Last week we were kindly invited to Matfen Hall to spend the night. Matfen Hall is a stunning stately home situated in the heart of Northumberland. It is the perfect location to relax, stay and eat if you are looking for a little bit of luxury in your life. Not only is Matfen Hall a perfect place to spend the night but it also holds a special place in our heart as it was our wedding location back in 2010. I just thought I would share some more information on what Matfen has to offer as I would absolutely recommend visiting this beautiful place.
We arrived at Matfen at about 15.30 in the afternoon (check in was from 3 onwards) and it was a beautiful day. We were given our key card and we headed to our room. We realised that we were heading towards the Great Hall, which is actually where we were married and they had booked us into the bridal suite, which was a complete surprise. We had a view over the grounds and the golf course and it brought back such incredible memories of our special day.
We settled into the room and let the boys explore our surroundings and the decided to head out for a walk around the grounds. We asked at reception if they recommended any walking routes and they gave us a map detailing three different routes. We headed across the golf course (keeping to the allocated paths) and had such a lovely time. Obviously, there are golfers around but there are plenty of paths to keep on. The boys loved the walk, we found some ladybirds and slugs and they even spotted a big tractor, which they found really exciting.
We headed back to the room as we had a table booked for 6.45 so we needed to get dressed for dinner. We were the first people into dinner, we chose to eat early as we didn’t want the boys to be too tired… Joe can be a nightmare eating out when he is tired. Due to Covid, there were some changes to eating out but nothing that would spoil your experience. The staff were all wearing masks, there was no cutlery or plates on the table and they have paper menus.
The menu is gorgeous and there was so many options on the Chidrens menu (see below). I had a couple of glasses of Prosecco and Gareth had a couple of Beers. I ordered the sweet Chilli Halloumi for starters and the Salmon for Main. Gareth ordered the Ham Hock for starters and the Steak for main. The boys both had GarlicBread to start then Joe had Chicken Gougons and James had a Roast Chicken dinner. The food was asbsolutley gorgeous and the boys pretty much finished everything on their plate too. We didn’t make dessert as Joe was starting to get a little restless and we didn’t want to spoil anyone else’s dining experience.
After dinner we went and sat outside and had a drink whilst the boys played football and hide and seek on the gardens. It was a beautiful evening and we sat out till about 10 and then headed up to our room. The boys were shattered so me and Gareth watched a movie together and just made the most of being in such a beautiful place.
We all slept so well and because the bed was HUGE, it didn’t matter that we all need up in the same bed. In the morning we woke and headed for breakfast straight away, we were taken to our seat and a the breakfast menu was brought out. Ordinarily there would have been a buffet but due to Covid we were given a menu and asked to choose what we would like. They brought us Tea, Coffee and juices, followed by some toast, preserves and Nutella (the boys were chuffed ). Then James ordered Eggy bread, Joe had porridge and both Gareth and I had Eggs Benedict. it was all perfect and we headed out for another little walk. This time we decided to explore the little village Matfen, which is a five minute walk through the church. They have a lovely little cafe and a bar and its a gorgeous piteresque village. Then we headed back to the room and chilled out, again just taking in the beautiful views and appreciating staying in such an incredible room. We didn’t want to leave.
Matfen has an 27 hole golf course, A Par 3 course, Driving range and Golf shop. There is also a Go Ape situated on site as well as Axe throwing. They also serve Afternoon Tea and you can book picnics to enjoy in the grounds. They have also recently opened their spa and gym which means that the gorgeous swimming pool is now open.
Once we had packed everything up we showed the boys around all of the rooms we used on our wedding day. The amazing thing about Matfen is that we had five different rooms to enjoy on our wedding day at different points of the day. The boys loved seeing the Great Hall and we showed them our wedding venue so they could see how we had spent the day. We then had some photos taken in the grounds by Sean and headed back home.
We loved every second of our visit here and we can’t wait to go back again. I would highly reccomend Matfen Hall for anyone wanting a special treat with their family or friends. It is such a beautiful place and I think there is something really magical about it. They often have special offers for dinner, bed and breakfast so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on their social media or signing up to their mailing list. We love Matfen Hall and it just gets better each time we visit.
Hey everyone, so if you’ve read my post, I guess that you already know my news.. I’ve been offered a job and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Those of you who have read my previous blog posts will know that this is something I have struggled with over the past few years. I never set out to be an “influencer” and being really honest with you all I find that word and description difficult. I also think I’m a bit rubbish at it too. I compare myself to other people and think “wow – how do you make this a job” – It just isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
What I love about my social media is when people tell them that they enjoy following me because it makes them happy. I love posting something that you like or that you comment or interact with me about. That’s why, my social media won’t stop. In fact, I actually think I will start to love it more again, because that nagging feeling of “ trying to make it a job” won’t be there anymore.
I have been so lucky, like incredibly lucky to have the experiences that I have had over the past six years. I have been invited on trips, attended events and very kindly been gifted lovely things. However, there was always something nagging at my heart… saying “I miss working with young people” and I kept going back and forth about what to do and then this job kind of just came to me and I realised that I wanted it more than anything.
