14.4.17

Charlotte Tilbury Overnight Bronze And Glow Mask #Glowmo

The NEW unisex GLOW MASK!
Breaking Beauty News! I'm so bloody excited for this...

I adore Charlotte Tilbury, and I adore self-tan - So naturally, I had always hoped that one day she would create her very own bottle of golden magic! 

Today, I discovered my hopes are soon to become a reality with the launch of Charlotte's brand new overnight bronze and glow mask!

So what do we know so far?

The bronze and glow mask is an overnight cream formula that promises to give you a natural, all over, non-streak tan enabling us to get that bronzed, sun kissed look whatever the weather! 

Charlotte says this is her secret to DREAM skin. She added, "When you LOOK glowing, you FEEL glowing!"

Best of all, this is a unisex product and Charlotte has featured male models within the imagery for this campaign also! I love her even more. 

Key Facts:

- Natural tan pigments
- Nourishing blackcurrant seed oil gives bio-memetic conditioning to your skin
- Oat Kernel extract reduces redness and smoothes skin whilst protecting and hydrating.

I don't have a launch date as of yet, but I do know that this product will retail at £38.00 and that there'll be a whole host of additional goodies joining the #GLOMO collection. Keep your eyes peeled and I'll be sure to keep you posted on any additional developments!
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10.4.17

Jeffree Star Cosmetics X Manny MUA Collaboration | Eclipse Skin Frost Review & Demo

Full REVIEW & DEMO of the Brand NEW Eclipse Skin Frost Highligher from Jeffree Star and Manny MUA
I tried to get hold of Daddy and I'm Shook also but they sold out too quickly - hopefully I'll be able to get hold of these soon!!!

Enjoy the toot...

Lots of love and big hugs xxx 

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5.4.17

Glam Glow X Power Rangers Gravity Mud Mask - Launching August!

Glow, Glow Power Rangers!
The Power Rangers are back with a bang and to celebrate their return to the big screen, GlamGlow are transforming Evil to Sexy with their very own Power Rangers Mud Mask!
The collab comes after the American entertainment franchise returned, due to popular demand, after 20 years! Released in the UK on 24th March, the film is about a group of high-school students who harness their superpower abilities in order to save the world.
GlamGlow are marking this major nostalgia-fest by unleashing two new versions of their Gravity Mud mask, accelerating kids of the 90’s straight back to their childhood to channel their own inner superhero! 
The formula of the masks will be the same as the Gravity Mud masks but will now be available in metallic green and gold colours, representing Power Ranger villains, Rita Repulsa and Goldar! If it’s anything like the original Gravity Mud mask we can expect a mud-based firming mask, designed to tighten the appearance of our skin!
In terms of the packaging, I’ve not yet seen what the final product will look like but heard a little rumour that GlamGlow are moving away from their iconic jar and will be offering this product in a fancy new travel-friendly tube! We’ll just have to wait and see!
The mask will be the second collaboration from GlamGlow, following on from the successful launch of their metallic blue Sonic Face Mask in the UK earlier this year. Whilst the masks won’t be launched until August this year, we’ve been teased with plenty of pictures on Instagram and it’s definitely one to keep on your radar.
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Benefit Cosmetics NEW Cheek Parade Palette Review

Introducing the BRAND NEW 'Beauty & The Beat' Cheek Parade Palette from Benefit!

Within the blush/bronzer palette you get 3 x best-selling (existing formulas) and two BRAND NEW formulas, GALifornia and Hoola Lite!

Full review and swatches:








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HOW TO USE MAKEUP WHEN YOU HAVE A BEARD/FACIAL HAIR

Makeup and Facial Hair: Everything you need to know!
One of the questions I get asked the most is:

"How do you apply makeup as a man when you have a beard/facial hair to deal with and keep it looking natural?"

In response to your question, I have put this video together which is full of tips and tricks to show you how to wear foundation like a boss and tackle the beard head on!

