Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Whats in my handbag this Winter....


Firstly I know my handbag is actually for hand luggage when going on an aeroplane but I can honestly say this handbag is great because it fits everything and I mean everything in it. I was taking it to Bristol every other day for my transplant check ups, so I was carrying loads of stuff.  So I took a pic of my bag on my sofa and as you can see from all the mini pics its full to the brim.

So in my handbag this winter:

I have headphone ear muffs which I recently found again after losing the cable to attach to my phone or ipod. These are a god send because not only do they obviously keep your ears warm (especially when I go to the footy in the winter) but I can listen to music too-no one the wiser lol!

I have a little bag where you may also notice I have a second set of just normal apple head phones just for the gym or when I don't need the warm ones. I also have my mini Ipod and a few lipsticks that are wintery colours, I think one is W7 Champagne and the other is MUA in Matt Wild Berry (my fav shade for winter at the mo.) I put them in the little bag so I don't lose things at the bottom of my bag (easily done.)

The next little bag which is bigger than the first (they are a set) I have some unusual things that you wouldn't find in most women's handbags but that's being a kidney transplant patient. Yes I have a urine sample bottom (you never know) and my transplant meds (which you might see in the background of future blogs-just part of being a transplant patient you have mini stashes of meds all over the place.) Yep you can also see my time of the month essentials, I have them in there just in case as I haven't had a period for about a year because I was very anaemic. Oh and hand sanitizer

I also carry my mini lenses for my Iphone so I can get shots when ever I am out and about. I keep them in the bag to protect them from getting damaged. Now I mostly use my Iphone and I have mentioned to my hubby about getting some bigger lenses for Christmas and a bigger tripod (we shall see.) Very handy to have and because they are so small your not carrying a massive camera although I do take that out too some times.

So this year, well from now but really from 2017 I am trying to be more organised. Yes there is a joke that I say it every year but this year, I finally feel that I might achieve it. I have been carrying my works diary that I have written in everything that is happening. I find that this is easier than trying to remember whats happening or asking my hubby who is a walking diary lol!! My diary is stuff with Christmas cards at the moment and holding them in place is my big paper clip with a cute crab on (i swear this was actually a cracker gift-really useful though.) I also will often shove a book in my bag if I am expecting a wait or delay, this week it happens to be my Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

You may think I am weird but I have 2 pairs of gloves, one woolly pair, one faux leather pair and a hat. I hate being cold, cold hands and cold ears are the worst. So I am never caught out (well almost never.)

Next is a bit miscellaneous, I have got my keys, a shopping bag in a bag, my phone charger which has 4 charges on it, spare batteries for when I take my big camera out and yes I carry a selfy stick and no I don't think I am Kim Kardashian. I just love taking pics and sometimes I need a longer arm lol!

I normally carry my work ID lanyard (I replaced it with the donor card so it doesn't show where I work), my purse (never any cash in it-story of my life lol!!) and my glasses which I should be wearing but often forget. :

And lastly these are the things that get put in and taken out depending on if I need to use them at home so they normally end up on my desk. they are 3 books/notepad types things. You may think 3 notepads is a bit excessive but they all have different purposes. The black one with Crimson and Blake is a little note book and water colour pencils in case I feel creative or see something pretty I would want to paint. The second book which is very pretty (from Paperchase) is my notes book and reminder book to make lists or notes to remember and the 3rd book is my blog book where I write ideas down and scribble notes and basically most of it is unreadable to any one else but me. One last thing is my mini tripod for my Iphone in case I need to have do a steady framed shot. This is often in and out of my back because I'm using it a lot for my blog pics (you will see in the future.)

And that is it, oh apart from when I take my coffee travel cup out with me. I have 2 but I don't think you could have too many lol!

That really is it.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them........Finally seen it!!

