How My Blog Planning Has Changed Through The Years

It’s always October that I find myself thinking a lot about my blog and how much it’s changed. In just over two weeks this little space of mine will be 4 years old, and I will never stop being grateful for all that blogging has given me.I look back to the early years with a lot of fond memories. I wouldn’t like to call myself naive but I think that’s exactly what I was, but innocently so. Back then I wrote how I thought I should be writing, and when I look back I cringe over how the words don’t even sound like they’ve come from me, but back then, same as I do now, I wrote because I loved doing it.

Back in the day I had no idea how to schedule a blog post, and in fact there were a few days within my first years of blogging that I published about 6 posts in a day because I had no concept of the importance of staggering my content. In those days I didn’t even know how to check my blog stats, let alone worry over them, and I didn’t think I needed a Twitter account – cute right?

For the first year or so of my blog, I just wrote whenever I had the chance. There was no real pattern of much of a schedule, and pretty much everything was posted on the same day it was written without much of a thought. It was simple and I was happy doing that.

When 2015 came around, I wanted routine. I was still LottieDoesDisney back then and I still thought all I could write about was Disney, but came up with an ingenious blog plan and routine for the coming year. For each week I would honour a particular Disney movie, and represent said movie in various inspired posts through the week – I think Monday was an intro, Tuesday was fashion, Wednesday was DIY Thursday was food etc. I don’t even think that lasted two months.

The problem with this is I felt too restricted, and by this stage I was wanting to branch out and write about more topics, and this sort of schedule wasn’t allowing me the ability to do that. I quickly ditched that, although I never stopped writing about Disney, and change was creeping in, but it wasn’t long before I was introducing new schedules that were just as tight as the old ones.

2016 came and again I planned the year out carefully with a bunch of series that I was sure I’d see through, some weekly, some bi-weekly and others monthly. At the time I loved thinking that I was so damn organised, but if for any reason the posts couldn’t be written, I felt like I’d failed the system. Knowing I had to have a certain post written by a certain day of the week made everything feel forced, and I fell out of love with the writing, so I decided to let go.

I still plan, and I always aim to keep at least a week ahead of the game, but I’m far more relaxed with my blog schedule. I am, in fact, writing as many posts, if not more than I ever have done, but I don’t pressure myself and the words just flow much better that way. I try to have 3-4 posts for each week planned at the start of each month, and that allows me to fill the spaces with the spontaneous and off the cuff posts, which often tend to be the most popular.

I’ve always said it and I always will: I just enjoy writing and being a blogger, and what’s funnier still is I always say I’m grateful for what my blog has given me, but I guess really it’s what I’ve given myself.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

What 3 Years of Blogging Has Given Me

Tomorrow, this little blog of mine turns 3 years old.

Three years ago, LottieDoesDisney (as it was back then) came about as I began to document the planning of a family holiday to Walt Disney World, and I don’t think I ever imagined that it would become what it is today. In fact, I’m not even sure I knew what it would become.

LottieDoesDisney

Remember this?

I became prouder of my blog than I thought possible, and its growth and development meant that at the end of last year I made the difficult (at the time!) decision to rebrand into what it is today.

But what has 3 years of blogging given me?

Confidence

At the start of my blogging career, I was unsure of myself, and what my blog needed to be. What I’ve discovered is that it just needs to be me. I read back some of my old old posts from time to time and cringe a little at how stiff and fake my writing sounds; I thought I had to be professional sounding, and it comes across as stiff. Now, I know that I can write what I want exactly how I want, and my true personality shines through; my boyfriend once told me I talk like how I write, when really its the other way round – I type just how I would speak out loud.

I’ve become more confident in myself as well as my writing. I’ve never had problems coming across as confident, but my self-confidence is always where I’ve struggled a little, and yes I still have my moments, but pride in my blog has given me pride in myself.

Lifelong friends

The first year or so of my blog was very lonely. I had no idea there was a community to it, but since I’ve found my place in a community that I love (Disney bloggers, I’m looking at you!) I’ve made truer friends than I’ve ever had before. I’ve connected better with some of the beauties on my Twitter feed more than I connected to people I went to school with, and I’ve had the most amazing fortune to now have met so many of these wonderful people – people I can’t imagine my life without now, people that have been with me through bad times as well as good, and people that I can’t wait to have more adventures with.

A creative outlet

Even if no one ever read my blog, I don’t think I’d give it up. I’ve always called it my little corner of the internet, and I love that other people join me in it, but more than anything else I blog for myself. I love writing, and getting my crazy thoughts and opinions out of my head, and it still amazes me sometimes that you lovely lot like to read them!

