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Harry Potter at Platform 9 3/4 (Shop) 28/06/2017

A fun experiece at King's Cross Station for all Potter fans!

Harry Potter at Platform 9 3/4 (Shop) My son and I were having a day out in London to see Matilda the Musical, and I decided to surprise him with a little detour to see the Harry Potter shop and photo experience at King's Cross station. We arrived at around 10.30am. It was a Saturday, so I had expected it to be fairly busy. However, the queue wasn't massively long for the photo experience, around 10-12 people in front of us, and was moving at a good rate. We ended waiting 15-20 minutes which was really good - I had expected to queue for much longer. There are scarves available for you to wear for the photo, a couple for each of the houses which is great if you want more than one person in your photo. My son took position at the trolley, turned and smiled for my photo with my own camera. The gentlemen who worked there waited patiently while I took my photo, then took his. We then swapped places, and again he was very patient waiting for my son to get a nice picture. Again, one was taken for the shop. He was very pleasant, and didn't quibble at all about people taking their own photos. Once you are done with the photo, you go along to the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4. Here you get the opportunity to buy the professional that they took of you, complete with an appropriate frame. We just went up to the desk where the assistant put them up on the big screen for you to see. The photos were around £9 for one photo or 2 for £12. My own photos were just as good so we decided not to purchase the extra photos and ...

Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge 15/05/2017

A fantastic time to be had for petrol heads!

Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge We visited Mercedes Benz World during the May half term in 2016, due to the fact our 10 year old son is a completely car nut, and loves anything to do with cars. We have done Beaulieu many times now, so thought this might be something different to enjoy. Just an hours drive away from where we live, it sounded perfect, and I am so pleased that we decided to attend - it was a wonderful day out, and we will definitely be looking to visit again. We arrived at 11am to the site at Brooklands. The journey was well signposted, and you can't miss it once you arrive. The car parking is very good, with a computer noticeboard displaying your car registration and telling you which area to park in. Parking is free for the day which is great. Entrance to the museum itself was also free, so for a cheap day out, this is a perfect location. As we went in, there was lots of cars on display, both Mercedes Benz and Smart cars (who are owned by Mercedes Benz), and the building looked very impressive. As we went in, you can immediately see many cars on display, as well as a reception area. You don't need to visit the reception, but is there if you have any questions. Near the front is the gift shop - as you'd expect it's very pricey, selling lots of Mercedes Benz clothing, especially related to their Formula 1 team, and the prices reflect that (t-shirts were £40-50, hats were £30). The kids range was very limited, and I felt this was a bit of a missed opportunity. My son collects lanyards from ...

Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Florida 01/05/2017

An amazing experience for Potter fans!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Florida This was definitely the best part of my holiday to Orlando, Florida by a long way. I was lucky enough to get early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of my holiday package, which meant I had entrance to the park at 8am instead of the usual 9am. There was a lot of people, but nowhere near what it would have been later in the morning. We walked straight there, and were greeted with the Knight Bus, along with Stan Shunpike the driver, who was happy to take photos with us. Opposite this was King's Cross Station, and slightly along was Grimmauld Place, number 12 of course being the residence of one Sirius Black. It all looked so authentic, I forgot I was in a theme park in America and was totally blown away by the experience. Firstly, you go through the wall much like Hagrid and Harry Potter did the first time he visits Diagon Alley. Upon walking through, you are greeted with the most lifelike Diagon Alley I've ever seen - and I've been to the Studio Tour in the UK too! I was blown away by its look - at the end was the imposing Gringott's Bank complete with fire-breathing dragon, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, the Wand Shop, Quiddith Supplies, Madame Fortescue' Ice-Cream parlour, Gringott's money exchange and much, much more. I simply cannot convey in this review how brilliant it looked. We walked down, past the many shops, to the only HP ride in this park which was 'Escape from Gringott's'. Again, we only had a 5 minute wait due to early entry which was great. ...

