Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Disneyland Paris at Christmas






How lucky was I that I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland Paris at Christmas. As soon as we got back from our first ever trip in February we literally booked this trip a few weeks later. We had the disney blues bad. We thought what could be better than going and combining both disney and Christmas.

As my sister is a teacher and I am a nurse trying to find a weekend in December where we could go was proving impossible. We managed to find some dates and booked to go from the 21st- 23rd. With our previous two trips we have always got on the first flight available out and then come home on a late night flight. This time we got a flight from Manchester to Paris at 06.10 and the flight took 55 minutes. We then got our luggage and got on the magic bus which took around an hour. We then arrived at the hotel which was the Hotel Cheyenne (post here). We checked in, and dropped our luggage off as we couldn't get into our room until 3pm. After this, we headed straight into the park and we were in there for about 09.30 which I think is pretty good going. It is such a short flight you can still have your entire first day.

We had made a bit of a schedule as to what we wanted to do each day. This day was dedicated to meet and greets in the main park. We were really excited about the meet and greets, but as always the queues can be big. We queued for Thumper and it was definitely took way over an hour. The most exciting thing on the first day was the parade. My sister had seen sneak peeks of the parade, but I wanted to save it to see it for myself. It was such a fabulous parade and they definitely went on all out with theming. Everything was as you would expect Christmas themed, but it was really magical. There were lots of new characters on the parade who I hadn't seen previously, which is always exciting. It completely got me into the spirit and I watched it twice on the first day.

Before we went this time we had fully prepared ourselves that it was going to be sooooo busy especially as it was the weekend before Christmas. To our surprise it was the same kind of busyness as at Halloween. The queues for the rides were big, but a few of the bigger rides were down due to the heavy spouts of rain. As always we took advantage of the fast passes and used the disneyland app to keep up with the waiting times of each ride.

There was no denying that they have decorated Main Street amazingly as they had a huge Christmas tree at the start of the street. It looked incredible and as soon as you walked through the gates, and it put an instance smile on my face. My sister and I did however find that some areas had no decorations at all and it didn't give me the same excitement the entire way round the parks. It was slightly disappointing and I think there was actually more decorations when we visited at Halloween (post).

My sister and I decided to treat ourselves to breakfast with the characters at Plaza Gardens. It was a lovely experience. We met lots of characters including Eeyore, Piglet, Winnie, Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy duck. The experience did however feel a little bit rushed as it was a very quick picture and they move on. With some of the characters if you were not ready and waiting, you literally missed your opportunity and there was no going back. Overall though, we had a fabulous time and I would definitely book and treat myself to a character breakfast again on another visit.

We booked onto a full board meal plan for this trip. If you book through the disneyland website itself you can build your holiday and adapt it to what you want. I think I would always opt for some kind of meal plan whether it is half board or full board. There is no denying that the food is expensive, and even if you eat at the counter service rather than the restaurants you will easily spend 50 Euros each on food a day. The meal plans are normally less than this for and you can eat in the restaurants and fill your boots.

On the last day we decided to treat ourselves and eat at one of the Disneyland Hotel's restaurants called Inventions. It was another character meal and it was such a special end to the holiday. The food was incredible at this restaurant, it is part of  the premium meal plan and you could tell. On the standard meal plan which is what we opted for each meal has a worth of 35 Euros. You can exchange this worth in and pay the difference. I think we had to pay an additional 35 Euros which is a lot and I would never have paid 70 Euros. However, with the meal already being half paid for it was one last treat to us.

In 2019, I was lucky enough to visit Disneyland Paris three times. We went for the first time in February and were instantly hooked. If you have read my recent travel plan post, you will know that my sister and I have booked to go to Walt Disney World Florida at the end of May and I couldn't be more excited.

Lucy
xoxo

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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Hotel Cheyenne at Disneyland Paris






When we went to Disneyland Paris back in February we stayed at the Hotel Santa Fe and we loved it. This time when booking to go at Christmas there was literally no difference in price between the Cheyenne and the Santa Fe, so we decided to go for somewhere new. This trip was for 2 nights and I have to say we spend very minimal time in the hotel.

