Pay Day Purchases

22 March 2015

Ever since booking Florida, I've been using my wage to chip away at our holiday balance. However,  after a run of bad luck last month (which saw me breaking one iPhone, losing one iPod and having another crushed along with my car) and in celebration of my two stone weight loss, this month I decided that I deserved a treat or two. 

The first thing that I decided to do with my wage was buy an iPod touch. This was an extravagant purchase for someone who's meant to be living frugally, but I'm so happy to have music (and portable technology) back in my life. Next up, I couldn't resist buying something from the MAC x Cinderella collection. It's no secret that I'm a huge Disney fan, and although there wasn't much that appealed to me, I went for the Beauty Powder in Mystery Princess, which is a beautiful highlighter. As this was my first beauty purchase of 2015 I threw in another bottle of my beloved Fix+ for good measure. Beauty wise, my only other purchases were a bottle of the Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil (not pictured), and some Bondi Sands tanning lotion. So far I'm loving both of these purchases, and although the oil isn't the cheapest, it's working far better than its predecessor.
Because I'm a total Disney nut, I can never resist a step in to Primark. I purchased an amazing Finding Nemo pyjama set which has gone straight in to my "pack for Florida" bag under my bed, and these Olaf pyjama leggings and a matching top. I'm not sure about whether to save the Olaf ones or not, I love them so much that I want to start wearing them ASAP, and I do have far too many pairs for my holiday already. My last Primark purchase was these amazing Aladdin flip flops for only £2! Yes, they're probably not the comfiest thing in the world, but they'll be absolutely perfect for the walk from our room to the pool. Plus I love Aladdin, so how could I say no?

My final couple of purchases are both also for my Florida. First up is the beautiful gold "I'm really a mermaid" shell necklace from I Love Crafty. I can't wait to wear this when meeting Ariel because I'm that kind of geek, plus it's such a simple piece that it'll add a touch of mermaid magic to the most boring of outfits. Lastly is the Mickey Mouse moleskin journal. This is for me to keep all of our notes/reservation numbers/receipts etc in so that I can write up a full trip report when I get back from Florida (if I manage to drag myself on to the plane home). It might seem a little early to be preparing like this for a trip that's not until September, but I'm a planning nut and this is the perfect size for our travels.
So there we have it, this is the what I've splashed out on over the last few weeks. I'm going to try my hardest to not buy anything else for Florida for a month or two, but we'll see how long that lasts...

February 2015 Scrapbook Page

18 March 2015

It's that time of month again! I really enjoyed sharing my January scrapbook page on the blog, so I'm back again with February's installment. As the month went by I found myself really looking forward to working on my pages, and spent a good chunk of time putting them together at the end of February.
This month was so jam packed that I found myself flowing over on to two pages. Even then, I struggled to fit everything in without making my pages look too crowded. I'm so happy with the finished layout though, and think it's a big improvement on my January page!
February began with a joint celebration of my siblings' birthday. My little sister turned 18, and my little brother celebrated his 17th birthday. As a surprise, we filled the living room with 75 pastel pink and blue balloons on the day of their actual birthdays - hence the polaroids. I saved some of the ribbon which we tied on to each balloon, and used it to make my February bunting. I also cut out little pink and blue card balloons, and made two for each page, to tie the pages together.
The next major event in February was of course my holiday to Disneyland Paris. I had the best time ever, and as well as including plenty of photographs that I took during the trip, I also stuck in my park ticket, some yummy chocolate coin wrappers, and a serviette that I saved from the trip. The little gold bow is some of the leftover ribbon that I used to wrap my siblings birthday presents with.

The end of February saw my long awaited trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, where a definite highlight for me was getting to meet the real life Hedwig. Once again I included photographs, my entry ticket and a post card as a memento of an amazing day. Every time I look back on my February pages I can't help but smile at how brilliant this month was.
Lastly, to finish off my pages, I once again attacked them with washi tape. This time I chose to use mainly gold stars and red polka dots to represent Minnie Mouse and Harry Potter. I am so pleased with my finished February pages, they truly represent what an eventful month it was. Arranging them was so much fun, and I'm still really enjoying having a little relaxing creative time every month. Only ten more fun-filled months to go before I have a finished year to look back on in scrapbook form.

Florida 2015: 170 Days To Go

15 March 2015

Inspired by Amy's Disney World countdown series, I thought that I'd share a post on how my trip planning is shaping up. For an OCD planner like myself, a Disney holiday is perfect - you get to book your meals (ADR's) 180 days in advance! As we're staying at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal for the first few nights of our trip, our 180 day ADR date (for Disney) rolled around on Sunday 8th March.

What We've Done So Far:
  • Booked the holiday. On Tuesday 1st September, my sister and I will be flying out to Orlando for ten nights. The first three will be spent at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal, and the last seven at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. The trip was booked as a package with Virgin, and we have tickets for Universal and Disney, as well as the Disney Dining Plan. So far we've paid our deposit and chipped away at the remainder, but we need to pay the full balance by early June.
  • Started our holiday diets. I'm trying to lose six stone in total, so far I'm on track.
  • Started the holiday shopping. I'm trying to hold off buying the bulk of my holiday clothes until I've lost more weight, but I couldn't resist stocking up on Disney and Harry Potter pyjamas from Topshop and Primark, and a bargain pair of Birkenstock's from TK Maxx.
  • Booked our ADR's. I had nightmares about doing this for weeks beforehand, but luckily I managed to secure everything we wanted.
What's Left To Do:
  • Pay the full balance of the holiday. This will be done on a monthly basis, and all paid off in plenty of time to get saving spending money.
  • Book our Fastpasses for Walt Disney World. This option isn't available until 60 days before our Disney check-in date, but I've already started planning our selections.
  • Purchase Memory Maker. This is a photo package that means we'll be able to download all of our ride/character photographs, as well as shots taken around the park. I'm hoping that we'll get some good ones!
  • Get saving. I want to take as much spending money with me as possible, so I'm having to be stricter than normal when it comes to my monthly budget.
  • Renew my travel insurance/update our ESTA location. These are the essentials. I have a pre-existing medical condition, so it's important for me to make sure I'm covered. Plus, I doubt that immigration at Orlando airport would be impressed if our ESTA's still had our Vegas hotel detailed on them!
  • Make room in my bedroom for a wand. No explanation required, I'll most definitely be paying Mr. Ollivander a visit.
Our ADR's:
Last Sunday as soon as 12pm hit I was dialling the Walt Disney World dining reservation number. I managed to get straight through, and secure every ADR I wanted with perfect times too. Here's what we have booked:

Day Four: Dinner at Planet Hollywood - 7.30pm.
Day Five: Breakfast at Tusker House - 8am, dinner at Rainforest Cafe - 4.30pm.
Day Six: Breakfast at Crystal Palace - 8.05am, lunch at Be Our Guest - 1.30pm.
Day Seven: Dinner at Ohana - 7pm.
Day Eight: Lunch at Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre - 1.35pm.
Day Nine: Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table - 8.05am, dinner at Beaches & Cream - 7pm.

The only thing that I have left to book is dinner at the House of Blues on our last night, but reservations for this don't open up until closer to the holiday. I am so happy with all of the reservations that we've secured, and can't believe how quickly the trip is creeping up on us. It'll be our fastpass day before we know it.

My Weight Loss Jars: 2 Stone Lost

11 March 2015

Last Friday was a big day for me. I managed to move all of the pink lb straws back in to my "To Lose" jar in exchange for another gold one, as I have now managed to lose two stone! So far I've only been eating healthily to lose weight, but I'm going to give myself an extra boost in March by taking up swimming too. I can't believe that the next time I move a gold straw over, I'll be half way to my six stone loss. 

Over the last two weeks or so I've started to notice that a lot of my clothes have become quite baggy, so it's definitely getting closer to time to refresh my wardrobe. I'm excited to treat myself to a big pre-Florida shopping spree once I (hopefully) reach my six stone target. At a party recently a family friend noticed that I'd lost some weight, and promised to take me shopping if I managed to hit my target, which I thought was incredibly sweet.

Losing two stone feels like a big achievement, and I'm really proud of myself for sticking with it so far. I've had little treats along the way, so hopefully this change is something that I'll be able to sustain in the future. I've got just under six months to go until Florida now, so hopefully all of the gold straws will be moved over by then.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Haul

8 March 2015

After last Sunday's positively huge Harry Potter Studio Tour post, I thought that I’d share the purchases I made whilst there. Just like the rest of the tour, the shop was incredibly well themed, and the selection of merchandise for sale was brilliant. I could’ve spent a fortune, but managed to limit myself to a small (ish) selection. We received a couple of freebies (the badge as it was Animal Actors week and the bookmarks which were included in my shopping bag), but the rest of the items were priced quite highly, so make sure to take plenty of spending money with you.

My first purchase of the day was half way round the tour, where we stopped in the Backlot area and I got to try Butterbeer. My Dad treated me to a souvenir cup (£4.95), which now has pride of place on my desk. Another Potter item on my desk is the Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter pencil (£0.95). As I'm still scrapbooking, I bought a postcard (£0.95) to add to my February page, which features one of my favourite scenes from the film - when the first years get their very first glimpse of Hogwarts.

Although I adore the Harry Potter films, my first love is definitely the books. I have many a tattered copy littered around my house, as well as having all of them downloaded on my kindle, but I decided that I wanted to collect a fresh set which would stay in pristine condition on my bookshelf. When I spotted this hardback copy of The Philosophers Stone (£12.99) with its beautifully illustrated cover and map of the Hogwarts grounds, I couldn't resist. I'll definitely be adding the rest of the books to my basket on future trips back to the Studio Tour.
I couldn't visit the tour without buying a chocolate frog (£7.95). I’ve had one of these before, so I already knew that they were yummy, and alongside my Helga Hufflepuff card I now have Albus Dumbledore! I’m a chocolate fiend, so I decided to try a bar of Honeydukes milk chocolate (£3.95), too. I have given up chocolate for lent though, so I’ll be waiting a while to eat these. My final chocolate themed purchase of the day was a chocolate frog keyring (£8.95), which will make a really cute addition to my keys. Apparently it's scented too, but I mainly get a whiff of plastic.

My main and final purchase of the day was the Gryffindor house scarf (£26.95). Technically I’m a bit of a hatstall as Pottermore has sorted me in to both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, but I decided that rather than try and choose between the two, I’d buy one now and the other in Florida. Gryffindor won as my first choice, because burgundy is one of my favourite colours. Although it was a little pricey, I was more than happy to shell out for an official scarf, and it does feel really warm and cosy. It’s also a really good length, which I was pleased with. 

Although there was so much more that I could've bought, I'm very happy with my Harry Potter purchases. I can't wait to buy more HP goodies in Florida (where of course I'll be buying a wand!), and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get to visit the tour again soon.

Disneyland Paris: February 2015

4 March 2015

Back at the beginning of February, I paid another visit to my favourite place on earth, Disneyland Paris. We spent three nights at Hotel Cheyenne, and I enjoyed every second of the trip. I took over 900 photos whilst we were there, but I've managed to narrow it down to the snapshots in this post.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter - Animal Actors Week

1 March 2015

On Wednesday 25th February, I finally paid a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. As someone who has grown up with Harry Potter - I began reading the series at age eight, saw the first film four days after my eleventh birthday and queued for midnight releases of the books -  this was somewhere that I'd dreamt of visiting for a long time, so prepare to be bombarded with lots of photos.