Posted in Days Out, Harry Potter, London

Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Hello Everyone!

Wow. January soon came and went. We are now into February which feels like quite a shock really. Anyway, I hope you’re all doing well.

Today’s post is rather exciting. After two years of waiting, this weekend I finally managed to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. There aren’t enough words for how amazing this was. I was completely awestruck. I grabbed myself a Harry Potter passport and I was off on a magical adventure.

Without ruining any of the surprises, I just want to share with you some of my favourite bits (which could be difficult because I love every second.)

Firstly, The Great Hall. That was amazing. The magical ceiling, the carved animals, the character costumes. It’s really a sight to behold.

Next, Dumbledore’s office. That was just as mysterious and eclectic as it seemed in the films. It’s really quite small which makes it even more fascinating.

The Weasley Burrow was also really amazing to see up close. I walked around quite silently really. It was so overwhelming to see the magic right before my own very eyes.

Platform 9 and 3/4 is very special. I remember being desperate as a little girl, wishing for my letter so I could go and experience everything my favourite characters were experiencing. Seeing it 20 years after the first book was published, it still filled me with absolute wonder. The little girl in me was screaming. Dreams can come true.

Seeing Privet Drive really surprised me. It’s so small! Now, in reality, it’s obvious that it should be. I was still quite taken aback though. I’ve no idea how the cast all fit with the cameras too.

Next was Diagon Alley. Wow. Just wow. The shops, the cobbles. I could feel all the energy oozing from the floor. It’s incredible. To stand where those amazing actors have stood is just something else. My favourite was the Weasley shop; full of life and colour.

Lastly, and most amazingly was the castle. The home of Hogwarts for so many years. It took 8 weeks for the team to make it and you could see how the characters were placed within. It’s another world, literally.

A dream come true. A childhoods desires explored. Magic coming alive and being real. There’s not enough words for how incredible this place is. Every turn is a surprise, every moment is a joy. I am so so glad I’ve seen it. It’s a must for any fan. It’s a way of keeping the magic alive. Once it’s in you, it stays forever. I never want to lose the feeling I have whenever I read the books or visit a place linked. It’s so special. Get your ticket. Unleash your inner wizard!

Big love xx

Posted in Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, Places, Seasons

A Winter’s Stroll

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and keeping warm in this biting weather! Whilst it’s snowing outside, I’m sat here feeling quite grateful. Yesterday I managed to have a lovely walk around the grounds of Nostell Priory. It was one of those days where it’s crisp and fresh but the sun was peeking out behind the clouds. The complete opposite to today’s weather it seems!

It all sounds rather romantic. However, I’m a firm believer in needing beautiful scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to step back and recharge yourself. This was my opportunity to do just that.

I find being by water particularly calming and this was no different. It was quite nice seeing the ice sporadically spread across the ice. I also loved seeing the ducks and swans gracefully mooching across the lake.

Another thing I spotted was the vast variety of birds and squirrels. It all just felt rather tranquil. I’m embracing the thought that winter is nearly over and spring is surely on its way. The snowdrops were starting to make an appearance; surely a sign that spring is approaching us.

I wanted to share this with you because I wish that you all have a moment to yourselves to enjoy the simple things, to recharge, as I have. Blow those cobwebs away and breathe it all in. I feel recharged and ready for the next week ahead.

Big love xxx

Posted in Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, UK

Tattershall Castle


Hi everyone! 

We are experiencing some excellent autumnal days and I have to say, I’m enjoying having my autumn scarves on! 

Last Saturday I went exploring, this time to a castle! Tattershall Castle, to be specific. It was awesome! It sits proudly in the Lincolnshire fens; a fabulous setting for a castle if I do say so myself. 


First of all it’s a magnificent 15th century red brick castle. It was the size and the colour that stood out to me as I was driving up. The dates of this castle show that it’s been standing for years and years. The sights that castle has seen and stood through. The people that have been there and the stories the walls could tell. 


On exploration of the castle, I learnt that it was built by Lord Ralph Cromwell, who was Treasurer of England. Like all good castles it was built to show off his wealth and power. 


Yet it wasn’t free from its own turmoil. In 1911, the castle was saved from exportation to America. As one of the earliest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork, it was crucial that it was saved. Thankfully, now in the hands of The National Trust, it will forever be safe. 