Click PLAY to watch full tutorial:

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27.3.17

Clinique Fresh Pressed 7 Day System With Pure Vitamin C Review

The 7 Day System with Pure Vitamin C.
We’re starting to get into the swing of Spring with health and fitness at the forefront of people’s minds. But health isn’t just about what’s happening on the inside, it also means taking good care of the outside too. Offering a new challenge, Clinique are back with a fresh and exciting new launch and have exactly what we need to make sure our skin is the best it can be!

The system includes two products - the Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C and the Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%.


Intrigued, I decided to join the #FreshPressed 7 Day Challenge - The reason for the challenge only lasting 7 days is because the Vitamin C is at its most potent when it’s fresh, helping to deliver instant radiance to the skin! 

Packaging

It’s simply Clinique – minimal and classy! 

Step One: Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C

  • Pour powder into a wet hand 
  • Work into a lather 
  • Massage over the skin and leave for one minute 
  • Rinse 
*Should only be used once a day, either morning or night.

Step Two: Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%
  • Leave cap on and remove foil 
  • Press inner bulb twice to release powder into a smooth emulsion
  • Shake well for 15 seconds 
  • Remove Cap 
  • Mix two drops with your daily moisturiser 
*Can be used twice daily as it won’t irritate the skin

Results of MY #7DayChallenge

It literally took no more than 3 minutes per day in total, so it’s easily something that you can incorporate into your daily routine – plus it’s only for 7 days!

I have to be honest, up until day 3 I was feeling a little disappointed as although my skin felt great, there hadn’t really been any significant changes to its appearance. The old saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ comes to mind as I then started seeing a huge difference from days 4 - 7. By the end of the challenge my skin felt younger, smoother and extremely hydrated, as well as looking brighter and more radiant!

There’s clearly a lot of science behind the product as it did pretty much exactly what it said it would do. Clinique have also offered some additional tips to help boost the challenge, including drinking a fresh juice each morning to walking to work for a week.


Is it worth the money?

The 7 day kit comes in at £25, which is pretty pricey - I certainly won't be using this every week but as a one-off skin detox, I think it’s definitely worth the money! 

Joe and The Juice Collab

To celebrate the launch of the Fresh Pressed Cleanser and Booster combo, Clinique has also partnered with urban juice chain, Joe and The Juice on an exciting new project..

Joe and The Juice have developed a daily booster juice, high in Vitamin C that will be sold over the next 3 months in select Joe & The Juice locations - all participating stores are listed at www.joejuice.com/freshpressed 
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12.3.17

KYLIE COSMETICS HIGHLIGHTER: KYLIGHTER FULL REVIEW, DEMO AND SWATCHES!

Not happy...
Pre-launch, Kylie Jenner posted the below snapchat which saw her apologising for the appearance of Cotton Candy Cream as all of her other highlighters had the shade name printed directly onto the box and Cotton Candy Cream had a dodgy-looking sticker attached. Kylie said: “Sorry, that’s my sample”.

L: Kylie's snapchat R: The product I received from Kylie Cosmetics.
Therefore I was horrified when when my box arrived with one of those stickers, the design Kylie referred to as “her sample” that didn't match the final design of the collection!

I thought “Why on earth have I been sent one of the pre-production samples?” and not the finished product that I paid for? This wasn't a PR gift either, I brought this product with my own money, just as the general public would, so there really isn't any excuse!



To make matters worse, my Kylighter was filthy! Covered in crushed highlighter, dirt and worst of all - pieces of hair! It’s disgusting. Why are the products being handled in such a manner? Where is the quality control?

At the end of my YouTube review, I decided to peel off the sticker attached to my highlighter and was left stunned when I discovered the word’s ‘FIRST DATE’ (The name of a limited edition blusher Kylie created earlier in the year) printed under the shade’s label!

This is a huge brand, worth a fortune and they are cutting corners, covering up mistakes with stickers and sending these to their customers. WHY?

