Showing posts with label Geek. Show all posts

Wizarding Wardrobes at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Smashleighjayne


Yup. That's right. I went back to the Studio tour. Jealous much? JUST LOOK AT HOW HAPPY WE ALL ARE.

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If you follow the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Instagram, you'll have already had a glimpse at what Wizarding Wardrobes is. It's a chance to go behind the scenes of the wardrobe department. Initial sketches and final designs of some of the best costumes are on display and you are able to learn more about each piece and the inspiration behind them.


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back in July (yup, I'm rubbish again), I went to the event launch because clearly I am now best buds with the Studio Tour. Some of the designers themselves were there, including the legend that is Philip Treacy (*fangirls*) who completely sassed Erica (you really need to check out her A Muggle Reacts post, it's amazing) and rather begrudgingly but did it anyway, let me put on a Beauxbatons hat!

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Yup. Admit it. You hate me a little bit right now.

Rita Skeeter is one of my favourite characters, I love to hate her SO MUCH. Plus, her outfits through out the movies are just spectacular. From the Acid Green power suit that matches her acid tongue and the Quick Quotes Quill to the dragon inspired costume from teh first task in the Triwizard Tornament. For Rita, a lot of the inspiration came from the style of Vivienne Westwood and you can really see it.

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Wizarding Wardrobes is more than just the clothes themselves. We also got to meet the Makeup department, saw someone transformed into Bellatrix Lestrange and even got our own Dark Marks, we really are the coolest.

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Yeah, I'm evil now.

Words can't really describe the sheer hilarity of us becoming Horace Slughorn's armchair or running around with a tennis ball.. Dobby... or making Dobby do the time warp in the special effects department. You really couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces for the whole evening.

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LEANNE IS A CHAIR
If you also want to experience Wizarding Wardrobes at the Studio Tour, you have until 27th September, so you better get your butts in gear!

Being taken behind the scenes of the look and style of our favourite films truly was magical, but what made it even more so was, as always, being with my favourite nerds. We gave Erica a glimpse into our world and Emma got to visit the tour for the first time. Our whole evening was full of giggles, prosecco and wonder. And I couldn't be happier.


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If you'd like to see more Wizarding Wardrobes glee, make sure you check out Emma Inks and here's  Little Miss Katy's vlog for you too. Cue giggles.




*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the launch of Wizarding Wardrobes by the Studio Tour but I don't really need to tell you that the words are mine, right? I'm such a nerd, it's just a given now.

Force Friday II at John Lewis


As an utter nerd, there are a couple of days in the calendar that will always be celebrated in weird and wonderful ways. You have May 4th Be With You, Harry Potter's Birthday on 31st July, going back to Hogwarts on 1st September an, of course, there's Force Friday. This time, the second.

This Friday, John Lewis on Oxford Street not only held an exclusive event to showcase their new Star Wars range (toys AND tech) but they set up a pop up Cantina Bar complete with actors from Secret Cinema mingling in character costumes and serving you drinks at the bar. Do enjoy this picture of me with my new BFF Chewbacca. The height difference is just BEYOND funny.

Picture by Charlie, Distracted



LOOK HOW HAPPY I AM.

The Cantina was exactly as weird as you wanted it to be. C-3PO was in his little net on the floor, all broken up. Little weird creatures sat in cages, the Cantina Band made us all dance and there  were Twi'leks everywhere, all painted blue and green.



The Cantina served pretty much non-descript mystery drinks in what look like little potion bottles, one of them tasted like Christmas in a bottle! If you couldn't be bothered to queue,well, lucky you! You'd be able to spot the odd 'smuggler' walking around in full costume, sneakily slipping people drinks out of his satchel. It was like you were actually on Tatooine and just like Secret Cinema a few years ago when I was completely overwhealmed and so very happy I cried.



I had a dance with R2-D2, was force choked by Darth Vader, cuddled Chewbacca and ran around wanting all of the things. I was in such a happy place.

Now, this is just a fangirl post about the Cantina itself but I'll totally be following up with a post on my top 5 products that I totally need to get... if you also want to go to the cantina to geek out, don't worry your little cotton socks. It's open all weekend so get your butt down there!


What Harry Potter means to me: 20 years later



I have never hidden my love for Harry Potter, not once over the past 20 years. It's all a part of my charm, really.

From the "Boy who Lived" to "Nineteen Years Later", the Harry Potter books have been with me through everything and have shaped the person I am today. I have been to midnight releases, seen the play twice, become an ambassador for Lumos and I am still waiting for my Hogwarts Letter. Everything I am started with a few notes written on a napkin all those years ago.

