Lotte World

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When planning our trip to Seoul we found out about Lotte World and decided to take a visit. I think theme park days are necessary in long trips because although I love sight-seeing it can be good to have a day of fun where you don’t have to worry about rushing to the next thing or looking up directions all the time etc. So we decided to spend our last full day in South Korea at Lotte World.

On the morning we were a bit worried we’d arrive and it would be closed – when Becca and Jess looked on their phones it said closed but my phone had the opening hours and specified it was open on Sundays. In the end we decided that the ‘closed’ was talking about a particular ride, took the chance and went on the hour long bus journey to Lotte World.

Luckily when we arrived it was open and we joined the queue to buy our tickets. We visited on a Sunday so the queues were quite long but not horrendously long. I can’t comment on whether the tickets were reasonably priced because I’ve forgotten how much they were and I really didn’t understand Korean won anyway.

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Once we had our tickets we beeped inside and went up the escalator stairs. Most of the park is indoors and at first it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of stuff to do. We kind of walked around in a daze because we weren’t really sure what was on offer when we came across an animal section so we decided to give that a go. We got confused and thought we needed our park ticket to get in and Becca realised she’d somehow managed to lose hers.

We tried to retrace her footsteps but couldn’t find it which she wasn’t thrilled about. Jess found a mirror maze so Becca waited outside while we tried to figure out the ticketing system. I was initially annoyed because this cost extra to enter and I thought this would be the case for all of the rides but luckily it wasn’t, only for certain ‘special’ attractions. We paid the money and went inside.

We were given rubber gloves to wear which made my hands feel all gross and for some reason halfway through I got jumped scared by some fairy thing on one of the mirrors. There was also a laser bit where you had to try and get across the room in time without touching the lasers, something me and Jess failed at. When we got to the end there was a bench decorated to look Halloween themed and a voice kept telling us to sit down. Because of the jump scare I was on edge and was convinced something would jump out behind us so I held onto Jess and couldn’t keep my chill even though it was just a photo opportunity. The woman watching us outside on the screen must’ve thought we were so weird.

Neither of us bought the photo and we went looking for the next thing and there was a pirate barrels ride (I think) which was sort of like the teacups but the platform tilts as well which Jess wanted to go on. Becca did too but was worried she couldn’t go on without her ticket so I gave her mine because after a dodgy waltzers experience I’m not a massive fan of stuff like that anymore. Turns out we didn’t need our tickets for any free rides so she got on without any problems and the two of them had a good time.

After that they wanted to go on the pirate ship but again, not a fan, so I sat this one out. I’d been smart this time though and had brought a book with me. To be fair it was nice to just have some time to chill by myself after travelling together for so long. The queue for that took a while but I didn’t mind ‘cos I could sit down and chill.

By this point I was ready for lunch so asked the others if they were hungry and luckily they were so we headed over to TGI Friday’s to see if they had any veggie options. Thankfully they did so we queued up – I got some ribs with fries and an orange juice which was probably one of the best meals I had whilst in Asia to be honest, it was so tasty.

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TGI Friday’s was right next to the carasoul and we always have to ride the carasoul whenever we visit a theme park so we queued for that and as per usual that was tons of fun.

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After that I needed to pee so I went in search of a bathroom while Becca and Jess queued for what they thought was a rollercoaster. When I came back they’d been on the ride but it hadn’t been the one they were expecting, I can’t remember what they did go on. We decided to head back to the animals section to have a look in there but Becca didn’t want to come in because she’s not a fan of things like zoos or aquariums so me and Jess paid the extra and headed inside.

It was okay, there were a few animals and it was sweet but it wasn’t mind-blowing or anything. At one point me and Jess came across a barrel full of dirt and she said “Hollie, it’s a lucky dip, if you stick your hand in and feel around you’ll find a fossil.” So I was like “… Are you gonna stick your hand in?” and she was like “If you stick yours in first.” So I went round and had a look at the sign myself which said nothing about a lucky dip or fossils, the little shit. There was also a turtle shell that you could crawl inside of – I didn’t stand a chance of fitting in it but I dared Jess to and she did which looked absolutely hilarious.

When we came out they’d roped off the middle bit for the parade so when we found Becca we decided to sit down and watch it because we’re all suckers for a parade. For a while not much was happening when suddenly two guys whizzed past us dressed like vampires. Then the parade got properly started and I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit weird and sometimes inappropriate like they’d have female animal characters with curves and large breasts like it was a bit strange. My favourite part was when the parade came to a standstill and somebody dressed in a devil costume started dancing in front of us, he was proper going for it.

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Overall it was a good parade and it had catchy songs, I still get ‘you’ve got a pum-pum-pumpkin head’ stuck in my head sometimes. I’m so glad we visited in October because the parade was Halloween themed and it was awesome, I love Halloween so much.

We got up to head onto the next ride and Jess had spotted a ride she liked the look of, it was either Aladdin themed or like something similar to Aladdin – Sinbad maybe? I dunno, an adventure ride anyway. I had a look at the warnings and decided that I wouldn’t be a fan so again I sat this one out. There was quite another long wait but it didn’t matter too much – they came off and said the ride had been fun.

Then we went into a haunted house attraction which again cost extra but we love horror themed stuff so of course we had to do that. We headed in with a couple who were initially in front of us but then for some reason asked us to go first. I was doing my usual thing of screaming and begging somebody to hold my hand but everybody refused. We’d been warned before we went in not to hit the actors but to be fair it would’ve been pretty difficult because I don’t remember that many people jumping out and the ones I do remember were behind cages. To be honest it was a little disappointing because compared to other horror walkthroughs we’ve been on it wasn’t that scary. I was freaking out because I was worried stuff would happen but like… Nothing did happen.

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The horror attraction was right next to an arcade which we went into and spent a while in there. I love arcades but in the UK I hate spending my money in them because it feels like such a waste – I spent tons in arcades in Asia, we all won so much stuff in Osaka in one of the arcades it was unreal. We didn’t win much in the first arcade at Lotte World – we went on a few crane machines, I went on the basketball machine and Jess played a dart balloon game but nothing.

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Becca and Jess queued again for that ride they’d wanted to go on earlier (where they joined the wrong queue) which was a big rollercoaster with a loop but again they joined a different queue by accident and ended up on something else. By this point we felt we were pretty much done with this floor so we headed upstairs.

Up there we found another arcade which was mostly full of crane machines so we tried our luck in there but didn’t win anything unfortunately. We walked further along the corridor and found another little arcade and this had a dance machine and when we went on it we discovered it had K-Pop songs which was awesome! I did enjoy it but I wasn’t as good as I normally am because after two weeks of walking around Asia my legs hurt and I was exhausted but it was a lot of fun.

We carried on walking along the corridor and discovered an outside bit which looked really cool and was decorated for Halloween. Becca was a bit of a shit too because we went inside this castle and behind some glass there was a wax figurine and Becca went “Oh My God, did he just move?” so I was looking closely at it and she jump-scared me. If you’re planning on going to Lotte World and are a fan of big rides I’d advise heading straight to the outdoors bit because there were a ton of rides but unfortunately it was early evening by this point so the queues were really long. Becca and Jess finally found the queue for that ride they’d been trying to find all day but it was the biggest queue there so they gave it a miss.

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We headed back inside because we didn’t want to queue for anything and then me and Jess decided we were ready for dinner. Becca wasn’t so she sat outside on her phone while me and Jess went into Panda Express or something I wanna say? They had these like mix-and-match boxes so we both had noodles and Jess had orange chicken whilst I had spicy beef. I’d assumed this would be similar to some rainbow beef I’d made at home but I should’ve figured while I was in Asia that SPICY BEEF meant SPICY beef. My biggest rookie mistake though was eating a piece of beef with what I thought was a green bean to ‘cool it down’. Whatever it was contained seeds and was extremely spicy to the point I was crying while eating because I’m super white and can’t handle spice.

After dinner we had a look at one of the stalls and Jess decided we should get some matching Pokémon headbands. Becca wouldn’t so Jess got an Eevee one and I got a Squirtle one. We also found some of those ‘lucky dip’ boxes where you buy a box but don’t know which figure you’re getting so me and Jess both got one, mine was Pokémon themed again which we decided to open later at the hotel.

We made our way back towards the main part of Lotte World and stopped in the arcade with the K-Pop dance machine again on the way back. I had a go with Jess then Becca went on with Jess whilst I went on the crane machine and managed to win myself a Pikachu plushie!

We decided we fancied some sweet food so we went back to the main bit and Becca and Jess got the cutest bunny candyfloss I’ve ever seen. I’m not the biggest fan of candyfloss but I couldn’t resist trying some too and it was pretty tasty. Then we headed over to a stall that sells chocolate and cookies and I was having a debate about which I wanted until I realised I’m an adult who earns her own money AND CAN BUY BOTH IF I WANT. They’d sold out of most nice things but I had a pink biscuit and a chocolate on a stick – they were in the shape of the two mascots but I don’t know enough about Lotte World to name them or anything.