So this castle is grand on every levels. 149 stairs along the winding staircase take you to three levels. Each floor has the most incredible stained glass windows. I love a good stained glass window, the way the light hits the colours; just stunning. 


Another prominent feature was the gothic fireplaces. They are just fantastic on every level, with little pictures depicting various scenes. Again, showing wealth and power. You can hardly blame him really. 


At the top of the tower, the views of the Lincolnshire countryside were breathtaking. It was a bit breezy up there but it was a nice sunny day which meant I could see quite far. 


I highly recommend this castle. It’s just wonderful. The spiral staircase is magnificent (but did make me feel slightly queasy) and the large rooms create a feeling of wonder. I just wish I could have seen this castle in it’s prime. 


Have a fantastic autumn everyone! 

Big love xx

Posted in Days Out, Harry Potter, Photography, Places, UK

The Shop That Must Not Be Named – York


Hi guys! 

It’s Saturday, Strictly is on and I’ve had another busy, up and down week. However, I decided (after some hauling out of bed) to visit The Shop That Must Not Be Named in York. 


The first thing I absolutely loved was the fact that lots of people in York were wearing something Harry Potter based (myself included – shoes!) Here are my feet in the shop!! 


The second most amazing thing was that the windows were dressed immaculately. I didn’t mind queuing because I got to see all the exciting things on offer. 


I was very good actually. It would have been easy for me to completely loose myself and buy everything there. I wanted everything I saw. However, I was reserved and treated myself to a couple of things only

The first thing I spotted and purchased was an awesome Platform 9 and 3/4s tote bag. Perfect for transporting my marking to and from school. That’s my justification anyway! 


My other purchase was a bit of a splurge I must admit. But, it’s really really beautiful. I treated myself to a journal. My only worry is that it’s too beautiful to use. 


The little shop brought to life my childhood. Those kind of memories are priceless. I really need to read the books again. I loved it. It really was pure magic


I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I would go back tomorrow. I might do! We all deserve a little magic in our lives. I’m so pleased I’ve seen this little wonder of a shop. 


Big love xx

Posted in Blog, Follows, Photography, UK

900 Followers! 


Hey guys! 

Happy Saturday. Today I realised some really exciting news… I’ve reached 900 followers. I genuinely can’t believe it. When I started my little blog I don’t really think I had any idea what I was doing really. I read a few books, visited a few places and thought I’d just write about it, almost like an online diary. Little did I know what I would learn and who I would stumble across. 

Today I had a day away, I popped to Newcastle to see the amazing Souter Lighthouse. Despite the spirals and the stairs, it was amazing. The views were lovely. I got lucky and saw a rainbow. 


I’ve never been in a lighthouse before but it really is awesome! I highly recommend it actually. On a sunny day you can see for miles. I enjoyed seeing the tide come in. There’s something about hearing the sea against the rocks; the continuous ebb and flow. I even took a smooth pebble home to remember my little trip. 


So, 900 followers and a trip to a lighthouse. Not bad for a quiet September Saturday. 

Big love to you all. Thanks for being a part of my journey. 


Xx

Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden

Hi Beauties! 

I hope you’re having a great summer. It’s a mixed bag for me really! I still feel as busy as ever and I’m still in search of a rest. Nevertheless, I have managed to visit some lovely places. Today I wanted to share my visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens with you. This place genuinely left me speechless. I felt incredibly overwhelmed for the whole day. 



The Abbey:

These ruins are the largest monastic ruins in the country and boy they did not disappoint. The Abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York, seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle. 

Three years later, the settlement at Fountains had been admitted to the austere Disrercian Order. This itself brought an important development, the introduction of the Cistercian system of the lay brothers. 


The lay brothers (labourers) relieved the monks from rounding jobs, consequently giving them more time to dedicate to God. Fountains became wealthy because of the wool production, lead mining, cattle rearing, horse breeding and stone quarrying. 

However, the 14th century brought challenges as the monks had to cope with bad harvests and raids from the Scots which led to an economic collapse. The Black Death in 1348 also added to this pressure. 

Despite the financial problems, the Abbey remained essential. The abbacy of Marmaduke Huby marked a period of revival. The Great Tower, built by him, symbolises his hope for the future of the Abbey. 

Sadly, in 1539 the Abbey was closed down in the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII. They were all sent away from the Abbey without pensions. The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, where it remained private until the 1960s. The National Trust bought the estate in 1983. 


