5 Favourite Marvel Characters

Marvel Characters

It’s not long until ‘Avengers: End Game’ comes out and I am SO excited. It took a lot of stress and panic but I managed to book tickets to the 4DX double bill at my local Cineworld – I’ll rewatch ‘Infinity War’ at 8:30PM and then at midnight ‘End Game’ will play. I love going to the midnight screening because then absolutely no one can spoil it for me.

As I’m so excited I wanted to write a Marvel themed post so I figured I’d write a list of my five favourite characters from the MCU. Hope you enjoy!

There will be Infinity War spoilers in this post but I assume by now most people who care have already seen it.

Peter Parker

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I’m gonna start with the obvious because who doesn’t love Peter, let’s be real? I never watched the original Spider-Man movies but I did watch the versions with Andrew Garfield and was initially disappointed he wasn’t joining the Avengers movies and he had to be replaced. But I actually now prefer Tom Holland’s version and wouldn’t have it any other way. At least he relatively looks the age he’s meant to be portraying and I just don’t think the way Spider-Man is shown in these movies would have suited Andrew Garfield.

I loved ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and am really looking forward to ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’, and the end of ‘Infinity War’ KILLS ME WHY DID MARVEL HAVE TO DO US DIRTY LIKE THAT? I’m looking forward to seeing him come back in ‘End Game’ ‘cos like he must do if he has another movie coming out. There’s nothing I don’t love about Peter and I doubt there are many people that dislike him.

Wanda Maximoff

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I wasn’t particularly sure about Wanda when she was first introduced in ‘Age of Ultron’ but by the end of the movie I loved her. I really wish they hadn’t killed off Pietro that was actually heart-breaking since I was starting to love him as well. I mean, who doesn’t love Aaron Taylor-Johnson?

The only thing I’m not a fan of is her romance with Vision like… Was that necessary? Was that in anyway shape or form necessary? It’s like having a relationship with a bloody calculator. Couldn’t get attached to Vision at all, in ‘Infinity War’ when they were like “no we can’t kill Vision we must find a way to ease the stone off” it was like? Nah, just kill him mate. I do feel awful for Wanda though that she had to kill Vision only for it to be reversed and watch him die again, knowing they’d failed. Can’t have been easy.

Overall I love Wanda and I don’t care what anyone says, I think she’s an amazing character and I can’t wait to see what Marvel have got in store for her in the future.

Carol Danvers

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Although I was looking forward to the ‘Captain Marvel’ movie I wasn’t like counting down the days or anything. A female-centred super hero movie is always a plus and also I loved Brie Larson in ‘Room’ so I was looking forward to seeing her as a super hero and honestly the movie did not disappoint. I think it’s definitely one of my favourite solo Marvel movies. I knew it would be good but it still blew my expectations out of the water. “I have nothing to prove to you” – THAT’S RIGHT SIS YOU DON’T! How iconic.

I can’t wait to see Carol with all the other super heroes in ‘End Game’, I’m already loving the memes that are coming out of that five second clip between Carol and Thor so I can’t wait to see more memes when the movie is actually released. I have no doubt that Carol will be just as awesome in this movie as she was in her movie AND I AM EXCITED!

Bucky Barnes

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I don’t care what Becca says, Bucky is one of my favourite characters. Becca was a fan first and kept telling me I should watch the Captain America films but my other friend Jess and plenty of other people told me they were boring so I didn’t bother – until ‘Civil War’ came out and the four of us went to a triple bill of all the Captain America films. I actually really enjoyed them and ended up loving Bucky as a result, and switching from Team Iron Man to Team Captain America. I also used to trash Captain America a lot ‘cos he annoyed me in the original Avengers movie – all these things lead to Becca calling me a traitor.

Becca LOVED Bucky whilst we were in college, I’m telling you the girl accidentally called me ‘Bucky’ instead of ‘Buddy’ more than once so she’d get a bit defensive about him. But I don’t care what she says, I finally saw the movies and now I love Bucky. Definitely one of my favourite characters. I’m definitely not alone in this as the majority of MCU fans seem to love him too but you can see why!

Mantis

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I’m so glad that after Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Mantis just stayed with the guardians. She’s one of my favourite characters because she’s so caring and so bloody funny. In ‘Infinity War’ when she’s just bouncing around and when she’s like “Kick names, take ass” – absolutely hilarious. I just love everything about her. I think she’s quite possibly my favourite character in the MCU and I’m hoping she comes back in ‘End Game’ because if not I will be massively disappointed.

BONUS: Loki

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I was originally going to make this list with ten characters but I felt like I’d just be naming all the obvious characters so I went with five – but I just had to add Loki. I feel like I went through my Loki peak as a teenager and then sort of grew out of it and disliked the Thor movies. The first two, especially the first one, are actually quite boring. Ragnarok however – iconic. That’s what all the Thor movies should’ve been like.

My love for Loki returned and I’m really hoping what happened in ‘Infinity War’ was some kind of trick or something and that he’s not genuinely gone although I doubt it. I’ll wait to see the movie though and hold out hope until then.

Well there we have it, my five favourite characters from the MCU. Feel free to leave a comment with your favourites!

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Five Favourite Places I’ve Visited (So Far!)

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It’s no secret that travelling is my favourite thing to do. At any given time I normally have a trip coming up to forward to. It’s become a bit of a running joke at work that the moment I’m back from a trip everyone starts asking “Go on then, when’s the next one?” It’s a reputation that I quite enjoy having.

I decided to write a list of the five top places I’ve visited so far. I have no doubt within the next few years this will change as I tick off more places on my travel bucket list but as of right now, in April 2019, these are my five favourite places I’ve visited.

5. Crete, Greece

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It’s rare for me and my three best friends to hit lucky with the weather when we travel. On our first trip abroad to Paris I don’t think it stopped raining all week. We booked Greece for the end of April 2018 and everyone warned us it wouldn’t be as warm as we thought and we should just pack our normal clothes. Turns out they were wrong, it was boiling in Crete for the entirety of our visit which definitely helped the overall experience of the holiday.

I’ve written a bit about Crete in other posts but for this holiday we realised there was no public transport so we hired a car and once Jess got the hang of driving on the other side of the car and road we were cruising through Crete without a care in the world. Everything was perfect – the weather, the scenery, and the absolute bangers we were listening to.

