Harry Potter’s magical world at the British Library – or London for a weekend in February

The first weekend of February we went to London to visit the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library. The decition of going was made in January, and we booked the trip before checking if there were aviable tickets. When checking the website it turned out it was all sold out. Needless to say, we were disappointed, but decided that a weekend in London would be nice even without visiting the exhibition.

We arrived in London Friday night, and stayed at a hotel near the British Library called Pullman St Pancras, that I got a really good deal on. When we got there, we got upgraded to a DeLuxe room, which was really good. The view from the room was great, and at the end of the hall on our floor, we could see The British Library. The location was great, and the room brilliant!

Photo of hotel room.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Saturday morning we met up with a friend of mine for breakfast. I had been given the suggestion of a place called Vx, which is a shop that prouds itself to be a vegan junk food shop. It was a really small place, but they had a good selection of food and cakes. I went for the Marinara Meatballs Sub, and it was really very good! I also had a chocolate doughnut for dessert.

Marinara Meatballs Sub
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

After breakfast we headed to the Bristish Library to tey our luck. Going to London for the exhibition and not asking if there were any free tickets would be silly, we thought. And we were in luck! There were tickets, and we could enter the exhibition pretty much straight away.

It was a fantastic exhibition! There were rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, as well as original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, and objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Exhebition poster on the wall of the British Library.

On Sunday we went to have breakfast at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in London: mildreds Kings Cross. On weekends they serve brunch in the mornings, and we went for the scrambled tofu, slow roasted tomato, oak smoked house beans, roasted mushroom, sausage and toasted sourdough. Now, that’s what I call a breakfast! Or brunch, if you prefer… It was a perfect way to start the Sunday.

The big brunch at mildreds.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

After breakfast we went back to Vx, to end our weekend in London with cake! This time I had a piece of the Unicorn cake. It was delicious, but very sweet, so I didn’t manage to eat the whole thing. However, I would love to go back and try more items from their menu at some point. Anyhow, a great way to end a great weekend!

Unicorn cake
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

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EasterCon 2015: Dysprosium

I signed up for this year’s EasterCon at last year’s EasterCon, and was very excited to go. Dysprosium was held at ParkInn by Raddison at Heathrow, so getting there would be the easiest convention for me to get to, with a lot of flights to choose from.

This year’s guests of honour were Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Herr Döktor, and Caroline Mullan. The only guest of honour I had heard of was Seanan McGuire, simply because she was also a guest of honour at last year’s EuroCon in Dublin. To me, it’s not the guests of honour that are the important thing, though, but the fact that EasterCon gather a lot of fans from pretty much all over Europe. That’s pretty fun, in my opinion.

There were a lot of interesting panels and talks this year, but one can’t go to them all. I chose to attend a handfull, as well as being a lot more social than I have been previous years. All good. The panels I attended were all good, even though I had to leave The Unseen London panel halfway through, as I had a splitting headache, and needed painkillers, water and a nap. I siply couldn’t focus, and was sad not to being able to listen to such an interesting topic.

I find it hard to pick a favourite panel or talk this year. I really enjoyed the Guest of Honour interview with Herr Dötor. I am incredible fascinated by how he’s able to make the cool art. He had some pieces exhibited at the art show, and they were magnificent.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
Herr Döktor was inerviewed by Lady Elsie.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Other than a lot of geeky stuff, there were lots of geeky people. This being my third EasterCon meant I knew more people this time around than two years ago, when I attended my first EasterCon, and Twitter helps too. I have probably been more social over the EasterCon week end than I have been in years. All good, though. There were great chats. Great company. And I had in general an excellent time.

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Book Bench Hunting in London

The British National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art have the summer of 2014 been working together to bring Books About Town to London. 2 july to 15 September you can find 50 unique BookBench sculptures all over London, but at the end of summer, they will all be auctioned to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

They have made four different trails, so that you can go book bench hunting. On the webpage you can find maps and descriptions, that you can download for free.

When I visited London in August, one of my goals were to go book hunting. Schedule wise, I found out the best trail for me were the Bloomsbury Trail, as it wasn’t very far from the British Library, where I had been spending the morning at a comic book exhibition.

I pretty much stumbled over the first bench, Jeeves and Wooster, inside the Brunswich Centre where I had gone to have some lunch and visit Skoob Books. Right smack in the middle of the centre, it was easy to find, and I thought it was a good start to my hunt.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Jeeves and Wooster kicked off my book bench hunt
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

The Blooomsbury trail has 12 benches, but I only found 8 of them. That being said, I must admit I didn’t put a lot of work in finding the other four. I was a tad bit tired, and I mainly did it for fun, so I was quite pleased with what I found.

It was fun to look for these beatiful book benches, which book lover can’t find it so? It was also nice to run into other book bench hunters (I even had a chat by the Pride and Prejudice bench with a lady from kent). It’s a bit sad they’ll only be around for 10 more days, and that I will not be able to do another hunt next time I’m in London.

