Travel & Me.

There were two subjects at school I could never get a handle on: maths and geography. I didn’t like them, didn’t enjoy them and I couldn’t wrap my head around them.

As the years have gone on, I’ve found ways around maths and the stuff I never really understood, I’ve never had to use. I always keep a calculator handy too, just in case. However, I still have trouble with geography.

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Yes, people of the internet. My name’s Kate and I’m geographically challenged.

That’s part one of why I really struggle with travelling. I get confused and disorientated easily. Even coming out of a shop on the high street I can’t figure out which way I was walking. In short, I get lost very, very easily. My internal GPS is broken and there’s no hope of fixing it.

Part two follows on from part one, I don’t like feeling out of control or and I have a fear of the unknown… the same as most people. However, if I plan a route from place A to place B, using a certain mode of transport, at a certain time and then suddenly that route or mode is not available to me, I freeze up. My brain can’t compute. I just have a meltdown.

I suddenly have no control, I have no idea where to go, what to do. I feel lost. So not only do I have a tendency to physically get lost, but I also can, very easily, feel lost mentally too. Then comes, what I can only describe as, an anxiety attack.

Late last year I went on a plane for the first time in around seven years. I got all the way to the airport only to discover that all the cash I had drawn out for taxis, food, spending money, emergencies, I had left on the side, at home, where it was waiting patiently to be put into my purse.  Cue the meltdown.  Now I was relatively composed. No-one had clocked I was completely blinded by panic. I cried silently into my sleeve whilst my rational side said not to worry and reminded me I had my debit card. I could use that and get some more cash out at the airport. I had pre-paid for the taxi I was in, so really there was no problem, only that I had been a bit of a spanner.  BUT NO!  My brain couldn’t handle being rational.

The airport was fine. I calmed myself but I still felt sick and was fighting tears. As soon as I could, I leant over to my friend and whispered my dilemma, to which she said, “it’s ok, we can find a cash machine and if worst comes to worst, I’ll lend you some cash whilst we are away.” Don’t ever let me tell you I have crappy friends. Turns out that forgetting money ran in the group. My other friend forgot his entire wallet, so we were lending him dollar all weekend, which I had no problems with. Maybe I’m just a control freak or a perfectionist, but my brain is convinced that rational answers in these situations don’t apply to me.

We flew to Disney earlier this year and me, like an idiot, thought it was a good idea to spilt my money between my hand and hold luggage, so if one went missing I still had some. Yeah, my best gal, who works in travel insurance, gave me a right dressing down about it. Apparently, thats not something you should do. You should keep it all on your person. So heads up guys, don’t let anxiety over being mugged or pick pocketed allow you to invalidate your insurance. I spent the entire flight worrying about it until I got my bag the other end. I won’t be making that mistake again. The train was another story entirely. I was ok because I was with friends who weren’t nearly as worried as me and took control of the situation. Had I been alone though? Meltdown. We got there with only one minor hiccup that did nothing other than make us walk a few meters – I can live with that.

Slowly, I’ll get myself through it, I mean I’ve survived being thrown in to situations that were almost vomit inducing for me, and I didn’t vomit either (just for a bit of TMI.) I survived them – unscathed. There’s hope for this world traveller yet.

 

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Surprise Birthday Party at a Speakeasy!

Every year I do something for my birthday… every year, without fail.

Except this one.

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I’ve had a bit of a tough time. Not as tough as others, I am fully prepared to admit. Although I haven’t had to weather the eye of many storms, I have certainly been caught up in them and things keep going from bad to worse. Needless to say my birthday was the least of my worries. I went away for a couple of days over my actual birthday and had a nice enough time – there were absolute highs that made my spirits soar and devastating lows that made my blood boil, soul freeze over and heart smash to bits. Yeah, it was an up and down experience.

But one of my gal pals said to me, “keep this day free, I have a joint birthday surprise for you and my Mum!” I was beyond excited! (I’m also close with her mum, in case the fact we were going out with her parent sounded weird.)

So, the day rolls around and my curiosity is getting the better of me.
I’ve been theorising all week. Maybe, just maybe, I could sneak a peek at the taxi drivers sat nav… but do I want to ruin the surprise? OH, I’M SO CONFLICTED! However, sneaky peaking wasn’t an option. My friend had explained to the taxi driver that it was a surprise and all traces of where we were going were wiped from the cab. No sat nav, no address, no mobile phone – nada.

