Make savings with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

So as I’ve already explained in previous v/blogs we haven’t yet flown across the pond with anyone but Virgin Atlantic and although there are more factors than just this one; the Virgin Flying Club is one of the key reasons for doing so.

We probably haven’t what Virgin would class as a massive amount of miles but we certainly have enough miles to be able to make a difference to our fares for a fair few future trips 👍🏻

Last year we made a miles and money reservation with a saving of at least £250.  This year again we decided to use somemore of our miles and saved around £500!  The discount we got this year was also for a flight in school holidays too… we feel like we had in fact got a free flight this year the saving was that great!



The good thing is too that it’s costs us NOTHING to have a Flying Club membership or acrue our miles! Granted they aren’t free as such but we acrue miles to put towards future flights more often than not in our day to day life by using our Virgin Atlantic Credit Card for everyday purchases.

Everytime we make a purchase we put it on the card – however small it all counts! Your miles will soon rack up so if you too are an avid Virgin flyer or just want to try ans reduce the cost of your flights then I cannot recommend the Flying Club enough!

Now you don’t necessarily NEED the credit card to acrue your miles; every time you take a flight either with Virgin or one their partners you can earn them! Shop at Tescos and have a clubcard? You can earn them! Staying with a popular hotel chain? You can earn them! One of the major plus of having one of credit cards too is because your miles can expire if not used or added to… now even by just putting your weeks petrol on the credit this will extend the expiry date and you will be able to keep those miles for longer! Obviously if you shop at Tescos weekly and get Clubcard deals regually that too will keep them valid but having the credit card even as a back up or opening one when you get close to expiry is highly recommended.



Which card?

There are two card options that you can choose from when you have been credit checked & approved for an account;  I won’t go too much into it as you can find the differences between them both here but we have the white and although we could possibly acrue points quicker on the black card I kinda begrudge paying to spend my own money (we pay off the credit card every month in full by the way!) and given that we don’t go away or use our miles up every year the blacks annual charge is £140(!)

There are also three tiers within the Flying Club – both me and Alex are Red members (as are anyone that signs up with or without miles); you make silver if you earn at least 15 tier points per year and gold is when you reach 40 (never going to happen for us!).

Benefits

Now the benefits of the Flying Club can be taken advantage of with or without miles so signing up for the flying club before you’ve even taken your flight is VERY beneficial. Not only will you end up earning miles when your flight does come around but you can also use it to prepare for your next flight.  As a Red member you can prebook your seats for free 72 hours before you fly. All those that are NOT flying club members will have to wait until online check in opens at 24 hours which in my opinion is a great benefit. You can also book discounted airport car parking AND earn miles too!

It really is a good club to be a part of – we have intentionally not spent our miles prior to last year due to knowing that once we were to start taking the children away it would start getting a little more expensive than previous trips… the saving this year was fab!

Hope this helps and if you haven’t signed up yet check them out and bag yourself a credit card here and get accruing those miles.. you won’t regret it!

Kirsty x

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Tonsil removal & my tonsillectomy recovery…

So I hadn’t actually suffered with tonsillitis prior to having children – I know pregnancys can be a massive strain on women’s bodies and I know for sure that’s where it all began…. I used to be very rarely ill! Although I got the odd sore throats when I was little I never got tonsillitis. Since giving birth to my now 7 year old it was clear I no longer had the immune system I used to and unfortunately the slightest bit of stress or when I got run down it totally struck me down and caused almost immediatly my enlarged tonsils!  I started writing this as I lay at home recovering from what I hope will be my last dealings with as far as my throat or at least tonsils are concerned having had them out last Thursday.

Tonsil removal in adults

My experience of a tonsillectomy..

I used to feel terrible really terrible and was out of it for days… I lost probably at least half a stone each time I got it and one minute would be sweating cobs; the a next shivering wreck! 2015/16 I got tonsil infections & tonsillitus 5 times in 5 months… I was poorly for my 30th birthday and I was pretty gutted!

The pattern seemed to be that I would start getting it on my last day of work from a busy crazy hectic week meaning I ended up suffering all weekend missing out on things and not being able to spend time with the kids and do things as a family.



A lot of people think tonsillitis is ‘just a sore throat’ we’ll aside from it being ‘just a sore throat’ the signs of tonsillitis included white on tonsils & my glands grew probably 5 times bigger than they were meant to be in fact when I went for my initial consultation, expecting a battle as they don’t take them out for fun, he said my glands are permanently swollen with or without the infection being present which clearly wasn’t right and welcomed me with open arms to get them out!