I have always thought that I’m not good enough for things… not creative enough, not funny enough, not interesting enough but the one thing that I do know I am good at is helping young people and building positive relationships with them. So, I want to use that skill to try and help people because I find it so fulfilling.
This job opportunity actually came to me in the most bizarre way. I found out about it back at the start of January and I’ve been through three separate meetings/interviews. The last interview was when I ended up in the pub drinking wine and chatting to some man called Derek… ha ha!
I will be working for a charity and I will be part of a new team supporting young people in the Newcastle and I am absolutely over the moon to be given such an opportunity. I’m not going to lie, I am already feeling guilty that I won’t be able to do the school run every day, but I know the boys will adapt.
Thank you for the last six years, I’m not going anywhere. In fact, for the first three years, I ran my social media whilst doing a full time job. I just wanted to share this special news with all of you!
I don’t think anyone achieves all of their dreams in a lifetime but… I thinks its good to hope that these things might happen one day. I’ve always had a list of things I would like to do but I’ve never written them down. If I had made a list, then I think I would have ticked so many dreams off my list already. Here are some of the things I have already achieved:-
Get a mortgage on my own (this is one of my greatest ever achievements)
Get Married (this changed my life and made me so happy)
Go to Walt Disney World (visited for the first time in 2018 and it was everything I hoped)
Visit San Francisco (visited in 2017 as my brother lives there)
Visit Italy (I travelled around Italy with my brother in 2008 and Gareth and Aoife is 2012
Run a Half Marathon – I have one the Great North Run twice – once dressed as a banana and once as me!
Volunteer – I have been volunteering at a refugee project for the past six months
Go to New York – I visited New York in 2007 with my mam, brother and Aoife
Go to a festival – I went to T in the Park and took the boys to their first festival last summer.
I have managed to achieve all of these dreams although there are still some that haven’t happened such as learning to drive, learning a language, writing a book and going to Glastonbury. However, just because these dreams haven’t happened yet, I hope one day they will.
Its ok to have dreams that don’t come true. There can always be factors outside of our control that may jeopardise your dreams. For example, I would LOVE to protect my children for the rest of their life, but that simply isn’t possible? On the other hand I think that you can make some dreams come true, whether that is through hard work or luck.
So this is my Bucket List for 2020, I would love to tick as many of these off this list as I can, but if I don’t then I’ll take them into 2021….
(1)Visit Disneyland California – this has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I love History, so the thought of stepping into the original Disneyland that Walt envisioned and created gives me shivers. I know I will cry, I can’t wait to walk down Main Street and imagine how Walt must have felt when he saw all of his dreams come to life. We are travelling to California this May as a family. I really want to share this trip with Gareth, the boys and Aoife. My brother is also coming, despite living in California for five years, he has waited to go to Disneyland as he wanted to experience it with me….. this makes me very happy.
(2) Go on a cruise – I have always wanted to go on a cruise, I love the thought of visiting a number of different places on one trip. It must be amazing to set sail from one country and wake up in another. I have watched lots of youtube videos and the ships always look so gorgeous and the entertainment looks incredible. Obviously, I would love to go on a Disney cruise but I would equally love cruise on which I could explore the various countries and their history and cultures.
(3) Learn to drive – I can hear some of you thinking “what, she doesn’t drive already?” I have been learning since I was 17, on and off but it has just never happened for me. It has been a goal for each year, but something always stops me from doing it. I keep telling James that one day we will have a camper van and travel around in it, I honestly believe that will happen one day. I think 2020 is the year I finally pass my driving test.
(4) Visit Cornwall – Do you know when someone mentions a place and you say “ah I’ve always wanted to go there?” That is how I feel about Cornwall. I really hope that we manage to visit here this year. I would actually love to stay at a caravan there as some amazing looking sites along that coastline. It is such a beautiful part of the UK and Cornwall seems so far away from Newcastle so it would certainly bee a long drive but I have a sneaky feeling that we will love it there.
(5) Find a Fossil with James – I am sure that if you guys have followed for a long time will know that James’s first love is Dinosaurs.He has loved them since he was a baby and he still lines them all up and organises them into different species. Any how…. I have always wanted to take him to Dorset and have a little Fossil hunt along the Jurassic coastline. I just think it would be such an awesome adventure. I mean, I don’t necessarily have to go there, maybe we might find one in California or even here in the North East. One day… we will be like real Palaeontologists.
(6) Climb a Mountain – When I was a little girl, we climbed hills and Mountains quite a lot up in Scotland on holidays. No matter where we went on holiday, my dad would always go off and climb some nearby mountain. He would take a mirror to shine down to us so we could see him. I probably never actually saw the flashing mirror but I always used to imagine that I did. So yeah, I’d like to climb a mountain for health reasons and a sense of achievement.
7) Go to a Disney Premiere -now thisis probably a dream for all big Disney fans and I honestly hope that one day it will happen. It must be amazing to attend a premiere with the cast etc… I can’t actually imagine how it all works…This one is out of my control though, so may not happen but I’ll never give up hope!
(8) Visit Neuschwanstein Castle – it is located in southwest Germany. Every time I see a picture of this castle, I always think “ah I need to go there!” It is a such a stunning, fairytale style castle and I believe that it was during visit here with his wife Lilian that inspired Walt Disney to build his own version at Disneyland. It also has so much history inside its walls, having been completed in 1886, it managed to survive both World Wars due to its secluded location. You may also recognise it from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So yeah, one day I WILL definitely make it to this beautiful castle.
