Heavily Pregnant At A Summer Wedding, Reviewing My Outfit Choices And How I Coped


Being Heavily Pregnant At A Summer Wedding,

Reviewing My Outfit Choices And How I Coped During The Day

I very recently attended a family wedding, which was really lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the evening. However being heavily pregnant there were some precautions that I needed to take for my safety, and also some decisions I had to make that some people might not have considered for themselves.

I wanted to write this blog post for two reasons, one is to review the items that I bought for my outfit and why I chose them. And reason two is because I hadn’t thought about some things until I was being a sensible adult and realised that quite a lot could be over looked. So I am sharing my experiences with you all today in this honest post.

Firstly I want to talk about my outfit. I’ve been quite lucky in regards my pregnancy, I haven’t put on a great deal of weight and I am mostly bump! However this proved tricky for me when I was shopping for maternity wear dresses…

Most places have taken into consideration people who may have gained weight all over, especially on certain areas like the bottom and boobs! However this isn’t me, and I tried on several beautiful items that sadly just made me feel like a sack of spuds! They gave me no shape or were too baggy in most areas…

So… then I decided to do a BooHoo order of two of their Maternity dresses, and there was one dress that fitted me well and I finally got some of my confidence back. Any pregnant woman will tell you, your confidence goes down after the second trimester, because everything makes you feel like your bump is massive (even if it isn’t) and I just wanted to flaunt my great figure and my bump too! But I just had to find something that made me feel like that.

Out of the two dresses I had from BooHoo the first fitted perfectly when I had my shoulders back and I stood tall, it was however a little low cut with a v-neck style. I knew how I wanted to fix this and decided to take myself off to New Look.

New Look always have what I want, I very rarely go into the store and come out empty handed. What I wanted to buy was either a crop top, vest or cami top that was pretty and high neck, and something that suited the dress too! My plan was to wear the top underneath and it look like it was just part of the dress. I wasn’t disappointed when I found the perfect top, and not only was it a great price, but I also got into my pre-pregnancy size because (as I mentioned) I haven’t put much weight on on my chest at all…

Finally I needed a pair of shoes to go with the dress and a cardigan if it were to be a cooler day. It was a good job that I bought a nice cardigan in the end because it turned out to be a rather windy day! And as for the shoes… well I got these gorgeous pregnancy friendly flat ballet shoes half price! What a successful shopping trip.

My ensemble of these items ended up looking like this… and I was very happy and comfortable (which was my main aim!) with what I chose. This is the practice dress up, I had leggings on in this image but swapped for tights on the actual wedding day. I also decided to add a white rose accessory clip in order to hold the dress snugly to the top underneath it.

✩ Clothing Reviews ✩


Name: White Maternity Polka Dot Wrap Smock Dress
Details: Available in White, Black or Terracotta. This dress sports half sleeves and an all over Polka Dot style. Total length is 92cm (36.5″). Available in Sizes 8 to 16.
Materials: 95% Viscose and 5% Elastane.
Purchased: Online at BooHoo
Price: £15.00
Link BooHoo Website

Material Quality 5✩
Overall Design 5✩
Overall Fit 4✩
Value for Money 5✩

I really liked the overall style of this dress and I would most definitely wear it again. The material might be a little thin but it’s just what you need for summer. It’s soft and comfortable to wear and the skirt section flows just enough to make you feel feminine – even with a baby bump!

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Name: Pink Sheer Lace Bow Ballet Pumps
Details: These type of shoes are available in many Colours and Styles but the Pink has Low Stock online – check your local stores. Available in Sizes 3 to 8. Sheer Design with Bow on the front. Black still available online.
Purchased: In Store at New Look
Price: £5.00 – £8.00
Link New Look Website

Material Quality 5✩
Overall Design 5✩
Overall Fit 5✩
Value for Money 5✩

I really like the pretty lace on these shoes, they aren’t just attractive though they are so comfortable to wear too. The price was excellent and I would happily wear them throughout the summer with any outfit they would go with. I already own many different colours and styles of this exact fitting shoe, I always go back to New Look when I need new versions, usually this is to match one to an outfit that I don’t already have a pair for.