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The middle section had been roped off again so there was clearly going to be another parade so we sat down to watch it. This one was even more fun ‘cos they switch off the main lights and the parade is light themed and there was even indoor fireworks. It was amazing, Lotte World were good at parades.

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Then we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel but we’d manage to spend a long day there and it was amazing. If I was ever in Seoul again I’d definitely go back because I’m pretty sure we didn’t see the entire park. Theme park days are just so necessary on long trips and I’m so glad the three of us went.

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Get to Know Me – 100 Questions Tag

Me

Guess who’s got writers block again? If you guessed me you guessed correctly. Until I sort myself out and start coming up with original blog posts again you can enjoy reading these tags in which I answer questions about myself. This one has 100 questions, how exciting!

1. What’s your favourite season?

Definitely Autumn, the temperature is just right and my birthdays in Autumn!

2. Grab the nearest book to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4.

“Either way, blissfully, I fell asleep after the in-flight meal of sausages that looked like the poos of constipated toddlers.” Delightful.

3. Who was the last person you texted?

I don’t normally text many people except for family; if I’m messaging my friends I use Facebook. So it’s no surprise that the last person I text was my Mum.

4. Before you started this survey, what were you doing?

I put my clothes in the washing machine which is super exciting but did need to be done ‘cos the basket was overflowing.

5. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

I don’t really watch the TV because my parents are always in the living room watching it and I don’t like being around my step-dad so I watch Netflix on my laptop usually. I did however sit in the living room on Friday night after they’d gone to bed and watch some Family Guy.

6. Without looking guess what time it is

16:46?

7. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?

16:49! So close!

8. With the exception of your computer, what can you hear?

I have my headphones on and I’m listening to ‘Touch’ by SoRi so nothing else really.

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9. Do you tan or burn?

I do find my arms get quite tan but nothing else because I don’t really show much else. I do burn quite easily though.

10. Do you like fish?

I like going to the aquarium and looking at them but I don’t like eating them too much.

11. Mac or PC?

I’m sure I’d love a mac if I could afford one but unfortunately right now I can only afford PC.

12. Do you remember your dreams?

Most of the time yes, even if I don’t always completely remember it I can remember snippets of them. I’m so glad I’m someone that can remember my dreams I think they’re so interesting.

13. When did you last laugh?

I’m pretty sure it was yesterday.

14. Do you remember why/at what?

My brother was making some Christmas cards and clearly enjoying it. The first time I asked who the card was for he said “Santa!” And then every time after that he insisted it was for ‘Nan’ even though we made Nan’s first. He just kept making me laugh.

15. Have you ever been to Canada?

Unfortunately not but I’d love to one day!

16. Shoes, socks or bare feet?

Um well it depends. If I’m going out then shoes, just chilling at home then socks and if I’m getting into bed then bare feet.

18. What is the last film you saw?

I don’t know why but I suddenly really wanted to rewatch ‘The Muppet’s Christmas Carol’ because I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid. I’m not sure why I was so desperate to watch it because it always creeped me out as a kid but I did. So I bought it on iTunes and watched it today and ended up really enjoying it.

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19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I’ve always said I could never live abroad but lately I really love the idea of living in Tokyo. The only thing that would put me off is the extreme weather ‘cos we had a couple of typhoons and an earthquake alert while we were over there. But I loved the city so much and I definitely want to go back someday. If I could live anywhere I’m pretty sure I’d pick Tokyo but I’d have to get used to the food ‘cos I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. If only I could speak Japanese and could actually afford to do that…

20. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

Plane tickets. So many plane tickets.

21. Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Pretty sure this was already a question.

22. What’s your favourite band?

This question always stresses me out ‘cos like do K-Pop groups count as ‘bands’? If they do then BTS I guess. If not then I love ‘Tonight Alive’ as well.

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23. Have you ever had to have surgery?

Apparently when I was 2 I split my tongue open because I slipped on our fire place and they had to stitch it back together. I don’t remember it though and other than that I haven’t had anything fortunately.

24. Do you enjoy school?

I actually don’t go to school anymore but I wouldn’t say I hated it at the time. Most of the teachers were okay, I did well in all of my subjects (except Science) and I liked spending time with my friends. Obviously there were things I didn’t enjoy like PE, homework, assholes, asshole teachers etc. But I wouldn’t say I had a shit time at school.

25. What do you think of these questions so far?

I’m still answering them so I guess I’m having fun.

26. Are you a righty or a lefty?

Righty which isn’t very interesting as so are most of the planet. More convenient though I imagine.

27. Who made the last incoming call on your phone?

My friend Jo but I missed the call ‘cos I was on my work phone but I did call her back. Last person I actually answered the phone to was my Mum. I don’t really call many people; I much prefer texting or meeting in person.

28. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?

The Muppets Christmas Carol I suppose? I did also download more ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ songs earlier.

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29. Last time you swam in a pool?

Um, I think it was back in April when me and my sisters went to a spa with my step-mum for the day. I can’t remember any other times, I don’t really like swimming that much.

30. Type of music you dislike most?

I don’t think I have one, I like most music.

31. Are you listening to music right now?

I’m nearly always listening to music. Right now I’m listening to Jennie’s ‘Solo’.

32. What’s your favourite colour?

Pink. I don’t own many pink things but I love it.

33. Is there anything that you’re disappointed about?

I’m disappointed in myself a little bit. I told myself that after last year I would make sure this year was good but I still feel like shit. I think next year will be about analysing what makes me feel so crap and trying to eliminate it.

34. What was the last thing you bought?

Other than my ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’ purchase from earlier I went shopping yesterday after looking after my brother. I got quite a bit of chocolate. Maybe too much chocolate…

35. Sun or rain?

If I’m staying in I quite like looking at the rain except for the times I worry a thunder storms going to start. I don’t love the sun to be fair like it can be nice but when it’s so bright that I can barely see and I’m at risk of burning no matter where I work… I prefer slightly cloudy with a slight breeze.

36. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?

At the moment I can barely sit on a plane without panicking so no.

37. What’s your zodiac sign?

Libra.

38. What’s your hair colour?

Naturally I’m blonde. At the moment I’m purple with my blonde roots coming back through because I haven’t dyed it since September 26th. I’m waiting to re-dye it in the new year.

39. What quote do you live by?

‘Treat people how you want to be treated’. I try to be a good person but I’m worried that I’m not always so I try and live by that quote.

40. What’s your favourite zoo animal?

Elephants – I’d love to see them in the wild someday.

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41. Do you have any pets?

Unfortunately not but although I’d love pets in theory I travel a lot and go on last minute trips so realistically they wouldn’t be very practical.

42. What colour are your eyes?

Blue! Like my Mum’s.

43. Do you wear any kind of jewellery 24/7?

Hirst got me, Becca and Jess a bracelet for Christmas with all of our initials on which we all wear all the time. We’ve had various ‘best friends’ jewellery over the last few years and this is the first one we’ve had where one of us hasn’t lost it or stopped wearing it.

44. Do you turn the water off when you brush your teeth?

Oh My God yes, what kind of savage doesn’t? What a waste!

45. Do you know how to change your car’s oil?

I don’t own a car or know how to drive one, let alone know how to change the oil.

46. Do you have any phobias?

No, I’m scared of a lot of things but I wouldn’t say I have a phobia of anything. Like I’m terrified of flying but I’m sure that if it was a ‘phobia’ I wouldn’t get on planes at all.

47. What’s your lucky number?

21 because the fact it can be divided by 7 and 3 makes me really happy for some reason even though I don’t like the numbers 7 or 3.

48. Have you ever eaten a crayon?

Can’t say I have. I’ve done some stupid things in the past but not like that.

49. Can you solve a Rubix cube?

No I cannot.

50. What are you listening to right now?

I’m now listening to ‘Answer: Love Myself’ by BTS.

51. Do you like marmite?

I’ve actually never tried it but I decided a long time ago the answer was no. The look of it alone is off-putting.

52. Do you wear the hood on hoodies?

I mean, yes if it’s raining. Otherwise no.

53. Is the glass half empty or half full?

Regardless of the whole optimist or pessimist thing I would always say half full because that just seems the more logical answer. Who describes something as half empty?

54. What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?

Japan which I’m super happy to say I’ve now visited.

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55. Do you untie your shoes before taking them off?

No unless I’ve tied them too tightly and I have no choice. If they can be slipped off I’ll always slip them off.

56. What’s your favourite radio station?

The only radio I listen to is in the morning in my Mum’s car on the way to work and even then unless they’re talking about something really interesting I’d rather just talk to my Mum.

57. Are you allergic to anything?

Luckily no!

