Tag Archives: Friends

#KeepTheSecrets

I’ve just had the most magical weekend and I can’t let it go, which is why I think it’s taken a few days back at home and work for me to sit down and want to write this post as it feels like it’s done then. I know it’s not really, I’m being over-dramatic, but that’s how it feels.

An upfront note – there will be no spoilers in this post. I will talk about how I felt, but no plot or character details will be shared #KeepTheSecrets

In reality this all started in October last year when the tickets went on sale for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I managed to get in the queue with only around 1000 people in front of my. Compared to friends who got in the queue not long after and it was up in the 6000 range and even more I did really well. It only took about 25 minutes of waiting in the end and I got tickets for myself and my friend Ingrid to see one of the first Saturday double bill previews. I was so happy and so excited to have something new added to the stories I’ve been reading since I was 16! I’m not 31 so it’s been pretty much half my life! It felt exactly the same as a new book coming out – the unknown and the excitement and the trepidation around what could happen. It’s Harry Potter, anyone could die!

Side note – it’s also now totally okay to have a crush on the actors playing Harry, Ron and Draco and a girl crush on Hermione! Amazing actors all round.

I then booked a hotel in Covent Garden, just up the road from The Palace Theatre in Soho. It was a perfect location as it only meant getting the tube to the hotel and then we could wander everywhere. The first thing we did of course was go to the theatre to see it all set up. I took lots of photos of the posters as it was all helping build up the excitement even more than I thought I could contain. Make sure you go and see it during the day before a performance as once we were there for the show it was so busy it was impossible to get the photos I took.

Everything about the set up felt right. It was very much linked to the books, rather the films and I liked that a lot. It was continuing the story for those characters and for the fans who have been there from the beginning, or almost the beginning in my case.

Setting it nineteen years later felt exactly right too. I think this is because I am now an adult and so it would make it easier to relate to them now as adults as well. We grew up together and now we were getting the chance to see who they had become.

I also love that this is in a different format. As a play there is something completely different about it, but at the same time there is something completely familiar. It made it even more excitng for me. It was like the film experience when you are in the cinema with everyone, but with the theatre atmosphere where it’s totally okay to react out loud.

The Palace Theatre is also an amazing building. I recommend walking the whole way round and see the brick structure and take in the architecture that you can then compare to what you see on the inside. It’s like a Tardis!

As we arrived on the Friday we had a day to kill and made the most of it by totally immersing ourselves in our Harry Potter geekness. We went to the House of Minalima, who did all the graphic design work for the films. It is amazing! It’s a combined gallery and shop over multiple floors.

It is a beautiful space, full of colour and fun. It’s mainly Harry Potter, but it also contains other work by the designers, which is just as amazing.

There are some of the original props used in the films as well. The amount of detail and care that went into all this and continues to go into for the new movie is staggering. The love and commitment to the work and the world took my breath away and I could have stayed in there all day.

I want them to come and decorate my house. The floors and stairs especially!

We then went to Cheeky Nails to get our nails turned into Hogwarts House colours ! I never get my nails done so this was exciting. It is attached to a bar as well so is perfect for a Friday night. They ladies there were so fantastic to us and fitted us in and did the details we wanted. I think we entertained them for the night too!

Of course then we had to make sure we got the most value from them by getting them in pretty much every single photo for the rest of the weekend.

We woke up Saturday and could not wait for 2pm. We went for a relaxing breakfast and then we wandered through some bookstores to keep ourselves calm, but get ready for what was coming. We got into the queue just before 1pm to give ourselves plenty of time to get merchandise, drinks and to find our seats. They check your bags on entry and even if the queue is long you’ll be fine as they are quick.

Then we were ready to see Part 1! I took some photos inside before and after the play, but that would give things away so they are just for me as memories. I can’t really say any more as I do not want to make JK Rowling angry by hinting at anything that happens.

All I will say is that I loved it!

We then went to a local sushi restuarant in between the parts. I woudl recommend booking to make sure you get somewhere close as it was super busy being a Saturday and also Pride. To save stress book someone and enjoy discussing (carefully) what happened in Part 1!

Then it was time to join the queue at 6:30pm for Part 2! Everyone was even more excited than before. We were also talking about our theories for what would happen and it was so much fun! Everyone was there as a fan and there was so much love and loyalty in the audience it was amazing. There was also some great discussions, not debates, but people being open for things to go where ever they might go.