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Name: Pink Jersey Longline Cardigan
Details: Available in many Colours and Styles (online currently in Pink or Pale Blue). Available in store in Sizes 6 to 18. These cardigans are soft and have two nice large pockets one on either side. They are long sleeved and lightweight, ideal for Summer.
Materials: 96% Viscose and 4% Elastane.
Purchased: In Store at New Look
Price: £12.99
Link New Look Website

Material Quality 5✩
Overall Design 5✩
Overall Fit 5✩
Value for Money 5✩

These cardigans from New Look wash and wear really well. Would you believe me if I said I owned fourteen of these now? I have collected this style for over the past ten years, and whenever New Look release a new colour I usually buy it! I wanted this lovely light pink to go with my outfit and I am always pleased with this type of cardigan.

 

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Name:
 Black Crochet Neck Ribbed Cami Top
Details: Available in the Colours or Black, White, Olive and Pink. Available in Sizes 8 to 18. A pretty top that is ideal for Summer, Crochet is in this year. Wear alone on a hot day or pair with other clothing to add a textured touch (like I did with my dress).
Materials: 95% Cotton and 5% Elastane.
Purchased: In Store at New Look
Price: £8.99
Link New Look Website

Material Quality 5✩
Overall Design 5✩
Overall Fit 5✩
Value for Money 5✩

I was impressed with this cami top. Due to my baby bump I wouldn’t be able to wear it on it’s own this summer. However underneath other clothing to fill in gaps like I have done with my dress for this particular outfit, it works perfectly. It fitted really well and was comfortable too. Being mostly cotton I expected it to be of a good quality and it certainly was, it washed well too.

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How I Coped During The Long Day

My main tips for coping during long days out are to carry a water bottle with you. In the summer it’s even more important to stay hydrated. Make sure that you take regular seated breaks to avoid any unnecessary swelling of your feet and ankles, especially if it’s a warm day. Make sure those who are attending with you know how to help you if you need it.

It’s a good idea to bring your hospital bag and notes with you in your vehicle if you’re going to be a long way from home for more than a few hours. At my stage of pregnancy I could easily have gone into labour, better to be prepared. Also look up your nearest hospital or maternity unit just in case!

I made sure that my outfit was lightweight overall and that I was comfortable from my head to my toes. Nothing was too restricting or tight. Another top tip of mine is make sure you do a test run of the outfit before the day, that way you can see if there are any issues with it that you may want to fix.


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I hope you have enjoyed reading this post today. Have a great day!

✩ Sabrina 

 

Windsor Castle Day Trip

REVIEW WEEK ON SEVERN WISHES


A Day Trip to Windsor Castle

During April I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend away with family. We decided that since we were staying close to Windsor Castle we would visit and spend the day there. Having not been to Windsor as an adult I jumped at the chance to experience this amazing place.

We got up early from our stay at the Premier Inn, had a good breakfast and got ready for our day trip. We were a little disappointed by the weather on the day that we went to Windsor, it was very wet with rain showers and fairly cold too. However the Castle was still looking incredible in all it’s splendor.


I took many photograph’s of the outside of the Castle, you are unfortunately not allowed to take images inside the buildings. So I will write reviews of the sections that I visited even if I don’t have an image to show you, and use my photographs that I have gotten to break up my day.

We booked our tickets online so that we could attend the fastest queue to get into the Castle. I can definitely recommend you doing this, it saved us hours of queuing time, although we have to queue for almost an hour. This was due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend and the whole town was busy. You also have to go through a search with yourself and your bag before being allowed into the castle.

There are beautiful stone walls, trees and sections of garden to look upon. As you walk around the Castle you cannot believe the sheer size of the place.

Walking around the Castle grounds you can see St George’s Chapel. It was an incredible place to walk through, steeped in both British and Royal history. The stained glass windows were beautiful, and I couldn’t believe how detailed the chapel was throughout its interior.

Here is a photograph of mine from the outside, due to the rain its Gothic splendor looking even more incredible. And as you can see by the crowds heading inside the weather does not put the tourists off.


