Bloggers do Hogwarts (part one)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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This weekend past was a BUSY one. Friday night I had a night out with my roommates, Saturday afternoon I met my friend Anna who was visiting from Paris for brunch at The Book Club, and Saturday night I took the train to Essex to visit old friends in Harlow.
Waking up Sunday I have to admit I wasn't in tip top shape, but my excitement to meet a bunch of lovely bloggers and, obviously, to spend the day immersed in full on Harry Potter magic was fuel enough to keep me going.

After randomly running into my first year acting professor on the train and catching up with him for an hour or so, I made it just in the nick of time to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, who so kindly hosted a group of ten of us bloggers and tweeters (I'll link everyone up below!). The wonderful Jenny arranged it all for us - I remember getting a tweet about it months ago and can't believe it's actually happened! Blogging is insane. These are girls I never would have met were it not for this little ol blog. ANYWAYS. Back to Harry.
 We collected our goody bags (Ridiculously generous, Warner Brothers!), and made our way into the magic.

I visited the Studios last time I was in England (posted on the semi-forgotten travel blog I kept then, Wanderlust), and I can honestly say I was equally as excited for and in awe of everything as much on Sunday as I was two years ago.

From wandering into the Great Hall, seeing the floating candles hanging from the ceiling, staring wide-eyed at Dumbledore's office and the scarf that was knitting itself in the Weasley's kitchen.. I was basically a kid again running around from prop to prop, set to set.

The amount of detail that went into these films is incredible. And being in the Studio just reinforces the amount of time, effort and love poured into them. Hand drawn labels for over eight hundred vials in Dumbledore's office. Frescoes in the Great Hall that faded so much over the filming you can't even see them in all of the movies. The multiple cat pins and broaches on Umbridge's shockingly pink wardrobe.
I could gush all day.

Instead, I'm splitting my trip into two posts because let's be real, can there ever be too much Harry Potter on the internet?

The lovely ladies I experienced this with:
Charlotte (The Tea Drinking English Rose)
Alice (The Cup and Saucer)
Bess (Thoroughly English)
Jenny (Sunny Sweet Pea)
Emma (Stripes and Snapshots)
Sarah (@sarangacomics)
Sophie (Sophie in the Sticks)
Hazel (Hazel's World of Joy)
Beth (@missbw1505)

Sunday at Notting Hill

Sunday, February 16, 2014

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This afternoon my flatmate Rory and I wandered (and by wandered I mean took a bus and two trains) to Notting Hill to take a walk down Portobello Road. It was the nicest day, felt just like spring feels at home (maybe even nicer) which, for a Newfoundlander, is unheard of in February.
Going to North West London is like leaving one city and heading into another. It's such a completely different vibe from South East, and it was a nice change. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE living where I do, but a change of scenery is always nice.
We sauntered down Portobello road, stopping in antique shops and fawning over every dog we saw. At one point two black pugs wandered past us tied to one another, seemingly taking each other for a walk. Getting a dog is common talk in our house, but I think maybe it's more of a far-fetched daydream than a real possibility.
We stopped to take pictures in front of cool cars (Rory actually owns a yellow one like the green one I'm posing with, it's just up in Edinburgh getting fixed up), had a chicken bake from Gregg's and then bought a Sunday paper and had a hot chocolate, half reading the paper and half commenting on passerby's and their dogs.
I feel like I say this every week, but Sunday's in London always seem to be the best days.

Birthday Afternoon Tea

Monday, February 10, 2014

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Yesterday was my birthday!
Woke up to sparkling wine and chocolate outside my door, went downstairs to a salmon and eggs breakfast, hung out with my flatmates all afternoon. Left for Afternoon Tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury (Another Tea & Cake London find, actually!) that Bella so kindly booked for us. The sun was out all day, I don't think it rained once.
Tea was amazing; baguettes, cupcakes, brownies, marshmallows, scones with giant amounts of cream and jam. I had a hibiscus and blackcurrant tea that my be my new favorite (or maybe Birthday Teas just taste better?). We chatted our way through the treats, managing to finish all but three cupcakes.
Feeling high on sugar and just a bit (okay a lot) full, we wandered past St. Paul's to London Bridge for the train home, me stopping and sighing over London's views every ten feet (look at those lights!).
At home more cake was waiting - a carrot cake with mascarpone frosting that Bella had whipped up earlier. In true tradition, there was a cake chop, which my flatmates seem bewildered by but is now totally normal to me. And then there was more cake eating.

I honestly couldn't have asked for a better birthday. I was worried, before I came to London, that my birthday would be spent by myself in a cafe with a book. Instead I've made the nicest new friends who treated me like a princess and had the most amazing day, made even better by wishes from friends and family back home.
Thank you thank you everyone who made my day so amazing. 24 couldn't be off to a better start!

North London Vintage Market

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

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Sunday morning I met up with a couple of girls I met through Britbound, Ashley and Siobhan, and we ventured North to the North London Vintage Market. I saw the market advertised on TimeOut London (or was it Londonist..?) and suggested we go as a catch up morning.

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I met Ashley just outside the tube station on the cutest road lined with houses from fairytales, covered in vines and leaves and with brick sides and colored doors. Google maps lead us through a muddy woods to a little town center complete with a church parish hall where the market was taking place. Since it didn't start until one, we decided to find a place to grab a bite to eat first.

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Cookies in the window called us in, and we sat in a little cafe that gave me some serious little French town in Beauty & the Beast vibes (I know, that's weird). I got a hot chocolate and a croissant and Ashley got a giant lady finger and an espresso. We chatted for about an hour, and then went to collect Siobhan at the station. Luckily we found a much less muddy way back.

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Sunday was so beautiful, blue skies and a little breeze that was nothing like the freezing gusts back home. It was almost like spring, which I'm sure every Londoner would disagree with but, being from Newfoundland where it frequently snows late May and temperatures don't rise until July.. well, it felt like Spring to me.
The market was in a little church hall, like I said, and it was jam packed with vintage goodies. Furniture, clothes, jewellery, toys, kitchenware.. everything you could imagine. It was small in a good way - tons of things but not the least bit overwhelming. A little window served coffees and cakes.

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I fawned over all the vintage tins and pawed through the clothes racks. Ashley bought a cute vintage summer dress, Siobhan got some movie star-esque sunglasses, and I picked out one of those glass milk bottles shown above (the blue ribbon biscuit one, to be exact!), to use as a vase in my room.

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I left the girls fairly early and headed near the Southbank to Gordon's Wine Bar to meet my flatmates for lunch. Joe left for the States on Monday for a month, so we decided to go out as a going away get together kind of thing. We sat outside because inside was packed, but it's the coolest place - boasting itself as one of the oldest wine bars in London, the inside cellars are low stone ceilings lit by candlelight.
The cheese platters seemed to be the most popular menu item, which we all ended up getting. I got a chèvre and a camembert, which came with a giant piece of baguette, parma ham and a delicious cranberry (?) jelly. Oh, and a Malbec, naturally.
This post is getting really long. Oops.
After lunch we wandered to Trafalgar Square to check out the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was a bit odd; as we entered a woman was singing the theme song to Downton Abbey. Have yet to figure out what that has to do with the Year of the Horse. We stayed for a bit and watched some little kids perform and I kept getting shoved by the couple next to me who seemed to think they were at their own private event given the amount they were making out. Lovely.
So that was Sunday! How were your weekends?