5 February 2019

Disneyland Paris Christmas 2018 │Day One:Travels, Sequoia & Annette's

Well, I haven't done a post like this in a while - a whole two years to be exact.
If you read my recent Disney post, you'll know that in December one of my besties Chloe and I went on a very festive break to Disneyland Paris. I'm aware that we're in February, so I hope you don't mind a little bit of festive cheer, even if it is two months late.

I stayed in London overnight with a close friend and bright and early on Monday morning, I met Chloe at St Pancras International. We traveled via Eurostar which, in my opinion, is the most efficient way to get to Disneyland Paris. Security was plain sailing, as it always is, and we went straight to PRET to get some on-journey snacks. When we were paying for our food, we overheard that our train had been delayed by half an hour. Great.

Half an hour turned into 45 minutes which then turned into an hour.
Chloe and I passed the time by catching up on each other's lives, eagerly anticipating our boarding call. The last time we saw each other was on our Halloween trip to Disneyland Paris in 2016 so as you can imagine, we had a lot to talk about.

Eventually, our train was called and we joined the rush of people heaving heavy suitcases down the platform. The rest of the journey was straightforward; we passed the time by doing our makeup, playing games and watching To All The Boys I've Loved Before.


As soon as we arrived, we jumped straight on a shuttle bus to our hotel. We chose to stay in on-site in Disney's Sequoia Lodge and I'll tell you now, we couldn't have picked a more beautiful place to stay.

The one perk of staying on-site is that the magic of the parks never leaves you. 
We pulled our cases into the lobby and neither of us could believe our eyes. It looked like one of the lodges you see in movies; there were Christmas trees on every corner, roaring log fires, twinkling lights draped and hot chocolates with cream and marshmallows. I'll be honest, I cried. It was beyond my imagination. 

It turns out that the Eurostar delay played in our favour as our room was ready early and we'd just missed the dreaded torrential rainstorm forecast for the afternoon. The cast members who checked us in were so helpful and had so much time for us, explaining our dining plan, reservations, and room keys. 

Included in our holiday package was the half board dining plan, entitling us to breakfast each morning in Café Hyperion as well as one full meal each day. The plan could be used in every restaurant apart from those including character dining, however, there is an option to book a Plaza Gardens character breakfast which we took advantage of. 


Sequoia Lodge is like a mini resort and I LOVE IT! 
I've stayed there once before but our room was in the main building, so being able to stay in one of the smaller lodges was lovely. Our room came with two double beds (much to the delight of Chloe and me), a huge bathroom mirror, a decent hairdryer, and a power shower. We couldn't have asked for much more. 

We dumped our stuff, put glitter on our faces and within minutes we were on our way into the park. 


Another great thing about staying at Sequoia - I promise I will shut up about this hotel at some point - is that it's a 10-minute walk from the parks. It's a beautiful walk through the woodland, around Lake Disney and then through the Disney Village. Obviously, shuttle buses are available but in my opinion, walking is so much quicker! 

When I turned the corner and saw the sun setting around the Disneyland Hotel, I could feel the excitement building inside me. I just wanted to get inside and walk down Main Street. I wanted to see Disneyland Paris in all its festive glory. My stomach was full of butterflies, I didn't know the perfect way to express my emotions. 

As we scanned our passes, I heard them announced that the parade would be starting in ten minutes. There were no questions asked. Chloe and I rushed to the edge of Main Street and luckily, we got a front row spot for our first parade of the trip. 


One thing I was most looking forward to was seeing Disney Stars on Parade in the dark. It took me back to being a little girl when Disneyland Paris had a nighttime parade before the fireworks - I still wish they'd bring that back.

We didn't have to wait for long before the music started and the characters came dancing past. There's something about watching the parade in the dark that adds a little extra magic. The floats are twinkling as they go past, character interaction is amazing and seeing the dragon breathe fire is SPECTACULAR! It's a completely different experience.

Chloe and I were both wearing our matching light up Christmas ears from Ears Ever After and we got so many compliments from characters, especially when we turned the lights on. As Rapunzel and Flynn went past in their carriage, Flynn pointed to our ears and Rapunzel said they looked as pretty as the lanterns. Then Aurora came over and told us how beautiful we looked. 

