My Favourite Florida Buys

20 September 2015

I had originally planned to split my holiday purchases out in to three haul posts (Disney World, Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Sephora), but there was so much stuff that it all felt a little bit overwhelming. Instead, I've opted to share my favourite selections from all three categories.

I have to start with the obvious one, my Chip mug. I'd seen this little guy all over the internet and heard rumours about how he was only available in one specific location and in limited supply, so on our first night in Disney I power marched us to said shop for my first Disney buy. There were plenty of him and we saw him all over the place (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney), so if you're off to Orlando soon I'm sure that you'll have no trouble buying one. I amazed myself by making this my only mug purchase of the holiday, but I absolutely love him.
My actual first buy of my Orlando adventure was my Gryffindor lanyard from Universal Studios. As we spent the first three nights of the holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel we had the on-site benefit of Front of the Line passes for most rides, so to save me from constantly digging around in my backpack for this pass, I bought a lanyard to wear it round my neck. I'll definitely pack this for future trips. I also treated myself to a Gryffindor pin to go on the lanyard, because you can never have too much house pride (Pottermore might've sorted me in to Ravenclaw...). On the subject of pins, I grabbed one at Disney featuring one of my favourite rides, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid. The third and final Harry Potter item that I've chosen to showcase here is my Time Turner necklace. I ummed and ahh'd a lot about buying this, but in the end I'm so glad that I did. It was pricey, but it's so delicate and well crafted.
I surprised myself by buying a lot more makeup than I'd originally intended to on this trip.  I couldn't say no to the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop, which is a truly beautiful highlighter. I've started wearing my brows a little darker than normal, so I treated myself to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Ash Brown. Sneaking in to the top photo is the Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer, which I have in the palest shade for under eye cover-up. The bath salts were a Downtown Disney purchase from Basin. We went in to this shop on our last morning, and if it had been any earlier in the trip then I probably would've bought the whole shop, as everything smelt divine. My last two beauty items featured are both lipsticks: MAC's iconic Whirl liner in lippy form (need I say more?) and the Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Sinful Cinnamon. This is another Kylie Jenner-esque shade, plus the lid clicks on magnetically, so what's not to love?
My final few favourite purchases are - of course - all Disney related. The two dreamy vinyls feature the soundtracks to Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid, aka two of the best Disney soundtracks ever in my opinion. I'm so excited to listen to both of the records, and I adore the artwork. The back of each vinyl is also beautifully illustrated (featuring Beast and Ursula respectively). The beautiful Sleeping Beauty notebook pictured above actually flips over to reveal Cinderella on the other side, and I've started using this, along with my Minnie Mouse pen, to keep a rather therapeutic daily journal. My other book purchase (shown below) is titled "Fairest of All", and tells the story of Snow White but from the Evil Queen's perspective. I'm hoping that this will be similar to Once Upon A Time, which is my favourite show. 
Lastly, there was so much amazing artwork available to buy in Disney, I could've spent days looking at it all. Unfortunately I didn't have an unlimited budget, so I opted for two of my favourite illustrations in post card form, which I'll frame. The Mermaid Lagoon artwork is by Liana Hee, ad I believe that it's also on display in some of the Polynesian Resort rooms. The Jasmine image (entitled Rajah Dreams) is by the artist Jeremiah Ketner. Kenner is also the mastermind behind my favourite purchase of the whole holiday, the beautiful Tangled print, titled Message From Home. It captures the scene perfectly, and I can't wait to hang this up.

What's In My Florida Beauty Bag

6 September 2015

Aside from the obvious (SPF, a conditioner to combat the humidity etc), there are a few items that I like to pack in my beauty bag when travelling to the United States. Here are my essential contents.

Base wise, I always purchase a tube of my trusty Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Matifying Fluid if I'm travelling somewhere hot. Not only does this leave my skin feeling hydrated, my makeup sits on it beautifully and I'm fairly sure that by being matte, it extends the longevity of my foundation. Regardless of if you're visiting a warmer climate, if you struggle with oily skin I'd recommend giving this a go. I'm also packing two newly discovered base essentials of mine, the Make Up For Ever Hydrating Primer and Mist & Fix Setting Spray. I find that when paired together, these help my foundation to stay in place really well throughout the day, so fingers crossed they work as well in Florida.

In terms of makeup I'm hoping to keep things as simple as possible (the less I put on my face, the less there is to slide off in the heat!), but I'll be taking my beloved MAC Whirl Lip Liner with me for a pop of colour. I'm a little bit wary that lipsticks might melt in the heat, but this liner will last me through even the messiest of meals.

In the 'doesn't fit in to a category' category there are two essentials. The first is a medium sized Wet Brush. I honestly can't brush my hair with anything else these days, so I bought this slightly smaller version to take on my travels with me. This Wet Brush works just as well as the full sized, and I'd definitely recommend it for taming your locks. The last item is one that I wouldn't leave home without, an anti-bacterial hand gel. There will be lots of opportunities to pick up germs (railings, doors etc) in theme parks visited by thousands of people every day, plus lots of sticky ice-cream eating, so I like to have a pocketbac in my bag at all times. I'll be stocking up on some more of these in Bath & Body Works.

Florida 2015: 1 Day To Go

30 August 2015

After almost eleven months of planning, my Florida holiday is just around the corner. Tomorrow I'll be getting ready to head up to Manchester Airport, before my flight departs on Tuesday morning. My bags are (almost) packed, my documents are organised, and I can't wait to spend ten nights in the happiest place on earth. There were a couple of last minute dramas (my sister was no longer able to join me, but my other sister has stepped in to her place), but on September 1st I'm off to spend 3 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal followed by seven nights at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, and I can't wait. 

Here's the recap of everything that we've done to prepare, in case you're looking to book an Orlando holiday:

What's Done So Far:
  • Booked and paid for the holiday.
  • Checked in to our Disney hotel online and personalised our magic bands.
  • Progressed with my holiday diet - over five stone down.
  • Finished my holiday shopping and packed my luggage.
  • Booked and paid for airport parking/security fast track etc.
  • Selected seats on our flights.
  • Booked our ADR's and FP+ for Disney.
  • Purchased Memory Maker.
  • Updated our ESTA's.
  • Purchased travel insurance.
  • Printed and organised our documents.
What's Left To Do:
  • Online check-in for our flight (tomorrow morning).
  • Relax and enjoy every second of it.
I've managed to schedule some blog posts for while I'm away, sticking to my normal Wednesday and Sunday posting schedule, but for the whole of September my blog will be fairly Florida themed, so if that's not your thing then I can only apologise now. If you want to keep up with my travels as they happen then make sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter (@josieowenx). It's holiday time!

Lush Online Haul

23 August 2015

After reading a few blog posts about the new Oxford Street Lush range now being available online, I decided to place an order. I'd only ever ordered from Lush online once before, but it took around four working days for my order to arrive via standard delivery. Lush believe in naked packaging, so the products aren't wrapped in anything on arrival. Unfortunately a couple of my Bubble Bars didn't make it here in the best shape, but they still smelt positively dreamy, so that's what counts! I'm saving these goodies for a warm bath on a rainy day, but here are my first impressions.

Bath Bombs.
I only ordered one bath bomb this time, and that was Twilight. This will supposedly turn my bath water a deep purple colour with a lavender scent. Apparently Twilight is good for helping with sleeping problems, so fingers crossed on that one.

Bubble Bars.
Most of the bubble bars that I bought are new to me, starting off with Milky Bath. The design of this is adorable, I love the silver bottle cap. Milky Bath is orange scented (one of my favourite fragrances), so I'm excited to give this a go. Another new purchase is Pink Flamingo. I won't lie, this was ordered purely for how flipping cute it is, who doesn't want to dip a flamingo on a stick in to their bath? From what I can gather, this is basically a cocktail for your tub, which sounds perfect for a pre-night out scrub to me. The third new bubble bar in my order was the Yuzu and Cocoa Bubbleroon. Not only does this look like a rather convincing macaron, it also smells of a rather heavenly chocolate and orange combination. If I can't have Terry's then this will do nicely.

I re-ordered two of my all time favourite Lush products too, the Creamy Candy and the Comforter bubble bars. Both smell incredibly sweet (Creamy Candy is the same scent as the Christmas legend that is Snow Fairy, whilst the Comforter is a gorgeous fruity bergamot blend), give me plenty of bubbles, and feel like a truly relaxing treat to use in my tub. Creamy Candy has been reformulated too, so it's now a much brighter shade of pink. I find that I get two or three baths out of each bubble bar, so although they're on the pricey side at around £5 a pop, they're worth the cost.

Show Creams.
Finally we're on to the purchases that I was most excited about, two of Lush's new shower creams. I went for my beloved the Comforter scent, as well as Yuzu and Cocoa. The Comforter smells exactly the same as the bubble bar, so if you like that (and lets be honest, who doesn't?) then you'll love the shower cream. Yuzu and Cocoa once again has that delicious blend of chocolate and orange. I'll mainly be using these products as shower gels, but it's nice to have the scents corresponding with my bubble bath.

I sometimes struggle to find products - other than the Comforter and Snow Fairy - that I love from Lush, so it's really nice to see that they're expanding their range. Now that I've built my stocks up again, my next big purchase will most likely be from their Christmas collection. Roll on November!

Gravity Defying Cake

19 August 2015

My Mum & I saw (and loved) Holly Bell's gravity defying cakes on This Morning recently. We decided to give one a go for my sisters birthday, so here's the easy-peasy cheat guide.
We began our lazy cake with a couple of pre-made Victoria sponges from the supermarket. We used Betty Crocker chocolate icing (I could eat this by the bucket) to 'glue' chocolate fingers around the outside of the cakes. These looked really sweet, but they also stopped the Maltesers from rolling off the top of the cake.

Next we sticky taped a couple of wooden barbecue skewers together and poked these in to the cake. Place your empty sweet packet on top of the stick as a guide to how high up you need to place your chocolates. Using the same method as with the chocolate fingers, we pasted the Maltesers to the skewer. This gives the gravity defying impression, as if the Maltesers are being poured from the packet and on to the cake.

Once you're finished with defying gravity (now try and get the song out of your head) spread a thin layer of your yummy icing over the top of the cake. Pour your Maltesers on to this et voila, the top of the cake is sorted. We added extra Maltesers in certain locations to pretty the cake up/hide the base.

The last step was to add a the Maltesers rolling down the side of the cake. Again, this is easy peasy. Use the Betty Crocker icing to attach the chocolates to the fingers in a trailing pattern, as if the Maltesers are spilling over the top of the cake. Place a few at the base too and you're finished!

Although it was a little time consuming and fiddly at points, creating this gravity defying cake was actually a lot simpler than I initially expected. For a first attempt I'm pretty proud of how ours turned out. The best part is that you can use the favourite kind of chocolate/sweet of whoever the cake is for to personalise it. Oh, and it tastes pretty good too.