4 Shops for First Time Buyers – That Aren’t IKEA

Whether you’re buying your first home, or just moving/re-decorating, its no secret that it ain’t cheap. I mean, its a big enough purchase as it is, but all of a sudden you’ve gone from buying one thing to having a shopping list longer than your arm and a bank account that’s crying just a little bit.

For this, the world has learned to love the wonder that is IKEA. Its the answer to a whole bunch of your home needs and is pretty friendly to any budget, but despite my love for the big blue stores, there are a couple of things that you either can’t get, or I wouldn’t get there, and now I’m actually in the process of becoming a home-owner, I’ve suddenly realised that there’s a world of other stores out there that can also save me a pretty penny.

Home Sense

Sure, it can be hit and miss, but Home Sense is an absolute gem if you’re prepared to do a bit of digging. Stock is completely random, but its big brands for low prices, and you can grab yourself a real bargain – Matthew and I really wanted the pastel blue Smeg toaster and kettle for our kitchen, and would you believe that we randomly came across one tucked on a bottom shelf in our local store for £40 off the RRP! You can also find a lot of brands that are known to be a little pricey, such as Joseph Joseph and Le Crueset, for crazy good prices and there’s always a good range of Pyrex and Tefal. We’ve also picked up some amazing throw blankets and cushions for prices you won’t find in the likes of John Lewis or Next.

TK Maxx

TK Maxx actually own Home Sense, so a lot of the stock can be found in the home section of your local TK Maxx if you don’t have a Home Sense nearby, and unlike Home Sense, TK Maxx have an online store, so you can shop the deals without even leaving the house!

Supermarkets

Do not underestimate the home section of your local supermarket. Both George by Asda and Sainsbury’s home have some really nice ranges of kitchenware, bedding and soft furnishings, and even if their styles don’t take your fancy, they’re also a great place to pick up your basics – white plates, drinking glasses etc – for a good price.

Home Bargains

So the actual home decor stuff can vary from super tacky to actually pretty good – we’ve just bought some decent nest tables for £20 – but even if the home stuff doesn’t take your fancy, Home Bargains is an amazing place to buy a bunch of the things that you probably buy from the supermarket all the time for even cheaper than your rolled-back, price-matched prices; cereal, biscuits, chocolate, ketchup, all branded stuff for lower than your own brand equivalents, so its a great place to do your shopping once you’ve spent all your money on furniture!

Do you have any favourite places to nab a good deal?

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Little Ways to Make Your Money Go Further

I can’t be the only person who cringes a little bit each time I check my bank statement, especially when I’m waiting for payday to come, am I right? And even if you don’t spend the last week of each month living off beans on toast, I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t wish they could make their money go a little bit further, or who doesn’t search for the infamously difficult concept of getting something for nothing.

Well d’you know what? Its not impossible. I’m a religious saver, and I love finding tricks and loopholes that mean I can save a little bit here and there, and because I’m not much of a secret keeper, here are some of the ways I do it!

Cashback sites

If you’re shopping online, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be using a cashback site – its essentially free money back on your spend! I’m a Top Cashback person myself, but there are other sites out there, and all you have to do is go to the site, find your retailer and follow their link through to the retailers website, then shop as normal. Job done.

The best thing about Top Cashback is that you have the option to withdraw your cashback in loads of different ways. You can either take a normal payout by BACS or Paypal, or you can opt for gift cards for retailers and restaurants such as Primark, Costa, Debenhams and many more, and when you get your payout this way, you get a bonus percentage of your earnings, so you get more on your gift card than your cashback balance – win!

Zeek

Zeek is a site that I’ve only recently discovered, but its concept is pretty brilliant. You know when you get a gift card for somewhere you don’t shop, and you don’t know what to do with it? Well, you can sell it here – you won’t get the full value of the gift card, but its better than nothing, and the best deal is actually when you BUY gift cards here. Percentage savings vary depending on the retailer, but you can search for your favourite retailers and buy the gift cards that other people have sold, and you’ll pay less than the value – eg a £20 gift card for £18, and that’s £2 that you’ve got for nothing right there!

PS. The best deal right now is combining Top Cashback and Zeek – you can get your cashback payout as Zeek credit with a 15% bonus – so £20 cashback would actually get you £23 Zeek credit, and then you could use that credit to get a gift card worth more say £25, for example, and you’ve got £5 more to spend at your chosen retailer!

Penny savings

Do you ever stop and think about where the little penny amounts go when you buy something that’s not a round pound value? Those copper coins in the bottom of your handbag all add up. If you bank with Lloyds, as I do, you have an option called ‘Save the Pennies’, where each transaction you make gets rounded up to the next £ figure, and the pennies get automatically transferred into a savings account, and it’ll surprise you how the numbers tick up and you won’t notice!

You can also do this with your copper coins – as a family we have a mug that small change goes into, and every few months we empty out the coins, divvy up equal shares and go on a day trip to Swanage where we spend it in the penny arcade. Sure, we spend it, but we get a day out and have some fun doing it!

Shop for rewards

Call me crazy, but I rarely shop in places where I don’t get something back. My purse is stuff with loyalty cards and rewards cards and boy do I use them – Tesco Clubcard when I fill up with petrol, Nectar card on the food shop, and I have almost £20 worth of points on my Boots card. I mean, if you’re gonna be buying anyway, you might as well earn something that will get you something back later on!

Do you have any tricks for stretching your cash?

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Things I Broke My Spending Ban For

After having a bit of fun in the January sales, I put myself on a rather strict spending ban a few weeks ago in an attempt to pay off what’s left of Christmas, January birthdays and stuff for my holiday in April. I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that it’s inevitable that whenever I go on a spending ban, I always end up spotting things that I want more than when I’m free to spend what I like, so of course in the last month there have been a few little exceptions to the ban.

