My Favourite Movies of 2017

2017 is drawing to a close, and while I feel like this has all happened very suddenly, a whole year has gone by since the last time every other conversation you have contains the question ‘where has this year gone?’.

As always, its been a year of box office hits, record setting, rising stars and red carpets as more movies have hit the big screen – some raved about, some not so much! – but there have been a number of stand of films that I feel like I haven’t had enough of an opportunity to rave about, so here goes..

Baywatch

Yes, we all knew this film was going to be a bit of a joke, but that didn’t stop me from loving it. It was funny, the cast was brilliant and despite the storyline being totally ridiculous, I was still rooting for the Baywatch team the whole way through.

Going In Style

I feel like this movie didn’t get much attention at all despite a stellar line up including Micheal Caine and Morgan Freeman. The storyline was unique, and although it was all in the interest of fun it did highlight some issues facing the older generation and I’m really glad we went to see this.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Finally the Pirates franchise is back where it should be. I was starting to lose faith after the last movie, but Disney have clawed their way back to the level these films should be at, and better yet we’ve got Orlando Bloom back!

Wonder Woman

I always proclaim that I’m a Marvel > DC kinda gal, but I really loved this film. The cinematography alone blew me away but I also thought that it had a great plot, a great cast and Gal Gadot is a true star in my eyes.

Beauty and the Beast

I know this film had Disney fans feeling all kinds of mixed things but I thought the movie was great. It was so true to the original animated film but also had so much more than that, without drawing away from the main story.

Murder on the Orient Express

When I saw this film announced, I was excited but I also had my doubts. For starters, I didn’t know how turning a well known plot into a big screen film was going to turn out, and I also questioned Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. Well its safe to say that I don’t have those doubts anymore. It was perfect; an absolute star studded cast, with Branagh playing the lead like it was made for him and although its a story I know the ending to I would see this again and again and again.

And we’re not even done with the year! I’ve got my Star Wars: The Last Jedi ticket booked for Thursday, I’ve yet to see Thor Ragnarok and also coming soon is Pitch Perfect 3 and The Greatest Showman, both of which are films I can’t wait to watch. What were your favourite new releases this year?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

We’re Going to Aulani!

Someone pinch me, because I can’t believe this is really happening.

Credit: disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com

Disney’s Hawaiian resort has been on my ultimate bucket list for I don’t even know how long, and being able to visit this absolute paradise was a big selling point when Matthew and I joined the Disney Vacation Club, so much so we were determined to make it our first DVC trip.

We’ve spent the last few weeks trying to familiarise ourselves with the DVC booking system, and checking day in, day out for availability in the weeks we were hoping to make the trip, but it was all starting to look a little impossible. We’d either have to change rooms every other day, or end up having to buy extra points on top of borrowing points from our next year, and suddenly our lovely relaxing holiday was turning into a stressful booking experience.. Until last night, when for some bizarre reason, Matthew was awake at 2am and decided to check the DVC website, and by some miracle a whole week was suddenly open and he booked it on the spot!

So we’re going to be in paradise at the end of April, and as well as doing a week in Aulani, we’re gonna spend a few days in San Francisco, which is one of my favourite cities in the world. I’m absolutely squealing just thinking about this trip and better still its less than 130 days away!

I’m so ready for another adventure!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Are We The Next Generation of ‘I Remember When..’?

Last Saturday I walked into the Apple Store in Southampton’s West Quay shopping centre to pick up my iPad Pro. Said iPad Pro had been ordered online the day before, and courtesy of a Black Friday deal I had been emailed an Ā£80 gift card which I was going to use to buy an accompanying Apple Pencil.

Upon entering the store, I approached a staff member with an iPhone, who simply entered my order number and within minutes another staff member appeared from a back room with my iPad (pre-paid) and an Apple pencil. He scanned the barcode for my gift card straight from my email using his phone, and I paid the remainder by putting my card into a device attached to said phone. I entered my email address on the screen, my receipt was sent to that email address, and I was free to leave the store.

During my entire time in the store I did not have to go to a single desk. There was no collection point or checkout, no lines or waiting areas, but also no chaos, and I couldn’t help but think, is this the future of retail? Will shopping become as simple as walking up to someone with a handheld device and getting an email confirmation of payment before I’ve even walked away?

Naturally, my brain went to all sorts of extremes, and I started to think about all the other things that have changed in my relatively short lifetime. As a young child I had cassette tapes and experienced the struggle of going to watch a movie only to find that no one had re-wound it back to the start after the last time it was watched. Now, I have DVDs and Blurays that I’ll often ignore if I can watch the same movie on Netflix.

We spend our childhoods listening to our parents and grandparents telling us to be grateful for x, y and z because they didn’t have that back in their day, yet already we’re saying the same thing to those who are as little as 5-10 years our junior.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always going to be things that don’t translate across age groups. There will always be TV shows that only aired for a few years, or crazes and fashions that died out as quickly as they appeared, but think of the enormous lifestyle changes that technology has brought us – I’m talking going from brick-phones to flip-phones to smart-phones, from the days where you could probably only pay by cash or cheque to now not even having to carry your purse because you’ve got ApplePay..

