Monthly Archives

April 2018

Mental Health

My Mental Health Roller-Coaster

Roller-coaster

I usually love going on a roller-coaster but not the mental health kind. You honestly think you’re stable and things start to work out for a few days and then down you go, triggered by something stupid and you’re stuck in a fall for weeks. I’ve been in one of those dips for a little while and it’s why I go from blogging and being active on social media to practically non-existent. It isn’t that I don’t want to do all those things, but my interest just wasn’t there.

When I go in a slump, I find it very difficult to do anything.

Since I’m feeling a little more with it today, I wanted to chat about what went through my head during this roller-coaster session for those who don’t suffer from mental health. A little under a month ago, I restarted my blog after almost a year. I had a list of ideas that I wanted to write and was just happy to have my own blog again. I’d missed writing about my fangirl ways and being able to connect with others about their mental health. However, it wasn’t long until my doubts came back.

Why does my photography look so bad?

Why can’t I write what’s inside my head?

How is anyone meant to comment if you don’t schedule tweets?

Soon I found myself finding ways to avoid going onto Twitter or onto my site. I couldn’t face everyone who was busy with their own lives and still being able to come up with posts people cared about reading. You know when you have that little voice inside your head that tells you all your faults? I have that 24/7. No let up. I can shut it up by going for a walk or listening to music, but even going for a walk makes me see others and immediately compare myself. It’s no way to life but, for now, it is the way I do live.

I have to learn to accept that even one blog post a week is to be celebrated and not to pushed aside. I’m not a blogger who is able to write multiple times a week, schedule everything and comment on anything like I used to when I first started. I’m a different person to then and I can’t expect myself to work miracles with a war battling inside me. I’m trying to find ways to still feel as if I’m doing something for the blog even if it isn’t overly big.

Being on this mental health roller-coaster is not a fun ride at all, but I just need to find my own way to cope with my breath-taking drops and understand that people will read my posts when they want to.

How are you coping with your own roller-coaster?

Fandom Harry Potter

Hogwarts Mystery | Review & Initial Thoughts

Hogwarts Mystery

I wonder how many others in the UK decided to pretend they were from Australia so they could get the new Harry Potter app ‘Hogwarts Mystery’. Technically we are reigned over by the same queen and I do have family over there so I’m allowed to get it! Haha! When I discovered that we were getting a brand new Potter app that acted like you were accepted into Hogwarts, I immediately followed any Twitter accounts connected to the game! Yeah, I’m a Potter fan on a mission!

First thoughts

Hearing Maggie Smith being McGonagall for the introduction made me smile so wide. It was amazing to hear her again after all these years and it felt just as magical as I thought it would be. This is the closest I’d get to going to Hogwarts (just until they find my lost letter!). The creation of the character is pretty similar to The Sims: you get to determine what their hair is like, what the hair colour is and what they wear. I was a little bit disappointed that there weren’t many choices for me to choose from. That said, I knew the developers would want us to work for those options locked or too expensive. I wish I could have played around with her features a little more like her face. I wasn’t too happy with the way I ended up looking at the end.

It was nice getting the chance to experience Diagon Alley a little, but again, I wish I could have been able to interact more. There were only a couple of areas I could go to like Flourish and Blotts and Olivanders which were fun, but if I was going to be a Hogwarts student, I’d want to visit all the shops that a student would. The details included were really interesting though especially when I was getting the books. If you’re not a fan of apps where you have to use ‘energy’ (clicking 4 times on an items to get it and doing this to gather stars), then you might get a little frustrated.

Is it any surprise that I got sorted into Hufflepuff? My inner badger would cry if I hadn’t and I once called sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore and that was enough for my soul this decade. You do get the chance to decide where you go depending on your answers, just like the real Sorting Hat and it is really satisfying for your name to be called! What’s more satisfying in that? SEEING THE HUFFLEPUFF COMMON ROOM! It’s one of the areas we never got to see in the films and only seen in pictures, but I could have cried entering and seeing my little virtual self was perfect!

