If you don’t know much about Halloween Horror Nights, it’s an annual event at Universal Orlando Resort (2018 is the 28th year, which is why you’ll see the hashtag HHN28 used a lot on social media), where for a limited time, the streets come alive with murderous, terrifying characters, or ‘scareactors’, haunting scare zones around the park and also inhabiting individual mazes (haunted houses). Inspiration for the scare zones and houses is taken from modern and cult classic horror and sci fi films and TV shows, plus you’ll find incredible original concepts inspired by various eras or genres of films. Visitors can walk through the scare zones – areas of the park taken over by terrifying, realistic characters and walk through the incredibly detailed and realistic mazes. Want to know more about the houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018? Here’s everything you need to know!
I’ve known my friend Erica since we met on our first ever Disney trip together back in 2009. We’ve always stayed in contact and, along with most of the original members of the Disney 7 (our group of mummy bloggers from way back who met on our very first Disney trip), chat pretty regularly. Erica lives in Edinburgh (where she runs the hugely successful Edinburgh food blog, Foodinburgh), so we don’t get to see each other that much. Every so often the opportunity comes up for us to take a trip together, and this time as we were both so busy, we wanted to choose a holiday where we could kick back and relax. We wanted lovely, chic surroundings for a few days of quiet contemplation and catching up, with a bit of light exploration thrown in. As you probably know, I’m a bit in love with cruising: I love the glamour, the gorgeous surroundings, the delicious food, cocktails on the deck and waking up in a new port with all the fresh possibilities of exploring a new destination, so we chose a Greek islands trip from Malta on board P&O Oceana – a beautiful not-too-big, not-too-small ship, with a bit of old-world glamour thrown in. And although you might not immediately think of taking a cruise with friends as a grown up holiday option, we absolutely loved it. Here’s why we think cruising with friends is fabulous:
If you follow me on any form of social media, I’m pretty sure that you won’t have missed the fact that I was back in my favourite place on earth recently for the opening of brand new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. First up, I’ve got a video we had great fun making, showing you all the highlights of this incredible new addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and then I’ll tell you five reasons why you need to visit new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World – the largest expansion in the history of the park!
So last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening event of the brand new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World. I’ve got tons to tell you about new Toy Story Land, including a video showing you all the new attractions and more, but until then, I thought I’d share some of my favourite experiences, dining venues and yummy treats that will add so much value to your Walt Disney World holiday. Often, it’s the little things that people tell you about that can really make a difference to your Disney experience so here are a few that made my trip extra special this time. I smiled so hard writing this and remembering all the fun we had – so grab a cuppa and get comfy while I tell you all about a few of my favourite things at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (obviously in addition to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens).
I’ve had a bit of a travel flurry over the last few weeks, and after our fab few days on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, Mr E dropped me off at Gatwick to spend the night at the gorgeous BLOC Hotel before setting off to Palma to join Marella Cruises for a lovely weekend to celebrate the launch of the latest edition to their fleet: Marella Explorer. So what’s it like to cruise on board this brand new ship? I thought it would be fun to give you a guided tour of Marella Explorer in pictures!
You don’t have to be ‘scared of flying’ to be a nervous traveller. There are all sorts of different reasons why you might not particularly like flying: it might be a dislike of large crowds or being squished into places with lots of strangers (this is mine), meeting new people, the feeling of being trapped in an enclosed space, food allergies or preferences that can be difficult to manage when you’re away from home… it all adds up to feeling like you’re not in control of your own destiny, and that can feel unpleasant and make anyone feel anxious. I don’t actually mind flying at all – for me, it’s an opportunity to sit back, chill out, watch a film or two, read a big pile of magazines and not look at my phone for a few hours, but I do know that travelling can be a whole lot easier if you have a few simple techniques up your sleeve. Here are my top tips for nervous flyers:
A lovely friend of mine emailed me a while ago and said that some friends of his were going to be visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers in tow, and did I have any tips I could share. I compiled a big list of all sorts of bits and bobs of advice and recommendations for him and have used it several times since when people have asked me similar questions. I thought it would be helpful to compile everything into one big blog post and then I can keep adding to it as new attractions and activities arrive in the parks, or as other people give me their top tips. So here, for now, is everything that I can think of that would be remotely useful to know if you’re visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers.
This weekend, Mr E and I were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the brand new Marvel Summer of Super Heroes at Disneyland Paris (you might remember reading about me forgetting my passport when I was invited to the special exhibition in Paris to showcase the plans for the new Marvel event. What a wally. Anyway, this time I panicked incessantly and checked my passport every five minutes and yes, got to Paris in one piece in time to experience this brilliant new summer of Marvel-based attractions available to everyone visiting the park this summer. Read on to find out more about it!
