Birthday Wishlist

As it’s my birthday on Monday I thought I’d put together a little list of some of the things I’m coveting the most at the moment!

birthday wish list

Cath Kidston Guards Mini Suitcase – £20
Cath Kidston Stop Thief! Purse – £26
Mod Cloth Poise & Click Dress – £59
Mod Cloth Dream & Sugar Tea Set – £38

Penguin Clothbound Classics – £14.99 each
And Mary Pug Necklace – £27
Birdsinhats Pigeon A4 Print – £10
Krukrustudio Sleeping Fox Bag – £59

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7 Years Since Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

Seven years ago today the seventh, and final, instalment of the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling was released. Deathly Hallows concluded and answered all the theories and questions that had been occupying fans for ten years, and so as not to upset those with an emotional range of a teaspoon, I won’t gush and wail about what an impact the series has had on both me and my life. Instead I’m going to draw up seven lists of seven, discussing the best, most shocking, most sad moments of the series. Seven is the most magically powerful number after all…

I’ve tried not to over-think my answers. I’ve tried to just put down the moments and characters that initially sprung to mind instinctively, otherwise this blog probably still would’ve been being written by the 70th anniversary of Deathly Hallows.
(It still took hours and hours to put together though…)

P.S The lists are also not in any order, that would’ve made my decisions doubly difficult.
P.P.S if you haven’t read Harry Potter this is absolutely brimming with SPOILERS.

Marauders


7 Favourite Moments

1. Sirius explains his innocence in the Shrieking Shack at the end of Prisoner Of Azkaban -
“THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!” roared Black. “DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!” 
Black and Lupin stood shoulder to shoulder, wands raised.

2. Fred & George let off the fireworks in Order Of The Phoenix -
“Impressive,” Harry said quietly, grinning. “Very impressive… you’ll put Dr Filibuster out of business, no problem…”
“Cheers,” whispered George, wiping tears of laughter from his face. “Oh, I hope she tries Vanishing them next… they multiply by ten every time you try.”

3. ‘The Boy Who Lived’ at the very start of Philosopher’s Stone -
“He’ll be famous – a legend – I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!”
“Exactly,” said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half moon glasses. “…Can’t you see how much better he’ll be, growing up away from all that until he’s ready to take it?”

4. The Boggart In The Wardrobe during Prisoner Of Azkaban -
“When the Boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Neville, and sees you, it will assume the form of Professor Snape,” said Lupin. “And you will rise your wand – thus – and cry ´Riddikulus´- and concentrate hard on your grandmother’s clothes. If all goes well, Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture-topped hat, that green dress, that big red handbag.”

5. Professor McGonagall animates the statues during the Battle of Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows -
“And now – Piertotum Locomotor!” cried Professor McGonagall.
And all along the corridor the statues and suits of armor jumped down from their plinths, and from the echoing crashes from the floors above and below, Harry knew that their fellows throughout the castle had done the same.
“Hogwarts is threatened!” shouted Professor McGonagall. “Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!”

6. The Marauders Map insults Snape in Prisoner Of Azkaban -
“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.
Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”

7. Gryffindor win the house cup due to Neville’s last minute house points at the end of Philosopher’s Stone -
“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr Neville Longbottom.”

7 Saddest Moments

1. Dobby’s death in Deathly Hallows -
The elf’s eyes found him, and his lips trembled with the effort to form words.
“Harry… Potter…”
And then with a little shudder the elf became quite still, and his eyes were nothing more than great, glassy orbs sprinkled with light from the stars they could not see.

2. Dumbledore explains his actions to Harry, including why he never made him a prefect in Order Of The Phoenix -
“You may, perhaps, have wondered why I never chose you as a prefect? I must confess…that I rather thought…you had enough reponsibility to be going on with.”
Harry looked up at him and saw a tear trickling down Dumbledore’s face into his long silver beard.

3. The hospital wing at the end of Goblet Of Fire -
Mrs Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother. The full weight of everything he had seen that night seemed to fall in upon him as Mrs Weasley held him to her. 

