Travel | Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando

I visited Universal Studios during a trip to Orlando at the end of October/beginning of November. As I was visiting Walt Disney World in said trip, it seemed rude not to pop by Universal and check out what they had on offer too.

universal_1

universal_2

Now, I have to start this post by admitting that I am not the biggest ride fan… which may seem a weird thing to say given that this is the holiday I chose to go on but bear with me a minute whilst I explain. I don’t really get the thrill of rides that are designed simply to have the most inversions or the quickest acceleration or the longest free-fall drop or whatever. That doesn’t really “thrill” me like it clearly does other people. I’m more so in it for the theming, which is why the likes of Disney do appeal to me even though I was the girl who stood and watched the bags and coats when the rest of my classmates tore through Alton Towers theme park. Universal is somewhere between the two, it seems: it has big rides for the thrill seekers and it feels a lot more of an “adult” park than Disney does (the fact it hosts Halloween Horror Nights probably has a lot to do with that) but it still goes all out on its theme. There was only one area of Universal I was actually interested in: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Continue reading

London Trip 2017 | Day Two aka the snow taketh with one hand and giveth with the other

Welcome to the second post in my wrap up on my recent trip to London – take a look a day one here if you haven’t already.

After a double musical day of emotional musicals, I think both Liz and I were happy at the prospect of getting out of theatres and heading out of London for our planned activities on Sunday but, as you will see, things didn’t go quite as planned. I know how to do suspense, don’t I?

We woke bright and (reasonably) early, excited for our day at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Watford, and donned our Harry Potter related clothing, also bundling up with scarves and gloves after a quick peek at the snow (!) falling outside. Sunday mornings in London are weird, to say the least, because there are so few people on ordinarily busy streets and the snow was also good encouragement to stay indoors if you could. Even so, the snow wasn’t settling as the ground was already wet, so we decided to walk the twenty-minute walk to Euston. I wouldn’t presume to speak for both of us but I believe that we quickly regretted this decision to walk when Liz discovered her Vans weren’t quite as waterproof as we first hoped and my Chelsea boots, whilst pretty, had no grip to speak of on the soles. This makes for a very interesting walk on slippy streets.

Continue reading

T5W | Characters on the Naughty List

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is December 13th – Characters on the Naughty List: these can be villains or just characters you don’t like! As you might have guessed if you saw my Top 5 ‘Problematic Faves’ post a few Wednesdays ago, I have quite the soft spot for a good old fashioned, morally grey villain. They always seem to have so much fun in their villainous ways and the devil really does have all the best tunes. That being said, I’m trying not to just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ all over again so I’ve gone for more mischievous ‘naughty’ characters rather than just flat out villains.

5. Henry ‘Monty’ Montague from A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

It’s safe to say that Monty is a bit of a devilish rogue, and I choose that phrase very deliberately. Everyone’s favourite ruffled, rumpled rake, he’d be the sort to break hearts but also charm every susceptible man, woman, or beast so that you’d forget how negligent he’d been towards you because that’s just Monty and Monty is so very, very charming and dashing. It helps that overall Monty is, in essence, an in-love little squish but I think Santa might very well put him on the naughty list for some of his more (ahem) illicit affairs.

Continue reading

The House Cup Reading Challenge | Wrap Up

As you may remember, I enthusiastically (and a tad foolhardily) signed up for the House Cup Reading Challenge – if you don’t remember, you can find my sign-up/tbr post here! The readathon lasted from Sunday 15th October until Sunday 12th November and was hosted by Lauren of Live, Love, Read/@BetweenDPages; Alex of Book Daisy Reviews/@booksydaisy; Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf/@Kelsenator; and Erica of Escape Under the Cover/@slychica08. The aim was to read some books based on the challenges which were Hogwarts-themed!

You earnt points based on the number of books you completed which fulfilled the Main and Bonus Challenges (20 points and 10 points respectively) and then reported your points to your House’s Head Girl at the end of the readathon. Using the hashtag #housecupreadingchallenge on Twitter also earnt you 1 point per tweet (limited to 20 points total).

I periodically (read: when I remembered) updated a progress thread via Twitter which you can find here. And let’s see how many challenges I managed to complete, shall we?

The Reading Challenges

housecupcategories.png

Continue reading

The House Cup Reading Challenge | Sign Up & TBR

Guess what everyone? I haven’t learnt from any of my mistakes in the past few months (don’t join in on multiple readathons and readalongs, folks) and I’m enthusiastically signing up for the House Cup Reading Challenge. That’s right, it’s a Harry Potter themed readathon… so you can see why I had an issue saying no, right?

