Friday, 20 April 2018

Disney Planning | Disney Series | ELLEKATE


Happy Friday!

If you saw a while ago, just before my birthday, my wonderful Mum surprised me and my sister with a trip to Disneyland Paris at the end of this year for Halloween! Something which I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

Since I am on a personal countdown to when we jet off to Paris, I thought I would start by making a mini-series all about planning ahead for the big trip (even if it's over half a year away). Personally, I have been to Disneyland Paris many a time now, so do have a fair bit of knowledge about what the parks have to offer, in the past I've posted two other features about our trip which I will link at the bottom of this post.

If you are new to Disney at Halloween you're in for a treat! To celebrate the season, the parks become an after-hours celebration, full of characters, fancy dress and lots of sweets. As of yet, we are unsure about what this year at the parks will entail since each year they host a new 'Spooktacular' activities. We have already booked our travel, accommodation and park tickets. Something some people weren't aware of was that if you wish to attend the parties you must book this separately once they are released to the public (something we are waiting on to be released).

So here's what we do know!

We are staying at the Disneyland Hotel, where my mum and dad spent their honeymoon, which we will be staying in for five nights over the Halloween period. Our hotel describes itself as being a take back to the Victorian Era, with high-class luxury service. But I'll be sure to do a full review of the hotel after our visit. Whilst on our visit we are planning on taking a day trip to Paris so any ideas on where to go would be a wonderful heads up!



So obviously, I couldn't just leave a post here without a spot of advice about if this is your first time booking a Disney Vacation, so here are my top tips about booking a trip to the land of the mouse.

1. Look far and wide - When looking to book up at Disney, many travel agency will have various offers on for money off or extra add-ins for what you can do whilst you are there. I would suggest that its best that you go through as many online and ring up as many local travel agents as you can before coming to a final decision on your trip. Mainly we book from Thomson (now TUI) as they have good flight times, however, the last time I went we booked through Jet 2.com and got an AMAZING beyond belief last-minute deal.

2. Timing can make all the difference - Prices for your trip will increase a lot depending on what time of year you are looking to book if you can go without going during a weekend or not during the kids holidays I would highly recommend this is when you look to go. I found a pretty spot on chart which I will link HERE the page is in French, however, the peak days for the parks are listed as red, with the less busy times in Green or Blue. Times when the parks are less busy not only keeps the price down but your wait time for rides or character meetups.

3. Book all extra shows + meals before you go - Things tend to fill up at the parks fairly quickly, this includes special events happening at the parks or even your nightly sit down meal. I would suggest downloading the Disneyland Paris app ahead of your trip to make sure you have locked down anywhere you really don't want to miss out on, just to be on the safe side.


4. If you wish to go into Paris for the day, do not book on a trip - Personally, I wouldn't be one to book the pre-planned trips into Paris, simply because - they cost a bloody bomb to book. On the outskirts of Downtown Disney, there is a national train service that runs from the parks into the city. I recall it was around €7.50 to get into the city center the last time I was in the station, I am unsure if these have since changed, but it will save you a lot of cash simply doing things your own way if you have the time to research which city sights you would want to go visit.

5. If you head out at the right time of year, yes Disney have a sale - I'm not talking about a pre-book money off your holiday sale, I mean like a souvenir, fill up your suitcase with cuddly toys sale. Last summer, I managed to get my hands on a whole bunch of Christmas tree decorations and Cuddly Toy Princesses all for €1 each... that is no lie. There was plenty to choose from almost as good as a good old Black Friday rummage through stuff ill cherish for the rest of my life. I am guessing at what time of year which we visited Disney, that these sales fall at the same time as other mid-season deals, so you'll have to check up on that one.

6. Book park tickets before you go - If you were not aware, with some of the hotels which you stay at, you have to book and pay for your park tickets separately. If you are unsure you should confirm this information with your agent, and if you are looking for where you should book your tickets from I would recommend Attraction Tickets, as they seem to have constant new deals which either will get you some extra money to spend in the parks, or a bundle on how many days you'll get.

7. TAKE SNACKS - Seriously, this tip I couldn't recommend to you more. Park food, although lovely, can come as a major strain on your bank balance. I would personally recommend that you fill your suitcase with breakfast bars, crisps and other small snacks which will keep you full between meals whilst walking around the parks. Especially if you're queuing for a ride when the waits can sometimes push over an hour long during the peak seasons.

