Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Exploring Northumberland // Alnwick Garden Pt.1

The Alnwick Garden is pretty darn famous, or at least in the North of England it is. As you can probably guess it is a contemporary, 'formal' British garden or set of gardens, within the grounds of the iconic Alnwick castle (you know, that has played host to the likes of Harry Potter and Downton Abbey filming?!).
It's a very popular place for a day out for people in Northumberland particular, though I know people come from all over to witness the various things to explore. Jake and I decided to spend our 4th anniversary at the gardens and so on the 4th of September we took the bus down the road and was there pretty much for opening. 
In the photo above you see the view that greets you. The Grand Cascade. 
However, we took so many photos and so much video footage that there is far too much to include in just one post. Below you will see photos from The Grand Cascade, The Serpent Garden and The Ornamental Garden so look out for the 2nd part of this with lots more photos from elsewhere in the gardens. 

We were pretty darn lucky that our visit was on a Friday (meaning kids were at school mwhahahaha) and with arriving so early it was still super quiet. Though messing around in the water features is probably more for children we definitely had a hoot with them and Jake loved playing around with the GoPro in the water too. 
When we got to the top of the Cascade and entered the Ornamental Gardens that is when I realize there were actually other people there that day haha, I suppose it must be one of the more popular areas, though I can understand why.
I can't really describe it, because it is overly beautiful, so I'll let you just see for yourself...

Those last two photos are obviously of the Grand Cascade aswell. We waited forever for the fountains to go off and it was evident that we weren't the only ones as a few others clutching DSLRs ran towards them when I did haha. 
I just want to take the time to say that I know some of the photos aren't the best, I was trying to enjoy my day with Jake rather than waste time faffing with settings etc. I hope you enjoyed them anyway and as I say there will be a part 2 in the coming weeks. 

Let me know if you've visited these gardens and what you thought in the comments!

Monday, 28 September 2015

My Top 5: Harry Potter Characters

It seems in my past 4 years on this particular blog, I haven't done the most basic of posts concerning my passions in life and since having so much fun writing the 'My Hogwarts Story' tag (which happens to be my 4th most viewed post ever apparently!), I thought it time to do a Top 5 of my favorite Harry Potter characters!

Before I begin, two main factors to consider are that 1) I have not included any of the 'main' characters - meaning the lead roles and  2)  I have not looked up any other peoples lists of favorite characters at all, therefore have no subconscious reasons for picking the below other than the natural draw I have towards them. Here is my Top 5 Harry Potter Characters.

From his beard and accent, that both match my other half's, to his love of creatures and just genuinely beautiful and caring soul, Hagrid has always been top of my list. In a way I feel sorry for him and just want to be his friend, give him a hug ya know, but of course he is a big guy and despite his emotional likeness to myself, he shows his strong side on multiple occasions too. I would love to know a lot more about his life after the series ended and how his and Harry's relationship continued.

I didn't say that this was going to only include humans! Who didn't ball their eyes out when they read of Dobby's end and then sobbed even harder when they watched it even though they knew it was coming?! If you are a Potterhead and didn't, dang you must have a strong heart and tear ducts haha.
Like Hagrid, he's just such a genuine kind and pure being. Everything Dobby did, even if it did cause a little bother, always stemmed from trying to help.

As a misfit, 'weirdo' and all around different person, I, along with many of you I expect, related to Luna. Well I have to admit actually, that not only did I relate to her but was inspired by her. To embrace being different and as long as you are a kind person it doesn't matter if you believe in things others don't. 

Maybe this choice is a little weird to some people, especially with Hedwig not being a speaking/big part (obviously). Of course as an all around bird enthusiast it was inevitable for me not to love her from the get go. Coupled with the fact that the scenes Hedwig was actually in she had a pretty sassy attitude, lead me to choose to give her one of the limited spots on this list.

