Thursday, 28 September 2017

My 2017 Walt Disney World Trip Bucket List


I feel like I've taken a completely unintentional break from blogging over the past few weeks. I have been so busy with eBay sales, admin, decorating, building a bed for kiddo and well, erm.... booking another Walt Disney World holiday. Oops. More on that one in another blog post! Time is absolutely flying by though and at just over a month to go, i'm also busy making plans for our upcoming trip to the most magical place on earth.


My husband and I are keen on making our Disney holidays as different from each other as we can and this year is no exception! I thought that today I would share 10 things that I really want to do on our next trip. These are just some of the things I want to do, of course! If there's anything you think I might have missed though then do let me know your suggestions. Here we go....

Happily Ever After

By far one of the things I am most looking forwards to this trip! I have been obsessing over this show ever since I saw the live stream on it's opening night. I've watched it with kiddo countless times, listened to the song over and over and over and I just know I'm going to be completely overwhelmed when I see it in real life! It looks absolutely spectacular.

Na'vi River & Flight of Passage

In fact, I am looking forwards to everything about Pandora, the world of Avatar! It wasn't open on our last visit but it all looks just magical. I imagine there are going to be some great photo opportunities here and I am dying to visit Satu'li Canteen to try out some of their delicious looking food! My husband is quite keen to visit here at night so we're aiming to visit a few times both day and night to get the full experience.

Explore with Uber

This year we are braving a trip with no car hire and we are planning on making the most of the brilliant complimentary Disney transport to get around Walt Disney World. That said though, we also have a few trips out of the Disney bubble planned (one of them will be straight to Bath & Body Works, not gonna lie!) so Uber looks like it's going to be our best option. As kiddo will be 4, we're interested to see how things work with car seats and safety, etc. Uber is something we've not used before, even at home (apart from Uber Eats but that's obviously very different!) so I'll let you know about how we get on if that is something you'd like to see in a blog post here!

Eat at all of the restaurants in Animal Kingdom Lodge

Getting to stay at this resort is literally a dream come true for me. It has been at the top of my list of Disney resorts I want to stay at for many years and so I want to soak up every last moment and try everything, including all the food! We have reservations for Boma, Jiko and Sanaa and I am looking forwards to eating at The Mara, trying the pool bars and lounges. I feel like I have been looking at menus since the day we booked this holiday so the food at this resort is something that I am really looking forwards to!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Our little girl has a real love for roller coasters and this year she has finally passed the magic marker of 105 cm meaning that she can now ride way more attractions than she could last year. It's one of the first FastPass bookings we made because I just know she is going to love it!

Hidden Pascals

Another Magic Kingdom one! The Tangled area in Fantasyland is one of my favourite parts of the park and this year I want to try and spot the 10 hidden Pascals that are dotted around the area. As you know, Pascal is very good at blending in with his surroundings but apparently you might spot him on lamp posts, under bushes and on buildings. This is such a cute idea and one that kiddo is really going to have fun with!

Buy an Alex & Ani bracelet

.... And probably start a whole new collection! I love collecting little Disney bits, especially if I know I'm going to get actual use out of them. It's jewellery, clothing and mugs all the way for me.... I'm definitely not into ornaments or stuff that is just going to sit there on a shelf! I have been eyeing up these bracelets for quite some time now, I just love how pretty there are! This year I am definitely going to treat myself to one or two and then maybe buy one on each Disney trip in the future. We'll see!

Eat at Casey's Corner

This one is a non-negotiable 'must do' for us for every Disney trip, whether it's Disneyland Paris or Walt Disney World in Orlando. It's always the first meal we have in the parks and I love that this is our little tradition. I love sitting on the end of Main Street tucking into delicious food whilst people watching, adjusting to Disney life and taking in the magical atmosphere. I am absolutely counting down the days until we are doing this once again.

Eat around the world at Epcot

One of our biggest regrets from our last trip is that we didn't spend enough time in Epcot. This year we have booked more dining and FastPass reservations here so hopefully we'll be able to also make the most of the International Food & Wine Festival at the same time, too! We want to visit as many of the kiosks as we can, using up those snack credits on our dining plan and experiencing as much of it all as possible. If you have been recently and can recommend any of the kiosks then do let me know. As you know, we are a family who love our food!

