Answers to questions we had before visiting Disneyland Paris

Can you get on lots of rides in one day?

Definitely. On both days we got on a minimum of 7 rides so when you read the “we only got to go on 2 rides the whole day” comments they’re just not playing it right. The 7 rides also doesn’t include us going to shows, climbing the tree house, exploring the maze etc. Also we went at possibly one of the busiest times of the year. We never settle for waiting times over 60 minutes and that was definitely possible here.

Is it easy to see characters if you don’t want to wait in line for them?

Yes! There are characters in shows, the parade and sometimes walking through the park to get to a break area. Disneyland Paris makes it really possible to get photos of characters if you don’t mind not interacting with them. There is a small chance that you’ll get interaction at the parade but usually only if you’re at the front. As I have said, we didn’t really want to wait to greet characters but I got a high-five off Aladdin as he was walking back to his station, several blown kisses from fur characters on the parade and a couple of waves and smiles/eye contact from face characters on the parade as well.

 

Are French Cast Members as rude as everyone seems to think they are?

No! No no no no no nooooo. I was really confused at all the horrible comments the French cast members get from guests online. I thought “surely they wouldn’t be rude at a park” and I was right. The cast members were all delightful, organised and helpful. What everyone seems to misunderstand is French service in general. Disney is often confused with the American “can I be your best friend” type of service which you just won’t get in France. Frankly, I’m glad of it. I can’t stand American service but that’s another matter. French service is not “I just want to ignore you and do my job” it’s all about giving you space and respecting your bubble. But if you require more from them, they are always there to help and assist where possible. The main difference between the in-your-face American service and the quiet, respectful French service is that the French cast members were all very genuine. I go into this more in the food section.

Are the shows worth it?

Yessss absolutely!! I thought I wouldn’t want to see any shows at Disneyland but boy was I wrong! We went to see Mickey and the Magician, Mickey’s introduction of the 25th anniversary and The Forest of Enchantment. All were fantastic (especially Mickey and the magician) and a great way to see characters as well. It’s also a nice way to get some rest whilst doing/seeing something. The only thing is that if you want to see the shows, you should arrive about 20mins-30mins before but it’s so worth it!

How long does it take to get from land to land?

I was desperate to find this out and nobody had the answer so here it is: It takes a maximum of 10 minutes to get from land to land (within Disneyland). If you’re walking between two lands that are next to each other you’re talking 3-5 minutes. Please note that we didn’t have kids so weren’t burdened with slow walkers or pushchairs. It’s really easy and very advisable to jump from land to land to avoid being stuck with bad waiting times. To go from Disneyland to the studio Park takes a bit more time but if you’re doing it once or twice a day it’s no problem.

 

Here are some more obscure pieces of advice. This isn’t based on questions I had but more based on what we saw and learned whilst at the park:

At least try to speak or understand a little French or understand their culture.

It must be really hard to work in a place where you’re constantly talking in your secondary language. Therefore to give the cast members a bit of a break why not try at least saying hello, goodbye, and thank you in French? It’s easy to do and a nice gesture. You could even find out the number of your party going on rides to tell them in French how many you’ve got. Also, the shows and the rides have enough English in them for you to understand what’s going on so I think basic French like the things I’ve suggested is fine. It also must get tiring for them to get complaints about them doing things that they see as normal. For example, French waiters won’t be as cheesy or chatty as you might expect because that’s just not normal for them.

Have some snacks to munch on.

So you may have heard that you’re not allowed to picnic in the park which is true. However, you can take snacks into the parks. We went to a popular and amazing French supermarket called “Auchan” and bought these which I would really recommend:

La pailed’or- Strawberry jam wafer

Tuc cracks- sour cream and onion crackers

Twinuts- baked peanuts with different flavours

Vico Dixi riche en tomate- tomato flavoured crispy puffs

Madeleine- small cakes

At Auchan they always have cheaper “auchan” branded versions of these. It’s a really good opportunity to get different snacks you wouldn’t usually have at home.

Unless it’s rare and only available from DLP, don’t buy souvenirs.

So you’re thinking of going to Disneyland. Chances are then that you’d buy disney related things sometimes. Why would you buy them at Disneyland where everything is overpriced? The only item I got was a keychain in the shape of Mickey’s head with a “25” in the middle. I bought this as it’s an exclusive item only out for the 25th anniversary. All the other things in the shops you can buy on the online disney stores or at the disney stores near you. Remember, you may regret spur of the moment purchases that you wouldn’t do if you were anywhere else. If you stay in that mindset and always remind yourself “I could buy this somewhere else” then you’ll be fine.

Know that you are not the most important guest and Disneyland will treat every guest equally

This point may seem a bit ranty but I get so annoyed at people who seem to think they can just get away with anything. Keep this in your head throughout your stay: Disneyland doesn’t have any interest in making your day specifically the happiest day ever. Disneyland is interested in making everyone’s day the happiest day ever. Therefore, they must treat every guest the same. Lot’s of guests seem to think that they are the only ones who have paid a lot to be there and therefore deserve to do and see whatever they want whenever they want. Not. True. See, Disney is a HUGE corporation and if anything is fishy or out of line they could get extremely bad press. So you want in on a ride that is suffering technical difficulties? Not going to happen. You want to see your favourite princess even though it’s the end of her guest interaction time? No. Disney goes by strict rules and they are NOT going to cave in to customers who have the “I’m the center of the universe” syndrome.

