Returning To Orlando!

Never in a million years did I think that I would be visiting Orlando twice in as many years.

Even whilst boarding the plane last October (in the midst of a hurricane, no less) did I suspect that in just over a year I’d be heading back.

Orlando is definitely my second home, forgetting all the parks (but why would you want to?) it’s got all the weather, the food, the beaches and the views. It’s an incredible place.

So, when friends offered to have G Man and I for a stay whilst they are there in October, we knew we had to try to make it work somehow.

I’ll no doubt keep mentioning this over the period of time we have left until we head out, but I thought I would share a little bit of the things we want to do whilst we’re there!

Disney!

We’re not going to be spending much time in the parks, in fact it’ll be just one evening – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! We’ll be able to spend from 4pm til Midnight in Magic Kingdom and intend on rinsing every single second! I’ve got my costume sorted and I can’t wait to walk down Main Street and see the castle again!

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Visit Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and St Augustine

Since our visit last year was straight Disney and Universal Studios jam-packed, we didn’t really go out and about in Orlando or the surrounding areas (apart from the shopping malls of course!) so this time around we want to visit some of these areas. I’m especially looking forward to seeing St Augustine because from what I’ve seen in photos it looks beautiful.

 

Complete my Orlando ‘Your Are Here’ Mug Collection

About a week after we left Orlando last year, Universal Studios announced the release of their Starbucks ‘You Are Here’ mug…. I knew I had to go back and get one, so that’s what I intend to do. I can’t have an incomplete collection now, can I?

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Shopping!

Oh yes! I will be stocking up on Bath and Body Works, getting my money’s worth in Victoria’s Secret and Hollister (the prices are so much better there!) and visiting far too many Target, Ulta and Sephoras. Let’s just say I’m planning on packing light so I have room to bring things home….. eek!

The Food!!

I honestly can’t wait to get eating! Blaze Pizza, Publix Subrolls, Cracker Barrel for breakfast – and the one I’m most looking forward to… Homecomin’ I get to have that beautiful Moonshine Cake that I’ve been dreaming about all year, again! This isn’t even mentioning Dole Whips and all the other Disney treats you can get in Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs!

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Speaking of Disney Springs……

I’m looking forward to spending time in Disney Springs and City Walk, as well as visiting the Boardwalk area which we didn’t do last time.

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And last but not least, I’m really looking forward to hopefully visiting Clearwater beach. We didn’t have the chance last time, so I’m hoping we will this time around, because I can’t go to Florida twice and not see at least one of their beaches!

As well as all of this, we intend on relaxing, taking in the weather and spending time with our hosts. I really can’t wait!!

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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It’s been a while since I posted a life update, mainly because I have had so much stuff in ‘pending’ that I haven’t really been able to talk about.

But in the last few weeks we have started packing up our house. We’re moving!

A while back I posted some tweets on twitter, as we were trying to decide between two houses (large house, not great area OR smaller house, nice area) We decided to go for the latter, and ever since we’ve been waiting on the chain. It’s been a struggle and frustrating, but things have started to move along, and after a long wait we’re looking at an early September move.

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And once that’s all done, I can finally start looking forward to the other amazing thing happening this year, which is our return to Orlando! In October we’ll be flying out to stay with friends for a week of Florida sunshine and a teeny bit of Disney magic (more of that in a later post).

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Over the last few weeks, apart from packing, we’ve been hunkering down and trying not to spend any money or do anything too extravagant. We started to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and we’re almost at the end. The final season has been the most interesting so far, but I’ve almost given up on it a couple of times. It’s just not been as amazing as people have made out.

I also celebrated my 34th birthday, and spent the day chilling out and pottering on odd jobs. It’s nice to spend it low-key some times. Maybe I’ll do something exciting next year for my 35th. But I like the quiet and calm, especially ahead of a big house move!

On the social media side of things, I was excited to see I’d hit 1k followers on Twitter, and also gained a few YouTube subscribers since my last video went live. I’m hoping to begin posting those regularly again once I’ve got my office set up in the new house. I also alluded to a YouTube project I wanted to give a go, on twitter, AGES ago – I still intend on doing that. So if you showed interest I’ll be in contact with you once I feel ready to begin.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks; not much to tell! But I’ll be sharing things as they happen (and whilst I have internet!) and you’ll be able to take this exciting journey with me!