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The country itself was just beautiful and the people were so lovely. Every time we went out for dinner we were given something for free at the end of it which although was a bit hit and miss was still an added bonus. My favourite was when we had dinner at the place overlooking the lake because we got a plate of fruit afterwards which was lush.

I wish we’d had a bit longer to spend there exploring the island but we had to face reality and come home after three nights but overall, I wouldn’t have changed anything about our trip to Crete. It was pretty much perfect, even the little squabbles with my friends and the plain bizarre moments – even when the car started rolling backwards down that steep hill! I had an amazing trip and would love to return to either Crete or any part of Greece one day.

4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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The first time me and my friends ever caught a flight together was for Amsterdam. It’s crazy now ‘cos we’ve caught so many flights together that I don’t even think twice now, I’m like ‘yep we’re back at the airport again’ but at the time it was crazy! I mentioned Paris was our first trip but due to money we’d had to catch a coach. Now we’d all sort of settled into full-time work we could finally afford to fly and it was so much better than a 12 hour bus journey.

The trip itself wasn’t perfect although it did have a lot of fun moments, what I loved was just the city. It had such a calm vibe, you always seemed to be near water and it definitely helped that for once the sun was shining during our trip. Amsterdam was beautiful and I’ve love to explore more parts of the Netherlands.

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There were some things we didn’t get to see like ‘Anne Frank’s House’ and other stuff which make me want to return. Even revisiting parts we already saw would be interesting. I do need to go back to Amsterdam one day because I’ve started collecting snow globes for every country I visit and Amsterdam is currently the only one I’m missing. Obviously that’s not the only reason I’d go back, I just loved the place so much!

3. Seoul, South Korea

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When I was about seventeen or eighteen I started listening to more K-Pop which admittedly is what got me interested in South Korea. I remember when I was nineteen I received a message off Becca saying ‘Hollie if you ever go to South Korea I want to go too’. At the time I thought it was impossible and assumed we never would. Last year we went.

We were going to Japan and spending the majority of our time there but decided to slot in a few nights in South Korea before we came home. I’m so glad we did because it was such an amazing experience and we packed in a lot for the few days we were there.

I’ve said this for everywhere so far but I’d love to go back and explore more of South Korea, especially Busan but I don’t think I’d have the confidence to go on my own. As I mentioned in my ‘Asia Travel Fails’ post, Google Maps doesn’t work properly in South Korea – instead of giving you precise directions it will show the distance in a straight line ignoring things like roads and buildings. This meant South Korea was difficult to navigate but Jess managed it and we got to see a lot of amazing things.

I’d love to go back and do a ton more stuff so we’ll see if that ever happens!

2. New York, USA

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For my 21st birthday I had originally asked my Mom to fund my flights to Japan but then realised I could probably do that myself with my tax return money so I decided to ask for something else instead. My Mom had previously visited New York with her uni friend Sue and had loved it. When I asked her she initially said it would be wasted on me since I’m scared of lifts so suggested we went somewhere else instead. I was so desperate to go that I finally worked up the nerve to get in the lift at my work and overcame my fear – in the long run it has really helped and made life 1000 times more convenient.

Anyway, about ten days after my birthday the two of us jetted off to New York together. It was my first time in America and also my first time going on holiday outside of Europe. I was excited but to be honest when I first arrived I felt very overwhelmed and wasn’t sure if I liked it. We left our hotel to find somewhere for dinner at about 5:30PM so of course the streets were packed with people as it was the rush hour and I was exhausted from the flight so I wasn’t sure. However the next day, after an early night, was a lot better.

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The only downside I can think of is that I ended up getting really bad blisters so by the last day of the trip I was limping everywhere but other than that it was amazing. We did all the typical tourist things like going up the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre, our hotel was literally right round the corner from Times Square. When my Mom had been she hadn’t found time to see a Broadway show but as a massive theatre fan I insisted we had to. I chose Anastasia as that’s not performing in the UK at the moment and I couldn’t have asked for a better first Broadway show experience. We had our own box and the show itself was amazing.

It’s on my bucket list to visit America with my friends one day and it’d be cool for us to go to New York but it was very expensive! I think I only had the amazing experience I had because my Mom was with me. Our hotel was literally perfect, there was a view of the empire state building from our window. One of my favourite places I’ve visited!

1. Tokyo, Japan

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I could’ve also put Osaka and Kyoto on this list as I loved them as well but decided to stick with Tokyo so that the list wasn’t just full of my one trip to Asia! To be honest I don’t think I’ll ever love somewhere as much as I loved Tokyo, it was the perfect city for me as it had a bit of everything – the traditional side with museums, shrines and temples whilst also having the fun side with Disneyland, arcades and whacky themed cafes.

I can’t remember when I first realised I wanted to visit Japan but it had been several years. I remember talking about it with Jess in college, watching Dan and Phil’s vlog with such jealousy and thinking about how I’d most likely never be able to afford to go. Thankfully due to tax returns and two other friends who wanted to go/could afford to, the flights were booked and before we knew it we were off!

If I could return to any trip I’ve ever been on it would definitely be Japan, any moment would be fine with me but my favourite to return to would definitely be watching the electric parade at Disneyland at the end of a fun day. I think that’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

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I’ve made up my mind that I want to return to Japan in 2022 but we’ll have to see as there are lots of places in the world I want to tick off but I did really love Japan. I’d like to return to Tokyo, see a new part of Japan and then maybe catch a plane to somewhere nearby? I’m not sure, we’ll have to see!

So there we go, that’s my list of my five favourite places I’ve visited so far. Feel free to leave a comment with your favourites!

My Five Comfort Movies

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Let’s be real, we all have movies that we put on when we’re sad, worried or just in a bad mood that we watch without really thinking about. I thought I’d write a quick post about five of my comfort movies in no particular order. These are just movies that I can stick on whenever I need to that usually make me feel better.

Rugrats in Paris (Stig Bergqvist, 2000)

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My Grandad had been feeling ill for a few months then was admitted to hospital where within just a couple of weeks he deteriorated so badly that he was put on end of life care. He’d been on this care a few days when on Friday night at about 2AM my Mom got a call. I was only just getting into bed so I came out onto the landing and asked what was going on knowing full well what the answer was going to be. She said she wasn’t sure but her and my step-dad had been asked to come to the hospital straightaway.

