Elf at the Tate

The Tate Britain is an overlooked art gallery that really does deserve more attention. The Tate Britain is home to a whole range of art through time. My favourite section is the School of London, which houses beautiful portraits.

The Tate Britain is a short walk from Pimlico station, although also a lovely walk across the river from Vauxhall. It’s a beautiful building and impressive to behold.

The galleries are laid out in time periods. Follow them around its worth it.

We stopped to spend time enjoying Ophelia by John Everett Millais and Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent. Two of my absolute favourite paintings.

The Tate Britain is free to get into and also has seasonal exhibitions that cost to get into. It is much quieter that some of the art galleries in London and has a much calmer feel to it. It is a great afternoon out and the cake from the cafeteria looked amazing.

 

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Sam Shepard

One of the most inspiration play-writes past away today…I’m am sad.

“I’m a great believer in chaos. I don’t believe that you start with a formula and then you fulfill the formula. Chaos is a much better instigator, because we live in chaos — we don’t live in a rigorous form.”

— Sam Shepard in conversation with Clare Dwyer-Hogg, 2013
(I found this on Bustle)

 

“When you consider all the writers who never even had a machine. Who would have given an eyeball for a good typewriter. Any typewriter. All the ones who wrote on a matchbook covers. Paper bags. Toilet paper. Who had their writing destroyed by their jailers. Who persisted beyond all odds.”

– Sam Shepard, True West

Elf on the bus

We love an afternoon tea at house Elf, and this one is a little special…its on a bus.  That’s right afternoon tea on a Routemaster bus.

IMAG3143.jpgThe bus takes you around the big sites of London starting at Victoria Coach Station.  Heading past Big Ben, Harrods, The Royal Albert Hall, around the park and back through Piccadilly to Victoria station.

Elf tip: Make sure you book in advance, you can select the seats and table that you would prefer.  We recommend paying the slightly higher price to sit on the upper deck, it is worth it.

We opt for the 5pm slot and climb on at Victoria Coach Station.  We’re on the upper deck and settle in with the amazing spread in front of us.  The team introduce themselves and take drink orders.  Cold and hot options are available and are served in lid-ed cups which fit into sunken cup holders on the table to prevent spillages.

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And we are off.

It is, slow.  Delicious but slow.

We munch our way though sandwiches of all different kinds.  Yum!

We make it to the Royal Albert Hall and the traffic gets the best of us so the bus makes a u-turn.  Meanwhile we are on to the cake section.  There are mini lemon tarts, mini chocolate muffins and little raspberry topped tarts.  Everything is superb.

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The whole thing is a great experience but:

Elf tip number 2:  Don’t book during peak time, go for the 12:30 slot instead.

The whole afternoon tea is wonderful in any case.  Cake, beautiful London, tea and the sights!

If you fancy booking in click here and always this is not a sponsored article.

Potter Elf

A confession…I love Harry Potter.  I’m a Potter Nerd.

In a wonderful and brilliant IMAG3106.jpgsurprise birthday treat my lovely sister took me to the Warner Brother’s Happy Potter Studios.

I nearly vomited with excitement when I found out.  Once I calmed down this is what we experienced.

Firstly, you need to book ahead.  There are specific time slots and if you don’t book you will not get in.  Also if you miss your time…you don’t get in!  So we headed over to Watford in good time and caught the transfer bus from just outside the station.  It is easy to find and only costs £2.50 return.

Once we arrive and collect our tickets, we are early so head in to the gift shop.  Everything that you can imagine from the Potter world can be found in here.  There are time-turners, Hogwarts uniforms (in all the house colours), chocolate frogs and wands!

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Our time comes and we line up for the tour, I won’t give away any spoilers but the start of the tour is great! We the wander in the Great Hall (epp!!) and then out into the heart of the studios.  There are costumes, sets, props, make up and interactive segments.  At the moment the Forbidden Forrest is the new attraction and the explanations of how the creepy woods were created is really great.

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Next we head into the food hall area and get our butter beer…I’m not IMAG3103.jpgsure about it to be honest…but butter beer ice cream! Yes, just yes!

Then we see some of the outdoor sets before heading back inside to the Hogwarts’ Express.  It is worth the line to head in to the train and have a look, each of the carriages are dresses for the films that they appear in.  On to the special effects area, so cool, real artistic genius.

And the end….well that is a surprise.  Go see it.

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan you should go, the information that is available about the ways in which the world is created is really interesting.

My little nerd heart is perfectly buzzing at the end of the experience and I can’t wait to go back.

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Potter Prelude

Just a little bit of indulgence, here are two of my favorite quotes from J.K. Rowling.

 

 

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

 

 

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

Pinhao and Wine tour

Next up on the Northern Portugal road-trip is Pinhao

Pinhao is a small village in northern Portugal. It is surrounded with vineyards and dips down to sit just on the Douro River. It is picturesque and when we visited quite calm and beautiful. The local train runs from Porto to Pinhao and although we did not take the train it is supposed to be a beautiful trip.

We park and pop into one of the IMAG2878vineyard offices to see if we can go on a tour. Unfortunately not…it would appear that booked ahead for the most part is a must. So we wander in the town and down to the river bank to do some googling.

We manage to find a smaller and newer vineyard called Quinta de la Rosa which can accommodate us for the afternoon tour. We march up the hill (perhaps get a taxi) it’s hot but the view is more than nice.

Once we have arrived and joined the tour group we head into the courtyard and off into IMAG2889the processing and storage areas.

Quinta de la Rosa still use the traditional stomping the grapes method which would be amazing to see (in August – September depending on the season). The tour is great, and informative and the lady who takes us around is obviously passionate about Port and the winery.

Next we move on to the tasting, we try in all 2 different wines and 3 different ports. I would recommend this winery tour is a great option for a reasonably priced option. Although there are lots of options out there…make sure you book in advance if you have particular tours you want to go on.

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This post is not sponsored at all but if you would like more information about Quinta de la Rosa please click here .

So that you can come back…

This is one of my newest favourite quotes about traveling and I feel a beautiful truth within it.  Feel free to leave your favourite quotes below as well.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back.

So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

 

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky