So last week, I was lucky enough to be in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, for the dedication ceremony of Disney’s magical new Pandora – The World of Avatar: a whole, stunning new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, joined by Avatar filmmaker James Cameron and producer Jon Landau, came together with the cast of the original film to unveil possibly Disney’s greatest triumph so far. So from the must-sees and must-dos to information on where to stay and how to get here, here’s my complete guide to the breathtaking world of Pandora – The World of Avatar.
I love pottering about in the kitchen; I find stirring, chopping, rolling and mixing completely therapeutic – that kind of mindless manual labour that’s both soothing and uncomplicated (although I mostly do the kneading in the KitchenAid, if I’m honest – I’m far too lazy for that). There’s only one thing that makes pottering nicer, and that’s the chatter of people. One of my favourite evenings is a weekend night when the boys are both home, maybe with friends/girlfriends in tow and we have an impromptu pizza night. I can only fit two at a time in the oven, so there’s a whole pizza production line going on, with people chatting and munching – I love it. My one photograph – snapped before someone grabbed a slice – is completely rubbish (I’ll rephotograph it, I promise) but I wanted you to experience this lovely, fun family evening as soon as possible. Here’s my foolproof, easy home made pizza recipe, that you can jazz up/double up as much as you wish:
Where’s your head at? I feel like mine’s usually like the scene in the Wizard of Oz (it’s a twister!’) where Dorothy bangs her head and then everything starts lifting off the ground and whooshing past the window. If, like me, you feel your thoughts and tasks and mental to do lists all start to become too much, I’d like to recommend a little ritual. Something that I find comforting and grounding, especially when I’m really busy. I’ve started to replace my morning cuppa with a coconut chai tea. I take my time, stirring the ingredients together and really trying to clear my head, then take it back to bed and sip it slowly.
This post is sponsored by British Airways Holidays.
It’s 2009. I’m with a small group of fellow mums and we’re walking through the gates of Walt Disney World, Florida for the first time ever. Even though we’ve only just met, our excitement has brought us together and we’re firm friends already. Spotting beautiful Cinderella Castle for the first time, pretty, pastel and huge at the end of bustling Main Street USA, we’re already grabbing each other’s hands, laughing and breathless with disbelief.
I have so much to tell you about my amazing trip to Kissimmee with Norwegian – I can’t believe two weeks has flown past since I was there. I travelled with such a lovely bunch of people and we had great fun exploring – honestly, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. If you’re considering a holiday to Florida, whether it be to the theme parks, or to discover a bit more of the area, I highly recommend Kissimmee as a base. There’s so much fabulous accommodation, beautiful scenery, loads of fun things to do, and, it’s so close to all the parks too. Here are my recommendations for fun family holidays in Kissimmee.
Now before we even get down to the subject of summer glow, let’s get something straight: I’m talking about glow: a gentle inner luminosity, a radiant, summery look of health and wellbeing. What I’m not trying to achieve here is any more shine than I’m already saddled with (which is quite a lot, especially on my forehead). More of this later, but it’s at this time of year when we all want to be moving away from the matte textures and chalky finishes of winter. We all want to look healthy and sunkissed, and there are loads of products out there that will help you achieve this lovely look. Here are some of my recent discoveries for achieving a lovely summer glow.
So if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’ve been on a bit of mission recently to take better care of myself. I’ve committed to taking really good care of my skin with the help of the experts, and for a while, I’ve been wondering if my hair couldn’t do with a bit of a revamp as well. You may remember that a while ago I visited Karine Jackson’s salon in London and I absolutely loved the Organic Colour Systems ethos and products. I was even more delighted to find out that there’s a salon even closer to me, The Hair Secret, Berkhamsted, that also uses the Organic Colour Systems range. Owner and Organic Colour Systems Mentor (one of only three in the country), Natalie Lupton invited me to come along and have a really in-depth hair consultation and a bit of a revamp – she also invited me to do it all live on her Insta-stories, which turned out to be the best fun. Here’s how I got on.
So after the big reveal that Lintenair is actually Trainline (it’s an anagram! check out the video here), Mr E and I decided to pick one of our bucket list destinations and head out for a little day trip. We wanted somewhere a bit different, with loads of shopping and eating, and some arty bits to see too. Luckily, my lovely friend Tara lives in the West Midlands and suggested a day in Birmingham. We booked on the Trainline App, and with our mobile tickets ready on our phones, and live journey updates we knew we had time for a coffee and a delicious bacon sandwich at the pretty station café at Wendover Station. Read more
Did you know that over the past few years, sales of swimwear have soared? I think it’s gone from one of those pieces that we might have one or two of, to a wardrobe staple that we might own in several different styles and colours. We’re also spending more money on beachwear than ever before, so this sector of the fashion market is booming. Interestingly, the strongest growth in sales has come from women buying bikinis, with sales of two pieces representing 68% of all sales for the swimwear sector! But what about if, like me, you’ve got hips and a bum, and maybe a bit of a tummy too – is a bikini for you? If you’re planning to hit the beach this summer, here are my tips on buying a bikini if you’re curvy. Read more
Now I know I said recently that my obsession with all things cute and floral was fleeting, but there’s so much lovely stuff in the shops at the moment, I fear my monochrome madness might have to be put on hold for a while longer. Everywhere I look there’s embroidery and splashes of colour, and as the sun has come out at least twice, and a lot of us are planning our summer getaways, it just somehow seems right. Here’s my weekend wishlist of flirty florals:
As you can imagine, I travel quite frequently, and it occurs to me regularly that my fellow travellers tend to slot in to a few distinct types. Mr E is definitely the impatient traveller – he strides ahead, leaving me bumbling behind, and can’t bear to queue. I’m a bit more laid back, but I do like a pair of shoes or three, so maybe I’m the fashionista (monochrome of course, dahling). I wonder if you see yourself in any of these descriptions:
The more I travel, the more I seem to pare down my in-flight beauty kit. At one stage, I was lugging all manner of things in a huge carry-on bag, but recently, I’ve started to realise that I wasn’t actually using half the products. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that last week, I travelled to Florida on Norwegian’s Dreamliner, which gives you a bit of added help in the in-flight beauty department by reducing the effects of jet lag with lots of lovely fresh air and adjusting cabin pressure to optimum levels. There’s also smart mood lighting, which is very relaxing, and 65% larger windows, but still, flying is very dehydrating, and it helps to whip off all your makeup and treat your skin to some extra moisture while you’ve got the chance to sit back and relax. I thought I’d tell you about my in-flight beauty heroes – the ones that made the cut and still travel with me every time.
So it’s just dawned on me, after all the excitement of Florida, that I’ve totally missed out one of the birthday cakes: the birthday chocolate orange cheesecake! You all know about the birthday challenge, right? The birthday person gets to choose whatever birthday cake/dessert they want (within reason – I don’t do novelty cakes, I’m too cack handed), and I make it for them. I told you about Sam’s birthday lemon meringue pie, but then completely missed out Charlie’s chocolate orange cheesecake. This didn’t start well as I tried everywhere to find Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in all our local shops and supermarkets and just couldn’t find any, so I had to settle for Lindor Truffles. Still, it all turned out okay. Here’s how I made it:
I’m back! I’ve had the most incredible few days with a group of really lovely people, and I’ve got so much to tell you about our wonderful trip, from flying to Florida with Norwegian’s state of the art Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a stay in the most ridiculously luxurious villa in Kissimmee, loads of really fun outdoorsy stuff like kayaking, climbing and swimming, and discovering pretty towns, gorgeous hotels, white sandy beaches and trendy towns with buzzy nightlife. Read more
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