We both knew what the news was going to be and she asked if she wanted me to wait until the morning or if she should text me. I asked her to text me and she set off. The hospital wasn’t our local one, it was a good forty-five minute drive or longer and I knew it would be a while before I heard off her. So I opened Netflix and put on this movie.

I’ll be honest it didn’t bring me much comfort but it was background noise and it was playing when I received the text that my Grandad had passed away. Once I knew I switched it off and went to bed. There was no point in staying up any later.

But this film has been there for me plenty of other times. It’s one of my favourites to put on if I’ve got the house to myself and I’m feeling a bit creeped out. This is lame but it always makes me cry – the bit where Chuckie’s looking out the window of the plane and missing his Mom, the bit where he runs into the church yelling ‘NO’ ‘cos he doesn’t want his Dad to marry Coco, WHEN HE GETS THE MOM HE WANTED AT THE END OF THE FILM, it’s honestly just nothing but tears from me. I hope Netflix never take this movie off because it’s one of them that I’ll always watch when I’m upset.

Into The Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014)

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I loved Into The Woods from the moment I first saw it. Interestingly I didn’t see a trailer or anything for this movie but went along because I saw it listed on Chris Pine’s iMDB page and I’m a massive Chris Pine fan. Normally I can’t stand films where there’s not much speaking and it’s mostly singing – I do love musicals but I like at least a 50/50 of singing and talking with preferably more talking than singing. Into The Woods is my exception. I ended up going back to the cinema and seeing it six times.

My brother has severe autism and occasionally I do my Mom a favour and cover annual leave for his carers and look after him. A few times I’ve had to sleep overnight starting when I was about eighteen. At first I was too scared to go up to the carers room and get into bed so I used to put a film on downstairs and try to sleep on the sofa. One night I tried putting this film on as background noise and it worked wonders. It’s just a comforting film despite the dark themes.

I’m older now and not as scared so I do just switch all the lights off and go to bed at my brothers house, and at home when my parents are away but this film does still bring me comfort if I’m home alone and feeling a bit nervous. I don’t particularly like any silence when I’m at home by myself so this is a good film to have on in the background so I can singalong and not feel so worried anymore.

My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

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I didn’t really like this film when I first saw it because I didn’t see the point of it. I thought it was sweet but it wasn’t a film I particularly wanted to see again. I’m not sure what changed but I’m pretty sure this is now my favourite Ghibli film. I love Totoro so much!

I prefer watching it in English but have seen the Japanese version too – I don’t have an issue with reading subtitles but when you’re floating in and out of the movie it’s better to have it on in a language you actually understand. Most Ghibli films are like this but it’s just a relaxing film with a nice ending.

FUN FACT I got to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo which was super fun – unfortunately we went on our last full day in Tokyo so I was exhausted by then but it was still amazing. Which was just as well as you can’t buy tickets at the museum you have to do it a month in advance and the tickets were released at 2AM UK time and buying them was super stressful as the website kept crashing – but in the end I got them and got to go! If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo and you’re a Ghibli fan you definitely have to go to the museum.

Matilda (Danny DeVito, 1996)

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I’ve loved this film ever since I was a little kid. Let’s be real, who didn’t want to have Matilda’s mind powers growing up? It sends a great message about how your parents aren’t always right just because they’re your parents and sometimes family isn’t always the best thing for you. The fact Miss Honey adopts Matilda at the end of the film and there’s no rubbish of ‘she stays with her family because family is important’ is AMAZING.

I also love the stage show because although it’s quite different it keeps the same central message and the songs are really good. I’ve seen it a few times and haven’t got bored of it yet. I just wish the tickets weren’t so expensive, I’ve only seen it from the back and I’d love to spend a bit extra to sit a bit closer.

This is another film that as I’ve seen so many times I can just put it on and it can be comforting background noise, and I can tune back into it wherever I want and I’ll be able to pick up the story. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like this film and would be amazed if I ever did.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Gurinder Chadha, 2008)

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I don’t know what it is about this film but I just love it. I don’t think I saw this one at the cinema when I was younger but I remember my friend letting me borrow her DVD and for a while I watched it every day when I returned from school until in the end I had to give it her back. They added it to Netflix and I’m not sure if it’s still on there but if it is and you haven’t seen it yet then you need to, this film is iconic.

Overall I definitely prefer the books, they are the only books that have ever made me genuinely laugh out loud but the movie is still amazing in its own right. It never fails to cheer me up and the song at the end (Ultraviolet) is an absolute bop. It’s got everything that a feel good film needs. I remember watching this in English class and the moment it finished my teacher decided she NEEDED the t-shirt that Robbie wears at the end with a picture of Angus on it so she ordered it straightaway.

So there we have it, my five comfort movies! Feel free to leave a comment with the five movies that always bring you comfort or cheer you up whenever you’re down.

Travel Fails: Belgium Edition

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Recently I got back from a trip with my friends where we visited Belgium. We spent most of our visit in Brussels but did have a day trip to Ghent and Bruges. Of course whenever I go away with my friends there’s always some kind of disaster and this trip was no exception so I’ve decided to write a post of fails that occurred in Belgium!

Disaster struck before we even got to Belgium. The first was when I woke up to a text message saying a payment had failed to come out of my bank account and an email from booking.com saying the hotel had tried to take out the full payment for our stay and it had failed. Of course it had, I didn’t have enough money to cover the entire cost. I sent a frantic message to the hotel to assure them we were still planning on arriving, paying in cash and asking them not to cancel our booking. They were very vague about why they’d tried to take out the money and what they could or couldn’t do but after many messages I assured them we would arrive at the hotel the moment check-in opened and they agreed they would still honour our booking.

The trip started to arrive and all of us were looking forward to going until I received a message off Jess at 3:20PM the day before we flew to say our flight had been cancelled. All of us were at work but luckily when I told my colleagues the flight had been cancelled they were very understanding and allowed me some time to ring the airline. After going through a ton of questions I got us rebooked onto a flight for around the same time but this flight was no longer direct, we would have to change in Frankfurt.

