Making an Easy Harry Potter T Shirt

As a Brownie Leader in Training I like to try out things at home before we do them at a meeting. Last week I dug out our fabric pens so we could complete the Craft Badge. At home I had a plain t-shirt and we had fabric pens. H and I decided to make a Harry Potter t shirt.

Harry Potter t shirt ideas are all over the place. You can find quite a wide range at Primark, but we decided we’d like to make our own. It wasn’t too difficult.

harry potter t shirt things you need

All you need is a plain t-shirt, some fabric pens and an idea of what you’d like your t-shirt to be.

Back when H had a Harry Potter party last year, I downloaded the font that goes with the films. This came in handy as I could then make the wording we wanted in PicMonkey and make it as large as we needed it to be.

We decided on ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’ for her Harry Potter t shirt. I created a blank document in PicMonkey, printed it out and placed it in a central position inside the t shirt.

harry potter t shirt tracing

I traced the letters with a pencil as I wanted to make sure the paper underneath didn’t move. Mainly so it would stay aligned. After that it wouldn’t matter as the paper would stop the ink from soaking through.

harry potter t shirt i solemnly swear

The Ikea Loppstarr pens are great – ideal for decorating t shirts too and a bargain at £2 for six different colours.

ikea loppstarr fabric pens

We coloured in the letters using careful strokes in one direction, making sure to stay within the lines. H isn’t the most patient child and tends to rush things. I made sure she slowed down – after all we want this t shirt to last a few years!

Once we had finished, this was the end result. Our own home made Harry Potter t shirt which was pretty easy and quick to do!

harry potter t shirt i solemnly swear i am up to no good

2016 in Review

What can I say about 2016? It has been a strange year, but one where we got things done. A year when friendships got stronger or just disappeared completely. Where we did things and they actually happened. It has been a good year with plenty of memories, and as a family, one I know we’ll remember. Especially H now she’s at the age where your memories stick with you.

Here’s our 2016 in review.

The 1st January was spent in Brighton. We traditionally go to the seaside at the start of the year to get some cold air and breathe again. We usually alternate between Brighton, Eastbourne and Bognor Regis and it’s usually very closed and quiet apart from the odd Fish & Chips place. I like it because it’s cold, closed, dark and fresh and crisp; nothing like bringing in a new year that way every year.

We took out Historic Royal Palaces membership and headed to Hampton Court early on in the year, showing H somewhere I used to love going when I was her age. My Auntie Florrie lived in Teddington and that whole area was somewhere we spent a lot of time when we visited London back in the seventies.

H had her first horse riding lesson. It’s too expensive to keep up, unfortunately. She loved it though.

Horse Riding at Deen City Farm

I had always wanted to visit Kensington Palace as it intrigues me. You’re visiting somewhere next door to the almost-untouchable current Royals. Anyway, it was an interesting place. HRP membership covered that.

Hampton Court

March and we were back to Hampton Court as my friend got an invite to preview the Magic Garden, so we popped along. It didn’t disappoint!

Hampton Court Magic Garden dragon and water sand play area

March also brought H’s first proper gig – Adele at the O2. It was both of our first time going there. I booked us a hotel nearby so we didn’t have to get all the way home afterwards – and had a brilliant evening. H loved it too! Adele is one of her favourites and I’ve enjoyed working on her records for these last few years.

The following day we took the Thames Ferry to the Tower of London using our HRP membership to get in free. Again, loads of fun and we got our money’s worth.

Easter was an Emmett’s Gardens and Chartwell visit, as our National Trust membership was getting a bit unused, and National Trust always have the best Easter Egg trails. It didn’t disappoint.

Our Merlin Passes were also quite neglected so we made our first trip to Legoland, choosing a rainy day which was a bit cold. It seemed to work, and we got on most rides without a queue. We even managed Mia’s Riding School three or four times in a row before I had to stop.

