Hi, yes, I do care about my Instagram followers thanks

I know I’ve written a similar post to this in the past, but in light of the recent Instagram ‘glitch’, and that my opinion on this now comes from a slightly different standpoint, I thought I would come out and say this again.

Yes, I know that social media is just that – a website or an app – and followers ‘shouldn’t matter’, but I’m gonna be straight with y’all here: they do to me.

You see, in the last 9 months or so, my social media pages have become less about me personally, and more about my small business. I took my Etsy shop full time back in July after leaving my accounting job to relocate, and it’s been absolutely wonderful. It’s always been my dream to be self-employed, and being able to do something creative and to my own rules to boot, I’ve loved every second*

*Except, ironically, the accounting.

It’s also no secret that the way that people are swayed by trends and products now is mainly through social media. Brands now focus a lot more on social media marketing, full-time bloggers and influencers have become a legitimate thing and I’m honestly just so grateful that I had a blogging background when I decided to start my shop as it meant I knew all of this from the start, and so my Instagram page has become less about my blog and life, and more about my business, which I am totally cool with.

BUT this does change the pressures on it. Yes I am still very much me on Instagram, and I still use it as a social outlet, but probably 80% of what I consciously do on Instagram now is promote my business. The more I grow, the more people see my creations, the more people become potential customers, and as a small business this is SUPER important.

During the Instagram glitch, I lost almost 200 followers. No big deal, some might say, right? So I’ll just have to wait a bit longer until I hit my next follower milestone, that’s not the end of the world? You might think that and honestly I’m not offended if you do, but from my perspective, that’s 200 potential customers lost. That’s 200 people who may not have seen that I released a new product yesterday. That could be the difference between me being able to pay my mortgage this month or not.

My business aside, there are so many full-time bloggers and influencers out there who could lose out on work if they lost their followers. I may have only lost 200 followers but I know of others who lost thousands. That could be the difference between working with a particular brand or not.

I know this might all be sounding a little dramatic, but I just want to reduce the stigma around people being upset about losing followers, or even just not being able to gain them. We all know how hard it can be to gain followers on Instagram these days, so even if you’re not reliant on your follower count for your income, you’ve probably still worked pretty hard to get to where you are with it, right? Just be mindful about slamming people for something that might be important to them, even if it’s not important to you.

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UK Small Shops for Your Christmas Shopping

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

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

CoconuTacha

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

RockPaperSisters

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

Alice Vitrum

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

Teeq

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

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

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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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

Smells Like Magic* – Maple and Whisky Candle Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing My First Kickstarter!

Hey gang! Today’s post is something a little bit different, but I just wanted to take a little bit of time to tell you all about something that I launched over the weekend.

As some of you will know, earlier this year I branched out into designing enamel pins, and on Saturday I launched my first ever Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a whole collection of cupcake pins inspired by everyone’s favourite Pixar movies.

The campaign launched on Saturday evening, and hit the initial funding goal for the first pin design within an hour, and not even 48 hours later, pledges have unlocked two further designs and put as well on the way to the next target!

If you’re not familiar with how Kickstarters work, its basically a way of securing funding for projects by pledges from the public, and its ‘all or nothing’ so if you don’t hit your target goal within the set time limit, then no one who pledges gets charged anything. Pledges can be purely voluntary for no reward, or as most projects are done, pledges receive ‘rewards’ based on how much they pledged, usually in the form of the product that they are funding. For my project, you can pledge anything from one pin to all nine, and obviously the more you pledge, the more designs get unlocked so the more choice you have to get your favourite design!

My project has another 28 days to go, and based on its initial interest I’m really hoping that we’ll be able to unlock every design before the 30 days is up, but as the initial funding goal has already been met, every unlocked design will go into production even if we don’t unlock them all, so I’m super happy about that! If you’d like to pledge, you can check out the campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/782349729/the-other-studio-cupcake-enamel-pins – you will have to provide your card details to pledge, however you won’t be charged anything until the end of the project period, so it will be October 8th before anything gets taken!

Even if you don’t want to pledge, I appreciate any shares for my projects so if you know someone who would love this, be sure to tell them about it!

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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?