Example of this kind of behaviour: 15 minutes before the parade we saw a man on the other side wanting to cross and he was stopped. Obviously for safety reasons, you are not allowed to cross a parade space. But he wasn’t having it and attempted to drive his pushchair onto the road right in front of the cast member and so the cast member put her foot in front of his wheel. He wasn’t happy at all about this and kept pointing at her and then at her foot and getting really in her face. Soon, a manager came and firmly stated to him that he wasn’t ever going to be allowed to cross so he’d better find another way around. (I don’t know what he actually said as I couldn’t hear any of it, he probably put it nicer than that). I was so so pleased!! So many times the underdog keeps the rules and calls the manager for support who then just caves in. Not this time! Her manager completely backed her up. I think this is a sign of a really good company who has no time for rule-breakers.

Don’t worry about not having loads of Disney knowledge, you’ll have a blast no matter how big of a fan you are.

So I was kind of worried about this as I’m not very familiar with some of the original princess movies like snow white or Sleeping beauty. And especially since I hadn’t really seen anything with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald or Daisy in it. But it didn’t matter at all! In fact, even though I didn’t really know the character, Mickey mouse is one of my favourites now that we’ve been to Disneyland.

However, we did watch some movies to prepare for it so if you want my recommendations (along with the ones we didn’t watch) here they are:

First of all, watch your favourite movie!!

Peter Pan

Swiss Family Robinson

Sleeping Beauty

Alice in wonderland

Pirates of the Caribbean

Ratatouille

Aladdin

Buy special ears from etsy

I bought these gorgeous ears from etsy:

ears.jpg

They got me so many compliments and made me feel so special when everyone else is wearing the same old ears!

I got the last pair of these but here’s the shop I bought them from: Sweet Creations 

If there are any more questions you have, please don’t hesitate to ask down in the comments and have an amazing time at Disneyland!!

 

Advertisements

Easy ideas for a Harry Potter party

A few years ago, I had the idea of throwing my Mum a Harry Potter bonanza! I say bonanza and not party because we didn’t have a lot of people round but it was a very magical day and she enjoyed it immensely! Some of the ideas I’ve seen online didn’t suit what I wanted for her day and I thought some of you might be in a similar situation so I thought I’d write about some of the ideas I had that went down a treat!

These ideas can be done using really simple methods or they can be done by going the extra mile, they can suit the situation you’re in. They can also be converted into things for a large group or for a small group. Let’s get started!

(I have had to crop and blur the photos where faces, names and other things are for the privacy of my family and friends)

  1. The layout of the day    This was really important for me, I didn’t want to just throw a party when her friends arrived, I wanted the whole day to be an experience. This can be done very simply, it just requires some preparation. I wrote a Hogwarts acceptance letter for her (which you can actually print out instead) h.p. party 1and I did another letter for her explaining what the day was about. hp party 2I also bought a mini Hogwarts trunk from etsy that was filled with lot’s of mini things like spell books, Hedwig and a potions set! (I also added Haggord’s keys)h.p. party 4To top it all off, I dressed up like Hagrid to wake her up and surprise her! (But I called myself “Haggord”.)I also made a timetable to loosely base the day off. h.p party 3It’s good to let who your throwing a party for know what they’re in for and it’s a nice little help for you as well. This also went really well with the school theme! Just don’t be too strict with the timetable, if a few things don’t start or finish at the time you want them to then it’s okay.
  2. Themed food    There are LOADS of Harry Potter related foods out there, but these are the ones I found easiest and tastiest. As this was for my Mum and I was living with my parents at the time, I had to prepare all the food the night before, so having easy food was very important. In the morning, I made her a poached egg very much like the one Ron had (or didn’t) before his first Quidditch match in the Half Blood Prince.
    h.p. party 34

    “Drapple” is an inside joke in the fandom so it’s a fun but healthy addition to the food! 

    h.p. party 29

    Cockroach clusters- melt some chocolate and mix it together with popcorn

    h.p. party 28

    Weasley’s Dragon Roasted Nuts- recipe here: http://inliterature.net/food-in-literature/2013/09/harry-potter-weasleys-dragon-roasted-nuts.html

    h.p. party 36

    Just plain old Chicken and ham sandwiches, Professor Mc Gonagall gives these to Harry and Ron in “The Chamber of Secrets” (the book) as they weren’t allowed into the great hall for the feast. This is a great one for testing the die hard fans knowledge!

    h.p. party 32

    I’ve got a friend who makes very nice pumpkin pasties but I simply didn’t have the time nor the talent so I just got Cornish one’s and called them “(not so) pumpkin pasties”!

    h.p. 30

    Another one for if you want an excuse to add some more “normal” food. The weasley’s family owl Erol crashes into a bowl of crisps at lunch time in the Chamber of Secrets

    h.p. party 35

    My Mum likes to imagine that cauldron cakes are just a more magical way of saying pancakes, so I just filled up a plastic cauldron of American style pancakes. You can find lot’s of Halloween decorations to put food in at your local supermarket. Fortunately, we already have lot’s of these kind of things!

    h.p. party 31

    Of course I couldn’t miss out Hagrid’s legendary rock cakes (also just from the books). Hagrid is constantly making these for when Harry, Ron and Hermione come over, little does he know that they’re rock hard and the kids can’t eat them! Luckily, mine turned out edible! Here’s a good recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rock_cakes_03094

    h.p. party 27

    The little lightning scar sign reads “Harry’s Favourite” as every fan of the Harry Potter Books will know that he loves this sweet treat! Luckily, you can buy nice ones that aren’t overly expensive and it went down really well. 

