Happy Days : Harry Potter World photos!

I recently got to visit the Harry Potter studio tour for the second time, and it was awesome! I really wanted to share some pictures of the day, it’s a truly amazing place for Harry Potter fans, and such a fun tour with all sorts of interactive elements (I got to fly a broom and it was the best thing ever!)

I went with a group of friends to celebrate a twenty first birthday and although I guess the tour is set up for kids, there were huge numbers of adults and teenagers enjoying it too. There’s so much to see and experience, and absolutely no reason to pass up a chance to ride the Knight Bus ;)

IMG_7380 IMG_7392 10704089_10152449640209069_9041825221561008832_n 10670107_10152449640939069_1384404892733809223_nAbi and I, attired in our full Quidditch strip (of course) met with our friends Kati, Emily and Ellie and drove to Hertfordshire, the home of studio sound stages ‘J’ and ‘K’, where much of Harry Potter was filmed, and which have been preserved to form the main space where the tour takes place. The Great Hall is the first stop on the tour, and because it was Kati’s special day she got to open the doors! (with the other nine year olds, hehe)

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The Great Hall is incredible! Everything from the York flagstones on the floors to the hand painted murals and hand chiseled crests is exactly as you would imagine the interior of Hogwarts to be. It’s just so cool to actually walk through the hall and notice the crazy amounts of detail put into every element.

In fact, there’s a crazy amount of detail put into every single prop which was used throughout the films. After the great hall, you can browse a huge number of the interior sets; from the Gryffindor common room to Umbridge’s office, and, my personal favourite, some of the original entrances to the Minisitry of Magic and the terrifying ‘Magic is Might’ monument.  I also loved the display of costumes made for the Beauxbaton girls in the Goblet of Fire, and also a rack of Harry’s costumes showing identical outfits in four stages of ‘dirtiness’ for when Harry does all of his running around and getting dust on him.

IMG_7414 IMG_7415 IMG_7426IMG_7430We saw Dumbledore’s office (so cool!) and the Potions classroom, and then got to ride on broomsticks in front of a green screen so it made it look like we were actually flying. I had waaaay too much fun, and we even got a picture in the Weasley’s flying car and got to drive it – or at least, we made Abi drive it and we all sat in the back and complained about the sat nav – much like our journey to the studio that morning ;)

IMG_7466IMG_7417 IMG_7420 IMG_7423We headed outside to explore the bigger sets and props (Privet drive! Loads of people kept taking picture with number 3 instead of number 4… losers ;) ) and then into the costume room to explore all the creepy prosthetics and the fully automated buckbeak with hand crafted feathers and a little face that moves and everything!

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Finally, we got to explore Diagon Alley (it’s huge and so detailed and amazing!) and then a massive model of Hogwarts Castle (used to film some arial shots) which is just the coolest thing ever. (I know I’ve said that a lot, but… it was all the coolest thing ever) <3

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All that was left was to try not to spend our life savings in the gift shop (we spent a longggg time wand shopping!) and then had some snacks before heading home. It was the best day ever and just as good second time around. I would definitely recommend a visit, and if you’ve already visited, visit again (if only for the Quidditch experience, that thing is priceless!) Ha, hope these pictures were interesting for you, you can see how much we enjoyed our day and I hope they inspire you to check it our for yourselves.

Love, PV x

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Photos by me or the lovely Ellie Saunders (with kind permission)

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25/52 – Portobello Road Market

Am I the only person who wants to burst into that song from ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ every time I hear the phrase ‘Portobello Rd’?

Anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold by the barrel down old Po-o-or-to-be-e-llo Road

Beautiful.

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Anyway, I did head down to the famous market on Saturday and I wasn’t disappointed. Even though the Market has become saturated with tourists, it’s probably still possible to get your hands on anything and everything, if you’re prepared to spend long enough sorting through the seriously huge amount of stuff on offer in the various shops, stalls and pop-ups which line Portobello Road.

The market proper is easy to find from any nearby tube station (I arrived into Ladbroke Grove), and Saturday is by far the busiest and best day to go. Selling everything from antiques, jewellery, curiosities, hot food, fruit and veg, vintage clothes and retro furniture, it can certainly seem overwhelming at first, but it’s so fun to just let yourself wander in and out of all of the stalls and get lost in the covered market areas – which appear to be just one shop, but open up into a rabbit warren of tiny stalls and stands!

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I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – and it’s fair to say that you have to poke through a good amount of trash to find any treasure – but I did fall in love with a pair of hideous siamese cat ornaments and a gorgeous silver miniature charm. You’ll be glad to hear that I resisted both, and pressed on through the completely packed market to find a small art gallery. The gallery, which appeared to be a temporary space, was filled with some really cool pieces and although I’m no art buff, I was so happy to find such an unexpected display to explore.

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Further on, at the North Kensington end of Portobello Road, there are some pretty, eclectic cafés, and also a fantastic selection of ‘vintage’ (ie. old and in need of lots of love and possibly a professional upholsterer) furniture stores, which I actually loved and I think it would be a great way to collect unusual or retro pieces for your home. I’m definitely planning on shopping here when I have a place of my own, and  it’s the best selection of this kind of second hand furniture which I’ve come across so far.IMG_7556 IMG_7560 IMG_7557 IMG_7563 IMG_7569Overall, I really enjoyed strolling down Portobello Rd and poking through the monumental amount of ‘things’ which are on offer! I can see why the market is so popular, and it’s incredibly interesting to browse, but I have to say that, for me, there was just too much, and it was way too ‘messy’ (does that make sense?) to properly experience the market, and I can’t say that I would rush to go back.

That being said, it’s so cool to experience the famous Portobello Rd, and if you’ve got a free Saturday and an urge to browse through lots of crazy, crappy or cool stuff, it’s for sure worth a visit! (but maybe just the one!) ;)

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Brand New

Maybe it’s the fact that the seasons are changing, or maybe it’s just all the fresh new ‘back to school’ vibes I always get from September, but I am so full of inspiration for all things bright and new this month. 

I have become a little obsessed with Pinterest lately and spend most of my time at work* daydreaming about the bold prints, textures and colour schemes which I am discovering and obsessively ‘pinning’ to be used in my room, in my wardrobe, and even in my future house. That’s the good thing about Pinterest, you can squirrel away inspiration and projects, and then when it’s time to get creative you have a personalised stash of ideas just waiting to come to life.

I’m still obsessed with that gorgeous palm tree image (I don’t know why I love it so much! Strange…) and I’ve gathered some more images which are of a similar bold colour and aesthetic. I might have them printed and group them together as a gallery display, but I’m still deciding on that one – ideas on the back of a postcard please! ;)
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I’ve got the desk in my current bedroom pretty much how I want it, and I’ve kept it really simple. However, that hasn’t stopped me from collecting inspiration for my one-day-dream-office-space! There are so many of these beautiful spaces shared on Pinterest, but here are my absolute favourites. 

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I love the little details which make these spaces seem cohesive, and I am absolutely sure that I want a big, huge desk! All that space for creating and spreading out is invaluable. Finally, I like the idea that you could easily change up these spaces just by swapping around the posters, and reorganising the bits and pieces on the desk itself, because that lovely bright white is so neutral and adaptable. Perfect if you, like me, are constantly changing your mind! 

Finally, a few bits and pieces I found myself pinning this week which are not really to do with room decor or organisation at all!

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More Palm tree inspo! I don’t know what it is about these two pieces which caught my eye, but I think that they are both so, so pretty. Isn’t it funny how some things look so gorgeous to the eyes of one person, while they probably don’t look like anything special to someone else! These two are right up my aesthetic alley, and I bet I could DIY that jumper, right? :)

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All over the fresh ‘n wild vibes right now. That salad just looks like a dream – I have been eating so much salad lately but mine are never this colourful! And something which you might actually be surprised to learn about me (given how much I love Netflix and my bed) is that I really, really love the outdoors (I’m just not out there much because I’m always in Starbucks, ha) and this lil’ camping spot looks just about perfect (until it starts raining…)

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The stripes! The composition! The monochrome! So appealing to my eyeballs. And I pinned this quote yesterday – trying to tell Rob something perhaps? Ha!

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Ooosh, Pinterest, look at you with your massively relevant quotes and monochrome typeface! And, these happy surf chicas just make my whole day. That yellow! Be still my heart. 

I hope you’ve had a good ol’ healthy dose of inspiration, bold colours and fresh September feelings!

Sources for all of the above can be found on my Pinterest page (click here), and if you’re not already on Pinterest, you should definitely sign up for daily escapism and ideas for just about anything.