Everything about this launch feels bodged and incredibly amateur! It feels as though they are just in it for the money and not because they care about their customers. 

I paid $36 (inc shipping) for THIS!!! Click the below video to see full review, demo and swatches.

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4.3.17

The Body Shop - Elixirs Of Nature – Scents From The Wild!

Nigritella, Oriental Orchid.
The Body Shop promised to kick-start 2017 by embracing lifestyle and wellbeing resolutions and proudly announced three new launches in their Skincare, Bath & Body and Fragrance ranges. The fragrance launch arrived in the form of five new captivating Eau de Parfams ‘Elixirs of nature’, truly capturing some of the planet's rarest, purest and wildest scents.

Some of the natural aromas used in the collection are so precious that without protection, they may completely disappear off the face of the earth. The Body Shop have therefore used a non-destructive technology called 'headspace technology' to ensure the essence of each plant is recreated without harm, allowing them to live on as nature intended. The fragrances are, of course, still cruelty-free and the bottles are also all made from recycled glass, complete with a natural wooden cap, keeping in with the collections ‘scents from the wild’ theme.

Whilst some of the names are unpronounceable, the scents are unforgettable! So let’s take a look..

Nigritella

Inspired by orchids found in the Swiss Alps, this luxuriant fragrance is a fusion of red vanilla orchid, with a hint of tuberose and vanilla. I was actually sent a sample of this gorgeous fragrance and found it quite oriental, with scents of nectar and pollen. It’s also very similar to D&G’s ‘The One’ Eau de Parfam!

Kahaia

Inspired by the Kahaia flower from Bora Bora, this floral fragrance includes jasmine sambac and benzoin to reflect the flower’s narcotic, white floral scent.

Bowhanti
A spicy and woody fragrance with a smoky blend of patchouli and incense, replicating the scent of a Wacapou tree, deep in the Amazon rainforest!

Widdringtonia
An edgy fragrance for those who are a little daring. Inspired by a fragrant wood from South Africa, this scent is a woody aromatic fusion of Cedarwood, sage and vetiver – totes earthy!

Swietenia
A delicately fresh and subtle floral fragrance inspired by a rare flower from India. This is quite an outdoorsy scent showcasing a rare bloom Mahogany flower, enhanced with notes of orange flower and bigarade leaf absolutes. 

The fragrances are available to purchase from The Body Shop NOW and retail at £28.
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1.3.17

GET UNREADY WITH ME | Evening Routine

Today we are not putting makeup on, we are taking it off! This is how I cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise, correct breakouts, prevent blackheads and banish those pesky blemishes!

Products used: 

Simple Cleansing Wipes 

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Gel 

Simple Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar K (+) Moisturiser 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I Breakout Corrector 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo + 

Clean and Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Medication 

Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel

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22.2.17

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask

January and February can be a miserable time of year – it’s dark, damp and dreary and the cold can play absolute havoc with our skin! Well, Spring is fast approaching and as we say goodbye to those winter nights, we can also bid a fond farewell to that dreaded dry skin! Yes… the latest magical miracle from Charlotte Tilbury is heading our way, and it’s one you’re going to love!

Continuing to change the game and take the beauty world by storm, Charlotte has released details of the latest addition to her Magic Skin Collection, the Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, and it’s exactly as the name suggests… dry!

The revolutionary mask, dubbed as ‘the dry mask of the future’, has lasting effects for up to 8 hours and promises a red-carpet glow in just 15 minutes. It has been endorsed by leading UK skincare expert, Debbie Thomas and has been trialled and tested by Nicole Kidman, ahead of her attendance at the Golden Globes! Charlotte says “whether you like it or not, you are judged by the state of your skin – you can tell so much about a person’s age, exhaustion, lifestyle and health from it. It’s your biggest beauty area. I have 5 MAGIC solutions so that you can have confidence in your skin, every day”.