So when I heard that there was going to be a new film in the Harry Potter World, I think I squealed quite a bit. Unfortunately I found out after it had been filmed that there had been open castings. I wouldn't have been well enough to go but I know there is going to be 4 more films, so I'm hoping that they might hold open castings again. I would love to be able to say I have been in one of the JK Rowling films especially as I am obsessed with Harry Potter and also as luck would have it the 1920's. Some will already know this but if you haven't read My 2 obsessions Harry Potter and Downton Abbey blog then you may not realise that, the fact they have combined my 2 favourite films/series things into one is my dream come true. It's perfect, it's a period film with magic and it really doesn't get much better than that. I would have gone to see it on the day it came out but my husband said it would be so busy and it would be hard to get tickets. So I am writing this the night feels like Christmas, I am so excited I don't think I will sleep. I've heard that some critics are saying it's even better than the Harry Potter Films......I will reserve judgement till tomorrow but I think it will be amazing that's for sure. This also making me want to go to Harry Potter World in Florida even more now and go to Edinburgh (birth place of HP.) I did ask the Harry Potter Studios, if they would be extended the studios with Fantastical Beast props and sets because it is filmed in the same place. She did seem to be hopeful as they had some of the costumes from FB in the Lobby already, so that's exciting. I did try and book Christmas Tickets for the HP Studios but it was pretty booked up so we will go next Nov/Dec instead so we can be prepared and they might have got FB sets done by then as well.

So back from the cinema and I have to say after all the hype, it was totally worth waiting for. The special effects were amazing and the beasts were just incredible. I think my favourite was a Niffler. I think there will be many requests to "Santa" for a pet Niffler. They are the cutest beasts yet, I really hope this bring out a cuddly toy version or something-yes I know I'm 30! I loved the sets and I can't believe it was all filmed in the uk. I loved all the details just like HP they had literally thought of everything. I really hope that they keep the sets and add it to the HP Studio Tour. I loved that there were hints that linked FB and HP together. I found it hard to be impartial watching it though because I was thinking about HP and where that fitted in with him but actually everything blended well. I recommended the film to my mother in law as I think even though shes only seen the first HP (shock I know with such a big HP fan in the family.) as a stand alone series of it's own you can still watch it and enjoy it. I think the next films will be like the build up to HP Deathly Hallows 1 and 2 they maybe a massive war/fight in the last film which is my prediction. I'm intrigued by which cities they will visit next, I liked the fact it was in New York for the first film, I think it will give each film a different feel and each film will be distinctive. I think the next city might be some where like Beijing where they find ancient beasts or Oslo maybe or maybe Reykjavik where they beasts live in the colder climates. I am waiting on tender hooks for the next film.I hope I get the FB book for Christmas so I can try and work it out.

I loved the film and can't wait for the next one. 

Toodles xx

Getting to know me A to Z

 So I saw another blogger do this recently and I thought what a great idea for a blog. So here goes my one, as truthful and forthcoming as I can be without telling you my bank details. I may have two things for some letters-naughty I know but bare with me and you might learn a few extras you didn't know.

A is for Adopted

In case you didn't know I was adopted at 10 years old and it still has a profound affect on my life today even at 30 years old. Having been adopted, I would also consider adopting a child as well to give them the chance I had.


I also love autumn and this time of year and how beautiful the colours of the leaves are. I love going on autumn walks and taking my camera and get the leaves changing colour.

B is for Bugs (insects)

I absolutely hate any kind of bugs apart from butterflies and dragonflies, In Cambodia (on a charity trek) I saw a tarantula in the water buck the size of a dustbin lid and locals tried to get me to eat crickets-nope I definitely wasn't down with that.

C is for Christmas 

I have a "small" obsession with Christmas and anything related to it. I love the decorations, music, advent, Christmas lights, Christmas tree, Christmas films, present giving and most importantly the food.

D is Dachshund 

I have wanted a sausage dog for many years but we've not been able to get one due to not owning our own place and work. Still my dream though, one day.

Downton Abbey

Most will know that I am obsessed with Downton Abbey and I have visited Highclere Castle. I have the box set and watch repeatedly on a regular basis.

E is for Easel

I have several easels, I have had one of them for over 16 years. I want to use my travel easel on the beach next summer and just sit and paint.

F is for Fromage

Ok, this is a bit of a cheat because I used the french word so I could still include it. I love any cheese I'm not a snob of cheese  or a "Sneese". Lol! (yes I find my own jokes funny)

G is for Good Food Channel

I watch so many cooking programs, mostly on the Good Food channel and then borrow ideas and recipes. I love to cook, especially with my husband because we work as a team.

H is for Honeymoon

We went to Barbados for our honeymoon and we swam with turtles which was amazing. We got married in June 2011 (been married nearly 6 years.) It's my favourite place I have been so far.

