Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Food Festival, Halloween Horror, Universal Orlando Resort and a Sephora Splurge!

Welcome to our first ‘Review of the Week’. We will not be posting these on a regular weekly schedule as, believe us, our lives are not interesting enough to do that! However, when we have something fun happening or a particularly busy week we would love to share it with you all!

A couple of weeks ago we took an impromptu trip to Orlando, Florida on a top secret mission that we will be sharing with you in the new year. Until then let us fill you in on some of the fun activities, eating and shopping we did while we were there.

We set off on Saturday morning at 10am and had a great flight in which we watched Jurassic World (fab movie!) and The Age of Adeline (excellent film, many tears were shed!). We touched down at 3.30pm at Orlando International Airport and were whisked off to our Hotel, Radisson at Celebration. We had every intention of having a night out but the truth is we were so tired that we fell into bed super early, exhausted from a busy day travelling


Epcot Food and Wine Festival


We had a full itinerary for Sunday! We purchased tickets at the gate and headed into Epcot Food and Wine Festival at around 10am. We enjoyed the obligatory Starbucks (Christmas drinks are now available!) before the stands opened and 11am we started to eat our way around the world! Wow! We had some amazing food! We have inserted a sample  of what we managed to consume above so that you can get an idea of just how much we managed to get through! If you are in Orlando during Food and Wine Festival we cannot recommend this enough as it was a really great day out. We really enjoyed the food we sampled and it was so lovely to wander around Epcot World Showcase in the November sunshine and pick out the food we wanted to taste. We especially enjoyed the cheese and wine trio at the end of the day! Once we had eaten our fill we headed back to our hotel for a nap as we had a very scary evening ahead….


Universal Halloween Horror Nights

We purchased tickets in advance for Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) as the night we attended was the very last night and we didn’t want to risk missing out. We arrived about 45 minutes before the gates opened and joined the line with lots of suitably dressed guests! As the park opened fireworks were set off and we heard chainsaws jump to life! Halloween Horror Nights is an annual event at Universal Studios in both Orlando and California. The park is divided into ‘Scare Zones’ – or themed areas where scarily dressed actors frighten this life out of you (both with and without chainsaws!) They also have themed ‘Houses’ which are based on both popular horror films and original ideas. This year they included Freddie vs. Jason, The Walking Dead, Insidious, The Purge and an original house themed around the 25th Anniversary of HHN. We managed to see every scare zone and walk through 6/9 of the themed houses before jet lag got the better of us and we were forced to stagger home to bed dreaming of zombies….zzzzz


Shopping Craziness at Sephora


No trip to the USA would be complete without a visit to Sephora We already had a list of items that we wanted to check out and of course once you start browsing you are always seduced by other pretty items you decide you can’t live without! We were excited to see that some of the holiday sets were already released and we picked up the Sephora Favorites  Superstars  $75 and Sephora Give Me More Lip $59 (apologies that we are unable to link to this but it does not currently appear to be available online) .We love these sets as they offer fantastic value for money and are a great way to try products without having to splash out on the full size item.

After the 'snapped in the suitcase Anastacia Brow Wiz debacle' of Summer 2015 we invested in a new and intact Brow Wiz and kept it in its box for travel purposes this time (in case of snappage! ) We also managed to get hold of the coveted (and pretty much sold out) Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Jaclyn Hill Palette $49. This is a limited edition palette with Pearl/ Champagne Pop/ Blushed Copper highlighters, get it fast as it is sure to be popular! We were also delighted to be able to get our hands on the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette which is sooo beautiful! It is available in the UK from Space NK and although it is a little pricey at £65, in our opinion it is worth it as it has been used every single day since its purchase!

We will be dedicating a whole post to some of our new Sephora purchases soon including photographs and reviews once we have tried and tested them for you all! Watch this space for details!
 

An Epic Universal Orlando Day

 
To finish off our incredibly busy week we decided to dedicate a whole day to visiting the Universal Parks - Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios the day before we flew home. After an early lunch at Bread Box we started off in Islands of Adventure which was so much quieter that it was in August when we last visited! We rode some of our very favourite attractions including Spiderman and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey before jumping on the Hogwarts Express to Universal Studios and riding Escape from Gringotts. We couldn't leave without paying a visit to Mummy and Transformers (another two of our fave attractions!). We left in the early evening totally exhausted after a packed day of having fun!