We got the royal seal of approval. Life goals, complete.


If this trip taught me anything, it's that there's Disneyland and then there's Disneyland at Christmas. It's a whole new magical experience.

That first time seeing the castle at the bottom of Main Street is up there with one of the greatest feelings in the world. It was twinkling like pixie dust had be sprinkled all over it. I felt breathless like my body couldn't handle the mixture of emotions going round in my head. Did I want to cry? Laugh? Smile? Dance? Who knows.

I felt teary eyed as I walked towards the Castle, but then it started to snow and I lost it. Everything was perfect; Mickey-shaped garlands were draped over Main Street, the Christmas tree sparkled in the middle of Town Square and I was with one of my best friends in my favourite place. It's what dreams are made of.


We hung around Central Plaza for a while, taking photos and trying to come to terms with how magical it looked. All traces of reality had disappeared and we were in the perfect winter wonderland.

When we checked into the hotel we tried to book an evening meal at Captain Jacks as part of our dining plan. However, they told us that there was no room but we could enquire at the restaurant when we had a chance. So, Captain Jacks was our first port of call.

We made our way through Adventureland and into the restaurant. A very lovely cast member checked the system and told us that there was a reservation available for Wednesday night, our last night of the trip. We booked without hesitation. Chloe adores Captain Jack and it's been a dream of mine to dine in Captain Jack's (previously Blue Lagoon) for years - it was perfect!

Top Tip: If you want to book a table service restaurant at your hotel but there's no availability, then enquire at the restaurant in the park. It's still part of your dining plan and it means that you won't miss out! 


We left the restaurant and made Pirates of the Caribbean our first ride of the trip. Chloe hadn't been on it since the refurbishment last year, so when she saw Captain Jack now had his own permanent section, she freaked out a little bit. It's the perfect ride if you want to get warm as the queue is indoors and it's always a short wait. 

After Pirates, it was time for mine and Chloe's all-time favourite ride; Big Thunder Mountain. 
We were determined to go on it in the dark so when we saw that thirty-minute wait, we jumped straight in the queue. Within ten minutes we were hanging on to our hats and glasses (gold star if you got that reference) and whizzing away under Thunder Mesa. We cry-laughed the entire way around and the view of the Castle was breathtaking! 

Top Tip: If you can, go on Big Thunder Mountain in the dark. It's SO MUCH FUN!

Coming off Big Thunder gave us the buzz of energy we needed and once we'd calmed down, we made our way to It's A Small World. This is one of my favourites and always reminds me of family trips with my grandparents. As we started off on the boat we hummed along to the classic song, but what I wasn't expecting was for the ride to be Christmas themed. I was lost for words. It was adorable. 


After a long (kind of stressful) day traveling, we decided to skip Disney Illuminations and made our way towards the Disney Village for some food. Bizarrely, most of the restaurants in the park closed at 5pm, I understand that it's winter but I'd have hoped they'd be open for longer.

I'll be honest, I was craving a burger so Annette's Diner was top of the list. We were able to use our half board dining plan and I couldn't quite believe just how much food we got. I started with onion rings, then moved onto my chicken burger (which was to die for) and then finished things off with a slice of chocolate cake. I basically rolled down the steps on the way out. 

Annette's was lovely. It's a proper retro sixties diner and the staff serve you on rollerskates - I was completely baffled and couldn't help but wonder if they have to go through a rollerskate audition before they get the job. The staff were constantly photo-bombing guests selfies and couldn't have been more helpful, plus the food was absolutely delicious. My burger lived up to expectation and was exactly what I needed. 

As much as we wanted to spend the night singing karaoke in Sport's Bar, we thought it was best to call it a night and walked back to Sequoia. I was so ready to dive on that comfy double bed and I think I fell asleep straight away. We had an early morning ahead of us and another fun day in the park!