We ended up at a fancy hotel, however we didn’t go in. In fact, we walked away from it. 50 yards from the main entrance, concealed in the front of the victorian building, was a spiral staircase – heading down to what I expect was the servants quarters back in the day. Following it, we ended up at a totally inconspicuous looking door. I guessed that was it. I had no idea where we were but here goes nothing – literally nothing. Behind the door was just a corridor with ceiling to floor portraits hanging in it (I later found out these were all secret doors. HOW FREAKIN’ COOL IS THAT?!) However, tucked around an almost non-exsistant corner was another staircase.

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Heading down, cabernets and bureaus filled with oddities and trinkets started to appear and then suddenly, “SURPRISE!” There must have been 20 of our closest mutual friends crammed into this tiny, little, art deco, cocktail bar. A speakeasy – they arranged a surprise afternoon tea at a speakeasy! Be still my beating heart. I genuinely almost cried. What they had arranged was beyond words. It was an emerald green cave of wonders, like genuinely stepping into a 1920s film. There were crazy paintings, curiosities and knickknacks crammed into every corner (my favourites being the typewriters, old books and a random tiny bath tub filled with icing sugar and barbie limbs – so weird!) There was champagne on all the tables, from tall tables for leaning against casually to booths tucked away in corners.

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 The food I could go on about for eternity. There was the most beautiful afternoon tea laid out for everyone to dig into, with everything you could ever want; sandwiches, scones, macarons, tiny apple pies, truffles, crostini with mushroom pate, lemon tarts, sausage rolls and an ENTIRELY home made Harry Potter birthday cake, complete with chocolate frogs, a fondant Hedwig and chocolate sorting hat. Can we also have a moment of silence for the blessing that was our very own mixologist, who made up two special cocktails in our honour: a Golden Snitch (which was passion fruit & chilli based, finished with edible glitter) and a Cinderella’s Castle (which was far more delicate and fruity, garnished with an edible flower.)

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An 80s cheesey playlist was playing in the background, they had hired a caricaturist who could draw you as any character you could imagine. I challenged him with Winifred Sanderson, to which he was surprised and excited about, as we both subsequently fangirled over the divine Miss M for the rest of the session. (He also said I have a very cute nose to draw 💁 #humblebrag.) Our friends had prepared special birthday sashes and hats for us and fun party accessories for everyone else. It was just the most wonderful surprise. I didn’t stop shaking from shock all afternoon.

I have never felt so loved. I didn’t want it to end. Everything was so perfect. I wasn’t expecting it and not only did it put a smile on my face, but it put a smile in my soul too. Sometimes you can forget how much people care about you, think of you or even like you. I had gotten to a point where I was so convinced I was dispensable to every person I knew, that I wasn’t worth the effort, time or thought, that at first I was flabbergasted that someone had bothered, in fact many, many someones had bothered. They had not only bothered but gone out of their way to do this for us. I mean, I would have done it for my friends Mum, she’s an absolute legend, but for me? I didn’t get it.

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This was the second time in my life I had been thrown a surprise party and much like the time before, I was convinced the party was thrown for my friend, but they included me as it would be awkward to include one without the other, however I reminded myself – they didn’t have to include you.

 There were many people in attendance who’s birthdays were around the same time, in fact on the same day as us, who were not included in the surprise, but had come along as guests. It made me remember, you are loved Kate, and you must have done something right to not only have these fab people as long standing friends but for them to do something like this for you. Sometimes I think that my rubbish view of myself is exactly how other people see me, and that because I don’t always love myself, no-one else does. It’s acts of kindness, such as this one, that make me remember that actually I am loved and cared about. It’s not always about the scale or the material value of something either, it’s the thought, the effort, the care and kindness put into any gesture that are so heartwarming, overwhelming and reassuring.

Remember to practice gratitude gang and remember that you are loved and cared about. You are important to someone, even if, right now, you feel so unimportant to everyone, even yourself. Dumbledore was right you know, “happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

 

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GIF CREDIT: Giphy // giphy

Disney’s Newport Bay? Ahoy, Captain!

Ahoy land lubbers! Ok, that may be a little too pirate for such a swanky place as Disney’s Newport Bay Hotel.

