Tatty & Katie Take London 2015: Slytherins on Tour!

We’re hoooome! London was absolutely amazing. If you ever get the chance to do the Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros. Studios, definitely definitely go do it, because it’s fascinating and fantastic. I did a little vlog of the highlights on my own personal Facebook, but I figured I’d run through some of the best bits with you guys.

Slytherincrest

Day 1 – Travel, Arrival and First Night

So the train ride down to London was a little delayed, so it took us about five hours instead of three to actually arrive in London. Taryn and I had opposite aisle seats with a table, and as the window seats were vacant, we figured we’d shimmy along so we could get a better view of the British countryside. Of course, this lasted about half an hour, until two obnoxious older men boarded, and basically told us to move. Didn’t ask, no. Told. Wow. After realising one of them was extremely hungover, we returned the rudeness by eating Doritos as loudly and as messily as possible.

So they eventually left at their stop. They did apologise, and because we’re Northern we both sort of went “Oh, no, it’s okay! Don’t worry about it!” while brushing Dorito crumbs off our shirts.

And then another couple boarded. This time, an American mother and daughter who were also heading down to London. And, because geekiness brings people together, we discovered that they two were Harry Potter fans, so we chatted and talked and pretty much became friends 😀 oh, and of course I plugged The Old Ways to them. The mother was a librarian back in the states, so she seemed really interested. They were great fun 😀

So we arrived in London, and stepping off the train thought that somehow we had ended up in Spain. Oh my goodness, it was so HOT. I think the temperature jumped about 20 degrees. I was foolish enough to wear tall boots and socks and a black t-shirt, so I pretty much melted. This weather didn’t let up, either. It remained a bajillion degrees almost the entire weekend.

The view from our hotel window :D

The view from our hotel window

Our first night, we were also given a complimentary meal, for which we could choose any restaurant from an Imperial Franchise hotel. So we decided on a nice-looking hotel down the street. Okay, we’ll never do that again. The food, although it was nice, was kinda cold. The staff were beyond rude. And we were practically pushed out of the door without ceremony. There was no friendliness at all. Not one waiter smiled. We felt very intimidated. But, thankfully, it was the only time we felt uncomfortable during our trip.

Day 2 – Warner Bros Studios

This was the day we’d been building up to. The most exciting day of the whole weekend. The Harry Potter tour! Dressed, of course, in our Slytherin t-shirts (Slytherin Pride, yo!)

We had our breakfast and headed off. We arrived a little early, so we went to a cafe and had a cuppa while we waited. This place was nice. It was cute and cosy and a little small, but it felt quite homey, so we could relax here. Our tour bus arrived, and we headed off to the studio.

Would've been cool if it had been designed to look like the Knight Bus, but y'know :)

It was still blisteringly hot outside, so we shuffled along inside and milled about for a while. Eventually we got inside (a little late because of the length of the queue). The tour… wow. It’s apparently meant to last about 2 hours, but we stayed from 11:30 until about 3:30. Apparently the record is 13 hours?! :O

So we got the initial guided tour of the Great Hall (and got very offended when some people booed the Slytherin robes against the wall), and were set loose to look around at our own pace. General props and sets first, costumes, the Yule Ball, Dumbledore’s Office, the Gryffindor Dorm, Malfoy Manor, Borgin & Burkes, Diagon Alley. The full exterior of Privet Drive. The huuuuge door to the Chamber of Secrets.

I think our favourite part was the creature workshop, where all the animatronics, the waxworks, the creature designs, etc, were. I did, however, stagger back and had to grab onto Taryn when I saw the enormous model of Aragog. Not only did they HANG IT IN THE AIR LOOKING DOWN ON YOU, but it’s absolutely gigantic. I think it was bigger than my own living room. Which is really not cool when you have severe arachnophobia. However, I was distracted by the model of the Hungarian Horntail head, and the head of the basilisk.

aragog

MOVING SWIFTLY ON…

Gift shop, of course. My stepdad wanted socks, I bought him a Gryffindor pair. Bought some Harry Potter themed sweeties. Bought a wand. Cause why not? I really wanted Luna’s wand, but I ended up with Bellatrix’s instead. She’s my second favourite character 😀

Day 3 – Picadilly Circus, Rain, and The Return Home

By Day 3, we were both pretty exhausted. Day 2 had really taken it out of both of us, so we decided to have a little trip into the heart of the city and do some tourist-y things. We didn’t get that much time, so we ended up just walking around Trafalgar Square, taking a few pictures. We shuffled off to lunch at a posh little cafe where the cakes were so intricate I swear they’d been made by teeny tiny imps.

