Flashback to our wonderful holiday to Indiana last summer…..I miss it!!!
I really want to go to the Mall of America…….like REALLY want to go! It is like the biggest shopping mall EVER, it is so big that it has a theme park in there!
Now, I love to shop, like love it! I am an old school shopper, I prefer to go in to a clothes shop take 100 things into the fitting room and try stuff on, I cant be doing with all this online shopping, sending it back business. If I am shopping I want to see and feel what I am buying, a picture on a screen just doesn’t do anything justice. I will be honest with you, Mall of America wasn’t on my radar until about 2 years ago, when my godparents mentioned it, thinking it could be somewhere we could have visited whilst we were over last year. I looked online and straight away I knew I had to go there one day!
It may be sad, but I pretty much even know where I want to stay if I was to eventually get my butt there! It’s the cost that scares me slightly, I decided earlier this week that I wanted to go around my birthday next year and maybe team it up with a quick visit to my godparents in Indiana.
I had a look online and for a 3night stay at Radisson Blu Hotel and flights (including an internal one to IN) would cost approx. £937 (based on 2 people sharing) and when you are trying to save for a mortgage deposit, that is just over 1 months’ worth of saving……can I really give up potentially 2 months’ worth of savings (you can’t forget spending money!). So I did what all sensible people do and did a Pro Vs Con list!
|Get to see another state in USA||Looking at spending at least £2k|
|Potentially won’t be able to afford to travel a lot when I move out||Who will come with me? It’s a lot of money to ask someone to spend|
|Get to see my godparents||Cost implement!|
|I have wanted to go to MOA for a while||It’s just a shopping mall and a theme park!|
|Something else off my bucket list||Can I really justify spending £2k of a holiday and not in my savings???|
So as you can see the biggest con is the money aspect, I am really torn on this one right now and not too sure what the outcome will be.
Wow, I can’t believe we are already in 2015! 2014 went super quick and soo much happened. I went a week without technology, had & threw up afternoon tea at The Ritz, saw a fashion show at London Fashion Week, Milked A Cow, went on a road trip to Ohio, went to a Rodeo in Ohio (in a maxi dress!), had a photo shoot with my mum, went on a spa weekend with Hayley and finally made my own Christmas cards!
As well as all of that I had 2 holidays, brought a new car, broke my foot, went to the grand national, reunited with old friends, lost new friends and caught lightening bugs in America. To say it has been a quiet year would be a bit of an understatement. However, for some reason whenever anyone says to me “oh what have you been up to?” I never seem have much to report back, which in actual fact is a LIE!
I cant really say what my favourite thing of 2014 was as I have a lot of happy memories and ones that I will treasure forever. There have been some sad times as well, Matt & I know people that have ended relationships, lost family members and experienced a lot of sadness this year.
I am really excited to see what 2015 has in store for me, I know that one thing is for sure I am fly to VEGAS in April! I cannot wait, I am sooo excited! I have also started number 24 – its a bit hard to find something to take a picture of everyday, but I am excited to look back on them in a years time! There are 2 more things that I would like to cross of this year, but I am going to keep them for myself and surprise you all when I announce them! People often ask each other, what New Year’s resolutions they are making; I cant help but feel that you are setting yourself up for failure, especially if they are diet or fitness related. I have made 3 resolutions for this year, but these are things I started doing at the beginning of December:
Be Kinder To Myself – dont put too much pressure on myself to hit certain goals, just enjoy life
Make More Effort With Those That Make The Effort With Me – I am not great at texting people back or calling people, but I am concious that I dont want to lose friendships that I have, so I am going to make the effort more, especially with those that always make an effort to reach out to me.
Save At Least 12k By The End Of The Year – I already have about a 3rd of this saved, so its a reasonable goal, but one that I want to achieve to get my own home!
Have you made any resolutions for the new year? what were your favourite things of 2014?
Every family has their own unique way of celebrating Christmas & getting the house ready. There are 3 traditions that we have done for as long as I can remember as a family and I would like to share those with you tonight.