It is virtually impossible to swallow anything when you have severe tonsilitus; even tablets! Besides the throat pain other tonsillitis symptoms included aches, pains, fever and sleepless nights were probably the worse (Alex has said numerous times that I wasn’t the best person to share a bed with whilst I had it put it that way!)

But man THIS recovery is painful! I never struggled with my ears when I’ve had it before but this op has made me have the worst pain in my ears (which is normal they say!) it is a massive struggle to swallow again the horse sized tablets they have given me don’t help even though they advised me to break them up, they are sharp (didn’t think that one through!)… they’ve given me soluble tablets too but they are so awful they make me bork…. they have to be the most disgusting tablets ever made!



There’s just one thing I’m very fortunate for right now and I keep reminding myself of and that’s the fact I have no fever and I have no aches or pains that usually go with tonsillitis but to be fair my ear pain does make up for it (as I’m sat here in my hoodie!).

My experience of a tonsilectomy..
I think it would be able to cope if it was just my throat, I don’t really feel much pain in that until I talk, move, eat or swallow but nothing is taking the pain away in my ears that’s making my whole jaw ache.

What to eat after a tonsillectomy?

I think I have found something I can eat though which I was worrying about – I was sooooo looking forward to my dinner on Thursday night and I couldn’t eat it … I was gutted! This was breakfast and it was this meal I realised that infact toast would surprisingly become my best friend.

My experience of a tonsilectomy..
I don’t quite know why.. it would be the last thing I would think of making myself but it’s really soothing. The scrambled egg was amazing too!

Tonsillectomy recovery stages

Saturday…

A couple of days post op now and feel a little more comfortable eating and less scared to eat than I did. Last night I had scrambled egg and mashed carrots/swede which was gooood! Today I actually managed some McDonald’s fries and a burger which again I wasn’t looking forward to but Alex said the salt might actually help – it was nice having something bland but with a slight bit of taste.



We all know I’m not 100% though because NO ONE had ketchup today… I am obsessed with ketchup normally but no way am I trying any of that yet so because I didn’t have any no one else wanted any either! Don’t think I’ve ever ate chips with no tomato sauce before!!!  The beans on my baked potato on Thursday night wasn’t the best thing to eat so I don’t think I’ll be rushing to try them again either just yet.

It’s odd because although I liked the ice cream I’m not that keen on cold/room temp stuff. Warm/hot stuff I like… and find very soothing. My breakfast was awesome this morning warm milk and weetabix 🙂 and I had bowl when I went to bed last night too to allow me to take my ibuprofen with some food.

It’s Sunday…

3 days post op and I have woken up struggling again! I could really do with jumping in a nice hot shower but oh yea we have no shower after a leak we had a week ago that we are waiting to dry out 😩😩  I don’t fancy tipping my head up and over the bath just yet …

My experience of a tonsilectomy..

Tonsillitus medicine

I took some co codamol that I had kept in the cupboard after I was prescribed it in labour with Harper and am going to continue with that today in place or the paracetamol…. this ear pain is sooo bad right now I am actually holding a hot water bottle to my head 🙁

The kids are being really good with me they aren’t being so good with Alex mind 🙊 but they understand I’m poorly and helped me attempt to empty the dishwasher today 🙂

I managed a bath today too and it did feel goood… so refreshing but I hate baths compared to showers.. I feel like I’m getting bathed in my own muck 😂

Tuesday….

and I have to say today seemed to be my hardest one however only in the morning oddly enough.. I’m still really struggling to get up as I always wake with the worse ear pain ever! I’m ok to get up to the kids in the night early on but the later in the night it gets the harder it is – don’t really understand why but there’s no way that I could yet get up and get ready for work/school etc – Alex is still getting up with the kids so it’s a very good job he’s on lates this week and he’s here because I would really struggle – he brings me up a hot water bottle when he gets up too 😘

Wednesday…

Nearly a week after the op and although this morning was still hard it got easier quicker if that makes sense. I’ve decided to stop with the cocodamol now and just stick with the ibuprofen – it wasn’t clearing up my ear pain in any event to be fair so I didn’t feel it necessary. My throats still sore but it no longer feels as sore down the sides as it did before; it seems to be now just that dangly thing in the middle of my throat (sorry I’m no doctor!) that still feels swollen and hurts when I eat. I’m looking forward to feeling a bit better this afternoon again though if yesterday’s anything to go by.. once I’ve had my lunch (although I still feel very sore) I feel a little bit more normal 👍🏻

