Disney Cultural Exchange Program – The Application Process!

Hello again! I feel as though every time I write a post I apologise for how long it has taken me to upload one since the last time, and so here I am again! I have been very busy this Summer with holidays, job applications, my CEP application etc. but I really wanted to write this post as soon as I got the opportunity to do so.

If you follow me on Instagram (also @mainstreetmagiic) you may know that I have recently been invited to a pre-screen interview at Yummy Jobs for the Disney Cultural Exchange program for Summer 2018! I honestly cannot put into words how excited I am and how grateful I am to even be offered a first interview for this experience, I just hope that each stage of the process goes just as well and that I will get to work in the most magical place on earth next Summer.

Anyway, enough about my application! In this post I want to talk about the Cultural Exchange Program itself and offer you any tips and tricks if you are also hoping to apply this year or in years to come and so I hope that you will find it helpful!

So what is the Cultural Exchange Program?

The Cultural Exchange Program is the opportunity for International students to work in Walt Disney World – in Orlando, Florida – during their Summer break at University. If you are lucky enough to be accepted onto this program then you would be working in roles including:

  • Attractions and Operations
  • Merchandise
  • Quick Service/Full Service Food and Beverage
  • Lifeguarding
  • Recreation
  • Custodial and Entertainment

I do not know much about these roles myself just yet but I am hoping to do a post on what each entails at some point in the future when I have gathered a bit more information. Unfortunately, if you are applying for the sole intention of becoming a face character then I am sorry to inform you that people on this program are not eligible for that role. However, there are plenty of other exciting roles that would allow you to interact with guests on a similar level, such as character attendants and being a character in costume (e.g. goofy, chip and dale…).

This all sounds great fun up to now, and I’m sure it will be if you do get accepted onto the program. However, you have to acknowledge that Disney is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world and will have very high expectations when it comes to their employees so make sure that you do your research and that your willing to commit to it, as it will be hard work and not one big holiday!

How do you apply?

The first step of beginning your application is to go straight to the Yummy Jobs website and click on ‘Disney Cultural Exchange Program – Summer (whatever year it is that you will be applying for)’. Here you will find all the basic information that you need to know before you apply, however I will go through some of these requirements for you now.

In order to apply for this program you must be:

  • Able to speak fluent English
  • At least 18 years of age at the time of applying
  • Have a valid passport
  • A student in an accredited and degree-issuing college or university studying a full-time undergraduate course
  • Entering second year of study or above
  • From either the United Kingdom, Ireland or Europe
  • Available to travel for your interviews (first in Epping, Essex and second in Hammersmith, London) as well as for the starting dates of the program (these are usually between early June and late August however are subject to change and won’t be confirmed until later on)

If you have read these requirements and you are eligible, then that’s great! Now your next step is to simply click the apply button and get ready to complete your application.

Online Application

When you begin your application you will be required to take a headshot but you can upload this at any point before you submit your application. This has to be a true representation of yourself, with nothing covering your face and on a plain background. Don’t stress too much over this! Just make sure you’re smiling and you are showing them that you have the Disney ‘look’ that will make them want to hire you. I will insert mine as an example later on just to give you an idea of what it they’re generally looking for but the majority of people just used selfies.

The first part of your application will require to fill in your personal and contact information, this is probably the easiest bit because you can’t really go wrong! You will then be asked to fill in details about your education and work experience. After that there will be questions about whether you have any piercings or tattoos. My advice here would be to completely honest with them as it will not go against your application as long as they can be removed/covered up during your time working at Disneyworld.

I found that the next few stages of the application were the trickiest and ones that I would recommend that you spend the most time on. Firstly there were the two questions:

  1. Why do you value cultural interaction?

This program is called the Cultural Exchange Program because the purpose is to promote cultural interaction between students from all over the world and so they want to ensure that this is a reason for applying and not just because you love Disney! These are a few points that I included:

  • I talked about how I loved to travel and learn about cultures and linked this to my interest in languages
  • I discussed how cultural interaction would benefit my course at University – This is a good thing to do if you can just find a touch of relevance to your studies, even if its something really small! I study psychology and so it is not only creative courses that will benefit from this experience, you can be studying anything!
  • I also mentioned how I would share my own culture with others and highlighted the importance of forming international friendships

