Disneyland Paris AP Mouse Party Review

Its so crazy that one month ago today I was having the maddest day in Disneyland Paris! I’d flown out the night before so I could spend just one day in the parks, and so that I could go to my first ever annual pass holder event, which was to celebrate the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse himself.

I’ve seen to many of my friends go to these types of events before and I was feeling a mixture of excited, nervous and also just not knowing what to expect completely, and now I’ve done it, what did I think?

Character meets

I think its safe to say that the majority of Disney fans go to these events for the opportunity to meet rare characters, and this definitely showed. Some of the queues were INSANE. DLP had had the good sense to split each queue into two, so that you knew which of the two characters at each location you were going to meet, instead of queuing with the hope of one, and then there being a switch as you get to the front, but it wasn’t very clear in the run up to the event that each meet would be separate. Sure, there were a few meets where I didn’t expect both characters to be together, but when the meets were billed as ‘Nick and Judy’ or ‘Carl and Russell’, a lot of guests were expecting to be meeting with both characters, not one or the other, especially as the queues were so long for most.

The only characters I saw with a minimal wait queue were Clarabelle and Horace, but after I’d spent almost the first hour of the party waiting for Vanellope, I decided that I didn’t want to spend all my party time in lines.

Shows and parades

There were a couple of shows and ‘parades’ on throughout the evening. I use ” in regards to the parades because it was essentially just some dancers and characters dancing down Main Street before going up on the stage, and the song for said parade was REALLY irritating – not everyone shared this view, but several people I was with did and it was so repetitive.. The other stage shows that were on through the evening were honestly a bit take it or leave it. I caught part of one of them and wasn’t massively impressed, especially considering how good the Surprise Mickey show that takes place in the parks during the day is, I just think the bar was set too high for me by that show.

The show that everyone was there for was the one night resurrection of Dreams, the firework and castle projection show that was replaced a few years back, and I must admit that it was GOOD. I’d only seen Dreams maybe 2/3 times back when it was on, so I didn’t have too much of a memory of it, but I enjoyed every minute of it! There was also another castle projection show towards the end of the party which was entirely Mickey themed and that was also amazing.

Rides

A lot of the rides were open to guests during the party, including Big Thunder Mountain, Its a Small World and Star Tours, and from what I heard, none of them had more than a 5 minute wait – probably because so many people were queuing for characters. The only ride I actually managed to fit in was Star Tours, which was a walk on AND there were only 8 people in the whole ride which was so cool.

I think for future parties, I’ll forgo characters in favour of rides because I loved riding a practically empty ride and not having to queue at all for that privilege, plus I found the character meets a little stressful given the number of guests and not-so-great organisation.

Organisation

I went into the party with a fairly open mind and no exact plan for anything that I really wanted to do, so I was fairly chilled for the most part, but there were some places were I thought Disneyland Paris really let guests down, and I feel a little ashamed to say that its not something I would have ever thought about before, had I not been with a friend of mine who was in a wheelchair.

The party was not disability friendly. There was no separate line for wheelchair users, so anyone in a chair had to be pushed up and down through the queue barriers under the Disneyland Hotel before the party, and then be crushed by the mobs of people trying to get into the park and run down Main Street. The lines for characters were also not clearly communicated. In the queue for Vanellope, we were told by one cast member to wait outside the line while he organised an alternative queue space, but meanwhile another queue had been created, and despite us being the first there, other cast members then tried to get us to move the the back of the now-insanely-busy queue. I hate how ignorant I have previously been to these matters, but I hate more how Disneyland Paris do not cater to all abilities.

Aside from this, however, I didn’t think the organisation was too bad. After being let into the park, each guest was handed a programme for the night and a limited edition print as a little gift, and there were cast members lining Main Street USA cheering and high-5ing guests as they walked in, I guess as also a little bit of crowd control!

And as far as I’m aware, everything else went off without a hitch! I had a good night with good friends, and I think I’ve learnt a lot about how to handle these events in the future. I don’t know if I would go to every party they hold but I’d definitely go back for another!