Many, many moons ago, back when my children occasionally did anything I asked and I was a fully fledged ‘mummy blogger’, I was really proud to be asked by Royal Caribbean Cruises to be an Official Family Ambassador or ‘Royal Mum’. It was a fab time and I really enjoyed my role: as part of my ambassadorship, I wrote about family cruising on the Royal Caribbean blog as well as in newspapers like The Times, and was lucky enough, along with my lovely fellow Royal Mums, to experience wonderful trips like a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, and a family cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Another wonderful memory was when we all got together at Southampton for a sunny day on board Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. I’ve always been hugely proud of my long-running association with Royal Caribbean: I love the quality of the brand, the wonderful people who have a genuine love and enthusiasm for creating incredible experiences, and all their beautiful, innovative ships, so when Mr E and I were invited along to experience the shakedown cruise following Independence of the Seas’ multi-million dollar makeover, we were all over it. Here’s how we got on.
I’ve never been to the Chelsea Flower Show before – I’ve seen it on TV and always thought it would be a lovely place to visit, so when an invitation arrived to go along and visit the Viking Cruises Wellness Garden, I popped on my most flowery dress (and Converse – you know me) and headed to ridiculously chic Sloane Square (where all the shops and restaurants were bedecked in flowers too) to meet up with the lovely team from Viking Cruises. Read more
There are loads of reasons for staying overnight at the airport before a flight. Maybe you’re not sure of your exact arrival time (my drive to Gatwick can take anything from an hour and a half to three or four depending on traffic), and don’t want to miss a flight, or maybe your departure time is really early in the morning and you don’t fancy getting up at 2am… Sometimes it’s even a cheap way to get airport parking: a lot of the hotels do an overnight stay/parking deal. Every time I walk past the very stylish entrance to the BLOC Hotel at Gatwick South Terminal, it reminds me of how much I want to stay there. Finally, before a very early flight to Palma last week, I got to experience it for myself when the lovely people at BLOC very kindly put me up for the night. If you’re considering staying overnight at the airport, BLOC Hotel Gatwick is my new favourite. Here’s what to expect.
Isn’t this weather glorious? Last week, we were lucky enough to have a little adventure on board Royal Caribbean’s newly refurbished Independence on the Seas, and from there I went straight to Gatwick for a quick overnight at the BLOC Hotel there (write up coming soon) before flying to Palma on assignment for Cruise International for the launch of Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) brand new ship, Marella Explorer. Fab fun, but the challenge was that I had to have cabin baggage only for two trips, which forced me to think long and hard about what I needed to take. Happily, this means that I’ve been testing out the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe and I think I’ve come pretty close.
Last week, I was on board Celestyal Olympia cruising the Greek islands on assignment for Cruise International. You’ll be able to read my article shortly in the magazine (when I’ve actually finished and submitted it), but one of the things I was really impressed with was the food. We all know that the Mediterranean diet is super healthy, with the emphasis on good fats, fresh vegetables, beans and pulses and of course, all that fabulous fish, and I was bowled over by Greek food. I spend the week eating huge Greek salads, fat olives, fresh fish and vegetables and actually came home 2lb lighter without even trying. I was also fascinated by an article by Sali Hughes that recently appeared in The Pool about her decision to turn vegetarian in her forties. Many of Sali’s reasons echo my own feelings, so as a little experiment, I decided to give up meat while I was on the cruise. And honestly, now I’m really pondering becoming a pescatarian full time.
Hola! Well isn’t this weather nice? I was actually in Athens this weekend, working for Cruise International, and the weather here in the UK was actually hotter when I landed. Crazy. Anyhoo, I’ve been storing up all the news from Universal Orlando Resort for a while now, so whether you’re interested in breathtaking new rides (in which case, may I direct you to my Fast & Furious – Supercharged post here), beautiful new accommodation options or big fat gorgeous doughnuts, you’ve come to the right place. Grab a cuppa and settle down to read my exciting roundup of everything new at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida.
I honestly don’t think there’s a bad time to visit Walt Disney World resort in Florida (incidentally, for a heads up on the best times to go and loads of other info, visit my My Walt Disney World top tips post here), but the free Disney dining offer makes a family holiday at Walt Disney World considerably better value. I always recommend you stay at a Disney resort hotel if you’re visiting Walt Disney World (I think all the perks like Extra Magic Hours and free Disney’s Magical Express airport transfers add significant value), but now it’s even better value. If you’re a bit confused about what free Disney dining would mean to your family holiday booking in 2019, read on. I’ve got all the info on how the offer works, plus some top tips on the best places to book, too.
Recently, I told you all about my amazing Saturday Night Takeaway adventure, and promised to update you on some of the new openings and gossip from Universal Orlando Resort, Florida. While we were in the park, we were really lucky to be given a sneaky peek behind the scenes at an incredible new attraction (and also the opportunity to eat ALL THE DOUGHNUTS at the fab new Voodoo Doughnuts on Universal’s CityWalk – more news of this very soon). The new Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando featuring the stars of the movie franchise as well as breathtaking original vehicles, is due to open very soon and promises an action-packed ride experience. Here’s what I learned…
- Weekend wishlist: new season trends are landing! August 11, 2018
- Houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 August 10, 2018
- Our tips for making the leap to university August 9, 2018
- Cruising with friends: our P&O Cruises Oceana adventure August 7, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: REN skincare deals and discount codes August 4, 2018