Travel // A Week in the Sunshine State – Florida

Our trip to Florida feels like it was months ago rather than just 2 weeks ago! Since we’ve been back work has been mega busy with lots of 13/14 hr days – literally wake up, go to work, back home for dinner and then working again until bed time. I’ve been counting down to this Easter weekend – 4 days off is a dream!

So time for the Florida recap!
We headed off bright and early on Friday morning for a 9am flight from Heathrow. We stopped at Yo Sushi for some breakfast – not your usual breakfast but still v yummy! The fight wasn’t too bad and after a stop over in Charlotte we got into Tampa at 7pm. We picked up our car and made our way to my nanny’s in St Petes. Since she retired, my nanny spends 6 months here in the UK and then when it gets cold she heads to Florida. What a dream!
Saturday was a nice chill day. We slept for about 10 hours which was a dream! The weather was glorious so we headed to Madeira Beach for a few hours. It was so busy but its definitely one of my most favourite beaches. The sand is as fine as sugar and it isn’t as heaving as Clearwater or St Pete Beach. I was a bit of a muppet and didn’t put suncream on for the first couple hours and got a dodgy tan! Oops! I managed to catch up on ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama – I started it back in Jan and actually managed to finish it this break. We finished off our visit to the beach with ice-cream. I had strawberry cheesecake – delish! 🍦 I don’t think you can go to the beach and skip the ice-cream.
That evening we went to see The Tampa Bolts Ice Hockey which was a fun evening out. It didn’t drag on like I find the Baseball can. It’s a bit of a weird game and there are people who are there just to start fights with the other side. I’d definitely suggest you get food and drinks before because a beer will set you back $16! As we were staying in St Petes so it only took us half an hr to get home afterwards so we got home before midnight.
Sunday was another slow start which suited us perfectly! After heading to mass with nanny we came back and watched the F1 which kept the hubby happy. Afterwards we hit the outlets over the Skyway Bridge and past Bradenton. I’d say it was a successful trip! I tried to be good in the months running up to this trip so I could treat myself which I did!
So what did I get… (I’ve added the links where I can find them!)
Running shorts from Under Armour
Pineapple t-shirt and blue pom-pom shorts from J. Crew
Floral Skirt and a shift dress from Loft (I find it so hard to find skirts that fit me nicely so when this one did I had to buy it! I also find that some shift dresses just don’t sit well on my middle but this hung really nicely. Both perfect for work!)
Jeggings from Gap (Old Navy and Gap jeans are the only jeans I find that suit me for an affordable price)
Top from Banana Republic (I got this in white a couple years ago so when I saw it in navy I had to grab it!)
2 gym tank tops from Nike.
It was so nice popping into shops and then soaking in the sun in-between stops (see view above). If you’re Tampa way definitely save half a day and pop into Ellenton Malls.
On Monday, we woke up bright an early to make our way over to Orlando to go to Universal. We had been tempted to go to Disney but it was just going to be too expensive. Especially as we were only there for a week we didn’t want to rush fitting in Disney as well as the other parks and some chilling.

I’ll do a proper Universal catch up blog separately but got to include a few pics here! Fav bits had to be The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and The Hulk rollercoaster.

Also you can’t go to Universal and not get a Voodoo Doughnut! We first tried these doughnuts when we were in LA and were blown away by them so we had to have them again. This time we went for a Bacon Maple Bar and then a Loop. I wasn’t sure what the bacon on top of the Bacon Maple Bar would be like but it was so tasty! The doughnut itself was one of their raised yeast ones and had maple frosting and then 2 strips of bacon YUM! I would be more than happy to have that again.

The Maple Bacon deliciousness…

After a long day at Universal, we made our way over to Disney Springs for dinner. As we weren’t spending any time at the Disney Parks we wanted to make sure we stopped by Disney Springs and check out some of the shops and restaurants. While we’d been waiting in the queues at Universal we had looked through the restaurants at Disney Springs and settled on trying The Edison. We did have a 40 minute wait but this was fine by us as it gave us time to explore. We popped into a cute little honey shop, saw some live performances and also made sure to check out the Disney Christmas Store under orders from Laura, a good friend. She absolutely loves Disney and has over 80 Disney Christmas tree decorations! It’s free to park in Disney Springs from 6pm so definitely pop in one evening if you’re in Orlando.

Disney Springs at night
Disney Christmas Shop was definitely an experience!

The Edison was the perfect meal. As we always do, we forgot the portion sizes were absolutely massive and ordered an appetiser to share as well as our main courses. We definitely didn’t need the appetiser even though it was v tasty! (We had the Electri-Fries to share) For my main I had the Fish Tacos and Tim had the Pulled Pork Sandwich. OMG, the Fish Tacos were just so good! They also came with basically a full pack of tortilla chips and dip as well – as much as I tried I couldn’t finish it all. There’s something about having Fish Tacos in the US… I find they’re just so much better than back here. Anyone else love Fish Tacos too?

My FAV… Fish Tacos <3

It was a super long day and we finally got back to my nanny’s at about 11:30pm.

After such a long day at Universal on Monday, Tuesday was a much needed chill day. We spent the day with family and meeting some of my nanny’s friends. We also popped up to Clearwater Beach. It was another gorgeous day and we spent some time walking along the pier and beach. Parking in Clearwater is quite pricey – it was $25 up front to park up. (It is a full day rate and we were only there for a couple hours) As you always do on a beach day we grabbed some ice-cream. Clearwater is voted the number 1 beach in the US and you can see why its so popular. The beach is gorgeous and the sea so blue! I’d definitely come back to properly scope the area.