2. What are your motivations for this program?

This question was really fun to answer as you could finally talk about why you really want to apply for this program, the only problem for me was trying to get it all down on paper and within a 1500 character limit. Here are a few tips on answering this question:

  • I talked about how travelling independently and meeting new people was important to me, as I am currently living at home for University and would like to experience that
  • I mentioned how learning about new cultures interests me and linked it to my love of Disney and the Disney parks
  • I included my passion and enthusiasm for Disney and how I wanted to give back as a Cast Member and make guests dreams come true

Once I had completed these questions I moved onto perfecting my CV. I have read countless blogs in preparation for my application and one thing I picked up on was to make yourself stand out. One recommendation I took from a blog post was to use the site Canva to form your CV. Here you will find thousands of beautifully designed templates to choose from that will definitely highlight you as a candidate for this program. Things you need to think about when creating your CV are:

  • It should be no longer than 1-2 pages
  • Have an introduction section where you briefly talk about yourself, your course, your skills and why this makes you ideal for the program
  • Talk about your work experience and the skills you gained from working there, highlight any key words that you think Yummy Jobs might be looking for in a candidate for the program. You don’t have to have loads of work experience to apply, I have only had one real job and one volunteering job so don’t worry too much about it!
  • Mention your education. If you want to you can insert your GCSE and A-Level grades and if you haven’t had any results from your University at the time of your application, then briefly state what you have learned and gained from it so far
  • Make sure to include your hobbies as it shows what your interests are and gives them an insight into who you are and what your personality may be like. I included things like reading, specifically Harry Potter, and my Disney Instagram account and blog.
  • You might also want to insert another section just to bullet point your main skills. This would make it easy for Yummy Jobs to determine whether you are right for the role quite quickly if they were just scanning through CV’s.
  • Finally include your references! I had two references and their details, stating that references will be available upon request

You’re final stage of the application is your cover letter. Of course you can fill it in any order, I just chose this way because I saved what I felt I needed to spend the most time on until the end. The cover letter felt quite daunting for me personally as there aren’t any specific questions to answer or guide you through it, so I’ve put together a few hints & tips that might help you get started.

  • Like any other cover letter, write your name and address in the top left corner
  • I began mine with ‘Dear Walt Disney World Company/Yummy Jobs Team’ as both companies should be reading this eventually and it’s always better to address them personally
  • Firstly, I stated what I was applying for. I then went onto say why I wanted to work for Disney and reiterated how I wanted to give back as a Cast Member
  • I then went onto mention how I would love the opportunity to engage with people from other cultures, talked about my course again and what I could bring to the program from my own culture
  • Next I spoke about my work experience. I talked about the skills I gained and how they were both in the area of hospitality. I then linked this to roles in Disneyworld that were available on the program
  • I also spoke about my personality and why that would make me ideal for the program
  • To finish the cover letter I made a short paragraph about how much this opportunity would mean to me. I mentioned Walt Disney himself and how I also believed in making dreams come true and then thanked them for considering my application
  • Make sure your cover letter is no longer than 1 page!

So once you have completed all these steps you are free to submit your application! You’re application page will show a window like the one below and this is where you will find your updates and communicate with the Yummy Jobs team if you have any questions.

yummy jobs

Unfortunately once submitted you are unable to edit your application so please ensure that it is absolutely perfect before you submit! It took me around 1 week to complete my application and then I spent a following week checking over it and getting advice from friends and family. Good luck to any of you applying this year! It’s not too late to apply as applications are open until September 15th and if you’re looking to apply next year then applications will open usually around the beginning of July.

I hope that you found this post useful and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! You can comment on this post or DM me on my Instagram account and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Hopefully I will be able to offer more CEP advice after my pre-screen if it goes well *fingers crossed*.

Thank you for reading!

Love Shona xx

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mainstreetmagiic/

Our Disney Hotel Experiences

Hello! Welcome back to my blog and apologies that it has been a while since I have last posted. This weeks post is going to be a bit different as I am doing a special collaboration with the amazing Chelsea (@Punzieleigh on Instagram – she’s very talented so make sure to check her out!). We have decided to join forces and share with you our own experiences from staying at Disney Hotels whilst on holiday in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. In Part one of this series we have chosen to focus on Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, I will be talking about my time at ‘Port Orleans French Quarter’ whilst Chelsea will be covering ‘All Star Music’. I have been looking forward to writing this post from the moment we both developed the idea and so I hope that you enjoy it!