When your gas boiler is switched off for safety reasons, Leaky Flue Safety Warning Gas Boiler

April brought the weird stuff. We found out we had a carbon monoxide leak at home, which explained a lot of things. Forgetfulness? Tick. Feeling sick a lot? Definitely. Just being sick without any reason? Been there, done that. Our boiler was taken out of action and a plan was set, to get central heating put in when we went on holiday in July. Mainly as it would be so disruptive so we wanted to be away from it all. Every morning I had staggered to work like I was hungover, wondering when the virus would shift. It had never occurred to me it was this. Once the boiler was shut off I never felt like it again. We’ve since bought more carbon monoxide alarms. Too close a call. But why did it affect just H and I? I think because Shaun falls asleep downstairs and would often leave the heating on. I’d go to bed at 11pm and eventually come downstairs to shut off the heating at 2am. Because the leak was in the loft, both H and I were exposed to it more than Shaun as he was downstairs.

That’s my only explanation.

I got out to some gigs in April too – Lush reformed and I had a rare night out. Just getting onto a train and going across London was making me pretty nervous. It was a great night, I had far too much to drink, and the night was to be repeated a month or so later but with Shaun while H went on a sleepover.

Getting to work became an issue. Southern Trains were becoming increasingly rubbish and I was having a lot of palpitations. One day I got into work and burst into tears which isn’t like me at all. One word – perimenopause. I’ve done several things to calm the symptoms, they still happen especially the anxiety, but I’m learning to control it. I had a Mirena fitted which is helping a lot too. I had a journey home with the best train driver ever.

Wembley Stadium players warm up

May also brought our annual trip to Wembley to watch the Women’s FA Cup Final. It’s good fun, cheap and I’ve already bought tickets for next year – they’re on sale now – and kids go free. It’s a great atmosphere!

We also saw Horrible Histories at Hampton Court – a great setting for a great show. H and her friend M really enjoyed it.

We popped to Kew to view Kew Palace on our HRP membership. Don’t forget to print out your 2 for 1 vouchers beforehand like we did… you don’t get in free to Kew with HRP, you get a discount. 2 for 1 works out a bit cheaper too – meant we had more money to spend in the shops there!

June brought our second trip to Wembley. I bought tickets for England’s last friendly before the World Cup. H has finally seen Harry Kane play football (and Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker). Next season we’ll try a Tottenham game. We missed the National Anthem thanks to it taking forever to get into Wembley, but caught the majority of the game.

harry potter tour broom training

June also brought our trip to the WB Studio Tour. H is a fully-fledged Harry Potter convert now – she has seen all the films and knows more about each character than me. She has also read my books more than I have… We all really enjoyed it – even Shaun who tolerates it (and usually falls asleep in the films). We’ll be going back when we can save enough money – maybe for Hogwarts at Christmas in 2017.

June also brought a trip to Southampton to see the touring production of Mary Poppins on stage. The production was nowhere near London so we decided to make a night of it, and booked into the Ibis there (which H loved as it had a bunk bed over our double bed). We had seen it way before H was born, and loved it again. Zizi Strallen is an excellent Mary.

BML with mary drinking fizz

June also brought BritMums which I really enjoyed, hanging out all day with Mary who is excellent company.

July brought the Bottersnikes and Gumbles preview where we interviewed one of the characters and found out the recording didn’t work. My memory was still a bit rubbish so I can’t remember anything he said either. I fail. H was interviewed for CBBC but it wasn’t used (I thought that might happen, she was quiet).

Yurt Life at Kingsdown Centre - wonderful setting!

July was also the start of our holidays, heading to Cornwall again. We stopped in Weston Super Mare on the way down, wandered around there and made the most of late evening beach walks, donkey rides, fish & chips and relaxing.

The following day we arrived at Hallagenna Cottages in St Breward, and had a lovely week there discovering loads of new places. Up the road at Coombe Mill The Boy and Me gang were staying. H and The Boy both got on famously, so next year we’re going back to Coombe Mill to stay!

OMG We're Staying at Coombe Mill next year face

I love Cornwall. Great beaches, great weather and having a proper holiday is always a good thing.

On the way back to London we stayed in a Yurt at the Kingsmead Centre which was loads of fun!

We used our Merlin Passes and visited Weymouth Sea Life on the way back to London.

H in front of the Disneyland Castle

August arrived. We had a short break to Paris planned which didn’t break the bank. We stayed near the Eiffel Tower for a couple of nights. After that we headed to Disneyland Paris and H didn’t have a CLUE! She also got in for free as if you’re six, then that’s what happens. She was seven the following day – and it counts from check-in date. We also managed to do Jedi Training Academy. So that was her surprise 7th birthday treat. We had glorious weather and needed a month to recover afterwards.

