Hopping On and Off San Francisco

This morning was not such an early start, although I still woke up before 7am. I took the opportunity to eat the cheesecake that I’d taken away from the Cheesecake Factory the night before, because if you can’t eat cheesecake for breakfast in bed on holiday, when can you?

Once ready for the day, Matthew and I started to walk to Sarah’s hotel, but along the way managed to pick up two scooters which made the trip to Union Square a lot faster! The plan for today was to make use of the hop on/hop off bus that we had tickets for, and see as much of the city as we could with the ease of not having to navigate to many places ourselves. We rode the bus from Union Square and around the route through the city til we reached the Golden Gate Bridge. Being on the top deck of an open top bus made the ride across the bridge crazy windy but wow do you get a feel for how impressive that thing is. We got off at the Vista Point viewing stop for some photos, and then got on the next bus to continue the tour.

Undecided on the exact plan for the rest of the day stopwise, we went all the way back round the city til we hit Pier 39, grabbed some lunch in one of the restaurants there and with some food in us it was a lot easier to settle on a plan. We managed to nab a scooter each from around the area, and rode ourselves to Lombard Street (although we had to push the scooters up the ridiculous hill that is Lombard) to see the famous zig-zag road, then scooted back to Fisherman’s Wharf where we bought a quick drink and hopped back on another bus, completing a full loop back to Union Square but then continuing back round a few more stops as we had another adventure planned.

Sarah and I had really wanted to find two things in San Francisco: the rainbow crossing and the rainbow house, and it took some walking but we managed to do both. The rainbow crossing was pretty easy to find, but the house involved many many super steep hills and I still can’t believe we made it up there alive – it was a long walk!

Absolutely knackered, we got an Uber back to the Embarcadero and got dinner at In And Out Burger, then had a true San Francisco experience of riding the cable cars from nearby all the way back to Union Square, where we finished up the day visiting the Disney Store before saying goodbye to Sarah for the rest of our trip and heading back to the hotel.

We fly to Aulani first thing tomorrow morning!

A Proper San Francisco Day

Today has been a pretty great day. Our jet lag actually helped us out quite a lot, as we had stupidly not remembered to book Alcatraz in advance, but as we were up at 5.30am, we could get to the ticket office for 7.30am (courtesy of a very chatty Uber driver) as they release some on-the-day tickets and we got onto the first tour of the day with no problem at all, grabbing breakfast between buying tickets and boarding the boat.

Alcatraz was really interesting – I admit I didn’t know all that much about it before today other than the basics, but there’s a lot to learn even if you do know a bit about it! We started off watching a mini documentary about the history of the island, then walked up to the cell building where audio guides are provided to guide your whole way round and through the building and sharing a tonne of interesting info along the way.

Once we’d seen everything we wanted to see, we got the boat back to the city and walked along to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping for a bit of time to watch the sea-lions, then continued along the waterfront to the Boudin sourdough bakery to walk around the mini factory tour and then grab lunch in the cafe there. SO GOOD.

Next on the agenda was the Walt Disney Family Museum, which we got an Uber to. The museum is in a really pretty area just outside the main city, and we spent a good amount of time learning even more about the wonder that is Walt Disney. As the museum was quite close to the Golden Gate Bridge, we decided to walk from there along to a grassy park area near the bridge, which gave us stunning views of the landmark, although it was quite a walk there and back to a place where an Uber would pick us up from again, but along the way we did discover something pretty cool..

So the night before and during the day today, we’d seen a number of people riding this electric scooters, but also they could be found just lying around the streets, so while we were walking I decided to google them to find out what the deal was. Well they’re kinda like Boris bikes crossed with Uber – you find a scooter, activate it with your phone and pay for the time you use it. Well, we also happened to come across one, so there was some scooter riding involved, but I digress.

We Ubered back to Sarah’s hotel, where she and I disembarked for a trip to the Sephora round the corner, and Matthew left us to it and met us in Union Square to go for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s.

