Harry Potter Studio Tour

I could gush on forever about the Harry Potter Studio Tour but I know people are really only here to see the pictures. So I will say this and once only: this was easily one of the best days of my life. Going to see this studio tour is a must for Potterheads and is more than worth the £33 entrance fee.

In case anybody is confused about what the tour actually is, it is a look behind the scenes of the original sets and props. As the books were still been written as the films were being made, everything was kept in case it was needed again. During the tour, you learn all about the making of Harry Potter, as well getting the unique experience of feeling you are in the film yourself. Now, to the pictures!

The Great Hall

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Harry’s Invisibility Cloak

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Potions Lab

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Hagrid’s Hut

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Hogwarts Express

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Platform 9 & 3/4

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Privet Drive

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Drinking Butterbeer

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Night Bus

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Diagon Alley

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Dumbledore’s Office

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The Weasley House

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Harry’s Room Under The Stairs

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Griffindor Boys Dormitory

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Griffindor Common Room

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Death Eaters

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Hagrid’s Bike

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Hogwarts

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Dolores Umbridge’s Office

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What I Bought in the Topshop Sale

I called this post ‘What I Bought in the Topshop Sale’, but actually more of what I picked up was from Topman. Joyful Antidotes has been overloaded with hauls recently (I have a book haul coming soon also), and I did swear to cut back after all I bought in London, but I really couldn’t help myself. Luckily, the Topshop/Topman stores we have in Berlin are just concessions so there was no fear of going completely off the rails. In fact, all I spent was a total of €11! See what I got here:

Stockings

Stockings – €1 per pair

Crop top

Pink crop top – €5

Jewelry

Jewelry – €1 per pack

Restaurant Review: Dolores

Dolores, Berlin

Dolores, Berlin

Dolores is known by many as serving the best burrito in Berlin. I can’t say that I know much about what makes a good burrito but I thought I would go and check out the fare anyway. There are two branches of Dolores in Berlin, one on Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße and the other on Strasburger Straße. The food is literally the same in both so I recommend dining in the restaurant on Strasburger Straße as it is a lot less busy.

The restaurant itself is big and colourful. It has a mixture of tables depending on how many are in your group, as well as seating outside. Dolores is self-service and orders are made at the counter, under a large and easily understandable menu. You are given a number and must return to the counter to collect once it is called. Depending on the size of the crowd, the food is very quickly delivered.

A good selection of burritos, soft tacos and quesadillas are available, priced between €4.50 and €6.50. For me personally, the best thing about Dolores is the vast amount of vegetarian and vegan options. The vegan options are marked clearly on the menu by a green heart. I choose the ‘vegan friend’ which was packed full of mild tomato salsa, Mexican super rice, black beans, fajita veggies and lettuce. A variety of side orders are also on offer so I got some guacamole which was deliciously tasty and fresh. Other items like soup and nachos (which are also very good) can also be ordered. As you can see from the picture below, the burrito was absolutely huge! It definitely provides its money’s worth and is something which will keep you full in ages. Don’t come here for a quick snack to tide you over until dinner time!

'Vegan friend' burrito, Dolores, Berlin

‘Vegan friend’ burrito, Dolores, Berlin

In a city that isn’t very well known for having quality Mexican food, Dolores is your best bet. Cheap, filling and tasty, it is the perfect place to go for a relaxed lunch/dinner.

Have you ever eaten at Dolores? What did you think? Are there any other Mexican restaurants you can recommend in Berlin?

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something Old, Something New – Slovenian Wedding Customs

I was at a complete loss deciding what to write for today’s post. I wanted to write something new and original, but nothing would come to mind. During one of my past internships, I wrote a lot of cultural pieces and I really enjoyed doing so. Somehow, over the last few years, I seem to have lost my voice on things beyond make up, clothes and books and the confidence to produce new content on a range of current issues. This post does not really fit with what I have just said, but I am hoping it might help me ease my way back into a form of writing I began with. I would be very grateful if you let me know what you think in the comments.