Molly Weasley
Not only a favorite character from this series for me, but I may also go as far to say she is my favorite mother character in any books or movies ever.
Red headed and beautiful, a housewife and fighter, a mother to 7 of her own and still expands her heart to not only Harry but everyone who comes into her home. I love her! Plus, Julie Walters is a long time fave of mine too :P

Short but sweet, that is the quick low down on my favorite characters! I'd love to hear who yours are and why, so let me know in the comments. If you have a similar post feel free to link it too :)

[Edit - I wanted to quickly take the opportunity to link another post that a fellow blogger has posted recently that I thought any other Potterheads would adore! Pop on over to Prompts By Dee to find out how you can Become a Real Life Hogwarts Student!! So cool eh?!] 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Weekly Reflections // Week 51

September 20th - 26th

Favourite Photo.

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Downton Abbey being back on!
♥ Lots of poorly sofa naps.
♥ Winning an ebay auction.
♥ Getting London's train tickets booked (meaning everything is paid for now!)
♥ Reaching 100 followers on my Etsy Store's Twitter account!
♥ Finishing a 1400(ish) word post for my Disneyland Paris series.
♥ Baker looking after me when I've been poorly.
♥ Driving down Newcastle and meeting Laura for lunch with Dad.
♥ A impromptu trip to Jolleys resulting in Baker's main birthday gift being gotten!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Collective Haul // July - September 2015

3rd quarter done and dusted, equals another collective haul post! As I've said in my others (I assume) I don't go on big shopping days or even buy much throughout the month so that's why I run around my house like a headless chicken half way through the last month of each quarter gathering up my purchases to photograph and 'haul'!
Remember these things have been bought between the beginning of July and now, some by my Mam, Dad or Jake too lol so I am by no means rich ;)

We'll get the first image out of the way. Yes, I finally have a new car! A new used car anyways because I don't believe in getting things through finance etc. My amazingly amazing Dad got me it and no I am not spoiled. That is the last on that subject.
[edit - perhaps not the last on it as there have been some 'technical difficulties'. To be continued.']

So in the top photo are just a couple of souvenirs I've picked up from days away. The little mouse finger puppet was from my visit to Mary Kings Close in Edinburgh (of which you can see a little vlog/montage type thingy here) and the magnet and Poison Garden book are obviously from Alnwick Gardens where we went for our Anniversary. We had a lovely day, took lots of photos and videos - so look out for those too.
Moving on is the first of this years Halloween purchases, if you're new you should have a peek at this post and get a idea of my feelings about All Hallows Eve :P
So far I've picked up two cups because all I drink from are sippy cups and flasks. My Mam got me the one with the purple lid and dressed up owls as well as the set of three glitter candles. I got the tealight holder and went back to grab the orange drinks cup too.

Those are Baker's feet silly! Don't worry, there's no pitter patter of furry baby feet in our house just yet I just thought Baker's tootsies made the photo of my new Vans a little (a lot)  better. As I said, Jake and I took a trip down to Alnwick for the day to celebrate our 4th aniversary instead of going away. We ended up feeling that paying £80 for a hotel for one night was a bit of a waste so instead ended up grabbing a piece each from the Route One sale, which both came in under £50. Boom!

Is it a quarterly collective haul without dvds? I am indeed still collecting the Classics collection as I refuse to pay over £5.00 for an old film and some certain ones are hard to find with the number actually on the bloomin' spine. I grabbed Winnie the Pooh and Fun and Fancy Free on the 2 for £10 at HMV when I was in Edinburgh and Up was my most recent score from Disney Movie Rewards!

How cute are my new woodland creature additions to my front room? I wasn't on the hunt for anything but when you're in B&M and little animals are reduced so much so that both together are less £1.75 they just had to come live with me.

Ah and you heard about the Go Pro.

Lastly, more to add to the Disney clothing collection. I really do wear some sort of Disney item pretty much everyday of my life so how can I resist when I see so much of it around lately?

