This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

You guys, we did it! We survived the first week back after the Christmas holidays.

Christmas seems like so long ago now. The trees and decorations are down. There are tell-tale fir-needle patches outside driveways up and down my street where the bin men have taken away old trees. Lights are being removed from houses this weekend, and all of a sudden there seems to be a lot more space in my living room.

I always miss the tree and lights in my sitting room, and as such we have two sets of fairy lights which stay up all year around. One on my mantle and one around a mirror in our hall. It’s lovely to light these on a long summer evening and it looks like fire-flies in the balmy warmth (I wish things were a little warmer right now). That being said, I usually make myself feel bad by flicking to the weather forecast in Orlando, however this weekend the weather has gotten down to 3 centigrade there so maybe I don’t feel so bad right now.

This week we’ve had -4 degree weather at points. In fact the day it got to -4 it was -2 when I woke up, -3 when I left the house and had reached -4 by the time I’d arrived at work.

Even though it was a 4 day week it managed to feel 7 days long, and my sleeping pattern has suffered due to the 10 day break. I’ve been tired all day, and felt that for sure I’d be dribbling on the sofa and ready for bed by 9:30pm – but alas I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as soon as I got into bed. I have also been waking up around 5am and needing to pee desperately and so getting back to sleep has been a massive pain in the bum. I usually fall into a gorgeously deep sleep about 10 minutes before my alarm and then feel rotten when I need to get up – thereby starting the cycle again. Awesome!

Anyhow, despite this, work was good and I even managed to get some more blog posts written. I’ve really enjoyed blogging this past year. I’ve written a separate blog all about my past year in blogging, which you should keep an eye out for if you’re interested.

I also decided I didn’t spoil myself enough in the sales and so spent an obscene amount of money on makeup this week. More on that when it all arrives….. I also treated myself to some hair products from Grow Gorgeous and a new blog planner, which I’ve already started using and can see it being really useful. But again, more on that in that blogging post coming in the next few days!

The last couple of things I picked up were books, which had been priced crazy low on amazon. I bought a cook book for £4 which I’m glad I only spent £4 on because on getting it home and flicking through it I don’t see anything I’d like to make, so far. Poopies. I also bought the Adnan Syed book ‘Adnan’s Story’ which was on my Christmas list but no one bought for me. It was only £5 and I didn’t want the price to go up so I hit ‘add to basket’!

This weekend, other than shopping irresponsibly, I have watched another couple of Netflix documentaries. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is about Aileen Wuornos the female serial killer who murdered 7 men in the late 80’s and was given multiple life sentences. I’d seen the film Monster about her year’s back and it was very interesting so thought I’d give the documentary a try.

We also watched Audrie and Daisy about young girls in America who had been sexually assaulted by their peers and the aftermath. This was an incredibly powerful and also frustrating watch. I highly recommend it. I actually found myself crying at the end over both the strength of the girls and also out of frustration of the world and the people in it. Please watch it if you get the chance.

Something I’ve been promising for a while is my Walt Disney World video – I’ve been putting it off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a massive job – I’ve got quite a lot of footage, not a lot of face to camera stuff so I need to work out how I’m going to link it all. But probably the most important reason I’ve been putting it off is that once it’s done, it kind of puts a close to our Florida holiday. And I’m not ready for that yet. So it will happen, and hopefully soon, but it’ll happen when I’m ready. I really can’t wait to watch the footage again if I’m honest, but it’ll be bittersweet!

So that was my week. I’ve been fighting off the urge to hibernate and come out for Spring, but as it happens I’ve been managing to peel myself from my cosy bed and go out into the freezing cold world. Speaking of freezing cold – I’ve been really enjoying watching the Instagram stories of the people I follow. So many people have had snow all over the world and watching their videos of snow falling, wintry walks and calm white vistas has been magical. It’s for that reason I’m so pleased that social media outlets exist like that.

What have you been up to this week?

2016 Favourites: What’s Made the Cut?

2016fav

My one and only 2016 resolution was to learn how to use makeup. And I can honestly say it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept! I’ve really enjoyed learning about and using makeup and have found an awesome community of people through it.

I subscribed to GlossyBox for one year, and though I’ve now not renewed my sub with them for next year, I can honestly say it did give me the chance to try some things I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.

image

So, I’ve compiled a list of all the things I’ve talked about over the year, that have earned a place in my favourites for the whole year. They’ve stood the test of time and I think these are worth the hype.

I’ll start with non-beauty favourites and then get into the makeup!

Music:

Ariana Grande’s album Dangerous Woman has been my album of the year. Since it came out, it’s pretty much been the only album I listen to. Fact.

ariana-grande-dangerous-woman-new-song-album-preorder-lil-wayne-stream-640x640

TV:

I’ve watched so much amazing tv over the year. Here are the ones I LOVED:

  • Love
  • Gilmore Girls
  • House of Cards
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • The Night Of
  • The Man in The High Castle
  • Making a Murderer
  • The Jinx
  • Billions
  • Stranger Things
  • The Affair

That’s not to mention things I’ve continued to watch, but these are the ones I discovered this year.

I also got heavily into YouTube this year, partly through watching makeup YouTubers (that’s a real word now btw) and partly through watching Disney Vloggers.

So now onto the beauty side of things!

I started the year with the Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk and Honey bath, which was given to me as a Valentine’s gift. I’m still working through this jar, though I can see myself needing a repurchase towards the start of next year. It’s an amazing bubble bath, which smells so relaxing and gives the best bubbles. It’s a real treat every time I use it!

image

Gwen Stefani had an amazing year collaborating with Urban Decay. I picked up the shadow palette and a couple of her lipsticks, but the one that really stuck with me all year was this blush palette. I’ve used it so much and can find use from every single shade. The powders are pigmented, buildable and blend-able and last all day. Plus the packaging is awesome!

blush feb

TheBalm Balm Shelter is a tinted moisturiser I use practically every day that I wear makeup. It’s pigmented, light, comfortable and gives natural coverage. Enough said. Oh and I bought it a year ago and it’s still going…..

balmshelter

2016 was the year NYX came to the UK and I’m so glad it did because I’ve found a few staples for my makeup collection. The Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils, for tight lining, their Dark Circle under-eye concealer and their Pro Mix foundation lightener. Amazing.

nyx3

nyx7

dec7

PIXI Glow Tonic (I no longer need to exfoliate, like, ever!) and the PUR Hydra Gel under eye primer – just buy them. Seriously, you’ll thank me.

pixi

pur

Makeup Revolution’s Radiance Palette transformed my summer look. I adore this palette and for basically no cost. The powders are pigmented and buildable and give the perfect amount of bronzing, shimmer and highlight.

highlight

Better Than Sex by Too Faced and Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher mascaras have changed my eyelashes from straight thin wisps to fabulous girly lashes.

toofaced3

oct1

My go to and absolute favourite lipstick this year has been the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Stoned Rose. It’s a fantastic pinky, nude, brown. It’s long lasting, comfortable and smells amazing too!

oct2

And lastly, I managed to pick up a full size of the Victoria’s Secret body mist in Coconut Passion, which I drench myself in daily.

oct4

So, those are the things I’ve loved over 2016. Have you used any of these this year? I’d love to hear what you’ve been loving – comment with a link to your 2016 favourites! I’d love to have a read.

Keep an eye out for my 2016 overview!

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

img_0137

So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

thisyear

2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

image

In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

image

and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

13339680_10157191642380727_3294498019744828662_n

image

We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

image

I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

image

image

I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

image

attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

13774636_1065892776791821_717341203_n

and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

wm2

We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

IMG_6139

In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

savoy1

October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

img_6481

On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

img_6640

went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

img_6621

November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

img_6719

From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

ww2

It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

December Favourites

decfav

And here we are, all of a sudden, at the end of the year! So, it’s only fitting that I do my December favourites, right?

