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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Harry Potter Studio Tour – Leavesden Studios

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Last Friday was my best friend Abi’s birthday, so we arranged a trip down to London for me, her and her sister Hannah. We decided to go to the Harry Potter Studio tour, and it was simply amazing! It’s at the actual studios where Harry Potter was filmed and has loads of original props, sets and costumes to look at. I was enthralled with how cool it all was, walking around the sets that they actually used for the films. I’ve just bought the film boxset from Amazon so I can watch them all again, and I want to re-read the books again too. Abi and Hannah had both been before so knew what to expect, but every corner we turned just brought more surprises for me, especially the corner round to the huge replica of Hogwarts which they used to film the external scenes (like with the dragon). It’s huge and so intricately detailed that it took 40 days to assemble.

Here’s a selection of the 360 pictures that I took as we were walking round! This weekend has also involved a trip to Whipsnade Zoo and Waddington Airshow, so there’s plenty more pictures to come!

No, I’m not married!

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For my birthday this weekend, I went on holiday with Cameron to Whitehaven. It’s a lovely place in the lake district right next to the sea. We stayed at a Premier Inn again which was pretty nice (even if the restaurant was a bit disappointing), but it was awesome to get away for a few days – and to be spoilt by Cameron all day on my birthday!

On the Sunday, we decided to drive up to Scotland and we found a shopping village in Gretna with lots of outlet stores. When we got there, I innocently checked in on Facebook (as I had been doing most of the weekend), but it seems that most of my family read ‘Gretna’ and not ‘Outlet village’, and my Facebook feed immediately started filling up with comments asking if we’d run away to get married, ranging from my Mum; ‘Well it’ll save your dad a lot of money’, to my cousin Mark; ‘Gretna Green eh, do it, do it! :-)’.

It was kind of hilarious, every time we came out of a shop there were more comments popping up, and it took ages to convince my sister that we’d not actually got married, plus a phone call from my Grandma when I got home on Monday night!

After that had all died down a bit, we drove up to Castle Douglas (near Dumfries) in the hopes that there would actually be a castle to look at, but unfortunately not. All we saw were two car crashes and multiple police ANPR checker vans. Oh, and a bucket load of rain on the way home, but thankfully that was the only bad weather we had all weekend.

After we went out for tea for my birthday, we went down to the harbour and walked along to the lighthouse and watched the sunset, which was pretty awesome. It would have been the perfect way to end my birthday if we hadn’t gone back to the hotel and watched Hot Tub Time Machine – Cameron’s choice (I wanted Footloose). That definitely won’t be making it into my top 10 films (or even the top 100). I think I fell asleep near the end, but after he had been spoling me all day, it was the least I could do to let him watch it!

On the Monday morning, we checked out of our hotel early and drove home through the Lake District, driving through Buttermere and then stopping in Keswick for a walk around and some lunch. After there, we drove through Ambleside and Windemere down to Bowness, where we stopped off for a walk around, a 45 minute cruise around the islands of the lake and then a huge hot chocolate (and I mean huge, the cup had two handles on so you could actually pick it up!).

By the time we set off from Bowness it was already quite late, so we drove home via Skipton and back to mine to face the inevitable inquisition about our time in Gretna…

But it was an amazing weekend, and brilliant to spend my birthday away from home with Cameron. I’d definitely like to go back up to the lake district again (maybe when it is a bit sunnier), and I’d love to go on a proper holiday to Scotland, maybe that’ll be our next destination!

 

Happy Birthdays!

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It was my little sister Vicky’s birthday this week, except she’s not so little anymore – it was her 21st birthday. She’s had a few days of celebrating, it started on Wednesday night in Sheffield with a big party – I think she’s still recovering from the effects of that now! It was also my Grandma’s birthday on Wednesday, so on Thursday I went out for a meal with Vicky, Frank, my Grandma and Uncle Alan.

