I quit my job to start my own business!

Yep you read right I am officially unemployed ….. well as far as the corporate world is concerned anyway!  I am still very much working; only I’m working for ME!  I quit my job to start my own business!!

I left my job to start my own business!

I’ve worked in a government agency for over 13 years and although I LOVED my job the environment has ended up being so toxic it’s was unhealthy.

I have spoken via our YouTube channel on how my mental health has been affected massively since having children and although yes having kids does mess with your head whether you like it or not with me often referring to still having baby brain; I never in a million years thought that my work place would make things 10 times worse:

  • I’ve been through 2 flexible working applications that were both refused and granted at appeal because the business had done things wrong.
  • I’ve missed out on opportunities because I’ve either been on maternity or worked part time.
  • I’ve been through an attendance review because I had tonsillitis caused by stress.
  • and even had CBT because I’ve thought everything that I’ve gone through at work was all me and in my head!



November 2017 I started my journey on CBT;  it opened my eyes massively and was so good to speak to someone other than a friend who is going to make you feel better because thats what they are there for or a husband who tells you to just tell them to fu*k off 😉 (there were times I was close!).

My CBT lady was a psychologist; some one professionally qualified to tell me no that’s really not right or no it’s not just you being silly.  I knew things weren’t right and that the things I were feeling weren’t normal but I just needed that someone to tell me that!

In January I decided I wanted to really make a go of my blog.  I didn’t want to stay there but I felt I couldn’t leave and that there wouldn’t be anywhere else with the flexibility I had fought tooth and nail for for years and now felt trapped.  I wasn’t staying for me I was staying for everyone but me.

February, I think it was, I signed up for a 1:1 blog coaching with the wonderful Lynn James at Mrs Mummypenny.



In addition to helping me with my blog & pricing my work accordingly she also planted the seed of the possibility of using the skills that I already had, skills that I had acquired over the past 14 years.

Over the next couple of months we built up a really good friendship.  I had 30 days follow up after my coaching and sent her over pitches, went to her for advice and found we really got on.

Just before I went away in April I started helping Lynn out with the SEO of her blog posts and website and the rest is history as they say!  It was approx 6 months to the date I plucked up the courage and got that coaching call that I put my notice in at my corporate job!  I still can’t believe it either!

I was determined at the beginning of this year to get out of that hell hole and do something for me… and I went and did it!  I didn’t put a time span on it either… it just all seem to happen in 6 months!

I will be forever grateful to Lynn for planting that seed… it’s something I have done for so many years, general administration, running my own businesses solely on social media platforms, my blog, vlog…. but when something is right in front of your eyes you don’t always see it do you… I needed that someone to shake me and say LOOK it’s right there!  Lynn did just that!



The date I put my notice in was 6 months to the date that I and the rest of my team were told to go on a resilience training.

I explained to my manager that I didn’t want to; not in a uncooperative or negative way but explained I didn’t want it to in anyway to effect my CBT I was at that time also having.  I was being told to do and think a certain way by a trained professional; I didn’t want to then be told something completely different by someone far from a professional, someone basically just wanting to get a ‘over achieved’ tick in their appraisal box at the end of the year with no expenses spared for peoples mental health.

At the end of the training we were asked to write down in 6 months time where would you want to be.  We were encouraged to take from the course to achieve just that…. well here was mine…

I've left my job.... to run my own business!

So that’s me done as far as working in an office is concerned though; no more stressing about things I have absolutely no control over, no more paranoia over what my manager thinks of me when the school call because one of my children is poorly and needs picking and ultimately for my health; no more bullying, discrimination or making me feel like I can’t be myself.

I now run betteryourblog.co.uk who specialise in providing virtual assistance to fellow bloggers and vloggers.  I optimise blog posts to gain them higher rankings in Google, I get posts to the point of publish (without writing them of course… that’s their job!) 😉  as well as doing Pinterest and social media management, newsletters and so much more!

I also offer my services out to businesses and non bloggers via hldnmedia.net and help companies with marketing, social media management and any other form of admin work that maybe required.

You will be seeing so many more posts over on here and our vlogging channel because I now have the time to do so instead of being out of the house working for someone else for 3 full days a week, getting home, stuffing my face with chocolate feeling sorry for myself & putting on a ton of weight.. that wasn’t helping my mental health at all… but this my friends is!

If you got value out of this post or you feel someone else may benefit then feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty

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5 things I dislike about a Disney Cruise

The statement ‘what’s not to love on a Disney Cruise’ should just stay exactly as that… a statement. We have had 2 amazing Disney Cruises and I would go back in a heartbeat but I have to be honest and share with you 5 things I DISLIKE about a Disney Cruise.