In September H moved up to Junior school. She has settled well and is loving it. Her confidence is growing too which is great. She also started Brownies and had moved up a level in swimming at the end of summer to Stage 5.

Because it was a new school we didn’t do a huge amount in September, although made it to Hampton Court again.

H and Milo the Giant African Millipede from Wild Fangs

October was busier though, with H’s birthday party which she really enjoyed.

At the end of October we headed back to York to see my mum, staying there for the first time in a long time. H loved spending time with her nana, and I loved stopping and recharging my batteries. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the whole of half term off, so we took H out of school for two days so she won’t get her 100% attendance this term.

We visited Fountains Abbey with my sister and her boys too.

We also found time to visit Alton Towers which I’d spent plenty of time at in the eighties. I recognised parts, but not that much really, although I’d occasionally have moments where I’d say “Hang on? Wasn’t The Corkscrew there?” and be right.

Fireworks at Carshalton Ponds

November was Bonfire Night which was fun – we stayed by our local ponds and had great views, rather than enter the park and have some views. The end of the year is all about saving money! I booked a ticket for Blogfest earlier in the year and attended but it wasn’t the same. I don’t think I’ll be going next year.

We went to Epsom Downs and saw the supermoon which gave me lots of silhouette photos I do love to take. We planted Miffy Tulips, and got some mesh to put over our plant pot so the foxes won’t dig it up. H did her Brownie promise and remembered it, and I wore my leaders uniform for the first time and felt like I had confidence to do it.

December. We had the school fair (which H helped me on the stall with – see, this is a new confidence she’s found. She used to hide behind me), she has moved up a level at swimming to Stage 6. She has lost two more teeth taking it to 10 total, and is almost there with her handwriting at school, holding out for a pen licence.

Completely unexpected, but H was Star of the Term as voted for by her teachers. She ran up to me incredibly proud in the playground. Their note sums it up. I love that the unexpected things make everything feel even better.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

We went back to York for the York Panto which was Cinderella. H got her name read out in the shoutouts part of the production which she loved – and she got a Wagon Wheel! I am still persuading her not to eat it…

We had two visits to see Father Christmas. One was at Chessington Garden Centre and the other at Tottenham’s ground. Of the two, the Tottenham one was the best – he was really warm, fun and engaging and had H chatting. I asked him if he could make sure Tottenham win the league for my present and we all left feeling cheery (but I don’t think he’ll have much luck with that, another good season would be good).

We’re finishing the year off inviting neighbours around to our house. This is a big one for us – until now I’ve felt like our house is too small, though a friend did it last year and made me realise it could be done. Then we had H’s party which proved over 20 people could be in our house with room to spare. My biggest problem had been our heating. It was fine us living here with the crappy heating which I always hated and felt like it only warmed the landing upstairs and our front room – but now we have proper central heating. This house is welcoming again… though I suspect our 1st January trip to the seaside may need to be postponed by a day… that and I’m sure our car won’t make it there and back!

So what will 2017 bring? I know my aches and pains and anxiety aren’t going to go away, but I’ve found if I keep myself busy it helps it not be at the forefront of my mind. I’m going to progress with my training to be a Guide Leader though I’m still not sure I want to be in charge. But we’ll cross that bridge…

We’ve taken out Historic Houses Association membership so at some point we’ll get to Hever Castle which we’ve wanted to visit for a while. We’ll probably need to buy a new car as ours is on its last legs.

See you, 2016. You’ve been busy.

Having a Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts Themed Party

H turned seven in August, which we spent at Disneyland Paris. She wanted to have a party, so we decided to keep costs low that we’d have it at home. I thought that a Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party would be a good idea.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party birthday cake

A Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party was a good idea with the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ film opening soon. Once we knew the theme of the party we had to work out how to make it fun.

H and Milo the Giant African Millipede from Wild Fangs

We booked Wild Fangs after problems with Reptoparty who offered H’s party time to someone else, so we cancelled (and have been ignored when asking for a refund). You can read about it hereWild Fangs have a great website with all the information you could need and I would recommend them.

