Friday, 23 February 2018

Planning my Disney outfits #1

We're off to Florida in just under ten weeks and I've been busy planning every possible aspect of our trip. At the risk of sounding a little TOO organised, I've been planning since approximately August last year.

One of the holiday planning tasks I really enjoy, particularly for our holidays to Walt Disney World, is deciding which outfits to take for the two weeks. I love making sure I'm colour coordinated, from my clothes to my shoes to my bags. As a happy coincidence, since becoming slightly obsessed with Mickey ears over the last couple of years, I've now got even more things to coordinate!

The idea for my first outfit started when I impulsively bought this beautiful Beauty and the Beast themed Danielle Nicole bag from the Disney Store (now available on ASOS here). I'd wanted this bag for years and couldn't resist it when it suddenly became available on the UK's Disney Store website.

Although I was a little worried that the bag would be too small, I found that I could easily fit my phone and purse into it which is all I need for park days and evenings. So step one of the outfit was complete! 

As I love both Beauty and the Beast and floral patterns, I thought I'd hunt for a few more themed items to go with this bag. I had my eye on a floral playsuit from New Look, but it was constantly out of stock in my size. However, when I was browsing the sales just after Christmas, my size popped up and the item was drastically reduced. I made sure I put it straight in my basket as it was the ideal match for my new bag. 

I had the perfect playsuit and the perfect bag, so I obviously needed some ears to finish off the ensemble. I love Luby and Lola's Mickey ears and had spotted a beautiful red rose pair on their website, so I eagerly waited for their Etsy shop to re-open and placed my order for this beautiful pair. 

A photograph could never capture the beauty of these ears! I love the deep red colour of the satin bow, and the black background is slightly glitzy which adds that extra bit of Disney sparkle. 

Lastly, I realised I didn't own any red flip flops even though my collection seemed to feature every other colour under the sun. I bought a red pair from New Look which, again, happened to be reduced. I think you'll all agree that they finish the outfit off beautifully! 

I never feel as if my outfit coordination is completely 100% on point (ugh, can't believe I just used that phrase), but on this occasion I think it's perfect! I can't wait to wear this outfit in May, and I'm looking forward to pairing this bag and the ears with a few other outfits too. 

I don't think any of my other outfits will live up to this one, but I might still blog about another couple of holiday clothing ensembles in the next few months. Watch this space! 

Friday, 16 February 2018

Sunday lunch at the Vale Resort

My parents-in-law bought us a voucher for Sunday lunch at the Vale Resort for our third wedding anniversary, and we finally booked to go last Sunday. We decided it would be good to double it up as a belated anniversary celebration and a Valentine's lunch!

It was a very cold day so I got wrapped up in my coat, hat and scarf. I only had to walk for about 20 seconds to get from the car park to the hotel, but I love any excuse to put on all my winter layers. However, I must admit that I didn't realise just how black my outfit was until I looked at this photo after we got home.

We were given the menu to have a look at as soon as we were seated in the Vale Grill. As we had a specific Sunday Lunch voucher, the menu was nice and simple with five options for each course. Our voucher was for a 2 course dinner, but we could also add a third course for £3 each if we wanted to. We knew the portions would be very generous and nothing grabbed our attention on the starter menu, so we decided we'd go for mains and desserts rather than going for the full three courses. 

For our mains, we both ordered the Roasted Sirloin of Welsh Beef. I tend to choose chicken whenever we eat out and I'm not a big fan of pork loin, so the beef was the obvious option for me. The main was made up of a few slices of beef (obviously), roast potatoes, a big Yorkshire pudding, green beans, mangetout, broccoli, roasted carrots and parsnips, cauliflower cheese, and gravy. 

Just look at the size of this! The green vegetables, roasted vegetables and cauliflower cheese were served in separate dishes so that we could help ourselves, and it's fair to say that we had a very generous helping of everything. Neil doesn't like cauliflower cheese and I love it, so that was an excellent plus for me as it was one of my favourite parts of the meal! The beef was cooked just right, and the roasted root vegetables and the roast potatoes in particular were excellent. I'm not ashamed to admit that I completely cleared my plate... in fact, I'd have been very ashamed if I hadn't. 

We'd already decided what we wanted for dessert before taking another look at the menu - pistachio panna cotta! I love panna cotta, whatever the flavour, and it's always a nice light option after such a big main meal. 

This dessert was exquisite, and I'm not just talking about the pretty presentation. Every aspect of this dish was absolutely delicious, even the little accompanying wafer. The toasted marshmallows were a stroke of genius and perfectly complemented the pistachios. Chocolate would never make it into my top five choices when it comes to ice cream flavours so I thought that might let the dish down for me, but this particular chocolate ice cream was lovely. 

At the end of the meal, we had a bill of £4.30 for our two pints of diet Coke. I was expecting them to be at least £3 each, so that was a pleasant surprise! If we'd have paid for our meal, it would have been £17.95 each. I think this is pretty good value when you take the quality and quantity of the food, and the quality of the resort itself, into account. 

I can definitely confirm that we'd be happy to visit the Vale Resort for Sunday lunch again. Have you ever been to the Vale for a meal? What did you think? 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Things I'd like to tell my 5 year old self

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and give some much-needed advice to your younger self? Do you ever wonder how your life could have turned out if you knew then what you know now?

After re-discovering this hilarious photo of myself from approximately 1992, I thought I'd blog about the long list of things I'd like to tell my 5 year old self.