What I’m loving right now (I’m still in my First Year) is the story that the creators have interwoven with the classes. I’m not going to spoil it because it’s probably going to last for a while and it is a whole lot of drama. Let’s just say that your character is going to give Harry a run for his money when it comes to causing a bit of mayhem. The original characters that you become friends with, as well as some familiar names, makes playing amazing. The plot definitely fits in with the name ‘Hogwarts Mystery’ since it’s a total mystery about what the heck is going on and why your character is almost in the centre of it.

My patience does get tested a little when I have to wait for my energy to recharge before I can finish a lesson or a chapter. Another little thing that kind of made me cringe a teeny bit is how some characters around yours did exactly the same movement over and over again at the exact same time. In one Charms class, you have a person sitting next to you who is copying your movements in time with you and it’s a little creepy! Haha!

overall thoughts on hogwarts mystery

Overall, I think it’s an incredible start to my Hogwarts journey and I can’t wait to see what else happens over the next six years! No app is going to be absolutely perfect and what I find a little bit awkward might be absolutely fine for others. I’m so happy to be friends with Rowan and she is the cutest little character friend to have, along with Ben. I do wonder if I’ll eventually make friends with the person making my school life hell but I guess I’ll just have to keep playing and find out!

Hogwarts Mystery? I’m going to give you a 5 out of 10 since I still have 6 years to go at Hogwarts to get me up to 10!

What are you hoping to see on Hogwarts Mystery?

Fandom Harry Potter

Newt Scamander Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, there is always time for gingerbread! I have always loved the taste of ginger from ginger nut biscuits to ginger tea, but there is just something so satisfying about eating a gingerbread man.  Of course, my favourite family of gingers is the Weasleys but there is also Newt Scamander! Alright so I only class him as ginger because of Eddie Redmayne but let me have my moment!

I created my gingerbread men using this recipe from BBC Good Food because it creates very yummy results and it’s vegan! I made a couple of alternations to make the gingerbread to my taste but I tried to stick to most of what was said:

VEGAN NEWT SCAMANDER GINGERBREAD

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp chia seeds
400g spelt flower
200g coconut oil
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
150g dark muscovado sugar
50g maple syrup
100g aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
450g icing sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Put the chia seeds in a small bowl and stir in 3tsp of water. Leave to soak for 5-10 minutes until gloopy. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the coconut oil until it’s almost disappeared into the flour. Stir in the spices.

2. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, the maple syrup, chia mixture and 2 tsp of water until the mixture is smooth, then pour over the flour. Stir until well combined then knead together to make a soft dough. Wrap in cling film until ready to use.

3. Heat oven to 180C/gas mark 6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, then cut into gingerbread Newts and bake for 10-12 minutes on baking sheets. Let them cool for a couple of minutes.

4. While the Newts cool, whip the aquafaba in a bowl using electric beaters until really foamy. Add 3/4 of the icing sugar and whisk in the rest of the icing sugar and the lemon juice. Whisk again until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag until ready to use. Snip a little off the end and start forming Newt’s outfit. (I had some fun trying to do the waistcoats! Haha!)

Have you created any Potter-related foods?

Lifestyle

My Life Living With An Elderly Pet

Elderly Pet

I will always use National Pet Day to spread my love for my little elderly pet, especially since she’s 28 years old and deserves love from everyone! I’ve had her ever since I was a toddler and she has gotten an amazing personality! Let me tell you all about this black cat called Jewel. We got her as a 5-week-old kitten from the Cats Protection! It was not a nice house that my parents went into (you literally had to wipe your feet on the way out) and it was clear that Jewel had had a tough start. She had ear mites, sore ears and was the runt of the litter. My first memory of her was holding her in my dad’s black hat. She was so teeny and fluffy! Instant love!

Fast forward 28 years to my gorgeous elderly pet!