8. Purchase a small bag or bum bag - Since obviously, you'll need the Bare Necessities (see what I did there) to take into the parks with you, but you'll not be wanting a large backpack to lug around with you for the day. The best decision you'll be making is to take along with you a smaller side back so you can fit in a small number of items, park tickets etc. Yet you won't be having to stop because it's too heavy to carry around. We worked it round in a group, having a small bum bag between four of us, taking turns to carry it every hour.

9. Which hotel offers the best value for money? - Now this would be a very personally decision, each of the hotels both in and out of the parks offer various offers for what ever hoilday type you are looking for. If you are on a strick budget, then have a look on the out of property hotels including the Kyriad, Dream Castle and Magic Circus. All of these hotels dont have that extra spark of Disney magic, but you wont miss out on that whilst in the parks. Where as for a higher price you can enjoy having that magic both in the hotels and extra magic hours within the parks, yet this can add a couple more hundred pounds onto your holiday, so the choice is totally up to you.

There we go! That's a list of all the top tips I would give to anyone who is going to Disney or wanting to book a holiday there in the near future. But, if you want to know anything more about our adventure or have any questions, please do get in touch in the comment sections below or via my social media accounts.

So thank you so much for reading,

Elle Kate X


Last Disney Post...
Disneyland Paris 
Best Places To Eat In Disneyland Paris

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Lady In Red | Spring Style | ELLEKATE


Happy Sunday,

Whilst I was uploading some things to Instagram the other day, it got me thinking about how it has been far too long since I did a style post on the blog. As a matter of fact, I don't believe I've ever uploaded a proper style post before. Strange since its one of my favorite things to talk about.
I have been obsessing over co-ord outfits for a long time, just never seeming to find something that I would be able to pull off personally. However, one of this seasons hottest styles just so happens to be my dream co-ord creation. Double Denim.


On this outfit, both a deep red skirt and oversized denim jacket are both from Topshop. However, do not fear, most high street brands have jumped onto this style bandwagon, including Urban Outfitters which have been rolling this design out in all colors of the rainbow (including black). I just could not say no to giving this hot shot outfit a chance. I decided to pair it with a plain black essential long sleeve, I have been getting mine from M&S as the quality of their cotton blend basics collection is just amazing. As for the shoes, which I have been receiving plenty a message about are these platformed converse all-stars, which again as looking online today appear to be coming out now in most colors - happy days.

Do let me know in the comments section below whether you are liking this style of post on the blog or not. As I will be definitely considering making more of them in the future. But until next time I have left a link for all of the items in this outfit below, just in case you're feeling as if you want to join in on this double denim moment.


Thanks for reading,


Elle x





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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Manchester | Elle Travels | ELLEKATE


Evening all,
Not even far into April, and once again, I have been on another trip. Not even sorry. This time it was a short and sweet night away to Manchester. As you will know if you follow my other social media platforms, if not links are on the right-hand side and to the bottom of this post. But yes, we went to Manchester for a very good reason. That being, after 10 years of loving Fall Out Boy, as part of my 21st Birthday present my mum organized a trip down for me so I may finally see them. So I have to say before I get into this post. Thank you very much to my wonderful mum for organizing this trip right down to the travel and hotel, and to my uncle for getting us into the concert.

We set off early on Thursday morning, getting the National Express bus down to Manchester. I haven't got the National Express service before, only the Megabus, since travelling doesn't really phase me. However, I must note that this was a far more pleasant experience. We arrived at around one and just took a nice stroll along to the hotel since it was just around the corner.