Pin trading

Last but not least, this year I want to get kiddo started with pin trading in the parks. This is something she has taken an immense interest in on our last two trips but always not until it is almost time to go home. So this year our plan is to begin with one of the starter sets and get her going from there. I know it would be cheaper to buy pins to get her started before we go but it'll be more fun for her if she gets total control and gets to pick out her own lanyard and pins. It's something she's really going to love, interacting with cast members and guests whilst having fun on her holiday! 
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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Make your bedroom the most comfortable place on earth!

There’s nothing quite like coming home after a hard day’s work, turning the key in the door and heading straight upstairs for some relaxing time in the bedroom. Unfortunately, many of us have bedrooms which aren’t exactly conducive to kicking off one’s shoes and taking a much-deserved nap; they’re cluttered, uncomfortable and uninspiring to say the least. If that describes the current state of your bedroom then you deserve better! If you feel like it is time to change things to create a more relaxing space then here are a few tips!


Freshen Things Up

Sometimes, all it takes is a lick of paint to transform a room from cold, clinical and a bit boring to inviting, comfortable and attractive. In the bedroom, you should aim for soothing colours like pale blues, greens, soft greys, and lavenders, which will help your mind and body to calm down and relax after a stressful day.

Change Your Mattress

On average, we spend at least one-third of our lives in bed, so it’s only sensible to make the experience as comfortable as possible. That might mean paying a little more for one of these Easca mattresses, which offer a superior level of support, but it will be worth it. A good mattress will make falling to sleep quickly easier and getting up free of aches and pains almost guaranteed.

Simplify

Have you noticed that when you’re in a room that’s cluttered; which has lots of busy wall art and which is basically just full of things, your mind swirls, and you just can’t seem to relax? That’s because too much stuff is pretty distracting and it can stop you from doing the very thing you need to do in the bedroom - switching off. So, if you truly want your bedroom to be the most comfortable place on the planet, consider having a clean out, hiding any clutter that remains and choosing just one or two relaxing pieces of art (if any) for the walls.

Egyptian Cotton All the Way

Egyptian cotton sheets are a game-changer in the bedroom. They are less scratchy than man-made sheets, and because cotton is a natural material, they are more breathable, which helps to keep you cool when the weather is warmer. 

A Down Duvet

When you wrap yourself up in a down duvet, it’s like getting a hug from your favourite person. It’s warm, comfortable and extremely relaxing. If you want to experience the ultimate in comfort, you simply must invest in a down comforter! Some down pillows wouldn’t go amiss either.

A Slice of Life

You probably have a few plants in the kitchen and living room, but what about the bedroom? If you don’t already have a couple of plants in the bedroom, you should definitely consider changing that because, not only has it been proven that the presence of plants has a calming effect, but plants can help to improve your air quality for a better night’s sleep, too!

All that remains is to kick off your shoes, climb into your PJ's and enjoy some quality time in your bedroom!
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Tips For Keeping Your Bathroom Smelling Fresh

Bathroom odours can be dreadful. Once they invade your home, it can be both embarrassing and stressful to try and manage it. Your first instinct might be to use temporary measures to cover them up. For example, you might use air fresheners to mask the smell or you might burn scented candles to try and get rid of the odours. Sadly, these options rarely work because they’re not targeting the root of the odour. If you’re serious about keeping your bathroom smelling fresh then here are some tips that might help!


Ventilation is key

If you want to keep your bathroom smelling fresh then ventilation is the key. If you have windows in your bathroom, open them up so it allows the air to carry any odours away from your bathroom. Turn on the overhead fan if you have one as well. Remember to ventilate your bathroom at all times. For instance, if you take a hot shower, then the steam has to escape or else it can create mildew or mould buildup which could result in a smelly bathroom.

Declutter your bathroom

If you have a lot of stuff in your bathroom, then the cause of the smell could be hidden in a cupboard or among the many products that you’ve been keeping for years. Declutter your bathroom with the help of shelves, throwing out old products and invest in other storage solutions such as these vanity units from Drench. You never know what could be causing the smell so do your best to clean up the bathroom and eliminate anything that you don’t need.