There are a lot of people who dismiss the Harry Potter books as children's books which will always irritate me, they are so much more than that. These books introducted me to the most wonderful love and the most harrowing grief. They helped me to understand the horrors of the world even if I couldn't stop them. The held me as close as I held them and they kept me safe. Certainly not just a children's book.



When I first picked up these books at the age of 9, I had no idea, as cliched as this sounds, the journey I would go on. I had no idea that a book series would bring me so much happiness and also so much heartache. I didn't know that they would become a security blanket for all of the hardest moments of my life and I had no idea that at the age of 28, I would be as excited as I was yesterday when I finally bought my first set of robes.

I can't really explain why these tales of a boy wizard mean so much to me but I can tell you a few times I have needed them and how they helped me.

When I was little, I was quite smart, I don't mean like a child genius, but I was clever and as a result I was bullied. It didn't stop when I got older either. The same thing happened all over again when I went to Secondary School. As a kid, I automatically assumed something was wrong with me. Hermione Granger taught me there wasn't. When I was going through the motions again as a teenager, she reminded me there was nothing wrong with me. I used her as my inspiration to always aim for the very best. Yes, Hermione didn't have the best time for a while and also did a 'I'm running to the toilet to cry', but she was the 'brightest witch of her age'. Being smart was her strength and i would also be mine.



When I moved to University, I was afraid. Not as in, scared to death, but nervous. I was moving out of my home town and moving to a strange city where I knew NO ONE. I was alone. But then I remembered Harry's first journey on the Hogwarts Express. He was alone in a whole new world let alone a big city. He did alright, didn't he?

Last year, my Nanna got sick and passed away. The first thing I did when I was packing to go up to Scotland to see her was pack the The Prisoner of Azkaban. I bloody needed it. I had my own Dementors to fight and will do for a while over the coming months. I used it as my talisman. I used it to feel safe and strong. The Dementors are still there but I have my own little Patronus whenever I need it.



These are just a handful of times where I have needed these books. Not all the times I need them are hard either. I use Harry potter and the Philosopher's Stone as my travelling book whenever I'm going on a long journey. Gary and I have spent all day watching all of the movies and doing Harry Potter puzzles just because we can. I read it in the bath, I read it on the tube when I've had a tough day at work and I am always carrying at least one thing that is Harry Potter related.

I feel extremely proud an honoured that I am a part of a family beyond imagination. I've made some of my closest friends through our mutual love for these books. Harry Potter has given me strength so many times and I'm sure it will be the same for my children, when I'm finally brave enough to part with the exact copies I have held dear for so long.



I will be there when they find the Stone. When they close the chamber. When they save Sirius. when they join the Order. When they mourn for Dumbledore. when they mourn for them all. It'll be as real for them as it is for me.

Happy birthday, Harry Potter. Thank you, Jo.

What I wore to the House of Lords

Lumos Charity


I love any excuse to dress up really. I'm one of those people who still puts on fancy clothes to go to the theatre. Why not, eh?

Really, you don't get a better excuse to dress up than an oh so very casual invite to the House of Lords. That's right, the dudes with the fancy wigs.

The reason I was at such a fancy place is that earlier on in the year I was made an ambassador of J.K. Rowling's charity Lumos. Through Lumos I have been able to see the Cursed Child, meet their higher profile ambassadors such as Evanna Lynch and Warwick Davis, plan how I am going to raise further money and awareness and, most importantly, learn more about the work Lumos are doing in Moldova, Haiti in beyond. You can find out so much more about Lumos in my charity Gala post  right here.

I didn't want to go too overboard with my outfit, but still wanted to feel dressed up. What with the rush to sort everything out before work started, I decided to go with the exact same thing I wore to my last Orchestra performance of the year at the weekend. A mixture of cheap as cheeps and slightly more expensive but paid for with a voucher...


A dress/skirt combo for extra layers and something a little smarter than your standard LBD, The sparkly top bit is actually a woollen jumper dress from Primark that cost me a grand total of £8, the skirt itself is an Oasis number that I traipsed across what felt like the whole of London to find. Srsly.

The two together give extra swish and the ability to hide my drunken Henna errors... (work Christmas party drinks were had and poor decisions were made)

I'm SO happy with the combo in general. I felt so fancy but also comfortable. No time for choosing between the two.