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating with cake, and you should definitely check back to see how you too can celebrate with me! (And more importantly, what the cake looks like)

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A Quick lottiedoesdisney Update :)

Well lovely readers, now I’m back from my trip this blog¬†is going to transform into a beautiful website of Disney World information, from top planning tips and park secrets to restaurant and show reviews! Pretty please bear with me, its going to be a lot of work and take a while before everything’s totally up to scratch, but with any luck it’ll be worth the wait ūüôā

As well as all this, I’ll be posting my regular Disney-addict musings to the following schedule:

Fashion Fix Tuesdays РAdding a little Disney to your wardrobe has never been easier!

Disney DIY Wednesdays – Creating your own Disney magic!

Foodie Thursdays – Recipes,¬†how-to’s and ideas on making Disney-deliciousness!

DisneySide Saturdays – Everything else!

I’m super excited to get started on everything, and would love any input so please get in touch if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, and remember you can also keep up to date with @lottiedoesdisney on Instagram ūüôā

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Day 2: Magic Kingdom

Today was the day I’d planned to be totally magical; for a first day in Disney World you’d want nothing less, and I was going to make sure of it.

Although it may seem crazy over-organised, we booked our first day breakfast almost 6 months in advance to ensure we got it: Crystal Palace, 8.15am. The beauty of this is that the park doesn’t actually open until 9am, and therefore our reservation granted us early access to the Magic Kingdom, so we could make the first turn onto Main Street and see this..

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Main Street leading up to the castle, almost entirely uninterrupted.

Well worth and early morning (left our resort on the 7am bus to get to the park in plenty of time).

Breakfast was fab, and we were joined by Winnie the Pooh and his friends who visited and signed our autograph books before posing for numerous photos in varying poses.

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Tummies (and bags) full of food (buffets are great), we headed into the park.

I won’t list all the rides we went on, cos quite¬†honestly we didn’t get a chance to do them all in the one day, especially not with Snow White’s Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Magic Flight wait times never dropping below and¬†hour (we’ll Fastpass them on our next day in MK), but we were incredibly lucky with queue lengths, not waiting more than 30 minutes for any ride.

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In between rides we caught a few shows, and set up camp on Main Street for the Festival of Fantasy Parade, only for it to be cancelled last minute due to the threat of rain, which was a bit of a disappointment ūüė¶ but we made up for it with snacks!

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If I’m¬†honest, I was a little let down by the Main Street Bakery, expecting it to be what it says on the label, but really it was just a glorified Starbucks, which I’m really not a fan of, but I managed to pick an Olaf Cake Pop up from a few shops down.

More rides, more time passing, girls are getting more and more tired..

By 9pm, the Main Street Electrical Parade, Liv was unconscious and Soph not far behind, so despite my hopes of them staying for the whole parade and the following fireworks, they headed back to the hotel for the night.

(I’ve spent all day alternating between my camera and my phone for photos, and as my phone takes better night time photos, I’ll sort those out another time to fully glorify the beauty of the evening)

After the parade ended, we simply turned to face the castle and plonked ourselves on the floor, and I think I’m going to struggle to describe the beauty and true magic of what followed..

Celebrate the Magic was everything and more. Don’t believe me? See it for yourself.

The show consisted of a series of projections, set right onto the castle itself, and wow. Just wow. It had me tearing up, mouth gaping open, eyes fixed on the beauty before me, and totally speechless afterwards.

It was followed by the Wishes fireworks show, but unfortunately we were sat a little too close to the castle to fully appreciate it as the fireworks are mainly fired behind it, but it was still beautiful, and a man sat a few rows in front even proposed right as the show was going; totally beautiful.

Drained, we called it a night after that spectacular end to a magical first day of our trip.

Final stats:

Steps: 18159

Distance: 7.58 miles

Calories burnt: 2365

Stats provided by my Fitbit Zip

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#fitfordisney: The Lion King

The Outfit

(based on a few items I own myself!)

Lion King

1. Hakuna Matata crop top from Look Human

2.¬†Hakuna Matata yoga pants from Kohl’s

3. Lion King socks from Hot Topic

4. Nike Free 5.0 from Nike

The Music

My top 5 upbeat Lion King songs ūüôā

1. Digga Tunna Dance

2. I Just Can’t Wait to be King

3. Warthog Rhapsody

4. The Lion Sleeps Tonight

5. Grazing in the Grass

Standby for the movie workout, coming soon!