58. Were you named after anyone?

I think I already mentioned this but no, I was nearly called Nicole but it was too similar to my cousin Nicky so they made that my middle name. My Mum says my Dad wanted to call me Rochene which is something he always denies. I’m very glad I’m not called Rochene, no offence to any other Rochene’s out there.

59. Do you wear glasses/contacts?

I wear glasses yes and I’ve always wished I didn’t but now I don’t mind. When I wore contacts briefly in school a lot of people asked what was wrong with my eyes because apparently they droop. Now I hate my eyes but you don’t really notice them as much with my glasses.

60. Have you ever walked out of a movie theatre before the film was finished?

Three times. The first was when me and Jess were killing time so we decided to see ‘Unfinished Business’ because it looked pretty funny. It wasn’t, we got bored so quickly that eventually she asked me if I wanted to go so I quickly agreed. Then we went to a ‘Screen Unseen’ at ODEON where you find out the film when you sit down and it was some French film we hadn’t heard of so we left. Then again we went to a ‘Secret Screening’ at Cineworld and I can’t even remember the name of the film, some action film that was super boring.

61. What’s your least favourite school subject?

At the time it was Science. Or PE. But at least I could get out of PE in Year 11. Science just had to be a core subject.

62. Put your iTunes library on shuffle. What’s the first song that comes up?

‘Kyary no March’ by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu which technically isn’t even a proper song.

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63. Do you wear jeans or sweatpants more?

I don’t really wear sweatpants so I’m gonna say jeans even though I mostly wear leggings because I own quite a few dresses.

64. Where in the world would you like to travel?

Literally anywhere. I will happily go anywhere. Japan was always my top destination and now that’s been ticked off I’m a little lost about where I want to go the most. At the moment I’m thinking Canada but I’m not sure.

65. Are you travelling anywhere soon?

Yep! In January I’m off to Romania for a couple of nights then in May me and my Mom are going to San Francisco for the week. Me and my friends are talking about going to Belgium in March but at the moment whenever we get close to booking it something crops up meaning we can’t. I’m sure we will soon though!

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66. Have you ever built an igloo?

It never snows enough in England for that so no.

67. Best thing at Starbucks?

I’m really basic and normally just get a hot chocolate but I do like a chocolate chip frappucino with a cream base instead of coffee.

68. Do you like watching scary movies?

Yes, horror is my absolute favourite genre. I’m not sure why because I often end up creeping myself out by watching them but I just love them and countdown to any release of a new horror movie.

69. What’s the best thing about school?

Haven’t attended school for several years but the best thing was definitely being able to hang out with my friends every day. It’s weird turning into an adult and only seeing them a few times a month.

70. What were you doing at midnight last night?

I was asleep; I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately so I was in bed at 7:50PM haha!

71. What’s under your bed?

Nothing, you wouldn’t be able to fit anything under there. Well, to be fair, there’s probably the odd chocolate wrapper. But you really can’t fit much.

72. How do you feel about what you are doing right now in this exact moment?

Pretty happy but I know I’m procrastinating because I need to dry my hair before I go and meet Janie in a couple of hours.

73. Think fast, what do you like right now?

Um, my bed is the first thing that came to my mind because regardless of my early night last night I’m still bloody tired.

74. Are you sarcastic?

God, yes. I can’t help it. I get it from my Dad, I’m horrendous.

75. What time do you get up?

On a weekday I aim for 7AM but I always end up snoozing until 7:30AM.

76. What was the name of your first pet?

When I was younger I had two pets and I’m never sure which one came first. We had a dog called Bruno and a fish called Fred. Bruno eventually had to be put down and my Mom felt bad that Fred only had a tank so she gave him to her friend with a pond.

77. What colour are your sheets?

Right now they’re red because I’ve got my Christmas sheets on.

78. How are you feeling right now?

Pretty shit, I wish this cold would just shift.

79. What was your favourite food when you were a child?

I loved and still do love steak pies. For a while I remember my favourite food being sweet corn. When I was about seventeen I had an unhealthy obsession with the ASDA chocolate chip muffins.

80. How are you feeling right now?

I’m pretty sure we answered this just two questions ago.

81. Can you whistle?

Um sometimes. Sometimes I can whistle better than other days. For some reason I keep whistling ‘Jingle Bells’ all year round, it’s pretty much the only tune I can whistle.

82. Do you drink soda?

I can’t stand fizzy drinks so no.

83. Have you read the Harry Potter series?

Yes, I watched the movies as a kid but found the books to be quite boring until I turned nineteen and bought the first book at university. I ended up reading the whole series and loving them. I’m quite glad I got into them later because I bought the new book cover version which look way cuter than the original ones.

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84. Can you drive a stick shift?

I… Don’t even really know what this means so no.

85. What’s your favourite candle scent?

I’m not sure I have one. Vanilla I guess?

86. Have your pants ever fallen down in public?

I don’t think so.

87. Do you sing in the shower?

When I’m home alone I do, but not when my parents are home.

88. Can you speak another language?

Unfortunately not but I’d really love to. I wish languages were pushed more in UK primary schools – we didn’t start French until year 3 and even then it was only casually, lessons were once maybe every two weeks. Not nearly often enough. I definitely think we should have all been taught BSL in primary, the fact we’re not is a bit of a joke.

89. Can you close your eyes and raise your eye-brows?

I thought this sounded stupidly easy but I’ve just tried and I actually don’t think I can…

90. Dogs or cats?

You can like both funnily enough!

91. Do you make wishes at 11:11?

If I notice the time then maybe occasionally but not religiously.

92. What’s your favourite type of chapstick?

I don’t wear it – I can’t put anything on my lips it dries them out for some reason.

93. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

From a religious point of view the chicken, from a science point of view the egg.

94. What are you reading right now?

I’m rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with the view of rereading the whole series but I’m not sure I will because I want to tick off ‘read two new books every month for a year’ from my bucket list next year.

95. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

Nope.

96. Can you walk in heels?

To be honest I don’t bother with heels because they just hurt my feet so I don’t see the point.

97. How many rings before you answer the phone?

At work we have to aim to answer within two rings so I normally pick it up straightaway. With my mobile it depends on when I notice it’s ringing to be honest. And I ignore the house phone because it’s all junk calls.

98. Any new and exciting things that you would like to share?

I don’t think so. I’m just looking forward to Christmas WOOOOO!

99. What is most important in life?

Just being happy. When I quit university I was sent into a spiral of worry and crisis because I was worried I was wasting my life by not deciding on an amazing career. I’ve since realised that a career is only one aspect of my life and it doesn’t have to be the main one. Sure I work, Monday to Friday so it takes up a big chunk of my life but I do like my job and it means I can afford to travel to different places which is really important to me.

100. What inspires you?

Going to author’s book signings/talks and seeing Twitter authors talking about their book deals and their current works in progress. Although I haven’t sat down to write in ages it does inspire me.

There we go, I hope you learnt a little something about me. Fun Fact – I started this back in January but I refound it today and updated it and now I’m publishing it!

Top 10 Favourite Musicals

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It’s no secret to anybody that I love musicals. However I’ve always claimed that I don’t like movies where there’s hardly any talking and just singing but I do have a few exceptions. It depends on the songs themselves. This list is only going to contain movies and not stage shows, and I’m sure I’ve missed a ton but here goes nothing!

10. Oliver! (Carol Reed, 1968)

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We did this play in primary school, the drama teacher from my future secondary school (which I didn’t know at the time) came in and got us to put on this show. I was absolutely desperate for the part of Dodgess (there was the usual Dodger and then a female version called Dodgess) but I didn’t get it, my friend Molly got it.

Because we put on the show I became a big fan of the movie and the soundtrack. I haven’t watched it in ages but I still listen to and sing some of the songs occasionally. I’d love to rewatch it now actually to see if I still love it as much as I did at the time. I might have to buy it on DVD.

Favourite Song: Oom Pah Pah

9. High School Musical (Kenny Ortega, 2006)

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The movie that most teenagers pretended to dislike but now aren’t afraid to admit that they actually love. I don’t care how old I am, you’ll still find me belting out some High School Musical tunes. I loved both the sequels as well and went to watch the third one in cinemas when I was a teenager. I wouldn’t mind having a High School Musical night soon actually, watching all three of the movies and singing along. Luckily my friends also admit that they love the movies so we’re forever singing the songs and we’ve watched the movie together a couple of times. This film just never gets old!

Favourite Song: Bop to the Top

8. Chicago (Rob Marshall, 2002)

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I’d heard so many good things about this movie and I loved the song ‘Cell Block Tango’ that when I came across a copy of the movie in a charity shop I didn’t hesitate to buy it. I watched it that same night and immediately fell in love with it even though the first time I watched it the storyline went over my head a little bit. I understand it now and love pretty much all of the songs from it.