Port Orleans French Quarter Review

Overview:

I have only ever stayed onsite at Walt Disney World twice, the second time being June 2016 where I was lucky enough to stay at Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort is classed as ‘moderate’ making it the centre-ground between what is classed as most affordable (value) and the most expensive (deluxe). The French Quarter is illustrated by colourful buildings, iron balconies and jazz music which enthuses the Mardi Gras theme. Both Port Orleans Resorts, the other being Riverside, are located closely to Epcot and all parks can be accessed via bus transportation. One of the benefits of the French Quarter is that unlike other moderates, such as Caribbean Beach and Riverside, it is rather small making it a lot easier to catch the bus to and from the parks with little need for queueing! Another benefit would be the boat service, this takes you to and from Disney Springs and so if you fancy something different I would definitely recommend this very beautiful and relaxing boat trip.

The Room:

During my trip we stayed in a Standard Room with a Standard View. These rooms can sleep up to 4 people and include 2 Queen Beds, a TV, Mini fridge, a small table and chairs and another area cordoned off by a curtain. Here you will find 2 Sinks with 2 Mirrors leading into the small bathroom which has a toilet and a bath/shower.

Overall I was impressed with our room. It was reasonably sized and comfortable enough to sleep 3 people, especially for a place where you hardly spend any time. The décor of the hotel was colourful and abstract, from the carpets to the paintings on the walls in order to fit the theme of Mardi Gras. The rooms were slightly less lively, but they still had elements of colour and pattern, making them appear more classy in comparison.

I would score the room 4/5! The beds were comfortable, the room was spotless and the air conditioning was amazing – what more could you ask for from a Disney World Hotel? The only thing I found disappointing was the lack of Mickey shaped towels on my bed. However, this is the smallest criticism I could find and other than that the hotel was perfect. I would definitely stay here again.

The Food Court:

The food court at the French Quarter is where you will find the majority of Mardi Gras themed décor with a variety of masks, jokers, ice cream cones and tinsel dangling from the ceiling. It is a Quick Service restaurant named Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factor Food Court. This is quite a big restaurant with around 4 different food stations and an area to refill your drinks if you are on the Dining Plan. Although I didn’t manage to get any photos of the food court itself, I did happen to take some of my favourite food court breakfasts, Mickey Waffles and the French Quarter special – Beignets!

We mostly used the food court for breakfast as we tended to use the Dining Plan at the parks, having spent the majority of the day there. However, the food I ate was great and the food court was convenient from where our room was located so it was easy enough to pop down to refill your drink or grab a snack (or a take-away pizza) if necessary.

As well as the food court, the French Quarter also had a bar called ‘Scat Cat’s Club’. Here they provided food, entertainment and alcoholic beverages so it was definitely more of an adult atmosphere. Dining plans could not be used on the food at Scat Cat’s but I’ve heard from my mum, who spent a lot of her time in the hotel after injuring her foot, that it was delicious and totally worth the money!

I would rate the food court 4/5! The food was great and at the standards you would expect from a quick service and the court was never too busy, with it being a smaller resort. However, I am quite a fussy eater and so I did find it difficult to find something that I liked outside of the breakfast menu but there are plenty of other places to find food outside of the resort and so it never really became a problem.

Recreation:

 

This resort was full of extra activities for people of all ages to get involved in. The pool was quite big and featured a lizard themed water slide, so the children wouldn’t get too bored if their parents wanted a relaxing day at the pool. There were also plenty of pool-side games held by the lifeguards. Personally, I only visited the pool to cool down during the middle of the day meaning I am not entirely sure of the games specifically but there was definitely a hoola-hooping competition at one point during my stay.

The pool is not the only source of entertainment either. One of my favourites being the movies under the stars where you could sit on the grass in the centre of the resort and watch a Disney movie with a complimentary bag of popcorn. This was a great opportunity to relax for the evening, as I’m sure you all know that Disney holidays can be exhausting. Another event held by Disney resort is the campfires where I have heard there are plenty of games and toasted marshmallows.