Universal Orlando Resort
 
 
We spent our final morning at the newly rebranded Disney Springs (AKA Downtown Disney) where we had our traditional final day lunch at Earl of Sandwich and a quick look at how the Disney Springs building work was progressing since we last visited. We always seem to end up there on our final day as it is a great place to have a leisurely wander and lunch before heading to the airport.
 
By early afternoon the time had come for us to head back to Orlando International Airport to return our hire car and start the long journey home.
 
We had an amazing visit to Orlando and despite only being there for one week on this trip we managed to cram a whole lot into our 7 days! We hope you have enjoyed reading about our visit and we look forward to sharing our Sephora purchases with you very soon.  
 
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Orlando for Grown-Ups - Part 2

We had such great feedback from our previous post 'Orlando for Grown-Ups Part 1' that we wanted to get part 2 up on the blog for you as soon as possible. So here it is! Welcome to Part 2 of 'Orlando for Grown-Ups' If you missed Part 1 you can catch it by clicking here

This time we wanted to look at some of the things that you might like to do and places you may enjoy visiting if you are in Orlando without the kids! Of course if you want to take the kids with you then I am sure they would enjoy a lot of these suggestions too! So, if you are looking to take some time away from the craziness of the parks then here are some more of our tried and tested suggestions!

Take an Airboat Ride at Boggy Creek

We had visited the Orlando area many times before we finally got around to taking the plunge and getting on an airboat in the swamps of Boggy Creek! We wondered what had taken us so long! We opted for the 1/2 hour airboat ride but there are various tours to choose from. The captain of our airboat was both funny and informative and helpfully pointed out various wildlife and birds as we sped through the swampy lake. We even got to see an alligator close up! It was great to be able to see all of the creatures in their natural habitat and having a guide give useful information about everything we were seeing was fantastic. At the end of the tour as we left the airboat we even got to pet a tiny alligator! The Boggy Creek Airboat Rides range from $26.95 per person and are highly recommended by us.

Airboat Rides at Boggy Creek and an alligator in hiding!

Ride the Orlando Eye

This years newest attraction in the International Drive area was the Orlando Eye and we could not wait to give it a try! The Orlando Eye is basically the London Eye on a slightly smaller scale and with a totally different view! It is located right in the middle of International Drive and is 400 metres tall with amazing views of Downtown Orlando, all of the surrounding theme parks and even Cape Canaveral on a clear day! The capsules are all air conditioned making the eye a great place to go to escape from the Florida heat. We were lucky enough to have a capsule all to ourselves (we believe that they do try and do this where possible) and we got to see some fantastic sights while we were up so high. The tickets are sold in time slots and are available at the attraction gate but you can also pre book online where you will get a discount of 25% for booking in advance making the cost of an adult ticket $20. You can also combine the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Centre for just $39 if booking in advance. Well worth doing if you want to take advantage of our next recommendation!
 
The Orlando Eye on International Drive

Photo's with the Stars at Madame Tussauds

We have to admit we have never been huge fans of the wax figure but our trip to Madame Tussards Orlando this past August changed our mind! Situated right next to the Orlando Eye the International Drive Madame Tussauds is a fun and interactive experience and does not involve any wax figures hidden away behind ropes! This has always been our gripe in the past. Static wax figures that are roped off and crowds of people shuffling by staring at them from afar! This venue was a totally new experience for us! We were able to fully interact with all of the wax figures from Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson and One Direction to President Obama and Tiger Woods! The whole place was filled with photo opportunites to take advantage of and have fun with. You can combine the Madame Tussauds ticket with the Orlando Eye and Sea Life Centre (also worth a visit) for $39 or if you want to make a stand alone trip the adult ticket is $20 if you book in advance.
Madame Tussauds

Visit the Town of Celebration

Discovering the town of Celebration counts as one of the highlights of our 2012 holiday as once we found it we totally fell in love with it. Celebration, known to some as 'The Town That Disney Built' was developed in 1996 and was intended to make history as a town worthy of the Disney brand. Before you visit read up on the history of the town as it makes for very interesting reading! Celebration is thought to have been developed to extend Walt Disney's original vision of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT as it is more commonly known. It is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake after a hearty breakfast at the Market Street Cafe and watch children having fun playing in the water fountation nearby. Celebration is definitely worth a visit even if you just drive through the town to take a look at the beautiful houses and imagine yourself living there! At night there are some lovely restaurants to choose from including, Celebration Town Tavern and Cafe D'Antonio.
  
