Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Exploring the Dark Arts with Harry Potter #DarkArtsMonth

Disclosure: We were sent these products for Dark Arts Month and for the purposes of this post. All images and opinions are our own.

With a lockdown Halloween just around the corner, our usual Halloween plans have been somewhat muted. Thankfully we received a bundle of Harry Potter products from Wizarding World, and that put a spooky spring back in our step.

Over the last 8 months or so of lockdown, we’ve had a lot of time to fill. One thing we have been doing is we’ve been indulging in weekly film nights;  the Harry Potter films have been a big part of that.

Exploring the Dark Arts with Harry Potter #DarkArtsMonth

Wizarding World sent us a brilliant Dark Arts bundle, it contained all kinds of great things; from the elder wand, some Harry Potter themed jewellery, a Paladone Deathly Hallows light, a death eater notebook, a t-shirt and a new set of robes. Best of all, we got a much longed for Invisibility Cloak to play about with.

We oohed and ahhed over everything in the box, but as soon as we’d managed to download the app, the magic happened…

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak

We played about with it for ages. It is the most brilliant thing to keep creative kids (and adults) happy for an afternoon or several.

The Invisibility Cloak is amazing and the app is really clever and so much fun. It comes with a phone stand; which you really do need as your phone needs to be really steady to capture the magic. It uses green screen technology, so you can make pretty much anything disappear, including the cat! The cloak itself is designed for aged 6+, but it’s generously proportioned and I could use it too.

Exploring the Dark Arts with Harry Potter #DarkArtsMonth

The other big hits (i.e. the bits I didn’t steal away and keep for myself) were the t-shirt and the elder wand. The t-shirt is a huge hit; it’s pretty cool looking which he really likes and it’s made from nice soft cotton. I think there are a few different designs available too.

Exploring the Dark Arts with Harry Potter #DarkArtsMonth

You can find all of these products on Amazon and right now the Deathly Hallows Collection which includes the Invisibility Cloak, Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone ring is just £29.99.

Back to Hogwarts – back to school in style with Hogwarts

AD – PR Sample, we were sent some Harry Potter Hogwarts back to school accessories for the purposes of this review. All images and opinions are our own.

I am happy to hold my hands up to say that I hate all the back to school shopping. All the queuing around shopping centres to get the equipment he needs and all of the uniform faff. These days I’m very happy to order it all online and have done with it. I tend to leave buying things until the last minute, lest he has a sudden and unexpected growth spurt. Whilst his uniform is fairly generic, it’s in his accessories where he likes to express himself. This year, Hogwarts is the favoured theme.

Back to Hogwarts - back to school in style with Hogwarts

We’ve long been fans of Harry Potter, and the perennial question of which Hogwarts House would the sorting hat choose for us is one which we continue to argue about. I’ve taken all the online quizzes and I get a different answer each time, you might a well shove me in Slytherin and throw away the key. The boy however is Hufflepuff, or at least he is this week.

Hogwarts House Backpack

Every Harry Potter fan needs a backpack for school and the new Hogwarts Houses backpacks are brilliant. Each one comes in the House colour with the coat of arms too. They look very smart, they’re vegan and big enough to carry everything he needs for the school day. In fact, they’re the perfect size for my work day too, so once I settle on a House (the Ravenclaw one is a beautiful colour), I will be getting a new one for work. They cost £14 and are padded in all the right places. I’m a big fan.

Back to Hogwarts - back to school in style with Hogwarts

Harry Potter Lunch Bag & Water Bottle

The Harry Potter lunch bag is also a big hit. The very cute cartoon figures of Harry, Hermione and Ron are really eye catching, so I know he’ll be able to find his lunch in a pile of other bags and boxes. The bag comes with a carry handle, yellow piping around the zip closure and a handy name tag section on the back. There’s plenty of room inside for a hearty lunch for a budding wizard. The lunch bag costs £7, but is currently £6 at ASDA.

Alongside the lunch bag, there’s a distinctive water bottle. In school, everyone has their own water bottle in class which they fill up every day. This has a 473ml capacity, and all over print design with a yellow screw-on lid featuring a flip up spout and carry handle. The water bottle is £4 but currently £3 at ASDA.

Harry Potter Stationery

Everyone loves stationery and ASDA have an awful love of the Harry Potter range available. We have the pencil case which comes with a pen, a pencil, a ruler, a rubber and a pencil sharpener. It costs just £2 and apart from the need for spares, that’s everything my son needs for his school year. At that price I’d be tempted to buy a couple and keep one for spares when he loses bits and pieces. ASDA also have notebooks, pens, pencils, pretty much everything you could think of for the return to school.