As compensation the airline offered to let us check in a bag on the way there so I said “Great! Can we also do that on the way back?” to be told no we couldn’t. Well then what’s the point in checking in a bag on the way bloody there if we can’t bring it home? At this point I was so fed up though that I hung up and asked my friend to confirm we were definitely booked onto the new flights and she said she’d received a confirmation email. I was so annoyed that I messaged the airline on Facebook to ask if there was anything else they could offer us and they replied to say we couldn’t even check in a bag on the way there and then got quite arsey with me when I pushed the matter and said there was nothing they could do.

Mostly I was just relieved we were still travelling on the same day meaning we wouldn’t have to rush to rearrange a new hotel booking or anything so I went to bed trying to feel optimistic. Four hours later I was up at 2:20AM to finish getting ready and my friend and her boyfriend pulled up outside the house at 3AM to take all of us to the airport.

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The first flight went without a hitch, we got through security okay, had a calm breakfast and boarded our flight to Frankfurt with no problems. It was the moment we got to Frankfurt that problems occurred. I’d been sceptical that 50 minutes wouldn’t be enough time for a change over but the plane landed in Frankfurt at the time it was meant to and I didn’t feel too stressed. Until we hit security.

I find changeovers confusing, do you need to go through security every time? On the way to Japan we changed at Istanbul and we were let straight off the plane into the airport whereas on the way back from South Korea we changed at Istanbul again and had to go through security this time. For some reason the security in Frankfurt was going at snail’s pace – I’ve gone through longer queues at Birmingham quicker than I got through that one. There weren’t even many people ahead of us but they were going SO slowly.

We were stood waiting when a man came up behind us and said “I have a flight at 9:30AM so I need to go ahead” and we told him our flight was at 9:25AM so he’d have to wait his turn. The people behind him didn’t hear us so started getting arsey with us for not moving out of his way. He kept tutting and shaking his head which was irritating because yeah it was stressful but it wasn’t our fault.

Becca and Hirst went through security first and when they were done they sprinted to find the gate whilst me and Jess waited for our stuff. That took forever to come through and once we had it we ran the direction Becca and Hirst had gone. I feel bad as I’m not the most athletic person ever so I had to keep slowing down as typically our gate was on the other side of the airport.

We finally spotted the gate at the bottom of a ramp where Becca was stood frantically making gestures at us to hurry up so we sprinted down to the gate and just as we got there the doors slammed closed. We’d missed our connecting flight. The woman at the desk came back out and kept looking at us and I was starting to get annoyed as she wasn’t saying anything but eventually she said “Your flight from Birmingham was cancelled wasn’t it? I’ll book you onto a new flight.”

Apparently she’d been quite arsy with Becca and Hirst as they’d asked them to hold the gate as me and Jess were literally running through the airport and she’d told them it wasn’t possible and then snapped “So are you getting on or not?” – funnily enough they didn’t want to get on without us. However she was nice as pie now that me and Jess were there. A few other people had missed the connection and they started complaining to the woman but we all felt bad ‘cos although it was irritating it wasn’t this specific woman’s fault.

It could’ve been a lot worse as we were booked onto a flight for two hours’ time, it just meant having to sit around Frankfurt airport which was irritating as we hadn’t even wanted to come to Frankfurt. Luckily our next flight left on time and we were finally in Brussels.

We’d been worried the hotel would be arsey with us but once we found it they actually didn’t mind that we were later than anticipated and we checked in relatively quickly. The room wasn’t the best we’ve ever stayed in but it wasn’t as bad as some of the TripAdvisor reviews had made it out to be. The main issues were just uncomfortable beds and the bathroom kept flooding, most other things were fine.

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Well, there was one other particular issue on the first night. When the lift opened to our floor the lights were off and all we could hear was somebody playing a violin which sounds innocent enough but was honestly like something out of a horror movie. It was about midday at this point so we checked into our room then went out to do a tiny bit of exploring and get dinner before heading back for an early night after our 2AM start.

Everything was fine at first when we got back, Becca hopped in the shower first and then the violin started up again. Very loudly. It was still quite early but as mentioned we needed an early night after our early start that morning. We each took it in turns to have a shower and by the time I came out (I go last ‘cos I take the longest) the violin was still playing loudly away next door. It was such a specific issue that it was both hilarious and really irritating at the same time.

Eventually it turned 8:30PM and we were all ready to go to bed so Jess headed outside to say something to them whilst I lurked in the doorway of my room in case they tried to do anything to her. She knocked on the door and it turned out to be a little kid playing the violin (very well, to be 100% fair) whilst her Mom was sat in the corner watching. Jess asked them to keep it down and luckily we didn’t hear the violin again for the rest of our trip.

The next day went well. It did rain a bit but we saw a few museums, went on a waffle making workshop and generally had a good time. Then in the evening we decided to go and see if a room was available at a karaoke place near the hotel. It was around 7 – 8PM and we set off to a bar first so we could get a couple of drinks in. The bar Jess had found on her phone turned out to be closed so we went walking off and found the nearest one that served cocktails. Prices were through the roof so we only had one drink each.

Cocktails

Jess looked up the karaoke place on her phone and realised that actually it was closed. None of us were thrilled but she booked us a slot for the following evening instead. In the end we did a bit of souvenir shopping before heading back to the hotel and having another relatively early night.

The next morning we did more outdoor stuff as the weather was better – we went to Mini Europe and the Atomium before heading off to do a spy experience. This wasn’t cheap as it was advertised as being two hours long but we all decided to give it a go. I was a bit nervous because I’d heard there was a bit with heights and as a massive wimp I didn’t want to do this but as the others were doing it and I didn’t want to sit alone for two hours I paid my money and followed them in.

This was a ton of fun but also a bit of a disaster. In the first room you have to put on your ‘spy uniform’ which is basically just a jump suit and there was a guide on the wall to advise you if you were a certain height which suit you should grab. We’re all around the same height so I grabbed a 4, same one as Becca without regarding the fact that Becca is literally less than half the size of me. It didn’t fit and I couldn’t figure out how to get back into the room with the jumpsuits. Luckily Hirst’s didn’t fit either and Jess found a way for us both to get back in. For some reason this room was timed so the pressure was on to grab a jump suit that fitted and then get through into the next room.

Most of it went okay and it was a lot of fun. There was one small dampener when we had to crawl into a ball pit and as I went to follow the others I got kicked in the face by Jess accidentally (who didn’t even notice). When we got to the high ropes bit I asked the woman if I could opt out and she said I could if I really wanted to. I watched my friends doing that bit feeling a bit salty that I’m such a wimp.

