Learning to Do Things on Your Own

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I kind of feel like an expert on the subject of doing things alone because I’ve been doing things by myself since I was about maybe 15 or 16 and I’ve learnt to love it. At first doing things alone was a little daunting but you quickly get used to it and then it suddenly doesn’t feel strange anymore. In fact if I couldn’t do things on my own I don’t know what I’d do.

I’m writing this because the amount of times I’ve told people I’m doing this, that or whatever by myself and they’ve looked bemused or shocked it astounding. I’ve heard it all from “I could never do that by myself” to “You’re so brave” to “Don’t you get lonely though?” I’m here for those who want to try doing things alone and for those who don’t understand why I’d want to go out and do things by myself rather than with friends or family.

I want to confirm that when I say ‘do things on your own’ I mean things that until a certain age I’d assumed you shouldn’t do alone. For example going out for a meal, going to the cinema, going on a day trip somewhere, going abroad, things like that. It can range from something quite simple like a meal or something quite big like exploring a new country.

It’s interesting because there are certain things that people find sort of ‘acceptable’ to do on your own – for example I like to go shopping by myself occasionally. I have more fun with friends but if I know what I want and I want to get it quickly then shopping alone is more convenient. But this isn’t strange. People go shopping by themselves all the time and apparently that’s the time that it’s almost ‘acceptable’ to be alone.

I think there are two reasons why I learnt to do things alone. The first being that my Mom had complete confidence in me to do whatever what I wanted within reason. As a teenager I would ask her permission to do things, for example going shopping in Birmingham or going to a concert to which she always responded “Yes, as long as a friend goes with you”. But I found that whenever I asked my friends it was always “My Mom said we can’t go without an adult, sorry.” My Mom became increasingly frustrated because when she gave me permission to go to a concert she would also give me permission to get the train home with a friend whereas my friends Moms would not give them permission. So a lot of times my Mom ended up driving us to and from concerts, much to her irritation. When the time came to do something by myself my Mom didn’t freak out, she just shrugged her shoulders and let me get on with it – I got a few safety warnings of course but she didn’t forbid me.

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The second is that by the time I reached 15 my best friend had gotten herself a new boyfriend and I suddenly found that the weekends were coming around and I had no one to hang out with. It’s not like I didn’t have any other friends but I realised no one was asking me to meet up anymore and soon I was spending every weekend alone. I’m a big fan of Harry Potter so when ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One’ came out at the cinema I wanted to go and see it. No one asked me so I decided to go by myself.

It’s funny now because I’ve been to the cinema alone tons of times since then but that first time I was so nervous. I was convinced that everyone from the man who sold me my ticket to the people also going to watch the movie were judging me for being alone. I thought I’d feel lonely. I thought it’d feel strange. And it did at first. But ultimately once the lights were down and the film had started it was easy to forget I was there alone.

It was a relatively easy starting point because you don’t particularly go to the cinema to socialise, do you? You go to watch the movie and that’s exactly what I did.

I can’t remember some transitions. For example I don’t have an issue with going out to eat on my own but I imagine the first time it was a bit nerve-wracking. That’s normal! For the first few times I did things alone I was worried I was being judged or people were looking at me and wondering whether I had any friends or not. Trust me when I say that no one cares. No one is looking at you. No one cares that you’re on your own.

A couple of years later in my first year of college I decided to step it up a little bit – I took my first day trip to London by myself. It’s very stupid, I had a day off work one Thursday and I accidentally opened the weather app on my phone. Bare in my mind my weather app is always incorrect but I didn’t know that at the time. I noticed in Telford there was a little thunder storm sign. I am terrified of thunder storms. But when I flicked to the next location, London, I saw there was a little sun sign. I didn’t want to be around when the storm hit and I loved spending time in London. It seemed like a win-win.

Since then I’ve gone on so many solo trips to London that I don’t even bat an eyelid anymore but at the time I was terrified! What was I thinking? Going off by myself meant I was vulnerable and anything could happen. My hands were shaking as I booked the train tickets. On my first trip I just went for the day and all I did was see ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ at the theatre.

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It’s important to mention that I’d had experience in London without my parents being there before that – me and Jess had been down a couple of times for concerts so I had experience on London public transport etc. If I had never been to London before and I’d just gone for it I might’ve been a bit overwhelmed.

What I like about doing things by yourself is that you learn not to be dependent on other people and you sort of learn what to do if you’re ever in an emergency situation. Obviously that doesn’t apply if I go to the cinema alone but there have been times I’ve been in London by myself and I’ve been left in a couple of dodgy situations. One of them being a tube strike that started in the evening. I made it back to Hammersmith but I was still a few stops away from my hotel in Turnham Green. The tube stopped running and I had to walk back to my hotel in the dark in an unfamiliar area by myself. But because I knew what to do I didn’t get lost once. I followed the signs for the tube stations I’d have stopped at and soon found ‘Turnham Green’ so I knew my way back to the hotel.

I can apply that logic to a lot of different situations so if I was ever separated from my friends on a trip I’d be able to make it back to somewhere familiar. On my first trip to London I remember Jess looking at the tube map and being like “We’ve gotta go here, change there, change there and then we’re there.” And I was like “What, how do you know?” I don’t like being 100% dependant on other people, I want to understand how it works so I got her to explain it to me and now I can read the tube map as easily as if I was reading the back of a cereal box.

I felt nervous all over again the first time I stayed in a hotel by myself. I chose a relatively cheap one with good reviews that was a bit of a journey away from Central London but it was a good hotel. That night I slept with the light on and every time I heard the slightest bump I was alert and wondering if someone was going to break into the room to murder me. Now I switch the light off and just go to sleep.

Just over a month ago I stepped up the game by quite a lot and went on my first trip abroad by myself. I went to Poland for three nights. I don’t speak any Polish and I’m terrified of flying but I decided to do it. Partly because I had some annual leave left at work and partly because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. My friend Becca went on a solo trip to Sweden last year and I think hearing about the amazing time she had made me want to try a solo trip abroad for myself.