The Memory Book - Rowan Coleman 30/03/2014

Definitely a book to remember

The Memory Book - Rowan Coleman Rowan Coleman has quickly become of my favourite authors, both with her amazingly emotional books and her more seasonal offerings under her pen name of Scarlett Bailey. Her past few books, Dearest Rose and Lessons in Laughing Out Loud have been amazing books, full of serious stories handled so sensitively by Rowan, and they have been books that have stayed with me. I can safely say that The Memory Book is the most emotional of the lot, a real tear-jerker of a read, cleverly interspersed with moments to make you smile and that make you grateful for the life you have now. Here's why The Memory Book is already one of my top reads of 2014. Claire thought she had it all. She's married to her gorgeous husband Greg, mum to her lovely daughters Caitlin and Esther, and she loves her job as a teacher. But Claire's world is blown apart when she gets a devastating diagnosis that threaten to ruin everything she has built up over the years - Claire has early onset Alzheimer's. She starts to log her own memories in her new memory book, everything from raising Caitlin as a single parent, to meeting her husband and having their baby girl Esther together. Claire's family struggle as the woman they know and love starts to drift away from them, through no fault of her own. Will Claire be able to hang on to even a bit of her past when she's so unsure about her future? As you can tell from the synopsis, this isn't going to be an easy read, and it really wasn't. It was hard-hitting in places, had ...

It Felt Like a Kiss - Sarra Manning 24/03/2014

This Felt Like A Great Read!

It Felt Like a Kiss - Sarra Manning I've read a few of Sarra Manning's books in the past, and was curious to read her latest offering It Felt Like A Kiss. It has one of my favourite book covers so far this year, such pretty colours and the setting of it is just perfect. The book was quite a chunk of a book, so I sat down hoping that I would like what I was about to read. I didn't know that one of the characters, Vaughn, who is main character Ellie's boss at the art gallery where she works, first appeared in one of Manning's earlier novels Unsticky. I don't think is a follow-on of any sort because I haven't read the other book and had no problems with following the story of this one. Ellie Cohen loves her job working in an Art gallery. Yes, her boss is a bit of a pig but she's good at her job, so she's willing to stick it out. She's got quite a quiet life, that is until her ex-boyfriend Ritchie decides to sell a rather shocking and personal secret about Ellie to the national press. Overnight, Ellie is catapulted from unknown to unwilling celebrity, and she isn't enjoying it at all. She's fighting to keep her job, her relationship with mum Ari on track, and to stay out of the limelight as much as possible. Ellie drafts in the help of top lawyer David Gold, but she isn't sure she can really trust him either. Ellie doesn't know where to turn next, and it turns out love is the last thing on this girl's mind... The book starts by introducing us to Ellie Cohen, and I have to say I liked her straight away. She's a ...

Revenge Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger 10/08/2013

Not a lot of Revenge here...

Revenge Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger I read The Devil Wears Prada a good few years ago now, and I really enjoyed it. However, I have to confess that I did enjoy the hit movie starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway a little bit more than I did the book, and to this day can't think of Miranda Priestly, the horrible Devil magazine editor from the book, without picturing Meryl in the role. When I heard Lauren Weisberger was bringing back the characters for a second novel, I was slightly worried that it might taint the brilliance of the first story, but I was also looking forward to having these characters back again, especially Andy who I loved reading about last time. I was so disappointed with the new cover, it's very bland and not my cup of tea, but of course I couldn't resist getting stuck in the moment it arrived through my letterbox! At the end of the last book The Devil Wears Prada, Andy had screamed obscenities at her boss Miranda Priestly in Paris, and consequently cost herself her job. This book picks up Andy's story 10 years after leaving Runway magazine, and she's certainly made a success of herself. Together with her former Runway colleague Emily, the pair have created and now run their own weddings magazine, The Plunge. Couple that with the fact she's about to marry one of the shareholders and her own Mr Right in Max, it seems everything is going right for Andy. But just as she thinks life is perfect, it seems her past has come back to haunt her. Miranda is back, and Andy is determined that she ...

