pretty71's DIBB Photo Blogs

19th and 20th August 2018 Day 12 and 13

So I had a good nights sleep up until about 3am where I woke up and from then on started dreaming about trying to catch our connection to Manchester!

That aside, I got out of bed at about 6.20am and decided to have a quick bath and finish everything I needed to do in the bathroom so I could pack those last bits and pieces. The other 2 got up and Grace went to find Nanny and Grandad and Daddy helped me get ready. There were no dramas and we had a dispatch time of 8 but actually left at 7.45am. This meant that we arrived at Bob Evans a little earlier than planned and were sat at our usual table with our usual server. We have been to this restaurant 3 times now each of the 3 years we have been coming over this side and we have always had the above

I didn't know what to order, these menu's are just so big!!
Eventually I got there and even though I can't remember the name of what I had it was 2 eggs, 2 sausage patties and home fries and then it also came with a stack of pancakes! I managed all of it but left a third of the pancakes. We all had coffee and Grace had a kids pancake with a sausage link, she loved this! We were all very much satisfied and ready for our long drive round to Miami.
We were in the car for 9 and our first stop would be the Miami International Mall to collect our rings. We had an email on Thursday to say they were ready so hopefully there would a no dramas when we actually got there.

We made it until we reach just past the Fort Myers airport before I heard the voice from the back saying that they needed the toilet! We were near an exit so I got off and we were soon in a 7 eleven. It was good to stretch our legs if only for 5 minutes. We got a couple of bottles of water too as we realised we had come out with none! School boy error!

We were back on the road and had 2 hours to go, with an estimated arrival time of 12.15. We did encounter some rain on Alligator Alley, again! This time it was pretty torrential at one point, definitely the worst of the holiday but luckily it didn't last that long. This part of the road is a little boring to say the least but the miles soon past and we were heading to the outskirts of Miami. I was not looking forward to driving in Miami again but I have to say the time of arrival got closer and closer but still the road was fairly easy and do you know before we knew it we had arrived

Daddy, Grace and I went in to the centre through JC Penneys again and visited the restroom first then went out to Kay's to collect the jewellery. It took her a few minutes to find it but it was there and I am very glad to say that it was absolutely perfect! All 4 of them look brand spanking new and I was a very very happy lady!

We resisted the temptation to go elsewhere and went out to find Nanny and Grandad, we literally tagged them and they went in to find the restroom. We drove the car around the parking lot so keep cool and they were soon back with us, without getting lost this time!!

We had to get some more petrol so we punched that in to our sat nav and found one just over the road. It would have to do, we were 5 miles from the airport apparently but that would have to be close enough. Daddy went in and handed over $40. I filled her up to the brim, it took ages and we were just below $40, so a good guess.

We were then heading for the airport. We were close but there were roadworks and I got off one to early I think so we had a bit of a nightmare finding our way (burning unnecessary fuel!) but I didn't panic and we got there in the end soon pulling in to the Rental Centre. This was no where near as frantic as Orlando and we could get everything out at our leisure and stacked on a cart. The lady came and did the business and handed over our receipt with no extra charges.

We made our way in to find the people mover and were soon straight in the terminal. Here sadly we had to part from Nanny and Grandad as they were in section E with BA and we were heading to J and Lufthansa. We said our goodbyes and would speak tomorrow when we got to Manchester.

We went down a floor to find the check in desk it was still more than 3 hours until our flight and I was a little concerned that the desk would not be open but it was and I have to say it was very busy in this section but luckily not in Lufthansa's part. I ran in to a news shop to get a couple of TSA locks as one of ours had gone missing on the way here, so we treated ourselves. The girl even set them for us which was great so I didn't have to faff around with them. I popped them on and then we went to the desk, there was no queue and there was a really nice girl who called us over, she was really friendly and very smiley, probably the best experience we have had at a check in desk! Our cases came in at 16kg each, I was well happy with this. We had got everything we wanted but not weighed down too much. We were all checked in and ready to go. The lady told us the line we had to join for security and said it was long but moving quickly because there was a do on duty and the best thing about this was we didn't have to take anything out of our bags or take our shoes off! It was fab and the dog was cute, a German Shepherd, he was being a bit naughty as we saw him getting told off twice!