    h.p. party 26

    For a drink, I made lot’s of orange juice, put it in a glass jug and told everyone that it was Pumpkin juice! Everyone likes to pretend sometimes and let’s face it, if you’re throwing a Harry Potter party everyone there will be kids or big kids! And of course, I couldn’t leave out jelly beans and sherbet lemons!

    h.p. party 37

    Then I put up this cute little sign over the oven and made Butterbeer for everyone. Here’s our favourite recipe: https://secretmenus.com/starbucks/secret-menu/butterbeer-latte-hot/ Warning: it’s SUPER sickly, so you might want to thin it out a bit if you don’t want everyone bouncing off the walls!

    h.p. party 48

    After dinner (which was the left over food we didn’t eat from lunch) we had this amazing cake made by a close friend of my Mum’s! (it was personalised with her name)

  3. Decorations     Obviously for any themed party decorations are a really important part. I had a lot of fun with these! Obviously there are some things that I’ve shown you already, all these things can easily be made on a computer but I drew all of my decorations to give it an extra personal feel, here goes!
    h.p. party 8

    So I introduced this after my Mum had breakfast. it’s just brick wallpaper pinned to the walls. It looks a little silly but it’s a great touch for the day! If you’re throwing a party, why not cover your door with this wallpaper instead?

    h.p. party 9

    Through the brick wall was this little sign I drew! (the Caution ghost crossing was just conveniently still up from Halloween) 

    h.p.party 10

    Next, I made my Mum go down the stairs sitting down as if it were a train. Because of this, I made this sign of the adorable trolley lady!

    h.p. party 11

    I actually made these shields ages ago, but again, I’m sure you can print off your own from images online and stick them onto cardboard. I also had the sorting hat and our stool, my Mum was in Hufflepuff!

    h.p. party 12

    In the same hall, I made these “Floating” candles. Roll up some thick white paper, stuff orange and yellow tissue paper down the top and tie them with fishing wire. Because our ceiling is white, I stuck them up with white tac. 

    h-p-party-14.jpg

    Even though my Mum’s in Hufflepuff, I decorated our living room to look like the Gryffindor common room as it’s shown and described more in the films and books. On the back of the door is the Notice board. I found this Proclamation poster at comic con.

    h.p. party 15

    I made these additional notices with a quill and ink. “Quidditch Tryouts start Saturday Come to the quidditch pitch at 10am sharp! No first years!”

    h.p. party 16

    “Second Hand spellbooks for sale… A history of magic- See Ryan Henry (13 Sickles)”… Fantastic beasts and where to find them for 5 sickles -see Podric Piles… The standard book of spells- Make me an offer! -Angus Motlart

    h.p. party 17

    “Reminder No magic is to be used in the corridors! -Argus Filch.”

    h.p. party 18

    I got some red candles and red potpourri to dot around the room. I also had a quill and ink so I displayed it here.

    h.p. party 19

    A gryffindor sign I got from etsy (it had a background of white cloth which I cut off) and a broomstick.

    h.p. party 21

    Crookshanks which I got from the Harry Potter studio tour and an Owl which me and my Mum call “Erol” I also got more red pillows for our living room.

    h.p. party 22

    To magic up our electric fire place, I drew this lively fire to stick on the front.

    h.p.party 20

    A Harry Potter card set which we already had and a chocolate frog box from the Harry Potter studio tour

    h.p. party 5

    I put this grumpy Moaning myrtle Ghost on the under side of our toilet lid!

  4. Activities     It’s no party without things to do. We watched Harry Potter ( I forget which one) during lunch time but that’s not all we did! For a lot of these, I had to ask for other people’s help but if you are doing it all on your own, with enough time I think you could do it.
    h.p. 6

    In the morning before going through to platform 9 3/4 we went to Gryngotts so she could buy the rest of her supplies. This was my brothers room. I laid out these coins I made on his carpet and as he’s got a reputation in our family to be a little grumpy in the morning, I told my Mum to beware the dragon! She loved it!

    h.p. party 7

    After Gryngotts, I told her that I’d gone to Madame Malkin’s to get her robes and gave her a robe that a good friend from church made. Next, it was Ollivanders which was in my room. I laid out a dark sheet over my bed and put three wands on it. Then I pointed a lamp at the wands and turned it on so that’s all you could see. When my Mum waved the wrong wands I played some breaking glass sounds I downloaded onto my i-pod which I kept behind my back. When she got the right one, I played the music that plays when Harry finds his wand in the Philosipher’s stone. My Mum absolutely loved this!! 

    h.p. party 23

    After we went on the Hogwarts express and got sorted, we played gobstones! This is just like normal marbles (I drew a circle on the ground with flower) but when you get someone’s marble out of the circle you dip your hand in water and flick the water in your opponent’s face! This goes down a treat! 

    h.p. party 24

    After that, we played Quidditch in which someone hides a snitch and the “seeker” has to go and find it. I had planned a game where my Mum had to shoot balls through hoops in the garden but it was raining. After Lunch we had Potions! 

    h.p. party 25

    I gave my Mum a potions book and some ingredients and she made some potions in a cauldron I bought from a cute shop called Magically in Stratford Upon Avon. 

