Places I’d Like to Visit in 2018

After an incredible year of trips in 2017, this year seems to be lacking a little. Apart from going to San Francisco and Aulani in April, I have no other plans for the year; no Disney parks, no international races, nothing.

I can’t complain. Last year was truly incredible, but the purse strings need to be tightened as Matthew and I will have a lot coming up over the course of this year, and we will have an amazing time in April, but my wanderlusting little brain needs some sort of stimulation, so instead of broadening our horizons, for the rest of the year we’ll be staying within the borders of the UK and hopefully doing a few little weekends away and staycations instead.

I’m almost ashamed of how little of the UK I’ve really visited, and there are so many places that I’ve always said I’d like to go to, so here’s a few of the destinations I’d like to tick of the list this year.

Brighton

I don’t know if I ever went to Brighton as a kid, but I’ve really wanted to in the last few years. I guess the fact that I already live in a seaside town meant the beach wasn’t so much of a draw as it can be for many, but to me its always just looked so pretty and Instagrammable and I think it would be a really cute weekend break.

Bath

Ok, so I have been to Bath before, and I actually went just before Christmas with work, but as that was just a few hours in the city centre, it left me wanting more!

The Eden Project

This is another one I’ve done before, but Matthew has never been and I’ve always loved it, plus there are so many cute Cornish places we could also visit to make a few days out of it.

The Lake District

I am from pretty much as south as south gets, so the north isn’t somewhere I’ve really explored so much, well that is until I met a boy from Manchester! As we’ll be going up that way in the next few months to help Matthew’s mum move house, he suggested we take a little trip up to the Lake District which is somewhere I’ve always fancied.

Cambridge

To be honest, I don’t know what draws me to it exactly but I’ve just always liked the sound of Cambridge, so I’d quite like it if we can make a little trip this year.

This might not seem like much of a list, but this year is full of uncertainty for us and as crazy as it sounds, we don’t really know what will be happening six months down the line, so stay tuned!

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The Disney Favourites of my Childhood

I was born in 1994, which was the year that The Lion King was released, and my first Disney trip was actually while my mum was still pregnant with me, so its pretty safe to say that Disney has been ingrained in me from birth.

I was lucky enough to be born at a time that meant my childhood was filled with some absolute Disney bangers, and I remember watching so many of them, although at that time it was all VHS. The films and the characters from this time all still hold a really special place in my heart, and many of them are still firm favourites of mine, but there are a few in particular that stand out for me.

Sleeping Beauty

Aurora was my favourite princess while I was a kid. I let this slip from my memory a little but my mum reminded me a few years ago and it all came back to me. I remember having a Sleeping Beauty towel (which may still be in our garage somewhere) and I had an Aurora doll, in the pink dress, although I’m firmly Team Blue, and think I may have been as a child as well. Aurora may have been replaced as my favourite princess (oh hey, Rapunzel) but I’ll always remember this.

101 Dalmatians

Animal lover from the start, those spotty pups were particular favourites of mine, and I even had 101 Dalmatian wall stickers all over my bedroom walls and door – in fact, the ones on my door stayed there right up until I redecorated in 2009.

Esmeralda

I loved The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a child, and I had a playset that had the festival tent and various other props, as well as an Esmeralda doll which I adored. Of course at that age I had no idea about some of the darker aspects of the story, I just thought Esmeralda was the best.

Meeko

I seem to recall Pocahontas being a favourite of both mine and my sister’s, but the love affair with Meeko was all mine. I remember being so incredibly excited meeting him in what I’m guessing must have been Wilderness Lodge, where this iconic photo was taken after I pretty much rugby tackled him to the ground.

To this day I have such a strong attachment to this little raccoon.

Pluto

We did a lot of Disney trips when I was little, and although thinking back on it, it would possibly be construed as animal abuse, every time I met Pluto I had to pull on his big red tongue. He never seemed to mind though!