The only 5 things I dislike about a Disney Cruise

Gratuities

These don’t have to be paid but it is customary to ‘tip’ over in America in recognition of good service which you do get so we do however the fact you have to bare in mind the tips before you even Cruise to get a true reflection of the cost does annoy me a little!

It’s calculated per guest per night of the Cruise and covers your server ($4), your servers assistant ($3), your head server ($1) and stateroom host ($4) at the very least.

You should also expect an 18% gratuity to be added to any Spa service and anywhere you create a ‘tab’ with discretionary gratuities that cover dining manager, room service, signature restaurants & any port adventures.

You can pay the gratuities when you pay your remaining balance which is something I will seriously consider doing next time.  I believe we will receive the same high standard of service either way we do it but it will just allow us to budget the full cost of the trip rather than getting the bill at the end of the cruise and realising either you still need to pay x-amount of money on the last day of the trip or you know you will get home to a credit card bill with the full amount.



Shops onboard are closed when the ship is in port

Sometimes you don’t want to get off the ship when it’s in port; well don’t expect to shop!  The stores are closed when the ship is docked due to, I think, local custom regulations.  I totally respect the reasons for it but it’s such a pain!  It’s an ideal time when most are off the ship to explore the ship a little and browse the shops but no can do I’m afraid!

Paying to enter the spa

It’s to be expected that you pay for treatments in the spa but I didn’t expect to be charged to just enter the spa and sit on their seats, have a sensory shower or relax in their steam room!  You can get day/week passes but still I feel they could at least allow you to relax if only for a limited time for free!  Oh & don’t forget the 18% automatic gratuity as well!

Fireworks shows are too late for kids

Not all itineraries include fireworks and/or Pirate Night but the 3n & 4n Bahamas cruise we’ve been on have an evening where we are all ‘Pirates IN the Caribbean’.  There are two pirate shows featuring the ‘fab 5’ (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald & Daisy) early on in the evening with a MASSIVE break of nearly 2 hours before the fireworks at sea at 10:30pm!

What’s not to love on a Disney Cruise... my top 5!

I originally thought the fireworks show on our May cruise were after 10pm because it got dark later in the Bahamas but then when they were on at the same time in November and it was dark a lot earlier I realised that that wasn’t the reason at all!?

Because we have small children we have early dining meaning we have dinner around 5 and early breakfast around 8am because the kids are kids that get up early whatever time they go to sleep!  Ours aren’t the only ones that can’t make it to 10:30pm either…. in comparison to a few hours earlier at the Pirate party there are very few kids out on deck watching the fireworks which is such a shame!



The kids would love it; last time we tried to keep our eldest up but there was no way my youngest was staying awake so apart from through a lense I haven’t actually seen the fireworks for myself either as I had to stay in the cabin with the little one.

Having to get off 🙁

As I first mentioned in this post I absolutely LOVE a Disney Cruise so even though there are a few things that I’m not massively happy with; I had to include the fact that we have to get off is the most disappointing thing about a Disney Cruise 100%!

The service you receive, the cleanliness, the variety of food, the entertainment, the views; it’s truly paradise and that’s before you even step foot on Disney’s own private island of Castaway Cay.

What’s not to love on a Disney Cruise... my top 5!

Our cruises don’t end as abruptly as it could though because we don’t fly home until the evening.  We tend to head back over to Orlando to spend our last full day having some fun before making our way to the airport. Our last one ended up with us visiting Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (and flying home the following day!) with the one before that having being spent at the beautiful Orlando International Airport Hyatt hotel which was a lovely relaxing end to our holiday.

I hope this helps in preparing you for what will be I’m sure an amazing cruise on the Disney Cruise Line whenever that maybe.

If you feel someone else may also benefit from this post then feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty “)

More Disney blogs;

How to do Disney like a pro in 7 days!

Liberty Tree Tavern dinner review

Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House review

Top 5 reasons to visit Ohana restaurant

Old Key West resort review

Where to have a quick breakfast in Walt Disney World

Top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with kids

Cheap official Disney products at the Disney Character Warehouse

Vanellopes Sweets & treats on the Disney Dream

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney)

Top 10 tips on getting the most from your FREE Disney dining plan

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The 3 best financial investments I have ever made.

