Harry Potter Studio Tour, London

A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday and my lovely boyfriend decided to treat me and take me to London for it and then surprised me further by booking the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  It was magical (sorry I had to).  It was really great though and strangely we picked a really good time to go – when it was snowing.  The snow meant that it wasn’t very busy at all and it made it even more wonderful as I associate Harry Potter with Christmas and it made the outside exhibits even more special.  The season certainly added an atmosphere to the tour, although it would be great to comfortably ponder the outdoor exhibits and chill out drinking butter beer. Ah, butter beer.  Most people I have spoke to have wanted to know about this, there are only two places in the world you can get the Harry Potter butter beer, one is in London and the other is in Florida.  I imagine for most of you London is closer.  The taste?  The easiest way I have found to describe it is that it is like a fizzy liquid werthers originals with mallow on top of it – it doesn’t taste like beer, so don’t worry. It is also not alcoholic, I don’t know why I ever thought it was (ditzy moment).  I feel the photo’s can explain the tour a lot better than I can but if there is anything you want to ask about the tour just as me. I’ll also note that even though it is called a tour, it isn’t really a tour.  It does start as a tour in the great hall but then you are left to look round the exhibits at your own leisure. 
P:S Take lots of money for the gift shop is amaaaaaaaazing. 
You’re not a massive Harry Potter fan?
You don’t need to be a massive Harry Potter fan to enjoy the tour.  My boyfriend isn’t the biggest of fans (being more of a Lord of the Rings fanatic) and he thoroughly enjoyed it and now wants to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, maybe instead of Wrestle Mania – I am pretty sure he will change his mind about this forfeit but we will see. Hardcore fans will spend hours here (I didn’t note how long we spent there but they said it takes between 3-4 hours) but those that simply enjoy watching the films occasionally will have plenty to scan over also. 

You’re planning to go?
  • Make sure you note the times of the shuttle bus. £2 return. 
  • If travelling from London – train from Euston to Watford Junction. (about £8 return).
  • Arrive 20 minutes before you’re time slot. The bus takes 15 minutes and you are advised to be at Waford Junction 45 minutes before you’re allocated time. 
(I only spotted this info on the day we were going, in case any one thinks I’m being patronising). 


Mia Klose – London

The last time I spoke about Mia Klose, I referred to her arrival on the music scene as “the return of chick rock with balls” based on her sample EP.   When I saw that her debut EP, London, was finally finished I was filled with excitement to review it.  It has been a while since a new artist has filled me with such enthusiasm.
Mia Klose oozes confidence and sexy charisma. Mia’s pretty face could be misleading for the frame of leather and lace that surrounds it. But her music is a perfect fusion of metal and melody that screams radio hit. Her talent for style and visual expression frequently stops traffic.  The album artwork is something of feisty beauty, but is tasteful at the same time. It is great to see an artist with personal style.
Musically, think young Axl Rose, Madonna, and Michael Monroe treading the hard rock floorboards of Skid Row, Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi, with a wardrobe that would impress Cindy Lauper and Lita Ford. Her sound takes you back to the 1980’s, golden era of metal and rock. Mia’s vocals are powerful and controlled, backed by heavy guitar riffs and structured songwriting. The emphasis is on quality, and it shows in every aspect of her performance.
The album embodies everything that a rock album needs and indeed it does rock. It has an oomph of inspiration from the glam rock era and a touch of the infamous 80’s power ballads, but there is nothing cheesy about this EP. Klose’s work comes with an air of class.
London is the running inspiration behind the album and is it any wonder? London has been the inspiration behind many artists and has showcased some of the best such as David Bowie, Queen, and The Rolling Stones. The opening and closing of the 2012 Olympics conveyed to the world that when it comes to music, the United Kingdom is home to some of the best artists in the world.
“London’s a Heartbreaker” and “City of Rock” are both stellar tracks on the album with their 80’s power riffs and eccentricity. They give a great taste of this country’s electric atmosphere.
Possibly my favorite track on the album is “Living for Tomorrow”. The first couple of notes always remind me of “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses.  Lyrically, this is a very powerful song and brings great inspiration to anyone having a bit of an off day.
The guitar on the track “Mama” personifies classic rock music which can be tricky to recreate in modern times.  But with Klose’s vocals and style, it creates a perfect harmonic rhythm and excellent song.
The track that I am most looking forward to hearing live if Klose comes to Scotland is “You Drive Me Crazy”. The sensual guitar riffs provide a great get up and dance vibe and demonstrates Klose’s vocal range at its best. I have no doubt in my mind that this team of talented artists are going to go far!
London was written, recorded, and performed by Mia Klose, Melly and Danny Drama and was produced, mixed and mastered by Danny Drama with Mia and Melly at their studio in London, England and was released via the band’s own label DMD Music Ltd.

Mia Klose – The Return of Chick Rock With Balls.

Finally there is some chick rock on the scene that isn’t all about having a broken heart and executing revenge in a brutal yet whiny manner.  Mia Klose has brought the balls back to chick rock circa Joan Jett and The Runaways.  

Despite having Mia on twitter @Mia_Klose I didn’t pay much attention to her music until she approached me at Download Festival and told me I had great boobs and proceeded to put promotional stickers on them. Now it is not everyday that you get a good looking blonde rock chick feel your boobs so its safe to say I remembered her face and her name.  

The first thing you will notice about Mia is her striking beauty she is the epitome of rocking blonde bombshell but more Cherie Currie than Avril Lavigne in both looks and attitude.  I haven’t seen Mia live but I bet she packs swagger.  She looks like a girl that could control a crowd and leave them begging for more.

