Being a Harry Potter Fan as an adult

Being a Harry Potter Fan as an adult

St Dunstan in the East London

I know, I know. Being a grown up Potterhead isn't exactly big news or something new. But hear me out a bit.

There have been a couple of times this month alone where I feel people have mocked my life choices. They have blatantly taken the piss out of  my sheer passion for this fictional world that sometimes feels more like home than anything else.

I've had someone flat out laugh at me when I told them I was a big fan, someone say 'the funniest part of that was you looking so serious' when I told them I wore Gryffindor robes in Christ Church College and someone say it's time to stop acting like a kid.

I'm sorry, but screw you.

St Dunstan in the East London

I feel like I have had constant debates with people over whether or not Harry Potter is for kids. As much as I believe it's not, that's down to the individual person at the end of the day. But whether or not you think it is for children, it doesn't make it OK for you to make me feel small.

I have a passion for something and I don't think that's something to be ashamed of. I'm sure if I also spoke to people about my love for Shakespeare, travelling or even computers games, I wouldn't be met with nearly as much mockery as I do when they find out about the Harry Potter world I am enveloped in.

Sure, I don't try to hide it from people, but why the hell should I? People wear football shirts and talk about the latest controversy on XFactor without feeling like they should hide what they're interested in so why should Harry Potter be any different?

The Harry Potter world is something that's grown far beyond that last page and the grounds of Hogwarts. And it's growing every day. We have a whole swathe of people from my generation who have named their children Harry and Hermione. We also have a bunch of much stronger young people as a result of being inspired by the heroes and heroines within those pages.

Even the March For Our Lives protests in America this year could be partly attributed to the strength gained from Harry Potter. The young people mobilised and marched onwards with placards quoting 'Expelliarmus!' and 'Dumbledore's Army Still Recruiting'. There are real life 'Death Eaters' in this world, and there's a whole generation of people ready to fight back. 

Yes, pretty much 30 and I like Harry Potter. I like to dress up, buy wands and cuddly toys. I read the books every year and have been to the Studio Tour more times than anyone I know. But it's all OK. I'm perfectly happy with the way I am. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's wrong or silly. I've had so many opportunities and life experiences gained from this world of magic and I will continue to show my love for it.

Maybe soon I'll stop feeling hurt when people laugh at me but until then, I'll just seek solace in the Prisoner of Azkaban, remember 'Expecto Patronum' and carry on.

Things to do on a weekend in Prague

Things to do on a weekend in Prague

exploring the grounds of Prague Castle

It seems like bloody forever ago that I went on my first 12 in 12 trip! Especially considering I booked everything back in September... After years of wanting to go and going through a touch of Instagram envy, I finally got to experience this pretty city for myself, with one my favourite person in the world too!

From the second we were in our taxi from the airport and driving down the hills and winding streets to our hotel, I had already decided that I was in love with Prague. A journey down was fill of bright colours, some tired looking buildings (which I love). It really doesn't take much to please me, does it?

We stayed in Praha 5 at the NH Prague City hotel which was roughly 20 minutes from the airport and a walkable distance from the Old Town. That part isn't the prettiest of neighbourhoods but the hotel itself was lovely. I was mostly excited about the cable car between the two different parts of the hotel, but I was devastated to learn that it was out of service when we arrived. Bloody refurb.

Spending a weekend in Prague can be easily done, obviously depending on what you want to do! Personally, I felt the two days and a bit we had there weren't quite enough, there's a lot we missed and I really wanted to do ALL THE THINGS. If you're going for around the same time, here are a couple of suggestions. But there is so much more.

Try the local brews

Czech Republic is well known for its pilsner, but there's also a growing craft beer scene. I actually had one of the best beers I have ever tasted in the Three Roses pub in the old town. All the beers they sell are brewed in the pub itself and there's even a little family tree of everything they have ever made as well as the person who made it. 

It was our favourite place to go for a quick pit stop between tourist-ing and the staff are so friendly. They made you feel at home in a way and were full of jokes all the time. I 100% recommend it to all beer fans out there.

Tasting locally brewed beer in prague
This is not the Vienna Red but it's still pretty tasty

One little thing, though. We noticed that the menus didn't have percentages on them so LORD KNOWS how strong the beer we were drinking was. No wonder we felt tipsy most of the time!!

Also, bars and pubs run on a tab system so try not to make a tit out of yourself like I did and think you pay in rounds...

Goulash for days

Not gonna lie, I lived on it. I know it's the ultimate cliché when tourists visit Prague but it has been one of my favourite dishes for a while so I loved having it in the place it was born, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Traditional Goulash in Prague

As with every where, it can be difficult to tell which restaurants are obviously tourist traps (like all the Angus Steak houses in London...) and which are local specialists. The gem we found on our last day was Restaurace Mlegnice right near the Old Town Square. There were queues out the door at one point and we ended up sharing a table with two other couples. The food was the best I'd had all the weekend  so it's no wonder it's on Culture Tip's best restaurants in Prague list. (note, this is also how we found out about it...) 

