I turned 30 nearly 2 months ago, but as you may know by now I am a slow blogger. 🙂 I had a lovely day; I’d not been looking forward to it, as R was working and all my friends were away that weekend. In the end, though, R got to take the day off. We went round some of our favorite local charity shops. I got the books in the top photo, a nice mixture of favorites and new ones. The Cath Kidston measuring cups off to the side were another gift from my colleagues. I was very impressed with their gift-buying, especially as I’d only been working there about 6 months! Once R and I managed to leave the bookshop, we went for lunch at the Curious Cafe. I’ve been walking past it since I moved to Cheltenham, but never managed to go in before. The food, service, and atmosphere were excellent. Plus, they served elderflower cordial for 80p! Also, I am a sucker for pretty glasses & I thought these were great. If you ever happen to be nearby I’d recommend popping in. Cash only, though, so be prepared.
The main birthday treat happened over a month later – a trip to Harry Potter World! Theoretically I could have gone on my birthday, but I was a little indecisive about it. I wanted to go with friends, but also felt guilty asking them to spend so much money. I tested the waters, though, and it turned out several people were just as keen to go as me. I wanted to share the trip here, but I have tried not to share too many details/photos because I don’t want to spoil any potential surprises for people who haven’t been. I hope I’ve got the balance right.
So off we went! I love that one of my friends wore the same ultra-comfy shoes as me. 🙂 There were 9 of us, including lovely Lizzie who I haven’t seen for probably close to a year. I was so excited to finally meet baby Fliss. She was absolutely adorable, and very well-behaved. I do love getting to play with babies, so it was good fun to have her there. She is quite good at bouncing herself on knees! Another friend had brought her 1-year-old, too, so there was double baby fun watching him crawl around. I have a great picture of him crawling away from the Knight Bus.
I must admit that I was a terrible friend, though, and basically just wandered around the Studios on my own…introvert problems, I guess. Really, though, there was so much to see and I got totally absorbed. I got distracted right from the beginning, when I got to help open to the door to Hogwarts. Never mind that I was probably not who they meant when they said “If you’re here celebrating your birthday, come to the front”…it was most definitely worthwhile! There was so much to love in the sets, but my favorite was probably Mrs. Weasley’s kitchen. Also, seeing the knitwear on display made me very happy.
Each cast and crew member from all of the films has a fake wand box (I won’t tell you where, but it was one of the highlights for me), and it made me so sad when I found Alan Rickman’s. He personified Snape to absolute perfection. I’m rereading the books at the moment, and I think Snape is one of the characters who’s 100% true to the books.
Wands make me happy! I did the wand choreography (see above) and was by far the oldest person in the queue. The girl behind me was probably in her 20s, though, so I felt okay about it. She’d just gotten engaged there. Talk about an amazing way to propose!
The Monster Book of Monsters is also one of my favorite things from both the books and the movies, so this was definitely a highlight for me.
The concept art and graphic designs were also stunning. I particularly loved Dumbledore’s will, and these Gringott’s deposit slips were just hilarious. If you love Harry Potter & graphic design, it might be worth visiting the website of the two main designers. Some of their designs are available for sale on posters, postcards, notebooks, etc.
Finally, I thought it was brilliant that they let you bring in your own food. One of my favorite moments was our picnic halfway through, which is when I finally got to catch up with people a little bit (though definitely not as much as I would’ve liked). We also got one of my favorite pictures, 3 of us in Hagrid’s motorbike! Thanks for volunteering for this photo, Lizzie. :)The three of us pictured met while doing our MA; I think it’s quite impressive that we still meet up 5 years later. But, hey, Harry Potter can be a great thing to bond over!
In short, this turned out to be one of my best birthdays ever! Do go when you get a chance. I was really worried about value for money (it’s £35 at the time of writing), but we were there for nearly 4.5 hours, so I think it was very worthwhile.