Disney Store picked the most unfortunate time (for me) to release the first month of their limited edition Mickey Memories collection, and it was just my luck that January’s release was the one I wanted to get my hands on the most. I thought maybe I could wait to buy this adorable little Steamboat Willie Mickey, but FOMO got the better of me and I was there on the website at 7:55am waiting for the launch to drop online, and I’m so glad I did because I know a lot of people who missed out on this limited edition cutie, and I’ve already seen some going on eBay for £50-60, when he was only £25. What I am happy about, however, is that I paid for him using some of my Etsy earnings from January, so my bank account didn’t actually see the effects of this spend at all!

My friend Rachel makes the sweetest fandom inspired coffee cozies, and having bought my first one back in December and loved it, I was keen for more. Then she brought out a Porg cozy and I was absolutely sold, plus I bought it when she was running a buy one, get a surprise one free offer, so I also got another design that is also been eyeing up, this little Mickey glove. I love supporting small businesses, so this was well worth breaking the ban. You can buy her darling creations here!

I actually popped into Clintons looking for the next item, not knowing it hadn’t actually been released in stores yet, but while I was nosing around the store I found this amazing vintage Disney poster patterned notebook and I couldn’t not get it.. But the bonus was when I got to the checkout, it actually scanned up cheaper than the label – winner!

Last, but certainly not least, I have been waiting to get this amazing Winnie the Pooh dish for months. Clintons dropped spoilers for this collection back in November and I’ve patiently waited since then to buy it, but as soon as it released on the website it sold out, and I just knew how unlikely it was that my local stores would stock it. Luckily, the lovely Clintons Twitter team were nice enough to notify me when it came back in stock online, and I snapped it up within minutes! This was also paid for with Etsy earnings, so another little victory!

Worth breaking the ban? I think so..

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Kiko Cosmetics Sale Haul

So last week I had a day alone in Manchester, so naturally I gravitated towards the Trafford Centre, and after a morning of working away in Starbucks, I treated myself to an afternoon of shopping. I hit pretty much every store that had a sale sign in the window, and one store that caught my eye particularly was Kiko Milano.

Despite being well aware that I own enough makeup as it is, I always love trying new brands, and when that brand is not only having a massive summer sale but is also cruelty free, there was no stopping me, but I did only spend £25!

The first thing that caught my eye stepping into the store was the display of gloriously bright nail varnishes. I’ve always loved having colourful nails, and while I have always sworn by Barry M when it comes to nail products, over recent years they’ve opted to diversify and their original collection of nail paints just aren’t available in as many colours as they used to be. As soon as I saw the wall of Kiko Smart Nail Lacquers I fell in love, but not wanting to go too overboard I just chose two, which are actually two shades very similar to my favourite Barry’s that aren’t available anymore, and they’re only £2 each, so win win!

Nearer to the checkout, they also had a few ‘mini’ nail varnishes at just £1 each so I decided to nab two of those as well!

Next up, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this STUNNING matte finishing powder – its so creamy and blendable, plus its fine and super light! I also grabbed this pretty blush for just £3.80, which is also super light feeling and the shade, Breathtaking Azalea, is perfect for spring/summer looks.

Lastly, while I’m not normally one for individual eyeshadows, I decided to pick up this little duo-shadow because the colour combination was super pretty and very me. Its not the most pigmented, but the two shades compliment each other wonderfully and its perfect for a subtle look, which is more my style anyway!

Have you tried any Kiko products before? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

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My February WDW Haul!

Well I couldn’t come back from Walt Disney World without a few goodies for myself, could I?

I actually surprised myself with how little I bought in the way of Disney merch on this trip, instead spending most of my money in Sephora (haul coming tomorrow!), but I did buy some real gems, and here they are:

As well as the yellow teacup ride mug, I have been obsessed with this princess mug ever since I saw Amy post a photo of it a little while back – its just so pretty and I love that it features all the kingdoms and castles of my favourite Disney princesses!

Don’t judge me, but I do have this thing with Its a Small World, and also the various Disney park trash cans, and I love that there’s a sort of irony to this hand sanitiser being in the shape of a bin! It was an impulse purchase really, but it now goes with me everywhere haha!

I said in my shopping list post that I was going to be on the hunt for some park exclusive tsum tsums, and they were on offer at 4 for $16 so I picked up these cuties – a teacup, carousel horse, Its a Small World boy and the orange bird, and I love them all so much! There were actually quite a lot of park exclusives around, but not all of them appealed to me so I stuck to these for now.

As a bit of a tradition, I always pick up a headband from my RunDisney races, so I bought one for each at the RunDisney Health and Fitness Expo.

My final and favourite purchase isn’t strictly WDW merchandise, but if you’ve ever wandered past Curl at Disney Springs, you may have seen the talented artists who hand-paint shoes outside the store, and this absolutely BEAUTIFUL pair of Tangled inspired Toms caught my eye. It must have been fate, because they were my size, and the artist told me she’d just put them out that morning and they normally sell super fast. Well I just wouldn’t have been forgive myself if I’d missed out on them, they’re just so unique and special, and the ‘Go live your dreams’ on the side is the icing on the cake – hello summer shoes!

One hand sanitiser, two mugs, three headbands and four tsum tsums and the prettiest pair of shoes – I’m a happy girl!

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My WDW Trip Shopping List

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Considering its only 10 days til I leave for WDW, I feel super unprepared compared to previous trip! What’s even more surprising is that when I started to think about what to include on this list, I actually really struggled!

I know that as soon as I step foot into the first shop, I’ll see a million different things that I want, but there are a few things that I’m going in with the intention of buying..