My hair is the longest it has been in over ten years so I'm trying to learn how to do things with it. I mostly just know how to twist and plait (currently rocking milk maid plaits like a BOSS. I feel like Heidi) but at least I'm trying. The hair didn't work out the way I wanted it but the Gryffindor makes it work... right?


Yes, I'm mixing gold and silver which isn't really a thing but meh.

This is my new Lumos charm bracelet Gary got me for my birthday. The proceeds for each one go directly to the charity so being at one of their event was the perfect opportunity to show it off with pride. I do enjoy how you can add your House charm to it. Can you tell I'm a Gryffindor????

I can smarten up quite well I think!

How do you wear all black?

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London (Part Two) - Hogwarts in the Snow

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

It's not everyday you get to go to Hogwarts and casually sip prosecco in the Great Hall, is it? So when I was invited to go to Hogwarts in the Snow at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, I said 'yes' without even needing to think. I mean, it's Hogwarts.

Yes, I know I have already been there this year, but that's not the point. This time there was snow and it's every Potterhead's Christmas wish to be at Hogwarts for Christmas.

Donned in our scarves and other Harry Potter attire, it turned out that we had one from every house! I was there to represent Gryffindor while Charlie and Leanne were our Ravenclaws, Katy was Hufflepuff and Charlie's sister Becky was a Slytherin in disguise.

The Great Hall was as awe-inspiring as ever, made even better by the supply of food and booze and Christmassy spirit everywhere. I have decided that I desperately need Harry Potter themed crackers this year.

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

The famous Christmas feast was laid out for display, all handcrafted out of resin and ridiculpusly realistic looking. The best part was the Christmas puddings that were actually flaming!


JUST LOOK AT IT!

When we walked through to the art, props and sets I noticed some things had moved around that was a little disorientating but I was still absolutely amazed with everything. Especially the 'ice sculpture' from the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It just looks so cool!

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London


This time, we had the joys of doing something I have never done before. GET SILLY PICTURES TAKEN!



Just look at my 'I can't act' faces! It was so ridiculous but so much fun. I got to wear ACTUAL Gryffindor robes and Katy got to be a full blown Hufflepuff. We were beside ourselves with giggles on the Hogwarts Express and seeing Leanne's reaction to seeing the Hogwarts Express for the first time was just heart warming.

Skipping the butterbeer (I actually hate it, please don't kill me), we ran outside where we squaled like excited fangirls when snow started blowing out of the top of the Knightbus. I danced in the snow in Godrics Hollow. Could I have BEEN any happier? I also got the chance to piss of the Dursleys. Who wouldn't want that?


Who even is this youth loitering and DRINKING in Privet Drive? What is the world coming to?

You're probably getting sick and tired of photos of Hogwarts, especially if you follow me on Instagram! But... COME ON. Seeing it in the snow is incredible. It kind of looks like the most amazing gingerbread house. Kinda.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Don't you just wish it was real? And yes, I cried again but no, I am STILL not ashamed.

Laden with bags, a new Ravenclaw scarf for my cousin and filled with loads of new happy memories, we made our way home and reality had to be a thing again.

Hogwarts is my home and seeing it in the snow really was one off the bucket list. I can't wait to go back to the studio and relive it all over again.

Have you ever seen Hogwarts in the snow?






*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event for free but you all know I LOVE Harry Potter and I would have been a right idiot if I turned it down. 

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London (Part One) - A Harry Potter Fan's Dream



When I was 9 years old. I picked up a book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and I was hooked from the very beginning. Nearly 20 years later, I am still mourning how I never got my Hogwarts Letter and when things get bad my automatic reaction is to turn to that battered hardback with the faded cover which has been so loved over the years.

For my birthday last year, Gary surprised me with gift tickets to go back to the Warner Brother's Studio Tour and I couldn't be more excited. Even though I had already been there... so what?

If you haven't noticed from previous posts, I am a MASSIVE Potterhead, my September and October were probably the best months I have had all year because of this. I have been invited to be an ambassador for J.K Rowling's charity Lumos, I have seen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (twice) and then the Studio Tour just topped it all off.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is any Potterhead's dream. It's a museum to the legacy that is Harry Potter. A film franchise that spanned well over a decade and is still in the hearts for millions across the globe. And always will be


The moment those grand doors open and you walk into the ACTUAL GREAT HALL, is beyond awe-inspiring and it continues throughout your tour. The Great Hall itself is still kept as a 'hot set' so it's lit in the perfect way so even if you take a picture on your phone (like I did), it'll look amazing. I could spend HOURS in the Great Hall, There isn't really as much to see here compared to the rest of the tour but as it's the set itself, you can just imagine being at Hogwarts.