4. Voldemort possesses Harry but can’t sustain it because of the love Harry feels, especially for Sirius, in Order Of The Phoenix -
Let the pain stop, thought Harry. Let him kill us… End it, Dumbledore… Death is nothing compared to this…
And I’ll see Sirius again…
And as Harry’s heart filled with emotion, the creature’s coils loosened, the pain was gone, Harry was lying facedown on the floor, his glasses gone, shivering as though he lay upon ice, not wood…

5. Harry speaks to Luna about Sirius, while she’s looking for her stolen possessions, in Order Of The Phoenix -
“Well, have a nice holiday, Harry.”
“Yeah… yeah, you too.”
She walked away from him and, as he watched her go, he found that the terrible weight in his stomach seemed to have lessened slightly.

6. Kreacher reveals how Regulus was killed in Deathly Hallows -
“And he ordered – Kreacher to leave – without him. And he told Kreacher – to go home – and never to tell my Mistress – what he had done – but to destroy – the first locket. And he drank – all the potion – and Kreacher swapped the lockets – and watched… as Master Regulus… was dragged beneath the water….”

7. The Mirror Of Erised in Philosopher’s Stone -
He stared hungrily back at them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache rising inside of him, half joy, half terrible sadness.


7 Most Shocking Moments

1. Remus Lupin is a werewolf, in Prisoner Of Azkaban -
“NO!” Hermione screamed, “Harry, don’t trust him, he’s been helping Black get into the castle, he wants you dead too – he’s a werewolf!”
There was a ringing silence. Everyone’s eyes were now on Lupin, who looked remarkably calm, though rather pale.

2. Ron gets poisoned in Half Blood Prince -
Ron had dropped his glass; he half-rose from his chair and then crumpled, his extremities jerking uncontrollably. Foam was dribbling from his mouth and his eyes were bulging from their sockets.
“Professor!” Harry bellowed. “Do something!”

3. Tom Riddle reveals that he is Lord Voldemort in Chamber Of Secrets -
He pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words:
TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE
Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves:
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT

4. Dumbledore drinks the potion in the cave in Half Blood Prince -
Dumbledore began to scream in more anguish than ever, “I want to die! I want to die! Make it stop, make it stop, I want to die!”
“Drink this, Professor, drink this…”
Dumbledore drank, and no sooner had he finished than he yelled, “KILL ME!”

5. Harry is a horcrux in Deathly Hallows -
Finally, the truth. Lying with his face pressed into the dusty carpet of the office where he had once thought he was learning the secrets of victory, Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms.

6. Snape kills Dumbledore in Half Blood Prince -
Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.
“Severus… please…”
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
“Avada Kedavra!”

7. The entire graveyard scene in Goblet Of Fire -
From far away, above his head, he heard a high, cold voice say, “Kill the spare.”
A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: “Avada Kedavra!”

Privet Drive Sign

7 Favourite Characters

1. Remus Lupin – Werewolf, Marauder, and the best Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher that Harry ever had. Hands out chocolate and teaches Harry to produce a Patronus.

2. Sirius Black – Harry’s godfather, an ex-convict, Marauder, and animagus. He also owns a flying motorbike and is both very clever and very handsome – what’s not to like?

3. Professor McGonagall – Stern but fair, willing to take on Umbridge and the Ministry, and loyal to both Dumbledore and Harry until the end.

4. Professor Dumbledore – The only one He ever feared. Considered the greatest Wizard of modern times, with a liking for muggle sweets, knitting patterns, chamber music, and ten pin bowling.

5. Ron Weasley – Harry’s best friend. Loyal, funny, and Bloody Brilliant.

6. Harry Potter – I think Harry wouldn’t make a lot of people’s lists of favourite characters but to be honest, he is pretty great. The story is told primarily from his point of view, meaning we access his thoughts and feelings far more than any other character, seeing the good and the bad aspects of his character in far more detail than we do for anybody else. The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One.