And then the heavens opened.

It bucketed down. I loved it. Every Londoner was running to hide under shelter. Taryn and I just went “meh” and walked out. I’ve danced in a lot worse, but it was refreshing and invigorating. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were drenched and ridiculously happy.

And then, of course, it was time to come home. One taxi-ride later (driven by possibly the world’s most depressed driver), we arrived at King’s Cross, boarded our butts onto the train, and came home.

But I think the best bit about this entire holiday was coming home to see my normally antisocial little kitty running towards me as soon as I walked in the door, chirping her little kitty head off, and planting big wet kitty kisses all over my nose.

I love my Loony Luna. And I’m so pleased she loves me too.

Blessed Be, my darling pixies!

RK )O(

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In Other News

I recently downloaded the new Nightwish album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. I don’t review music, so I won’t attempt to. It takes a true musician to review music properly.

But wow, EFMB is pretty fantastic. The new singer, Floor Jansen, has a wonderful voice, very operatic, and it takes their music back to its roots (back when Tarja was the lead singer). That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Anette Olzen. When she was their singer, their music was less “fantastical” and seemed to focus more on simplistic styles and lyrics, rather than poetry, folklore and fairy tales, but still they played some great songs. Amaranth continues to this day to be one of my favourite Nightwish songs.

I like both styles. I love all music, if I’m honest. Well… most music. I’ve never been a big fan of R&B or pop.

First song on the album, Shudder Before the Beautiful, has a full choir to provide a majestic contrast to Floor’s softer vocals. That doesn’t mean she can’t seriously belt out those powerful vocals with her awesome set of pipes.

I think my favourite song on EFMB is My Walden. It has a very sweet melody, almost like a lullaby. The lyrics always blow me away. I think it’s mostly the heavy Celtic influence, and the Welsh introduction.

Seriously, check it out if you enjoy well-written music or if you love fantasy. The lyrics read like a Yeats poem.

My Walden is swiftly followed by Élan. I think (if I remember correctly), they released a demo of this one before the album, so I heard this a few months ago. It’s beautiful. It was a taste of the epic grandeur of the new album.

Okay, that’s enough gushing about Nightwish. I saw them once in concert when Anette was the singer. It was a-may-zing! Tuomas smiled at me and I haven’t stopped fangirling since.

 

In other news…

Happy birthday to my best friend in all the world, Tatty! It’s only 9 days until Tatty and Katie Take London 2015: Slytherins on Tour!

It’s also only 21 days until my birthday, too! Eep! I get childishly excited about birthdays. I don’t know if it’s maybe just the promise of cake?

Aaaaaand 48 days until the official paperback release of The Old Ways!!! AAAAAAHHHHH! Who’s excited? I’m excited! Are you excited? You look excited! I’m excited AAH 😀

And it’s out of my system. For now.

Also, I have a little surprise for you darling pixies. You extra special ones who follow my blog and like my posts. Next week, instead of a blog post on Wednesday, there’ll be a super-exciting-special post on Tuesday 18th, where I will…

Are you ready?

antici

Are you ready?

pation

Couldn’t resist, sorry ^-^

 

RELEASE THE COVER FOR THE OLD WAYS!!!!

That’s right, you darling pixies get to see the front cover first! Unless you follow me on Facebook, and even then it depends which page you look at first.

(PS follow me on Facebook!)

BUT YAY OMIGOSH THE COVER! 😀

Super exciting, right? I’ve seen the original designs, it’s pretty gorgeous. Also, I’m still working on Age of Magic in the meantime, in between playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the billionth time (PS, please Bioware, release the new DLC for PS3!!! 😦 ) and marathoning Firefly on Netflix.

Blessed be, my darling pixies!

RK )O(

British Weather

It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It’s raining. It’s sunny. Hailstones. Thunder. Hellfire. I really wish British weather would make its mind up 😦

It’s reached that part of the year where I start out the day wearing two layers of nice warm clothing and my smexy black beret, then by midday the sun comes out in blazing glory and I sweat until I’m a puddle of ew.

Look at that disgustingly happy son of a bitch -_-

Look at that disgustingly happy son of a bitch -_-

Being a Northern gal, I don’t cope with the hot weather very well. Hence the reason why I’m not going abroad with my parents this year. My first ever time I’m not going away since I was about 10. Although I love going on holiday with my parents (contrary to popular belief, I do actually like them), I just can’t deal with how hot Spain and the Dominican and the Canary Islands are.