Having been inspired by fellow money blogger Mrs Mummypenny I’m today wanting to share with you some of the best financial investments I have ever made. I love reading these type posts; they really give me some fab ideas and even make me rethink things that I’ve maybe invested in but either haven’t yet seen the immediate benefit from yet or not actually looked at it as an investment!

The 3 best financial investments I have ever made

Now I’m 32 (just!). Some might say I’m not as ‘experienced’ as some in life but let me tell you money-wise….. we’ve had money, we’ve lost money, we’ve had wages reduce dramatically, redundancy AND a dismissal (because they were corrupt by the way!) so I think I’m in a pretty good position to talk about personal financial planning.

House purchase

21 years old I was when I bought my own house with my now husband.

That was 100% the best investment we have both ever made! We needed minimal deposit (just 5%) and bought before the dramatic price increases in both house prices and deposit requirements but don’t forget this was in 2007!

Also we took out the mortgage over a 35 year period reducing the term down every time the fixed rate was up for renewal. The amount we pay now is the exact amount we did back in 2007 and we have around just 10 years left to pay! That might not be possible for these days I accept that as we did buy at probably the best time and our original interest rate was over 6% but getting our mortgage over a long period of time initially and then overpaying every month since 2012 is something that helped us out both at the start and helped us out even more come 11 years later.



We were both working full time in relatively good paid jobs (then!) so instead of renovating every single inch of the 3 bedroomed house we chose to add another room and convert the loft to a liveable space.

We knew this was going to be our forever home so we invested in it while we had the money and decided to extend. If we were to do it now I anticipate it would cost a hell of a lot more than just the £4k it was back then!

And although it’s not to building regulations, 11 years later it is now my 7 year olds bedroom and we have a spare box room.

Artificial grass

Another absolute must as far as an investment is artificial grass. It was expensive and completely unknown 10 years+ ago but we got our first dog not long after we moved in and after going through I think two lots of turf, green/dead/wee patches we opted for ‘fake grass’.

There’s no mud, the kids can play outside when it’s been raining, we can hoover it, brush it, disinfect it and more importantly not kill it with the now 3 dogs of ours having gone to toilet on it!

That was something again we got prior to kids and one of the first things we invested in when buying our first house.



We’d probably would still have the exact same grass down now if we hadn’t have extended the downstairs a few years ago but the builders left it in such a state we had to replace.

You can see us laying our most recent grass in the vlog below:

Starting my own business

Whilst on maternity with my eldest during 2011 I decided to take it upon myself to start my own cake business. I had reduced my hours at work to avoid extortionate childcare costs and no longer had access to the full time pay I’d had for the previous 5 years. I had time and I needed money. Any money I made went straight back into making bigger more extravagant cakes for very little profit just build up a portfolio. I don’t regret this whatsoever because it allowed me to gain experience in both being self employed, running a business and obviously being a cake decorator. However the time I spent on the business and in the kitchen was to much. Way to much!

Redundancy

In 2013 hubby took redundancy from BAE Systems and whilst the majority of the pay out paid for our wedding in Florida in 2015 he gave me £1000 to invest into my business. I ventured into the wedding industry and bought new cake stands, a sweet stand he even made me the cutest child candy cart that I could hire out in addition to the baking the cakes/cupcakes etc.

Unfortunately not long after my youngest was born my hubby, now in another job by the way, ended up having to go onto shift work.  This meant I no longer had the weekends free to take cakes to venues or to do chair covers or even drop off our LOVE lights to Saturday night wedding parties because I now had two children (and a tiny Fiesta!) to look after pretty much on my own. Things were going really well but it just wasn’t meant to be. From dealing with hotels/venues, public liability, customers/clients, contracts and invoices; I was on it like a car bonnet and learnt so much of my social media skills from running my own business.

I still have a lot of my stuff in storage to be fair; slowly selling things off as and when I get around to it. Hubby still works weekends now so most things are just gathering dust but looking back just having that £1000 taught me so much and probably wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Thanks so much for reading!

Kirsty x

I’m taking part in the Monday Money linky with Lynn from Mrs Mummy PennyFaith from Much More With Less and Emma from EmmaDrew.Info

 

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Where to have a quick breakfast in Walt Disney World

During all our trips we have struggling massively to find somewhere quick and on the go to eat in Walt Disney World for breakfast.  We do many sit down character breakfasts, which fills us up until after lunchtime, but when we don’t do them we can’t find anywhere!

Where to have a quick breakfast in Walt Disney World

On our last day only a matter of weeks ago we left the apartment on an empty stomach.  We had no table service dining credits left and we were starving!  Do not expect any of us to have a conversation with you when our bellies are empty… we barely have civil conversations between ourselves!

