On Friday I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour with family as a belated birthday treat. The tour is in the film studio where all the films were made and showcases the sets, costumes and props from the films. You get a fixed time-slot but you walk around the tour yourself. We had to wait a while to get in and in the queue you can view the cupboard under the stairs where Harry lived:
Once you’re let in, you see a short film and when it ends, the screen rolls up to reveal the doors that lead into the Great Hall:
The tables were laid for dinner and they had costumes for each of the houses at the house tables. This was the Gryffindor section:
At the top of the room is the teacher’s table with mannequins wearing the costumes:
You are led out of the hall and then you can walk around two indoor sets and one exterior set filled with HP goodies. The lighting is a bit dark so excuse the photo quality. It’s amazing how small the sets are in real life and shows how clever cameras can be. Here are some of my favourite sets (the boys dorm, the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office, Umbridge’s office and The Burrow):
Outside, we got to see the Ford car, no.4 Privet Drive, and the bridge at Hogwarts:
The second interior set shows you the creatures and how they were made and then you step into Diagon Alley filled with the shops from the films:
You then walk into the grand finale of the tour – the model of Hogwarts. They actually used this in the shots of the castle in the films adding in the countryside behind it and using clever camera angles to make it look like a full size castle. The model itself is huge and intricate and they change the lighting so you can see it in the daytime and nighttime:
The tour was lots of fun and I’d recommend it even if you’re not a massive HP fan. The tour ends in the shop predictably and it was very expensive. I was also disappointed that most of the items were for young boys – what about big girls Warner Bros?! I brought a poster of myself dressed as a wizard having escaped from Azkaban and we got a group shot flying in the Ford car. You can also have one taken on a broom. We spent about three hours in the studio and then headed home for food and bed.
I might have to accept now that my birthday is over
Posted by Victoria-writes on April 8, 2013
Yesterday I turned the dreaded 30! Luckily I had a lovely day so some of the sting was taken out of the scary age I had lots of lovely messages from you guys so thank you and I woke up to a balloon, cake and lots of cards.
I had a girly day planned with my mum who brought me a gorgeous necklace from Links. For some reason taking photos of it was hard but you can kind of see it here:
We went to Harrods and the Paris cafe Laduree for a glass of champers and I had the most amazing chocolate eclair and my mum had a slice of chocolate orange cake. So yummy. I would highly recommend it. I really could get used to this lifestyle
I used the money I got from family and friends to buy a watch in Harrods and ended up with more Links jewellery None of the photos I took came out so here’s one from the internet. As usual with me there was some drama though as the watch didn’t work and we had to trek to another store to get a replacement.
After shopping, we went to Covent Garden for a mooch and then had an early dinner in a restaurant called Sophie’s there. We spent so long looking at their cocktail menu in confusion that the waiter took pity and made up two he thought we’d like and they were delicious and pretty alcoholic
And here we are already looking a little tipsy:
I had a huge rack of ribs and my mum had salmon, definitely worth checking the restaurant out if you’re in Covent Garden. We didn’t have dessert as there was birthday cake waiting for us at home.
I came home to more cards and a lovely bunch of flowers from a friend. I collapsed on the sofa in my PJ’s and ate a huge slice of cake. Bliss. And now I’m in my thirties *shudder*
Posted by Victoria-writes on March 21, 2013
As a pre-birthday treat, my friend and I hit London this weekend. We stayed the night in the 5* St Pancras Renaissance hotel, which is adjacent to the train station and has been completely restored as a hotel as it was in 1873. When we arrived, we went to the champagne bar in the station, the longest champagne bar in Europe. Carly ordered the four tasting platter while I just had a large glass of bubbly.
After we were sufficiently tipsy from the champers we went for cake at Peyton and Byrne – I didn’t get a photo of our cakes, which should tell you they were so yummy they were gone in seconds. I had the lemon poppy seed cake while Carly had banana and chocolate and we can highly recommend them! We had a wander round the shops in St Pancras and checked out the Harry Potter shop at King’s Cross station next door, well worth visiting if you’re fan.
We then checked into our room, which was spacious and modern, and got ready for our night out. I took some outside shots of our hotel as we walked out to have dinner.
After dinner and wine, we went back to our hotel and to The Gilbert Scott bar. We felt very posh and civilised sipping Cosmopolitan cocktails in our dresses. They also serve the biggest chips you’ve ever seen.
The stairs in the hotel appear in the Spice Girl’s Wananbe video and we took a photos messing about on them. The whole area is decorated with a church-like feel to it.
After a sleep in our very comfortable beds, we went into the Booking Office restaurant for breakfast – it’s a really stunning room.
The breakfast buffet was one of the best hotel breakfast’s I’ve ever had. I started off with pastries then followed with the cooked breakfast – so good.
We then waved goodbye to our hotel and headed off in a taxi to get our train home. It was a really fun and relaxing weekend, I could definitely get used to weekends like this!
Posted by Victoria-writes on March 18, 2013
This weekend we were covered in a blanket of snow. As I watched the flakes float down past the window, I thought about how the mood the snow created felt different to how snow should. Usually when I think about snow, I imagine children laughing and playing, throwing snowballs and building snowmen or I imagine a Christmas are scene where the snow covers a thatched roof laced with fairy lights – all twinkling and magical.
But this snow seemed to create a more melancholic mood. The sky turned grey, the birds disappeared and a stillness settled. The snow covered bare branches and made the landscape seem desolate and eerie. It made me want to stare in the distance and think about life and love. Just shows how much weather can affect our mood.
