Friday, 25 April 2014

Tips 'n' Tricks for booking your Walt Disney World Holiday

Hey everyone. So ever since I did my Disneyworld Diary back in June, I've forever had emails, questions and tweets about Disneyworld. I LOVE talking Disneyworld, I could do so all day and welcome any emails about questions you may have! I have been 4 times which isn't very many to some, but each and every time, I have been the one to book, arrange and sort out everything, so naturally I've come across some tips and tricks for booking the perfect WDW holiday and making it as cost effective as possible. Yesterday the ever popular Dining Plan made its reappearance and I know many of you may be planning your Disneyworld holiday, so I timed this post to go with that, so you may be able to save yourself some money or learn something along the way!

Know when to go! 
Disneyworld has various holidays and seasons, some times might be busier than others and some times may be low seasons and therefore more cost effective! Check out the Dad's guide to Disneyworld monthly calender which shows which times of year are going to be extremely busy and times where you can basically walk on to rides. For me and my family, we prefer to go when its less busy, it just makes the holiday easier and more relaxing, but others may prefer to go when there is an atmosphere (like Christmas or Halloween) and may enjoy the thrive and thrill of a busy park! 

Be aware that some times of year are going to be more costly, for example kids holidays always go up almost double in price (my friend paid £2700 each for going during the summer holidays and that wasn't staying in Disney OR dining) so be aware of that and if you have kids make sure to book around those times! Additionally Christmas is always a very busy and very costly time of year to go. Low seasons are typically cheapest, with September being very cost effective and just after Christmas in January. 

TIP: Do your research when booking and play around, we've found the price difference between a single week can be a lot!
TIP: Flights are at their cheapest 9 months before your holiday. Bear that in mind, we have picked up great deals this way (Disneyworld for £1100 with Dining?!)

Where to book?
Another question I get a lot is, where is the cheapest place to book. This is a hard one, as each time i've gone, i've booked with different agents. Typically, I've found Thomas Cook, First Choice and Virgin to be the most expensive places to book, however its not always the case. When you've decided what time of year you want to go, do your research and open all tabs on your computer to compare the prices side by side. I've had most luck with Travelcity Direct which is Virgins sister company. You get everything Virgin offer but often £200+ cheaper. We have also booked with the official WDW company and this has been most successful in terms of price for us AND perks. When booking through Disney you often get perks that other companies don't offer you, we got a book of vouchers for instance. Other companies have been Charter Travel which I know Amy from Paintpotted has booked from but for us and the time of  year we wanted to go, they didn't offer us the best deal. 

TIP: Check everywhere and anywhere side by side on your computer and always check if travel agents will do a better deal or price match.

When to book?
The time of year you book your holiday is crucial i've found. The cheapest time to book is 9months before. That is when I have found the best deals. The price will often go up the closer you get and then drop down again at the last minute. 12 months before has been too expensive for us despite the fact that people presume the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. Its better to wait it out, check back at 9 months and keep an eye on prices. 

A lot of WDW addicts often DIY their holiday. By this I mean they go completely without a package and book the hotels/cars/flights separately  For us this has never worked out and it has always been easier to just book a package. DIY holidays could be for you if you have vouchers to use, flying miles or don't mind doing an indirect flight to save you a bit of money (always worked out a disaster whenever i've done an indirect flight though!) but worth looking into! Its just not something I recommend as I've personally never found a good price. 
TIP: The Virgin flight sale is a brilliant way to DIY and pick up a cheap flight. I've seen many Disney addicts pick up great deals this way!

Where to stay?
So the very first time we went to Florida, we chose to stay off site in Kissimmee. While I look back on this trip with nothing but fond memories, I much much prefer staying on site at WDW. The experience is unparalleled and as a Disney lover, it makes sense! There are various reasons why we didn't enjoy staying off site, the first being buses. We had to get a 7am bus every single day to take us to Disney or Universal. If we didn't get this bus we couldn't go and that meant early starts every single day. Our bus picked us up at 7pm or 8pm which meant we couldn't stay well into the night for fireworks at Disney or dine out and drink til the early hours. It just meant our holiday was a bit restricted and meant we missed out on a lot especially as we didn't drive. In Florida, you pay a younger drivers surcharge of $20 a day if you are under 25, which works out quite expensive. Definitely take this into account. Some off site hotels don't even offer buses, so please do your research to avoid disappointment. For us, Disneyworld resorts always make for a better experience and more relaxing holiday, plus the Disney resorts are just magical!