My family and I decided we wanted to go inside the Castle, just to witness and experience exactly what it was like. Rooms were filled with all sorts of Paintings and Tapestries as well as Furniture from all centuries. The Castle is so old so you can imagine the pieces you can bestow, such as Clocks, Cabinets and China.

I was very impressed by the rooms, although it was so busy we just had to keep steadily flowing with the traffic of people. We didn’t get to hang around in one particular room, but the things that stick in my mind after my visit were the cabinets filled with incredible China, the restored sections of the Tower that was once destroyed in Fire, and the many pieces of Armor and Weapons that were on the walls.

We were also very lucky to see the changing of the guard when we finished our tour of the Castle interior. These people are very disciplined in their job, it was a fascinating sight to see.


The only disappointing thing for us was the lack of facilities. Being pregnant I expected to see more toilets and also perhaps areas to sit and rest and refresh, to get drinks and snacks. But there was only one small place that we found, that sold souvenirs, water bottles and ice cream. This was a shame and it meant that we left the Castle earlier than we had planned to go and find nourishment after walking around for several hours.

Before we left I managed to have a photograph in front of the Castle Postbox!


Here are some interesting facts that I learnt about Windsor Castle.

1. Windsor Castle is currently home to HM Queen Elizabeth II and her family. Other prior Royals to have resided there include forty others, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The original monarch to live in the Castle was Henry I, and Henry VIII regularly visited during his lifetime and stayed in the Castle grounds.

2. The windows were all blacked out during World War II, this was partially to protect the Royal Family who still remained inside at night time – although this was not public knowledge at the time of the war – and a lot of the famous china and art work such as the paintings were all moved away to protect them from potential bombings.

3. Back in 1992 there was a fire in one of the towers of Windsor Castle. Over 100 of the rooms were either damaged by the fire itself or by the water used to extinguish it. It cost almost £40 million to restore the Castle to its former glory.

4. Windsor Castle is both the largest and oldest inhabited Castle in the World, and it was originally built around 1000 years ago. St George’s Chapel is located in the Castle walls and was built from the late 15th century to the early 16th. It has a Gothic style and is breathtakingly beautiful with many stained glass windows.


2018 Opening Times

1st November – 28th February – 9.45 until 16.15 (Last Admission 15.00)

1st March – 31st October – 9.30 until 17.15 (Last Admission 16.00)

Ticket Prices

Adult – £21.20
Over 60/Student (Valid ID) – £19.30
Under 17/Disabled – £12.30
Under 5 Free
Family (2 Adults & 3 Children Under 17) £54.70

To Book or check other information you can visit this website.


I realise I am submitting this Review and Travel Post of Windsor Castle on a very special day, the day of The Royal Wedding! It felt appropriate seeing as I was only there recently myself. So to Harry and Meghan – Congratulations! Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have ever been to Windsor yourself why not leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

 Sabrina 

The Baby and Toddler Show at Event City in Manchester – Our Experience and Our Purchases

The Baby and Toddler Show at Event City in Manchester – Our Experience and Our Purchases

When my husband suggested we visited a baby show in order to get some ideas on baby purchases, I jumped at the chance to try some products out and begin to look at what we wanted to get for our baby. The closest two for us were Manchester and Birmingham, however I felt the one at Birmingham Event was too close to our due date.

The Baby and Toddler Event is sponsored by Emma’s Diary, and you receive a free pack from them for attending the event. We booked tickets online, it was cheaper to do that and by doing so we also got a discount. Check out the link at the end of my blog for more information on the tickets and next show available. Until then…

Here is a look at the show and a map of the general layout at Event City.

What I Thought Of The Venue

Event City is easy to get to from the Trafford Centre, if you use the main directions on a sat nav you cannot miss the Event City signs. Event City is just off from one of the main roundabouts at the Trafford Centre ring road.

It was a clean area and the arena was big enough for the stalls without you feeling like you were sardines at all times. Not only was there enough room but the stalls had adequate room for their samples and stock to be displayed.

The parking was ample at Event City but we were on the overflow car park because the tarmac part was full even an hour after the show opening.

There were some companies doing product demonstrations which were particularly useful to us. It was also good to see so many passionate people who were selling their products and who had a good knowledge base. In my opinion these stalls were the best, directly explaining how their products work.