The 5 magic solutions contain clinically proven ingredients, including Vitamin B3, Crocus Bulb Extract, Peptides and Magic oils and butters that intensely hydrates, lifts, brightens, decreases wrinkles and smooths the complexion in the exact areas it’s needed!

One of the great qualities of the mask is because it’s dry, you won’t be left with any slippery serum over your face – and any leftover residue can be gently massaged into the face. It also won’t harbour any bacteria, meaning the mask can be reused up to three times!

The mask also has a great design, with loops that fasten over the ears, allowing you to continue to get ready whilst the mask is working its magic. Once used, you can just reseal it back in its glam and golden package ready for next time! 


The real deal landed on my beauty desk this morning so I'll be sure to bring you a full, in-depth review very, very soon!

You can grab yourself a Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask for £18, or a pack of 4 for £60. Available exclusively at Harvey Nichols from Thursday 2 March and across all Charlotte Tilbury counters from Thursday 9 March.

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19.2.17

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil Lip Glosses Review and Swatches


PACKAGING

Super-cute! The little peach emoji-character is adorable, I love it when brands create cartoon mascots - as a child I was obsessed with Sally Strawberry (she was a munch bunch yoghurt)! 


The compact itself feels high-end, well made, and substantial.

APPLICATOR


A rather long doe-foot wand - slightly too long for my liking!

The length makes it difficult to get a precise application around the lip line, a no-go for those with small lips like mine.

Sweet Peach Applicator.
FRAGRANCE

These lip oils smell authentically edible, unlike the peach eyeshadow palette which just smells really artificial and unpleasant to me.

The fragrance within the glosses makes me think of peach (believe it or not!) and sweet, sugary candy!

The scent isn't too intense, but it's worth noting that it does stick around all day long.

FINISH

There is no doubt about it, these are definitely lip glosses - the finish is glossy and they have a high level of shine. These are a true-textural-treat to the lips as they are creamy in texture, yet not the slightest bit sticky - revolutionary!

Some of the shades are a little streaky, I found the darker shades performed much better than the lighter.

PIGMENT

These are much more pigmented than your standard day-to-day lip-glosses, I was really impressed.

L to R - Papa Don't Peach, Tickle-Me-Pink, and Pure Peach.
LASTING POWER

These are not long-lasting, you will need to re-apply. Also, its pretty impossible to avoid licking your lips when they taste so damn good!

SPLURGE IF…


You are looking for a pigmented lip-gloss

You like peach toned colours

You would like a non-sticky formula

AVOID IF…

You are sensitive to fragrance

You have smaller lips

Any form of streaky-ness sends shivers down your spine

PRICE POINT & AMOUNT OF PRODUCT WITHIN COMPACT

£16.00. 4ml.

FINAL RATING

7/10
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15.2.17

L'Oreal Matte and Lacquer Lip Paints. Review and Swatches.

PACKAGING

Travel friendly squeezy tube with slanted wand applicator.

APPLICATOR

Wand applicator is easy to use and works well with the formula! Only negative I have is that the wand picks up quite a lot of product - this can easily be resolved by scraping any excess back into the compact. 

FRAGRANCE

These smell amazing! They have a gorgeous raspberry smell that totally reminds me of the Summer! Is it June yet? 

FINISH

There are two separate formulas, lip paint matte and lip paint lacquer. 

Matte: The finish is a semi-matte, it’s not completely matte.

Lacquer: Shiny and glossy.

PIGMENT

Variable from shade to shade.

The pigment on the Lacquer is very good indeed, however the matte formula will require a few more layers as it lacks the immediate colour pay-off that the Lacquer provides - still gorgeous!

Lacquer. L to R - 107 Dark River, 105 Red Fiction,103 Fuchsia Wars, 102 Darling Pink, 101 Gone With The Nude.
Matte. L to R - 204 Red Actually, 205 Apocalypse Red, 207 Withering Purple, 203 Tangerine Vertigo.
LASTING POWER

Sadly, these do transfer so you will lose some colour throughout the day. Most product will stay intact however if you want to keep your lips looking fresh, you will need to re-apply every couple of hours.