  • Anatasia Beverly Hills glow kits – not technically Disney, but now there’s a Sephora in Disney Springs, its the perfect opportunity for me to look at getting the two kits that literally turn me into the heart-eyes emoji. I’m a total ABH virgin, but I’m saving my first purchases for a slightly better exchange rate!
  • RunDisney 2017 Vinylmation – I haven’t seen any photos released yet, but usually there’s a new Vinylmation released with each year of races, and its like a combination of my two favourite things: RunDisney and Vinylmations.
  • Teacup mug – I’m not sure if these are still available in the parks, but I LOVE these teacup replica mugs! If I could, I’d get a whole set of them, but I know getting them home would be a nightmare..
  • Happily Ever After princess mug – my mug obsession continues.. I fell in love with this mug the second I saw Amy post a photo of hers and now I need to get one, ha!
  • Park exclusive tsum tsums – whenever I see park exclusive tsum releases, I’m always gutted that I live in the UK and the US Disney Store doesn’t ship to us, so if I see any of these cuties around, I’m gonna be all over them like a rash!

I just hope I can fit everything in my suitcase!

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Shanghai Disneyland Haul!

The only good thing about coming home from a Disney trip is unpacking all the goodies I picked up from the parks, and having visited two Disney parks, it meant double the fun!

Shanghai Disneyland merchandise

As well as going to Disneyland itself, we also visited the Disney Store in Shanghai city centre, so I picked up a few bits from there before I even stepped foot into the park. They had three for two on tsum tsums, so I picked up Destiny and Donald, as well as an Iron Man for the boyfriend, but I also couldn’t resist this limited edition set – to commemorate the first anniversary of the store!

Shanghai Disney Store limited edition tsum tsums

I also picked up a Donald Duck scrunchie from the Disney Store sale, which opened the floodgates to buying more cute hair accessories from the park, and of course I had to get a set of Grand Opening ears!

Shanghai Disney hair accessories

Shanghai Disneyland Grand Opening ears

Shanghai Disneyland Alex and Ani bracelet

My sister bought me the Alex and Ani bracelet as an early birthday present; I looked at the special grand opening design, but up close it actually looked a little tacky, so I decided to get the classic castle design.

Shanghai Disneyland merchandise

Shanghai Disneyland t-shirt

Shanghai Disneyland Vinylmation

If you didn’t already know, I have a slight weakness for Vinylmations.. The grand opening Vinylmation all came with Mickey, and then the unknown design inside, so I was chuffed to get Minnie because they make a perfect pairing. I also got the Gardens of Imagination Year of the Dog one – its Pluto! As well as these bits, I got the t-shirt, an adorable mug and shopping bag, yay!

I can’t wait to start posting more about Shanghai!

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The £20 Ebay Challenge

I love it when a blog post gives me an excuse to shop!

This post stems from my curiosity for Ebay ‘dupes’; are they just as good as the real deal, despite being a fraction of the price? Well I wanted to find out. I set myself a £20 spending limit, to include p&p on all items, and went searching from cute products that I’d never be able to find for that price on the high street, and this is what I got:

Triangl bikini dupe

First up, inspired by my Summer Vibes wishlist, I bought two Triangl bikini dupes. I knew I wanted the pink, orange and yellow design, and I picked another multi-coloured three toned one, but the seller contacted me quickly to tell me that they were out of stock and offered me an alternative, and I thought the turquoise was quite nice. The mix up with colours did mean the order arrived a little later than originally predicted, but only by 3 days so I was still quite happy with that. As for the products, they look great! I went safe and ordered a large, which is a tad roomy but not significantly enough that I think I’d risk falling out, and the colours are just as bright as pictured. I’ve yet to wear them into any form of water, but they feel like they’ll hold up pretty well. For 2 bikinis, I paid £10.09 including postage

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Next up, a pastel yellow suspender skirt that caught my eye on Pinterest! Its available in a few different colours, but I couldn’t resist yellow, and actually arrived way before the predicted delivery date. I had imagined it to be a heavy, stretchy fabric, but it was in fact very lightweight, with a zip fastening at the back, and the suspender straps are attached by large plastic buttons inside the waistband, so you can remove them. I checked the size guide on the listing and ordered a large, but considering I’m a size 10, it was pretty snug! I actually really like it, but it is very short so I don’t know if I would wear it without leggings. I paid £4.49 including postage.

Cat bowler hat

Lastly, I bought two hats. I’ve been looking for a cat ear bowler for a while now, and figured this challenge was the perfect time to get one on the cheap, and as well as a classic felt one, I also got a summery straw version in yellow! I love them both; the black felt is snug but stays in place nicely, and the yellow is a little larger, making it perfect for summer and I can’t wait to wear them both! Two hats cost £4.25.

I’ve not included any links to the specific items that I bought, purely due to the fact that listings end all the times and lots of the items are available from loads of different shops.

Overall I paid £18.83 for 5 items, all of which arrived within one month of purchase! Not bad, huh?

Wanna take the challenge? Let me know how you get on!

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Mini Primark Haul

Call me crazy, but I’m not a huge fan of high street shopping. I like to shop from the comfort of my sofa in my pyjamas and avoid the public as much as possible. I think that’s reasonable, right?

There are a few exceptions to this rule: H&M, because I can always find so many more amazing things in store than I can online, and Primark, because they aren’t online, but because I never seem to find the time for regular trips, I tend to do big shops whenever I do make it into town. I’m also always seeing amazing Primark finds posted on Twitter and Instagram so I normally have a little shopping list ready, which is what today’s haul is primarily composed of!