Honestly, it took my friends and I a hot minute to decide on a hotel for our most recent DLP adventure. Did we want to save money and stay in an affiliate hotel? Did we want to spend a bit more but still err on the side of financial caution and go for Disney’s Santa Fe? Did we want to go all out and just book a room in the Disneyland Hotel? These were the questions that haunted us. We ended up choosing the Newport Bay Hotel, as we had heard such good things. I also had a friend who had upgraded to Compass Club and said it was totally worth it, which it is… if you use it.

Top Tip: If there 4 of you going and you don’t mind sharing a room or beds, most Disney Hotels come with two double beds in a room… get four of you in one, like we did, and quarter the accommodation costs rather than just halve them!

The hotel itself is b-e-a-utiful with the outsides looking like an American dream. In the rooms, everything was of a nautical theme, from the bed frames looking like Mickey ship wheels and the bedding having a nautical rope pattern to the porthole design around the freeze. It was gorgeous. The view is amazing, straight out onto the lake with the New York directly opposite. You could even see the hot air balloon from our window!  There are two restaurants at the hotel: Cape Cod and the Yacht Club. Now, confession time, we didn’t eat at either of those places. As we were Compass Club we had our own club lounge where we were served breakfast and afternoon tea every day.

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Ah yes Compass Club. Was it worth it? If you’re having splurge, yes! If you are planning spending a bit of time at the hotel, yes! If you can be arsed to walk backwards and forwards from the park and the hotel, yes! A few of the perks to a Compass Club room are:

  • Larger room
  • Hotel Fastpass
  • Private Compass Club Lounge to take breakfast, which includes hot and cold choices
  • Afternoon tea served in the lounge everyday included with your room
  • Private check-in and concierge.
  • Bathrobes and slippers.

The room didn’t feel too much larger, it was actually a similar size to the standard room I stayed in last year at the Santa Fe… although the bathroom was lush and it was big enough for us. The safe was a good size and we made good use of it (we went with someone who works in travel insurance and what she says goes!) There was only two robes and pairs of slippers, so we didn’t really bother with them seeing as there was four of us. Plus we all had matching onesies so didn’t really need them! (lame but worth it. £3 pineapple onesies. We cry laughed over them and they are so snuggly!)

Top Tip: Pop the Mickey toiletries into your wash bag each morning as they get refilled every day. That way they get topped up and everyone will eventually get a set to use or bring home.

The breakfast and club lounge were 100% worth the upgrade. The food was served buffet style and you could have as much as you wanted. There was a selection of teas, coffees, water, hot chocolate, juices and smoothies to drink and both continental and full English food options with a cereal bar and egg cooking station too. We never actually made it back for the afternoon tea, save the day we arrived, so that was a moot point for us, but what we did try was absolutely delish. The club lounge was quieter with plenty of seating, no waiting around or standing in queues for food or a table, which was almost worth it’s weight in gold.

Top Tip: Take a few extra cans of drink during your afternoon tea and take them into the park with you instead of paying out extra to buy them once you’re there. I don’t think you’re meant to, but we snuck a few into our bag the first day and took them into our rooms; totally worth it.

We went during a crossover period between summer & halloween season, before the French, English and Spanish schools broke up, so we actually picked a really decent time to go! There were still the odd few shows for the Summer of Superheroes, but aside from that there wasn’t very much going on, which was the downside to going at this time of year, however the queue times made up for it. The wait times for the first three days we were there were generally around 15 minutes. We did pretty much EVERY ride in the two parks. The reason this ties in is because, with the Compass Club, you get one hotel fast pass per person per day. These give you access to the fast pass queue on any ride with fast pass before 1pm and after 4pm.

Top Tip:  If there queue isn’t huge, don’t bother using fast passes on the Buzz Lightyear ride. It gets you no further into the queue than waiting 5 mins. However, Big Thunder Mountain? Totally worth the fast pass.

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So over all, would I recommend this hotel: Yes! I totally would. For one, the perks of staying in a Disney Hotel were worth it. We used our magic hours every day and the extras, such as the hotel meet & greets, proximity to the park and meal plan were a dream. The Newport Bay’s theming is beautiful and well thought out. Every staff member we came across was pleasant and helpful. There was ramp and lift access to every floor and most concierges spoke French, English and Spanish (at least the Compass Club guys did!) The rooms were clean and air conditioned and you can request extras, such as kettles, from reception. In the Compass Club rooms there were two french plug sockets and an English plug socket built in to the dressing table, however there was only one plug socket near the bed.