Other than her tough beginning, Jewel has been really healthy! She only had to attend the odd vet appointment for injections and the occasional help with her ears. If anyone else has a black cat, you’ll know that they tend to have small problems with ear mites. Well, at least this little girl did! However, over the last couple of years, she has started to feel her age and get all the typical problems that any elderly pet would have. Since everyone is always surprised about how old Jewel is, I thought I’d tell you what I do to look after her.

elderly pets still deserve love

It doesn’t matter how old the cat is, they still deserve to be loved. If anything, they deserve even more love than before. You wouldn’t ignore your grandparents, would you? Jewel is starting to struggle getting up the stairs so I have to carefully lift her up and carry up. Her joints are pretty sore so I bring up her favourite comfy cushion that has a heat pad under it to help ease any discomfort.

Get used to dealing with surprise ‘presents’

What you don’t realize is that your pet will start going to the toilet all over your home. That litterbox you had inside? They’ll try to use it but will really struggle getting in. I had to go to Pets At Home to buy a lower litter tray for her. However even that doesn’t prevent problems. One of her biggest problems? Constipation. Yep, I’m talking about poop on my blog!! I had to take her to the vets last year to be sorted out and she ended up having to have a small operation (which she stopped breathing during! AH!). That was so scary! Make sure you have water dishes around the place you live. I was told that she has to drink more water so she doesn’t get…erm…blocked up.

“GET OFF MY SEAT/LAWN!”

You know you hear stories of grumpy pensioners yelling at kids to get off their lawn? Imagine that as a cat with claws who doesn’t want you sitting on your chair. Jewel has gotten pretty moody over the last few months. I don’t remember a time I’ve been bitten so randomly! I’ve had to keep my door shut at night as she’d jumped onto my pillow during the night and bitten me so many times on the arm. Gets a bit nerve-wracking after a while!

be patient with them

Like anyone elderly, they’re going to take a while longer to get places. If you call them for food, bear with them and they will eventually get to you. Recently I’ve discovered that Jewel is going deaf after she’d been stumbling and falling over. We thought it was ear mites again but nope, she’d developed deafness. Instead of calling for her now or shaking her food like I used to, I gently pat the bed or the floor to get her attention without startling her.

If you have an elderly pet such as a dog or cat, high-five to you and your family! If you don’t, there are plenty of elderly pets who are waiting to be adopted!

Harry Potter

How Harry Potter Has Helped My Grief

Grief

If any of you have read Harry Potter, then you’ll know that Harry experienced grief throughout his life from losing his parents, his god-father and his friends. He might be a fictional character, but I find what he’s gone through very relatable. It will a year in June since I lost my mum and over the last 18 years I’ve lost: my dad, mum, two uncles and two cousins. Yeah, I totally get how Harry must have felt.

When I first started reading Harry Potter, I did feel sorry that he lost both James and Lily in such a devastating way but didn’t really understand. I hadn’t experienced much loss in my life up to that point, but when I reached 14, it’s like someone decided to throw all kinds at me! All during my GCSEs and my A-Levels! It’s bad enough losing anyone who is close to you but nothing compares to the grief when you lose a parent. I think Dumbledore gave one of the best quotes to Harry about this time of loss:

“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself plainly when you have need of him.”

I never knew how much I would be affected after losing Dad. At first I seemed to be okay since I went back to school two days after he died and I think I was glad of any chance to keep myself busy. People who hadn’t really spoken to me in class before seemed to feel sorry for me (I think a teacher must have told them what had happened) and started to look at me differently. I was an odd-ball to begin with and now I was ‘the girl who just look her dad’. I buried myself into the Wizarding World to escape from what was happening to me in the real world. I never more connected to Harry especially after what he went through in the beginning of Order of the Phoenix. Kids can be really cruel and there was a group of people in my year that started teasing me about losing my dad and one of them even blamed me for my dad dying and said that it would have been better if I’d died instead.

Like what?!