Primark homeware bedding

First up, a little bedding haul! I have a slight addiction to bedding, which can be really pricey at times so I always love when Primark have cute stuff in because its always so much cheaper than elsewhere! The donut duvet set was £11 for a double, then I got the prettiest pastel throw for £5 (its SO SOFT), a double fitted sheet for £6.50 and pillowcases for £2.30; a total steal if you ask me, especially when even IKEA bedding can be £30 for a duvet set at times!

Primark Mickey Mouse shorts

Primark sports bra

Next up, my two £4 bargains! The Mickey Mouse shorts are a little thin in terms of fabric quality, but for wearing round the house in the summer they’ll be perfect, and for the price I really didn’t mind. I’m also totally loving the criss-cross back of this sports bra and the pretty blue band. I don’t imagine its supportive enough for running, but the quality feels good and it’ll be perfect for the gym or beach yoga.

Primark unicorn pyjamas

Lastly, a little bit of unicorn love with this cutesy PJ set – just look at the little sprinkle shorts! – and a three pack of unicorn socks, because if you go to Primark without buying socks, did you really go?

Have you found anything good in Primark recently?

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Friday Favourite Five – Loyalty Cards

Everyone loves rewards, right? A little bit back when I spend? Um, yes please!

Well lucky for us, lots of big brands and retailers have noticed this, and you basically can’t go into a store without being offered some sort of loyalty or reward scheme – its the reason our purses have so many pockets these days!

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So what cards am I forever pulling out of my purse?

1. Boots Advantage Card

Every girl has one of these, right? If you don’t, get one! You earn 4 points for every £1 you spend, plus the constant vouchers and offers to rack up that total, and points mean shopping! I love to be able to go into Boots with no cash, knowing I’ve got enough on my card for another lipstick to add to my collection.

2. Odeon Premiere Club

Hello free cinema tickets! With OPC, everything you buy in the cinema from tickets to popcorn earn you points which you can put towards future spending! I’ve had free tickets, free ice-cream, popcorn..

3. Tesco Clubcard

Whether you’re a regular Tesco shopper or not, its worth having one of these! Tesco Clubcard is known for having such an enormous range of vouchers available for you to convert your points into, even if you only fill up with petrol on occasion, you’ll find them adding up pretty quick.

4. Nando’s Card

Who doesn’t love Nando’s? The more you spend, the more chillies you can put towards free chicken!

5. Costa Coffee Club

Although I’m not a coffee drinker, my Costa card spends a lot of time going in and out of my purse and earning me points towards free drinks, so I think its a keeper!

What are your purse favourites?

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My Disney Trip Haul!

I’m home, I’m jet-lagged, and something I always hate about coming home from holidays is the dreaded unpacking of the suitcase, am I right?

What made it a little more bearable for me today though was knowing that my case was full of Disney goodies, and who doesn’t love a good haul post?!

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Now a fair amount of this is RunDisney stuff, so that’s where I’ll begin!

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To start off, our medals and race shirts were all included in the entry fee; for the 5k it was just a regular cotton t-shirt, and the 10k, 2 halfs and Rebel Challenge shirts were all long sleeved performance tops. The medals are all 100% awesome, and pretty chunky – weighing just under a kilo for all six!

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As well as our free shirts, we picked up a few extra goodies at the RunDisney expos. To surprise Dad, I had pre-ordered the limited edition WDW race weekend jackets for both of us, and we both ended up wearing them for the majority of the rest of our trip because they were so nice and warm! We also got a Coast to Coast shirt each, because you only get a medal for completing it, and also the Rebel Challenge ‘I did it!’ t-shirts, which also had a map of the courses we ran on the back, then I got a couple of headbands – two WDW half marathon ones and a Rebel Challenge.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was pretty desperate for a pair of the limited release New Balance trainers, so of course I was super psyched to get my hands on a pair of the Red Carpet Minnie Mouse ones, which also came with a pair of gold shoelaces and clip on bows.

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I was pretty restrained in only buying two mugs, (I had my eye on quite a few!) but Chip was top on my list, and I fell in love with the pastel Disneyland beauty. Obviously I bought the first Cogsworth I found because I had to bring him home with me, although I discovered mine is missing his pendulum yesterday when I unwrapped him, so fingers crossed the lovely Disney team with magic up a new one for me!

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I’m a huge collector of Vinylmations, and somehow came home with 9, oops! I did get two of them at Disney’s Character Warehouse, the outlet store, for only $3 each so that was a bonus.

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Isn’t my new BB-8 dress amazing?! Its by Her Universe, but was sold all over the parks and Disney Springs, and I’m obsessed. I actually wore it to Hollywood Studios one day, and bumped into some Stormtroopers, totally panicked and said ‘this isn’t the droid you’re looking for’..

And lastly, I was really lucky to finally meet the lovely Maggie from Elephant and Mouse, who was staying in the same resort as us and was kind enough to meet me with an order of ears so I didn’t have to pay international shipping! I got two different fluffy Donald Duck pairs, and a pretty purple galaxy pair. She makes incredible ears, so go and visit her Etsy shop here!

Oh, and not forgetting this cutie!

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We came home with a family set!

Are you heading to Disney anytime soon?

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My Disney Trip Shopping List

No big deal or anything, but this time next week I’LL BE IN DISNEY WORLD!!!!!

I am 100% too excited to think about anything other than Disney at this stage, and we all know how much I love planning right(?) so I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m gonna blow my spending money, and today I’m going to share some of the pieces I’m hoping to pick up on my trip!

Cogsworth clock and Chip mug

When we were in Disney World back in 2014, I was desperate for one of the newly released Chip mugs, but they were sold out everywhere waa! Now they’re not as new and Disney have picked up production, hopefully I won’t have any problems picking one up! The problem might be with Cogsworth, who was only released a few months ago, but I’m determined to bring him home with me to go with Lumiere, who I bought in Disneyland Paris.

