A World Full of Prettiness

Monday, 20 March 2017

Disney Day 7: King Kong & Disney Springs

On day 7 of our Disney holiday, we scooted across to the Universal Parks & spent the day in Islands of Adventure. I love this park for its rides - it has the perfect combination of thrill, water and the more 'gentle' rides, and definitely is a park that suits all ages.

We went on my favourite 3D simulator ride; Spiderman, and also rode the brand new King Kong ride. The special effects in the queuing system were fab, but I won't spoil it for anyone who is yet to ride it!


Unfortunately this day was a little overcast and cooler, so although I wanted to go on Jurassic Park and the rapids, I had my sensible head on, and chose to be dry over a few minutes of excitement! Next time, next time!



Taking a break, with junk food, obvs.

A gloomy looking Hogwarts


Fake that smile!
In the evening we took our first trip to Disney Springs of this trip. We witnessed a drone light show (how clever!), and saw some entertainers. We ate at Wolfgang Puck (overrated) and saw more live performers. I loved checking out the new area of DS, so many fancy shops!


Drone light show


I loved Disney Springs' Christmas Tree!

Stay tuned to see where Day 8 takes us!
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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Disney Day 6: Star Wars, Beauty & The Beast & Jingle Bell Jingle Bam

Hollywood Studios day! This theme park is unfortunately going down in my estimations as the years pass by. I feel like there is less and less to keep us occupied, and queue times aside, I think I could easily be in and out of this park within 4 hours. We watched the Storm Troopers Parade, something we haven't seen before, and Mike dragged me round the Star Wars Launch Pad. We had dinner at ABC Commisionary, and had the cutest Mickey themed festive cupcake for dessert on our Dining plan.


We did lots of things that we have previously not had time for (i.e. all the shows!) We saw all of the Star Wars characters on stage, as well as watched the live Beauty & The Beast show, along with Frozen's sing-along show (admittedly I felt a little young in this one... but the fake snow was good!).




Of course we didn't leave HS without riding Rock n Roller coaster (A definite priority at HS!) and also Toy Story Mania. We finished the night off by watching Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam - a light projection & firework show on The Chinese Theatre. This was good, but didn't blow me away.



We then ate offsite at Bahama Breeze restaurant on International Drive (FYI - there are quite a few locations to choose from) - I enjoyed a cocktail in a pineapple (so good!) alongside tacos... perfect way to end the day!


 

 
 Stay tuned for day 7 of Disney!
 
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Monday, 20 February 2017

Disney Day 5 - 'The Grey Stuff', Towel Art & Fine Dining

Day 5 started off really dark and dismal but nevertheless, we continued with our plans and headed to Magic Kingdom. We watched the morning 'Move it, Shake it' parade (which i'd never seen before, and admittedly, a little too 'young' for me, although I will admit, I did do a little jig!).
Move it Shake it Parade
We rode the obligatory rides (space mountain, thunder mountain etc) then went for a quick service at 'Be Our Guest'. The food and experience was definitely worth just a quick service, however I unfortunately felt like this restaurant had been over-hyped (but maybe it was because I didn't experience a table-service in the evening? Who knows...). Either way, I'm sure it would be any Beauty and the Beast fan's dream, and I'm glad I did it and ticked 'The Grey stuff' off my menu bucket list! (Yum!). Oh, and yes it was delicious! (Don't believe me? Ask the dishes..)


The Grey Stuff
Entrance to 'Be Our Guest' restaurant
By the afternoon the sun decided to show its face a little, so we rode the smaller rides that we have bypassed in previous years (i.e. Aladdins magic carpet, Ariel, etc). It was nice experiencing new things. We then left mid-afternoon and headed back to the hotel, and got presented with some towel art (I love a good hotel surprise from the cleaners!). We used our hotel's laundrette (the joys of travelling for longer than usual!) and chilled round the pool.

Aladdin's Magic Carpet
 
 
Towel art in our hotel
That evening we experienced our first signature restaurant at Yachtsmans Steakhouse at The Beach and Yacht Club - Fine dining at its best. The food was on point, but I didn't expect any less.

Luxurious dessert at The Yachtsman
After dinner, we admired The Beach Clubs hotel grounds, and oo'ed and arr'ed over the luxurious attention to detail. This cute little festive train track was a great focal point, as was this huge globe! I'd love to stay in this hotel someday, it really is beautiful.

 

Yet another busy day, full of action and yummy food. Stay tuned for day 6 of our Disney trip!
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Disney Day 4: Animal Kingdom, Yak & Yeti & Teppan Edo!

We headed to Animal Kingdom today. I'll be honest, Animal Kingdom is probably my least favourite park out of all 4 Disney parks, but that's only because we're not huge animal people, so we don't appreciate it as much as others would! We made our way through the itinerary and it flowed perfectly. We managed to ride Expedition Everest, watch The Lion King and gaze at Monkeys as they swung from the trees. We then checked into our early dining reservation at Yak & Yeti. I'd eaten here before but only as a quick service, so I was excited to see what the restaurant had to offer! The food was gorgeous, I completely recommend!

Festival of The Lion King
 
Expedition Everest
 
Expedition Everest from afar
We bypassed the safari this year (I know, I know!), as well as the river rapids (although the weather was warm for December, I knew as soon as I got wet I'd be freezing, and it wasn't warm enough for our clothes to dry quickly, so we took the practical route). We took a slow walk around the park, going in nooks and crannies that we hadn't previously explored.

Dessert at Yak & Yeti
We had an early finish here and went back to the hotel. We both went swimming then got ready for our meal reservation at Teppan Edo in Epcot. This restaurant was definitely up there with some of my favourites from the whole trip. The experience as well as the food was on point. You had your food cooked in front of you from scratch in really quirky ways. The girl made a 'volcano' from onions, and turned it into a snowman, and began singing 'do you wanna build a snowmaaan?' The 'volcano' then began smoking, exactly like a real volcano would, so clever!

Cooking at Teppan Edo
After this we watched IllumiNations firework display. We had a bit of a poor view, with the fire stands in front of us, but nevertheless, it was still good. We managed to ride a few more rides then headed home after another busy day!

IllumiNations - Epcot
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Friday, 10 February 2017

Creamy Garlic Chicken with Cypriot New Potatoes - Foodies100 Challenge

In the winter, there's nothing better than a good hearty meal to warm those insides up after a tiring day at work. When I got the opportunity to pop my chef's hat on again, I of course didn't refuse! The challenge was to include these lovely Cypriot new potatoes in the recipe, and I instantly knew how I was going to incorporate these into my meal. My favourite meals are cream-based dishes, and with a little trial and error, I think I've perfected yet another creamy garlic wonder!

Cypriot potatoes are have made their way from the gorgeous island of Cyprus and are so versatile that they could be used in many dishes. They pride themselves in their 'rich, creamy yet earthy taste' and I can definitely vouch for that in this recipe.
 
Cypriot New Potatoes are available in Tesco stores from now until the end of March so grab a pack before they're gone!

Come watch me as I cook a Creamy Garlic Chicken & Potato dish with those lovely Cypriot potatoes!





Ingredients (Serves 1)




Instructions

  • Wash and roughly slice potatoes into approx. 2x2cm cubes. Once complete, place into a large pan of water and add a sprinkle of salt for extra flavour. Put on a medium-high heat for approx. 15-20 minutes.

  • Wash mushrooms and cut in half.

  • Peel and finely dice garlic gloves.

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 6) in preparation for the garlic bread.
  • Add a splash of oil to a large frying pan and heat oil up until hot.
  • Add chicken to pan and fry until white.
  • Add mushrooms and fry until golden brown.
  • Whilst these are frying, pop your garlic bread into your pre-heated oven.
  •  Add the pancetta to the frying pan and stir thoroughly.

  • Whilst this is gently frying, add your double cream to a small saucepan and mix in the diced garlic.

  • Your potatoes should now be thoroughly cooked. Drain and add to frying pan. Stir.
  • Heat cream and garlic and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes until hot. Do not allow to boil.
  • Add the cream to the rest of the mixture and stir thoroughly, allowing the flavours to absorb.

  • Serve with garlic bread, and enjoy!


Please drop me a comment below if you try this recipe!

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

January: Holiday Bookings, Being Sociable & A Room Revamp!

I thought I'd continue with my monthly positive into 2017.

This year I've started to do something that I've never done before, sort of like a New Years resolution to myself, but definitely not as pressurised! And that is to record 1 positive thing that has happened each day. The book sits by the side of my bed, and I complete it each night before going to sleep. Obviously life gets a little repetitive and mundane, so I've sometimes struggled to find a positive, and instead I think of all the negatives that I could write for that day. However I push those aside and try to think of something that's made me smile, or something I've found enjoyment in. It's hard to say at the minute because we're only 1 month into the new year, however I'm hoping as the months pass, I'll find this a pretty useful tool in terms of reflecting and seeing how productive/successful I was in that particular month.