This December I was lucky enough to receive a Liberty London advent calendar as a gift from my husband, which meant that every day leading up to, and including, Christmas Day I received a little gift from the Liberty beauty hall. It was an amazing gift and exciting every single day to open the huge drawer and see what was inside. I’m not even joking when I say the cost of the calendar was paid for in product a few times over. So needless to say, some of the items I’m talking about this month were a result of this calendar, however I’m only talking about things I have loved and been using regularly.

It was a fantastic experience because I’ve been able to try brands and products I would never have tried otherwise. A resounding success, I’d say!

Let’s start with these products:

dec1

The Votary Facial Oil came to me pretty early on in the month so I’ve been able to give this quite a few tries. I have combination skin with an oily t-zone so the idea of putting oil on my face seems really backward. But that being said, I’ve been totally converted to oil in my hair despite having a greasy scalp, so I was willing to give this a try. I use this after doing a proper cleanse in the evening. You drip 4 drops onto your hand and then lightly move it over your clean, dry skin and finally tap what’s left on your hands onto the under-eye area. I have found that this isn’t greasy, sinks in fairly fast and doesn’t leave me oily. It also smells gorgeous which is lovely. I feel like I’m giving myself a real treat when I use this, and I look forward to using it more!

dec2

The Aveda Hand Relief cream has found its place in my handbag as my go-to every day hand cream when I’m out and about. The rosemary mint scent was a little odd to start with but I actually really enjoy it now. It offers long lasting moisture and sinks in fast which is what I need when I’m not at home.

dec3

As you know, I’m always looking for something to fix my ever-dry lip issues, especially in the winter. I got this C.O. Bigelow rose salve and I’ve been adoring it. It’s basically fixed all my problems (well maybe) – it smells amazing, is hydrating, and when I use this I can go ages before my lips feel dry again. It’s also perfect for tapping onto my lips if I’m wearing lipstick and I feel like I need a moisture boost. I’ll be re-buying this!

dec8

And lastly from the advent calendar was this Skin Laundry face wash. Rubbing this over my face for 60 seconds and then washing it off leaves my skin feeling so clean but not stripped or dry. I even think it might be helping to clear a little of my redness and texture. We’ll see, but so far I love it, and I’ve used it quite a lot and barely made a dent in this little bottle! Yay!

Next, we’ll move onto a couple of items I purchased at the end of November and have loved using in December.

dec5

I made an E.L.F order and have been really pleased with some of the items I got. I picked up a new blush in Twinkle Pink which has been said to be a dupe for the NARS Orgasm blush. I’ve not seen the NARS blush in person, but I wasn’t expecting the ELF blush to be so glittery. I’ve tried to capture some of the fallout in the photo but it just didn’t translate.

dec4

Needless to say, I kept this for the Christmas season when it’s okay to be glitter drenched, but I’m not sure I’ll be wearing it outside of party season. Either way I really enjoyed how it looked, and it wasn’t too sparkly once I had it on (or at least I don’t think it was!!)

dec6

Next from ELF was this under eye setting powder. A teeny tiny pot, which came with a little brush (though I’m not sure how you would use a teeny brush so I’ve been using a fluffy setting brush as normal) I really like this finely milled powder and as long as you use the tiniest amount, it sets my under-eye area without drying, looking cakey or settling into fine lines. It’s a win!

dec7

Lastly for makeup is a product I’m so glad I found out about. It’s changed my makeup life completely and I can’t believe no one really talks about it. The NYX Pro Foundation Mixer in white is a must have for anyone who is a little pale, or likes to change up their foundations between seasons. You just need a teeny amount, mix it into your foundation and it’ll correct the shade. I have been able to buy foundation not worrying if it’s slightly off colour, or wear foundation I’d usually save for the summer. It doesn’t change the consistency or wear of your foundation and it makes it totally customisable. I think it was about £7.50 which is a steal – go buy it!