What Selling Platform is Right For Your Art

If you create things that you love, and hope you make something out of what you do, then there are a number of options that you have in order to do so, and the more options you have, the harder it can be to make a decision, so I’m dishing the dirt on the pros and cons of some of the most popular options that are available based on my own personal experience! This post is primarily directed at art, but some parts can be applied to a lot of areas of small business.

Redbubble

These platforms are the ideal place to sell your artwork absolutely hassle free on a huge variety of different products from tshirts and sweatshirts to canvasses, mugs and stationery. It’s as simple as uploading your work, adding a few tags and a description then sitting back and waiting for sales to come in. Redbubble do all the manufacturing, deal with shipping and returns, and you just get a few emails to let you know how things are going, and a payment into your PayPal account. Simples.

The downside of this, however, is that you’re looking at relatively small margins. You get to pick what percentage markup your designs have on Redbubble’s base price, and that’s how much you pocket – mine are all at the standard 15-20%, which means that the most I ever make out of a sale is a few pounds on a tshirt, but as a lot of my designs sell as stickers, I get maybe like 20p.

Because of this, it makes Redbubble the perfect place to sell if you just create your art as a hobby and are looking to maybe make a little bit out of it. This is where I upload all my odds and sods drawings that I think would look cute on a shirt but aren’t in keeping with my Happiest Fitness Co brand, and as I just draw these designs for fun, I don’t mind if I’m not really making money from them, and whenever I do make a sale, I get a little buzz.

Similar platforms to Redbubble include Teepublic and Society6

Etsy

Etsy has very quickly become the place to go when you’re looking to buy something that’s a little different. Its the handmade, one-of-a-kind and small business haven, and because this is the place that people go when they’re looking, you have a decent chance of being found.

Sure, all the work is on you. You have to make your products, ship the products (although if digital art is your thing and you don’t want to be printing everything, you can create listing for digital download), deal with the queries, maintain the listings etc, but the payoff is that apart from listing fees ($0.20 per listing) and the little cut that Etsy take on your sales, you pocket the rest, so as long as you factor those costs into your pricing you’re all good.

I use Etsy for my Lottie-Bounds store, where I make handmade clothing items and accessories, and this works perfectly for that because Etsy tends to be the first place people go for these sorts of things.

Shopify/Big Cartel

Platforms like Shopify and Big Cartel offer afforable online store options for businesses big and small alike. Like with Etsy, all the work is on you, but you also have the added work of maintaining a store-front and theme, but this give the professional look and it also gives the opportunity to add in other features like mailing lists and the ability to have your own domain.

The downside of these stores is that as well as doing all the normal work, driving traffic is also down to you, so you’ve gotta do the marketing and SEO work too. That said, however, they are super user friendly, even if you’re not a tech boff. I use Shopify for The Happiest Fitness Co’s online store, and its simple and it works well and it looks good.

March Small Business Buys and Ones To Watch

Given that the spending ban I put myself on was technically only for January and February (even though I broke it on more than one occasion), I figured this month I could not only treat myself to some fab new things, but in doing so I’d be supporting some of my favourite small businesses. I also tend to use my own small business earnings as my way of giving back to the small business community, and I’m so happy with everything that I’ve got!

Firstly, I couldn’t not get these adorable headbands from Closet Geek – Bel has really outdone herself with making these the cutest way to show my Disney love in an almost subtle way! I actually bought three, with the other one being a red version of the mint Mickey pattern, but that one’s already been used so many times that it basically lives in my handbag. As well as set designs, there’s also a custom option, and I chose the Lilo print especially for my trip to Aulani next month!

Now personally I think I’ve been pretty good in curbing my ear buying habit, but these wire ears from Ears by Erin just called out to me when I saw them! They’re part of the three way collaboration with Magical Thunder Press (who designed this incredible fabric) and Thrift Co and they’re just so perfect – the fabric has so many tiny details that I didn’t spot in the photos but now I have them I’m amazed to be finding little hidden Mickeys and Disney details, plus I love a big bow.

Because I ordered these ears from Thrift Co while she was running a special offer, Danielle also included a mystery pocket t-shirt, which turned out to be this Alice in Wonderland inspired design, and that’s not the only thing I’ve bought from Thrift Co this month..