Clean bathroom fabrics

Shower curtains, towels and clothes can quickly get musty when they’re in a bathroom. Clean them at least once a week to prevent the buildup of those smells. If you want to reduce the amount of cleaning involved, then try to remove fabrics from your bathroom. For instance, you can replace shower curtains with shower screens instead. However, keep in mind that these will also need cleaning too!

Eliminate odours, don’t just cover them

Make sure you’re actually eliminating odours and not just covering them. Most air fresheners only cover the smells with something stronger, and this can often result in powerful smells that will make your nose tingle. These are often worse than the odours too because they can be so overwhelming that it will take a long time for the smells to disappear from the bathroom without sufficient ventilation. Look for odour eliminators, not just covers.

Take out the rubbish

People often forget that they have a bin in the bathroom. Although it might not seem that bad, odours can slowly build up in the rubbish bin and, depending on what you throw in there, the smells can easily be prevented by taking it out more regularly. It’s a small thing, but effective at combating bad odours.
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Monday, 18 September 2017

My top 5 safety checks to prepare your car for a long journey // #CarSafetyChecklist

Summer might very almost be over (I'm already in full on autumn mode, I can't lie!) but that doesn't mean all the fun of exploring the UK needs to be over until next year. There is still plenty of time left to squeeze in a few trips, whether they are far away or on your doorstep! We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country and I will never tire of visiting new places and exploring all there is to offer. We certainly have lots to look forwards to over the coming months too and have plenty of car trips planned including the one that will take us to the airport for our upcoming Florida holiday! My husband and I are quite pedantic when it comes to getting the car ready for long journeys and with this in mind, today I thought that I would share with you my top 5 safety checks to prepare your car for a long journey.


You!

First and foremost, are you ready to drive? Before a long journey make sure you have had a good nights sleep and allow time for plenty of breaks along the way for rest, food and to stretch those legs! Also, make sure you have a pack of essentials for the duration of your journey; this could include snacks, drinks, a first aid kit, a blanket, torch, and a fully charged phone. Think about every eventuality as these could become vital, especially if you get stranded somewhere at night! 

Tyres

Your car tyres are the only part of the car that have contact with the actual road so making sure that they are fit for purpose, checking the tyre pressure, tread wear and overall condition is absolutely essential. Make a habit of checking your tyres over frequently and if you have one, don't forget to check your spare tyre too because you never know when you might need it! If anything needs repairing or replacing then do it in advance of your journey. Kwik-fit.com offer a wide range of tyres to suit your driving needs and they also have a handy guide with plenty of information if you're like me and things like tyres deeply confuse you! 

Lights

Making sure that all of your lights are in full working order is essential for safe car travel, especially now that the days are getting shorter. It's something you probably don't give much thought to looking at over the summer months but there's nothing like a bulb giving up on you when you're driving in the dark! Spend some time checking over all of your lights, including brake lights and signals. Also, make sure you know where local garages are located if you need to replace bulbs. 

Clean your car and check the engine levels

Check your engine levels and top them up if needed to prevent any overheating or engine failure on your journey. Also, treat yourself to a good car wash before you depart on a long journey. This will ensure that you have perfect visibility through your windows and that your lights are clean! 

Windscreen wipers

Check your windscreen wipers for wear and tear and replace them if needed. If they become damaged then not being able to see out of your windscreen properly could have a huge impact on the safety of your journey. Inspect your wipers by lifting the arm away from the windscreen and also test that they are working fully by washing the windscreen. If they need replacing then this is something that you can do yourself or a garage will do it for a small fee.

What are your top tips for preparing your car for a long journey? I'd love to hear them so please let me know in a comment below! 

* This is a collaborative post but as always, all words are my own
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Thursday, 14 September 2017

A day out at Blackpool Zoo


A few weeks ago we headed over to Blackpool Zoo for a fun filled family day out. It really is one of my favourite places, not just in Blackpool either! I have such fond memories of visiting as a child and I love that Miss E loves it just as much as I did when I was young too. In a way it's the same and seems so familiar but at the same time everything is up to date, there always seems to be something new to explore or new animals to see every time we visit! 