Reading how Harry felt after seeing Cedric die in front of him was so close to my Dad and I. Everything went numb for a while and then the guilt started. I knew there was nothing for me to feel guilty about since I couldn’t have prevented it from happening but funny things go through your head when you’re a child. Harry and his friends had helped through so many aspects of my life up to then from being bullied, being different compared to others and wanting to find a home. Hermione was beside me during my exams and in times when I was hiding in the library with my nose in a book. Ron had his arm around me when the bullies laughed at me in class and targeted me on the way home and Harry…Harry has never left my side. He stood beside me during the funerals of my parents, at night when I cried myself to sleep and during the darkest moments of my mental health.

Harry has helped through my grief and shown me that I am stronger than I know and that the fandom (my family) will always be there for me when I need them. My mental health has deteriorated over the years after losing so many members of my family in a short amount of time and I have felt terrified of being so alone, but again Dumbledore has the right words for me to hear:

“To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”

Has Harry Potter helped you through some difficult points in your life?

Fandom Harry Potter

6 Reasons Why You Have To Visit Warner Bros Studio Tour

Studio Tour

Would you guess that the Warner Bros Studio Tour has been open for 6 years!! That is a crazy realisation for me as I visited there on the first week it was open. There is no way to describe the feeling of seeing the doors to the Great Hall in front of you and having them open wide to walk through! I actually cried on my first visit because it felt like I was actually entering Hogwarts for the first time. If you’ve visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour, you’ll know exactly what I’m on about.

In celebration of the Studio Tour being the grand old age of 6, I wanted to share my reasons for why everyone should visit this place and experience real-life magic:

1: IT IS HOGWARTS!!

This is a massive reason for anyone to visit! This is the closest we’ll ever get to stepping into Hogwarts and I will use any excuse to go there. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re a baby or elderly, every person will be in awe with everything! If you’ve only watched the films, then it’ll probably be a mind-blowing moment to know that you’re stepping on the same floor as actors like Richard Harris, Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman.

They even have the scale model of the school for you to see! All of those incredible shots we get of the castle? IT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!! You will be getting a lot of caps throughout this post as I fangirl. I get very excited about this place, okay?

Studio Tour

2. YOU GET A CLOSER LOOK AT ALL THE PROPS AND COSTUMES USED

If you’re anything like me, then you are very nosey when it comes to props. I’ve always seen how detailed the props and costumes are especially the books and the potions. I could see they had writing on them but could never make out what they said, even when I paused the film and squinted at my TV! Visiting the Studio Tour gives you that added bonus of seeing what you couldn’t before. It is also no secret that I have a major love for Mina Lima (the people who created all of the detailed props like pages inside the books, leaflets and everything like that. They knew that the audience wouldn’t get to see what was inside but made everything realistic for the actors!

Studio Tour

3. You are surrounded by fans just like you!

There aren’t many places in the UK where you can walk through a door and see a large group of people wearing Hogwarts robes, Potter-themed t-shirts or a look of utter excitement than at the tour. Every time I go to an event such as a premiere or a convention, it makes me feel as if I’m visiting family even if I’ve never met these people before. Harry Potter is that type of fandom that has been around for so long and become part of multiple generations, it makes it easy for you to chat with other fans visiting from different countries! I have anxiety around big groups but I never seem to feel that when I’m here. I can wear my Hufflepuff robes and know that I won’t be looked at odd because there’ll be people just like me!

Studio Tour

4. There is always something new to see!

There isn’t just the props, sets and costumes! The Studio Tour also puts on special annual events during certain holidays where people who worked on the films come to do workshops! Until 23rd September, part of the Studio are dedicated to the Goblet of Fire! THAT IS SO COOL!! You get to see how the pieces of parchment were thrown from the Goblet and even get your own piece of parchment to take home! AHH I CAN BE A CHAMPION! The epic carriage from Beauxbatons is added to the Hogwarts model! Like I said, AMAZING!!