SPLURGE IF…


You are looking for a good quality, budget-friendly new lip colour
 
You like vibrant hues
You are looking for a product with a good, precise applicator

AVOID IF…


You want a completely transfer-free formula
You don’t like heavily fragranced lip products
You are looking for a matte liquid lipstick 


PRICE POINT & AMOUNT OF PRODUCT WITHIN COMPACT

£6.99. 8ml. 


FINAL THOUGHTS AND RATING


9/10 for the Lacquers

7/10 for the Matte's
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12.2.17

L'Oreal Makeup Hire ME For Brand New Foundation Launch!

Look out for my little face popping up across Superdrug/Boots stores nationwide from Saturday 18th February. 
I am SO excited to finally be able to announce that I am one of the faces of the BRAND NEW Total Cover Foundation and Concealer Palette from L'Oreal Paris!

My journey…

12 months ago I set out on a mission to prove makeup is and always will be genderless, I dedicated every spare second I had to raising awareness in the hope that one day future generations could grow up freely in a world whereby makeup could be enjoyed by all sexes without question or judgement. 

The makeup market was so predominantly aimed at Women, and I felt this made makeup loving Men feel excluded from the excitement, fun, confidence and creativity that makeup can bring.

My real journey with makeup started at around the age of 19 when I began having terrible acne breakouts, it knocked my confidence so badly that there were days when I didn't even want to leave the house. So one day in the hope I could restore my confidence I thought, sod it I’m going to try makeup!

I clearly remember standing in the makeup aisle at Boots, being surrounded by advertisements featuring only Women and initially this made me feel wrong and ashamed of myself for even entertaining the idea of using cosmetics to boost my own self-esteem. Very quickly I realised that I wasn't alone and that I wanted and needed to make a change to the beauty industry. 

Fast forward 6 years and now my face will be appearing down those very same aisle’s, allowing males of Generation Z to see their sex being represented in an area that was once a boys free zone. 

It really does go to show, that truly anything is possible if you work hard and believe. 




On seeing the changes…

2016 was an incredible year for Men in Makeup. We witnessed some incredibly exciting changes across the industry and as an advocate of #MakeupIsGenderless you can imagine my excitement when I saw that US beauty boys James Charles and Manny MUA had been hired as ambassadors for Covergirl and Maybelline. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to shortly follow in their footsteps by being handed the opportunity to represent British Men In Makeup!

On the products…

I am so excited to be part of a launch that enables both Women and Men to create a perfect skin-day, everyday! Regardless of age, race, gender, sexual preference etc - we are all humans and we all deserve to feel confident! 

With the other five beautiful influencers - Kaushal, Jamie, Patricia, Louisa and Rady.
A message to L’Oreal…

I want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to L’Oreal Paris for one, believing in me and secondly for being brave enough to step outside of the social norm and to completely revolutionise the industry by being one of the VERY first cosmetic houses to fully embrace us makeup loving males!  

My advise to first time beauty boys…

If you’re experimenting with makeup for the first time: be brave, lead by example, be you and be happy. Don’t be bound by ancient stereotypes no longer relevant in today’s society.

Makeup gives me the confidence to walk down the street with my head held high. Makeup has changed my life and it could change yours too! 


Want to join the squad?

Use code #BOOTCAMP at the checkout on www.superdrug.com for 15% off The Total Cover Concealer Palette and Foundation.
Oh Hi Me!
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5.2.17

A Family Friendly Guide To Orlando, Florida.

About a year ago I started planning a trip to Orlando, Florida, which would end 2016 on a high and start 2017 with a massive bang! This was a family trip that included my two younger sisters, aged 7 and 12, who we’d decided to keep this a big secret from until Christmas Day. As you can imagine, it was such hard work keeping my big mouth shut for an entire year, but seeing their little faces light up on Christmas morning to the news that they were about to head to Disney World was priceless!