It’s one of those hotels that would benefit you more if you were having a longer trip, or if you were planning on spending some time at the hotel outside of meals and sleeping, as it does have a swimming pool and gym at your disposal. The only down side we found was that the 15 minute walk from the hotel to the park felt like hours when you had been on your feet all day! As for the Compass Club, it was a lovely luxury. If you can afford it, it is worth it just for the convenience (fast pass, concierge, club lounge for breakfast & lunch etc.) and the hearty breakfast options, however we found that it wasn’t an essential feature and we would have enjoyed our stay just as much without it.

 

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Media credits/sources: Jack Sparrow GIF/ Disney’s Newport Bay Club Hotel

I Did Disney… and This Time it Got Boujee.

I went back. Told you I would. This is why there has been silence.

I WAS AT DISNEY Y’ALL!

It was a very different adventure compared to my last trip. I had my bearings and all, as it was a second trip, and not a lot had changed aside from 25th Anniversary decor coming down and the Halloween decor going up. It was the company that made this trip and entirely different lamp of genies. This time it was with my school friends.

My girls. My Squad. My Gang. My Besties. Whatever you want to call them. We decided to have a blow out holiday, as life had gotten stressful for all of us and we needed each other and a good break. Not only that, it was roughly our 10 year friendiversary. I mean… I’m grasping at straws on that one but I feel like as of year 10 at school we could all say we were solid friends… ten years later, we’re all still here and all getting on a bit.

It all started with a mouse  two sweaty girls, cycling halfheartedly on old exercise bikes in an empty gym. We sat and bemoaned our situations; my disappointment as my 2018 Disney trip spectacularly fell through for the third time (it’s a saga that could rival Twilight… less vampires though) and my friend despairing as her boyfriend was enrolling in a course with no down time, so no holiday for her.

 Then it hit us.

Why don’t we go away together… TO DISNEY?! The puzzle pieces started to fit. After a look at whats on, when we’re free and how much we had stashed in our piggy banks, we realised this might actually be do-able. Why stop there though? Why not invite a couple of the others? Every room we looked at had double beds and none of us mind sharing, plus the costs would go down, there would be four of us so no-one would be alone on rides and the whole gang would be together!

The puzzle started to actually look like something, namely Princess Aurora’s pink Paris castle.

After a whole weekend of planning, a long, expensive phone call, a hit to all of our bank accounts and a lot of pizza, it was booked and the puzzle was completed. WE WERE GOING TO DISNEY.

Now, as for the name of the post, we were split between doing Disney on the cheap or having a blow out holiday. Both are valid options and it was a lot of weighing up pros and cons based on savings, convenience and just how much of a “blow out holiday” we really wanted.

We decided to go quids in, as tbh, we’re all getting to the point where people are getting mortgages, having babies and getting married. We figured we should do it before one of us settles and can’t put the money towards it anymore. Live while we’re young and all that crap. So a blow out is was. We had the money saved up, we had a budget airline on our doorstep flying to Charles De Gaulle and managed to bag a deal of 25% off and free Half Board. GET IN MY SON.

Now here’s where we got boujee and played princess a little bit:

  • We upgraded our half board to ‘plus’ which gave us a larger range of restaurants to choose from and meant that food wasn’t going to be a problem when we got there.
  • We chose to stay at the Newport Bay hotel, one of Disney’s 4* hotels, a fifteen minute walk from the park. One of my friends said that the Compass Club upgrade was worth it, so we upgraded too. What the hell. When in Rome… or Disney.
  • We splurged on the Marvel Package (as it was the end of the superhero season so figured let’s do it before it possibly disappears forever).
  • We booked Buffalo Bills one night.

 

Now, originally, when it was the two of us, we actually looked at the Disneyland Hotel, as it is a dream of my friends, however, with the four of us, we paid almost the same price for the Newport Bay, upgrade and marvel package as one standard room at the DH! So worth changing our plans.

When life gives you lemons… lose a star and gain a Spiderman!

Honestly, it was a whole new world. I have so much to say, good and not so good, that this risks turning into a thesis and nobody needs that. I will say a dream is a wish your heart makes. That little wooden holiday dream can turn into a real holiday with enough faith trust and pixie dust (and savings, annual leave and wonderful friends.)

So, I’ll give you the 411 on all those upgrades, luxury’s, meet & greets and tips and tricks I learnt this time around in another post… or two! Keep your eyes peeled and your Mickey ears on. It’s all coming up!