Carols By Candlelight
My mum and dad have taken me and my brother to church on Christmas Eve ever since we were babies, my grandparents always come with us too. One of my first memories of Christmas is coming back from church in our old house and getting my tray ready and showing my grandparents what I was leaving for Santa! As the years have gone by, I have learnt it’s my grandad who eats the mince pie and my mum drinks the milk! Over time my godfathers mum has joined us and Matt now comes along too, we all love a singsong and come home for Chinese food, unfortunately we no longer leave a tray out for Santa!
When we moved into our current house I believe we started to buy a real Christmas tree each year, it’s not a massive memory, but definitely over the last 6/7 years it’s been me and dad that go and get the tree. We used to go to the same place, but they closed down 2 years ago, so we are looking at different places. I love a real tree the smell is amazing! It’s always my job to decorate our tree and all of our decorations apart from a few have been sent over by my godparents in the states! This year, because we have got a new sofa we had to be careful what shape tree, it couldn’t be too busy and I think we got the perfect one!
Christmas Eve Breakfast
This started when my brother was about 4 maybe younger, my mum dropped us at McDonalds Christmas Eve and ever since then we have generally always tried to have breakfast. Unfortunately this year I have to work so Matt is going in my place! I normally go for Eggs Benedict and Joe will normally have a massive fry up! Either way, we fill our bellies ready to help prep the veggies before going to Church!
So those are 3 of my favourite traditions this time of year, what are yours??
18. Be In the Audience Of A TV Show
18. Go To The Mall Of America
I have my first replacement, it has taken me a while and I know some of you will be thinking that I am replacing something for just a shopping centre, but do you know what
I don’t care!
I have been wanting to go for some time and its not just shopping, there is a whole theme park within the shopping centre! What also draws me in is the fact that it is another place to cross off to say that I have been to & in reality I could team it up with another city in the states, so I could 2 for the price of 1. In my research, I have been basing it on going back and staying with my godparents, but I have been looking and I could pair it up with a week in Texas or maybe go an hang on the beach in South Carolina or visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. For me, America is 100% the land of hopes and dreams, there is so many different things you can do in 1 country – it is insane!
So that is another change down – I just need to think about when its going to happen!
18. Be In the Audience Of A TV Show
21. Take My Godchildren Out For The Day By Myself
Both of these are being replaced, number 18, because its soo hard to get in the audience – you can get tickets but it’s a case of turn up and see if you can get in to the show – so it’s never guaranteed. Number 21, my godchildren were never my godchildren, I was a honorary godparent to one my friends 2 children. Unfortunately that friendship hasn’t stood the test of time and we now no longer speak or see each other, so 21 is never going to happen.
What I am going to replace these with is really difficult, I have been mulling this over for the last few days and here are the contenders:
Celebrate My Birthday Abroad
Throw A Massive 30th Birthday Party
Go To The Mall Of America
Be A Big Kid At Disneyland
So they are all a bit different, but I need to pick 2 of them! Each have their pro’s and con’s and I have done some research and based on going away in March 2015 (I’m not planning on going away that soon!) it would cost me + 1 other the same price to go to Disneyland Paris for 3 nights (not including park tickets just travel and hotel costs) as it would to go to the Mall of America and my Godparents in Indiana for 10 nights (that includes flight and hotel costs in Minnesota). How does that work?! I would love to go to Disney and just let go and have fun and enjoy myself, but it’s not something that I feel strongly about, but then how can you feel strongly about going to a shopping Mall! Haaahahaha!!!! How about throw a massive 30th Birthday Party – this could cost A LOT or cost a little, I could theme it, invite lots of friends and family and really have a great time. It doesn’t need to be in hall/marquee it could be held in a back garden or a pub etc. It can become a celebration of completing my bucket list! The other one is to celebrate my birthday abroad; it could come in so many different forms, a day in France, a week away or even mix it up with another item on the list!