I loved it so much that when the stage show came to Wolverhampton I immediately booked a ticket – but was ultimately disappointed. The amazing songs and cast were let down by an unimaginative design and costume, plus the choreography seemed quite lazy. When me and my Mum went to New York I thought it might be better on a Broadway stage but was mistaken. The film is still amazing though and one of my favourites.

Favourite Song: We Both Reached for the Gun

7. The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)

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For a while everybody loved this film and wouldn’t shut up about it but as with most films that become popular in a short space of time it then became the ‘in thing’ to dislike it. However I loved it – I’d been wanting to see it anyway but the lady who sits next to me at work told me she thought I’d love it and my friend Emma told me she’d loved it and wanted me to come see it with her again. So I went and instantly loved it. It’s just my kind of film.

I watched it again on the way to Japan and loved it all over again, it’s one of those films that would probably make me cry if I was watching it by myself. I just love pretty much everything about it and I’m not ashamed to admit that!

Favourite Song: Rewrite the Stars

6. Bugsy Malone (Alan Parker, 1976)

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I found out about this musical when we did the show in Primary School. Our teacher put it on for us to watch and I quickly loved it. As I got older I sort of forgot about it until one day I found one of the songs in my recommendations on YouTube. I gave it a listen and immediately missed the movie so I went out and bought it on DVD to rewatch it – and ended up loving it all over again! It’s so funny and I love the storyline and pretty much all of the songs.

Favourite Song: Fat Sam’s Grand Slam

5. Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz, 1986)

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This is another movie that I ended up loving due to performing it in Secondary School. We watched the film in like Year 8 and although I enjoyed it I didn’t think much else of it until our music teacher announced the 2013 play would be ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. As we were rehearsing I ended up loving the songs and the storyline. Most other people in my year complained that it was a depressing show for our last school performance (we were in year eleven so this was our last show) but I loved it.

I didn’t get a main part in that show, mainly because I didn’t audition for one, but I loved being a part of the chorus anyway. I’m a bit annoyed that I was put into chorus two because we were told that if we performed really well we could be bumped up to chorus one or equally if someone in chorus one wasn’t doing well they would be bumped down to two. I got compliments nearly every week that I was doing a good job while a girl in chorus one literally got yelled at to leave the stage and we both stayed within our own chorus’. Oh well, I got on well with the other girls in my chorus and I think we did a good job.

Due to my love of the songs I’ve ended up loving the movie as well. I haven’t actually watched it in a while and I’d love to give it another watch. I prefer the ending where the plants win because although it’s a more depressing ending my favourite song in the show was ‘Finale Ultimo (Don’t Feed the Plants)’. But the other ending is still good!

Favourite Song: Feed Me (Get It)

4. Annie (John Huston, 1982)

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I don’t care what anybody says – this is one of my favourite musicals and I always put it on when I’m in a bad mood. It’s had a couple of remakes, both of which were good but I still don’t think they beat the original. I saw the stage show in London about a year ago and although I enjoyed it I still don’t think it was quite as good as the film.

I’ve loved this musical ever since I was a little kid and I don’t think I’ll ever dislike it, it’ll always be high on my list of favourites!

Favourite Song: It’s a Hard Knock Life

3. Hairspray

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I still remember the first time I watched this – my Dad took me up town and bought me one CD, one book and one DVD and I asked for this film then made my Mom sit down and watch it with me. I don’t think I loved it at first watch because as a little kid the message kind of went over my head a little bit. But now that I’m older I love it.

I saw the stage show of this as well and wasn’t disappointed, although they’re different I still love them both. But the movie is a good one to throw on when I’m in a bad mood because it doesn’t fail to cheer me up. My favourite part is definitely when Inez is announced as the winner of Miss Hairspray. I want to rewatch this one as well now!

Favourite Song: Run and Tell That

2. Mamma Mia (Phyllida Lloyd, 2008)

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For a while I wasn’t really a fan of this film. I just never watched it in school but I did listen to the soundtrack on YouTube and I loved that. Then one time when I was in London with my Mom I told her she could choose the show we went to see and she settled on ‘Mamma Mia’ and I ended up really enjoying it! So I decided I’d have to watch the film.

I decided to put it on one night when I was at home by myself and feeling a bit weird and unfortunately it turned out I was feeling weird because I was sick. Like throw-up sick. So that was my association with the movie, I got through the first hour or so and then spent the rest of it in my bathroom being sick.

When the sequel came out I went to the cinema with some friends and loved it. Becca and Hirst love the Mamma Mia movies too so when we had a sleepover we had a Mamma Mia night and watched both movies. Then we watched the sequel together again another time we both came over. Now we all love Mamma Mia and keep singing the songs to each other. I think I prefer the sequel a little bit more but wanted to put the first one on the list to make a bit neater. But both movies are great!

Favourite Song: Does Your Mother Know? (Or Angel Eyes from the sequel)

1. Into The Woods (Rob Marshall, 2015)

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I’ll be truthful, I hadn’t seen any trailers or knew anything about this film except for the fact that Chris Pine was in it. I’m a huge Chris Pine fan and decided to go to the cinema to watch it just because he was in it. When it started and I realised it was a musical I was a bit uncertain but by the end I loved it and returned to the cinema a further five times to see it.

I love everything about it, the soundtrack is perfect so I didn’t think twice when I spotted a CD copy of it in HMV, I bought it straightaway. I’m not normally a fan of musicals where everything’s sang with little to no talking but ‘Into the Woods’ is my exception. Because I love pretty much every song it doesn’t feel like there are that many songs – when I bought the DVD me and Jess watched it for a singalong session and it really felt like there weren’t enough songs! This is definitely my favourite musical and I’d love to see a stage version of it one day.

Favourite Song: Your Fault

Well there we go, there’s my ten favourite musicals! Feel free to leave a comment with your favourites or any recommendations.

Universal Studios Osaka

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I can’t remember how we decided which parts of Japan we’d visit other than Tokyo but I think Osaka was always on the list because we wanted to visit Universal Studios. Becca was celebrating her birthday while we were in Osaka so we decided to go to Universal Studios for the day.

This was another one where we couldn’t buy the tickets in advance, it just wasn’t an option if you lived in the UK but luckily ticket sales were marked more clearly than they had been at Disneyland and queuing didn’t take too long. We each got a different movie on our ticket, Jess got Jurassic Park, I got Transformers and hilariously Becca got Minions. She tried to swap but nobody else wanted the Minions ticket.

Jess had read online that it’s best to head straight to Harry Potter world first to avoid crowds so we did that and this was another place I’d seen in vlogs but it didn’t prepare me for entering and hearing the Harry Potter music. The whole place looks absolutely magical as if you’re actually in Hogsmeade. We joined a queue for something heading towards the castle, I thought it was like a walk through thing but it turned out to be a ride so I decided not to go on. Becca and Jess did and they said it was amazing, it was like you were following Harry and Ron on broomsticks.

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Once they were done on that they wanted to go on Flight of the Hippogriff which was just across from the Hogwarts castle so we queued for that and as per usual I chickened out when we got to the front. Becca and Jess said that was good too.

After that we did a bit of shopping, Becca bought a Slytherin t-shirt and we each bought a chocolate frog so that we could see who’s cards we got. I got Dumbledore, Becca got Godric Gryffindor and Jess got Bertie Bott. We bought one for Hirst to bring back to the UK and she got Rowena Ravenclaw which was lucky as that’s which house she’s in.

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We decided to grab lunch at this point so we found a pizza place. I’m not a fan of pizza but Becca’s a vegetarian and hadn’t been able to eat much for the past couple of weeks but we wanted her to have a decent meal on her birthday so we went in and she got a vegetarian pizza. I think Jess had the same and there was some pork dish thing that I ordered which wasn’t fantastic but it was better than nothing.

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We had a quick look at the map and then wandered around until we found the Spider-Man ride. Becca and Jess went on whilst I waited outside for them. I wish I wasn’t afraid of rides, it’s such a pain. They came out and said they’d really enjoyed it so must’ve been good. We decided to get ice-cream after that because it was so hot in Japan while we were there and everybody loves a good ice-cream.

After that I paid to have a go on a game where you throw balls at milk bottles to win prizes. I started off well ‘cos my first throw knocked them all over, it was only because one of the bottles stayed on the stand that I lost. I was like ‘okay I’ve got it down, just need to improve my technique a bit’. After that I got progressively worse somehow so I didn’t win anything but it had been fun.

We walked off again and found an Insidious ride but you had to collect tickets before you could go in so we got ours but they weren’t valid until 6:15PM so we had time to kill. We found a zombie thing and I joined the queue with my friends. I was debating whether to go for it and when the doors opened I nearly chickened out but followed my friends in. We were taken into a large room where we watched several videos and actors – the whole thing was in Japanese but we got the gist that there was a zombie apocalypse. A code came on one of the screens and we weren’t sure if we needed to remember it or not so Jess memorised it just in case.