And the Disney bounding… OF COURSE THERE WAS DISNEY BOUNDING!

 

That’s all folks…

WAIT THAT’S NOT DISNEY!

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Gif credits – Giphy.com : Storm Troopers /Anna/ Cinderella/Spiderman

They Call Me Awkward Annie.

“What’s your name kid?”

“They call me Annie, awkward Annie. The weirdest kid in the west.”

Well, that’s how the conversation would go if my life were a cowboy film. (And slightly but not completely off topic comment, I do actually love the story of Annie Oakley, and we’re both Leos’, so y’know, lion prowess connecting us through time or something or other, I don’t know. Just FYI.)

Alas, the awkwardness struck again and I ended up being called by the wrong name. I really need to stop doing that. I just need to figure out a way of saying ‘that’s not my name’ without sounding rude. I just can’t! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just stammer a bit, stutter a bit and reside myself to the fact that my name has been changed irrevocably for the next however long. I dunno. Honestly, my life is like living in a Bridget Jones book sometimes.

However, steps have been taken in the race against awkwardness. I recently found myself in a room full of extended family I had either never met or hadn’t seen in 20 years but I didn’t actually get awkward. RESULT. I just strolled up to someone and went, “hi, you don’t remember me but we’re cousins and when I was three you put me in an Ali Baba style washing basket, put the lid on and walked away. Nice to re-meet you.”

SCORE! 10 anti-awkward points to Hufflepuff.

Also, I booked a haircut without an ounce of awkwardness. I mean c’mon! This is legit progress! Haircuts are one of my favourite and least favourite things in the world. I hate the small talk, the trying-but-not-quite-finding the words to describe exactly what you want, the side stepping and struggling to find the right date for your next appointment and then making the decision as to what you want THAT far in advance, but I love the results once it’s done. I also continually hair flip. Just flip, flip, flip all day long.

Last year, I won a free hair cut in a charity raffle at this fancy salon. So off I went, shaking in my Dr. Martins. I physically couldn’t phone them, it made me too nervous, especially since I didn’t know the joint existed before this. So I popped in (I say popped. I mean planned a day, googled the location, drove past it once, did a loop, parked outside, sat there looking at it, stood outside it picking up the courage to go in and then awkwardly went in with my voucher and fumbled my way through an awful explanation of my situation.)

But, look at me now, just wandering in; “oh hi guys, can I make an appointment please?” Chill as a… well a chilled thing that is chill and wears sunglasses because they’re also making an outward statement about the fact they are too cool for skool (you can’t write school in the statement. You just can’t. It’s an unspoken 00s rule.)

So, I guess there’s hope for this awkward Annie yet. Let’s go on with the show.

ckcsignoff

 

 

 

 

 

GIF CREDITS: TOWLEROAD.COM / GIFER.COMADOREDELARIO.TUMBLR.COM

Drowning in Chocolate🍫| Afternoon Tea at the Hilton!

Something that I find crazy is that when I meet up with my best uni pal, it is as if we were never apart. We message back and forth, send each other birthday and Christmas cards, but suddenly it’s been a year and we’ve not seen each other. Where does the time go? So we always try and make a day of it when we do finally get to meet up. This time it was my turn to plan something and Groupon something I did. Hey, London is pricey, gotta save those pennies where you can! When my friend asked where we were off to, I just said, “the expensive part of the monopoly board.” (Not because I was being mysterious or boujee, but because my internal compass is shot and I had no idea which direction we were going in.)

This time it was the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, Mayfair; Podium Bar & Restaurant’s “Chocoholic’s Afternoon Tea.”

The standard afternoon tea is £39.00 per person,with a champagne option available, but with the 2for1 deal we paid just over £20 each (incl. tip.). The tea menu was extensive but not overwhelming, and there was also coffee and fresh juices on offer, both included as an alternative. As a gal who hates the leafy drink I was mightily happy with this offer👌. I’m not sure if you get refills or not since we weren’t asked, but then again we didn’t ask either. It’s a two way street, Linda!

The food was GORGEOUS. Super rich, but delish. They mean it when they say “chocoholic” afternoon tea. You start with a tray of open sandwiches: prawn cocktail & lettuce, coronation chicken with curry and pineapple, smoked salmon & horseradish, cucumber & chive and ham with tomato chutney, mustard & cress. They were actually really delicious and a nice take on the traditional finger sandwiches: classic tastes, half the bread. We also got offered a refill at no extra cost but declined because my friend was so damn excited about the chocolate she was bouncing like a baby in a baby bouncer.