This was strange because last year I went on four trips abroad so by that point I was used to going through airport security but the moment I had to do it alone I was suddenly terrified. What helped me was talking through what I needed to do in my head and also remembering being there with my friends. What doesn’t help is the moment people know you’re going abroad by yourself it’s all “Oh my, you’re so brave!” and “I could never do that by myself” and “There’s safety in numbers, how can you go alone?” So you’ll find yourself doing something relatively simple but your head is screaming ‘danger!’ the entire time. But you’re not in danger and it’s fine.

I went and there were times where I felt a bit overwhelmed or homesick but ultimately I had a great time and I never once felt unsafe. I never felt unsafe because I wasn’t in any danger. It’s 2018, solo travelling is a lot bigger now than it has ever been. As long as you have some common sense you’ll be absolutely fine.

For anyone hoping to try doing things alone let me break some advice down into bullet points for you –

– Start with something small the way I started with going to the cinema alone. Try going to the cinema, going to the theatre or going for a meal on your own and you’ll soon find it’s not that scary.

– Always make sure your phone is charged, this especially applies to any trips you decide to go on. If you get lost or you need to urgently get in touch with someone only you and your fully-charged phone can fix that.

– If I go for a meal or on a trip alone I take enough to keep me entertained. There’s no one to talk to so I generally take a book to read. I’ve also taken notebooks, my laptop, my DS or even just looking at my phone.

– Remember that no one’s judging you. Honestly. No one cares that you’re by yourself.

– When I travel alone I always make a travel sheet before I go that I save on my phone. My most common trips are to London to go to the theatre so this sheet usually contains my train times, the hotel I’m staying at, where the theatre is and any other important information. It just saves me having to hastily google things.

– You are going to have to spend time with yourself for the rest of your life so might as well learn to enjoy it. Doing things alone is good because if there’s a film on that no one you know wants to see you can just go! Somewhere you wanna visit but your friends aren’t interested? Who cares, just go! Life becomes so much easier, trust me.

– If you’re thinking of doing something alone don’t over-analyse it, just do it. You do things by yourself more often than you think.

I hope this advice is helpful! If anyone else has any advice feel free to leave it in the comments or let me know the first thing you did by yourself, I’d be interested to hear!

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Things I Secretly Loved as a Teenager

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I’m the one on the left with the orange (faded red) hair with my friend Lucy on the right.

Growing up is stressful because you’re still kind of figuring out who you are and what your interests are. And you also worry about getting judged by your peers for liking something that they think is ‘pathetic’. Or in my case you avoid liking something because everyone else enjoys it and you want to be ‘cool’ and ‘edgy’. I was a massive emo kid growing up so my favourite bands included My Chemical Romance, Fall out Boy and The Used and I acted like I hated pop music and anything slightly girly. But secretly I knew there were things I really enjoyed that I would never want to admit to anyone, even my friends or sometimes myself. Now that I have the power of hindsight I can see that people aren’t really your friends if they judge you because your favourite movie is ‘Rugrats in Paris’. So I decided to write this list of things I claimed to despise as a teenager even though secretly I loved them.

Disney Channel Shows

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If you didn’t watch any kind of kids TV as a teenager then you’re either a liar or broken. At the time you kind of feel like it’s just you and that if everyone found out you’d die of embarrassment. Everyone watched them though, come on, let’s be real!

We didn’t get Disney Channel in our house until I turned about 12 so I missed out on everyone’s childhood favourites like That’s So Raven and Suite Life of Zac and Cody – my favourite shows were Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance, Wizards of Waverley Place, Suite Life on Deck and Jonas. I started with just Sonny with a Chance because my friend made me watch it and slowly, although I didn’t want to because it was ‘uncool’ I started to love pretty much all the Disney Channel shows. And their original movies too!

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I didn’t just watch Disney Channel shows, I actually started off as a Nickelodeon fan – who didn’t love Drake and Josh, Big Time Rush, Spongebob, iCarly and Victorious? I actually love talking to my friends now because we were all fans of those shows and I don’t have to be embarrassed about it anymore.

JLS

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Okay, I didn’t love JLS but they had some good songs and they were all pretty talented. But I insisted at school that I hated them. I was an emo and I ‘hated’ pop music. My friend Lucy (in the photo at the top) was a big fan but didn’t like my favourite band My Chemical Romance so we’d often tease each other about how the other had terrible taste in music. But the truth was, if I had just been honest about my interests, I probably would’ve been a bigger JLS fan. Because I tried to suppress liking them I only really like ‘Beat Again’ and ‘Proud’ but I bet I could get into more of their music if I gave it a listen because they were really good!

It was funny because I recently met up with Lucy who was like “When JLS reunite I’m definitely going to see them” to which I admitted I’d probably go and see them too because I hadn’t taken the chance in Secondary School. It was cool to be honest but it was fun teasing her in Secondary too!

One Direction

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Another British pop group that I pulled a face about and insisted I didn’t like. Except I did a little bit. Come on, who didn’t love ‘You Don’t Know Your Beautiful’? Tons of people were One Direction fans at school but for ages I refused to even give them a chance but obviously you couldn’t help hearing their songs on the radio. And I liked them! I was a bit more honest about enjoying them towards the end of Secondary School but if you’d asked fourteen year old me whether I liked them it would’ve been a no from me – even though it was a lie!

High School Musical

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Okay this is something that I feel like most people aren’t ashamed to admit they enjoyed anymore and for the last two years in Secondary School I wasn’t embarrassed about being a HSM fan but in the first three years I definitely was. We had to watch the third one in PE and my then best friend Jasmine pulled a face because I think she genuinely didn’t like it so I pretended I didn’t either when actually I was hyped to watch the movie.

