A - Z of Walt Disney World

17 July 2018


Ah, the happiest place on earth; formally known as Walt Disney World. I loved every moment of it and wanted to relive it through an A-Z. I decided the parks couldn't be included as it made it too easy... now I wish I hadn't made that decision... 

A - "And Welcome Home"
Every time the announcement said this on the bus when we arrived back at the resort I wanted to cry. I can still hear it as clearly as if I were still there!

B - Blaze Pizza 
This was a toss up between Blaze Pizza and Big Thunder Mountain, but ultimately Blaze Pizza just made more of a lasting impact. CREATE YOUR OWN PIZZA IS LIFE

C - Characters
Specifically my bae Tigger. Although, overall, Character meets are mega awks (anyone else think this?)

D - Dinosaurs 
I love dino-land. I feel like it's a very underrated part of Animal Kingdom; it's so colourful and fun!

E - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
Okay I KNOW I said I wouldn't use parks but I never knew EPCOT was an anagram for this until I overheard a lady telling her child on the bus... how cool! The more you know

F - FOOD
The bread service at Sanaa. The lobster mac & cheese at Coral Reef. The Katsu Curry at Katsura Grill. EVERYTHING MICKEY SHAPED (waffles, ice cream, cupcakes etc.)

G - Gaston's Tavern 
I really wanted to get LeFou's brew in a souvenir stein but they were sold out (also it's not a good drink). But the whole Beauty and the Beast area of Magic Kingdom is so cute!

H - Happily Ever After
Also known as the most emotional firework show of all time. "Grab ahold of your dreams and make them come true. For you are the key to unlocking your own magic. Now go. Let your dreams guide you. Reach out and find your Happily Ever After" 

I - Ice Cream Sandwiches
Basically I ate my way around all the ice cream cookie sandwiches bc they are the BEST! Hollywood Scoops 10/10 would recommend

J - Journeys 
Every form of transport is somehow better at Disney World. Bus. Boat. Monorail. Anywhere else this things would be mundane.

K - Kilimanjaro Safari 
One of my favourite attractions! You get to see so many animals on the safari, I just wish we'd gone early morning or late night as I've heard the animals are more active then! It's incredible whatever time you choose though!

L - Lazy Afternoons 
Every day we'd head out to the parks around 9am and go back to resort around 2/3 (before heading back out around 6). We'd spend a few hours lounging round the pool drinking cocktails and it was so nice to unwind.

M - Magic
Magic Bands. Magic Kingdom. There's magic everywhere!

N - Nighttime 
The parks at nighttime are truly spectacular. The shows, the lights, the atmosphere. It's so special seeing the parks all lit up!

O - On Site Resorts 
We stayed on site at Port Orleans French Quarter which was so magical. Next time we're hoping to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. But I'd also looove to stay at Beach Club, Polynesian, and of course, Grand Floridian! Or basically anywhere Disney!

P - Pandora
I know Pandora isn't typical Disney but the level of detail is incredible. And the food/drink there was so good!

Q - Quick Service
We had so many delicious quick service meals; D-Luxe Burger, Casey's Corner (the cheese sauce is amazing), Sassagoula Floatworks at POFQ (make your own pasta made fresh in front of you and beignets, yaaas), Satu'li Canteen, Cookes of Dublin, and Yak and Yeti... to name a few!

R - Rivers of Light
Such a spectacular show! Admittedly I wasn't totally blown away but it's so amazing to see the images project across the water. It's nice to see something different to fireworks.

S - Splash Mountain
I have the full ride song on my Disney playlist. I think that says it all.

T - Terrifying Tower of Terror
The worst experience of my life. NEVER AGAIN! It's called Tower of TERROR for a reason!

U - Under the Sea
Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and of course Coral Reef. The restaurant in an aquarium so you can watch the fish swim around as you eat!

V - TV
(I'm allowed to use the 2nd letter, right?) The Disney info channel is the best thing ever. Whenever you turn on the TV, BAM, it's there. The Disney music, the pictures of the parks, it was the best!

W - Water Parks
The theming of Blizzard Beach is amazing. But Typhoon Lagoon is so just... better!

X - My Disney Experience App 
(X is a hard letter ok? There's an X in there somewhere!) This app is a life saver around the parks! I used it to check wait times, book fast passes, link photopass photos, book dining reservations; it's basically everything you need in one place!

Y - Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy 
"Here you leave today and enter a world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy" - Walt Disney

Z - Zoo
Ok I know there's not specifically a zoo but Animal Kingdom is very zoo-like. We saw the cutest baby tiger!