What mood does snow create for you?
Posted by Victoria-writes on January 21, 2013
Last night we celebrated my friend Carly’s 30th birthday by going to the roller disco. I’ve known Carly since primary school and she was the first of us to turn 30 (my turn soon help!)
Dressed in our 80′s inspired clothes, we went to the event in London for a retro night of fun. To start the night we had a few drinks at Carly’s house. Here we are are in our finery:
We hit the roller disco with a few drinks inside us. It was a complete flashback to my early teens when I used to go to the local leisure centre’s roller disco. I hadn’t been on roller skates since then but I managed to stay upright on them. I can’t say the same for all of the gourd though Everyone was dressed up at the disco and the music was retro themed. Lots of fun.
This is me with the birthday girl – I think she enjoyed the night, not sure if she’ll remember it all today though
To finish off the night we ordered a bottle of champagne and added a candle bomb to it. The security peeps told us off as it was a fire hazard oops but we managed to get away with it
I crawled into bed at 3am and I definitely can’t cope with late nights like I used to, I feel pretty rough today. My leg also hurts this morning from the skating – further proof I’m my teenage years are long gone. It was fun to remember them last night though.
Posted by Victoria-writes on December 9, 2012
The scorching sun shines down on the city
By day, my toes dip in the cool blue pool
At night, they stroll down cobbled streets dotted with horse-drawn carriages.
Jugs of iced sangria and mist emitting from umbrellas keep us cool
Waving painted fans like we’re Spanish, watching our skin turn from white to brown
Walking past terracotta buildings that sparkle under the clear blue sky.
Palm trees float in the warm breeze, surrounding us
Watching people crisp in their swim suits
Floating in the cold pool afterwards, refreshing and shocking.
Fountains spray over hot pavements,we run in and out
Chatting over late night tapas so many miles from home,
Doesn’t seem like we’re under the same sky here.
Posted by Victoria-writes on July 27, 2012
Yesterday, I went to Windsor Great Park to watch The Queen travel by carriage to Ascot racecourse with my mum and our friend. It was a quintessential English summer day – cold, windy and wet but like any good Brit I stuck it out with my parka, umbrella and deck chair and braved the elements to see her.
The route was lined with fellow crazy English people who think nothing of a picnic in the rain – some even had fold up tables with a full on lunch despite the brisk wind. We were watched over by fancily-dressed police in suits and top hats and with everyone. It was all very civilised!
First, the carriages arrive to await the Royals and they lined up right in front of us.
This is The Queen’s carriage:
Then the posh cars arrive with the Royals. They then swap the cars for the carriages. You can just make out The Queen in her car:
Unfortunately, due to the weather all the carriages had their roofs on and The Queen practically leapt from the car into her carriage with The Duke so we didn’t get to see much apart from a blur of lilac
Once housed in the carriage, they headed off to Ascot. And when they had gone, we packed up and left.
And the sun came out – typical!
Posted by Victoria-writes on June 23, 2012
When I did some clearing out this week, I found some old photos. It got me thinking how I don’t place as much importance on photos anymore – you can take them far more easily now, I can use my phone or digital camera or even my laptop but I don’t bother as much. I think it’s because they end up sitting on these devices, never to be looked at again. I used to get excited collecting prints from Boots wondering how they had come out and laughing at ones I didn’t even remember taking. Now I just don’t bother printing that many out.
I’ve decided I need to make myself take more photos and at least share them on here so they aren’t forgotten forever. I went outside on Saturday for the first time in like a week as the sun finally came out. I didn’t go anywhere exciting – just a garden centre but I got some much needed fresh air and was inspired by the pretty flowers and took a couple of photos. When I got home, I decided to make use of the new photo technology and jazz them up a bit.
I checked out Instagram but I prefer two older photo apps actually – Camera+ and ShakeitPhoto. Here are the results:
And here was my self-portrait. You really can jazz up any photo
Photos capture moments. I must remember to capture mine.
Do you miss printed photos? How do you use photos now?
Posted by Victoria-writes on May 14, 2012
Tuesday was my 29th birthday. I’m dangerously close to 30, sounds far too grown up! My mum and I took a day trip to Hampton Court Palace. It was a gorgeous sunny day and all the daffodils were in bloom so it felt very spring like.
The wilderness gardens:
Posing with the flowers:
The formal gardens:
Posted by Victoria-writes on March 23, 2012
As you know I do like the Kardashians and I looked at their photo shoot for their new clothing line with interest, especially as the photos were taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. However, I was startled to see this pose of all three sisters all looking the exact same height.
This photo has totally been airbrushed. Khloe is 5 foot 9 where as Kim is 5 foot 2 and Kourtney just 5 foot. I think it’s sad that someone felt it needed to be photoshopped to make them all an identical height. I like the fact Khloe is different, she stands out and should be proud to be tall.
Air brushing just sends out a completely wrong message about body image. We all see these photos in magazines and even pretty celebs or models are air brushed into an unattainable person – smooth skin, a tiny waist and absolutely no flaws. We should celebrate how different people are not trying to make everyone look the same.
It makes me laugh when I see adverts for mascara on TV. Every advert has small print below it – lash inserts used and lashes enhanced in post production. I want to see what the mascara will actually make my lashes look like not see a fake advert as it make me less likely to buy the product!
I wish there wasn’t a fixation with airbrushing or Photoshop and we could see people how they really are and accept them for that. We should be proud of how we look!
What do you think about airbrushing?
Posted by Victoria-writes on September 8, 2011