Monday, 30 September 2013

Harry Potter Studio Tour: Part I

Warning! This is a 3-part post because I took so many photos!
So a few weeks ago my oldest nephew turned seven & his birthday treat was to go to the Harry Potter Studio's just outside of London. We managed to tag along with them because they had one free ticket; we booked an extra one so we could both go! Two for the price of one! Can't complain, plus I've been dying to go so this was a GREAT excuse to be a kid again!

We drove down together in our car getting questions from the back from a 7 & a 3yr old like "what kind of money do they use in London?" with replies like "We'll just have to ask the goblins at Gringotts bank!" Seriously, kids. I can't wait to tease my own one day. In fact, my favourite part of this whole day trip was seeing their reactions & the looks on their faces when they walked into all the different sections & saw the things they remembered on screen. It was so cute.

All that aside, we had confirmation that we had arrived when our nephew said "you have reached your destiny!" copying the satnav and swapping destination for destiny which we thought was rather appropriate for the HP Studio Tour. We started off in a room where we got told the rules (of course) then into a cinema screen we went. We watched a short clip of the actors telling us what we would see inside then the screen lifted to reveal the Great Hall doors. It was pretty special even if you don't care for Harry Potter you couldn't deny the impact that had. Anyone with a birthday was allowed to push the doors open so our nephew rushed forward and into the Great Hall we went...

^^ the cupboard under the stairs & the great hall set up for dinner ^^

^^ costumes: Prof McGonagall, Dumbledore, Snape & Hagrid ^^

^^ school uniforms ^^

^^ Hagrid, Filch & Yule Ball costumes ^^

^^ Hagrid's hut ^^

^^ The Dungeons ^^

^^ Griffindor's common room & dormitories ^^

^^ Dumbledore's office ^^

^^ The Burrow ^^

^^ Prof Umbridge's office ^^

Part two coming soon...

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Snowhill Manor

In my last post I talked about Sam treating me to a National Trust day out on my birthday weekend. We went to Snowshill Manor. Before that he surprised me with breakfast at Becketts Farm. I am so slow - he told me we were leaving for 9am & I didnt even think he would take me out for breakfast. I was so rushed getting out of the house that I downed an orange juice thinking we'll just have an early lunch instead but I got lucky with my favourite breakfast! I love going there because you get such a massive choice (although I always go for the rise & shine english breakfast!) but you can also wander through the farm shop at good looking fresh produce, sweets and wine!

Snowshill Manor was just over an hours drive away but totally worth it. While we waited for our timed ticket into the house we had a wander round the gardens. It had rained in the morning so everything just glistened & looked more beautiful. I am so appreciating the rain at the moment. I used to dislike it so much because it can be so miserable & mess up your hair! but these days I just don't mind it at all. I find it so refreshing, plus the rain must have kept people indoors because we were able to wander alone, just the two of us (with the odd other person) and enjoy. 

The house was small but Charles Wade who lived there was a collector of pretty much everything from all over the world. There were rooms with tiny toys and (Sam's favourite) a room dedicated to Samurai armour. He also collected musical instruments & all sorts of clocks. He was a hoarder basically but the treasures we saw were so interesting!

^^ new birthday hat! (topshop) ^^

^^ "hours fly, flowers die, new days, new ways pass by but love stays" ^^

^^ Sam enjoying the armoury! ^^

We finished off with the obligatory stop in the tea room but we strayed from tradition of cream teas & had fig frangipane & lemon tart teamed with ginger beer & rose lemonade! Nom!

It really was a lovely day out. Sometimes when I have a hunger to travel again or live somewhere else it's days like this when I really love & appreciate England!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Twenty four

Long time no post! I have been enjoying decorating & doing up our home the past few weeks. Once I start something I have to keep going until it's finished which means certain other things *cough* blog, get put aside. I'd been feeling a little overwhelmed with ideas on what to do with our home that I just needed to start & see where I went with it. Lots of painting, putting together furniture, moving rooms around and I finally feel in a place where I can just sit & enjoy it for a good while before any new big projects come to mind. That's what I've been doing with a lot of my time...