dec9

I was lucky enough to receive a brand-new iPhone for Christmas from G Man, to replace my 2.5 year old iPhone 6. He knew I had fallen in love with the iPhone 7 Plus camera, and surprised me with one on Boxing Day, when we went into the Apple store to look for something else. I am over the moon with it, and have very quickly gotten used to the size of the handset. I can never go back!

dec10

Last for December, I need to tell you about this fantastic back pack I treated myself to at the start of the month. Knowing that I had fallen in love with the idea of a backpack for a handbag, since coming back from Disney World, I had been looking for the perfect one. But none of them fit the bill, so I put out a request for help on twitter, and my good friend Bushra told me about Knomo London. I’d never heard of them but had a look, and within a couple of days I’d placed an order.

dec11

Knomo specialise in bags and purses for technology. The one I chose is a small backpack with a padded back pocket perfect for an iPad, as it offers the right size and protection. I don’t have an iPad but the sections, pockets and the size of the pockets is perfect. It even fits my iPhone 7 plus perfectly. The fabric is water resistant and wipeable and even with all my stuff inside, once it’s on my back it doesn’t feel like it has anything in it. It also doesn’t look like it has lots inside, which I appreciate AND it fits my vlogging camera inside. It’s all kinds of awesome. Go check Knomo out!

So, that’s it for another year of favourites. Stay tuned for my 2016 favourites round up!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

December, you have been good to me. I have had a wonderfully festive month and even though it’s not been as packed as my festive season usually is, it’s meant that I’ve been able to relax and spend time on things I wouldn’t usually.

I had a fantastic Christmas week, starting with work’s Christmas party which was at a lovely pub. The week leading to Christmas wound down enough to allow me to get stuff prepared for the January return to my desk.

Christmas Eve Eve was lovely too. Despite Gary having to work in London we were able to spend a fabulous late afternoon and evening together. Then on Christmas Eve we had the whole day together which we can only remember having had once before in the whole 14 years we’ve been together.

We were able to take the day at a snail’s pace, have a lovely dinner which we decided would be a warm salad (it was so good) and then watch our traditional Christmas films until pretty much midnight

Christmas Day was spent with our families, but Gary did spend the later afternoon with my family at my Mum’s. We ate, drank and felt very merry. On Boxing Day we decided to head to the shops to see what the sales had to offer, and it wasn’t that busy in the morning. Gary surprised me by taking me into the Apple shop and telling me he had decided to get me a new phone handset but he didn’t know which colour I wanted so I had to choose. After the initial bamboozled shock had started to pass, I chose a black iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m in love!

I also picked up some bargains from The Body Shop and Boots and then we headed home, because Boxing Day is for being lazy too 😀

We’ve watched a couple of new films this week, an old one called Eye for an Eye and a new one called Lights Out. Both were very enjoyable!

For the rest of the holidays, it’s all about getting things done. Today I’m spending the majority of the day prepping and writing the content you’re going to read over the next week or so. I also have to plan in some time to begin editing my Disney World video, but I’ve been kind of putting it off because I know how big a job it is! But since I have the time whilst I’m off I really should start!

Gary and I have planned a date night for this evening, which I’m really looking forward to, and I get to see the Book Club girls a couple of times over the next few days. It’s been too long!

I’m feeling really positive for the coming year. I always love the start of a New Year because, and I know it sounds corny, things actually *feel* different. It’s a new page and there’s so much possibility.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

ny1

I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

ny2

Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

ny3

If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

Fun Times at Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we headed to Hyde Park in London for the annual Christmas fair, Winter Wonderland.

ww2

The intention had been to go the previous day but despite it being mild weather it rained hard all day. I’m so glad we waited because the weather was lovely the following day and even though it was colder, the sun shone brightly!

When we arrived at Hyde Park the line to get into Winter Wonderland was huge, but we walked a little further down the path to a different gate, and walked right in (pro tip!)