Our hotel was called the Cow Hollow hotel, a recently opened hotel on Newton Street in the Northern Quarter. We would highly recommend staying at this hotel, and I am a tough cookie to please. From the second we arrived we felt so welcomed, the hotel has been built within an old textiles mill, it reminds me of a townhouse to be honest. When you first enter the lobby, it has these beautiful big stairs which double up as seats for the bar area. We checked in when you check in you're asked to leave a £100 deposit just in case you have any damages, room services etc. Just in case you weren't aware of that before you booked. We were shown up to our room, which was number nine and given our little oldy worldie key to open it up. If you aren't a fan of small spaces, then to be totally honest this hotel will not be for you as it 'cosy' if I was to use a word to describe it. However, this is something which I am a fan of. Our bed was like a cloud just so big it took up most of the room, and I  could have taken a nap right there and then but the city was calling. Our bathroom was something I would only dream about, with the big open shower. Highlight to all beauty lovers, the mirror was something of dreams which lights up when it detects motion, also for your stay they supply, hairdryer, straighteners and hair curlers (thank GOD, because I had forgotten mine). Quick other highlights about the hotel before I move onto our night in Manchester. Tv has Netflix, Our room decor was simply beautiful and they had a whole list of free things you had throughout your stay in which I have left a picture of below.

Now onto Manchester.

Stupidly, Daniel had forgotten to get his haircut back home. So our first hour in Manchester we had to search around for a place where he could get it done. The first place looked perfect the salon was minimal, plus they had a beautiful little pooch. Sadly, they were fully booked for a week in advance. So four salons later, we found a place which could fit him in an hour. Whilst we waited, we pondered into the Arndale centre, to grab some lunch. I think I slightly regret telling Dan that Manchester had a  Taco Bell since he made a b-line straight towards the place. Only thing I could have was a burrito filled with refried beans, not to complain it filled me but it was nothing special. Taco Bell you let me down. Before we could go and get something to drink, it was already time to return to the Salon, I personally wasn't thinking that after trying so many places that this wouldn't be the best place to get a haircut, but oh my I was wrong. With Dan looking less like a 12-year-old boy we dashed off back to the hotel to get ready for the concert.

Now, I don't think I can express enough how much Fall Out Boy mean to me without sounding like a crazed 12-year-old fan. I'd probably cry like I did a million times throughout the concert itself. But we had such an amazing view of the stage since we arrived even before the first support act. Simply being that close to the band and just hearing all my favourite songs LIVE, I just cannot explain how there could be a better experience than that. I have placed some pictures below of the gig itself, but apologies, I didn't take my camera and I was enjoying jumping around haha.

After a good night out in Manchester, we woke up in the hotel and brought breakfast in bed! (this hotel man) We got a coffee, granola, a pastry, apple juice, basically everything my hangover needed to prep me for a day of shopping. Sadly, we checked out of the hotel and headed out to the Trafford Center. If you didn't know how to get to the Trafford Center, simply head over to Piccadilly which is where you'll find the bus service that goes from the city centre to Trafford in under 30 minutes. Since its still a while away until student finance goes in, I wasn't in the right funds to be purchasing much which was so so so hard, because there were so many nice clothes. So I settled for a pastel pink Adidas jumper from Topshop which I LOVE. We continued window shopping for some time around the shopping centre if you've never been to Trafford before you'll not understand the scale of how big and beautiful the place is until you see it. Decorated as if it was a part of the renaissance!

With our time in Manchester growing short, we headed back to the city centre for a meal before heading to the bus station. My personal goal was to return to V-Rev, a vegan restaurant which I had visited the last time I was in Manchester, but just our luck it was fully booked for the full afternoon. Luckily, around the area was a lot of restaurants I had heard good things about, so we headed further down the street to Home Sweet Home. OMG, the cakes there looked unbelievable but I restrained myself from getting one and went with a Milkshake with Avo on Toast. Which was amazing, but I do wish now looking back that I had just broken the diet and tried a slice of Red Velvet.

Thus, comes an end to our time in Manchester, after we had eaten it was time to go collect our bags and head to the bus station for the journey home (which we spent most of playing random app games). I hope that you all enjoyed this post, these travel post which I have been doing recently it has been fun to not just sit on my bum and write from home but from some pretty cool places.

Thanks for reading!

Elle x













Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Center Parcs | Elle Travels | ELLEKATE


Have you ever just needed a weekend away?
A few weeks back, that's exactly what I was in need of. After a week of being at University and work, Dan and I were both given the weekend off. I cannot even remember how we came around to the final decision to book Center Parcs, however, I do recall going to the page and finding out about their Lakeside Apartments being exactly what we needed for a relaxed weekend away.