We decided to head for the food court first as Grace wanted food, it was 2 o clock now and we decided to get her a happy meal in McDonald's. Daddy queued up and we found a table, it took ages to get served and the seating was pretty poor I have to say. We had one table but then managed to find another one and we moved quickly. Daddy had got us both a cheese burger too as well as the happy meal and I was grateful for this as I felt hungry....goodness knows why after all the breakfast...I had done all that driving I suppose, hungry work

I sat for a while and the other two went off to get sweets and when they came back daddy got me my first beer of the holiday a Bud Light from the bar and look at the price of it!! $10.46!!! For one beer!! If I remember right I had my first beer at the airport on the way home last year too, I really must do it earlier and save some money lol. Daddy couldn't believe the price and went on about it for ages, he has even kept the receipt himself!

I drank the beer and then we decided it was time to visit the restrooms and make it round to the gate, I was gone 3 by now and so we vacated our table so someone else could have it.

We also popped in to the duty free shop but didn't buy anything else. We slowly made our way round and arrived at the gate for 3.55, so an hour before take off. I was not impressed to see that there was no seating at the gate, it was very poor and seeing as we had to stand we got in the queue for the flight. Normally I would not queue at the gate but to be honest there was not really any other option. There were about 6 people in front of us and it was very organised and they were saying boarding would begin at 4.15, which it did. We were soon on the plane getting sorted. It is an 8.5 her flight to Frankfurt and so we have half an hour in the bank which we used waiting to get on the runway. There had been some lightening around and rain but it was easing and we were on our way at 5.35.

The flight was just as fantastic as the flight out, we soon had a drinks service so we had a glass of wine each. This time the kids meals were available and Grace's arrived before everything else, she was of course asleep by now (she always sleeps more or less straight away!) so Daddy got excited and had the chicken tenders from it! It's came with mash and sweet corn (his worst nightmare), he said it was really really good. There was also a bag of sweets a jam sandwich with strawberries and the usual cheese and crackers and a chocolate brownie, very impressive

Our meals soon came out, the choice was the usual chicken or pasta, I didn't ask what the pasta was exactly as we both went for chicken. This was chicken pieces in a mushroom sauce and rice with some carrots (I don't like carrots!). It was delicious! Really really good and was washed down nicely with another glass of wine. We also has a salad with dressing (the dressing was lovely!) a roll, cheese and biscuits and the chocolate brownie.
Tea and coffee came round after and then we decided to join Grace and try and get some rest. This worked surprisingly well as I woke up with 2 hours to go! The flight was 8.5 altogether over to Frankfurt and they soon turned the lights on and woke everyone up for breakfast.
Again Grace's came first, hers was pancakes and syrup!! She was still asleep though and refuses to eat plane food anyway now, what a waste! There was also a blueberry muffin, I am not sure what happened to that but I have a pretty good idea!

Grace's kids meal

Ours was scrambled egg and some lovely little breakfast potatoes a roll and butter, it was absolutely delicious and so nice to get a hot breakfast again on a plane. We had also had another couple of rounds of hot towels, lovely!

We were all on time which helped me to be less anxious of our next connection to Manchester. We landed on time at 8am and it didn't take us too long to get on the stand and the door open. We had told Grace she would need to be a bit with it as we had another plane to get and as always she just kicks in to gear. To be fair she had had quite a lot of sleep and she had woken up OK. We landed on the Z side of the airport and I knew from the Lufthansa app that we were still going from gate B47. We followed all the signs to zone B, some areas in the airport were really busy and I have to say it was a mission, we walked and walked and walked for ages, it was a long way and if you do this and are not fast I think you would need to consider it. We were fine though and made it to the security line which was quiet, some others we had seen were heaving!

This scanner was different from the ones on the way out this was a round one where you put your arms up and it goes round you. Daddy went first and completely abandoned Grace and I to finish putting our bags through?? Grace went next and the guy was great with her and even had a mini conversation with her which for Grace is ground breaking! I was next and we were soon through and all our bags collected. We were in zone B now but I wanted to make sure there was nothing else to do so we went right down to the gate. It's was 8.50 when we got there and I can't believe we had made it only 50 minutes after landing!! Fantastic! We now had a little wait so we visited the restrooms and were not due to board until 9.35 but his was delayed slightly until 9.50. We were soon on and right at the back of the plane and Grace went straight to sleep...again! I had a little doze while we were taxi-ing and I am not sure exactly what time we pushed back but the flight was only 1 hr 20 m and we landed a little before 11am in Manchester. We had a coffee and a sandwich on board. Now the sandwiches were strange as they were on German rye bread (I really like it but Mick was a little "what's this bread??") the choice was beef or cheese. The beef was pastrami and egg, it sounds really odd but it was delicious, Mick had this and got one for Grace so he could have two! He loved it though and I had a bite, it was good! I had the cheese one it came with like a pickle spread which tasted a bit like sandwich spread lol, it was good though and hit the spot as food is the only thing that keeps you going doesn't it on travel days.