In comparison to the Santa Fe there really isn't that much difference between them. The differences are the theming of the two hotels. I was interested in staying at the Cheyenne as its theme is western and the rooms are decorated surrounding Toy Story. My favourite disney character is Jessie so I thought this would be cute. On arrival, I loved how the outside of the buildings looked as they are in blocks spread out around the site. Initially I loved it and I couldn't wait to get to our room. However, when we entered our room I was a little underwhelmed. I thought that the rooms looked a little dated. The rooms are never massive but they fit everything in that you need. I thought it looked quite plain and could do with a refurbish. My sister felt the same way.

On this trip we opted for the standard full board option so we had breakfast in the hotel. The breakfast was really lovely, as it was on our last trip. It offers everything which you can want. It has cold food options, hot food, cereals and pastries. It definitely sets you up for the day and you are able to fill yourself up. If you are going with children, even the fussiest of child would be able to find something to eat. The breakfast in the hotels open really early so you are able to get in, eat, and get into the parks for 8am to be able to take advantage of your extra magic hours. My little tip would be that if you want to meet a princess at the princess pavilion, we always get to the park for 8am and head straight there. The queues for the pavilion can be soooo long. If you go and it is less than an hour then you have been lucky. They normally vary from 75-90 mins.

We didn't actually book to eat in the Cheyenne restaurant on this trip for our evening meal. However, you can book to eat in any of the disney hotels if you want to. With the standard meal plan you can eat in the Santa Fe or Cheyenne and you do not need to pay any additional costs. If you chose to get an afternoon flight and you arrive in disney later in the evening, I think it is a good idea to eat in your hotel on arrival at 6-7pm and then if you choose to you can then head into the park for the fireworks. We did this on out first trip and it worked fantastically.

As always the staff in the hotel were lovely and the check in process was easy. From the airport, we got on the magic bus. This time we booked through Hey's Travel and you got the magic bus included in the price which was a bonus. Back in October, we got on the train from the airport and it was 19 Euros each way and it took about 20 mins. The bus takes about 50 mins as it goes to the different hotels. The Cheyenne was the second drop off so it was a really easy journey.

All in all, I would stay at the Hotel Cheyenne again. The room was clean and it provided us with exactly what we needed which was to sleep and shower. Me and my sister always love getting back to our hotel and having unlimited disney on the TV. Come on there's nothing better than coming back from the fireworks and being able to dance and sing along to High School Musical from your bed! Like I have already mentioned, I think they could do with an update and a lick of paint. Maybe this will come after they have the new Marvel hotel which is opening in autumn 2020 and to be fair looks like it is going to incredible. It is my sister and I's goal to stay at the Disneyland Hotel but unless we win the lottery, that is definitely in the distant future.

Lucy
xoxo

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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

new year, new me?


Some people love new year resolutions, some people think they are pointless. I sit somewhere right in the middle. I am a big believer in setting goals and trying to make them realistic. There is no point me pledging to save £10,000 and buy a house by the end of the year as 2020 as it is clearly not going to happen. However, telling myself I am going to try and save an extra £50 a month is a goal which can be achieved.

I really like to make a few goals and try and think as to how I am going to keep them. For example I want to continue to run as often as I can. I am making it a realistic target to go at least twice a week. With my shifts I can't say I will go every Tuesday as my rota changes from week to week, so just simply stating twice a week I can plan it and make it much more manageable.

What I do not think is achievable is wanting to implement multiple resolutions which are simply not going to happen. If you have had a really rubbish 2019 and you are in need of an urgent change and a fresh outlook, then I really believe you can see a new year as some kind of fresh page in a new book. In every day life I am a reflective person, and I often seek ways of improvements and how if something was to reoccur how I would manage/ change the situation differently. If you struggle with the idea of wanting to implement a change no matter how big or small, it can helpful to think ahead as to any if unexpected barriers do occur how you will overcome them. I do this often, but you have to try and balance a fine line of managing it without taking too much on, and being disappointed when the outcome you expected or needed does not happen.

