Sunday, 24 February 2013

Harry Potter studio tour

Yesterday Matt, my brother, his girlfriend and I headed down south to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour for a day of geeking out on all things Harry Potter. Most people know of my love of Harry Potter but what most people don't know is just how much I love all things Potter. When the last book came out I queued on Princes Street in Edinburgh all night to get my hands on it. I've met some amazing friends through my love of Harry Potter, friends who I know would have loved to have been there yesterday and who I'd love to go back and visit the studios with some day.

This blog post is going to be very photo heavy, I took a lot of photos. Half way around my camera battery ran out so quite a few were taken on my phone, not great for quality but thankfully the iPhone camera isn't horrendous. 

Here we go!

A lot of people go through the tour at one time but the studio is so large that you have plenty of room to look around. At the start of the tour before we went through the doors was so exciting!

I was never that fussed on Hermione's dress that she wore to the Yule Ball (wrong colour!) but up close it's beautiful. There was a copy of it for sale in the gift shop for nearly £500.


The Gryffindor common room always sounded and looked so comfortable and even on set it was.

Stepping foot into Dumbledore's office was amazing. The detail of the set is wonderful, everything was there.

This photo gives a pretty good idea of just how big the studio is.

There was some amazing art work on the walls, there were a couple of pieces that I would love to have on my walls at home.

I literally gasped when I walked around the corner and saw this model, I even had tears in my eyes at one point. Amazing.

If you ever get the chance to go to the studios - do it! Matt's not the biggest Harry Potter fan but even he enjoyed it. I really would like to go back again and try and spot the things I missed out on this time.

For now, I'm going to settle down for the evening and watch Order of the Phoenix...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

American style food...are we finally getting it?

Being married to an American has its downfalls. The homesickness, the whole “America is the greatest nation on earth!” stuff I hear a lot but mostly...mostly it makes you realise how badly the UK does when it comes to American food.

Take a trip to the States and you get get good, fresh food for very little money – say hello to Portland. Seriously, that place is the bees knees when it comes to good food. On my last trip there I was taken to a street full of food carts where you could find every type of food imaginable, all of it prepared in front of you before you take a few steps away from the cart and devour your food of choice on the sidewalk.

Breakfast. This makes me hungry just looking at it.
Portland is also home to the best damn chai tea latte I've ever had in the form of GrindHouse Coffee. No one here has ever come close to getting as good as the chai tea I had in Portland.

GrindHouse. Oh hi there knees!
But enough about Portland. What about Cardiff. Sure, in London you'll find some places that come close to proper American food but here in Cardiff I've found us to be somewhat lacking. Look at some of our choices:

Eddie's Diner down at Cardiff Bay, where I once ate literally the worst burger ever. Just because it looks like an American diner (apparently) it doesn't make it American.

TGI Friday, I will freely admit that this isn't the worst place ever. I hate the prices, serving sizes, the loud children, the birthday parties but some of their food isn't that bad. Having said that I've not been back since the wonderful experience in September.

However, there seems to be a revolution happening in Cardiff. Pulled pork, brisket, mac 'n' cheese and ribs are hitting town. BBQ is happening people. Rejoice! 

In November Fire Island opened on Westgate Street. I've not tried it yet. I'll admit to perhaps wrongly sticking my nose up at it after finding out that it's owned by the people that own Buffalo, where I once had the chef try and pass mayonnaise off as hollandaise sauce.  I was excited when it opened but after reading some reviews and finding out how limited the menu was I was put off from going but I've just discovered that they've updated their menu and they've added more food (and upped their prices but I'll overlook that) so a trip may be in order.

We're about to get another American BBQ restaurant in the form of The Smoke House which opens on 5 March in Pontcanna. Cue much excitement. I'm hoping to get a glimpse of their menu soon as I really want to book a table for Matt and I. It's been so long since we've gone out (that's what buying a house does, kids) so I want to break the dry spell in a good way.

Fingers crossed that The Smoke House blows Cardiff away (and serves biscuits).

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Slow week

Life has been very quiet this week, if not for a few weeks. Matt and I are having a very tiring time in work so all we want to do is get home and collapse on the sofa. Hopefully things will change but for a while yet life is busy in work.

1. Our house building thinks this unit is a 'broom unit', I beg to differ
2. Part of my cookery book collection. American style fridge freezers make the perfect shelf
3. Just over four months 'til Florida!
4. Lovely husband and his lovely surprise
5. Really liking this No 7 microdermabrasion exfoliator
6. I have an ever growing herb and spice collection

This week I'm mostly looking forward to Valentine's day. Matt and I have already agreed not to do anything this year, not that we've ever done much in the past. However, I have bought a small gift for Matt and I'm planning on doing Mexican food for dinner. My plan of action is good food and a cwtch on the sofa in front of a good movie. What are your Valentine's plans? Three course romantic meal? Pamper evening if you're single? Or is it just another Thursday?
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