//Celebrating Harry Potter Day//


So yesterday, as you will probably know (if not you have most likely been living under a rock for the past few weeks) was Harry Potter Day for a number of reasons.

1. It was Harry Potter’s birthday.

2. It was the fabulous J.K.Rowling’s birthday – the author of the series I grew up with.

3. It was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book release day.

In true wizarding fashion (ok I’m not a wizard but I really, really want to be), I celebrated this magical day by drinking butterbeer. Me and my sister spent the afternoon making homemade butterbeer which was actually surprisingly easy despite the fact we were thoroughly confused most of the time and worrying that we’d mess it up somehow. Luckily we didn’t and the butterbeer turned out to be delicious. It was sweet and creamy and everything I’d hoped it would be, even if it was homemade and not the actual drink you can buy from the studio tour in London and universal studios in Orlando. Obviously I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take photos of the butterbeer.

When I was buying the ingredients for the butterbeer earlier in the day, I couldn’t help but notice the huge stand of Cursed Child books at the front of the store. Before then, I hadn’t been planning on getting Cursed Child for a while yet – I would have probably asked for it for my birthday in a few months – but I got caught up in the Harry Potter hype and, as my sister pointed out, it probably wouldn’t be sold this cheaply again.

It was definitely the easiest time I’ve ever parted with my money. Even though I probably needed that money for the Comic Con I’m going to in a few weeks, I knew I wouldn’t regret it. And, 24 hours later, after having read both parts of the Cursed Child script – probably the fastest I’ve read a book in my life – I definitely do not regret it.

This is probably the first time I’ve really been able to experience the Harry Potter hype. I mean, I’ve been watching the films for as long as I remember but because I hadn’t really seriously got into Harry Potter until a few years ago, I never got to experience watching the films in the cinema as soon as they were released, surrounded by an audience of fellow Potterheads. As far as the books go, I did have some of the books as a child, well my mum did, but I have no idea if she bought them when they were released or not and I hadn’t read them properly until a few years ago. I did however go to the Deathly Hallows book release at the local supermarket where I entered a dressing-up competition and won a copy of the book. But, me being me, I stupidly gave the book to a friend a few years later because I was very young and didn’t realise how much I’d get into Harry Potter as a teen.

If there’s one thing I regret about my childhood, it’s that I was very late in getting into Harry Potter so I missed out on all the film and book releases that happened whilst I was growing up. I wish I could have experienced the hype and excitement that the Harry Potter fandom experienced during this time which is why I’m glad I had that opportunity with Cursed Child and will hopefully be able to experience it again with the release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them film later on in the year.

So, that was how I celebrated on Harry Potter Day – how did you celebrate? Have you read Cursed Child yet and if so what did you think? (Please don’t leave any spoilers in the comments).

//A Collection of Harry Potter Things//

This post was inspired by Janet (The Storyteller) who did a similar post on her blog earlier. I absoulutely love Harry Potter and enjoyed reading about the Harry Potter merchandise she has, so I decided to do the same.

Firstly there is my Harry Potter Colouring book, which I think is probably the latest addition to my collection as I only got at the beginning of the year.

I’ve only done five pages so far because the drawings are quite detailed but there are some really pretty patterned pages later on in the book that I can’t wait to get to.

Next is a book that I’ve had for years and love – Lego Harry Potter:Building the Magical World. 

It’s basically a book that details the history of the Harry Potter Lego sets  and how they developed over time as Lego became more advanced. When I was younger I used to try to recreate some of the Lego sets – particularly Hogwarts and The Burrows – with varying degrees of success. It also came with a ‘Yule Ball Harry’ minifigure which, sadly, is burried in one of my Lego boxes and I couldn’t (be bothered to) find it for the photo.

Then there is a Ravenclaw coaster/drinks mat I bought from a really cool shop on the Isle of Wight last year which sold all kinds of fandom stuff, much of wish I had to stop myself from buying because it was SO COOL but too expensive.

I put other Ravenclaw coloured stuff in the photo to make it look more fancy.

Hermione’s wand is probably one of my favourite wands and I’m so pleased I managed to get one. It has voice-recognition so you can say ‘lumos’ to make it light up.