Saratoga Springs resort typically has 30% off. This is a deluxe resort and part of the free dining offer so you can often pick up a great deal staying here!
Dining Plan?
So you've decided to stay on site at Disneyworld!
 Disneyworld has 3 different types of resort, Value (don't knock it, some of my best pals have had fabulous experiences at Disney's budget hotels) Moderate and Deluxe. With the moderate and deluxe resorts, depending on WHEN you book (i'll dive more into this later) you can get offered a FREE dining plan. The dining plan is basically free food. You are issued credits which entitle you to quick service meals (think burger and chips, that sorta thing) or table service means (similar to a typical restaurant). With the moderate resorts you can get a free quick service dining plan and with deluxe you can get a free full dining plan. I hope you're still with me!
The dining plan saved us a LOT of money, it was worth paying the extra for as it meant, we didn't have to worry about taking money for food (only tips!). We always went Deluxe to get the full dining plan as often the difference was a couple of hundred pounds. Without the dining plan, you'd need about $100+ a day for food, so overall it saved us $1400. Definitely worth the £200 extra we paid. You need to weigh it up and see if it works out cheaper but more often than not, it does!
TIP: Free dining plans are only offered at certain times of the year. Often at the beginning of the year around March/April time and then September/October time.
TIP: Do your math and see if its worth the saving. For us the resort we was going to stay at (All Star) was only £200 less than the deluxe with free dining, so it was a huge saving as we would have spent well over £200 on food! 

An example of the meal you get on the dining plan

This is a question I again, get asked a lot! The only thing I can recommend you do is, do not go to touts to get tickets. You'll see loads of little side shops in Orlando selling park tickets, but often they are fake/expired/ect... so you will end up at the gate disappointed and out of pocket. But I would also recommend not getting the tickets at the gates. Gate prices are extremely expensive and you'll end up paying much more than you should. Check out your holiday operators or ticket selling websites. If you are staying outside of Disney, you'll find many hotels also sell tickets for a lot cheaper than the gate price. You'll also find Walmart sells tickets too! Do whatever you can to not buy tickets at the gate, because you'll find it can be very very pricey!

So I think thats it for most of the tips I can give you! I'm sure there is more but any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Holy Grails #4: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Welcome to another Holy Grail post! This post, is a serious one. I mean it, eyelash curlers to me are the most important part of my everyday make up routine.

Lemme give you a bit of background. Ever since the tender age of 14, when I started wearing make up, I have owned and used eyelash curlers. Thats 10 years of curling my friends. I have gone through almost every single brand, from Superdrug to MAC. I have tried and tested them all (well almost). As someone who suffers with short stumpy straight lashes, I don't go a day without curling and finding the perfect curlers became a bit of a life goal for me. I found them though guys. The Shu Uemura eyelash curlers changed my life!

I don't know how they do it, I don't know how they differ to normal curlers, but they curl like no other! My curl keeps all day, looks natural (not like that awful sharp curl you sometimes can get that looks a bit like an L) and only takes about 30 seconds per eye. I really have nothing else to say, apart from these are seriously best. Take it from someone who's eyelashes are impossibly short and incredibly hard to make it look like I have any at all. I find the best technique with these is to press for about 30 seconds straight (I actually have two pairs so I can do both eyes at the same time - looks strange but saves me precious time) and then go back if needed. I find with eyelashes, it is best to curl if they are completely dry (no moisturiser or cleanser on them or the curl won't hold). Of course I curl prior to mascara although I have been known to go back over when I've got mascara on. I know its a beauty blogger sin but to be honest I've never lost eyelashes because of it. 

They are seriously worth the £20 price tag. I can't go without them and for me, if my house was burning down and I had to save ONE item of make up, it would be these. They make me look awake, alive and ready to face the day and I thank them for changing my make up life for 5 years now. 

Leave one of your Holy Grails in the comments below! I love reading them and even check them out myself!

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Beautifully Disney: Fantasy in Flight Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

Hey everyone, its been a while since i've done a review - let alone a Beautifully Disney one! My lovely friend just came back from Florida and of course I had to persuade her to bring me back some Beautifully Disney goodies! I am an avid collector of the palettes so I picked two (it was hard whittling it down, but these palettes actually can set you back quite quickly!)

The first I'm going to be reviewing is part of the Fantasy in Flight collection. This beautiful collection focuses on Tinkerbell and the blue fairy and let me tell you, Beautifully Disney has really upped their game since my last reviews here and here in terms of design. To me, the palette is flawless. The beautiful design of Tinkerbell on the front is gorgeous as is the rest of the collection which I have yet to pick up. 