We walked around Hollywood Studios for what seemed like miles trying to find somewhere.  There are dining places listed on the maps but very VERY few that says ‘B’ for breakfast against them so we were hoping (at 10am!) that there might be some restaurants open serving dinner… we were wrong so we opted for Starbucks…!



The only time in 13 years+ of visiting Walt Disney World have we ever stepped foot in a Starbucks but literally that is pretty much all there is for a quick breakfast! (Updates July 18…. Toy Story land has now brought more breakfasts options to Hollywood Studios… see below)

I was only expecting pastries, coffee, cappuccinos and tea but we were actually pleasantly surprised.  We got a sausage egg & cheddar sandwich & a delicious cookie (or two!) and it was really really nice!

Where to have a quick breakfast in Walt Disney World

Where to have a quick breakfast in Walt Disney World

I wanted to do a blog post to list those places where you get a quick service breakfast to save YOU time in doing what we did and trekking through a park at 10am in the morning looking for some food!

I will add during most of the holiday we were having croissants and breakfast cereal in the room I had bought over with us so we very rarely went out ‘starving’ but given this was our last day we basically had nothing left and all sweet treats were already packed!



Hollywood Studios

So as I’ve already mentioned the only place we found was Starbucks within the Trolley Car Cafe.  We could use what we had left of our dining credits though as everything was classed as a snack which was good (as would all of these mentioned I imagine).

July 18 has brought the brand new Toy Story land has brought Woodys Lunchbox to Hollywood Studios as an additional breakfast option. Although I have never tasted or experienced Toy Story land yet, I have seen that they serve some fantastic quick service breakfasts from a S’more French Toast Sandwich to a hearty portion of potato barrels (aka tater tots!) with scrambled egg and more. The pictures I’ve seen look mouth watering!

Animal Kingdom

Rainforest Cafe at the entrance of Animal Kingdom serves breakfast but it ISN’T a quick service/snack environment – it is a sit down table service restaurant.  The only ones I recall in AK Creature Comforts (again another Starbucks!) and Yak and Yeti.

Magic Kingdom

We had done the same trek around looking for breakfast in Magic Kingdom on our trip 18 months ago and again to no avail!  Main Street Bakery is again another Starbucks so they will 100% do something quick for breakfast.  Sleepy Hollow too sells a breakfast snack but I remember it being like one thing rather than a variety of stuff!

Epcot

Epcot probably has the best variety for a quick breakfast in the Sunshine Seasons AND Starbucks.



I’m really surprised that Disney haven’t got more quick service breakfasts on offer – people want to get to the parks early don’t they with many probably skipping breakfast.

Just note unless you book a character/table service meal you are extremely limited as far as breakfast is concerned in pretty much all the parks.

Chances are you WON’T be able to get a walk up to any of those type restaurants either so if you do want to go then pre book them!

Thanks for reading,

Kirsty x

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My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

I think its safe to say here’s the blog post soooo many of you have been waiting soooo long for…. my top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

My children have been fortunate to have been travelling abroad since they were under 1 so now 3 and 6 and a fair few trips under both their belts at different ages I feel the need to share with you my top 10 tips of travelling to Disney with children and if you haven’t caught our most recent trip over on YouTube then you can do so here.

 

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Stay on property…. !

Our first two trips with kids weren’t actually onsite; our first trip my eldest was a baby and we stayed off site on International Drive second with both children we stayed in a Villa in Clermont. However since staying onsite for just 4 nights for our Disneymoon back in 2015 we are now hooked. Things are just sooo much easier being so close to your hotel. You can just jump on a boat straight to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot or Hollywood Studios (depending on where you are staying) or you can hop on a monorail located just a step outside your hotel door and get dropped off again at the park gates!  It makes things so much easier!

If you haven’t been to Disney World before it will be very difficult to visualise the layout and size of the place but let me give you a bit of an idea; the whole of Walt Disney World Resort is 47 sq miles … within that there are umpteen hotels, two water parks, four theme parks, two crazy golf courses and Disney Springs .. and that’s just the touristy attractions… in between all that there’s also ESPN sports village, a fire station, cast members HQ and a car hire garage so you can probably now understand better that it is not small!

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Take your own car seats

If you plan to hire a car when you arrive then take your own car seats.  Not only will it save you money not having to hire ones but also you can be sure your child fits in the seat as it’s the one they use day in day out, you also know where the seat has been and you know how to fit it securely in a car.  Another bonus of taking car seats is that by packing them in car seat bags allows you to use the spare space in these bags for other things such as baby wipes, towels, nappies – the big bulky things you don’t want taking up precious room in your case!