Things are moving so quickly that I can’t even fathom how things will work in even just another 10 years time. Will we even have to consciously pay for things or will technology become so advanced that you can just pick something up from a shelf and walk out and be charged automatically? We’re moving so far past what we’ve known so far, I don’t think we can even try to predict the future anymore..

Sorry for the ramble but does anyone else ever think about these things?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

5 Reasons I’m Excited to Start Marathon Training

A few weeks ago I announced that in January 2019 I will be running my first ever full marathon. This announcement should have been the start of my training, but the universe had other ideas for me and I was struck with a knee injury that’s had me out ever since.

Fortunately, I gave myself over a year to train, so this little set back doesn’t bother me too much, and instead of starting now I’m just gonna rest, recover and prepare myself for taking the bull by the horns come January, and I’m actually starting to look forward to it more than I am dreading it! Here’s a few of the reasons why:

Carb loading

For the most part, I will be concentrating on eating as well as I can come the new year, but while I’m a firm believer in eating what you want and not having to justify food choices to anyone, I’m pretty excited for big bowls of pasta with the excuse of needing to carb-load.

Getting to be ‘that’ person

Marathon runners are kinda like vegans, pilots and people who do Crossfit* in that they tell as many people as they possibly can that they’re training for a marathon as if you’re the first person in the world to ever do one. I don’t care, its a huge deal for me so you’re damn right I’m gonna spread it like Love Island gossip. (this is already the second post I’ve talked about running a marathon in the space of a month, so there’s the proof)

*Dear vegans, pilots and people who Crossfit, please know that I’m making a joke and I have the utmost respect for all of you!

Running regularly again

Sometimes I feel like the most pathetic excuse for a runner because in the past year I have been the furthest thing from consistent. Sure, I’ve completed 3 half marathons and 3 10K races, but I’ll be the first to admit that I did those with practically no training and only a few intermittent 5K ParkRuns and the odd short distance run, and part of the reason for this is because I knew I could get away with not training. Well that’s not gonna be the case for this.. I’m gonna spend the next few weeks putting together a proper training schedule (which I thoroughly enjoy making) and sticking to it like an octopus on your face.

All the fun runs

I currently have no actual races planned for 2018, so I’m on the hunt for as many shorter distance races and fun runs that I can do to keep myself motivated through the coming year. A few on my list are Race for Life, Run or Dye and the Great South Run, and if you’ve got any recommendations please drop me a comment!

The satisfaction of a good run

When Dad and I started training for our first ever half marathon, there was nothing like the feeling of completing the next milestone both figuratively and literally. Back then it was 8 miles, or 10 miles or 12 miles, but now I’m looking forward to the feeling of doing my first ever 15, 20 and 25 milers.

I’m sure there’ll be a million and one reasons that I start dreading training too, but for now I’m concentrating on the positives! Wish me luck!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Be Our Guest – Which Meal Is Best?

Be Our Guest Restaurant is one of the most popular dining spots in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and tomorrow actually marks 5 years since the Beast’s castle opened its doors to guests.

Situated in Fantasyland, the restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and each meal offers guests a different dining experience. I recently ticked breakfast off the list of meals I’ve had here, so now I’ve done the set, here’s the low-down on what each meal offers!

Breakfast

BOG is one of the three restaurants in Magic Kingdom that opens for breakfast at 8am, meaning that if you can get a reservation then you get early access to the park, and the perks that come with that AKA empty Main Street and castle photos! Now don’t let the word reservation fool you – while advanced reservations are usually for table service meals, breakfast is actually quick service, so a worthwhile use of a QS credit if you’re on the dining plan! That said, however, while you do visit a counter to pay for your meal, the food is brought directly to you at your table. And to add more magic to the experience, you can actually pre-order your food on the Walt Disney World website so that you don’t have to even worry about deciding what to eat on the day! As for the food..

This is the Croque Madame, which was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had in WDW, but there are a few options from classic breakfast dishes to sweet options, and every table also gets a selection of fruit and assorted pastries to tuck into as well!

If you’re not on the dining plan, entrees are $25.

Lunch

Lunch is also a quick service meal, but as with breakfast its highly recommended that you get a reservation, but if you can’t snag one, try to get to the restaurant for when it opens and you stand a good chance of a minimal wait! Again, while being technically classified as a counter service, you order at a booth but the food is brought to you wherever you choose to sit, whether that’s in the West Wing, the Ballroom or the Gallery.

The menu is primarily sandwiches and salads, but there are some soup and other veggie options. I tend to stick to the Croque Monsieur, which is basically a ham and cheese toastie but it comes with a good helping of fries and definitely worth a quick service credit!

Entrees at lunch are all around the $17 mark.