(9) Try Surfing – I mean I have no idea how I would squeeze my big old bum into a wetsuit but I really want to try surfing and I’m hoping that I can tick this off my list this year. Newcastle is actually based on the coast so there are lots of gorgeous beaches only six miles from our house. They do a surf school down at Tynemouth so I am hoping I can pop down and make this dream come true…
(10)See Sam Fender live – I love live music. I always have. My music taste changes all of the time but there is one artist that has captured my heart last year, Sam Fender. I know what you’re thinking, its just because he’s a Geordie… I mean that probably has something to do with it (so proud that he’s a local lad) but his music is awesome and I really want to see him live this year.
So, I hope you like my bucket list, I wanted it to be a mixture of achievable dreams and far reaching dreams. There is so much more I could have added but I like this ten. Let me know that your biggest dream or dreams are!
One of the most common messages that I get is from people looking for advice or tips for a trip to Disneyland Paris. I thought it would be a fun idea to do a blog post with lots to share some hints and tips with you all. My last visit to Disneyland Paris was my tenth visit and I never tire of the joy and happiness that it brings me and my family. There is so much that I would like to include in this but I have just decided to focus on the basics. However, I will happily write specific blog posts if you would like me hope to expand further on any particular areas.
Before you read this blog though, the most important thing is that you enjoy your experience. Yeah, its amazing to meet characters, go on lots of rides, place yourself in a good spot for the parades, get the perfect shot or east lots of Disney snacks but I’ll tell you what I think is most important…. enjoy being there. Disneyland Paris is such a magical place and I always seem to find something new on every visit. So just take it all in, soak up the atmosphere and have fun! I did a solo trip for one day there last year and I just loved wandering around and appreciating all of the little Disney details in the park.
So, You’ve decided that you want to book a trip to Disneyland Paris but what to do next. Here’s a little guide that I hope will help you.Whether, you plan to visit for one day or five, then there are various options for you. You need to consider the following:-
Package or Individual – Do you want to book a package deal or book everything separately?
How you intend to travel?
When you intend to visit.
What is your budget?
Length of visit
Where you want to stay
We have booked both a package deal and everything individually. A package deal usually includes travel, accommodation and park tickets. They also sometimes have offers for FREE dining (usually a half board meal plan). I find that when you book everything separately then it works out cheaper than booking a package, however packages give you peace of mind and its often easier to deal with one company.
It is also important to think about how you intend to travel. We have been by Coach, Air and Eurostar. You can often get some great deals on Eurostar if you book in advance which could give you huge savings. We travelled with National Holidays by coach and again this is less expensive option, and we loved it! See my blog post here for more info. If you choose to fly, which we usually do as its the quickest route from Newcastle then you may also get some good deals.However, we find the air prices are always roughly the same with Air France.
Now you need to think about WHEN to visit. I have been to DLP in May, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. I found that during the summer it was incredibly busy and this meant that the queue times for rides and attractions were much longer. This is also the case if you visit on weekends. May was a nice time to visit as it was warm, however my favourite time to visit is Autumn. There is a actually a certain date (we booked by accident) that you can visit the parks at Halloween and overnight it will transform to Christmas. This was my favourite trip ever as there is something so magical about visiting at Christmas. I also think its. slighter less expensive than summer.
Once you’ve decided HOW you intend to travel and when then you can book the hotel, we have used Magic Breaks, National Holidays , direct with Disneyland Paris and Expedia. Magic Breaks have always been great for us and they often have special offers. In fact Disneyland Paris has a great offer at the moment on a package deal. it is FREE DINING and save up to 20% and FREE 100 euros spending – see offer here. I often find that booking the hotel prices are usually cheaper to book on Expedia.
Finally – you need to think about park tickets. You can buy tickets starting from one day upwards. If you are going for one day, I would recommend buying a ONE day TWO park ticket in advance as this will save you some money. I would recommend booking with attraction tickets direct as they have always been great for us. However you can also book individual park tickets with all of the above companies.
There are lots of different options of places to stay on a trip to Disneyland Paris depending on your budget. The options are staying at:-
A Disney Hotel (Disneyland Hotel, The Art of Marvel hotel, Newport bay, Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne and Santa Fe)
Disney Partner hotel (Dream Castle, Magic Circus, Raddison Blu, Adagio Marne – La- Val d’Europe, Explorers, Campanile, Hotel Elysee and B&B hotel)
Disney Nature Resort (Les Villages Nature Paris and Davy Crockett campsite)
or a local hotel
or an Air B and B.
Personally, I have stayed at Davy Crocketts, Newport Bay, Dream Castle and Magic Circus. The benefits of staying at a Disney hotel are that they are closer to the parks, extra magic hours and you get the Disney magic experience (they sometimes have character meets in the hotel)
The partner hotels are great! They are close enough to the park that you could walk but they also offer a shuttle bus service, which is runs every ten minutes or so. I have stayed at Dream Castle three times and Magic circus once and the facilities are fantastic. We also have breakfast included which was great. The benefits to staying in a partner hotel is location and I always find prices to be a lot cheaper than the Disney hotels.
