Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast Live Action Review

I've been thinking about reviewing Disney's latest live action offering, Beauty and the Beast, ever since I watched it. While I would rather it be in video format I don't really have much time to sit down and film at the moment, so thought I would write a blog post on my thoughts about the film while its still relevant.Now I'm not someone who reviews movies, so bare with me through my turbulent thought process as this is going to be far from a perfectly written review.

Beauty and the Beast has been one of the most anticipated films for quite a long while, even before casting was confirmed. I am always a little hesitant about Disney live action films, especially after seeing how they butchered my favourite villain, Maleficent. My faith was restored by Cinderella, which I think was done beautifully, but I was still a little on the fence when Beauty and the Beast was announced. I wasn't surprised when Emma Watson was cast as Belle, not really seeing a reason why she shouldn't be, even if the Harry Potter nerd in me was screaming "She will never not be Hermione!" Fast forward to the first trailer release, and I found myself rather excited. However, as more trailers and clips were released, the more disappointed I became. I just wasn't at all that bothered. Now here is where the real review begins. Sitting in the cinema with my friends, a fanta ice blast and some salted popcorn, I tried to go into it with no judgements.

The first thing I have to say is that Belle was the weakest part of the whole film. I found her lackluster, her auto tuned singing awful without any sort of emotion and her acting rather stagnant. Then comes her chemistry, or lack of, with the Beast. I just didn't see any sort of connection between them at all. Everything felt forced. Let's not even talk about that ballroom scene that had me cringing so hard that I had to cover my eyes at one point. I mean, I know that at the end of the day it must be incredibly difficult for an actress to show emotion towards a cgi beast, but I just expected more. Did anyone else also hear that random growl made by human beast at the end of the film? NO NO NO! I just cant even. 

Now let's talk about the strongest part of the whole film. Gaston and Lefou. These two literally made the whole film for me. Their character development was shown so well and I found myself waiting with anticipation for their next scene. What I love about Luke Evans' portrayal of Gaston in particular, is that he was shown exactly as I imagine Gaston to be. In reality, the character of Gaston is the worst Disney villain of all, as he could be anyone. He is the most realistic. He portrays the real issue of domestic abuse. At the start of the film I almost found myself feeling sorry for him and half rooting for him. That is, until he doesn't get his own way and snaps, becoming a vicious monster. You can see in parts him trying to control his temper and manipulate those around him to get what he wants. It actually makes me kinda nervous about how many people gush over Gaston as he is truly a horrific person. 
Lefou is another character who really impressed me, having so much more personality in the live action than was ever given to him in the animation. Josh Gad really made Lefou his own and I found his little quips hilariously sassy. Their chemistry together was outstanding and their scenes made me feel so many things from pity to anger to empowerment, at Lefou's actions in the castle.

Other stand out performances included Maurice, who I really connected with and felt for during the film; the duo of Lumiere and Cogsworth, who else belly laughed at that one liner by Ian McKellan at the end; and Plumette, who was never a stand out character in the animation but had a more central role in the live action. 

The story itself generally followed that of the original film, but gave us more of a backstory to Belles life, which I loved. Having those unanswered questions included within the plot made me connect to the story more and I really enjoyed hearing more about Belle and Beasts families. I also enjoyed how the characters within the castle had relatives in the village and really like the fan theory currently circulating, that the village was frozen in time along with those in the castle.

The cinematography of the film was simply breathtaking. The visuals were one of the most redeeming qualities about the film, being an absolute joy for my eyes. The "Be Our Guest" scene was one of my favourites of the whole movie, it looking and sounding incredible. Speaking of sound, I do have to say that i wasn't a fan of the new songs. I just found them a bit dull and uninspiring. The song everyone is gushing about, Evermore I believe it's called, was just super unnecessary for me and I found myself wishing it would hurry up and be over.

Overall I did enjoy Beauty and the Beast, but it was just okay. I am a total Emma Watson fan, but she just wasn't Belle. Belle and Beast just didn't live up to my expectations. The rest of the film, amazing, but with the main characters not being a highlight, I just don't find myself loving the film. By all means it wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect either. 

What did you think of the Beauty and the Beast live action adaptation? Did you love it or find it just okay?

Friday, 3 February 2017

Jane Porter Cosplay

Cosplay has always been something i've been interested in, but never actually taken part in, being someone who tended to admire fabulous costumes from afar. I'm not that savvy with a sewing machine, nor really have the time to learn, and to buy outfits can work out expensive. However, having decided upon visiting Disneyland Paris for the Halloween Soiree I knew I wanted to "do it properly" and what better character to dress up as than my favourite, Jane Porter. Anyone who knows me knows of my love for Tarzan, so Jane was at the top of my list. 

Firstly I had to find someone who would make the dress. After abit of a google search and a browse on Etsy, I decided to message the lovely Bel from Closet Geek. I had seen alot of her work before as she makes the outfits for Amy and her daughter, so was confident that she would create something perfect! We had a few back and forth emails, agreeing on a material, time frame, some examples of what I wanted, my measurements and pricing. The result was this gorgeous dress that met all my expectations and more. Add a few accessories and I'm as close to Jane Porter as I'm going to get! I think for the future I definitely want to add to it by having shoe covers and a "poofier" petticoat, maybe a bit of shoulder padding. It was such a surreal evening and so many people stopped me to take my photo (awkward but fun). What a fabulous first step into the world of cosplay.

Have you ever cosplayed a Disney character before? Who would you most like to cosplay?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Learning to Drive as a Twenty-Something

So this month marks a year since I passed my driving test, and as my sister is currently going through the process, I thought I would write a post about learning to drive in your twenties. As a seventeen year old, learning to drive never really interested me. I knew I wanted to eventually of course, but I was in no rush and would have rather spent the money I got from my weekend job on social activities. I never got EMA and my parents didn't give me money, so driving wasn't something I needed or wanted at the time. Fast forward a few years through university where again, I never really needed to drive. When moving back home from uni, I ended up talking myself into taking lessons as it was something my parents wanted me to do and I had adopted more of the mind set of "well i don't need it now but i may as well get it over and done with". Something that frustrates me alot is the whole "i passed first time" mindset. When I spoke to people about passing I had so many say straight off the bat "i passed first time", and its a little annoying. Most people take several tries to pass their practical and while I'm sure those who pass first time are proud of themselves, there is no need to piss on someone else's parade with your comments that can make people feel a little less "worthy". It took 3 attempts for me to pass, so here's my personal experience of learning to drive at 24.

The Theory Test - 2014
After a few months of lessons, I put in for my theory test, which I failed. It was a little bit of a shock to me as I had never failed anything in my life. Annoyingly I got 1 of the questions wrong, but it was the hazard perception that did me. I was too nervous about if i was clicking too much, not enough and ended up failing that section. Straight away I booked another theory and was ecstatic to pass second time. One step done, one more to go. The driving school I was doing my lessons with provided a website for me to log in to and revise for my theory, but there are plenty of smartphone apps out there to use that I found really handy for when I was out and about.

The First Attempt - 2014
A few weeks later I had my practical test which was going fine until the manoeuvre, the dreaded reverse park. I ended up turning too soon and being too far away from the curb, so instead of reversing back abit more to fix it, I went forward, which is apparently an instant fail. Unfortunately (or fortunatly?) that very day I was heading down to London to go and work on a cruise ship so life didn't see me do anything more with driving until 2015.

The Second Attempt - 2016
At the end of 2015 I thought it was about time I started the process of learning to drive again. Mostly because my theory test certificate, which is valid for 2 years, ran out in early 2016 so I didn't want to have to go through that again. I started with a different instructor, as my previous one had no spaces, and honestly it was horrific. He was so discouraging, told me off and I felt like i learned nothing. Luckily my previous instructor, a lovely lady named Emma from Monarch Driving School St Helens, had some spaces open up so I went back with her. I cannot stress how important it is to find an instructor you click with. With Emma I felt so confident and learned so much. So, my second attempt rolled around in January 2016. This was one of those moments I really kicked myself for afterwards. I ended up getting 4 minors in the test, and 1 major, which caused me to fail. I stalled at traffic lights due to being in the wrong gear, something I had never ever done before, and must have panicked because I then stalled again. As there was cars behind me waiting, this apparently is why he had to fail me. The examiner was so apologetic about it and said he hated that he had to fail me as everything else was great, it was just that one silly mistake.

The Third Attempt - 2016
My third attempt was a little different in that I used a service which finds a cancellation for you, as the wait for my area was quite long. How it works is, you book your test through the normal means then sign up to one of these websites, pay £19 and they will find you a cancellation. You can put specific days and times for them to look for, to which they will then send you a text giving you a certain amount of time to reply if you want it. The price you pay is for unlimited searches, even if you fail another test. I ended up booking a test for February, a few days after returning from Disneyland Paris. Third time was the charm for me, and to my relief I passed!  

The main issue I had with learning to drive as an adult is the money side of it. I had life to pay for, rent, food etc, and it can be difficult financially to fork out nearly £100 a month for lessons plus the costs of booking the theory and practical, especially if you don't pass them first time. I would really recommend saving for a bit before taking out lessons, it makes things so much easier and takes less of a bite out of your income. The way I see it though, is that you never know what life will throw at you and what opportunities will present themselves to you. As it turns out I had to move back home a few months later, my job being 30 miles away, so being able to drive meant I could keep my job. I was also given a promotion to manage a different site soon after, something I wouldn't have been able to do if i didn't drive. Forking out for a car and insurance straight away was abit crap, but luckily I had some savings and being an adult driver, my insurance was cheaper than it would have been had I been 17. As cliche as it sounds, I now couldn't imagine not having a car, it just makes things so much easier and yanno, Fiat 500s are just the cutest little cars ever!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Quick Service Meals | Vegan in Disneyland Resort

Unlike Disneyland Paris, the American parks are much more accommodating towards vegan diets, with plenty of options to choose from in both quick service and full service. Mind you, it still takes abit of research, having already created a list beforehand of places I wanted to try and it's still recommended to ask about ingredients as they can change at any time. Honestly, as much as I love DLP, the food is terrible quality compared to the US parks and I found myself thoroughly impressed with the amount of options available to me. Of course, there is plenty I am still yet to try, but be sure to keep an eye out for "part 2" as there is no doubt that I will be returning to Disneyland Resort a few time during my CRP program.

Royal Street Veranda - New Orleans Square (DLR)

The Vegetarian Gumbo at Royal Street Veranda was my first taste of food in DLR and oh my did it set the tone for the whole holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed it and having never tried Gumbo before, got major princess and the frog feelz. Being served in a sourdough bread bowl made the carb lover in my rejoice! It's served Vegan as is, so no need to ask for it without anything.

Lucky Fortune Cookery - Pacific Wharf (DCA)

Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I love Asian food, so this Asian Rice Bowl with Tofu was just what the tofu obsessive in me needed. Make sure to get it without sauce as i do believe none of them are vegan. Edamame is also available here as a side which I totally regretted not getting at the time.

Award Weiners - Hollywood Land (DCA)

I was abit hesitant that the Vegetarian Portabello Mushroom Philly was going to be a little bland as originally it comes with cheese (to veganise ask for it without), but i need not have worried. The veggies were amazing and cooked to perfection. I opted for the meal deal which comes with crisps/apple slices and a drink. 


What would any Disney trip be without indulging on a few signature snacks? Luckily, there are several treats for Vegans to try in Disneyland, including the famous Dole Whip. Other options include Popcorn, Mickey Pretzels, Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade and Cotton Candy. Remember, the Starbucks on Main Street/Buena Vista Street also serve Soya versions of your favourite drinks!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Donald Duck Disneybound

Last year was a pretty good year for Disneybounds and I really fell in love with the movement, especially when visiting Disney Parks. There's something about channeling your favourite characters in every day life that really inspires me, as I'm far from fashionable. I was lucky enough to spend my 25th birthday in Disneyland Paris, so really wanted to make an effort with my outfit. What better way to do that, than Disneybounding my favourite character, Donald Duck.
This was such a simple outfit to put together and apart from the shoes, pretty cheap. Practically everything is from ebay!

Top: Primark
Skirt: Topshop (Ebay)
Belt: Ebay
Tights: Ebay
Choker: Ebay
Shoes: Converse
Bow: ExtraSweetBowtique on Etsy

The day was absolutely amazing, being gorgeous weather and having the best time with my mum. This was my first time spending my birthday in a disney park and I cant believe im going to be lucky enough to spend my 26th in Walt Disney World. A new tradition maybe?

What character would you like to Disneybound?


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

IM MOVING TO WALT DISNEY WORLD | Cultural Representative Program 2017-2018

So as the title suggests, I'm moving back to Orlando! On December 5th 2016 I received the email that I had been accepted onto Walt Disney World's Cultural Representative Program and on June 12th 2017, will be heading to Florida for a whole year to work in the UK Pavilion within Epcot! It has been my dream since completing my ICP in 2013, to go back and work for the mouse and it's finally happening. To be honest, it's still not fully sunk in and I don't think it will until I am sitting on that plane ready to begin the most magical year of my life. 
As always I will be vlogging my whole experience, which you can check out on my YouTube Channel and hopefully keeping upto date on my Disney International Programs Blog which I started back before my ICP.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue”  
- Walt Disney


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Books I Read in 2016

2016 was definitely the year of books. I've always been a big reader, but last year was the first time I had ever set myself any reading goals and actually found myself becoming borderline obsessed with combing amazon and BookTube for interesting titles. I read a total of 56 books last year including a few revisits to series I love and some new discoveries. Some of my favourites of the year include;

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare
The Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus Series' by Rick Riordan
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

I generally sick with reading the same fantasy genres, and I would say that I hope to branch out a little more this year, but lets be honest now, fantasy has my heart and there is just so much more left for me to discover that I just can't resist. There are so many amazing releases coming out in 2017 that I am excited for and I already have a TBR list a mile long. Here's to another great reading year.


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