Back to Hogwarts - back to school in style with Hogwarts

Thankfully, apart from school shoes, he is all set for going back to school this week. I’m not sure how much he is looking forward to it, these are strange times we are living in and school will be quite a bit different for him. We’ve been filling the last few days before he goes back with fun things. We’ve spent a couple of days building the new LEGO Hedwig figure, which is suitable for ages 10+. It’s quite a complicated build, but very satisfying. Once it’s finished, his wings will flap when you turn the handle. It’s only £34.97, but it’s kept us both quiet for a couple of days. Brilliant fun.

Back to Hogwarts - back to school in style with Hogwarts

What do you think of the new Hogwarts back to school range? Which Hogwarts House would you be in?

Children’s Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield is a fun and funny flip-book full of over 60 million spell-casting combinations. It’s just the kind of book which would inspire young wizards and witches!

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

Magic spells aren’t just for Halloween! As the daughter of a wizard (ok, a magician) I feel I’m well qualified to review this book AND test out some of the spells in it.

The instructions on the back of the book read “all you have to do is wave your wand and flip the pages”. Once you flip the pages you can create an almost limitless combination of spells. There is no magic wand supplied with the book, so you will need to use your own wand. I use a wand I found in a magic forest, which I then wrapped in wool, because no one wants to use a cold wand.

The book itself is great fun and even had me snorting with laughter as we flipped the pages to create new spells. Has somebody wronged you? Flip the pages and find a spell that’ll teach them a lesson. It might not work, but picturing your nemesis as a self-exploding wasp polisher will make you feel a bit better.

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

If you’re looking for a spell book which actually works, this is probably not the right book for you. If you’re looking for a spell book which will make you laugh, then this IS the right book for you. It’s just the thing for an aspiring witch or wizard and would be a nice little stocking filler for a Harry Potter fan with a sense of humour. This mudblood gives The Ultimate Spell-Caster the thumbs up, or wands up, whichever.

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield costs £10.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of The Ultimate Spell-Caster for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay

We love reading in our house. Before our son appeared in our lives I’d happily devour an entire book in an evening. I do that less often these days, but we wanted to pass on our love of books by reading to the boy right from the start. We even read to my growing belly when he was living in it.

One of my favourite things about being a Mummy is bedtime stories. We have three a night (and unlimited during the day when he fancies a read). We all snuggle in bed and transport our family to faraway lands, following the fantastical pen of children’s writers like Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd. The boy loves us doing funny voices, (my reading of The Gruffalo is a triumph). I especially love the rhythmic writing and wrapping my tongue around some of the great words in children’s books, (Lynley Dodd is particularly good at throwing in great words guaranteed to make you giggle).

For his Christening, we asked if people wanted to give him their favourite childhood book. We got some great ones, Rupert Bear, Harry Potter, some Alan Garner and Spot the Dog amongst other great reads.

I thought it’d be nice to share our love of reading, and some of our favourite children’s books in a bit of a mini-series. The boy has chosen his current favourite bedtime story, Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay.

Children's Book Review: Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay
Dandylion is a wonderful book about being different, finding acceptance and making friends. It’s the perfect tale to tell any child. The moral being it’s really ok to be different and wouldn’t the world be a dull, gloomy old place if everyone was the same. Admittedly it’s for older readers (he’s 2 and a half) but we love the beautiful illustrations and the story telling.

As Dandylion (who is ‘delightfully different, bright yellow and rather scruffy’) joins Miss Gardener’s organised and tidy class, the illustrations become more vibrant and colourful. This reflects the delightfully warm impact Dandylion has in his classmates.

At first he doesn’t fit in (he is a weed, but remember a weed is just a wildflower growing in the wrong place). After one particularly messy incident he is sent home and becomes despondent about his differences. But soon his classmates (including Basil and Tulip) realise that being too organised and tidy isn’t always a good thing. A plan is soon hatched to get Dandylion to return to school and to make him feel right at home. At last, scruffy, wild and free-spirited Dandylion feels like a wildflower growing in the right place!

Aside from its heartwarming message, it’s just a good book. Beautifully illustrated, visually appealing and lovely to read out loud to your child. Lizzie Finlay is a talented illustrator and I hope she writes more lovely books along these lines.

EDIT: Lizzie Finlay has also written the equally lovely Little Croc’s Purse which is well worth checking out too.