Next is a Marauders Map (I hope that’s spelt right). I didn’t actually buy this so it’s not ~official~ Harry Potter Merchandise. I made it when I was younger (hence the bad spelling) and found it again recently so now it is on display in my room.

The eye necklace was given to me by a friend from her holiday in Greece. I thought it was fitting with the whole idea of the Marauders Map inabling you to see where everyone is within Hogwarts.

My Hogwarts jumper is probably one of my favourite Harry Potter things because I can actually wear it. Plus it is very snuggly and perfect for winter.

Actually I take it back – this is my newest AND favourite Harry Potter thing. I was sent it by Eve (appletaile) in my swap box which I’ll be talking more about later on in the week. It is a Butter Beer lip balm and although I’ve never tried Butter Beer, it smells absolutely delicious and I love using it.

Next are two temporary items in my collection: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book and Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers. The Deathly Hallows belongs to my sister and I am just borrowing it to reread it at the moment.

Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers is a French translated copy of the Philosophers Stone which I took out from the library recently and am really enjoying reading, even if it does make my brain hurt!

I do have other Harry Potter things – like books and DVDs – but these are shared with my family so wouldn’t count as ‘mine’. There is so much Harry Potter merchandise out there that I don’t think I could ever have enough, but I definitely would like to expand my collection in the future!

//8 Muggle Struggles and How To Survive Them//

Everyone wishes they were a witch/wizard right? Well, I certainly do! I have been waiting a loooong time for my Hogwarts letter and still haven’t got one *sigh* so I guess that means I really am just a muggle *sobs*.
Obviously there are many downsides of not being a ‘magical folk’ so I thought I’d talk you through them today with a few tips to help you survive being a muggle.

#1: The distinct lack of butterbeer in the muggle world. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to walk down the street and grab a butterbeer on their way to work/school!?!?

Sadly, there are not nearly enough places to get butterbeer in the UK as there should be *more sobs*. If you are lucky enough to go to The Making of Harry Potter in London or even Universal Studios in Orlando, however, by all means you can drink butterbeer to your hearts content! If not, you can still try out butterbeer – there are plenty of recipes you can find online and make at home (although no guarantees they will be as nice as the ACTUAL thing).

#2: Our schools are nowhere near as cool as Hogwarts. I think governments should take note of this – I mean, if every school looked as magnificent and exciting as Hogwarts, no one would ever want to skive school again (unless, of course, they’re idiots). Seriously though, it would be so cool to go to a school that looked like Hogwarts. I don’t know about you but I think schools these days tend to look a bit more like prisons than places you go to be educated.

Although there are (sadly) no real-life schools that I know of that resemble Hogwarts, Oxford University DOES have a very Hogwarts-y feel about it and is well worth visiting so you can just stand there and daydream about ACTUALLY being at Hogwarts. PLUS the Great Hall at Hogwarts is based on the dining hall at Christ Church college, Oxford which is even more proof that Oxford is practically Hogwarts. Aside from Oxford, there are plenty of places around the UK that were used for filming interior and exterior scenes of Hogwarts – one of which is Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire which I was lucky enough to visit some time ago. It was used for the ‘corridor’ scenes in the films and when you go there it really DOES feel like you are inside Hogwarts.

laycock abby april 2010 (35)
The corridors at Lacock.
laycock abby april 2010 (33)

Part of Oxford University, unfortunately I didn’t get to visit Christ Church when I went there a few weeks ago.

#3: Our school subjects are so boring compared to those at Hogwarts. On the subject of schools, it can’t be forgotten that students at Hogwarts get to study a wide variety of ‘magical’ subjects – potions, care of magical creatures, charms, fence against the dark arts etc – whilst us muggles are stuck doing maths, English, geography and the like.
Whilst educational reforms to include these subjects in the curriculum would be completely out of the question, it would still be nice if we could study these subjects outside of school. And guess what? You can! Well, kind of. I mean, the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them text book which Hogwarts students use in their Care of Magical Creatures class is available in muggle bookshops and libraries (I’m glad they decided to publish this one and not The Monster Book of Monsters *gulp*) so at least we can experience a bit of what it would be like to study a magical subject. On top of that, you can do GCSE Astronomy in the UK (which I wish I’d known when I was choosing my GCSEs) although I’m not sure how many schools would actually offer that to you, you’d probably have to self-teach it but STILL.