We were all so knackered from the early morning and busy day that we could hardly keep our eyes open at dinner, let alone tackle those enormous portions so we picked at what we could and I took my cheesecake to go and we got back to the hotel as quick as possible so I could finally get my feet up!

Hello San Francisco

Well gang, another adventure has begun, but as most of today was spent travelling, this is really just a check in to say that we’ve arrived in San Francisco, which is one of my favourite cities in the world and I’m so happy to be here.

We flew with Norwegian for the first time (full scoop on what it was like when I’m back!), it was a 10 hour flight but it flew by pretty quickly as it was essentially a 10 hour catch up with Sarah and my god can we talk for England..

We landed at Oakland airport and got a train into San Fran, checked into our respective hotels and then Matthew and I walked to Sarah’s and we grabbed Panda Express for dinner (another favourite of mine) and headed back for bed as our bodies were feeling the fact it was 4.30am in the UK!

Stay tuned for two more days of jam packed San Francisco fun before Matthew and I head off to Aulani!

What I’m Packing for Aulani

Its holiday weeeekk!

On Thursday we jet off on the start of our adventure and off course that means my suitcase is already pretty much full, and as I haven’t really shared all that much in the way of outfits, I thought I’d show you some of the things that are filling up my case.

This trip will be the debut of the amazing Donald Duck suitcase that Matthew bought me for Christmas. Its the first four-wheeled suitcase I’ve had, and while this might not seem like anything particularly strange, its meant a completely different packing experience for me!

Outfit planning has also been a different experience for me as I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’ve been really enjoying picking swimsuit/cover-up combos, including this Sleeping Beauty inspired look featuring a pom-pom edged cover-up of my own making!

Outfit wise, I’ve mainly kept things subtle on the Disney front, but I’ve got accessories from a few of my favourite Disney small businesses, including my new favourite headbands from Closet Geek

I’ve got so many swimsuits packed, ranging from one-pieces to bikinis, and I have a feeling I’ll be spending most of my time in them!

And these are just a handful of the extra bits and pieces I’ve got on my packing list! I’m trying to pack fairly light to allow space to bring back lots of goodies, but I do still have to get a few things and pack shoes and such, and I haven’t even starting on my hand luggage yet!

Don’t forget that I’ll be daily blogging the whole trip, so you can keep up with my adventures on here, but Instagram will also be the main place I’ll post updates while I’m out there, so be sure to follow along!

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What Selling Platform is Right For Your Art

If you create things that you love, and hope you make something out of what you do, then there are a number of options that you have in order to do so, and the more options you have, the harder it can be to make a decision, so I’m dishing the dirt on the pros and cons of some of the most popular options that are available based on my own personal experience! This post is primarily directed at art, but some parts can be applied to a lot of areas of small business.

Redbubble

These platforms are the ideal place to sell your artwork absolutely hassle free on a huge variety of different products from tshirts and sweatshirts to canvasses, mugs and stationery. It’s as simple as uploading your work, adding a few tags and a description then sitting back and waiting for sales to come in. Redbubble do all the manufacturing, deal with shipping and returns, and you just get a few emails to let you know how things are going, and a payment into your PayPal account. Simples.

The downside of this, however, is that you’re looking at relatively small margins. You get to pick what percentage markup your designs have on Redbubble’s base price, and that’s how much you pocket – mine are all at the standard 15-20%, which means that the most I ever make out of a sale is a few pounds on a tshirt, but as a lot of my designs sell as stickers, I get maybe like 20p.

Because of this, it makes Redbubble the perfect place to sell if you just create your art as a hobby and are looking to maybe make a little bit out of it. This is where I upload all my odds and sods drawings that I think would look cute on a shirt but aren’t in keeping with my Happiest Fitness Co brand, and as I just draw these designs for fun, I don’t mind if I’m not really making money from them, and whenever I do make a sale, I get a little buzz.