Several talks from experts also went on during the show and times were available in the brochure.

There was a brochure and a board which had the map layout for the floor which was handy too. Because there were a good number of stalls, some for baby related items and some for toddler, we tended to stick to those that would be relevant for us.

Facilities for Pregnant Women

There were toilets by the entrance and a fairly large dining area situated in the centre of the arena with plenty of tables and chairs for people to sit.

Freebies from the Show

Emma’s Diary Bump to Baby Pack 2
Aqua Wipes pack of 12 baby wipes
AproDerm Barrier Cream 30g

Emma’s Diary Pack Bump To Baby

Included the following items;

Pack for £5: Made for Mums

Included in this pack that you order for £5 when you order tickets;

Items That We Purchased

While going around the show we witnessed several excellent demonstrations such as Snugglebundl and Poddle Pod. Although having followed both of these brands on Facebook for some time, I wanted to see the items for myself before making any purchases. My husband and I were most impressed by these two brands and bought both products. I do plan to review both of these items once our baby has arrived. So watch out for those reviews later in the summer.

Here are some images and information on all the products that we came home with.

Snugglebundl Blanket in Grey with white Stars £32.99

Poddle Pod and Elephant Cover £34.99

The Sleepybobo – Gerry the Giraffe – 2 items – £19.00

Bibs at Funky Giraffe – 6 Bibs for £10

Bibs at Zippy Bibs – 2 for £5

Our Event City Baby Show Haul!

Overall I was happy that we went to the show, and very happy to have purchased the above items. Not only did we get some cool freebies but we have also made a start on the items for our baby, and that was our main goal. We managed to enjoy some of the facilities at the Trafford Centre afterwards with it being next door, and really made a day of it.

The next one is being held at Birmingham NEC from the 18th to the 20th of May 2018, if you’re considering going or to book tickets, or just to see more information about the event click the link below.

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope that you have enjoyed looking at our purchases and reading about our experience at the show. If you have any questions feel free to comment, I will answer them if I can, if not check out the link below.

 Sabrina 

Emma’s Diary Baby Show Page

My Trip to Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour, Experience and Review

My Day Trip to Warner Brothers Studios for the Harry Potter Tour at Leavesden Studios, at Watford Near London.

Welcome to my Travel and Lifestyle post outlining my experiences at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, with some of my photography. As well as an insight into my childhood growing up with this amazing literature adventure.

I went with my husband on the August 2017 Bank Holiday Weekend, and I paid £101.85 for the privilege of two “The Complete Adult Tour” Packages including the Paperback Souvenir Guide and Digital Guide to go around the studio with. That includes the £3.95 I paid to have all of my tickets posted to me. I spent £49.80 on souvenirs afterwards, but we will get to those at the end…

My Visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and My Personal Reasons for Going
It was an experience that I had been waiting for for a considerable time. The chance to go to Leavesden Studios near London, was on my bucket list. And not just for the one reason that’s obvious. Everyone who grew up reading the Potter franchise, either for themselves or with their own children, knows that these books hold a part of your soul that you gave away while becoming completely engrossed in the world of Hogwarts and Harry. J.K Rowling managed to do what very few authors can, and this was to create a world that so many people (both young and old) fell in love with. Although it was a frightening place to reside at times during the books, people longed to go there, and we all had our own visions of what it would be like…

For me though, it’s way more than that. The reason is that I had hoped to one day work at the studio. I remember applying to audition for the original Harry Potter film, but on my returned letter it stated that I was 6 months too old to audition, and that other older roles had already been filled. My dream was shattered. I had applied to audition for any part and was offering to be an extra as well, I was happy to travel as my parents knew how much it meant to me, and had supported me if I was chosen.

Sadly I was never lucky enough to be an extra, though I tried countless times and for the majority of the films whenever they opened up a casting. So I gave up on that dream for a time, and I stuck to my reading and writing with occasional stage work too as a teen. Still, I longed to be a part of that world…

Those days of being on stage are also sadly behind me now because of health reasons. And when I went to University aged 19 I had the choice of going down the drama route or to follow my other creative passion, which is photography. And I chose the latter. I still write though and I hope to one day have something published.

