.  The snacks around it were OK, but not the sandwiches, so we sat and ate them at the entrance (I know don't say it)!

I have to say that this was however, one of my favourite days out so far.  The shows were spectacular (understatement) and Manta, one of the big rides was fantastic!   Am convinced it's a carbon copy of Air at Alton Towers, think slow and enjoyable flying rather than jerky coaster types!

Shamu the killer whale is one of the big shows, and it was amazing!!!  As was the Dolphin Theatre show, just fantastic (see pics).   Pets ahoy also blew us away, particularly when we learned that all the animals were rescues :)  The Sea Lion and Otter show was very funny, but as much so for the mime warm up act before hand, who basically took the mickey out of anyone coming through looking for a seat - we were dying with laughter and everybody took it in good humour

We didn't manage the Sky Tower due to "inclement weather" but not that bothered, but we did use the helicopter simulator ride which was great, fed some sharks, and saw some other marine animals in the walk through.

We went back another morning to ride Kraken and let Jasper try Manta, which he was unsure of before, and of course he loved it.

 We also went on the Sky Tower.  I was worried as I don't really like the London Eye type things, but it just went up and down, fairly slowly, giving you beautiful views of the whole area. After that we took the bus over to Aquatica for the afternoon.

Fantastic days out, very chilled but thrilling at the same time.

Annie x