We were quickly off the plane, even though we were now in no rush at all. The boarder control line, seemed long and what I noticed was everyone was packed in tight, all that space we had been enjoying over the last couple of weeks was gone! It did go quickly I have to say and as we were let through we could see our cases already on the carousel. We actually got out of the airport within 35 minutes.

We went back over to the meet and greet, there was no queue and a lovely lady handed my the car key and told me it was in red zone B. This was after she asked my name and I could barely remember!!

No problem with the car, we put the double bit down in the car this time as we now had that extra case but it all went in without a problem. We decided to go and get Grace a happy meal before trying to get in our room at the Premier Inn so we did and that she ate it in the car.

We had booked the Premier Inn at Heald Green again for tonight with the aim of getting some sleep before we began the 4 hour drive back to home. We had many a debate about what would be the best thing to do and felt it would be silly and dangerous to do such a drive after all that travel. We had the same problem now that we had on the way up and that was that it is early and you cannot get in to the room until 2pm! Mick went in to ask them and even though there were no rooms ready yet they were hopeful it wouldn't be long. So we went to the Beefeater next door and gave them just over an hour before checking again. We decided to go for it and have a glass of house wine now, as we would not have one later so we went for it. We chatted about our trip next year and what we were thinking of doing while the time went by.

Waiting in the Beefeater

we got in the room just before 1.30 and all had showers and piled in to bed and slept fairly well I have to say until 5pm...perfect. We arranged to meet my friend Sean again for dinner for 6.30pm, we decided to not travel but just have dinner in the Beefeater, so we went and got a table and waited for him to arrive. We had a fairly good meal and caught up altogether again. It was lovely to see him. We said our goodbyes and went round to get our luggage from the room and pack the car up again. We were driving by 8.30pm, I drove first as I was still feeling slightly jaded and we had sort of agreed we would do 2 hours each. I wanted to go home the way we came up along the A50 and then join the M1 again, which I managed despite the sat nav wanting to take me straight down the M6...I just couldn't face Birmingham!

We stopped at Leicester services at about 10.15 and swapped over. We had a great run, though there were lots of roadworks with a 50 limit but we didn't get stopped in them we kept rolling which was great and we reversed back on the drive at 12.50am. Phew!

It is now the next morning and we slept solidly, funny enough!! I forced myself out of bed at 8am and got Grace out at 9am, it's cruel but has to be done to get back to any kind of normality! daddy is still in bed as he is working tonight so has no jet lag to deal with!

All in all a fantastic trip, great hotels and villa as always, fab weather and a great airline choice for £400's to the next one and thanks so much for reading, those of you who have stuck with us, hope you enjoyed it as much as we have. Xx

Eat and Play Card

August 18th 2018 Day 11

This morning we had no plans to dash out and visit anywhere which is just as well as I didn't open my eyes until 6.43!

I got out of bed and started to do some more packing and got my DH to make me a cuppa I wanted to do as much packing this morning as possible so I didn't have to do loads later. I packed for about an hour (well it was more organising than packing!) and then I made the breakfast at about 8 and I face timed my Mum and Dad from under the lanai.

At 9.30, something happened that made me very happy indeed. I was looking out over the canal and I saw 2 cranes flying down and they came and landed right under our oak tree. This was amazing to see them so close and we took some photos. They started off by one of them keeping a look out while the other one ate all the seed and then they would swap. They were there for a time and then I felt brave so I went out the gate to take a closer look and to be honest I couldn't believe how close I could actually get! It was unbelievable. We started off being really quiet as we didn't want to see them off but as time went on we just carried on as normal. they were with us for 5 hours!! I loved it they were like part of our family, they did lots of eating, pruning and sleeping while they were with us and then. They just walked off in the end, but what a great time to have them with us I will bore you with all the picture now.

We also had another visitor that morning...

Got too much food was eaten today, Daddy and Grandad watched the Chelsea v Arsenal game on the TV and Daddy had to come and jump in the pool when Chelsea scored and Mummy had to jump in if Arsenal wasn't long before Daddy came running out....twice!!! It was a bit of a performance though as he didn't have his trunks on so he had to mess about and put them on! I had my moment though and Grandad came and said we had scored so I got up and jumped straight in...Grace loved it

More pool fun happened anyway until 3 o clock again....We tidied everything away properly this time though as we were leaving in the morning so the big pink flamingo and other pool toys we had borrowed went back in the garage

We showered up and were out the door at 3.45 and did a stop at Race Trac to fuel up ready for our drive to Miami in the morning.