I have stayed at Davy Crockett campsite but that was back in 1997, we had a caravan and stayed at the park. It was brilliant, they had a pool and it was lovely to be staying in such a natural environment. I am very keen to stay at Les Villages Nature as I have a feeling we would love it. I believe its like centre pacs so they have lots of activities and the accomodation and resort itself look stunning.
I have never stayed in an Air B&B but I did look into it and there are some fabulous options, which are reasonably priced.
If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I love Character dining experiences. I just find them so special as not only do you eat some delicious food but you get a chance to meet and interact with a number of characters and its just lovely. However, I will say that character dining can be very expensive. We tend to limit to to one meal per trip, and pay the extra on top of our meal plan. I would add however that it is worth the cost as it is such a special experience.
There are various options for character dining at Disney land Paris for breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
We have been for breakfast twice in the park at Plaza Gardens and I would highly recommend if you have the chance. On our last visit we met Mickey, Eyeore, Tigger, Daisy, Piglet and Scrooge McDuck. The breakfast is a buffet style and the food is lovely with lots of choice for the whole family. The characters make their way around the room so you get a chance to meet all of them. If you miss them because you are getting breakfast, just let someone know and they will normally arrange them to come back. Also, if you book an early morning spot then you enter the park earlier which is great if you want some pictures of an empty Main Street to a castle pic without lots of people in it.
You can also now have breakfast with the Princesses at Auberge de Cendrillion which is something that I would absolutely love to try one day.
Lunch and Dinner
You can book lunch and Dinner character meets at Cafe Mickey, Auberge de Cendrillon and Inventions. I have experienced all three and they are all fantastic.
Cafe Mickey – is in the Disney Village, We haven’t dined there for about five years but it was fun to meet Mickey and friends and I am sure that Tigger also made an appearance.
Auberge de Cendrillon – we ate here in 2018 during the 25th celebrations but as it was so expensive we decided that just James and I would book along with our friends. It was very wonderful to see so many princesses and Suzy and Perla and James loved it… even though he wasn’t too keen to begin with. I will say that the menu is quite fancy so the food may not be pleasing for fussy eaters. I thought the whole menu was delicious.
Inventions – Where do I start! the food, location and character interactions here were superb. Inventions in located in the Disneyland Hotel and you have views across the park. We booked here on our trip with National Holidays and it was a special Halloween brunch. We must have met at least ten characters and it is a meal and experience that we will never forget. It was our best character dining experience to date.
One of my most favourite experiences in a Disney Park is meeting characters. Even as an adult, I get so excited and love a hug with our most loved characters. You can meet lots of different characters at Disneyland Paris in both of the parks. You can find them in these different ways in the park:-
Random meets in the park – at times, you will find characters walking through the park so that is a great chance to get a sneaky picture. There is also an area in the park which I discovered on my solo trip where the characters enter and leave the park. If you are really lucky then this is a good place to get some cheeky shots with the characters. It is in Fantasyland, just past Its a Small World and I have never seen so many characters in such a short space of time, I even saw the Beast!
Organised Meet and Greet locations in both parks – Meet and Greet queues can be long so my best advice would be to check the app to find out when the meets start or head straight there during extra magic hours (if you are in a Disney hotel) The great thing about the organised meets is that you can spend a little bit of time getting the pictures that you would like and also interacting with the characters.
During parades and shows – this is a chance o see the characters and get some pictures but they don’t have an opportunity to interact much during these times.
Certain restaurants during character dining – see my FOOD for more information on this.
Meet and Greet queues can be long so my best advice would be to check the app to find out when the meets start or head straight there during extra magic hours (if you are in a Disney hotel)
D – Disney Bounding or dressing up in the park’s.
Adults are not allowed to dress as characters in the parks but they are allowed to Disneybound. This is when you use the colours is the characters to create an outfit. I think it’s a fantastic way to get good characters interactions, great photos and make your trip extra fun. I have only recently started bounding so in the past I would wear Disney clothes and Minnie ears. There are lots of companies that make amazing custom made ears. Here are a few of my favourite. I have also enjoyed dressing the kids up in costumes in the past. The boys always love dressing as their favourite characters and you can get the cutest pictures.
Eating is very important when you are on holiday… well for me any way! I thought I would split this into sub categories as there is lots to cover. There are so many restaurants and and other eateries both in the parks and at the Disney Village that I don’t think I would ever be able to experience them all. So this information is based purely on my own personal experiences. However, there is definitely something for everyone. so please don’t worry if you have budget as there are places to suit all people.
Meal Plans – Disneyland Paris offers a range of dining options. We have used the meal plans on a lot of trips and personally I reccomend them, especially when you book and they are on offer. If you book a meal plan then when you arrive at the hotel to check in then they will give you all of the vouchers to use for the rest of your stay. The are physical vouchers so make sure that you keep them safe.
We have always chosen the Half Board plan which works best for us. It includes breakfast and one meal voucher (lunch or dinner) per person for each night of your stay. We usually choose one special place to eat in the evening and book it in advance. Each voucher is worth a certain amount so you might have to pay extra for some of the character experiences. for example… One night we visited Buffalo Bills (its amazing) and say each voucher was worth £37, we had to pay the extra £20 to buy a ticket. (these are just estimated prices)
For more information on meal plans – find info here.