Dinner

I did dinner for the first time here in February this year. Dinner is table service, and as such guests receive a bit more of a magical experience, including each party being given a Lumiere to light their way to the table. The restaurant is a little more packed in during dinner (or at least it felt like it the one time I was there!) so it can be a bit louder.

The food is also a lot fancier, which you’d certainly hope for with a table service meal. I really enjoyed the food – I mean when do I not? – but compared to other amazing meals I’ve had in WDW it was average, so personally I don’t think I’d do dinner here again if I wasn’t on the dining plan.

That said though, once you finish your meal you get to experience the other magical moment that having dinner here gets you, and that’s meeting the Beast himself!

Dinner entrees range from $22-36, appetizers are $10-15 and desserts are $5.

Good things to know

With it being such a popular destination, the restaurant can be pretty noisy, especially during the quick service mealtimes, but if you get breakfast early it can be quite quiet, depending on the time of year. The restaurant is also well set up with plenty of different table sizes, including big round tables that can fit a party of 10.

What I cannot fault about the restaurant in any way is the decor, so be sure to explore each of the three rooms of the restaurant, including seeing the Enchanted Rose in the West Wing! My favourite room is the Grand Ballroom, and I love watching the snow fall outside the window.

Whatever meal you choose, you’re in for a magical meal and its an absolute must for any Beauty and the Beast fans!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Colourpop Yes Please Palette

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have my hands on this palette. It was love at first sight.

Its yellow, it contains yellow, do I need to say any more? And yes, its probably one of the most hyped palettes of the last few months, and now I know why.

The majority of the shades are matte, although there are a few metallics in there too, and they all compliment each other so well – I swear you could put any two shades from this palette together and be onto a winner.

As per Colourpop standard, the formulas are soft and blend like a dream, and I cannot flaw the pigmentation of any of the shades. I love the fact that the browns aren’t too dark, but they are buildable if you do want to created a deeper shade, and that actually goes for all of the shades, although I think they all go on well with a single application.

What I love about this palette is that I would never normally buy a palette of these shades; I was drawn in by the packaging and one or two of the colours, but now I’ve actually had a chance to use it I love all of them. Its actually turned me into a warm-tone kinda gal and going into winter I am very excited for this.

Have you jumped on the Colourpop bandwagon yet?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Cat Owner

Its been almost 4 months since our furry companions came home with us, and quite frankly life hasn’t been the same since.

Now our kitten experience hasn’t been an entirely normal one given the circumstances. Ozzy and Ronnie are rescue kittens that were found, along with their 2 siblings, at 4 weeks old in an abandoned shed, and we don’t know if their mother was ever around in the first few weeks of their lives, but Cats Protection did a great job in looking after them until they could come home to us at 8 weeks. They were tiny and very timid, once upon a time, that is..

Now we have two fledgling little cats, and as the first cats that this household has seen, its safe to say we’ve learnt a lot in these last 4 months. Wanna know what?

No level is safe

Within the first few weeks of being home, these two little monsters had learned to shimmy up the curtains, and while they couldn’t really do much damage up there, they’re now perfectly capable, should they wish, to get up onto the kitchen worktop, dining table, banisters, and even now they’re trying to find out how to get on top of the fridge!

Cats can be needy as hell

I think this is just a kitten thing that they’ll grow out of, but Ronnie especially has to be wherever you are, even if this means squeezing his way onto the same chair that you’re sitting on..

They also want their space

It takes a cat about half a second to change their mind from wanting your attention to not wanting it. You’ll know.

You cannot eat anything in their presence

That is, unless you want company; open a packet of crisps and its like turning on a cat magnet. Even Ozzy, who is still timid at the best of times, will practically be on your lap if you have food out.

They sleep in the craziest positions

Stretched out like a sausage, belly in the air, spooning each other, sitting on each other’s heads..

Cats really do love boxes

It must just be in their DNA. The first box we ever left out for the boys they were in instantly. They simultaneously loved sitting in it but also destroying it. Cos, y’know, cats..

They also love keyboards

I get no peace if I’m sat with my laptop on the sofa, but they’ll even climb up onto a desk to walk across the keys if it takes their fancy. Spoiler alert, it always does.

You start to ignore bumps, bangs and crashes

At first, every little noise will have you running to see what’s been knocked over this time, but eventually it just becomes so common that you know you’ll find it inevitably. In any case if the cat comes running from the sound, you know they’re not hurt.

You’ll call them by a lot more than just their name

Ozzy, Oz, Oswald, Oz Monster, Dolphin Boy, Fluff, Little Fluff, Squish. Ronnie, Ron, Ronald, Baby Ron, Baby Ronald, Trouble, Silly Cat, Furry One, the list goes on..

Off-limits means nothing to a cat

Even if you shut a door to a cat, it doesn’t mean they’re not gonna find some way to get in there. Ozzy and Ronnie’s particular favourite is waiting until you have a basket of laundry in your hands and using that opportunity to sneak into the garage when you open the door..

And that’s just the start of it! Who knows what I’ll learn next..

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram