Books & Films, England, Youtube

Dreams Came True On The WB Studio Tour – The Making Of Harry Potter!

Earlier this year a dream came true when Kostas (a Greek friend of mine who takes amazing instagrams) and I decided to go down to London for a weekend to do the Warner Bros Studio Tour, aka HARRY POTTER EVERYTHING ERMAGERD HELP IT’S TOO MUCH. He hadn’t been to London for a long time so we spent  a day seeing the sights by taking the Tube around and popping up for cheeky selfies here and there. I’ve visited London quite a few times, but every time I go back it charms me a little more. A post of the what to see if you only have 24 hours in London coming on the blog soon-ish!


We opted to stay at the Covent Garden Travelodge Hotel, which came to about 30£ a night for the both of us, but gave us a bit more privacy than a hostel would have done. We booked our tickets to the studio tour through the Warner Bros website and our transport through Golden Tours well in advance and after getting on our bus on the day we were off!

After a pretty long bus tour that  showed informational videos about Leavesden and the studio we arrived and walked towards the building.  Seeing the big stone chess pieces outside and the Harry Potter Studio Tour sign made the butterflies spread throughout my stomach and for a minute I couldn’t believe I was there. For as long as I can remember I would watch the Behind-The-Scenes DVD bonus material and documentaries about how the films were made, desperately wanting to understand the magic. I  had dreamed of going to see the sets and now the day was here and I couldn’t believe it.

The experience started as soon as we were queuing to get inside, as Harry’s cupboard under the stairs was there for us to view. It was a little cupboard tangible and detailed. It was THERE. Right there in front of me.  I kept gawking at everything, wide eyed and  starstruck. As we walked into a little cinema and got to see introduction videos and little behind the scenes clip the butterflies stayed. And when the screen made way for the entrance to the Great Hall I marveled at the craftsmanship of it all.


We walked through the Great Hall and came into the big studio itself. Information, interactivity and complete fangirling came together and I felt like a hopeful little 11 year old again. It had been years since I considered myself a hardcore fan (the fanfic writing kind), but Harry Potter is what made me fall in love with reading and what made me fall in love with England and during the tour I fell back in love with it. Harry may not have been as cute as I thought he was when I was 13, but the magic was still there and the feeling of nostalgia was strong.

It’s difficult to imagine the detail that actually went into the films, even the many details you never see, especially in Dumbledores office and the Weasley Burrow. So many little things make up a set and many of them never even make it on screen, but still had to be hand crafted. The scale models, the concept art, the green screen techniques and the animatronic creatures were all amazing pieces of work within their own fields.  We got to wander through a scale model of Diagon Alley, complete with fully stocked shop windows and moving effects, which made my day, and then we got to the huge model of Hogwarts. Wow. I have no words and can only bow down to whoever created such a magnificent piece of art. Because there is no doubt that the Harry Potter films are art. People can argue “mindless entertainment” if they want, but they would be wrong. The stories J.K. created are beautifully complimented by artists within many many fields.

It was honestly one of the highlights of the year for me, but oh how I wish it was all real and that my letter from Hogwarts had arrived when it was promised. I bet I wasn’t the only heartbroken 11 year old who had to realise that she would forever be a muggle and realised it even more so when she found herself standing in front of 4 Privet Drive, wishing with all her might it was real and not imaginary.

I got a photo of myself in front of the Knight Bus and Privet Drive, got to walk through the wibbly-wobbly bridge from Deathly Hallows and drink Butterbeer, and even snagged a few goodies from the (arguably overpriced) gift shop. I did the whole tour, but I didn’t  wanted to leave.  I felt like I could have been there for hours upon hours, just wandering the sets and trying to keep my curious hands away from all the beautiful props.

We visited Leavesden before they had the Hogwarts Express set and they also have wonderful seasonal themes for the tours so I do think I have to go back sometime, but what an experience!  Have you been to the WB Studio Tour? What was our favourite part? 🙂 Xxx

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Books & Films, Travel

10 Films That Inspire Travel

It’s no secret that I’m big on films and watch more than the average number. As I grew up, so did my enthusiasm for travel grow and these films were part of what inspired me to want to visit new places and explore new cultures. You’ll notice that all of these flicks are from 2000 and onwards and that’s simply because, although I have watched quite a few older films in later years, these are the ones I fell in love with as a tween and teen. Here in no specific order are 10 films that inspire travel:

Ratatouille (2007, Walt Disney Pictures)
With gorgeous animation and French music all throughout this cute film about a rat who wants to be a chef is great fun for kids and parents alike. I put it on this list because 1,  Oh, J’taime Paris! And 2, I love it when children get play and learn to be adventurers through fiction, whether that be films or books or graphic novels.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010, Sony Pictures)
Set in Italy, India and Bali this journey explore all aspects of life. It’s spicy and a brilliant film for foodies looking for inspiration, while simultaneously showcasing some beautiful location and cultures. Admittedly a bit of a chick flick, but still inspirational!

Mamma Mia (2008, Universal Pictures)
Catchy ABBA music and a romantic Greek island –  what´s not to like? As a scandinavian I’m contractually obligated to love and know every ABBA song by heart, but this is just one of the many reasons I love Mamma Mia. I haven’t been to Greece yet, but the blue ocean, white and blue buildings and lovely cliffs would tempt anyone to go island jumping in the Greek isles!

Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003, New Line Cinema)
Peter Jackson discovered and developed his love for long landscape shots and epic establishing shots in the LOTR trilogy. The three films were shot in New Zealand and as most of you know the local tourist economy is now thriving because of it. Previously undiscovered but these films made us want to see the breathtaking nature and magical sets for ourselves. The films are also about taking an epic journey and has a real traveller spirit feeling to them.

Blended (2014, Warner Bros. Pictures)
However unrealistic it may be that you get to go on a luxury holiday to Africa, and however (slightly) racist some of the stereotypes in this film are, it does have some lovely heartwarming moments and shows off some wonderful African nature and wildlife. Especially the scene where Drew Barrymores character hang glides behind a truck lets the audience see some amazing clips of the different, but stunning nature. It helps that this film is also genuinely funny!

Amélie (2001, UCG Fox)
This quirky French film is worth a watch if you don´t mind the subtitles. Set in Paris Amélie (played by Adrey Tautou) finds love by smiling to the world and wandering around this colorful city (it really is colourful – stunning visuals!) . The music is a little bit more like folk-music than in Ratatouille, but still the epitome of French.

Ps: I Love You (2007, Warner Bros. Pictures/Momentum Pictures)
The romantic film that makes every woman cry and every man roll his eyes. And also the film that showcases some beautiful  Irish music, nature and pub culture. I’ve visited Ireland before and though the film showcases a slightly understated version of Irish nature because of it’s everyday life focus, it is still impossibly green.

Up (2009, Walt Disney Pictures)
Ellie is a dreamer who wants to travel the world and her husband Carl flies away in a house strapped to balloons. Do I need to say more? Another film that makes kids want to travel, to go beyond their own comfort zones and encourages them to not stop dreaming even if their dreams seem far away. Heart warming ❤

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012, Fox Searchlight Pictures)
If you love the great classical actors who always represent the epitome of British culture, fun Bollywood music and sometimes awkward dramady jokes then this cute film is worth a watch! A group of British retirees head to India for their retirements, only to discover that they didn’t know everything about life and love after all. Lovely mix-mash of Indian culture and British humour.

Up in the Air (2009, Paramount Pictures)
This film is probably the one I´ve watched most recently, found on Netflix one lazy Sunday morning. It takes a while to get into it and sometimes it is downright odd, but there are humorous parts that makes up for the slow start. This film is on the list because I adore flying and like Clooney’s character I have a thing for collection frequent flyer miles just to collect them, though I mostly collect SAS points (Northern Norway hometown perks). Let yourself be inspired by the jet setter life 🙂

Let me know if you have any films that have inspired you to travel in the comments below! Xxx

2015, Books & Films, literature

Summer Reading 2015

Before I ever sat in an airplane I had visited many kingdoms, seen amazing creatures and met all sorts of people from more cultures than I could count. I was a reader. Now because this blog is so new, none of you will be aware of my love for literature. I’m a massive bookworm. Massive. I was the kid who sat in the back of the classroom and hid my middle grade fantasy books behind my math book, who did all her homework ahead of time just so I could read in our study sessions, who would even bring my poor books outside during free periods if I’d gotten to an exciting bit. Books became my way of traveling, they gave me exciting travel companions and they inspired me to go out and experience the world. To adventure beyond my own sphere, beyond the borders of my own country. And it wouldn’t be entirely untrue if I said that growing up with Harry Potter is what landed me in England for 3+ years.

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The sad truth of university life, however, is that though I get to read and read a lot, the things I read are mostly academic bladibla. Which isn’t to say it’s not interesting… there is just a distinct lack of dragons, epic battles, young love  and romantic kisses under the Eiffel Tower. And I need that in my life. Working the entire summer also means that there is a distinct lack of travel and the solution I seem to have come to is that I binge read during the summer. Every summer without fail. Here are some of the books I have read so far and hope to read during the coming months:

The Name of The Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss
The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle Day 2)by Patrick Rothfuss
Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella
Sophies World by Jostein Gaarder
Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow 1) by Anthony Ryan
Tower Lord (Raven’s Shadow 2) by Anthony Ryan 
Queen of Fire (Raven’s Shadow 3) by Anthony Ryan
Catch 22 by Jospeh Heller
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Is Everyone Hanging OUt Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

More to come…

I’m hoping I will get through these and will probably update the list as I find more things I want to read throughout the summer. The more interesting question now is: What are you reading this summer?

Books & Films, Life, Other, Travel

Hey, wordpress, hey!

So. This is a thing. Hello. TRAVEL BLOG (and some other stuff) IS A GO.  Let’s do this introduction thing then, shall we? I’m Cathrine. Below is my face. I’m Northern Norwegian born and raised, but I study Media, Culture and Communication at Newcastle University In England. I consider myself an expat as well as a student abroad. And I consider myself a traveller at heart. If I have money to spare save and I save and I save. Then I book and I book and I book. Tickets, flights, hostels, hotels and activities. You won’t see me with a bag that costs a grand, but don’t be surprised if you run into me in some European city.

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This blog is going to be documenting my travels. I will recount trips I have had, introduce you to my Norwegian culture and home region, talk about my life as an expat, studying abroad, long distance relationships and give tips about the all of the aforementioned. This travel blog will be personal more than anything, but I will also give some of my own tips and tricks on travel and packing while planning and preparing trips of my own. Other things you might want to know? Nah, you’ll find out eventually 😉