When Fear of Missing Out, Turns to Burn Out

It’s safe to say I’m on the older end of the age spectrum compared with most of the bloggers I come across. I’m still shocked when I hear bloggers I follow talk about taking their GCSEs.

I guess it’s only a shock because way back when I was doing my exams, it was really really geeky to own a computer, let alone admit that you used the internet.

These days everyone appears to have a background in marketing. Kids know how to brand themselves from 16, so as soon as they’re allowed an instagram account, they’ve got their ‘thang’ going and they’re hitting all the likes, follows and they just *know* how to maximise hashtags.

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But one of the things I’m noticing on twitter more and more, is young bloggers asking how people manage to blog, maintain their social accounts AND work either full-time or complete a degree, without burning out or one of these aspects suffering.

I work full-time, I run a blog full-time, instagram and YouTube, as well as managing two twitter accounts. And it’s not easy. But I realise where things need to give in order for me to maintain a balance.

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And I put that insight into knowing how to manage these things, down the different kind of world I grew up. When I was growing up FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) didn’t really exist for me. The world wasn’t so accessible. You couldn’t find out anything and everything just by picking up a device. As a result you missed out on things. Most of the time I didn’t find out about the thing I’d missed out on until after the fact – I just didn’t know they were happening.

And so now, with knowledge at our finger tips, it’s easy to be tempted into things. Notifications on Facebook telling us that people we know are off to events nearby. Twitter telling us about fun Blogging meet-ups and events. Twitter chats every night – sometimes so many, I’ve been known to participate in multiple chats at once.

But it’s knowing where and when to step back.

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My full-time job is more important that my hobby. It’s how I pay for a lifestyle that allows me to blog, buy fun things and attend awesome events. For a while I was trying to do it all; twitter chats 4 times a week after a full day looking at screens at my job, blogging every weekend (including photos), posting a YouTube video weekly. It all got too much and too tiring, and the schedule that I’d set for myself became a chore. I could feel the first inklings of resentment creeping in.

So I took a step back. I decided to schedule multiple blog posts ahead of time, so I would be able to have weekends off. I decided it was time to reduce time spent on my older twitter account and just focus on one. I stopped YouTube altogether, and decided to take a break until things at home settled a bit. I stopped taking part in ALL the Twitter chats, and only did the ones with subjects that really interested me, or when I was at a loose end.

The result was a more relaxed, less tired Erin. I was also able to spend more time with my husband, who is TOTALLY supportive of my blogging hobby btw. But I realised on nights I was taking part in twitter chats, I was totally ignoring him. I missed him, and we’d been sat right next to each other.

Taking this step back meant that when I was writing articles, I was enjoying it more. I was able to take more time in what I was writing, and I wasn’t just doing it for the sake of hitting a schedule.

It’s so important to remember you don’t have to do it all, in order to feel part of something. If you’re at University and you’re not able to post according to a schedule you’ve set, then change your schedule. If your IRL social life interferes with taking part in a twitter chat, so what? We’ll still be there next week – go live your life. No one worth following you is going to mind if you miss a normal posting day. Plus you’ll have fun stuff to write about next time!

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So, if you’re one of those people who sits down at their laptop and wonders how you’re going to stay awake or motivated enough to write AND live your life – go live it. You’re not going to be missing out if you’re taking YOU-time. Sit and smell the roses, and then come back when you’re ready.

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You’ll feel amazing for it, and you’ll realise that life carries on without you – in the best possible way!

It’s Ma Birthday!

Today’s post is purely me bragging that it’s my birthday today!

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I had originally planned a 34 things I’ve learned by 34 post, but I found the subject too boring to even write, let alone expect you to read – 34 is a LOT of things.

I don’t have any issues with getting older. In fact I love it. So many more days of things I’ve experienced, learned and so many more to live.

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A lot of people I know had issues with turning 30 but I saw it as an exciting milestone. I strongly believe you’re only as old as you feel, and I think at the moment I feel like I’m in my early 20s, so in my opinion I’m winning!