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Why I Won’t Write About Saving for A House

Its now been almost 8 months since Matthew and I got the keys to our first home, and truthfully I thought I would have written a lot more about the process by now, but between everything else going on in my life and my minor falling out with blogging last year, I just haven’t got round to it.

I have, however, been thinking a lot about the sort of posts that I wanted to write about this, and while at first I thought a ‘Tips on Saving for Your First House’ post would be a great idea, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was getting with the concept of that post. Here me out.

Its no secret that our generation, ‘millennials’, are renting for longer, if not indefinitely, and the percentage of homeowners under 30 has dropped more than significantly in the last 10-20 years. I count myself as a minority for becoming a homeowner at the age of 23 and I’m very aware that while I could write about how Matthew and I saved up for our house, there are a whole tonne of circumstantial reasons why this wouldn’t be relevant to a lot of other people.

House prices differ MASSIVELY throughout the country

As a born and bred southerner, I have lived my whole life with a notion of what I thought was the price of a house was based on what house prices were like around where I lived. I started saving as young as I could because I knew that I wanted to buy my own place at some point in my life, and I knew that wasn’t going to be cheap.

But Matthew is a northern boy, and when we did start looking at houses seriously, we knew it would be up north. I was left dumbfounded when I discovered that we could buy a detached house for less than what a 1 or 2 bedroom flat would cost in Bournemouth. Suddenly, the deposit money I had been saving all these years was more than enough for a house, despite being nowhere need what it would need to be in my hometown. The fact is, most people aren’t prepared to move across the country just to own a home, and we were lucky (if that is even the word) to be relocating for Matthew’s job, because the chances of us being able to buy somewhere down south without significant help were slim.

Not everyone can make the ‘sacrifices’ we were able to

I never moved out of my parents’, and Matthew moved in with us 9 months before we bought our house. We both worked at the same place, so it was pretty easy for us to share my car. It would be pretty easy for me to write a post saying that to help save for a house you should move in with your parents, share/sell a car etc, but I know that those options aren’t always an option for everyone.

We all have different histories

I started working at 16, and I didn’t go to university after sixth form, so I had the luxury of no student loans. I always knew that I wanted to buy a place, so I started saving super early, even before Matthew was in the picture, AND Matthew and I were able to buy together, when not everyone can split a mortgage.

We also have totally different histories to previous generations. My parents were married by my age, not fighting for jobs in overcrowded industries like so many people are today AND the housing market was a totally different place to how it is today. We just can’t compare ourselves.

Home-buying incentives and schemes

Because we bought a new-build, we were eligible for the government Help To Buy loan for up to 20% of the value of our house which is interest free for the first 5 years. If you’re not buying a new-build, you can’t apply for this, and to be honest, without this we wouldn’t have been able to afford the house we fell in love with. There are also other options, like shared ownership and Help to Buy ISAs, but again, these aren’t always options for everyone.

Now none of this is to say that people under the age of 30 can’t save enough to buy houses, I mean we’re living proof that it is possible, but I’m just a little fed up of all these clickbait articles saying that its because we love avocados (which we don’t all love just FYI) or some other ridiculously false reason, when in fact its because we’re stuck at the bottom rung of the property ladder with baby boomers stomping on our hands and so many real factors are actually affecting our generation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so drop me a comment!

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My Advice for First Time Gym-Goers

I know we all joke about it, but its true – January will see more people heading into gyms than any other month of the year. Getting fitter, healthier or trying to lose weight is one of, if not the most popular New Year’s resolution, and although its something a lot of people poke fun at, I for one am here for it, each and every year, because I think its a fabulous resolution to have.

I also know that if you’re a first time gym member, or haven’t been to a gym for a long long time, it can be a kinda terrifying experience for you. Trust me, I’ve been there. And while I’m not a fitness professional, I have been a regular gym user for about the last 7 years, and so I’d like to share some advice for all of you who feel like you’re a little out of your comfort zone as you go into the gym this January (or any time, if you’re reading this in the future!).