Celebration, Florida

Take a Stroll Along the Boardwalk

Our next recommendation, Disney's Boardwalk, is a quarter mile long promenade themed to resemble boardwalks in cities like Coney Island and Atlantic City USA. It is situated right next door to EPCOT Centre and many regular park visitors we have spoken to are not even aware that it exists! It is a charming and peaceful area to stroll through by day where you can enjoy an ice cream and a soda while you watch the world go by. At night it is more geared toward adult entertainment with an adults only duelling piano bar named JellyrollsAtlantic Dance Hall and ESPN Sports Club. There are also some great places to eat, in particular the very popular Flying Fish restaurant.  We love to stop by the Boardwalk whenever we visit Orlando and one of our favourite things to do is grab a delicious ice cream sundae at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop before we head into Epcot.
 
Disney's Boardwalk
Eat at Sanaa Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Villas
One of our favourite places to eat at Disneyworld is Sanaa Restaurant.  Situated at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village this excellent restaurant features African cooking with Indian flavors and we have enjoyed some delicious food here! What makes it even more special is the view. Out of the window is the famous Sunset Savannah and some seats give you an amazing view of  animals such as gazelles, zebras and giraffes which roam the grounds. We love to start with the Indian Style Bread Service featuring a choice of 5 naan breads and accompaniments while we wait for the main course, 'Potjie Inspired' which is a choice of 2 main dishes served with rice. Delicious!

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas and some of the delicious food on offer!

 

Cocktails, Chips & Guacamole at La Cava del Tequila

Hidden away in a quiet corner of the Mexico Pavillion at Epcot Centre is La Cava del Tequila. Here they serve more than 200 types of authentic tequila alongside various cocktails and Mexican beers and wines. We enjoy visiting this lovely and relaxing venue to take a break from the sunshine and sip a cocktail or two. To make things even better they serve amazing guacamole with warm tortilla chips which keep on coming! The surroundings resemble the cellar of a hacienda and the ambience is warm and comfortable. It is the perfect place to settle for a relaxing hour or two away from the rest of the Epcot crowds.
  

La Cava del Tequila
We hope that you have enjoyed our Orlando for Grown-Ups series. Remember that some of these activities could also be enjoyed by families with children or teens as well as adults only!

If you have any recommendations for us or our readers we would love for you to share them with us in the comments below!
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Starter Makeup Kit for Teens

One of our very good friends has a 15 year old daughter who is starting to get into makeup in a big way. Recently she asked our advice on some recommendations so that her daughter can to start to build her makeup collection. We were very excited at the prospect of putting together a starter kit tailored towards teenage girls to include budget friendly but great quality items. Even if you are not a teenager all of these suggestions are for fantastic, affordable makeup that we would recommend to all ages!
 

                                                                   Moisturiser

Let's start with a moisturiser. When it comes to affordable skincare for young skin we really don't think that there is anything that comes close to Simple products. Our choice of Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Light Moisturiser (with SPF15) is a great place to start. It is light enough for young skin and has no artificial perfume or colour so shouldn't aggravate teenage skin. It is currently £4.35 at Boots.com.
Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Light Moisturiser


Foundation

There are so many great drugstore foundations and we are particularly partial to Revlon  - in fact Revlon Colourstay is one of our all time favourite foundations. Bourjois also do some fantastic foundations that would be great for teenagers (Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation is a great option) but we decided to go with the Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation for our UK readers. This foundation comes in 6 shades and is currently on sale at the introductory offer of only £3.99 in Boots! It has a 'radiance boosting formula with a 'your skin but better’ finish' and has a long lasting medium/full coverage. Perfect for young ladies experimenting with foundation. As an alternative for our USA readers we love Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous as it gives a very natural look and light coverage. It has an oil free formula to create a long lasting shine free finish. It is also very affordable at $7.99.
L-R; Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous, NYX Full Coverage Concealer, NYX HD Concealer, Maybelline The Eraser Eye Concealer

CC Cream 

As an alternative to a foundation we would recommend the Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream. This is a fantastic lightweight and oil free CC Cream with a beautiful natural finish. Its a great light coverage option and although its a bit pricier at £9.99 it lasts for ages!  