Let me know what some of your A-Z would be!



My Favourite 10 Walt Disney World Snacks

7 July 2018


When we went to Walt Disney World we used the Quick Service Dining Plan, which meant we got two snacks everyday for FREE! Snacking is my main hobby so of course I was loving the opportunity to try all the snacks... although 99% of the time I chose ice cream! I've heard a lot of people have struggled to use their snack credits but we actually didn't at all! I think we only had around 1 or 2 left at the end of our trip.

It wasn't easy limiting my favourite snacks to only 10 but here they are...

1. Starbucks - And I know what you're thinking 'what's special about that? you can get them anywhere', but let me tell you, it's so much better when it's free and in a Disney World cup. All sizes are free so I would 100% recommend always getting a large! 


2. Ice Cream Sandwiches - 2 cookies with ice cream in the middle, what could be better? The best I had was at Hollywood Scoops in Hollywood Studios. If you're going you HAVE to try one there! Although I ate them every at every opportunity! (The pic isn't from HS because I scoffed it down too quickly)


3. Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich - An oreo Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream sandwich of oreoy goodness. YUM!!


4. Night Blossom - You'll find this at Pongu Pongu in Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I was always going to try this (even just for the gram) but didn't expect to actually like it. It's the most incredible slushi, so refreshing!


5. Cupcakes - All the Mickey shaped cupcakes... chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla. Cupcakes galore! Although my ultimate favourite was from Sprinkles at Disney Springs (...which unfortunately isn't available on the dining plan)


6. Beignets - The only place you can get these is Port Orleans French Quarter which is where we stayed, and I'm so glad we did else I wouldn't have tried these. They're actually Mickey shaped now but weren't when we were there *sad face*. Also, try them with the caramel sauce because... YAAAS!

The only photo I have is when we had some left overnight... they usually look a lot nicer! Honest!


7. Rice Krispy Treats - There are so many different rice krispy treats but my favourite was the M&M white chocolate covered one!


8. Dippin Dots - Ice cream that's millions of tiny little balls. A phenomenon I am still amazed by!


9. Croque Glacé - Now I don't think this is actually available on the dining plan BUT it's ice cream and sauce in a warm brioche bun and it's not to be missed! You can only find them in the French pavilion in Epcot at L'Artisan des Glaces


10. Cookies - you can get so many different cookies but of course the chocolate chip were my favourite!



There are so many more snacks that aren't to be missed! Let me know what your favourite snacks are or if there's anything else you think is worth a try! 




Choosing Our Walt Disney World Hotel

26 June 2018


Can you believe that I wrote this post over a year ago and never published it? I kind of gave up on the world of blogging thinking I wasn't good enough or didn't fit in. But you know what? WHO CARES!

When I was first writing this it was exactly the 365 day countdown! It feels like forever ago, and over a year has passed since then and our holiday has been and gone. It was like a whirlwind. A crazy, amazing, Mickey shaped whirlwind. I wish I could go back in time and experience it all over again.

When we were looking for a hotel to stay in there was no question that it was going to be on site at Disney World. I knew 1000% that I wanted to stay on site and there was no stopping me. Although there are undoubtedly cheaper places to stay they were all ruled out immediately, and after doing some research on Disney Resorts I soon found that you get a lot of perks staying on site at Disney.



There are 3 different levels of resorts: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. As much as I would LOVE to stay at a deluxe resort there is no way we were going to be able to afford one. That left two options: Value or Moderate. Value resorts are the cheapest option so if you want to save some dollar I would definitely recommend these, however, they are also the most child friendly. So, we decided we wanted to stay in a moderate resort.

There is one huge pro to staying on site and booking at the right time: free Disney dining plans. Is there anything better than free food? Value Resorts get one free meal credit, Moderate get the Quick Service Dining Plan, and Deluxe get the Disney Dining Plan. As we were staying in a moderate resort we got the QS plan for free which includes: 2 x Meals 2 x Snacks and 1 x Free Cup & Refillable Drink every day. It was the best decision we made as we didn't have to worry about not having enough money for food - which means more money for souvenirs! We even had loads of meal credits left over, and top tip: 1 meal credit can be exchanged for 3 snacks!