The rest of the tour takes you on a journey to even the tiniest details of the making of the Harry Potter films, from taking selfies in the Mirror of Erised, seeing the hand written books and copies of the Daily Prophet, potions labels and goblin masks that are so detailed they frighten me a little bit.



Now, I have been to the Studio Tour before. Three years a go with my equally as Harry Potter obsessed cousin and there was ONE thing we desperately wanted to see.

It's FINALLY here.

I finally got to see it.

I cried.

Don't judge me.


It's only the GOD DAMN HOGWARTS EXPRESS. Complete with steam, choo choo-ing and individual compartments decked out like in each film. My favourite being the compartment from The Prisoner of Azkaban with Ron's hand print on the frozen window.

Out in the back lot we get to see some of the larger sets. My favourite being the Knight Bus with its sign saying 'no where under water'. Privet Drive is obviously a must see as it's where our story pretty much began. It's such a sham I missed it when it was open. One day.. One day.



Who doesn't wish you could spend an evening exploring Diagon Alley? I certainly wish I could. At the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, you get to have at least a little bit of that moment. Gazing upwards at the kind of towering Gringotts and having a good chuckle when you see Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, a bright and glowing orange in such a huge contrast to the rest of the street. What would have made it even more perfect were if at least one of the shops were open. Maybe this would be something new for the future. Either way, I was pretty darn happy to be there and to run around pointing things out to Gary. How he put up with me, I will never know.


It's all so wonky, I love it!

Now, there is obviously the one main thing that every Harry Potter nerd wants to see and was certainly crying point number two for me. The scale model of Hogwarts itself. It's a bitter sweet moment really because it's my favourite part of the tour but also the last part of the tour, I don't like endings.


JUST LOOK AT IT! Words cannot describe the feeling you get when you turn the corner and are faced with the splendour of Hogwars all lit up like it was real. ('What is this, Hogwarts for ants?')

If you have never experienced the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, even if you're not a Harry Potter Nut like me, I strongly recommend you do. It's amazing to see the world we all know and love as though you're behind the camera. In fact... it's that time of year for Hogwarts in the Snow... Watch this space for more Harry Potter fueled fan girling and even more pictures of Hogwarts!

Have you ever been to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour? Which was your favourite part? 

FriendsFest!




A video posted by Ashleigh-Jayne O'Connell (@smashleighjayne) on

So no one told you life was gonna be this way...

*clap, clap, clap, clap*

Yup, you're going to have that in your head for the rest of the day now and I'm not even sorry.

YES! I know I went to Friends Fest AAAAAGES ago but generally being and adult and stuff has meant I have HAD NO TIME.

For the majority of twenty-somethings out there, Friends was and always will be a major part of our lives. Quotes from the series have become key parts of our vocabulary and as we 'grow up', we find ourselves relating more and more to the characters and their story arcs.




When Friends Fest first came along, we tried desperately to get tickets and failed. This time, Charlie, Distracted being the best ticket person ever managed o nab some up and e were all pretty darn excited.

The journey to East London was a bit of a pain (North London, Baby!) but it was absolutely worth it.

We were booked to view MONICA'S APARTMENT at 6:45 but first there were obviously photo opportunities to be had (where I hit poor Katy in the face with an umbrella) and Boomerangs... that took three attempts.


Just look at Pablo, he's so Bangarang.

Monica's apartmrnt was amazing, they had gone to stupid levels of detail including sticking Rachel's 'Trifle' recipe to the fridge and putting copies of The Shining  and Little Women in the freezer.





The staff weren't that great though. We were pretty much rushed out the second we stepped over the threshold. #Rude.

Following on from Monica's apartment we went through to the Chick and Duck bar which included iconic items from Joey and Chandler's apartment including Rosita, the Canoe and the entertainment unit locked up with a hockey stick. Poor Joey.






The cocktails in the bar were expensive for the small amount of booze you got but had hilarious names, and you got bonus points if you asked for them with passion. I went for the Smelly Cat but was debating the PIVOT! We later worked out that is was better value for money to buy two bottles of Prosecco and split it. We're geniuses.

I have no idea what I am doing with my legs...

My favourite bit was possibly Central Perk and 'marrying' Charlie after 14 years of friendship. All in all, it was just a FABULOUS evening but the company made it 1000 x better.

#BangarangForLife