H and Derek the Bearded Dragon from Wild Fangs

Wild Fangs were fantastic. Faik was brilliant when it came to keeping the kids attention. This was quite a job, there being seventeen of them. He brought along five creatures from his selection. The kids all got to meet each one, and H got special attention as she was the birthday girl. Even the shy children were stroking the creatures at the end which was good to see.

H and Tiny the African Bullfrog from Wild fangs

The creatures were only a small part of the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party. As it was at home it meant we could do bits to make it feel a bit more like Hogwarts. Poundland, Tiger Stores, Hema and Wilko all have a great range of Halloween products in-store at the moment. I stocked up on cobwebs, bunting, spiders, rats and halloween themed sweets at a low cost.

Tiger Stores cobweb bowl

Besides this, I had to create as much Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party ideas as I could. There were some easy ones – Golden Snitches made from Ferrero Rocher. Just stick some greaseproof paper wings on them.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Golden Snitch Ferrero Rocher

Train shaped cheese biscuits which H said could be Hogwarts Express cheese biscuits.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Hogwarts Express cheese biscuits

Shaun was the creative one – he found some great things. Get a sheet and a bathroom cleaner sponge, and print bricks onto it.

Making Platform nine and three quarters for a party Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed

Stick it around your doorway and you’re going through platform nine and three quarters. I may have seen a few Potter-mad kids doing it several times as they thought it was so cool.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Platform Nine and three Quarters

How about floating candles? Get the inside of kitchen roll tubes, use a glue gun to make some drips down the side like candle wax. Paint it white, and then make a ledge inside for a battery-operated flickering candle. Hang them from the ceiling using cotton and some good strong sticky tape. It looks fantastic too.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party floating candles

Of course, no party is a decent one without party games. Our Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party games included Judge the Odd Socks competition. All kids had to come with odd socks on in honour of Dobby. Sleeping Lions became Sleeping Fluffy, in honour of Hagrid. Musical Bumps was Musical Expelliarmus, and Musical Statues would have been Musical Petrificus Totalus. We had Pin the Scar on Harry – just a simple printed out picture of Mr Potter, and a post it note cut into the shape of the scar. We ran out of time for that one too.

There was an epic Pass the Parcel game too. Inside was a Smiggle glittery ball (£2 in their current sale) which you might find in a Divination lesson at Hogwarts… maybe?

Making chocolate frogs for the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party

My own personal favourite thing was the frog moulds I bought. We made several chocolate frogs, complete with a cola bottle middle (which tasted SO good). After all, everyone loves a chocolate frog, right? You can get the moulds on ebay for about £8. H enjoyed making them, and initially we tried them with ground up Swizzels sweets which was good too.

All in all, H’s Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party was a success. I’m pleased we managed to pull it off at short notice, and the kids enjoyed themselves.

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour

This weekend just gone we made our way to Watford to the studios at Leavesden, to visit the Harry Potter Tour over at the Warner Brothers Studios. To say we were excited would be an understatement!

Harry Potter tour - outside statuesWe finally did the Harry Potter tour – we booked the tickets way up front and got a 9.30am slot. Reasonable, you’d think, except you have the trek from Carshalton up to Watford which fortunately only took an hour at that time of day. Parking is included with your ticket, and we headed into the studio to wait for our slot. There’s a cafe to the left of the building as you enter where you can wait for your slot to open.
Harry Potter tour great hall

I don’t want to spoil the tour (too much) for anyone reading this who might be going, and really just want to include practical information – though pictures will give some things away and an idea of what to expect. I’ve tried to be good – but also the costumes give a good idea of what to expect (you got used to the lack of faces!)

Harry POtter tour great hall costumes

This Harry Potter tour exists as first Harry Potter films were being created and nobody knew how the books would end, so props and scenery were kept in case they would be needed for the final film(s). So when production ended they had a load of super cool stuff which nerds like me have been desperate to see for a LONG time.

Harry Potter Tour Sorting Hat

However, when our first opportunity to go arose, H was way too young. I wanted this to be an experience we’d enjoy as a family as we have done the films. Right now H is starting Book 5, and has seen all the films up to the Half-Blood Prince (and knows way more about it all than I do).