I would score Recreation 5/5! I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of activities that were available in comparison to my previous stay at a Disney resort 10 years prior. There was never an opportunity to be bored, even if you were fed up of walking around the Disney parks. I will take any excuse to watch Cinderella and eat popcorn in my favourite place in the world and perhaps it was that which has won me over, however I would still recommend staying at this resort if you want to ensure that even your relaxing days are entertaining.

That’s all for my Port Orleans French Quarter review, I hope that you found it both resourceful and entertaining! If you want to read more like this please make sure to visit Chelsea’s blog (http://punzieleigh.blogspot.co.uk/) where she will be reviewing ‘All Star Music’ and keep a look out for Part Two!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, Chelsea and I have both been really excited to put it together and so we hope that you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out Chelsea’s amazing Instagram page (@punzieleigh) and my own (@mainstreetmagiic) for more Disney magic!

Love Shona xxx

 

Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Highlights!

Welcome back to my blog! As you may know, I have recently visited Disneyland Paris for their 25th Anniversary celebrations. I had the most amazing trip and I just wanted to share some of my highlights and tips for those of you who are looking to go or just enjoy reading about other peoples experiences!

There are so many new sources of entertainment that have been introduced as part of the 25th Anniversary in comparison to my earlier visit in December 2016 which really benefitted my most recent trip. I’ve decided to share with you my top 6 anniversary experiences!

6♥ Food! I know Disneyland Paris hasn’t always been the most impressive on the snacking front however they have stepped up their game for the anniversary! The 3 themed food items I bought were the star shaped beignet (or doughnut – not like the beignets you get at the Port Orleans Resort in WDW), star shaped chicken nuggets and a tub of ice cream with a 25th Anniversary wafer. Although admittedly very overpriced, these were all delicious treats. However, the blue popcorn I had heard so much about was no longer available – this was truly devastating as you can imagine.

5♥ Another new feature of the ’25 years of Stars’ was the displays. A lot of effort has clearly gone into making the Disneyland Parc look incredible, from the blue and silver character figurines in front of the castle to the window displays along Main Street. My personal favourite was the 25th Anniversary teacup (found in the seating area for March Hare Refreshments behind the teacups) which is a great photo opportunity! You can really feel the magic and excitement surrounding the 25th Anniversary from the moment that you step into the park.

IMG_0254

4♥ One of my favourite improvements was Big Thunder Mountain! I know this isn’t strictly for the 25th Anniversary however the refurbishment was planned so that it would be updated in time for the celebrations. The new explosion scene and the technology involved was seriously impressive, making it my favourite ride out of all of the parks I’ve been to so far.

3♥ Next up is the Disney Stars on Parade. As it was so hot during our trip, we felt it was necessary to return to the hotel to freshen up and on 2/3 days this occurred during the parade and so we regrettably only got to watch it once. Regardless, it was an incredible parade, the steampunk themed floats were really beautifully designed and the new characters introduced made it such a wonderful surprise! Without giving too much away for those who haven’t seen it yet, I particularly loved the Lost Boys and Mowgli – so adorable! This parade was one of the highlights of my trip and one of the reasons I’m hoping to return during the 25th Anniversary.

2♥ The shows! There are 2 shows in the Disneyland Parc which take place on the stage at the side of the castle. Firstly there is the ‘Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris’. When I visited, this show was only on 3 times a day and again we only got to see it once but it was simply amazing. There were so many character appearances and interactions with the children sat closer to the front, it was really lovely to watch. It goes through all the different areas of the park and their related characters but my favourite part was when Mickey appeared in his 25th Anniversary outfit and all the characters were on stage together. Although I enjoyed every minute of this show, it was the Starlit Princess Waltz that stole the show for me (pardon the pun). I could honestly sit and watch the princesses dance around all day, it was so magical and I felt like a child again. As this show was on more frequently throughout the day, we saw it twice with the second time being on the front row. There was actually a lot of people a similar age to myself at the front so I didn’t feel too bad and it was also a later showing, so if you’re a bit older and really want a good spot just go for it! It is totally worth it, especially when the Disney couples walked off of the stage right in front of you.