My most favourite holidays in the past few years have been when I’ve stayed in the UK. Definitely Scotland and Cornwall. Although, Cornwall, there’s a story…

Okay, so I’d always wanted to go to Tintagel, the mythical birthplace of King Arthur. We drove all eight hours down to Cornwall, to live in this beautiful cottage for a week. Admittedly, the cottage was tiny and full of abnormally large spiders. We (read: my stepdad) went through the entire house for the first hour to rid the place of the too-many-legs.

So, the first few days went fantastic, we travelled around Cornwall, finding ancient places and mystical secrets. Then the third day in, we received the news that my Grandfather had passed away in his sleep. As it’s quite distressing, I’m not going to go into it too deeply, but I just wanted to mention it because I’ve dedicated The Old Ways to him.

Sorry, had to take a moment, there.

Okay, so The Old Ways.

*takes deep breath*

WE HAVE A RELEASE DATE!!!

fireworks4

 

Mark this date on your calendars, my lovely pixies! 25th September for ebooks, and 29th September for paperback!

I will be throwing a party for the release. My mother has already appointed herself my Marketing Manager. It seems to be her life goal to make sure every single person on earth reads The Old Ways. I’m in two minds about this decision…

She’s already made a start on some leaflets that I can fashion into paper-planes and throw at people in the street. I can see the headlines now… “Local Author Violently Throws Paper at Passers-By”.

Also, it’s only … *counts* … 16 days until I go to London with Tatty! 😀 😀 😀 We’ve tentatively named our trip “Tatty and Katie Take London: Slytherins on Tour”

This is gonna be the most awesome trip ever 🙂

Blessed Be

RK )O(

Shameless Promo

Kashiaka

If any of my followers enjoy multiplayer online gaming, one of my close friends runs a very awesome stream on Twitch a few times a week (links below). The best thing about it is that she has very cool giveaways after every milestone! (Every 50 followers at the moment) 😀 Once she hits 200, one lucky person will win the game Letter Quest for Steam. (Steam if free to download if you don’t have it).

And after the release of The Old Ways, she’s going to be kind enough to promote it in one of her videos 😀 The perks of mutual promos!

Twitter

Youtube

Twitch <<< this is the one to follow to be in with a chance of winning the games!

 

Soooo, who’s excited for The Old Ways released next month? 😀 I sure am! I keep making these abhorrent squeaky noises for which I have to apologise a lot. Received some edits back from my publisher the other day.

I know it’s childish, but I really love the little notes she puts in the margins that say “I love this bit!” or “She’s my favourite character :D”. There was one instance where I got so happy I covered my face with my hands and made a noise that’s basically the verbal equivalent of “asdaghdgfnjxhdfiuahsdfb”.

How one actually makes that noise, I don’t even know.

 

In the meantime, Luna has found her new favourite hiding place in the house. Meaning, it’s inside my bed. No, I don’t mean under the covers. I mean INSIDE my bed. There’s a little cubby hole where spare duvets go, and of course, this in Kitty World means “OOH NEW BED”. Took us twenty minutes to coax her out the other night. With food and treats and flattery.

 

In Nerd-Land, I still haven’t seen Ant-Man. Have seen Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, though. Still prefer the first one. I think it’s the lack of Loki… On the plus side, it’s only 726 days until Thor 3: Ragnarok!

HOW LONG?!

 

And Once Upon A Time has announced the inclusion of Merida in the new season. Since she’s my favourite princess of the “NuDisney” movies, I really hope they don’t mess her up 😦 And there’s the whole “Merlin” plotline going on. If they mess him him, I’ll go absolutely spare. SPARE, I TELL YOU.

EDIT – “go spare” means “get really mad and/or go nuts”, for people who don’t speak crazy.

 

Also, it’s only two weeks until Tatome and I go to London! 😀 😀 😀 Two Slytherins on a trip to the South. As Northerners, we’re a little terrified of the sheer enormity. Well, I am. I keep hearing Londoners are really rude, is that true? I hope not 😦

Got my Slytherin t-shirt at the ready, though 😀

Wow this post ended up being so much longer than anticipated. I’m so sorry. Heh. No I’m not. Once I get going, that’s it. I’m away for ages. Reminds me of another Northerner with a penchant for rambling, actually…

That's Ross Noble, you heathens. PS check him out, he's hilarious :)

That’s Ross Noble, you heathens.
PS check him out, he’s hilarious 🙂

 

I’d best get back to editing. Blessed be, pixies!

RK )O(