When we got to the end we had to walk to the top of the arena and there was a slide to go down to complete the course. I told my friends it was too steep for me and I didn’t want to so they told me to find the high ropes woman and tell her I couldn’t go down. I watched them slide off and went to find the woman – who’d vanished. Her stuff was there but she was nowhere to be seen. I was in this massive spy room by myself. I went back up to the slide, telling myself not to be a wimp and just do it but I chickened out at the last second. I went back down to look for the woman but again, nowhere to be seen. I went back up to the slide and this time just pushed myself down without overthinking it. I kept my eyes closed the entire time but hey, I did it! I was just in a foul mood after that as I didn’t get to complete the course with my friends but I still had to do the bloody slide anyway.

I went back into the changing room, stomping around angrily whilst my poor friends looked on and tactfully let me get on with my bad mood. We went to get dinner afterwards at McDonalds and I managed to calm myself down. I’m not sure why it irritated me so much, I just knew that it had.

The rest of the evening went well, karaoke was fun and after a late night we were all up and ready for our day trip to Ghent and Bruges. A friendly guy at the train station told us we only needed to get a ticket to Bruges, we could hop off at Ghent if we wanted to, and soon we’d arrived in Ghent.

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Ghent went well, we had some breakfast at Starbucks, visited Ghent Castle and then went off to Psychology Museum. I didn’t find it that interesting but I think my friends enjoyed it. The only fail in there is that me and Hirst went on ahead whilst Becca and Jess lagged behind and then decided to play a prank on us. Becca hid under a hospital bed and Jess came round saying she had no idea where Becca was, with the intention of waiting a few minutes and saying we should go find her – then Becca would jump out and scare us.

This didn’t happen for a few reasons. For some reason Jess sat down to do a DNA test that me and Hirst had just done which took quite a while. Also, I’d seen both Jess and Becca’s shadows walk into the room and knew for a fact they were trying to prank us. Eventually Jess suggested we go look for Becca who came round the corner looking livid and said “You just left me there!” She’d been hiding under the bed for probably a good ten minutes.

After the Psychology Museum it was getting quite late so we decided to head to Bruges to grab some dinner and explore there a bit. We were all starving so we ticked dinner off straightaway and then headed to the main centre of Bruges where we went into a church. We were in there for AGES as Jess likes to take photos and videos of every inch of wherever we visit so me, Hirst and Becca started up a game where we tried to predict what Jess would do next. We ended up laughing so hard that we got told off by a woman working in the church so we decided to leave.

We meandered down the high street and just as we reached a cute square it started to throw it down. It had been raining on and off for the past few days but this was a whole new level of rain. Not sure what to do we decided to get some cake for dinner so we went on an epic quest to find some as most places were beginning to close. We finally found a dessert shop, sat in there for about an hour eating overpriced desserts before heading back outside. It was still throwing it down so drenched and exhausted we decided to call it a day and head back to the train station. Unfortunately the train station was quite a walk away so we only got more drenched.

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I wish we’d had more time to visit Bruges but my Mom’s been on about visiting for ages so I may have to take her there one day so we can both have a good look around.

I think that was about it for fails in Belgium! The next day we checked out of the hotel, went to the airport and our flight home went without a problem. This post was a lot longer than I thought it would be – but I should’ve known that when all four of us go we never have a trip without a few fails!

Us (Jordan Peele, 2019): Review by Hollie Bareham

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I can’t remember when I first saw the trailer for ‘Us’ but from the moment I saw it I was excited to see the full movie. There’s nothing I love more than a horror movie and this looked promising. I’d also enjoyed Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ and the whole psychological element, so I was pretty certain I’d enjoy this film too.

CAUTION: This review will contain spoilers.

Once the movie was released I booked me and my friend’s three tickets and before I knew it we were at the cinema ready to watch the movie. All three of us were looking forward to it and hoped it was good – generally horror movies are either amazing or rubbish and we were keen to see which category this film fit into.

When the credits rolled at the end my first thoughts were ‘… What did I just watch?’ It was one of those films that had the three of us talking the entire car ride home because we were all quite confused about what happened. When I got home the first thing I did was pour over the imdb page, Wikipedia page and any articles I could find that explained the plot. Although I’m more with it now I’m still not sure if I 100% understand it.

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Firstly, the film was amazingly done. The cinematography was on point and the acting was phenomenal, especially from Lupita Nyong’o – she played both her parts incredibly well, especially ‘Red’ who was super creepy. When the doppelganger family first enter the house and Red starts telling them a story her voice was really putting me on edge, it was excellent acting.

I love that this movie didn’t 100% rely on jump scares and managed to be creepy in its own way. The shots of all the tethered holding hands across the country was somehow super creepy and superbly done, it’s definitely something that will stick with me for a while. In fact just seeing the tethered go through their clumsy movements in the tunnels had me on edge. It wasn’t entirely ‘terrifying’ as there were some moments of comedy and I feel like these were executed well whilst still keeping the atmosphere.

What bothered me the most when initially watching it was the ending – it’s hard to explain for those who haven’t seen but we are shown that the doppelgangers are called the ‘tethered’ and they were a government experiment to see if US citizens could be controlled with a copied version of their bodies. When the experiment failed the tethered were abandoned underground having to copy the actions of the ‘real life’ versions of themselves – it’s implied these people don’t have a soul, any real emotions or much freewill. We’re sort of taken along this journey of the tethered deciding that it’s their turn now to live and they all come to the surface to kill the other version of themselves in order to replace them.

When Adelaide was a child she met her tethered (Red) and throughout the film Red mentions how she and the rest of the tethered grew up without sunlight and says something along the lines of “I wonder what would have happened if you’d taken me with you” to Adelaide. Except in the final moments of the film we find out Red was the original Adelaide – when they met, Adelaide knocked her out, took her down to the tethered and left her there so she could replace her. It was an interesting twist but unfortunately didn’t seem to fit in with anything we’d heard previously to that.