Our favourite places to eat! This is a hard one as we love pretty much all of the places we have eaten and it depends on your personal preferences. I love character dining and if you can then book these experiences as its such an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with characters in a more relaxed environment. See my character dining section for more info on this. Aside from the character dining, we also love these eateries
Anettes Diner – think hamburgers, hot dogs and milkshakes. We usually visit here on our first night and use our meal plan voucher.
Captain Jacks- This is situated in the Pirates ride and we even had a visit from a certain captain. The food is a described as exotic cuisine. There is lots of Seafood so this may not be best for fussy eaters.
Chez Remy – Ahh we have dined here twice. the first time, I ordered the best steak I have ever eater, however our second visit was a bit of a disaster as the server wasn’t very nice. However, I would still go back as the theming is stunning and it genuinely feels like you are stepping into ratatouille.
The Steakhouse – We have dined here there or four times and have never had a bad meal, It is located in the Disney Village and the food is gorgeous. We usually dine here using our meal vouchers.
Earl of Sandwich – We visit Earl of Sandwich on our last visit, What a hidden gem this is! Honestly, I had the best sandwich that I have ever tasted and its so reasonably priced. A hot sandwich is priced at 6.95 and they also do various meal deals, I recommend the tuna melt – Yummy.
The Lucky Nugget Saloon – We visited here for the first tike last year when we went on a press trip with Asda and it had a great menu that the kids enjoyed too. I think it might have been expensive but the food was good.
McDonalds – I know… some of you will hate this but if you have fussy kids or want fast, easy food that you know they will like then McDonalds. we sometimes pop here for lunch if the kids are hungry and get a happy Meal.
Eating on a budget – As I mentioned earlier, there are options for everyone. I think the best way to work with a budget would be to plan ahead. I visited with Aoife and my two nieces way back in 2006 and I was on a really tight budget but we managed and had the best holiday together. We had breakfast included in the trip when we stayed at Magic circus, so we made sure to fill up on that. Then if the girls were hungry, I would just get us some fried to share in the parks. I also took lots and lots of snacks which saved a lot of money. I saved money so we could have one special meal and we went to Rainforest Cafe ( I had no idea about character dining at this point)
If you would like more information on doing Disneyland Paris on a budget then please check out this blog from my dear friend Amy, who runs Livvybird Adventures with her daughter. She is beautiful writer and explains everything so well! Far better than I ever could.Find her blog here
Disneyland Paris have their own fast pass system and I would highly recommend that you use it to ride on some of the most popular rides in the park. Fast passes are free and you can use them on the following rides,
Big Thunder Mountain (my fav)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
Peter Pan’s Flight
Buzz Lightyears Laser Blast
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain.
The Tower of Terror
To use a fast pass, you need to head to the ride of your choice, scan your park ticket and your Fast pass ticket will be released. It will give you a 30 minute window to return to the ride. You must use it during this time otherwise the fastness will be invalid. We will usually head to one of of favourite rides first, get a fast pass and then see what queues are not so busy.
You might be a thrill seeker, you might not… when it comes to visting Disneyland Paris there is something for everyone. I thought I would share my top ten rides with you all and give you some indications to which are suitable for all ages.
My TOP TEN are:-
Big Thunder Mountain – This is my most favourite ride. It’s a rollercoaster
Pirates of the Carribean
Its a Small World
Tower of Terror
Peter Pan’s Flight
PLUS SIZE PERSPECTIVE – I was also asked for Information for plus size ladies and gentlemen in relation to visiting DLP – My lovely friend Alyssa has shared a wonderful post that she wrote about this here
Travelling with Little Ones.
Another question that I am asked all of the time is how old I think children should be before they go to on a Disney holiday. My honest answer is that I don’t think there is any specific age. I have seen babies with their families and I took both of my boys when they were toddlers. Joseph was only 18 months on his first Disney trip which was actually to Walt Disney World. I lost track of the number of comments I had saying that it was a waste taking him there and that he would never remember anything from the trip. Honestly, he absolutely loved it, he loved the rides but most of all the character interactions made him so happy and also created some lifelong memories for us.
In terms of practicality when travelling with little ones then I would say,
Be organised – Make sure that you have everything your child will need for the duration of your stay. I am thinking nappies, formula, lots of clothes, bibs etc.
Bring a pishchair – there is a lot of walking involved in a Disney trip, James (then aged 5) would also use the pushchair. Plus its great for carrying your bags.
Bring snacks… this is vital to get through a trip with little ones. We made up little bags for each day with crisps, raisins, cereal bars and sweets. To be honest, both Gareth and I also picked on the snacks.
Make use of the Baby Care Centres – there are three available at Disneyland Paris and although they are quite basic, they are god if you need to feed or change your littles ons. There are two located in Disneyland Park (Main Street and behind Plaza Gardens) and one in Walt Disney Studios (behind Studio Services)
Use child swap – now this is an absolute lifesaver. Obviously James can go inlets of rides that Joe can’t soon parent is often left… holding the baby! You can get a child swap so Gareth would take James on Big Thunder Mountain and then when the ride is over, I can go to the fastness queue and ride it with him. Hope that makes sense.