I turned 24 on the tenth of this month! That feels like a mighty big number when I think I got engaged at the baby age of 20 & married a year later. Life is so different now. So so different. Above is me in my new birthday outfit. EVERYTHING in that picture is brand new bought with all the birthday vouchers I received. Boy, it felt so good to have something new to put on, it's been a while since I bought new clothes. I felt super special that day I tell you.
We didn't celebrate on the actual day because Sam was working all day and night so we saved the weekend after to celebrate this new year of life. I made him plan everything! I wanted a break from being in control (although it was darn hard to let someone else plan something!) but Sam did an amazing job & really really treated me to the max. 
On the morning we drove to a National Trust place which I'll post about later this week but the big thing was what he had planned for the evening. We got into a taxi & went to the Korean restaurant I talked about before & when we got in I saw A LOT of dear friends faces! I seriously couldn't believe it. I started shaking & really didn't know what to say! I was so shocked to see so many of the faces that were there because they had very cleverly and casually talked about having 'other plans' that weekend so I really did not expect to see any of them. Boy did good. I felt so loved! We had amazing banter, good food & a few of us went out for cocktails afterwards.
I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate my 24th. 
Sam also got me tickets to see Johnny Flynn in a couple of weeks! Can't wait for that & my parents bought me a standing electric mixer so all in all, a very good birthday indeed!

Monday, 9 September 2013

When September comes

Life just got so busy. I guess Summer is officially over. The weather has changed to rain & chill but I'm really loving it. I have to say I got bored of the sunshine *shock horror* and I'm ready for wrapped up evenings all snug as a bug!

Operation decoration has commenced in our home. Walls are getting painted & we're getting bits & pieces to make it more 'us'. Hoping to work constantly until it is done so we can relax and enjoy it as soon as possible. I'm giving it a few weeks. 
I have not been blogging as much as I would like these days. I thought about taking a break while things get done but I find myself wanting to write a little even if it's nothing much (like this post maybe!). Over Summer everything just seemed to stop, nothing got in my way of writing but since September arrived and the whole world's 'GO!' button has been pushed, suddenly everything needs doing! BUT I do love that about September, there is something of a fresh start that comes with it & I get all nostalgic when I see kids picking out a new pencil case or set of brand new felt tips ready for school. It's exciting, something new and different for everyone when September comes!

I went with my mom & baby sister wedding dress shopping the other day. I cannot believe she is getting married, she may only be a year younger than me but she's just so little! Hah. April 2014 is the date & even for me it's coming around so fast. I wanted to try on wedding dresses again but I resisted & let it be her time...also, my mom wouldn't have let me! We drove all the way to Worcester & found this amazing second hand shop that sells brand new but years old dresses for a bargain. They had a whole vintage section. I SO wish I could post a load of photos of my sister in the dresses she tried on but that would just spoil things. You'll just have to wait.

I also went to Lemington Spa with Sam last week for a date day. We haven't done that properly for a loooong time & it's moments like that when I really get to stop to be with the man I married & realise how HOT he really is! *swoon* Seriously though, sometimes life just goes by and if you're married maybe you know what I mean but I see this guy everyday, I walk past him everyday, I cook dinner & eat with him every night and then I suddenly have these moments when I stop and think "WOW! He is a hottie! & I married him and I get to go to bed with him!" Too much information right!? but hey, I get to write whatever I like on here.

^^ *swoon* ^^

The above picture is of a hot drink we had at Carluccios in Lemington Spa called 'Bicerin'. It comes with three little jugs. One with a coffee shot, one with cream & one with melted chocolate and you mix them in a cup to your requirements and YUM! We had a pudding to share with this & there really was not need. It was a pudding in itself!

On the way home we got caught in a big rain storm (FYI Sam was at the wheel I was not taking this picture while driving) but we had a really lovely day & I want MORE of them for sure.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Charlecote Park

YAY! It's September! My birthday month & the beginning of a beautiful Autumn season. The days are still warm but the nights are getting chillier & I couldn't be more happy about it. Time to get the blankets out, make homemade soups, pies & drink plenty of pumpkin spiced lattes! Nom!

A few weeks ago myself, Sam & my brother visited Charlecote Park. Such a lovely place. Honestly, if you live in England you really need to sign up to be a member of the National Trust. It's not just for oldies! There are hundreds of places to visit & explore. We absolutely love it and have many a picnic in a new place.
This place didn't disappoint. We spent a little while around the house which had it's own brew house. Sam was in his element checking out all the old fashioned equipment since he now brews his own beer at home.
It was really lovely to spend some quality time with my brother as well. 

We had the obligatory cream teas & found a group of deer that we followed through the grounds for ages. It was magical!   

^^ they are good friends my hubby & brother. awww...^^