Since booking the holiday, I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve thought about booking a trip to Florida, so I thought I’d create a family friendly guide with some important tips for those heading to the Sunshine State!

Before you go!

Firstly, the main reason why most people want to visit Orlando is to check out the theme parks and world-famous attractions including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. With this in mind, I would highly recommend purchasing tickets before you go as you can buy 7, 14 or 21 day passes. This may take a bit of time as you’ll need to research the places you want to visit and find a suitable package to match, but this can actually be quite fun as you can have all of your friends and family over for an exciting evening of holiday planning! Once you’ve purchased your tickets, you can then enjoy the flexibility of visiting any of your chosen attractions at any time throughout your trip. You can, of course, wait until you arrive in Orlando to buy your tickets but you’ll be paying a lot more on the door, so it’s best to be prepared!

Getting around!

We stayed on International Drive which is a popular resort in Orlando. It has great links to all of the best attractions and has plenty to offer in terms of shopping and eating out. Once you’ve checked in at your hotel make sure you read the manual in your room – this has some really useful information about free hotel shuttles to parks and how to get around the area (I didn’t discover mine until the second week!). It’s also a good idea to head to your hotel concierge as they’ll give you loads of coupons and discounts for local attractions and restaurants!

Having visited Florida previously, I knew all about the I-Ride trolley which is a cute little bus that travels up and down International Drive, stopping near Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Aquatica and the Premium Outlets. It’s an absolute lifesaver and you can pick up a two-week pass for around $16, using it as many times as you want, whenever you want!




Universal Studios

Universal Studios is a working film and TV studio with a whole host of family friendly rides and attractions. First to mention are The Simpsons Ride; Transformers 3D and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. These three rides are absolutely fantastic but are either 3D or virtual reality, so if you suffer from motion sickness you’ll probably feel a little queasy at the end - You’ve been warned!





In this park you’ll also get to slay the dragon in Shrek 4-D, zap aliens in Men in Black and catch a live screening of Fear Factor Live. For the thrill-seekers amongst you there’s the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit - a high-speed rollercoaster where you get to choose your own music as you ride. It also films your journey, so you can have a good laugh watching this back at the end – just make sure your makeup game is on point!

If you’re a Simpsons fan, this is definitely the place for you as they have a whole Springfield section dedicated to the sitcom. If you’re in need of a beer you can head to Moe’s Tavern for a pint of Duff or if you just fancy a sugary treat, make sure you sample one of the supersized donuts from Lard Lads! Make sure you spend a bit of time in this area as you’ll also have the chance to grab a photograph with the Simpsons characters too, who regularly appear throughout the day.

For those travelling with younger children, there’s the Woody Woodpecker Kid Zone with smaller rides and popular children’s entertainment stars including Barney & Curious George! If you’re looking for a good parade, then Universal is for you. The performances are out of this world – I personally thought that this parade was better than the one at Disney! 





Finally, there’s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley which is absolutely incredible – you don’t even need to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this experience. From here, you can take an incredible journey on the Hogwarts Express from platform 9 ¾ over to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. When you first arrive at the park it’s worth picking up a park map as Diagon Ally is very well hidden behind a brick wall - I didn’t even know it was there until visiting the park for the third time and almost completely missed it! 


Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is the second park within the Universal Studios Resort. This is aimed more at the thrill seekers as it’s home to The Incredible Hulk Coaster, voted the third best rollercoaster in Orlando. You can get another Harry Potter fix by exploring the shops of Hogsmeade, sampling Butterbeer and Chocolate Frogs along the way. There’s also the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride which takes you on an absolutely fantastic, thrilling adventure. A tip here though – this is an extremely popular ride so it’s best to head here first thing in the morning to avoid ridiculously long queuing times!


