Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London, new to the studio tour in April 2019

New at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for 2019 – The Making of Harry Potter, for the first time ever visitors are invited to enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank as the Studio Tour unveils its biggest expansion to date.

Officially opening on Saturday 6th April 2019, Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will be the Studio Tour’s biggest addition to date and has been designed and built by many of the original crew members who worked on the hugely successful magical film series including Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes and Head Propmaker Pierre Bohanna.

From Harry Potter first discovering Diagon Alley to the famous trio escaping on a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in their quest for a Horcrux, Gringotts Wizarding Bank played an important role in the Harry Potter film series. On 6th April 2019, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will unveil a new permanent addition allowing visitors to walk through the wizarding bank of Gringotts, the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins and so much more.

Lined by towering marble pillars, the grand banking hall will be decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf. Inkwells, quills, ledgers and piles of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts will complete the goblin tellers’ desks as seen on screen. The Prop-making Department, led by Pierre Bohanna, created over 210,000 coins for the final two films alone.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank is famously run by goblins. Walking through the marble frontage of Gringotts Bank, visitors will discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook and many other goblin bankers. Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. It took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook in the films which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look.

Once through the banking hall of Gringotts, visitors will enter the depths of the Lestrange vault used to store the treasures of Bellatrix Lestrange including the Sword of Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, one of Voldemort’s many Horcruxes. Here, visitors can try out a unique photo opportunity allowing them to step inside the Lestrange vault and surround themselves with treasure.

Entrance to the expansion will be included in general admission ticket price.

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    Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
    Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The January blues. The longest month ever and everyone’s skint!

January, oh January! Hardly anyone looks forward to January. It's at least a bazillion days long too. However, we are nearly there! 

We’ve just had a lovely Christmas. You spend time with family or go away on a lovely holiday over the festive season and then January hits and it’s back to reality.

You also get paid early before Christmas, which at the time we all think is very handy for Christmas and we spend out on gifts, festive food and decorations for the house. Various Christmas parties and gatherings with work colleagues or friends and families and we are all having a fab time.

Between Christmas and New Year you live off of leftover turkey and Christmas chocolates, you watch endless amounts of films on TV even though you’ve seen them millions of times before and you lose track of what day it is, life is good.

The Christmas tree and some festive sausage rolls, we may have eaten too many! 

Then, BAM, January hits you square in the face. Back to work and school. Back to the every day.

You also start thinking about everything you want to do in 2019. You look up holidays, write a list of home improvements that should have been done in 2018 (and 2017, 2016 etc...), you aim to drink less, eat less and try Veganuary.

By mid January you have either started off really well or struggling with your new lifestyle choices. You realise it’s still at least 2 weeks until payday and  it feels like you got paid about three months ago.

You decide that cutting out alcohol  completely and eating healthily maybe wasn’t a good idea because right now you could really do with a large glass of wine and a bar of chocolate. January sucks.

Then there’s the weather and boy do we love to moan about the weather. Suddenly January decides to throw in a blast of cold weather and the threat of snow which could last weeks and we are wondering what we did to deserve this kind of treatment! I get it though, it’s the middle of winter, we are not going to be basking in the sun so it’s to be expected however we are still going to moan about it.

A snowy day in 2010. Snow is heading our way again soon. 

I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom. If you are still succeeding in your goals that you’ve set that’s fab. With everything that January throws at us it’s not easy to stay on track with things if you are feeling unmotivated or stressed with other aspects of life.

Also the Christmas period for some isn’t a great time. Family time can bring tension and arguments. Some people are alone for Christmas and a lot of people spend too much over Christmas and then have to deal with it for the rest of the new year. 

If you are dealing with money worries or are feeling down or lonely, please reach out to someone. There is always someone who can help. Whether it's a friend or neighbour that you can confide it, your GP or even The Samaritans who are always there at the end of a phone line to talk. Getting January out of the way may make things slightly easier for some but that doesn't mean it gets easier for everyone. 

So as we wave goodbye to January please congratulate each other on doing so well on keeping to their healthy eating or new fitness regime, don't make people feel bad for trying something new or make them feel bad for not sticking to it but let them know that they did well in trying something new. If you can see someone struggling don't let them struggle alone but lend a helping hand or just an ear to listen, a little goes a long way for someone who isn't having a good start to the year. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

The one where Mum goes all 'home improvement' and gets DIY crazy!

The OH has always been the one to call on for a bit of DIY. Whenever I suggest getting someone in to do some decorating for us he scoffs at the idea and grabs the paint rollers! 

When we did the extension six years ago we did a lot of the work ourselves to begin with. Knocking down the old garage, digging the foundations, filling in the concrete and laying the block and beam floor.

Anything that he can do himself he will do it rather than pay someone to do it! Which also means it takes a little while longer for anything to get done. 

Recently though he seems to have become a bit oblivious to what needs doing or maybe just avoiding it all. So when I recently ordered some paint and paint rollers so I could get on and paint the hallway he asked what it was for?! 

Now I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to DIY, I just want it done. The upstairs hallway is currently grey with a bit of blue and cream thrown in from previous DIY attempts that all were unfinished (I confess, it was me!). The ceiling hasn't been painted since it was replastered six years ago and the loft hatch has turned a nice shade of yellow. So here I am armed with paint, gloss, brushes and rollers and Dadof5 tells the Things I ordered all the stuff for him to do it. 

I could have sent that not so subtle hint of having painting equipment ordered and addressed to him to get him motivated but I was, and still am, going to do it or at least start it! I quite like painting and there's nothing to say that the stuff that was delivered isn't going to stay in the packaging for the next six months if I don't start anyway, sometimes we just need to give them a little nudge to get started! 

This isn't a dig at Dadof5, as I mentioned he is always keen to do lots himself. A couple of years ago he fitted a new kitchen, still slightly unfinished but fitted and perfectly useable whilst I enjoyed the ripping down of the old kitchen. With the help of Grandparentsof5 we laid a new path and gravel driveway at the front of the house as seen here Garden makeover on a budgettore down and rebuilt the fencing in the back garden last summer, I did help with those projects. He fitted a new bathroom downstairs when the extension was completed and a few months ago he repainted our old tired bedroom and built a new bed and furniture, whilst I watched telling him what to do. 


There are still so many projects still to do, albeit slightly small ones and some only decor. I have written a big list which always seems quite daunting but also satisfying when you complete a job and it can be scrapped from the list.

The DIY list is long but as I said it is small projects that can be ticked off quite quickly. A little bit of DIY and paint and the addition of some accessories and it will look a lot better than it does now. 

However, as soon as you finish one you start another and by the time they are all finished the first project you did looks like it needs doing again! 

Grandadof5 has been tasked with making another house bed as seen in Thing 5's bedroom. Now it's Thing 4's turn for a bedroom makeover, more about those in an upcoming blog post. 

Our recent bedroom makeover

Thing 5's bedroom makeover, house bed made by the fabulous Grandadof5

For now I am off to grab a paint brush and get Dadof5 motivated. There's DIY to do and there's no time to waste!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A blog post a day may keep the madness at bay......... 2019 here we are, let's get motivated!

Its 2019! Streamers, balloons, party poppers, fanfare........

2018 wasn't a great year and I was so glad to say goodbye to it. 2019 hasn't started the best way either and I am one hugely stressed Mumma at the moment. 

Nothing that back to school, pay day and some alcohol won't fix. How I've made it this far through parenthood without a drink still amazes me and others. 

So 2019 the year of my 40s, arghhhhhh. And yet in 2018 I still managed to become a grandma, pretty impressive. 

This year, as with every other year is the year of slimming, money saving and more me time. Which I think is what I said in 2015, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Oh well, one year we will get it done properly, maybe this year is the year?! 

I don't want to set specific targets, I don't want to expect myself to achieve all I set out to do and that may be not the way I should be thinking. I should be stronger and say I WILL achieve everything this year. I aim to be slimmer, I hope to save some pennies and get out and about more with the children and I hope to maybe have a day or two to myself too without feeling guilty about the kids and Dadof5 left at home. 

Previous days out include trips to London which the Things love where we have been to The Shard as well as the London Eye, London Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe and more. The 2 younger ones love Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World as well as Legoland which are all nearby. 

Maybe it should be I DEFINITELY WILL to all three things. I have lost weight before as shown here in a previous blog post, My previous weight loss journey 2014. If I have done it once I can do it again and hopefully keep it off this time? I just have to be in the right mindset and hopefully this year it will happen, again! 

2019 sees big changes and changes I don't think I am ready for. Turning 40 as mentioned above and Thing 5, my youngest, starts Junior school. This may not seem a big thing to many but he is my youngest. I have never had my youngest child be this old! I always have a baby and toddler to keep me busy. I don't want this to happen. I don't want him to grow up and I certainly don't want to finally leave the Infant school which I have been part of for the past 12 years. Change scares me, Dadof5 is blissfully unaware of this and keeps chirping on about how wonderful it will be to have him in Junior school, how fab it is that the children are growing up and getting older whilst I am a sobbing mess about it all. Oh and by the way, the children growing up doesn't mean life is getting easier, more about that in a separate blog post! 

This year I plan to get out and about more whether it be days out or weekends away. See places we haven't seen before as well as visit much loved places where we all like to go. 

Thing 2 is going through her GCSEs this year so we will be limited as to when we go anywhere. Yes I am usually a bad parent who takes their children out of school to go on holiday but with this being a crucial year for her I won't be doing so. I am also sure it would be frowned upon if we leave her at home and go away without her! 

The Things are growing fast too. Thing 5, our youngest, will turn 7, Thing 4 turns 10, Thing 3 will be 13 and Thing 2 will be 16.

I am so not ready for 2019, I am a few weeks too late in getting started and motivated with anything and the start back to school hasn't gone too well either. 

However, over the next few weeks I hope to turn it around and get started as I mean to go on. Positive, upbeat and motivated. I will also try and blog more this year too so watch out for more regular updates on the Things, days out, home improvement and maybe a few more Mumma 
meltdowns too!

For now, pass me some alcohol and leftover Christmas chocolates.