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Take of note of your childs height

In the build up to your holiday; keep a record of the height of your children to avoid any disappointments when you get there.  Although I can’t guarantee there won’t be any meltdowns as you pass a ride they are too small to go on it will help them understand before you go that they aren’t going to be able to ride everything.

Spending money

Let each child have a set amount of money per day. My two on our last trip had $15/day each to spend on what they wanted. When it went it went so envelope it up and take it out in that every day so they know when it’s gone it’s gone.

Drink, drink drink!

Something else that is worth putting in the car seat bag should you be taking one is a couple of bottles of squash. We wrap them up with near enough a full roll of clingfilm so if there are any leakages it doesnt go all over other things inside the bag. Disney offer free iced water throughout their parks so take an empty bottle, fill it with the squash and add it to your cool and refreshing iced water daily. It not only quenches your thirst but also stops you paying out for drink after drink whilst trying to keep you hydrated through the day.

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Baby care centres

If you have small children or younger ones still in nappies it maybe worth noting where about a the Baby Care centres are throughout each park. Within each of them they have a quite, cool area where you can feed, change or nurse your baby in peace and they have everything on offer including a shop to buy anything that you may need (or have forgotten!) whilst caring for your little one. They are only one per park though but don’t feel that is the only place available to change and feed your child – every toilet has a changing area just remember to take your changing mat and a small pack of multi surface clearing wipes. I’ve had no issue with cleanliness in any of the Disney toilets but I do like to ensure that the area is 100% clean whilst particularly changing nappies. FYI too should your little one end up getting lost, the baby care centres are where the cast members will take them until you go to claim the child.

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Buffet restaurants

We have done many a buffets style meals during our trips to Walt Disney World; mainly breakfasts but lunch and dinner too as we find they are excellent value for money. We find though and much prefer the ‘lazy buffet’ style restaurants over the regular ‘self serve’ buffets with small children in tow. Most buffets are self serve whereby you have a server bringing you drinks however it’s yourself that is required to go up for whatever food you want for your family. With small children in your party that either can’t yet walk, can’t hold a plate or can’t be left at the table on their own in my opinion is not the most ideal dining option to try and manage. It can be quite stressful. I love the fact that Disney do offer alternatives though in as I’ve just described at ‘lazy buffets’ where your server will not only bring you drinks but also your meal; platter style.



You can ask them for more of a certain thing, less of a certain thing and not have to leave your table. I list below the ‘lazy buffet’ style restaurants all of which are linked to our YouTube video where we visited and experienced breakfast and dinner ourselves.

Download the My Disney Experience (MDE)

You must 100% utilise this within the parks.  You can get free WIFI throughout most of Walt Disney World and in order to see where the queues are without having to walk to the other side of the park check in on the app every now and then to find those with minimal waiting. MDE also allows you to book fast passes so don’t wait until you get there to use it either – Fast Passes allow you to bypass the regular queue at a certain time through the day and head straight to the front.  Ensure you download it the minute you book because you will be able to start booking things, depending on where you are staying, before you even get there:

  • staying on property at at Walt Disney Hotel will allow you to book your fast passes 60 days ahead of your hotel check in date for the entire length of your stay.
  • staying off property allows you to book your fast passes 30 days ahead of each day you are in the park.

You can also book dining reservations through MDE now too!



Child swap

Probably one of the biggest tip I can give you ….is to use the child swap!  You don’t necessarily have to have a small child that cannot ride due to height restrictions but if one doesn’t want to ride it doesn’t mean that both parents need to miss out riding with the other. Head on over to the front of the queuing area to the cast member stood in the fast pass area and ask for a child swap. You may all need to be present around whilst you are asking; I know we were asked where the baby was a couple of times once she was pointed out to them they gave us a pass that allowed us to queue just the once as at the end of your ride you pass the paper child swap to the other parent and/or swap children and head back on up the fast pass line straight to the front of the queue. One way of utilising this even better is to book a fast pass for the first riders (1 adult & 1 child), head back to the ride at your given time and ask for a child swap.  You will then be able to head down the fast pass line twice(!), the first time because you have booked a fast pass the second time because you have a child swap!  That way also you will end up having a spare fast pass for the other adult to use perhaps on a ride they want to ride on their own!

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

Pushchairs

Finally the question I constantly get asked ….. should you take a pushchair!?  But only you can make the decision as to whether or not you feel your child is too big now for a pushchair but if you do have the opportunity to take one then take one.  Not only for the reason of having somewhere comfy for your child to nap but when they aren’t in it you can pop any bags you have on your back in there too!  It will certainly come in handy however make sure you DON’T check in your pushchair with the rest of your luggage and choose to take it to the gate with you.  Security will allow you though their assistance aisle; a queue that runs along side the Priority and FastTrack limited-access queue to the security checkpoint for your outbound flight.  This will allow you to reach the departure lounge faster and relax with time to spare! If you haven’t already seen our previous review on our pushchair rental with Kingdom Strollers then have a read here that too will probably help you decide to rent or take your own.

My top 10 tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children

I really hope this helps?!  I would love to hear some of your tips too! Drop a comment down below and let me know your best tips on travelling to Walt Disney World with children 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

I’ve mentioned before I would LOVE to go to Florida and not do the theme parks…. I know I know shock horror right!!?  Chances are it won’t happen until the kids are older and are all Disney’d out if you like, but the further away I venture from Disney and the theme parks the more powerful that desire becomes. This list is something I always refer back to when I discuss with Hubby the possibility of heading back over the pond ‘for a break’ so check out my top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Walt Disney World!)

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

My first would be to visit Downtown Celebration.  We did this for the first time on our most recent trip across the pond last October and truly loved it!  It’s located just south of Disney and as you drive down the road towards the Town Center you will be in awe of all the beautiful (and totally unaffordable!) houses!

Sitting by the lake in a rocking chair its certainly one of my musts!  But do take care with children, there are no fences that run alongside the [gator filled] lake so do not let them out of your sight!

We had breakfast at the Market Place Cafe and it was such a refreshing change from a theme park meal I have to say and felt it was really quite reasonably priced in comparison to what we usually pay for breakfast on property. [this quaint little town is totally free to walk around!]

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

My second recommendation is to visit a park – they are nothing like your regular play parks at home but are beautiful, natural, cultural parks and there are tons of them around the tourist areas of Orlando.  My personal favourite has to be where we got married; Cypress Grove Park.  You will need a car to get to the majority but this one in particular is worth the trip out for sure, plus it’s not far from Mall at Millenia and north of Universal Studios if you want to kill two birds with one stone.

The 1925 estate house in the grounds makes an amazing back drop for photographs and again I know I’m biased but its truly beautiful. [again the grounds are totally free to walk around!]

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

Thirdly, would be to visit a beach.  Although I personally have never done this I would love to!  My husband has though and whenever we depart Port Canaveral on a Disney Cruise I admire those located on the east coast of Florida all the time!   If you are still on the beach around 5pm and time it right you will get to see some of the cruise ships leave too!

Although a little further south then the entrance to Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach looks beautiful and I’m pretty sure if you were to walk north from Cocoa Beach you would be able to see the ships leave. [you will find that any beach you head to from the Orlando area you will come to a toll so be sure to keep your change to hand!]

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

Fourth I would have to say shopping.  Although kids maybe aren’t a massive fan of traipsing around shops, Florida truly has something for everyone.  There are very equipped with things you can hire and push around the children in such as cars etc – pick up one of those as you go in and trust me they will be happy!  There are four main shopping outlets/centers that we’ve visited in and around the Orlando area of Florida; Mall at Millenia, Florida Mall and the two Premium Outlets north and south of International Drive.

Both malls house department store style shops with Macys, American Girl and JC Penney at Florida Mall and your higher end stores such as Prada, Tiffanys, Michael Kors etc at Mall at Millenia.

The outlet stores are pretty much like our outlets here in the UK, they have your high street discount stores such as Adidas, Nike and Toys r Us and you will even find a Character Warehouse aka a ‘cheap Disney store’ should you want to pick up some massively discounted Disney goodies !!

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

Lastly, and by no means least, mini golf.  Yes that might sound a little crazy [no pun intended!] in comparison to other recommendations I’ve mentioned and you’re probably thinking ‘seriously!? Not really worth taking time out of your holiday to visit surely?’ but seriously kids and adults will love it!

There are so many out there and every single one are all fantastically themed!  We always end up at the Pirates Cove Adventure Golf and we are yet to find one better.  It’s affordable and fun!

Top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Disney!)

I would really love to hear what some of your favourite things to do outside of the theme parks so feel free to leave a comment down below, oh and if you too are into Florida vlogs then feel free to check out our most recent Florida series over at hakzvideos.com

Thanks for reading,

Kirsty x

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