Friday, 22 June 2012

My Birthday: Harry Potter, Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Watford

It was my birthday a couple of weekends ago and my lovely husband bought me tickets to the Harry Potter studio tour in Watford. To say I was happy would probably be the understatement of the year!

Tim got the tickets last year, so I have been patiently (read: annoying Tim every few days by telling him how excited I am) waiting for the day to arrive, as I was going on my actual birthday. I couldn’t think of anything better than spending the day looking at awesome Potterstuffs.

If you’re not aware of my Potterlust you should read this!

I awoke early and donned my outfit as previously planned, including my new Qwertee Harry Potter t-shirt (of which you can win a new one yourself – please see the end of this post!) 


Win your own brand spanking new HP t-shirt like this, see below!

We arrived around midday and stopped for a coffee (and a quick check to see if my hands were the same size as Radders, which they are!) before joining the queue, although it doesn’t feel much like a queue, they have little bits and bobs for you to look at while you’re waiting including the cupboard under the stairs and a few family portraits waiting on the walls for you to nosey at. They stagger it out quite well so that there aren’t too many people in the queue at any one time.


You are then shown into a small room with screens on the walls displaying posters from across the world for all of the films (which was pretty cool) and they then show you a little film on those screens about the series of films and how they came about to be make. Then the lady asked if it was anyone’s birthday….

So I shot it up straight into the air.

“me, me, it’s my birthday!”
“well happy birthday, and what’s your name?”
“and how old are you Stacey?”
“32! I am 32 TODAY”!
“…….oh, and is there anyone else?”
“It’s Amy’s birthday today”
Lady looks in Amy’s direction
“Well, I won’t ask how old you are….”
“I’m only 26!”

Sorry to say, that did brighten my day a little!

We were then shown through to a cinema where Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were shown talking about their experiences of the films, the sets and the studios this ended with the doors of the great hall being shown on screen, and then the screen went up and the doors to the Great Hall were right behind them.

At this point another lady said “I believe it’s two people’s birthdays today”. At which point me and Amy stuck our hands up in the air. The lady then asked us to join her at the front and said as it was our birthdays we got to open to doors of the Great Hall for everyone. So up I strode and took my place, me and Amy exchanged glances, then we gave the doors a push and were confronted with the Great Hall in all of its glory. We both looked at each other and said “WOW”. It’s an awesome memory that I don’t think I’ll ever forget in my life time.


Harry Potter or not, when do you ever get the chance to go and stand in a spot and push the doors that have been made famous on film the world over?! It was tremendously cool.

The Great Hall is beautiful inside and we were treated to a little talk about it, and a wander about. It was really amazing and beautiful and great to see the costumes alongside the setting.

Then it was off into one of the main studio parts where they had hundreds of props, various sets and the chance to get your picture taken on a broom or in the Ford Anglia all via greenscreen, well we queued up for an hour to get our car photo taken (decided against the broom as I was in a rather tight skirt and it wouldn’t have been very ladylike getting on or off and there was no option for side saddle). The queue wasn’t that bad, and only what you’d expect from an attraction such as this, plus we wee entertained by seeing everyone else do their bit on the screens. We made sure we gave it our all when we went up there, face licking, Tim miming being sick in my lap etc etc.


After this we wandered about the bits we hadn’t had a chance to look at and wholly admired the Magic is Might statue that they had in the end section of the room.

We went to the outside section with No. 4 Privet Drive, the Potter house in Godrick’s Hollow, the Knight Bus and chess pieces and we settled down for a glass of butterbeer, which is scrummy. It tastes like cream soda with butterscotch topping, it was extremely sweet and I don’t think I could have managed more than one but it was just what was needed after our wait for the green screen stuff and it was nice to have a little rest before moving onto the second part of the tour. 


We then went to the prosthetics and mechanics part of the tour which shows you all sorts of wonders including a bookcase full of goblin heads, the animatronics behind the big book of monsters,  buckbeak, the dementors, the incredibly lifelike dummies made for the underwater scenes and more.

Then it was round the corner to Diagon Alley which thankfully was quite quiet when we got there meaning we could have a proper look and take a few photos. This was another one of the things I won’t forget in a long time, that first glimpse of the street and seeing it up close, it’s just as detailed as you’d imagine. I even fitted in a little time mooning over Lockheart in the window of Flourish & Blotts.


We then went on to the original art work section which is completely breathtaking, all of the concept design was awe inspiring and had come straight from the pages of the books. We then went through a section with the white card models of which I especially liked the prefects bathroom.


Through the next doors we found the model of Hogwarts. Imagine the best miniature village you’ve ever seen times that by a million and you’d be a little close to how impressive it is. The set up means that it turns from day to night in front of your eyes and the model comes to life with lights in the windows and doors and there are screens where you can zoom in to see the detail in the model. It’s completely outstanding and I spent quite a bit of time in there watching it change through the day.