I have been saying for years I want to start writing a diary. This is my main goal of this year. I want to mainly focus it around my work and have it as a mixture of personal reflection but also gratitude. I want to be able to look back in years to come and see how I was feeling in the moment. I feel as though I sometimes struggle with my emotions and how to express them, and I know that writing things down can be great as it feels like a relief as you leave it on the paper.

I think have been thinking a lot about my blog recently, and the direction which I am hoping to take it in. I am still unsure as to what I want to do with it, so at the moment I have decided to not put too much pressure on myself and dedicate the time to it as and when I can. I find the management of this blog quite a stressful aspect of my life. I want to get so much out of it, but at the end of the day it is a hobby not my career and I have to constantly remember myself that.

For me 2019 was the year of the to do lists! You may be thinking, to do lists have existed since time began, and you'd be correct. However, I only really incorporated them into my life in the mid to latter end of 2019, and I found they helped manage my busy days so much more easily. I would make my to do list at the start of the day, and then rearrange it in to a chronological order so I know where to start first. Honestly, there is nothing more satisfying than ticking things off one by one once they are completed. Sometimes there simply is not enough time in the day to get everything done which I would hope to have completed. I will therefore look at my list and prioritise and think what do I have to get done today that cannot roll on into tomorrow. I then underneath write an ongoing to do list - things which need to be done and can't be forgotten about, but it's not imperative in that moment there and then. Going forward the do list is definitely coming with me into 2020.

Where I am trying to go with this post is make the new year what you want it to be. If you had a really rubbish 2019 and you feel you need that fresh start then grab it with both hands and go for it. Make sure you stay in your head space and I find that constantly reassessing where you are and where you want to be, can definitely help you to keep on track and continue to move you closer to accomplishing what you set out to achieve. I also learnt in 2019 that the reassessment of goals can be imperative in order for them to be achieved. Life isn't simple or straight forward and you can be thrown many obstacles into the mix when least expected. But, however upsetting or rubbish the change can make you feel, it is about readjustment and getting back on track ensuring that that goal is achieved one way or another. One thing which I think can be the most important of all, is not putting all your time and energy into something which you are not sure of. I definitely learnt the hard way last year and accepted that many things need to be taken with a pinch of salt.


Here is to making 2020 whatever you want it be.

Lucy
xoxo
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Friday, 29 November 2019

Netflix Picks #4


I think my Netflix viewing statistics are only on a rise. They are consistently releasing outstanding content which I find myself engulfed in to watching. Amongst my friendship group I feel as though I have rightfully gained the title of Netflix queen.

First up, is Jailbirds I stumbled across this as it turned up in my recommended for you category. This is set in America in a high security prison and follows the life of mainly women who have been locked up for all kinds of reasons. It highlights the reason issue of drugs in prison and the lengths people go to in order to get their kicks. It also shows the men's part of the prison and how different the units are between the genders. One thing that made me shocked about this series is how much emphasis inmates make surrounding building relationships. The inmates empty the toilets in their units and put together a chain of material so that it reaches toilets of others, this means they can pass notes and contraband easier between themselves. An interesting watch and I hope they do future series of this.

60 Days In is a series which has been set up by the prison itself in Arizona. The prison has recently seen a huge surge in violence and smuggling and the chiefs are trying to eliminate this, they do this by enlisting members of the public for help. The volunteers are all prepped on what to expect, but even I was shocked at what they endured. One inmate was assaulted and ultimately asked to leave the show. The most interesting part was how hard the volunteers had to sell and keep up their story of their reasoning's for their arrests. There were many occasions where they became the subject of hounding from other inmates about their reasoning for being locked up. I thought this was a very interesting concept for a show and it gave a real insight into life in prison.

Unbelievable follows the story of a series of rapes which take place in Washington and Colorado. It follows a young lady named Marie who was charged with lying about being raped as she struggles to piece together what happened to her. With lots of pressure on her she ends up changing her statement to say she lied about being raped. As the story unravels more rapes happen in surrounding areas and everything links back to her. At times I found this tear-jerking and also thought-provoking. I binge watched this as it definitely kept my hooked and I found myself wanting to know right away what was happening next. I think this highlights real life issues and how young girls struggle with the pressures from authorities on these awful life-changing experiences.