We were on our way to Cracker Barrel as it was Saturday and chicken and rice day woo hoo. We arrived at 4.15 and were seated at a massive round table. There was much debate about which sides to choose but we soon got there and ordered. I had chicken and rice with corn and brocolli and I have to say it was delicious! I decided not to have a pudding but Grace ordered 1 pancake with syrup and Nanny and Daddy had the chocolate Coca Cola cake. It wasn't that great to be honest a bit dry, it did not live up to it's expectations.

We could hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance so only had a very quick look around the store before we decided to get back in the car before the rain started. We started back and only had one stop which was Publix to make for milk and some peanuts for the night. We did hit a little rain on the way home nut Daddy was driving and he did a great job, it wasn't that bad.
Grandad dashed in to Publix and we all waited in the car as it was still raining a little, he wasn't long and we arrived home at about 6.20pm. A packing frenzy then began and just after 7 we had done everything we could. This was when we opened all the alcohol we had left and started to finish that.

We sat in front of the TV while I did the trip report and watched some rubbish TV but we were chatting to be honest and not watching it. The weather today had been great, all the reports had said it was not going to be good from about midday but it was fantastic still at 3pm, I didn't want to come in. the rain came while we were out and it is lovely again out there now. I am about to put Grace to bed and then we will sit outside for the last time.

I will get the report written as we go along tomorrow but am not sure when I will get it posted, probably when we arrive at the Premier Inn in Manchester if I cannot get on at the airport.\Our plans are to fly Miami to Frankfurt tomorrow night and then it's just about a 2 hrs layover in Frankfurt before we land at 11am on Monday morning in Manchester. We then go straight to the same Premier Inn for some rest before we drive home Monday night.

See you on the other side and thanks very much for reading along.

August 17th 2018 Day 10

This morning I was going on a Walmart mission on my own! As we always do the shopping when we are in there I never get the chance to look around myself, so this morning was my moment!

I got up about 6.10am and had a cup of tea with Grace and was out the door at 6.45 and in Walmart just after 7

I love driving just as the sun is coming up as I can have the windows down (without anyone moaning at me) and the radio up loud...sorry to the residents of Rotonda West

I had a right old mooch about in Walmart, it was nice and quiet and I spent about 45 minutes in there. I got Grace a couple of swimsuits that were really cheap and a few things to take home with us.

I arrived back home by 8 and did the usual breakfast routine but this morning we included the avocado we got the other day...delicious!

We then set the sun beds up for another fun filled day by the pool before Applebee's which was planned for later.

It was seriously hot today! We spent plenty of time in the water, it was too hot to be out of it today.

There were plenty of wild birds eating the seed I had put out today which was lovely to see. Usually we see loads of wild life whilst we are here, but it seems really really quiet at the moment and we have seen very little, I don't know if it's something to do with the red tide keeping them away? I really don't know.

We went out for another cycle this morning at 11am, we went much further today but it was sooo hot, Daddy felt a little ill. It was nice and breezy and you felt fairly cool but the sweat was running down our faces (sorry for the tmi lol), we came straight inside and jumped in the pool....bliss!!

We stayed outside until 3pm, even I wanted to throw the towel in a bit earlier, but e managed to stay out until then, We showered up and were out the door at 3.25pm and on our way to North Port and Applebees's. Were were seated at just before 4 in a nice booth, there were a few people in there and it wasn't freezing either, happy days!

I stayed doing what I had started yesterday and had an appetite, today it was nachos. everyone else had various things and we all thoroughly enjoyed, a really nice meal. We popped over to Walmart which was just behind us, I managed to find Grace some t shirts that I got last year, one wth Shopkins on the front and another with Trolls, they didn't have them in the branch I went to this morning. we also got another bottle of wine to keep us going for tonight and tomorrow.

We piled back in the car and drove to the Mall at Port Charlotte which is only a couple of miles away. We parked up outside Macy's and went in, I looked at some evening dresses but there was nothing suitable which was a shame. We then walked round to BBW's.