Do a gym tour/introduction session

Most gyms will offer new members a tour of the facilities, which is a great way for you to get the lay of the land and ease yourself in slowly. It also gives you a chance to get to know the staff a little, and get the low-down on any rules of the gym, plus its a great chance for you to..

Ask the questions that you want answered

How do I use this piece of equipment? What exercises should I be doing to work on this area? Don’t be worried to ask gym staff as many questions as you need to because as well as it being part of their job to help you feel comfortable at the gym, they’d also rather you asked a question that you thought might be silly, than you not ask them and potentially hurt yourself, or even just not feel like you know what you’re doing.

Don’t assume other gym members dislike you

I see SO MANY people on Twitter at this time of year say things like ‘ugh everyone in the gym is so judgemental of us gym newbies’ and it really bothers me because most gym-goers aren’t focused on anything but their own workout. If anyone has said, or does say anything to you that makes you feel bad, I’m so sorry that you’ve had a bad experience but if nothing has been actually said to you then please don’t make the assumptions that people are that nasty because most of us aren’t like that, promise!

Start off slowly

It might go without saying, but don’t push yourself too hard straight off the bat. All good things take time and getting your workout routine right is no different!

Know the difference between ‘the burn’ and real pain

You’re going to want to feel ‘the burn’, and that means that what you’re doing is working, but that is something that should subside fairly swiftly after you finish that exercise. If you’re still in significant pain for some time after you stop whatever it is you were doing, that’s a sign that you may have done some actual damage, and if that’s the case then please don’t try to push through that.

Have fun with it

I personally love going to the gym, and that’s why I go, because if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t do it. The trick is finding something that you actually enjoy doing at the gym. If you hate what you’re doing, try something different, and keep trying until something sticks, but honestly you’ve got so many options to try so keep at it!

Remember, only you can make your fitness goals happen, so ignore everyone else who says otherwise and let’s do this!

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What I Got For Christmas 2018

I don’t know if its too late to write this post and for people to still be interested, but if you fancy a little nosey at my Christmas gifts, then this is the post for you!

Part of the reason that this post is coming a little late is because for the first time ever, I spent Christmas away from my family, so I only exchanged gifts with some people yesterday when I was in Bournemouth for New Years, so now I finally have a full collection of wonderful gifts, and here they are:

For starters, who doesn’t LOVE the Lush Christmas products? My year revolves around when I’ll be able to get my hands on some Snow Fairy again, and because Matthew knows this, he bought be the BIGGEST bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel I’ve ever seen (its bigger than my head), as well as the new Snow Fairy body spray so I can smell like a Lush store all year round. I also got a couple of other bits from both Matthew and my mum, including the Rudolph jelly face mask which I can’t wait to try out! And what’s that in the corner you ask?

That would be my ADORABLE new activewear from Chrissa Sparkles! I’ve had my eye on these sprinkles leggings for about a year now, and back in November they announced that they would be discontinued, so I begged Matthew to buy them for me before they left, and I’ve had the torture of knowing that they were in the house but I couldn’t have them until Christmas Day. I’m so ready to look like a cupcake threw up on me at the gym.

Of course there was a healthy helping of Disney goodies, including a Disneyland Paris spirit jersey from my parents, the beautiful Sorcerer Mickey Pandora charm from Matthew and the Mickey Mouse Museum book from my nan which is full of amazing Disney artwork from through the years.

The little Potter nerd in me LOVES these beautiful books of the Fantastic Beasts film screenplays, and this little rat is, in fact, a Scabbers lip balm – I mean who knew that existed, but I’m here for it!

Finally, something else that I can’t wait to play with is the Chasing Rainbows palette from Colourpop, because look how pretty it is!! Discovering Colourpop was basically just the greatest thing to happen to my makeup drawer and I already know that this will be as amazing as everything else I own from them.

