Wednesday 28 December 2016

Harry Potter Studio Tour

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is a window upon one of the most beloved book and film franchises there has ever been. It's essentially 2 sound stages and a backlot where you'll see many of the inside and outside exterior sets, allow at least 3 hours for the truly immersing experience .

Knight from Wizard Chess Harry Potter
Knight Chess Piece Prop ~ Wizard Chess Harry Potter

Planning is key , and if you go for one of the early slots which start at 9 Am you might want to stop the previous night in one of the local hotel s which are literally only about 10 minutes away. Around 6,000 people visit the Harry Potter Tour each day so the earlier you visit the better in my opinion, the hotel we stopped in was only about 10 minutes away so this made it ideal for the early start at Harry Potter which for us was a 9am start ( our slot was 9 - 9.30 ). While stopping at a hotel does add to the cost we booked ahead so we didn't feel the pinch at much with it being Christmas.

The tickets costs for Harry Potter Studio Tour are £39 for adults and £31 for children aged 5-15 , this price change is effective from January 1st 2017 . There are some saver days available at slightly reduced prices , details are on the website .

Make sure you leave any heavy coats in the cloakroom and if you've got children in your party do pick up the free passport that can be stamped as you go round , it makes for a lovely ( free souvenir )

The first part of the tour is well the queueing but you aren't queueing for long and there's plenty of memorabilia  to hold your interest including the cupboard under the stairs where Harry Potter slept .

The tour starts with the Great Hall and I've always loved this in the Harry Potter film, I promise you ~ you'll be blown away as you see the feast set out for Christmas along with flaming Christmas puddings . The Great Hall has a real stone floor which is Yorkshire Stone , long dining tables and the mannequins which may look a tad spooky but it all adds to the ambiance .

Harry Potter's Flaming Christmas Pudding
Harry Potter's Flaming Christmas Pudding 

The interior Sets

Here you'll see Hagrids Hut , Dumbledore's office , the Weasley's Kitchen ( which I had a kitchen like that ) and of course the Gryffindor Common room. I particularly like the Office of Dolores Umbrage it's like Katie Price overloaded with cats ( not that I'm a fan of pink , Katie Price but I really love cats and kitsch)

And with the Tour being set in the snow it's magical and makes for a wonderful family visit for the memories , for me Diagon Alley is a real highlight . It's hard not to think of the shop fronts as real , you just want to open a door and walk into to the magic.

Gryffindor Common Room Harry Potter
Gryffindor Common Room Harry Potter 

Dumbledores's Office Harry Potter
Dumbledore's Office 

Weasley's Kitchen Harry Potter
Weasley's Kitchen 
Below is a short Youtube video on the Goblet of Fire.

Hogwarts Express Warner Bros Studio Tour Harry Potter
Hogwarts Express

Platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter

Clock on platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter
Clock on Platform 9 3/4

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley on the Hogwarts Express ~ Harry Potter
Harry Potter and Ron Weasley on the Hogwarts Express ~ Harry Potter


This is where you can buy the famous Butterbeer and grab a bite to eat , 

Now the Butterbeer is an acquired tasted , we all had some and I have to say I much preferred the Butterbeer from Universal which did go down a treat in the hot Florida climate . 

Harry Potter Butterbeer

you're also welcome to eat your own food as well , there isn't a huge amount of seating available . Outside you'll see the Knight bus , Privet Drive and the cottage where Harry was born.

The Knight Bus Harry Potter
The Knight Bus ~Harry Potter 



Diagon Alley

Walking along Diagon is a real treat and it was one of my most favourite things about the Harry Potter Tour~

And with the Tour being set in the snow it's magical and makes for a wonderful family visit for the memories , for me Diagon Alley is a real highlight . It's hard not to think of the shop fronts as real , you just want to open a door and walk into to the magic.


Creature Workshop

Is where you'll find the creature that we're in Harry Potter like Fawkes ,Dobby , Hagrid . Having  never appreciated the amount of hard work and skill that goes into film making with all the props and equipment it literally blew my mind. I liked the fact that with the sets and things they didn't try to hide away the working bits from sight for the guests it was interesting to look at the level of detail and care that goes film making. for instance I think 17,000 wand boxes were made for Ollivanders wand shop.



Hogwarts Model Room

This is stunning , the artistic talent is outstanding ~ my models for projects for school never ever looked this amazing !



Every attraction worth its salt ends up in the gift shop and the gift shop at the Harry Potter Studio Tour doesn't disappoint ; the only thing it will disappoint will be your wallet . A wand will set you back around £28.95 and these wands are indeed a thing of beauty , very much a high quality souvenir . These wands are not a toy , there are toy wands available which of course will be cheaper . 

