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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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

Honestly, November has FLOWN by. Its now officially less than a month until Christmas, and I’m feeling super unprepared, but one thing I have got under my belt now, courtesy of the wonderful CoconuTacha, is some incredible Disney inspired wrapping paper, so at least when I do get my Christmas shopping done, the paper is all wrapped up, if you pardon the pun..

Tacha is an incredibly talented UK based graphic designer, and I love the unique style of each of the park icons featured on this wrapping paper. In each set you get 3 A2 size sheets of wrapping paper, plus 4 gift tags, so you’re completely covered for all your wrapping needs.

The paper is a really high quality – way nicer than your regular supermarket roll! – with a glossy finish, and its so beautiful that this is the kind of paper that you’ll want to unwrap carefully so you can keep it again! Also a great secondary use would be as a photo backdrop for blog photos – I may just keep a sheet for myself for this very reason!

And if you’re on the hunt for a cute little stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or just something to treat yourself with, Tacha also has this limited edition ‘Magic Castle’ enamel pin available on her store. Its so pretty and so different from any other castle pins I’ve seen and the colours are stunning together, and for £5 its a steal!

Cute wrapping idea: attach a pin to the gift tag of your present!

There’s currently 10% off both the wrapping paper and pin until the end of today so if you like what you see, head on over to Etsy now, and even if you’ve got your wrapping paper sorted, you should definitely check out Tacha’s designs on both her Etsy store where you’ll find an amazing selection of stationery, planner stickers, art prints and more, and also on Redbubble where you can get her designs on everything from t-shirts to phone cases.

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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*The items featured in this blog post were sent to me, but all views are my own.

Smells Like Magic* – Maple and Whisky Candle Review

I can’t believe that exactly one year ago Matthew and I were having the most magical time in Walt Disney World! I mean, I know we’ve had the craziest and most incredible year since then, but it still sucks.

In the crazy last year we’ve had though, we did buy our first house, and we’ve spent a lot of time turning it into the home that we love, with a big part of that being adding magical touches throughout to remind ourselves of our favourite places.

Maple and Whisky produce the most incredible scented candles inspired by your favourite Disney memories, including park foods like Mickey Waffles, rides like Soarin’ and resorts like The Grand. Quite frankly, if there’s a smell in a Disney park that you love, chances are, they’ve got it!

I’ve been a lover of Maple and Whisky for a few years now – I’ve got a constant stock of their wax melts on hand! – and they were super kind recently to send me three candles of my choosing to review, which meant I could fill the new house with some magical smells, although the hardest part was choosing just three! I took the opportunity to try two scents I’ve never had before, and to also get a new jar of my favourite M+W scent, Campfire Singalong.

Campfire Singalong smells truly of just that. Imagine toasting marshmallows and melting chocolate on an open fire at a Disney resort, and that’s what this is in a jar – its heavenly! For me, this is the ultimate autumn/winter candle as it fills the room with a wonderful warm scent and glow, but be warned, may cause chocolate cravings!

The second scent I chose was Beach Club, inspired by its eponymous Walt Disney World resort, and I chose it because our of all the resorts in WDW, this is my dream resort which I would absolutely LOVE to stay in one day! The smell is fresh and clean and it really does make me feel like I’ve just stepped into the air-conditioned lobby while taking a walk around the Boardwalk resort loop.

Finally, I picked Spirit of Aloha, which is inspired by the smell of the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This time last year when we were in WDW was when Matthew and I joined Disney Vacation Club, and Polynesian is our home resort, so I wanted a candle to remind us of our second ‘home’! Not being the biggest fan of pineapple (and not having a super clear memory in my head of what the resort smelt like), I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t like this one, but actually its lovely! The pineapple is there, but its not at all in your face and is nicely balanced with hints of coconut.

Maple and Whisky offer candles in two sizes, 8oz and 12oz, as well as wax melts, room sprays and reed diffusers. The candles I received were the 8oz size, and they last a good long while! They’ve recently changed the design of their labels, so these aren’t exactly what they look like now but the new labels are even better!

What I absolutely love about these over other scented candles is that not only do they smell amazing up close, but they actually fill the whole room with their glorious scents, and that happens almost instantly, whereas even some big brand candles only smell when you stick your nose into the jar! I would absolutely recommend these candles, and as well as these scents some of my favourites are Adventure is Out There (grape soda scented), Butterbeer (for the Potterheads), Rice Krispie Treats and Sugar Rush! Head on over to their Etsy store to see more!

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*I was sent these candles for the purpose of review, but all words and views are my own.

