Paris, I’m coming back!

Happy Thursday y’all! (I had to check that it’s actually Thursday because working from home means I have no sense of what day of the week it is!)

I’m in a pretty great mood today because last night Matthew and I booked ourselves a little trip to.. Disneyland Paris! Eeek!

Believe it or not, I actually haven’t stepped foot into a Disney park at all this year, and I honestly have found it much harder than I thought I would – especially after spoiling myself with so many trips over the last few years! Anyway, with Matthew officially starting with easyJet on September 17th, we had wanted to get away on a little trip in the week before then, and had played around with the idea of a couple of places in Europe, then last night he called me up and said he’d found a pretty good deal on 4 nights in Paris, and next thing I knew it was booked!

We’re staying offsite, which I’m actually quite excited about because I haven’t actually stayed offsite before, and as I’m getting an annual pass (yay!), I plan on squeezing in a whole bunch of trips in the next year and doing them as cheaply as possible, I know that offsite is gonna be the way to do it. I’m so psyched to be becoming an AP holder again, especially now I’ll be able to take advantage of Matthew’s staff travel to fly super cheap and go more often than I have done before!

It’ll also be our first trip to Paris together, and believe it or not, only actually our second time in a Disney park together! I haven’t been to Paris in almost a year, and as that was for a RunDisney weekend it wasn’t really a proper park trip, so I can’t wait to just be in the parks with my favourite person and not have to worry about running a half marathon the next morning!

Oh, and did I mention it’s only 25 days away?! I’m so excited!

DIY Porg Meringues

Its not May the 4th, and its not any time around a film being released, but I figured I actually didn’t need an excuse to share what I feel like is one of the cutest baking posts I’ve done in a long time. Well, it is actually the first time in ages that I’ve done a baking post, and its my first time baking in my new house, so ok, there’s the excuse!

Like them or loathe them (but seriously, who doesn’t like them?!), Porgs sorta stole the show in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fun fact: the porgs were actually created as the island that the scenes were filmed on was populated with a whole load of puffins, and it was easier to CGI the porgs over all the puffins than it was to remove the puffins from the shots, so porgs are basically just space puffins. But I digress..

I’ve had the idea for these cute little sweet treats in my head for a little while now, and here they are – they’re a super simple bake and only 4 ingredients too! I always use the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe for meringues, as below, but if you have your own go-to meringue recipe you can use that!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 100C, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. On the back of my greaseproof paper I drew a porg template ready for piping later, but you don’t have to do this.

Whisk your egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then up the speed a little and add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each spoonful. Once the caster sugar has all been added, your mix should look nice and shiny! Sift the icing sugar into the egg mix  one third at a time, and fold in gently using a metal spoon until smooth.

Now how you shape your porg is totally up to you, I used a piping bag but I imagine you could do it no problem using a spoon. Pipe/spoon your porg shapes onto the greaseproof paper leaving a little bit of space between each one – don’t worry about them being too peak-y or being all the same shape, it gives them character! Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

To give yourself a nice flat canvas to work on, flip your meringues so that the flat side is the front of your porg, and now you’ve got yourself an army of little meringue porgs, you’re gonna want to melt down your chocolate. As you’re gonna be dipping, I suggest doing this in a fairly small bowl so that you’ve got some depth.

Take a porg, and working from wing to wing, dip and turn your meringue to create a chocolate border around your porg, then place them onto greaseproof paper to dry. You can then use either a piping bag or toothpick dipped in chocolate to add facial features. Pop your porgs in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re all done!

The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for about a week, if they last that long..

Things to do on Disney Cruise Sea Days

I’m in shock with the realisation that it’s been almost a whole year since I went on my first Disney Cruise. Where has that time gone?! Disney Cruise Line opened my eyes to a world of holidays that I’d previously considered boring, and now I’m just buzzing to get back on the next ship in January!

One thing that I’ve been asked quite a few times is ‘what do you even do on a cruise when you can’t get off?’, and to be honest I always used to think the same before I actually experienced DCL, and now I live for sea days and all the fun that comes with them. Disney ships are a Dream, full of Magic, Fantasy and Wonder (see what I did there), and there are so many things that you can do on board, aside from lounging at the pool, to fill your days from waking up to passing out.

Character meets

Sea days are the best days for character meets, as they’re the days that they put the most characters out during the day. As well as the standard meets that you’ll be able to find the times for on your navigator, there are often special meets put on which you can book in advance of the cruise, such as Frozen and princess meets.