Saturday 24 December 2016

Cats Are The Answer To Everything

Cats are the best thing ever ~ they are the answer to everything .

They party hard over Christmas and collapse into a catntip drug induced coma .



They remember those carefree kitten days when they wore hats at Christmas .


Then years later they nail the same pose with the same wide eyed wonder .


Cats are a diet aid as they stare at any unhealthy pudding you have !

Cats are awesome , cats are the answer to everything !

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Getting Accepted Into Hogwarts

Hurrah hurrah .

I've been accepted into Hogwarts finally which for a Muggle is quite an achievement , I am not phased that at 44 I'll be the oldest pupil there but as they say you're never to old to learn . I so hope the Sorting Hat puts me into Gryfinnor !

So next week we will be heading to the Warner Bros Studio Tour " The making of Harry Potter , from what I've heard there will be an obvious Christmassy feel to the place . Harry Potter has always been in the heart of our family from my son dressing up when he was 4 to watching every movie together at Christmas time . It's a family tradition and one I'm pleased to continue by going on this tour , now we've paid for this ourselves . 

You see just because I blog it doesn't mean I have everything handed to me on a plate , we've worked hard for this and for the past three months I've been flat out . Flat out so much so I've been too busy to notice how beautiful the world is , now I've only been stopped work a day I can see this again !  I feel my humour  returning oh yes indeedy . 

I'm so excited .

Squeal .

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Health And Home Care Tips

We are definitely a nation of DIyers and we love it !

I remember in our last house which was a Victorian house Mr T decided he was going to remove some wall paper off the wall , he grabbed a loose bit ( it was that very nasty wood chip stuff , which the curse of a many a household ) and pulled it off , the only trouble was that the plaster came off the walls at the same time. We both looked at each other in utter disbelief once the cloud of dust had settled to then stare upon a bare brick wall.

"You can find out more about being safe while doing DIY at"

How Healthy Is Your Home Improvement?
Share your #HealthandHome tips on Twitter @SlaterGordonUK (via Slater and Gordon).

Post in Collaboration with Slater and Gorden

Sunday 18 December 2016

Do Cows Dreams?

I'm often attacked by random thoughts ; sign of a genius they say , not sure who but someone yes . As we ere travelling in the car ( well I wasn't travelling by broomstick despite what some may think ..) I gazed out to see a herd of cows in a perfect circle ( this could have been synchronised cow dancing , their version of Strictly )

My husband commented he was turning into his Dad with having to travel to a garden centre miles away ;when perfectly serviceable garden centres were closer to hand.

Siri on my husbands phone is trying to kill me I'm sure ... screaming out " the internet connection has stopped " at 5 am , I think Siri is turning into Hal from 2001 a Space Odessy . 

"I'm sorry Claire I can't possibly let you out the front door "

A few weeks ago Mr T 's phone at 5 am again loudly announced the cricket scores at 5 am , oh how we laughed ....

Technology will be the death of me or quite possibly Mr T <

Oh and the doctor says I've to drink more , I resisted the temptation to say wine , so I must obey there , I must also eat cereal but I've also done today but I did try to put the cereal in the fridge. I've also a blood test on Thursday which will reveal if I've got this or that or I'm an alien , I'm my own worse patient . It's going be three phials of blood the vampires  and I'm going to have to explain my delicate veins , perhaps I'm just an alien.

That would explain it to a tea.

I wouldn't say booo to a goose , but exactly does who does say booo to a goose ?

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Faith Is Keeping The Ship Steady

Today's blog post is about keeping the faith , how you keep the faith may be very different to you , I'm not on about religious faith I'm in about keeping the  faith . If you wish to include religious faith in there that's fine also , keeping the  faith is what I've been doing a lot recently .

I've had some talk days recently where I've had a wobble or two but I think of my anxiety as a ship , sometimes there's a mutiny and the crew runs amok , other times the crew is wildly optimistic having been at the ships rum. One day the ship might let in water having run aground but the crew patch it up and we keep sailing , there could be a battle or two resulting in you losing a leg ...

And so I keep the faith , I keep saying how I feel though sometimes I am  screaming into a paper bag when people put on their bossy boots. I couldn't get by without my friends and I'm a very shy person who feels overwhelmed by everything and nothing at the same time , life you see is very much like a banana it's trying to see if you can handle it all in one go.

For the past 2 months I have felt like myself then I haven't it's been quite the condundrum at times , but like Alice in Wonderland I seek to do 6 impossible things before breakfast one of which might be pleading with the toaster not to burn one side of my toaster . I might mutter under my breath to the toaster I dare you I blooming well dare you ..... 2 minutes later .... you lousy piece of technology . I keep the faith and the next day the toaster is perfect .

" Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to " miracle on 34 th Street

I feel like the train Casey Jr on Dumbo who struggles up the hill "I think I can and going down the hill chants "I thought I could "

I know it it rather twee to think of life in sleeps but it is only 8 seeps till I break up from school and let me tell you I am really really ready for it , we are a hard working staff and we do our very best for the children. I am looking forward to recharging my batteries ready for the New Year , we all know that the month of January is actually 2 moths long but you know we will get through it  ... we will keep the faith .

So in the words of George Michael  "'Cause I gotta have faith"

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Vytronix Cyclonic Cleaner

I was sent the Vytronix cyclonic vacuum cleaner to review , on first inspection it was a lot smaller than I was expecting . I decided to assemble the vacuum cleaner which was relatively easy to do and I was ready to put in through its paces in no time at all.

The cleaner is incredibly lightweight and easy to use on carpets , upholstery and hard floors.

It only weighs 4.3 kg making it super light.

It has a HEPA filtration system .

It has an 80 cm telescopic tube along side a 1.5 metre hose complete with a 5 metre power cord.

It has a 2L dust container.

The on off switch is easily controlled with your foot.

However if you have a 3 bedroom house then this isn't the vacuum cleaner for you except for doing those lightening quick jobs around the home 

And that isn't a panther for size comparison that's Jack the normal sized cat .

It is a good price and space saving , the energy rating isn't the best you can get but for the money it is a good buy for a small house or bungalow. I know my mother in law who is 90 would be able to use it with ease .

Product Specification
High Power 1400w Motor,
Compact, lightweight and easy to use and store,
Weighs only 4.3Kg,
4 Stage HEPA filtration System,
Compact bagless design,
Large 2L capacity,
5m Power cord,
1.5m Flexible hose
80cm Chrome telescopic extension tube
Accessories include: 2 in 1 crevice tool / dusting brush & upholstery tool, 
Product dimensions: (L)33cm x (W)25cm x (H) 29cm
Includes FREE 1 Year Guarantee.

And it is priced at only £36.99 including free delivery .

Disclosure This Vacumn cleaner was sent to me and my review is honest and all opinions and words are my own.

Monday 5 December 2016

How A Cat Is Better Than A Hatchimal

How a cat is better than a Hatchimal

Your cat will be more interactive than a Hatchimal , please don't try to insert batteries into a cat they're not required .


Your cat should be ready to go from day 1 be it a kitten or fully fledged model , no 20 minutes what for it to hatch .

Now the training will be longer than a Hatchimal and your cat will require actual food and entertainment which you'll spend longer playing but that's half the fun anyway . Your cat will just sit in any packaging of the things you buy for it anyway .

Now your cat will enter into a naughty toddler phase like a Hatchimal but bear with it as this phase will last years providing you which such entertainment and conversation starters .


And unlike a Hacthimal cats are everyone including places that they shouldn't be going on * bad cat , very very bad cat .

And the novelty of cat won't wear off like a Hatchimal might but as they say they toy is in the eye of the behold * ps a cat is not a toy .A cat will cost more than a Hatchimal and will need to eat real food where as I don't think a Hatchimal eats at all does it ?

In the long run your cat will be around a lot longer than a Hatchimal , your cat is likely to be around over 20 years if you are lucky, your Hatchimal could survive that long and in turn become a retro toys worth scullions and millions of cold hard cash. I have wept at some the toys I no longer have that are now worth oodles and oodles of money but c'est la vie I knew killing that Tamagotchi would come back to haunt me but that is another blog post in itself.

So basically a cat will last longer than a Hatchimal and give you more than 20 minutes of love , though 20 minutes of love may be it completely ignoring you as that is a cats special power but it will still love you ...

Maybe ...

I have heard of lonely Htchimals sitting all alone and frightened on windowsills least a cat will knock all your ornaments off for you .

Sunday 4 December 2016

My Debenhams Christmas Wishlist

Now you can't have failed to notice that's Christmas , which of course means you'll go to town with the tinsel and baubles ! Christmas also means hoards of relatives visiting you like gazelles skipping over the Serengetti and possibly devouring your food like vultures . Now you're going to need comfortable seating and Christmas is a good time to find bargain seating , I really like the looks of this Fyfield  set from Debenhams priced at £950


Which is a lot better than having to construct  flatpack when you've hoards of relatives descending upon you !



It's not Christmas unless you're giving someone a jumper ~ Christmas jumpers are of course always optional but this Maine New England plum knitted v neck  jumper is perfect for the men in your life priced at £20 .


In previous years you haven't quite got them the jumper they've wanted ....


