Things I’d forgotten about the UK

It’s funny how quickly you adapt to your surroundings. I never realised just how quickly until I returned home from two years living in Canada. There are the obvious differences  between the two countries such as the accent, or driving on the other side of the road and there were more subtle differences such as the overall happiness and politeness of the people.

However, you find yourself becoming more and more accustomed to the differences without even noticing. In fact you after a while you start forgetting your everyday routine from home and adapting to your new life.  For example, I got into the habit of saying ‘for sure!’ at the end of every sentence or not looking in both directions while crossing the road as I knew that the cars would stop for me!

But over the few months I have been back in Shropshire there have been a few things that make me go.. ‘Oh! I’d completely forgotten about that!’ For example:

Switches on Sockets

black socket on white switch besides white socket converter

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

The amount of times I have put my phone or tablet on charge, walked away for an hour or two and returned to find my tech with even less battery than before is outstanding. All because I keep forgetting to flick the switch on. With North American sockets you simply pop the plug and you are good to go whereas here in the UK you have to turn it on too.

Pennies

cash coins money pattern

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The penny was eliminated in Canada in 2013 and what a good idea it was, the smallest coin is for 5 cents. I went two years without having largely unused coins in my wallet and it was a delight. I’m trying not to amass them now I’m back in the UK but there are already a few jingling away. I would definitely sign a petition to get rid of the 1p and 2p pieces.

Having to pay for carrier bags

The UK introduced the 5p bag charge for plastic bags in 2015. There was about a year of this before I left for Canada where for the most part there is no charge for them. In fact they were quite liberal with giving plastic bags away at the grocery store. In Canadian supermarkets they tend to pack your bags for you (something I never got used to, but did enjoy) and when packing they would often double bag items or only put a few in each bag. I do keep forgetting my bags on the way to the store but am enjoying using less plastic.

People don’t stop for pedestrians

busy downtownThis one has nearly got me run over a few times. I always look both ways before crossing the road but here in the UK I find myself being extra cautious as cars are far less likely to stop and let you cross… even when they legally should. Whereas Canada, for the most part, was extremely pedestrian friendly, stopping even in places they didn’t have to!

There are People everywhere

Birmingham Grand Central

Canada is huge with an area of 9,985 million km²  and a population of 36.71 million  (2017), whereas the UK has an area of 242,495 km² but has 66.02 million people crammed into it. Before moving I never noticed that there were people everywhere and it’s been quite unusual to walk through town now thinking ‘where have all these people come from?’ At first I just thought it was because it was Christmas and everyone was out doing their festive shopping. But it seems to be busy and bustling no matter where I go. 

You can’t buy huge jars of salsa

I just assumed that on my return I could continue to consume salsa in the same volume that I had been in Canada. With fajitas, crisps, tacos, in wraps… it was putting it on everything. In fact I bought a container the same size as a 4 pint milk carton full of the stuff and indulged. If any Brits know where I can bulk buy salsa please let me know!!!

It’s great to be back and rediscovering all the things that have changed and all the things that have remained the same.  I’m hoping that eventually my brain will reconnect that to drive I need to go to the the right hand side of the car. And you never know I many even find a jar of salsa the size of my head!
Have you ever lived away from home and things have changed on your return? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by my blog… if you like it give it a little share, like or comment!

48 hours in Harry Potter London

In case you were getting bored of my Canada posts I’d thought I’d indulge in a little throwback Thursday blogging. For those of you that don’t know me not only do I love to travel, I’m also a huge Harry Potter nerd. I was late to the game, first reading the books when I was twenty, but from then on, I’ve fully embraced my inner Ravenclaw. (officially sorted through the Pottermore Sorting Hat)

Naturally, I have travelled to London to see many of the Potter wonders that are in the British capital. Whilst I did not do them in one 48-hour trip I have compiled them into a nice little timeline for anyone with only a couple of days to spare in the big city.  Now this is not an exclusive list of everything Harry Potter related in London. I have tried to choose the most accessible ones rather than visiting every single inspiration and filming location across the city as that would need a lot longer than two days. In addition, I have left time for travel and for food as well as general delays. If you are super organised, you could fit even more Potter fun into this time period.

However, I would start by spending the day at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Whilst for me it’s not technically in London, but it is near enough that you can travel from the city centre to it via train. Matt and I stayed with family and drove to the studios for the day. Matt surprised me with tickets for my birthday (along with tickets to see Les Misérables, he got lots of House points for this!) although I know for a fact that he wanted to go as much as I did, if not more.

 

We happily spent an entire afternoon here admiring all the Potter related goodies. You can see many of the costumes, sets and props that they used throughout the films. My favourite was taking a ride in Hagrid’s motorcycle. Which provided us with one of the best photos of us together, even though I Had to fight off some school children to get it! You can see Privet Drive, the Knight Bus and wander down Diagon Alley all in one location, it’s a fab day out.

 

 

Next, make your way back into London and if you are lucky see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part One. Tickets are extremely hard to come by but not impossible so do persevere. The show is at The Palace Theatre in the West End, near many restaurants and cafes so you can grab a bite to eat. Matt and I chose Ed’s Easy Diner as we love a burger and retro inspired diners, even though this one is a chain they do an amazing relish that keeps me going back!

 

I’m not going to go into where to stay in London as there are so many options and so many budgets, so do your research and find what fits you best.

After you are fully rested, make your way to Kings Cross Station.  Its easily accessible via the underground and bus. Or depending on the weather take a stroll through the streets of London. The station is famous for being the home of Platform 9 ¾ and has become quite the pilgrimage for Harry Potter fanatics.

13076_10155353614635716_8561901438869949069_n

Here you will find Harry Potter shop full of merchandise that I’ve been banned from buying. But you can also line up and have your photo taken going through the wall as if heading of to Hogwarts. The staff are incredibly friendly and provide you with a house scarf (you get to choose) to have your photo taken in whatever way you like. It’s entertaining just to watch people jump and run at a brick wall to be honest!  In addition, the station itself has pretty cool architecture that is really interesting to see.

Next get back on the tube, take the Piccadilly Line to Tottenham Court Road. Here is where Harry, Hermione and Ron disapperate to in the Deathly Hallows Part One.

602954_10153303945695716_1253195241_n

Afterwards take a five-minute walk to the colourful House of MinaLima on Greek Street. Here you will find four floors of the most beautiful Potter-related items in the world. Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima created the entire graphic universe for the Potter films as well as the Fantastic Beast franchise. All the newspapers, letters, howlers, posters, packaging and much more was developed by these amazing artists. The exhibition is completely free to visit and there is a wonderful gift shop where you buy your piece of graphic beauty.

15016219_10157705923860716_4667165313056942688_o

End your trip with the second part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The show is fantastic and well worth seeing for the production alone.  We even saw a few celebrities in the audience. When we went to see the show, we travelled by megabus (from Birmingham) and were able to catch the night bus back after the show, saving money rather than paying for another nights accommodation. To block out the noisy Scottish football fans on the coach we listened to Stephen Fry reading us the audio books on the journey home.

1937355_240785580715_4101306_n

Are you a Potter fan? Have you managed to visit any of these sites yet?