#4: Our lack of magical ability.This is probably one of the worst things about being a muggle. I mean, if I had magic, I wouldn’t have to get out of bed to turn off the light, I could ‘accio‘ pretty much anything I wanted to and wouldn’t have to stand on the doorstep trying (and failing) to unlock my front door everyday (I’m rubbish at using keys). PLUS we could have our own wands which would be THE BEST thing ever.

As far as casting spells and actually performing magic goes, there isn’t really a muggle solution. BUT with the help of Pottermore, you can find out what your own, personalised wand would be like and even be sorted into a Hogwarts house. Alternatively, there are many places where you can buy the characters wands and there are various sites on the internet that act as ‘wandmakers’ and make custom wands for people. SO even if you can’t actually perform magic, as a muggle you can still have a wand!

#5: Quidditch!!!!! Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to play Quidditch? Like, instead of doing hockey or netball or football or whatever in sport at school, you could play Quidditch instead?!?!?! I, personally, think I would be rubbish at Quidditch because I’m not a very coordinated person BUT Quidditch does sound like a really fun game (or painful if you happen to be a ‘Keeper’). Also, I feel like Quidditch would be a sport I could ACTUALLY get into – the matches are full of action and fast-paced so even just watching Quidditch would great. The Quidditch World Cup would be SO amazing to watch and support your national team, wouldn’t it????

Considering were all muggles ‘ere (excuse me whilst for being a bit West Country), we can’t actually fly  😦 BUT there are many universities in the UK (and probably abroad too) that have Quidditch societies where you can actually play Quidditch in a league against other university teams. Obviously it differs somewhat to the real game (in part due to our non-flying abilities) but the basic principles are still there!

#6: Why aren’t muggle Invisibility Cloaks a thing??? I mean, I KNOW decent ones are somewhat rare even in the wizarding world, but there have been many times where I wished I could have just had an Invisibility Cloak to hide from certain people you don’t want to bump into in the street or to just sneak around, unnoticed and unbothered by other people. Plus they could help you out of awkward situations too. Basically they just NEED to be a thing.

Sadly there isn’t much a muggle can do to make up for the lack of Invisibility Cloaks in our world, aside from hoping that the ground will just swallow you up in awkward situations and that hiding behind trees and lamp posts will help you be stealthy and move around without being seen.

#7: We can’t buy Extendable Ears. Not that I like to spy on people, let’s just clear that up, but you have to admit Extendable Ears WOULD be quite useful. I mean, you could hear far-away sounds without having to move an inch – they are the ultimate tool for laziness (aside from the summoning charm obviously). To be honest I think all of the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes products in general would be very useful in everyday life

You CAN infact visit a Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes store at the Universal Studios in Orlando but that is so far away from here so I’ll just have to make do with putting empty cups against walls to try and hear through them.

#8: Our inability to apparate and use the Floo Network/Portkeys. If we could make use of magical modes of transport, it would be SO MUCH EASIER to travel everywhere. Not to mention it would be free. We could visit our internet friends whenever we liked, without even having to pay for a train or bus ticket. No place would be too far away and we wouldn’t have to deal with the horror that is public transport. I think this is probably the thing I wish I could do most as a muggle because I love to travel and I’d love to meet up with my internet friends easily.

WARNING: you might want to grab some tissues before you read what I’m about to write.

There is no solution to this. There is no muggle-way of getting round the fact that we can’t apparate or use Portkeys and the Floo Network. *Hysterical sobbing*. We’ll all just have to put up with being stuck on cramped trains and unreliable buses like the muggles we are. 😦

And on that note, that concludes my guide to ‘Muggle Struggles and How To Survive Them’. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I loved writing it! 🙂

Quick reminder: You have until the next Sunday, 31st July (which also happens to be Harry Potter’s birthday) to send in your contributions to the Finding Our Feet Project if you would like to participate!