We were taken outside and I was initially disappointed ‘cos I thought that was the whole thing but we joined another queue and went to an outdoor bit where we had to navigate a sort of maze and avoid the zombies. I was running around screaming my head off and when I made it to the next queue a zombie came down and rattled a box behind me so I shrieked again. We were taken around a corner and a large zombie was killed in some water or something because we got absolutely soaked.

We ran back into another building and my memories a bit fuzzy ‘cos I was panicking at the time (but also having fun!) – I remember a lady was yelling at us in Japanese but I didn’t know what she was saying so Jess dragged me and Becca into this little nook in the wall and we tried to cover ourselves with a curtain but it wouldn’t quite go round with all three of us there. We were told to come out and we were watching this woman when a massive zombie appeared behind her so we screamed and ran off.

We got to the end and we had to choose whether to go left or right and I hate making decisions but luckily Jess made it for us and we went left with two other girls. We had to input the code from earlier but the girls in front remembered it and we’d chosen the right path because we succeeded and the side next to us failed. We ran out and it was over! We all sat down to talk about it, agreed it had been hilarious and then I had to have several sips of water because all the screaming had killed my throat.

We carried on walking and Jess and Becca found The Flying Dinosaur ride so decided to queue for that. They asked if I wanted to queue with them but we’d been travelling together almost two weeks at this point so I decided to just sit by myself for a bit. I got a little bit too relaxed because after about half-an-hour I leaned against a pole, ‘rested my eyes’ and ended up falling asleep. Next thing I knew Becca was shaking me awake.

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They told me about their experience on the ride and apparently it wasn’t a good one. They didn’t feel secure in the ride and it just wasn’t a fun experience, even Jess said she’d been terrified so I was glad I didn’t go on even though I’d have never had the nerve anyway.

We joined the queue for the Jurassic Park ride and Jess tried to convince me to go on “It’s just a relaxing boat ride looking at the dinosaurs.” She told me. Becca read out the description in our leaflet which said ‘a boat ride with dinosaurs with a thrilling drop at the end’. “The drop’s not that big” Jess reassured me.

I spent the whole queue debating but the safety video didn’t make the drop look too big and at the start of the ride there’s a little ramp that the boat goes up so I asked Jess if that was as big as the drop was and she assured me that yes it was. What a load of rubbish.

I sat in the ride and immediately said “I’m actually not sure anymore” but Becca and Jess were on one side of me and two strangers were on the other side so Becca told me “Well it’s too late now” and the ride got started. It wasn’t too bad to begin with although I was a bit fearful of the drop but seeing the dinosaurs was cool. Then suddenly our boat went vertical and we started climbing up quite high. I was proper getting into panic mode at this point but there was nothing to do, it wasn’t like I could get off the ride!

We got to the end with the massive T-Rex roaring at us but I barely looked at it because I was craning to see the drop which to most people probably wasn’t that big but to me, who was expecting a little baby drop, was MASSIVE. I screamed the entire way down while Becca and Jess wailed about ruining their hair and make-up. When we hit the bottom we got pretty wet because we’d been sat at the front of the bloody boat. I was relieved when we got to the bottom and was glad I’d been on it but NEVER AGAIN.

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We decided to get dinner next since our Insidious time slot was coming up so we went into the Jaws themed restaurant which was like a fast food place. It was overlooking the Jaws ride which I’ve seen videos of on Facebook and it looks like fun but me and Becca are scared of sharks so we didn’t go on it. I know it’s not a real shark but even knowing these fake sharks are in the water would’ve put me on edge.

Once we were done with dinner we headed in the direction of the Insidious attraction and it was getting dark at this point and lots of announcements were being made. Because it was October there was a lot of Halloween themed entertainment going on with actors dressed up going round scaring people which was pretty funny – if one came near me or Becca we screamed and ran in the opposite direction.

We headed into the Insidious attraction and I knew I’d enjoy it if it was like the zombie one but queuing for it is always the worst bit because my imagination runs wild. When we got to the front we had to hold onto a piece of red cloth with four girls in front of us, then me, then Jess and then Becca at the back. She begged to swap and I felt bad because it was her birthday but I was too scared to swap!

We went in and I feel like I didn’t appreciate it enough ‘cos I was so scared but I feel terrible for these four girls in front because they barely flinched, they had me behind them screaming my head off at everything, Jess just behind laughing so hard that she couldn’t breath and then Becca at the back screaming and yelling “Don’t touch me!” every ten seconds. I definitely remember the last room which was full of people underneath cloths and we didn’t know which one was real and which were mannequins until one started jerking around and I screamed then apparently that or something followed us out of the room. I’m not gonna lie the stress was real and it was so well done. Definitely recommend.

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We were going to squeeze in another ride when we came out but there was still some entertainment on so we ended up joining a zombie rave, which Becca absolutely loved. Once we’d watched all that we decided to go shopping a bit earlier in the hopes that it wouldn’t be too crowded and it was okay to be fair, we got a few souvenirs each.

There was a night parade on so our plan was to grab some snacks and find our spot but most of the snacks carts closed down for some reason so we just found a spot anyway. It was nice to sit down but unfortunately unlike at the Disney parades where everyone was just left to sit we were told that if you weren’t on the front row you had to stand up which was a PAIN in my anus but the parade was amazing. My favourites were the Harry Potter and Jurassic Park floats. It would have been better if it had been a bit longer but it was still amazing.

Overall I loved Universal Studios but I think I preferred Disneyland a little bit more. Jess preferred Universal and I think Becca did too, I can’t remember. I agree with what Jess said, that what’s interesting is that all sections of the park look completely different to each other whereas at Disney they can blend together a bit. I think Universal is better for people who like big, fast rides whereas Disney has more of a variety. Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places, I don’t know. Also the Disney parades were better but that’s kind of what Disney is known for. I would definitely go back if given the opportunity.

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Our Day Trip to Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Forest

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When planning our trip to Japan we all agreed we wanted to see Mt Fuji and the Aokigahara Suicide Forest but we had read it can be quite difficult to reach by yourself from Tokyo by public transport so in the end we booked a day trip. It cost around £100 each but it was the easiest way to see the mountain and we would also briefly visit the Aokigahara Forest to go down into an ice cave.

We booked the day trip for the Wednesday as this was halfway through the trip and we knew we’d appreciate the long coach journey there as our legs and feet would be aching. As it turned out we were absolutely exhausted on the day as we’d had a full, long day at Disneyland the day before and then we had to be up early to go on the trip in time.

The trip left from a hotel and it was relatively easy to find. It was a good hotel because it contained a convenience store so we were able to stock up on lunch items as our package hadn’t included lunch, we checked into the trip, used the loo and then waited until our tour group was collected. We were all given stickers to wear and as we were waiting a horrific realisation dawned upon all of us – only our stickers said ‘cave.’ Nobody else’s said that. We weren’t seriously going to go down the caves as just the three of us and one tour guide?

Our tour guide picked us up and led us to the coach that would take us to Mt Fuji. She was really nice, she introduced herself (I’ve already forgotten her name) and then talked us through the day. On the coach we realised it would genuinely just be the three of us heading down the caves because after going to the mountain the rest of our group was going to lunch at a hotel then going on a boat ride. We were getting dropped off at the hotel and someone would come and pick us up for the cave tour. Fantastic.

We’d been looking forward to a couple of hours of sleep, or listening to music or just generally relaxing on the coach but our tour guide was having none of that. On the way there we all sang a song, did some origami and she told us a story about two mountains. She also pointed out things of interest on the way and gave us so many facts about Mt Fuji that I couldn’t possibly remember them all.

We’d all been warned in advance by many websites and vloggers that most people don’t see the summit because it’s normally covered by clouds but we were lucky as it was a clear day so we could see it. Our tour guide was delighted and kept preparing us for good photo opportunities out of the window.

We drove straight up to the fifth station which is the highest point that vehicles can go. The views were AMAZING, not just of Mt Fuji itself but we were above the clouds at this point so the view downwards looked beautiful. Unfortunately it was quite bright that day so I’m squinting in pretty much all of my photos and look a mess but the view was perfect.

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Shout-out to our tour guide who had given us a map of everywhere we should go whilst at the fifth station. We were all given a token to receive a free ‘lucky bell’ which apparently had been taken to the top of Mt Fuji and blessed at a shrine I believe? Our tour guide made sure we all received our lucky bell and she’d pointed out other places to visit on the little map. We all bought a couple of souvenirs – I bought a little Mt Fuji plushie (for some reason, I don’t know what I was thinking) and some Mt Fuji biscuits that I was thinking of either keeping or giving away as a gift. They got a bit bashed in my suitcase on the way back but never mind.