Kids club openings

While normally I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near a room full of kids, the kids clubs are without a doubt the coolest places on the ships, with themed areas like Andy’s Room, Pixie Hollow and Mickey Mouse Club. These clubs are strictly kids only, but during scheduled ‘open houses’, anyone can go inside to see what’s going on and admire the adorableness!

Catch a movie

If you’re in the mood for a movie, you can either hang out by the pool and watch what’s on the big screen at Funnelvision, or if an outdoor screening doesn’t take your fancy, you can go to the onboard cinema! It’s bigger than most of the screens at my local cinema, and it even plays some of the newest film releases.

Fill your boots!

Sea days are the best days for food. Well, you’ve got more opportunities to take advantage of all that free food that’s included in your booking. You could snack on nuggets and pizza between buffet meals, and don’t forget the self-serve ice cream machines..

Try out the gym

After all that food, you might not want to move, but if you haven’t lived on ice cream all day and fancy it, the onboard gym is fully kitted out for your workout needs.

Pub? Pub.

Pub quizzes, bingo, talks and so much more goes on in the pubs and clubs on the ships, so there’s always something going on for you to do.

Exploring the ship

Sea days are the perfect time to just explore these amazing ships, so have fun!

My RunDisney Medal Collection

So I know I have been totally AWOL for the last two weeks, but moving house is insane y’all! I honestly thought I’d only be away from blogging for a few days to maybe a week but I have had NO TIME lately with sorting the house out.

But I’m back! And as today is registration day for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my existing RunDisney medal collection! I managed to get registered on Tuesday in the DVC early registration window, which I’m so happy about, and I wish everyone registering today the best of luck!

Walt Disney World races

2016 – If you’ve been following me for that long, you’ll know that I started doing RunDisney events in 2016, and every single race has been an amazing experience for me. My dad and I started off in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend , taking part in the 5K and the half marathon, which was actually our first half marathon. Back then, 5K medals were 2016 rubber ones (you get a proper metal one now), so Pluto here was our first RunDisney medal. The half marathon was one of the hardest races I have ever done because a few days before I developed a chest infection and I honestly felt like I was going to die before we’d even hit mile 4, but we did it and it was so worth it.

2017 – Running solo for the first time, I started off the year with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. By this point I had the bug for challenges, so I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and half marathon). The races were all Beauty and the Beast themed that year, which I was so happy about as I had already planned to run as Chip before the medal designs had been released, although the challenge medal was still glass slipper themed.

Disneyland races

2016 – The week after doing the marathon weekend in 2016, we left Florida and flew across to California to take part in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and this was where we completed our first race challenge, Rebel Challenge, which was completing the 10K on the Saturday and the half marathon the next morning on the Sunday. By this point my chest infection had cleared up, and I actually set my half marathon PB on this course.

2017 – In May I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I saw a lot of hate on social media over these races but I had a total blast. The Disneyland 10K course is my all time favourite RunDisney course (RIP California races) and I think my favourite medal was from the 10K, although they are all so stinkin’ cute!

Coast to Coast

Both in 2016 and 2017 I earned a Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon* in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, but in 2017 I got a bonus of the ‘pink’ Coast to Coast, which was for doing the Princess and Tinkerbell weekend in the same year. The medal was essentially the same as the normal Coast to Coast, just in a pinky colour palette instead! 2017 was also the 10 year anniversary of the Coast to Coast challenge, so the blue medal was extra special!

*to earn a Coast to Coast medal, a minimum distance of half marathon must be done in each park!

Disneyland Paris races

In 2016 I took part in both the inaugural 5K and half marathon in Disneyland Paris (there was no 10K in the first year), and then in 2017 I did the 10K and half marathon, earning the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge medal! Both years I also got an additional challenge medal, the Castle to Chateau Challenge, for completing races in the US as well as Paris – the medal was the same for both years, just with a different ribbon.

Virtual Running Shorts

I only did the virtual shorts in 2016, which was the first year RunDisney did virtual races, mainly because its quite expensive to do considering you don’t get an actual event, but I loved the medals I got because they were huge!

This year has been totally RunDisney-less for me, which has been really sad, but I’m also quite happy as I’ve had so many injuries to deal with! I’m also still a little heartbroken that the California races have been cancelled until further notice, but I’m just praying they’ll return soon and I’m so excited to get back into training for the marathon next year!

Have you ever done a RunDisney event?

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A Look Around Aulani’s Deluxe Studios

Staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii has been an absolute dream of mine for years now, and part of me still can’t believe that I’ve actually ticked it off the great Disney bucket list now.