Now with 10 squillion office parties and family functions to go to , you'll need something to wear that's sparkly and wowing that you can just wear with or without accessories , dress up or down , you get the picture it's that little glittery dress !! : The Collection Gold glitter shift dress priced at £38 


Spa s I adore them but I especially adore them with my very good friend and soul sister Jane , we spa every year it's a friendship ritual and that one day leaves us recharged for the rest of the year . So I'd love to find a Spa experience waiting for me under the tree meaning I can treat my friend Jane too , believe me you could write a book on mine and Janes experiences on our Spa days !! .Oooh yes please Gift Experiences  Champneys Relaxing Spa Day for Two priced at £199 

Gift Experiences  Champneys Relaxing Spa Day for Two.


Jane is just my cup of tea ! she is my soul tea sister and I couldn't wish for a better friend or honorary sister !

Now you need a Cracker or two at Christmas and there's nothing better than this Cracker set from L'Occitane . I adore this L'Occitane en Provence Indulging Delights Cracker priced at £8.50 . Now call me melodramatic but I'd much rather receive this as a secret Santa gift than the three packets of sticky notes I received one Christmas , I'm not one to bear a grudge or anything . I realise this wishlist is somewhat self indulgent ~ oh what a shame !!


You try to put a positive spin on a naff secret Santa ...


But it doesn't quite work ...

This is part of the :

Debenhams Win Your Wishlist competition

Saturday 3 December 2016

A Vintage Bird In The Hand

I'm recovering from a virus , upper respitory infection , I'm the worlds worse patient , I'm ill the same week every year right before my birthday . And yet despite the time ferrying between the walkin centre  to the chemist back , to the doctors twice back to the chemist , I found time to pop into the local charity shop . I can only describe myself as a womble with eclectic taste , I know what I like and I see what I like , it's forever my mines eye . My minds eye is what I also use in my photography which I'm slowly getting back into . So anyhow , popping into the charity shop I spy this little chap sitting high up on the shelf all lonely and scared, I gently enquirer and he's for sake he's a collectors club  piece from Royal Crown Derby and is priced st £19.99 I snap him up in an instance.

Then I spy a little Green Chaffinch from Beswick at £5.99 which of course I also purchase , I love Beswick I have fond memories of vacuuming my mothers Beswick horses , it was a minor inconvenience to the one of the horses that I also vacuumed off one of his legs . Still it's good to help at home I say and it should be encouraged in the young wherever possible but perhaps not near your sacred China eh ?

So remember you're a vintage womble and get out there and look !!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Finding Your Motivation


My cat looks how I feel .

I'm pretty sure it can see into my soul .

You ever get so busy that you don't know whoever you are coming or going and you just want to say 

" Hey world just let me off the roundabout for one minute "

Now don't get me wrong I like being busy as much as the next person , but sometimes I want to be as carefree as I was but then again I was wishing I was busier. ~ go figure .

I think what it comes down to is priotising what I need to do and ticking it off on a list , the little things really do matter .

I used to talk at ten to the dozen at people but just lately I've managed to slow myself right down , that's not to say I'm not random as I ever was but I think of it as learning a new skill .

But an inner voice is pushing me through come Tuesday , it's tough so many challenges professionally but I've excellant support making it a winning situation.

Today my motivation was in a tree especially at preciously 2.30 am my teen was ill with the latest virus that's doing the rounds , it doesn't matter the age you still worry about them.

You know when you get the nod of solidarity from another parent that understands you've a ill teen and they've lost the ability carry stuff .


We are all starting to come down with flu even though I've had the flu jab , I've got the sniffles . My son has it worse and my husband too has it worse , and oh the shower screen collapsed while I was at work .


I've full blown flu type symptoms and my nose just wouldn't stop flowing , which was very annoying , I soldiered on with my job as an autism teaching assistant ~ I can't let the side down . I keep my bobble hat and scarf on , I look like a budget invisible man.


My nose is a tap and I feel like my nose is the size of a house , I'm doing my very best to keep fluids on board and dose myself up to the eyeballs . Along with the rest of the family I drag myself to " Fantastic Beasts and where to find them " I want a Newt scarf for Christmas ( Huffenpuff)


I just stay in bed all day Lucozade is my friend and that is about all I did, my husband did dust ( I am surprised that this occurrence didn't make the News at 10 ) 

and we are back to Monday where it all nose dived and I ended up at the Urgent care centre having to wait 3 hours to be seen. It was mayhem there made chaotic by a toddler offering everyone a cup of water and toys flying past your head . I eventually got seen and was given antiobitcs some really strong ones the type that would knock an elephant off its paws.

And when you're poorly you need the toilet only to find the cat has run off with the toilet roll and killed it .