Harry Potter

I am obsessed with Harry Potter and I have visited the Harry Potter Studios. I  want to go back in the snow. I watch the films on a regular basis while I was on dialysis. I also want to go to the Wizarding world in Florida.

I is for Italy 

I have never been but I am desperate to go, I may be going in 2017. I can not wait to go and see the sites, eat the food, immerse my self in culture and of course getting amazing pics. I hope I can go to the lakes or Sorrento or both!!

J is for Jeggings

I have been living in these pre-transplant because they are stretchy and I can't have anything tight around my waist or it makes me feel sick. Practical but not that pretty or sexy-won't win best dressed at any award show!!

K is for Katrina

Katrina-that's me obviously. Fun fact, it's my birth name-I never changed my first name because I had started school by the time I was adopted.

Kidney Disease

I have Kidney Disease, I was diagnosed in 2012, I missed most of the Olympics because I was in hospital over the summer.  In 2014 I was in hospital over Christmas and New Years Eve and day. I had to have dialysis every other day for 4 hours a session.

L is for Lemonade

I absolutely love lemonade whether it be cloudy, pink or normal. I give it to guests when they come round and I put it in a cocktail glass- which people think is very cute.

M is for Mocha's

My hubby coined a phrase: "Mocha for Murray" (maiden name) now we say: "Mocha for Mouse" (my nickname.) I'm also partial to a white chocolate mocha from Nero-it's so nice but not on the new diet restrictions at the mo. (high sugars levels)

N is for New York

I have never been but I have became obsessed and fell in love with it when I saw it on Ugly Betty and Sex in the City. When I saw it on those shows it made me want to become a blogger and go visit. My Uncle was also recently in play on Broadway-pretty cool but I couldn't fly so no trip for me, boo!

O is Orlando

I went to Orlando when I was 17 years old as a surprise from my parents. It was a great trip and we also went to Cancun as well. I want to go back with my hubby and go to the Universal Studios and the Harry Potter World.

P is for Painting 

I love painting, I think I am better at landscapes and animals. I don't like painting people because they are harder to get right. All the art work in our house is mine-cheaper than buying right? I also love drawing and photography, all goes hand in hand really- it's safe to say I'm quite arty.

Q is for Quirky

I think most people when they meet me, think I'm quirky. I'm known for having a quirky personality and fashion sense, which may have been encouraged by my dad particularly who bought be some
interesting fashion choices.

R is for Reading

I have a subscription to an interior design magazine, Ideal Homes which I love to read with a nice cup of tea. I also love going to the Ideal Christmas Show and the Ideal Home Show.

Reading Football Club

I have been a Reading supporter for many years and I have been to loads of games. I have been to Liverpool's ground and Cardiff's Ground among others. I go to games with my hubby and I think when he found I supported the same team as him, it might have been love at first sight LOL!!

S is for Skiing

I love skiing but I haven't been for quite some time. I used to train with police ski team. I want to do the Transplant Games and the Winter Transplant Games and start skiing again.

T is for Transplant

I have just had my first kidney transplant in September 2016. I was on the list for about a year and a bit. I'm now training for the Transplant Games next year. It is life changing and I'm so grateful but there are now words that I can really describe how it feels. It is a gift I will never love any gift more than this.

U is for Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty was my favourite show and it actually made me start my own blog. I didn't even know what a blog was and now I have been doing it for 6 years...Crazy!! Happy Birthday Blog!! I was very sad when Ugly Betty finished, I think most girls can relate to that Ugly Betty stage in our early years.

V is for Vegetarian

I have decided to become Vegetarian or actually Pescatarian (I will eat fish.)  This is a life style choice because I've always hated eating meat but put it to the back of mine. When I was younger but my mum wouldn't separate meals so I ate meat. My favourite animal when I was growing up was a pig and now I know how animals are reared-has put me off for life. If you like meat don't watch a Peta video.

W is for Wicked 

I went to see this with my hubby (actually seen it 3 times with different people) I wanted to see it after seeing it in Ugly Betty. Amazing sound track and I love listening to it.

(us at Wicked 2011-2 month post wedding)

X is for XFactor

I hate watching the XFactor now, it's boring and it annoys me. Enough said!!

Y is for Youtube

I have started watching loads of Vlogger, I particularly like Sacconejoly, Pointlessblog, Zoella, Sprinkle of Glitter and a few others. It does get addictive though so going to ration how much time I spend watching them.