Here are a few final tips that I just want to add.. I could go on forever!
You can pick up FREE celebration badges from City Hall which are a nice little touch.
Download the App – this will keep you updated with everything you need on your trip.
Wear comfortable shoes – you will do lots of walking so make sure you wear comfy shoes.
Pack for any weather. You can never guarantee how the weather will turnout on your trip. I have visited in November and it was lovely and warm and we could wear a jumper. However, on an other bits in November it was so cold and we had hat, scarves and gloves. Bring a PONCHO.
You can also buy annual passes but I need to find out more information about that.
My favourite time to visit is Christmas – there is a particular time whereby you can book on the weekend that the park changes from Halloween to Christmas – thats my fave!
Bring a water bottle as there are plenty of fountains.
A park guide will be your best friend on a visit to the parks. You can pick them up as you enter the park, hey have them in a number of different languages. They are updated for each season at the parks. They will inform you of timings for parades, shows, character meets, map of the parks…. pretty much anything and everything that you need for your trip. They also have an app now which will also give you all of this information.
This will now be my new space where I will share all of our family adventures and other exciting things! Below is my latest blog post that explains why I have changes my name on Instagram and also set up this blog.
Sorry I have been missing in action over the last few days, I needed a little bit of time to think about some things and prepare myself for posting this..
If you’re reading this then you’ll know that I’ve made a pretty big change to my page… the name!
I just wanted to explain to you all my reasons for doing this and also to reassure you that nothing (other than my name) will actually change….although I do have some exciting things in the pipeline.
So, here goes…
I ended 2019 feeling pretty low if I’m being honest with you all. I can’t put my finger on one reason in particular but I think it’s a mixture of lots of different things. I am normally such an upbeat, happy, glass half full kind of person but for the last few months I’ve just had this little cloud of doom hanging over me.
I was mad with myself for feeling like that because in many ways, I am so fortunate and we had such an amazing year, but there are some things that I don’t share online. There have been times when I’ve found it difficult to put on a big smile and act like everything is perfect. No one has the perfect life so don’t ever think that they do!
What does make me truly happy is when you guys enjoy something that I post or if I find something and think to myself that you will all love it. Or when one of you stop me in a shop or on the street and tell me how much you love my Instagram. When that happens, it fills me with such joy and I always think “wow – people do like my page”
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my life, what is making me sad, what makes me happy and planning how I wanted to move forward in 2020. I am so excited about the plans I’ve made. I’m going to do more Disneybounds, more creative videos like the tsum tsum wreath, share more information on ALL of the adventures we have as a family. We also have a little trip to California coming up in a few weeks…. eek! I just want to have fun with my page and Create content that I think you will enjoy.
I have worried about how people would feel about me changing my name on Instagram but I really feel that it is something I need to try.
I have had many names throughout my life… Roisin as a little girl, sometimes Roisin the washing machine, Mammy has been a favourite of mine for the past twenty years, I have been Miss Mclaren and Mrs Wood to my students and always Rosh to my colleagues, then Disneyfind.
I have loved being Disneyfind, it has been like another chapter in my life and through Disneyfind, I have had so many experiences and opportunities. All of which, I will forever be grateful for. But, things change. Just as my name has changed in real life, I feel that now is the right time to change my name once again. The reason for this is that I really feel like I have found Roisin ( myself) over the past few months.
My page has changed over the past year or so and I focus more on us as a family than just solely on products. That doesn’t mean that I have stopped loving Disney products. I can hand on heart say that I still get that little bubble of excitement inside when I find new products online and in town and I will continue posting all of my finds on Facebook and Instagram as I have always done. I just feel that although Disney is a HUGE part of my life ( I mean have you seen my house? – Disney in every room) I have other passions that I often want to share with you but because I’ve always been specifically Disney, it didn’t make sense?
I decided that my main goal for 2020 is to be BRAVER. I want to be brave for myself but also because I want to set a good example to my children. I want them to follow their dreams and I would hope that they could turn to me for help if they ever felt down or low in their life.
Life is so short… too short to waste time and energy on issues outside of your control but it’s also so short that you need to be brave enough to take risks.
Finally, I just want to thank you all for always being so lovely to me over the past five years. I don’t think I could put into words how much it has meant to me and I hope that can continue this journey with me.