360¬į of Disney Cake by Lottie’s Cupcakes

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Aladdin’s lamp, Cinderella’s pumpkin, Fairy Godmother wand and the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast

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Toy Story aliens and pea pods, Tinkerbell’s wand and Olaf

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Poison apple, lost runes of Atlantis and the iconic lantern scene from Tangled.

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Monsters Inc and The Lion King

 

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Ariel, Nemo, 101 Dalmatians and Lilo and Stitch

To show your love,¬†head on over to www.facebook.com/LottiesCupcakesBournemouth and like their page ūüôā

Why get #fitfordisney?

Alongside a number of other upcoming events in my life, Disney is a big reason for improving my fitness levels.

‘Why do I need to be fit to go to Disneyworld?’

Yes, its a theme park, not an assault course, but there are still a number of reasons for hitting the gym before your trip;

1. You underestimate¬†how much walking you’re going to do – the average guest covers around 7 miles per day in the park (I’m going to do some research on this during my trip with the¬†help of my Fitbit), and if you’re not accustomed to walking long distances, or if you’re going in the scorching summer season, it can be a shock to the system.

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2. Disney food is to die for – the last thing you want on your¬†holiday is to be on a diet; where’s the fun in that?! With ice-cream sandwiches, bakeries on every corner and some of the coolest restaurants in the world, you shouldn’t¬†have to be concerned with calorie counting, skipping meals or feeling guilty about what you eat.

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3. Disney workout clothes Рcheck out what Lookhuman have to offer, but Etsy and other places have amazing stuff too!

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4. If you’re going to run just one distance race in your life, runDisney – runDisney¬†organise running weekends and festivals, and yes, the course you run is around the parks! Each weekend/festival usually¬†has a 5k, 10k and¬†half marathon, as well as a Fitness Expo, and these events run throughout the year at both Disney World Florida and Disneyland California. A runDisney¬†half marathon is very¬†high on my Disney bucketlist!

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5. Looking good on your¬†holiday – whether its a summer bikini body or just slimming down for photos, a¬†holiday is one of the most common reasons people give for wanting to get fit. It also gives you an excuse to splurge on new clothes, especially if you’re going to be¬†hitting the outlets!

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I’m not a total selfie nut, promise! These pictures are from my¬†Instagram @lottiedoesdisney and I tag my workout pictures with #fitfordisney ūüôā

Now.. how #fitfordisney are you?

Little Mermaid Jewellery Finds

Darling its better, down where its wetter, take it from me!

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1. Starfish earrings from PetitBlue

earrings

2. Tiny seashell earrings from Applelatte

clam earrings

3. Anchor bracelet from Applelatte

bracelet

4. Part of your World Necklace from byAmandaJane

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5. Seahorse necklace from Applelatte

SeaHorse necklace

6. Dolphin ring from Applelatte

ring

NB: I chose these items because I love them, not because I was asked to.

If you would like me to feature items, please get in touch ūüôā

DIY Origami String Lights

Anyone who uses Pinterest knows the addiction that comes with it. So many craft ideas, so little time!

waterbomb light

So when I came across this amazing tutorial for upcycling old string lights (click image for original source), I had a eureka moment..

Disney-fy them! I spent probably more hours than I should have designing 20 characters in cube form to make these fabulous papercraft lights!

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You will need:

String lights – new or old!

Scissors

Paper – you can print off the images I made myself (link at the end of the article), or use the blank template to create your own (your kids might like to draw and colour them!)

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Cut the image out on the outermost line, leaving the white border

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The basic chinese lantern is known in the origami world as a waterbomb. You can use the image above as the tutorial to make your Disney waterbombs, or find them one online or in any origami book.

Fold stages 1-5 with the image on the outside, but when it comes to stage 6, fold the triangle with the face on the inside, as below.

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Once inflated, you should have the hole at the top, and all you need to do is pop the bulb of the string lights into it. Depending on the style of your lights, it may hold itself in place just fine, or you may want to secure it with some tape.

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Then plug them in..

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As I mentioned earlier, I designed all of my own templates on MS Word (I don’t get on with technology), so you may wish to design your own, but if you like mine, you can download them¬†here!

Disney Goodie Bags

As I’ve mentioned before in my Pre-Disney Shopping post, the best way to save yourself time and money is to pre-buy souvenirs (whether it be before you leave for your trip or nipping out to the local Walmart or Target upon arrival), then surprise the kids with these little bits and pieces throughout your trip. This means that your little ones are less likely to want the ‘must-have’ park souvenirs which cost two to three times the price.

So I’ve put together a goodie bag for each of my girls, and the plan is to sneak them into their¬†hotel room once we’ve arrived.

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Expensive? Not at all. I spent about £15 on each, which includes the personalised drawstring bag and all the goodies inside.

Each bag is filled with little Disney goodies like notebooks, pencil cases, iPod cases and earphones, and also some park necessities such as glow sticks, water ponchos and mini fans, and none of these items cost more than a few pounds.

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You can buy these bits and bobs in all sorts of places. Ebay is a great place to buy the more techie items like mini fans, flashing lights, earphones etc, and also a haven of personalised goodies, while places like supermarkets and bargain shops are ideal for stationery and accessories.

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You might want to keep some goodies back to surprise them with throughout your trip, for example I’ll be bringing an enormous stash of glow sticks, and some flashing light toys to whip out for evening parades.

With 210 days to go (eeek!), I may yet add more goodies as I find them! What are your must-pack Disney goodies? ūüôā

DIY Mouse Plates

Who wouldn’t want to eat off a personalised Mickey/Minnie plate?!

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There are two ways to make cute crockery like this. The ‘Sharpie’ method is sweeping Pinterest and all other corners of the internet, but personally I’ve never¬†had much luck with it, so I’ve gone for the craft store alternative of ceramic pens. If you’re a Sharpie pro¬†however, you may choose to take that route.

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The Sharpie method, put simply, is to draw on clean (grease and dust free) ceramics with the famous permanent marker, then bake in an oven on medium heat for 30-40 mins to seal the ink into the glaze.

As said before, this¬†has never been successful for me. Don’t know why, I’m probably just unlucky!

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So I used a light coloured Sharpie to do a rough sketch of my design on each plate (as ceramic paint pens do not involve baking, I know that this ink will wash off in the dishwasher).

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Then its as simple as following over your sketch with the paint pen! I’m no artist, so I stuck to a simple outline design with abstract patterns to add colour – minimalistic, I call it!

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Despite a lack of most drawing skill,¬†however, I’m fairly practised in the art of Disney-writing: that is, of course, the font of the great Walt Disney¬†himself, so I added our names to each plate.

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My girls are gonna love these, can’t wait to surprise them with them on Thursday for movie night!

PS. If any of you give this a go, I’d love to see your results ūüôā

DIY Mickey Pizza

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Now this is a saying I live by, and pizza is no exception.

There is, however, a major lack of Mickey Mouse shaped pizza in local supermarkets, so I thought why not combine a love of Mickey-shaped grub with a love of cooking and make it even more fun by getting the girls involved!

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You will need:

Pizza bases (homemade or store-bought) – 2 small and one medium/large

Pizza toppings Рtomato sauce, cheese, ham, pepperoni, anything you fancy!

Mickey Mouse cookie cutter

Large baking tray

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Depending on just¬†how Mickey-themed you’re feeling, use the cookie cutter to make shapes from your chosen toppings.

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With 3 girls, sharing the shape of Mickey was relatively easy (one for each circle). Once the basic tomato base is down, let the kids go nuts with their own toppings.

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And then arrange the pizzas on the baking tray! If you don’t¬†have a large enough tray, you can always bake each mini pizza separately and save arranging the shape before serving.

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Bake as required (depends on your pizza base), around 10-15 mins in a medium oven.

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And voila! Quick, easy, fun and delicious, and a fab way to keep that Disney excitement going!

Why not save this for the day before you leave? ūüôā

Pre-Disney Movie Marathon

If, like us, you booked your Disney¬†holiday very much in advance (over a year in our case!), it can be¬†hard to keep that initial ‘WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!’ excitement alive, especially with little ones.

Countdowns are great, but over 350 days can lose their impact, so are probably best saved for the final run up, but I wanted something to keep my girls excited for our trip, and also ensure they’re fully educated on Disney films and characters (I always worry, coming from a generation who were raised on the classics, that kids these days don’t know of some of the lesser known, older gems such as¬†Hercules and Atlantis), so I came up with..

A year long Disney movie marathon! You could obviously shorten the length of your marathon, depending on how long it is until your holiday, but for us it worked out to one Disney movie a week (we started with 43 weeks to go), taking us right up to our departure!

Movie Night Girls

Once a week I pick the girls up from school, we pick a film, I make popcorn and snacks, and we get cosy on the sofa to enjoy the film. The girls like picking the film, and if they can’t agree on one between the three of them, they take turns to choose, and I just like re-watching my favourite childhood films – I get a lot more of the references now – and¬†having the excuse to buy Disney DVDs (check out¬†how I get FREE DVDs¬†here!)

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