My obsession with Harry Potter started with the release of the very first book.
My parents had taken my brother and I out of school for the year so we could travel around Europe as a family. With no TV, no video games and certainly no Facebook (it hadn’t been invented yet), we devoured books with an insatiable hunger.
Mum bought the first J.K. Rowling story for my brother, Harry.
He tried the first chapter and discarded it, so I had a go. By chapter 3 I was smitten.
My remaining childhood and teenage years were spent in desperate anticipation, waiting for the next instalment.
I would re-read each book over and over until the new one arrived.
I knew every character like they were members of the family and *sobbed* when _____ died! (I don’t want to give it away to anyone who doesn’t know the story, but you know who I mean.)
I loathed the first two movies but was still front of the queue to see each of the new releases… and they got better!
When “Harry Potter World” at Warner Brother’s Studios opened I didn’t even consider making the pilgrimage to Hogwarts. I was worried it would ruin the magic and taint my memories…
So when Gleam held their Bloggers Christmas party there, I was hesitant but gingerly excited.
Valentina & I jumped in one of Uber‘s awesome new flying Ford Anglias and headed off to Hogwarts!
After an hour of singing along to Magic FM classics in the car, we finally pulled up at the studio.
We were late (as usual) so were quickly whisked through to join the others in The Great Hall, which was all laid out beautifully for Christmas.
Even Hedwig was hanging around, ready to say hello…
Crookshanks was there too…
…but my favourite star has to be Fang!
Inspired by all his drooling, we learnt how to duel!
I chose Sirius’ wand and Valentina went for Harry’s.
There are three key moves every young witch and wizard must master.
Move three (the sneaky Slytherin favourite, behind the back!):
I’m in an Alice + Olivia dress, Alexander McQueen clutch (both half off on Net-A-Porter’s sale site “The Outnet”), Christian Louboutin shoes, Primark Super Cosy tights (if you haven’t discovered these yet, then your legs haven’t lived!) and an Aunt Sponge necklace.
Annnnd last but not least, Tanya is rocking an embroidered Mulberry dress.
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After The Great Hall, we journeyed through Hogwarts history.
Back to the Yule Ball…
Behind the scenes into the makeup room.
Must have been pretty uncomfortable having all those pins in his head…
The group stuck closely to the tour guide… but Valentina and I just couldn’t resist and snuck off to do our own exploring.
The Gryffindor common room.
Dumbledore’s office (I’d have loved a dip into his pensieve!).
Snape’s potion class.
The Burrow (Mrs Weasley is essentially my mother in literary form, so this almost felt like home!)
The Death Eater masks were genuinely chilling, as was Voldermort’s statue at The Ministry.
“A gigantic statue of black stone dominated the scene. It was rather frightening, this vast sculpture of a witch and wizard sitting on ornately carved thrones…Engraved in foot-high letters at the base of the statue were the words MAGIC IS MIGHT…Harry looked more closely and realised that what he had thought were decoratively carved thrones were actually mounds of carved humans: hundreds and hundreds of naked bodies, men, women, and children, all with rather stupid, ugly faces, twisted and pressed together to support the weight of the handsomely robed wizards.”
The Black Family Tree tapestry was as beautiful and intricate as you’d imagine.
We were still peering into cubby holes and display cases when we found…. THE BROOMS!
With very little bidding we climbed aboard.
The wind machine started up, and we took off!
On screen you see yourself speeding through London before eventually arriving at Hogwarts.
It’s worth noting that the brooms don’t actually move. It’s all down to you…
I threw myself into the role I was quite frankly, BORN to play!
Jim got pretty into it too…
But I snagged the spot as the new Seeker!
Which we celebrated with a good old fashioned Butter Beer outside,
where we were surprised with a little dusting of snow.
I knocked for the Dursleys, but Vernon was far too lazy to get up.
In the animatronic department we met Nearly Headless Nick.
The Monster Book of Monsters which snapped and chased us as we walked by.
We quickly crept past Aragog and made our way to Diagon Alley for a spot of shopping.
Before checking out some scaled down models of the sets.
And taking a little whizz around the castle on our brooms!
With bubbly to keep us warm, naturally.
After a few nibbles we went into Ollivanders Wand Shop where Crookshanks was waiting to hand us little gifts!
After a feet-achingly long trip around Hogwarts we were very ready for supper.
We headed back to The Great Hall, but were cut off by a Death Eater.
Together we all got into position and cried AVADA KEDAVRA!
(Yes it may well be unforgivable, but we were hungry ok?)
Having defeated him, the doors flung open and we made our way inside.
The Sorting Hat had done its job while we were gone. Each of us were allocated a house, and given the appropriate hoodies.
Val & I drowned our sorrows having not been chosen for Gryffindor in a number of lychee martinis.
We were treated to a starter of poached pears and stilton.
Followed by a sort of roast…
THREE puddings and a few more cocktails.
We tied up dinner with coffee and chocolates.
Before packing up our wands and jumping on The Knight Bus back to London.
I had the most amazing evening.
I can’t tell you how much I loved it and I was absolutely wrong about it ruining the magic. I was transported back to my childhood and am so grateful for the experience.
Sorry it was such a long post, I just couldn’t bare to leave anything out!