Friday, 31 October 2014

Disneyland Paris 2014 // Halloween Decor!


Just a few photos of some of the Halloween decor I photographed earlier this month in Disneyland!
I wish they kept it year round. Enjoy.
(Ps, To improve your viewing pleasure please open this in another tab and have it play while you look at this post ;P) 

Have you visited Disney during the holidays? Which is your favorite? And which of the decorations above do you like the best?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

How To: Cute, Easy Halloween Decorations!

Jelly Window Clings (Morrisons in the 3 for £1). 

So, I love Halloween.
The love has grown more over the past 3 years and rather than enjoying it for the wrong reasons I do use it to remember those I've lost and think about them throughout the day.
I also have always wanted to acknowledge the origins by decorating and celebrating the season so this year was the time, as funds permitted. Still, I have done it on a budget and I think my affordable yet adorable decor warranted being shared.

Pumpkin Lanterns (Poundland ...£1..obviously), Plastic Bats (Morrisons in the 3 for £1) , Trick or Treat sign (Home Bargains 89p).

Boo! sign (Poundland £1), Upcycled glass candles (Used and cleaned out, one filled with burner beads and a candle, the other with conkers and decorated with twine), Pine cone (All the way from Disneyland!), Bat Candle holder (see below!).

The Bat Candle Holder is the first of my proper DIY decorations, cost next to nothing and turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!
1. All you need is an empty tin can, so have some nice warm soup for your dinner, clean out the can and remove the label (I also put it through the dishwasher to make sure it was extra clean.)
2. Mark out a spooky design using a permanent marker.
3. Using a panel pin and a hammer, super carefully punch holes along the outline at least 2mm apart so as not to pop out the design completely.
4. Lastly, paint the who outside of the can in black (or your choice of) acrylic paint. I cut up a sponge I had and dabbed it on which created a nice effect! 

Cobwebs (Home Bargains 99p?), Glow in the Dark Ghosts (Morrisons in the 3 for £1).

Cobwebs (As Above. 1 bag goes a looonng way and I only used 1/3!),  Glitter Skull hanging decoration (Home Bargains 89p) Happy Halloween Bunting Banner (see below).

Another of my homemade accents this year is something I make for most celebrations (see Baker's Birthday Bunting!), a little time consuming but fun to make and I'd always pick making my own over buying it.

1. I selected the colours I wanted to use, in this case dark purple, lime green and orange, to fit in with my other decorations.
2. Next, I folded the card to my selected shape and cut it out. Then using this first piece as a template, folded the rest of the card and traced onto the other pieces before cutting them all out.
3. With all the bits cut out, I laid them out in the order I wanted them to be before using a pencil to mark on the letters.
4. With glitter glue I went over the letters and before that glue dried sprinkled chunky gold glitter roughly over the top.
5. Punching holes in the top corners of each bit and measuring out twine to the desired length, I then strung it all together.
6. As a tiny finishing touch I used some pumpkin confetti to stick to the point of each purple bit.

Candles (Already had, half burnt for aesthetic purposes. Any white pillar candle would do!), Conkers, Pine cone and Acorns (From local!), Scary Plastic Skull (Home Bargains in a pack, under £1? Sorry can't remember. :/), 'Not To Be Taken' Bottle (Antique Poison Bottle for Antiques store £1.) 

Green Glass Candle Holder (Asda, years ago, £3), Pilar Candle (as above), Glass Bowl (Asda, years ago, £8 Contents change seasonally), Pine Cones, Conkers, Acorns etc (as above), Battery Fairy Lights (Home Bargains £3), Scary Plastic Skulls (as above).

Pumpkins (Asda £1.50 each), Pumpkin Carving kit (Not shown. Home Bargains £1.50) 

Last but not least, the all important Jack O Lanterns! I've never actually done any pumpkin carving before...I don't know why. But I took the leap the year and got stuck in. It's goopy and messy but so much fun! Plus I think they turned out okay for my first shot! What do you think??
I'd LOVE to see what different designs you came up with so make sure to link me to your Halloween decor posts in the comments or even tweet me a photo of your lanterns to @UnderToWonder ! :)

There we have it. My cheap and cheerful, non tacky, Halloween decorations. If only I could keep them up all year...;)

(Ps. You may also like to read my Halloween posts from the past two years!
The Scariest Thing Tag
- I re-tag  Becky, Ness, Jenny, Jesse, Sara, Hollie, Jordan, Jess, Leona, Kloe and anyone else that needs an excuse to blog or loves all things spooky!)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Disneyland Paris 2014 // Hotel Cheyenne

Image Source
One of the main parts of the whole Disney experience (at least to me anyways), is staying in a Disney hotel.
The magic starts as soon as you arrive with smartly themed uniforms of the staff, accurate and interesting decor as well as awesome extras like location and proximity to the park and extra magical hours - these alone make it more than worth it to pay the tiny extra premium to stay in one of the 7 Disney accommodations.