Colourpop x Disney Designer: My Buys and Swatches

I think this has possibly been the best collaboration to come out of 2018, if not the best beauty collaboration I’ve ever seen. Two of my favourite brands, Disney and Colourpop coming together to release a whole collection of beautiful makeup? Yes please.

I was poised and ready the minute the collection dropped, and even being there as the clock struck midnight (metaphorically, it was actually 6pm but hey it would’ve been midnight somewhere), I still missed out on a couple of items that I wanted – the two highlighters from the collection, which sold out instantly – but I was still so happy to know that I was getting my hands on what I knew would be amazing products. Better still, Colourpop have now updated their site to include tax when shipping to the UK, so no more hideous customs charges, yippee! I was also pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got my dispatch email and how soon these beauties got to me, and the struggle of waiting until I had photographed them before I could have a play was real guys.

So out of the collection, I bought the It’s A Princess Thing pressed powder shadow palette, three of the Supershock shadows, shades Heigh-Ho, So This Is Love and Be Our Guest, and the Ariel Creme Lux Lipstick, and I did a little squee when I unboxed every single one of them.

For starters, the packaging is GORGEOUS. The collection features around just six of the Disney princesses, Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Tiana, and they all feature on the front of the eyeshadow palette, plus their autographs are plastered over most of the packaging. I love the gold and black and the low-key extravagance of it all.

Now I have a couple of Colourpop palettes and Supershock shadows already, so the product I was most intrigued by was the Creme Lux Lipstick, as I’ve not tried a Colourpop lippie before. I chose Ariel as it looked like a shade that I would get plenty of use out of, being more of a nude shade, and what I love about the Colourpop website is that they don’t just show the product and a swatch on an arm, they actually show the shade on lips, and on a range of different skin tones, so you can actually gauge if it’ll suit before you buy.

Again, I loved the packaging, and while the tube is plastic, it actually feels expensive. As for the product itself, I was SO happy with it. The shade is PERFECT, its soft and smells amazing, and even though I put it onto my already fairly dry lips, even up close it didn’t look dry and I didn’t find it drying over time.

The Supershock shadows also did not disappoint. They came in the same style pot that the regular Supershock shadows do, but in black with a gold castle on the lid. I’ve written a proper review on Supershock shadows before, so I won’t go into the nitty gritties, but they’re beautifully buttery shadows, and the pigmentation blows my mind.. I was actually only going to buy one, but when the highlighters sold out, I needed to top up my order to get free delivery, so I grabbed two more, and I’m really glad that I did.

Top to Bottom: Be Our Guest, So This Is Love, Heigh-Ho

Of course the centrepiece of the collection was the It’s A Princess Thing palette. It looked stunning in the photos that I saw prior to the release, and it was even more stunning in person. This is my third Colourpop shadow palette, so I expected good things, but it wasn’t until I swatched the colours out that I realised just how incredible this palette is.

The pigmentation is so unbelievable; photos don’t do justice. The shimmery shadows practically turn into foils on the skin, I’ve never seen powder eyeshadow look so flawless. All of these swatches are one swipe with a finger and the colours are so vivid. The only shade that didn’t do too much for me is Chip, which is the lightest matte shade, but I think that’s only because its not as bold as the others, and I reckon I’ll actually use it quite a lot nonetheless.

Top to Bottom: Chip, Juju, Grumpy, Triton, Abu

Top to Bottom: Prince Charming, Ray, Fair Godmother, One Kiss?, Thingamabob

Top to Bottom: Enchanted Rose, Poison Apple, Magic Carpet, Beast, Midnight Curfew

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve got anything bad to say about this palette; I may go as far as saying that I think the quality is better than that of other Colourpop palettes that I own and love. As well as these swatches going on so well with a finger, the shadows apply beautifully with brushes, they blend perfectly and have good staying power even unprimed.

This collection, like a Disney princess, is flawless.

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The Perfect Cabin Suitcase

For someone who travels quite a lot, I’m almost ashamed to say that I have never used a cabin-sized suitcase until now. Whenever I’ve travelled hand luggage only I’ve kept myself to backpacks and holdalls, and while that has always been fine for me as I don’t do it often, I figured that as I now have the advantage of using Matthew’s staff travel to get super cheap flights, I’ll be going hand luggage only quite a bit more from here on out!

Another thing that swayed me was how adorable this suitcase is, so I decided to treat myself to the Minnie Mouse suitcase by American Tourister from the Disney Store website, and isn’t it a beaut?! I already have a large American Tourister case which I got for Christmas last year and I LOVE, so I knew that it would be a great investment.