We headed to the Bavarian Village section first, because that’s where the best food is, and I was hungry! Every year I get the same thing. German sausage, potato dumpling with gravy and hot spiced red cabbage. It took a little while to find it this time around as they’d extended the Bavarian Village section massively, but I followed my nose and found the correct stall.

ww1

The food was yummy as always, and after eating we had a little further look around the area. I was pleased to see the inside tent still there, with live singers on stage performing Christmas hits.

I got some mulled wine too 🙂

ww3

The village wasn’t too busy at this point but it was getting more and more packed by the minute! For some reason they felt it important to correctly sign post EVERYTHING!

ww5

The fairground rides this year were awesome. There was a fantastic looking rollercoaster, big wheel and haunted house.

Gary grabbed some sweetcorn to munch on which looked amazing.

ww4

We had a little look around some of the craft stalls and then headed out of Hyde Park.

We wanted to see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and I had to nip into some of the shops. If I hadn’t already been in London I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to Oxford Street at Christmas time. It was PACKED. But I’m really glad we did. We headed to Liberty and just as we walked in a choir started singing ‘Carol of the Bells’ which is one of my favourite carols. I’m so pleased we went in when we did!

ww6

Heading home, shattered, but happy, the sunset was awesome and it was a lovely end to a perfectly festive day!

I also vlogged this trip so make sure you check out the video, even if it’s just to see the sunset at the end!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

 

this week i have been mostly

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s finally here!

Over the years I’ve written loads of posts about Christmas. In 2013  I even wrote a blog a day for 24 days and called Shutterbug’s Advent Calendar. This was way before Blogmas was a thing… I’m such a trend-setter!

So I’m not going to bore you all with the same old stuff. But I have been feeling extra specially Christmassy this year. It might be because last year I spent Christmas Day travelling to New York. And yes, it was the most amazing holiday and such a special way to celebrate Christmas Day. But it did leave me feeling like I’d missed my usual traditional Christmas Day – the Christmas Day I’d been used to.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Sunday which means Christmas Eve is also a weekend day. So no work for us! And it means we get an extra day before Christmas Day to prepare and wrap and shop and eat!

This year I start my celebrations on Christmas Eve Eve with a trip to London to see Chic after work, and it means I can let down my hair and have a good old boogie knowing that I don’t have to work the next day!

So far, we’ve put up the tree, bought all the presents and started eating lots of gingerbread!

We also went to Winter Wonderland last weekend, and I vlogged so keep an eye out for the video which should be going up on my channel this coming weekend.

And now I can finally say that Christmas is next week. I still have to wrap the presents, but I’m just waiting for the last one to arrive. We’ve watched most of our Christmas films but there’s still Muppets Christmas Carol to go, and then The Holiday and Polar Express on Christmas Eve.

I can’t wait for a traditional family Christmas this year and it’s coming around so quickly!

If you haven’t seen it already, I posted a new video onto my channel in my Things I Like series. This time around it’s all about Christmas so take a look!

 

This is likely to be my last proper post before Christmas, so I hope you have an awesome day and wonderful break from work and school. Stay safe, eat drink and be merry! Merry Christmas!!

4211071417_732d2f306f_z

 

 

Planning Your Trip to Walt Disney World: part 3

planning

Whoo hoo! You’re at Walt Disney World. All your planning has paid off and you’re finally doing it!

If you’ve missed parts one and two of this planning series, then feel free to head back. But if you’re ready to enjoy your holiday, why not see what I consider to be awesome tips for when you’re there.

What’s Important to you?:

If seeing characters and getting autographs is important to you, then make sure you don’t just walk past photo ops when you see them. You don’t know when you’ll see that character again so spend the time waiting for your chance to meet them.

Don’t Miss Out:

If you see a piece of merchandise that you must have, don’t let it go. If you’re staying on Disney property it can be delivered to your room so you don’t have to worry about lugging it about, and some merchandise can only be bought in one or two stores. You might forget where you saw it, or even just never make it back to that part of the park.