During our stay in paradise, we actually stayed in two different rooms, both of which were Deluxe Studios, which is the second level of room at Aulani after a standard hotel room. There are several options in terms of the view you can have – standard view, garden view, pool view and ocean view – and we spent 6 nights in a standard view and our last night in an ocean view. Put simply, the better the view, the more you pay, whether that’s in cash or DVC points.

Each deluxe studio sleeps up to 4 people, with a regular double bed and a sofa that converts into a double bed, and there’s a large bathroom and a little kitchenette which is equipped with a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and toaster. They also all have a balcony/terrace area with chairs and a little table so you can sit out and enjoy the sunshine.

Of course this is still Disney, so the decor of the rooms perfect, including the amazing Mickey table lamp and hidden Mickey bedspread..

But also just look at the view that we had from our ocean view room on the last night:

Can I go back now please?

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My Favourite Disney Accessories Right Now

I feel like this post is a little moot as I haven’t actually stepped foot in a Disney park this year, nor do I have a park trip planned for this year, but they say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I’ve definitely felt that.

BUT you know me and a lack of a trip doesn’t really stop me from shopping, and as someone who loves to include Disney style in my every day life as well, I’ve been adding to my stash of Disney accessories lately, and there are some particular favourites of mine right now that I thought I would share!

I’m a self-confessed ear addict, but as I already have more pairs than I know what to do with, not to mention the fact that those bad boys really can only been worn in the parks, I’ve had to curb my ear buying this year, and instead I’ve fallen in love with these cute little knotty headbands from Crittear Country. They’re super cute, really comfy and, style dependant, very subtle!

On the topic of hair accessories, I’m also still loving these Mickey ear headbands from Closet Geek which are another current favourite method of keeping my hair under control!

Ok, so I had never really understood the hype about the little plushie passholders that are all the rave in Tokyo Disneyland until I bought my Gelatoni one in Aulani. I swear that thing was surgically attached to my neck the whole time we were on that trip and it was the most useful thing! They’re such an easy way of carrying cards and money, and even my phone (iPhone SE) fit in it, meaning I never really had to carry a bag, and I swear this is a game changer for when I hit the parks again next year!

I’ve always been an Alex and Ani girl, but feel like I can only really wear those in the parks, whereas my Lillian and Co bracelets are the perfect subtle addition to an everyday outfit. All three quotes mean so much to me and I’m so in love with these at the moment!

Another of my most recent purchases was this beret from Just Peachy because it’s DONALD. This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and as soon as it was announced I knew I had to have it. It’s got an embroidered bow at the front, but also a little tail at the back plus a little ribbon and you bet I’m going to be coming up with every excuse to wear this from now on!

What are your favourite Disney accessories?

Why Disneyland Is So Special To Me

On this exact date last year I arrived home from the most amazing trip to Disneyland, and I’m feeling a little bit sad about that. If I could go anywhere right this second it would be there.

One of the questions I get asked the most when I tell people that I’ve visited every Disney park in the world is ‘what’s your favourite?’, and I always decline an answer as its impossible to single out just one park as being better than all the rest, but Disneyland is the park that has a special place in my heart; the sort of place that has me crying when I enter and when I have to leave.

I was fortunate enough as a child to spend a lot of time in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, even making more than one visit some years, right up until I was about 5 or 6 years old, and then the Disney trips stopped. My sister and I were old enough to appreciate what the rest of the world had to offer, and so that’s exactly what my family did, and I wouldn’t change that for a second, but it meant that I actually had very few Disney memories other than what I’d seen in pictures or could vaguely remember.

In 2008, we went to California for the first time, and part of this visit was to go to Disneyland. I was just coming up 14, and I remember both my sister and I being ridiculously excited when my parents told us. This was where my first ‘adult’ Disney memories were made. We went back again in 2010, and again I remember just feeling so excited and happy, and at home when I stepped through those gates. There was magic.

As I’ve grown older, and my love of Disney has quite clearly grown also, I’ve come to realise other reasons why Disneyland is so special to me. This was Walt’s park, although he would say that Disneyland is our land *stifles a sob*, and you can feel that nostalgia through the whole park. He walked down Main Street USA, he stood in front of that beautiful little pink castle, and you just know that this was exactly what he created, his vision.

There’s a different feel to Disneyland than there is to WDW. It feels calmer, more effortless. From the Disneyland park to California Adventure, there’s not a single fault in my eyes, and even though it was 10 years ago now that I saw it all for the first time, I feel like I’m seeing it with fresh eyes every time.

Disneyland, you are perfect.

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