Then I remember in Performing Arts, not sure which year, our teacher told us she was putting on the sing-along version of High School Musical so we could all singalong. I was sat with Jasmine and some other cool girls who were like “Ugh, that’s actually pathetic.” And I remember being like “Actually that sounds pretty fun.” So Jasmine was like “Hollie if you’re gonna do that, you can go sit with them.” And indicated to my other friends who were also hyped to watch the movie. So I went ‘alright’, sat with them, sang along AND HAD A GREAT TIME. I’m actually really happy that I pushed aside this ‘cool’ image (that I didn’t have anyway) and just enjoyed myself because it’s one of my favourite memories from school.

Pink

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I don’t mean the singer because I wasn’t ashamed to admit that Pink had some bops, I mean the colour. Because I was an emo, how could I possibly like the colour pink? I refused to associate with the colour. And I remember as a kid being like “only pathetic girls like pink”. Pink is a great colour, I don’t care what anybody says and I’m not ashamed now to admit it’s my favourite colour!

Charlie and Lola

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I really liked this show but I don’t really talk to anyone about it ‘cos I don’t think anyone else could relate. I used to watch all the episodes on Catch up TV and my Mom used to tease me so bad but I didn’t care because she never told anyone and I really loved the show. I’m not even sure what it was I loved about it, I just did. My favourite episode was when Lola got new shoes. OKAY IT’S LAME BUT I DON’T CARE, I LOVED THAT SHOW!

There we go, a list of things I was ashamed to admit I loved as a teenager. I can literally see thirteen year old me screaming not to tell because for some reason it was super embarrassing back then. Not so much anymore. Let me know in the comments what you secretly loved as a teenager!

Are Hostels Safe?

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Before I stayed in my first hostel I asked the same question – are hostels safe? Will I be okay? Will someone steal my stuff? Will I get stabbed? It’s been over a year now since I stayed in my first hostel and although I haven’t done it a ton of times I’ve done it enough to have a few hints and tips to make sure I have a better stay. And I decided to share them with this blog!

Safety

When I first decided to book a hostel this was my number one question. The thought of sharing a room with strangers is incredibly intimidating and I was concerned for my safety. Would someone try and steal my stuff? Would they hurt me? Threaten me? Straight up murder me?

Here’s the answer I found: Are you planning to steal their stuff? Hurt them? Murder them? Of course not. So why would they to you? Ultimately you’re all in a hostel for the same thing. You want a cheap place to sleep.

Obviously not everyone you stay with is going to be trustworthy so make sure you take necessary precautions. For example locking away your valuables. The hardest part is mobile phones as they’re easy to steal and usually you want to charge them over night. Luckily most hostels will put a socket on your bunk so you can keep your phone near you while you sleep but remember that isn’t always the case. Me and Jess stayed in a hostel with six other girls and everyone had to charge their phone in a central location – we contemplated just charging one person’s phone and keeping the other locked away just in case but in the end we took the risk and charged both of them and they were fine. If you leave the room, even if you just pop to the bathroom, make sure everything valuable is either on you or locked away so no one can get at it.

Remember that you can literally end up with anyone and that may include people that are grumpy, nasty, anti-social, extremely social etc. However you should never be in a position where you feel unsafe. In hostels I’ve often felt fed-up, tired, grumpy, angry, irritated etc. But never once have I felt unsafe. Most hostels offer 24 hour reception so if someone in your room is seriously making you feel unhappy or unsafe then report them. Don’t worry about being a ‘tattletale’, your well-being is always the top priority.

This one is what I personally do and you can choose to take or leave this advice but I would never stay in a mixed dormitory, I will only ever go for a female only room. In Poland I had the opportunity to either stay in a four bed bunkbed style room or four single bed room. I was very tempted by the single bed room because I hate bunkbeds but when I found out the single bed room was mixed I had to go for the female only bunkbed. I’m sure there are tons of girls who have stayed in a mixed dormitory and been fine but as a solo female traveller I just don’t feel comfortable with that.

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Sleep Quality

I’m gonna be 100% honest with you right now. From my experience sleep quality in a hostel is not good. The only time I got a brilliant night’s sleep in a hostel was when I was going through a phase of my ears blocking while I slept so all noise was drowned out and I slept without waking all night. Every other time I have been woken up a few times.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for. I recently stayed in a hostel in Poland that was £18 for three nights. What a bargain! Let me tell you though, I was exhausted by the end of the trip. On two nights I was woken in the middle of the night by someone snoring. On the first night three girls I was sharing with returned and whispered to each other for a long time before eventually going to sleep. When they left they were replaced by a girl studying for her exams who was often on her laptop for the majority of the night. But ultimately I got what I paid for – £6 a night to have a warm bed to lie in.

If you’re okay with wearing ear plugs I would personally recommend them, I don’t know how well they work but I imagine they could be a lifesaver. I don’t really like sticking things in my ears (including earphones) so I’ve never done that. If you can sleep while listening to music then I’d also recommend sticking your earphones in and having music playing low so you don’t hear everyone else’s noise. Also an eye-mask – my friend at work laughed at me for buying one but it was helpful in Poland when people came back and switched the main light on so they could see what they were doing while I was trying to sleep. My only complaint was that I found it a bit uncomfortable but it was worth it to block out the light.

Another tip is that you can get different sized bedrooms and I find it’s generally worth paying the extra to share with less people. The largest dorm I’ve been in was an eight person room, the smallest was a four person room. You can get some ridiculous sized rooms though, I’ve seen like thirty-six person dorms where I imagine sleep would be absolutely impossible.

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Other Hints and Tips

– Some people may disagree with this but as a shy introvert I think I’m going to make it a rule that unless I’m really broke in the future I would only use hostels for a one night stay. I like to come back and have a couple of hours to myself before going to sleep which can be difficult in a hostel as there is usually always someone else around. But it depends on you and your routine to be honest!

– Remember that you’re not perfect either. Someone’s come back and wants to shower at midnight? Someone’s come back and flicked the light on to look for their stuff even though everyone’s trying to sleep? Someone keeps checking their phone? Very irritating yes but remember that you have your own habits that others will find irritating. I always thought I was pretty quiet but I once got told I’m a ‘right fidget’ and it’s true. I toss and turn before I can fall asleep and it must do people’s heads in.