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx



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21 January 2019

Skin Update │ 100 Days On Roaccutane

I've officially been taking roaccutane for one hundred days. 
I'll be honest and say that my skin situation has been getting me down recently. I seem to have gone backwards in the normal cycle of things and the dreaded 'initial breakout' is happening to me right now. I expected it to happen in the first few weeks, not the third month. 

Despite this, I'm trying to remain positive. I've seen some drastic improvements, especially in the texture of my skin and even after three months, it still doesn't feel like I'm taking a tablet!

The First Tablet

I was prescribed roaccutane back in October and have been taking 30mg (my lowest possible dosage) for the past three months. The dose is based on my height/weight and my dermatologist discussed this at my first consultation.

When I took my first pill I was absolutely terrified. The entire day consisted of me pacing around the house wondering if I was making the right decision. My acne is now classed as mild/persistent and with roaccutane only being used in the most severe cases, I thought my dermatologist had made a mistake. Then I remembered that he's the professional and wouldn't prescribe it if I didn't need it. 

As I watched the two little pills roll around in my hand, I started to psych myself up. I knew I was going to spends months battling dry skin, dry lips and mood swings but this could be a permanent solution to my acne, a confidence issue I've lived with for 10 years. 

So I took the pills and felt (and still feel) exactly the same.  

Side Effects

Roaccutane gets a lot of bad press because of the side effects associated with it, the most severe being constant low mood and suicide. I've been incredibly lucky, only experiencing mild side effects on my low dosage. I got dry lips and dry skin pretty much straight away but that was to be expected and it's nothing that a bit of moisturiser and lip balm can't solve. 

Nearing the end of my first month I noticed that I was getting very tired and therefore sleeping a lot. This is a side effect that is hard to combat but I have found that exercising and keeping myself active has helped a little bit. In terms of exercise, I have been experiencing sore joints in recent weeks. I'm currently working on ways to ease this as I don't want to stop going to the gym.  

So, how have I been feeling? 
Well, I'll be honest and say that my mood has changed. Its not been a dramatic change but I have noticed myself feeling low and having a lack of interest in things. The only way I can describe it is feeling hungry, there's food there but you can't be bothered eating. However, it's hard to know if this low mood is caused by roaccutane or personal issues. To help with this, I try to keep myself busy and have some much needed me time. I've also noticed that things get to me quicker than they normally would; I get upset about the smallest things and become aggravated quickly. 

Other minor side effects include a few nosebleeds, some bad dreams and my periods have definitely been more painful. Dry shampoo is also a thing of the past, I'm only washing my hair a few times a week now! 

Apart from that, it's been plain sailing. 

PROGRESS

Wow, this still makes me nervous!
In terms of my progress, you'll see that the texture/condition of my skin improved drastically in the first month but has now deteriorated again. This was to be expected and I know that things have to get worse before they get better. I'm hoping that I'll be seeing drastic improvements in the next few months. However, I must say that my skin is SO SMOOTH!

STRUGGLES

Okay so, I'll never be able to get used to putting lip balm on every hour, the low moods are a real pain and not being able to pick at my spots is TORTURE but trust me when I say, its really not been that bad. I realise how lucky I am to have had a straightforward, positive experience in the first few months and I really hope this continues for the rest of my course 

PRODUCTS

I'm going to do a more in depth post about the products I've been using very soon so I'll keep this brief. I've found that keeping it simple and using a small number of products has been the best option because I need to let the medication work its magic. I've been using products made especially for dry skin from brands like Simple, La Roche Posay and Cetaphil.

My Current Favourites


What Next? 

I'm going to see my dermatologist for my follow up appointment on Friday. He'll be upping my dosage to 40mg which will hopefully speed up the process and improve my skin dramatically. These next few months are going to be full of big changes and I'm already excited to see the end results. 

If you ever have any questions about roaccutane, my messages are always open! 

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx


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14 January 2019

My 2019 Resolutions

Happy 2019!

We're just over a week into the new year and I hope it's treating you all well. I had a quiet new year, due to being bogged down with this awful flu everyone's been having, but it was lovely nonetheless. And let me tell you, it's so good to be back blogging! 