Styling Hollywood is based around a celebrity stylist agency and the behind the scenes outlook on what really happens. It follows a married couple Adair and Jason who are well-known for their work with the stars of Hollywood. Whilst Jason is known for his interior side of business, Adair focuses on dresses the stars for the red carpets. I like that this offers two insights in to their lifestyle business as it flickers between the works of them both. This gives me the same good feels which Queer Eye and Selling Sunset did. I have featured both of these in my previous Netflix picks post. It is an easy watch show which you can flicker in and out of and pick up at any stage. It features some very well-known celebrities, and in one episode there is a major wardrobe malfunction which needs resolving at the last minute. I most enjoyed seeing the time and input which goes into finding 'the' best outfits for the red carpets.

Our Planet is a nature documentary which is narrated by the ever-so-loved David Attenborough. This follows the success of his previous planet based series which the BBC has created. Netflix brings the same vibes with this focusing on the human impact on the environment, centering on the importance of climate change and the effects it is having on creatures. This programme was four years in the making and was filmed in over 50 countries. I love this type of series as it is such an eye-opener to what it actually going on in the world and the devastating effects which are taking place. There is no lying that this is thought provoking, which is what makes this such a special show as it doesn't hide the real realities of what is happening. The frozen episode following the penguins had me in tears. I was completely gripped from start to finish. It genuinely leaves you asking yourself how you can help to improve the ever-expanding impacts of our behaviours on our environment.

Lucy
xoxo

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Sephora Individual Eyeshadows


(swatches top to bottom - unicorn dust, milky way and let's party)

The British beauty stores both high street and luxury have really stepped out and bought into the brands which we used to only be able to get from Sephora. I feel as though this has had a massive impact as a whole on the beauty market, and the old Sephora hype has taken a back burner. However, over the last few months I featured on this blog quite a few on Sephora's own brand products, and today I am here to discuss their individual eyeshadows. There are so many colours and finishes in this range. I have spent quite a long time in Sephora stores swatching many shades deciding which ones I want.

I finally choose these three and I have been very happy with all of these shades. I bought two from the glitter collection in unicorn dust and let's party. Within this line they also have pearl and matte finishes. Unicorn dust is a beautiful light lilac which has a full silver shimmer running throughout it. I have worn this in the centre of my eye to add a pop of colour. Let's party is a mid toned gold which has a little pink/rose gold, which is a great combination and it looks really pretty on the eye. This glitter range has really impressed me and I don't often wear glitters but these are not too in your face or full glitters. It is finely milled into the formula and when applied to the eyelids it is nice and soft. I do like chunky glitters for certain occasions, but having it as a fine consistency makes it more wearable.

I also bought milky way from the metal effects range. Milky way is a classic me shade, it is a light to mid toned golden which is super gorgeous. It has a very creamy consistency which is something I always look for in an eyeshadow with high pigmentation. This is a shade which requires a good primer in order to really get the full effect. The finish is beautiful and is super easy to apply which is always a bonus. This is really pretty but I wouldn't wear it on an everyday basis, it is one which I will gravitate towards when I want a more intense look. There is also a sequin range which runs alongside the metals collection which I would love to try.


I have really enjoyed wearing all of these shades and for just 6.99 Euros I feel as though they have been a great find. Many other brands would sell these for much higher prices and the consumers wouldn't bat an eyelid. Sephora have done really well with this range and have got a very wide array of colours and finishes available. Having used these products I would definitely recommend them to others, and I will definitely look at purchasing more on future visits.

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Disneyland Paris' Halloween Party


For this halloween trip it fell that on the Saturday whilst we were they, Disneyland Paris were holding one of their annual halloween parties. My sister and I had never heard of these parties and we were excited that it was being held whilst we were there. This year they had two parties, one on Saturday 26th October and one on actual halloween the 31st. It took us a while to decide whether we could afford to pay for tickets to the event, and also whether it was actually going to be money well spent. The tickets costs £60 per person. We did a bit of research and there had been a lot of good feedback about some of their parties, however there had been some negative feedback regarding the length of queues for the character meet and greets.

