Hello 25

Well well well, a long overdue blog post to celebrate another year of me.

I’m quite open in my feelings on my birthday – I’m not the biggest fan, but 25 feels like a kinda significant one and I’m full of thoughts today.

For starters, this is the first birthday I have not spent with my family, which is a pretty big deal for me. It’s the first birthday I’ve spent in our current house, and given that we’re moving house very soon (another story for another time, I don’t think I’ve shared that on here yet), it’ll also be my last. Someone was *nice* enough to remind me yesterday that 25 is half way to 50 – I mean, just want I wanted to hear, right? But that got me thinking.

We often see the new calendar year as a new, fresh start in our lives, but not so much when we move into an actual new year of life. So here I am, officially at the mid-20s point of my life, and I’m ready to take some things into my own hands.

I want this to be the year that I will actually do all of the things that I have told myself I’ll ‘do this year’ for the past however many years. I want to properly look after myself after years of overlooking my physical and mental wellbeing and really make 25 year old me the best Lottie I’ve ever been.

Just over 4 years ago, I wrote a small bucket list of things I wanted to do before I turned 25, and I’m pretty proud to say that I’ve achieved all of them except one – with that one being that I didn’t read all the books I wanted to have read – and one changed slightly as my life has but was still achieved, so I’m pretty proud of myself for making these things happen, and now I’m ready to carry this momentum on for another wonderful 25 years and then some!

Why I’m Not Going to See Toy Story 4 in the Cinema

So apparently I want to branch out from already being a ‘bad’ blogger to also being a ‘bad’ Disney fan, but hear me out on this one.

I think we can all agree that this has been a mega year for new movies. From Avengers Endgame already smashing a tonne of box office records to the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX coming soon, film boffs will most likely be spending more time in the cinema in 2019 than ever before. And out of all these films, I think Disney has had the most fingers in the pie than any other production companies, with some huge films having already hit the big screen and many more still to come.

This is all very exciting for Disney fans; we’ve seen some of our favourite animated classics have a reimagining as live actions, and also some pretty huge sequels, one of which closest to the hearts of my generation being Toy Story 4. 90’s kids like myself have grown up with the adventures of Andy’s toys, many of us sobbing FAR too many tears over *that* scene in Toy Story 3, so we were all good and ready when a fourth film was announced to be hitting our screens.

I was ready to go and see it, don’t get me wrong, and I am excited for when I finally do see it, but I’m not going to the cinema for it, and here’s my reasoning..

While the experience of some films is heightened by seeing it on an enormous screen in a pitch black theatre with surround sound and no talking, I personally think that other films are somewhat ruined by it, and Toy Story 4 is one of those for me. Give me all the action and adventure on the big screen, give me stunning cinematics and world class special features, but when it comes to a feel-good family animation, to be quite honest I’d rather be curled up on my sofa at home with a blanket and pile of snacks, being able to laugh out loud when I want to without getting evils from the rest of the guests.

And as awful as it sounds, I truly do get bored watching some films in the cinema. If its not a super gripping storyline or visually incredible, I find myself sat in the dark wishing it would hurry up and be done with sooner so I can get out of there, which I probably wouldn’t be thinking if I was watching it at home – y’know, unless it was a rubbish film in the first place.

So there’s one hell of an unpopular opinion for you I’m sure, but its something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and honestly, I stand by it. Anyone else feel the same? Let me know in the comments!

What Come Next?

Yes this is the second blog post in the last few months where I’ve taken the title from a Hamilton song and yes it was intentional but it also does have a lot of bearing for this post so there.

How many times in the last year or so have I said that I’m going to get back on tracker properly with my blog? I mean I could go back and count but no one actually needs to know that figure; it’s a lot.

I feel an incredible sense of attachment to my blog, but I just haven’t felt the urge to write at all lately. Every now and then my blogging brain kicks in and I mentally draft blog posts in my head, and I think about putting my thoughts onto the metaphorical paper that is the internet, but when push comes to shove I’ve just not been bothered to do it.

So I don’t know exactly what to do.

This blog has been with me through the most important time of my life, which is probably why I feel such a sense of connection to it, but the fact of the matter is that my life is very different now, and I do struggle to find the time, or if I do find the time, I struggle to find the want. The blogging world is changing a lot, and maybe I just haven’t been able to keep up. Maybe this blog doesn’t fit into my new and different life.

I can tell you for a fact that my blog won’t go anywhere. If nothing else, it will hang around on the internet for people to stumble across when searching for some of the strange things that my analytics tell me brings people to my site. But will I keep posting? I want to, sure. I do have a big feeling of want in my to keep things going, and I think there’s definitely still a part of my brain that’s dedicated to it, but the honest truth is that I don’t know if I can, and all I’ve done in the last year is build myself up to then only end up disappointing myself, and there’s just no fun in that.

I guess the purpose of this post is to clear my head of some of the negative, in the hopes that positive stuff will fill it up. Side note: man it does feel good to sit and type out a whole blog post without stopping, maybe the reason I’ve not been so dedicated is because I forgot what this buzz was like? I’ve distracted myself.

Anyway, I’m hopeful.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – My Thoughts

I just want to prefix this post with a potential spoiler warning – I personally don’t think a film based on true life events can necessarily have spoilers, but if you don’t want to know anything about this film then stop reading now.

When the trailers for the Ted Bundy biopic featuring Zac Efron as the notorious mass murderer hit the internet a few months back, I told myself it was a movie that I wouldn’t be watching, but as being a Sky customer meant I could watch the film on the tv in the comfort of my own home on the same day it hit cinemas, I found myself putting it on out of sheer curiosity.

I have never been into this sort of thing. I’m not into murder documentaries or true crime and I refuse to watch anything that glorifies or romanticises abusive relationships or domestic violence and I figured those themes would be inherent in this film which was why I was put off, but I had some reasons behind why I found myself hitting play.

Firstly, the response to the trailers had me interested. My twitter feed was divided into two types of people: those who were going googly-eyed over Zac Efron, as so many of my generation do, and those who were incredibly annoyed by the former, concerned that this film would romanticise the real life character of Ted Bundy, who raped and murdered so many young women. I guess I fell in the latter, and I really wanted to know if this film would be turning viewers into living versions of the heart eyes emoji – hoping, of course, it would not.

Not I don’t know if because I went into this movie with concerns that I was immune to it, but I certainly did not feel like Ted was made to attract the audience. Sure, the part was played incredibly well by Zac Efron, and his character of the deceptively sweet-talking and certain man that his namesake was was very clearly portrayed, but at no point did I feel like many people would be swooning over what I was watching. I think that knowing the true outcome of the case that shocked a generation was the main factor in all of this – we go in knowing that the man is guilty – so my initial concerns were put to rest.

Through the whole movie I knew he was a lying, manipulative criminal and all I wanted was for Liz, played by Lily Collins, to get the happy life away from him that she deserved.

As for the rest of the film, I don’t know if impressed is the word but I respected it. The acting was incredible, the storytelling was clever and when during the end credits they played actual tapes from the real trial, I couldn’t not feel like hats off was due to the director who had really made many of the scenes from the film like for like. There were no proper scenes of any of the crimes committed – which I appreciated very much – only one brief and partially shown incident was in the movie, which I thought showed some respect to the real life victims.

Will I watch it again? Probably not, but my curiosity was satisfied and I am glad it was made in the way I hoped it would be.

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Mission Breakout vs Tower of Terror

Ok guys so here’s a controversial one for you..

On my trip to Disneyland last month, I finally got to experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: BREAKOUT ride that has taken over from the Disney park classic ride, Tower of Terror. I have thoughts. LOTS of them.

To set the scene, I’ll tell you about my relationship with Tower of Terror. Obviously, we go way back, and in fact one of the few memories I have from going to Disney as a young child was being on Tower of Terror looking out over Hollywood Studios at night, everything lit up. I don’t remember hating the ride as a child, as many kids do, but as I was reintroduced to it as an adult, things got a little iffy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared of the ride and I will always ride it at least once a trip, but I describe it as a love/hate thing. The drops I love, but the build up to and mystery of the first drop drives me insane. I spend the whole queue time on edge, plus the initial part of the ride where you stop and watch the scenes, because the random sequences of the ride mean I never know when that first fall is going to happen and I do not like that. Once we’ve dropped once, happy days, I’m good from then on, but I always have that initial worry at the back of my mind when I think about the ride.

Fast forward to last month. Now I really love Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was actually really excited, and I was curious to see how the overlay would work on essentially the exact same ride, and more importantly, whether I would still hate it in the same way I hate Tower of Terror. Now if you watched my Instagram stories while I was in the parks, or read this blog post, you’ll already know the outcome: I LOVED IT. I got a slightly nervous feeling in the line waiting to get on, but my excitement took over and I was mainly just super keen to see it all. Even the wait for the first drop was bearable because I was so distracted by what was going on around me.

Now you might think that this was just first-time excitement, but every single time we rode Mission: BREAKOUT I loved it more. I went on it way more than I would ever ride Tower of Terror in one trip and I might even go as far as to say its one of my favourite rides in Disneyland AND I would happily see it rolled out to more Tower of Terrors across other Disney parks.

Why doesn’t it strike fear into me though? While I’ve never considered myself particularly spooked by the spiderwebs and bellhops of Tower of Terror, I guess subconsciously the theme of the ride does put a little bit of tension into me, and that translates into me clinging onto the handlebars on the chair until my knuckles go white, meanwhile the Awesome Mix soundtrack and flashing lights of Mission: BREAKOUT put me right at ease as I’m being thrown up and down so much I can’t actually tell what direction I’m moving in.

Who knows for sure, but I am very interested to see how I fare going back on Tower of Terror while I’m in WDW next week and whether I’ve been cured completely by the Guardians, or whether its the theme that really has me on the edge of my seat, metaphorically of course..

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Spring Dapper Day at Disneyland

You might judge us for this, but the primary reason for our trip to Disneyland in April for those specific dates was so that Sarah and I could go to our first ever Dapper Day.