When we were deciding which moderate resort to stay at I had my heart set on Port Orleans Riverside but it was just too expensive. After researching almost everyday for months we somehow found a deal on TUI to stay at Coronado Springs for an amazing price (it was around £1000 cheaper than anything we'd seen). So we booked it. I was SO excited until we received an email around 2 weeks later telling us about construction at the hotel. I knew we wouldn't be at the hotel a lot so it wouldn't be a huge deal but after watching several vlogs we found that there was A LOT of work going on, and it wasn't fair that TUI hadn't told us about it before we'd booked. We asked to move and after months of back and forth emails and phone calls they finally agreed to move us to Port Orleans French Quarter for no extra cost!

Staying on sit was the best decision we made. The personalised magic bands (for free), the memory maker, the dining plan, the extra magic hours, the early access to fast passes, the free transport (that drops you right outside the door!), and of course the Disney magic!

Let me know what your favourite resort is, I'd love to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge or The Grand Floridian. I just need to win that lottery...







A Day in Cairo

18 June 2017


It's barely 5am, I hear my mom banging on our hotel room door, and guess what? My alarm didn't go off. We had to be in reception for 5:30am to be picked up to go to the airport and make our plane from Sharm-el-Sheikh to Cairo. I throw on some clothes and limited make up, shove my hair up, and run out the door. The day was already off to a terrible start, I feel like a sweaty mess and it's only 5am. We head to reception and the transfers are late - I would have had to time to shower and make myself feel human after all!

On the bus to the airport the guide was so friendly and helpful, telling us all about what our day would consist of and what we needed to do once at the airport. And that's when I realised, yes, that's right, the guide was not coming with us. Although we were in a big group this was not particularly reassuring. I'd never got on a plane and not been travelling to or from the UK so this was a little... new.

Once on the plane it was great, we got free snacks and bottles of water. The flight to was so quick, taking only around 40 minutes. Once we landed I wasn't reassured that the day was planned out very well. The airport was dirty and small, everybody seemed lost (probably because we all were). Thankfully, we soon found the Thomson tour guides! We were all packed onto air con coaches - THANK GOD - and off we went.

Driving through the streets of Cairo was far from pleasant. The city itself is dirty and run down. It's quite upsetting seeing the horrible blocks of flats - if that's what you can call them - that people have to live on. The dirty streets are lined with rubbish and air looked almost foggy. I kept thinking about Egypt's rich ancient heritage and thinking how different life could have been here.


1st Stop - The Pyramids and Sphinx

I was SO excited to finally be on our way to the Pyramids; this was the only reason I came to Cairo. I'd heard a lot of bad things about the Pyramids; that they're next to a McDonald's, they're right in the city centre, they're boring, and somebody will try to trade you for a camel. So once we'd gone through security I was pleasantly surprised. No fast food in sight, the city skyline looked quite pleasant from where we were, and nobody tried to trade my for a camel (slightly offended by this, but in my unshowered state I don't blame them).

We first stopped by The Great Pyramid of Giza. It was magnificent. Each block was around the same height as me and to think that these were built thousands and thousands of years ago is incredible. We only had around 15-20 minutes here; at the time I thought this wasn't long but after 5 minutes I was ready to go back to the air con! The heat was unbearable as the morning sun was reflecting off the desert sand and our camera soon overheated. We headed round to the next pyramid which you are actually able to go inside - we didn't though because my mum's claustrophobic, and I can't imagine it being particularly pleasant inside anyway.

Next, we headed to The Sphinx. And what do I see? Only KFC! Still no McDonald's in site though. Personally, this didn't bother me, it's not like they were selling chicken directly next to it. And how many tourist attractions do you see where there aren't places like this nearby? We're in a city centre so what do you expect? If you ever want to see the pyramids but are put off by this - don't be. The Sphinx was a lot bigger than expected as I'd heard that they were very small, but I couldn't help be slightly disappointed that half its face had fallen off...


2nd and 3rd Stop - Papyrus Shop and Egyptian Museum 

Honestly, after I'd seen the pyramids I was ready to go home. It was all I'd really come to see and I was hot, sweaty, and just wanted a shower. The papyrus shop was quite interesting, it took me back to primary school when we'd learnt about the Ancient Egyptians. We had a tutorial on how it's made and then time to shop! After this we were back on the coach heading to the museum.

Living in England I'd visited quite a few museums in London; The British Museum, Natural History Museum, The National Gallery. I was expecting The Egyptian Museum to be just like these, but it wasn't. In any way, shape, or form. Really 'museum' is probably not the right word for it. It's more like an attic or a room where you store a lot of stuff that you don't want to throw away but don't really have a proper place for. There was stuff EVERYWHERE. It was like being in an old antique shop when you're stumbling over things that are strewn anywhere and everywhere. There were even old Mummy's with feet poking out, that if you REALLY wanted, you could probably touch.

