A World Full of Prettiness

Friday, 19 January 2018

Scrapbooking: Getting creative with Cheerz!

I've always wanted to do scrap booking but its just never happened... until recently.

I was contacted by the guys at Cheerz to review their big scrapbook which of course I didn't have to think twice about. I love getting creative with doodling fonts so I was in my element with this.



The hardback scrapbook is 32cm x 32cm so it's a really good size to get creative. Unfortunately you aren't able to select from various colours/designs, and are instead given a blue book with a gold fleck design. I think this design is quite effective though and adds impact to the cover. As well as your photos, the scrapbook also includes a white gel pen and several sheets of small stickers which enables you to stick your photos in without any mess.


The quality of the book is impressive - solid and hard wearing, with the black card inside being extra thick to help with durability. The book contains 20 pages which was more than enough for me to create a 'story' through my photos.

At the very back of the book is a hidden envelope which is convenient for photo storage.



With your purchase you can select between 30 and 80 photos in order to fill your book. I had the opportunity to select 30, which I found to be too little. Because of this, I padded it out with other smaller photos I had hanging around the house, but which still fitted into my story.
Of course you can go wild with what you want your scrapbook to document - I have a passion for travelling and my partner and I have just celebrated 10 years of being together, so it made sense for me to celebrate 10 years of Travel by documenting it through this book. On the front cover lies a small box which enables you to title it as necessary. I decided to dedicate each full page spread to 1 year of our lives, and showcase where we had been in that year. If you enjoy doodling and getting creative with pens then maybe purchase a second gel pen as a back up. I learnt the hard way - my pen ran with one last page to go! The white gel pen against the black card looks fantastic and really gives impact to your doodles. 


Here's just a sneak peek of how I've designed my scrapbook and the photos I used. Getting creative with fonts helps to add variety to your book and keeps each page interesting. 








I'm really happy with my finished scrapbook and think it'd make a great coffee table book for visitors to browse!

If you want to document your travels, or anything else for that matter, go check Cheerz out. They do a large range of unique ways to showcase your memories. Why not surprise a loved one this Valentines day with a photo of you both? Use the code J8AYNU at checkout for a £5 discount (on all orders over £20).

Happy Snapping!
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Sunday, 7 January 2018

2017 Overview (inc Photos)

As we roll into a new year we tend to get reflective over how 'good' or 'bad' the previous year had been to us, it helps us to recognise where we may need to improve or even change things up a little!

Here is an overview of my 2017!

January

I started the new year by hosting my first ever roast dinner for more people than just me & Mike. Admittedly it was only for 2 more (4 in total) so I didn't go wild, but I got really good feedback which encouraged me to do a similar thing in the future.
I gave my dressing room a much needed make-over from its old shabby chic interior. This had been a work in progress for a few months, but January was when it all finally came together and I was happy with the outcome. Shame it doesn't stay as tidy as this!
As January came to a close, we booked yet another holiday to America, both to NYC and Florida, somewhere where we'd only just left weeks prior! And of course, the planning started all over again!


February

February was a fairly quiet month. Mike did his first attempt at being romantic on Valentines day by showering the house in love heart sequins (that got everywhere!) - these led to a candle-lit bath upstairs followed by a candle-lit meal cooked by him. We also celebrated a friends 30th birthday at Damons in Lincoln and I had the best ribs I'd ever had. I also treat my niece to a teddy bears afternoon tea - cute!


March

March saw a lot of things change at work, and consisted of a leaving do over gorgeous afternoon tea. I also went on lots of really pretty scenic walks with my mum and discovered that I really enjoyed being outdoors and around nature.


April

April was a good month. I cracked it open with my mums 60th party and enjoyed yet more walks out in the countryside. I began the huge declutter of my beauty products which was so liberating, and also had my head stuck in some good books! We visited a country park that is on our doorstep but one I had never been to before. I treat my mum to a weekend away in York where we saw Motown, had posh afternoon tea and had nice casual strolls round the shops.


May

May was another good month, I caught up with friends over Italian food, spent my birthday in Manchester, and flew to Skiathos the very next day and got to experience the prettiest Greek island I've yet to see - I definitely recommend! It was lovely just having a 'chill holiday', full of casual strolls, eating, drinking and the odd bit of swimming (when I dared to brave the still cold waters!) - so different to our usual action-packed holidays, but it felt good.


June

In June we took a day trip to Harrogate, then to Knaresborough (which was so pretty!). We also treat my dad to a meal at another new restaurant which fast became my new favourite for my local area (this is always worth a mention!). We got on board with healthy eating and begun our weekly food subscription to a fruit and veg box.


July

July saw us do lots of smaller day trips out, firstly to the seaside town of Mablethorpe, we went strawberry picking, and also took a trip to the York Retail Outlets in hope of finding some designer bargains. My mum ate a hot chilli (by accident) in Wagamama's, and tried to play it cool by not letting on, till I noticed her face was red and eyes were streaming. That was a funny moment! I'm sure that will be her first and last visit to Wagamamas!


August

August saw further days out, firstly to Skegness with my friend and her 2 boys where we spent the day on rides, a week later we treat my niece to a day out to York Maze for her birthday which she loved. We had a low-key celebration for Mike's birthday, and my dad built us a fabulous seating/decking area in the garden which is nice and private. We also took my niece and nephew out of town for a picnic and paddle!


September

September was a biggy in terms of travel, a week in and we were flying to NYC for 4 nights. We did the tourist-y bits that we never managed to do on the prior trip. 5 days later and we flew to Orlando and enjoyed some Disney magic, and got to experience our first Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios.





October

I spent October catching up with friends over afternoon tea, visiting Hull and taking a trip to a world buffet. I finished my 2nd audio book, and we attended a friends babies' christening.


November

As winter drew near I found myself indulging in lots of naughty drinks full of whipped cream and chocolate, and as the air turned cold I found myself indulging in lots of bubble baths.


December

December started nicely - we stayed overnight in Leeds and saw Ricky Gervais live, and I discovered that I actually quite like him as a comedian. We visited a German Christmas market and enjoyed afternoon tea at The Malmaison in Leeds as well. I treat myself to get my nails done (only the second time ever would you believe!). A week into December and everything changed - Mike's mum passed away from cancer so the rest of the month became a blur. We didn't really 'do' Christmas as such this year - we didn't put a tree up, it just didn't feel right. I did pop a few fairy lights around and a few Christmas ornaments, just to try and keep a little bit of normality. I had 12 days off work and it was nice just to have time with Mike, to offer him comfort and support.

2017 has been a very 'standard' year in most areas of my life - I don't feel like I have progressed in any area as such. Travel wise it has been quite successful, and we managed to make a very small dent in terms of home decoration and getting the house ready to put on the market, but to complete that journey right now feels like a lifetime away.
It's just so sad that the year had to end like it did, so close to Christmas as well. I had a lot of time for Mikes mum, my future mother-in-law. She will definitely be missed.


With such a sad end to 2017, 2018 has begun so perfectly, and if you follow me on social media you'll know why, but I'll share that news soon.

Happy New Year everyone.
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Home Interior - Cheerz Photo Frames

The lovely guys at Cheerz contacted me a few weeks back asking if I'd like to review one of their items, and being the photo crazy person I am I jumped at the chance!

Our house has various photos dotted around, but they're so outdated now - I have photos in my living room on our fireplace of us in Las Vegas back in 2012. I've taken so many gorgeous photos since, but they sadly never leave my memory card half the time. However we've started the process of revamping our house, ready to put it up for sale in 2019, so this is pushing me into updating the finer details!

Cheerz do a huge range of products to display your photos, from the standard photo framescanvas' to heart magnets, calendars, and even cute little boxes full of Polaroid style photos, which would be a great addition to your coffee table for your guests to browse, instead of heaving chunky photo albums out of the cupboard!

I opted for the 20x20cm photo frame, which frame could be selected in either black or white, and popped one of my favourite photos of Mike and I in from our holiday in Florida last Christmas. We did a 3 week stint in America, starting in New York, then flying to Florida for some Disney fun, then ended the trip with 4 days in Clearwater, staying in a luxurious hotel on the beach. This photo was taken on our last night there and I love it! So much so that I also have this photo on my desk at work!


The thickness of the frame means that it can stand alone on a surface, but it does have the hooks to hang on a wall too. Because of the size of it, I think it will look best on some tall white chest of drawers that we will be purchasing in the new year. Because of the size they're pretty versatile, and I think it would look just as good being added to a wall collage too.


Cheerz having currently got a Christmas themed selection of products which are great for the more personalised gifts. I'm loving their Christmas Album, which holds up to 250 photos! This would be perfect to showcase a Christmas wedding I think! 



If your still trying to make your way through your christmas shopping list then why not browse Cheerz for some inspiration? If you do find something I have a 10% discount code (min spend £20). Just pop S8RJUR at check out then you're good to go!

Uploading your photos is really simply, it can be done straight from your phone, laptop, or via the cheerz app.


Happy shopping!
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Friday, 17 November 2017

Review: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World.

Last year I was lucky enough to experience many people's dreams - Walt Disney World at Christmas time.

After experiencing a few days in NYC, we took an internal flight to Orlando, and spent 2.5 weeks of December in this magical place. Because we knew we'd been spending a huge amount of time in the parks, we went all out and spent extra on tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

We saw the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Cinderella's castle adorned in icicles, and collected complimentary festive treats from various stands throughout the park (being the foodie I am, this was my favourite part of the night! Being able to finally sample Egg Nog and eat Christmas cookies is right up my street!)

Egg Nog & Cookie!
The atmosphere was brilliant. The air was filled with festivities, Christmas lights everywhere, Disney characters dressed up in their festive attire, and 'snow' falling from the night sky down Main Street as Mariah Carey's 'All I want for Christmas' softly played in the background (this was truly magical, and definitely a proposal opportunity if there ever was one!).

'snowing' down Main Street
One favourite memory of mine was taking a ride on the carousel at night with Mike, with all the lights glistening, and seeing Cinderella's castle poking through the buildings, glowing in all its glory. This ride gave me time to reflect and people watch, and made me realise just how lucky I was to be there, not just in Magic Kingdom, but to be there at Christmas time.


Unfortunately we never managed to do any meet and greets, but I know this is a huge favourite for many people, because the majority of the Disney Characters wear their Christmas suits, which is something that can only be seen at this particular event.

Image result for mickey mouse christmas magic kingdom
source - google
The parade, although festive with both the characters costumes and floats, wasn't much different from the standard parades. It definitely got you in the spirit though (if you weren't already feeling it!).



There were smaller shows on throughout the night but we decided to make the most of the short queue times (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train I'm looking at you!).

Do I think its worth the ticket price? Probably not. Although you get to see shows unique to that event, and free snacks and drinks are provided throughout the night, there is only so much you can eat! Admittedly the atmosphere is truly magical, but visiting Magic Kingdom in November/December on a non-Christmas party night will still squeeze that festive spirit out of you! The lights will still be on, you can buy your own festive treats to snack on, as well as see the standard firework display.

I'm glad I can say I've done it, and although it was a magical experience, I wouldn't rush back to do it again.


 
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Sunday, 5 November 2017

My Top 5 Disney Restaurants

Last Christmas I was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World and experience the (regular) Disney Dining Plan. Being the foodie I am, for months in advance I meticulously planned which restaurants to dine in, not just because of the food it had to offer, but because of the interior or the experience. Worry not, for those not familiar with Disney restaurants, they're not all fairytale-esque filled with screaming kids and dress-up characters! I dined at a few rather suave candle-lit restaurants with dress codes, exquisite food and dreamy views (and not a child in sight!).

It was hard to whittle it down to just 5, but here are my favourite restaurants on Disney property.
 
California Grill bar, pre meal

California Grill - Steak
 
1. California Grill (based at Disney's Contemporary Resort)
For those Disney nerds out there, you'll know its tough to get a booking at this restaurant because it's so well liked, for many reasons. I remember making this my first priority when I was booking my dining, and I luckily managed to bag myself a booking.
California Grill is based on the 15th floor of The Contemporary Hotel. It has floor to ceiling windows and gives THE perfect view of The Seven Seas Lagoon & Cinderella's Castle in the distance. If you time it right, you can munch your way through your food with the most impressive view of the fireworks from Magic Kingdom. You can even wander out onto the viewing platform outside - and what's even more impressive - the hotel is in sync with the soundtrack in Magic Kingdom, so whatever they can hear in the park alongside the fireworks, you can hear from the restaurant, even though you're a distance away! Unfortunately for us, because it was mid December, it was a little blustery up top, so I could only manage a few minutes in the night air before I had to dash back inside - Next time Cali, next time!
The food is absolutely divine - we ordered steak and it really was the best  (but definitely most expensive!) steak I've ever eaten. It's Michelin star quality for sure. The service was impeccable and I was so glad I booked this on our last night in Orlando, it really was the perfect ending.
 

Do you wanna build a snowman?
 

All the meat!
2. Teppan Edo (Epcot)
This restaurant ticked all boxes for me. The food quality was perfect, it offered a unique dining experience with no Disney cheese (albeit the odd subtle hint!). This is based in Japan around the world showcase. You are in groups of approximately 8, and you do end up sitting with these people, but the way the table is positioned its definitely not awkward (trust me, I wouldn't have done it if so!). You're positioned in a live cooking station if you like, and each group has their own chef, who prepares and cooks the food right in front of you. There's interaction too, if you like - you can ask the chef questions, but I was happy to just sit there (in awe) and watch as she prepared food, made a smokin' Olaf from onions (and sung 'Do you wanna be a snowman?') and prepared our food, right before our eyes. The food was so flavoursome and the experience so personal and unique, this had to make the top 5.

Ohana's lei's (and no, my hair just accidentally fell into Mickey style ears, much to the delight of my boyfriend!)


The view from outside Ohana's (The Polynesian Resort)

 
3. Ohana (The Polynesian Resort)
Ohana's is based in Disney's Polynesian Resort (oh so pretty!) and is Hawaiian themed. You are given a flower lei by a bubbly Hawaiian lady as she sings and dances around the restaurant (sounds tacky but it really isn't that bad). This is a restaurant that is fairly deluxe, but caters for children as well (i.e. they have coconut races etc). The food is almost buffet style, but you don't leave your seat, the waiters come to you. People were arriving every 10 minutes with skewers of steak, fried prawns, lots of different meats etc, and you basically keep eating till you say stop! I wasn't blown away by the desserts but the mains were gorgeous. Although this was definitely more of a livelier restaurant compared to the previous 2, it still didn't have what I usually call that 'children's dining room' feel to it. I know in the mornings for breakfast, Ohana's is a character meet and greet and children can meet Lilo & Stitch, but evening meals are a little less 'Disney-fied'.

There was more food to come (Garden Grill)

Mickey Waffles at Garden Grill!



Hate this photo but you get the idea! (Garden Grill)
4. Garden Grill (Epcot)
Our first morning was spent having breakfast here. This restaurant is SO underrated! Again, it ticked all boxes for me. It was buffet style breakfast food again, but without leaving your seat. We were presented with endless amounts of sausage, potatoes, warm cinnamon pastries (these were SO good!), fresh fruit.. the list was endless. Whilst you were eating, you got to meet certain Disney characters - Mickey Mouse, Pluto, The Chipmunks etc - great for the kids. You were in your own booths and because of how this restaurant was designed, it was extremely private - the restaurant tables are positioned in a circle - which rotates.. very very slowly! So you're getting to see different things as the restaurant slowly goes round. By the time its done a full lap you've pretty much completed your meals.

Famous naan bread

Mains at Sanaa

Dessert at Sanaa

5. Sanaa (Animal Kingdom)
Yet another underrated restaurant that doesn't get half the attention it deserves. This is based in the deluxe resort of Animal Kingdom. As you can imagine from the theming of the hotel, this restaurant was African/tribal themed, with gorgeous Moroccan lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The attention to detail in any Disney hotel is on point but Animal Kingdom for me is just fascinating. I'd heard so many things about the naan break here, so we had to try it for ourselves, and these reviews weren't wrong, it was bloody brilliant! Warm soft flavoured naans with an array of dips to choose from. The main course was just as good, the lamb just melted in your mouth and ohh.. I'm reliving those flavours right now. The service was perfect, as always, but, I haven't even got to the best bit yet - Sanaa overlooks a savannah.. yes, a real life savannah! So if you want to see giraffes, and zebras, and god knows what other animals that stroll around there, then get yourself here! Unfortunately because it was winter, for us it was too dark (and late). But fear not! we strolled outside, and there are rangers that provide you with night vision goggles which enables you to see in the dark and look out into the savannah to help spot those animals! I spotted a zebra in the wilderness, it was so surreal! There was a small fire pit near here too, with cute wooden rocking chairs to sit on.. Honestly, we visited here on our first night of arriving and experiencing the Disney Dining Plan and just seeing what this place had to offer got me so excited for the few weeks ahead. This will definitely hold a special place in my heart.


Moroccan Lights at Sanaa
Fire pit overlooking the Savannah at Sanaa
Have you visited any of these restaurants before?
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Monday, 16 October 2017

The Ride, NYC

After visiting NYC in Christmas 2016 and standing in Times Square at night waiting to cross one of their manic crossings, something caught my eye. It was a bus, but not just any bus, it had floor to ceiling windows and the people in that bus were sat in tiered rows like that of a cinema, facing outwards. There was music and flashing lights, and you could hear what was being said inside this magical bus. But what really caught my eye was how everyone on that bus looked like they were having the times of their lives. It was then that I knew I needed to be on that bus. I remembered the huge logo on the side of the bus as it whizzed by, jotted it down on my phone and that was that.

source - google images
 
Fast forward a few months and we were back in England booking yet another trip to NYC. I 100% knew that 'The Ride NYC' was going to be on my itinerary. As the trip drew closer I ordered an attraction pass that enabled us to choose 5 'activities' from the list. Low and behold, the magical bus was included in that list. Win.

I deliberately left this 'activity' till our last night in NY (save the best till last 'n all that...). We were advised to get to the meeting point 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, which we did, however when we arrived, we were already at the back of the queue. There was only one other couple that joined after us. I immediately thought this was going to scupper our chances of getting a 'good seat', however I was glad that it actually worked in our favour, and we were sat on the top row.


As we were passing through Times Square

The ballerina Duet
There are 2 entertainers on the bus, one at either side. They interact with the audience via microphones and are telling jokes throughout the 90 minutes of your journey. As the bus rides through Times Square and famous NY streets, it stops at random points and gives the illusion that random passer-bys outside are extremely talented and we 'just by chance' found them. Obviously these are actors positioned in certain points throughout the streets that work in conjunction with 'The Ride' - you get to witness live music performances, break dancing, etc. Everyone outside can hear what is being said in the microphone inside the bus, so occasionally the entertainers would try and wind strangers up as they were minding their own business, probably trying to get home for the night! Some would be cooperative and interact back, and do what the entertainers were asking, whereas others looked mortified and continued walking. This added a lot of humour to the tour!

Yes, we celebrated New Year in the middle of September.. When in New York...

As the bus approached The Pulitzer fountain (situated near the famous Plaza Hotel from Home Alone), a ballet dancer appears with her tutu all lit up. She performs a duet with a suave looking guy and this looks truly magical with the fountains as a back-drop.


The 90 minutes flew by and I was actually sad that it was over so quickly. I was glad we left it till the last night because that combined with a late night trip to the Empire State (which we did after departing the bus!) really helped us to end NYC on a high.


I think this song will now always bring back memories of our time in NYC... such a goose bump moment!

 
This is definitely an experience that I would completely recommend to others!
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