I have a few Alex and Ani bracelets already, all bought on eBay; I have a Rapunzel one, as well as 3 of the 4 WDW park ones, so I need Epcot to complete my collection, and I might see if I can pick up the Disneyland ones in California too!

Disney parks are the only places where I actually like Starbucks, and I’ve been kinda lusting over the park ‘you are here’ mugs, but at $15 a pop, I may rethink that once I get there!

Back in 2014 I bought the Thomas Kinkade Tangled box canvas; it was beautiful and although a little pricey, but it meant something for me to be able to buy it. I’d love to get another one, but I don’t know how I could choose!

I’m also going to be keeping some money aside for the RunDisney Fitness Expos. They partner with New Balance to release limited edition trainers for the events, as well as having a bunch of exhibitors selling cool stuff, so its an excuse for me to do some more shopping!

And honestly, I think that’s it for me! Well, in terms of planned purchases anyway, no one with a credit card can resist Disney merch really!

Do you plan what you want to buy on your Disney trips?

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My Christmas Wishlist

If it isn’t already abundantly clear, I love Christmas. Well, who doesn’t really?!

And in these modern times, I’m sure Santa spends more time checking blog wishlists than he does reading physical letters! So here’s mine:

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1. Reversible Troll soft toy from The Disney Store

I’m totally obsessed with this little guy, I think he’d make the best travel pillow for my trip in January!

2. Lets Do Lunch business card holder from Kate Spade

Simple and elegant, this makes my inner business-woman very happy!

3. Duff Bakes cookbook from Amazon, among other sellers

Ever since the first time I watched an episode of Ace of Cakes, I have worshipped Duff, and now he’s released a book, I need it in my life!

4. Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar from Lush

I love Lush, but as I’m not a bath person, its their haircare and shower products that do it for me! I had a shampoo bar years back and loved it, so definitely up for trying another one.

5. Best Day Ever raglan shirt from Happily Ever Tees

I’ve discovered these guys on Instagram and I’m dying to wear this shirt in the parks in January!

6. Crown ring from Applelatte on Etsy

I’m a huge fan of this store on Etsy, they make amazingly pretty jewellery, and this ring in the rose gold colour is beautiful!

7. Funko Pop Maximus from Amazon, among other sellers

When the Tangled collection was released recently I rushed to get Rapunzel, so now I just need this little cutie!

8. Red Converse All Star High Tops

My shoe collection is pretty much 90% Converses, and I’m not even ashamed of that, so if Santa could bring me red high tops in a size 6, they’ll be much appreciated for my January Disney trip!

9. Sugar Daddy-O solid conditioner from Lush

Another hair product – I can’t live with dirty hair, and I like to believe maybe a solid conditioner will reduce the amount of bottles I get through!

Are you asking Father Christmas for anything special this year?

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Christmas Gift Guide for Men

Men can be both the easiest, and hardest, people to shop for – either you can tell exactly what they want, or you don’t have the foggiest, am I right?

So this Christmas, I challenge you to get it bang on, and here are a few handy ideas to get you started:
xmas men

Under £20

Darth Vader headphones – £19.95 – Disney Store

Star Wars is going to be huge this Christmas, given the new release, so I’m sure any fan of the darkside would be more than happy with these amazing headphones!

Donald Duck small soft toy – £12.95 – Disney Store

Even grown men still love their toys, and Donald is a favourite!

Diablo Toasted Snack Maker – £12.99 – IWantOneOfThose.com

This little gadget is a must-have for guys who love their food; the possibilities are endless!

Wooden IBed Lap Desk – £12.99 – IWantOneOfThose.com

Perfect for lazy Sunday mornings in bed!

Mini Engraved Flask – £17.99 – MenKind

Make it personal with this sweet little stocking stuffer!

£20-£50

Minion Laptop Sleeve – £24 – Redbubble

Everyone loves Minions, case closed.

Disneyland Paris Tower of Terror T-shirt – £22 – Disney Store

Perfect for park-going guys!

Remote Control BB-8 Droid – £47.99 – IWantOneOfThose.com

Tech and Star Wars rolled into one!

3D Thor Hammer Wall Light – £34.99 – MenKind

Brighten up the man cave with a bit of Marvel!

Mickey Mouse Snapback hat – Vans

For the fashion conscious Disney man!

£50-£100

Disney Era Shoes – £55 – Vans

The new Disney x Vans collection is fab, and these are no exception!

Westwood 25 Watt Speaker – £89.99 – MenKind

For the music lover in him, this speaker is stylish and has Bluetooth linking!

Ferrari Driving Experience – £98.99 – IWantOneOfThose.com

What do you give the man who has everything? Great memories, of course! Experience days are a great gift for anyone.

Ok gang, get shopping!

°o°

Christmas Gift Guide for Women

Yay, the first of my Christmas gift guide series! We’re over halfway through November now so its 100% acceptable to be talking more and more about Christmas, which I will!

I decided to take on women first, because while some women can be very easy to buy for, some are impossible, so to give you a headstart, here are my finds:

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Under £20

Seven Dwarfs Pyjama Bottoms – £14.95 – Disney Store

Pyjamas are a classic Christmas present, and this print is ridiculously cute!

Soarin’ Jar Candle 8oz – £7.50 – Maple and Whisky

Maple and Whisky produce the best handmade soy candles, and all their scents are inspired by Disney. Soarin’ smells just like the ride itself: orange with hints of pine.

Gus in Slipper Vinly Pop! – available from a range of sellers, including Amazon

You don’t have to be a Pop! collector to love this figure inspired by this years Cinderella film, and girls love shoes!

Minnie Mouse Sketched Print – £16.99 – I Want One Of Those

This sweet sketch shows Minnie’s changes through the ages, and would look great on any wall.

£20-£50

Aldo Uluwien Leather Multi Watch Strap – £30 – ASOS

This beauty of a watch has a classic look, and has four extra interchangeable straps to switch up the look, talk about value for money!

Magic Carpet Gift Box – £38.95 – Lush

This box is packed with a load of Lush favourites, any girl would be pretty thrilled!

Platinum Locket Necklace – £45 – Disney Couture

This engraved platinum locket would make a Disney girl very happy!

Minnie Mouse Purse – £44.95 – Disney Store

Surprise her with this gorgeous leather purse, complete with vintage print lining!

Rose Gold lightning charging cable – £29.99 – ASOS

I can’t be the only one who has a soft spot for rose gold, and if you’re also planning on surprising her with the new rose gold iPhone, this would make a perfect stocking filler!

£50+

Dainty Sparklers Bow Cuff – £60 – Kate Spade

You can’t go wrong with something sparkly..

Arribas Brothers Cinderella Carriage Ornament – £64 – Disney Store

And if a bracelet isn’t sparkly enough, how about a carriage?

Benefit Cosmetics lesson and Afternoon Tea experience day – £125 – Red Letter Days

Make up and cakes = major brownie points!

Now go get shopping!

xoxo

Tokyo Disney Haul

For me, the only thing that was going to be more exciting than my Tokyo trip, was all the wonderful goodies I knew I would find in Japan. I packed the bare minimum (which by my standards is still probably more than anyone else) so I could fill my case to bursting with amazing ‘stuff’ to bring home, and I think I did a pretty good job..

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This isn’t even all of it! BUT a fair few of these goodies are for giveaways, so its not all mine, but I’m going to share what I did buy just for me!

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Nanoblocks have a small following here in the UK, but they were everywhere in Tokyo Disneyland; every character you could imagine in teeny tiny Lego-like building blocks. I was going to resist, but when I saw the castle I couldn’t help myself, and because the Tokyo Monorail was just so darn cute, I ended up getting that one too, and I’m really excited to give building them a go!

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Next, the wearable goodies! The Japanese really go all out when they dress for Disney, and the range was endless! From the parks, I got myself a pair of sparkly Minnie ears, a Minnie scrunchie, the amazing LGM ears, monorail socks, and Winnie the Pooh clip-on ears. A lot of people in the parks choose to wear clip-on ears, and they came in a pretty impressive range from Minnie to Pooh to Stitch. I picked up some Tsum Tsum hairbands from the Disney Store just outside the parks, and the Tsum Tsum socks came from some crazy shops we found in a Tokyo shopping centre.

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As we all know I’m a total homeware nut, and I honestly expected more of it in the parks but the range didn’t span much more than mugs and chopsticks in most places, but I did manage to get some cute lunchboxes, a large rice bowl and a plastic cup, as well as a Tokyo Disney mug and a Tokyo Disneyland hotel mug to add to my collection, as well as some Winnie the Pooh nail clippers – random, I know – and The Queen of Hearts plate came with one of our desserts in the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. From another store in Tokyo I also got some cool Pooh and Mickey sushi mould sets, as well as my favourite buy of the holiday: a Toy Story Little Green Men tea set! I had really hoped to get a tea set while in Japan, and this little guy stole my heart. As you can see in the top picture, the cups all stack up into a tower, and the head lifts off the teapot to act as another cup/sugar bowl, while the body is the pot; I’m in love!

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I also picked up a few crafty bits from various stores around Japan: a Minnie Mouse tape measure, some Disney washi tape, sew on Tsum Tsum appliques and a tin of little paper tsum tsum cards!

As well as all these wonderful goodies, there is one more beautiful buy, which I’ve snuck a picture of as its going to be my birthday present, so I can’t have it until October (waa!), but I have to share..

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We came across a Samantha Thavasa store in a shopping centre and I just wanted to have a quick look until I found this beautiful Dumbo purse – the picture doesn’t do justice to just how gorgeous it is!

I’m a pretty happy girly!

°o°

Fathers Day Gift Ideas for Disney Dads

I’m really lucky that my dad is fairly easy to shop for, but in case you need a little bit of help, here’s my comprehensive guide to buying for Disney dads!

The Arty Dad

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Whether its for his man-cave, office or anywhere else in the house, get him something he can appreciate every day! I love the range of Star Wars Retro Travel posters from Teacup Pirahna on Etsy; you can pick one, or buy a selection set, but starting from just £4.50 they’re great value for money! B&Q has a great range of artwork and canvases with Marvel themes, like this Marvel comic montage for just £12. Then, of course, there’s Disney Store, which has a great selection like Lightning McQueen for £15, Jiminy Crickett for £20 and World of Disney Up print for £70.

The Fashion Dad

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This is my go-to; I get my dad a t-shirt pretty much every year! And I usually count on Redbubble because there is such a huge range of designs and styles, as well as the option to choose colours etc. I especially love cross-over designs, like this Mickey Mouse/Breaking Bad Walter White shirt! If you’re looking to splurge, this Luke Skywalker watch from Disney Store is perfect for the geeky dad, or if the shoe fits, there’s this Grumpy t-shirt! Let Dad unleash his inner big kid with the Buzz Lightyear wallet from Hot Topic, or the more subtle Mickey messenger bag from Truffle Shuffle!

The Techie Dad

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Computer savvy dads will love the new range of USB memory sticks from Disney store, like this Boba Fett one, or add a bit of Vader to his iPhone with this 3D case! For gamer dads, there’s the Marvel Disney Infinity Starter Pack, available for Playstations and Xbox, or for the music lover there’s a great range of Disney inspired headphones on eBay.