About a Girl - Lindsey Kelk 06/08/2013

You'll Want To Read About This Girl!

About a Girl - Lindsey Kelk Lindsey Kelk is back! Yippeeeeee! I was over the moon when I was sent a really early review copy of Lindsey's brand new book About A Girl, which is the first in a brand new series of books by her, and stars a brand new leading lady, Tess Brookes. I have loved Lindsey's 'I Heart...' series, always eager to pick up a new Angela Clark adventure so I hoped I would be able to get into this too and start to love Tess like I loved Angela! I have to say the cover is so gorgeous and summery, it's most definitely a book you'll want to take with you on your summer holidays and enjoy in the sun, but I enjoyed it just as much on my sofa in a cloudy April too lol! When Tess Brookes suddenly finds herself being made shockingly redundant, she doesn't know what to do with herself. She loved her career and put everything into it, so now what does a girl do? Tess also manages to make a bit of a hash of things with her best friend Charlie, so when she accidentally answers her horrible flatmate Vanessa's phone, she accepts the job as a photographer in Hawaii, and hops on the next plane out there, never mind the fact she hasn't done any photography in a long time. Armed with Vanessa's camera, and a small supply of clothes, Tess goes about convincing everyone, inclduing journalist Nick who is working on the exclusive job with her, that she is in fact Vanessa, photographer of the stars. The job doesn't exactly go to plan though, and Tess is left wondering how she can possibly pick up the pieces of ...

Me and Mr Jones - Lucy Diamond 28/06/2013

A Perfect Read for the Summer!

Me and Mr Jones - Lucy Diamond I am a big fan of Lucy Diamond's books, and the release of her new book usually means summer is around the corner! The cover of her new book Me and Mr Jones looks so bright and colourful, it certainly shouts out that it's a summer read, and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in and reading the book. Luckily for me, Lucy didn't disappoint and I have to say I really did enjoy reading every page of this book. It's also a book that I think can span a broad readership - there's something in here for anyone to enjoy, and to me that's the sign of a pretty perfect book. The Jones' brothers are all very different men, but so are the women in their lives. There's eldest brother Hugh, married to Alicia who is about to turn forty and is determined to change her life for the better when she hits that milestone. How will she shake up her life and her marriage? Middle son David is married to Emma, but the fact they are struggling to conceive is gnawing away at their happiness every day. When David has to go away for a while, will Emma be tempted elsewhere through desperation? Finally, the youngest son Charlie isn't with anyone but has his eyes on dance teacher Izzy. But she and her daughters are hiding a secret past they want to put behind them - will it jeopardise Charlie's chances of a happy ever after? Then there's the Jones' parents, living and working hard in their B&B but for how much longer...? The book focuses on the one family, and I loved this because it meant a ...

The Naughty Girl's Book Club - Sophie Hart 23/06/2013

Naughty but nice!

The Naughty Girl's Book Club - Sophie Hart Estelle owns Cafe Crumb, and is struggling to make ends meet at the moment. When she spots the local bookshop closing its doors for the last time, she gets an idea - to run a book club all of her own in the cafe to help raise some money, and to indulge in her favourite passion too - reading. When 4 new members turn up, Estelle is unsure if she can make the club a success. But together with Gracie, Reggie, Rebecca and Sue, the foursome find that it isn't ordinary books that they want to read... it's erotic novels, but with a bit of a twist. Soon, the five members of the book club are allowing their lives to be more influenced by their reading material than they ever would have imagined... Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I certainly didn't expect the fantastic story that I would get completely hooked on. Yes, there is some sex in there, but they are well written and fit in well with the theme of the book, and don't get too graphic and involved so I imagine most people wouldn't mind reading them. In fact, they're few and far between so it isn't too in-your-face at all which is good for those readers who would rather avoid scenes of that nature in a book. It was the lives of these 5 very ordinary people which drew me in and kept me wanting to read more, and find out what was going to happen to them next. Estelle, the lady who held the group together as the café owner, was fantastic, a hard-working single mother to a teenage son, and someone who is ...

A Family Scandal - Zoe Miller 20/06/2013

It's a Scandal if you don't read this!

A Family Scandal - Zoe Miller I read my first of Zoe Miller's novel last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rival Passions was a fun read, and I was surprised that after reading it that it had taken me so long to pick up one of Zoe's books! Therefore when I received a review copy of Zoe's latest book A Family Scandal (published in the UK by Piatkus), I immediately stuck it at the top of my to-read pile because I was so eager to get stuck and reading it as soon as I could! Luckily, it didn't disappoint, and I whizzed through the book in just a couple of evenings as I was so keen to get to the end and find out what was going to happen! The book is about 3 sisters, who have very big life differences and don't always get on. There's eldest sister Ellie, a fashion designer who's in a relationship but isn't sure that it's forever; middle sister Miranda who has fled across the world to Hong Kong where she feels she isn't living the shadows of her sisters, and their younger half-sister Lucy, who is the daughter of tragic rock star Zach Anderson, and a fashion model in her own right. It's the 20th anniversary of Zach's death, and the sisters are more deeply affected than they will let on, and turn to each other at the tough time. But when things happen that threaten the relationship between the Morgan sisters, will they be pushed together or pulled further apart than ever? This story dove straight in to the action, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The Morgan sisters are introduced to us one by one, and their life ...

You and I - Emily Gillmor Murphy 15/06/2013

You should read this, I tell you!

You and I - Emily Gillmor Murphy Sometimes I am sent books to review that I quickly dismiss as not being something I would read as I don't think they are of the chick lit genre. Emily Gillmor Murphy's debut novels was one such book - on looking at the cover I didn't think I'd like it, but once I had read the synopsis, I was actually intrigued and thought it might be worth a try. Emily is a young, new Irish author , still studying herself yet signed to a big UK and Ireland publishing house, so there must be something pretty special about this book which makes it worth my while in reading it. I'm so pleased I did because this was a little gem of a read. Young Olive has finally made the break away from home, and is going to University. She's excited to be starting a new chapter in her life, but nervous about leaving her parents and beloved brother behind. Then there's Tom. He's keen to move out of home, away from his depressed mother and father who would rather pretend he didn't exist. When Tom spots Olive one night, he's determined he must get to know this beautiful, yet shy young woman. When the pair strike a relationship and something tragic happens in Olive's life, Tom is the one she turns to in her hour of need. But one stupid mistake a few weeks ago just might destroy everything Tom has built up with Olive. Can he undone what has already been done? This is quite simply a love story of two young people struggling to get on with their lives despite the troubles they each have in their personal lives, ...

Dear Thing - Julie Cohen 07/06/2013

A Dear Read

Dear Thing - Julie Cohen Every so often, there is a book that captures your attention and makes you so excited to read it that everything else goes out of the window once it arrives. That was certainly the case for me and Julie Cohen's brand new novel, Dear Thing. Yes, I had loved her 2012 release The Summer of Living Dangerously, but it wasn't even that which made me so keen to read this new book. I had just really loved the synopsis of this, and the idea of it really drew me in, because I couldn't fathom how one woman could offer to do such an amazing thing for another woman, then take it away again at the last minute. I had an idea this book wouldn't be an easy read, and I was right, but my God was it a truly great one. Married couple Claire and Ben have it all - all except children that is. They've been trying for many years to have their own baby, but sadly things have never happened for them. After a final failed attempt at IVF, Claire decides she has had enough and accepts her life without children in it, despite her pain. When Ben's best friend Romily hears of this, she immediately offers to be a surrogate for them, carrying a baby to term for them and then handing it over once it's born. But Romily has secretly been in love with Ben for years and years. Being pregnant with Ben's baby suddenly brings all her feelings flooding back to the surface, and she's unsure she can go through with the plan. Claire is desperate to have this baby, sure it's only chance to raise her husband's child. What ...

The Secret of Ella and Micha - Jessica Sorensen 26/05/2013

Don't keep this a secret - share it!

The Secret of Ella and Micha - Jessica Sorensen I was sent a review copy of this new eBook sensation quite a few weeks ago now, but for some reason it didn't jump out at me and I wasn't sure it was my sort of thing. However, I kept reading things on Twitter about it, and in the end, curiosity got the better of me and I decided one night to start Jessica Sorensen's book. Sorensen has published many books under many different series, but this is the first of her books to be picked up by a British publisher (Little, Brown), and it's part of the 'New Adult' genre that is certainly becoming all the age at the moment. It seems quite a few authors who went down the self-publishing route are getting a big break, and now I've read The Secret of Ella and Micha, I can see why Sorensen is a New York Times bestselling author. This is basically a love story. Ella and Micha have been best friends for years, but as they have grown, so have their feelings for each other. Ella is haunted by her past, and by what her mother has done, and a few months ago had a bad night with Micha and she ran away to Vegas, where she went to college, but she didn't tell anyone, especially Micha, where she had gone. Now it's summer and she has to return, knowing she will bump into Micha once more, but she doesn't want to reveal the old Ella as she's done such a good job of reinventing herself for the Vegas crowd. But as she's forced to spend more time with Micha when she gets home, feelings start to become stirred once more, and he's determined to get her ...

The Secret Seven - Enid Blyton 12/05/2013

Super Secret Seven!

The Secret Seven - Enid Blyton I used to read the Secret Seven books when I was a young girl, then moving onto the Famous Five, Mallory Towers and St Clare's novels. Enid Blyton is a fantastic author, and so I was thrilled when my mum bought Harry the first of the Secret Seven books as a treat recently, and he was quite intrigued to read it. It's had a cover overhaul, with a nice modern look to it, with computer imagery depicting a scene from the book, although I have to say it has quite a dark look to it. I told Harry to expect some rather old-fashioned language and a story set in a time that wasn't quite the same as the world we live in today, but he absolutely loved the book, and now we're eagerly collecting the rest of the series. The Seven children, Peter, Colin, Jack, Janet, Barbara, Pam and George, have formed a secret society together, aptly named The Secret Seven. Together, they want to solve mysteries and be known around their village as crime solvers, but aren't quite sure about how to stumble upon one. When they are playing a game in the snow one day, Jack notices someone being taken into the old house at the bottom of the lane, although no-one lives there. The seven are determined to find out who is being held prisoner in the house and why! As you can see, it's a bit of a mystery story, and I have to say Harry really loved it. We haven't read anything like this before, we tend to read funny books (his favourites being Roald Dahl and David Walliams), so I was interested to see how into the ...

A Cottage by the Sea - Carole Matthews 12/04/2013

The perfect holiday read!

A Cottage by the Sea - Carole Matthews I was pleased to be sent a review copy of Carole Matthews' brand new book A Cottage By the Sea a few months as I really liked the idea of this book. It sounded like it was just about friendship, nothing else, and it was going to be enjoyable, as all of Carole's books are. I loved the cover when I first saw it too, such a beautiful image and it certainly makes the book look like one you want to sit and devour, especially in this horribly cold weather, and it looks bright and sunny on the cover of this one! The book is about a woman called Grace, and the friendship she has with her two friends whilst they are all on holiday together, staying in Ella's family cottage in South Wales called Cwtch Cottage. Grace's marriage is in trouble, and she is sure this holiday is either going to make or break the bond between her and husband Harry. Trouble is, she's not sure her husband can live without Twitter or the internet for a week while they are there. Then there's her other friend Flick. The three have been best friends since they were young, but Flick has always been the flighty one of the group, and Grace isn't sure how to talk to her high-flying friend anymore, especially when she turns up with yet another man, Noah, in tow. Their week in the cottage by the sea will certainly stretch their friendships more than they dreamed possible, but will it be a happy ending for all of the friends? I really enjoyed this book for so many reasons. I liked that there wasn't a gimmick with it, ...
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