1♥ Finally we have the ultimate highlight of my trip, Illuminations. It is so hard to put into words how absolutely incredible this show is. There is something in there for everyone, even Star Wars makes an appearance! The best part for me was Pirates of the Caribbean and the live action Beauty and the Beast. The latter made me so emotional, especially on the night were everyone sat down in front of the castle and watched the show, I don’t know if this happens often but it felt really special and for once I could actually see everything. The music, the fireworks, the special effects and the fire (!!!!) completely surpassed my expectations in comparison to the Christmas edition of Dreams I saw last year.

Overall, it is clear to me that Disneyland Paris have gone over and above for their 25th Anniversary and I would recommend this trip to any Disney fan! Although my heart will always be in Walt Disney World, this trip to Disneyland Paris really made me feel like I was home again. It was a truly magical experience and I cannot wait to return again in the future as there is so much more that I didn’t have time to do whilst I was there, such as meeting the characters in their 25th outfits. I hope that this post really did the anniversary events justice and helped if any of you are planning to visit over the next few months.

Thank you so much for reading this post!

Love Shona xx

Disneyland Paris June 2017 Haul!

Hello!

It’s been a while since my last post but if you follow my Instagram (also @mainstreetmagiic) then you will know that over the weekend I went to Disneyland Paris! I had the most magical 3 day trip, although the heat and the queues were unbearable at times. Anyway, I spent quite a bit on gifts and souvenirs for myself and my family with it being the 25th Anniversary so I thought I would share these with you all so that you can get an idea of what is available if you have an upcoming trip!

The first thing I purchased was my Magic Plus Annual Pass. I actually purchased this before my trip via Supertrips.net where the passes where on sale for €186.75 (€249 at the gate). This was really easy to use, all you have to do is print off your temporary ticket which will be emailed to you. This gives you access to the park where you will need to go to the passport office to make it official! The pass was worth the money for me personally as it gave us the extra magic hours which we wouldn’t have had as we stayed offsite. It also gave us 10% off food, merchandise and a free drink with your sit down meal.IMG_0587

My next purchase was obviously my 25th Anniversary Minnie ears! These were the only ones that I could see available during our stay, but from watching hauls before my trip I had already decided I wanted these ones anyway which was lucky. These cost around €17.

If you follow my Instagram you may know that I like to scrapbook a lot and so I picked up a few pieces of memorabilia that I could keep with photos of my trip. This included free items such as park maps and programmes as well as bought items such as Post cards (Pirates of the Caribbean €1.50, 25th Anniversary €2.50) and the Collectable coins which were €2 each. There are a wide selection of different styles of coins however I just wanted the 2017 and 25th Anniversary ones to commemorate my trip.

Obviously you can’t go to a Disney park and not come home with some treats! The majority of these are actually gifts for my family, I only purchased the Minnie Mouse biscuits for myself as they were my favourite from my last trip and I can always just pinch a biscuit out of my dad’s box once they’re opened. These, the 25th Anniversary biscuits and the caramelised peanuts were all €4.99 each and the bag of chocolates cost €5.99.IMG_0602

Another gift I bought was this 25th Anniversary Travel Mug. This was for my mum as she requested one before I left and it cost either €11.99 or €12.99 (I’m sorry I peeled the sticker off before gave it to her and forgot to write the price down). I love this mug it’s great quality and the design of it is so cute, I really regret not buying one for myself.

Whilst I’m on the subject of gifts I also picked up a keyring for my Nan. This one cost €6.99 and was ideal for her because its quite smart and subtle Disney. I was quite disappointed with the keyring selection this time around because there wasn’t really one that caught my eye and the silver Mickey Mouse 25th Anniversary one was out of stock so I didn’t get one.IMG_0596

My next purchase is Disney Pins! I love to collect and trade pins and I was totally overwhelmed with the pin selection this trip, I had to restrain myself from buying more. The first pin on the left is the Hotel Cheyenne pin, I think this cost €8.99, because I stayed here on my last trip but the pin was sold out and was all weekend up until the evening of my last day. The next pin is the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction pin which cost €7.99 I think, this is my absolute favourite ride so I couldn’t resist buying the pin. The final pin is one of the 25th Anniversary ones, this one was my favourite as it had more characters on it with the castle and the best part is that it spins! This was the most expensive and I think it cost €9.99. I also traded a few pins on my trip which are in the left image so I was quite pleased with them, especially the Tiana one which I got after watching the Princess show (amazing!!!). The yellow Ratatouille stick came free with my steak from Chez Remy so naturally I kept that as well.