The readathon is taking place from Sunday 15th October until Sunday 12th November and is hosted by Lauren of Live, Love, Read/@BetweenDPages; Alex of Book Daisy Reviews/@booksydaisy; Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf/@Kelsenator; and Erica of Escape Under the Cover/@slychica08. The aim? Read some books based on the challenges which (you guessed it) are Hogwarts-themed! You earn points based on the number of books you complete which fulfill the Main and Bonus Challenges (20 points and 10 points respectively) and then report your points to your House’s Head Girl at the end of the readathon. Using the hashtag #housecupreadingchallenge on Twitter will also earn you 1 point per tweet (limited to 20 points total). Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The Reading Challenges

housecupcategories.png

Continue reading

Tag | The Harry Potter Tag

Guys, it’s Thursday again so you know the drill – it’s time for Tag Thursday. *cue moderate applause*

This week I bring you the excitingly named Harry Potter Tag and yep it does what it says on the tin – this tag is about all things Potter! I was tagged by my good friend Liz from Travel in Retrospect (check out her post here) and I’m not sure who created this originally but, if you know, please do let me know so I can credit them properly!

What house are you in?

I’m definitely a proud Ravenclaw through and through, guys. Although I nearly had an existential crisis when I signed up for Pottermore because it declared me a Gryffindor. I have since decided to reject its reality and substitute my own. Apparently I would be in Thunderbird at Ilvermorny, whatever that means.

What is your Patronus?

A husky – how cute!

What is your wand?

Elder wood with a unicorn hair core, 14 1/2 inches, and unyielding flexibility. Good??

What would your boggart be?

I hate slugs, so potentially a slug. Just one huge gross slug. I don’t even like having to walk around them on paths, it makes my skin crawl. By contrast, snails, fine – no, it doesn’t make sense.

Continue reading

Review | Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001)
Author: “Newt Scamander”/J.K. Rowling
Read: 10th September 2017
Genre: fantasy; children’s
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“As featured in the first year set texts reading list in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an extensive introduction to the magical beasts that exist in the magical, non-Muggle world. Some of the animals featured in the A-Z you will have already met in the existing Harry Potter books: for example Hippogriff, Flobberworm, Kappa – others you certainly won’t: read on to find out exactly what a Chizpurfle is, or why one should always beware of the sinister Lethifold . . . As Albus Dumbledore says in his introduction, this set text book by Newt Scamander has given the perfect grounding to many a Hogwarts student. It will be helpful to all Muggles out there too . . . On reading the book you will also find that Harry, Ron and (in one instance) Hermione – couldn’t resist graffitiing the book, and adding their own hand-written opinions.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

TBR | Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night

Greetings witches and wizards, today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! Since that very first opening line “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” the Harry Potter books have gone on to sell over 450 million copies and have been translated into 79 languages. Not only have they spawned a series of blockbuster films and enchanted both readers and viewers of all ages, the series has had an immeasurable impact on an entire generation of fans who grew up with Harry Potter. I’d like to consider myself one of that number.

And it’s because of that that I will be participating in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night. For those unaware, to mark the occasion Lauren from Laurenandthebooks over on YouTube will be hosting one of her Cosy Reading Nights especially for all things Harry Potter – you can check out her announcement video here. Taking place on 26th June (today!) between 7pm-10pm BST, it’s a low-key readalong in which you make yourself comfy, get some snacks, and just READ! I very much enjoy Lauren’s Cosy Reading Nights because of how snack-based and low-key they are, so when I heard she was organising a Harry Potter one I was delighted.

This won’t be a very surprising TBR; given that it is a TBR for a Harry Potter related event that leaves a finite number of books I could possibly be reading. But tonight I have decided to go back to where it all began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The first book has such a strong sense of nostalgia for me (it’s definitely a “cosy” read) and I get something new from it every time I (re)read it. As today is the 20th anniversary of its release it seems downright rude not to join in the Cosy Reading Night with the book that started it all. I’m going to try to make it through the entirety of Philosopher’s Stone – some quick maths (bear with me, it’s not my forte) suggests I’d need to read 223 pages in 3 hours, so that’s 74 pages an hour or just over a page per minute. That’s doable, right? Wish me luck?

Most importantly, though, I’ll be wearing my Harry Potter pyjamas, snuggling down with Philosopher’s Stone and a mug of tea and eating some lovely snacks, enjoying all things Potter for a lovely evening, and maybe popping into the #hpcosyreadingnight hashtag on Twitter. I encourage you to do the same and read along with us! And remember…

Are you joining in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night tonight? Have you participated in a Cosy Reading Night before, or a Harry Potter related readalong? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat all things Potter!


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

T5W | Side Ships

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Side Ships – tell us your favourite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist! Although I try to hide it, I am just a huge romantic masquerading as a cynic and shipping is when that tendency is given truly free reign. So obviously I have side ships, I have all kinds of ships, but side ships are the best, let’s be real here.

And, in case you’re concerned about this kind of thing, in this post there are (kind of) spoilers for A Darker Shade of Magic, Harry Potter, Six of Crows, and Pride and Prejudice (does a 200-year old book still need a spoiler warning?). 

Continue reading

T5W | Ravenclaw Books

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books For Your Hogwarts Houseshow your Hogwarts House Pride, and tell us the top 5 books that represent your house! As I am a very proud Ravenclaw, this week I bring you my top five books that I think represent my house and, moreover, that my fellow Claws would enjoy too! Ravenclaw’s dominant traits include wit, learning, and wisdom, (“wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure” after all!) so I’ve been sure to choose books that champion the pursuit of knowledge, that include wittiness, or that are books which can really sink into and think deeply about.

Continue reading