If you've never been to Blackpool Zoo before then honestly, pop it on the top of your list of things to do next time you're in Blackpool. It's such a lovely day out and far removed from the hustle and bustle of the centre. The zoo is nestled right by the beautiful Stanley Park (also well worth a visit!), just a couple of miles away from the centre. Inside you'll find acres of spacious parkland complete with lakes, waterfalls and traditional English woodland. It's a beautiful setting for the many large, natural enclosures that ensure you can get as close as possible to all of your favourite animals! 

The zoo is home to literally all creatures great and small; from guinea pigs and rabbits to big cats and giraffes. Miss E seems to acquire a new favourite animal each time we visit. She's very much in a gorilla phase at the moment so this time these beautiful creatures were her absolute favourite. I think she could have watched them for hours, they are both majestic and wildly endearing. I love that you can get so close to them yet still remain respectful of their gentle and peaceful nature. I hear that the zoo welcomed an adorable new addition to their gorilla clan very recently too so I am absolutely dying to take Miss E back to see!

Another firm favourite for us at the zoo is the various walkabout areas where you actually enter the enclosure with different animals including lemurs, wallabies, birds and squirrel monkeys. Always good fun, especially if you manage to visit around feeding time!

Throughout each day at Blackpool Zoo there are always talks, displays and ways to learn about the many different creatures there. We always try and visit a different one each time we visit. This time, we attended the sea lion display which we haven't seen for a few years now. Miss E was fascinated by these beautiful creatures who have a stunning enclosure and dedicated trainers. Sea lions are one of my favourites so I am glad that the sun was shining so we could see this wonderful talk again! 

On our visit we also made use of the playground areas dotted around the zoo, mooched around the Dinosaur Safari learning about all the different dinosaurs, visited the gift shops and of course, tried out the cafes! The Lake View Cafe is the perfect destination if you're looking for a spot of lunch. They serve everything from pre-packed lunch bags for children to hot dinners and ice cream. We like to sit outside as the tables overlook some of the animal enclosures. Friendly peacocks also like to visit the tables outside, much to the delight of Miss E!

Inside the main building at the entrance is also a lovely little coffee shop that serves Starbucks coffee and yummy cake. It also has a soft play area. Literally the perfect place for children to burn off energy if they haven't already worn themselves out at the end of the day! Miss E never stops, I swear. I need me some of that energy.... I don't know where she gets it from! 

Tickets for Blackpool Zoo can be purchased online in advance or at the entrance on the day. If you're planning on visiting more than one attraction in Blackpool then it might be worth looking at the Blackpool Resort Pass Plus too which will gain you entry into all the top attractions for one great price. We have used these before and I can thoroughly recommend them! 

Let's have some photos, shall we?! 















Have you visited Blackpool Zoo before? What is your favourite attraction in Blackpool? Let me know in a comment below!

Thank you for reading x
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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Things I've Loved This Week // 040

Goodness me, it has been a little while since I did one of these posts so here is a little Sunday round-up of some of the things I have been loving this week!

Fresh Converse

Things like this shouldn't make me so happy but honestly, they do! I purchased these beauties from ASOS this week with the sole intention of wearing them when we go to Walt Disney World later this year. A tad indulgent but gotta keep my feet comfy, yes?! You can literally walk countless miles each day there without even realising and having proper shoes can make all the difference. I usually go for black when it comes to Converse so this pristine white pair is quite a change for me. I flippin' love them! 


Lord of the Lost

Frequently included in my weekly round-up posts, my love for this band shows absolutely no signs of dying! I don't think I've ever fallen so hard for a band before, and I fangirl a lot so this is saying something. I just love everything about them. Their sound, their aesthetic, their ability to perfectly reinvent themselves. This week I got to see them live in the UK and it really was a special moment for me. Admittedly emotional. I have everything crossed that their visit here is the first of many now, they are thoroughly exquisite to see live! 