A quick low down -
'No One is Too Old for Fairytales' Tinkerbell T - Primark, Size 6, £6.
Denim Mickey Print Shirt - Primark, Size 12, £14. (but I only paid £7 was the only size they had so is slightly oversized)
'Think the Happiest things' Peter Pan T - Primark, Size 6, £6.
Minnie Mouse Lounge Top - Asda, Size 8-10, £8. (Thanks to Dad <3)
'Hi Ho' Dwarfs Pjs - Primark, Size 8-10, £??
Bambi Pj Top - Primark, Size 8 (it's massive though!), £??
Minnie and Mickey Slip on Shoes - Primark, Size 6, £13.00

Big shout out to my good friend Laura who grabs stuff from Primark for me when I can't! On that point though, why don't Primark have an online store?! They would make SO much more money and isn't that what companies what?

Anyways, that's everything that I've gotten over the past 3 months. Depending on what happens for my birthday there may be a separate one for that, if not see you in the next haul at the end of December! :)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Eleven Things TAG

We love a tag here don't we? And I think you'll find it's been a whole 5 weeks exactly since the last one. One of the loveliest people I've met through blogging, Stella's Mammy - also known as Lisa (or should that be the other way around :P) tagged me in this quite a while ago, so thank you Lisa and sorry it's taken a while haha.
I loved reading Lisa's answers to the questions she was given so I hope you all go have a read of those and click the follow button while you're there!

Now for my answers to the questions I was given...

1. What's your most unusual phobia?
It seems that people think most of my phobias are unusual! I have Trypophobia (fear of holes), Lepidopterophobia (fear of moths and butterflies) and I'm not a fan of the yellow tags on the top of bread bags or stickers! Blurgh! 

2. Did you have a favourite subject at school?
I'm not too sure. It changed right through my school years and my last memories of school are bad, so I doubt I had a favorite anything at that point haha. Probably art when I was younger and photography in 6th form.

3. Who would be your dream dinner date?
Oh goodness hahaha. Something informal... and with simple food to cater to my extreme pickyness. With Jake of course.

4. What was your first job?
I was a wallpaper & fabric consultant and overall shop assistant at an Interior Decor store!

5. Where's your happy place?
Wherever I need/want it to be I guess. It's more of who I'm with than where I am, however I have to say that rather than a place I go to when I need to feel comforted and make myself happy, a place that I am always happy in is (cliche, I know) Disneyland Paris. 

6. What’s your favourite art form?
...I don't feel I need to answer this haha! Photography :)

7. Who or what were you in a previous life?
I have had 'memories' of being attacked and killed as a young female in what I'm guessing was the Victorian era judging by clothing. Though I believe a soul lives more than once, so what lives I have lived before that and this - I do not know.

8. What's your talent?
Hmm. I'm what you'd call a 'jack of all trades, master of none'. I don't feel I have any real talents in life. Not to sound so pessimistic haha, but I'm just telling the truth :P

9. What was the first album you bought?
I'm gonna have to venture into the attic and search the CD box and find out! I know some of the first singles I bought were Effiel 65 - Blue and Nelly Furtado - Like a Bird.

10. Which was the first social network you joined?
It would of been MySpace!

11. If you were a superhero, what colour would your cape be?
Black. I was going to say green as it's my favorite colour, but then it would draw more attention to me and I hate being the center of attention. I'd want to keep as low of a profile as possible. If it wasn't black it'd be an invisibility cloak cape!

I am going to tag Kerri, of Crumbs in the Bed as I now vow to tag her in everything. I also tag Amy of Amazzable, my fellow Hufflepuff Laura of The Girl with the Strawberry Tattoo and Amina of A Girl with a Camera.

These are your questions guys!

1. What was your first pet and what was it called? (If you have never had one, would you like one and what?)
2. Online shopping or shopping in person?
3. If you could live in any fiction TV show, what would it be and why?
4. Do you know your heritage/ where your ancestors are from?
5. What was one of your best experiences in life so far?
6. Sweet or savory?
7. You are in charge of your country for one day. What law do you change, abolish or bring in.
8. What 3 things do you like most about yourself?
9. When do you feel most afraid?
10. Do you have any bad habits? (Tell the truth!)
11.  When you wish upon a star, what do you wish for?