I think if anyone ever made my books into films I would love to be like Peter Jackson, who appeared in numerous scenes as an extra throughout his time directing The Lord of the Rings franchise. That would be completing two of my dreams in one go, I still live in hope of all of it…

So for the past two years I’ve tried my utmost to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, between work commitments and poor health, every time I’ve had to postpone or rearrange… but this August Bank Holiday I was determined to go. I had to book it two months in advance due to the summer holidays but it was something to look forward to.

What made it more real was the tickets arriving in the post, they were unique and creative and I felt like I was holding a part of the experience already. I thought it felt like an age away, but it was soon here and upon us. My husband offering to drive us down so I agreed and became my usual organised freak self, I did my maps and my travel times and planned out our day.

When you pull up to the studio’s you’ll notice that only advanced bookings are allowed and that security check your tickets on arrival. From there you park up in front of what looks like a mixture between an air craft hanger and a business distribution headquarters. The only give away are statues out front and several rather large Harry Potter film related posters…

The whole studio is neatly laid out and the main atrium is large and welcoming. The actors and characters portraits are all looking down on you from the high walls above. The Weasley Car (one of the many used) is suspended in the air above one corner, and you have a feeling of awe before you’ve even gone past the foyer.

I couldn’t help but wonder how people with no knowledge of the books would ever feel at home here. But as I said to my husband, (who has seen the films but read zero words on any of the books pages), to take the studio as it is, for its magnificence and marvel at the creativity, the hard work and the talent that has gone into making every single aspect of it.

Having purchased tickets that included a paperback guide and a digital guide, we decided to headphone it up and get into the queue. We would pick up our book guides at the gift shop at the end of our tour (as suggested by a staff member) so we didn’t have to carry them around.

So as we queued up initially to start the tour I was amazed by just how many people there were. There had to easily be 200 people going in to each tour slot. Plus there were always things to read, see or listen to, even while you waited. Quotes from J.K.Rowling and the famous “Cupboard Under the Stairs” can be admired as you queue for the beginning of you tour.

Once inside the introduction area you are met with many television screens on the walls placed vertically and acting as cinema posters, showcasing the Harry Potter film franchise in every language they were released in. It was fascinating to see how the posters looked, advertising the various movies in their country, some were rather different than ours.
Next our tour guide gave us a brief introduction into the do and don’t of the studio. Of course it contained the usual rules of, “Please don’t pass any barriers” and “Don’t reach over and touch the costumes” things like that. Common sense but essential reminders for those who might get a little carried away with the magic. There was also a no food and drink policy and only one main rule encouraging you to take as many photographs as possible and to share them. No problem for me, I thought, and by the end of my tour I was suitably satisfied with the 1,200 images I had taken.

So the next part I don’t want to spoil for those of you who have yet to visit, all I will tell you is that it begins with a door…

As you enter the start of your Harry Potter studios tour you are welcomed with a familiar sight, and one that I had imagined in my mind since I was eleven years old, when I first read The Philosophers Stone, that room is of course The Great Hall. Obviously missing the incredible magic sky in the ceiling, but this room is so iconic to the movies and an essential part of the Hogwarts Castle. If you think back to how many incredible things happen in this Great Hall, then you will understand why I got goosebumps as I walked through it.

Set around the room are two of the amazing long tables and benches, that had once been filled with the actors as they were being filmed. Now they stand in testament to all those hours of rolling film, still set out as though students would soon be filing in for dinner. Fake flames flicker up the walls from the metal burners along the sides, and the original flagstone floor remains underfoot. Some of the actors costumes are situated further down in the hall, and I was in awe of their details. Even the alter with the Owl that Sir Richard Harris (the original and wonderful Dumbledore) stood at in the first two films, along with his costume, and that of several of the other teachers too, remain in excellent condition for all to see. The details were incredible!

As you finish The Great Hall you notice some doors off to the left, these lead you on to the rest of your tour. I took one last look back at The Great Hall as I went through the doors into the rest of the studio… I hope this image shows you the scale of this incredible room.

I won’t go into every little detail of this next enormous section, but I will however give you a list of some of the rooms and the things you will encounter here.