Again, packaging remains the same - its very Sugarpill-esque being made of cardboard. I would not say any of the Beautifully Disney palettes are travel friendly, just because the eyeshadows themselves are so soft and easily breakable. Again, I just love the design but do wish the eyeshadow shades had names, which would give it a more personal and Disney touch which I liked in previous collections such as the Sephora collaboration.  The back of the palette contains all ingredients and stuff you need to know. But lets get to the nitty gritty: how do they perform.

I'm pleased to say - flawlessly. They are an absolute dream - all 6 of the shades are incredibly buttery soft, pigmented and easy to blend. They are very reminiscent of Urban Decay shadows or the Sephora and Disney collaboration eyeshadows (the ones that excelled that is!) I can't honestly find fault with them. I do find the choice of colours very strange but regardless I really like the fact they have included some neutrals with a pop of colour for good measure. The champagne shimmery shade is my favourite, very reminiscent of MAC's All That Glitters but far more pigmented in my opinion. I'm so overjoyed and impressed at the quality of the eyeshadows and cannot wait to do a look with them.

Again, I'm smitten with the collection and so so happy I can add this to my Disney make up collection. If you are a Disney lover or collector of their make up, this is a must. The beautiful packaging and equally beautifully make up make this a must have. Unfortunately for us UK ladies, this is only available from the US Disney parks (Disneyland Paris whattya doing!) for $36.95. You can also find it online here along with the rest of the collection if you are living in the US. Its so worth getting a friend to pick it up for you if you can! I very rarely do rave reviews like these, but this has me well and truly IN LOVE. 

Has the Beautifully Disney Fantasy in Flight collection captured your heart?


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Make Up Look: Refresh

I told you there would be many make up looks using the Sleek Candy Palette. I cannot get enough!
Spring is a really fun time of year for me. I don't know why, I guess because the Winter seemed so long so its just nice to see some sunshine and bright colours for once! I actually went out without a coat on yesterday! Say wha!

I wanted to do something more colourful, because colour is everywhere at the moment. People's clothes are getting brighter, nails, even hair! So naturally I think make up should get a bit brighter, a bit bolder too but it seems to be something people forget to change up. This look is slightly bolder and more colourful than my previous spring look - something for the braver souls among us!

Busting out the Sleek Candy Palette again, you guys must be sick of seeing it. I wanted to investigate the fresh pink shades this time. Both are actually pretty similar which disappointed me, but pigmented and easy to work with nonetheless. Once again I used that minty green under the lash line, a simple thing to do if you want to incorporate just a little bit of spring into your routine and something i've been doing regularly. 

So please do let me know in the comments what you've been doing to inject some spring into your make up routine and maybe even try out the minty green under the lashline if you're looking for something to ease you in!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Make Up Look: Spring Green

Creative title eh?
Spring has well and truly sprung. When I go for my runs, I am surrounded by bumble bee's doing their business, butterflies and beautiful flowers. Driving home from work I see little baby lambs hopping around the fields. Spring is such a beautiful time and inspires me so much to get creative with colour so expect a fair few "Spring inspired" looks.

I couldn't wait to dip into the Sleek Candy palette. It has this gorgeous chartreuse that I had my eye on and felt I HAD to do a look with it.
This was the outcome, its subtle for spring with just the right amount of colour I think anyway! Its fresh and green, eye catching but also incredibly wearable. What do you think? 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara was a PR sample - forgot to * it :)

I love how insanely neutral and wearable this is even with the two pops of colour. Charcoal Brown is literally my favourite crease colour of all time. Its so buildable and blendable so you can get a lot of depth but also use for just a slight contour. It really tones down the green and I really can't get enough of it lately. 

What do you think? Something you would wear for Spring? What do you do to refresh your spring look?

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Disney Post: Top 5 Snacks at Walt Disney World

Hey everyone. Since my Disney World posts have gone down quite well, I thought i'd post some more on some of the commonly asked questions I get! This post is going to address one of my personal favourite aspects of Disney World - THE FOOD!

So this is going to be my top 5 snacks at Walt Disney World. The past few times I have visited Disney World, I have been a regular user of the Disney Dining Plan. I am all for the dining plan, especially as if you book at certain times of year and stay in Disney's deluxe resorts, you get it "free". When I say free, there is a debate to how free it really is, but doing the math, I worked out paying that little bit more for a more expensive resort is STILL cheaper than taking money to put by for food. 