The Collector Dad

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Every dad has something, right? Vinyl Pop is sweeping the world, and with Disney, Marvel and Star Wars collections, there’s something for everyone! The Disney Store has a great range of pins for dads who love trading, and also this adorable messenger Mickey, and for Lego-lovers, there’s a load of Marvel sets out there!

The Foodie Dad

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Chef dads or just dads who love to eat? Covered! Get fully kitchen prepped with this Mickey Mouse apron, Lightsaber barbecue tongs or Disneyland utensil sets, or just sit back with a cuppa in an Iron Man mug and a regal boiled egg in this Arthur egg cup, or for wine-loving dads, how about this bottle stopper?

With Father’s Day creeping up, you better get shopping!

°o°

Shopping in Disney World

Like it or not, you will not be able to stop yourself from shopping in the Disney parks; there’s just too many cute must-haves available!

That said though, there are a few ways you can be sensible to avoid blowing your budget, as well as not missing out, so here’s a few top tips:

1. Don’t buy generic products!

There are a lot of Disney products that can be found all over the place, from Amazon to Walmart, as well as Disney stores, so don’t spend all your money on items that you could buy any time, any place.

2. If staying on site, get your shopping delivered!

Did you know that if you’re staying at a Disney World resort your items can be sent back to your hotel free of charge? Well you do now! Just ask the cast member at the checkout, and they’ll give you a quick form to fill out, and with a sprinkling of fairy dust, all your souvenirs will be available for you to collect at your resort next day, so say goodbye to lugging large stuffed toys or fragile decorations around the parks all day!

And if you’re not staying in a resort, you can still have your items sent to the park exit for you to collect as you leave.

3. Don’t buy everything straight away..

Many items can be found in a vast array of shops, so don’t rush into buying all your souvenirs on day 1, because chances are you’ll be able to find them elsewhere later in your stay.

4. But don’t regret not buying when you had the chance!

There are a few places with unique souvenirs eg. Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s World Showcase, and the last thing you want to spoil a holiday is falling in love with something, only to find you can’t get it elsewhere and don’t have an opportunity to go back for it.

5. Get personal!

Many items can be personalised or monogrammed in several locations throughout Disney World, so why not make your souvenirs extra special?

6. Take a trip away from the park

If you’re on a budget, leave the shopping for outside the parks. There are two Walmarts that are about a $10 taxi ride away from Downtown Disney which have designated Disney souvenir sections; great items at great prices!

7. Disney’s Character Warehouse

If you’re going to Orlando Premium Outlets, find the Disney Character Warehouse. Yes, a Disney outlet! We stumbled upon this on our trip, and its a goldmine! I’d been looking at a Pascal toy in the parks which was $16.95, and I found the exact same one there for $9.95!

8. Don’t forget your baggage allowance!

When considering souvenirs, don’t forget that important question ‘how am I going to get this home?’. The last thing you want is to get stuck with an extortionate extra bag charge on your flight home, just because you wanted that extra large Mickey.

Day 4: Animal Kingdom, and a little Downtown Disney

Finally getting adjusted to the time difference, wahey!

Today we tripped it over to the Animal Kingdom first thing to take advantage of Extra Magic hours, so we got into the park around 8.30 before it opened to the public at 9am. This was perfect timing as it meant we could dash over to Expedition Everest, which we hadn’t managed to get a Fastpass for, and queued for less than 5 minutes as the park was almost empty! So empty in fact, we rode it twice a) cos we knew it’d be a long wait if we came back later, and b) because it was awesome!

By the end of our second go it was just coming up 9 so we shot across to the Kali River Rapids just as it opened and managed to sneak another incredibly lucky short wait. The ride comes with the warning ‘You will get wet, you may get soaked!’ and well, soaked is what we got..

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Like, literally wringing out clothes sort of soaked.

We then wandered across to Africa and completed the Pangani trail before out Kilimanjaro Safari Fastpass then after a quick shopping break got in line for The Festival of the Lion King performance. This 30 minute tribute to the Lion King was a great production (full review to follow) involving acrobats, floats and live singers.

Lunch was at Tusker House (table service), another Advanced Dining Reservation, which we’d originally booked just based on a recommendation from a friend of the great food, but it actually turned out to be a character meal as well, so we dined with Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, all kitted out in their safari gear! Food lived up to its reputation, and the atmosphere was great.

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Lunch was followed by another show, this time Finding Nemo, the Musical. Similar to the traditional Lion King Musical, the show was done in large scale puppetry, with live singers, and was an excellent condensed (40 minutes) version of the film. The puppets themselves were incredible, but the music lacked the classic Disney catchiness.

From there we finished up our day in Dinoland, and left the park surprisingly early with everything done by around 4/5pm, so we caught a bus across to Downtown Disney for a little look around (NB. No buses ran directly from Animal Kingdom to Downtown Disney, so we had to bus over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort and switch buses there).

First stop, obviously was World of Disney, the largest Disney store in the world, although it didn’t seem overwhelmingly large. Due to the offer we had when we booked our trip, we went to collect out $200 gift cards from the information desk inside, which was a bit of a faff but got there in the end. Our group then split in two for the shopping bit as 9 is too large a group for a smooth shopping experience. Our group got a taxi across to Walmart as well for some essentials before we all re-convened at the resort pool for dinner by the poolside with Tarzan on the big screen, and a quick swim!

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to the fourth and final park, Hollywood Studios!

°o°

Top 10 Disney Kigu Onesies

If there’s anything ebay sellers do best, its onesies. You could probably search for anything and someone somewhere is making it in onesie form..

