For the Love of Books – Joining a Library

I think I might join the library.

I love to read, I always have but I’ve never been a member of a library. Not including school and university anyway. When I was a kid, you’d barely see me without a book in my hand (apart from when I was watching TV). I even learned to hold a book and turn the page with one hand, so I could read while I ate my lunch. I remember my grandad telling me off a lot for that.

And whenever we’d make our yearly trip to Jordan, I’d remember my mum and I filling our suitcases with books. I just seem to have fallen out of habit over the last few years. Especially since I became self-employed.

I’ve just been thinking about my hobbies. A lot of my hobbies these days involve a screen or using my hands. I get a lot of pains in my hands from repetitive strain and my terrible posture (typical millennial) is not helping matters. Topher suggested we had a screen free Sunday which I loved. But what would I do with myself? Everything I love involves my hands or a screen.

When we returned from Disneyland Paris, I got a sudden urge to read again. My reading seems to come in waves. I buy a load of books, go through them all and then for months I don’t read anything. I saw a woman reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman on the plane and she recommended it to me. She said she got it at Tesco for 2 for £7 which sounded like a great deal. So, when I got home I popped over to Tesco and purchased it, along with How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. Let me know if you’d like a review on them both.

I enjoyed both books and wondered what I should purchase next. But then that got me thinking. The only reason I’m not reading all the time is because I read quickly and having to buy a lot of books would be a lot of money. Even if I got them second hand. As much as I enjoy them, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. Right now, Topher and I are saving up to go to Japan next year and every penny we squirrel away gets me excited.

So when I was reading blogs as I usually do, I came across Bethany from B’Rambling’s post about her love of libraries. And it just clicked. Why not join the library? It’s free and I don’t have to spend money on books. It’s not like I keep the books I read anyway. I tend to pass them on or give them to charity.

Though Gorton where I live has a library, I think I’ll probably use the Manchester Central one. I’ve been wanted to go since it was refurbished and after visiting New York’s library, I think it would be cool to see Manchester’s. Plus, there would probably be more selection and it would be an excuse for me to leave the house.

library - manchester central

I think the thing that stopped me from joining a library before was thinking there was a lack of newer books. But at least today, I was wrong. I checked a few titles from my ever-growing Amazon wish list and there were all there. So what’s there to stop me?

I have a couple of books I need to finish first but once I do, I’ll definitely be joining the library. Plus that means I can start doing book reviews again.

How about you? Are you a member of a library?

Continue Reading

Top Picks #54

*All the product links in this post are affiliate links. That basically means that if you buy anything from these websites then I get a small commission with no cost to you.

So I’m trying something new for my top picks. Instead of putting them all in one graphic, I thought you’d like to get up close and personal with each item. I actually prefer that when I’m reading other people’s wish list posts so I thought I’d see if you guys liked it too. Let me know what you think!

Mug, £5.99 – New Look

top picks - llama mug

I love this mug so much! Everything about it is so cute. And you can’t argue with that price…though my already stuffed mug cupboard might.

Necklace, $29 – Modcloth

top picks - necklace

How gorgeous is this necklace? It just screams spring to me. Now if only it could tell the weather outside!

Earrings, £15 – Loubijoux @ Etsy 

top picks - earrings

I love the shape of these earrings. They’re so simple but very chic. I could wear them all day, everyday. This Etsy shop also has a load of other beautiful items that you can browse at your own risk. Definitely a payday destination.

Bag, £25 – Accessorize top picks - heart bag

I love a good novelty bag and this one is just quirky enough without going overboard. The heart shape is sweet and I love the stud detail. Perfect for adding a bit of fun to your outfit.

Instax Camera, £85 – Urban Outfitters

top picks - hello kitty camera

So this camera is on my list purely for the kawaii factor. How amazing is this? I’ve never had an Instax camera but I’ve always wanted one and this one is just too cute.

Cushion Cover, £1.90 – ROMWE

top picks - cushion cover

This cushion cover is beautiful. I think it would look great on our grey sofa. Plus you can’t beat that price!

T-shirt, $29 – Modcloth

top picks - t-shirt

I’ve been craving a lot of ramen recently. Does it show?

Bag, £22.87 – Milicancrelat @ Etsy

top picks - bag

So this bag might just remind me of Luna a little bit…

Shirt, £17.99 – H&M

top picks - shirt

It’s Mickey! And stripes! Double win.

Dress, £54 – Sugarhill Boutique

top picks - dress

This print is adorable – Enough said.

What’s on your wish list at the moment?

Check out my usual top picks posts and let me know which style you prefer. 

Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris Trip 2018

I’ve never done a Disney trip report before but I enjoy reading them on other people’s blogs so I thought I would give it a go! This post is a long one so grab a brew!

Disneyland Paris Trip - topher and dianeTravel

We flew with Easy Jet from Manchester Airport to Charles De Gaulle. Our flight was about 5.30pm on a Tuesday in late February and we flew hand luggage only to avoid paying extra for checked luggage. The flight was only an hour and the only fault I found with the airline was loading the plane could have been a lot more organised.

There were stairs from the tarmac to the plane at both the front and the back which would have been perfect if they had actually let people go where they were supposed to straight away. If you’re near the back you should have been allowed to go to the stairs at the back. But no. Our seats were in the last row and we were made to go up the front stairs. We were somewhere in the middle of the queue and by the time we got near to the back of the plane we watched them open the back door and start letting people in. People that were sitting far in front of us. Ridiculous. If you’re going to open the door, do it from the beginning.

After fighting to get to our row, all the overhead lockers were full of luggage. So we placed ours about 10 rows ahead. This would have been fine if they hadn’t opened the back door straight away when we arrived in Paris. So we had to fight to get to our luggage. And we weren’t the only ones.

All of this could have been easily avoided if they had just opened both sets of doors at the same time in Manchester and people could have gone to the right end of the plane. Much quicker too.

Anyway, as I said the flight was short and before we knew it we were in Charles de Gaulle.

After doing a bit of research previously, I discovered that booking a shuttle was the cheapest and quick option to get to Disney. You can either get the train, the magical express (if you’re staying onsite), get in a taxi, hire a car or book a shuttle. We booked with RS Transport and it was 76 euros for a round trip for the two of us. Perfect for those on a budget as that would normally cost you at least 76 euros one way if you took a taxi.

The driver wasn’t there when we arrived but he kept in touch by text and we only waited about 20 minutes. He came in with our name on a sign and took our bags. The trip was stress free so I’d definitely recommend it.

The Hotel

We stayed at the Cheyenne which had a wild west theme. The theming was perfect and the only fault we had with the room was the hard bed. Luckily the pull out sofa turns into two single beds which are super comfy so we just slept in those.

Disneyland Paris Trip - bed

Loving the cowboy boot lamp!

Disneyland Paris Trip - room

It really felt like you were in a little town in the wild west. Each building was a two floor block of rooms.

Disneyland Paris Trip - shadows

We were in Calamity Jane which made me happy as I love that film. The rest of the hotel has everything you need – a restaurant, Starbucks and a gift shop. A shuttle comes every ten minutes or so to take you to the Disney Village & parks and if you feel like it, it’s only a 15 minute walk.

Disneyland Paris Trip - hotel building

We got into the hotel just after 9.30pm so we just popped to the Disney Village to grab some dinner then we headed back to the hotel to sleep.

Day 1

We hit the ground running today. As we were staying onsite, we got extra magic hours which now include both parks. We started our day in Disneyland park after grabbing breakfast in the village. Something to take note of is that opening and closing times are not exact here and sometimes that really works in your favour. We found out that we could use our breakfast vouchers (as we were on the standard meal plan) in New York Style Sandwiches which opened at 8. Or so they said. They were actually open at about 7.50 so we were in and out and in line for the parks to open for resort guests at 8.30. Perfect.

Disneyland Paris Trip - topher

How gorgeous is the Disneyland hotel?

Disneyland Paris Trip - disneyland hotel

So we arrived into the park and headed straight for Fantasyland. Since the rules changed, it’s only Fantasyland that’s open at 8.30 now so we got in line for Peter Pan. We rode that, Dumbo and the carousel before having a wander and getting in line for Discoveryland to open at 9.30. We headed straight for Space Mountain and discovered that it doesn’t open until 10 (normal park opening time) while Buzz Lightyear and Star Tours open at 9.30. We were about 4th in line but decided to leave to go ride those two first despite the women in front of us protesting that we’d never get to ride it otherwise.

Disneyland Paris Trip - space mountain

So we rode both Buzz and Star Tours before coming back at about 10.10am. The line for Space Mountain was open, we joined the back of the queue and we waited about 15/20 minutes. Actually less time then we would have waiting half an hour for it to open. So yay for taking risks. Afterwards we headed over to the other side of the park and rode Pirates of the Caribbean followed by Snow White’s scary adventures. It was then time for our lunch reservation.

Disneyland Paris Trip - cafe hyperion

We had reserved a table at Cafe Agrabah at 1.30 and this buffet was definitely my favourite. We wandered around Alice’s labyrinth before doing the shops on Main Street.

