12 things I love about America

things i love about america

Happy July 4th to all my readers across the pond. This post is dedicated to you.

Things I love about America

1. TV shows

You gave us Friends, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, Catfish, Sex and the City, The Simpsons – have I said enough?

2. Junk Food

I’m quite literally like a kid in a candy store (or sweet shop as we say in England). America has about 52864 flavours of M&Ms and Pop Tarts, we have about 3 of each and if we want anything else then we practically have to take out a bank load to afford them.

Ok, there might be a few exaggerations above, but still, you get my point.

M&M World Las Vegas
M&M World Las Vegas

3. The Celebrations

You guys go all out. Or at least thats what the movies lead us to believe. Halloween looks like so much fun with everyone dressed up and I’m a total sucker for the cosy Christmases and holiday spirit you guys bring.

4. Orlando

Disney, Universal, the amazing villas… the sheer excitement of it all. Orlando – you turned me into a theme park snob with your awesomeness! Plus we got engaged here, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Castle at the Magic Kingdom

5. Las Vegas

Basically Orlando for adults. Vegas gave me the same kind of buzz too. Big, bold, brash – but I love it! We even have goals to renew our wedding vows there one day.

The giant slot machine at Ballys Las Vegas
Next to the giant slot machine at Ballys

6. Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood

I love, love, loved this place! I got to see the streets where they filmed Pretty Little Liars, tons of props from the Batman and Harry Potter movies, I saw the working set of The Big Bang Theory, got to hold an Oscar (they are heavy!) AND sit on THE Friends sofa in Central Perk!!!

You can sit on the Friends sofa at Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood

7. This

Marshmallow madness - no more picking cereal out of your marshmallows
Marshmallow madness – no more picking cereal out of your marshmallows

8. Breakfast cereal

Hell yeah Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms and Apple Jacks where I don’t have to pay £8 for a box!

Lucky Charms breakfast cereal
The breakfast of kings

9. Shopping

I did, like most people, indulge in a bit of shopping when I visited New York. But I’m telling you, you can get everything in America. Every nice thing I find on Pinterest is from the USA and when I was into jewellery making a few years ago, all the stuff I wanted came from the States. Which leads me to…

10. Hot Topic

I went there for the first time in Los Angeles and loved it, especially the Disney aisle. I bought myself a Cinderella inspired dress which I wore to a Christmas party. I got so many compliments on it. Which brings me on to…

Cinderella dress from Hot Topic

11. Disney

I grew up on a diet of Disney. I remember my parents taking me and my brother to the cinema to see The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King – I even had The Lion King soundtrack! Those movies are timeless.

Meeting Beauty and the Beast at Epcot
Somewhere between a beauty and a beast…

12. Pop culture

Movies, music, movies, music. In fact, this July 4th we’ll be having an American themed fancy dress day in my office and I’ve decided to go as one of the most famous American pop culture icons of all time – The King of Pop!

Happy 4th July y’all! Check out my USA Pinterest board

 

5 fun things to do at Epcot

5 fun things to do at epcot

Epcot is perhaps the more ‘grown-up’ of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Orlando, so I am writing this as an adult*, for adults because Disney World is for everyone, not just kids!

*Please note I don’t really consider myself to be a proper adult.

1. Buy a passport and travel the world

As I said before, I’m not a proper adult because no proper adult would buy themselves one of these souvenir Epcot passports and then visit all the Kidcot stops (basically children’s craft stations) dotted around the countries in the World Showcase to get their passport stamped.

Epcot World Showcase souvenir passport and badge
I also got this cool Mickey badge with my passport

I visited Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, Canada and the United Kingdom, each time receiving a cute message from the Cast Member there – which by the way, all Cast Members are from the country they are representing at Epcot. How cool is that!

The passport page for Mexico at Epcot World Showcase
The passport page for Mexico

2. Meet characters in their countries

One of my friends really wanted to meet Beauty and the Beast and we found out that they would be appearing in France in the World Showcase so we wandered off there when it was time. Our other friends decided they were too cool to meet the characters but they totally missed out!

Meet Beauty and the Beast in France at Epcot in Orlando
< insert all your Beast jokes here >

The Beast linked arms with me and Belle asked if me and my friend were sisters and then told us how she often travels with enchanted objects.

There are many other characters you can meet around the park, I spotted Mary Poppins in the UK and Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco too.

Papped! Jasmine and Aladdin holding hands in Morocco
Papped! Jasmine and Aladdin holding hands in Morocco

3. Ride Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth is Epcot’s signature attraction. You know that big globe thing that looks like a giant golf ball? Well, there’s a ride in there!

Spaceship Earth at Epcot featuring Toy Story topiary for the Flower and Garden Festival
Spaceship Earth with Toy Story topiary

You sit down in a little train and get taken on a journey through time, exploring the history of communication, which was alot better than I am making it sound!

When you exit the ride you are taken to an interactive area called Project Tomorrow, where you can do silly things like make yourself appear floating about on the screens among other things. I can’t really remember but it was amusing at the time!

Project Tomorrow at Epcot
We’re the floating space-women!

4. Eat the global cuisine at the World Showcase

Give the usual theme park food a miss and head for the World Showcase for your meals. We had some yummy baguettes in France for our lunch and then for dinner we paid a visit to Restaurant Marrakesh for some delicious Moroccan food. Dinner reservations are recommended.

The Patisserie and Boulangerie in France - World Showcase, Epcot
The Patisserie and Boulangerie in France
Try some of the world cuisine on offer at Epcot. This is Restaurant Marrakesh - the Moroccan restaurant.
Restaurant Marrakesh

5. Attend a festival

Epcot hosts its own festivals each year. If you visit during Spring then you will be there for the International Flower & Garden festival and if you visit during the Autumn/Fall then you’ll be in time for the International Food & Wine Festival.

Cars 2 topiary at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater from Cars

Our Orlando vacation was in May, so Epcot was adorned with some amazing Disney themed topiary in celebration of the Flower & Garden festival, although the Food & Wine festival sounds pretty tasty!

Tigger and Pooh topiary at Epcot during the Flower & Garden festival
Tigger and Pooh

Of course, Epcot has alot more to offer than what I have mentioned above and if you can, you must stay for the fireworks!

Have you ever been to Epcot? What did you enjoy the most?

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10 ways to embrace your inner child

As it’s my birthday this week (and I am alot older than I look and act!) I thought I would write something a little bit different to my usual travel tips and tales.

Even though I am married and have responsibilities like a job, house and mortgage, I feel far from being “a proper adult”. I am not someone who knows about the current interest rates on an ISA or whether we should be in or out of the EU.

Mr Potato Head figure in Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida
Me and Mr Potato Head in Florida

I should probably think about growing up soon but then again, as my past self once said “Immaturity is the key to a youthful complexion”. So I’ll save that for another day and instead share with you 10 ways to embrace your inner child!

1. Grab some junk food and have a Disney movie marathon. If Disney isn’t your thing (what are you doing here?!) then indulge in some classics from your childhood. For you 80/90s kids, how about Home Alone, Big, The Goonies, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters?

2. Go to the park, play on the swings and feed the ducks (although not bread as apparently this is bad for them).

Cute dog on a swing
Image via unsplash.com

3. Summer? Have a water fight! Winter? Have a snowball fight!

4. Go to an ice cream parlour and have a massive sundae for lunch.

Sour Candy Hit Sundae from Creams Cafe

5. Listen to a song that brings back nostalgic memories then dance around like a nutter or sing along to the top of your lungs.

6. Spend the day at the zoo/funfair/theme park.

Waltzer ride lit up at a funfair

7. Play some video games. I’m a fan of the Nintendo Wii.

8. Blow bubbles – either from a pot with a wand or through the medium of bubblegum.

Blowing bubblegum

9. Get creative. “The creative adult is the child who survived” – Ursula K. Le Guin. So write a story, paint a picture or just get messy with glitter! Unleash your creative spirit!

10. Go to a fancy dress party. Or just dress up for the fun of it.

Taking my fashion cues from Minnie Mouse at the World of Disney Store in Orlando
Taking my fashion cues from Minnie Mouse at the World of Disney Store in Orlando

What’s your favourite way to embrace your inner child?

10 ways to embrace your inner child
PIN IT!

If you liked this post then you might enjoy Alphabet Dating – K is for Kids for the day.

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Gorgeous gifts for globetrotters

Gorgeous gifts for globetrotters!

It’s been a little quiet on the blog for the past week but that’s because I have been preoccupied… it was my birthday the other day you see. I had a great day and received lots of lovely gifts, many of which were travel themed, which has inspired me to write this post about gorgeous gifts for globetrotters!

Bon Voyage bag

Bon Voyage handbag from Accessorize

This was actually a pre-birthday present I bought for myself, but it got quite a few favourites and retweets on my twitter that I couldn’t not include it here. I have always wanted a vintage suitcase covered in stickers so this is the next best thing! It comes with a shoulder strap too so you don’t have to carry it like a suitcase if you don’t want to.

£29 from Accessorize

Gandys flipflops

gandys flipflops

After being inspired by Rob Forkan (co-founder of Gandys) at the Destinations Show, I had a look at the different flipflop designs and fell in love with these map print ones. Money from every sale goes towards building children’s homes for orphans in places such as India and Sri Lanka.

gandys flipflops and box

Even the box and the logo are beautiful.

£22 from Gandys

Travel journal

I wanted a cute journal to keep a diary for my upcoming travels and couldn’t find much more perfect than this map print journal by Wild & Wolf. It’s A6 in size so small enough to carry around too.

Wild and Wolf travel journal

£8 from John Lewis

The Book of Everything

Lonely Planet Book of Everything

I must confess, I have a bit of an addiction to coffee table travel books. I am running out of bookshelf space, but perhaps one day I will write a blog post about all of them. The Lonely Planet Book of Everything is a fun and factual book about, well, almost everything. It’s definitely a dip in, dip out sort of book but there’s some pretty useful stuff in there (how to survive a shark attack for example because you never know!).

There’s also stuff like the Northern Lights

Lonely Planet Book of Everything

Or even Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Lonely Planet Book of Everything

£14.99 from Lonely Planet

Globetrotting Percy sweets

Marks and Spencer Globetrotting Percy sweets

Need some sweeties for the road? Grab a bag of Globetrotting Percy jellies. Percy Pig is a bit of a mascot for Marks & Spencer and there are several different types of Percy sweets you can buy, including vegetarian options.

Available in store at Marks & Spencer

Disney Pixar Up pin

Disney Pixar 'Up' pin badge

Not strictly travel themed but if you’ve seen the move Up you’ll know that the characters go on a great adventure. I was actually looking for this pin when I went to Disneyland Paris but I couldn’t find it as I think it may have been a limited edition promotional item or something but my clever husband managed to track one down from who knows where – and I love it!

Note: all items featured in this post were gifted to me by family, apart from the handbag which was from myself to myself. Prices and availability correct at time of publishing.

New Years Day at Disneyland Paris

Continuing on from New Years Eve at Disneyland, of course we spent most of New Years Day there as well. Quite a memorable start to the new year – no hangovers and a day of fun and magic ahead!

minnie-mickey-donald-float

We could have taken advantage of Extra Magic Hours, and we fully intended to, but when the time came we were just so exhausted that we didn’t bother. We had a 9.45am breakfast reservation at Au Chalet de la Marionette, a cute Pinocchio themed eatery within the Disneyland Park so made that our first port of call for the day.

After filling up on croissants, pain au chocolat and other French goodies, we decided to make the most of the relative calm of the park and get a few rides under our belts. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Space Mountain – both are must-dos in my opinion although I recommend doing the Buzz Lightyear ride first if you have a full stomach!

On the Buzz Lightyear ride you get to sit in a car and shoot lasers at targets, all in the name of defeating the evil emperor Zurg! This is a great ride, perfect for the whole family. Space Mountain is slightly more hardcore and is a supercharged, superfast rollercoaster ride in the dark.

buzz-lightyear-ride-disneyland

After that, we made a beeline across the park for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – one of the few outdoor rollercoasters at Disneyland Paris. This is a great fun rickety rail style coaster but I must admit, going on it on such a cold day did make my face hurt!

As we were rushing to our next ride we saw a great photo opportunity with one of the characters – Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, so of course I wanted to tick ‘meet a character’ off of my list. Despite that scary appearance he was very sweet!

jack-skellington

Next stop – Pirates of the Caribbean! I did keep my eyes peeled for Johnny Depp but sadly I didn’t see him.

After all the swashbuckling and adventure, we had worked up an appetite and massive craving for pizza. We stopped at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost not too far from the Indiana Jones/Pirates of the Caribbean rides. That four cheese pizza was delicious!

By the time we had left the pizza place, we were right on schedule for the next parades – the Frozen parade followed shortly by the Christmas parade. To be honest, the Frozen parade was a little bit disappointing, I was expecting something a little more spectacular than just Anna and Elsa briefly riding past in a horse-drawn carriage, but that’s just me, all the little kids seemed to love it.

frozen-parade-at-disneyland-paris

The Christmas Parade was a big hit with me though and probably the highlight of my New Years Day! It was the usual Disney affair but with a festive theme and a cute medley of Christmas songs. This one was definitely worth the wait.

disneyland-paris-christmas-parade

disneyland-paris-festive-parade

disney-gingerbread-house

christmas-minnie-mouse

santa-claus-at-disneyland

After the parade, we headed straight for the World of Disney shop situated in Disney Village. All four of us bought something there, it was difficult to resist as there were so many cool and cute things for sale. You can see what I bought in my Disney Haul post.

After our mini shopping spree, we headed over to the studios park for another last-ditch attempt at getting on Crush’s Coaster (it’s a good job the parks are so close with the amount of to-ing and fro-ing we did!). Sadly, the queue was yet again too long and there is no fast pass option for this ride, so it just wasn’t meant to be. On the bright side, I did get to go on Crush’s Coaster when I went to DLP in October so I don’t feel completely cheated, its just a shame we didn’t get to ride that wave again.

Still, we had a little time to spare before departing for the train station, so our final entertainment for the day was Animagique and Cinemagique, both of which are indoor shows, so it was really enjoyable for us to sit down in the warm after a tiring two days walking around in the cold!

Animagique is definitely the one for the younger crowd and features some of the best loved animal characters singing and dancing on stage to classics from films such as The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid.

Cinemagique is more suitable for an older audience and is a clever tribute to cinema history. I won’t give too much away but it’s well worth watching.

And after all that magic and excitement, it was time to head home. Our minds were well and truly Disneyfied. On the train home my husband said to his sister “your car’s gonna be frozen when we get back”. She admitted that it took her a minute to understand what he was saying as all she could think about was Cars and Frozen!