I fell in love with this Moana fabric when it was first released, but waited too long to order and it sold out, so when Danielle announced a restock, I was on it so quickly and I’m so glad I did because its so cute! Her pocket tees are so well made and they’re always packaged up with a little surprise too which is always super exciting to uncover.

Now I’ve had to steal this photo from their website because mine hasn’t actually arrived yet, but how adorable is this little embroidered Wall-E?! I have a real thing for that film, and as soon as I saw that Teeq were releasing these shirts I knew I’d be buying one. I went for the baseball tee style, and I can’t wait for it to arrive because I’ve heard such good things about them, so I’m hoping it turns up this week!

Ones to Watch

I love seeing small businesses grow, and these are just a handful of stores that I see amazing things coming from, so go over and check them out right now (I mean it):

  • Quackers and Co – I’m a little bias because this is the brainchild of my amazing friend Sammy, but I’ve seen some of the things she’s got coming and I just know you’re gonna want to own them – I already love my San Fransokyo beanie and have got my eye on a few more!
  • Chasing Childhood – if you’re on the hunt for some ears that are unique and sparkly as anything, Karina is your girl! I guarantee you won’t find anything like her creations elsewhere and you’re gonna love them.
  • Disney Beanie – not only is Charlie such a lovely person but she makes the cutest little handmade pins, and I see things really taking off for her if she keeps doing what she’s doing!

If you’ve got a small business, or have any favourites feel free to drop me the details in a comment and I’ll check it out!

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What I’ve Made Lately

So back at the start of the year (can you believe that was almost 3 months ago now?!) I announced my plan to have a Creative-18. Well, the concept has been a little fluid since then, and while I may not have done something every day as I had planned, the last few months have been wonderful and I’ve never felt so confident with my creative abilities, while also throwing myself totally out of my comfort zone.

My Etsy has somewhat taken over my life in the last two months, and I’m certainly not complaining. January was my best month for sales ever, and I made over triple of what I set as my goal, but it wasn’t until February that things started to get interesting for me.

I was contacted by the wonderful Natasha from EarsEverAfter, who commissioned a custom order unlike anything I’ve ever made before, but what came out of it was something that I am so incredibly proud of, and has sparked further orders for similar items. That’s right, I’ve been making a bunch of little co-ord sets..

Upon finishing Natasha’s set, I instantly decided that I was going to need one to wear to Aulani next month, but rather than a Disney print I found this gorgeous lightweight cherry blossom fabric in my local fabric store and without wanting to blow my own horn too much, I just threw this together one evening! In fact, I wore the top to work with a pair of jeans yesterday I love it that much.

I’ve also had another Disney set commissioned, this time an adorable Winnie the Pooh print! I’m having so much fun being totally out of my comfort zone, and I have a load more custom work in the pipeline so stay tuned for those designs when I finish them!

Another out-of-the-comfort-zone creation was this adorable little girls dress which I made last weekend. I haven’t made kids stuff since my cousins were quite a bit smaller than they are now, so maybe 3-4 years ago, so it was quite strange working on a much smaller scale to what I’m used to, and also going back to using a pattern – for my own designs I make my own patterns or work off the cuff, so a proper pattern is a rare thing for me. HOW CUTE THOUGH? The fabric was chosen by the customer and I decided to do the sash in a single colour as a contrast and I just love it so much! I’ll be making this style of dress available to buy on my Etsy store this weekend if anyone’s interested!

Now right back into my comfort zone – skirts.

This is a custom order and how stunning is the fabric that they chose?!

I fell in love with this holographic silver fabric that I found in my local store and within an hour of getting home it was already a skirt – although I’ve yet to have an excuse to wear it! This is available for custom order on my Etsy too.

And finally, a little different from my usual skater style skirts, I’ve fallen for chiffon a little bit because its so lovely and flowy! This skirt is also available on my Etsy now in both mini and midi length.

It may be taking a lot of my time, and I’m probably annoying all my social media followers with constant photos but being creative makes me so damn happy and I can’t wait to see what else I’ve got in me and what else I can do.