This can be said for food too – if you don’t pick up that Dole Whip when you see it, you might never get to have it!

Rest:

It’s really important that you plan in rest when you can. The afternoons get HOT and if you’ve been up early and plan to be awake late then you’ll need a mid-afternoon rest. Take a nap in the hotel or even just chill out with a drink somewhere air conditioned. This is a great way to avoid arguments, feeling unwell or just plain exhaustion.

Really Work Your Fastpass:

There were a couple of occasions when we arrived for our fastpass and the wait for the ride was only short anyway. You have an hour period to use your fast pass in, so on these occasions we stood in line for the short wait (10-20 minutes), rode the ride in the standard line and then once we were done we walked right back and used our fast pass. By this time the wait was often longer the second time around, and so we managed to skip the line. This meant we got to ride twice within half an hour!

Be Flexible:

Even if you have a plan like we did, be prepared to change things dependent on weather or just how you’re feeling. We had a hurricane on the way when we were there which meant we had to skip our trip to the beach, reschedule a visit to Epcot and hide out in a mall when the rain set in!

Take Advantage of Freebies:

On our arrival, we were asked if we were celebrating. We told them it was our wedding anniversary so we got given badges each. It was my first visit too, so I got a 1st visit badge. If it’s your birthday they have badges for that also! Whilst out and around the parks and resorts, the cast members take note of your badges and acknowledge that you’re celebrating. We also got given a free cake on one of our quick service visits!

Take Advantage of Your Package:

On our last full day, we knew we had lots of Dining Plan quick service meal credits left – I mean A LOT so we headed to Goofy’s sweet shop in Disney Springs. Here they allow you to split your quick service meal credit for three snack credits and this meant we could get anything in the store that was snack credit eligible for FREE (most of the store was eligible). We had around 80 credits left at this point which meant we filled our basket full of sweets for back home and gifts and got them all for free. We felt quite guilty about taking advantage in this way, but the cast member who served us actually encouraged us to buy more and more and told us to come back the next day if we still had credits left. We had planned to, but the hurricane meant we couldn’t.

We also took advantage of the photo pass we had received in our package and whenever we saw a photographer with no or a short line we got our photos taken. This was a great way to keep a memento of our time in the parks and meant we were never waiting around for a photo op. The only photo line we stood in for a while was during our Halloween party night, but we knew we wanted a keepsake of that!

img_6431

We also each received a refillable mug as part of our package. If you have this, do take advantage of it. The mugs are plastic refillable cups that retail for $18. They are activated at the counter and then for the duration of your stay you can have free Coke Freestyle drinks as often as you like (one every 5 minutes, if you wish) at all the Disney resorts. This also includes coffee, tea and water. We used these every day and found them to be a real treat.

Go Off Site:

We rented a car which meant that we were able to go off-site to the stores and pick up cases of bottled water, iced coffee and snacks for our room. Our room had a mini fridge and so we were able to take cold bottled water with us whenever we left the room, and save money on buying water in the parks.

Check Your Receipt:

A lot of the receipts in the parks have money off codes or coupons at the bottom. These can save you money on future purchases in and around the parks and resort stores. So make sure you inspect your receipt and don’t just throw it away!

Stay Hydrated:

It’s essential that no matter how much fun you’re having you keep drinking water. It’s so easy to get distracted and forget to drink so keep an eye on how you’re feeling. There are water fountains everywhere and places selling water. But we took our own bottles and the backpack we carried had water bottle holders in it meaning we didn’t have to worry about carrying freezing wet bottles in our hands.

And on that note: Make sure you wear sunscreen – hats, sunglasses and sunscreen – and don’t forget the top of your ears. You don’t want to ruin your trip with sunburn and heat exhaustion. Look after yourself!

So, those are my hints and tips for an epic trip to Disney World. There’s so much more, but I could go on and on – and you should probably learn them for yourself! So, go ahead, have an amazing time, and enjoy yourselves. And don’t forget to come back and tell me all about your trip to the happiest place on earth J