– If you’re planning on coming back late keep what you need out on your bed. I always put my pyjamas and tooth brush etc. on my pillow so that people know it’s my bed and I have easier access to it when I get back. If someone genuinely steals your pyjamas and tooth brush (why would they even) it’s not the end of the world and you can continue with your trip. Keep your phone charger in your bag so you can plug it in when you get back without rootling around to find it.

– Make sure your phone has a little bit of battery when you get back – I’ve returned to a hostel at about 10PM and assumed I’d either be the first back or find everyone else sat with their lamps on. They were all in bed with the main light off. You don’t wanna be that asshole who switches on the main light so use the torch on your phone to find your things and get into bed.

– Take a lock with you. I borrowed one from Jess before I went to Poland to find that we were automatically given a key to a locker anyway but in the UK I’ve found you have to bring your own lock if you want to put your valuables away. I’d recommend bringing one with you just in case. You can often hire a lock from hostels but this is an extra charge so it’s always best to come prepared.

– Respect everyone’s privacy. People may leave things on their beds. Don’t go through them. Seems obvious but I’m quite a nosy person so the temptation is always there. Don’t do it! In the same way you don’t want them going through your stuff, don’t do it to them!

– If you’re not particularly social don’t worry about it. I’m a shy introvert and when I stay in hostels I’m not really looking to make friends. Obviously it’s nice to be friendly to people and you should be polite to everyone but if you don’t want to socialise then that’s okay. Feel free to stick your headphones in or go on your phone or read a book or whatever it is that you want to do.

– Try and be as tidy as possible. My friends will vouch for me that I am super messy and tend to spread all my stuff across any hotel room we stay in within a matter of minutes. But that’s okay because they’re my friends and they’re used to me. I don’t imagine strangers would be very happy if I spread all my stuff across the room. Keep your stuff together and keep it neat. It should also stop people from messing with it.

To recap, hostels are generally quite safe and if for one second you do feel unsafe then just let reception know and they will be happy to sort it out for you. Also remember that you get what you pay for and try not to be too fussy!

Top 10 Favourite Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Songs

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As mentioned in my ‘Favourite BabyMetal Songs’ post [x] I talk regularly about my love for K-Pop but not as much for my J-Pop love. This is because I’m into way more K-Pop groups and singers than I am J-Pop but I am a massive fan of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. So I decided to write a post about it today! Here are my ten favourite Kyary Pamyu Pamyu songs.

10. Kyary ANAN

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This song is easy to love because it’s just so catchy! Very repetitive but cute and like I said, catchy. It’s a fun song to see her perform live and I hope she does it when I (hopefully) go to see her again in May. The dance is easy to learn and really sweet!

9. Miracle Orange

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This song is quite strange because it really doesn’t sound like Kyary and compared to her other songs it’s quite chill. This is a good song to listen to if you’re feeling down because it sounds quite hopeful – I don’t know what the songs actually about but it makes me super happy whenever I listen to it. Kyary’s voice sounds completely different but she sounds lovely and I really recommend it if you’re new to J-Pop.

8. Furisodeshon

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My favourite part of this song has to be the little dance break towards the end – it’s not that long and the dance isn’t that complicated (it’s just Kyary spinning while the back-up dancers pretend to shoot her I think?) but it’s still my favourite part. This song is amazing and Kyary looks really cute in the MV. I’ve mentioned it before that I love faster songs to slower songs so this one is right up my street.

7. Ninja Re Bang Bang

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Another upbeat song that you can’t help but love. This is also another song that is super fun to see live and I hope she performs it again in May (assuming I get a ticket AHH). Who doesn’t love a song about ninjas, let’s be real? I also really love the dance for this one, Kyary absolutely kills it.

6. Koi Koi Koi

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The difference between my love for K-Pop and J-Pop is that with most K-Pop groups I find their non-title tracks a bit boring. I don’t mean that in the sense that they’re bad songs I just find I can’t enjoy them as much whereas this isn’t the case with J-Pop. I was given Kyary’s Pika Pika Fantajin album one Christmas and soon loved all the songs – but my favourite had to be Koi Koi Koi. It’s not even my usual type of song but there’s something about it that I love. I was so glad she performed it live when I saw her a couple of years ago.

5. Pon Pon Pon

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The iconic Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song! The first one I heard and to be honest upon first listen I didn’t really like it. But after a few listens I started to really get into it. And I drove my friends up the wall by singing the ‘pon pon way way way’ bit over and over again. But listen, that song is iconic and once you get into it it’s really good! I’m so glad Tumblr was obsessing over this song because it introduced me to Kyary’s songs.

4. Crazy Party Night

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I love this song! I remember getting home from work one stormy day and I saw that Kyary had dropped a new music video and I fell in love with it at first listen. The fact that it’s Halloween themed just makes it even better. I love Kyary’s costume in this and just pretty much everything about it. The music video’s a bit weird but it’s still amazing.

3. Chan Chaka Chan Chan

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This is the song Kyary always uses to close her shows because at the end the lyrics are ‘see you, see you, see you again, see you, see you, see you next time’ and it’s honestly so sweet. This is another song that I love the dance to and it makes me so happy even though it’s sad watching her perform it live because it means her shows ending. It’s just so sweet and the middle eight is the tune of three of her other songs and I just love it!

2. Mottai Nightland

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Kyary’s dress in this is so cute and I love the music video. The whole ‘dream-like’ aspect is just amazing. The song itself is just amazing and I love the instrumental after the first chorus. I keep mentioning the choreography but I love it for this one too. This is a song where I’m even kept interested just by listening to the instrumental. It’s one of her best songs and I love it.

1. Easta

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I love having a Kyary song for every occasion and now we have a song for Easter. I don’t know what it is I love about this song I just know that I do. The music video is a little weird (as most of hers are) but I still really like it. I’m not really 100% sure I understand it but it’s still really cool. As for the song it’s a little repetitive but there’s still something about it that I love? She hadn’t released this song when I first saw her a few years ago so I’m hoping she performs it in May!