The thing I find confusing is that part of the deal with the tethered was that they were soulless and were forced to just awkwardly follow their counter-parts movements. Why was Red different? How were her and Adelaide able to meet? Surely once she’d been dragged down to the tethered she could’ve found her way back out – it didn’t seem that complicated and it’s not like the other tethered would’ve tried to stop her considering how lifeless they were. How did the tethered snap out of their copying regime to follow Red’s orders to go to the surface? Why did the government leave millions of people underground without destroying their creations when the experiment failed? It’s an amazing idea but I just don’t fully understand it.

It’s never really clear whether Adelaide or Red remember that they were swapped round until the end when it’s revealed to the audience. Surely they were more than old enough to have remembered and I assume Red must have because she retained her speech whereas none of the other tethered could talk. But neither of them mention it. I suppose the filmmakers wanted to save it until the end as a big reveal but it seemed to contradict everything they’d been talking about. For example it was Red that explained the tethered experiement to Adelaide – as a tethered she should’ve already known what they were and Red would’ve known that she knew.

They did throw in a few hints that Adelaide was a tethered (her savagery when killing other tethered for example), but I just don’t think it was executed as well as it could’ve been. It seemed a little bit thrown in at the end to add shock.

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Regardless of this I did enjoy the film. It held my interest from the start and kept me guessing right until the very end. It was certainly something new – my friend once told me we are living in a generation of remakes and sequels so to see something like this was so refreshing. I love the whole idea of it and wouldn’t mind another movie exploring it a bit more but I doubt that would happen – it could very well just ruin this film anyway.

Overall, this is definitely a film I’d recommend to any horror fans. Regardless of my confusion with the plot, which could probably be explained away, the film has left a lasting impression on me and I’m just really impressed. I’m looking forward to any future horror releases by Jordan Peele.

Time for my piece of trivia which I now include with all my horror movie reviews – Lupita Nyong’o based Red’s voice on Robert F. Kennedy Jr and specifically the spasmodic dysphonia he suffers from. There were quite a few pieces of interesting trivia on the iMDB page to be fair but I went with this one as Red’s voice really did put me on edge.

Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on the movie and if you haven’t already seen it then I definitely recommend it.

The Travel Tag

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Regular readers of this blog know that I love a good tag so I decided to combine that with my love of travelling and complete ‘The Travel Tag’. I found this tag at this blog so be sure to check theirs out – and now for my answers!

Which countries of the world have you already visited?

UK (because that’s where I’m from!), Spain, Cyprus, Tenerife, New York, France, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, The Netherlands, Japan, South Korea,  Romania and Belgium – I don’t think I’ve missed any! I’ve done layovers in Turkey and Germany but since I never saw anything of the countries I wouldn’t count them.

Which destination is number one on your bucket list?

This is so difficult because I’ve always said Japan but now that I’ve ticked that off I’m struggling to pick one and stick with it. At the moment I’d say probably Taipei in Taiwan but it also flits between Bangkok in Thailand and Vancouver in Canada.

What is your most ideal holiday?

I’m not really fond of going places just to sit in the sun – I wouldn’t mind for like a weekend or something but a week would be way too long. I don’t really have an ideal temperature for a holiday – my supervisor recently asked me why I always go cold places but it’s because I don’t really mind the temperature.

I love going to a city and having enough things to explore. Tokyo was ideal for me because I feel like we did so much (we were up at around 6AM and back late pretty much every day) and there was just a bit of everything. There was the traditional history side of things, mixed with modern things to do and then a couple of theme parks. I love being able to slot in a theme park day on trips even though I hate big rides – it’s just nice to have a more relaxed day.

I guess my ideal holiday is a big city with plenty of variety of things to do. I couldn’t just do museums and historic sites; I like to have something ‘fun’ to do as well!

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Which place did you think was so special that you would love to go back there someday?

A bit obvious because I talk about it so much but Tokyo is definitely my favourite place I’ve ever been but as I’ve already mentioned that I’ll pick somewhere else. Oh gosh, there are a few places I’d love to go back to. With my friends I’d love to go back to New York and I’d do all the typical tourist things with them all over again. By myself I wouldn’t mind going back to Vilnius in Lithuania because I was actually surprised by how much there was to do and it was such a pretty city.

Show us your nicest holiday photo!

I feel like this means ‘prettiest’ holiday photo but I’d be trawling through tons of photos for that so I’ll post my favourite one from my recent trip to Belgium, not necessarily a beautiful/scenic photo but one that makes me happy!

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Did you have to travel for work sometime? If so, where?

Although I love my job I’m primarily based at an office with occasional visits to schools or hotels for meetings/training. I doubt I’d ever have to leave my home town for something work related which is something I don’t love about my job. Especially since my step-sister has been to Dubai and China for work. She gets to fly business class on the plane and everything. If I could change anything about my job it’d be that I get to travel more but realistically there’s no way that would ever happen.

Equally though I think what I love about travelling is that I can leave all my responsibilities behind and just do what I want. I thought about working abroad but would that just ruin the experience, not having much time to explore? Probably. So maybe it’s just as well.

Who are you most likely to go on holiday with?

I don’t mind going by myself but if I was going with anyone my first choice would always be my best friends Becca, Hirst and Jess. After that probably my Mom. I don’t think I’ve ever been away with anyone else before. My Dad took me and my siblings to Cyprus when we were kids but has refused to take us since because of how much it cost which is fair enough I suppose.

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Who would you like to go on vacation with sometime?

I assume this means someone I haven’t been away with before? I’ve thrown around the idea of going away with my friends Emma and Sorcha but Emma’s always broke and I’m worried Sorcha would panic on the plane. I don’t really think there’s anyone else I’d go away with.

Who or what would you take with you to an uninhabited island?

Am I trapped on the island or just going to explore? If I was trapped I’d take my three best friends because we’ve often discussed this scenario before so I’m sure we’d get rescued eventually and if not we could probably build a civilisation. If I was just going to explore then I’d take a camera and plenty of water.

Have you been on vacation to the Netherlands? If so, where?

Yes in 2017 me, Becca, Hirst and Jess went to Amsterdam. Primarily so me and Becca could see 24K live but we also love an opportunity to look around a new city. We had amazing weather and Amsterdam was beautiful. I’d love to go back someday because there were some things we didn’t get to see – for example the Anne Frank House was sold out and I’ve heard that’s amazing. It’s just a beautiful city.

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Would you rather go to an amusement park or a zoo?