So before I begin, this post is not political or for a pat on the back. It is to raise awareness of volunteering and to encourage people to support their local charities. If anything, I started volunteering for selfish reasons. I was feeling incredibly lost in my life as I had gone from working in a school for twelve years to working at home on my own. It was a shock to the system and I found myself feeling very lonely. I had gone from sharing an office with six funny, interesting people to spending all day at home on my own. I’m not going to lie… I have really struggled. I love running my social media, finding and sharing Disney products and having incredible opportunities. However, the main reason I gave up my job was to be there for my family. Take the boys to nursery and school, pick them up, just be more present. My job never allowed me to do that. I never took Aoife to school, never picked her up and could only attend one school event a year. This continued throughout her whole childhood and I just didn’t want to do that again. So I started to apply for jobs, I had interviews and was offered a job. At the same time, Gareth was offered his job and I just couldn’t commit so I decided to look into volunteering. I have always been keen to work with the elderly or refugees but when I have applied for jobs in these areas I have been rejected as I didn’t have enough experience in these areas. So I applied to volunteer at a Refugee Project in Newcastle and work there one day a week. The process was very easy. I had to complete an enhanced disclosure form, which was accepted about three weeks later. An Enhanced Disclosure is needed by anyone who works with vulnerable members of society. Once the form arrived in the post then I could get started. I felt so nervous on my first day. It was very strange to changing from a postition of authority that I had in school to being a volunteer. Also I didn’t know a soul and was worried that they might not like me… But do you know what? I have loved it from my very first day. I just kept my head down really, it takes a few weeks for people to get to know you. The project itself is amazing and the support ( both practical and emotional) is invaluable to the people who attend. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the people who visit the project but I will say that there are many times that I have cried hearing their stories and also don’t believe everything you see on social media or read in the news. Some of these people have been through some terrifying experiences and they are so grateful for the help that they receive – I am in awe of some of them. And for those people who make sweeping statements about “immigrants” taking all of our jobs or that they are just here for the money. I would love for you to spend ten minutes with the beautiful lady that cried with me today. She is from a war torn country, living here on her own with two children and she would give anything to go back to her old life but she can’t! Sorry just some things I see online make me so angry! Anyway, Wednesday is my new favourite day. Wednesday is the day I volunteer and feel like I am doing something to make a difference but also give me some balance in my life. I have actually worked twice a week on some occasions as I genuinely love being there. So the real reason for writing this post is to encourage you to volunteer. I know that it might seem daunting or scary but I have developed new skills and understand processes that I knew nothing about three months ago. I have colleagues that I now look forward to chatting with each week and we have a good laugh. I also look forward to the clients arriving, especially the children! Almost all of the volunteers are retired and the service simply would not run without them. I am lucky that I am able to make a living from social media, otherwise I would have no choice but to try to get a paid job, but for the time being, I am grateful to have this experience. Many projects including the one that I work at would also not be available without they donations from people. So, if you have the chance then donate to the homeless, less privileged or vulnerable in your community. Volunteering is perfect for people who want experience in a particular career, feel a little lonely or lost or are struggling to get a job. You can volunteer in many different services and if it is some particular service that you are interested in then just give them a call or send an e-mail to get more information. I leave the project each week feeling happy that I have contributed in some way to helping people. It has brought some much needed balance to my life. I would love to help anyone who was looking for advice on how to get started in volunteering, just let me know. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Roisin
I thought it was really important to share my thoughts on Frozen 2 with all of you. It’s fair to say that Frozen Mania has hit our household in the past few weeks. ( I’ve been dressing like this every day) 😆
I LOVE Frozen and in the run up to the release of Frozen 2, I have spent a lot of time watching the movie and playing the soundtrack on repeat… Oh and also belting out a few songs along the way!
But… I love Frozen 2 even more! (is that ok?) Gareth still prefers the original – we had a bi debate about it!
Honestly, it is just wonderful.
I realised how much Elsa and Anna remind me of my two boys – maybe that’s why I feel such an affinity with it? I was so excited to see the movie with my family after such a big build up and it really did not disappoint. The boys, Gareth and myself were completely transfixed to the screen from start to finish, which is not always an easy feat with a three year old. I loved seeing such special characters back on the big screen sharing another part of the Frozen adventure with us.
I have read some reviews saying that they felt that Frozen 2 was a little darker than the original. I did not really feel the same. There were a few “scary” moments but they were quickly replaced with something so funny that you end up laughing out loud!
I actually thought that found myself laughing more in Frozen 2 than I did in the original, Olaf was the star of the show! I was actually laughing so loudly that Gareth nudged me to stop. One of my favourite moments was Kristoff’s ballad and lets just say Michael Bolton l eat your heart out! It is sooo good! honestly, I am sitting here grinning at the thought of it!
Overall its a 10 out of 10 for me. I think that the team should very proud of the storyline, the animation, the characters, the soundtrack! They have created a movie that will be loved by families all over the world and I for one, CAN NOT wait to see it again!
Let me know below if you enjoyed the movie too?
Love Roisin x
I was invited to try out the new bar restaurant that has just opened at Newcastle Central Station. Destination 1850 is located at the entrance to the station and OMG what a fantastic place. I visited with my mam on a lunchtime, not really sure what to expect.
We were seated behind the bar area and my mam was worried about being cold, but they have heated seats. The have a full menu on offer serving a variety of different meals, from Pizza’s, Loaded Fries to salads. They also serve hot drinks and alcoholic drinks alongside pastries, cakes and cocktails. They pretty much serve everything.
we decided on bread and olives to start, then I opted for the Katsu Chicken Loaded Fries and my mam chose the Prawn Thai style salad. Honestly, the food is unbelievably tasty and the presentation was beautiful. The Loaded Fries cost £6.95 and they were HUGE. I would probably recommend sharing them with someone. The salad cost £8.50 and again the flavours were superb, my mam loved the crispy onions best and she finished the whole bowl.
They also serve all of their food as take away in case you wanted to grab something to take on the train with you and they have a breakfast menu too.