We took as many photos as possible and then headed back to the coach – our tour guide had made sure we didn’t get lost by pointing the way and making us note down the registration. When she got on the coach she told us we could’ve stopped at the first station but since one couple were late back we couldn’t. Then she had the idea of missing five minutes of lunch so we could stop so we made a stop at the first station and took some photos from there too.

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We carried on to the hotel which was a short drive away and from that point we were on our own. We headed in the direction of a park but ended up sat on the floor outside of some houses to eat our lunch. It wasn’t too bad since it was a nice day, wouldn’t have been so fun if it had been raining or freezing cold though.

We walked back to the hotel and sat outside to wait for our coach. Our new tour guide pulled up and we realised it was definitely going to just be the three of us on this tour. She introduced herself (I half remember her name but don’t wanna write it in case I’m wrong!) and we hopped into her car. From the way we’d been sat outside the hotel Jess and Becca both got to sit in the back while I told them I hated them both because I had to sit in the front with the tour guide. To be fair she was nice so it wasn’t too bad.

We made a stop on the way so that we could have a last minute loo break and we put on our overalls over our clothes. I was so worried that mine wouldn’t fit because I am quite big but luckily they were a little baggy so it wasn’t an issue. She also gave us our helmets and gloves which we would need in the cave. We still had a good view of Mt Fuji so she took some photos of us with the mountain in the background.

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We got back in the car and she drove us to the edge of the forest, and we all walked towards it. She stopped us at the gate to formally introduce herself and she asked us what we knew about the forest. None of us wanted to say we knew it was famous for suicides so Jess explained “Recently there was a controversy where a guy came here, found something he shouldn’t have and posted it on the internet and received a lot of backlash.” Obviously referring to Logan Paul. Our tour guide was like “I don’t know much about that but this forest is famous as the place where people come to commit suicide.” Oh, so we were allowed to mention it.

She went on to explain that we were not at the area this was commonly known for so we weren’t going to be coming across any dead bodies and then she went through some safety instructions which included not straying from the path and that we weren’t allowed to take a little stone home with us as a souvenir. Apparently we’d have got fined a lot of money.

We set off and she knew so much stuff about the forest that it was unreal. It’s such an interesting forest and it’s quite sad that the fascination everyone has with it, myself included originally, is the suicide part. Did you know the roots can’t grow underground because of the lava that’s in the soil so they grow outwards instead? It was just really beautiful.

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At one point our tour guide stopped and asked us why we thought it might be easy to get lost in this forest. My thoughts were that if we went in too deep we wouldn’t be able to hear any like traffic or outside noises due to the trees but I was too shy to suggest this. Nothing could’ve prepared us for Jess’ answer which was “Because the spirits may mislead you.” To which our tour guide was like “… Not quite. The lava in the soil can affect your compass and make it point the wrong way.”

It was a bit of a trek to the cave and we had to climb over a fallen log on the way. I took one look at it and realised I wouldn’t be able to clamber over. I asked one of my friends for advice, I can’t remember whether it was Becca or Jess, and they told me to crawl under it so I had to do that. It wasn’t very graceful but at least I made it.

We made it to the cave and firstly we had to climb down into the middle bit and at this point I began to stress a little because I took it quite slowly, still managed to whack my head several times (thank god for the helmet) and a couple of times was convinced I would fall but I made it to the middle bit eventually. At this point we were below ground but it was still open above us so we were still out in the open.

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The next step was climbing down some rocks, onto a bamboo ladder and down into the cave. Now at this point I really did start to panic ‘cos I hadn’t been able to hop the bloody log but now I needed to shimmy down some rocks and onto a ladder? Surely there was no chance. Our tour guide went first, followed by Becca who was a little nervous but made it down, and then by Jess who isn’t afraid of anything really. Then suddenly it was my turn.

I started to go down and then panicked and asked her “But what if I fall?” to which she responded in a done voice “You won’t fall.” I kept putting my foot back and then going ‘ooh no’ and bring it back so in the end she had to be like “You’re so close, stop going back!” She grabbed my foot, and I finally managed to put it on the ladder.

Jess looked up, watched me coming down the ladder and went “Well done Hollie!” so I responded “Pal I appreciate your support but you are blinding me.” We’d switched on our head lamps and they were really bright in the dark cave. After what felt like a lifetime I was finally in the cave and we could start exploring.

Someone in the reviews had advised that you need to be quite physically fit for the caves and I could now see what they meant. It was quite literally a climb through the caves and like a moron I’d forgotten to wear my tacky shoes that morning so I was wearing my vans which probably got a little bit ruined. At least I didn’t lose them like someone else had which our tour guide pointed out as their shoe was still in the cave.

The worst part was when we reached the ‘ice’ bit, I tried to hold on to the walls or rocks whenever I could but then we got to an open bit and we had to head out into the middle. She’d advised us to walk slowly or like penguins but I still kept slipping every two seconds and kept grabbing Jess, making her stress that I was going to pull us both down. Our tour guide told us we couldn’t go any further because there was a slope downwards and due to the ice we’d never be able to get back up. We posed for a photo in front of it and Jess got stressed that I was going to knock her down it but luckily I did not.

When we got back up our tour guide suggested we all switch our lamps off and experience complete darkness. I wasn’t particularly a fan of this idea but we all did so and it was entirely pitch black. She went on to explain that our eyes would never adjust to the dark because there wasn’t any natural light coming in. She then pointed out that our voices didn’t echo so if something happened and we screamed for help down here no one would hear us. At this point I was a bit like ‘omg is she planning to murder us?’ because it did sound like she was getting closer but obviously… She didn’t murder us. Becca did try to scare Jess by tapping her and I’m pretty sure someone tried to do the same to me. The only thing creeping me out was that it reminded me a little of ‘The Descent’ and considering how slow I was in the cave I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance if some little creatures started chasing us.

We started to head back out of the cave and she asked if we wanted to climb out a different way but that way would be more difficult. The others didn’t mind but I asked if we could go the same way ‘cos I knew I’d be lucky if I could make it back up that bamboo ladder, let alone climbing out a more difficult way. I watched the others head up and take the obligatory photo on the top of the ladder and then followed them myself. I was worried I’d get stuck or something but luckily I made it up without any issues.

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Our tour guide took some photos of us outside the cave and then suggested we go for a walk through the forest since we were done earlier than expected. I was aching all over but we were all keen to see more of the forest so we agreed. It wasn’t a long walk but she showed us heaps more stuff and got us doing some weird things, she wanted us to climb a tree branch, swing on a vine and got us to stand inside a hollow log. Jess had gone in with her headlamp on and said it was full of bugs – she didn’t tell me this because she knew I’d chicken out if I knew so I went in and it was weird, if you stood up everything outside was muffled.

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The forest was amazing and I really can’t explain just how much she knew, it was TONS. By the time we got back to her car I was grateful to sit down though, my entire body just ached from clambering through that cave. It had definitely been worth it though.

Earlier that morning our first tour guide had given us some bus tickets to get back to Tokyo so our forest tour guide dropped us off at the bus station which happened to be right in front of a massive theme park which she told us had free entry, you just needed to pay for the rides. We could see a HUGE rollercoaster which Becca and Jess were keen to go on so we rushed down but when they queued up it was quite a lot and a long wait so we didn’t bother, we got some food instead. I’d like to go back one day just to visit the theme park to be honest because apparently it’s really popular with the Japanese people… I have forgotten what it was called though.

We headed back to the bus station and it was a guessing game on which bus was ours. We literally took it in turns approaching every bus, holding out our tickets and going “Us? Our bus?” Eventually we hit the right one though and took our seats at the back. I was jealous when Becca took out her headphones because I’d forgotten to bring mine but it didn’t matter, the three of us were asleep in literally seconds. I was so shocked when we reached Tokyo because the bus journey took two hours, it felt like it had been about two minutes.

So if in Tokyo I definitely recommend a visit to Mt Fuji and the ice cave because it was one of the highlights of our trip, I’m so glad we got to see them. I’d love to explore more of the Aokigahara Forest and revisit that theme park we went to. Definitely go if you’re in Japan!

Themed Cafes in Japan

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One thing I was really looking forward to and loved in Japan were their themed cafes. We booked a few in advance, turned up to some and had some funny experiences at some. So I decided to write a blog post of the quirky/themed cafes we visited in Japan!

Kawaii Monster Café

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Ever since I heard of this place I wanted to visit and luckily Becca and Jess wanted to as well. There’s a small fee to get in and I think you have to order one drink and one food item each. Becca managed to book us a table in advance meaning we got to skip the queue and we were given a cute booth right in the middle of the café.

The moment the doors open you’re greeted by a girl dressed in whacky clothes who takes you to your table and explains what’s available and how to order. I thought they were waitresses but they’re more entertainers because they don’t take orders or bring food.