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So here comes the sweet treats: scones, pastries and miniature fancies (as the menu describes them. I would just say little creamy, chocolatey things.) Now, here lies the rub. If you’re not good at sharing, especially food, maybe don’t come to this tea. The only sweet stuff you get two of is the plain scones, the rest is one between two. It’s not too bad because boy is that stuff rich, but if you’re not comfortable with sharing or splitting 50/50… maybe look at other options.

Firstly, scones. A plain one each and then I offered to have the raisin one whilst Miss J took care of the chocolate chip one. These are accompanied by strawberry jam, clotted cream and a salted caramel spread. Nice twist, you got me gal. Then we moved up a tier into the majesty of the fancy bits. The first tiers of chocolate treats consisted of a coconut sphere with Brazilian chocolate, Pina Colada cheesecake, mandarin and milk chocolate log and a caramelised banana and milk chocolate macaroon.

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These were a bit hit and miss with us. The pina colada cheesecake and the coconut sphere I could have eaten over and over again, the other two… not so much. I mean, Miss J picked all the mandarin out of her log, and I really wasn’t a fan of the mushy banana texture in the centre of the macaroon, but each to their own.

The top tier was the supreme tier, the God tier. A deconstructed black forest gateau and a passion fruit and strawberry tartlet. I all but inhaled it. They were so, so delish. I just, I just can’t. They were so darn good. I dream about them. I do. Honestly. My pal was full… so guess who got to eat all of them. This guy! I’m usually very good at sharing, but in this moment I was so glad I didn’t have to.

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So all in all, the food was so yummy but slightly hit and miss in places, however, that was personal preference. The staff and location were wonderful too. I have to say that, with the Groupon voucher, it was worth it (watch out for the added gratuity not covered by the voucher though) but I’m not sure I would have done it full price on my budget!

Until next time!

ckcsignoff

 

 

 

Gif credit: giphy.com/Paris Hilton

Peter Pan Disney Bounding!💚

Oh I did it, I dabbled in the dark arts of Disney Bounding… ok it’s not dark arts at all, it’s actually super fun!

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I’m heading back to DLP this year and my troupe of lost boys suddenly expressed a desire to have a go at Disney Bounding. What is Disney Bounding I hear you cry? Well, I’m not actually sure.

Oh helpful Kate, well done.

In my opinion, Disney bounding is subtly dressing as a character without wearing a costume. You compile a look inspired by your favourite characters, which can give the illusion of the character, without infringing upon the ‘NO COSTUMES FOR ADULTS’ rule. I guess that’s about right?

 On my trip to Disneyland Paris last year, I decided to have a go at Disney Bounding. It looked fun and gave me a little bit of a challenge.  I wasn’t brilliant at it, but I cobbled together what I had to give ode to one of my favourite characters: Peter Pan. The boy who never grew up.

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The basic outfit was… well… basic. A plain, forest green, v neck tee and some ripped black jeans. Now, I get it, the kid wears tights/leggings but a) tights are revealing at the best of times and are uncomfortable little buggers and b) I fail to believe that a kid who flies, lives in a forest and sword fights for fun has never ripped, snagged or put a hole in his flaming leggings. So for comfort, coverage and realness… ripped jeans ftw. I also tried it with some green jeans too, but I kinda looked like a big booger, so I stepped away from the green trousers.

I paired these with a pair of brown, ankle boots, not suede or with upturned toes, but with a sweet, brogue-esque, later cut design and thick soles for all that walking (and rain.) Now for his other clothing necessity; his green cap with a red feather in it. Ngl, I wasn’t feeling a cap. So instead of wearing a hat on my head, I found a gorgeous, little bow from OnceUponABowtiqueUK. I pulled my hair into a high pony, ready for adventuring, and tucked this little clip on the front to hide the band.

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I still felt like I was missing something. Something tinkling in my ear and spreading pixie dust about the place. TINKERBELLE, OF COURSE! I picked up an enamel Tink pin in the park, as they have many pins, widely available (especially of our favourite Pixie) and popped her on my shirt so she could hover over my shoulder. Even when she is sent away, Tink is always looking out for Peter (may I remind you of the poisoned medicine incident 💀.) So if you’re dressing as Peter Pan, you’ve got to include his trusty sidekick!

