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Florida Travel Day - Manchester to Orlando International Airport flying with Virgin Atlantic

We were up bright and early as always but I must admit it was ideal just being able to walk straight out of the hotel into the terminal and not worrying about traffic. As we walked down the Skylink walkway we noticed a humongous queue and I thought 'ooh dear here we go, here's the security line everyone's been talking about' - luckily for us it wasn't, it was the TUI queue. On this occasion the baggage belt had malfunctioned meaning they couldn't check bags in as normal; thankfully Virgin was much quieter so we checked in and off we went to security.

We did pay £5 for the security fast track but it wasn't open so we still had to queue as normal; it took around 45 minutes but the staff were very aware of potential passengers who would miss departures so they kept coming round to ask about departure times which I thought was efficient given the circumstances. 

We went up to Amber Ale House for some breakfast - I had a cooked breakfast (which was underwhelming tbh) and Kev had overnight oats. It was at this point I could see Kev was getting increasingly anxious about the flight. He had never flown long haul before and had only flown twice before so he was really, really worried about it. 

He didn't eat much and requested some time outside so we went out into the smoking area (the only airside outdoor area). I was at a loss to know what to say to him to put his mind at rest because I know what it's like to have a horrendous phobia (I have one about the dentist) but I tried to explain how it would all be worth it in the end. 

About 1.5 hrs of back and forth conversation later Kev suddenly said 'I can't, I can't do it, you're going to have to go on your own'. I tried to reason with him and encourage him to at least look on the plane but he was having none of it so we went to find someone to see what we needed to do as I knew he couldn't exit the terminal on his own; he'd have to be escorted out. 

We were told to go to the Virgin check-in desk where they were getting ready to board and I explained our situation. By this point we were both in tears, the lady said we had to get his bag off which was a slight issue as half my stuff was in there so we would have to repack before putting it back on but she said just hang on a minute let me see if there's any cabin crew available. 

Ade, the cabin manager, came off and literally laid on the floor in front of kev who was sat on a seat and talked him through everything that was worrying. After about 10-15 mins of chatting he invited us to board the plane first to have a look with no obligation to stay on. When we got on he said we could sit wherever there was a space, we were already in premium and decided to keep our original seats as it was the back 2 near the bulk head. Ade also said we could get up and go to the upper class bar whenever as long as the seatbelt sign wasn't on. I feel like at this point Kev pushed himself to stay on the plane; obviously premium is a bit more spacious and there IFE etc. so we sat down and belted up.

After about 20 mins we were ready for take off and as the plane pushed back I cried tears of relief that he had actually got on the plane with me; I'd prepared myself to go alone but obviously it wasn't what I wanted to do at all. The flight was pretty smooth; the food was ok (I had paneer curry which lacked paneer haha) and the IFE was also ok. I started to watch Boiling Point - all the while keeping an eye on kev who didn't eat anything but I encouraged him to keep drinking water. 

About 2.5 hrs into the flight he had a bit of a wobble; the beginnings of a panic attack. So we stood up and went to the upper class bar. I gave him a cuddle and reassured him that he was going to be ok; another lovely member of cabin crew came to help too and got us chatting about something else which really helped. After about 30 minutes he was ready to go back to our seat. 

We had our own personal watch party watching Kingsman and then the afternoon tea came which was lovely; some little sandwiches and a scone. Again, Kev didn't eat a thing but still kept drinking water. After that we got the ipad out and watched Sex and the City 2 the movie; although it's not really Kev's cup of tea I think it was familiar for him because I watch it over and over at home. I do think watching movies 'together' really helped to calm him and keep his mind off the flight. 

By the time we'd finished watching the ipad we were starting to descend. I was so proud of Kev for facing his fear and getting on the plane - I knew it would all be worth it in the end. Ade brought us over a bottle of champagne as a congratulations for Kev completing his first long haul flight which I thought was so lovely - the whole Virgin crew were absolutely amazing! 

When we landed at MCO I had another little quiet cry in the walkway to the terminal; the smell and familiar surroundings just made me realise that I'd finally made it back after 5 years. Security was an absolute breeze - no queues and we had a short wait for the bags. Then it was off on to the monorail into arrivals to wait for our friends Daniel and Jacob to kindly pick us up. 

We arrived at our hotel the Wyndham Orlando Resort iDrive at around 5pm. I have to say I was quite underwhelmed by the room; it was tired and in need of an update but it was fine - it was a bed. We decided to go over to Giordanos for some food which was absolutely amazing (we had the sharer starter and shared a classic chicago deep dish pizza) and made our way back to the hotel for another early night ready for our first park day in Hollywood Studios!

Home Safety: How To Make Your Home Safe

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Making your home safe is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family. There are several steps you can take to make your home less dangerous and more secure. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most important ways to make your home safe. We will cover topics such as fire safety, childproofing, and security measures. You can help keep your loved ones safe from harm by following these tips.

Smoke Alarm and Fire Extinguisher 
One of the most important ways to make your home safe is by installing a smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can be produced by burning fuel. It is odorless and colorless, so you may not know it is there until it is too late. A smoke alarm can help save lives in the event of a fire. It is also essential to have a fire extinguisher in your home. Then, if a fire does break out, you will be able to put it out quickly and safely. You can also research some top tips for a fire-resistant bathroom and other areas in your home and implement them. 

Light it Up
Another way to make your home safe is by keeping it well-lit. Ensure all entrances and exits are well-lit and consider adding motion detector lights near doors and windows.

Securing Valuable Items 
You can make your home safer by securing valuable items. For example, keep expensive jewelry and electronics hidden away, or install a safety deposit box to store them in. If burglars can see valuable items through your windows, they may be tempted to break in. 