Hercules (but mainly Meg)

A truly iconic film of my childhood, if you ask me. I wasn’t so interested in Herc himself, but I loved Pegasus and Meg, even if I didn’t appreciate her sass as a kid. Does anyone else remember the Disney Channel Hercules series? I remember being so upset that Meg wasn’t in it!

And of course there’s not a single photo of me and Mickey where I’m not grinning my little dimples off! Are there any characters you remember strongly from your childhood?

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My Plan of Attack for Instagram

The algorithm might be screwing us all right now, but this year I’m determined to hit some goals when it comes to Instagram. Its always been my favourite social media app, and although engagement is a bit sucky right now, bots are a nightmare and the follow/unfollow game drives me a little crazy, I do still love it.

What I do not love is that little number at the top of my profile that just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Even when I get that little notification to say I’ve gained followers, the number never seems to change, and its a little disheartening, but I refuse to let this setback, albeit fairly major, bring me down, and I’ve been spending a lot of time so far this month coming up with things I’m going to try to get back in the game.

Plan plan plan

I’ve always liked pre-editing my photos and saving them into the handy drafts function that Instagram has, but I’ve never actually had a proper planning tool for what to post when. Well I did a little research and took a few recommendations and downloaded Unum, which is an app specifically for planning out your Instagram feed. You link your account and it imports your current feed, then gives you a whole bunch of blank squares that you can put photos into to decide exactly where you want them to go in your feed. You can even edit photos and upload them to Instagram directly from the app and I am loving it.

Get engaging

I’m ashamed to say that recently my activity with other people on Instagram has taken a dip, but I’m getting back on track by double-tapping and dropping comments whenever I can. I’m not sure if this will actually help my own account at all but if it puts a smile on the face of another user looking for some engagement then my work is done.

Celebrate others

Again, whether this actually helps my own follower count or not I don’t know or care, but recently I did my first ever Instagram story shout-out to some of my favourite accounts, and it made me so happy! I’m gonna try and make this at least a monthly thing going forward and continue spreading the love.

Spend more time looking for new accounts

I’m very much the person that follows people I know, then people who appear in the suggestions tab, and people I see sharing their links on Twitter, but I rarely just go hunting for new accounts to follow, so I’m gonna hit the explore tab a bit more and brighten other people’s days by hitting that follow button.

Get regular and utilise stats

My aim for 2018 is to try and post every day wherever possible because its rumoured that being more regular generally sees an increase in engagement. Well I’ll have to wait and see with that one, but what I am curious to test is looking at some of the analytics from my posts. As well as planning posts, Unum also has an analytics tab which shows all sorts of data from my most popular posts, best hashtags and even the best times for me to post on each day of the week based on previous engagement – apparently Thursdays seem to be my best day! PS. This is all included under the free version of Unum, but you can pay a subscription for more insights.

Have fun with it

More importantly than anything else, I just want to continue loving Instagram. Towards the end of last year I found myself falling out of love with it a little as I felt some posts were forced, or didn’t fit my style and I just didn’t like feeling that way. I’ve currently got a bit of a yellow theme going on, and with yellow being my favourite colour and also a happy colour, I’m smiling every time I look at my feed which is exactly what I want.

If you wanna help a girl out, my link is below, or you can search for me @lottiedoesdisney!

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Getting Monday Ready

Call me crazy, but I’ve always kinda liked Mondays. I see them like a fresh start, a mini New Years every week, and this liking of Mondays has only increased since starting my new job because I don’t also dread them a little bit anymore.

I also like to think that by starting off the week right, it will mean that the whole seven days will go off without a hitch, and with that in mind there are a few things that I like to get sorted every Sunday in the hopes of a smooth coming week.

Cleaning my makeup brushes

I find cleaning my brushes really therapeutic for some reason. I don’t quite do this every week as there are some weeks I just don’t wear my makeup as much as others, but its always a Sunday evening task regardless! All my brushes are Spectrum, and I use the Freedom Cosmetics brush bath to clean them, and then let them air dry on a shelf above my radiator overnight so that they’re nice and fluffy in the morning and ready for action!