Love, PV x

*Actually, in all honesty, I spend most of my time at work pretending that I only have one arm (just to pass the time).

23/52 – Borough Market

Hidden just beyond London Bridge is one of London’s true little treasures – Borough Market, possibly the capital’s worst kept secret, is frequented by tourists, locals and pedestrians from far and wide finding their way into the market for delicious food, artisan produce, abundant fruit and veg, and a belly full of free samples. 

The covered market is divided into two parts, both open for business and bustling with trade from Wednesday to Saturday all year round. Not quite knowing where to start, and wanting to make the most of (and get our mouths around) everything, Rob and I set ourselves a little challenge, a £20 budget (for both of us, the same we’d probably spend on a lunch or dinner at a restaurant), and set off to sample everything.

You really could sample everything. Show enough interest in cheese or salami (and salami is genuinely one of my primary interests), and before you know it you will have tried every single variant known to man, and eaten pretty much a full lunch. You can choose to scuttle away with all your free salami, but the chances are you will find it too delicious and will purchase a salami to bear home to your flatmates triumphantly.

Rob and I started off with some yummy strawberry samples, and because they were fresh and only £2 a punnet, we quickly made them our first purchase.

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Next up, a stall full of freshly baked focaccia, ciabatta and sourdough breads. I was tempted by the pesto and tomato focaccia, but the plain rosemary loaf was just too tempting and we snagged a huuuge piece for £3. It was delicious.

Rosemary Focaccia (£3) – Money remaining: £15

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The salami stand (of course) caught my eye next and after sampling some delicious ‘alpine Biltong’ (a dried meat snack similar to Jerky), we settled for a wild boar salami – a really nice mellow flavour which even Rob (not usually a lover of that kind of thing) really liked. How exotic! And only £2.50… nom nom nom.

Wild Boar Dried Sausage (£2.50) – Money remaining: £12.50

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After sampling so many cheeses, we found a delicious aged Gruyere and asked for the teeniest tiniest slice they could give us. It set us back £2.50 but it was so worth it. It is so flavourful, I could have gobbled it up straight from the packet (classy, George – classy…) but we’ve saved it to make a flavourful pasta dish with some of the wild boar salami later on.

Aged Gruyere sliver (£2.50) – Money remaining: £10

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We swerved the healthy Wheatgrass (ew?) and instead opted for three juicy nectarines – three for a pound!

Three Nectarines (£1) – Money remaining: £9

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Starting to feel the pinch and craving something sweet (when am I not?) we headed over to a gluten (and dairy) free stall and I selected a super chocolately Rocky Road Brownie. They had a great selection and I ended up choosing a goat’s cheese and red onion gluten free tart as well. It was pricey at £3.50 but gluten free options are often much more expensive, and it was so yummy I reckon it was worth it. 

Rocky Road (£1.50) and Goat’s cheese tart (£3.50) – Money remaining: £4

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Looking out for budget friendly but filling options, we spied some amazing sweet potato fries (at a stand primarily selling scotch eggs, which also looked yummy), and the lady gave us the biggest portion ever! She really stuffed the fries into that tiny packet and we had to eat them up quickly to stop them from spilling everywhere. So satisfying and one of my favourite buys. 

Allll the Sweet Potato Fries (£3) – Money remaining: £1

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With just £1 left, we were considering squeezing an extra 50p into the budget for a ‘sausage on a stick’ because the freshly fried Cumberland sausages looked (and smelt) amazing, but we struck lucky because they had run out of sticks, and gave us a ‘sausage in a cup’ for the discounted price of £1. It was delicious, and left us right on budget.

Cumberland sausage on a stick in a cup (£1) – Money remaining: £0

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We got so much for our money, and brought lots home for our evening meal, and to keep and use for all sorts of things. Rob is still munching away on his massive piece of focaccia, I’m stocked up with cheese and salami, and we’ve also discovered the best place for sweet potato fries! My rocky road brownie disappeared pretty sharpish, but the nectarines and strawberries will last me for a couple of breakfasts. Borough Market is so fun to explore and I would so recommend going in with a bit of cash in your pocket and seeing just how much bang you can get for your buck. It’s a total wonderland, and with everything looking so delicious, you really really can’t go wrong.

