Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Make Up Look: Autumn Vibes

I've had a bit of bad luck recently regarding BT drilling through my internet cables (not once, not twice, but three times!) and then some laptop issues. Team that up with starting my new job and working a completely new routine, its making blogging near enough impossible, though I have tried! I have resolved to myself that 2014 was not meant to be for me and blogging (while my real life situation has taken a much needed turn for the better!) and so I am now plotting and planning posts for 2015 (I already have posts lined up for January and February!) so here's to hoping next year will be better for Blog of Shadows.
But regardless, I did this little Autumn inspired look before work one day. The beauty of working in the day AND in the beauty industry means I can finally get creative on a day to day basis without needing to "tone it down" for work! I did this little number with 3 MAC shadows and it was super easy too!

I literally chucked MAC's Brule on the lid and blended Antiqued in the crease with a little bit of Blackberry. Super easy! I also love these teamed up with MAC Rebel lipstick or Lime Crime Poisonberry. Super autumnal.

Hope you're all doing OK! Hopefully my bloggy mojo will back soon!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Disney World Diary 2014: Day #5

Today we were headed to Epcot, but beforehand we had booked ourselves into a Disney Vacation Club presentation. I guess you could say we were sort of swindled, but I'm glad we were! A couple of days before, Rose went over to a Disney Vacation Club cast member checking out their pins and we got talking to them. They said if we went to one of their presentations over at Saratoga Springs, which would take up an hour and a half of our time, we would be rewarded with $50 Disney dollers to spend in a gift shop, free ice cream and 3 free fast passes. Additionally we would be picked up from our resort in the morning and dropped off at a park of our choice afterwards. We thought, why not?! We would learn something and we get a few freebies. 

For anyone interested in the Disney Vacation Club, this paragraph is for you! If not, skip to the next para :)

We were picked up at 9am and taken to Saratoga Springs. It was nice seeing Saratoga again, as I had stayed here prior and Rose enjoyed seeing another resort. We were lead into the Vacation Club centre and given breakfast nibbles and coffee/orange juice. It was beautifully decorated, but for myself and Rose, I did feel a bit out of place being surrounded by people making such big decisions with their money (essentially, the Vacation Club is you buying a piece of Disney property). We were sat down with one of the Vacation Club members of staff, a very nice man who obviously knew a lot about this scheme and gave us all the information we wanted to know and needed to know. They say the environment is no pressure and you aren't pressured into anything, but I did feel an awful lot like I was wasting his time, even though my mum has taken an interest in joining the VC and I was more going on her behalf. We actually did the math and it does turn out the VC is a great investment and for someone who comes to WDW as often as me, it would save me a lot of money. I won't go into the ins and outs of it, but if you want to know more, feel free to email me! The long and the short of it is... it would save me money as I go every year, but generally, its not for people who are going to Disney as a one off. We were also able to view the Hawaiian and Grand Floridian Vacation Club villas, which you would be able to stay in as a member, which was lovely. They are simply stunning and the very thing dreams are made of. 

After the presentation, which took an hour and a half, we were dropped off at Epcot and could really begin our day! We had fast passes to meet the characters at the Epcot character spot first, so headed there. I have to say, over the years I find the character spot less and less appealing. It feels very rushed compared to previous visits, where you literally have 2 seconds with the characters because of the long lingering queue behind you. The staff I found were also incredibly rude, a first for Disney! The photographers refused to take photos with all our devices, so I only got pictures with my camera and not my phone or Rose's phone. I didn't really like the whole experience and its royally put me off doing it again. But regardless, we went on with our day with smiles on our faces. 

I took Rose to Club Cool, the little Coca Cola shop where you can sample different Coke flavours from around the world and I was pleasantly surprised to find different flavours this time, after years of sampling the same! I especially loved the Pineapple Fanta. This place is a great little stop if you are feeling parched. 