When I was younger, a trip to Center Parcs, was our annual family get together. A family tradition around Easter time. One year, we had one of the biggest houses on the whole site, complete with a sauna in the backyard. We went and had so much fun for that whole week, going horse riding, tree climbing, hiring tennis courts, playing in the water parks. But my favourite memories of all would be coming back and helping my grandma with dinner, she would make the best spaghetti bolognese. Always serving it with french bread which was smothered to the nines in Lurpac.

But enough about memories, down to our experience. We couldn't leave till later on Friday afternoon since Dan's return train from work didn't get back into Newcastle till around 3:30pm. I went straight to the train station and we set straight off (stopping at Costco to pick up a few bits and bobs). So, we arrived at Whinfell Forrest around 8:30pm and got to check straight in. How it works at most of the Lodges and Appartments at Center Parcs, you check in and drive your car to whichever neighbourhood you are staying in, unpack your car and drive it to the car park to leave it out of the way for the weekend. Since it was, later on, we just went to scout out the area around where we were before heading to bed, to get up nice and early for the next day.

Next morning, we woke up early and spend the majority of our morning heading straight out and going for a woodland walk! We walked around for about two hours, drinking coffee and taking pictures on the trails. Before we knew it it was Midday and shattered from walking... I needed a nap. So after a quick snooze, next on the cards for our little Saturday chill, was to head to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. I have not been swimming in FOREVER, going down some of the slides and sitting in the wave pool. Honestly, I felt like a child just swimming around for the hour. By far the best part was the outside hot pool which looked into the forest, I could have sat in there all day. By the nighttime, so we were hungry and ready for some dinner. We looked at the choices that we had and went with HUCKs since the rest of restaurants we could go to back home. HUCKs was an American Styled dinner in the main centre, slowly working my mind through the cocktail menu, I liked the sound of far too many and had to get Dan to make the final decision for me. Oh my, the starter was amazing, we got a cheesy dip with bread and it just was carb heaven, however, I wish I could say the same about my main course. Unfortunately, the only option for Vegetarians was Mac & Cheese, Spicy Butternut Squash and Spinach (Mac & Cheese)... or a Mac & Cheese Burger. So yes, my options were limited. But, Dan seemed to enjoy his so I would say if you ate meat you'd probably have a better choice. One final note about the restaurant would be, for what we ate and drank, it was a little bit on pricey side especially for the kind of food, so just keep that in mind. After dinner, I was rather tipsy, to say the least, being Saturday night we weren't ready for bed. We ended up walking along to the Lakeside Pub to take part in the quiz, and despite best efforts... we still came dead last.

On Sunday, it was Mothers Day. So most people were spending the day with their loved ones taking their Mums to spa days and such. So again, most of the activities were fully booked, which didn't put a single fault in our day. We had loved walking so much the previous morning we decided to go for another stroll going past Starbucks for a bit of caffeine, this time going around the other side of the park. We ended up going to the Sports area checking out what inside of there had to offer, before going through to this cute wooden village. We found a little shelter there where this lovely member of staff was telling some little kids what animals they had captured in their photos. We continued our walk and came to the edge of the forest. We decided to walk off the track since we seen a few pheasants having a bit of a fight, standing so close we had to be completely still. Following along the track, we came to a bird hide, something Dan had never done before so we sat for a while just watching in silence as to all the birds that came to join in. The best outcome had to be the picture of the overly curious pigeon.



We walked back to the hotel room and decided again, to go swimming. We enjoyed swimming around, a little bit at peace this time since it was later on in the day. If you are older and want to enjoy the swimming pool without there being too many children, especially on the weekends. I would recommend going later on in the day since it is open until 9pm every day. With it being Mothers Day, by the time we were out and dry most of the restaurants were fully booked. So to enjoy our final evening, we went and got a takeaway curry. Out of the meals that we had there, sitting inside of the room with our curry watching weekend tv was my personal favourite.

After another night in the room, it was time to pack up and leave. I could sit here for an hour and complain about the ordeal of the drive home that we had, but wasn't enough to ruin our holiday. We had such a brilliant time out in the woods, I'm glad that we just spent the weekend taking our time and doing things on our accord rather than sticking to schedules.

If you're currently planning a trip to Center Parcs and would like to ask me anything about the trip. Then don't be afraid to ask away in the comments section below. Just also to mention that this blog post wasn't sponsored.

Thanks for reading,

Elle Kate X