19 December 2015

Hogwarts in the Snow

I have been dreaming of this day for around about fifteen years... no pressure Leavesden. The one thing better than Hogwarts? Hogwarts in the snow, complete with festive wizardry (hello levitating baubles), Weasley jumpers and a cracker of a wardrobe, courtesy of Luna Lovegood. 

I went to the studios roughly two years ago, to celebrate my 19th Birthday. For this particular trip, we united with my Uncle and three cousins - the eldest is, like me, Harry Potter obsessed. One of the best moments of the day was when we unanimously recited the first paragraph of Philosophers Stone, much to everyone's amazement! You can't fake a true love story. 
Woodland dressToyshop    Longline jacketToyshop    Oxblood BagCambridge Satchel Company  
Two-tone broguesAgnes & Norman     Always necklaceClotique (Etsy)
My outfit choice was a slightly more subtle nod to fandom. I decided to channel my inner Gryffindor, with the help of Cambridge Satchel Company and Topshop florals; however, this dress also gave a little nod to my original Pottermore house - Hufflepuff - along with the camel coat... we're just going to pretend camel counts as yellow, okay? Finally, the ultimate tribute: the Always necklace that Mum and Dad got me last christmas. If, like me, you're awfully fawnd of HP, look no further than Etsy


I never wanted to leave the festive great hall - the self-flaming christmas pud was the first of many magical surprises, along with the rotating witch on the tree - just as I dreamed it would be... As the tour progresses, moving objects abound in the wonderful world of Warner Bros. From self-cleaning pans to self-stirring pots, you could be forgiven for believing it's truly magic. Even then, nothing quite prepares you for automatic knitting. 
Can we please take a moment to appreciate Cheeri-Owls? This is sheer genius. Along with owl plates - a perfect match for the mug in my Christmas Tea post - the Weasleys are my new kitchen goals! Do you reckon if I say that loud enough, Molly would knit me a jumper? A girl can dream...
Thanks to an exclusive inside source (the audio guide) we discovered  great little anecdotes about the filming. We didn't get the guides last time, but they were definitely worth it! With regard to Umbridge's kitten plates, 40 felines were used; moreover, the owners are apparently unaware of their superstar status! Over 200 plates were used in total for the film - that's a lot of crazy cat love.
Luna is, quite simply, a christmas angel. From her outfits to her outlook on life, what's not to love? Possibly the best part is how much Evanna Lynch embraced the role - she worked with the costume department and even designed some of Luna's outfits! The christmas dress has to be my favourite. 

The station must be magical. As soon as we stepped through, we discovered Starbucks and Christmas blend. Sorry butter beer, you're not for me! A cappuccino was very welcome after our early start.
Less magical is the price tag of the interactive broomstick ride. My Maths-loving Mum had fun working out how much profit this would generate alone - it's impressive! I did partake the first time I went, but have since developed a more frugal approach. The graphics department were missing out on my dazzling skills with photoshop...
Sadly, Fred and George are not part of the tour itself. In the photo above (pre backdrop-wizardry), us mere Muggles got to stand in a magical 1.5 metre radius of snow. For filming, the production team used a variety of methods for creating snow, including shredded plastic, shredded paper and foam - by the look of my shoes below, I think they might have used foam for the guest experience... 
Notwithstanding flying cars and train carts, The true highlight of the tour has to be the end (so stop now if you really really don't want spoilers!) In those final moments, you walk into something truly magical - a complete model of Hogwarts, used for the exterior shots in all films, measures 50ft across and took 86 people to build; if you add up the total man hours spent on construction, that's an astonishing 74 years. Unless you're Nicholas-Flamel, in which case it seems like barely fifty winks... 
I had some fun with image editing, to show what it looks like with and without a backdrop. Along with earlier photoshopping, I'm practically a member of the graphics department.... 

Last but not least it was to the gift shop. Naturally, I could be found Matilda-style 'by the books', with one particular book catching my eye... I have seen this on so many bookstagrams and it is only more gorgeous in real life! Definitely one for the Wonder List, along with a Time Turner and real life Luna Lovegood. Just those little things. Dumbledore and I might have to disagree on that one...
I wish you a Merry Wartmas and a Hoggy New Year  


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