Next we headed to grab some lunch, as it was approaching midday and our little croissant in the morning hadn't filled much of a gap. I wanted to do something different, so we headed to the Sunshine Seasons in The Land. I have heard amazing things and I was honestly so shocked by the huge variety of offerings. Sunshine Seasons actually uses the fruit and veg grown in The Lands greenhouses, which I love! They have about 4 statations where you can choose a variety of things to eat, include an oriental station, sandwich station, a grill station, salad section and a little bakery section. I went for the Salmon and potatos, whereas Rose had the teriyaki beef. The only problem being that it does take a while to get around the different areas, especially if your party wants different things and I had to wait quite a while to find out if my food was nut allergy safe. Because of this Rose's food ended up quite cold and while I reckon they would have replaced it if she had complained, she didn't want a make a fuss. My salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious and I honestly couldn't have been happier. However the Teriyaki beef that Rose had was chewy and had a lot of gristle in, as well as being cold. Steer clear! For dessert I had the most delicious whoopie pie (so delicious in fact, I went back for another when we visited Epcot again!) and Rose enjoyed a brownie.

Say no to the Teriyaki beef!

Say yes to the salmon ;)

After lunch we headed to the World's Showcase which Rose had been especially looking forward to. I personally love World Showcase and get annoyed when people say there isn't much to do here. That's exactly the point, its a place where you come and learn about other cultures, eat cuisine inspired by them and feel immersed in culture. Its not a place that Walt envisioned for rides and that's why you have 3 other parks dedicated to that (hashtag rant over). 

Starting at Canada, we explored, met characters and shopped to our hearts content. I loved meeting Belle over in Paris (and Rose may have hyperventilated as Belle is her favourite). My favourite princess actually ended up being Mulan, I'll admit, I had a bit of a moment, especially as she was the very character that started mine and Roses friendship. We had to stop at the China pavilion though and make our way over to the Yacht and Beach Club for our dining reservations at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. 

Possibly the biggest waste of a snack credit, but its sooo delicious!

I heard about the Yachtsman last trip, recommended to me by a cast member as the best steak on Disney property. We grabbed a boat over (but you could walk if you wanted too, we actually ended up walking back to Epcot and its only a 15 minute walk if that!). The Yacht and Beach club resort is perfect, I can only imagine one day being able to stay there, its beautiful, eloquent and relaxed, everything you would want. The Yachtsman is a signature restaurant, so we did use 2 credits to be able to dine here. Its very beautiful inside, with wooden features and a lovely atmosphere (although Rose said it was too posh for her liking). Children were being well behaved and I can honestly imagine having a lovely romantic meal here with a loved one in the future (if any of my readers have an anniversary coming up!) They have an extensive wine menu, which Rose indulged in and our server was extremely helpful, going through all the different cuts of steak with us and telling us his personal favourites. I opted for the Filet, which while a smaller piece of meat is the least fatty (and believe me, the size I had was borderline too much, I barely finished!). Rose went for the New York Strip which had been aged for 21 days. Before our meal we were given complimentary bread with roasted garlic and butter (which was absolutely divine). 

I found the ambience to one of my the most enjoyable of this trip, with eloquent music in the background and fellow diners being respectful. It was calm, quaint and I would dine here again in a heartbeat. Our food came in good timing, giving our bread enough time to go down. The steak honestly took first place as best steak on Disney property so far, well exceeding Le Cellier and my previous favourite, Rainforest Cafe. It was cooked to absolute perfection and I definitely found my favourite cut. Unfortunately Rose found hers too salty to finish and preferred her Rainforest Cafe steak, but I do think she should have had a different cut, as I hear New York Strip is the least favoured part. For dessert I enjoyed tiramisu upon our servers recommendation, which was beautiful, while Rose had sorbet. Overall I had an absolutely beautiful night at the Yachtsman and would 100% go back.