One week post op…

…and today is feeling odd! I haven’t taken anymore pain killers – i don’t feel they touch or really stop anything hurting the only thing that does is the not talking/eating – the cocodamol didn’t even get rid of my ear ache only the heat from a hot water bottle. Still suffering with that but it’s certainly not as bad as it was. Mornings are still bad but I was able to get up earlier this morning and even went to bed without one last night! Throat is still hurting but it feels more like a sore throat now – I mean it did before but like a really REALLY bad one; like someone had ripped out my tonsils with a knife…. oh wait yea that’s exactly what happened!!!! ..but it really is easing now.

I still can’t eat citric(sp?) foods like tomatoes sauce and orange juice but blackcurrant I’m getting used to and gravy is a nice alternative to sauce which I had with some corned beef, mash potato, carrot and swede tonight (& last night!).

When I said it feels odd today it almost feels like they are starting to scab or certainly heal.. I have twice today had it feel like a scap is falling off.. it wasnt very nice! I’m feeling funny tastes today too like a bit acidy – a bit like there’s blood there but I’m not bleeding.  Tonsil scabs I think it is… they’re just coming off and I can taste the fresh skin. Sounds gross I know but I’d much rather tell you everything because I could not have been prepared for this even though it was described as a ‘planned attack’ I didn’t really have a clue… I’m just thankful I’m not poorly with it and having true tonsilitus symptoms – not eating was fine because not only couldn’t I eat but I didn’t want to eat as my whole body suffered…. right now my stomach is wondering why it isn’t getting fed!!!!

Friday:

…and I woke today feeling ok!? Just ok still not right and still sore with ear ache (not half as bad as it has been mind!) but I can actually say today I feel OK! I felt more of the scabbing coming away last night which isn’t the nicest feeling or taste but I suppose it’s good and means they’re healing. I actually managed some dinner today too (chicken nuggets!) that wasn’t actually that painful …. yey go me!! I’ve taken no more pain killers for a couple of days… I’m not one to pop pills as such (& certainly not illegal ones!) but I don’t like just taking them for the sake of taking them – I don’t want my body to become immune to the pain relief when there maybe a time that it actually needs it.

My grandma tells me to keep taking them (I haven’t told her I’ve stopped!) 🙊 but I feel I can manage this, what just feels like a sore throat now. Today’s the only day I’ve felt like I can see light at the end of the tunnel!!!

I am now 2 week and 2 days post op and I think I can safely say I am 99% ‘fixed’! I still wake with a ‘stuffy’ right ear (that’s the only way I can describe it – it’s not achy anymore but feels like it’s just a bit blocked) and my mouth/throats feels weird but not sore/swollen weird I think it’s genuinely because I no longer have these big permanently massive glands residing in my throat that it just feels different. My righthand side was always the worse too so I am not surprised that side is taking longer to heal; when I wake in a morning my throat still feels dry and the right a little sore but after a drink it’s right as rain (it’s probably because I’m still sleeping with my mouth open ALL night!)

Snoring…

I remember the doctor asking at my initial consultant appointment if I snored (I don’t Alex tells me – dunno if he’s just being nice but I’m pretty sure I he would tell me if I did!) so I reckon the dryness of my throat is to do with my sleeping pattern and getting used to the fact I can probably breath a lot better on a night; it’s just getting used to the change I think.

I’m back to eating crap now haha with no pain and everything pretty much tastes as it should too 👍🏻



I really feel for anyone who has/had tonsilitus, I don’t think anyone who HASN’T had it truly understands how painful and awful it is – a week ago I was regretting having them taken out; even saying to Alex at one point that I can’t see this healing full stop let alone in a week (tonsillectomy recovery time they say is two weeks) but it’s all done and dusted now and exactly two weeks on I’m just about fit and healthy… if you have a chance to get them out do it!

I do hope this helps.. if anyone has any questions about he op, how I coped with tonsilitus, or the recovery of the tonsiletomy just ask!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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How our Walt Disney World stay cost just £235?! {update now actually £192!!}

I was never lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World when I was younger; I imagine money was one of the problems as it wasn’t and still isn’t a ‘cheap’ holiday but also my parents are not really ‘ride’ people… Cleethorpes and Hull Fair was the closest I ever got to experiencing a theme park 😂 we tended to head to a European beach resort for our holi-bobs.