All these gifts, plus some other little bits like DVDs and chocolate have made me one super happy chappy! What was your favourite Christmas present?

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My 2019 Resolutions and Goals

The clock struck midnight, and just like that all the pumpkins in the world turned into carriages as we all become shiny new versions of ourselves in some weird reverse Cinderella story.

Ok, so that sounds a little weird, but honestly I do love a new year. It always brings so much hope and excitement for a bright new future, a new page to our life stories. And while the world is often divided between those who make resolutions and those who make fun of those who make resolutions, I am firmly the former. Even if they don’t stick for the whole of the year, the intentions are always good and I always love believing that I can do it.

So here they are, a bunch of things I hope to achieve in the coming 365 days, and even if they don’t, I’m gonna have a blast trying to make them happen:

Personal Resolutions

  • Choose happiness always – In the last few weeks I’ve been working on my happiness, and I think I’m going to get the hang of it this year, so stay tuned
  • Get my body confidence back – as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I left my body confidence back in 2017 which made 2018 a little bit sucky. I’m not about sucky in 2019, so I’m just gonna skip past the last year and work on getting it back.
  • Wake up earlier – I had this one last year as well, and it worked for the most part, but with the addition of a puppy to our household, mornings have become slightly more about cuddles in bed with Finn..
  • Enjoy cooking and baking again – I’ve always loved making food, but recently its become more of a necessary chore than something I’ve enjoyed doing, so I’m gonna get back on Pinterest and find some amazing food I’m excited to make again
  • Watch more movies and read more books – y’know, all the ones I keep saying I’ll watch/read and then never get round to or end up going back to ones I’ve seen/read before..

Fitness Goals

  • Complete the marathon – its the only one that I’ll be doing in my lifetime (I can already say that with some certainty) and by the end of next week it will be done, and then I can focus on the rest of my goals..
  • Get my 5K back below 30 minutes consistently – its been a little while since I’ve run a 5K in under 30 minutes as I’ve been fighting injuries and working towards other things, but once the marathon is done and dusted my focus will be back on shorter distances!
  • Reach 50 ParkRuns – considering I’ve been taking part in ParkRun for several years now, you’d think I would have hit this already, but I’m going into 2019 with a solid 30 runs under my belt, so let’s do this!
  • Set a new half marathon PB – nope, I’m not going to set myself a definitive target for this one, I just want to beat my current PB and even if that’s only by 10 seconds then its still a win for me.

Business Goals

  • Keep pushing my limits – this time last year I wrote in my 2018 resolutions that I wanted to learn to sew more things. Well, I did, and that’s exactly what turned my little side business into my full-time job, so let’s keep pushing.
  • Keep loving what I’m doing – being a full-time small business boss makes me so happy and I just can’t believe I get to do what I love every day, so I want to keep it that way!

Blog Goals

  • Make 2019 my best blogging year yet – last year I let my blog slip, and that was ok for my life at the time. I’m going to try and stay away from specific blog hope and targets, because I know that so many things can get in the way, but I just want to feel better about my blog and make it the fun outlet that I’ve always loved so much.
  • Reach 8K on Instagram – for 2018, I set myself the seemingly modest target of reaching 2500 from 1900, but with the algorithm as it is, that could have been impossible. I did, however, smash that, and I finished up 2018 just over 5000. This year, I’ve got my sights set a little higher but we’ll see how it goes..
  • More travel writing – Matthew wants to visit a new city every month in 2019, and I want to do more travel writing, so it was a match made in heaven, right?

Wow, when I sat down to write this I thought I’d only do a few for this year yet here we are 700 words later! I guess all I can say to that is that, cliche as it sounds, I’m so ready to make this year the best one ever. All the ingredients are there, I’ve just got to make something with them, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Happy 2019 everybody!

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2018: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It would seem that this end of December break from blogging has become somewhat of a regular occurrence, but honestly it does me a whole lot of good, and here I am, back and ready to take 2019 blogging by the metaphorical horns.