Catch the Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle

Yes, I know. not exactly everyone's kinda thing and we all know and we Londoners occasionally laugh at the swarms of people who hang around outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, but I do love a bit of Pomp and Circumstance and a Marching Band. 

Prague Castle Changing of the Guard

The actual changing of the guard happens at 12pm but it can get really busy so don't be surprised if you have to queue to get into the castle afterwards! 

Actually go in to the Castle Grounds

If only for the architecture, it's worth a visit. Gary and I weren't too fussed about going in to the actual castle, we were more than happy to just wander and #LookUp.

For one thing once you finally get to the castle, the view alone makes those bastarding steps absolutely worth it. 

Prague Skyline

I mean, look at that.

Within the Castle Grounds, there's way more to do than we had time to. This is mostly due to us sleeping through our alarm and not arriving in the time we planned. There the St. Vitus Cathedral that we only saw from the outside... parts of it were under refurbishment and the one part that was open to the public had the world's biggest queue!

St Vitus Cathedral Prague

St Vitus Cathedral Prague Castle

There's also Golden Lane which was top of my list to see. It's one of the oldest parts of the castle and from what I've seen online, it's just so cute.

I can't give you a personal opinion on this one or any of the pretty photographs I planned to take... we didn't get to go. This is reason #86767907 we'll be going back to Prague. If only for the Instagram.

Visit Charles Bridge

View of Charles Bridge from the river

Possibly one of the most popular spots in Prague, it's constantly busy. When Gary and I arrived on the Friday (at Golden Hour, BOOM) it was rammed. We decided to get there a little earlier the next day but it was STILL busy. We went a long it anyway and I took as many pictures as I possibly could. My one recommendation for you would be to get there at bum fuck early. 

Charles Bridge Architecture

For more things we wanted to do but didn't get to...

The Astronomical Clock

The one thing I wanted to do and it's UNDER REFURBISHMENT!! A large portion of the clock and Tower itself is being reconstructed until June 2018 and parts of the Town Hall will also be closed.

My heart broke when I saw the Scaffolding all over it so here is an advanced warning to you, you might not get to see it. 

Painted ceiling of the Old Town Hall in Prague

For one small stroke of luck, Gary and I were still able to actually go UP the tower and in to the Town Hall. It wasn't the same but still very pretty and once again, delivered on stunning views over toe Old Town Square

Prague Old Town Square

The Jewish Cemetery

When I was researching places to go and things to see, this was pretty much near the top of every list. However, we arrived a little too late. The Cemetery and Synagogue close early on a Friday in preparation of Sabbath the next day. As we left again on the Sunday, we didn't have time to re-arrange our visit.

All around it are a bunch of antique shops and Jewish bakeries (all were closed for us) so if you get to go yourself, let me know where the best places to go are!

 If there's one piece of advice I could give you about visiting Prague, it would be to realise that everywhere is really easy to get to so make sure you get yourself lost. You never know what you're going to find down any cobbled streets. See all the things, drink all the beer and have all the food. Have the BEST time. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to start looking up flights so I can go back. 

Above the City on the London Eye

Above the City on the London Eye

London Eye VIP

NGL, the London Eye has never interested me, even at the height of its novelty in the early 2000s. It didn't interest me either when I worked for their sponsor in 2016! I've always thought of it as a giant, overrated Ferris Wheel. At one point, I was flat out refusing to go on it.

But I went on it. I caved and went on it. Mostly because Milly offered me a spot in her private booth.

I suck.

Millennium Bridge London

Despite being strongly against a trip up the London Eye for so long, I have made it a mission to step out of my comfort zone in quiet little East Finchley, to see more and spend more time in the city I have called home for over a decade. Even if that means falling into over priced Tourist Traps.

I wouldn't say the London Eye experience surprised me, it pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin, but the views are most definitely worth it. It was nice to see London from another perspective.

There was definitely a couple of things I enjoyed that truly made the trip.

Coca-Cola London Eye

We had our own private booth which meant we were able to run around and see every angle as well as giggle with ourselves. I'm not entirely sure how many people the capsule can hold, but I do think it would have been a less enjoyable experience if we had been crammed in with other people.

It reminded me of why I loved London. I mean, our city is stunning from every angle but seeing it from above made you really take in the splendour of the whole thing.

The people I went with. I really do have some of the best friends to enjoy everything and this time we even took the boys. It is funny to have the boys with us, it gives them a moment to not only appreciate how much effort goes into creating content constantly, it also gives Gary and I a chance to do more together. Full time jobs and busy schedules (mostly mine) restricts us a tad.

We also got to being you this 'Behind the Insta' shot. Good ol' Instagram Husbands.

London Eye

London Eye

In short, I still think it's overrated but I wouldn't be entirely against going back on it. I do think the cost is a little ridiculous for what you get and how it really is just a giant Ferris Wheel but going with great people makes it an experience to remember.

Have you ever been on the London Eye?