7. Hermione Granger – I almost didn’t include her but then I realised she simply did far too many wonderful things throughout the series. and I’d be mad not to. Like punching Malfoy, and helping to orchestrate the DA, ousting Rita Skeeter as an unregistered animagus and organising Harry’s interview with the Quibbler, using a time-turner to go to extra lessons – I could go on…


7 Most Under Appreciated Characters

1. Regulus Black
I really do feel that Regulus is probably the most under appreciated character in the whole Harry Potter series, particularly as Snape always seems to steal the plaudits for the reformed-Deatheater-turned hero role. Regulus was only eighteen when he died, trying to destroy one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, after being turned from the Death Eater cause by the extreme evil magic the Dark Lord was willing to use to gain power, and his ill-treatment of the loyal family house-elf, Kreacher.

2. Professor Flitwick
Flitwick would definitely be my favourite teacher if I went to school at Hogwarts. His lessons always seem like the most fun, full of explosions and noisy activity, which lead Harry, Ron, and Hermione to conduct several secret discussions during Charms class. He also seems to be very fond of Christmas, helping to put up the decorations each year and letting his students play games during their last lesson before the Christmas holidays.

3. Arthur Weasley
He makes cars fly. He tries out muggle stitches on a highly venomous snake bite. He has a punch up with Lucius Malfoy in a book shop. I don’t really need to add any more, do I?

4. James Potter
I think James is often portrayed in a negative light in the books, due – most probably – to the fact that a lot of the things we hear about him come from Snape, especially after witnessing his worst memory. However, James was a talented, highly intelligent wizard, capable of becoming an animagus during his fifth year at Hogwarts, and brilliant at Quidditch. He matured from a rather arrogant teen into a compassionate, loving husband and father, trying to hold Voldemort off and give Lilly and Harry enough time to escape, even though he was without his wand.

5. Frank & Alice Longbottom
I realise this is actually two characters, but the two play a similar role in the stories and are almost always mentioned together. Neville’s parents, talented aurors and members of the Order Of The Phoenix, both Frank and Alice were tortured into insanity by the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jnr, for refusing to give them any information about Voldemort. We also learn that the prophecy marking Harry as Voldemort’s equal could also have applied to Neville as he was “born to those who have thrice defied him (Voldemort)” which is an incredibly impressive feat. 

6. Hedwig
Perhaps not strictly under appreciated, as everyone loves Hedwig, but certainly an overlooked contender when it comes to ‘Favourite Character’ lists as she is, after all, an owl, and therefore a little more limited in her contribution to the stories. Hedwig is Harry’s first magical companion and remains so throughout the books, until her demise in Deathly Hallows. She remains loyal to Harry, despite cramped conditions at the Dursely’s, who won’t let her out of her cage, and even when she gets attacked by Dolores Umbridge in Order of The Phoenix (who wants to read Harry’s mail.) At times Harry feels that Hedwig is his only friend and connection to the magical world, and she provides a great deal of comfort to him during his long summer’s at Privet Drive.

7. Aberforth Dumbledore
Often overlooked and in the shadow of his brilliant older brother, Albus Dumbledore, Aberforth comes to prominence in Deathly Hallows when he aids and sends help to the Trio several times, using the two-way mirror Sirius once gave to Harry. Despite his severe doubts in his brother, and his conviction that Voldemort has already won the war, Aberforth joins the Battle of Hogwarts and also allows the Order Of The Phoenix and the DA to use his pub as a way in and out of Hogwarts. There was also the business of the goats, but we shan’t go into that…


7 Places

1. Honeydukes – Sweets? Yes please. And a secret passage to Hogwarts? Brilliant.

2. Dumbledore’s Office – The password’s always something appropriate to the Headmaster’s sweet tooth. Fawkes lives here, so does the Sorting Hat, not to mention all the portraits of the previous Hogwarts headmasters and mistresses.

3. The Room Of Requirement – First mentioned in Book Four as a room full of chamber pots when Dumbledore was in need of the bathroom, it will become anything that you need.

4. Grimauld Place – Sirius’ family home. Full of his parent’s appreciation of Dark Magic and pureblood mania but eventually becoming a place of refuge for the Trio. Kreacher cooks for them.

5. The Prefect’s Bathroom – I would very much like a bath here, and would certainly try all the taps, especially the ones with the bubbles and foam.

6. The Great Hall – the ceiling is enchanted to look like the sky outside. There’s usually a tasty feast or two happening there, or a duelling club, or an apparition lesson.