[updated [figures updated after our trip – December 2016]header-2

My husband on the other hand; his vacations when he was younger were all about action – they went to Center Parcs yearly from a very young age and also Florida a few times too.

So HE is the reason for my love for Florida & we booked our first holiday abroad to Florida at 18 and 19 years old.

Now our little family has expanded holidays are obviously becoming more & more expensive to what they were back when just the two of us went so we are a lot more conscious about looking for the best deals/offers/discounts when booking our Florida trips now.



This year we are staying onsite at Walt Disney World for the whole duration of the holiday. Last year when we got married we spent 4 nights of our ‘Disneymoon‘ at two separate Deluxe hotels in Bay Lake at the Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge which were both equally amazing.  It was a nice taster to experience an onsite stay as although on paper there are loads of benefits of doing so; at the times of our past trips without children they weren’t really benefits to us.

Now we have children and I can say I have experienced it for myself; I can totally see the attraction to staying on property and I cannot wait to spend a whole two weeks (just short infact!) in the Disney ‘bubble’ in just a matter of months.

Here are this years ‘The Money Saving Mum’ tips that we have relied upon to get such a fab deal and allow us to travel again back over the pond so soon after our last trip…

Our vacation (park tickets included!) was priced at £1773 direct with Walt Disney World.  OrlandoAttractions.com shaved £107 off that without even asking… that was their price from the off!  In the footer of their email they specified that if we were to find it cheaper elsewhere then they would do what they can to price match or even beat so having used orlandoattractions.com before and had nothing but good service and trusted them completely; I thought I would send them over a quote I had been given you another company to see what they could do. They ended up knocking another £26 off 👍🏻

Orlandoattractions.com will certainly be a company we will use again for sure!

Hotel saving: £133.00

Our hotel only reservation also includes Walt Disney World Ultimate Tickets too AND free dining! Because we are in an ‘value’ resort we are entitled to a new ‘free dining’ category whereby our free dining is a free breakfast each (not including Harper as she is under 3) per day. At the time of writing it is 1-quick (counter) service meal per person so using that as a guide means if we average a meal costing $20 (very very rarely did it cost less than this to be fair!) per person per day that would mean we saved a total of £600 in food!

 

[December 16] (@ 1.20 rate).  Food is ALOT more expensive than it used to be we felt – so the difference between our predicted prices and actual prices has increased out savings to £600!)

Free dining saving: £600!

This years tickets for the first time ever (I think!) also automatically include the amazing Memory Maker … seeing asthough that would actually be something we would have 100% bought anyway and have done in the past it is certainly classed as a saving for us.

memory-maker-saving

Memory maker saving: £120

Parking is also included staying onsite and because this trip is solely a Disney trip we will be going to a park more often than not and of course taking advantage of the free parking… so at $20/day…

car-parking-saving-2

Parking saving: £184

As I say our park tickets were included in the room only reservation so there maybe a couple of pounds difference in this as we booked in May 2015 but going on today’s prices for this years tickets it would’ve cost us wherever we had stayed a little more than £1000 AND we are this year entitled to a round a day crazy golf. [December update – Now previously I added this up to a round a day… now I knew for a fact we wouldn’t be using a round a day but given that we were entitled to it I felt it should have been certainly something that should be taken into account given its ‘free’ and inclusive HOWEVER i have chosen to reduce this to a more realistic saving and class it as if we were to visit around 6 times in the whole holiday.]

Mini golf saving: £191.50

So adding up all our savings by staying onsite and getting the deal we did…

  • Hotel saving: £133
  • Free dining saving: £600
  • Memory maker saving: £120
  • Parking saving: £184
  • Mini golf saving: £191

Brings our total saving to: £1228

Less the park tickets that we would need if we stayed ANYWHERE would mean our hotel stay onsite at Walt Disney World for 12 nights costs just:

£192.00 – less than we had originally added up prior to our visit !!

How crazy does that sound!!?

So if you think Walt Disney World is expensive think more so about it as value for money and it doesn’t hurt as much 😉

I hear so many people say that they can’t afford it and it’s too expensive – which is fine we all earn what we earn and save what we save, I fully accept it might not be affordable to some… but I really hope this helped with offering some guidance and figures on what exactly you get for your dollar on trip to Walt Disney World.