A good skincare session

Over the winter months especially, I have been making much more of an effort to be more on top of my skincare regime as the weather can drive my skin crazy, so I do have a daily routine, but Sunday’s are for a bit of extra love. Sometimes that’s a face mask, sometimes a long hot bath, and sometimes its just a longer session with my Magnitone and a few extra or more special products thrown in.

The food shop and meal planning

Sundays are normally the day that Matthew and I do our Sainsbury’s shop and decide what dinners we’re going to have in the week. We keep our weekly shop below Β£50 as we each get vouchers through a salary scheme at work, and we like quick and easy meals that we can throw together after we both finish work, so typically we have things like chilli, soup, curry etc, but also like to mix things up with whatever else takes our fancy. There’s also a little bit of meal prepping done on a Sunday night, but now I’m back working 9-5 I don’t have to stress about it too much.

Packing up orders

Any Etsy or Happiest Fitness Co orders that I’ve sorted out over the weekend end up in a little pile of boxes and packages by the door by Sunday night ready for me to take to the post office during my lunch break on Monday – no rest for the small business-er!

Tweet scheduling

Every Sunday night I try to get my whole week’s worth of scheduled tweets sorted so that I don’t have to think about them for the rest of the week. Its a slightly boring task but I know that if I get it out of the way, at least its done!

Ironing and outfit planning

I don’t completely plan out my outfits for work, but I try to think ahead so that I have the key items ready, washed and ironed so that I don’t have to worry about getting the ironing board out in the week.

Do you do anything specific to get ready for your week?

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About My Younger Self

This was me, aged 15. This photo was taken about two or three days after I had been dumped by my first long-term boyfriend – we’d been together around 8 or 9 months – by text, at around 2 o’clock in the morning. Yeah.. My two best girlfriends had slept round mine, and we had gone to a local summer festival where we tried to get as many free things as we could, ate food that came from trucks or stalls and just had some fun.

In those days I always carried a camera. More often than not it was my dad’s because he had much better ones than me, and phone cameras still took grainy, low quality photos. My phone at the time was a slid-up LG thing with buttons. Yep. I would take so many photos, most totally silly but every one a memory that I would painstakingly upload to Facebook in groups of 5, caption individually and tag, so that everyone could see. I still have every single one saved on my computer.

My two best friends were everything. Our lives revolved around sleepovers at each others houses and trips to Primark. We sat together in every class but still text each other under our desks, and we were there for each other through every breakup, fall out or family problem. We all had our own style and our own likes and dislikes, but we all respected each other. I never thought there would be a time that we wouldn’t be friends anymore. Well, we drifted apart in the end.

In those days I knew very little when it came to makeup, and I certainly didn’t wear it every day. When I did it was probably just blue eyeliner and mascara – I think by 15 I had given up on my Dream Matte Mousse in 3 shades more orange than my face actually was. My eyebrows were never filled in, nor did I ever pluck them (but that was partly because I’m quite lucky with my natural shape), but my nails were always painted. My nail varnish collection was my pride and joy and every week at school was a challenge to see how long I could make it before a teacher eventually noticed my navy blue tipped fingers and made me go to the office to take it off. Most gave up bothering.

Even back then my style was different. I wore skirts and shorts with knee high socks and high-tops – Converses were basically the only shoes I owned, and still are. I wore dungarees and band t-shirts, and actually knew who the bands were. I knew what I was wearing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I almost thrived from it. I guess the fact that I didn’t try and blend in back then is what makes my style what it is today. To be honest, when I look back I still love every outfit.

Younger me went through a lot. I look back at some of it and wish some things had been different. I wish I could have told myself so many things about how life would be in 5-10 years time but I also applaud that version of myself for getting through it all. I almost feel like I don’t know that person anymore, but she was great, despite not believing it herself.