Although it shouldn’t, it does come down to the cost element. At the point of writing this, I am due to attend an appointment with a Financial Advisor to help me to budget and start saving, as I am trying to save up for the most expensive thing I will ever buy – a home. So whilst my bucket list has to be about things I wouldn’t normally do or things I really want to do before I have to “grow up” it does come down to can I afford it?
I am swaying more towards a party and celebrate my birthday abroad, but then I want to go to the Mall of America……aaah decisions decisions. I can only pick 2, but what 2 will I look back on in 15 years’ time and say “I can’t believe I did that, that was such a great time”. I did have a 18th & 21st Birthday party so do I really need a 30th birthday party?!
Oh what to pick!! Ok, I can’t make the decision now, I am going to sleep on it and think about it later…..
So its now 2 days later, I have written off Disney….here are some Pro’s & Con’s to the rest:
Celebrate My Birthday Abroad
IDEA: Day Trip To France/Week Away All Inclusive Last Minute Holiday
PRO: somewhere new to see/experience a different culture/only needs to be a day or long weekend/could do it for my 30th
CON: who would I go with/is it going to be expensive for a short time
Throw A Massive 30th Birthday Party
IDEA: Garden Party/Could Be On A Cheap Budget – Start Preparing Now/Could Go All Out And Hire Caterers etc
PRO: big celebration/all friends and family together/ good fun
CON: cost/time to organise/had 18th & 21st party – do I need at 30th?
Go To The Mall Of America
IDEA: Girls Trip/Teamed Up With Somewhere Else In US/Possibly Then Onto Uncle Martins
PRO: somewhere new to see/wanted to go for a while/not just a mall there is a theme park too/can team up with somewhere else in the states
CON: cost (approx. £800 for 2 weeks 3nts @ MOA then onto IND inc car hire – based March 2015)/who would come with me
However, this still doesn’t help me as I don’t know what 2 to choose!!!! AHHHHHH!!! Ok, lets regain some composure, I have 4 more birthdays left (including my 30th!) to celebrate my birthday abroad, that means 4 years to plan and pay for a birthday bash – both of these are do-able. Mall of America, if the prices stay the same and say I took £800 spending money, thats £1,600 total – I am sat here thinking
THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY
but I am also thinking that I am only going to live once and a birthday party could actually cost that amount by the end of it. Life is so short why shouldn’t I do the things I wanna do – I cant do it when I’m gone & do I really want to sit when I am 60 and say “I wish I did that?” not really, I want to be telling my grandchildren “I did all these amazing things”.
About a year ago I made up 2 photo books of mine and Matts holidays and whilst I was away in the states I thought what a brilliant momento to make of our family holiday.
So once I was home and settled, I went onto the website for PhotoBox and was pleased to see that there was a 40% off offer for photo books, so I knew now was the time to place my order.
I started uploading my photos that I wanted in the book & my laptop crashed and I lost everything I had been doing, I was gutted & gave up. Not one to be defeated, I cam home from work the next day logged on and started all over again, saving every step that I did.
The process is really easy & the website is really easy to use, the hardest part is deciding what style of book, what colour pages, what layout for the photos & what fonts you want to use. If you don’t want to be as fussy as me you can push a button and it automatically does it all for you.
Both myself and mum mum took over 1,000 each, so the original 26 page book I selected wasn’t big enough, I kept added 10 pages at a time and ended up with 86 in total! I placed my order and with 40% off it came to £56 with standard delivery. I have the PhotoBox app on my phone so kept track on my order. I placed the order on 16th, it was dispatched on 21st and arrived on 23rd! I couldn’t believe it.
I wasn’t disappointed when I opened the box that it came in, it was wrapped with a thick cardboard insert to keep it straight in the box as well. The quality of the product it excellent, every photo is clear and they all fit perfectly on the pages and all the text is in the right places.
Everyone has been complimenting my photo book and asking where I have got it done, I have to say I really love the product and there is sooo many options on their website of personalized things to make. I would definitely be a return customer, there are lots of things on there that would make neat Christmas presents too!
All of the above views are my own & I am in now way affiliated with Photobox