So there we go, those are my top ten favourite Kyary Pamyu Pamyu songs. Feel free to let me know your favourites and if you haven’t checked her out yet then give her a listen!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child London Experience

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You have no idea how happy I am to finally be able to write a review of this show. I’m sure most fans appreciate this struggle but I bought mine and Becca’s tickets on 23rd January in 2017 and we finally went on Wednesday 7th March 2018. Let me tell you though, it was worth the wait. I wanna make it clear before I go in that I will do my best not to spoil any aspects of the show – I’ll talk about the plot a bit but I won’t ruin anything that makes the show amazing. Be prepared for a long post, here we go!

Because we’d had the tickets booked for so long we almost got to a point where we forgot we were going. We didn’t book our hotel and train tickets until less than a month before we left and I just kept forgetting that this was something I could look forward to. The year felt like a lifetime but when the day arrived it felt like I’d booked the tickets just yesterday. Me and Becca caught the train at 10:08AM and tried to pass the time on the two and a half hour train journey. Mostly by messing around on Snapchat, updating Becca’s Instagram story and then moaning when there wasn’t any data.

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We got to London Euston, wolfed down a sandwich from Sainsbury’s and then headed to the theatre because me and Becca are absolute lovers of taking photos and we wanted as many outside the theatre as possible. It’s just as well we headed to the theatre early because I had it in my head that the show started at 2:30PM but once we’d finished taking our photos I saw that actually the show started at 2PM. It was an absolute panic but we grabbed the tickets and joined the back of the queue which had snaked around the entire theatre.

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Becca began to worry we wouldn’t get inside on time but luckily the queue moved quite fast. Security were strict and like I can understand why ‘cos it’s a popular show but they were extremely strict. Me and Becca had to bin about £5 worth of uneaten snacks between us because you can’t take in any outside food or drink. I mourned the loss of those snacks for the rest of the day. Security checking our bags was a bit awkward because we hadn’t had time to run to our hotel so all our personal stuff was in there and it was an intense bag search, they don’t just have a quick feel I mean they proper go through your things. Then you have a metal detector across your body and then you’re let in!

When we booked the tickets I was earning minimum wage and working one day a week so I had to borrow money off my Mom meaning I could only afford the £15 tickets right at the top. I’d been a bit worried about the view and when we sat down I was even more worried. Becca sat down first and I was like “How’s the view?” to which Becca replied “Awful, I can’t see anything.” Because we were so high up there was a railing to stop people falling which blocked the view a bit and then also the lighting blocked it too. Luckily when the show started we realised the view wasn’t too awful, it just meant doing a lot of head moving and not being able to see if anything happened in the bottom left corner of the stage. But to be honest I’d been waiting so long to see the show that I was just grateful to be inside the theatre at that point.

Inside the Theatre

I want to point out that I had read the book before going to the theatre and although I’d enjoyed some aspects (reading about Albus and Scorpius’ friendship being the best part) I really didn’t like the overall story. I feel like other than completely ruining some aspects there were also a couple of plot holes (which I’ll talk about later) so I just didn’t really like it. However, I was still super excited about seeing the show because I’d heard from my friend that it was absolutely amazing and I just generally love being at the theatre. So I went in with an open mind and pushed aside my negative thoughts about the book.

Guys, it was amazing. I’m so glad I went with Becca ‘cos I feel like we turned to each other every other minute like ‘Oh My God!’ and just generally freaked out about everything together. The cast were amazing and I honestly just loved every second. In the interval we had so much to talk about because it’s just so good that you want to discuss everything you just saw in detail. I remember moaning in the first interval about how before we knew it the whole thing would be over and I knew I’d be sad.

We watched the second half of Part One which was just as amazing and came out of the theatre at about 4:50PM. I’m so glad we decided to watch both parts on the same day because I wouldn’t have wanted to wait an entire day to see Part Two. I’m also actually really glad it’s in two parts instead of just one because it spreads the magic out for longer.

Because Part One had finished a bit earlier than we’d originally thought it would we decided to head to our hotel to check-in which was about twenty minutes away by tube to the theatre. It wasn’t the greatest hotel we’d ever stayed in but it also wasn’t the worst. My only complaint would be that we booked a twin room but for some reason ended up in a double room and then it was boiling hot in there for most of the night. But it didn’t matter because we were only there a few minutes before heading back to the theatre.

We grabbed dinner at a fast food place right across the street. We picked it for its convenience but unfortunately although the place even sold some food specifically for dogs it had little to no vegetarian options so Becca ended up ordering two portions of fries for her dinner. I had a chicken burger which was tasty but not very big. The fries portions were massive though and their milkshakes were good. Still quite pricey but at least it was close to the theatre.

Food

We took more photos outside the theatre in the evening because we’re absolute trash but these didn’t come out quite as well since it started to get dark. We joined the back of the queue which again had snaked around the theatre but went quickly again and we’d also dumped our main bags in the room so now we only had handbags which meant we got through quicker this time.

Dark Theatre

Once inside I knew it’d be a mistake but since we were earlier we decided to take a look at the merchandise. I had the quickest glance and decided to buy a t-shirt with the show name on it since I was enjoying it so much. Becca said she wasn’t gonna get anything so I queued up and bought it for £19.99 – by the time I’d got back she decided she needed to buy a program so she got one for £12. It was really pretty so we spent time looking through that before Part Two began. We were so far back that we didn’t really know what people’s faces looked like so actually getting to see them up close in the book was interesting. And then Part Two began!

It was just as amazing as Part One but also quite sad because we knew we were nearing the end and that tickets are almost completely sold out until next year. Everything about it was just brilliantly done and by the end we knew we needed to see it again at some point. The moment the next batch of tickets is announced we are getting some more. I remember getting stressed when I bought them last year because I was in an online queue for forty-five minutes but according to some other fans that’s absolutely nothing compared to how long they waited. I also heard horror stories of people getting to the front of the queue and getting kicked out but luckily that didn’t happen to me. I will fight people for tickets next year, trust me.