'One day, you'll discover hair straighteners and your life will suddenly become much easier. Until then, you'll experiment with all kinds of terrible hairstyles including a mid-teen phase of positioning ten mini butterfly clips at the top of your head every morning. If you could skip that phase, your older self would be eternally grateful.'


'You've got the nicest parents in the world. Don't ever forget that, and don't ever take them for granted.'


'Don't worry, you won't always be so fussy and angsty about your food. Believe it or not, you'll actually turn into someone who completely and utterly loves food. However, you will always hate peas and sweetcorn.'


'Nicola will still be your best friend in 26 years, and probably for another 50 years after that!'


'Just after your 30th birthday, something really horrible with life-changing repercussions is going to happen to you. I want you to know that you WILL get through it and you'll somehow find a level of strength you never knew you had.'


'You will never ever be good at sports, however hard you try. And do you know what? Although it might seem like the most important thing in the world right now, you won't care once you leave school and realise that your sporting prowess isn't a big deal in the real world.'


'On a similar note, you'll always hate sports day (and not just because you'll have to wear that yellow tshirt every year). You'll never understand why some people are so competitive about every little thing, and you'll always hate any kind of competitive event... unless it's a spelling test. You ace those spelling tests.'


'You don't want to follow the crowd now, and you still won't want to in 26 years' time. However, you will become very susceptible to buying pretty Disney products you've seen on Instagram and buying jewellery from Pandora. Don't worry though, you're going to have excellent budgeting skills so you'll only succumb to what you can afford!'


'You know those cliques you get so intimidated by, even at 5 years old? Everyone will tell you there won't be any cliques once you leave school, but there will be. They're everywhere, however old you are, and you just have to learn to be comfortable with doing your own thing.'


'There's really no need for you to be so afraid of dogs. One day, you're going to have your own dog and you'll love her more than you ever thought possible.'


'You will stop biting your nails one day, but only when you discover nail varnish at 14 years old. You'll feel very guilty in the meantime about receiving Polly Pocket sets from your parents to reward you for stopping for a few weeks, then not being able to stop yourself from starting again.'


'This will be one of the hardest lessons to learn, and you still won't have mastered it in 26 years' time, but you don't need people in your life who make you feel rubbish about yourself. You do a good enough job of that all by yourself. Whoever they are, just do whatever you need to in order to let them go.'


'Stop worrying and obsessing over every tiny little thing you do wrong, and remember you're a good person and your heart is in the right place. You're only 5, why are you so worried all the time?!' 


'I'm not going to lie to you, life is going to be very hard at times. Make the most of all the little (and big) things that make you happy.'


Which pearls of wisdom would you share with your 5 year old self? 

Friday, 2 February 2018

My favourite Disney pairings

I don't usually succumb to the incessant commercialisation of Valentine's Day. However, the Disney Store has scuppered my principles for this year!

I wandered in to the Cardiff store a couple of weeks ago to get a little dose of Disney magic (I miss Walt Disney World, don't judge me) and decided to browse through the Valentine's section. 20 seconds later, I was sheepishly standing in the queue. Who could have left these beauties behind?

I don't think I've ever seen Bianca and Bernard plushes anywhere, not even in Florida's massive World of Disney store, so I just had to pick them up and make them mine straight away. I've learnt from past experience that certain products don't stay in the Disney Store for long and, true to form, these had already sold out when I went back a few days later.

This lovely little purchase got me thinking about my favourite Disney pairings, and I decided it would be a great topic for a blog post. I'll note at this point that my favourite pairings include sidekicks and best friends, as well as actual couples. Disney has an excellent knack of portraying and promoting all kinds of love and loyalty, not just the romantic kind! 

Belle and the Beast 

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite films, and Belle and the Beast are two of my favourite Disney characters of all time. In fact, I much prefer the Beast to the prince at the end. 'For who could ever learn to love a beast?' 

Pongo and Perdita 

I'm pretty sure my love for dalmatians comes purely from watching 101 Dalmatians so often when I was younger, and Pongo and Perdita have been one of my favourite Disney couples for a very long time! 'Perdy, we'll take them home with us. All of them. Our pets would never turn them out.'

Jaq and Gus 

I could quite happily watch Cinderella over and over again, but not because of the princess and fairy godmother factor... just because of Jaq and Gus! Especially Gus. 'Cinderelly Cinderelly!'

Tod and Copper 

I can't actually watch The Fox and the Hound very often because it makes me cry like a baby, but Tod and Copper are right up there with my favourite Disney characters. 'Forever is a long long time, and time has a way of changing things.'

Rapunzel and Flynn Rider

Tangled is one of my favourite modern Disney films, and Flynn and Rapunzel are definitely one of my favourite Disney couples. Flynn Rider is hilarious and endearingly cocky, and Rapunzel is determined to keep her dream alive. 'Here comes the smoulder!'

Timon and Pumbaa

Surely these two should be on everyone's 'favourite Disney pairings' list? They bring lots of much-needed cheer to the Lion King and we could all learn a lot from their motto... 'Hakuna Matata! It means no worries for the rest of your days.'

Mickey and Minnie 

And of course, no Disney pairings list would be complete without the most iconic Disney couple of all - Mickey and Minnie Mouse. 'Oh Minnie, you're all the music I'll ever need!'

After scheduling this post, I suddenly had a few qualms that perhaps I should have published it on or around Valentine's Day rather than on a random day in February. However, I always argue that Valentine's Day is pointless because you should show people that you love them every day, so I'm applying the same principle to this blog post!

Who are your favourite Disney couples, friends and sidekicks?