The next item is one of my favourites because I am such a mug person. I was searching everywhere for the perfect mug to take home but I couldn’t find one I really liked the look of until I saw this one in the figurine shop on Mainstreet. This cost €22.99 with engraving, which is really expensive for a mug I know but I love it so much. I chose Winnie the Pooh because I liked the yellow one the best but they have plenty of other characters and colours to choose from. My mum is also a mug person and I knew she would have some severe mug envy once she saw mine so I bought her the Minnie Mouse one for her birthday. I went to the castle for that one as the engraving took 4 hours on Mainstreet whereas it was complete within 1 hour in the castle store.

The last item on my haul was actually one of the first things I bought and that was this Minnie Mouse plush. I saw this on a haul so I knew that I wanted to buy it before I got there and it cost €25.99. I love vintage Minnie and this fluffy style of plush makes her even more adorable so I couldn’t help myself.

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So that’s the end of my Disneyland Paris June 2017 haul! I know I bought a lot but I did get an extra 10% off these original prices with my annual pass and I worked some very long hours to save so that I’d be able to get what I wanted. Thank you for reading my blog post I hope you enjoyed my haul!

Love Shona xx

Mickey Mouse Krispie Treats

Everyone loves the different Disney treats that you can get around the parks and I really enjoy baking, so I thought I would make a few attempts at recreating those treats we all love. By sharing the ingredients and steps that I used, I should hope that this would allow you to bring the Disney magic into your home too!

The first treat I’m going to tackle is a personal favourite of mine – Mickey Mouse Rice Krispies! This recipe makes 3 medium sized Krispies (the same size as those you would find in the parks) and a word of warning, it is very messy business.

What you will need:

  • Marshmallows (I used about 9 mediums sized ones)
  • 1/4 of a box of Rice Krispies
  • Heat proof bowl
  • Pan filled with water
  • Mickey cookie cutter or Knife
  • Baking tray or Flat dish with sides
  • Toppings! I used Dairy Milk Buttons, Milkybar and M&M’s

Step 1:

Dish out your marshmallows into your heatproof bowl and place them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.* If your marshmallows survived the microwave, place the bowl above the pan filled with water on the stove and stir until they are melted completely.

*make sure your microwave says 20 seconds and not 2 minutes if you don’t want our marshmallows to explode.IMG_8972[1]

Step 2:

Once melted, pour the marshmallow into a mixing bowl with your Rice Krispies and mix until all Rice Krispies are stuck together. IMG_8973[1]

 Step 3:

Place the Rice Krispie mixture into your dish or baking tray and flatten it out as much as possible – it can get very messy! Then put it into the fridge for about 10 minutes to hold the mix together enough for it to be moulded later on.IMG_8974[1]

Step 4:

Use your Mickey cutter to cut out your shapes or if you’re like me and don’t own one, carve it out using a knife (please get an adult to do this step unless you want Mickey Rice Krispie + Human Finger treats). If you have some mixture left over, you should be able to mould a Mickey mouse shape with your hands. At this stage if you wanted to insert lollipop stick you can do – it might make it easier when it comes to decorating.IMG_8975[1]

Step 5:

Place your Mickey treats back into the fridge for another 10 minutes whilst you prepare the decoration! If you are using chocolate you will need to melt it using the pan and water on the stove with your heat proof bowl, stirring until completely melted. Take your Krispies out of the fridge and decorate them however you like.IMG_8981[1]

Step 6:

Enjoy!IMG_8982[2]

Hello!

Hello, my name is Shona. I wanted to start this blog so that I was able to write more about my Disney experiences and tips as I find them very interesting to read myself. I am admittedly not a great photographer nor am I a writer but I have wanted to try blogging for a really long time, so here it goes! I hope that you enjoy reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed putting them together. Please feel free to give me any advice on presentation etc. because I honestly have no idea what I’m doing!

Thank you xx