Being on the dining plan means you get a free "snack" a day. This can count from anything from an apple to a cupcake. Most people want to maximise their dining plan credits and buy the most expensive things. I mean, who's gonna choose a bottle of water over a delicious ice cream sundae with 3 toppings? I know which one I would choose. So here I have compiled my own personal list of top 5 snacks. These may not be the most cost effective snacks, but they are a little bit different, a little harder to find perhaps and a whole lot tastier AND cost effective than a bottle of water (although don't get me wrong, water is very important, i'd just rather pay the $2.50 for it than use up a credit!)

Dole Whip
Available from: Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom

Its no surprise this makes the list, one of the very first things I buy at Disneyworld, I love me a  pineapple Dole Whip. So refreshing and tasty, I love to grab one, sit in the shade of Adventureland and people watch. If you've never had a Dole Whip before, you need to try it. One of the most popular snacks you can get at Disneyworld and SO refreshing on a hot day!

Thank you Jane from Blush Feathers Lipstick for letting me pinch her Dole Whip picture from her Instagram.
Can't believe I forgot to take one!
And another! Again thank you to Ms. Dee from Ahoy Miss for letting me pinch :)

Mickey Pretzel
Available from: All over

One of my personal favourites I love a Mickey shaped pretzel. You can get a tonne of different flavours, I love the cheese and salty varieties while my boyfriend really likes cinnamon. Grab a little pot of plastic cheese (I have no idea why its called plastic cheese but I heard a ton of Americans refer to it this way?!) but make sure you BUY the pot rather than use a snack credit on it (they are only $1 and its really a waste of a credit otherwise!). Its heavenly even if it is heart attack central!

Mickey Cake Pop
Available from: Hollywood Studios Sweet Spells and Magic Kingdom Main Street Bakery

I can't resist any food item which is "Mickey" shaped and these are no exception. I adore the cake pops which have little marshmallow ears and come in a selection of flavours (My favourite is the red velvet - come to mumma!). While some may find this a boring snack, if you like cake and have a bit of a sweet tooth, they are well worth trying. Be warned though, these are sickly as hell (I don't believe in sickly but my boyfriend wasn't a fan) The cake itself is very doughy and soft, but I ain't complaining! The doughier the better!

Worms and Dirt Sundae
Available from: Campfire Treats at Animal Kingdom

This thing is bloody delicious and it was actually my boyfriend who scouted this out. After seeing this interesting ice cream being carried around by small children, we searched and eventually found it being sold in this small wooden lodge known as "Campfire Treats". Seriously, don't go to Animal Kingdom without trying this. Soft serve vanilla ice cream topped with what looks like crushed up Oreo's as the dirt and filled with yummy gummy worms! So fun!

Assorted Cupcakes
Available from: Boardwalk Bakery (or pretty much any bakery at Disneyworld)
$3.59 - 4.99

I will never go to Disneyworld without enjoying a cupcake or 10 but who's counting! They have SO many different varieties, my boyfriend loves the coffee flavoured ones covered in coffee beans and I enjoy pretty much any as long as it doesn't have nuts in it! The reason I chose the Boardwalk Bakery as my choice of cupcake as I found these ones especially tasty and HUGE! Be warned though, most places you get a "Quick Service" meal come with a dessert which you choose and cupcakes are often a choice. It really depends but I know especially after Wishes or browsing Downtown Disney, I can't resist popping in the bakery and grabbing a cupcake!

Trust me, it was hard whittling it down to just 5 but I didn't wanna bore you too much! Others that almost made the list include the divine cookie sandwich sold at the Mainstreet Bakery at Magic Kingdom (drools), Frozen Lemonade (sounds boring but trust me it hits the spot on a hot day!) and of course the famous Mickey bar, just a simple chocolate covered ice cream in the shape of Mickey's head, but so so iconic. 

Enjoying a frozen lemonade - really hits the spot when you're overheating!

This isn't the cookie sandwich I was referring to above, seriously go to Main Street Ice Cream Parlour for that one, its waaay better, but this little guy is still seriously good!

OK I'm hungry now! Leave me your favourite Disney snacks down below!
And don't forget to comment with any Disney related questions or posts you'd like to see from me :)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Anna Sui x Minnie Mouse: Make Up Set 1 Review & Swatches

Hey guys! Its been a while since I've done a review! You may have seen my many tweets about the Anna Sui x Minnie Mouse Collaboration. When it first released exclusive to ASOS, I was a little bit devastated by the prices I have to admit. For just one of these little sets, you would be set back £48 so when they went on sale, I took my chance!
I purchased both sets and to be honest I can't be happier with them. They have a few null points which I'll get into but generally, they fit in nicely in my Disney make up collection and I'm over the moon!