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Time Is Money

Its an age-old saying. Sure, its got some pretty cliche connotations now, but cheese aside its 100% true. I mean, would you sit 9-5 in an office if you weren’t getting paid for it? You probably wouldn’t, right?

Well, its the same for small businesses. You see, creatives don’t like working all day and not getting paid for it – the only difference is, we’re doing something that’s maybe a little less traditional. Graphic designers, hand-makers of all different and wonderful things, cake decorators, bloggers – you name it, there are people trying to make money from all kinds of ventures, but the one thing they have in common is that time goes into everything. Hell, I’d love to know of a way of making money that doesn’t take a second of my time.

I LOVE my Etsy store. I love designing and making things and I love the fact that there are people out there that are actually prepared to buy the things I make. I say ‘prepared to buy’ for a very particular reason. You see, day in, day out, I get messages from people asking me about custom designs, or they’ve seen me wearing something on Instagram and want to know how much it would cost to order it from me, and you’d think that I would love getting these messages, right? Sure, I get a little buzz from someone loving my stuff, but I just know that that is the last message I’ll receive from them, because as soon as I let them know the price, they’re gone.

You know, 9 times out of 10, I actually respond to these messages with a price that is lower than I should charge, just on the off-chance that they might go for it. Spoiler alert, they rarely do, even though I’ve already dropped the price. Why do I do it? Well because while its not the best business sense, I hate asking people for money. Worse than that, business sense-wise, it leads me to under-value my time – I mean, there is a skirt for sale on my Etsy store right now where the fabric itself actually costs me more than the price I have the skirt for sale at! I make a loss on that straight away, and then I spend 1-2 hours making said skirt from said fabric.

I blame what I refer to as ‘Primark prices’, even though its the high street in general. You can buy a dress in New Look for £10, so when you see a skirt on Etsy for £30 you feel like its priced a little steep, right? Well ignoring whatever the fabric costs the maker, when you combine the amount of time it takes to design the skirt, cut the fabric, sew it all together, hem it, fit a zip/button/elastic/whatever, you’re maybe looking at a couple of hours of work. So lets put some random numbers to that – say supplies cost £10 and designing and making took 2 hours – and you don’t want to pay more than £20 for it cos ‘that’s what you’d pay on the high street’, well that’s your non-direct way of saying that you think its ok for that maker to get paid circa £5/hour. That sound like a decent wage to you?

You see, I don’t think it does, yet I’ve been under-pricing my creations so as not to seem too steep. Well, I’m done with that. If people don’t want to value my time, then that’s fine, but I’m going to. My time is worth money, and so is everyone else’s.

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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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Why I Can Never Enjoy ‘Down Time’

I love keeping busy. This is handy, because I pretty much always am.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day..

I have a full time job, but I only actually work 3 days most weeks, opting for 12 hours shifts over a regular 9-5, and this gives me quite a few days off in the week, which is great, right?

To the untrained eye, yes, but as well as my job, I also publish 5-6 new blog posts a week here, as well as running two small businesses on my own, both of which involve designing and creating the products that I sell, so my days off are dedicated to those commitments first and foremost.

Any blogger reading this knows exactly how much time and effort goes into blogging. A single post can take hours to make perfect, from the writing to photography and editing, and even when the post is live, then comes the promotion. In fact, I reckon its not inaccurate to say that probably 50% of a bloggers work is done on social media, rather than in the actual writing. There’s the tweet scheduling, Instagram posts, flatlays, PR emails, networking in the community and so much more.

Then comes the small business work. I have stock and supplies to order and products to design and create, then there’s packaging and post offices runs to go on, and again all the promotion work that goes alongside it all.

Great things take time..

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but it can be exhausting. I often feel like my work is never done, or there’s more I should be doing, so if I ever take time out for myself, I end up feeling guilty, or feel like I’m forgetting something important. For this very reason I feel like a lie-in is a waste of time, I can’t just sit and do nothing and if for whatever reason I can’t get any work done – hello creative blocks.. – I end up feeling guilty and stressed.

I know that this probably isn’t healthy, and I’m trying to work on it, but I just really want to be successful in the things that I do, and for me success comes from hard work. I don’t expect things to just be handed to me, and I’m more than happy to work for what I want and I just hate wasting time..