    h.p. party 38

    Then, it was onto Herbology. My Mum’s friend did this as she know a lot about plants. It was a lesson based on re-potting mandrakes! I called our teachers similar but silly names to the professors at Hogwarts, this was Professor Sapling!

    h.p. party 39

    We each had a pot and a little potato on a leaf (this was the mandrake)

    h.p. party 40

    We then put our potatoes in a pot with a some kind of seed or nut.

    h.p. party 41

    Then we covered them in “Magic soil”

    h.p. party 42

    On the top we put some leaves and berries and a peg with a name we chose for our mandrake. Every plant did have some kind of meaning but I’ve forgotten it but I think even without knowing what the plants are for, this is a really fun activity! 

    h.p. party 43

    Then our professor gave us little pots filled with nuts and seeds for us to eat. Our professor told us it was a potion made by mandrakes to stop us being petrified! 

    h.p. party 44

    Next up was divination class with my brother (a.k.a. Professor Treloony) who prepaired the lesson by doing some research into reading tea leaves. (My Family don’t drink actual tea, so he got us herbal tea instead which works just as well)

    h.p. party 45

    If we saw a shape on Professor Treloony’s list in our cup, he’d tell us what our fortune was!

    h.p. party 46

    After classes were done, we were ready to sign up to Dumbledore’s army with a real quill and ink!

    h.p. party 47

    After we had cake, we had a small show of Dr. Filibusters wet start no heat fireworks! 

    h.p. party 49

    At the end of a day at Hogwarts, we were all qualified witches and wizards, so we did some magic with sparklers!

    h.p. party 50

    Here are our Mandrakes after four weeks of being in their pots! 

    So there you have it. A great day and fun for everyone. I hope you found this list helpful, if you have any more suggestions or experiences from Harry Potter parties you’ve been to then please leave them in the comments, I’d love to read them!!

10 things to have in your kitchen for good breakfasts

Breakfast for me is the most frustrating part of the day if you haven’t prepared anything and you still want a tasty but healthy meal. It usually falls on me to make breakfast because I love it so much and I’ve seen loads of things online about how to either prepare breakfast in advance or how to make quick on-the-morning breakfasts. With all this research I feel like I should give back with my own advice! I should say, there is absolutely no excuse if you don’t have a lot of money. We shop at Aldi and/or Lidl (I’m not sponsored) and always have all of these things in our kitchen. Our week shop is usually around £35 (for two people who like to eat a lot of food, plus buying food for storage and emergencies). Seriously, it’s easy to be on a budget and still have nice things, don’t let it limit you!!

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANY BRANDS IN THE IMAGES. THE PRODUCTS ARE JUST WHAT WE HAPPENED TO HAVE IN THE KITCHEN AT THIS TIME.

  1. Oats    Oats are at number 1 because they are so useful, yummy and healthy. They are really easy to add to anything to bulk out a recipe. Me and my husband both hate porridge because of the consistency, so don’t think that’s the only use for this!! If you look at the channel “Tasty” on youtube and go to their breakfast playlist, they put oats to really good use! img_20170703_080833200.jpg
  2. Bananas     Again, these are here because they are delicious and bulk out a recipe with minimal effort. You can make a loaf of Banana bread in about an hour to use up your mushy bananas, put it with yoghurt, in smoothies, even on top of toast. What’s best about bananas is that they’re a slow release of nutrients throughout your day so they are an excellent breakfast fruit. img_20170703_081530149.jpg
  3. Cupcake tin and cases       This is for meal prep recipes, these are very good for making granola cups- granola in the shape of a cup which you can fill with yoghurt and/or fruit in the morning- or banana bread if you even want to cut out the fuss of slicing the bread in the morning. I’m sure you can use this for many things that are similar to these as well, I just really love using it as a good portion regulator to make sure you’re not just stuffing your face every morning! I find one muffin case  each with a smoothie/filling drink or two without is a good portion size. img_20170703_081353884.jpg
  4. Frozen fruit         Not an obvious choice but frozen fruit is really useful to keep for a long period of time (duh) making it perfect for those times when you don’t have fresh fruit left. It’s just as healthy and way more convenient than fresh. It’s also great for smoothies as you don’t have to add ice separately if you like your smoothies cold. If you do use frozen fruit for smoothies though, be aware that you have to use more liquid than usual if you don’t want your blender to die. img_20170703_081202382.jpg
  5.  Leading on from that: a blender/food processor.      So this is a lot more pricey than all of the other items on this list but it is SO worth it!! If you’re on a budget, save up for a while and get one, you won’t regret it. We spent about £50 on ours and it comes with a blender, cheese grater and food processor. We use it for making smoothies, fake nakd bars, tomato sauce for pizza, pesto, and lots more. I’m obviously putting it here for smoothies but if you want to cook healthier and don’t want a lot of fuss this is a great item to buy. img_20170703_080754522.jpg
  6. Greek yoghurt         Yoghurt in general is great for breakfast but obviously if you want it to be as healthy as possible, greek is the best. However, this doesn’t mean it has to stay it’s bitter self. Even mixing it with a bit of granola and fruit makes it a lovely addition as it really compliments sweets things. img_20170703_081512183.jpg
  7. Honey and/or maple syrup          Having a sweet breakfast is a very good way to get into my good books. I do like the occasional fry-up but 90% of the time I crave sugar. This does not bode well for a healthier life style, but with honey or maple syrup you can kind of cheat your way around it. Basically, it’s my way of making things taste amazing and not feeling too bad about it! The good thing about these is that they are natural which means they are far healthier than using anything else. Don’t get me wrong- they’re still not fantastic for you, all I’m saying is that they’re much better than dumping a load of caster sugar on (or in) your breakfast. img_20170703_081109906.jpg
  8. Vanilla extract Again, this is just another of natures sweeteners. A small amount adds a powerful and sweet flavour to any recipe. However, don’t go over board with this, otherwise it can actually make things taste super gross (I learnt that the hard way). If you’re adding it to a smoothie add a few drops at a time or if you’re adding it to something more substantial just stick with the standard teaspoon. img_20170703_081555703.jpg
  9.  Sundae glasses Sundae glasses may be the most unusual item on this list but believe me, they are a great way to get your breakfasts looking great and if you’re anything like me, that’s really important for a meal. Sundae glasses are especially great if you’ve got kids or if you’re a big kid, let’s say you’ve just made a great tasting smoothie but the colour is green, yuck! Never fear, just popping into a sundae glass with a stripy straw makes it look lovely! You can also make faux ice cream sundaes in these as well. img_20170703_081625424.jpg
  10. And lastly, Nuts. I try to use nuts in every breakfast, it doesn’t always work but most of the time they’re great. If you’re looking for a less crunchy filler then why not try powdered almonds? They still have the nutritional value but great for if anyone in your family doesn’t like nuts. I choose almonds in particular because they’re the most common one to find in shops and they’re really tasty! Allergic to tree nuts? Coconut is a safe and yummy option that again, you can throw into just about anything!