Oddly, there was a no photography policy in here. Maybe they don't want outsiders to know how scattered it all is as it may put people off visiting. The only room where items were actually stored behind glass cabinets - and there was even air con in there - was the room of Tutankhamun. It was painted black which was quite eery and seems an odd choice of colour.

Even though the museum was an unorganised mess I'm so glad we visited. It's home to so many interesting ancient artifacts and it was definitely an experience!


Final Stops - Dinner on the Nile and The Citadel

FINALLY it was time to head for dinner. I'd not really eaten anything all day and I was starving. The boat on the Nile was more like a palace, it was very grand inside especially in comparison to anywhere else we'd been during the day. There was a buffet style meal so you can go and choose what you want. It was very peaceful and I felt almost privileged to be able to sit on the longest river in the world eating dinner.

After our much needed food we headed to The Citadel. However, we were not allowed to go inside. Because it was Ramadan when we visited a lot of people were getting ready to break their fast and would be entering the Citadel. There was only an hour or so before our flight we all agreed that it was fine to view it from outside. It wasn't a particularly grand building from the outside as it looked very concrete.


CLAUDIA'S TOP TIPS:

1. Dress for the weather. Before we went we were advised to dress respectfully, especially as we planned to visit the Citadel. However, I would not recommend this in the 50 degree heat. I wore jeans and white shirt which was just unbearable. Everybody else was in shorts and flowy dresses and nobody batted an eyelid!

2. Take water, sun cream, hand sanitizer, etc. Before we left we were told that as we were flying to Cairo we wouldn't be able to take sun cream, hand sanitizer etc because it was a liquid. This was a lie. Everybody else was able to take these and our trip definitely would have been better if we had too!

3. Do not let anybody hand you anything, take your photo, or let you sit on a camel. They will rip you off, steal from you, and basically take whatever they can! Try to keep you heads down and if they approach you say "no, thank you" and carry on walking.






5 Reasons I Don't Reach for the Kylie Cosmetics Royal Peach Palette

24 April 2017


Now I know this review is late to the game - and it's probably worse since I ordered the Royal Peach palette the day it was released. It was actually a Birthday present; I'd asked for three palettes for my Birthday but this was the one I was most excited for. I'd been after a Kylie Cosmetics eyeshadow palette for a while and I actually decided to order this over the Burgundy Palette. Oh, hindsight. I was so ready to get testing the palette and write a post about how great it was. I'd never even considered that it might be... bad. 

For my Birthday I actually got three eyeshadow palettes (before this I owned a total of 0): Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette, Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance, and Kylie Cosmetics Royal Peach Palette. This will probably not come as much of a surprise but the Kylie Cosmetics palette was the worst by far. I'd heard such good reviews of the other Kylie palettes that I thought this was a sure bet. Since getting it February I've barely reached for it because the other two are so much better!


So, I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you why I think this palette is so bad: 

1. The lack of pigmentation. This is probably the most disappointing point because the one thing everybody wants from a good palette is for the colours to be pigmented. Especially for the price tag. Some of the shimmer colours may as well not even be there because they only pick up tiny specks of glitter.

2. The colours. Individually they are all so pretty, and when I see the palette it looks so beautiful. But when you take a step back you realise that all the colours are actually very similar (aside from the bright blue) which makes it difficult to create a look without using another palette! And realistically, how often are you going to reach for a bright blue eyeshadow?

3. The brush. I actually got the palette at the same time as Kylie's brush collection and let me tell you; the quality of the palette brush compared to the brush set is horrendous. The set is such good quality and I use them all the time. The palette brush - I've had better brushes free in a magazine. If you're not going to provide a good quality brush in the palette I'd rather save £5 and not have a brush included at all.

4. The smell. It's horrible and chemically. Why would you want to put something on your face that smells like chemicals? Why does it smell so bad? Apparently it's actually the packaging which makes me feel slightly better. I've heard if you air it out the smell goes but I don't expect to be airing out a $45 palette to get rid of the smell.

5. The packaging. Firstly, the aesthetics are nowhere near as nice as her previous palettes. And can she just stop using cardboard? I didn't pay £40 for cheap cardboard. I don't care if it does come with a mirror!  

It's actually making me quite sad to write this review. I'm such a big fan of Kylie's Lipkits and I've heard such good things of her other palettes. I think 2017 has seen Kylie release a lot of rushed products; her highlighters and blushers both look cheap. Remember Kylie: quality over quantity!


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