Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

This month’s book club pick is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by Jack Thorne. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne.

Last month I was in Melbourne so I took the opportunity to see both Part One and Two at the Princess Theatre.

IMG_2084

I saw both parts on the same day. If you are planning to see both parts, and I can’t imagine why you would only see one, then for the experience I recommended seeing them on the same day. The alternative is to see it consecutively across two nights.

The only other time I have seen both parts of a two part play on the same day was when I saw Angels in America – Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika, which was also an amazing experience.

So if you are up for a five-hour theatre experience, go for it. The matinee was at 2pm and the evening performance at 7.30pm. Part One is approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes (including a 20 minute interval) and Part Two is approximately 2 hours, 35 minutes (including a 20 minute interval).

I started my morning at The Store of Requirement (6 Smith St, Collingwood), which is a store selling Harry Potter merchandise. It is a 15 minute to 20 minute walk from the Princess Theatre. Click here to read by post on The Store of Requirement.

I picked up my tickets before lunch and browsed the small shop in Princess Theatre selling Cursed Child merchandise. I’m glad I did this then considering how busy it was at showtime.

IMG_2080

Fridge magnets

The Princess Theatre is an amazing venue for live theatre. The theatre first opened in 1854 as the Astley’s Amphitheatre. It was renovated and renamed the Princess Theatre and Opera House. It was rebuilt in 1886 as the theatre it is today.

I have been here twice before for Matilda the Musical (2016) and The King and I (2014).

The Princess Theatre received a much needed $6.5 million renovation prior to the Cursed Child moving in. The theatre’s last major renovation was in 1989.

13427873_10153479723395810_8587719465913762027_n

Matilda the Musical at Princess Theatre (2016)

When the audience left the theatre they handed out #KeepTheSecrets badges. I will keep this review spoiler free.

The play’s cast is made up predominately of Australian and New Zealand actors. Majority of the cast do a solid job. William McKenna was my favourite as Scorpius Malfoy with his awkward, goofy, nervous charm.

The production uses many traditional elements of theatre staging, such as wires, trapdoors, and quick costume changes to bring the magic alive.

Personally I don’t think the plot was worth two full-length plays and would have liked a tighter singular standalone play. Despite this the two plays are full of nostalgia for Potterheads and is a fun theatrical experience.

IMG_1100

IMG_1108

IMG_1110

IMG_1112

IMG_1119

IMG_2087

The Store of Requirement has Australia’s largest range of officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise.

IMG_1089

The Store of Requirement opened in Stamford, Queensland on Harry Potter’s birthday July 31st in 2017. A year later they opened the Melbourne store in the inner-city suburb of Collingwood.

Collingwood is one of the oldest suburbs in Melbourne and is approximately 3 kilometres north-east of the CBD.

Expect the store to be busy with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child currently playing at the Princess Theatre.

There are Hogwarts acceptance envelopes lining the floor as you enter the store. The ground floor of this old heritage building is home to an array of merchandise from the Harry Potter book and film series and the Fantastic Beasts series.

Upstairs they serve a selection of Harry Potter inspired cupcakes and their Butterscotch Brew (served hot or cold, with or without cream). The Butterscotch Brew is brewed locally at Craft & Co. up the road.

The Store of Requirement is at 6 Smith Street, Collingwood (next to the McDonalds on the corner of Smith Street and Victoria Parade).

IMG_1086

IMG_1084

IMG_1077

IMG_1081

002

IMG_1055

Mandrake cupcake and Butterscotch Brew

IMG_1060

IMG_1061

IMG_1065

IMG_1062

It is definitely on my bucket list to do the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood). I have been to Universal Studios Hollywood twice, when I last visited in May 2015 construction was underway – sadly I missed out by a year as it opened officially in April 2016.

I have over the years experienced the world of Harry Potter film in smaller ways.

Last year I saw Dumbledore’s Will from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Draco Malfoy’s paper crane and one of Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letters at Trekcetera Museum, a small film and television museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

IMG_1772

IMG_1773

In 2015 I did the a studio tour at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. Not to be confused with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. On a side note, this is one of the best studio tours in Hollywood. Highly recommend it.

There was a small museum as part of the tour that has costumes and props from Warner Bros. television shows and films. When I visited the focus was on the Batman franchise but there were some cool props and costumes from the Harry Potter series. My favourite a petrified Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets.

This has since been updated to be The Wizarding World: Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Exhibit. Another reason to go back.