So that wraps up my list but I said this post would be helpful and I aim to please, so here’s a super duper quick and easy recipe to impress your family with little effort, unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this at the moment but as soon as I make it again I will take a picture and add it to this post:

Breakfast Sundae.

Time: 10 minutes the evening before. 15 minutes in the morning (absolute maximum, usually takes me 5)

Ingredients: (you can add anything but this is what I use)

Greek yoghurt

honey and/or maple syrup

vanilla extract

Banana

fresh or frozen fruit

Nuts

Oats

Method:

  1. The night before,  pore any amount of greek yoghurt into a bowl and add honey or maple syrup (however much you think tastes good, it really does. not. matter.) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract (I actually use a little less, it’s just what you prefer) and whisk or stir with a spoon until very well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the freezer overnight.
  3. If you’re using frozen fruit, take some out the night before and put it into a bowl to defrost, you don’t want it frozen for this.
  4. In the morning, get your chilled yoghurt mixture out. It’s different to ice cream and may be quite hard, so I usually get a wooden spoon to break it apart with instead of using a scoop.
  5. Fill each glass with oats about 1/4 full. Pour all of these into a bowl and add either maple syrup or honey a little at a time whilst mixing until the oats are well coated. If you have a little extra time, you can bake the oats for about five minutes before hand but I never bother as it doesn’t add anything to this particular recipe.
  6. Chop the banana (no less than half per person. For an adult, definitely a whole banana.)
  7. Fill the glasses with the rest of the ingredients, banana, oat mix and frozen yoghurt, staggering it. For example: some Banana, then some Oats, then some yoghurt, then some nuts, then some fresh fruit. Repeat until the glass is full.

And there you have it. A healthy, yummy, easy breakfast! And you can add anything you want, if it’s a desert why not add some unhealthy ingredients like chocolate chips or whipped cream? For a bit of fun, lay out the prepared ingredients and have everyone assemble their own! You can do loads with this recipe, I absolutely love it!

I really hope this list and recipe have inspired you to make some creative and quick breakfasts that give your mornings that extra boost they need! Most importantly, experiment in the kitchen, change recipes to suit you and your family and have fun!

 

10 wedding ideas that everyone will love

1. Instead of spending days compiling the perfect seating plan, have your guests decide where to go with your own unique way point sign!

sign post

This went down really well with our guests and they loved choosing their own tables and who they wanted to sit with! (Just remember to reserve a table or two for you and your wedding party)

2. Have themed tables! We had Harry Potter:

harry potter table

Lord of the Rings:

lord of the rings table

General Disney:

Disney table

Tangled

tangled table

Matilda the musical:

matilda table

Music theme

music table

and Switzerland theme

swiss train

Not only is it fun for you to come up with decorations, it’s easy too. Especially if you’re a nerd and you already have a bunch of stuff you could display! For example, we put books on every table and I already had everything for the Harry potter table so no need to buy expensive decs.

3. Snacks for your guests. There’s no telling what will happen on your wedding day so it’s always good to be prepared- especially with ample food. It’s a long day and you want your guests to be happy! This doesn’t have to be expensive though- we just went to the local supermarket and bought some sweets that went with the theme of each table!

chocolate violins

chocolate coins

4. Have things for your guests to do! Sometimes waiting around can get boring and your guests might have to wait for you, so if you can, get them something to do! As there are a lot of trains in Switzerland we bought a toy train set for them to play with on their table.

swiss train

Also on the music table we had a music box that guests could play. Awesome decorations they can look at will keep them occupied too!