Between my 3 visits to Disneyland Paris over the past 18 years I have managed to have the privilage of staying in 3 of these fabulous hotels. In 1996 we stayed offsite, in 2010 we stayed in the Santa Fe for 6 nights and the Disneyland Hotel on the last night and this visit, as you can tell from the title of the post, we stayed in the Western themed Cheyenne!

Now taking into consideration value for money, comparing it to similarly priced non-Disney hotels and the benefits you receive I right away would award this place top marks!
It for some reason angered me slightly upon reading online reviews once arriving home though and leads me to think that some people must have extremely high standards and not appreciate the details as they should.

As I mentioned before the staff are all dressed to match the theme and they look amazing! This goes for those in the Parks too and everyone from reception staff, boutique cashiers and table bussers, down to cleaners and litter pickers look so smart, it's brilliant. Not only do they look amazing but they are super helpful, perfectly pleasant and most even go the extra to make you smile.

I don't think there is much to say about the accommodation itself apart from that that too is more than satisfactory. The rooms may be basic, whilst still fitting the theme but are clean and functional. Exactly what I want in a room seeing as all I want it for is to sleep, wash and dress.

We also decided that instead of worrying about picky me not being able to find something I can eat some nights, to just stick with our hotel restaurant - The Chuck Waggon Cafe.
We loved it. A wide range of foods to suit people from a range of countries (even snails! Eek! I suppose we were in France...) as well as ages and with it being a buffet you we're guaranteed to go to bed with a full tummy.
One of the reviews I read moaned about it being a 'continental' breakfast, stating they don't know how that is expected to 'set you up for the day'...but my question is what do you want then? At home are they used to having a full English fry up everyday?! Because I for one thought the breakfast selection was very good compared to other European hotels I've stayed in. A range of cereals, toast with different toppings like chocolate spread, honey, jam, butter...the usual cheeses, cooked meats and rolls and croissants - again also all you can eat! Some people can never be pleased.

I have no problem recommending any of the Disney hotels I've stayed in and think all provide you with exactly what you pay for, if not more! I adore the themes and can't wait for the opportunity to stay at the other 4 eventually.
If by the smallest chance anyone from DLP reads this I want to commend the staff and thank everyone for making our time away as comfortable as possible. In particular the lady working the cash register in the Chuck Waggon on the night of the 16th of October and the tall gentleman with glasses, serving on the beverage counter in the Chuck Waggon on the 15th who went that little extra to make themselves memorable.
It doesn't take much to make someones day. A little conversation and interaction. All a part of the Disney way of life <3

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Weekly Reflections // Week 3

October 20th - 26th

Favorite Photo

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
Putting my Halloween decor up! It's so cute. 
Living close enough now to have a last minute, quiet catch up with a take away with Mam and Dad.
Hot water bottles and Strepsils.
Having a home. A little vague, but as the cold weather approaches I'm just so thankful to have a roof over my head and a fire to light. 
A snuggley, Netflix day on the sofa with my Baker B.
Spare change savings = little retail therapy trip.

Best Blogs or Posts I've Enjoyed.

1st Disney Ambassador Comes Home.
Karen Returns...and with two HUGE announcements!!!! <3<3 Congratulations again Karen. 
Scottish Outlander. I have highly enjoyed all of Lindsay's recent posts. How couldn't you adore seeing your own county from another persons point of view. Stunning photos!
Diwali: The Festival of Lights by Manpreet Upon reading Manpreet's 'Happy Diwali' post, I followed a link through to a post she did last year explaining more behind the festival. It's an awesome, really interesting read and I urge you to go learn more!
Fleabag Friday - Baker  Yes. Baker! I am so excited to finally be able to say my little man is a featured furry on Helen's Fleabag Friday series :D She needs more people to take part and brag about their pets (any pets, it doesn't have to be only dogs or cats), so please go over and shower her blog with views, comments and requests to be a part of the series. Thank you! 

Other Articles etc of Interest.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse raglan Halloween tee I wanted this so bad in Disneyland, but dunno if I could pull off the biggest kiddy size...ha
'Sexy' vs 'Modest' Halloween Costumes At least I know someone agrees with me!! 
What to do if you Find a Stray Dog.  Did you know you have a legal obligation to reunite it with it's owner? 
I'm not a fan of cats but if 2,6 & 11 don't make you crack a smile, I'm not sure what will. 
Teaching Assistant Asked to Leave Because of Tattoos Exactly why I started Inked & Awesome! Not that I was sacked or anything but I was treated poorly by two big British high street brands but can't to this day understand how art on your skin effects your work ethics. 
Halloween Treat from J.K Rowling!  I don't know if this is a trick or a treat.
Self Portraits from a Alzheimers Sufferer.  