PV, x

DIY Ombré effect duvet cover

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I think I’m a little obsessed with this photo! I just love the colours, the brightness, the lush leafiness, it’s too much. I really want to get these soft pinks and bright greens into my bedroom colour scheme somehow, and after browsing seemingly endless websites searching for a soft pink duvet cover (ha – as if I spent my Friday night actually doing that…), I decided to make my own ombré effect duvet cover. I love how it turned out! It’s not toooo pink, but the splash of colour is just perfect. Here’s how I did it:

From Wilko (the home of all DIY goodness), I purchased a plain white duvet cover, two packets of DYLON powder pink dye (although I only used one), and the complimentary DYLON dye salts (I used half the packet). I also sourced a bucket, a stirring stick and some rubber gloves. 

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First, prepare the dye according to the packet instructions. For the dye I used, it was a simple matter of first dissolving the whole packet in 500ml of warm water, and then combining this mixture with 250g of dye salts in 6 litres of warm water. 

Once done, I washed my duvet cover, leaving it damp as per the instructions. Because I wanted to create an ombré effect, I divided the bottom half of the duvet cover into four rough sections and made a small pencil mark on the edge of the duvet to mark each quarter. I rigged up a contraption to suspend the duvet in the dye to the chosen level, (using an indoor washing hanger thingy) and then gradually submerged the fabric over the course of the next hour.

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To achieve the dip-dyed effect, here are the timings I used:

First fifteen minutes – fabric submerged to the first line, stirring constantly
15-20 minutes – gradually moving the fabric until it is submerged to the second line, stirring constantly
20-30 minutes – fabric submerged to the second line, stirring occasionally
30-35 minutes – gradually moving the fabric until it is submerged to the third line, stirring occasionally
35-45 minutes – fabric submerged to the third line, stirring occasionally
45-50 minutes – gradually moving the fabric to the fourth line, stirring occasionally
50-60 minutes – fabric submerged to the fourth line, stirring occasionally

So I moved the fabric slowly for five minutes, and then left it submerged for the next ten, and then repeated until an hour had elapsed – I hope that makes sense, I’m trying to make it as clear as possible but it does seem rather confusing!

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After the hour of dying, I rinsed the sheet in cold water, and then dried it naturally – being careful to avoid direct heat or sunlight, as the packet suggested (I hung it over the bannister so it dripped on all of my flatmates as they came up the stairs, mwahaha)

It was actually so easy to do, and I’m really pleased with the tiny bit of colour it adds to my room, while the predominantly white duvet cover makes the space seem bigger and not too cluttered. 

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[I have to apologise for the awful photo quality! It is incredibly difficult to take photos of my room from this angle, and despite trying these photos at all sorts of different times, I just couldn't get the lighting right. I hope you get the picture anyway, in real life it is a bright and gorgeous powder pink!] 

There are so many possibilities for this DIY, it’s a much cheaper method than buying your own duvet cover, and when it’s this easy, you could have a different duvet cover for every day of the week! (although who can be bothered to change a double duvet cover?! These things are a right hassle let me tell you.)

PV x

Brizl.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get a couple of days off work and be able to travel to Bristol to meet with my dearest friend Kati and her little sister Emma. We celebrated Emma’s eighteenth birthday, explored the beautiful city, and set the world to rights over many, many cups of tea.

Our first destination, and one of my favourites, was The Birdcage, a beautiful destination café and vintage boutique, promising ‘yesterday’s clothes and today’s coffee’. As well as being beautifully decorated, with high ceilings and big windows lending lots of gorgeous light to the interior, the menu is healthy, varied and so so tempting. As well as tea (of course!) Kati, Emma and I enjoyed delicious sandwiches, and I was particularly pleased with my sour dough toast and avocado. I even snagged myself a sneaky gluten free brownie before browsing the cute vintage jumpers and jewellery which was pricey but really nice, and would make a lovely gift. IMG_7031IMG_7039 IMG_7034 IMG_7027IMG_7024

After the fortifying effects of tea and sandwiches we headed out onto Park Street, an incredibly steep (okay, not that steep, but, you know…) parade of eclectic shops and independent cafés, including several shops specialising in affordable vintage, or locally made items. I really loved the type of shops that were on offer, and there are so many which are worth visiting – they make for a perfect afternoon of shopping – if you’re prepared to walk up a reallllly steep hill ;)

Emma has a great eye for Vintage and she found a gorgeous red jacket and a black velvet dress. Kati and I weren’t convinced at first but we were so wrong! Emma looked fantastic and totally pulled it off – we even found some cute graphic jumpers which were super affordable for Vintage (compared to London anyway!) but I decided to spend my money on tea and brownies instead… #priorities!