5. Lighting… With a wedding, it’s easy to miss something like lighting for your hall. Don’t dispair though, this can be really simple and inexpensive! We just got cheap jars in bulk and electric candles to put in them for cute lanterns. I went and painted silhouettes on them to go with our tables themes, here are a few:

IMG_20170605_162408158

IMG_20170605_162328205

IMG_20170605_162304469

6. Make everything!! Honestly, this is what saved us. We had big ideas but we didn’t want to spend a lot as we have the Monica and Chandler approach of “we don’t have to have a big wedding, all we want is a successful marriage”. However, as I’m an artist, I was able to do a lot of the details and decorations by hand. I made this snuggly duckling sign for our tangled table with the help of my Dad:

IMG_20170605_162236772

I did the lanterns, drew the Disney castle for the Disney table, me and my husband made and decorated boxes for the Matilda table, I drew the invites and we used snapfish to print them out and we even made our own confetti out of cheap amazon books:

confetti

There are lots of things you can do- on your own or with help- to make your day special and personal!

7. Ask people to help. I mainly asked the people who helped us because I knew they were talented and we wanted our wedding to be very personal. However, if you are running out of money this can help in that area as well. We found the generosity of our friends astounding and working with people you already know is a lot easier. My old boss made our cake, (I’m sorry about the photo, this was the only one I have to hand)

cake!!

one of my Mum’s friends did the flower arranging and made us this super cute ring pillow:

ring pillow

my bridesmaid and husbands Dad did musical items for our ceremony, a good long time friend did our catering, my Dad made the amazing sign which I started this post with (which I painted) and last but not least, without us even asking her to, my Mum’s friend made my wedding dress.

8. Have an interesting guest book. Who wants a plain old guest book? We didn’t!! One of the first things me and my husband did together was play giant jenga, so we had our guests play jenga. If they got a block out successfully, they wrote on one of them, if it fell down it was up to them to set it back up and try again. If you do have a “guest book” like this then remember to write instructions next to it as there won’t always be someone  around to instruct guests on what to do.

jenga guest book

9. This can be for the bride or the groom: add a personal touch to your wedding outfits. Our wedding colours were purple and green to represent our two favourite things at the time: Lord of the rings and Tangled. So, my Husband wore a purple tie and I had green on the stem of my bouquet. I also had flowers in my hair and a Harry Potter necklace that read “mischief managed”. But I think the coolest thing we did was decide that me and my made of honour were to have a home made bouquet. (I did have two mades of honour but sadly there were only enough flowers for one extra bouquet) These were  done out of books and sheet music as we both play an instrument and like to read.

 

bouquets

10. Last but not least, enjoy yourselves!! This one actually gets missed a lot. Yes, you do need to make sure your guests have a great time but is it their wedding? No! It’s yours! So make it the way YOU both want it as well as pleasing your guests. Fight for little touches you know no-one will notice but will make you happy when you see them. Fight for a day plan that makes you satisfied, even if it’s a little strange. Make sure it’s your day! For example, my husband doesn’t dance and although I like to dance, dancing with everyone’s eyes on me makes me really anxious. So guess what? We didn’t have a first dance! Surprise surprise, you don’t have to follow social norms- do what makes you happy. I did end up dancing, but I found that better than having an announced dance that has to last a whole song.

So, there you go. Some simple things for you to have the best day ever! This was a long time coming, we’ve been married about 7 months now but I’ve always wanted to do this as I really enjoyed my wedding and I want as many people out there as possibleto enjoy theirs too 🙂

You will always be my Mother

A lot of people ask me what my favourite Disney movie is and then get really surprised when I tell them. See, they expect my favourite to be “Tangled”, “Princess and the frog” or “Brave” ect. I do love all of those but my favourite Disney movie is Tarzan.

It baffles me that I am still the only person that loves Tarzan more than all the other Disney’s that I’ve met. They’ll say ‘well it was a good movie but it wasn’t amazing…” Why?! Why can’t Tarzan be amazing? However, I’ve never always loved Tarzan, so here’s the main reasons why I absolutely adore this movie and hopefully I can convince some of you to watch it again and find a new love for it! (I can’t believe I have to say this but this post does have major spoilers in it so if for some strange reason you haven’t watched it GO WATCH IT NOW!!!)

First and foremost I’m a sucker for equality and Tarzan promotes equality really well. Teaching kids that two people that look completely different can be friends is in my opinion, possibly one of the most important things that a child can grow up knowing. Okay, so I know it’s about man and monkey living in harmony but kids can take things and apply them to different situations in a heartbeat. For me, the scene where Tarzan’s mother explains to him that it doesn’t matter what he looks like is the best scene to illustrate this. Tarzan is found rubbing mud all over his body in a desperate attempt to make himself look more like a gorilla. Kala (his mother) cleans him off and and shows him that they both have two eyes, five fingers, two ears and lastly, they both have a heart. I always get so touched by this gentle, simple explanation and it can be used to teach children about equality, animal cruelty, you name it.

Secondly, the music is absolutely out of this world and the lyrics are some of the most meaningful lyrics ever to be in a Disney movie.

“no words describe a Mothers tears, no words can heal a broken heart.”

“Take strength from those that need you.”

“In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.”

Are some of the lyrics you’ll hear in Phil Collin’s songs. I often feel that when there are songs in movies they don’t contribute anything new to the story. They’re just there to fill out the movie and make it more “child friendly”. *cough* Frozen *cough cough* Well, you know what else is also child friendly? And Adult friendly? And just about all people everywhere friendly? A talented musician who knows how to move the story along with simple yet powerful songs.

