Even as a casual reader, the cost of buying books can quick add up. Gone are the days of picking up a new book for a little over a fiver. Nowadays, a bestseller will set you back £8 or £9, with new releases in hardback costing well over £10. Reading should not be an expensive hobby.

When I was growing up, I would always look forward to Sunday mornings as my dad would take my sister and I to the local library. My clearest memories of mornings spent in that historic building involved me taking over the teenage section. I would always be affronted if someone else was browsing too. What if they took the next book in the series I was working through? I would painstakingly sweep through every shelf of every bookcase, looking for something that was becoming increasingly rare – a book that I hadn’t read yet. I would select 10 at a time – the maximum that the library allowed people to borrow – and usually read one from cover to cover that afternoon and evening. That was the magic of teen books. I could get through them incredibly quickly and they usually weren’t hard to digest.

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Now that my first set of Disneyland vlogs are over, it’s surely time to start asking about where the next ones will be coming from. It may not be another Florida trip, but I am very excited about what is coming next.

Yes, I’m off to Disneyland Paris once again. Got to make the most of that annual pass, which I bought in April! Having the park tickets already does make the trip a lot cheaper, which is great. My sister Alice is also very excited about the trip. In fact, she’s going to New York City a week before, so July is going to be a great month for her!

During our trip, we’re hoping to get all the rides done, see all the shows and meet lots of characters. I’ve been eagerly following Twitter updates to find out about the new things that Disneyland Paris have coming up for summer. After hearing great things, I can’t wait to see Forest of Enchantment. I’ve heard there’s going to be a new ‘Winnie the Pooh or friends’ meet-up in Fantasyland which I am very excited for. If you’ve followed my vlogs for a while, you’ll know that both Alice and I are big fans of the Hundred Acre Wood gang. Such great hugs!

I can’t wait to show my sister all of my favourite bits from my last trip. From Crush’s Coaster and Tower of Terror to Mickey and the Magician and the 25th anniversary castle show, I know it’s going to be an amazing trip.

We’re heading off in mid to late July, so do keep an eye out for our updates and the vlogs which will be coming very soon afterwards. Now it’s time to get excited!

In nearly every office across the country, there is a a culture of relying on caffeine to get through the day. No matter if your vice is coffee or tea, chances are that someone will offer to do a round of hot drinks every hour or two. I normally drink two or three cups of tea per day, and maybe even more during those chilly winter months. Tea has always been a vice for me. It warms me up while the air conditioning is blasting, and it always seems the cheer me up. It’s refreshing, and it feels like home.

So why did I decide to give up caffeine forever?

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How did this come around so quickly? It’s already my last day in Disneyland Paris! One of the best things about these theme parks is that they’re so close to home, so we got to stay in the pars until mid afternoon, and I was still home in London by early evening. It’s so much easier than travelling from Florida!

We got to do lots of our favourite things over again today. Highlights included a creepy/hilarious meet with Jafar, the castle show with all the characters, and some classic rides – including Dumbo. I always feel like I could skip this ride, but it’s always so lovely and peaceful.

We also went on the train station and had a very sedate journey around the park, which was just what we needed to end a long week. Sabrina and I left the park early in search of delicious food in the Disney Village, and we definitely found it with Vapiano. I’ll be back for more pizza, pasta and bruschetta next time I’m in Disneyland Paris. To top if off, I had the most expensive ice cream ever from the cinema, but it was so worth it. The perfect end to the trip.

Top tip: storing our bags in the train station worked out really well. It meant that we didn’t have to go back to our hotel in the afternoon, and we could go straight to pick them up before jumping on the train.

Overall, I had a fantastic time on my first proper holiday to Disneyland Paris. Most of all, I couldn’t believe that I can get a taste of Disney so close to home. It has definitely picked up since I visited for the day in 2011. The 25th anniversary shows and parades were a definite highlight. I really hope that I can visit again while all their celebrations are in full swing.

Thank you so much for watching my Disneyland Paris vlogs. I hope you enjoyed them all.

Sneak peek: Check my YouTube channel to see my next Disney trip announcement! 

Lots of people have a lot of strong opinions on Sea World. We would visit this theme park every few years when I was growing up, during our fairly regular visits to Orlando in Florida. For years, we would go to see the penguins, try out the log flume, and watch the sea lion show, which was always my favourite. Sea lions pretending to be pirates was too good for 8-year-old me.

Since the documentary Blackfish was released back in 2013, opinions of this nature-themed park have changed. I personally heard a lot about the criticisms of this documentary before I decided to watch it. This was a good thing for me because it meant that I took a lot of it with a pinch of salt. I have no doubt that a lot of what was mentioned was exaggerated, and a lot of the witnesses didn’t seem particularly reliable.

The fact remains, though, that there is a lot of poor treatment going on at Sea World. I couldn’t believe that animal trainers, including with the killer whales, didn’t need years of training or a degree in marine conservation to work with dangerous animals. They were normal people, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

There is no denying that huge killer whales are not meant to swim round and round in a small tank for days on end. The floppy dorsal fins was the thing that really convinced me that these animals are not happy and healthy.

However, this is not the thing that has made me unequivocally say I will never go back to Sea World.

On my last visit to Sea World, probably in around 2008, we were going through an exhibit about animals that live in cold temperatures. They had a polar bear behind one of the panes of glass. Now, if you think the tanks for the killer whales were small, you wouldn’t believe these conditions.

Polar bears can travel for around 19 miles per day for days on end, much like the killer whales that tend to travel up to 100 miles in 24 hours. This polar bear could travel about five metres if he wanted to. There was no fresh air, with a white ceiling penning him in. But he was barely moving at all. His tiny plunge pool remained empty while he sat on the edge and rocked backwards and forwards. The tiny space had clearly made him lose his mind. I couldn’t believe that some visitors were amazed at the polar bear, while I wanted to break down in tears. Couldn’t they see he was suffering?

Is there any worse torture in the world that that? Can you imagine a human being made to live out their final days like that? I don’t care how he had come to be in captivity, if he had been badly injured or born there, he definitely could have been released or – at the very least – had a much much larger enclosure with stimulation.

There has been the odd time when I have been tempted to go to Sea World to ride their world-class rollercoasters, but ultimately I don’t want to support an organisation like that. Luckily for people visiting Orlando, there are plenty of rides that are just as good – if not better – than Sea World’s offerings within the city. I would prefer another ride on the Hulk at Islands of Adventure any day!

I know that my reaction is quite absolute, as I don’t like zoos in general either. I do know that they say they do great conservation work, so hopefully there is some good in the company. Plus, I’m sure they have some fantastic staff members that really do care for the animals they look after.

 

What do you think of Sea World? Do you think that my reaction is extreme? Will you be happy to visit in future? I’d love to hear your thoughts!