Does anyone else suffer from this problem, or have done in the past?

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MK and Chill

Considering that this outfit is quite different to what I normally tend to wear in the parks, I’m so excited to wear this look!

Rather than a traditional Disneybound, I’m opting for a comfy t-shirt and shorts look for my first day in the Magic Kingdom, sporting this INCREDIBLE t-shirt from Great Adventure Supply Co. I knew from the moment I saw this t-shirt on Instagram that I had to have it, and I was not disappointed when it arrived – in fact, I wear it all the time!

Keeping on the relaxed look, I’m pairing it with my pastel candy stripe shorts, which I’ve Disneyfied with my iron-on teacup patch (which you can buy here!), and rather than my usual Mickey ears, I’ll instead be sporting this adorable embroidered baseball cap from Just Peachy.

Hub grass, here I come!

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My Disney Small Biz T-Shirt Haul

When it comes to Disney, there are two things that I love that go hand in hand: planning outfits for Disney trips, and supporting Disney small businesses, and this month, I seem to have only bought shirts!

Despite being purely coincidental, it made for a perfect haul post, so here are the shirts, and small businesses, that I’ve bought from this month:

Maple and Whisky Clothing Co

Most people know Maple and Whisky for their amazing Disney inspired candles, but did you know they also have a sister-store that sells cute Disney inspired clothing? I’ve been eyeing up a few designs for a little while now, but when I saw that all of their tank tops were down to £6 each, I jumped on the offer and bought three! My favourite design of theirs is the Pirates of the Caribbean dog, but I also decided to nab the Tangled and Up! inspired designs too.

Thrift Co

I got chatting to the lovely Danielle from Thrift Co through Instagram and we organised a little t-shirt swap in which I received this adorable Halloween pocket tee and I can’t wait to wear it to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in November!

Cheery Human Studios

Another t-shirt that I can’t wear to wear on my trip to WDW in November is this amazing Magical Foodie t-shirt from Cheery Human Studios, which I’ve already featured in one of my pre-trip outfit posts! I needed something to wear to Food and Wine Festival, and this is perfect!

The Happiest Fitness Co

Ok, so I didn’t technically buy this because its my own design, but I love it so much that I figured I can still share it, right? This shirt is so comfortable and I’ve been practically living in it since I launched the design, plus of course I’ll be wearing it to meet Pooh in November!

What are your favourite t-shirt stores?

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Kids Grown Up by Sophie Jo

I haven’t written a poem in a long time, so be gentle with me.

Poetry books always remind me
of childhood, my grandparents, sweet memories
I’d write my own (they’d always rhyme)
Recite them proudly, time after time, and then
I studied poems at school, I learned the art,
that every poem can have its own rules and rhythm and style.
Things changed. Now seven years have passed.

I have grown up, but not really.
I still ache for the opportunity
to be a child, to be care free,
to hang out with a pal, a mouse.
For castle dreams, tulle skirts and furry hugs,
pretzels and pirates and parades.
Happiness.

When I’m away from this place I search,
search for anything that makes me feel
as wonderful and careless as
I am in that place. Those places.
There are six and I have seen them all.
Each place is just as magical.

This book, these words, they bring a tear,
there’s beauty in the print and I,
I feel a sense of pride each time I turn the page and see
there’s still another page to read.
Words of magic, tales of friends,
told by a friend.

The magic I dream of is found in this book
I cannot make you buy it but I cannot recommend enough,
just take a look.
For no more than a morning brew or two,
you, yes you, can own a piece of magic.

Words are magic,
magic means you never have to grow up.

While this might have been a sorry excuse for a poem, I can absolutely guarantee that Sophie’s writing is the real deal. I am forever in awe of her blog posts, and her recent venture into poetry has really showcased her incredible talent with words. Kids Grown Up is a book of Disney inspired poems, and as soon as I discovered she had started printing them I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and I cannot rave about it enough.

This would make the perfect present for a Disney fan, great bedtime reading for little ones or just as a treat from you to you. It won’t break the bank, and you’ll be supporting a fabulous writer. Shop here.