I can hand on heart say that this meal was one of the best I have tastes in a long time, the quality, flavour and presentation were perfect and I will 100% be visiting again.
Do you have a superhero fan in your family? Either big or small? Imagine waking spending time in a hotel that is completely dedicated to Marvel, from the Art to the furniture, from the restaurants to the food. Well now you can! Booking is now open to stay at the NEW Art of Marvel hotel at Disneyland Paris. You can book here.
When we visited Disneyland Paris earlier this year, we were delighted to see the Hotel New York undergoing a big transformation. Outside the hotel, on the temporary walls around the hotel, some concept art for the hotel was on display and it made us all very excited, especially Gareth and James.
The hotel itself will reopen next summer and it will be the first hotel dedicated too Marvel. Disneyland Paris is collaborating with more than 50 artists from from Marvel comics and Marvel Studios to bring together a collection of various Marvel Art to showcase around he hotel.
Here are some more details about the hotel
NEW rooms and suites – All rooms will be redesigned with a modern feel and each room will feature Marvel artwork. There will also be suites that are themed to Spiderman and Avengers (can you imagine their little faces walking into an Avengers themed room?) alongside the artwork, the furniture will also include subtle references to our favourite Superheroes.
For those staying in the Club rooms or suites they will have Exclusive amenities and services and a Dedicated reception and access to Empire State Lounge.
Even the restaurants sound super exciting, I love that it sounds as though the theming will be everywhere, even in relation to food. There will also be unique restaurants and bars within the hotel that continue to celebrate the Art of Marvel.
You can also meet your favourite Marvel superhero’s at a special Super Hero Station. Here you can meet the superhero’s each morning and become part of the Marvel action.
There will also be a pool, fitness room and a design studio which will run workshops for children to learn to draw their favorite superhero’s.
Finally, should you wish to take a souvenir home with you, then you can visit the New York boutique within the hotel.
I can’t wait to visit with Gareth and the boys and I have a feeling that Gareth will be like a little boy again.
Are you looking forward to the Art of Marvel hotel? Check out booking and offers available here.
I thought I would share a long overdue life update. I really wish that I could get into writing my blog on a more regular basis as I always find it so theraputic. I think that the last time I spoke to you in this way was back in March of this year and I was in a really strange place at the time. I was going through a whole range of emotions back then, both personally and with my social media. I experienced some negativity online and I felt a little lost in life generally.
I spoke to you all about deciding to go back to work, I think. I applied for lots of different jobs, back in schools, working with vulnerable members of society. I just hoped to do something where I wold feel that I was helping people again. I had a few rejections, some interviews and I was actually offered one job. Then, I really started to think about what I want in life and what is most important to me and that is my FAMILY.
I missed out on so much when Aoife was growing up because I worked full time as a Head of Year in a High School in Newcastle. I never ever took her to school or picked her up. I was only allowed to attend one school event a year and that was usually sports day, because I needed to be at the school I worked in. I recently spoke to Aoife about all of this because I felt so guilty and I was worried that she felt she had missed out in any way. I am well aware that Aoife had a very different upbringing to the boys, but the same amount of love from me and her dad. Aoife said that she has never felt that she missed out because we had lots of adventures at the weekends or on school holidays.My mam and dad worked full time back then so I was also very lucky that I had a good support system with her dads family who looked after her every day after school.
The difference is that I didn’t have a choice back then. I had to work full time because no one else was going to pay the rent or make sure that we had food every night. I had to work full time like many parents because I had to pay for everything on my own. I am in a different situation now, we are lucky that Gareth has a good job and don’t get me wrong there are times when we have to be careful with money like all families but life is a lot more organised than it was when Aoife was little.
So, I spoke with Gareth and decided that now I have a chance to take the boys to and from school and also run my social media, I should take the opportunity. I would probably have to use my whole part time pay for Joseph’s nursery costs and I had no idea who would look after then during the school holidays whilst I was at work. If I could make a success of my social media then that would be a bonus but we would have to be a bit more careful with our finances. I also decided to start making a few changes in my life whereby I felt like I was helping people. I feel so much betters for this. Then the strangest thing happened…..
You now that old saying “you can wait ages for a bus and then they all come along at once?” That is probably the best way to explain what has happened recently. I struggled for a long time on social media, wondering if I was doing something wrong. Then suddenly, I started to gets e-mails from brands offering me opportunities that I would have never believed would be open to me. I know how lucky we have been to experience these opportunities over the past few months. I can promise you that my boys will never take any of them for granted. I know that it could all stop tomorrow so I just decided to embrace it.
We have had a wonderfully, crazy few weeks and I think I have just been a little shocked. I don’t think we could maintain going away so much as I wouldn’t want the boys missing their parties or clubs at the weekend.
So I wanted to write this post for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to say a big, huge, ginormous THANK YOU for supporting me and my family over the past five years. It still amazes me how kind, friendly and encouraging you have all been. Secondly, I just wanted to remind you all not to give up! If you have dreams, goals or aspirations then keep striving to achieve them. I think we all go through times where we feel disheartened o disattified but I honestly believe in Walts quote ” If you can dream it, you can do it!”
You never know what is around the corner.
Thank you for everything.