I have been to a couple of zoos whilst on holiday but I think I’d always pick an amusement park over a zoo. If I’m travelling with friends I wouldn’t be able to visit a zoo or aquarium anyway because Becca despises them and I can see why. I went to a zoo in Poland and although I like seeing animals many of them did seem quite sad. At least you can enjoy an amusement park guilt-free. I don’t like big rides but I just love the atmosphere of theme parks – especially the Disney parks!

Would you rather go on a ski or sun vacation?

I think I’d be at risk of breaking a leg on a ski vacation! I’ll take the sun vacation so I’m not risking my health.

What is your nicest holiday memory?

Watching the electric parade at Tokyo Disneyland after an amazing day of going round the park. The parade was amazing and I just felt really good. Plus knowing I had almost two full weeks of exploring Asia left was good. If I could return to a holiday moment it would probably be that one.

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What is your least nice holiday memory?

When my friends got back in Amsterdam after eating a space cake (I’d opted out) – one of them told me to go to bed so I did and laid in bed listening to the three of them laugh in the living room. It’s not a feeling I would’ve wished upon anyone.

To which country (countries) are you going this year?

So far this year I went to Romania by myself and then this month I went to Belgium with Hirst, Becca and Jess. In April I’m off to Dublin by myself and then in May I’m going with my Mom to San Francisco. I’d been wanting to go away for my birthday so I’ve booked to go to Hong Kong for a week which will be my first solo out of continent trip and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been thinking about booking something for July but with everything else I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford it. I still have plenty of trips to look forward to though!

Where would you never go on holiday?

A country where I wouldn’t feel safe. I think people think that I just book places on a whim but I do actually research whether the country I’m visiting is relatively safe. Nowhere in the world is going to be 100% safe but you know the kind of places I’m likely to avoid.

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I hope you enjoyed my answers, feel free to leave a link in the comments if you decide to do this tag –I’d love to read your answers!

Weekend in London: 2nd March – 3rd March 2019

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You may recall my post from last year where me and Becca went to see Cursed Child for the first time. Before the show had even finished we both decided we needed to come again but this time in better seats. More tickets were announced about a month later and we quickly snapped up two tickets worth £150 for both parts which was a bit of a leap from the £30 we’d paid for both parts the year previously. We had to wait almost an entire year but eventually the date came around and we were off to see the show again.

The first time we went we came on a Wednesday meaning we’d both had to book two days off work. When we booked the second batch of tickets though we both knew we worked Monday – Friday 9 – 5 so we were sensible and bought tickets for a Saturday so we didn’t have to take any time off work. London was a little busier due to it being a weekend but it’s not like it mattered as we were in the theatre for most of the day.

We caught the 10:08AM train just as we did the year before which got us into London Euston at 12:33PM. Both times I’ve been super stressed that one of the trains is going to get delayed and we’re going to miss the first half of part one but of course that didn’t happen. Our train was reduced from ten carriages to five but we both managed to get our seats and our carriage actually wasn’t too busy which was strange.

By the time we got to London we were starving but knew there wasn’t much time to be fussy about where we ate so we ordered food inside London Euston. I got Burger King which I don’t love but will eat when desperate and Becca got two pizza baguettes. Last year I’d been convinced the show started at 2:30PM when it actually started at 2:00PM – we were lucky we’d arrived early to take photos outside the theatre as otherwise we probably would’ve been late.

This year we were way more stressed for some reason and the moment we finished eating we went straight to theatre. Google Maps kept screwing us around but luckily we managed to find the theatre okay, picked up our tickets and went straight inside. We were so worried about being late we actually ended up in our seats 35 minutes early. This was good though as it gave us time to use the loo, grab a drink and just generally chill before part one started.

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We were on Row J in the stalls at the end of the aisle so the view was much better than when we’d been at the very top of the theatre. Last time there’d been a whole section of the stage we couldn’t see. I’d been worried about someone tall sitting in front of me and they did but if I leant forward I could see between their heads and still had a good view.

Some of the cast had changed whilst some were still the same – me and Becca had a conversation about who we thought had changed and we mostly disagreed on who was the same but both agreed it was definitely the same Draco as when we’d last been. Regardless of whether they were the same or not the cast were amazing and I quickly got sucked back into the story. I’m not a big fan of the plot but it’s told better on stage than it was in the screenplay, it just works better.

I think I prefer Part Two to Part One but Part One is still amazing and it was great getting to see the magic closer up this time. Before either of us knew it Part One was over and we had to come back later for Part Two which started at 7:30PM.

Because we’d been in such a rush to find the theatre and get inside we hadn’t taken any pictures yet. Luckily it was still bright out so we took individual pictures in front of the theatre and Becca eventually worked up the courage to ask a woman if she’d take a photo of the two of us. It came out really nice and then we set off to find somewhere for dinner.

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Last year we’d checked straight into our hotel so we could dump our bags but this year they weren’t too heavy so we decided to just go out for dinner instead (which turned out to be a good choice as you’ll discover later). Finding somewhere to eat with available space in Central London is never easy and we walked around for maybe half-an-hour to an hour before finding an Italian place that was relatively reasonably priced and had a table so we went inside.

It was a bit crammed but it was a nice place. Becca flitted between wanting a meal, wanting a starter, not wanting to eat at all, and then said she’d love a dessert but there weren’t any on the menu. Luckily I found the dessert menu on the table so Becca settled on a slice of apple pie and two chocolate milkshakes whilst I had an orange juice and spaghetti Bolognese. It was a nice meal and killed sometime between part one and two.

Last year after seeing the show me and Becca had made some poor decisions and spent a lot of money on unnecessary Harry Potter merchandise. We both agreed this year we would stop each other from spending – mostly because of a concert ticket fiasco the day before but let’s not get into that, that’s for another post. We needed money for the following Friday so we agreed not to let each other make any unnecessary spends. Which is why I was nervous when Becca kept suggesting we go to PRIMARK as they had a Harry Potter section.

After getting Becca’s word that neither of us would spend any money we went to have a look and it’s safe to say the pair of us nearly caved in. There’s nothing I love more than house specific merch and our town is dreadful for that. Becca really wanted a Slytherin night shirt and I wanted a Hufflepuff nightie but we didn’t let the other spend any money before heading off to see Part Two.