Hair and Makeup and Especially Wigs
Wands and their Wizards
The Gryffindor Common Room
The Gryffindor Tower and Beds
More Costumes – Mostly Gryffindor and/or Teachers
Dumbledore’s Office
The Pendulum Clock
Potions Class
Paintings and Stairs
The Leaky Cauldron
Hagrid’s Hut
Musical Instruments
Various Significant Furniture
Quidditch Brooms and Trophies
Broomstick Lessons and Photo Experience
The Burrow – Weasley Household
Ministry of Magic Chimneys
Various Props
Cars and Vehicles
Significant Tables and Doors
Statues
Animatronics

Here are a few images but I won’t spoil it all for you…Here I am doing my first Broom Lesson… “UP!”

I remembered these costumes so vividly…

Potions Lesson anyone? I was a huge fan of Alan Rickman, I don’t think anyone could have played Severus Snape as well as he did. I was very sad when he passed away recently, so to be so close to one of the costumes that he actually wore, I felt like he was there in spirit…

Once safely through these wondrous parts which took us over an hour because there is so much to see (and with crowds too), you find yourself at the Ministry of Magic section and the entrance to The Forbidden Forest.

Having deliberately waited for the Forest to be included in the tour I was rather glad I had. I absolutely loved The Prisoner of Azkaban, it is my favourite of the books and although I felt the film missed a few vital back story parts, it was extremely well done by the directors. Buckbeak the Hypogriff was also a vital part of the storylines so to stand so close to his animatronic version was a great experience. I even took a selfie!

The other side of the forest leads us into the territory of rather large spiders including the one and only Aragog and her Spider minions. You can see a Patronus and other forest related things too. After this you will pass through into a break area with a small shop and some toilets…

After the small pit stop area you walk out into the long room and are greeted by the smell of smoke and the bright colours of the Hogwarts Express. The real life and full sized train, it was amazing to see, and all the more amazing to get on it and stand where actors had once stood.

Obviously so much of the inside of it is partitioned off so as to preserve the original carriage seating and other features, but they allow you to walk on and look inside the various sections. Most are still laid out with luggage and examples off the confectionery trolley such as the illusive chocolate frogs.

There are a few photographic opportunities here as well as a small shop too. And for those who have never visited King’s Cross Station in Central London, the chance to be one of those lucky wizards pushing their trolley through the wall at 9 & 3/4s…

Once you’re through and finished with the Hogwarts Express the Cafe Area awaits. Butterbeer and food can be found here, along with a vast seating area for you to rest before the next part of the tour.

Into the Backlot now and you will see some rather familiar sites! The Hogwarts Bridge, famous in the film The Prisoner of Azkaban, where Remus Lupin and Harry share a beautiful moment as he reflects on the past… This is one of my favourite parts of the films and the books, and I loved walking along here…

 The Knight Bus! And the houses… 4 Privet Drive and The Potter’s Cottage at Godric’s Hollow are all here in this outside space… To walk and to stand where these incredibly talented people had stood, was inspiring. Here are some of my images…

The attention to detail in every area of the tour is astounding.


The Chess Pieces from the Chamber of Secrets lead you inside and on to the next parts of the tour…

Following on from this you go into the Creature Effects Department. This was an area that fascinated me, not just because of the animatronics and the puppets, but the almost life sized body doubles of some of the cast who perish at times in the movies. Here is a fun fact, they were designed this way so that when actor Robbie Coltrane was carrying them, they looked the correct size.

Fawkes the Phoenix was my favourite in this section, as well as a Hedwig model Owl and a few other pieces like another Buckbeak and a Dragon head.

As you walk through you notice all the small things that would have taken days for someone to painstakingly create. Three dimensional models, a hundred or more hats, wands and costume pieces.


One of the final parts of the tour is the one and only Diagon Alley. And although I was excited to see this part, I somehow expected it to be larger! I’m not sure why! I will include a photograph of me with my husband below, see what you think, did you expect the area with the shop fronts to be bigger? I know I did!

One of the most incredible rooms on the tour is the final one… The Model Room! I was in awe of the details of the castle as we walked in. The lighting is quite dim however so it was difficult to get a good photograph, I hope you can see the details.

