Planning a Trip to The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour

Back in September my husband and I went on a trip to London and it was one of our favorite vacations ever. Despite the unfortunate timing of our vacation, which fell the week of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, we still got to experience a lot of great things that London has to offer. One of our favorite experiences was going to Warner Bros. The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour. Below is a rundown of everything you need to know before planning your trip.

Is it worth going?

Everyone is different and you should plan your vacations to cater to your interests. For my husband and I, we had been to London before and already experienced a lot of the big ticket things to do in London, like seeing major landmarks. This trip left us with some room to experience things that were not at the top of our bucket list our first time there. I believe if you have interest in film making or like Harry Potter this is something worth experiencing if you have time. You don’t have to be a huge Harry Potter fan to enjoy it. My husband and I both like Harry Potter but I wouldn’t categorize us as huge fans. I would say though if you haven’t read any of the books or watched any of the movies then this is something you can definitely skip.

Getting Tickets

This is a very popular thing to do in the greater London area, and from my experience it does sell out in advance. Tickets start at just under $64. There are a few packages to choose from. You have to get tickets in advance which you can do so here. We were in London towards the end of September and planned the trip in mid July. At the time of planning our trip, tickets were sold out for the time period we were going to be there. Luckily for us, a few weeks before we left I checked the website again and they had a few time slots we could book. I think we may have gotten lucky because some tourists canceled their trips because a lot of major landmarks were shut down due to the mourning period (like Buckingham palace). If you see that tickets are sold out just keep checking the website every few days and you might get lucky.

Getting There

Getting there from London is very easy. We took the underground to London Euston station then got on a train to Waterford Junction which is in Leavesden. The train from Waterford Junction to Leavesden takes about 20 minutes. Once you exit the train station you’ll see buses outside labeled with The Marking of Harry Potter branding on them. Transportation to and from the studio on these buses is included with standard tickets. They will need to view your tickets before you get on the bus. The buses run every 15 minutes so it’s never a long wait but you will be waiting outside.

How Long To Spend There

While you do have to book a time slot for your ticket, you can spend as long as you want once your tour starts. The tour starts out semi-guided. You spend the first part of the tour walking through the great hall set and watching a short film about the studio. From that point on, you are free to walk through the studio at your own pace. It’s a very extensive studio so I suggest planning on spending most of your day there. My husband and I got ready the morning of our tour, got to the studio, checked in, we ate lunch at the cafeteria before our tour started and then spent most of the afternoon exploring the studio. I definitely don’t recommend trying to plan anything else major on the day of your tour. If you are really trying to optimize your time in London, I would suggest maybe planning your tour first thing in the morning and just planning on sightseeing in London that evening. I don’t recommend booking any other tours or experiences the same day as you might feel rushed.

My Favorite Things to See There

My favorite parts of the tour included walking through the Great Hall, Gringotts’s Bank, the Hogwarts Express, and the Forbidden Forest. Parts of the tour felt truly immersive and magical. My husband’s favorite part of the tour was seeing some of the props and scale models.

Outfit Under $100

I love fashion and style, and I’m a strong believer that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve whatever look you are going for. I’ve been putting together these Outfits Under $100 for years now to show that you can put together an entire outfit on a budget. To be completely honest, this has become very challenging with inflation but I really want to keep doing it. These tend to be more basic outfits but you can always style them up more with things you already have. The outfit below is under $100 based on the sale prices at the time of publishing this blog post.

Jeans Sweater Hat

Winter Reading List

Now that I have shared my favorite books from last year, it’s time to get started on my TBR for this year. To be completely honest, I’ve had more time recently to read so I’ve actually finished 3/4 of the books on my Winter TBR list. For the three that I have finished I’ll include a little review of them.

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

This is one of the books I have already finished. I thought the plot was really interesting but the characters fell a little flat for me. I don’t think the author created bad characters, but for me they were unrelatable and I felt the author could have made them more complex.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This is the one I have not read yet. I bought it solely based on it taking place in Vermont.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

I feel pretty indifferent about this book. I read it the week of Christmas. I ultimately just wanted a festive book to read and it delivered on that front. Despite the murder, it was a very cozy and festive read. I personally don’t love books that have a lot of characters in it and this one did. Despite being a murder mystery it felt kind of slow and boring.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

This was the most captivating book I’ve read in a while. The storyline was beautifully written. I do think the author heavily relied on stereotypes for her characters, especially for Laura Lyons. It’s also stated in the book that women cannot be happy and fulfilled outside work and I can attest that is not true. I’m someone who is incredibly fortunate that I don’t have to work. I still set goals and accomplish them, I still find happiness, and I am still fulfilled despite bringing everything to the table except for an income. I personally believe that if you only find happiness, growth, and fulfillment from a job then you need to make some changes in your life.

Must-Have Winter Boots

Winter is finally here in Colorado and I could not be more happy about it. I’m a cold weather girl, and I love dressing for the cold weather. Below are my must-have winter boots. I think it’s great to have one of each type in at least one color. For me, each one has a different purpose in my wardrobe.

Rain Boots Rain boots are incredibly useful where I live for early and late winter (when we get that slushy type of snow). I love that these ones have great grip. Rain boots are just made of rubber so they’re not always the warmest option but this particular brand tends to suction to my calves which traps the heat. You could also wear some extra thick warm socks with them for added warmth. I recommend sizing up if you plan on wearing thick socks with them.

Riding Boot Riding boots are a classic and will never go completely out of style. I love them because they look good with most of my winter wardrobe.

Chelsea Boot Chelsea boots are another classic that will never go completely out of style. For me, the chelsea boot functions the same in my wardrobe as the riding boot. It looks good with most of my winter wardrobe. The determining factor of wearing a riding boot or chelsea boot with an outfit comes down to the type of pants I’m wearing with it.

Cold Weather Boot We do get snow where I live so having a proper shoe for that is necessary. I love this one because it’s warm and extremely comfortable. I can be on my feet all day in this boot and still be comfortable. I also love the grip on this boot. We recently had a cold front with a few days being below 0 degrees and I wore these boots out in ice and well below freezing temperatures. I felt safe walking in them and they were warm enough.

Over-The-Knee Boot I know over-the-knee boots are not currently “on trend” but they will never go completely out of style. I love an over-the-knee boot to wear with dresses and skirts during the winter so I can still cover my legs for the most part and be warm.

Healthy Recipes to Kick Off 2023

I’m not a fan of diets or a supporter of diet culture HOWEVER I totally understand that some people are looking for healthy recipes this time of year for a reset after the holiday season. Healthy means something different to everyone. Below are some of my favorite recipes that are healthy to me.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Zucchini Tomato Italian Sausage Soup

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Quinoa Pizza Bowls

Taco Zucchini Boats

Lemon Butter Cod

2022 Favorites

I’m so happy 2022 is finally over! Last year was one of the hardest years of my life and I’m thrilled to bring in a new year. While 2022 was a hard year for me, it was full of beautiful moments. I also found a lot of escape through things I love and enjoy. Below are my favorites of 2022.

Books

Nine Perfect Strangers

I typically don’t like books with a lot of characters but the author did a phenomenal job at slowly introducing them so it didn’t feel like an overwhelming amount of characters. Despite how many characters there were, I feel like the reader really got to know each one. I also loved the premise of this book. This book was a perfect balance of darker subject matters that were touched on with empathy and wisdom but also really funny and heartwarming. My only complaint is that it really takes a while to get super interesting. The last chapters are what really make this book good. 

Our Italian Summer

This was the perfect Summer read. It was light and I loved the main characters. I loved the author’s focus on the complexities of family female relationships through three generations. I also just love books that take place in Italy because it brings me right back. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

This book was captivating and beautifully written. I’m still amazed that the author was able to touch on so many deep subject matters without glossing over them but not focusing too much on them, and perfectly incorporating them into the plot. I don’t want to give spoilers away, but seeing how the characters had to navigate the press and live their lives according to how they felt safe doing so but not how they wanted to was incredibly eye opening for me.

All The Light We Cannot See

This book is written from the perspective of two characters whose stories are intertwined. It follows them through their lives, focusing on their time during WWII. One a blind French girl, the other a German boy who becomes a Nazi. The author did a great job conveying the traumas of war from very unique perspectives.

Skincare & Makeup

Morphe Setting Spray I find this setting spray to truly help my makeup last all day and it doesn’t feel as heavy as other setting sprays.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating Mask As someone who is a type 1 diabetic, I suffer from dry skin sometimes. The combinations of retinols and diabetes can make for VERY dry skin sometimes, and this hydrating mask has helped me so much over the last year.

Dior Lip Gloss 2022 was the year I fell in love with lip gloss again. I love that high gloss lips give the appearance of really making an effort but it’s such an easy lip product to apply and comfortable to wear.