Disneyland Paris Trip - trumpet

Love the view!

Disneyland Paris Trip - maze view

It was about 3ish when Topher started feeling unwell. It turned out he had the flu and the freezing weather wasn’t helping. We decided to head back to the hotel and have a nap to see how he felt. He felt worse when we woke up so I suggested giving the parks a miss for the evening. We took another hour before heading into the Village to look at the shops. Topher wasn’t hungry at all so I had a big back of chestnuts from one of the carts. Nom

 

Disneyland Paris Trip - up

Disneyland Paris Trip - pirate ship

We only met one character this trip and it was Smee! So happy considering Topher dressed up like him.

Disneyland Paris Trip - smee

Day 2

We had planned to hit magic hours again but in Studios but unfortunately Topher woke up feeling even worse than the previous day. I suggested we have a little lie in then go out when the parks normally open. He felt ok enough to go so we had breakfast before getting into Disney Studios just after 10.

I was absolutely freezing today. My layers didn’t seem enough (despite having four of them) and I didn’t have a hat or gloves due to not being able to find them just before we left for Paris. I assumed I’d packed them. I hadn’t. So after we rode the Backlot tour we headed to Disneyland. I bought a pair of what I can only assume were children’s gloves and Topher bought a new hat, giving me his old one. We then rode Indiana Jones, Pinocchio and Small World.

Disneyland Paris Trip - arcade

Disneyland Paris Trip - sweet counter

Lunch was at the Plaza restaurant on main street and it was really nice. I especially loved the desserts.

Disneyland Paris Trip - cat hat

My awesome children’s gloves:

Disneyland Paris Trip - gloves

Disneyland Paris Trip - castle

Disneyland Paris Trip - small world

The Mexican restaurant in Frontierland had been kitted out in Coco stuff and it was awesome!

Disneyland Paris Trip - coco

We then headed back to the Studios and rode Tower of Terror. Love this ride so much. We also went to the animation studio as is our tradition at Disney parks and we drew Olaf. We were both really lagging at this point and it was about 5 when we had to give in. I wanted to last until the fireworks but it was not happening. We headed back to the hotel, grabbing a hot chocolate and a macaron on the way and I came up with a plan for our final day.

Disneyland Paris Trip - tower of terror

Day 3

We hit the ground running, grabbing breakfast and going straight to the Studios at 8.30. We rode Crush’s Coaster first which may not have been the best idea with Topher being ill (there was spinning!) but we both enjoyed it and though we felt dizzy, we headed to Ratatouille. This ride was so impressive. I won’t spoil anything but the ride vehicles were amazing. Definitely a must do. I’m so happy they’re making it in WDW.

I knew we weren’t going to be able to dine in the Ratatouille restaurant but I was so pleased to have a full view of it as we exited the ride. How cool is this?

Disneyland Paris Trip - ratatouille

Rock n Rollercoaster was next followed by Tower of Terror again. And we were done. We headed back to Disneyland to see if we could ride Thunder Mountain as it had either been down or busy the whole trip. It was down, but the fast pass was turned on as they said it would be open later. We got tickets.  I’d pushed our lunch reservation to 12pm with the plan of taking a mid day to early evening break so we would definitely be able to do the fireworks and it worked perfectly.

We ate at Restaurant de Stars in the Studios and then headed back to the hotel. We slept and woke up refreshed at about 4.

Disneyland Paris Trip - macaron

We put on an extra layer of clothes (bringing up my layers to 5 with two layers on my legs). Our priorities in Disneyland were Thunder Mountain, Dinner, Fireworks. Our fast pass was a little out, we’d missed it by about 45 minutes but they let us on (I guess because it had been down so much) and it was awesome. Dinner was then at the Mexican restaurant and then we grabbed our perfect firework spot with a hot chocolate each and it was magical.

Disneyland Paris Trip - light display

We hung back a bit afterwards to take more photos before collapsing back at the hotel.

Home time

We checked out and the same shuttle driver picked us up in the morning to take us to the airport. Flight back was fine, though a little delayed – our seats were in the middle of the plane so things went a lot smoother.

And that was it. Despite the cold and illness, we both had a great time.

Bring on the next Disney trip!

Check out my other post for my Observations of Disneyland Paris. 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris Observations

Now that it’s been a week or so since I got back from Disneyland Paris, I thought I’d tell you about what we thought of the place. I’ve now been to Disneyland Paris four times in my almost 30 years (ages 6,12,16 and 29) and it was Topher’s first time.

Here are my observations:

  • The castle is definitely the prettiest out of the three Disney’s I’ve been to so far. Sorry not sorry. I also like that it’s on a hill.