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Now for the nods to ya boy which aren’t exactly in character but added elements of the story to give it that little extra. Firstly, I found a pair of cameo styled earrings, one of Peter’s profile and one of Wendy. I wore them facing inwards, as if they were looking towards each other. Creepy but cute. The other was another enamel pin that simply says: “Think Happy Thoughts.” A statement we should consider all year around, but in this case you have to “…think happy thoughts, and they lift you up into the air!” Both of these pieces are from HouseOfWonderland. They are both gorgeous, detailed and well made and I still wear them on the regs.

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The other little nod was my necklace. I took a few Pan themed necklaces with me, however the chosen one for this look was one that would possibly be found upon Peter Pan’s person. I wore my little thimble and acorn around my neck, just like Wendy and Peter wear theirs. Keep your kisses close, they could save your life!

I did get around to wearing all of them though! Both the gold resin flight necklace and the acorn and thimble one were gifted to me, but the last I bought on Etsy. It’s sad but I believe that the shop has since closed down, which sucks pixie dust!

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So, not as far as some go but a step further than everyone else I went with! It’s all about getting creative and feeling that Disney magic! You do you and have fun with it! I wanted to have a go, did it and didn’t feel silly or out of place, in fact the characters will usually clock if you’ve dressed like them or have something relating to them on you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Peter the day I was wearing my Pan garb, so I met him in one of my Alice themed outfits… he still managed to pick up on the anchor on my shirt and accuse me of piracy!

If you want to check out my last escapade to Disney, find out more about my character interactions (including the pirate controversy) or the time I got spooned by a clown at DLP them I shall leave the links below (bonus, I went overboard with the photos again) :

>>Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary 💙<<

>> Meeting Peter Pan, Mickey Mouse, Jack Sparrow and the Mad Hatter at Disneyland Paris ✨<<

>>Being spoonfed by a clown at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show! 🙀<<

 

“Just think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings!”

Until next time, off to Neverland!

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P.S. None of this sponsored, I just love what I found!

 

In a World Full of a Regina’s, Be a Janis.

“I wish I could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat it and be happy.” – Crying girl that doesn’t even go here out of Mean Girls 💋

In a world full of Reginas’, be a Janis.

I, for one, am a Janis. Pegged to be the weird one and the target for all the jokes bullies, or in actual fact just literal, IRL mean girls, that can make school kinda unbearable. But what even is weird? Some people say weird like it is a bad thing. If being quick witted and confident enough to slam dunk a come back like “your mom’s chest hair”, being strong enough to stand alone or march as part of a crowd to the beat of my own drum, to withstand hurt time and time again and still wake up and face each day as myself without bowing to peer pressure or societal/community norms, then I think I’d rather be a weirdo, be like Janis.anigif_enhanced-buzz-7961-1383248660-42Being “weird” or specifically a “weirdo” or even an “outsider” or “non-conformist” doesn’t mean you can’t wear pink on a Wednesday. It does mean, however, you can wear sweats or joggers when ever you like! Wear the jeans, g’wannnn! You can most definitely wear your hair in a ponytail whenever you want to. White gold hoops are you thing, their thing, everyone’s thing if they want it to be. Wear the hoops. Dammit, you can even make fetch happen. Yes, you can!

Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other people, because their standards, their bars and their goals are set in a different place to yours. They have different ideas and ideals. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to walk away. It’s ok to step back. It’s ok to want to take things slow. It’s ok to want a change. It’s ok to want to stay exactly where you are. You do not need to be someone else, or live someone else’s life, when you could be you and live your life the way you want to, not how someone else wants it to go or be done.

It’s easier said than done, I know that, but remember two things:

1) “The world doesn’t end, it just feels like it does. – Janis, ‘I’d Rather Be Me’, Mean Girls the musical.

2) There’s only one of you… and that’s so fetch!

Yes. Yes this was almost a love note to Mean Girls. I was a 00s teen and, other than it being one of the most quoteable films ever made, it was basically my biopic. I mean I could totally relate… and I was most certainly a Janis.

Also, very excited that this is now a musical.

V. V. excited!

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GIF Credit: Buzzfeed/sammywinchester|tumblr

Prancing Around Like I’m Mary Lennox🌻 | Somerleyton Hall & Gardens.