My sister is an absolute gem and is always surprising me and whilst at work she sent me a ticket to the party. This is funny as in hindsight I had been planning on doing the same, but waiting until pay day. We were both so excited and instantly changed our initial plans for the weekend. I did a blog post all about how this time we decided to stay outside of Disneyland Paris, this meant that we had to be a lot more organised with our time. At this point, we had already bought our three day park tickets. With the halloween ticket any guest can get into the park from 5pm and have access to the rides. On this evening, the park closed earlier than usual. Over the Autumn months we hadn't realised that the park closes much later than usual. When we went in February the park closed at 8pm, whereas this time it closed at 10pm. We were surprised at this as we thought 10pm was late for children to stay up in order to be able to watch the fireworks. On the day of the party the park closed at 8pm and the fireworks took place earlier than normal. We decided to leave the park around 6pm and got back to our hotel to get changed, we got back to the park for 8pm for when the party officially started. We were astonished to find out that the party goes on until 2am!

We had managed to get our hands on the programme for the evening before the actual night of the event. We are planners just for the plain fact that we want to be able to make the most out of time at the parks. We had looked to see the meet and greets which we were available, and we were really happy as they have party exclusives that they don't have at any other times of the year. The party also features other favourite characters who wear special halloween attire and they all just look so fancy. They released the times and locations of each meet and greet so we had a rough idea as to where we needed to be at what time.


It is no secret that we are both massive lovers of the parades as they just make the whole experience 10x more special. On these two evenings they put on a special exclusive parade which they only perform at the night time parties. They did two performances of the parades in the evenings which we both absolutely loved. They had all the classic villains but also some special guests.

My sister's favourite character is Daisy and she looked super cute in all her attire so we headed there first. We then decided that we would get into the queue for Marie and in retrospect this was the worst decision. She isn't normally a character which you can meet in the standard meet and greets. We queued for about 45 minutes and quickly realised that the queue was not moving at any kind of normal pace. It was one of those situations where we had dedicated ourselves to the cause and in the end the queue was for over an hour and a half. If you like villains such as jack skeleton, oogie boogie, or the evil queen, I would for sure recommend heading there as soon as the party starts. We met two girls the day after the party and they said that the queue for oogie boogie was 5 hours!


We headed to frontierland which is where they had this fantastic fiesta style party going on. It had djs, goofy dancing and performers everywhere. We were stood waiting for the mickey and minnie meet and greet and having a fabulous time as the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. Everyone in the queue and all of the meet and greet staff were dancing and singing along to the music, it definitely made the 45 minutes of queuing fly by. We were sad that by the time we got to the chip n dale queue it was already closed. Each character had specific time slots, chip n dale's was between 11-00.30. We got there by midnight and the queue was already closed for any more guests to queue which was slightly disappointing.

Another great aspect of the party is that every guest member is able to get on every single ride in the park. This is fabulous as lots of the guests buy just the party ticket and you get all the benefits of the normal park tickets but all of these exclusives as well. For £60 it is good value money and I think this is the reason why it is such a popular event.



All in all, if you asked me if I would go again the answer would be yes. In all honesty I don't think I would book to go back to the halloween party again next year unless we planned to go again for halloween. However, if they had these parties at other times of the year, for example at Christmas I would for sure be up for attending a special party as we did both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Can you do Disneyland Paris on a budget?



If you have read my latest post all about our trip to Disneyland Paris at Halloween you will know that this was very much a last minute trip. It was approximately two weeks before we had a crazy idea to just "have a look" at prices. Back in February as it was our first trip so we decided to book it through Disney directly to make it a little bit easier. This time when we looked at booking it through Disney the prices to stay at any Disney hotel were extortionate. I'm sure it was due to it being last minute, so we have definitely learnt to book it in advance. When we go at Christmas we are staying in the Hotel Cheyenne and have booked it as a package through magicbreaks. It is definitely about looking around at the best prices and deals which are out there.