Question of the Week.

If your life was being turned into a movie, what would the title be?
Underland to Wonderland of course. ;) This blog started out as the long winded yet apt, 'Once Upon A Time, They Lived Happily Ever After', however when in the need of a shorter url and catchier title, the mixture of Disney-ness and descriptiveness of our life at the time, Underland to Wonderland just popped into my head! It really has been rather fitting to our situation the past few years and so wpuld obviously be perfect to title a movie.

What would yours be and why? Share it below in the comments. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Exploring Berwick // The Castle

Following on from my Exploring Berwick - Lowery Trail post, I though I'd take you on another mini tour of one of the other interesting spots in town, our castle. 
Thankfully it was another sunny day, considering the time of year and one of my oldest and best friends, Claire joined us again for a nice long walk and explore, for some quality time before my jetting off to Paris.
As a town that is known and described as a 'historical walled town', the walls are our most famous asset - described on Visit Northumberland as 'the only example of bastioned town walls in Britain and one of the best preserved examples in Europe.' - which seems to attract more holiday makers and visitors than the ruined, 12th century castle! 
It's a shame though because the history surrounding this area is rife and so here are a few snaps I took from our exploration and some facts to go along with them, enjoy.

The castle dates back to the 12th century when Scottish King David I founded it, however most of the remains are that of the castle which King Edward I (of England) fortified when he won the town from the Scottish in 1296.

This point ties into questions I get often about where the town actually is and who we belong to. We are indeed English and are the most northern town in England, within the brilliant county of Northumberland! Just as the above statement shows, the two countries have battled over ownership of our special little town and it has actually changed hands between the two no less than 13 times.

Unfortunately the beautiful castle is merely a few walls with a couple cells to look at now and in 1843 the North British railway contributed to it's state by demolishing a fair section in order to construct the current railway station.
A sign hanging above the main staircase as you descend onto the platforms actually informs us that the station actually built on the site of the Great Hall. You can read the sign here. You can also see part of the castle when standing on platform 2.

With a very eerie feel as you pass through the cell area, anyone who is paranormal-ly inclined would think that restless spirits reside within their depths. However this area has no ghostly presence.
Above on the ruined battlements and breakneck stairs however, there is said to be a haunting manifestation of a Scottish piper playing his bagpipes while he paces back and forth.

Another area that you would never tell had a dark past is one that you would assume to be the most creepy and haunted. As you follow the path up the hill to the left of the castle remains, you approach a gate and a lovely little park beyond with benches and flowers - this was the site of the old public hanging gallows.

And with that I will leave you until my next post! ;)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Disneyland Paris 2014 // Halloween Meet & Greets!

To kick things off with the stupid amounts of Disneyland photos, I thought we'd start simple with the special characters we met along the way.
Surprisingly we were not trying to meet people this time. What I mean by that is I didn't make sure we were in a set spot 2 hours before a scheduled meet and greet. Of course I wanted to meet as many characters as possible but we only went for it if we happened to be where there was a meet going on.
I was super stoked to see that as we entered Frontierland heading for our first ride of the trip (Phantom Manor), that Jack Skellington had his own special set up complete with Zero and we joined the queue. He was amazing and instantly put a smile on my face after a bit of a rubbish morning when our phones wouldn't work and we were panicking about getting in touch with Dad and Jake!

My camera is on it's way out at almost 5 years old, with a dodgy auto focus and a shutter that likes to play with my feelings, so my photos aren't the quality I would like - for that I apologize. I would of loved to of bought all the official photos but only invested in the one with Mickey as I preferred to spend my money on other things...haha!

From there, as you can see, we got really lucky! Although I may not of actually managed to catch anyone from my Meet and Greet wishlist, I was completely over the moon with all the villains and Halloween dressed characters we did have the pleasure of seeing, though my only suggestion is in future I hope Disney considers having a queuing system for meeting the villains of Maleficent Court. We waited a loonngg time and had many people push in and even elbow me in the ribs to get in!
I have to say that every star we met exceeded expectations, as they did in 2010. Disney is NOT just for kids and these guys proved that by giving us the interaction and attention that everyone else received. Jack spoke to me for a while discussing Halloween, the Queen of Hearts acted 'flattered' and 'blushed' as I kissed her hand and then she did the above pose. Pooh Bear jumped and danced with my Mam and Stitch threw her about a bit haha. As regular readers will know my experience with Stitch in 2010 was completely awesome and so when I said 'Love you Stitch!' this time he ran to the sweety basket and shoved a handful of bags into my fists before sending me off blowing kisses.

I hope you enjoy my few photos and would love to know your thoughts on Disney character meet and greets. Have you meet anyone? If so who was your favorite and what was the most special experience?
Stay tuned for way this is only the beginning!