I have to say, this place is amazing. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe it. I honestly walked around in complete awe. It’s so difficult to comprehend. I tried to imagine the lives and the challenges. If only walls could talk! 


Studley Royal Water Garden:

John Aislabie inherited the Studley Royal estate in 1693. He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1718, thus being an incredibly ambitious man. However, his career was halted in 1729 due to his participation in the South Sea Bubble financial scandal; expelling him from Parliament. Consequently, he returned to Yorkshire and focused his attention to this incredible garden. 


The garden has everything: flowers, waters, statuses, follies. It is literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. 


In 1767, William Aislabie purchased the Abbey ruins to complete the garden and create a utopia. Today, over 200 years later, it is a World Heritage Site, with little differences being made. 


Honestly, this place is just amazing. I loved walking around, seeing the water, imagining the history and the lives here. I really need to go back and see it all again. Thinking back, I probabaly had my mouth open in complete shock the whole time. It’s that kind of place. 

Keep enjoying August and have a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend. 

Big love xx

Posted in Gardens, Stratford upon Avon, UK, William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s New Place

Hey guys! 

Today’s post comes from a recent trip to Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford upon Avon. As you know, I always feel incredibly proud to be from here; to have this as part of my heritage. 

Back in 2016, work started on transforming this incredible garden. A massive 6 million pounds was spent. It ran behind schedule and a year later, I have finally managed to visit. It was incredible. 


A brief history:

New Place was Shakespeare’s family home from 1597 to 1616, when he died. It was decided in 1759 that the house would be demolished to make way for a garden to commemorate the site and to allow visitors to make their own connection with Shakespeare. 

Features of the original property are marked out and preserved, such as the family well. Some of these features were only unearthed once work began on the gardens. 


Now I can relate to this because I spent a lot of time growing up in Stratford. I used to spend many a summer afternoon reading or seeing friends in the original gardens here. I was excited about what changes would have been made. But, I was worried that I wouldn’t feel my personal connection with the new greenery there. 

Since I’ve been, I can honestly say I was worried about nothing. I felt so inspired in that garden. It’s hidden behind new incredibly impressive gates with a number of awe inspiring sculptures. 



What I love:

First is a sculpture of the deeds to the house. ‘Murder’s shadow lifted. Shakespeare has the true title to his house.’

My favourite sculpture is by Jill Berelowitz and is called ‘His Mind’s Eye’. Cast in bronze, the sculpture shows the world nod a large tree. The interpretation is that the tree is Shakespeare (his influence) and the smoother side is visually showing the impact that Shakespeare has. The more bumpy side is yet to be influenced by Shakespeare. What do you think? 

I also really liked the representation of Shakespeare’s chair and desk. This was amazing because you can cast your mind back, hundreds of years ago, to imagine Shakespeare writing such plays like The Tempest. I was convinced to have my photo taken. Not sure it’s my finest pose! 

There are numerous sculptures around the garden depicting a range of Shakespeare’s plays. One of my favourites: Macbeth. I don’t claim to be knowledgable about sculptures. However, I do like to think about what elements are being shown. This intrigued me immensely; the merge of faces in particular. 

Finally, the Knot Gardens are really quite lovely. They feature a rose in the middle with a variety of flowers outside. They smelt wonderful: the epitome of a summery day. 

The couple of hours I spent here made me feel incredibly calm and at ease. This hidden gem really needs to be visited. I bought myself a year pass because I want to see the flowers change, the colours develop and deepen, the leaves fall and make a carpet on the floor, new life forming next year. I just had to share one of my great loves with you all. 


Big love xx

Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

Canons Ashby – National Trust

Hey guys! 

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying this week. 

Yesterday, I went on an exploring spree with my family to Canons Ashby in Daventry. I’d researched and recommended here so I did feel a bit of pressure, I have to say. Thankfully, it was amazing. It’s turned out to be one of my favourite places. 


The H shaped Tudor house was built by the Drydens using the remains of a medieval priory. The house, mainly, has remained unchanged since 1710! The things that building has seen, the people and the history really fascinates me. The house is presented as it would have been during Sir Henry Dryden’s time. He was a Victorian antiquary who was passionate about the past. Over time, other Dryden relatives have added to the house, making it what it is today. 