This post was originally published here

Slovenia

Picturesque shot of Slovenia. Photo by borshop via FlickrCC.

Traditional wedding customs are in decline. These days people are putting a more unique and personal touch on their big day. Nowadays people do not feel obliged to marry in a religious building or a registry office, and may instead choose to marry on beaches, in castles, in football stadiums and at any other type of uncustomary venue. The shift away from tradition goes much deeper than neglecting traditional venues, with many rituals being abandoned completely as they are seen as time consuming. Many have applauded this shift away from tradition. Nevertheless, there are many who fear that if their country’s customs will die out completely, their culture and sense of identity will be affected. They argue that the continuation of customs and traditions are a testimony to how far the country has come and its survival through time.

Yet there are still places which uphold strong traditions in their marriage ceremonies. Slovenia is one such place and perhaps one which may surprise people. Anyone familiar with Slovenian legislation will know that there are steps being taken to legalize same-sex marriage, even though this attempt is taking a one-step forward two-steps-back approach. Customs associated with Slovenian weddings have adapted over time due to cultural influences which have affected the country. This is perhaps due to the steady influx of people coming from abroad to get married in Slovenia. The costs of getting married in Slovenia are much less in comparison to say Barbados or the Bahamas. Yet the country can offer natural beauty, historical sights, intimate castles and everything one could want to exchange vows in style, which are in par with everything the more popular tourist wedding resorts have to offer. In fact, the Slovenians have now begun to advertise the country as an idyllic venue, therefore prompting them to become more open to less traditional wedding traditions. Nevertheless, it is a country which strives to uphold tradition.

To start with, there are certain restrictions with regards to wedding venues. In Slovenia weddings can take place outside of traditional wedding venues; however authorities favour traditional wedding institutions and historical places of significance. So, in order to marry in a place which is not already pre-authorised, a personal explanation for your choice of a non-standard wedding destination must be provided. Additionally, the ceremony officially requires Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ to be played, flowers and suitable lighting.

Many of Slovenia’s traditional wedding customs revolve around the bride. The bride dresses customarily in white and is aided by her maid of honour throughout the day. A red carnation is pinned in the bride’s hair by the maid of honour, who also unveils the bride at the ceremony. The wedding commences with the arrival of the guests at the brides house early in the morning. Beginning here, and continuing throughout the day, both the bridal party and the guests, play a number of traditional Slovenian wedding games. The most famous of these games is ‘Kidnap the Bride’. This consists of the kidnapping of the bride by the groomsmen, who bring the bride to various taverns across the village, leaving a trail behind in order for the groom to trace their steps where he then pays a ransom for the return of his beloved.

Overall in Slovenia, the wedding ceremony and the reception afterwards are lavish affairs. The Slovenian people have a zest for life and love and their weddings truly exemplify this. Their weddings also have a unique way of adapting to modernisation while also keeping tradition alive. Weddings can say a lot about people, and certainly in Slovenia, weddings provide a large window into cultural traditions.

Blue Man Group Berlin

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group. Photo by David Orban via FlickrCC.

After four years of living in Berlin, a little more than a week ago I finally had the pleasure of seeing the Blue Man Group at Potsdamer Platz. The fairly expensive cost of the tickets had put us off purchasing them every time the idea materialized, so we were lucky to get tickets at a reduced price from an ex-colleague.

Although I was eager to see the show for quite some time, I really didn’t know what to expect. In fact, even after finally getting myself to the theatre, I still couldn’t describe in one word what the Blue Man Group are about. It is hard to pinpoint them as anything specifically, my best guess would be something between drummers and sketch artists. As the name gives away, these were actually blue men, somewhat like aliens seeing the world for the first time. There was three of them, one leader, one smartass and one ‘idiot’ type, and they had a great interaction with each other.

