We’re now well into the New Year, and I actually have quite a lot of posts planned, which is completely unheard of for me – as you well know – but before I start getting into everything 2019, it feels wrong leaving last year behind without saying some sort of farewell.
So, I want to take a second to share a few of my fondest moments from 2018 – the geeky ventures that stood out, the minutes that mattered a little more than usual, and the amazing experiences that made the past 12 months a year to really remember.
Indulged in a science themed afternoon tea
I kicked the year off playing tourist in London with my friend Tasha, and we found the most amazing restaurant in Kensington which served up a tier of sandwhiches, scones and cake; but it wasn’t your standard afternoon tea – everything was science themed. We dug for biscuits like archaeologists, mixed up lemonade as if we were in a chemistry class, and ate little astronauts and planets for dessert. It was the most fun I’d ever had in a restaurant before.
Sat in a live audience
Watching one of my favourite shows live has been on my geeky bucket list for as long as I can remember, and last year I actually got to cross it off because Jess and I visited the set of ‘Your Face or Mine’. If you’re never seen the show before, it’s a Jimmy Carr / Katherine Ryan hosted game show on Comedy Central, where couples judge their looks against others. It’s actually quite a horrible premise, but the show is so hilarious, and it was surreal watching it from the audience rather than on the TV at home.
Visited the House of Minalima
As you guys know, I’m the biggest Harry Potter fan. I’ve visited the Warner Bro’s Studio Tour multiple times, strolled the streets of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, been to filming locations from the movies, and visited the place it all started, but the one thing I hadn’t seen was the House of Minalima – so I changed that this year. Minalima is the graphic design company that produced all the props for the movies – books, posters, bottle labels – and they have a store in London filled to the brim with all of their work. It’s an amazing hidden gem, and I’m so glad I got to see it.
Drank in the oldest pub in Britain
Jess and I met up with friends for lunch in Winchester one afternoon, and whilst strolling the ancient town we ended up coming across a little pub called The Royal Oak, which claims to be the oldest in England. Apparently parts of it can be dated back to the early 1000’s when Queen Emma, wife to King Ethelred of England, once resided in it. I’m a massive history geek, so being in a thousand year old building was pretty exciting for me. I’m looking forward to visiting Winchester again and discovering more about the ancient buildings that reside there.
Explored dragon caves in Krakow
In April, I visited Krakow in Poland, and whilst there were so many fun things to see and do, learning about the Wawel Dragon was one of my favourites. I find other cultures’ folklore completely fascinating, and when I discovered that there was tale of a dragon that lived beneath Krakow’s castle, I made it my mission to find out everything I could about the story. We ended up exploring the actual cave where the dragon lived, and even got to see a giant bone which was meant to have come from the dragon after he was slain.
Escaped from Snape’s office
Whilst we were in Krakow, we also ended up finding a Harry Potter themed Escape Room – I was obviously ecstatic. It was set in Snape’s office, and rather than break out of the room, the aim was to break in and find a golden snitch which the Potion Master had confiscated. We were given wands and had to use them to make various spells and potions – it was so detailed, but it wasn’t impossible, so we ended up finding the snitch with minutes to spare.
Had tea with the Mad Hatter
Another thing on my rather extensive bucket list was to attend the Mad Hatter’s tea party, which is something else I managed to cross of last year. A local garden centre had transformed their building into Wonderland and it was stunning. They had a giant caterpillar and flamingos, walls of flowers and mismatched crockery. I’m pretty sure it was all meant for children, but I had the time of my life either way, sat watching Alice and the White Rabbit perform skits from Lewis Carroll’s book whilst nibbling on heart shaped tarts.
Visited Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves film sets
I try to visit film sets whenever I’m in an area where a particular movie has been filmed, so when I went to North Yorkshire with my mum in August and realised that one of my all time favourite films was shot there, I dragged her around the Yorkshire Dales looking for Aysgarth Falls – a waterfall used in the movie. We eventually found the site, and it looked exactly how I remembered it from the film. It was amazing standing in the exact location Kevin Kostner and Morgan Freeman would have stood.
Made it to Hogsmeade
Another filming location in North Yorkshire can be found in Goathland – Hogsmeade Station from the Harry Potter franchise – so we paid a visit to the small train stop and I felt just like a Hogwarts student at the end of term, waiting on the platform for the Hogwarts Express home. Seriously, Goathland is as magical as it gets. I was completely smitten.
Saw my favourite band live
Seeing Incubus live in September was honestly the highlight of the entire year. I have loved this band for what feels like an eternity and never got the chance to see them due to various unfortunate circumstances, so Jess took me to their gig in London on their most recent tour, and I completely bawled my eyes out, it was that good. If you have never been lucky enough to see your favourite band live before, you need to make that happen.
Explored Sherwood Forest
Another place I managed to visit this year was Nottinghamshire, and you can’t go there without checking out the home of Robin Hood – Sherwood Forest. It’s one of those places that you’re not entirely sure exists, but I assure you, it’sreal. Out of all the folkore tales I’ve heard, the story of Robin Hood has got to be one of my faves, so seeing places I’ve heard about only in fiction was very bizarre.
Ate my way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In November, Jess whisked me away to Budapest (and Prague) for my birthday. I loved the city, it was absolutely beautiful and there was so much to see and do, but the highlight of the entire trip was going to this little restaurant and having one of, if not, THE, best meal of my entire life. Not only was the food incredible, but the menu was based on one of the Harry Potter books. We had Polyjuice potion that came out in a real hipflask, dragon’s eggs and an edible maze. There was even a Goblet of Fire.
Lived out my Beauty and the Beast fantasies
Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic weren’t the only countries Jess and I visited in 2018, we also managed to fit in a trip to Austria, to visit Vienna in December. We went solely for the Christmas Markets, to get us into the festive spirit, but ended up seeing a lot more of the city than we’d expected. I fell in love with one place in particular – the Austrian National Library. It was big and beautiful and made me feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. If I could live anywhere inthe world, it would be in that library.
Watched Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
I finally got to see The Cursed Child in 2018. The West End show is set after the Harry Potter books, and follows Albus – Harry’s son – as he progresses through Hogwarts and basically gets himself into a whole load of mischief, more sothan Harry ever does. The show was incredible – everything I wanted and more. There were things they did live on stage that I just couldn’t comprehend. It was like watching a real life magic show.
As you can probably tell, I had quite a busy 2018, but as much as I enjoyed the year, I’m glad to leave it behind me and see what the next 12 months have in store. What were some of your favourite things about 2018? Do you have any plans for this year yet?
What to read next:
- Best Moments of 2017
- 6 Goals That Will Get Me Closer to Where I Want to be in 2018
- The Ultimate Geeky Bucket List
- 10 Geeky Goals for the New Year