Z is for Zoo 

I love going to all Zoos but what I really want to do is go on a real safari one day and paint and draw all the animals. For now though Longleat is the closest I will get to a safari. I do particularly love the big cat enclosures-scary but cool!!

And that is my A to Z of facts about me, I hope you liked it.

Toodles xx

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Valentines, kidney disease and post transplant

Valentines for me is so much nicer at home where you can pic your own meal and decorations and not have to put up with domestics arguments in restaurants because someone didn't get the right gift or they didn't get the proposal that they wanted. You've seen those couples right? The ones who have a loud argument and then one storms out.....not really mine scene.

The other thing that I dislike about Valentines day is that restaurants and shops put the prices up to ridiculous prices for that one day and then you have to squeeze into a restaurant filled to the brim or buy a bunch of flowers that cost 3x as much. Not for me I'm afraid!!

 I also think its much nicer and more romantic to be just you and your partner. You can get cute decorations and balloons or if your creative then you could make them. To be honest my husband and I show each other every day how much we love each other-which might sound really mushy but if you have been through what we have you would be to. The pic to the right is a few pics from various Valentines days.

It is difficult being ill but I did my best to make the day as special as I can. I think the one I was most proud of was buying a chocolate fountain for hubby because hes a big chocolate lover, which I paired with a platter of fruit. I did have a bit of a disaster though, the spiral thing that moves the chocolate to the top was not in properly and it span the chocolate everywhere. It went all over the furniture, me and the carpet. I think chocolate fondues are defiantly easier. You can actually see that the top pic of me in a polka dot dress I'm a bit better and the bottom pic of me in my stripey top, I remember I wasn't feeling well at all and I went out and got the decorations from Asda and the food was from M & S, it was a big pearl filled with salmon moose on sapphire served on a shell and the main was steak and we added the prawns to make it surf and turf. Over the years we have different food the top pic was one of our starters, mussels and tiger prawns/king prawns-I can't remember which is which.

This year I did struggle to organise the Valentines day I wanted for my hubby but I did give him a homemade gift (I heart bear-his nickname personalised photo.) When you are ill and on dialysis every other evening, with anaemia and generally feel like rubbish it is hard to find the motivation and energy to organise things.I also needed helping taking the pictures for his present, in the end I actually used my selfie stick. I ordered the letters and painted them in blue and the sprinkled glitter on them. I then used a heart balloon to finish the pic, then printed the pics off and then put them in a frame.

So after getting my transplant in September I now feel really able to make up for all the Valentines that I couldn't really celebrate properly. so this year....actually it's next year, I think I'm going to go over the top. I have pinned so many ideas already and I'm in 2 minds to go away maybe Scotland for a weekend or Ireland or if we stay here I will definitely decorate the whole flat.

Ok the plan is this, after doing loads of research I have decided to do a photo shoot for my hubby. I've decided to do a few different looks, some maybe a bit more sexy and some will be more beauty shots but they will all have props or be styled to represent us.The only thing I might need help actually taking pictures and finding locations. most will be in my house but I think I do want to do some on location. This present might end up being an anniversary present in June. I did a quick screen shot of some of the craft ideas I could do.

Stay tunes, I might do a blog on behind the scenes of the shoot and a few sneak peaks if your lucky (only of the beauty shots)

Toodles xx

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Alopecia problems and NEW hairstyles

So I finally got my hair cut and I'm so glad I've had it done. I feel like my face is less round with this style. I was thinking having my hair cut to the shoulder with a fringe but I was advised against by the hair dresser because it cut my face in half so it might make my face look more round.

This style is to try and reshape my face because of the steroids I'm on. My face has moon-face which is quite common with people on steroids. So as well as going to the gym, I got my hair cut to hide the sides of my face so it doesn't look as round, plus I like this look on me. I think I will get a fringe put in possibly after Christmas so that I get the look I really want.

So it's goodbye to my long old hair and the problems I had with Alopecia. This is why my hair is so thin in places because I ended up with bald patches by my ears and at the top. I tried to hide it and became very self conscious of it and it really upset me because I had lovely hair.

My Alopecia was caused by a blood pressure medication which just made most of my hair fall out in massive clumps. I think losing my hair really effected my confidence being in public, because I felt people were staring and trying to guess what was wrong with me. I remember my dads hair all fell out when he had his chemo and it affected him too, he hated having his photo taken at the time.