They had their 3 wick candles for $12.95, half price. To be honest I went crazy! I got 2 candles for us and 1 for our neighbour and 5 foaming hand washes as these were 5 for $23. I also got a holder for the soap...$75 the lot, I was very happy

Next we went round to JC Penneys and got my Dad a pair of jeans but they had nothing else. We were out of there and back in the car for 6.20pm.

Our picture from Applebee's

The weather had held no rain as of yet and it's now 7.20pm, it's dark in the distance but we have been out and not got caught today. We have just had the last of the chocolate cake with ice cream (well I had a peach again) and are enjoying a Vodka and Tonic. Grace is watching tonight's Disney film, I don't know what it is it's some teenage type thing, that I have asked her to turn over as she has no idea what's going on!. I am going to out her to bed in a minute and then do half an hour of packing so I don't have to do it all tomorrow. Apparently the film is called Descendants??
I did a little packing earlier, so let's see if we can get some more done.

As usual if anything else exciting happens I will let you know tomorrow
Tomorrow we have Cracker Barrel planned as I love chicken and rice, the Saturday special

Thanks for following on and we hope to see you tomorrow

August 16th 2018 Day 9

Another glorious morning in Rotonda I woke up at 6.30 on the dot and decided to force myself to open my eyes and not waste the day

I bounced out of bed and sent Grace to find her Grandparents and give me a bit of space. daddy seemed to be well awake too, this was despite playing musical beds in the night and going to sleep in Grace's bed as he felt he had no room.

The usual routine of tea, coffee and eggs on the lanai started and we were in the pool by 8.30 and were determined to make the most of the lovely weather before the thunderstorms came later.

The plan was to go to Punta Gorda this afternoon/evening and have a walk around the Fishermans Village and find somewhere to eat too. I am looking forward to this as we have not done it before and feel it's definitely something we would enjoy and with the beaches being out of bounds it's as close to water as we are going to get

Plenty of pool fun again today, also plenty of eating done by Grace, more fruit and loads of toast at various intervals. I was trying not to eat so much today so I only had some fruit and yoghurt at about 12.30 and that was it! The Cheetos were broken out too but I managed to resist.

Grandad, Daddy and Grace went for another mini walk at about 1pm and I continued to relax and I managed to finish my book

Daddy went in to shower a little after 2.30, I was really enjoying the sun and very reluctantly came in at 3.05pm.

As I said we were off to the Fishermans Village and were in the car by 3.40pm and arriving there at 4.30pm. There are loads of little boutique type shops and we managed to resist them as we were starving and wanted to eat first. We ended up in Harpoon Harry's, which is right down the end on the water. A beautiful setting and we could watch the boats coming and going as we ate. The food is in "baskets" and various bits of fish were eaten. I just had an appetiser today 2 large lump crab cake balls with a lovely spicy sauce to dip. I had a few chips from Grace's basket, she had chicken and chips and I have to say that was lovely too!

The bill came to $68.11 and we left very happy people. We looked in a couple of shops on the way out and only got something in the sweet shop! We got some pic and mix taffy, only about $4 worth but Grace liked it so that was good. As we came out, we could smell the rain and yes the heavens were about to open! I gave Daddy the brollie and he went to get the car, in hindsight it would have been better if we had all just made a dash for it as it got worse while we were waiting! We got soaked as it was tipping it down lol.

We were back in the car on the way home, we could see the rain over the bridge and knew we were driving straight in to it...glad I was not driving but my husband did a great job! It didn't stop until we were right up to El Jobean!

We managed to I make it in the door before the heavens opened again on top of us and the thunder and lighting came too with this lot.

The chocolate cake came out again (I have to say it appears to be the never ending chocolate cake!) and ice cream with caramel sauce. I had a peach instead of chocolate cake and it was lovely, the peaches are massive too!

We watched today's Disney offering which is of my favourites and then I put Grace to bed.

That's where we are now, it's still raining but we are still going out under the lanai
A lovely day today with gorgeous weather, the storm did not arrive until 6pm so a good deal of sunshine and top temps on the wall of 96, so scorching
More forecast for tomorrow, so happy days

Many thanks for reading and we will see you tomorrow.

August 15th 2018 Day 8

You will be happy to hear I will not start today by going on about crazy thunderstorms in the night! There were none

I woke at 6am and pushed Grace out at 6.30 so I could read my book for half an hour. I got up and did what now feels like the usual morning routine, put the coffee percolator on and boiled water for eggs. We were sat outside on the lanai for 7.15 and it looked like a beautiful morning

We were going out for a cycle this morning, we had hoped Grace would be tall enough to join us, but the bikes are all still a bit large. Grace therefore went out for a walk with Nanny and Grandad while Daddy and I went for a cycle. We did just over 2 miles and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed cycling around and looking at the houses which are all beautiful!