There's something so exciting about a new beginning; the endless opportunities, new adventures and new people you're going to meet. Although, the new year can sometimes bring crippling anxiety I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of motivation. I only get this feeling twice a year; January 1st and on my Birthday. I like to think of it as a fresh start, a blank canvas and a chance to completely re-invent myself. 

At this time of year, it's important to set goals. If you're not setting goals then what are you really working towards? 

This year, I've set myself 10 different goals/changes to achieve/make, whether that be lifestyle, beauty or travel related. Some will be completed very easily and others may take a little longer, regardless I'm excited to get started. In a true yearly tradition, I'm going to share these goals with you. It'll be fun to look back this time next year and see how much has changed. 

My 2019 Resolutions

1. Learn To Drive

You're really fed up of hearing me say this, aren't you? Well, let me tell you that 2019 is the year. I can't bare relying on public transport anymore, plus now that I've finished uni there are no excuses. I'm currently saving up for lessons and hopefully, I'll at least be learning before the year is out. 

2. Go To Amsterdam 

Recently I've had this sudden urge to travel. I want to see new places, experience new cultures and go on adventures whilst I'm still young. Amsterdam is right at the top of my Travel Bucket List and this year I'm determined to get there. I want to experience everything the city has to offer and I'm sure it won't disappoint.

3. Go to the Gym

The problem with finishing university is that I've got so much free time and I don't know what to do with it. This is why I've joined the gym. I want to improve my fitness, lose some weight and tone up my body a little bit. 2019 is the year I focus on loving myself, both mentally and physically.

4. Stop Being Scared

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a scardey cat when it comes to most things. If I know it can harm me in any way then chances are I won't do it. This is one of the reasons I avoid learning to drive. Recently in work, my boss said, 'Meg, you won't do anything if you don't stop being so scared.' It made me realise that I need to be braver and face my fears. I know I'll thank myself in the long run.

5. Drink More Water

I think this is one of most people's goals this year and it's a hard one to complete if you're like me and think water is so boring. I'm starting on a bottle of water each day and working my way up. Hopefully, my body (and my skin) will thank me for it too.

6. Make Time To Read

Now that I have more time on my hands, I'm making sure that I use it to read. I want to spend my quiet afternoons sat in coffee shops, getting lost in a book. As many of you are, I'm also doing the Goodreads yearly challenge. I've set myself a goal of 12 books, that's one a month which seems pretty manageable to me!

7. Spend Less Time On My Phone

We live in a world where our lives rely on technology, in particular, our phones. I spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram, sometimes wasting my day watching other people live their lives. This is why I'm cutting down on phone time and focusing on me. It makes me so happy to say that my mood is already improving!

8. Immerse Myself In Blogging

Last year, I had to turn down so many exciting opportunities and events due to having such a packed schedule. However, this year I'm going to immerse myself in all things blogging, whether that be attending events, interacting with new bloggers or improving my own content.

9. Redecorate

It's been five years since I decorated my bedroom, so I think it's about time I had a little change. I want to clear out some of my old stuff, add in a double bed, a new floor and maybe even a new dressing table. I'm still keeping the beach hut theme though!


10. Hang My Clothes Up

I'm a bugger for washing my clothes and then just throwing them to the side. I never hang anything up or put it away and I know that needs to change. The jumble of clothes in the corner of my room is really starting to annoy me so I'm going to try harder to put things away.

However, my main goal is to be happy. I want to see the positive side of situations and not let other peoples opinions affect who I associate myself with, what career path I choose or what I do with my day. I want to be genuinely, intensely, consistently happy.

Here's hoping 2019 is going to be another lovely year!

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx



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31 December 2018

2018 │The Highlights

Happy New Year Everyone! 
2018 has been a complete whirlwind. It's been a year full of success, a lot of celebrations and a few life lessons along the way. Unlike recent years, the high points have definitely outweighed the low points and I can truly say that 2018 has been one of the best years of my life. 