Another way to keep your family safe is by childproofing your home. You can do many things to childproof your home, such as installing safety gates and covers on electrical outlets. You should also keep dangerous objects like knives and chemicals out of reach of children.

Case of an Emergency Plan 
It is also essential to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. For example, you should know how to get out of your home if there is a fire and where to go if there is an earthquake or another disaster. You should also have a list of emergency numbers, such as the police, fire department, and ambulance, handy in case you need them.

Get to Know Your Neighbours
Neighborhood watch programs are a great way to deter crime. Get to know your neighbors and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

How to Protect your Vehicles at Home

It’s no secret that Britain is a nation filled with motoring enthusiasts. Unfortunately, car crime is still rife, and many cars get stolen or broken into each month across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

You may live in an area with a reasonably low crime rate. But, that doesn’t mean crime rates won’t rise in the future. You’re obviously reading this article because you care about your cars, and you want to make sure they’re safe and secure while they’re outside your home.

But, what steps can you take to ensure their security? Check out the following suggestions for some inspiration:
Park Your Cars Out Of Sight
The first thing you need to do is find a way of storing your vehicles out of public view. That means parking their cars in two bay oak garages for most people. The thing about parking cars in garages is they aren’t visible to people in the public eye.
Let’s face it: you can’t steal something that isn’t there, so hiding your cars in plain sight is a brilliant way to thwart any potential theft attempts.

Use A Steering Wheel Lock
If you can’t park your cars in a garage, another thing you can do is consider a visual deterrent like a steering wheel lock. They are simple devices that fit through the gaps in steering wheels and get made of solid metal.
What’s more, their design makes it virtually impossible to remove forcibly. An opportunist car thief is unlikely to steal a car if they have to spend a lot of time trying to achieve that goal. They’d rather opt for a vehicle with no steering wheel lock fitted.

Store Your Keys In A Faraday Pouch
Many of today’s modern vehicles feature keyless entry systems. The trouble with such systems is they are incredibly vulnerable, and a pair of car thieves can easily steal such a vehicle in seconds.
If you store your car keys in a Faraday pouch, the signals from the keyfobs will get blocked, meaning car thieves cannot duplicate the signals that would enable them to unlock vehicles and start their engines.

Install CCTV
CCTV is both a visual deterrent and an excellent way to capture any criminal activity, such as attempted thefts of your vehicles. If you invest in a high-quality HD security camera system, you will have visual evidence of people trying to steal your cars.
What’s more, modern CCTV systems allow you to record footage at night thanks to night vision, infrared technology. Today’s CCTV security systems can often get linked to the cloud, meaning you can view footage from anywhere around the world.

Install A Fuel Pump Cut-Off Switch
Lastly, consider installing a hidden fuel pump cut-off switch. It’s a simple security measure that you can fit to any vehicle, and if you hide the switch, no one will know it exists! With the switch enabled, no one will be able to start your vehicle.
Make sure when entrusting someone with your car, give it a refresh or service, for example, that you keep your fuel pump cut-off switch disabled.

Final Thoughts
If you want to ensure people won’t try to steal your vehicles, the above ideas will help you achieve that goal.

As Fresh As A Daisy: The Secrets Of People Who Have Homes That Smell Beautiful

Do you ever walk into somebody’s home and stop in your tracks to think: “this smells beautiful”? If so, you’re not alone. It turns out that making indoor spaces smell as wonderful as a lavender meadow is something that you can achieve yourself. It’s just a matter of know-how. 

Find out what to do below: 

Light A Candle
If you have a lot of stinky smells in your home, light a candle. Candles have a wonderful ability to transform how rooms both feel and smell. 
When choosing a candle, be sure to pick one with essential oils and made of soy wax. This combination offers the ultimate in terms of health, wellbeing and effect. For a relaxing scent, choose either frankincense, lavender or eucalyptus. 

Clean The Carpets
Vacuuming will only remove so much debris from your carpets. If you really want to remove all the odour-causing particles, you’ll need to do some proper carpet cleaning
When it comes to cleaning your carpets, you have two options. You can either try doing it yourself with a wet vac, or you can get professionals to do it for you. Once the job is done, you’ll notice just how much fresher and lighter everything smells. For some households, it can make a tremendous difference. 

Deodorise Your Shoes
Stinky shoes left in the hallways can produce bad smells that flow throughout the home. If you have a shoe rack, keep some deoderiser nearby, particularly during the summer when people are sweating more. 

Open The Window
You can also reduce the number of smell particles in your home by opening a window. Just leaving it slightly ajar will allow the air to diffuse, with any bad smells eventually making their way outside. 

Clean Your Sofa Upholstery
Just like carpets, sofas can become a magnet for bad smells. Their fibres trap odour-causing compounds and then release them slowly over time. 
Again, to clean your sofa, you’ll need to hire a professional. They follow a special technique that allows them to essentially dry clean your furniture so that it’s ready again for you to use the next day. They also impregnate it with odour-cancelling particles so that it stays smelling fresher for longer. 

Use Essential Oil On Your Air Conditioning Filter
Essential oils smell great when placed in regular diffusers. But you can also combine them with your air conditioning system. As air circulates, it will pick up scent molecules from the oil and distribute them around your home. 
You don’t need much essential oil to create the desired effect. Just a few drops will suffice. 

Use Vinegar While Cleaning
Plain white vinegar smells quite pungent when you use it, but it is actually one of the best cleaning substances there is for making your home smell great. Its chemical structure allows it to grab onto odour-producing molecules and sweep them away. It is well worth using in both the kitchen and bathroom. Don’t worry: that sour smell will soon evaporate away, leaving everything looking and smelling fresh.