We were back indoors for 8.15 and straight in the pool.

Much fun was had by all. Everyone took a turn in the pool with Grace and also time out and chilling, with the music from Spotify in the background (this was often very random music!)

Grace had some yoghurt and fruit at about 10, some ritz biscuits and cheese at 11.30 and toast at 1pm!

The weather became fairly cloudy at about 2pm with very few spits of rain so after about 15 minutes I said "shall we bail out and go to Walmart followed by Red Lobster?"

We decided this was a good idea and would mean we would be back earlier. So by 2.45pm we were all ready and getting in the car.

We got a few essential in Walmart about $60 worth, fruit, eggs, yoghurt, that sort of thing and were soon back in the car and turning on the drive by 4pm. We could see a massive rain cloud tipping it down in front of us!

We literally chucked in the fridge the stuff that needed to go in the fridge and were out the door again and driving in the opposite direction to Red Lobster. I admit I have never been to this restaurant before and was looking forward to having some of those cheese biscuits. We soon pulled in and were seated at a nice round table with a menu to look through again.

We were sticking to the rules so I ordered a sparkling water! Grandad was giving it large saying he was choosing a lobster from the tank and we had been ribbing him about it all day....anyway he bottled it lol

I had chosen the crab stuffed shrimp with salmon, which comes with rice and I ordered a side of broccoli. It came with a Caesar salad and the bread and to be honest the whole thing was absolutely delicious, and only just a little bit huge!! I gave Daddy some of my salmon to help me out but I finished the rest and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We left the restaurant at just after 5 and were soon home. We finished off the chocolate cake and cheesecakes we had left over and Grace had a cookie and cream yoghurt that she had had the other day from Walmart and I had got her some more today.

We then sat down to watch Beauty and the Beast on the Disney channel for some chill time while I wrote up this report. The plan tonight is that we put Grace to bed at 7.30 tonight as she is a little tired, which is why we are watching TV now. She is in the kitchen cleaning up things that are already clean and getting us drinks...could be worse I suppose

Nothing exciting happened after I posted yesterday's report in the evening by the way and I am hoping for the same tonight but I will let you know if it does.

Many thanks for reading and we will see you tomorrow.

August 14th 2018 Day 7

I know I started yesterday's report with news of the storm in the night, well sorry to be boring but that one had nothing on the one we had last night!!

It was 12.45am when I woke up and the alarm clock on my side was flashing so the power had been cut, I looked at the one on the other side and that was still on so it was definitely only momentary. I went back off to the sound of the rolling thunder, the next thing I know there is an almighty crack of thunder that even made Daddy jump, the Lightning came and the power in the bedroom went off completely. There were about 4 massive cracks of thunder in all I think all of which made Daddy jump...I was literally awake now in the middle of the night proper laughing at him, so funny!

I did say do you think we should go and get Grace as she would be terrified if she woke up and had to come to us in it but to be honest I was too scared lol

It was the loudest thunder I had know for a long while but luckily Grace didn't wake up. It was soon over and we were back to sleep.

the good thing about the power being off was that we didn't know the time until we were properly awake and when I did look at my phone it was 6.40am...happy days!! Grace who had arrived in the night went out to find Nanny and Grandad and Daddy and I had another half hour in bed.

We got up and made tea and decided that today we were going to go to Miromar Outlets near Fort Myers, it is about an hour and 15 m drive. We would normally go in the evening on our own but we had decided to take Grace with us and then she won't be up all evening waiting for us to get in.

It opened at 10am so we had a dispatch time of 8.30 and seeing as we were up a little later we got a wriggle on and I made the eggs and toast and sat eating on the lanai. Grace had circle and soldier toast made by Grandad and we were in the car at 8.35 leaving Nanny and Grandad to some time on their own.

It was another good journey, I can't complain! The only entertaining thing that happened was that these 2 random cars that were on the hard shoulder decided to rejoin the carriageway, I wasn't best pleased that I had to slow down to let them on! No sooner had they joined they put their blues and twos on and pulled over a couple of cars...I couldn't believe it! They were unmarked and as we passed them there were 2 more in front so it was obviously an exercise to crack down on speeding or something. I always put the cruise control on so that I don't get tempted to go too fast or before I realise how fast I am going!