This year saw me achieve things I never thought possible. I graduated, went back to Disneyland Paris and finally walked along the cobbles of Coronation Street. I've seen myself blossom with a new found confidence and learned a lot about self-acceptance, especially when it comes to my skin. I also learned a lot about love; how I deserve/want to be treated and that I shouldn't settle for anything less. 2018 has also seen me reunite with old friends, put past arguments behind us and experience one too many crazy nights out. It really has been the best year and I feel so lucky to have met some of the most beautiful people, especially in this last few months. 

Tonight I'll be welcoming in the New Year the only way I know how, with a glass of gin and surrounded by the people I love. This time next year I hope I'll be telling you about 12 months full of love, more success and exciting travels but until then, I'm going to share my *many* highlights of 2018. 

Theatre

I started the year in theatre as I went to see three of my favourite shows in the first three months. As I've said, January to March was a complete blur so going to the theatre was literally the only break I got from the Library. In January, I went to see my all-time favourite musical Jersey Boys. It was so good that I went to see it twice in two days and was lucky enough to meet Michael Watson after one of the shows. 

In February, I took my Grandma to see the Rat Pack live from LasVegas which was such a fun evening. We saw Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr and I don't know who loved it more. Then finally in March Mum and I went to see Wicked. It was my fifth time seeing the show but I could watch it over and over again. Along with Jersey Boys, it's definitely one of my favourites. 

Emmerdale Studio Tour

Fast forward to April and I'd finally submitted my last ever Uni assignment. As I had a lot of free time on my hands, Mum and I jumped on a train to Leeds and went to see the Emmerdale Studios. We love the soaps and Emmerdale is one of our favourites so to be able to see some of the famous sets, pull a pint in the Woolpack and watch how they bring the village to life was so much fun. Sadly, we didn't see Ross or Cain. 

Graduation Ball

In May, we had our Graduation Ball. It was a night full of love, laughter and a lot of prosecco. Not only did I finally go to the stunning Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool, but to be able to stand on the rooftop garden, overlooking the docks and celebrate the most amazing three years with the people who meant the most to me was the best way to end my University experience. I should also mention that I only got in at 4am and somehow managed to be in work early the next morning, still in last nights make up...lovely. 

This kicked off the best Summer of my life. 

I Got Published

Each year InTheRed, a Liverpool magazine for writers, release a copy filled with short stories and poems from Liverpool's best writers. I've been trying to get published by them for the past three years and this year, it finally happened. My short story 'The Date With St Clair' was published in the 2018 edition of the magazine and I feel so honoured that my work is there alongside some of the most talented writers. If you'd like to have a read, you can find the magazine online here

My 21st Birthday

My birthday was one of my favourite days of the year. From the moment I woke up, I was treated like a Princess. I've never been one to make a MASSIVE fuss on birthdays but my parents went above and beyond to make the day so special. The day was full of surprises, we went for afternoon tea, had a meal with the family and then they whisked me off for a special holiday to...


Cornwall

The day after my 21st, my parents and the dog took me down to Newquay for the week. Cornwall holds a special place in my heart and it's the place I've called my second home for the past ten years. To be able to celebrate my birthday there was the best gift I could've received. The sun was blazing, we chilled on the beach and drank cider on rooftop bars. I don't think I've ever felt more content. 
What a way to start 21! 

Coronation Street Tour

In July, a childhood dream came true as I got to walk down the famous cobbles of Coronation Street. This was another treat from my mum for my 21st and we had one of the best days. It's surreal watching it on the telly, knowing that you've walked down that exact street and knocked on all the doors. We also had fun exploring Media City and Salford Quays. I wrote a blog post all about it if you fancy a read. 

65th Wedding Anniversary

July also saw my Grandma and Grandad celebrate 65 years of marriage. They got married on the 4th July 1953 when my Grandma was only 20 years old and my Grandad 21. Here they are with their special letter from the Queen congratulating them on their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. They love each other more today than they ever could and to me, they're proof that true love really does exist. 

Graduation

I couldn't talk about 2018 without mentioning the fact that I GRADUATED!!
Three years of hard work, a lot of stress and a sprinkle of imagination saw me graduate from Liverpool John Moores University as a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. I remember writing my 2017 highlights a year ago and thinking, 'this time next year, I wonder if I'll have actually graduated.' Well, guess what girl. YOU DID IT! 
I'll be honest, it hasn't sunken in that I'm not going back to University ever again and I miss all of my friends so much. However, the 13th July 2018 will forever hold a special place in my heart. 
The proudest day of my life. 