I’ve probably said this a hundred times this year, but 2018 has been a total whirlwind. Its been full of major highs and also some pretty sucky lows, and while I’m not normally one for looking back at the end of the year, there’s a lot to be said about the past 364 days.

The Good

Well, its been a year of BIG things. Matthew finally finished his pilot training and started flying, we bought a frickin’ HOUSE and we got the most beautiful puppy in the world. We visited San Francisco and spent a week living it up in the beautiful Aulani Resort in Hawaii, as well as becoming Disneyland Paris annual pass holders.

This year I also took the leap into self-employment, turning my small business into a full-time job which has been an absolute dream come true, I’ve managed to grow my Instagram more than I imagined would be possible and I’ve spent some of the best times with my closest friends.

The Bad

As I’ve mentioned several times throughout the year, blogging has taken a major back seat for the majority of 2018. I started of the year stronger than I ever have before, but life and many other things got in the way and although it wasn’t easy for me to admit, it was easier for me to let blogging go a little while I focused on the new things that had become more important.

There’s also been a whole lotta change that will take me a little bit of time to adjust to. I’ve moved so far away from my hometown and my family, and that’s still something that I need to work on getting used to, and there has been so much going on that we’ve hardly had time to stop and breathe, so there’s been a lot of feeling constantly overwhelmed.

The Ugly

2018 has also had some pretty sucky times. I’ve struggled a lot with body image, which after such a positive 2017 felt even harder than it could have. I haven’t always talked about it as much as I could have done, but its done a real number on my mental health, and breaking my ankle back in April only made things worse. Honestly, I’m fed up of feeling the way that I do, and I’m determined that 2019 will be the end of it.

I’ve also spent far too much time in 2018 comparing myself to others, so much so that I let an incredible achievement – being nominated for the 2018 UK Blog Awards – go practically unnoticed because I was so sure that compared to the other nominees, I stood so little a chance that I didn’t even think I should ask for people to vote for me.

The Future

I’ve decided that 2019 will be the good, the better and the best; no bad, no ugly, just happiness. I already know that its going to be so full of magic and love and friendship, so I just have to keep filling it with only good things and positive energy. Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing my New Years Resolutions and goals and these are just going to be the stepping stones that make 2019 the best year yet.

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UK Small Shops for Your Christmas Shopping

Although we’re already fast approaching Christmas, like me, you may still have a little way to go on your Christmas shopping. I’m also trying my best to shop from as many small businesses as I can this Christmas, because as a small business owner myself, I know how important sales at this time of year are, so with that in mind, here are a bunch of UK based small shops for you to check out this holiday season who are still open for Christmas orders.

*At time of publishing, these shops are still accepting pre-Christmas orders, but please check their last order dates directly before purchasing*

CoconuTacha

Remember the amazing wrapping paper I showed you a few weeks back? Well its still available! You can also buy some amazing stickers, prints, greeting cards and enamel pins in a huge selection of beautiful designs from this wonderful Wales based store! Shop here.

RockPaperSisters

Whether you want a super cute tees, sweatshirts or tote bags, RockPaperSisters have got you covered for all your fandom and pop culture favourites. They have a HUGE range of designs, inspired by everything from your favourite Disney films, your favourite bands like BTS, TV shows, movies, girl power.. You name it, they’ve got it and you’ll love it. I already have a bunch of their tees and they are so comfortable, such amazing quality and the girls behind the business are also super lovely! Last Christmas order dates for the UK is Monday 17th December. Shop here.

Alice Vitrum

For any fans of Disney or Studio Ghibli, Alice Vitrum has you covered! Patches, pins, prints, stickers and tote bags, all in the cutest designs and you can order up until 9pm on December 12th! Shop here.

Teeq

For cute Disney inspired embroidered tees and sweatshirts, Teeq has got you covered, and they also have a cute selection of matching enamel pins too! Shop here.

Hopefully this will give you a little bit of gift inspiration, or pointed you towards some great small shops even if you are done shopping!

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