We came off at our junction and turned in to the outlets, it's dead easy and I am sure it was 9.50 so perfect by the time we had gone in to Starbucks

We shared a coffee and got Grace a doughnut and we had some water with us so Grace had that. I hooked on to the wifi as I wanted to get the coupon book code on my phone so I could get one from the kiosk. I tried to log in at home but the site was not working. I got it no problem and we sat having our drink while I watched the man open the kiosk. We finished up and I went over but he had completely disappeared!! The coupon book was on the side so I took one and a map and we cracked on lol

First stop was North Face but we found nothing in there, then round to Justice...this is such a great shop for kids...Its like a sensory overload (like Smiggle) for kids so I went in there with the idea of trying to get Grace a few things for Christmas while she went in to Claire's with Daddy.

I got a pair of flip flops, sunglasses and a purse and shoved them in my bag (after paying of course) just before they arrived in the shop! I was dragged over to Claire's where they had an orbie (don't know if that's how you spell it) filled squishie for $9.99.

I was done with kids shopping by now!! We checked out Nike and I got a couple of T shirts for my nephews and one for Grace and then we went to Kate Spade. Don't get me wrong there were some lovely bags for lovely prices in there but I decided to look in Michael Kors first.

We went along there and I was in heaven, I found the bag I wanted at the back in the 70% off section and we had another coupon for another 20% off so I got the bag $398 for $94....what's not to love!! I got the purse to match and paid the money, perfect and I was a very happy lady

We had a look around Ralph Lauren but found nothing, we picked up sunglasses and a card wallet for Daddy in Fossil for $40 and we were nearly shopped out by then, it had been nearly 3 hours and a little lady was getting tired. We had another Starbucks pit stop where Grace had a massive warm cookie and then hit Converse and came out of there with 2 pairs for Grace the high top boot being the best thing ever for her narrow foot it seems and a pair each for Daddy and I...$125 down and that was buy one get the seen on at 60% off.

Our last stop was Gap where Grace and Daddy got a hoodie, I have so many I really didn't need another.

We were pooped! It was just after 1 and we had done well I feel! We got back in the car and had an estimated arrival time back home of 2.50pm so we whatsapped Nanny and told them to be ready to go straight out to Longhorns.

In car selfie??

We got back at 2.50 on the dot and Grace rushed in to show Nanny and Grandad what she had and we turned around fast and got out the door as we were starving!

We arrived just about 3.15 to a very quiet Longhorns and today we were back under our strict routine, no alcohol and no starters and no desserts!.

The bread came and then Grace ordered her sirloin steak, Daddy his salmon, Nanny a steak sandwich, Grandad a Flo's fillet and I had shrimp. All the adults except Nannys came with a salad so we had those while we waited for the main event. Absolutely gorgeous! I really enjoyed mine today, Grace ate more than half of hers but the chips were really really salty!

Always we have a great meal there and soon enough we were walking outside into rain! Luckily only a splattering so no harm done.

As the weather was not exactly pool inviting, we decided to have a walk around Target instead of going back. Daddy dropped us at the door due to the rain and he used the brollie I kept in my bag to comeback with once he had parked up.

I picked up a few little stationary things and then we had a look at the clothes, we often get lucky in here but today was not so luckily! Daddy picked up a rather brief pair of trunks!! He had to have them at $19.99 lol if you could see the others he has, these are tame!!

Grace then tried on some jeans and had a mini tantrum in the shop because she liked the first pair but she has such a narrow waist (yes, just like her feet!) that they didn't fit well. I then got her to try on a pair on jogging a which were much better, but she preferred the first pair. Anyway it was the jeggings or nothing so we had the jeggings lol. I also found a pair of shorts for her and she loved those so we were back on an even keel. We went to any and I sent Daddy over to Starbucks to get my new Florida mug and then we were out of there. It had stopped raining so we were OK. We stopped at Race Trac on the way for another $30 of fuel and were home by 5.45 and in the pool. Nanny, Daddy and Grace were in the pool, I am catching up on my report and Grandad is eating or drinking somewhere

We went in at 7 and showered and then had some chocolate cake, well the chocoholics did!

We watched some TV to chill out and I put Grace to bed before we went out and had drinks well to be honest that's what we plan to do but it's only just gone 7.30pm lol

I am going to finish up here for the day anyway and if anything exciting happens tonight I will let you know in the morning

Thanks for reading along and we will see you tomorrow. Apologies for the photo light day today!