 

  • It’s more of a go with the flow park than it’s American counterparts. Rides don’t always work, fast pass machines don’t always work and the weather can change at any minute (though the same can be said for WDW). I didn’t make a concrete plan like I usually do and I’m so glad I didn’t as it was screwed from the minute Topher got sick.

 

  • Staying on property is so worth it. I’ve never stayed on property at any Disney park before as I never saw the point. I still don’t see the point for WDW. The magic hours were great but the best thing about being onsite was being able to hop on a bus and be back at the hotel within 5 minutes. Ideal as it allowed us to tackle the parks in short bursts due to the cold and also Topher being unwell. WDW is just too big to be able to nip back to the hotel unless you’re in one of the super expensive ones close by to the Magic Kingdom.

 

  • The food is definitely not as good as the American parks. If you’re a foodie, prepare yourself. But it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. As we were on the standard meal plan we had to go to the buffet restaurants which I was dreaded. But I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot of different foods on offer and there was a lot of healthier stuff too. My favourite was the Agrabah Café as I love me some Mediterranean food. A definite thumbs up for the buffets. And they had roasted chestnuts, hot wine and macarons in the Disney Village. Score!

 

  • I loved the arcades down the side of main street. A nice touch.

 

  • Language barrier wasn’t that much of an issue. We got by with the usual pleases and thank you’s as I had forgotten the majority of my high school French.

 

  • Though there’s still a lot of things around to fix, there’s a lot of money being pumped into the resort now so if you go in the future it will be even better.

 

  • We stayed at Hotel Cheyenne which was a wild west theme. The theming was definitely on point! We loved it. The only downside was that our bed in the hotel room was so hard! Luckily there is a sofa bed that pulls out to make two twin beds which are so much softer and comfortable. So if there’s only two of you and you don’t like hard beds, use those.

 

I also asked Topher what his observations were:

  • The cast members coats were awesome. No joke – the moment he saw these coats he couldn’t stop talking about them. If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons/LOTR type of nerd then it’s pretty safe to say that you would love these coats too. I’m sorry but I didn’t take any photos of them. They were forest green, had hoods and kind looked like something an elf would wear.

 

  • It felt similar to California in size – mainly because you could walk from park to park.

 

  • He liked that it had different things so you didn’t have to compare everything to the other resorts. For example, Tomorrowland in WDW and California has a space theme while Discoveryland in Paris is space with a steampunk twist.

 

  • Merchandise was pretty standard across the resort. I noticed this as well. Once you had been in a few shops, it was pretty much the same everywhere. I don’t really know if this is the case with the other resorts as I’ve never really paid much attention to merch until this trip. I guess I’m just mentally preparing for Tokyo Disney as I hear their merchandise is amazing.

 

  • Thunder Mountain was the best one out of the three we’ve been on so far. Space Mountain here is my favourite while Topher still prefers Florida’s.

 

  • It didn’t feel as touristy as WDW but not in a good way. Since there’s a train station right there in the resort, anyone can just pop in so it lost a little bit of the “Disney bubble” that WDW has. This was mainly felt in the Village but also a little bit in the parks. Not a major thing, just something Topher noticed.

 

  • And finally he said that he liked the west side of Disneyland Park. He liked how Adventureland and Frontierland blended nicely.

In conclusion we had a great time and would definitely go back. Just maybe not in February. Damn that was cold! I can’t wait to see all the new stuff that’s being added so I can see us heading back within the next decade once we’re done visiting the other parks. It’s nice to have a Disney that’s so close.

disneyland paris observations - selfie

Have you ever been to Disneyland Paris? What did you think?

Check out our visits to Disneyland California and WDW.

Continue Reading

Honeymoon Video – A Music Video of our Travels

I finally did it. I finished editing Topher & I’s honeymoon video last night.

I’ve been doing it in bursts over the last 5 months (has it really been 5 months?!) and I just bit the bullet and got the last of it done. It’s long overdue but here it is:

For newer readers – my husband Topher and I got married last July and went on our honeymoon in September. We visited New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and then back to New York again. All in 2 weeks. Yep. A little bit nuts. Topher says I almost killed him with all the walking we did! But he agrees that it was the best holiday ever.

Check out my honeymoon posts:

Part 1: New York

What we ate in New York

Brooklyn Street Art

Part 2: San Francisco

What we ate in San Francisco

Color Factory

Madonna Inn & A Californian Roadtrip

Part 3: Los Angeles 

What we ate in Los Angeles

Universal Studios Hollywood

Disneyland California Resort

honeymoon video - disneyland california

SaveSave

Continue Reading