Sunday 31 March 2013

iPad App Test

I downloaded the iPad Blogger app and figured I would play around with it. I had a few issues using the blogger site on the iPad - a few problems formatting the posts and photos. When I am traveling I want the quickest and easiest way to post!

So trip wise the first one is mid-April and is a 2 week tour of Ireland with my father. About 6 years ago my dad and I had plans for a two week trip of Scotland and Ireland. We finished out Scotland trip but before we were to fly to Ireland we found out his mother had passed away so we had to fly back. We always said we would do Ireland - and things lined up for us relatively last minute (we only booked a month ago) so we leave in a few weeks. It's a tour with Royal Irish Tours a local Canadian company. The second trip is to Greece at the end of June with my husband and his family - but more on that closer to June.

In terms of this app I think it will work out fine - I just will have to figure out a way to attach photos as the app only lets you put them at the end of the post (hence the random photo!)

But I still have some time!

Thursday 21 March 2013

New Years Eve on Celebrity Reflection

So before I leave for my first trip, I figured I should play around with Blogger and figure out how to include photos and such in posts. It is easy using my MacBook, but I only plan on taking my iPad while away, so some learning was required. This post will play sound with formatting and such - and I will use photos from a cruise I recently took at the end of December, start of January.

The ship was the Celebrity Reflection - Celebrity Cruise Lines newest ship.
It was a nice ship, very new with different features then I am used to on a cruise. One of the most noticeable changes was the speciality restaurants. In my cruise history the main dining room and the buffet tended to be the main places to eat. That's not the case anymore. The ship had a whole bunch of speciality restaurants that you could dine at for a fee. There was Italian, Japanese, Steak and Seafood, French, A Bistro and others. My husband and I tried the Bistro, which was very nice. But I am not sure how I feel about this new type of environment. It it definitely different from the old style all-inclusive type environment cruising tended to offer. I also wonder if the main dining rooms quality will start to suffer as a result. But it seems like all ships are going this way, so I suppose it's here to stay.

While it was my fifth cruise, it was my husbands first. Brian was a little apprehensive about the prospect, as he is more a go out and explore traveller. He also burns easily and isn't a beach person... So a cruise was more my thing then his. We went with my family, and we all had a great time. Brian found that cruising wasn't his new favourite type of travel (he's much more a fly to Paris and explore type), but he enjoyed it. He loved the balcony, and the mornings we ordered breakfast to the room. He also enjoyed exploring the ship after dark - wandering the decks, going swimming under the stars, and being able to get off in various ports and see new things. I am not sure if Brian and I will ever do a cruise just the two of us because it still isn't his first choice, but I can see him going again for a family trip or with a group of people.

There were some definite pros and cons to the trip. The ship was aimed at adults, which was great for us because there were no children. But families with children were getting very annoyed at the fact they were only allowed in one pool (out of three). The pool area was small, so you were really jammed in there - as it was a cruise over New Years, it was at capacity. The shops were nice, but very high end. More a place to browse then actually shop. The on-board photography was horrible though. We didn't buy one photo, when normally I buy them all. The staff were a mix of both positive and negative experiences. Some were rude, but maybe that is due to the large number of passengers. Others were great and willing to go above and beyond to make your stay fantastic.
My biggest complaint was the New Year's Eve celebration. I had heard amazing things about cruises and New Years and this was awful. It was on the lido deck on a rainy, windy night.
There wasn't enough room for everyone so it was packed. Glasses were breaking, people were tripping over each other - it was a mess. If you wanted any fancy New Years celebration, you could pay 300.00 for your dining room tale to be decorated. That was it. The ice sculptures were awesome, but that was really the only thing.

Definitely would not recommend this line for anyone over a holiday period. I think it's just too crowded to really be able to enjoy, and there isn't any real reason to go.

The ship went to San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Marteen. Brian and I got off at all ports, and did a Dolphin swim excursion which took us over to BVI. It was enjoyable. In St. Marteen, my mother and I spent the day laying on the beach. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

Below is a link to some photos from the trip. Overall it was a very relaxing weekend spent having fun and spending time with my loved ones!

Saturday 16 March 2013

Trying this out....

Truth be told, I have never been much of a blogger. Way back before the days of online journaling, I barely kept a diary. I remember having one and writing in it every 6 months so, but mainly because all my friends did and I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I never found writing my thoughts and experiences to be something that came naturally, it always felt forced. I tried out an online blog in high school - same thing.  In university as part of a life writing course I had to keep a blog, but quickly deleted it upon completion of the course. Which brings me to now - my final blogging attempt. 

The concept of blogging came back into my life as part of an additional qualification course I am currently taking. In it we learned how blogging is making its way into classrooms, and how it's a great writing tool that can be implemented in a variety if ways and subjects. Despite it never having been my thing, I can definitely see the benefits and opportunities with it and think it would be a great thing to try when I am a classroom teacher. (Fact about me: I am a certified teacher trying like many others to get on a supply list/into a board.) I figured since blogging was something I'd like to try with eventual students, I needed to give it one last go. I felt I owed it to myself and those eventual students to understand blogging today (while it hasn't been a large time span since my university blog, like all technology a lot has changed in the blogging world) and to give it a try and see if maybe my own feelings had changed. 

So here I am. 

Naming the blog was an interesting experience! Who would have thought how much time, effort and thought goes into such a seemingly simple process. I wanted something fun, that reflected me, that was creative but suggested seriousness mixed in with playful..... You get the picture, I wanted perfection. I created this blog a week ago, and spent that time asking those around me - family, husband, friends, coworkers for their opinions. Considering I am not even sure how long this blog will last, there was this urge to make it special. I wonder why that is. Maybe because its going online where millions of people can see it (key word being can not will)? I highly doubt my little blog is going take the Internet by storm and become an overnight sensation - yet I still put so much effort into its look and title. Regardless, I finally stopped - chose a layout and a name. The name aspect came from my iTunes library. Needing to come up with something, I went through my playlist and narrowed down some choices. 

Some of the almost titles include: 

Dancing through Life - awesome song and would be an awesome title, if my dancing abilities weren't as lacking as they are! 
Life is a Highway - another great song, and a true representation of what life is about. 
Little Moments - since life is made up of them 
Come what May - a definite contender for the title (see what I did there? ;)
Taking Chances - it's what life is all about after all 
Unwritten - seemed a little odd for a blog title 

Finally I settled on "Days like These"

Now we have the reason I started the blog and the title. Lets move on to the purpose. 

When I decided to create one, I was unsure of the purpose. I don't have on area I want to focus on - and am unsure if the ones that come to mind. So, it's a mishmash of everything for now. I will likely start off using it for some travel writing. I have a few trips planned for the coming months, so a blog seemed like a great way to share some photos and experiences. After that, I am not sure. Time will tell I suppose. 

So there is my introduction to the blog. Lets see how it goes shall we? :)