A World Full of Prettiness

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
SHARE:

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!

SHARE:

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!
SHARE:

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!
SHARE:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Disney Day 2: Universal Studios & Ohana's!

On our second full day of Disney we ventured into Universal Studios (which obviously isn't Disney as such, but we'll just roll with it!). Unfortunately the full morning was very dull and drizzly, so we tried our best to stay undercover. We did get caught in a few down pours though, but you haven't experienced true Orlando if this doesn't happen to you at least once!


As soon as we entered the park we saw that The Minions ride was displaying a 20 minute wait. We'd never had the chance to experience this attraction in previous visits because the wait times had always been ridiculously long, so as soon as we saw 20 minutes, we of course made a beeline for it.

Similar to the Disney parks, because we had visited Universal several times in the past few years, we weren't in such a hurry to cram everything in this time. Instead we slowed down the pace and managed to fit any 'extras' in that we hadn't experienced before. We also ventured into the nooks and crannies that we had missed in previous years due to being in a rush! I find these days the best because they're so much more laid back and you tend to appreciate your surroundings more because you have more time and opportunity to immerse yourself in the environment.

I'm not sure if it was because of the weather, or time of year, but the wait times for most rides were 20-30 minutes, which was perfect. Some were as small as 5 minutes, so I was loving it! We rode all of the obligatory rides, ET, MIB, The Simpsons, Revenge of the Mummy, etc. We also indulged in our first EVER American churro, but unfortunately it wasn't the best! (I swear they're not meant to be that hard!).

I noticed that Toothsome Chocolate Emporium had only just recently opened, so we ventured there and gawped at all the weird but definitely wonderful contraptions they had going on in the shop of their restaurant. If money grew on trees....
 

I took lots of retro/vintage themed photos of buildings and the famous pink and white Cadillac's sat outside Mel's Drive-In Diner (yep, that same car that I take a photo of almost every year!). We also ventured into Ben & Jerry's café where I tried a hazelnut and coffee ice-cream. Yum!


After this we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our dining reservation at Ohana's, which was in Disney's Polynesian Resort. Such great fun! We were given flower lei's whilst we watched a live Hawaiian lady sing, followed by a coconut race for the kids. The food was immense! Battered King Prawns, steak, chicken and pork continued to come to our table on skewers, fresh from the kitchen. You could have as much as you wanted, perfect for meat lovers! I really enjoyed it here and can't recommend it enough!

The Lobby at The Polynesian Resory
Have you read what I got up to on day 1 of my Disney trip?
 
SHARE:

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

MY TOP 5 TRAVEL BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS

We've all got a bucket list of some sort, so when I booked this year's holiday today, it got me thinking of the other destinations that I'd like to visit. Then I realised I'd never shared them with you!

Japan

Shibuya Crossing [source]
I've seen a few vlogs on Youtube over the years of people visiting Japan and its a country that I'd really like to visit, moreso for their culture. I've never been to a country where I've really felt like I've been in a completely different culture. I want to walk down the streets and around markets and think 'Wow, now that's different!'. Although I've been to many countries in my life, they've all been very touristy, and English. I want to have fun over language barriers, order off a menu where there isn't any English food present, and really feel like I'm in a different country, and I think Japan would be one of them.

I'd want to stay in a traditional Japanese hotel, complete with a proper Japanese bath. I'd love to see if some form of Geisha performance, as well as indulge in some crazy-ass shopping that they have over there, and of course cross the famous Shibuya crossing! This reminds me of Times Square, but on a much larger scale. I love Times Square so I think I'd like this too!

I love the fact that Japan has a mixture of both vibrant city life and the most beautiful scenery one ever did see.

Thailand

[source]
I know this has become overly populated with tourists in the last 5-10 years, and its on most back-packers itinerary, but I'd try and go to the less touristy hotspots, and find my own remote hideaway! Thailand offers the most beautiful beaches (Ko Phangan I'm looking at you!). This is the place to be for the full moon party, and although that looks a little too wild for me, I'd be happy to people watch from afar!

Santorini

[source]
Now I've been to Greece a few times (and I'm heading back there soon!) but there's something about Santorini that catches my eye every time. Those endless infinity pools against the crystal waters of the Aegean sea.. I could jump in every one. I love the white washed hotels/apartments, how they look so clean and bright, all nestled amongst one another on different heights. I love the effect it creates at night, the lamps glowing against the night sky. This would definitely be more of a relaxing holiday for us, something that we don't do very often.

Vancouver, Canada

[source]
Every time I used to think about Canada, I immediately thought 'Niagra Falls'. That was definitely a bucket list of mine, but up until a few months ago, I'd never really looked much further into Canada and what it has to offer. It wasn't until I had a conversation with a colleague who did some travelling a few years ago, and they commented on how beautiful Canada was, in particular Vancouver. I remember them setting the scene and I had a very clear image in my head, and knew I had to google this once I got home. I did this and the image in my head matched what I saw on the screen and they were right, it was beautiful. It was at that moment that I knew I had to visit. And this was that image...

San Francisco, USA

[source]
I've been to USA numerous times, and I've dabbled in a few areas across the states, but I always seem to return to the same places, in particular Florida. San Francisco really appeals to me for a few reasons, first and foremost, Alcatraz. For those that don't know, Alcatraz is a derelict prison in the middle of the sea that closed in 1963. I love anything crime related, and although airy, I can imagine this experience to be really insightful and thought provoking. Secondly, The Golden Gate Bridge. It's iconic and one that I'd love to walk across at night, all lit up. Finally, I'd love to see Lombard Street - purely for photo opportunities of course! Would you dare drive down that crooked street?!

Which destinations are on your bucket list? I'd love to know!
SHARE:

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Disney Day 1: Our First Character Dining Experience & Frozen Ever After!

Our first full day in Disney saw us heading to Epcot for our first ever character dining experience. Me and Mike, with no kids, both not great conversationalists, I was a little worried, but really wanted to do it because.. well, it's Disney, need I say more?!

We arrived at Garden Grill which is a slow rotating restaurant. The food was A-mazing! A gorgeous warm tear-away cinammon bun arrived, with fresh bowls of tropical fruit, then a pan full of bacon, sausages, potato croquettes and mickey waffles followed. SO good! Pluto decided to throw salt sachets all over our table, and we also posed for photos with Mickey and Chip & Dale. Big kids, I know.



These singers sung Christmas carols and they were amazing!
We made our way around The World Showcase, and sampled the Frozen Ever After ride in the process (a fast pass is definitely need for this!). Although I'm not a huge Frozen fan, the design of this ride gave me goosebumps, but I wont spoil it for those that are due to go! It was so nice having a casual stroll through all the 'countries' at a leisurely pace instead of rushing round trying to cram everything in like we had done previous years. I suppose that's one of the advantages of going a few times, the visits get more and more laid back the more times you go. It enabled us to go into little nooks and crannies that I didn't realise existed before.


We had a quick service meal at Lotus Blossom Café in the China pavilion, this is always a good call. Their honey glazed chicken is perfection. We made use of our memory maker and took lots of photos next to all the huge Christmas trees, lit up in the dark. Everywhere looked magical



Tired from our first full day, combined with jet lag, we left Epcot around 8pm and headed back to the hotel for a chilled night.

Stay tuned for day 2!

SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig