Tuesday, 23 October 2018

My Top Halloween Movies

If your looking for anything scary, I can tell you now, you are looking in the wrong place because you won't find it here.  I am the biggest wimp going when it comes to scary movies, and I know I am not alone in this.  However that doesn't mean to say that we should miss out on all the Halloween movies.

I think it is safe to say that Halloween is a fast growing celebration now in the UK and in my opinion why should we treat it any different than we would Christmas.  Lets embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts.

So if you fancy a Halloween movie night my top movies choices are:

Harry Potter

Hotel Transylvania


November Kiss

Hocus Pocus

Nightmare Before Christmas

Do you have a favourite?  What would you recommend?

~ Gem x

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Disneyland Paris 2018

Where do I even begin?!  If you read my last blog post you will know that I recently visited Disneyland Paris  The reason for my visit was to complete the 10K Disney run, but everyone knows, you're not just going to go for the run.  You may as well experience the magic of Disney on offer while you're there and that is exactly what we did.

We stayed in total for 3 nights, but having booked an early Eurostar on the Thursday morning and a late one coming back on Sunday late afternoon, it meant we had pretty much 4 days to explore and make the most the parks.  

I hadn't visited Disneyland Paris since 2004 and I knew that a lot would have changed in the 14 years since I'd last been.  And although I was excited to visit Disneyland I don't think anything could really have prepared me for the excitement that overcame me when we arrived.    

We booked to stay in the hotel Santa Fe, only a 2 star hotel (much lower than my usual standard by a long shot) but we knew we wouldn't be spending much time at the hotel and it hasn't long ago been refurbished to the Pixar Cars theme so we didn't think we would have much to loose.  The only thing we were slightly concerned about when booking was the distance to the parks, but we really needn't have worried.  There is a free shuttle bus service, which we didn't use even once, we walked to and from the parks each day, it literally took us about 10 to 15 minutes each way and it was a lovely walk along the river into Disney Village.  I would definitely recommend staying and would stay there again myself.

Disney Village had grown quite a bit since I last stayed and there is a large selection of eateries and shops for all your Disney souvenirs, although these can all be bought inside the parks too.  The good thing with staying in a Disney hotel too is that you can get all of you shopping shipped back to your hotel (providing you purchase before 2pm), this was a great service which we used a couple of times during our stay.  

I didn't think I would be at all fussed by the character meet and greets.  Now I wished we had of researched them better to have known who would be where and when, I lived for them while we were there.  We ended up missing out on so many opportunities, coming across the characters when their lines were at a close, it was pretty gutting to say the least especially as some of them were some good ones but it wasn't meant to be and I have learnt my lesson for the next time.  Plus we did still get some good ones so it isn't all bad. 

The rides were really good and thankfully the queue times during our first two days were amazing.  Not so much the case on Saturday or Sunday though and by that time we were knackered after having done a long morning of travelling, followed by pretty much 2 full days in the parks and then a 10k run thrown into the mix so we weren't really up for queues.  Instead we wandered around the parks, took some photos, went in search of character meet and greets and did some shopping.

In comparison to Walt Disney World I would still say there is no comparison but for a more local Disney experience it is still very good and well worth a visit, I'm pretty sure it wasn't my last.  

~ Gem x

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Run Disney 2018

I have never been a fan of exercise and apart from running the 100m in school I've never been much of a runner either.  For what reason I thought adding a Disney run to my list of 40 before 40 I will never know, but I am so glad I did. 

On the 20th September I left home early ready to catch the Eurostar to Disneyland Paris to spend a couple of days exploring the parks before my run on Saturday morning.  Growing up I was always a fan of Disney but I guess as I grew older I sort of lost my love for it.  I never imagined I would feel the way I did as I stepped into that magical world, it was literally as if I had been transported back to my childhood and it felt amazing.  

I hadn't realised how much of an extra buzz would be added to the weekend because of the run but it definitely made the adventure all the more exciting.  Heading into the Expo to collect our running bibs and photo pass and seeing the sheer volume of people taking place really was quite something.

Even better than that was seeing my very own name on the runners wall, that was amazing, and made the whole thing seem real at last.

On Friday evening we watched the 5k runners run through Disney Village, the atmosphere was electric, it certainly got me psyched up ready for the following morning when it would be my turn to hit the tarmac with my running trainers.  Before long that moment arrived and 6:30am that following morning we were stood by the starting line in our coral waiting to start.

I really didn't know what to expect from the whole thing and in a way it added to the whole suspense of it all.  The atmosphere really was quite special.  The staff were fantastic and stood on the side lines chanting and cheering (even though I had no idea what they were shouting half the time) It felt so strange being in the park before opening time and it allowed you to see it all from a different perspective.  

Running around the course through the different areas of the parks a lot of the rides were going round empty.  Whether this happens every morning as they test the rides before opening time or whether this was done especially for the run, I'm not particularly sure but it added to the whole atmosphere and was pretty cool to see.

The other thing I really loved was the opportunity to go behind the scenes.  Being able to see the bits that the general public don't usually get to see.  I felt like I was on set to the 'Moonwalker' movie, although my running partner was too young to know what I was going on about.

The highlight of the morning though aside from crossing the finishing line was running on Main Street and heading towards the castle.  It was a moment I don't think I will ever forget and I'm not going to lie a moment that made me feel pretty emotional.  Even now I can feel myself getting a little bit choked up as I type this.  It was worth doing the whole 10k just for that moment alone and is in actual fact the only reason we ended up doing the 10k as opposed to the 5k.  If you're going to do a Disney run, you have to run past the castle.

Crossing that finish line felt so good.  Catching first glimpse of it was a welcoming sight but actually crossing it, wow, I cannot tell you how great that felt.  A year ago I never imagined I would ever complete a 10k.  My intention when writing that list originally was always for a 5k run.  To now be able to say I completed the 2018 Disneyland Paris 10k leaves me feeling totally elated and so, so proud of myself.  And the best thing is, I had so much fun doing it.  Yes it was hard, it was a challenge but would I do it again? Without a shadow of a doubt.  Who knows, maybe next time I'll try tackling the half marathon.  

I will be publishing a more general post about the rest of my Disney adventure in a couple of days so if you want to find out more of what I got up to then be sure to pop back to check that out.  There will be plenty of photos and all things Disney I promise.

My sponsorship page is still open for anyone who would like to sponsor me for the run.  I'm raising money for Tommy's The Baby Charity, The Little Princess Trust and Farleigh Hospice.  You can donate here.

~ Gem