 

I know there’ll be some sceptics out there and to those thinking ‘yes but what about car hire, spending money, and most importantly the mode of transport that is going get you there in the first place; the FLIGHT!’ well of course on top of this there are a few more things you MUST factor in but there is also things you you don’t necessarily HAVE to factor in if you don’t want to such as car hire; thats not a MUST if you want to and you can hire one then hire one, if you want to save that and put it towards your spends then brilliant – it’s certainly not a necessity if you are staying on site.

I will also add that these are OUR savings… they may not be the same for others but this previous trip was our first every onsite stay for the whole duration of our holiday.  We have always been ones to say ‘we can’t afford to stay onsite’ but by doing these few calculations it showed how excellent value for money for US in comparison to our previous Orlando vacations.

I plan to do another post like this but by comparing and using the other dining plans available staying in moderate and deluxe resorts too so be sure to subscribe if you want to see more.  I also have all intentions of doing similar blog to show the best value for money airlines too which will probably be in the form of a vlog so if you haven’t already be sure to subscribe to my families YouTube channel here.

To be a travel agent is honestly a dream for me.. I has been a dream of mine for aslong as I can remember -I love doing things like this.. now I don’t think being a TA is ever going to happen now unfortunatly but that doesn’t stop me helping people out where I can so again I do hope this is beneficial to anyone like us who is yet to stay on site and is needing these kind of figures to show how worth while and how excellent value for money it actually is.

If you want to see information on where we saved for our 2018 trip and how we again got a ridiculous amount of ‘free stuff’ for our money you can check out that blog post here.

I would love to hear when you are next taking a trip across the pond – keep an eye out in April for the next release of the free dining!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Walt Disney World trip must haves…… autograph books !!

Booking your holiday to Walt Disney World means just one thing…. you’re going to meet Mickey Mouse!!!!  In addition to meeting Mickey, chances are you’ll be meeting quite a few characters so one of the most important Walt Disney World must have’s during your trip ought to be an autograph book right??

 

 

We tend to buy our autograph book from the entrance of Magic Kingdom which is always the first park we visit.  You can buy from pretty much any store – they always have them at the counters where you pay and you can also get ones from the Character Warehouse at the outlets too.  Not massively discounted (if at all to be fair!) so don’t go out of your way thinking they will be cheaper because it’s something that they sell in the parks too so won’t be discounted in the outlet.

I’m telling you now DO NOT waste your money on getting that big fat biro that sits perfectly along side your autograph book on the sales counter … it won’t last 5 minutes!

Within a few days mainly due to the grease from the suncream you’ll no doubt be using but also water, food, drink; the whole layer of the pen started peeling off … by the end of the holiday it looked like a regular ‘blue’ biro with no sign of Walt Disney World whatsoever and certainly not a nice souvenir you could keep in your memory box forever…. I just wanted to get rid!

This last trip we got actually got a big pack of Sharpies and there is absolutely no way we will be going back whatsoever to regular biros now – these are amazing !

Not only do they look fab but the characters will love you for them too – although they are ‘fine’ they are thicker than a biro, are a felt tip AND permanent so won’t fade.

The characters want to spend time with you; they won’t be wanting to mess about with a small fiddly biro you can hardly see and will be very grateful too of the size of them – don’t forget those paws and four fingered hands can’t make writing the easiest of things to do.

You can just get single ones from stationary shops for around £1.50ea, I also found a 4 pack MINI from The Range which are sooo cute but characters may have an issue picking them up OR you can push the boat out and do an us and buy a MASSIVE 23 pack with a whole range of cool colours and just fill your boots !!sharpie

Ok so 23 might seem a little excessive to some but it totally depends what you’re wanting them for to be fair – the kids autographs book do look fab as we colour co ordinated the characters with their signatures, we also took a blank plain white vinylmation on the Disney Cruise with us on our last trip that we had to leave at Guest Services so we just left them a load of pens too and it looked fab by the time characters had finished with it.

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Honestly, don’t knock them until you’ve tried it even if you’re not as crazy and as OCD as us just buy a couple of single black ones and you will be so glad you did – the autograph books will be have so much more character to them and again the characters will love you for the them (just don’t forget to pass them the autograph book OPEN rather than closed!)

And be sure to check out the Walt Disney World website for locations of all character meet and greets before you go too!

Hope this helps !!

Speak soon

Kirsty x

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