Ok, ok, so I may be exaggerating ever so slightly, but there is a truly phenomenal selection out there, and I love a good onesie!

So here are just 10 of my favourite Disney kigus:

10. Mike Wasowski
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9. Sully

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8. Cheshire Catcheshire cat

7. Stitch

stitch

6. Tigger

tigger

5. Winnie the Pooh

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4. Piglet

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3. Mickey Mouse

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2. Eeyore

eeyore

and..

1. Olaf

olaf

°o°

Disney Tights

In my opinion, trousers are overrated. If I could, I’d spend most days Donald Duck style (with underwear though, of course!), but unfortunately this isn’t socially acceptable in most places..

So I live in dresses, skirts and shorts, which means when the weather is bad, as it so often is in England, tights are my best friends! And while most people overlook them as functional but boring, I know that they can add to any outfit.

1. Mickey Mouse suspender tights from Primark

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2. Minnie Mouse tattoo style tights from Hot Topic

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3. Elephant over the knee tights from Asos

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Whether its Dumbo or The Lion King that floats your boat, you can’t go wrong with these cuties!

4. Bunny all over tights from Asos

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Not exactly a White Rabbit, but perfect for Alice in Wonderland and Bambi fans alike!

5. Snow White tattoo style tights from Hot Topic

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6. Monkey suspender tights from Asos

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Tarzan, Jungle Book, or even Aladdin nuts can rock these

7. Alice in Wonderland tattoo style tights from Hot Topic

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8. Little Mermaid silhouette suspender tights from Hot Topic

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9. All over fox tights from Asos

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Just because The Fox and the Hound is underrated, doesn’t mean your legs have to be!

10. Hanging monkey tights from Asos

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Show off your legs with these sweet nude tights, and everyone will want to be like you – oo ba be do!

11. Paris skyline over the knee tights from Asos

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The setting for some Disney greats such as Aristocats and Ratatouille, and more!

12. Balloon seam tights from Asos

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Fly away to Paradise Falls with these on your legs!

Personalised Disney Chopping Board

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Etsy shopping. Not only is it packed with a load of fabulous vintage and handmade items, a whole lot of them are Disney related, so what’s not to love?!

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So I was browsing through Disney kitchenware when I stumbled across some cute Disney chopping boards from Katez Kreationz, so I quickly popped it onto my favourites list and continued browsing. Not long after, Katherine (the shop owner) sent me a message offering me 40% off my first order, how could I resist?!

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And then I found out about Katherine’s shop background.. She plans to be the first Canadian Female under 30 to run a marathon in every US state, and all her profits straight towards her charity marathons as she doesn’t have a sponsor.

It was a tough decision, but I settled on her Mickey Mouse design. All the chopping boards are woodburned by hand onto 100% bamboo, all can be personalised with captions or messages, and if you don’t like any of her designs (not that you wouldn’t, I want all of them!), you can ask her very nicely for a custom!

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Once I made up my mind and added my personalised caption, all I had to do was pop in the discount code I had been sent and bam! 40% off!

Now, you’d expect a handmade, personalised item to take AGES to be ready for shipping, right? Nope. My item was shipped the next day, along with a lovely message letting me know that my purchase is going towards the Leukaemia Lymphoma marathon in San Diego 🙂

And only 10 days from my purchase..

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It’s here! 😀

Little Mermaid Jewellery Finds

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

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1. Starfish earrings from PetitBlue

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2. Tiny seashell earrings from Applelatte

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3. Anchor bracelet from Applelatte

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4. Part of your World Necklace from byAmandaJane

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5. Seahorse necklace from Applelatte

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6. Dolphin ring from Applelatte

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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 🙂

Alice in Wonderland Jewellery Finds

This week I’ve once again searched Etsy high and low to find you the cutest jewellery from through the looking glass..

That’s right, Alice in Wonderland!

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1. Bunny Ring from Applelatte

Available in gold or silver (not white!), and lacking a pocket watch and waistcoat, but these sweet rings would be a hit at any tea party!

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2. Queen of Hearts Earrings from Woolly Bloom Design

The playing cards might have messed up, but who cares when it leads to such adorable earrings?!

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3. White Rabbit Pocket Watch Necklace from Ginny’s Boutique

You can’t do Alice in Wonderland without a pocket watch!

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4. Have a Cuppa earrings from Petite Pollini

I’m a real sucker for tiny studs. Well, you’d be a Mad Hatter not to love these..

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5. Charm Bracelet from My Lady Crafts

An elegant summary of the story in bracelet form!

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6. Bronze Curious Pendant from Littlegorjussthings

Tipping our hats to Lewis Carroll with a classic quote from the book

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Note: as usual, these items have been picked by me because I had to share them with you! I haven’t been asked by any of the sellers to feature their items.

Frozen Jewelry Finds

I don’t think anyone can argue that Frozen has taken the world by storm.

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And while (unfortunately!) its not entirely practical for us to start strutting around in Elsa’s gorgeous ice-blue dress, I’ve found a few little Etsy darlings, all totally affordable, that can add a bit of Frozen to any outfit..

1. Tiny Rudolf and Snowflake Earrings from Applelatte

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2. Frozen Bead Necklace from BeaditforDisney

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3. Silver Charm Bracelet from PrincessCameos

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4. Antler Ring from Applelatte

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5. Pocket Watch Necklace from The Craft Corner

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6. Anna-inspired Bracelet from PrincessCameos

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NB. These items were chosen purely based on me loving them, not because I was asked to feature them.

If you would like me to feature or review any products, do get in touch, but I will be totally honest with my opinions 🙂

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.

SONY DSCCute, right?

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? 🙂