Archive for the ‘Favorite Girl’ Category

As a huge fan and aficionado of all things Harry Potter, Logan loved The Making of Harry Potter tour.

Our adventure to The Making of Harry Potter began when Logan and I caught the 9:05 am train to Watford Junction then took the studio shuttle bus (£2 RT) to Leavesden where the movie lot is located. The train ride from London takes about 20 minutes. The shuttle bus stop is out the front entrance of the Watford Junction train station and to the left. The shuttle ride was about 15 minutes (including wait time).

Tickets for the tour must be purchased online but can be picked up at will-call if there’s not enough time to receive them in the mail.  Adults are £28 and children (5 to 15) are £21 but I purchased the souvenir book and the audio guide for Logan so her ticket was £30.75.  As you enter the building, there’s a cafe and a Starbucks. Backpacks/large bags are not allowed on the tour so there’s a coat/bag check as well.  At your scheduled time,  you queue up and they let about 40 people in at a time.  I would highly recommend going on the first tour of the day so there’s no one in front of you.  We were on the 10:30  tour and it was crowded overrun with kids on bus tours. Give yourself about three hours for the tour.

A brief (maybe 5 minutes) movie is shown with Daniel, Emma and Rupert explaining what it was like on set as well as what to expect during the tour. I liked that they acknowledged the thousands of cast and crew, from the hair & make-up crew to the other actors. It was heartfelt and, since it was such a large part of their formative years, it was probably a good way to end their time at “Hogwarts.”   If you go, sit in the front row so you’ll be the first one into the Great Hall and have your camera ready. You’ll be able to take a photo without anyone else in it ~ as long as you’re fast!

Once the movie ends, the screen lifts to reveal the gates into the Hogwarts’ Great Hall

The actual jersey Rob Pattinson wore:

They only let one group at a time into the Great Hall so you’ll only have about 5-10 minutes to look around and take photos before they shoo you out.

Then it’s onto the “museum” with all the original costumes, props, sets, etc. The sets include Gryffindor Common Room, the boys dorm room, Hagrid’s Hut, Dumbledore’s office, the Potions room and parts of the vast Ministry of Magic (including Voldemort’s Magic is Might statue).

There was so much to see and Logan took a little longer since she had the audio guide.  I sat and relaxed on the bench with the other “older folks” but I throughly enjoyed watching the younger kids eyes light up when they saw an item they recognized.

Scary Death Eaters…

Death Eaters Masks

Ron’s bed

Dealthy Hallows costumes

There was also a small outside lot including the Weasley car, the bridge, Privet Drive and the house in Godric’s Hallow

Half way through the tour, there’s a green screen photo session where you can ride either in the Weasley car

…and flying through London on a broom

A fitting end to the tour is the room with shelves with thousands wand boxes (a la Olivander’s Wand Shop) with the name of a cast or crew member on each box ~ a “credits” roll.  Really a nice touch and nod to all those involved in making the magic happen.

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Something Along the Way…

When in London, it’s best to factor in extra time when venturing out because, more often than not, there’s a place along the way that’s just as interesting as your final destination. Since John was knee-deep in homework yesterday, Logan and I decided to leave him to study hard while we checked out a pop-up store located on Brick Lane in East London ~ the pop-up, American Apparel Factory Outlet, will be open until 14 October.

Due to the repairs and closures of several tube lines, it was a challenge getting to Liverpool Station, but once we emerged from the station and headed toward Brick Lane, we could feel the change in the atmosphere.  East London is historic, culturally diverse and, as Logan would say, “so hipster.”

After purchasing a few items at American Apparel, we headed over to Old Spitalfields Market for more shopping and lunch. Spitalfields is derived from St Mary’s Spital (Spital is the old world name for a Hospital).

The market is huge with many vendors but it’s not a farmers market, it’s a flea market as well as having permanent restaurants and shops. Since it was lunchtime, we opted for food ~ Logan had a freshly squeezed strawberry/orange juice (so yummy) and then we found “Rainforest Creations” ~ an all-vegan food stall. Very yummy, very healthy. Next time, we’ll indulge and visit the Curry Capital:

We plan on returning soon, and on a Saturday, to explore more of the clothes stalls ~ which include vintage, homemade and designer clothes.  The stock varies weekly so there’s always something new to see (& buy). On the following dates, affordable art work is for sale:

11 – 14 October
01  – 04 November
22  – 25 November
29 November – 02 December
06 – 09 December
13 – 16 December
20 – 23 December

I’m so glad we ventured into East London but realize we’ve only grazed the surface.  I’m already planning a return trip…

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Wigmore Hall

We attended a concert at Wigmore Hall last night.

It featured Rosalind Ventris (Viola) and Lara-Dodds Eden (Piano).  Just the two of them.  They played a new work  from Edwin Roxburgh and last night was the world premiere.  Personally, I thought it sounded like a soundtrack to a scary 60’s thriller ~ it was very edgy with lots of high-pitched, dark (dare I say creepy) notes on the viola and pounding of the keys on the piano. Logan loved it!  As a viola player herself, her perspective is a lot different from mine. She appreciates the technical aspect of the music.  The other three pieces were Schumann (Marchenbilder Op 113), Hindemith (Viola Sonata Op 11 No.4 and Rachmaninov (Cello Sonata in G Minor Op. 19 arr. Vadim Borisovsky).  All traditional and soothing to my senses.