In the next room were rows upon rows of wand boxes each containing the name of a cast or crew member of the film, which was completely crazy when you added up how many boxes there were.


Then it was to the gift shop where I purchased a time turner necklace and a chocolate frog and some every flavour beans for the following days’ Potter film watching at our gaff.

The it was the long drive home, which didn’t actually take us so long. It really was the best birthday I have ever had in my life!

Win your own Qwertee Harry Potter t-shirt 

(Women's size M - please see the Qwertee measurement guides on their website)

I have one brand spanking new Harry Potter t-shirt in a women’s size M matching the one I am wearing above to give away.

To win please:

  1. Like my facebook page
  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Follow this blog
  4. Then leave a comment below (numbers will be generated from the comments)

The winner will be picked by a random number generator when I get back from my hols on 
10th July, Good luck!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Glossybox: June 2012

I wasn't sure what to expect from this month's Glossybox after the themes of the other few boxes beforehand but it appears to be a summer themed box this month. One thing I was happy about; no creams! Not that I don't love them but it means I pretty much get to write this straight away as there is less trying out to do! 

Untitled Untitled


I have a few friends who use dermablend for stage makeup and I have heard great things about it, so I was happy to receive the sample pack through the post (and I'm sure my friends will be happy when they get the left over non pale as a ghost samples from me).


I went for 11, the lightest shade as I am an English Rose and paler than a pale thing. I have a scar on my arm from a baking sheet accident a few months ago that has been a pain to cover up so I thought I'd out it to good use and try it out. It covered easily with not much application and looked as though the scar had never happened, leaving me feeling thoroughly chuffed at the outcome. I might invest for the future, it's a good price at £19 for what essentially will cover a multitude of disasters (I am prone to clumsiness!). 


So, after reading the above and after saying how pale I am I was somewhat at odds with the bronzer in my glossybox. Not being one to throw my toys out though I thought I'd give it a little test on my hand. It actually looks quite nice, and although I wont be buying it (I'm just really not a bronzer girl) I will be using the pot as a darker highlighter for my eye make up as it gives a lovely shimmer sheen. 


This is not normally a shade I'd pick up, but this is what I love about Glossybox it puts things in your hand you wouldn't normally use. It boasts of being quick drying and high gloss and it actually delivers and a bargain price at £4.50, I shall definitely be investigating their products further. 


I am assuming the glossybox blog will be updated with further info and feature on their venture into make-up brushes. I have to say I was more than happy with this brush, it's super soft and gives good application. I'm not sure if I would pay £15 for it thought when they haven't got the rep of other pro brushes at the same cost. 


This fragrance is meant for evening wear and it's definitely not something I'd be wearing during the day, it has a musky hue to it but not overpowering and it has a lovely ginger tinge to it. It's a lovely perfume and I'm sure I will use it as it's a great handbag size but I don't think I'll be purchasing based on the sample.  


Another great Glossybox! 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Recipe: Cinnamon & Vanilla Fruit Scones

A yummy scone recipe for you, I love cinnamon in scone, it gives it such a lovely taste, especially when they're warm from the over with butter melted into them.


Makes 8.


50g butter (cubed)
225g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
50g sultanas
150ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon 


Heat the oven to 200C
Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the butter, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Run in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and dried fruit and mix.
Add the vanilla extract the milk.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture, add the milk and vanilla mixture but by bit and stir until a soft dough is formed.
Turn the mixture out onto a board and lightly knead until smooth.
Roll into a sausage shape and cut into 8.
Place on a greased baking tray and place into the oven for 15 minutes until scones are well risen.

Cool on a wire rack for as long as you can stand it, or do as I do and five them a generous 30 seconds before smothering in butter and wolfing down!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Father's Day: A pie from the heart

Have I ever said how amazing my Dad is?

Without going into too much detail he's had some sad times and some good times, he's funny (in that Dad kind of way) and he has always been there for me through thick and thin, through hard times and good, and I completely admire what a strong person he is and how kind and sensitive and honest he is.


He is completely my hero.

For father's day this year I made him a pie, and not just any pie, the pie of pies, the champion pie for all north easterners, the.......corned beef and potato pie!

Corned beef and tatty pie has always been my favourite pie, my Nana made it when I was little and it was always a treat to have it when we'd go visit after moving away. Unfortunately my Nana can't make it any more due to her arthritis so I thought I'd make one for my Dad as it's been years since he had a slice.

There is a recipe you can follow here (if you're going to bake a pie from the NE it needs to be a recipe from the NE).

I have to admit thought I cheated with the pastry, I am not very good at pasty, mainly because I don't make a lot of pies with my husband being a veggiesaurus.

And I made the pic in a long thin baking tray rather than a pie dish as that's how it was made when I was a lass and I thought my Dad would appreciate it. I have had word since that it was yummy (although the bottom wasn't cooked through properly - the joys of having a crap over with a top heating element!)


The finished pie!