This was an amazing way to end the tour, and I could have spent hours looking at all the tiny details of this model. But I also wanted to get myself into the gift shop!

Finally you enter the gift shop at the end of your tour. It was packed with all sorts of Harry Potter wonders! Clothing, Books, Keyrings and Cuddly Toys! But I must say, the majority of the prices are very steep. It’s disheartening when you pay so much for the tour itself, to find a mere key ring is £7! I will outline the items I bought and the prices that I paid for them. There were many items I would have liked to buy but I couldn’t justify the amount they were asking for them.

Hogwarts Crest Keyring £6.95
Hogwarts Crest Pin £6.95
Time Turner Keyring £8.95
Buckbeak Keyring £4.95
Hedwig Pin £6.00
5 Pins Set £9.95

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour, and I can understand now what all the hype was about. Being there, where actors that I am greatly fond of, have worked for many years, is such an experience. There was only one part of the tour that I was expecting to see and did not… The Sorting Hat? I had wondered if I had missed it but then I was sure I didn’t. So if there isn’t one, perhaps it could be suspended in glass and you stand beneath it, it could sort you into a house… just an idea for the future WB!

Now for some questions that I have been asked and my honest answers to them.

Would I go again?
Probably not this year, or next year, but if there was something newly added or they extended it and included things in an easier to see way (I thought some parts were over filled and cramped). I’m sure they have plenty of things they could build or rebuild or dig out of storage to make the place larger.

What was my favourite part/s?
I loved seeing the train, the animatronics (Buckbeak) and the costumes. But my favourite part was walking along the bridge from the third film. The details in so many aspects of the tour were amazing.

Was it good value for money?
When you consider how many people worked on the film, and I’m talking artists, sculptors, carpenters and the like. Those are the people the tour celebrates, and I think that is so important, as these professions don’t always get the credit that is deserved. Overall I think you pay your money to see all the amazing things that made the franchise of films what they were, and without all of these elements it would not have been such a success. For this, I don’t mind paying what I have paid. Though I wouldn’t go again in a hurry.

Have I ever done a Harry Potter Sorting Hat Quiz?
Yes I have done, one as a teenager and two as an adult. Each time I have been either a full Gryffindor or part Gryffindor and part Hufflepuff.

What souvenir did I buy for myself at the WB HP Tour?
I purchased three things for myself, one was a pin, and the other two were key rings. I bought a few little bits for my family members. See the images below for a more detailed look at them.

How cute is the tiny Hedwig Pin?! 😀

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my Harry Potter lifestyle, my experience on the tour and looking at my photographs too.
If you have any questions and you think I can answer them please leave me them in the comments section below.
I will include a link to the website below too, for anyone who wants to look at maybe booking a tour slot, they have unique visits this time of year too.
Until next time Wizards and Muggles, I’m Sabrina, and you’ve been reading this on Severn Wishes Blog.


✩ Sabrina ✩

Harry Potter Studio Tour Website

A Spa Day At The Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa

I had a warm feeling in my soul while revisiting Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa again.
6 years ago in June I had my Hen Weekend here, where we stayed in the hotel and also used the restaurant, spa and leisure facilities. It was a truly wonderful weekend that we all indulged upon, and so when my mum suggested that I needed some ‘me time’ and time out, due to both some stress at work and difficulties with my health, the first place I thought of going was here.

I will set the scene for you all. In the picturesque Shropshire countryside lies a beautiful old building, it’s an eighteenth century manor house set in gorgeous gardens and grounds, with trees and a lake. The main house is where reception and the main dining area are situated, along with function rooms and a variety of conference suites. Alongside it is the hotel part of the grounds, currently Albrighton Hall has eighty seven contemporary en-suite rooms.

And finally there is the Spa and Leisure section situated off to the left hand side of the grounds. With its own parking area, this has newly been renovated as of 2016, and I looked forward to my visit to take in the changes.

My mum and I decided on a Spa Day, where, for a package price, we received lunch and a hot drink included, with full use of the facilities, plus two spa treatments of our choice from a set list. We were also given complimentary bath robes and slippers to wear during our stay, and towels for the pool area too, so there was very little you required to bring with you.