Monday 13th August Day 6

Another beautiful morning in Rotunda West...well I am not sure that is absolutely true this morning at 6.30am as we were woken up by thunder at 4am followed but torrential rain

It had stopped by the time we got up at about 6.45, Grace was already out in the kitchen with Nanny and Grandad and I could hear her tipping her cereal in a bowl for her breakfast.

I got up and made some tea and we went and sat under the lanai, the weather was clearing up nicely and it looked like it was going to e a nice day.

I put some eggs on and Daddy and I had those on toast with another cuppa and I also put the percolator on for everyone.
Daddy and Grandad decided to have a hair cut and we had a get out time of 8.45 and it was already 8.15 and they were not moving so I moved them along...this of course made us late and we were all waiting for Daddy and did not leave until 8.55.

We were on our way to the Ellenton Outlets which opened at 10am, the journey was great and we pulled up at 10.15 to a fairly empty car park. We parked up and went to Starbucks first for a pit stop. Grace had a doughnut and the other 3 had a white coffee while I shared a bottle of water with Grace. We went round to Tommy Hilfiger first and had a look through the sale racks. I tried on about 5 things and came out with a jumper and 2 dresses, I was very happy. Daddy got a jumper and I got a discount using the outlet vouchers online.

We were also looking for some trainers for Grace and went over to Nike to have a look, the problem with Grace is that her foot is really narrow. Every time we saw something that may have been OK we changed our minds the minute we got her actual size out the box as they were all massive!

We got out of there and went for a restroom break and then popped into another shop, whose name I forget but you can get loads of wrangler and Lee jeans for very little money. I got a denim skirt for $9.98...bargain of the day!

We found ourselves in Rack Room Shoes and went through the same performance with Grace's trainers...we nearly settled on a pair of Converse, but she decided they were not for her, I am not really sure what we are going to do!
Next door was the Lindt chocolate shop. We chose a few different flavoured ones to take with us and Nanny and Grandad managed to spent $40...$40 on chocolate!! Really!! I got free 12 truffles from the online vouchers so we did OK lol.

I had a quick run over to Dressbarn while they were in there and this shows promising for future purchases so I will be going back.

A pit stop in to Justice for Grace next and we ended up getting her a T shirt for $25!!! $25!!!??? I put my foot down at that but I may go back when she is not with us and get a couple of things for Christmas.

Some people just have to have their picture taken in front of giant cars!!

It was 12.45 by now and time to get back in the car and get to the Cheesecake Factory which is at The Mall at UTC, Sarasota. This is about a 15-20 minute drive back down the I-75.

We were soon parked up and carrying the chocolate haul (too risky to get it melted in the car!) found our way through Macy's to the restaurant. We could have had a table immediately but with one chair on the end and we really wanted to enjoy our meal and not be cramped so we went for the 20-25 minute wait instead. We spent the time looking in the cheesecake fridge and crying about the number of calories in a cheesecake, we even spoke to another couple from the UK and they couldn't believe that was the number of calories for one slice! Ha ha, they are all at least 1000 calories, but calories don't count on holiday do they??

We were soon seated, I am not sure exactly how long it was but it didn't seem too long. We had a nice table for 6 in a corner so we had plenty of room and I am glad we waited.

It took ages for us to decide what to have and I am not going to list everything but everyone really enjoyed what they had. As I said yesterday the no starter or alcohol rule did not apply today but Grandad was the only one to have a starter, in fact he had 2???!!! And we all had alcohol except Grace and daddy who was the designated driver.

It was an exceptional meal and the server Laura was excellent. With the tip the bill came to $240. Worth every penny

We were soon making our way back through Macy's where I managed to grab a free moisturiser sample from the Clinique counter and Grandad managed to try on a rather fetching jacket

We made a stop in Publix for ice cream and some squash for Grace, we got a bottle of Robinsons which sets us back nearly $5...we should bring it with us really! I ran in and got this as well as some milk just for quickness otherwise we spend another half hr looking at all the stuff we looked at yesterday!

We were back indoors and out by the pool at 4.45 and had a lovely 2 hours out there messing about in the pool and relaxing, no thunderstorms today, it has been really lovely.
Grace had a pizza and then we headed in for showers and a relax in front of the TV.

I took Grace to bed at 8pm and our plan now is to have a drink and some cheesecake outside with a drink until it's time to crash, I will finish this now though so I can go and relax.

Tomorrow we plan to check out the beach, I know the red tide is bad there so I know we will not spend time but we want to see for ourselves.

Thanks for reading and I will see you tomorrow

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