If you do visit London before 15 September, and you think books are awesome, I’ll highly recommend to hunt down some book benches yourself! And, of course, I would love to hear about other people’s book bench hunting stories! Do you have one?

Some of my favourite benches:

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Pride and Prejudice
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Mrs Dalloway
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

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London, August 2014

Monday, 11 August 2014

I had decided to take an earlyish flight, so that I had some of the day free to use, and not end up just travelling. After having our plane delayed, and then having to wait for our lugage for ages, I finally got on the underground from Heathrow and headed to Paddington where my hotel is.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Hello, London!
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

I was staying at the easyHotel Paddington, which for being one of the easyHotels, isn’t too bad. OK, so I had to drag my suitcase up four floors (no lift), as I was given a room at the top floor, but at least it was nice and quiet, as the window isn’t facing a street. Except for the fact that I could hear even the tinyest whisper outside my door, which didn’t go quite the whole way down…

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
View from my hotel room window in Paddington.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

I managed to get some errands done, before I found a book shop called Daunt Books. It was such a nice book shop, I think it deserve its own entry, which will come at some other point.

The day was rounded off with having dinner with lovely people at the Real Greek in Paddington street. The food was amazing, and we all shared the meze. Most of the food was actually vegetarian, and I think my favourite must have been the hummus. The falafels were great too. Yum, yum! However, it turned out the be the most expensive meal I’ve ever had in London, I think. Almost 400 NOK! And they say Norway is expensive… Fortunately, you can get cheaper meals in London, and I managed to get meals closer to my budget the other days.

After some hours spent with lovely people, I headed back to the hotel, and spent a bit of time reading, before I was so tired I fell asleep.

Tuesday, 12 August

I woke up earlier than I had planned, so I actually managed to do a bit of walking around in Paddington before I headed for my lunch “date” in Covent Garden. I had luch with a girl I met at the bookcrossing convetion in Gothenburg last year, and it was fun to see her again. After lunch we headed for Forbidden Planet, that I always have to visit when i’m in london, and also walked around Soho and down Charing Cross road with all the book shops.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Paddington, London.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Covent Garden, London.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

I did more walking on my own after we had said goodbye. It’s actually quite good to just walk around and look at things. I then felt tired, and went back to the Paddington are, where I visited the floating book shop Word on Water. Walking along the canal is actually something I’ve never done before, and it was really nice. Those narrow canal boats you see really are something else, and I picked up there’s a whole community around them. It was lovely.

After all the walking during the day, I felt tired, and found a pub with comfy chairs, and ordered some food and a pint of dry cider (not the sweet stuff you get in Scandinavia). It was so nice just to relax and not really do anything. So nice I decided on taking a quite night in my hotel room with sweets and reading, before I was so tired I wanted to sleep.

Wednesday. 13 August

This day turned out to be another day with a lot of walking. My first goal was the British Library, for the Comics Unmasked exhibition (which was really good, a blog post will come later). On my there I stopped to look at some Asus pads, and started talking to a guy who turned out to be Scottish (no Scottish accent to be traced…) Most definately a geek, so we didn’t talk much about the product he was showing off, but more about science fiction tv series, compter games and other geeky things. It was a nice chat.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Original manuscript of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1816).
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

After my visit to the British Library (which also included the compulsory “drool over Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë manuscripts”), I visited Skoob Books, a book shop dedicated to second hand books. That shop also deserves its own entry.

I was the ready for book bench hunting. Of course, the book bench hunt will have its own blog post as well. White I was doing that, I ran into a lady by the Pride and Prejudice bench who also did book bench hunting. I managed to have a nice chat with her too! Quite lovely.

It’s probably needless to tell you my feet hurt so much from all the walking, I decided to have dinner after that, and didn’t really do anything for the rest of the day. It was quite late anyway.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

This was my last proper day in England for this time. It was also the day where I took a day trip to Norwich to meet up with my friend P. Getting from the hotel to Liverpool Street railway station went surprisingly smoothly (no changing of trains was nice). And the train trip was good to.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
The train to Norwich.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

P. picked me up at the station in Norwich, and we headed for his place, where I got to see his cat again. It was nice and relaxing, and good to see my firend again. The hours just flew, and I then had to go back to the station and take the train back to London.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Norwich Castle
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

I stopped by a place called Le Gourmet Brasserie to have my evening meal. The place itself didn’t look like much, and I was told I couldn’t have the falafel as a meal (not sure about what the reason was), so I got to have falafel and feta cheese in a wrap instead, and to be honest with you, I’m glad I did. It was so yummy! I wouldn’t brag about the service or the place, but the food was both very tasty and very cheap, so I guess you can’t expect more?

Then it was time to head back to the hotel, pack my stuff, and get to bed…

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Visiting England, 2 – 6 April 2012

I love England. Since I finally live a place with direct flights to London, I decided I wanted to spend my spring break there. I left Norway 2 April, and entered the door to my home the night that led to 7 April.

I visited London, but also had a day trip to Norwich to meet up with a friend of mine.

Here’s a video, where I try to sum up my trip.

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