7. The Burrow – home of the Weasley’s and the first wizarding household that Harry experiences.


7 Spells

1. Expecto Patronum – a positive force that protects you from Dementors; think of something happy.

2. Expelliarmus – which saves Harry’s life so many times.

3. Riddikulus – to defeat a Boggart.

4. Waddiwasi – when we first realise that Lupin is brilliant after shoving chewing gum up Peeve’s nose.

5. Obliviate – Ron’s broken wand finally proved useful when it backfired on Lockhart.

6. Lumos – the wand-lighting charm.

7. Wingardiam Leviosa –  “Wingardium Leviosa!” he shouted, waving his long arms like a windmill.
“You’re saying it wrong,” Harry heard Hermione snap. “It’s Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the ‘gar’ nice and long.”
“You do it, then, if you’re so clever,” Ron snarled.”

Time Turner For Blog

From these lists it seems apparent that Azkaban is my favourite, Order Of The Phoenix the most upsetting, and Half Blood Prince the most shocking. What about you? I’d love to see your own answers to these lists!
What are you favourite moments, saddest moments, most shocking moments, favourite characters, most under appreciated characters, favourite places, favourite spells?

P.S
The illustrations in this post are works-in-progress from a new range of geeky themed bits & pieces that I’m hoping to add to my Etsy shop this Summer. Keep an eye out for them, as well as Dr Who, The Hobbit, & Sherlock themed items!

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A Visit To Quarry Bank Mill

With the second series of The Mill beginning again on Channel 4 this evening, I thought it was about time I shared my own visit to the inspiration behind it – Quarry Bank Mill – earlier this year. (I also took a trip there last year, so as not to repeat myself you can read a little of the mill’s history & its connection to the author Elizabeth Gaskell in this post here!)

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Quarry Bank Mill is a working museum that explores the Industrial Revolution and its impact on the Victorian cotton trade in the North West of England. Most of the machines still operate, from spinning wheels to power looms, and you can also glimpse the huge water wheel that powers it all.

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I always love taking a tour around the Apprentice House whenever I visit Quarry Bank, and after listening to the stories this time round I was eager to catch up with Series 1 of The Mill as soon as I got home (it features many of the characters and tales you hear about at the museum.) I enjoyed it and found it a gritty but captivating portrayal of life as a mill worker in the early 19th century. Needless to say, I’m glad I don’t have to swap places with any of them, I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes!

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Quarry Bank is owned by the National Trust and opens seven days a week, 10:30 – 17:00. You can get up-to-date and more detailed information on their website! (They also sell brilliant lemon cake in the tea room – I highly recommend a slice!)

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Feature In Craftseller Magazine!

I was very excited yesterday to pick up a copy of Craftseller Magazine as I was featured in their article ‘7 New Ways With Social Media’ and was also very pleased to see that they’d included a picture of my Great & Small pocket mirrors (which are available in my Not On The High Street shop!)

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The article is full of advice & ideas from lots of different crafty-people & businesses, on how to use social media for your business and “turn likers, fans, followers, and pinners into real customers…” You can pick up a copy online here or in WH Smiths.

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P.S
There’s still a huge Summer Sale going on over at NOTHS! Make sure you go for a browse! There’s 25% off all tags & notebooks, & 20% off all cards in my shop.

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Great & Small On Safari!

My brand new range of Safari themed items are now available to buy in my Not On The High Street shopPerfect for anyone that longs for white sandy beaches, hot summers, and a splash of bright colour, these new items are inspired by some of the more exotic creatures out there; Great & Small has gone on safari for the summer! 

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Four different styles of card and three styles of tags are available. There are also mixed packs of each, just in case you can’t pick a favourite! As the cards are blank they’d be ideal as invites or thank-yous, as well as for birthdays.

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P.S
There’s also a HUGE summer sale taking place on NOTHS right now. In my shop, you can get 25% off all notebooks and gift tags, and 20% off all cards! (Safari range not included.)

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Wedding Wednesday – Nautical!