I have noticed that my hair has started to grow back, unfortunately I have noticed a few greys have appeared which definitely weren't there before. After everything I've been through that also upset me quite a lot which people might think is silly but I hardly had my 20's and as soon as I turned 30 I got grey hairs. Well in the grand scheme of things I'm not really complaining and I can always dye my hair to cover them, but I think they grew back like that because of the medication I was on.

Any way I love my new hair style and it's definitely the new me.

Toodles xx

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Post transplant 1st gym session.

So I haven't been to the gym for so long I had to go out an buy some gym gear. That just shows how long it's been, due to my anaemia I didn't have any energy to do exercise and I felt sick a lot of the time due to having really high blood pressure. It meant that even going up stair or for a short walk almost impossible with stopping regularly and sitting down. I almost didn't realise that before my transplant, my whole body hurt/ached when I did any exercise. I suppose I got so used to feel like it, I didn't realise how bad I felt. It became the new normal for me.

My aim is to get fit and start training for the British Transplant Games. I used to do cross country and athletics and skiing in the police, so I want to get back to that ability. My other ambition is to do another trek for charity. I did one in 2007 and that was the last really big thing I have done. I did the trek which was over 120km without any training and I also did a half marathon the week before with out any training either. Those days are gone but I will get my fitness back soon.

I tried to do some snowboarding in 2013 and found it really hurt my legs and then I thought I was going to throw up on the slope. After that I limited all exercise to reduce the stress on my body. However I do want to start skiing again and I would love to go on a mini skiing break soon. I loved it, plus my hubby and I haven't been skiing together ever so keen to get him and me back on the slopes.

So I will definitely continue to go to the gym because as you can tell from the top pic I am battling with weight gain from my steroids which makes me have increased appetite. I have also been off for 2 months and didn't do loads of exercise and I keep having people round for tea and cakes which means I have stuff left over which I nibble on....ooops!!! In all seriousness I need to watch my sugar levels as that is increased by the steroids too so going to try and cut out a lot of the sugary things and increase my exercise.

So I will do an update on how my exercise journey is going. I will be walking to work to meet a friend for coffee and I will resist the urge for a syrupy coffee and cake.

 Toodles xx

Being on dialysis.....what it's like

So having Kidney Disease means that inevitable at some point you may have to go onto dialysis. Although some are lucky, never having to go on to dialysis before they get their transplant. I however was not that lucky. So I started hemodialysis back in 2014.

Pic on left: Me with a neckline-masks have to be worn while being put on.
Pic on right: Me on Hemodialysis

Actually I should really start at the beginning, so you have two types of dialysis, Hemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis. You will need a type of dialysis when your GFR (Glomerular filtration rate how well your kidneys filter fluid, the rate at which creatinine -toxins, is cleared) drops 15% or less. Mine, when I was first diagnosed in 2012 it was 5/6 and in 2014 it dropped to 5/6 again.

The first type is Hemodialysis which you can see me on in all these pics at the hospital unit. This type is where your blood is taken out of your body and then cleaned through this machine to get rid of the toxins because we can't get rid of them ourselves. This cycle takes an average of 4 hours but it differs between different patients. Each persons experience of dialysis is different, mine was up and down. The Second dialysis is peritoneal dialysis which is where a fluid is put in to your tummy through a tube, this stays in for a time period which differs on how quickly your filter rate is. This then draws the creatinine out and then is drained into an empty bag. This type of dialysis can be done at home and there is an overnight machine too. I had lots of issues with this dialysis and eventually had to have the tube removed after getting peritonitis twice which meant I missed the cruise we had booked. I then had to have temporary necklines made it a bit temperamental but I became more stable once I had my fistula (permanent access) put into my leg (clot in my arm where they normally put them) which became a lot easier. I would recommend not eating to much while on dialysis as it lowers your blood pressure and you can faint.

I had my little bag of things that I would bring with me to the dialysis unit at the hospital to keep me occupied, which I highly recommend. Most units have TV and Wifi but I used to bring my DVD and watch lots of box sets-well mostly Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. I also used to draw and paint while I was on dialysis. I have also written the script for a Murder Mystery dinner party script/plot. So actually it's a great time to do things you don't have time to in a normal day. Make the most of the time where you can't do much so you might as well catch up on your favourite show or read a good book. Oh taking extra blankets will help because if you're like me, I felt freezing so I would quite often come in, in a onsie-my Christmas one got a few comments but that could have been because I went in wearing it in the summer. It must have been a bit weird a giant Christmas pudding walking in-I'm sure there's a joke in there.....!!!

