Daring to enter the Forbidden Forest at Harry Potter/ Warner Bros. Studio Tour

One of the perks of writing a blog is that every now and then I get offered freebies to review. Most of them I turn down as I don’t write a blog to bore you all with reviews of things you don’t need. But I rarely turn down the chance to take the kids to see the latest thing at Harry Potter Studios, just 15 minutes down the road.

This time, that latest thing is the rather spooky and realistic Forbidden Forest, a walk through re-creation of the forest that Harry & pals were strictly forbidden from entering by Hogwart’s headteacher Dumbledore.  Now a note of warning here: if you’re at all on the slightly scared of spiders spectrum, you might want to skip this post. But for the brave of heart, read on! Continue reading

Uncommon Goods: a gem of a gift catalogue

If you’re like me, you’re probably going through a season where every birthday celebration is a ‘special’ one.  Up until recently, what was code for 40th is now beginning to be replaced by the unspeakable “50th” (hushed voice).  And then there’s the wedding anniversaries, with the odd actual wedding too.   At times like these, you really need something a bit different, something that little bit special.  If your friends are arty, like to recycle and love good quality craftmanship, then head over to Uncommon Goods. Continue reading

Mobicip: Parental control app review

If you’re anything like me, one of the most used phrases that trips off your tongue at this time of year is “Will you please get off that screen?!” expressed with varying degrees of patience or frustration. During the Christmas holidays when the kids are off school enjoying some well earned downtime and its cold outside (baby!) it’s even harder to limit their screen time.  Many of you reading this will have no doubt bought your kids an iPad or other such device.  So a post about parental control apps is most likely timely.  Continue reading

ADVENTure: inspiring poetry for Christmas and Advent by Mark Greene

AdventureCoverI came across this gem of a book last year but discovered it too late in December to tell you all about it.  If you haven’t already done your Christmas shopping this is a wonderful present for anyone who has a faith or loves poetry – or both.

The book is a collection of 25 poems and accompanying reflections on the people and events surrounding Jesus’ birth, designed to be read either each day of Advent or over the Christmas period. Each poem is written with deep imagination, literary flair, often with an unexpected twist, and always throwing new light on stories we all think we know too well.   Continue reading

Hogwarts in the Snow – a Christmas family treat, 2016

Hogwarts in SnowNow I know some of you who read this will have already visited the Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, Herts.  But for those of you who haven’t yet had the chance or who haven’t been at Christmas, read on!

Between now and 29th January, the studio tour is given the festive treatment to create Hogwarts in the Snow.  All the usual features, props and sets are there, but with a Christmas twist.  The Great Hall is decked out with wreaths, Christmas trees and magically lighting plum puddings, Christmas cards (some made by the cast themselves during filming) decorate the Gryffindor common room, and a special display demonstrates how snow and ice is created for the film, making for a fascinating chemistry lesson. Everything is given a light dusting of snow, including the outside where we got covered in soap suds a flurry of snow as we stood outside the Knight Bus. Continue reading