Man those where hard to come up with. It actually took me the full length of a Harry Potter film & more after it was finished to come up with them so you lot that I've tagged had better do it! haha
Hope you enjoyed reading this. I know it seems lately my more photo dominated posts have been your cup of tea but I don't like to include photos that are unrelated to the content and didn't really feel there were many I could contribute to this. Blah, blah, blah.


Monday, 21 September 2015

My Life in Photos // Awesome August!

Usually I do these earlier in the month so A) I don't forget and B) I have plenty of time to put the post together. However this month I waited until the last day. The 31st was the start of my 9 days off from work after having worked 155 days in a row! Woohoo! I know I only work 6-8am but when you have to get up at that time every morning a day off is exciting so I can go to bed later than 8/9pm :P

1 // It's pretty weird to wake up and the sun have beaten me! 
2 // Blogging and sock rolling is a fun way to start off your day.
3 // Seeing this face is when the day really starts though <3
4 // Maybe a little strange, but I love how the morning light shines through the flowers and leaves in the garden when I let Baker out for a wee! haha

5 // I'd been neglecting my ironing pile for a while so thought I'd get it done when I had the chance...
6 // less than 3 and a half hours later and I was finally done!! (Really!)
7 // Finally after Jake woke up (he'd just come off night shift) and I'd finished my chores, we had a rare family day out and walked to the Garden Centre!
8 // Then we continued our family time by heading to our secret location and having a run about with the B-Man!

9 // Jake bought his boy a new toy at the Garden Centre. Jake and his boy ripped said toy will playing out. Mammy has to pick up the pieces and sew new toy.
10 // Churning out a video yo!
11// The Asda online shop arrived and can you tell how basic we are? Jake likes beans if you hadn't guessed.
12// Upon looking back on the rest of this series, I am more than surprised that this view hadn't featured yet. If you check my 2nd blog you for sure will have ;)

Another month gone, another month closer to DLP 2016 ;)
Leave you day in photos in the comments below 'cause I wanna nose in on what you get up to! (In a non-creepy way)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Weekly Reflections // Week 50

September 13th - 19th

Favourite Photo.

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Car stuff (until it wasn't anymore).
♥ Hearing that Weasley was okay.
♥ All of the herons!
♥ My Mam & Dad & Jake.
♥ Having another couple of Etsy sales.
♥ Getting 2 NEW designs sorted.
♥ Remus' prescription of chocolate.
♥ Pretty sunrise.
♥ Walkies/ playtime at the secret location with Baker and Mam.

Bloggers Group Hug = S.U.S, Support, Unity & Similarity. Read all about it here, & join!
This weeks word is -  Cuddle
One of the things about Bloggers Group Hug is that it really makes you think about a word. You know, so much so that the word doesn't even seem like a real one anymore. Don't you think? Well it does today for me. 
Anyways, cuddle for some reason makes me think of Baker (my dog for any new readers) as we love a good cuddle! Not to say I don't 'cuddle' other people, but I tend to refer to those with other people as a 'hug' instead...I don't quite know why. A cuddle or hug is quite personal to me too so if you get one - you're lucky!

Other Articles etc of Interest.

What I've Watched.
[!] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt2
[!] Alice Upside Down
[!] Petes Dragon
[!] Girl vs Monster

This week's Videos.

Friday, 18 September 2015

How to: Have an Awesome Disney Character Meet and Greet

You're either the type that like to meet characters or the type who don't, when holiday-ing at a Disney Park. I, am obviously the first. I think that the simple interaction between yourself and a character can completely make a holiday - no matter your age.
Therefore, I thought I'd share a few tips I've learnt and heard that may help to make your Meet and Greet a little extra special!

First and foremost... BE PREPARED!
I can't state this enough. You are standing a line for plenty of time so make sure that you have yourself completely ready for when it is your turn to save others waiting extra long.