Wigmore Hall was built in 1901, in Renaissance style (using alabaster and marble for the walls, flooring and stairway). The original owners were the German Piano company Bechstein. It was next door to their piano showrooms and was built for recitals. During WWI, and with hostility toward German companies, the entire Bechstein company was sold to Debenhams for a song (pun intended).

Today, there are concerts daily ~ some in the evening but also ones in the mornings and afternoons. I’ve been pouring over the October and November schedules to see which ones I’d like to attend next.  Logan has already picked out the Bach Cello Suites concert. If you go, there is a bar and restaurant so it’s a nice place to meet up with friends and have a drink or a bite to eat prior to the concert.

They also have learning events which reach out to young children with interactive music workshops such as the “Toddler Bop” for 1 -2 year olds, family days for 6+ year olds and “For Crying Out Loud” for up to one year olds. How fun is that…wish I’d had something like this to take Logan to when she was so young.  I did play classical music for her as much as possible. At first, I didn’t think it made a difference but then I noticed she cried whenever I played Tchaikovsky but was happy as could be with Bach and Beethoven.  That’s when I was convinced babies truly are sponges and everything in their environment affects them.

This gem of a place, located in Marylebone near the Bond Street tube station, is about four blocks from our flat. Have I mentioned how much I love the location of our new home?!  If you’re a chamber music fan, check out the schedule of upcoming concerts, you won’t be disappointed!

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Timing for celebrating a birthday which falls on a Monday doesn’t work well due to busy school and work schedules.  We did take Logan out for a birthday dinner on the big day but decided to wait until following Saturday to have a small party with a few friends.


It ended up being a “birthday week”  ~ no complaints from Logan.

On Saturday, Favorite Girl invited a few friends over to have dinner, play few games and, of course, enjoy cake (or in her case cupcakes).

Her friends are so sweet:

Cupcakes were requested instead of a cake on both days (the actual birthday and the party day) so John made several trips to our favorite cupcake place, Georgetown Cupcakes.

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Girl!

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Happy Birthday to John!

Favorite Girl and I had a nice birthday dinner waiting for John when he got home from work.  I even cooked chicken for him which is a big deal for this vegetarian girl 🙂  It was a recipe which required the least amount of “handling”.  We ate in the new breakfast nook because, after the removal of the wood paneling, we can’t seem to get tired of looking at it.

We made a double layer cake ~ chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate frosting in the middle and covered with vanilla frosting. Yummy!  And as you can see, Favorite Girl insisted on the exact number of candles on the cake:

Happy Birthday John ~ we love you!!

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Happy Birthday Favorite Girl


Twelve years ago, Favorite Man and I welcomed our angel-girl straight from Heaven. FG decided to embrace the fact that her birthday is during the cold winter month of January. She’s going to treat her friends to a Winter Wonderland party complete with a outing to the “tubing” hill. This year called for a  “special” birthday cake and I ordered one from a local cake designer, Peggy’s Creations. Peggy creates amazing cakes and I love what she did with the kids tubing down the snow covered hill.

To my Favorite Girl: Happy Birthday and I hope your day is full of friends and fun! My wish for you is a wonderful & magical year!!!

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Saturday Night Lights

It’s fall and we’re enjoying a football game under the lights.

Gotta love the fall colors, crisp air, hot chocolate while watching the football games and chatting with friends. One of the moms said “She doesn’t do hats” and I had to reply with “I don’t do cold.”   I have no pride when it comes to staying warm!!

Happy Fall to all of you!

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Regional Cheer Competition

Favorite Girl participated in her second regional Cheer Competition and for the second year in a row, the team placed within the top three and will be heading to the State Competition later this month. Her team got 1st place this year and also were awarded the “Spirit Trophy” ~ they wore orange ribbons in their hair in support of a team member who is battling cancer and was unable to cheer at the competition but she did come to watch her teammates.

Unfortunately, Favorite Man will be gone by then so, like last year, he’ll miss all the excitement of hundreds of screaming 9-14 year old cheerleaders. Reminds me to get the ear plugs ready for the event 🙂

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Just like everyone else, life has been zooming along at a crazy pace. Work keeps me exceptionally busy but I’m enjoying the challenge. When I’m not at work, it feels a little like I’m just trying to maintain the housework ~ how can three people produce so much laundry. Oh, yeah ~ I have an 11 year old who likes to “try” on clothes and somehow those items end up in the laundry. Unfortunately, I wash a lot of clean clothes.

It’s still chilly here. Even today, the last day of May, the highs will be in the 50s. The cold weather doesn’t keep us in. Here are a couple photos of our sweater weather outdoor activities:

 Double Dutch Jumping with Favorite Girl and her friends. Talk about a trip down memory lane. In middle school, I spent all my recess and after-school time jump roping. I was in FANTASTIC shape then.  Hmm, maybe I should do this everyday.

Hiking with the Favorite Girl, Man, and the dogs.

More photos and updates to follow…

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Playing Paintball

Last night, Favorite Girl decided to give Paintball a try and is now a big fan.  The Youth Services here on post gets kids (ages 10-18) together for paintball games every Friday night. Being the overprotective mom, I wasn’t thrilled about  FG being out there with mostly older boys who are a lot tougher than her.  But, she LOVED it and was especially proud of getting a few “hits” on the more professional players.

Once again, I’m so thankful for all the activities which are offered here on post ~ it’s just a matter of finding the time to do everything.

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