Harry Potter tour yule ball

So what do you get on the Harry Potter tour? A fairly long queue at the start, but some fun stuff on the way. Groups are ushered into a room where there are three doors (hint – go for the left hand one if you can). The queue leading to this room goes quite slowly, but once you’re in there you’ll start the tour and can go at your own pace from a certain point.

The amount of detail that has gone into everything is amazing (and to think had there only been one book they could have been destroyed!) – and there is a LOT. The main area you go through houses almost everything you can think of, and you could easily spend at least three hours in here (we did). In fact, we only stopped as we needed to get something to eat and drink. A 9.30 slot got us inside by 10am, and eating by 1pm!

harry potter tour broom training

For kids there’s a complementary passport you can get stamped in a specific area, as well as a fantastic Golden Snitch trail – this was good for H and a major distraction too. She’s so obsessed with Harry Potter she wanted to read every-single-thing. We could have spent 13 hours (the current record for the amount of time spent there according to our guide) in there were it not for the passport!!

Harry Potter tour replica letters

Quite often we’d find a snitch and then say “ooh, maybe it’s out here!” and distract her enough that she’d forget about the reading. There is a 15th Anniversary coloured badge you can get too, of which only one was available yesterday (Gryffindor) though if you check ebay some people seem to have them for sale… I’m guessing they offer a different colour every day maybe?

Harry Potter tour shoes

In the main area of the Harry Potter tour it is sectioned into scenes and areas, so there are costumes in one part, you’ve got some Quidditch stuff going on (and a fabulous part where your child can pick up a broom, or indeed ride on one – the first is free, the second is quite expensive – we spent £40 and got a video and two photos). I love the interactive parts – you can wave your hand above a sensor which makes the knitting knit in the film when they get to the Weasley’s house in Book 2.

Harry Potter tour the Dursleys

After you’ve left the main area you head to Platform 9 and three quarters which has the first gift shop you’ll come to. This isn’t as big as the main shop but does have quite a lot. Next to it they have a green screen area where you can create a film going to Hogwarts which we did but didn’t watch (we’d already spent too much money paying for the Broomstick one – it would be great if this could be added to the existing USB so you’re only paying a big price the once).

harry potter tour platform nine and three quarters

To the side of this area is the main eating area. There’s a lot of space, and we got a seat easily having realised we’d been wandering around for three hours and were pretty hungry. We bought Butterbeer of course (it reminded me of a cream soda float) – one in a commemorative cup and two plastic ones at approx £15 total.

harry potter tour knight bus

We took our own packed lunch which saved us a bit of money too, it looked like they had a good choice of food there.

Harry Potter Tour privet drive

When you’re in the food area, you’re right by the outside set area, which when we visited had 3 Privet Drive open, and the front room as it was when Harry’s first letter(s) to Hogwarts arrived in Book 1. We also got a replica envelope like the ones used and a demonstration of how they did it. This exhibition has now finished unfortunately!

harry potter tour inside privet drive

In the outside area there are two vehicles – the motorbike and sidecar, plus the Ford Anglia where you can take free photos. There is an opportunity to have your photo taken on a green screen and be placed in the Ford Anglia – but this of course, costs!

harry potter tour free motorbike photo

It’s also around this point you realise you can’t go back. When you do the Harry Potter tour you’re going round in your own time which works well (we got lots of photos without people in the background despite there being so many of us) – and you really felt like you had your own space.

Harry Potter tour pictures in Dumbledore's office

Onwards to the next area, where it goes into the masks used throughout the film, and also how Robbie Coltrane looks so big and what they did (I’ve always wondered exactly what happened), before you’re entering Diagon Alley, some more models and then the very final room. I’ve seen many photos of this room and I wasn’t prepared for how incredible it was!

Harry Potter tour diagon alley

After that you enter a room full of boxes. But then you look… those boxes are wand boxes. With the cast’s names on them. Many many boxes…. it was a real treat, spotting the names…

harry potter tour actors wands

So finally you end up in the main shop. I spent another £15 on merchandise, but bought H a fabulous Time Turner which was £8.95 and looks really nice and sturdy and not like it will fall apart (which if you know the time turner, you’d wonder).

harry potter tour magic is might

So is the Harry Potter Studio Tour worth almost £100 for the three of us? Definitely. I’m glad we booked way up-front as it meant the tickets were paid for which freed up money for the extras… and yes, I’m a sucker for all that. Some parts were spoilers for H (the Horcruxes) so I steered her away, and a short clip from Deathly Hallows has made her want to hold off from seeing the film (good, she’s too young right now!) – though she did have a sneaky read of the book not that long ago.