Audience interaction is a big part of the show and includes everything from getting the audience to dance, to dragging people onstage to teepeeing the crowd. Don’t think you are safe at the back because they will climb over chairs to get at you, and even creep up behind you with an unsettling stare.

What brings the show together are the great special effects. Colourful lights and screen technology separate the Blue Man Group from any other stage show. The backing band are also worth a mention as they were absolutely fantastic.
If the Blue Man Group is something that you are considering seeing, I would say go for it. The tickets are a bit pricey but if you have money to spare it is worth it. Come back here and let me know how you enjoyed it!

Jurassic World and My First IMAX Experience

CineStar IMAX Theatre

CineStar IMAX Theatre at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Last Friday was a day of firsts for me. It was my first time seeing any of the Jurassic Park franchise, and my first time viewing a film in an IMAX theatre. Safe to say, both of these were very good experiences.

Let’s start with the IMAX theatre, home to the biggest cinema screen I have ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture as the room was too dark, but do a quick Google search to see exactly what I mean (I visited the CineStar theatre at Potsdamer Platz). I sat right at the back which, in my opinion, is essential for a IMAX movie. I really don’t know how people sat right up the front. The seating arrangements were more like a concert venue so there was no fear of being blocked by a 6ft tall man in front. It was €16 to see the film in 3D and I was rather skeptical of this price at first. but IMAX is about a million times better than traditional 3D viewing and definitely worth the money.

I don’t know how I managed to do it but I spent most of my life avoiding any films from the Jurassic Park franchise. I wouldn’t have been very eager to see Jurassic World either but I went along anyway to accompany somebody who really wanted to see. It was well worth it. First thing’s first, if there are any of you reading who find yourself in the same boat that I was, you don’t need to have seen any of the previous films beforehand. It is good to have a general idea of the back story regarding how they found the fossils and about the original park, but anything more than that is not needed. Jurassic World can be appreciated as a stand alone film.

My next fear was that the film would be too boyish for me, especially considering the claims made before its release that Jurassic World would have ‘more teeth’. I was mistaken. There certainly was a lot of action throughout the film but, at least in my opinion, there wasn’t too much to alienate the film to specific types of viewers. Although not the strongest story line a film has ever seen, there was one which nonetheless kept a certain structure to the plot. However, at times, it did seem that the dinosaurs had more personality that the human characters, only a few witty jokes and a weak love story kept them from becoming entirely two-dimensional.

One thing that really stood out for me personally was the relationship between human and animals. Jurassic World seemed to scream directly at me that we really shouldn’t mess with nature (the film mostly bases itself around a genetically modified dinosaur created specifically to attract more people to the park). I felt an underlying sadness throughout the film at the entrapment of wild animals. It reminded me of a zoo and how more often than not, the animals look really sad.

To end this post before it becomes one regarding animal rights, I better say that Jurassic World is most certainly worth a night out at the cinema. If you can go to see it in IMAX 3D, even better! Let me know what you think if you have already seen this film.

London Beauty Haul June 2015

This is the first time I had to separate one shopping spree into two hauls. I don’t know if I should be proud of that fact or worried about how much money I spent. Like I said in the first part of my London haul, I bought a LOT of stuff. Usually I don’t purchase so many beauty items but my sister was with me who is a bad/wonderful influence. This haul might be a little excessive on the lipstick front, but I hope you enjoy anyway.

Rival de Loop

Rival de Loop eyeliner in 'Natural'

Rival de Loop lip liner in ‘Natural’ – €2.00 (actually bought in Berlin)

Makeup Revolution

Topshop

Revlon Colourstay Longwear Enamel in 'Stormy'

Revlon Colourstay Longwear Enamel in ‘Stormy’ – £4.00

MAC

MAC lipstick and lip liner in 'Heroine'

MAC lipstick and lip liner in ‘Heroine’ – Total of £23.00 (duty free)

Have you tried any of this products? What was your favourite?