I knew I knew the Dryden name from somewhere and of course it is from my literary background: John Dryden. I was intrigued to find out more about his family home. His creativity in writing also helped with the creative decoration of the house. 

However, like with many other properties, the house began to decline in the 20th century, resulting in it being given to the National Trust. 

As always, I want to share anecdotes and photos of my favourite parts with you. Firstly, The Tapestry Room. I absolutely loved this room because of the story behind it. The sofa you can see in the picture was originally sold. However, by pure chance, a watercolour painting by Clara Dryden was found showing what the room originally looked like. It was from here that one eagle eyed person spotted the sofa for sale at an auction and informed the trust. Thankfully, it’s now in its rightful home. 


The next feature I loved was the fireplace and ceiling in The Drawing Room. It literally caught me off guard because there is nothing else like it in the building. Commissioned in the 1590s, it really has stood the test of time. The family have again added this over the centuries, for example, in the 18th century, Henry Dryden had to add cast iron columns to support the chimneypiece because it was sagging. Naturally, there has been some conservation work completed by the trust along the way. 


Another literary link now: Spenser’s Room. This room was named after the poet Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen. He was first cousin by marriage. Anyway, it is in this room that I saw something I’ve genuinely never seen before. Original murals are still there today showing the danger of worshipping false gods. It is thought that Sir Erasmus painted these himself. I genuinely cannot believe they have stood the test of time. It’s incredible really. 


This property also has a church attached, just across the grass and over a little road. I enjoyed sitting there for a little while just thinking. I’m not a religious person but I always find churches very calming and restful places. As you can see, this one is incredibly old. It was an insight to see the graves of the different Drydens too. 


My final favourite piece here is a statue in the garden of a shepherd boy and his dog. There’s quite an emotional story behind this as he was killed for protecting the family. Therefore, his statue is there, always watching and guarding the house. I make no apologies for the photo of me by him. Sadly it was raining! It’s not like we expect much else for a British summer to be fair. I always find a raincoat very useful in this country. 


There’s a lot more to this house than meets the eye and I will definitely need to return to learn and retain all of the historical knowledge. I also don’t want to spoil it for you if you decide to visit. However, I really found this place quite enchanting and fascinating. 

For more information visit The National Trust – Canons Ashby

Big love to you all! Xx

Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, UK

Chedworth Roman Villa


Hey everyone! 

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. I took one last opportunity to go exploring, this time with my lovely Mum and Dad. We all work ridiculous hours, like many families, so we always try and make our time count. 

Followers of my blog will know how much we love our National Trust membership; this time we visited Chedworth Roman Villa. 

What blew me away was the fact that it was literally tucked away in the middle of nowhere. How did the Romans find it? Why that spot? So many unanswered questions. 


The biggest fascination I had was with the  fact that there’s still more to be discovered. Inside the museum, which was added in the Victorian period, parts of mosaic and stone were being still being found last year. It’s always quite inspiring to know there’s secrets hidden beneath the earth. 


The mosaic they have found so far are so beautiful. It’s incredible what has been preserved so far. 

Places like this require imagination. There are only parts left. But, I find that quite magical really. It’s giving you an active piece of history that you can interpret yourself. My favourite part: the bathhouse rooms and the outdoor water shrine. 

I enjoyed getting my geek on in terms of history this weekend. I hoped you enjoyed my photos! If you’d like more information, check out The National Trust Website


Big love to you all xxx

Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, UK

Brockhampton Estate


Happy Sunday everyone!

I’ve survived my first week back of a new term! However, I wanted to hold onto one last little piece of my holiday, a visit to the Brockhampton Estate. 

What I loved about here is there are two gorgeous, timber framed, medieval buildings surrounded by a moat. These date back to the 14th century. Imagine the comings and goings these buildings have seen. It fascinates me! 


It’s a shame it was fairly cloudy when I visited; it’s still rather impressive though.

The house is surrounded by 1000 acres of farmland and 700 acres of woodland. It’s a place where you can walk around and not bump into anyone. It’s rather peaceful for a working farm. 

 
Inside the house, there’s a lot of solid wood furniture, fires and glorious beds. You could even try out fashions of that period. (I had to of course!) 

I don’t want to ruin anymore surprises for you, but I would definitely recommend a visit. 

For more information check out The National Trust website. 

Big love! Xx