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My only downside was that the food wasn’t very tasty, I ordered chicken and waffles and the waffles were really dry and I wasn’t particularly a fan of the chicken either. Becca ordered some rainbow spaghetti which looked quite cute. We also ordered dessert, I got a rainbow slice of cake which looked really sweet but again it was let down a little bit by the taste. Jess ordered a pet bowl thing which was cereal with ice cream underneath which was quite cute. What I did like was that you didn’t have to do the awkward ‘how can we catch the waiters attention’ thing, there was a button you could press and someone would come over.

You’re only allowed your table for 90 minutes and at 1PM, when our 90 minutes was up, the entertainers put on a show which was fun and really cute. I’d go just for the cute Instagram pictures to be honest because the whole café just looks absolutely amazing. I’d definitely recommend it if in Tokyo but don’t expect much from the food.

Maidreamin

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I heard of Maid cafes through Dan and Phil who visited one while they were in Japan and I wanted to experience one myself even though I knew it would be a bit cringe. Jess wanted to as well, Becca was less keen but the two of us insisted so we dragged her to a Maidreamin café ‘cos I’d read online that this chain was quite good.

Google Maps was taking us to the main one in Akihibara when I noticed a sign for one right next to us in the area we were already visiting so we took the lift up to the café and discovered we were the only people in there. We knew the experience would be a bit embarrassing but this made it about a thousand times worse.

To be fair our maid was really lovely but the experience was completely new to us. She brought over a fake candle and we had to do cute actions to make it ‘light up’. Then she put some animal ears on our heads without asking and seeing Becca’s face as she did this was truly hilarious. She explained the menu to us and told us when we wanted to order we had to say ‘miaow miaow’ while pretending to be a cat.

I wanted savoury food preferably but I wanted the set so I went for the cheapest one which included a dessert, a souvenir and a picture with the maid. Jess went for the same one and Becca wanted some spaghetti. We made eye contact with our maid who clearly knew we wanted to order and she looked us dead in the eye and went “Miaow miaow?” so we had to do the action to get her to come over and take our order.

She kept coming back over to chat to us which of course was part of the experience. Her English was quite good and for anything she didn’t know she used her phone. We had our food, mine and Jess’ ice cream were animal themed and they were so cute then we went on the stage to take our photo. Me and Jess were allowed to come up together and the maid called to Becca to come up as well but she was like “No.” and refused to come up.

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If I were in Tokyo again I’d actually want to go back, preferably to the more popular Maidreamin to get the ‘full experience’ but it was tons of fun even if it was a bit cringe. I’m not sure we could ever convince Becca to go back though.

The Lock-up

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We were worried with this one that if we didn’t book in advance we wouldn’t be able to get in – I can’t remember but I think we read somewhere that all the themed cafes are popular so it’s best to book in advance otherwise you’re not guaranteed a table. This was almost impossible to book because it required a Japanese phone number which of course I didn’t have so in the end I put in a fake number and the booking finally went through after tons of stressing. With the booking we had to book a set meal option and I selected ‘pay on arrival’.

We went on a Monday night and my advice would be to just turn up because we passed quite a few empty cells so if you want to go then that’s probably best. The woman who greeted us didn’t speak any English which like is fine ‘cos it’s a Japanese restaurant but it was made very awkward as we tried to explain we had a reservation and she didn’t understand. She also wore a mask that covered her entire face which made the misunderstandings a lot more difficult. Luckily we’d printed off our reservation so we got there in the end. She handcuffed Jess and led us all to our prison cell – quite quickly down a set of stairs, I’m glad it was Jess she handcuffed otherwise I’d have fallen to my death down those stairs trying to keep up with her!

You’re taken into a little booth designed to look like a prison cell and they shut the door leaving you in there alone – they don’t lock it obviously because that would be a massive fire hazard. There’s a screen where you can order whatever food you want and they bring it but as we had our set meal we didn’t do this. One guy came in to explain the drinks to us but his English wasn’t amazing either so it was all a bit confusing but we got there in the end. We didn’t go for the weird drinks because these cost extra so me and Jess went for an orange juice and Becca accidentally ordered a cocktail or something.

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They started bringing the food out and I’ll be honest it was very hit and miss. They brought out some cooked meat which I really enjoyed but lots of other dishes were not appealing to us. They brought out some chips which we all appreciated but they’d covered these in a pink sauce – none of us were sure what the sauce was but we didn’t like it so we tried to just eat the uncovered ones. My favourite had to be when they brought us something purple in a round dish and Becca confidently said “It’s purple custard!” She took a large spoonful and went “Ooh and there’s some kind of cake sponge at the bottom.” Took the biggest mouthful I have ever seen, went still and said in a horrified voice “It’s some kind of cheese.”

Halfway through the meal all the lights go out and your iPad where you can order the food comes up with a little ‘warning’ sign which is the point where the staff go from cell to cell scaring their customers which was a lot of fun. Becca was sat closest to the door so she got picked on the most and it was just really funny. I wish we had more places like that in the UK.

I would recommend coming here but here are some tips: Don’t book in advance, turning up and just ordering what you want is certain to work out better. Be aware that this place is quite expensive, that one meal cost us a lot more than I had expected. If anyone there is celebrating a birthday they will play the birthday song on repeat for at least ten minutes at a time. It is weird but it’s also tons of fun!

Hedgehog Café

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I’m going to warn you in advance if you plan on visiting one day – they do not serve food here. Do not turn up feeling hungry like me and Jess did. This was Becca’s café of choice and we decided to go on my birthday since we couldn’t go to Disneyland but unfortunately Becca started to feel unwell so couldn’t come. Me and Jess turned up quite hungry and discovered the word ‘café’ is not literal.

You have to put exact change into a machine which gives you a ticket and you can choose your option. You can either stay for half-an-hour or an hour and you have the option of buying hedgehog food as well. We went for an hour and got the hedgehog food as well because Jess had read that the hedgehogs are more likely to wake up and be alert if you have the food.

You’re allowed one drink out of the vending machine so Jess went for some kind of pop that isn’t available in the UK as it was free so she could try it and I went for a hot chocolate which to be fair was really tasty. You’re taken to a little trough where the staff explain how to pick up and interact with the hedgehogs.

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I think what makes this place good is that the staff are really friendly – they jumped in and offered to take photos for every guest, Jess went around to get some shots for her vlog and one guy took the biggest hedgehog out of his pen to show her and told her his name and some stuff about him (the hedgehog that is, not himself). I’m glad we went for an hour because half-an-hour would’ve been way too quick and the whole thing was super cute. I’d definitely go back. We bought Becca a little hedgehog plushie to make up for the fact that she couldn’t come but next time in Tokyo we’ll make sure she gets to go!

Alice in Magical Land

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There’s a sort of chain of Alice in Wonderland cafes in Tokyo and we decided we had to go so we settled on Alice in Magical Land. It was at the bottom of a shopping centre and all the waitresses are dressed up as Alice and they all looked super cute. They served us water and told us if we wanted to get their attention we just had to yell “Alice!” None of us had the nerve to do this but luckily they came over regularly.

The foods are all themed around Alice in Wonderland so me and Jess got some Cheshire Cat spaghetti and Becca got… Some… Avocado caterpillar spaghetti I wanna say? I’m not gonna lie this wasn’t the tastiest meal I’ve ever had on the planet but it was cute and the whole café is so adorable.

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The waitresses brought us over some bunny ears so we got to take some cute photos with them – we were going to take pictures with certain parts of the café which I think Becca and Jess may have done but I decided to pay the bill mostly in coins to get rid of them and as I was carrying it to the till I kept dropping them to the point where the waitresses had to come and help me. Embarrassing. It was a cute place though and I’m glad we went.

Robot Restaurant

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Luckily we’d read online that food was not available at this place so we were sort of prepared… Except we still felt a bit full after the Kaiwaii Monster café so we weren’t actually hungry until about 9PM, when the show was due to start. We were advised there was fair type food for example candyfloss, popcorn and we noticed a food stand when we entered only to be advised that he had sold out. We went to the other stand and ordered some chicken and chips which luckily was in stock. We got stressed that the show would start before the food was ready but we were advised to take our seats and this would be brought to us and to be fair, it did arrive really quickly.

The emphasis on the robot restaurant is the show that they put on and it’s quite steep at 8000 yen but we had heard it was unmissable and looking at just the décor outside I was excited because it looked amazing. Although the show was a lot of fun I still felt a little disappointed when we left – there was more emphasis on the actors than there was on the robots themselves and for the price I low-key felt like it hadn’t been worth it.

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Also, they take you to your seat and you have to squeeze between the tables to get to them – I literally thought the person was joking when they told us to walk through as the gap was non-existent and I’m a bit on the larger side so it was a bit embarrassing having to squeeze through but not an issue once you’re in your seat I guess.

I’m glad I went just to say I’ve been but it’s not an experience I’m in a rush to repeat.