Autograph books - If you are a signature collector, have your book ready on the page you want signed...the characters are not mind readers and will just sign wherever they can. It would be wise to be considerate to fur characters when choosing your pen too! Some may not be able to grip very well so the chunkier the better. A little hint to get personalized notes from the characters is to wear (or have your kids wear) a name tag! It isn't a rule and won't 100% work but it has been known for characters to of seen and then autograph 'To Danielle' etc. I also once had a character just over hear my name and write 'Love for Danielle' :)

Cameras - When I am nearing the front of the queue I get my camera sorted. Not everyone will need to faff around with settings etc, but this is when I do all that jazz with having a DSLR. If you are using a phone, have the camera ready on the screen. A point and shoot, turn it on and be ready. Or photo pass, have your magic band or pass to hand.
Seeing as there were two of us, I'd set my settings and snap the photos of my Mam first then trading the camera off to her for my turn with the character, I therefore did not use the neck strap as it can take up valuable time when trying to untangle it from hair or mouse ears!

Smile! - Please for love the of Disney do not take kids who are scared. They will scream, you will continually shove them to the character and it will be embarrassing for everyone to witness as well as yourself. As well as traumatic for the child too I'd guess! Ask the child first if they want to meet *insert character name here* and make it sound fun and exciting. If they don't want to then don't waste your time and others by taking a place in the line.


Dress Up - This doesn't necessarily mean full on cosplay, or even Disney bounding in fact. Something as simple as wearing a Donald t-shirt when meeting Donald or having on Piglet ears when meeting Piglet will make the character excited to see that you like them. I have heard this from ex-characters as well as witnessed it first hand a few times myself. I even remember Stitch going ape because someone had a pen with him on it. He knicked it and ran over to all of the characters showing them then gave the guy loads of kisses, so lovely to watch!

Say something interesting - Tell Mickey you love him or Pooh that he's your favorite and your bound to get plenty of attention and big hugs. However this point comes more into play with the 'face characters' (Princesses, Princes, Villains that show their real face) as they can banter with you.
Some characters are known for the fun they have with guests who ask and say interesting things or challenge them. Hello! Gaston anyone?

Dont be shy -  As someone who constantly has issues in social situations and struggles to speak to normal people let alone strangers this point is something I constantly try to work on. No one at Disney will judge you. Be you. Be silly. Be fun. Just don't be shy. Want to run up to Tigger like a child for a huge hug - do it! You will not be the first nor the last adult to do so...


Non-Signers - Due to costume clothing or paw restrictions some characters cannot give autographs at all. Be aware of this and don't just keep shoving the book under their nose assuming they just can't see it. Watch the people before you or even look up online who doesn't sign to avoid this little hiccup. Some characters in WDW may have a stamp to use in your autograph book instead of signing, but not the majority.

Breaks and Switch Offs - Inevitably characters will need breaks. It gets hot and uncomfortable for the majority of us so imagine how it must be when covered in make up or in full fur character get up. Not only that but drink and toilet breaks are needed too. During these breaks many characters may be switched out to someone else to prevent the queue from stopping dead for a while. When this is the case please do not moan or have a go at the attendants. Put yourself in their shoes! If you don't want to meet who has taken over then just leave the line politely, however I suggest sticking around, it's when some of the most unexpected nice meet and greets can happen.

Time it Right - When you have specific meets on your wishlist make sure to check the time in your programme and get there with time to spare. Getting near the front of the queue doesn't just mean a short wait time, but a completely fresh character who is yet to get tired.

Be polite!! For goodness sake, pleeeaasseee have manners! To the other guests, staff and especially the characters. Say 'please may I have a photo?' and 'thank you very much!' when parting ways. There is nothing nicer than someone appreciating you and being kind when you are at work and it is just the same for Disney cast members.

There we go, these are just a few tips that I find can help you make the most of your time with the gang at Disney Parks!
I'd love to know if you have any other tips, so let us all in on the goss in the comments yeah? ;) I'd also like to know about your favorite meet and greet experience. Who was it with and why was it so special?? OH and send me photos of it on Twitter!!! I'm at @UnderToWonder ;)