If it’s a hot day and you’re looking to cool down, then head to the Marvel Super Hero Island and take a ride on Storm Force Accelatron. This is the ultimate log flume in both speed and height and YOU WILL GET WET!! A slightly calmer flume can be found in Jurassic Park on the River Adventure. This does have a very steep drop, but it’s definitely the family friendlier option of the two.

Other attractions in this park include Suess Landing which is aimed at a younger audience, along with Toon Lagoon.

Sea World

Sea World is one of my favourite attractions in Orlando. There’s just so much to see and do that it’s totally worth creating a schedule beforehand. Following a lot of criticism over the captivity of the whales, SeaWorld has recently announced that they’re putting an end to the orca shows, with plans to unveil a new educational encounter experience as a replacement. I really enjoyed the show and was so lucky to be able see this for one final time, but completely understand why SeaWorld have made the decision to end it.



Other performance shows will remain in place, including the Dolphin and Sea Lion Shows. Another must-see is Pets Ahoy - a 30-minute show featuring dogs, cats, birds and a big pig! It’s absolutely brilliant and what makes this show extra special is that all of the animals were rescued from shelters and now have a happy home with a brand new lease of life!

Again, there’s something for the thrill-seekers at SeaWorld with a selection of fantastic ride including Manta, Kraken and Mako, which is said to be the fastest, longest and tallest ride in Orlando with a staggering 200ft drop! Definitely not for the faint-hearted!


Aquatica

A holiday isn’t complete without a waterpark and in Orlando you’ll be spoilt for choice. Aquatica is definitely the one I’d recommend though as it’s really accessible and is situated on the I-Ride route. For those of you who aren’t a fan of the water slides, like me, there’s the lazy river, a wave pool and a large, sandy chill out area. For the thrill-seeking maniacs looking for something a bit more adventurous there’s a load of high-speed slides and even some death drops – no thank you!

As a trip to Orlando can be pretty exhausting, Aquatica is the perfect way to spend a much needed rest day – it’s also a great opportunity to work on the tan!

Walt Disney World

We decided to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. As we’d been planning our trip for so long we were really looking forward to it, picturing a magical evening under a beautiful firework-lit sky. No - It was hellish! At 11am on New Year’s Eve the park was at maximum capacity, meaning no-one else could enter. It was a blazing hot day, we were battling through the crowds and faced three-hour queues (and that was just for the teacups!) At this point we decided to leave and head elsewhere.

The Disney Resort includes Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. You can also purchase tickets to include the waterparks; Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. All of the Disney parks are fantastic and a must-see, but if you’re travelling over the New Year Period then please avoid these parks until at least the second week of January. We did end up heading back to the parks at a later date and had a completely different experience, but I’d suggest creating a plan of what you’d like to see and do beforehand as they’re just so busy.

If Disney is on your to-do list, then make sure you check out the Disney Memory Maker and FastPass+ apps. They’re definitely value for money as you can get up to three fast track passes per person, per day. The Memory Maker also allows you to send all of your park photographs straight to your phone, saving you a lot of time and money! 


Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom, home to Cinderella’s castle, is the most popular Disney park to visit and is probably at the top of everyone’s list. You can access the park from the main transportation centre either by monorail or a short ferry ride. For anyone who has been to Disneyland in Paris, you’ll find the layout and attractions very similar! Again, there’s fun for all the family here including It’s a Small World and Space Mountain. It’s also a popular park for meeting all of your favourite characters and of course, watching the famous parade!




Hollywood Studios

After leaving Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve we decided to head to Hollywood Studios which was equally as busy with long queuing times for rides. It was a very long day and we were absolutely exhausted but luckily there was plenty for us to see and do. Similar to the other Disney parks, there are fun rides for all ages including a heap of Star Wars attractions and Toy Story Mania. You’ll also be able to watch live shows including the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. For the adrenaline junkies there’s the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!