I personally think Part Two was funnier moments and just generally prefer it (although as mentioned, Part One still has amazing moments too!) so I was looking forward to this one and it was just as funny as I’d remembered it. Obviously the whole of it isn’t hilarious there are some dark or sad moments too but it’s still amazing. And just like that Part Two was over! The day we’d been waiting for over a year had finished.

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I won’t talk anymore about my personal opinions on the show as I already did that on last year’s post but like if you’re a Harry Potter fan you need to see this show, it’s actually amazing. If you read the screenplay and hated it, don’t worry, I get you, but it’s much better on stage than in the book.

After leaving the theatre it was time to check into the hotel which should’ve been a half-an-hour tube journey away. We got on the Northern line to Waterloo and prepared to change to the Jubilee line only to hear an announcement that it wasn’t running. Neither of us had any signal so we left the station and went to find an alternative route. My phone was being relatively useless (telling me we needed to catch a boat) but luckily Becca’s phone took us on a route that involved a bus ride and then getting on the DLR.

It was getting quite late at this point and both of us were exhausted. I was suddenly worried check-in would close and checked the booking.com app to see if this was the case and it advised check-in was until 11PM. It was now 10:50PM. I tried ringing the hotel to let them know we’d be late and ask if anyone would be there but nobody would answer even though I was getting charged 19p a minute to call the stupid number.

When we finally got off the DLR Becca followed the Google Maps instructions on her phone and was clearly so keen to get to the hotel that as I hurried to keep up with her I almost fell over. Unfortunately it was really confusing trying to find the hotel as it was next to a river, lots of areas were blocked off and there was construction work everywhere. At one point I could see the hotel but couldn’t tell how to get there. We even had to duck under a chain (or crawl under in my case) to get to the pavement. I could see Becca getting increasingly frustrated and was relieved when we finally reached our hotel.

Last year we’d booked a twin room and had arrived to find we’d been given a double bed but decided to just put up with it. This year we were actually given twin beds but they were so close together it might as well have been a double. We were so tired that neither of us cared and within an hour we were both in bed.

Neither of us slept particularly well but we couldn’t have a lie-in as we had a slot booked at Madame Tussauds for between 9:45AM – 10AM, and as the jubilee line was down we had to allow for more time to get there. I got up feeling like an absolute zombie but managed to throw some clothes on and we were out by 8:15AM.

The trip to Madame Tussauds turned out not to be too difficult but we did both nearly fall asleep on the first bus. We were a bit early so we grabbed a drink and then played I Spy to pass the time. In the final round I nearly murdered Becca ‘cos her one was stupid (“I spy with my little eye something beginning with T” – answer turned out to be ‘Transport’). Whilst we were playing we joined the queue and before we knew it we were inside.

I hadn’t been to the Madame Tussauds London since I was about 12 with my Mum – we came to London for the day, queued three hours to buy our tickets and by the time we were done it was all we’d had time to do. With Becca we bought our tickets in advance meaning we got in a lot quicker. As it was a Saturday it was quite busy but it was worth it, we love places with lots of photo opportunities and that’s pretty much what Madame Tussauds is for!

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We took tons of photos in every room and I’m happy with most of them, I wish my hair had looked a bit better but that’s life I guess. We had our photo taken on the ride mid-way through Madame Tussauds but neither of us liked it very much which was lucky as we didn’t really have the money to spend on anything other than food. They’d also added the Marvel 4D cinema since the last time I went and as a massive Marvel fan I really loved it. The last section was Star Wars themed which went completely over my head but Becca’s a big Star Wars fan so she had lots of photos in there.

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Madame Tussauds had killed an hour or two so when we came out we still had a few hours to go until our train home so Becca asked what I wanted to do. I said I wasn’t sure so with a grin Becca asked if I wanted to go to Kings Cross.

We’d been last year and that had been our absolute downfall, I’d spent way more than necessary at the Harry Potter shop and knew I would again if we went but for some reason we still agreed. As we got on the tube I made Becca agree that we’d only spend £15 each.

When we got to Kings Cross the queue to have your photo taken with the trolley had been cut and we were a bit confused so we decided to go into the shop instead and there was even a queue to get in there. I’ve never seen it so busy in my entire life but it was midday on a Sunday so I guess it made sense. Inside was absolutely rammed so I felt like I couldn’t have a good browse, just getting to Hufflepuff section took about 50 years. It didn’t stop me from buying a Cursed Child lanyard (which I now wear at work like a lame-o) and a Hogwarts Oyster Card holder (as my Hufflepuff one from three years ago had finally bit the dust). Overall I spent about £7. Becca spent about £25, I can’t even remember everything she bought, I know she bought a little Ron necklace to match her Harry one which I’m a bit jealous of. There was a necklace with Luna’s glasses on, I might have to go back and buy that ‘cos it was so cute.

Once we were done in the shop we went and asked about the queue for the trolley photo and the woman informed us it hadn’t been cut it was just so long that we had to go and queue outside so we did that. This was only the third time I’d been but the other times I went it had only taken about 20 minutes max to get your photo taken – we queued for over AN HOUR. We’re such Harry Potter trash I swear to God. We killed time in the queue by doing impressions and just generally messing around until finally it was our turn.

Becca’s been a few times so she’s had her photo taken with every scarf at some point so this time she picked Gryffindor as it matched her outfit. I did the same as I already have Hufflepuff and Slytherin so I only needed Gryffindor and Ravenclaw to complete my collection and Gryffindor matched my outfit. We asked if we could have a picture together and we changed into our actual house scarves (Becca’s a Slytherin and I’m a Hufflepuff) and asked for a fight photo. It came out quite well so when we went in I bought the group one where we’re looking at the camera, Becca bought both group ones and her solo one. Becca ended up going quite a bit over the budget in the end.

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As we’d queued so long to have our photo taken we now had to head back to Euston to grab lunch and head back home. We were both exhausted and kept falling asleep on the first train back but after that we had to change twice until eventually my Mum picked us both up from the station.

Overall it was an awesome weekend, it was great to see Cursed Child again (in better seats) and we’re already talking about going next year and visiting the Studios as well next time which would be so much fun. I’m already going to see the show again with Hirst in August and my friend Janie has mentioned going and seeing it but honestly there is no such thing as too many times with Cursed Child!