36 Before 36 ~ Leave the country for a holiday

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This serves as a round-up post for one of my 36 Before 36 items, despite me now being well into my 37 Before 37 list. 

Last year, I put ‘Leave the country for a holiday or mini-break’ on my 36 Before 36 list, as a way of trying to make sure I saw at least a little bit of the world. I’m not one of these people who has to have a foreign holiday every year, but travelling on a budget is easier than ever, and there are lots of countries I’d like to visit.

As it turned out, I was offered the chance to go on a press trip to a hotel in the Austrian Alps. This was organised through my day job, not through my blog (I can’t imagine that will ever happen!), as I work for a consumer magazine, and luckily enough, my friend Hannah was offered the chance to go as well (Hannah’s my travel buddy anyway, so it was great to do it together!).

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The hotel was Holzhotel Forsthofalm, located in Leogang in Austria. A short flight from Stansted to Salzburg (my inner Sound of Music fan was very happy to be there, even if we didn’t see any of the landmarks!), and then a transfer to the hotel, and we had arrived. It’s a really beautiful hotel, built up from humble beginnings when it was just a family restaurant, to what it is now – all the rooms are made from the forest wood of the mountains, and it’s set at a height of 1050m, so as you can imagine, the views are amazing.

As it was a press trip, the itinerary was all choreographed to really show off how great all the activities at the hotel are. We did lots of yoga, a couple of fitness classes, and also a couple of walks. The yoga classes were great; I don’t really do yoga, though given my job I know all the benefits, and every month when I read the magazine, I make a mental note to either book into a class or do some at home, and then never actually get around to it.

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The fitness classes were a bit more energetic than what I’m used to doing, given that I don’t do an awful lot of exercise at all. I quite enjoyed the bouncing fitness class, as it allowed me to channel my inner Busy Phillips.

My favourite bit of the whole hotel was the rooftop pool, gloriously heated so that despite the chillier temperatures (even in June, you’re still in the mountains), you can spend time in there and only your face is exposed to the cool air. And given that it’s right on the roof, the views are right there to be enjoyed.

It really is a very beautiful hotel, and I’d go back in a heartbeat if my budget ever allows it.

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36 Before 36 ~ Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library

Try as you might, there’s no getting away from Harry Potter. Twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the series’ popularity shows no signs of abating, and though J.K. Rowling herself rarely goes a week without putting her foot in her mouth, (or furthering the careers of domestic abusers) the books and films continue to enthrall.

I love Harry Potter as much as the next person, though as I get older and wiser I am certainly more aware of its problems than I was fifteen years ago. But I love the stories, so news of Harry Potter: A History of Magic – an exhibition taking place at the British Library, was very welcome indeed.

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So I took myself off to London on a very, very wet Saturday morning, and, after spending a couple of hours wandering around Bloomsbury, photographing blue plaques, made my way to the British Library. In all honesty, other than knowing that the exhibition would include many of the original notes and doodles made by Rowling during the writing of the series, I didn’t know much else about what I’d be seeing. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn, once I’d entered, that there was a whole other element to it – something that should have been apparent from the name of the exhibition: A History of Magic. Alongside the very exciting notes and doodles, there were rare books, magical objects and artefacts peppered throughout covering each of the main subjects that Harry and his classmates study at Hogwarts.

It added a really fascinating dimension, as much of the inspiration for the subjects come from these traditions of folklore and magic. It’s also very humbling to stand next to a book that is hundreds of years old and realise that you are but a blip in the universe!

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Of course, I did particularly enjoy seeing Rowling’s handwritten notes planning the stories, and Jim Kay’s drawings and illustrations are truly wonderful – my favourite was his drawing of Hagrid.

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition, of course, so I wasn’t allowed to take any photos to share with you, There is, however, a companion book available, which I haven’t bought yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

Sadly the exhibition finished at the end of February, and even before that, I think it was mostly sold out. But the book is probably a good alternative for anyone who didn’t get to see it, and I believe that some of the exhibits are going on tour around the world.

This was another 36 Before 36 item, so I’m already ahead of myself compared to last year!

1.Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library. 

 

36 Before 36

36 Before 36

It’s time to unveil my new birthday list! For the unitiated amongst you, I’ve been writing a birthday list since the year I turned 28. I pick a number of things that I would like to achieve between my birthdays, and inevitably fail to cross a large number of them off…

Unbelievably, this is my ninth list! It gets harder and harder every year, because of course, the number increases by one every time I make the lists! But I’m pretty pleased with this year’s goals.

It’s been a bit delayed, due to the fractured wrist that I have had to deal with, so I now have only a little over 11 months to complete these goals. But I’m nothing if not a tryer!

  • Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library.
  • Watch a film for every year I’ve been alive (1982-2018).
  • Keep a bullet journal.
  • Film a second a day for three months.
  • Record a podcast.
  • Send 12 Postcrossing postcards.
  • Go to Bath.
  • Get a third tattoo.
  • Go to Ballie Ballerson.
  • Get a piercing.
  • Climb the O2.
  • Visit Sky Garden.
  • Give blood.
  • Cook one new recipe a month.
  • Read five from The Book of Forgotten Authors.
  • Work on my family tree.
  • Visit five new museums.
  • Read five Christmas books.
  • Increase my Instagram following by 15% (currently at 518)
  • Send birthday presents/cards to all my family members and friends.
  • Buy five poetry books.
  • Volunteer.
  • Plan something amazing for my sister’s 50th birthday.
  • Have watched 30 from the BFI 100 Thrillers to See Before You Die list.
  • Read all ten from the Guardian Top 10 books on Rural America.
  • Read all ten from the Guardian Top 10 modern epistolary novels.
  • Take a trip to a new town or city every month with Hannah.
  • Bake ten cakes.
  • Meet up with my teenage best friend.
  • Start a newsletter.
  • Take a driving test.
  • Buy no new clothes for an entire month.
  • Ask twenty people to recommend a book, and read them all.
  • Attend a film festival.
  • Leave the country for a holiday or mini-break.
  • Re-decorate my bedroom.

Wish me luck!