Her music has a great 80’s metal vibe to it which I feel is something that has been lacking in the UK metal scene.  They say grunge killed glam in the early 90’s well I think screamo killed the glam resurrection in the noughties but I am glad to see it making a comeback. 

“I am so lucky to have the chance to go where my passion takes me,’ she says. ‘I’m selfish enough to only indulge in what I find creatively stimulating. The artistic challenge has always been what motivates me when it comes to songwriting and performance, and that goes for the visual aspect too.”

It was clear from the point I met Mia, for the brief moment I did, that she that she dedicated to her music.  She was going around Download Festival handing stickering people with information on her album release instead of getting drunk, sunburnt and rocking out to the likes of Sebastian Bach.  Dedication right there.

You can check out Mia’s tracks such as Lady Killer and London’s a Heartbreaker at: https://www.facebook.com/MiaKlose

If you like the music of Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, Joan Jett or Lita Ford then you will not be disappointed. I look forward to seeing Mia progress in her career and wish her all the luck but I am sure she won’t need it for talent and charm go a long way in the business.

You sound like you’re from LANDAN

Being a Scottish girl it has become apparent to me over the last couple of years of my life that when it comes to people they either love London or they hate it more than anywhere else in the world.  Especially in the Scotland there is a definitely a divide opinions when it comes to London -those who love Scotland and want independence and those who like Scotland but are also proud of and acknowledge that London is the United Kingdom’s capital and the main hub when it comes to international affairs.

(Me and Big Ben)

You will be glad to know that I fall into the second category and the idea of London fills me with excitement almost in the same way most girls romanticise Paris.  The hussle and bussle thrills me and when I’m in Glasgow I often find myself thinking “Go! Go! Go! This wouldn’t happen in London -being stuck behind an incredibly slow walker whilst trying to catch a train”.

Even if you are not a fan of London you might find yourself having to visit at some point.  So I here is list of some quirky places to eat to make London more enjoyable for those who do not love it but also for those who do.  Quirkly in the sense of Helana Bonham Carter not quirkly in a hispter sense of the quirk.

The International Flavours of London Shepherds Markets
St James Church – Courtyard
Every Monday

London is associated with being expensive to eat and drink out in and on my adventure I managed to find a balance of both.  After not long arriving in London I stumbled upon a ‘shepherds market’ in St James’ Church Yard (near Piccadilly Circus).  There was a selection of stalls selling cuisine from mainly South American countries but there were also more familiar foods like homemade cookies.  I had an argentine steak sandwich – which was beautifully seasoned and accompanied by rocket.  The sweetness of the rocket really complimented the mild spiciness of the steak.  I usually enjoy my steak burnt to a crisp but on this occasion I actually ate medium cooked steak because it was so tasty and cost under £5.  Sitting in a sunny courtyard eating a steak sandwich and a homemade white chocolate and cranberry cookie was the perfect means to kick start my London adventure after a four and a half hours train journey. 

Preem and Prithi
Brick Lane
East End of London
For dinner my travel companion and I decided to try a cuisine very well known to us Brit’s – Indian, by visiting the famous Brick Lane.  Brick Lane is synonymous with curry houses and there are plenty to choose from.  We visited Preem and Prithi which was very nice and reasonably priced – two starters, drinks and two mains for under £30.  Both starters and mains were authentic Indian and I would like to return some other time to try out the spicier dishes, since on this visit I opted for a korma. 

The Whistling Shop
Worship Street
Near Liverpool Street Station

After two reasonably priced meals I decided I wanted to see the other side of the scale – the ridiculously London priced side of things.  I had researched some bars before my visit and came across The Whistling Shop – which is possibly the closest you ever come to an authentic Victorian bar.  It is a history buffs dream and for anyone who enjoys proper alcohol as compared to badly mixed fruity ‘alcoholic drinks’.   The drinks are expensive but you pay for what you get – which is an extremely potent drink in my case –   The Radiation Aged Cocktail which contains rum, absinthe and grenadine amongst other things.  The two cocktails cost almost the same as the Indian meal we had beforehand.  The drink mixing techniques applied is very alcohol meets Jekyll and Hyde’s laboratory as special instruments/techniques are used to make some of the drinks. Intriguing indeed.  The menu comes with a glossary to explain some of the ingredients – an example would be: the W2 High Pressure Hydrosol   ‘Inverting the principle of out Vacuum Still.  A water based distillate pulling the richer notes from a proprietary botanical blend of roots, seeds and botanicals. Created in our exclusive Kaboom Still’.

(Radiation Aged Cocktail: The Whistling Shop)

From the website and the above ingredient you might think that the bar is going to be full of pretentious snobs and that you will get kicked out if you do not fit the regular clientele but in fact it is a lovely laid back place – cosy actually – with the oil lamps and rustic leather chairs.  The sophisticated atmosphere makes you feel like you have jumped in a time machine and have landed in an actual gin shop. 
The Cuban
The Stables Market
On my last day in London I visited Camden because I knew there would be something super quirky there and after passing lots of food stalls I found The Cuban.  Which as the name suggests is Cuban food.  It is not the cheapest of places to eat but the portions were very big and the food oozes the homemade taste.  I have never visited Cuba but I reckon the food there is just as good and they stock over 100 different rums – that itself is reason enough to visit. The Cuban Ahoy.
 (The menu artwork)
 (The drinks menu art work)
 (Inside The Cuban)
(Inside The Cuban)