After dinner, we headed back to Epcot to watch Illuminations. We walked back as it was a beautiful evening and found some awesome photo opportunities along the way. It was a lovely end to the day and we returned home with full bellies and love in our hearts for Epcot. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Disney World Diary 2014: Day #4

Hey everyone! So today was our 4th day of our holiday and we hit up Animal Kingdom, which actually turned out to be Rose's favourite part of Disney World. We got there early to take advantage of extra magic hours and it was DEAD. It was so nice, I highly recommend going at this time! It was so nice to be able to walk around Animal Kingdom (which normally is very crowded and I find to be one of the most unbearable parks to be in due to lack of shade and space) and take photos without anyone in them.

After buying our Animal Kingdom ears (its gotta be done right?!) we went on Expedition Everest - one of Animal Kingdoms stand out rides. I passed this off to Rose as a little kiddy ride and she was pleasantly shocked and loved it! Its definitely got some thrill factor, but to me, Expedition Everest is still pretty tame. Its one of my favourites though, coming in as my second favourite ride at WDW.

We then hit up Festival of the Lion King. If you pass this up on your visit to Animal Kingdom, you are missing out. It is a truly talented little show, with some amazing voices, acrobats and just a real performance. I always get a little lump in my throat, I don't know why. I just get overwhelmed with all the beauty and Lion King-ness (which is my generations Frozen I guess!)

It was about noon at this point, so we grabbed my personal favourite quick service at the Yak and Yeti. As always, I went for the honey chicken, but was disappointed they no longer serve them in the little orange asian style cardboard boxes. It was still delicious and during our lunch we were joined by the cutest little ducklings. Only at Disney! Rose opted for the teriyaki beef, which she confirmed was delicious!

We also found this amazingly beautiful butterfly on our way out of Yak and Yeti. How beautiful?!

After lunch we went exploring, checking out all Animal Kingdom has to offer. I love that you can get unique merchandise here that you can't get anywhere else. TIP: If you see something you love, I recommend getting it as I have buyers regret for passing up some of the stuff that I was later unable to get. After checking out the walk through bird enclosure and hopping on the safari, we headed to Rafikis Watch. We spent quite a while here petting the farm animals and talking to the cast members about them. Its a really lovely little place that is quite often left out. I recommend coming here with kids especially, even though its quite out the way and requires a train to get to, kids can pet the animals and brush them as well as watch presentations about their care. Rose became quite fond of a little (well actually rather large!) pig and I went about taking selfies with all the goats (as you do!)

Rifikis watch also has a little educational centre, where if timed right, you can watch vets performing basic checks on the animals and sometimes even surgery. I've yet to come here at the right time to see it, but I imagine it would be amazing! Theres lots of things to do, learn about and at the end of it all, you can meet Rifiki himself! Such a good educational experience. 

My OOTD consists of Asos Donald Crop Top, Primark shorts, Perry the Platipus and Mickey Crocs. Rose is wearing all Primark :) 

On our way back, we stopped at the Harambe bakery and grabbed some sweet treats as a snack credit. Rose went for the little monkey cake, while I had a paw print brownie and we both couldn't finish them! They were huge and ultimately, we lost a snack credit as we both could have shared one. If you want to indulge in one of the fabulous cupcakes, I would recommend sharing. They are huge and honestly, even 2 people would struggle to finish!

Animal Kingdom is always quite tiring I find, with a lot of walking (so wear your comfiest shoes!) and generally no shade. We found ourselves exhausted by this point, but luckily we had reservations at the Rainforest Cafe to rest our weary feet and they let us eat an hour early too. Rainforest Cafe ended up being Rose's favourite steak of the holiday (it was my favourite last time I came) and for good reason. Their steaks are delicious. I have no idea what they do to them or how they season them, but they have a beautiful smokey flavour  and are always cooked to perfection. We treated ourselves to cocktails (although my strawberry pina colada was NOT the one) and enjoyed the fun loudness that comes with Rainforest Cafe! Dessert was also very very nice, I enjoyed the chocolate cake while Rose had sorbet. Both were delicious!

Strawberry Pina Colada... nada.

After our bellies were bursting to the brim, we headed home back to Art of Animation and took the evening off. We had some pool time, pin trading time and generally enjoyed everything Art of Animation has to offer. Tomorrow - Epcot!

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