Concealer

We couldnt have a concealer category and not mention the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer! A blogger holy grail product for many years this is pretty much a dupe for the much more expensive Nars Creamy Concealer and at £4.19 it pocket money priced! Another affordable favourite of ours is the NYX Cosmetics Concealer Wand and for a fuller coverage the NYX Concealer Jar both £5.50 and now available at Boots.com

Bronzer/Highlighter

We adore this Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit as it has everything you need in one! The contour shade is just perfect for underneath the cheekbones to give some definition and you don't need much as it is very pigmented! The bronzer shade warms the face up nicely. The highlighter in the kit is not at all glittery so no disco ball faces here! It is also a steal at £6.49.


L-R; Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit, Makeup Revolution Blushing Hearts Blush

Blush

We are recent converts to all things Makeup Revolution and really love their I Heart Makeup range of products. A perfect addition to any teenagers madeup bag would be the beautifully packaged I Heart Blush. We have the shade Blushing Heart and it is a gorgeous triple baked, shimmery pink blush that lasts all day! Makeup Revolution is available at Superdrug stores and this pretty blush is only £4.99.  

Eyeshadow

On the subject of Makeup Revolution you really can't go wrong with their amazing Chocolate Eye Shadow Palettes. We have them in White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate and each palette has 16 excellent quality and highly pigmented eye shadows in the, good enough to eat, chocolate bar packaging. Any of these palettes would make a fantastic first palette for a young lady who wants to experiment with shadow colours. At £7.99 these eyeshadows will not be breaking the bank.



Makeup Revolution Chocolate Palettes

Mascara and Brows

The Barry M Showgirl Extra Lengthening Mascara recently came into our possession when it was a free gift with the purchase of the Barry M nail polishes but it has fast become a favourite! It has a long and thin brush which grabs hold of every lash but does not look clumpy. It is only £4.99 and a great budget option. It also comes in pretty silver packaging that is sure to look great in any starter makeup kit. For brows the Collection Work the Colour Eyebrow Kit is an amazing affordable option to experiment with filling those brows and keeping them in place! At just £3.99 is offers exceptional value for money and comes with a mini brush, two eyebrow shades and a brow highlight as well as a clear brow gel.

Top: Barry M Showgirl Mascara, Collection Eyebrow Kit

Lips

We are huge fans of the lip crayon and one of our very favourites has to be the Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Proudly Naked. This is a perfect - your lips but better shade - and is natural enough for a younger teen to wear. They also come in 8 other shades for £7.99 each and the formula is moisturising and very comfortable to wear. Special mention to Maybelline Baby Lips too as these lip balms with colour are perfect to pop in your bag and top up throughout the day. We also really like the Electro Lip Balms which have more colour pigmentation and are more like a lipstick. At £2.99 each they are super affordable too. The final two lip products we would like to mention are a balm stain and a liquid lipstick. Revlon produce some amazing lip products and some of our favourite colours are in the Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain range. The one pictured is in the shade Honey however there are some fantastic shades to choose from and should be something there to suit everyone. The liquid lipstick, and a new discovery for us, is the Makeup Revolution I Heart Makeup Lip Lava in the shade Tremor. Its a long lasting but perfectly natural shade that is great for daytime wear if you are looking for a 'my lips but better' lip colour. These are just £2.99 at Superdrug or direct from the Makeup Revolution website.

L-R Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain, Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon, Makeup Revolution Lip Lava, Maybelline Baby Lips Dr Rescue

Whether you are a teenager yourself or you have a young daughter or relative who is discovering make up and building her collection there are so many fantastic and affordable products out there to experiment with. We hope that we have been able to help by suggesting some of our favourites.

Do you have any suggestions for our readers? We would love to hear them in the comments below!   
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumn/Winter Eyeshadows you have to have!


Left to right: Mac Naked Lunch, Mac All That Glitters, Make Up Geek Peach Smoothie, Mac De-Vil (LE), Mac Cranberry, Mac Vainglorious (LE), Make Up Geek Cinderella, Make Up Geek Country Girl, Make Up Geek Bitten
 
The only thing better than a berry lip has to be a berry eye! Although a lot of these shadows look intimidating in the pan they all have a very easy to wear quality to them. I always start every look with Peach Smoothie by Make Up Geek through my crease it warms up any eye look and even looks good alone with some mascara. One of the more daring colours I love is Mac De-Vil which I purchased from the Venomous Villains collection a few years ago. Its a metallic orange/red shade which looks great paired with the other shade from that collection Vainglorious in the crease. As you can probably tell my everyday shadow is Naked Lunch, a gorgeous pink toned champagne shimmer shadow which is effortless but looks great alone or with a smoky eye. So don't be afraid to experiment with some beautiful berry or burnt orange shades during these colder months! You won't be disappointed!  
 