My sister and I have read lots of blog posts and watched vlogs about staying outside of Disney and how you can save so much money. We started to look around at booking everything individual and we soon discovered it was working out much cheaper. Lots of people had recommended staying at the Ibis hotel at Marne de Valle. We decided to stay there and for two nights it was £180, which for £90 each we thought was a decent price. Honestly, this hotel was in the best location and we were super lucky that we had fallen upon this. We got on the RER at Chessy (the stop for Disney), and it is just one stop which is a 3 minute journey to get to Val d'Europe which is where the hotel is located. You go up the train station stairs and the hotel is literally directly in front of you. The RERs are every 9 minutes in the morning and about every 15 minutes at night. My sister and I were convinced that we were able to get on the train and to the Ibis hotel, quicker than the 20 minutes walk it takes to get through the Disney village and to the Disney hotel which we stayed in last time which was Hotel Santa Fe. The tickets for the short train journey cost 1.90 Euros each way. We actually bought a book of ten tickets for 15.80 Euros which saved a little bit more money. We have both said that for future trips we would definitely stay here again. It was also easy to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to Val d'Europe. The tickets were 19 Euros each and the journey was about 15 minutes. This saved a lot of time compared to getting on the DisneyExpress bus which goes around the houses and takes well over an hour to get to the Disney hotels. 

Once the hotel was sorted it was time to sort the flights and this was the biggest test of all. They were all so expensive. As we were only going for two nights we wanted to ensure that we had booked good flights so we could make the most of the time we actually had there. We for sure could have saved £100 or so on flights if we wanted to fly out at 1pm and come back at 11am. However, we would have lost so much actual time in the parks. We decided to fly with EasyJet there and back, the flight out was at 7am and on the way home at 8pm. The flights were expensive at around £200 each, but like I have said it ensured we had time to do everything we wanted to do with only having such a short time span. We thought it was 100% worth paying the extra money. 

We researched the best and cheapest way to buy the tickets for the Disneyland parks. On the Disneyland Paris website for two three day/ two park tickets it costs £371. We looked on Attraction Tickets Direct which is who we have booked some of tickets for Florida next year through and made a small saving as it totalled £354. This was very easy to book. 

In total we paid £490 each. I know some of you will be reading this and saying to yourselves that this on not on a budget, and in some respect I completely agree. On this trip it was the flights which made the total cost increase. However, we did only book it two weeks before and as already stated the flights are always expensive if you want an early morning flight out and a late one home. Both flights there and back were completely full to the brim, there wasn't one free seat. For future though I would recommend booking the flights as far in advance as possible to save as much money as you can. I think it is difficult to actually do Disneyland Paris on a very tight budget as the ticket prices are always going to be the same amount. I think our hotel was a very reasonable price and as a whole Paris is not a cheap place to stay. In the end we were both happy with the amount we paid. The deal offered by Disney including hotel, flights and park tickets was coming out at a minimum of £800 each.

An important aspect to think about is the price of food. Back in February when we went we booked a full board meal plan. I would recommend looking at the price comparisons between staying in Disney with a food package and the difference compared with staying outside of the Disney complex. The quick service diners are the cheapest food option that they offer, but I would definitely not describe it as 'cheap'. If you opt to buy a dining plans I would definitely recommend using the restaurants over counter service as you can pre book all your reservations meaning you can utilise your time so much better.  As we experienced the quick service counters can have huge queues, we queued for one and a half hours in Videotropolis. You may be thinking why did we queue for so long, and the answer is it was one of those things where we were in the queue and we had dedicated ourselves to it and we thought if we left we would only end up in another huge queue some where else. It was frustrating however in the end the food was nice and we managed to get on with our day. A burger meal in there with a drink was 20 Euros. I would say over the three days on dinner and tea in the parks we spent at least 50 Euros a day each. Therefore, like I have said already you have to think about the different in price between getting a dining plan and paying yourself.

When we go at Christmas we have booked a package just like the first time we went. It is about going and doing it in different ways and working out what is the best way to make it work for yourselves. I know for myself that going for your first time it can be very overwhelming, and I have a post with some other tips I wish I have known about before our first trip. My one top piece of advice is to definitely shop around look around the internet for different deals, and like we did this time the different options which are available.

Lucy
xoxo

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