EltaMD Moisturizing Lip Sunscreen Another lip product I loved in 2022 was the EltaMD Moisturizing Lip Sunscreen. It’s lighter in wight than most lip products with sunscreen and very hydrating.

DRMTLGY Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 46 I’ve been using a tinted sunscreen every day for years now but last year I searched for something that felt more hydrating. I love this one from DRMLGY because it looks beautiful under makeup and it’s hydrating.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water I loved using this thermal spring water to set my makeup. I don’t use it to make my makeup last longer but to blend my makeup into my skin and make it look more natural.

Fashion

Chanel Classic Flap This is my DREAM handbag. I’ve always wanted a Chanel Medium Classic Flap with black caviar leather and silver hardware. My husband and I bought it from the Chanel store on Sloane Street while we were in London in September. It’s the ultimate handbag for me. I’ll probably never spend that amount of money on a handbag again. I cannot link one directly from Chanel but I did link a used one.

Ralph Lauren Men’s Sweatshirt On a typical day, I’m home all day in loungewear and my go-to sweatshirt is the men’s crewneck sweatshirt from Ralph Lauren. I specifically like the men’s ones because of the oversized fit on me and I swear they are better quality than the women’s.

Chiffon Maxi Dress I didn’t get the chance to wear this maxi dress much this year because I bought it at the end of Summer but I know I’ll be wearing it on repeat this upcoming Spring and Summer. It’s light weight so it’s perfect for hot days. It’s a rather shapeless dress but the way it falls over my body is incredibly flattering. The colorway I have is no longer available but they’re always coming out with knew colorways for it.

AE Jeans 2022 was the year I finally tried American Eagle Jeans and I’m now fully converted. They’re comfortable, flattering, inexpensive, always on sale, and they come in so many styles, colors, and sizes.

Tory Burch Crossbody I’m a fan of Tory Burch handbags. I think they’re great quality, a fair price, and well designed. The bag I bought earlier in 2022 is no longer available but the bag pictured and linked is the updated design of the one I have. I love it because it’s small but can hold a lot. It’s also casual and I can throw it on with anything when I’m running out the door.

Home

Faux Shagreen Tray I’ve been using this tray on our bar and it’s the perfect tray to cluster our whiskey bottles. I also love the texture of the tray.

Kassatex Cane Embossed Collection I have several pieces from this collection now- the cotton jar, trash cans, the tumbler, and even the matching bedding. I love it because it’s neutral but because it has a pattern it’s not entirely boring. Also, the pattern reminds me of a Lady Dior handbag so I cannot resist it.

Julienne Y-Peeler I use julienne carrots a lot in cooking but I have a love hate relationship with store bought ones. The store bought ones are dry and often flavorless BUT I hate julienne cutting. This Y-Peeler really solved my dilemma and I use it frequently.

Dessert Cups I use these dessert cups almost every day for everything. I use them mostly for parfaits, ice cream, and chia seed pudding. You could even use them for individual appetizers.

Ginger Jar Since getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in July, I have a lot of medical supplies I need on a daily basis now. I use these jars for insulin related items. I love them because they’re obviously useful for me but they look nice too.

Recipes

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad This salad is so unique fresh tasting. It’s nutritionally dense and filling enough to be an entrée but it could make a great side salad to go with just about anything. It would pair particularly well with grilled chicken, falafel, seafood, or lamb.

Chia Seed Pudding Since getting diagnosed with T1D a lot of people have asked me what sort of dietary changes I’ve had to make. This biggest change in my diet has been to breakfast. My husband and I used to have green smoothies every morning for breakfast. Sounds healthy? It was, but unfortunately any amount of carbs in those smoothies would immediately turn into glucose and spike my blood sugar since it takes little to no effort to digest a smoothie. I’m not bashing on smoothies for breakfast. I still think they’re a healthy option for insulin producing people. However, I had to cut them out of my diet. Chia Seed Pudding is one of the few “sweet” breakfast options I have that won’t spike my blood sugar. I mastered the perfect ratio this year and I feel like there are endless flavor options for Chia Seed Pudding.

Buffalo Chicken Salad There was a week this year when my husband was out of town and I didn’t want to just cook for myself, so I made a large batch of this Buffalo Chicken Salad. I ate it almost every day that week and I’m still not bored with it. It’s healthy but doesn’t taste healthy because my mind is tricked into thinking that anything with buffalo sauce is not healthy.