Mimi x
 
 What are your favourite Autumn/Winter eyeshadows? 
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Orlando for Grown-Ups - Part 1

We have enjoyed many happy holidays in Orlando and over the years we have enjoyed the usual child and family friendly attractions that Orlando has to offer. Now that we are all older we still enjoy visiting the parks however we have also discovered additional things to do that are more 'adult friendly' and we really wanted to share them with you! So if you love Orlando but feel the need to escape from the kids sometimes read on!
 
Eating & Drinking:

Orlando has some fantastic restaurants and bars that many people never get to experience as they are not well known to the crowds of tourists who visit each year. Some are a little off the beaten track but some are bypassed by the crowds every day and maybe you have never thought to go in them! Here are some of our favourites:
 
Emerils Universal Citywalk: We enjoyed an amazing meal here this summer! We first heard of chef Emeril Lagasse as we are big fans of USA TV show Top Chef and he appears quite regularly on the show as a guest judge. We wanted to book a more 'upscale' restaurant for a bit of a fancy dinner and as we were staying on site we got a reservation here. The meal was fantastic and the service second to none! We were even given free desserts as we were celebrating the night we went. If you are looking for a restaurant to book for a celebration or a romantic dinner then you can't go wrong with Emerils.
 
  

Emerils at Universal Citywalk
Teak Neighborhood Grill: Teak is a rustic bar/restaurant that serves the most AMAZING burgers. They also have a famous cocktail and beer menu that would keep even the most fussy drinker happy! They are open daily until 2am and regularly have live musicians playing while you enjoy the great food and drink on offer. It is situated North of Universal Orlando Resort and well worth a visit. We had The Pig and it certainly lived up to its name!
 
Teak Neighborhood Grill

Yellow Dog Eats: Situated in a fantastic old historic building in the area of Gotha, Yellow Dog Eats is an experience as well as an eaterie. With a menu serving such delights as Hot Diggity Dawg, The Holy Crap and Drunken Pig you know you are in for something a bit different. As the name would suggest it is a dog friendly establishment and when we visited many cute pups were in attendance! The owners encourage their customers to pin dog photos to the wall of the bar and it is fun to check out the snaps of beloved pets while you await your order.


 Pat O'Briens: You will find Pat O'Briens at Universal Citywalk and it comes alive at night! An authentic reproduction of a New Orleans’ bar it is home to our favourite duelling pianos and the famous Hurricane cocktail (once you have finished the drink you can take the glass home!) The duelling piano players will play any request you jot down on a serviette and wrap in a couple of dollars - believe me we have tested them! A great spot for cocktails, live music and a sing-along.


Shopping:

We always make time for shopping when we are in Orlando as they have some great malls and outlets where you can bag a bargain! These are our favourites:
 
Mall at Millenia: Only 3 miles away from Universal Orlando Resort, Millenia is our favourite shopping mall in the area and home to Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and many high end designers such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. It also houses the Cheesecake Factory which is very popular with the tourists and always has a queue! We really enjoy the pace of this shopping centre as it is usually quieter than the nearby Florida Mall. Even if you do not make a purchase it is a lovely place to browse the designer stores and people watch.
Winter Park: This is an upscale town North of Orlando and has a beautiful feel of Southern charm. It is slower paced than the busy tourist areas and has the most beautiful park and shopping street called Park Avenue. Park Avenue is the home of many independent boutiques and perfect if you are looking for something a little bit different.

Winter Park
Premium Outlets: There are two main shopping outlets in the Orlando area; one is just off the I4 on Vineland Road and the other at the very top end of International Drive. These outlets offer many different outlet stores where you can pick up pretty much anything including clothes, accessories and beauty items. Both have lots of parking and a food court where you can grab a refreshment while you spend your money! You can pick up some great bargains from stores such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Guess, Saks off Fifth and Guess. We always visit the outlets multiple times when we are in Orlando as some of the handbag bargains are unmissable!
 
 

We hope this gives you a few ideas of some things to do and places to go if you are an adult visiting the Orlando area. However, don't forget that the parks are not just for kids! We have spent many fun times at the Disney and Universal parks as grown-ups and continue to enjoy visiting the parks as big kids too!
Do you have any tips for adults visiting Orlando? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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Sunday, November 01, 2015

We'll Be Back....!

We are currently enjoying a break in the sunshine. We will be back Monday 9th November

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates and photos of our travels!

Have a great week and we will see you soon!


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