IMG_3237

IMG_3224

IMG_3231

The biggest exhibition of Harry Potter I saw was back in 2012 at the traveling exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition, which first debuted in Chicago in 2009 arrived in Sydney in 23 shipping crates. The exhibition had hundreds of props and costumes covering over 1400 square metres of museum space. The exhibition included props like Harry’s glasses and his Nimbus 2000 broomstick, the golden snitch, Marauder’s Map, and Hermione’s Time Turner. The exhibition is currently in Milan, Italy until September 9th.

9781408845646

This month’s book club pick is J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first published 21 years ago in 1997. Click here to read my post.

A beautiful, hardcover, full-colour illustrated edition was released in 2015. Kate Greenway Medal winning illustrator Jim Kay has captured Rowling’s magic world in over 100 gorgeous, detailed illustrations.

IMG_3519.JPG

IMG_3520

IMG_3526

IMG_3531

IMG_3534

At 267 x 226 it is a large book, so not one for reading on the bus or train. It also has a red ribbon to use as a bookmark.

Kay’s illustrated editions of Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban are sitting on my bedroom floor waiting to be devoured.

Check out this video of Jim Kay discussing his process illustrating Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Today, November 1st, marks the two year anniversary of my book blog. Here is to another year, cheers!

book-club-picks

Full List of Past Book Club Picks:

October 2016: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

September 2016: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

August 2016: A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

July 2016: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

June 2016: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

May 2016: Gone by Michael Grant

April 2016: A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French

March 2016: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

February 2016: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

January 2016: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

December 2015: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

November 2015: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

October 2015: I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

September 2015: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

August 2015: The Giver by Lois Lowry

July 2015: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

June 2015: Paper Towns by John Green

May 2015: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

April 2015: The Boy in the Burning House by Tim Wynne-Jones

March 2015: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

February 2015: Beth & Bruno by William Taylor

January 2015: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

December 2014: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

November 2014: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

thumb_IMG_1715_1024

This month’s book club pick is Jackie French’s novel A Rose for the ANZAC Boys. Today, April 25th is Anzac Day.

ARoseForTheAnzacBoys

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that recognises all New Zealanders and Australians who have served during wars, conflict and peacekeeping operations. Anzac Day originally honoured those who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) and fought at Gallipoli during World War I.

As a scout I marched in an ANZAC Day parade and I have attended Dawn services in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney.

Anzac biscuits have long been associated with ANZACs. They are made with rolled oats, desiccated coconut, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, and boiling water.

Legend has it the biscuits were sent to soldiers from family back home because the biscuits did not spoil during transportation. There is some evidence that a rolled oats biscuit was sent to the Front during World War I. Although majority of the biscuits were sold at home to raise funds for the war effort.

Below is a recipe for Anzac Biscuits:

thumb_IMG_1726_1024

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

125g butter

2 Tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp boiling water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan bake). Lightly grease 1-2 baking trays or line with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, sift in the flour. Stir in the rolled oats, coconut and sugar to combine. Make a well in the centre.

Anzac Biscuits

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup together.

thumb_IMG_1684_1024

4. Dissolve the baking soda in boiling water and then add to the butter mixture.

thumb_IMG_1693_1024

5. Pour the butter mixture quickly into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

thumb_IMG_1705_1024

6. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on the oven tray, allowing enough room for biscuits to spread while cooking. Press biscuits down lightly with a fork.

thumb_IMG_1707_1024

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, cooking one tray at a time. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and enjoy!

The recipe is simple because for the dry ingredients it follows the one cup rule – 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup desiccated coconut, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar. You may wish to get creative and add other ingredients, such as vanilla essence, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, dried fruits (sultanas, cranberries etc).

 

Lest We Forget

A fellow library studies classmate posted a link to this quiz on one of our class forums and with its nostalgic, feel good feel I thought it was too good not to share.

The New York Public Library posted this short quiz to determine which children’s book character you are most like. Click here to start the quiz.

'What children's book character are you?' Quiz

‘What children’s book character are you?’ Quiz

I got Eeyore.

You’re Eeyore! Some may say you’re a bit of a grump, but that’s only because you’re a realist. You have no patience for fools, but that doesn’t mean your friends aren’t important to you.

Interestingly growing up he was my favourite Winnie-the-Pooh character.

On a side note, the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger reside at The New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

More diverging the New York Public Library is an amazing place to visit. The impressive building is guarded by two marble lions, ‘Patience’ and ‘Fortitude’. Inside it is so rich with history and character. Totally recommend visiting if you get the chance.