Similar platforms to Redbubble include Teepublic and Society6

Etsy

Etsy has very quickly become the place to go when you’re looking to buy something that’s a little different. Its the handmade, one-of-a-kind and small business haven, and because this is the place that people go when they’re looking, you have a decent chance of being found.

Sure, all the work is on you. You have to make your products, ship the products (although if digital art is your thing and you don’t want to be printing everything, you can create listing for digital download), deal with the queries, maintain the listings etc, but the payoff is that apart from listing fees ($0.20 per listing) and the little cut that Etsy take on your sales, you pocket the rest, so as long as you factor those costs into your pricing you’re all good.

I use Etsy for my Lottie-Bounds store, where I make handmade clothing items and accessories, and this works perfectly for that because Etsy tends to be the first place people go for these sorts of things.

Shopify/Big Cartel

Platforms like Shopify and Big Cartel offer afforable online store options for businesses big and small alike. Like with Etsy, all the work is on you, but you also have the added work of maintaining a store-front and theme, but this give the professional look and it also gives the opportunity to add in other features like mailing lists and the ability to have your own domain.

The downside of these stores is that as well as doing all the normal work, driving traffic is also down to you, so you’ve gotta do the marketing and SEO work too. That said, however, they are super user friendly, even if you’re not a tech boff. I use Shopify for The Happiest Fitness Co’s online store, and its simple and it works well and it looks good.

Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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Disney Fan Theories – The Best and The Worst

As with every major fandom, the Disney world is filled with theories and fan fiction, and they range from surprisingly plausible to utterly ridiculous, fuelled mostly by the internet.

Now I haven’t come up with any of these theories myself, they’re all ones I’ve seen online or heard from others, and because they are so spread over the goo ol’ world wide web, I can’t credit the original person because I simply have no idea who that might be, but here are a few of my favourites, and some of the theories that really grind my gears.

The Best

Riley has gender identity conflicts (Inside Out)

During the 2015 Pixar movie, we get to see inside the heads of two characters other than Riley herself, and that’s Riley’s parents. Both parents have the same 5 emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – that Riley does, but in Riley’s mum’s head, all of her emotions have female personas, and Riley’s dad’s emotions all have male personas. Nothing unusual about that, right? Well no, except Riley’s emotions take on both male and female personas, and the theory behind this is that Riley doesn’t identify as one specific gender, and this is Pixar’s little nod to all those people in the world who feel the same. I personally really hope that this is true.

Emily from Toy Story 2 is Andy’s mum

In TS2, we hear the sad tale of how Jessie is abandoned by her kid, Emily, but some fans believe that Emily grew up into our favourite cowboy-loving kid’s mum. You see, the cowboy hat that Andy wear as he plays with Woody is the same style as that sported by cowgirl star of the second film, and its possible that this hat belonged to his mum, or was at least bought by her in a nostalgic moment. I just love thinking that not only did Jessie find a loving home after Emily, but that she did actually make it back into Emily’s life.

The Worst

Tarzan is Anna and Elsa’s younger brother

Personally I find the whole ‘Anna and Elsa’s parents were going to Rapunzel’s wedding when their ship sunk’ thing a little bit overplayed, but when I read an addition to this theory that suggested that they did, in fact, survive the shipwreck, and washed up on the island as per the opening scene of Tarzan, making him their younger brother, I just thought that this was too much. For starters, the Tarzan ship went down in flames, on relatively still water, rather than the crazy storm shown in the movie dragging the ship under, but also Tarzan was a baby at the time of the crash, and unless the queen gave birth onboard the ship, in which case we would have seen that she was pregnant as she left, they would have had the baby before leaving, which they did not. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

Carl died at the start of Up

So some people believe that Carl actually passes away before the big adventure of the movie takes place, and that from the balloons going up, we’re actually following Carl’s adventure into the afterlife. I’m sorry, but that’s a big ol’ nope from me, this film is already sad enough.

Hit me up with your favourite (or least favourite) fan theories!

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