Third but not last is how Disney didn’t market this movie for anyone. Yes, it might seem like it’s more geared towards boys on the surface but in reality it’s got plenty for boys, girls and everyone outside and in between. They didn’t think “well, we’re known for making movies for girls so we better do that” or “We should get more boys watching our movies let’s make a film for them” (I’m looking at you Cars.) For once, it seems that Disney had an idea and thought “What the hell, let’s just make a movie, who cares who watches it?” which is something I really appreciate. I love it when movie makers create just for the pure love of creating and not worrying about who their target audience is and how they can design the characters so factories can mass produce overly expensive plushies of them.

Forth, Tarzan. I mean, need I say more? He is a great role model for anyone of any age. He loves all animals apart from the ones that try and hurt him or the people he loves. When he sees Jane he doesn’t think “Aaaaah! Something I’ve never seen before!!” and runs away, he saves her life and recognises that she looks kind of similar to him, even though the best reflection of himself he’s seen is in rivers. His first reaction to any living creature is to find out more about it and befriend it if he can. Even when he (this really is major plot-ruining spoilers now) discovers a picture of his real parents he still sees his mother as the person who brought him up and taught him- a gorilla. Yet amazingly still, when given the opportunity to kill the man who tries to poach his pack and kill him, Tarzan recognises that he can be different and chooses to spare his life.

Fifth, Jane. I can’t not mention Jane, she’s one of the best heroines I’ve seen. Yes, sometimes she’s a bit ditzy but for once that’s not a trait she’s got just because she’s a girl, she actually inherits it from her father. She’s so accepting, brave and smart. And truly talented, I mean did you see the drawing she did of Tarzan just from a fleeting glimpse of him? The movie wasn’t afraid to make her funny either. Disney constantly falls into the trap of making women “proper” or in today’s Disney movies “empowered”. If I’m being honest, I’m getting a bit sick of all the girl power that’s going on right now. I just want a movie that shows a natural woman with an actual personality doing normal things. And boom. Jane fits right into the “hey, I’m just a normal woman” category. I feel like Disney needs more women like her, that are just regular women and not a character specifically designed to be a stance on Disney’s feelings towards what’s going on in the world.

I could go on for aaaages but I won’t bore you any longer. It just annoys me that a lot of people really over look Tarzan and don’t give the movie a proper chance. It’s not just about swinging on vines in the jungle and hanging around with monkeys. It’s about love, trust, loyalty and friendship. I hope you’ll give it another chance because when I did, I watched it three times in one day and never looked back.frozen movie prison

LDS Secrets revealed?! The truth behind Mormon churches!!

*cough* Now that I’ve got your attention… Hello! So, you want some dirt on the Mormon faith do you? I’ve seen a lot of people confused about this church and it’s beliefs. Well, here are 10 real facts about the LDS Church!

  1. The proper name for the Mormon Church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”
  2. Meaning that, yes! They are in fact Christians! Shock horror :O The word “Christian” actually only means ‘a person who believes Jesus is the saviour’ in other words “messiah”.
  3. Mormon’s actually have not one, not two but four books: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and The Doctrine and Covenants. Members of the church read them ALL. And learn from them ALL. And treat them ALL the same.
  4. Mormons believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all separate beings. A belief that separates them from a lot of Churches but is not unique to their Church.
  5. It may come as a surprise but Mormons don’t actually hate black people! Crazy! They respect, accept and teach literally ANYONE.
  6.  Leading on from this point, this includes people who are LGBT+. Some aspects of their beliefs towards the LGBT+ community are hard to wrap your head around. But if you give it time and actually bother to listen to what they believe in, it makes a lot of sense! It even takes actual Mormons a long time to understand the beliefs on this subject. The important thing to know is they respect and accept them! (And teach them if they want to be taught!)
  7. LDS members have a living prophet on the earth today. This Prophet gets inspiration and revelation from God. Meaning, their *core beliefs* do not (and will not) change but some aspects of the *Church* can, do (and probably will) change. Hence why they have “Latter Day” in their name and why they do need a prophet.
  8. They also believe in Joseph Smith. Technically, the actual organisation of the “Latter Day saint” church didn’t start until Joseph Smith organised it. He was a prophet of God and God asked him to organise the Mormon Church. Jesus was a Jew. Not a Mormon. Mormons believe all that he taught and said is true. The thing that now separates them from Jews is what they believe about Jesus. (See fact number 2)
  9. Among not drinking, smoking, wearing revealing clothing ect. Mormons also believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men. So it’s not all doom and gloom “don’t do this, don’t do that”. They believe in being active members of their communities, helping others in any way possible and following the laws of the land as well as their own laws!
  10. And lastly, the most important thing about the LDS faith is that every. Single. Person has the right and privilege to choose. Just look at the popular Mormon children’s song “Choose the right”. The title isn’t “Do the right” is it? It’s “Choose”. Their religion is a choice and everyone in and out of it can make a choice whether to accept or reject it. Multiple times. One time rejected does not mean you don’t have the ability to accept it later. All rules are actually guide lines. Mormons only follow them because they *want* and choose to. They want to get back and live with their Heavenly Father. They want to be like him. They want to be good and helpful people. And they believe that the only way of achieving ALL of these things together, is to follow the commandments that God has given them.

Now, the interesting thing is, I don’t have to be a Mormon to know these things and to respect and have an interest in the religion. All I have to do is go to a reliable source. A good one is their actual, legitimate website: www.lds.org Or, even simpler, just read their 13 very short, easy to understand “Articles of Faith”.  I don’t have to be a Mormon to know this. But the truth is, I know these things because I’ve been a baptised Mormon for 13 years and have been learning the gospel for over 21 years. Which is to say, I was born a Mormon.