PS. Sophie if you’re reading this I’m in full support of a sequel.

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My Spring/Summer Disney Haul

So over the last month or two, I’ve picked up quite a few new Disney bits. Some have been impulse purchases, some are things I’ve been lusting over for a little while, and some are in preparation for my WDW trip in October/November, and today I’m going to share what I’ve bee buying!

First up, how amazing is this MK t-shirt?! Its from Great Adventure Supply Co, and the second I saw it on Instagram I knew I had to have it for my trip to Florida at the end of the year. I love how to the untrained, non-Disney eye it could be mistaken as an old-school MTV shirt, meaning I can get away with wearing it more often than some of my other Disney shirts! I also nabbed the blue castle hat (top picture) from Just Peachy when there was free international shipping going, and this hat will be accompanying the shirt for a Magic Kingdom day.

Despite telling myself I wouldn’t be buying any more ears, I’ve had my eye on these gorgeous Tangled inspired pair from Aloha Ears, and I was browsing their site following a shop opening, and this one pair was left in stock while everything else had sold out. I mean that’s fate, right? Also from the lust list, I’ve been wanting to treat myself to some Lillian&Co bracelets for a while, and after busting my butt doing so much overtime at work, I decided it was time!

For a bit more small business support, I bought this cute little pouch from Swish and Stitch on Etsy – I just love the adorable Toy Story print, it arrived really quickly and its so well made, I’d 100% recommend a purchase!

Lastly, I finally decided to get the Tangled journal from the Disney Store – although I’ve yet to find the courage to write anything in it – and I got my hands on the sweetest little poetry book there ever was, written by fellow blogger Sophie Jo. She is an incredible writer, and when I found out she was releasing her poetry in a book, I knew I had to have it. I did, in fact, squeal when it arrived, and shed a few tears flicking through it. The book consists of Disney inspired poems, and you can buy it here!

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My Current Disney Wishlist

Happy hump day y’all, its a Wednesday wishlist!

Would you guys believe that on my Disney trip at the start of the month I only bought ONE piece of merchandise?! That’s right, all I bought from Disneyland was a jumper which was actually bought out of necessity on a cool night (although I did also love it!), and I’m just as shocked as you are. So I’m gonna share some other Disney bits that I’ve got my eye on at the moment instead!

My love of anything Its a Small World is no secret. I frequently use the term Small World trash to describe myself, but the Small World trash cans are also a particular favourite of mine – can’t you tell by my love of this Small World trash can phone case from Redbubble, and also the Trashy hat from Spellerific Styles?

I’ve been following Lillian and Co on Instagram and wanting one of their beautiful bracelets for a while now, and I’ve got major heart-eyes for this Tangled inspired quote, and I’ve added myself to the waiting list for the new rose gold Moana one.. And speaking of Tangled, have you seen the beautiful Tangled journal from the Disney Store? I REALLY want one but I think I’d be too scared to ever use it because its so pretty!

Finally, with more Disney trips on the horizon, and more outfits to be planned, I’m tempted to treat myself to some new buttons from Parkbound, but how to decide which ones?!

Have you got your eye on anything at the moment?

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Do What Makes You Happy

Here’s the thing: I love being creative.

I love designing and I love creating things, and while I’ve never been much good with pen and paper, whenever I make something that I am totally happy with, and that loads of people compliment, it gives me such a great sense of pride, I can’t even put it into words.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a humble little Etsy store where I sell handmade magical creations from pocket tees to custom skirts and Mickey ears, and anything else that takes my fancy, and recently its this little store that has brought me the most happiness.

I also run two small business, the newest of which being The Happiest Fitness Co, where I design and produce magical inspired fitness and leisure wear. It combines two great loves of mine: Disney and fitness, and it just reached its 1st birthday!

My other small business is actually my longest running, while I find I rarely talk about it on my blog or social media. Did you guys know I’m also a cake decorator? I’ve been doing this since I was 16, alongside school and sixth form at first, and then alongside working.

I may not know exactly where my life is going, but I know I will always continue to do the things that I love for as long as I enjoy them, and I will work my little butt off to make a future for myself doing the things that make me happy.

What makes you happy?

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Things Small Business Owners Want You to Know

I love small business. I love being a small business owner, I love supporting small businesses, and I love seeing other people supporting them.

There are, however, some things that I, and I know other small business owners wish the general public would know next time you think about shopping small.

So much time goes into things you don’t even see

The hours that go into ordering supplies, packing up orders, doing post office runs, website/store upkeep, and that’s before you even factor in the time that goes into the designing and producing of the finished product.

We hate asking for money

I don’t know if this is just me, but I know that especially when it comes to custom orders, despite knowing how much time and work will go into it, its so difficult to put a price on things.

But its annoying when people ask for freebies/discounts

I always love going the extra mile for customers, and I always give a fair price (and undercharge in a lot of circumstances), but it sometimes feel like a slap in the face when people come back and say that its too expensive, or try to haggle a lower price.

Please stop comparing us to big businesses and stores

Asos might do free delivery, and you might be able to buy a t-shirt from Primark for £1, but as much as we can dream, we’re not multi-million pound companies.

Please talk to us

If you need an order by a certain time, or have any queries or concerns, we’re more than happy to do what we can to help. Don’t order a 2 week custom and complain that it didn’t arrive within a week..

We love seeing your photos

It makes us so happy when we see our products out in the world and being loved!

We are grateful for every order

For you it might be a cute purchase, but for us its another person supporting something that we love to do, and we appreciate every customer.

Ultimately, small business owners are super lovely and just want to make their customers happy, so next time you’re on the hunt for something, why not shop small?

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Oh Boy!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that for the last few months I’ve been frantically retweeting about The Happiest Fitness Co‘s new collection, which released on the website this morning!

The Disney savvy of you will know that today, November 18th is the official birthday of Mickey Mouse, after his first official appearance in Steamboat Willie on this day back in 1928, so I was looking at production timeframes and realised that it would be possible to have the collection ready for sale today, it had to be done! Fun fact: its also my dad’s birthday today!

So here it is, the full collection!

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Logo Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Tank Top

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Unisex Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Women’s V-Neck Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Snapback

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Beanie

This collection is super exciting for me as its one of many firsts: the first male/unisex t-shirts, HATS.. Its simple, versatile and I’m dying to get a chance to shoot a proper lookbook for it!

All of the shirts are 100% cotton, making them suitable for workouts or lazy days alike, and perfect for park days!

I’m really just so happy with this whole collection, and I hope you all like it as much as I do! Stock is limited, so don’t miss out!

PS. I’d love you all if you went and followed THFC on Twitter and Instagram!

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Why Should You Be Supporting Small Businesses?


Although I don’t talk about it much, I’ve been in the world of small business since I was 16, and its one that involves a load of hard work – most of which is done behind the scenes – and dedication; I admire all small business owners so much.

The problem with people today is that we like easy, and we like cheap, and larger chain companies have introduced us to a world of convenience whereby we start to turn our nose up at spending a little more for a quality product or service from a local provider, but this attitude needs adjusting a little.

So why shop small?

Everyone has to start small

Unless you’ve got Lord Sugar banging down your door to drop £250,000 into your startup company, every business starts from the ideas of people. By taking a chance on a small business, you could help that hairdresser who washes your hair in her kitchen sink open a proper salon in town.

You’re paying salaries, not CEOs

Small business owners work tirelessly – well over standard trading hours no doubt, and when they don’t make money, they don’t earn anything; there’s no safety net, so when you turn your nose up because you can get those vegetables 10p cheaper from Asda, just think how much better you’d feel knowing that you’re helping that lovely green-grocer make his living, rather than adding to the annual bonus of supermarket CEOs.

You’re making dreams come true

Want to see true passion in a person? Talk to a small business owner. These are people who have taken a huge leap of faith because they believe in what they do and they love doing it every day, and every happy customer serves as a reminder that they are doing what they’re meant to be.

You get to know the people

Part of the joy of buying from small businesses is the communication, whether it be discussing your order or a little thank you note in your parcel, and I love talking to the person behind the product!

I could go on, but instead of reading my reasons, why not go and have a look at some of these fab businesses:

Shop small!

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