Harry Potter tour delores umbridge regulation notices

As a long-standing fan of the books and the films it was a fascinating experience. I just want to talk about it! But you can’t say a lot as I think knowing only what you need to (all food places take cards, there’s one cashpoint by the entrance, there are loads of toilets, nothing seemed too scary) doesn’t spoil it for others.

harry potter tour tom riddle statue

Will I be going back? I would love to! We have no plans, however I’m now left wondering if parts of Fantastic Beasts (out in November!) will make their way into the tour, as after all it doesn’t actually say the Harry Potter tour – just the Warner Brothers Studio Tour…. hmmmm……

In addition, one thing I’d wondered – if you get a 4pm slot (which seems to be one of the last ones of the day), I’d wondered if you could get everything done. Well, the studios don’t close until 10pm, so in an ideal world, you should be able to!

harry potter tour castle

You can book your Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour tickets here. Look out for lots of fabulous 15th Anniversary events throughout the year!

Project 366 – Week 3

Sunday 17th January. We had some wussy London snow, so Shaun and H made snowmen. Teeny tiny snowmen. Melted by the end of the day snowmen.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Monday 18th January. Inspired by my old schoolfriend Nicky, I took a photograph of some of my football-related records. Yes, that is a Glenn and a Chris 7″ picture disc. Little did I know that a snippet of their marvellous song ‘Diamond Lights’ would appear on tv on Saturday night. Alas, Chris Waddle switched it off immediately.  It is a selection of glorious songs such as these that one day my daughter will inherit, to ensure her life is even more enriched.

some of my football records

Tuesday 19th January. H is properly engrossed in Harry Potter at the moment. My concern is she’s competitive about it, wanting to finish the books before her friends – I’m not having any of that nonsense. She can just enjoy the books and immerse herself in the world!!

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Wednesday 20th January. Went to see Les Mis in the West End, and loved being in Chinatown late at night, the smells and the colours and lights. Les Mis was good too – though I was disappointed Phil Daniels wasn’t acting that night as I’ve seen him on stage before, with the RSC and with Blur!

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Thursday 21st January. Someone got her Stage 3 swimming badge – she was super happy about that!

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Friday 22nd January. H finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve told her to hold off Book 4 for now, and to have a break, besides she needs to do some serious reading for books we have to review in the coming weeks!

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Saturday 23rd January. A lazy day – I was sick from work on Friday thanks to having an evil cold set off by many things, and I had hit the tired part of it, just wanting to lie down and nap all day. H had a party in the late afternoon (good timing!) and afterwards we got home and settled in our pyjamas to watch The Voice. With a lightsaber. As you do.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

H Discovers Harry Potter

I’ve been looking forward to the day H would start to borrow my books, and while the majority of them won’t be borrowed for several years yet, my Harry Potter set has been sat waiting for the right opportunity to be read.

H reading Harry Potter

Last year at school on World Book Day, all of H’s teachers dressed as different Harry Potter characters which was awesome – I was laughing out loud at them as they looked fantastic. We had started to read the first Harry Potter book, ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ together, but if I’m to be honest, I didn’t enjoy reading it out loud – I never have enjoyed reading out loud. We got some of the way in, then I decided it might be easier to watch the film. We did, and left it until we knew H would ask to read more.

Bearing in mind she’s almost six and a half, so still quite young, I’m having to remember what happens in which books, although she has seen parts of the films (there’s nothing quite like spoilering films for your young child so they know which characters make it to the end by catching bits on television!). At the moment I want to stop around Book 3 and see how she has managed with the Dementors, which I think is around the time things start to get quite dark. We’ll wait a  little bit for Book 4, I think.

A week or two ago she picked up Harry Potter again – and read The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in record time (and has since asked for a Nimbus 2000 broom, and some Hogwarts robes) and is now settling into The Prisoner of Azkaban.  We bought the Box Set (affiliate link) of all the films on DVD over Christmas too.