I wanna give another shout-out to the cast because honestly they were amazing, so full of energy and played their parts absolutely amazingly. My favourite had to be Scorpius, Becca genuinely cried with laughter several times and honestly he was just amazing. All the cast were though, they were honestly amazing.

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Right, I’m about to talk about the plot ‘cos I assume that even if you haven’t seen the play you’ve probably read the book. However if you don’t want to read my spoilers about the plot, skip past and I’ll put a ‘Spoilers End Here’ line in bold so you’ll know it’s safe again!

First of all, I do not for one second believe that Harry James Potter would ever tell his son that he wished he wasn’t his. I don’t care how angry he was he just wouldn’t say it. After everything he went through as a kid he wouldn’t suddenly turn around and be a complete dick. Even Draco was running around like “My son! Clear his name! Won’t someone please think of my son!?” Also Harry literally stalking his son to make sure he couldn’t see his only friend was actually pretty abusive like really?

Secondly, the whole Delphi plot confuses me a bit because like other than the fact that Voldemort and Bellatrix having a kid is just absolutely ridiculous how on earth could Draco not have known about her if she was born in the Malfoy Manor? Did he not notice that Bellatrix was pregnant? I understand he was probably at school but nine months is a long time and he would’ve gone back home at some point and surely seen her? Also, when would she even have had the time to like be pregnant and give birth? Surely there was a lot going on at the time and she wouldn’t have- Whatever, I’m not getting into this.

Thirdly, do not even sit there and tell me that Cedric Diggory would’ve become a death eater under any circumstances. He got humiliated in a bloody competition and became a death eater? You really expect me to believe that? You can honestly piss off.

And now onto my fourth and final point. Scorpius and Albus are 100% a little bit in love with each other, they can push this whole ‘oh Scorpius fancies Rose and Albus fancied Delphi’ until the cows come home but I know the truth. Usually I’m the person that’s like “Do we need romance? Can’t we just let people be friends, not everything has to be about romance” but this is my one exception. I ship it so hard and I don’t care what anyone says I 100% believe they’re gay.

Scorpius and Albus

SPOILERS END HERE.

Basically, I am going to see this show again. I don’t care if I have to wait another full year, I am going again. Me and Becca wanted to bring Jess and Hirst with us but they’re not into Harry Potter as much as us so we’ll see. We’re also hoping to get slightly more expensive tickets next time so we could hopefully get a better view. But overall I wouldn’t change anything about our first time seeing the show. I was worried we’d be sat by annoying people who went on their phones or talked the whole time but we were very lucky. I think because everyone’s waited so long to see the show they do actually have some respect and put their phones away and shut up to watch it. I wish people were like that at every show!

The next day Becca came up with the idea of visiting Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station to get our photo taken again. We did originally go with Jess and Hirst back in April a couple of years ago and we each got an individual photo then a photo of us all killing Becca since the woman taking the photo ‘didn’t like Slytherins’ apparently.

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Me and my friends are quite sad and we all have our own houses and we actually each have matching merchandise that’s in our own house. Becca is Slytherin, Jess is Gryffindor, Hirst is Ravenclaw and I’m a Hufflepuff. But as me and Becca already had photos with our house scarves on we decided to go for different ones. She chose Ravenclaw and I chose Slytherin and we each got our individual photos before taking a double one. We were asked if we wanted friendly or duel to which Becca said “Duel!” so the man told us how to pose. The moment Becca put her arm above her head the people in the queue started cheering for some reason and it was super embarrassing but I’m so happy with how the photo turned out.

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We headed into the shop and that was our downfall to be honest, it’s even bigger than when we originally went in April and oh dear. To be fair if I’d really caved in I could’ve spent more but in the end I bought the professional photo of me and Becca, a Hufflepuff umbrella, a Hufflepuff pen and some postcards for my scrapbook. Becca bought the professional photo and a stuffed Hedwig. In just 24 hours I’d managed to spend £50 on Harry Potter merchandise.

Becca

We got breakfast and we really wanted to do more Harry Potter related things (because it had reached that point where we’d just accepted our nerdiness) but we couldn’t find anything so we decided to go sight-seeing. We’d never been to Buckingham Palace together so off we went. Becca’s Mom loves the Royal Family so Becca knew a surprising number of facts about Buckingham Palace, it was actually quite funny she was like my own personal tour guide.

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After that we had to accept the trip was over and we caught the train back to Telford. You know when you get post-concert depression? I think I’ve got post-Harry Potter depression because it was honestly amazing and I’m just so sad it’s over. I came back to work and within minutes of going through my emails I was in a bad mood and just wanted to be back at the show. Me and Becca are going to make sure we have tickets for next year, it was that good! If you get the opportunity to see the show then I really recommend it. I’ve seen almost every show running in the West End and let me tell you, this is the best one I’ve ever seen.

I just beg that no one turns this into a movie. Put the stage version on DVD and I’ll be happy but please don’t turn it into a movie. The storyline is awful but seeing it on stage redeems it whereas I think a movie would just ruin it. There’s something about the theatre having limited resources compared to movies that makes it even more magical.

There we go, I wrote about this play in way more detail than anyone ever asked for. If you’ve seen the show then let me know what you thought in the comments, if you’re going to see it then let me know in the comments, just please talk to me! Thanks for reading.

10 Favourite Theatre Shows

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At the start of last year I wrote a list of my favourite shows on in the West End [x] but that list has slightly changed and I wanted to include shows I’ve seen that aren’t on in the West End because some of those are equally fantastic. So here are my ten favourite theatre shows I’ve seen.

10. Kinky Boots

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I think this one made the list because I saw it not long ago and I was impressed. I’d never had an interest in seeing it but since I’d seen most shows in the West End by that point I decided I wanted to see something different so I booked a ticket for this on a whim. It was actually really good – however what wasn’t really good were the three teenagers sat next to me who were constantly on their phones and kept talking the entire time. I’d love to see the show again but in a better seat and hopefully away from irritating morons who have paid money to see a show and are just ignoring it for the sake of their phones. You can do that for free at home, why pay money to do it in a theatre?