If you’re more interested in the darker side of the Wizarding World, then you should check out the Dark Arts! Everything takes a more sinister turn alongside all the amazing Halloween decorations (FLOATING PUMPKINS!!). You get to try out some wand combat with the Death-Eaters and see them hovering around Diagon Alley! Haven’t had the chance to see this yet but definitely booking tickets to see! Maybe I’ll bump into a random troll in the girls’ bathroom?

studio tour

5. You never know who might pop up to the studio tour for a visit of their own

I haven’t had this happen to me, but a few of my friends have met a couple of the cast who have been visiting the tour with their friends or at an event. I think that has to be an amazing experience! To accidentally bump into someone who was actually in the films…wow. Other celebs tend to pop there too with their kids or just out of their pure love for Potter! They’re human too and allowed to fangirl/fanboy like us!

6. it is our home

We may not have a giant Hogwarts or a theme like in Orlando but the Studio Tour is legendary to all the Harry Potter fans around the world. It is a part of history that we get the chance to see come to life before our eyes and lets us pretend (at least for the day) that we really are Hogwarts students and that we have come home.

Have you had the chance to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour?

Fandom Harry Potter

26 Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Fred and George

Fred and George technically would have turned 40 today if they were real-life people (which they totally are!). They were born 1st April 1978 and the fact their birthday is on April Fool’s Day is the best thing ever! These twins are my favourite characters ever! They are funny, intelligent, brave and very loyal to their family. I don’t think people give their brains enough credit so I am here today, waving my little Weasley flag, to tell you 40 reasons why everyone should love Fred and George!

  1. They’re twins!! Two for the price of one!
  2. Though it’s never specified, I like to think their middle names are Gideon and Fabian (after Molly’s twin brothers).
  3. They both played Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
  4. Two names: James and Oliver!
  5. They swiped the Marauders Map from Filch in their FIRST YEAR and figured out how to work it! (I told you…THEY ARE SMART!)
  6. They had an amazing best friend in Lee Jordan!
  7. “He’s not Fred! I am! Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother.”
  8. They got in trouble for throwing snow-balls at the back of Quirrell’s turban (which we now know was also Voldemort’s face! HA!)
  9. They nicknamed themselves ‘Gred and Forge’.
  10. They helped nick their dad’s flying car with Ron and rescued Harry from the Dursleys!
  11. Both love to tease their siblings, especially Percy.
  12. They gave Harry the map knowing that he needed it more than them now. (I think that’s so cute! They have no idea that they gave him something connected to his Dad!)
  13. Fred and George must have been really good at Potions and Charms to create their pranks and sweets.
  14. “Ah, but that’s why it’s so brilliant!” “Because it’s so pathetically dim-witted!”
  15. They tried to cross the Age Line for the Tri-Wizard Tournament and it worked!…for a few seconds anyway.
  16. They passed their Apparition tests ‘with distinction’ in their seventh year! (See? Smart! I keep telling you!)
  17. They left Hogwarts in style leaving blasts of their fireworks, chaos in the corridors and broke all of the rules that Umbridge had on the walls.
  18. “You know what? I don’t think we are. George, I think we’ve outgrown full-time education. Time to test our talents in the real world, d’you reckon?” “Definitely!”
  19. They were the only people in the entire school who seemed to get respect from Peeves and he also listened to them.
  20. Both Fred and George made enough money to buy themselves expensive clothes! (I think they deserved it, right?)
  21. “None of us really fancy it, Harry. Imagine if something went wrong and we were stuck as specky, scrawny gits forever!”
  22. The moment that George lost his ear was the closest it had been to one of the twins dying and the fact that they both managed to make a joke out of the situation made me cry!
  23. Fred turned Ron’s teddy bear into a spider after Ron broke his toy broomstick.
  24. “What are Fred and I? Next door neighbours?”
  25. George named his first-born son Fred after his twin brother. (*sobs*)
  26. “E for Exceeds Expectations. And I’ve always thought Fred and I should’ve got E in everything, because exceeded expectations just by turning up to the exams.”