Harry Potter DVD collection

For the Harry Potter films the same rules apply as Star Wars – The Force Awakens – she can’t unsee something bad, and the Harry Potter films jump from being PG’s to a 12A from the Goblet of Fire film onwards, so it’s a tricky ground to walk on to make sure she sees the film if it’s appropriate, without scaring her!

It has been quite interesting too, as I felt like the very first Harry Potter movie was identical to how I imagined it reading the book, whereas she sees it differently. I pointed out to H there is no right or wrong way to imagine things, as everyone has their own unique vision of how it is. I love it’s getting her imagination going!

We’re planning on going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour on my birthday in April this year, so this was another reason to encourage H to read the books, mainly so she didn’t ask too many questions – and I’m already seeing she’s become a cross between Hermione and Karen from Outnumbered, so I suspect she’ll be telling me what things are.

I showed H the inside front of my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as Shaun bought it for me as a wedding present, and wrote in the front – she’s loving that I got a book as a present, and I’m loving that she’s get as much enjoyment from them as I have.

But yes, at this point in time, maybe until she’s seven, we’ll start the fourth book, but talk about it. It will be read in the daytime rather than last thing at night, and we’ll see how we go. From September H has to wear a tie to her Junior school, so I’ve ordered her a Gryffindor one – I’ve told her if she can manage to work out how to tie it, then I’ll order her those Hogwarts Robes – there’s nothing like a bit of bribery to get her working a bit harder!

Project 366 – Week 1

Friday 1st January. As has been tradition since I was pregnant, we headed to the sea for New Year’s Day. It was a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, and in fact I fell asleep until Shaun woke me up at five to midnight! We saw the New Year in and then I probably fell asleep again. We chose Brighton this year (we seem to alternate between Brighton, Bognor and Eastbourne, with occasional Portsmouth trips) and it was suitably freezing, there were big waves, and several shops open where I made the most of the sales. We stopped at Ed’s Diner where H was amazed there was a jukebox at our table and put loads of 20p’s in, to choose songs she liked!

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Saturday 2nd January. I bought myself Bridget Christie’s book, and have finally started reading it. (See, reviews and doing my own stuff took a back seat over Christmas and New Year, but I’m putting it right) Anyway, most of the first chapter is about farting. I went to get some sneaky chocolate so H wouldn’t notice and put my book down. Then it amused me I’m reading a book about farting and I placed it next to a whoopee cushion.

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Sunday 3rd January. We’re Amazon Prime members so I ordered the Harry Potter Box Set from their Prime Now service which generally gives you one hour delivery if you spend over £20 within London. So we watched the first two films with H, mainly to prepare her for my birthday trip to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour which I’m planning! Plus of course ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is released this year!

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Monday 4th January. Inse(c)t day. So we went to Chessington to meet with friends and to pick up our renewed Merlin Passes. H and her friend had fun and it was REALLY quiet as most other kids were back to school. The only ride open was the carousel which we had to ourselves for one go, it was that quiet!

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Tuesday 5th January. Back to school/work and so on. I was greeted by a pile of boxes on my desk which had all these goodies inside. It’s great getting deliveries at work, but not so great having to bring them all home on the train!

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Wednesday 6th January. Back to knitting – and back to tackling the Mollie Makes crochet daisy I managed to complete last time. It isn’t quite right this time, but I’m able to unpick and work things out which is progress. This is the start of it.

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Thursday 7th January. When we went to Brighton, I was a bit disappointed you can’t buy the individual Lego characters from The Force Awakens. We don’t need any new Lego kits right now, but H wanted a Rey. They directed me to Bricklink which is completely unofficial but meant I could buy a Rey for H. She arrived, anyway. She eventually made it to the Millenium Falcon and H spotted within an hour!

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Friday 8th January. I love that H’s school have some Shakespeare books for younger readers, and that she chose it of her own accord. I don’t love that H forgot to bring home a Free Reader sheet – she has to answer questions about the book once she has read it, but it’s all good in the end.

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Saturday 9th January. The laziest day of 2016 so far. H and I stayed in our pyjamas all day, the first week back was tiring, and her activites don’t even start until next week. So we were extremely lazy. H was happy The Voice has started again, was amazed that Boy George was that “Karma Chameleon singer from Absolute Eighties” and quite liked Paloma Faith.

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