This year I'm also trying to push myself in terms of social events. I'm such an introvert and very content with my own company that I often forget to socialise. However I'm trying to say yes to more things and experience more 'first times'.

New Years Day saw me cook a meal for 4 people (which was a first!). I cooked a roast dinner for myself, Mike and my mum and her partner. Although I found it pretty stressful, I got really good compliments *punches air*. I want to do this again at some point but with a less stressful meal!

I won my first competition of 2017! The Telegraphs 'top 5 summer reads' apparently. I love reading, and although some of them aren't what I'd normally reach for, I'm going to try to push myself out of my usual genres this year.

I had a good few inches of my hair chopped off - it was well needed! My hair dye is down to its last few inches before its gone completely and my hair will be 100% natural again (after 13 years!).

We've had a lot of changes at work, and its definitely pushed me back out of my comfort zone, however I think I've coped well, and I notice that my confidence has grown and although I do get nervous when speaking in meetings with a lot of professionals in, I'm definitely not as nervous as I used to be, and I don't blush anymore, which is great! (Blushing is the worst!). {Practise definitely does make perfect.


Both myself and Mike have reconnected with some old friends and have done the usual social stuff together (i.e. tea, bingo etc). Me & Mike have always had separate friends and have never really done things in couples, and I've always secretly longed to, so its all good!

I've really been on the ball editing my holiday footage this year. I'm doing daily 'vlogs' and trying to keep them to a maximum of 5 minutes viewing time, so although I have a lot of footage to trawl through, the uploading time isn't so gruelling!

I've took part in a handful of twitter chats this year. I'm really terrible at interacting with others on social media. I access twitter every day, however I never communicate with anyone, however it definitely does help! I've put my name forward to host my first ever twitter party so fingers crossed! Are you following me on Twitter? Come find me @katelou11


My dressing room has finally come together after being painted in the autumn. I've been waiting to finish it off with some final touches (curtains and a rug!) and those finally arrived last week so it feels complete now (well... almost!). A blog post will be coming soon!



Another biggie for this month - we booked another holiday! To NYC & Disney, again! We go in September, and for just 2 weeks this time. It hasn't really kicked in yet because we've not long come back from our US stint but I'm sure it will soon... then the planning will start all over again!


I've seen lots of my friends this month, either over breakfast, lunch or tea! I need to make sure that this occurs regularly this year as once again, I'm terrible at maintaining contact! And yes, that is how I have my tea before you 'tea colour' haters start! *rollseyes*

So! There was me thinking January was pretty unsuccessful and not productive in the slightest! If it wasn't for my little book, I would have forgotten half of this!
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Friday, 3 February 2017

Disney Day 3: Seaworld & Magic Kingdom!

On our 3rd full day in Disney we went to SeaWorld. I had been to SeaWorld as a child, but only had very small and vague memories of the place, so I felt like I was visiting somewhere completely new (which is always a good thing!).

If you're an animal lover, moreso aquarium animals, then you'll love this place. They had approximately 3 huge stadiums where the dolphins, killer whales etc strutted their stuff. You had the opportunity to stroke baby sharks, sting rays etc, and watch dolphins in a small nursery. This allowed you to get up close and personal with them, without fighting the crowds.




The rides here were very limited. They have 3 rollercoasters and 1 water flume which was unfortunately closed. In fact this ride looked like it had been sat there for 30 years unused! We went on 2 rollercoasters but avoided Mako like the plague (I hate vertical drops!).

There were colourful parrots and pink flamingo's to admire, as well as lots of cute penguins in 'Antartica'.






We managed to see a bit of everything but I couldn't help but feel that this park lacked excitement and atmosphere. It felt very sparse in places and although it was very clean and had been maintained well, it just didn't compare to the other parks. I'm glad I visited though, but can safely say I don't feel like I need to return.

After our time at SeaWorld, we headed back to the hotel for a freshen-up, then headed back to Magic Kingdom where we had a dining reservation at The Skipper Canteen. The service here was fantastic, and the food wasn't far off either. Mike got a cool drink with apple 'beads' in (as I liked to call them) and we watched the famous Mickey toffee apples being made in the cutest of kitchens.




Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree


Stayed tuned for day 4! Check my travel section on my blog to see what I got up to on days 1-3 in Disney, as well as my Christmas trip to NYC which we did before jetting over to Orlando!
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