I’m getting off track. Kinky Boots was an amazing show; it’s about a failing shoe company who try a new angle to save their business. Their new angle is creating a range of high-heeled shoes for drag queens so their shoes last longer and the heels don’t break. Apparently the story’s based on real events which is pretty cool. It’s also a film so I might need to watch that although I’m sure it won’t top the theatre version. If you’re ever in London and looking for a good night out I’d definitely recommend going to see Kinky Boots.

9. The Woman in Black

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I’ve seen this show four times. Twice by myself in the West End, once with my friend Jess in the West End and then a fourth time in Wolverhampton with my Mum when it was on tour. It’s no secret that I love horror films and I’d really enjoyed the film. In college we were supposed to see ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ in London but when the theatre was undergoing construction we had to get reallocated tickets. Half of us would see ‘Once’ and the other half ‘The Woman in Black’. I desperately wanted to see ‘The Woman in Black’ but typically I got allocated a ticket to ‘Once’ which was generally quite dreadful. So when I went to London for a book signing I decided to make the most of the opportunity and went to see The Woman in Black.

I loved it! So different to the film but still amazing in its own way. It’s simple yet so clever how it’s done – there are only three actors in the entire play, two men and the Woman in Black herself. There’s a brilliant atmosphere and no matter how many times I see it I still manage to jump at every little bump and sometimes just thinking about the show gets me really creeped out. If you haven’t seen it then I really recommend you do, it’s fantastic.

8. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

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Another show I’ve seen four times, all in the West End! Three times by myself and then once with my Dad and Step-Mum. I’d been trying to convince my Dad to take me to a West End show for ages so in the end we settled on The Comedy about a Bank Robbery because I just knew he’d like it. For the first ten minutes or so he tried to keep a straight face but in the end he weakened and started laughing and was clearly enjoying himself!

This show is by Mischief Theatre who are my favourite theatre company and this is probably my favourite show by them. The show is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a comedy about a bank robbery. My favourite scene is definitely the one at the end of part one, the whole scene in Caprice’s apartment. This show has me in hysterics no matter how many times I see it and I really can’t recommend it enough!

7. Little Shop of Horrors

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When I first saw the film of this I wasn’t particularly impressed by the storyline. But then we performed the play during our last year of Secondary School and I quickly fell in love with pretty much all of the songs. Most of my class mates complained that we were putting on a depressing show for our final year performance but I loved it. My favourite songs were ‘Feed Me’, ‘Closed for Renovation’ and ‘Finale Ultimo (Don’t Feed the Plants)’.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Little Shop of Horrors is about it’s about a man named Seymour who works at a failing flower shop who finds fortune and fame after discovering a strange and interesting plant he names ‘Audrey Two’. But he soon realises the fortune and fame comes at a terrible cost as the plant only grows when fed human flesh.

Unfortunately this show isn’t on in the West End but luckily it was on in Birmingham the night before my 20th birthday so I went to see it and loved every second of it. If I ever get the opportunity to see it again then I’ll be there in a heartbeat because I loved it.

6. School of Rock

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I’ve been to see this twice in the West End and loved every second of it but I’ve found this show is pretty expensive. For good reason because the show is amazing but still. It took me a while to find an affordable ticket the first time I saw it. I went again as a birthday treat to myself so I spent a bit extra to get a better ticket.

Surely everyone knows what School of Rock is about since it was an amazing film but if you don’t then it’s about musician Dewey Finn who hasn’t had his big break and is struggling to keep down a job and pay rent. In order to raise a bit of money he pretends to be his friend Ned Schneebly and takes a job as a substitute teacher at a school. When he realises how musically talented the students are he forms a band with them to enter them at the Battle of the Bands concert.

Because I loved the film I knew I had to see the show and I loved the show just as much. There are more songs in the show version and I love them – especially ‘Stick it to the Man’, ‘When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock’ and ‘You’re in the Band’. If you can get a ticket then I really recommend it, it’s amazing!

5. Matilda

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At one point this was my favourite West End show and I do love it. I’ve seen it three times and I love it, especially the songs – my favourites being ‘My House’, ‘Naughty’ and ‘The Smell of Rebellion’. I was always a fan of the film Matilda as a kid so when it became a West End show I knew I had to see it. So my Mom treated me to tickets for my 19th birthday and off we went.

I loved everything about it. I preferred that it focused on Matilda’s cleverness rather than her mind powers; I just preferred that angle on it. It was also interesting to see their spin on Miss Honey’s back story which although was a little unbelievable was also really neat. I think this show went on tour not too long ago and will probably go on tour again so I really recommend going to see it if you can!

4. Hairspray

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I had been waiting SO long to see a stage version of this show! I watched the film as a kid and immediately loved it and I love pretty much all of the songs. I sort of saw a stage version of it when I was fifteen because I went with my friend to see her little sister’s school play of it but although it was good it was still just a school version. But eventually I managed to get a ticket to see it in Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago.

It was a battle to get to Wolverhampton, it decided to absolutely throw it down with snow and I was really worried the train would be cancelled but thank God it wasn’t. I hopped on the train and when my Mom asked how I was getting home I text back to say I didn’t know. I could be stranded in Wolverhampton for all I cared but I had to see that show. Very fortunately my friend Lucy from school was also at the show and very kindly offered me a lift home from the train station which was just as well because I honestly had no idea how I was getting home afterwards.

It was worth the wait – the show was amazing and everything I’d hoped it’d be. My favourite moments included ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’, ‘Run and Tell That’ and ‘You’re Timeless to Me’ (which was a song I absolutely hated in the film version). The only thing I prefer about the film version is that Inez is the one who gets crowned as Miss Teenage Hairspray. This is such a feel good show and another that I’d definitely return to if I got the opportunity.

3. The Lion King

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This was another show I wanted to watch for absolutely ages and eventually I got tickets for my eighteenth birthday. We were right on the front row and it was honestly fantastic. I’ve only been back once more so my friend Jess could see it and I splashed out extra so we could sit on the front row again. I’d love to see it more but I don’t want to sit at the back and have my experience of it ruined.