Caesar Café

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When we were planning our trip we’d get exhausted of the actual planning and then watch vlogs to hype ourselves up and that’s how we discovered this K-Pop themed café. It’s an area full of K-Pop shops and from the outside you wouldn’t guess the theme as it looks like an ordinary café and I suppose inside there isn’t a ton of emphasis on K-Pop – they do play K-Pop music videos though and have a few posters on the walls.

The best part about this café though for K-Pop fans is the drinks. You’re allowed to pick a mug with your favourite group on it and if you pick certain groups they’ll put the logo in chocolate powder on top of the drink, as you can see they did with Becca’s as she chose a Super Junior mug. I went for Girls’ Generation and Jess had Black Pink so we only got hearts. I wish I’d gone for the BTS one but as we all love BTS it felt a bit too obvious but I wish I had upon reflection. I will if I ever return!

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We went there on the morning of my birthday and it was probably the best birthday breakfast I’ve ever had, we all had pancakes and they were quite possibly the tastiest pancakes I’ve ever had. If you’re a K-Pop fan I definitely recommend going, we were the only people in there and everything was amazing – the staff were nice, the food/drinks were amazing and they play K-Pop like how can you go wrong?

Owl Café

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This place was in Osaka and was another one where there’s not actually any food but there is a drink included. I’m not the biggest fan of owls to be truthful, I once had a dream that everywhere I looked in my house there was an owl and since then it’s put me off a bit but I went with an open mind. We were the only people in there as we had been for a few other places. We each had an orange juice then went to pet the owls.

You’re not allowed to stroke them anywhere other than their beaks as otherwise they get stressed out so for most of it I reached out my hand to stroke them and then chickened out at the last second because I was worried about getting pecked. The owls were quite sweet but I felt a bit sorry for them just having to be stuck in this little café for peoples enjoyment. Overall though it was still a good time.

So yeah, those are the themed cafes we visited in Japan! I had a ton of fun at all of them, even the awkward or embarrassing moments. Leave a comment of any themed cafes you’ve visited or if you want to visit any!

Tokyo Disneyland

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Recently me and my friends got back from an amazing trip in Asia where we visited Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka) and South Korea (just Seoul). One of the things I’d been looking forward to the most was spending my birthday at Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately a typhoon was set to hit on my birthday and the weather was meant to be dreary so we pushed it back by a couple of days. On the day we went the weather was perfect and it was probably less crowded than it would have been on a Sunday anyway.

My biggest stresses were getting to the park and purchasing tickets. I was worried it would be difficult to reach but it wasn’t, it was just a short train journey away and although the park was very busy it didn’t take as long as I’d dreaded to buy our park tickets. The queues went relatively quickly and soon we were inside the park.

I’ve only ever been to Disneyland Paris and it’s on my bucket list to visit all the Disneyland’s across the globe so I was excited to tick another one off the list. Entering the park was amazing because I’d been excitedly watching vlogs for the past few months so to walk through where I’d seen so many of these vloggers walking through was so fun.

Our first stop was ‘Sweethearts Café’ because for some reason in Tokyo we didn’t buy any breakfast foods, we normally just ate a bar of chocolate and then got on with our day so by the time we’d reached Disneyland we were starving. I like that you can just walk in and help yourself to what you want, it was good because it was mostly pastries so Becca (our vegetarian friend who STRUGGLED in Asia) could grab pretty much anything she wanted. I had a Mickey Mouse brownie, a meat pasty and an orange juice. There was a Mike Wazowski melon bread which looked really cute but I was worried I wouldn’t like it so I gave it a miss.

We decided that instead of doing what we did at Disneyland Paris which was wonder around the park and go on any ride we liked the look of we would look at the map and pick out rides instead. Our first stop was Space Mountain because Jess had wanted to ride this at the Paris park but unfortunately we ran out of time so we went there first to tick it off her list.

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When we got there the queue was quite long and we did consider fast passes but decided not to in the end and just joined the queue. We went up the stairs and then there was a section for those who didn’t want to ride to leave the queue so that’s where I left because unfortunately I’m a bit of a wimp and not a fan of big rides. I waited maybe half-an-hour for the two of them to come out and they told me it had been amazing.

I’d seen a ride in someone else’s vlog called Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and since then I’d been desperate to go on so I insisted we queue for it. It was a long wait and it wasn’t shaded like Space Mountain so I think we all got a little bit burnt since it was so hot that day. Some parts were shaded ‘cos it was meant to be the hundred acre wood but not all of it so yeah, definitely bring your hat and sun cream. We’d assumed it would be cold in Japan in October ‘cos it’s cold in England in October. Not the case.

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I’m really glad we went on it ‘cos it was tons of fun – it’s a trackless ride and you go around in a honey pot and it was just tons of fun, probably one of my favourite rides of the day.

We wanted some water but couldn’t really find anywhere and we stumbled across the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride so we decided to queue for that – the queue time was long and it was not shaded even a little bit but it went a lot quicker than expected. The ride was sweet and it was nice that they’ve added Disney characters into their world section, it was fun going through and pointing them all out. To be honest for a lot of the rides it was just nice to sit down and have a break ‘cos although we were only four days into the trip we were already aching.

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We decided to get lunch after this and had a look at the restaurants on offer on the map and settled on a curry place. Becca just had a coke and me and Jess got a curry each. I’m not normally the biggest curry fan so I didn’t finish it but it was nice and so was the rice. Again, it was just nice to sit down for a while.

Since me and Jess had both chosen our rides that we really wanted to go on we told Becca she had to pick ‘her’ ride and she settled on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I debated whether or not to go on and Jess kept reassuring me with “It’ll be fine, it’s just a boat ride” and there were quite a few kids in the queue so I decided to give it a go. There was a drop halfway through, it wasn’t steep and I did scream my head off at it but it wasn’t too bad. Jess did warn me it was coming as well so at least it wasn’t too much of a shock. I’m glad I went on because the animatronic pirates looked amazing, I was half-convinced that they were real.

After the ride we decided to get photos with the castle and a cast member very kindly offered to take our picture and brought us round to a different spot where we got an even better photo. Then we went a bit closer and got individual photos because you have to at Disney, don’t you?

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Then we decided to ride the carasoul ‘cos we’d ridden the one at Disneyland Paris and apparently it’s just a thing now that we always need to ride the carasoul if there’s one available. We didn’t all get to sit together so Becca and Jess sat on horses next to each other and I sat on the one behind them. I bloody love carasouls not gonna lie.

As the tea cups were right next to them we went there next and that was fun too although after a bad ride on the waltzers a few years ago I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to. I felt a bit bad because Jess and Becca wanted to reach the peak of spininess but I couldn’t handle it like a wuss.

Once we were done on the tea cups we went and claimed our spot for the Halloween parade. People had claimed their spots for the parade the moment the park had opened but we managed to find a good spot sat on a wall. They started teaching us a dance before the parade began and watching Becca do this was pretty funny.

My one regret from Disneyland Paris was that we hadn’t seen a parade so I’m glad we got to see a Halloween themed one at Disneyland Tokyo because we all love Halloween. The songs were amazing, the floats looked incredible and the choreography was on point. I took a lot of videos of it for my Instagram story because it was just fantastic.

Once the parade was over Jess wanted to go on Big Thunder Mountain so we joined the queue and that was probably the longest queue of the day. It was another one that I didn’t have the balls to go on but I couldn’t leave when we got to the front like I had on the other rides – I only got out because I was stuck with some other guy who begged to be let across to join his girlfriend so I followed him. Becca and Jess were already long off the ride at this point.

We decided to get dinner but in the end I was the only one that ate because we struggled to find anywhere with vegetarian options and Jess was feeling a bit sick at this point. I had a Mickey glove chicken burger which looked cute but wasn’t as tasty as I’d hoped. At least I had fries to go with it.

It was late at this point so we decided to grab our spot for the night time parade and again we managed to get a good spot, right by the castle this time. Becca and Jess also got themselves some popcorn to keep themselves going. The night time parade was even better than the Halloween one because it was electric themed and featured a lot more characters and was just generally amazing. My favourites included the Genie, Cheshire Cat and Peter Pan floats. Me and Becca got a wave off Peter Pan and then hi-fived each other because we were so happy about it.

Once the parade was over we had to stand up to watch the fireworks display by the castle which was also amazing but would’ve been better if it had been a little bit longer. Never mind, it was still amazing. Then once the fireworks were done we decided to buy souvenirs before we left but unfortunately the entire park had the same idea so it was difficult to browse. We bought our friend Hirst a present then I got some stuff but I think we were all ready to go once that was done.

Overall it was an amazing day and if I was in Tokyo I’d definitely go back to Disneyland. All the cast members were brilliant at their jobs, the parades looked fantastic and it was just such a good day. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.