Lytham Festival

The Graduation celebrations continued with a trip to Lytham Festival to see Nile Rodgers and Chic. This was one of my favourite nights of the year as we didn't stop dancing for the entire night. I've always wanted to see Nile Rodgers and Chic at a festival so this was the perfect way to end what had been my favourite month so far. 

Meeting My Favourite Authors

In August, I went to my first ever authors event and met three of my writing inspirations; Giovanna Fletcher, Lindsey Kelk and Paige Toon. I've been reading their books since I was fifteen years old and they've inspired me endlessly throughout my studies. To be able to meet them, chat with them and listen to them talk about their passion for the genre they write in was so refreshing and completely restored my faith and motivation in what I do. 

Liverpool

September saw me reunite with old friends and spend a lot of my time in Liverpool. I've taken more time for myself this year and spent a lot of this month at the Docks, in Costa reading a book. If anything, I've realised the importance of taking time out for yourself to do the things that you want to do. I also realise how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city. 

Halloween

Halloween was so much fun this year. I spent it with my work family and it was such a laugh. I'm so lucky to be able to work for people who I get on so well with. Apart from that, October was a quiet month, I like to think it was a time for me to relax and recharge for the busy months ahead. 

Heather's & London

In November, I was reunited with my lovely friend Jade. We took a trip to London to see Heathers the Musical (starring Carrie Fletcher) and it's up there with one of my favourite days of the year. Heathers was absolutely amazing. I purposely didn't listen to the soundtrack because I wanted it to be a surprise and it completely exceeded my expectations. Carrie was the perfect Veronica! After the show Jade and I explored London, taking in the sights of Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and she finally convinced me to go on the tube! 

Christmas In Disneyland Paris

And finally December, the month I returned home to Disneyland Paris.
In September Chloe and I decided that after two years, we were long overdue a trip to Disney and what better time to go than Christmas. It was a holiday full of pure magic from the moment we stepped off the Eurostar to the moment we said goodbye to Main Street. I'll never be able to explain how much this place means to me, the only thing I can say is that I'm incredibly thankful to have ended the year there. Also, being able to spend the holiday with my favourite roomie was even better. Chloe and I are literally the same people and we didn't stop laughing for the entire trip. 

Rugby With Dad

2018 saw me actually take an interest in a sport for once. 
Dad and I have spent the majority of our Friday nights at the Totally Wicked Stadium cheering on the Saints and it's been absolutely brilliant. Being able to spend time with my Dad doing something we both love has been a pleasure and I can't wait for the new season to start. 

Ohana

I don't know how I would've done this year without my family. They've been so supportive and so loving throughout and I can only hope that I've made them proud. I don't thank them enough for everything that they do; my Mum for bringing me coffee on those all-nighters doing uni work, my Dad for distracting me with the rugby, my Grandma and Grandad for consistently making me laugh and my little Buster for being there with a cuddle.  I'm so lucky to have them.

Friendship

I've learned a lot about friendship this year; it's not about the size of your social circle but the people in it. My Uni gang have been my personal cheerleaders since we met in our first year and being able to graduate together was the best feeling. Thank you for putting up with my many breakdowns and telling me I could do it when I was so close to giving up. Laughter is so important and the laughs I've had this year have kept me going, from our crazy nights out to riding bikes around Liverpool at 3am. I'm so bloody thankful to have had such beautiful people be a part of my year. 

Overall, it really has been the best year ever. I think the only thing that could've topped it off would've been if England won the world cup. 2018 has been my year. I'm thankful that I'm still healthy and that my family are too. I feel extremely lucky to have had so many life changing experiences and to have met some of the most amazing people who I hope will continue to brighten my life in 2019. I've got a feeling that 2019 is going to be a quiet one, but I'm ready to make it another good one. 

I hope you have a fantastic New Year and that 2019 is filled with love, happiness and a little sprinkle of pixie dust! 

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx





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