Then is was over! It was exactly like finishing one of the books for the first time. Happiness that you now knew what happens and how the story and characters develop. At the same time sadness that it was over and you won’t get to experience it in the same way again. To sum up my reaction without any spoilers is basically me in this photo, taken in the ice cream place opposite right after the we came out of the theatre. It was magic in reality for me!

I am in awe of JK Rowling for creating this world and sharing in so many ways. I totally respect her call for everyone who has seen the play to #KeepTheSecrets to let others see as we had just done. I cannot wait for the script to come out as I will be able to read that while replaying the play in my head. I would say to anyone who has tickets to wait to watch the play first before reading the script as I can tell you it will not be the same and your patience will be worth it.

I treated myself to quite a bit of merchandise and love it all! I’m keeping hold of my tickets as memories too. It was an experience I will never forget and feel lucky to be one of the first people to have seen the play in full in one day. I don’t think I could have waited 24 hours for the second part to be absolutely honest!

I would also say to anyone who is a fan to keep trying to get tickets from the official website. I hope one day they will tour it or do a live showing broadcast to cinemas, but I also hope that will be a few years away to give as many people as possible the chance to see it as it is meant to be seen!

#KeepTheSecrets

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

I started this week by making my way to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebrations. This is one of the only time it is free access to the site and to the stones themselves. I’m lucky that with my job I get to take part in volunteering activities like this as in all honesty I do not get the point of sitting in a field all night. However I am grateful for being also to experience it in a golunteering way instead.

It was a beautiful evening and I took my camera and borrowed a friend tripod to try and get some lovely photos. I’ll share those in another  post  though as they need editing slightly and I would like some help from my teacher to do that.

It was an amazing sky with bright sunshine, but lots if scattered clouds to heal things up and add colour.

It was also a full moon or strawberry moon, which only happens a couple of times a century on the solstice. It was all beautiful to watch.


When my shit finished my friend and headed down to the stones themselves to experience threat thing. This year was quiet I’m told as they introduced a parking fee and banned alcohol from the site. When we went in there were only around 6000 people, compared to closer to 20,000 normally. It was really calm and chilled. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming really. 

It is odd at the same though as they light up the site with huge flood lights that give off this fake moon like glow. For safety and ease of walking around to was great, but compared to last year at Aberbury where they don’t provide any lighting, it is a completely different experience. 

We even g pretty much in to the centre of the stones which was a first for me. I got to touch a few of the stones, which was important to me. It felt like touching and being a part of the history of the place. The stones are so old I feel as though they hold so many stories and memories of the world. My fantasy geek ended coming out there!

I wish it was the moon in theses photos, buts it’s not it’s just the floodlights!

In a week that has ended on such a down note for me and many others, the start of the week feels so long ago. The connection I felt to our past had slipped away in the last few hours. It’s odd to sit here now and think we are going backwards. I refuse to dwell and I’m glad I voted for what I believe in and will continue to do that. Now on to a happier weekend catching up with Ingrid and going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! 

Keep on Swimming

I think I’m finding my love of swimming again after a bit of a turbulent year of not really feeling it. It’s funny how something that you love can become a chore so easily and then the love disappears and you wonder why you ever liked it at all. It was a horrible time as I do love swimming and being in the water is one of my major childhood memories. What I realised is that it was no longer fun. I was no longer the kid just jumping in to swim around and enjoy the feel of the water. I had a time to swim or a distance to get to. It was all about the goals and not about the enjoyment. So no wonder I didn’t want to go every single time!

I took the pressure off myself and stopped swimming in the pool with my swimming club and began to focus on only lake swimming and that has made such a difference. I reconnected with lake friends from last year and have been having fun building up to longer swims, while having a good time doing it. I still have a goal, but it is one goal, rather than 10!

I like to have something to train for as it gives me focus, but I don’t like events really. So this year I am not using other events as training sessions. I’m still planning on swimming the Bridge to Bridge Thames Marathon in August, but have changed my wave to the middle one, rather than the faster one so I can swim with my friends and take the speed pressure off.