On Vicky’s birthday on Friday, we went for a meal at Palace Chine in Kirkstall at lunch time, and then spent the afternoon at the White Rose Centre. We both spent a little too much money, but it was nice to spend the day together for once. While we were shopping, Vicky bought Frank a ‘onesie’ from Primark, to match the one she bought a few weeks ago. They were both wearing theirs on Friday night when Andy came around – and then we found out that he was wearing his under his clothes – cue a few funny photos and some very strange looks from Hannah when she called in – I think she thought they had gone bonkers (and she would have been right)!

I also made Vicky a pretty cool birthday cake, which was great until we tasted it. None of us managed to eat more than one bite because it tasted pretty disgusting (serves me right for trying a new recipe), so it all ended up in the bin – sorry Vicky!

 

Happy Birthday Frank!

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Happy Birthday to my little brother Frank, who is 18 today!

For his birthday, he decided that he wanted to go out for a meal, so we went to the Hitching Post in Idle. Frank decided that as it was his birthday, he could finish it off with the biggest dessert on the menu – a chocolate fudge sundae. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was huge – it even came with 4 spoons. Needless to say, he polished off the lot.

I didn’t take my camera as I went straight from work, so here’s a few iPhone pics:

 

Feeling Old…

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Friday was my 22nd birthday – starting to feel old now! They say 21 is when you are a ‘fully fledged adult’, so I guess now I’m 22 I’ll have to grow up a bit! The first sign that I am getting old was when one of the players in the All-Star game on Wednesday was younger than I am (Starlin Castro for the Cubs – born in 1990).

Anyway, I had a great birthday. Vicky came home from Sheffield for the weekend and made me an awesome cake. It’s a giant cupcake, decorated with vanilla icing and little flowers. She stayed up until 3am baking it, and somehow managed to turn her fingers red with the food colouring. She also almost set fire to it after I had blown the candles out – she didn’t realise that one of the candles was a re-lighting candle and left it on the plate. She soon realised when the cake started smoking though!

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I will have more pictures when someone decides to send me them. For my birthday, I got tickets to see Jason Manford in October, a Tom and Jerry DVD box set (taking me back to my childhood), some books about Chicago, a Final Destination box set, and a box of fudge. All brilliant presents, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next up, it’s Frank’s 18th birthday. I can’t believe my little brother is 18! That’s another reason I’m feeling old. His birthday is on Wednesday, so I’ll post some pictures soon.

21st Birthday!

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It was my birthday on Thursday, and it was ace. I was working, so I didn’t get to see my family until the evening, but I had a really good day. I went out for a quick drink with Mike at lunchtime, and when I got back there was a huge bunch of flowers and a card on my desk from everyone at work. The flowers are gorgeous, and a brilliant surprise. I had them on my passenger seat on the way home from work, and everytime I looked out my passenger window, it made me smile 🙂

When I got home from work I got to open all my presents, and my family got it exactly right! Vicky bought me 21 separate presents, which took ages to open! I love all of them.

I got money from my Grandma, so on Friday night I went to IKEA and bought some new book shelves for my room. I really need to stop buying new books. I got my latest order from the Book People, and I realised I’d bought 25 new books (some of them are in sets). It’s gonna take forever to read them all!

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Cake

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As it’s 9 days until my 21st birthday, I thought I’d post a couple of pics of the best birthday cakes I’ve had. My favourite one when I was younger was pink ballet shoes that my dad made, but recently, I’ve had two ace cakes. First was on my 16th birthday, and my best friend made it for me.

Then there was the cake that my family made me for me 20th birthday last year. This is my all time favourite cake, and I still have no idea how they managed to keep it a secret!

I Love July!

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I’ve always loved July. not just because it’s my birthday month, but because it was always the month that we broke up for the holidays, so it was always the start of summer. Not only is it my birthday, it’s my best friend’s birthday, my brother’s birthday and my Aunt’s birthday. So I woke up on the first of July and I knew it was going to be a good month. 6 days in and I already know I was right. Waddington was amazing. I’ve already started adding my pictures (it’s going to take me forever to process them all), and it’s also Sunderland air show at the end of the month. A day at the beach watching the air show, what could be better? I may restrain myself on the picture taking though, if only so I don’t have to spend so long editing them all!