Today I'll be reviewing Set 1 (red) with Set 2 coming up later. The main reason being was I wanted to go in depth but felt the post would have been too long by doing both - hope you don't mind! 

I'll start with Set 1 (one little niggly point - I wish they had names!) 

The theming behind Set 1 seems to be a sort of rock chick vibe with gunmetal greys and smokey blues teamed up with an awesome red lip to match. The set is displayed in an awesome red and black tin, with rocker Minnie on the front. All of the packaging inside also goes with the same theme, so it is easy to distinguish which set is which (with Set 2 being more neutral). I personally adore the tin and it has taken up residence looking pretty next to my Snow White lunchbox.
Starting with the eyeshadow palette, I was surprised at how small it was! The design is absolutely flawless and I especially like how the palette itself is in the shape of Minnie's bow. Once opened you will find a teeny mirror, little brush thing (I always find these great for swatching) and the three eyeshadows (It may look like 4 but in actual fact, its 3, the last shade is the same as the second!)

I do want to point out the eyeshadows are in actual fact very very small. It was a task finding a brush small enough to fit in just one of the colours (the MAC 239 is slightly too large). I do feel for the amount of space in the palette, there could have been more eyeshadow. Just my thoughts though!

I gotta say, I'd be pretty annoyed if I'd paid the £48. For that price point I would expect buttery soft excellent quality, but I found these to be very sheer, hard to build up and quite chunky in texture. Saying that they are soft, easy to use and blend flawlessly, but that still doesn't justify the price tag to me. In regards to how small the eyeshadows are, they are quite a faff to use, sometimes dipping into the other colours with your brush and please bear in mind while there are 4 eyeshadows and 4 swatches, you only get 3 actual eyeshadow colours as one is repeated (kinda strange!).
The eyeshadows do go together well however, you can create a whole look from this one palette alone and it does come in handy! No need to drag around numerous palettes if you want to create a smokey eye on the go! 

As for  what I consider to be the star of the set - the lipstick! This set comes with a fiery red imprinted with Minnie's delicate face and ears! Let me tell you, it was a task to find it in me to use these. I just didn't want to ruin them!! In the end, my brain took over and rather than just adore the pretty packaging, I found it in me to USE them! This lipstick (again nameless) is a perfectly Minnie red. It had average lasting power and did leave the dreaded ring around my lips, but was not at all drying or uncomfortable to wear. In fact, it was incredibly moisturising and had almost a balm like feel to it. But I have to say, its not an incredibly unique colour, which I can dupe at least 10 times in my collection already. 

While I have absolutely no regrets buying the set in the sale and Anna Sui got the packaging down to a T, I would be pretty annoyed if I'd paid the full £48 for the quality. The colours are highly dupe-able and honestly, if you are not a collector, I would skip this or at least wait for it to go on sale again (which it will, I can tell ASOS are having a hard time selling these!). You can purchase from here if you are interested. 

Will you be buying or skipping?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Hunger Games Series: District 9 - Grain

Hi all. I'll be the first to admit, I wasn't awfully excited by this district. After all, what can you do with grain?! District 9 is also a district you don't hear much about, with not many memorable characters and not a lot of page time, it was hard to come up with something inventive.
So I did something that I felt used the sandy earthy hues of grain and nature and actually quite liked the result. It is a very easy look to wear and while not very adventurous, I think the series in general has lacked in neutral looks! So I hope you enjoy this little break from the madness :)

I used the Nars God Created Woman palette for this look using Belissima all over the lid with Alhambra in the crease and Kalahari to soften the crease and define. I then used Coconut Grove as eyeliner. This is my favourite everyday eyeliner for when I want something softer. Its crazily pigmented but still soft and smokey and I find this is much easier (and quicker!) than liquid for when I'm going to work and the like. This palette has also come back into stock recently, so grab it while you can here! I can honestly say I use mine a tonne! 
The overall look I felt, was quite neutral, sandy and represented grainy tones quite well! I have also been rocking this look on the regular as its so quick and easy to do! 
Funnily enough, I took a test on this website here to see which district I came from (I know.. I have too much time on my hands!) and I would apparently come from District 9! Appropriate non?

Out of interest, which district would you come from?

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