I’m making the most of my membership to one of my local lakes and going as often as I like. There are also three other local lakes that I can use if there is an event on at my lake on the day I want to go. I usually go twice a week with one session being a long swim building up to 10km and one being a coached session working on skills. I would like to get in another session to have some fun and swim too, but timing is harder with that one. I’ve also started back at the gym and doing a couple of classes with my friend Helly and we are having great fun and it doesn’t feel like working out at all. We have a gossip and catch up while moving around and laughing. This means I am working out 4/5 times a week without trying too hard, which is nice and it feels good mentally and physically.

Come rain or sunshine I’ll be at the lake this summer!

Weekend Fun in London

I seem to be going quite a lot lately and I am quite enjoying it. I’ve been able to explore new parts I haven’t been to before. This last weekend I was there for a friend’s hen do and we had great fun. The weekend started with a treasure hunt that had us walking around London for a a few hours. I got to see Kensington Palace, which I don’t think I’ve been to before.

We then headed to have afternoon tea at a beautiful hotel new St James Park. The scones and cakes were absolutely amazing!

We then headed to the River Thames for a night cruise. This was amazing as I got to see the city late at night all lit up and it was beautiful.

Tower Bridge

The Greenwich Meridian laser

The Shard, Tower Bridge, and the walky talky

Closer up

Underneath

The Tower of London

The London Eye

It was a lovely nice that stayed warm into the early morning. The light reflecting on the river were  gave the water a glow that is does not have during the day.

The next day we headed towards Portobello Road and I found this tree that was growing and taking the wall with it. It made me smile and appreciate that nature in the city still thrives.

We went to an amazing place – The Electric Diner – for breakfast and I enjoyed a fantastic flat white and a Full English tat hit the spot nicely. I intend to go back here when I can.

When we had finished it was still waking up and the vintage market was set up as we wandered back up the road. I would very much like to come back for the food market during the week. It was beautiful and sunny and it would have been nice to stay a while longer, but I will plan that in for next time.

Overall a lovely day exploring and visiting some new places that I will be making the effort to go back to. The sun made it an extra special weekend.

Photo Opportunity!

One of the main things I’ve been wanting to do to improve my blog is to take better photos. So for the last 6 months or so I have been swapping swimming lessons for photography lessons. My friend Edith is an amazing photographer, I think she is professional, but not sure if she would describe herself as one as she does not do it full time, and is taking me through the essentials of photography. In exchange I have been teaching her to swim and she just completed her first triathlon and she is looking for another one to do later in the year. It’s been great as although it requires commitment we are able to be flexible between ourselves.

I have first learnt that it doesn’t matter what camera you have, as it the camera you have on you when you want to take a photo that matters. I switch between three cameras – my trusty iPhone camera, an Olympus DSLR, and a Cannon point and shoot – and which one I use depends on what bag I am taking out to be absolutely honest. A shift I would like to make is to not only go out specifically to take photos, but always be carrying a camera, not just my phone.

SO far I’ve been learning to edit my photos on a basic level, such as looking at the colours and adjusting the image crop and straightening. Each time I learn to spot new things and make smaller adjustments as I set up my photos better when I take them. Developing the eye for spotting interesting opportunities is hard to learn, but I keep on trying.

I’ve also bee learning about using aperture for depth of field and f numbers. This has been a struggle for me and I keep having to talk myself through what I am after when I try to use it, but it makes me think and try things out. It also gets me out of the auto setting.

I’ve taken photos at night using slow shutter speeds. I’ve taken photos in the snow using shadows and features. I’ve taken photos from interesting aspects that I wouldn’t have considered before. I’ve been experimenting and really enjoying it.

I’ve still got a lot to learn, but all I am after is to be able to take great holiday photos I want to print off and hang up. I can’t remember the last time I printed a photo as wither everything being digital I just never do anymore. I want to change that and cover my home in photos I’ve actually taken.

Here are some of my favourite photographs of the last 6 months:

 

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Greens in St James Park
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Golden gates of Buckingham Palace
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Lion and Man outside Buckingham Palace
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Spotlight on the bluebell
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Bluebell in the late evening sun
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Rays on the bluebells
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Surrounded by bluebells
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Reflections on the river in Bath
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Turning right in the night
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Ghost bus
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Busy in the dark
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Lonely red lights
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On the catwalk
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Chocolate fountain
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Interesting shapes
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Snow angel
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Mountain resting place
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Drive by
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Moody woods
Routes through the snow
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