I recently went on a little escapade and found myself getting lost in the sprawling 5000 acre estate of Someleyton Hall in Lowestoft, UK. Honestly, there were moments when I was on my own, surrounded by trees twisted into odd shapes, with three different exits that all look the same and the odd statue peeking out from behind a bush that you swear wasn’t there before, it was like being in a beautiful episode of ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’

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Literally… the place was used in ‘Tales of the Unexpected’… and as a stand in for Sandringham (y’know, QEII’s house.) This place is beyond beautiful. Not to mention they have one of those great big hedge mazes like in Harry Potter. I didn’t go in it just because I was too hot to adventure and I had a super savage summer cold (like, I should have done a She’s the Man and shoved tampons up my nose like Viola to stop the snot river that was a flowin’.) Also, I was scared I would get lost and then Voldemort would just be in there all nose-less and snake like, poking people in the forehead, screaming ‘KILL THE SPARE!’ No thanks, Barbara.

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But anyway, anyway, all references aside, Somerleyton is absolutely gorgeous and there is a sweet little tea room and gift shop too. There are tours over the course of the day which run at around 45 minutes each. This is the only way to see inside the hall itself, as Lord and Lady Somerleyton and their family still reside there. Check the website for availability, because opening days and times vary season to season. One adult ticket for entrance into both the hall & gardens comes in at around £11.45, with deals for groups, concessions and RHS members. You can get a ticket for just the gardens too at a reduced price, which is just as worth it if you love the great outdoors and a bit of artistic landscaping. Honestly, it was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon, mooching around in the sunshine without a cloud in the sky. If they ever remake The Secret Garden… this would be the place to shoot those exteriors! It’s a nature photographers dream!

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Pretending to be Shania Twain with Ice Cream.

I’m pretty much a quarter of the way to death. At my age, by all kinds of unspoken societal law, in my position I should be a fully fledged adult doing adult things… and I am… sometimes.

The thing is, there are times when life gets too much. The universe is catapulting hideous demogorgon-esque scenarios your way, everyone is breathing down your neck, opinions and judgements are pushing you from pillar to post like a mental bully circle and everywhere you turn looks real bleak. In moments like those you just have to relent. Being a strong, adult figure doesn’t mean being crippled with anxiety and carrying the world on your shoulders 24/7. You are human after all. Here’s a tested, tried and true method of mine that I put into practice again just recently and oh my life! It was like hitting the reset button on your tamagotchi and bringing it back from the dead. You ready? Pretend you’re 14 again and do the things you used to do, let loose a little and allow yourself to have no responsibilities for an hour or so. Maybe just one night.

One of my best gals came over, we both got into our PJs and ordered enough pizza to feed a family of four. Whilst waiting we decided to go full tween movie, pyjama party realness and put on my 90s playlist. There we are, hair brush microphones in hands, high kicking, full on emoting, singing along to Shania Twain together before collapsing onto the floor in a heap of giggles. After laying on the carpet and stuffing ourself with pizza straight out of the box and bacon and cheese wedges, (yes, you heard me… BACON AND CHEESE WEDGES,) we settled ourselves with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and two spoons and binge watched an entire series of Drag Race (because I banged on about it so much that my friend finally caved, watched it and fell in love with it too.)

We had a heart to heart and talked about more adult things, which is what friends do, and when things got a little heavy on the heart, we decided to go heavy on the face too. I pulled out my entire make up collection and proceeded to give my pal a make over. It wasn’t the most attractive look but we weren’t going for attractive, we were going for laugh-until-we-cry fabulousness. It worked. I cried. It was hilarious. She looked fabulous.

It felt so good to laugh until our stomaches’ ached and our faces hurt. From the outside looking in our behaviour was completely enrobed by a brazen immaturity. Yes, yes it was. Best thing? We didn’t even care, and that’s the clincher to having the most wonderful time. Just. Don’t. Care. Nothing is going to be as fun as frivolity, as just letting go, being crazy. When the fear of judgement is removed we find our safety net. When we feel like no one will care to condemn us, we feel free to take that leap of faith, to free fall a little, to get things off of our chest and be our true selves. If it’s not hurting anyone, why is it so wrong?

That’s all we want isn’t it? To feel free, safe and supported? I know that when I let go of the idea of others judgement, opinions and failing in their eyes, things seem a little brighter and my anxieties drop away at least just a smidge. That’s when true happiness appears and strength will soon follow it.