This is my first Wedding Wednesday post in a long time but seeing as Wedding Season is very much underway I thought it was definitely time to restart this regular feature on my blog.
To get back into the swing of all things ‘I do’, I thought I’d base this post around the theme of ‘Nautical’ since I attended a wedding with such a theme a few weeks a go.

Nautical Wedding Wednesday
Boat & Fish Table Decorations – Debenhams
Bridesmaid Dresses – Modcloth
Seashell Cupcakes

Travel Inspired Invites
Globe Centrepieces

I really love the idea of using vintage maps and globes to convey the nautical theme, and think the wooden fish add a nice fun touch.

I made the guest and table names, as well as the button holes, for the aforementioned wedding and it was fun to do some wedding-based crafting again (I can’t believe it’s already ten months since my own big day!) Here’s a quick, and very easy, tutorial for how I made the atlas themed table names…

1. Select the frames you wish to use. If you can’t find them in a colour to match your theme paint them (which is what I did here with a navy matte emulsion.) I used matching frames for this wedding but you could use mis-matched ones to create a slightly more vintage, quirky feel.

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2. Print out and cut to size your vintage maps. There’s lots of old map images available in the public domain if you have a little browse. You could pop a filter on the image in your photo editing software just to give them a slight tint.

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3. Remove the glass from your frames. Put the maps directly against the back board of the frame and fasten.

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4. Using parchment paper – or you could use regular card and use coffee or tea to create an old, stained look – write and cut out your table names. If you don’t like your handwriting you could find a suitable, nautical font. I decided on a banner shape and curled the ends with the scissors to give the frames a 3D element.

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5. Fasten each banner with a blob of PVA glue. I also made little flags in glass bottles as the matching guest names.

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There’s so many different ways you could take a nautical theme. You could fill large glass bowls with shells and pebbles and surround them with pieces of driftwood to create an eye-catching centrepiece, or you could move away from the more traditional blues and greens and go for a pale yellow and cream colour scheme to reflect the beach. One of my favourite ideas are these compass guest names -

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(I found them in this post here!)

I’m going to try to do a Wedding Wednesday post at least once a fortnight and will try to explore some different themes and colour schemes.

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A Visit To Tatton Park

As I said in my large recap post of April, over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend we went on a day out to Tatton Park. Tatton is a historical estate complete with a Tudor Hall, a Neo-Classical stately home, a farm, beautiful gardens and huge, huge deer park.

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We visited the farm – naturally, because when do I ever pass on a chance to make animal friends?  – the house, it’s wonderful gardens, and of course, the tea room. The weather was beautiful, helping to highlight the park as a great picnic location and a place for long countryside walks, even if history and heritage aren’t your thing (they should be.)

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Owned since the 16th century (that means the 1500s, if you always get muddled by centuries, which I do) by the Egerton family, Tatton hosts a fine collection of artwork, furniture, and stunning interiors. By the Victorian era it had become the setting for huge house parties and was one of the first houses outside of London to be fitted with electricity. It was nice to get a chance to see both the grandeur of the upstairs living quarters of the family, as well as the servants rooms and kitchen, tucked out of the way near the cellars at the bottom of the house. I particularly enjoyed seeing the all the old books in the library, looking round the house keeper’s rooms which came complete with a gorgeous vintage sewing machine, spotting a portrait of everyone’s favourite (possibly) Tudor; Charles Brandon, and visiting the Piggery on the farm. There were so many cute piglets I came over quite over-emotional.

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Tatton Park was given to the National Trust by the last Lord Egerton in 1958, for ‘the enjoyment of the nation‘. As a member of said nation, I say ‘Thank you. Yes, yes I did enjoy myself. Well done.’ The park and gardens are open every day during the Summer season, 10am – 7pm, whilst the farm and mansion are open until 5pm every day except Mondays. You can get a combined ticket allowing you access to all three attractions (Mansion, farm, and gardens – no charge for the park) for £11, which is what we did. And obviously, if you’re a National Trust member you get into the house and gardens for free and get discounted entry to the farm. Which is pretty nifty.

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P.S – My Great & Small range on Not On The High Street is full of Deer, Pigs, and other such stars of Tatton. Have a browse of my range inspired by the British countryside and its wonderful wildlife.

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