Surely everyone knows what ‘The Lion King’ is about so I won’t explain it to you but the stage version is truly amazing. When I took Jess to see it we sat through the opening number and she turned to me and said “I know we’ve only seen one song but this is the best show I’ve ever seen” and it is honestly amazing. If you ever get the opportunity to see it you should definitely take it.

2. Anastasia

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Unfortunately I’ve only seen this show once because I saw it on Broadway whilst I was in New York. It was my first Broadway show and honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better first Broadway experience. Me and my Mum were in our own box which had a fantastic view of the stage and the show was just truly amazing. I don’t think I’ve actually seen the film the whole way through but it’s quite different to the film as there’s none of the magic from the film it’s a more political version.

Everything about this was amazing – the songs, the costumes, the scenery. Apparently it’s supposed to be coming to Europe and the UK at some point and I am honestly waiting. I know Becca wants to go and see it so it looks like I will be going to see it again at some point. If it comes near you anytime soon then make sure you get a ticket because it’s honestly amazing.

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One + Two

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So uh I saw this literally less than a week ago and I honestly fell in love with it. I bought the tickets for me and Becca last January and we finally managed to see it. I’m not going to talk about this one too much because I’ve written a really long post about my experience which I’ll be releasing on Wednesday but all I’ll say is that I loved every second of it and I’ll definitely be going again to see both parts at some point. As I said, I won’t say much more but I’ll post a link when I release my experience post.

There you go, those are my top ten favourite theatre shows I’ve been to! Let me know what your favourite ones are below.

Top 10 Favourite Disney Movies

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I don’t trust anyone who says they dislike Disney! Who doesn’t love it? As a kid I loved the movies and when I became a teenager we finally got Disney Channel on my TV. I remember going to school and claiming to hate shows like ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘Sonny with a Chance’ whereas the truth was I loved them. I love everything about Disney! So I wanted to make a list of my ten favourite Disney movies. I’ve decided to only go for cartoons though and this can also include Pixar. Here goes nothing!

10. Wreck-It Ralph

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I actually first saw ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ at our local town park. There was an event on, it was sort of a festival and McFly were headlining. They let everyone into the park and played a film before any of the bands came out to celebrate that we were getting a Cineworld in our town. They chose ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ as the film and even though I was supposed to be working I got sucked into the story. I asked for a copy of the film for Christmas so I could watch it uninterrupted and I ended up loving it. Although it’s not my favourite it’s still a Disney film that I love!

9. Frozen

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I’m sick of people trashing this movie just because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do. It was like everyone loved Frozen until suddenly people thought it was edgy to dislike it. Yes, we get it, there are better Disney films but that doesn’t mean Frozen is bad. The soundtrack is amazing and the story is great. And do we really need to make fun of kids for enjoying it? The same way you love your childhood films, let kids enjoy theirs. If you don’t like it then fair enough but stop trashing it.

8. Big Hero 6

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If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6 then you are seriously missing out because this film is amazing. Full of action, loveable characters and also Fall out Boy in the soundtrack like what’s not to love? I went to see this at the cinema so many times because I thought it was brill and the fact that some of my friends still haven’t seen it really stresses me out. It’s so good!

7. Inside Out

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When this first came out I went to see it twice in one day. I got asked by my three best friends Becca, Hirst and Jess to see it so I agreed and then I was also asked by my work friends to see it in the evening. I didn’t want to say no to either of them so I went twice and didn’t tell any of them I was seeing it twice. I really liked it, I thought it was super interesting and I’d love a sequel but maybe with a different family next time. I need to buy it on DVD because I haven’t seen it for ages and I really want to re-watch it now!

6. Peter Pan

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This film was my favourite when I was a kid because like most kids I had a little crush on Peter Pan. Nothing wrong with that, right? Even now as a grown-up I still love the film and regard it as one of my favourites. It’s such a classic and I love it! Also I love the videos of the Peter Pan at the Disney parks, I’d love the opportunity to meet him this year.

5. Moana

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Finally, a Disney princess with a realistic body with an amazing storyline and catchy songs. How can you not love Moana? My favourite songs are ‘How Far I’ll Go’ and ‘You’re Welcome’, the obvious ones. Unfortunately I’ve only seen it once but I need to see it more times, it’s honestly amazing and if you haven’t seen it yet you’re honestly missing out.

4. Aladdin

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I love this film and I love the stage show just as much. All the songs are amazing and I just love it. I can remember watching this a lot as a kid as well. I re-watched it the night before my 21st birthday last year because I think it’s amazing. It was just as good as I remembered it. If you don’t like Aladdin then I don’t trust you.

3. Mulan

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Okay, I’m looking forward to the live action but like… What are Disney doing? They’re getting rid of the songs? What? Apparently they’re getting rid of Shang? Why are they ruining the film? Also it’s a little sad that Disney fans had to literally start a petition to make sure the part of Mulan went to a Chinese actress and not a white actress. Like, it’s a film set in China surely that would just make sense instead of completely whitewashing her character? Either way, I love the animated version of the film and the songs are some of the best, especially ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You’.

2. The Incredibles

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I don’t know whether this is high on the list because the sequel is coming out soon and I’m hyped or whether it would’ve been high anyway. I do love this film, I love the whole family aspect mixed in with super heroes. I used to love playing the game on my sisters PlayStation as a kid, especially that level where Dash is running late for school. This is a movie that surely everyone can’t help but love and if you haven’t watched it then I’m seriously judging you.

1. Monsters Inc

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I think I picked this for nostalgias sake. I went to my Dad’s the other week and he reminisced that when I was really young I always used to ask to put this film on at my Dad’s house. Every single Friday for years I watched this film and I never once got sick of it. I don’t know what I love about it, I just know that I do. I did enjoy ‘Monsters University’ but not as much as the original. I would love to see a live action version of this one day, not sure how they’d do it but I’d love it – only if the monsters looked like they do in the film.

Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite Disney movies!