For lunch we were given a menu to choose from, there was a nice variety, some were cold and some were hot. I decided to be semi healthy and go for a Chicken Caesar with egg (not fish) salad, and an orange juice. As you can see it was well presented, and actually I thought the dish was very tasty for a salad.

The Spa was busy on the day we visited, which meant our lunch was delayed slightly, however staff did apologise, and mum and I were happy to just relax and wait, we were in no rush.


The newly refurbished Spa houses a main room with a salon bar so that Nails and other beauty treatments can be done. In the back there is a selection of rooms where the treatments that require one to lie down are performed. The lighting was very calming, as was the music, and I found the rooms to be clean and well maintained. The Spa was busy, yet all the staff were calm and friendly.


A lovely young lady called Frankie, did my Manicure today. I chose a pearly pink colour, because my Wedding Anniversary was fast approaching.

The nail lacquer that the Spa use is called Orly Beauty, and the colour was called Toast The Couple. The colour was very beautiful, and I liked how smooth it felt once they were fully dry.

I also opted for a Back Massage, to try and relieve some of my stress. Frankie was an excellent masseuse, and did wonders with my shoulders that had previously felt rather knotted. She used an Almond Oil on my skin while massaging, then a Eucalyptus based Oil, followed by a hot towel. The whole treatment made my skin and muscles feel great, and I felt relaxed afterward listening to the calming music in the room also.


Now I hate to criticise, after a lovely experience in the Spa itself, but I feel that the facilities aspect let my visit down. Not due to the choice, but the running of it, let me explain why I was so disappointed.

One thing that didn’t make our day perfect, was that some of the facilities were out of order. However we were not once told this by the staff, we were left to notice the several A4 sheets of paper that were stuck to doors around the building. We were unable to use the steam room or ice room, though we did manage to have a few minutes in the Sauna, but it was rather busy because of the lack of the other rooms available. I only wished this was made aware to us when we booked, which was only a couple of weeks prior. My mum and I would have bought clothing for the gym if we has known that the wet rooms would be unavailable.

Another thing that I hadn’t been aware of before, was that the leisure facilities were open all day for anyone who was a member to use them, but that included children. I have no problem what so ever with children using health and fitness areas, and in fact I was glad in one way to see them here. But what bothered me was that nowhere in booking by phone or online, does it tell you about this.

My mother and I had hoped for a relaxed day, using the facilities at our own pace, and enjoying the package we had paid for, which was all advertised as such online. Except we couldn’t use the pool at all, because when we first changed there were two families in there splashing about with pool floats and pool noodles. Forgive my harshness, but wouldn’t you take your children to a proper sized swimming pool with varying levels of depth in order to teach them how to swim?

We were not the only disgruntled people at the pool side that day wondering if we would get a turn in the water. Mum and I went away and returned later, we had our one turn in the Jacuzzi (groups of people were also waiting to use it as it goes on and off on a timer on the wall). By that time more people had turned up for the pool, this time some teenagers were in the pool, so we sat once again on the loungers. But a while later our time was up and our spa day had ended, I was disappointed not to get a swim in.

I believe that the hotel needs to state online that there are members who use the facilities, and when booking a Spa Day, you can use these facilities, however you may have to wait your turn to do so. This would cover the Spa if it has any future complaints and inquiries from groups about how many other people might be attending.

The Hotel had been catering for a wedding the day and night prior to our visit, which meant generally the hotel and spa were busy. I don’t think I will be booking again if I am made aware of the amount of people staying on the grounds.

Hopefully the next time I visit I can book a quieter day and make sure that mum and I are able to make full use of our spa package and all of the facilities will be available to us.

Overall the Spa Treatments were the best part of our day, and lunch was rather delicious too. However I am still disappointed about the leisure facilities, hopefully when I come again they will be all up and running.

Here are my final review scores for my day the
Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa.

Spa Treatment – Massage 5/5
Spa Treatment – Manicure 4/5
Lunch on the Premises – 4/5
Facilities Available 2/5
Facilities Used 4/5
General Facilities 4/5

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences.

 Sabrina