Its a hard shell case with four wheels, and a built in 3-digit combination lock that the zip pulls click into, so you can secure it without having to worry about having a lock that needs a key.

The inside of the case it just as pretty as the outside, with its pretty pink and blue lining and details, and what I love about the AT cases compared to other brands I’ve seen is that it was a proper zipped divider that fully separates the top section of the case, and also has a big pocket built into it, which is the perfect size for 3-4 pairs of Mickey ears. The main compartment also has a little side pocket, which is perfect for charging cables and other little bits, and the strap keeps everything nicely packed in place!

The first outing of my case was my Disneyland Paris trip last month, and I easily managed to fit all my clothes and other bits for 4 days and still have a good amount of space, which given that I was packing summery clothes means I don’t think I’d have any problems packing 3-4 days of thicker wintery clothes.

The size of the case of course meets the size requirements of a cabin bag with most, if not all airlines, and I had absolutely no problem fitting it into an overhead locker on my EasyJet flight. The case wheels like a dream so walking through airports is no problem at all and it is just the cutest case ever, so if you do ever check it into the hold then you’ll have no problem spotting it on a luggage belt!

American Tourister do quite a big range of Disney designs, as well as normal styles, which you can usually get cheapest on Amazon. As I mentioned earlier, I also have a large Donald Duck suitcase which is the perfect size for a 2 week trip and just as amazing as this one, so I definitely sing the praises of all of their cases!

If I don’t make another little trip before then, the next trip this case will make will be to Walt Disney World in January!

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My Mini Disneyland Paris Haul

Did I even go to a Disney park if I don’t talk about it endlessly while I’m there and then continue talking about it endlessly when I’m back? Oh, and if I don’t post a haul?

Well, I didn’t actually get that much from my trip to Disneyland Paris last week, but I still wanted to share what I bought as I got a couple of things that I’ve never seen in the parks before, and so maybe you haven’t either!

First up, and becoming a strange habit of mine seeing as I’ve never really been interested in them before, I bought two pins: one I think must be a regular design, this simple Steamboat Willie, and the second is a design that was only released about a week before my trip, which is this ADORABLE Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Halloween pin. I’m a sucker for Pooh and he’s in this adorable little pumpkin suit and his honey pot says ‘BOOH’ and I just can’t..

Another little purchase was this Donald Duck spatula – now I’ve got quite a few Disney kitchen utensils, all in the classic Mickey style, but I’ve never seen Donald ones before and you all know I LOVE Donald! Plus now we have a house and only one spatula in it, this seemed like a semi-necessary purchase.

The final buy was this Mickey inspired washbag, which I was drawn to as it can be hung using the little hook at the top, which is perfect for Disney cruises due to relatively little bathroom space! It has a little mirror at the top too, and two storage compartments, both of which can actually be detached as they have velcro fastenings. I also love the little Mickey ears at the top, and the whole thing folds up to a decent sized washbag for travelling with, and is held together with magnetic fastenings.

I may or may not already be planning my next trip back to Disneyland Paris, so watch this space!

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Disneyland Paris Day 4

This post is coming a day late because Friday was such a long day and I needed yesterday to recover, but anyways!

This morning I left Matthew behind in the hotel (he had some work related stuff to sort out, I’m not just a mean person) and headed into the parks for early magic hours, bypassing the big queue of Disney hotel guests by using the designated annual pass holder entrance! As I had limited time before going back to meet Matthew, I decided that I only wanted to queue to meet Donald, and then spent the rest of the time taking advantage of the park being much quieter for taking photos.

At 10am, when the park opened to the rest of the guests, I left to head back to the hotel so that we could finish packing and check out – I had planned to get the shuttle bus but didn’t check the timetables so rather than waiting 25 mins for the next bus I walked back, which did only take 20 minutes so I was pretty impressed with that, plus the weather was lovely!

Once we’d checked out, we headed back to the park with our cases, leaving them at guest storage by the park entrance for the day, and then we went back into the Disneyland park. We started with Pirates of the Caribbean, which was basically a walk on, and then walked through Fantasyland, grabbing lunch at Bella Notte, and then went for one last ride on Star Tours before switching parks and going to Studios.

There, we walked onto Flying Carpets, and then also walked onto Studio Tram Tour before doing Tower of Terror for one last time.

We then decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring, as Matthew has never been to any of the Disney hotels, so we walked through Disney Village and did a lap of the lake, stopping to poke around Sequoia Lodge and Newport Bay Club, where we sat and had a drink and a snack in one of the lounges, before finally going back to collect our cases from storage and head back to the airport.

It might be a see ya real soon moment, but now we’re annual pass holders I think soon will probably be very soon, DLP!