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Let’s Talk About Luck

Luck (noun)

“success or failure apparently brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

I feel like this says it all, but because you don’t know the point I’m trying to get across, here’s some backstory..

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you achieve, there will always be someone who says ‘oh wow, you’re so lucky!’. Whether you’ve just tweeted about a promotion at work, or you’re Instagramming beach pics from a fabulous holiday, so many people jump to luck. Now don’t get me wrong, 9 times out of 10 this is probably meant as a compliment, but that’s just the thing. Unintentional as it may be, claiming luck invalidates the accomplishment.

Take bloggers for example. I follow so many incredible bloggers on Twitter, all of which produce great content, take photos that could easily appear in magazines and pour so much effort into their posts that they deserve every opportunity they get, but whenever they tweet in gratitude about one of their favourite brands reaching out to work with them, so many of the responses that come flooding in are ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing! You’re so lucky!’. Yes, it is amazing, but look at the definition of luck (see, I put it there for a reason), these things came about through hard work and determination, so that’s far from luck.

Personally, I hate being told that I’m lucky whenever I go on holiday. Sure, I guess I’m fortunate to have a job that pays well, but I earnt that job and I work hard in that job, plus I put in so much overtime for the very purpose of being able to pay for said holidays. And I suppose it helps that my outgoings aren’t too high, but again, that’s because I’m very careful with money, budget like a pro and know how to find a bargain. Yep, these are all sounding like my own actions..

I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for every opportunity that comes my way, because I am. I am so grateful and so thankful for everything I have, and there are so many things that I do think I’m lucky to have, such as my amazing family, incredible boyfriend and wonderful friends, because apart from somehow convincing them to be in my life, my actions had nothing to do with them being who they are, I just wish that we didn’t devalue accomplishments by suggesting luck has anything to do with it.

What do you think?

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Things I Learned When I Tried To ‘Fit In’

I don’t think there’s a single day that I don’t see some tweet about how someone doesn’t feel like a ‘proper’ blogger because they don’t use a marble backdrop, rose gold props or whatever style is currently being conceived as a ‘typical’ blogger thing.

There’s a number of reasons that these sorts of comments bother me, and I’m not going to get into all of them now, but the biggest one for me is that people think that you have to conform to a particular style to be a blogger. Yes, there’s a bit of a stereotype and a lot of bloggers make jokes about being ‘basic’ or ‘cliche’ but the fact is, its just a popular style and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In my early years of blogging, I didn’t know much about my own style, or even anyone else’s for that matter, but when I started to discover more of the blogosphere, I started to feel a little bit of a tug to replicate these pretty photos I was seeing all the popular bloggers post. I started brightening my photos, doing more flat-lays and I even made myself a fake marble backdrop. And what happened?

I never used the marble backdrop

After going to all the effort of making my backdrop, it has never actually graced the pages of this blog. I tried, but I realised that it just wasn’t my style and I didn’t want to compromise myself just to look like everyone else.

I discovered more topics that I like writing about

I created this blog original to just talk Disney, but now its so much more than that and I love it. I discovered that I actually really like writing about beauty, even though I never thought I’d be a beauty blogger, and I’ve learned that there are a million other things that I can use this platform of mine to discuss.

Flat-lays are a true art form

And one I have yet to master! You may look at a flat-lay and few products laid out on a nice backdrop but oh my gosh is it so much more? I have so much respect for the bloggers who nail them every damn time, and I aspire to be even half as good as them!

I like my own style, and I like not ‘fitting in’

So I don’t fit the so-called stereotypical blogger style, and I am 100% okay with that. I like bright and colourful and that is me. Blogging is all about being your own person and doing your own thing, and I have known that all along. And yes, I love rose gold and shiny beauty products, and I like marble and pastel and pretty stationary and anything else that makes me a ‘basic’ blogger, so sue me?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be anything but yourself to be a blogger. A blogger is just someone who has a blog, simple. Love it? Own it.

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