Autumn feels

My favourite season is creeping up on us and I am so excited for all the things that autumn brings! Pumpkin Spice Lattes, getting to layer up, long walks, buying new boots and choosing my winter coat, nights out, darker evenings, lighting all the candles, getting cosy, Halloween in all the shops, hot chocolates.... ahhhhh! There has been a definite chill in the air this week (and an awful lot of rain!) and all I can say is autumn, bring it on!


New Leighton Denny nail products

This week I have been loving two new additions to my nail kit in the form of the Leighton Denny Crystal Finish quick dry top coat and the Leighton Denny "Caught Red Handed" nail polish*. Caught Red Handed is a gorgeous iridescent deep red that is just perfect for autumn. Jewel like and super glossy, I anticipate that i'll be wearing this shade plenty over the coming months. I don't think you could get a more perfect vampy red for Halloween, it's gorgeous!

The Crystal Finish quick dry top coat does its job perfectly too in that I can now apply my polish and not have to wait an eternity for it to dry. Perfect when you're running around after a 3 year old all day! Not only does it help speed up the whole process of applying nail polish, it helps keep your nails chip free for longer. Honestly I applied the red at the beginning of the week and used the top coat and it is still going strong this weekend! I'll be using the top coat every time I apply nail polish from now on, it's exactly what I have been looking for!






FastPass Day

Our 60 day mark crept up on us recently meaning that we could make our FastPass bookings for our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. This is the final big bit of planning for us and now I feel like I can finally relax and start counting down the days! We managed to book everything we planned for and I am so excited for all the new experiences we'll have as a family. I am super excited about taking kiddo on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this year as she has finally passed the magic height marker of 97cm. And Peter Pans Flight too because on our past Disney trips we've either not been able to get a FastPass or the standby queues were horrendous. But this year, finally, we got a FastPass! Hurry up, November!


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below! 

 * I received these products to try out but as always, all words and thoughts are my own!
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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Review // Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Compact Duo


Recently I was very kindly sent a Compact Duo from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range to try out and I have been so very impressed with it that I wanted to share it with you today!

Let's be truthful, I am no beauty blogger and I don't often dedicate a full post to a beauty product but honestly, I love this compact duo! If you're a busy mama like me who loves no fuss makeup that lasts through the day then let me tell you a little bit more about this genius product.

The Compact Duo comes in two options, a Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder or the Summer Kiss Bronzing Powder and comes with space for one of the super hydrating, highly pigmented Divine Lips lipsticks. 

Firstly, let's talk about the packaging. It is just gorgeous and so beautifully designed. I love the Art Deco inspired feel, it screams luxury even though it doesn't have the price tag to match. I love the heavy 'click' when you close the compact, I love the gold colour. It's just stunning, am I right?! 

Inside is a good quality mirror, the pressed powder, an applicator and space for a lipstick. It's a lot of product packed into a small space! I received the Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder and a Divine Lips lipstick in the shade "Marilyn", both of which are spot on for everyday wear. 

The Meticulous Skin Perfecting Powder is soft and is applied to the face like a dream. It makes my skin feel soft, even and disguises any open pores or shine in an instant. It is skin responsive and suits my relatively pale skin just perfectly.

The "Marilyn" Divine Lip lipstick is potentially one of the best lipsticks I have ever tried. I love a lipstick that feels hydrating and not too heavy and this fits the bill perfectly. And honestly, it lasts. Maybe not all day for a compulsive tea drinker like me. But usually my lipstick is gone within an hour but this one can last me a meal and a few drinks. I'm very, very impressed. The shade is just perfect too, a nice rich tone that suits both day and night. 

The thing I love most about this product though is that I can just close it up and throw it in my bag and it's ready for when I need a quick pat of powder or a sweep of lipstick. I always carry a powder and a lipstick around with me, especially on a night out so it's amazing having these products together with a handy mirror in one compact. It's perfect!

Also, you can switch the lipstick to another shade if you're off out in the evening so it's super easy to change, whatever the outfit or occasion.

It is the ultimate convenience when it comes to touch ups, let that rummaging around in the bottom of your handbag be a thing of the past! 





Have you tried any products from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range before? Let me know in a comment below!

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty is available at the official website, M&S stores nationwide, QVC and Urban Retreat.

* This post contains PR samples that I received in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words are my own.
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