Animal Kingdom

This is a great park with loads to see and do! There’s a great high-speed rollercoaster called Expedition Everest but other than this, the majority of the rides are aimed at a younger audience. The highlight for me was the Kilimanjaro Safari which was fantastic. You’re driven around in a jeep and it honestly feels as though you’re in Africa, getting up close and personal to the Giraffe, Elephants, Lions and many more. A word of warning for anyone visiting this park though – due to the amount of animals on site there are loads of insects roaming around, so please stay safe and make sure you wear some insect repellent! I was bitten to death!


There are some great restaurants in this park also. We chose to eat at the Rainforest Café which is designed to make you feel as if you’re really in the rainforest. With animals hidden across the restaurant and a lively bunch of singing staff, it’s a great experience! As this is located in Disney you can expect it to be quite expensive though, so perhaps include this as one of your holiday ‘treat’ meals.

Epcot

I was actually quite surprised by Epcot, which turned out to be another of my favourite parks. I think it’s quite underrated as there’s so much to do and definitely worth a visit. Spaceship Earth is a fantastic ride within Epcot’s iconic giant globe, taking you on a tour from the Stone Age to the computer age. There are also some great simulator rides, as well as the fantastic Soarin’ ride where you get to see and smell some of the world’s most iconic destinations, whilst flying around in your own little hand glider! Another family friendly park, accessible via monorail from Disney’s Magic Kingdom.


Eating Out

There are some amazing places to eat in Orlando, particularly in and around International Drive. You could easily go to a different place every single night and have a satisfying meal. One thing I will say is that it’s quite difficult to eat healthily, but what are holidays for?! 



Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of a treat and if you’re a fan of steakhouses, make sure you head to Long Horn and Tony Roma’s. They can be a little pricier than other restaurants but you can expect high quality food and a higher level of customer service than you’d get in the UK. Most servers will go above and beyond to exceed your expectations and nothing is ever too much trouble. If you’re heading to the parks to eat you’ll be spoilt for choice but again, be prepared to pay a lot more than you would elsewhere.

One place you have to visit is the cheesecake factory! You will need to book in advance as we had a two-hour wait, but it was totally worth it. There are pages and pages of different cheesecakes options and you’ll never see or taste anything else quite like it!

If you’re looking for a cheaper (or even just a quicker) alternative then you’ll find a load of diners and fast food outlets on International Drive itself including McDonald’s, I-Hop, Denny’s and CiCi’s Pizza – who can argue at all-you-can eat pizza for $6!?

A final point to remember is that tax always needs to be added to everything you buy and you’ll also have to factor in a 15 – 20% service charge - It’s not like the UK where if you get shit service you just don’t tip!

Shopping

Shopping in Orlando is fantastic. There are premium outlets located at either end of International Drive with mainly high-street stores including American Eagle, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and UGG. In terms of beauty there’s the Cosmetics Company but they’re quite limited with stock – so you’re best heading to Sephora or Macy’s at the Mall at Millenia for a wider offering of makeup. Outlets have discounted prices all year round but I was lucky enough to take advantage of the January sales with up to 70% across many stores! 


For groceries and day-to-day snacks, you’ll find Walgreens at most bus stops. This is a much cheaper alternative to buying snacks in parks as you’ll end up paying double the price. If you’re self-catering or looking to bring a few bits home then I’d definitely suggest heading to a Walmart, which is like an absolutely huge ASDA, stocking absolutely everything at ridiculously cheap prices!

Useful tips and tricks 

  • Make sure you purchase your park tickets before going on holiday! 
  • If using taxis, always use a reputable company such as Mears. 
  • Eating in the parks is quite expensive, you are allowed to take your own food to most. 
  • In December / January, the weather can drop 20 degrees over-night. Prepare your wardrobe for all kinds of weather! 
  • If you’re making your own way from International Drive to Disney, pick up a Link 50 bus from opposite SeaWorld (North 27) for just $2. 
  • Take comfortable footwear. There’s a lot of walking involved! 
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