I was on and off dialysis for 4 years, of which 2 of those years I wasn't on any dialysis because my kidneys gained a bit of function so I came off everything. I also overhauled my diet and followed the Dialysis diet. You may get given a diet book given to by the dietitian to follow to reduce your potassium and phosphates. You may want to lob this book out of the window, I can assure you this is normal, my adoptive late dad (who also had kidney disease-weirdly) threw it across the kitchen and I had many moments when I would get in a strop when I first started (and sometimes after that) about not being able to eat some of my favourite foods. You do get used it (eventually) and it does become the new normal. We started cooking a lot more stuff from scratch, when you start looking at packets and info on food it will shock you and actually, it puts you off ready meals for life-yuck. Eating out becomes a bit more difficult but you just have to remember the basics and don't be afraid to ask how things are cooked or ask if it could be cooked in a different way-avoid microwave food, it increases the potassium because the moisture is cooked out-or something like that. There is one more thing most people get given a fluid restriction which was very difficult to stick to but it is very important to, otherwise fluid can build up and this can cause a lot of issues.

I hope anyone going through this journey will feel a little more informed. I had no one my age to go through this with, I was 26 when I was diagnosed so it felt weird being the youngest on the wards and units. I was the youngest by a long way as well but it's good to have someone to go through the journey with, I have recently reached out on social media for people who have been through this journey. I did a friend who I did dialysis with but not my age but I was grateful to have someone and  I still ring her up and talk to her about what I go through on a weekly basis. This journey will throw some curve balls but the best thing is to stay positive. I bet you will be like 'yeh right' but I think that kept me sane and not crying all the time. There is one quote I live by when it comes to my health or difficult times 'when life dishes you lemons make lemonade'. So out of something bitter or sad make something sweet or happy.

Me on dialysis with a dazzling array of different hair styles. I'm didn't realise I had changed my hair so much....any way

 Toodles xx

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Birthday at a Safari park......Lions, Tigers and Bears oh my!

Yes for my 30th Birthday I went to a Safari Park, Longleat. It was a brilliant day and it certainly didn't disappoint. We did have a bit of drama while we went through the some of the enclosures. To save time as it had taken a lot longer to get ready and then drive to the Safari park we didn't have much time to eat so we grabbed some toasties to take with us on the drive through the enclosures, this was not a very good idea.
Especially as the sandwich I had picked was a ham and cheese toasty, now you may think I was being paranoid but I'm sure the lions could smell the ham from the car. Now you're probably thinking I am being silly but I was petrified when one of the lions walked past I just didn't move and I held my breath. Although I was scared I couldn't help be amazed by the big cats, including the tigers which were so majestic even when two of the tigers started having a fight right next to our car which was quite impressive but scary. Where as some of the tigers weren't that bother at all and would rather snooze. He probably wondered what all the racket was they other two were making. I did notice that ths younger lion had some sort of piece of car in his mouth which made me slightly nervous he might have a go at our car after....eeek!! 

Naughty little lion, I feel sorry for the owner of the car, that must have been terrifying. I would defiantly had a panic attack and my blood pressure was quite high after we did the safari as it was. We then went through the rhino enclosure and that's when I thought we were really in trouble. I had been taking pictures of the rhino and I had been holding my flash but I took my hand off my camera for a second and then I forgot to put my hand back on the flash and lets just say that the rhino got so close that the tractor came in between us and the rhino I generally thought he was going to charge the car. I was so freaked out I was shaking. thank goodness the tractor was there. I was so cross with my self because I had got distracted and my flash went off. I defiantly learnt my lesson though. So after being thoroughly terrified we went had a cup of tea and cake to calm our nerves. So apart from nearly being eaten by lions for my sandwich (ok slight exaggeration) and actually nearly being trampled on by a rhino we had a great time and I would definitely want to go back. Hopefully next time we will see even more.

Toodles xx

My 2 Obsessions.......Harry Potter and Downton Abbey....send help!!!