If you don’t know what Dapper Day is, it kinda is what it says on the label, its a semi-official event that takes place in the Disney parks, or at least Disneyland, Walt Disney World and, more recently, Disneyland Paris, where the idea is that guests visiting the parks don their best clothes and spend a day looking utterly fabulous in the most magical and happiest places on Earth. They take place twice a year, in spring and fall, and the dates and other info can always be found on the Dapper Day website.

So anyway, we wanted a Disneyland trip, and we knew we wanted to do Dapper Day, so this trip was about a year or so in the planning so we knew the dates, and the Sunday of our trip, which was also our final full day, was Dapper Day, although the Dapper Day Expo (which we didn’t go to) was all weekend.

The hardest part, of course, was deciding what to wear. There’s no official rules on how you should dress, but a lot of people tend to lean towards 20th century style, and I decided to go a little bit traditional with wanting a 40s-50s style dress. After a lot of thought, I settled on Steamboat Willie as my outfit inspiration – mainly because I have a serious attachment to it, but also because I figured in Disney’s original park, I wanted to do an original character. I found the perfect dress pattern to use and whipped up this little velvet and cotton drill number with the biggest skirt EVER, paired it with some black and white brogues (because I don’t really do heels) and added a knotted headband, and voila!

To sum up the whole day in one word, it was magical. Considering it is just essentially a day spent in the parks, just with the added dress-up optional clause, it just felt so much more wonderful, whether that was because we were dressed up or because everyone else was, I don’t know. I was truly amazed at how big an event it really is; I mean, considering such a huge proportion of my Instagram feed are Disney people, of course I see lots of people talking about it, but there was always a chance that that’s just because I follow all of those people, but honestly the people in ‘regular’ clothes were the minority in the parks.

Really, we spent the whole day hanging out with friends, taking photos and just generally taking in the atmosphere, and of course checking out what everyone else was wearing! Walking around the parks was like a fashion show, and everyone is looking at everyone to see how they’re dressed – but in an excited way. Compliments are being thrown around like confetti and total strangers want to take photos with and of you and chat about your outfits and its just such a pure environment.

There’s also a bunch of cute photo opportunities, and even some unofficial meet-ups happen on the day, and its just an entirely great and unique experience, so I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s been considering making a trip for one, or who has a trip coinciding with a Dapper Day!

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8 Amazing Things That Happened on Our First Day in Disneyland

So I know that I usually live blog my Disney trips, but today I didn’t feel like it was right. We took a pretty chilled out approach to the day and I felt like despite it being an incredible day for us, it probably wouldn’t read as well for others, so instead I thought I’d try a slightly different format to tell you some of the AMAZING parts of our first day in the happiest place on earth.

1. We had a whole boat to ourselves on Pirates of the Caribbean

This is my traditional first ride of any trip, and as is fairly normal first thing in the morning, it was a walk-on. But then, to our great surprise, we got into the front row of the boat and realised that no one else had been put into our boat with us, so we got to do the whole ride without other people! I joked that this was a sign of amazing things to come, but little did I know how true this would be..

2. Mickey Celebration Cupcake

Sarah bought a cupcake for the ‘gram, which turned out to be this incredible chocolate chip cookie/cupcake kinda combo which was super yum and quite probably the best Disney cupcake I’ve ever eaten. 11/10 would eat again every day of my life.

3. ‘ Share Your Ears’ Cheeseburger

On the subject of food, we also split the 3-piece Mickey-shaped burger for lunch over at Smokejumpers Grill in DCA and it was so good! Definitely a great option to split between two people.

4. I got to see Pixar Pier for the first time

As it’s been almost 2 years since I was last at Disneyland, there were a lot of changes for me to experience, the main one being Pixar Pier. We only spent a brief amount of time on it today, but I loved everything I saw and I can’t wait to take more of it in over the next few days.

5. Mission Breakout!

I have also never been on the new(ish) Guardians of the Galaxy ride that took over from Tower of Terror in DCA, and so I got to experience that for the first time and I LOVED IT. I have a real love/hate but mainly hate relationship with ToT but Mission Breakout blew my socks off and I thought it was incredible – I can’t wait to do it a few more times this trip!

6. We saw the Disneyland cats

I had no idea this was a thing but apparently the pair of cats that seem to live in DCA are a common sight for guests – who know right? They were really cute though and clearly just wanted some piece and quiet away from screaming guests. Don’t blame them..

7. Tow Maters

I normally skip the smaller ‘kiddy’ rides but we decided to go on the Tow Mater tractor ride and it was actually such a blast!

8. I finally met Mickey as Steamboat Willie

My dream meet for such a long time now has been to meet Mickey as Steamboat Willie, and completely by fluke today it happened and I am still not over it. This meet takes place in Meet Mickey in his house in Toontown, but it’s totally down to chance as to whether he’s on set for Steamboat Willie, or if he’s doing others things that day, and I’ve only ever seen him in his traditional tails and red trousers, but this knocked me for six and I am SO HAPPY.

It’s just been a truly unbelievable first day of what I know will be the most magical trip!