I’ve achieved a lot of things so far in my life, and I feel like I’m continuously opening new chapters and closing old ones. You only have one life, so why fill it with regret or annoyance that you’re getting older – what a waste that would be?

So on this day, I turn 34 years old, and I intend on spending it excited that I’m another year older and with anticipation of what will happen in the next 12 months. So much can happen in a year, and so much has happened since I turned 33.

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Every day is an adventure and the fact that you can have 365 adventures in a year is something to be excited about, wouldn’t you agree?

Are You On a Quest for Positivity?

I follow a YouTuber called Justin Scarred. Justin is from California and is primarily a Disneyland Vlogger (well that’s how I found him) but he also does random vlog around his life, the area he lives in and also Knotts Berry Farm, which is local to him. He’s recently travelled the whole length of Route 66 and back, which was very very interesting to watch, and I’d recommend watching it if that’s the kind of thing you like.

Anyhow, the other day Justin vlogged an update on his Quest for Positivity (or Q4P) and it was a really inspiring video. A few years back Justin went through some big life changes and somewhere along the line he made a conscious decision not to be a victim of the unhappiness he was feeling. He felt he was spiralling into a bitter cycle of feeling sorry for himself, which was projecting into the world around him, and he was tired of it.

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Listening to him talk about this Q4P and how he was getting on with it, range true with me. I’d like to think I’m a fairly positive person, but I can feel really negative too, and when I do it definitely spirals. Many years ago, I considered the practice of counting my blessings on a daily basis, and that’s where my Q4P began.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all the way there yet, and I have MANY off days. But I know I’m trying. I’m certain that perspective comes with age. I’m about to hit 34 years old, and though no drama has really affected my life, I’m sure the things I’ve dealt with, seen and helped other people deal with, have given me the unique perspective I have on life. And by unique I don’t mean that I’ve got life all sussed in my mind and you haven’t – I just mean my perspective is different from everyone else’s – as is yours.

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I often see people being victims of their circumstances – they’re so deep into the emotions they’re feeling about something that’s happened to them that they get stuck in a rut. Even if they feel like they’ve dealt with the drama they’ve experienced, they’re now in that negative mindset and so that’s now how they deal with every situation that comes to them. Even positive circumstances will be tarred with a negative or dismissive brush.

I’ve come to realise that in my life, I need to accept negativity, then step back from it, brush it off and look at the bigger picture. I have to reset my mind to the middle ground – nice and calm, neither good nor bad – and then take the next thing I have to deal with as a brand new situation.

I’ve gotta admit, this isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice and I’m not there yet. But once you accept a crummy situation as just that, it’s easier to deal with. No point in fighting it – just use the same amount of energy as you would feeling bitter, and put it into finding a solution.

Justin was right when he pointed out that if you keep hold of that negativity or anger, you’ll spit it out into the world, and eventually you’ll be one of those bitter and twisted old people you saw when you were a kid, but never wanted to be. That’s no way to live!

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So, you want to begin your own Quest for Positivity? A simple place to start by consciously counting your blessings every day. It can be as simple as;

  • Someone asked me how my day was
  • I heard a great joke today
  • That was a lovely cup of tea
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I’m feeling better in my self, than I was last week

There are so many things we can be grateful for, each and every day. And counting your blessings is a fantastic place to start.

We can gain perspective for ourselves, by considering the perspective of others’ in a non-judgemental way. Why did that person act this way? If I was in that person’s shoes, what would have been the catalyst for that behaviour?

As part of considering others, I’ve found it naturally leads to a change in my behaviour, because I won’t do things that might cause anger or hurt to others. I have more insight into how my actions might affect the emotions of others, and in turn I become a better person for it.

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I’m a crazy emotional person, and I find it very easy to jump to anger in many situations, but my quest for positivity has definitely helped me to gain perspective and stay calm in situations where I might not have in the past.

I’d be really interested to hear about your Q4P, if you’re on one. You might not call it that, but if anything you’ve read today rings a bell to you, I’d love to hear what practices you take to better yourself and help you along to a happier and more positive life.

Infuse My. Colour Wash – Tried and Tested!

A few weeks ago I was sent a bottle of the new Infuse My. Colour Wash in Copper to try. I’ve been colouring my hair for 18 years now, so I’m always willing to try new products, techniques and anything that will help the condition of my hair and make things easier.