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As well as a good number of well stocked charity shops (always a plus!) we found Uncle Sam’s, Sobey’s and BS8 to have a particularly good selection.

After even more hills (Bristol in general is incredibly hilly and rather a shock for the old calf muscles) we stopped into Tea Birds – a truly adorable café which specialises in floral plates, delicious tea, and generally being incredibly photogenic and sure to get you some Instagram likes…

I love the number of independent coffee shops springing up all over Bristol – the atmosphere is so different to a chain café brand (sorry Starbucks I still love you!) because everything, including the coffee, is made with love and care, often by the people who own and run the café. What better place for deep-meaningful-conversations, this-is-why-we’re-friends chats and tea-makes-everything-better talks. <3

 

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 Our final destination, (and I really can’t recommend this place highly enough!) was The Burger Joint. Kati used to work here as a waitress and it is amazing! Seriously I’m surprised she ever managed to get the food from the kitchen to the table without eating it. It is delicious. And so much choice! I agonised over the eternal chorizo vs onion rings debate before finally deciding to have both, and it was amazing. We couldn’t even finish everything on our plates, and I was sorely tempted to stuff it all in my pockets for later, but I didn’t want to embarrass Kati in front of her old work colleagues so restrained myself ;)

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I had an amazing time eating drinking and shopping in Bristol, and most of all I loved hanging out with my buddy Kati and her little sister (all grown up now, when did that happen?!)

The places I’ve recommended in this post barely scratch the surface of what there is to discover, and I highly encourage exploration. Let me know if you find any more hidden gems!

I hope your week has been lovely so far!

PV x

Super easy DIY Headboard Cover

I’ve finally gotten out of my creative rut and done something productive! *applause* IMG_7006-0.JPGIMG_7012-0.JPG In between celebrating Chelsey’s birthday, eating way too much cake and smarties, and, in a terrifying turn of events, being forced to watch ‘The Shining’ (which I ended up listening to from behind a blanket because it’s basically the scariest, creepiest most horrifying movie ever made), I made this easy peasy cover to slip over my ugly brown leather headboard, and add a graphic detail to this side of my room.

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I bought some plain white fabric from a charity shop, and hand stamped it with a simple design, but you could choose a fabric which already has a fun pattern, choose a bright colour, or even dye or tie-dye your white fabric to match your colour scheme, your bedding, and your wildest dreams. Go crazy!

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IMG_7007.JPG The process I used for preparing the material is very similar to the way I made my pineapple curtains, first cutting the fabric to size and then using a hand cut foam stamp (I used just two sheets of craft foam and it worked perfectly) to add pattern.

You want your fabric to be double the size of your headboard (with a couple of centimetres on each side to allow for hems), and then it’s time to get stamping! I stuck my foam stamp onto a glass oven dish so that I could place the stamps exactly where I wanted them, and also apply even pressure to all parts of my cross design. I used normal black craft paint (although you should use fabric paint if you want your creation to be washable!), and reapplied the paint to the stamp after each impression.

Once you’re happy with your finished pattern, blot any excess paint with tissue or scrap fabric, and leave to dry. I left mine for probably about two minutes before I got too impatient to wait any longer, but the layers of paint are so thin that they dry almost immediately.

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IMG_7010-0.JPG The next step is to fold your fabric in half along the long edge (the edge which will run along the top of your finished headboard) with your pattern on the inside. Then, sew both of the short edges closed, leaving just the bottom long edge open so that you can slip this ‘pocket’ over the top of your existing headboard.

IMG_7011.JPGTurn your material inside out (or, the right way out?) so that your pattern is on the inside and the seams are hidden on the inside (as if you were making a cushion).

Slip this over your headboard, thank your lucky stars that it fits even though you used your hand as a substitute for a ruler or tape measure (oooooops), and then go and fetch your housemates and have them all solemnly admire your handiwork.

IMG_7012-4.JPGFor a very simple project, I already feel like this has made such a difference just by injecting a bit more light, covering up the dark brown, and adding a bold, fun design all at the same time.

More from this little corner of my room coming very soon!

Love, PV x