But I didn’t have to stay. I didn’t have to write this blog post. I don’t have to believe in it. Both my brothers, who are incredible examples to me, aren’t active members of the church any more. The reason I wanted to say this at the end of the ten facts, even though it may have been obvious from my knowledge or the sarcastic nature of my language is that a lot of people like to learn from “x-mormons” who for whatever reason have negative feelings towards the church or from unreliable sources that share “dirt” and throw shade on our religion.

Surprisingly, these aren’t good sources for religious information. A lot of people don’t like us because they’ve been finding false things about us online or from angry people who actively go around giving inaccurate information. I’d like people to know us from the inside out. That’s the best way to learn about something like an organisation and/or religion- from the inside.

Why does it matter?

Recently I read “The Coming Revolution Inside of Mormonism” by Greg Trimble and it gave me a lot of thoughts about what matters and what doesn’t matter. Humans in general seem to have very strange ways of judging people. In Todd Rose’s “The end of average” an old study of averages is explained. The study was to contribute the dimensions necessary to make the perfect cockpit for US war planes. Scientists would take the measurements of all the pilots and find the average of all their sizes but in the late 1940s it became apparent that the pilots could not control their planes.

No-one could figure out what was wrong until they hired Lieutenant Gilbert S. Daniels, who’s job was to measure pilots’ limbs with a tape measure and finding out the average otherwise known as “typing”.

“For example, many physical anthropologists believed a short and heavy body was indicative of a merry and fun-loving personality, while receding hairlines and fleshy lips reflected a “criminal type”.”

BLOG CLOTHES 1

However, Daniels had already done this kind of research before and did not care for it. Daniels’ undergraduate thesis consisted of the comparison of the shape of 250 male Harvard students’ hands.

“The students Daniels examined were from very similar ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds (namely, white and wealthy), but, unexpectedly, their hands were not similar at all. Even more surprising, when Daniels averaged all his data, the average hand did not resemble any individual’s measurements. There was no such thing as the average hand size.”

This same discovery was what lead Daniels to discovering the secret to making the perfect cockpit for all the militaries pilots.

“Using size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the ten physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference, and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot”… Before he crunched his numbers, the consensus among his fellow air force researchers was that the vast majority of pilots would be within the average range on most dimensions. After all, these pilots had already been preselected because they appeared to be average sized. … The scientists also expected that a sizeable number of pilots would be within the average range on all ten dimensions. But even Daniels was stunned when he tabulated the actual number. Zero. Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all ten dimensions.”

Daniels findings finally brought to light that “If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.”

This story was really interesting to me as it illustrates how we judge people in todays society. We judge based on our imaginings of the “ideal human.”  I say imaginings because an ideal, average, normal human being doesn’t exist and it never will. No one can live up to the whole worlds expectations of “normal.”

In his blogpost, Greg Trimble states how he envisions Mormonism in the future. One of these things is “this revolution will produce a people who don’t make a checklist of things they can and cannot do on the sabbath… and then hold others to their own standard and checklist.” We are constantly comparing people to ourselves or others. Why didn’t Daniels’ discovery make us think differently about people?

“The end of Average” talks of another study, one who’s results turned into a new gruesome method of judgement which still exists today. This study was designed to find out the average size of a woman. A sculpture had been made by gynaecologist, Dr. Robert L. Dickinson  and Abram Belskie representing the size data collected from fifteen thousand young adult women which they named “Norma”. Norma brought about the same discovery as Daniels made about pilots; that no woman alive could match Norma’s “average” size. However, this didn’t mean that we thought about the individual rather than the masses, it meant that we thought something was wrong and began to pressure the masses to change themselves to look more like Norma, aka. the average woman.

This judgement falls upon us all. Men, Women, teenagers, even babies. A baby will constantly be compared to the average to make sure it’s development is “normal”. But of course, no-one can be normal because there is no normal. From the discoveries humanity has made over the years, the word “normal” shouldn’t even be in the dictionary any more as far as humans are concerned.

This phenomenon of averages can be found everywhere. But the place were I see it most is inside my church. An LDS church should be the last place to find judgements but sadly, it’s usually the first. At School and work, my differences -religiously or not- have usually been widely accepted. The only time they have not been accepted was at school because some of my peers knew that I was ashamed of some of my differences. However, when I learned to accept myself, I was accepted by others. Only in the church have I seen a difference.

We seem to be obsessed with “typing”, putting people into categories. The gay one, the one who didn’t serve a mission, the one who was ex-communicated, the one who used to smoke, the one who can’t get over her addiction to coffee. Why do these things matter? Trimble wishes us to be more accepting. ““Who are you now?!” is what we’ll ask. Not “who were you then?””. Past failures, be they five years ago, five months ago, five days ago or five minutes ago shouldn’t matter. We should see that person coming out to church every week and accept them for being who they are at. That. Moment.

They are trying. Just like we are trying. Just like our President or Bishop is trying. Just like our prophet, President Monson is trying. Why should we cast stones at them when they could just as easily cast stones at us? We only think they are different from us because we haven’t bothered to learn more about them. My church has accepted me despite my flaws but only because I was born and raised into that church. They knew me already and were comfortable with me. Why isn’t it the same for visitors, new members or for people who have gone and come back? Let us stop typing and start getting to know people for who they really are.

BLOG CLOTHES