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The Infuse My. Colour Wash colours were created to be 100% vegan, contain no sulphates, parabens or silicone and were designed to boost your hair colour in between colouring.

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Since my hair is red/brown with copper highlights I went with the copper colour, but they do a whole range of colours to boost all tones and shades.

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My aim was to see whether I could bridge the gap between colouring sessions, and tone my mousey blonde roots to blend with the rest of my colour, as I intend on letting my hair grow out a bit before re-colouring again.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know I wash my hair backwards so for the purposes of using this product properly I decided to wash my hair the conventional way, to give it a fair go.

The method for using this, is to use the product as normal shampoo, wash it out as soon as the hair is coated, without waiting any time, and then condition as normal.

Here’s before I started with the colour wash:

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A nice picture of my dusty scalp…. But as you can see, I have quite a lot of warm tones in my hair, and then some lovely boring mousey roots poking through at the top.

So how did I get on? Well, I love the bottle. You get a hefty 270ml for just under £14. The cap is a push top, which means you don’t have to faff with unscrewing the cap and you can squeeze the product out. Because it doesn’t contain the nasties, it doesn’t lather as much as a standard drugstore shampoo, however you can spread it through your hair easily, and it smells amazing – like fresh, clean apples!

The product didn’t stain my hands or my bath tub, but I did feel I needed to scrub under my nails afterwards.

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My hair felt lovely during washing, and after, and I was able to comb my wet hair through easily. The water ran clear very quickly and no staining was left on my towel once I removed it.

On inspection of my hair after blow-drying, I saw no difference. There was maybe a little bit of a copper sheen to the red/brown colour underneath my hair, but honestly, there was no change. My roots were still the same colour, but I knew that part of my hair would be stubborn. So I decided to try again the next time I washed my hair.

The next time I washed my hair, I decided to mix it up a bit. I went back to reverse washing, popped on an Aussie 3 minute hair mask to the lengths of my hair, and then the colour wash all over, on top. I left this for a couple of minutes and washed it all out.

After drying my hair, I could see more of a difference. The blonder highlights in my hair were definitely more copper toned, and I felt like my hair was more of an even colour. My roots, however, were again completely as they had been previously. I mean, this isn’t a hair dye, and I know my hair is stubborn when it comes to colouring – I can usually only get a decent colour result using permanent dye.

Here’s the ‘after’ pictures:

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You can see that my roots remained the same colour as before, however I think you can tell from the picture above that the lengths of my hair were definitely more copper-toned.

The next time I washed my hair, I used my normal shampoo and conditioner and all of the copper colour I’d added washed out. So if I was going to maintain the copper colour I’d added, I would need to use this every time I washed my hair.

For the cost of this product, I wouldn’t be able to maintain this, but as the odd one-off for a particular occasion, it would be wouldn’t be bad.

I found the Infuse My. Colour Wash to be most effective on the areas of my hair that had been highlighted. But the change was very subtle and only happened once I’d left the product on for a number of minutes.

As a shampoo, it left my hair feeling lovely, and conditioned. I was happy that the ingredients would be good for my hair, and I would have no reservations using this regularly, from a hair care perspective.

I think if you had naturally strawberry blonde, or coloured ginger hair, or if you had highlights you wanted to turn peach/copper then give this a go. It’s a wash in/wash out solution and would help you make a change to your hair without the commitment. If you were looking for something that would be a little more long-lasting and possibly to help with root regrowth between colouring sessions, I’d probably not use this product.

But overall the pros outweigh the cons. I work my hair hard, and I like what I like. My choice for hair colour is unconventional so I can’t expect products to work just for my requirements.

If you have bleached blonde, or platinum hair, I’d love to see what results you could get from using the Infuse My. Colour Wash in the various different tones. If you’ve already used this product, I’d love to hear how you got on!

I also captured my trial of the Infuse My. Colour Wash on film, and have popped it onto my YouTube channel, which you can see here!

 

The Infuse My. Colour Range can be found at Boots and retails at £13.95. I was supplied this bottle for free by My.Haircare, in return for an honest review, which is what I’ve provided.

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