So the people who know me, know that I am completely OBSESSED with Harry Potter. I was quite young when the first book came out and I fell in love with it and still love it even more today. When I was on dialysis I would watch the films on my mini DVD player in order on a regular basis. I think this made my dialysis sessions easier because I was so engrossed in the films. I love the first book and film best because it was the introduction to the story and characters.I love the story because it's a world full of magic and how amazing would it be to go to a magical boarding school. I'm still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts. I wanted a Harry Potter themed for my 30th birthday but I wasn't well enough to organise it. So might have to revisit it. However I did get a beautiful book from my hubby which I had wanted it since I saw it at the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

Any way isn't it every child's fantasy to go to a boarding school like in the book Malory Towers (by Enid Blyton) one of my other favourite books growing up.

Any enough of my childhood fantasies, I was lucky enough to go to 'The Making of Harry Potter' at the Warner Brother Studios near London. I have to say it was so amazing to be on parts of the sets and see all the props. I was so amazed how they made a lot of the props, like the potion bottle labels are all hand written, the Marauders map was all hand drawn- the mind boggles. I would have loved to make the props for this film I wish had gone into prop and set design especially when I see props and sets like these. I also wish I had known about the extra casting, I would have loved to be in these films oh well maybe I could be in the new Fantastical Beasts Films, which I can't wait to go and see.
I'm so obsessed that I'm planning on doing some art work for my house that is inspired by Harry Potter which will go along my hall. I have picked a few pictures but I think I took about 800 pictures so I had to choose only a few otherwise this blog would be mega long. So if you don't know what these each pic is I will explain.

So First pic at the top of the blog is:

  1.  Me with a Butterbeer and a Butterbeer moustache 
  2. Hubby and I at Diagon Alley
  3. Hubby with Butterbeer and a Butterbeer moustache 
  4. Model of Hogwarts
  5. Great Hall table
  6. Entrance to Dumbledores office-Sherbet Lemon
  7. All the wands in a circle with all the names
  8. Hubby and I at Diagon Alley again
  9. The Clock overlooking the courtyard
Next pic
  1. The Great Hall table
  2. Us on the Night Bus 
  3. Dumbledore costume in the Great hall-Happiness can be found even in the darkest of places if one only remembers to turn on the light (quote by Dumbledore)
  4. Door to the Chamber of Secrets.
  5. Model of Hogwarts
  6. Marauders map-Mischief Managed
  7. Us in the flying car
  8. me at the Hogwarts gates
  9. Us in front of the Wizard chess piece

So now I move on to my second obsession which is Downton Abbey after my friend told me to watch the series. She knew I loved the 1920's era and told me to watch it. I thought I wouldn't like it for some weird reason but I fell in love with. I loved the sets and costumes and I was very intrigued by how people lived in those days. There is definitely pattern here, I think it's because arty and creative I see the craftsmanship that goes into these productions. Some of those dresses they wear which are absolutely covered in sequins and delicate beading works are beautiful  and I wish I had a few dresses like that I could just whip out on special occasions.

So any way I do go on a bit, I think I nagged my husband to go to the stately home, Highclere Castle (where it was filmed) for about a year. So my dreams finally came true, we visited Downton (Highclere) and it was amazing. Unfortunately we weren't aloud to take pictures inside but I did get the guide book and I do have a book like my Harry Potter one which tells you about the series and how it was film/behind the scenes. It was a bit of a wet and cold day when we went so had initially dressed quite glamorous with a pretty dress and my new shoes. Due to the weather though I had to put on my pink ski jacket which ruined then effect slightly. I was also retaining a lot of fluid in this pic as I'm sure you can tell, life of a kidney disease patient. This was back in August 2015 so I would love to go back once I have lost a bit of weight post transplant and take the same picture and see the difference. 

My love for Downton has been reignited by the tv series I watched recently (which has now ended) which was Tutankhamun, the story of the Earl of Carnarvon (who lived at Highclere) and Howard Carter finding his tomb. If you get to Highclere there is an exhibition in the basement- which I would have found very interesting if I had, had time to go. As I absolutely loved Egypt and all the antiquities we saw in the Cairo Museum and Luxor. I was in awe of all the temples and the antiquities, I will let you into a little secret I actually wanted to be an Archaeologist when I was younger and the area most interested in was Egyptology. I even went on a Archaeological dig.  

 Any way Toodles xx