To finish the day, we went back to a friend’s of my nanny’s and had dinner by their pool… meatballs and spaghetti – can never so no to Italian food!

Next day was time for Busch Gardens – my absolutely favourite theme park! It’s just on a different level to the parks in the UK – you’ve got the insane rollercoasters and then the animals and safari to break it up. As I mentioned above, I’ll do a proper round up on the theme parks (Universal, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld) in another post.

My sister had suggested we try out First Watch while we were in the States for breakfast. I’m so glad we listened to her. It was such a find and delish! I had the Farm House Hash without Avocado and Tomato with poached eggs while Tim had the Eggs Benedict. Both of us had a large orange juice. The waitress was a bit shocked when we both said no to coffee!

After a perfectly filling breakfast we made our way to Busch Gardens for when it opened at 10am. Some of my favourite bits of Busch Gardens have to be Sheikra, the Kangaroos, the water rides and then the train ride through the safari.

Busch Gardens closes at 7pm so we left at 6ish and made it back to Madeira Beach for the sunset. Watching the sunset is one of my favourite things to do on holiday especially when you’re in a hot country! The sunsets are just so magical. The colours are just so vibrant… oranges, pinks, yellows and then the ocean was just so serene. We even saw a man going for a sunset swim!

It was the perfect end to a lovely day…

Today was our last theme park day and Tim’s favourite. He loves animals and jokes that if he wasn’t an accountant he’d be a zoo keeper. Seaworld was so much better than I remember. There are a several rides and then shows dotted throughout the day. (I’ll try to do my theme park blog post soon so you get to see how amazing it was!)

Favourite bits had to be seeing the dolphins up close, seeing the killer whales in the One Ocean show and the Manta ride (definitely my favourite rollercoaster of the whole trip).

Again it was a long day but so much fun. I think Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are my favourite parks because they aren’t just like your normal parks and have something different about them.

Friday was our last full day in Florida and a much needed chill day after 2 days on the trot at parks. We started off the day helping my nanny out in her garden and planted some of her potted plants. My grandpa had planted an avocado stone in a pot years ago and its grown loads! If he was still around I’m sure he’d be very impressed as its now taller than Tim.

Never seen an avocado tree before!

We then made our way over to Target which is only a 10 min walk away. To my nanny’s dismay we walked over – she couldn’t believe we weren’t driving! For us holidays are about stretching our legs as both of us spend our days sitting down staring at a computer screen… the life of an accountant! So whenever we get the chance we like to walk places.

I love Target and wish we had it over here in the UK! The home decor is definitely my favourite, closely followed by the stationary and then the food. I also found the cutest little baby romper for a friend who had a little baby girl back at the end of December – for only $7.99 I couldn’t help myself!

How cute is this!!!

So our Target stash…

I got myself a pink cross body bag to replace the blue one I got just over a year ago. (A bargain at $17 I think!) We then stocked up on some sweets and chocolate. We got Hersey’s Cookies and Cream drops, M&M’s caramel and marshmallow, and then some tasty looking marshmallows – the strawberries and cream ones were definitely the tastiest. We also got jelly belly’s for Tim’s parents and Skippy bites. I hate peanut so those were defo not for me! Had to grab myself a Snapple when I saw one – oh so tasty!

Had to grab myself an iced caramel latte – caramel latte’s are the only coffee drink I can bear! Needed that caffeine hit 🙂

After this, we made our way to see some family via the VA Memorial Park and a little outlook my nanny used to go and watch the sunset with my grandpa. Both were lovely and it would have been nice to have had longer to spend at both. You can hire out some waterside bbq areas at the VA Memorial Park which we’ll definitely do when we go back.

Had to get a pic with my lovely nanny
View from the VA Memorial Park

We spent the afternoon chilling at our family’s pool and then went to the American Legion to have a ‘Fish Fry’ and watch the sunset again. My auntie’s dad had been in the Air Force a long time ago which meant we could all go into the American Legion as his guests. Here we got Fish and Chips for $7.50! It wasn’t too bad and followed it with a pitcher of Sangria – yum! The sunset was a perfect end to the evening and a great way to finish the holiday.

View as we went into the American Legion… gorgeous!
Can’t argue with a view like this at dinner

I mean just look at these sunsets! How breathtaking are they…

Saturday was spent packing up and a final chill. We managed to go to St Pete Beach and have a stroll. The one thing I think that let it down was the lack of ice-cream! We went to 3 different shacks and none had ice-cream – I couldn’t believe it!

Again its a gorgeous beach. I do think my favourite had to be Madeira Beach just because it isn’t as touristy as Clearwater and St Petes and the sand is so soft.

We then said goodbye to my nanny and drove to the airport for our flight back to the UK. To get the most affordable flights we could we had a stop over – this time in Miami before a night flight back home. We grabbed some tasty Sushi at Sushi Maki at Miami Airport before our connecting flight which sorted us out.

I like to think one day I’ll fly Business or First Class… I’ll keep dreaming for the time being!

Back with Part 2 and the Theme Parks soon!

Until next time,

Cathers xx