Wednesday, 29 June 2016

A Harry Potter Re-Read ǀ Books

Have you ever had a moment where you do something, semi absentmindedly and then you have to take a second look when the information finally sinks in?!  I had a moment exactly like that this month when I flicked open the front cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and realised that it was first released in 1997...making it 19 years old!

I read the Harry Potter books when they were first released, waiting with bated breath each year for the next one to come out.  We even spent two summers in a row hunting out an English book shop in Spain because we were on holiday on the release date.  That is dedication for you.

But then, somehow, I just sort of let my love of the books dwindle.  I think with the release of the films I felt like I was still connected to the books and I didn't need to re-read them again.  In fact, despite badgering from James, I have never re-read the Harry Potter books.  Until now.

Firstly, I'm not much for re-reading.  I remember things in such minute detail that re-reading for me often ends up with skim reading and my eyes glossing over.  I have to really focus hard to absorb the words because my brain is busy shouting 'we've already read this.'  Imagine how hard I found it editing the manuscript for my novel...that took some serious commitment!

I was given a beautiful set of HP books for my birthday and that, really, is what prompted my decision to re-read but oh my goodness am I glad that I did.  I had completely forgotten how much rich detail and beautiful structure there was.  So much that you don't capture from the films, not to mention all the small magical details which J.K.Rowling included but which didn't make it into the films in the first place.

If I could physically fall back into the world of Harry Potter then I absolutely have.  I devoured the first book and am now racing through the second.  I find it difficult to believe that I haven't re-read them before now to be honest.

A favourite booktuber of mine; Katie from Life Between Words recently shared a video on some books she wanted to re-read and she commented on how re-reading a book when you are at a different stage of life from the first time around can have a real impact so I'm excited to see how that will apply here.  I was a teenager when I read the books for the first time and now I'm an adult and a parent.

I'm sure it will often me the chance to look at the books from a slightly different perspective.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Savill Court Hotel & Spa ǀ Review

I recently shared Part One of our trip to Legoland Windsor on the blog which you can read about here.  We had an overnight stay as part of our visit as we were booking a package break and we chose the Savill Court Hotel & Spa which is located just outside Windsor.

Savill Court is a 4 star hotel set in a beautiful red brick Georgian building and was just a 15 minute drive from Legoland and very easy to get to.  When you arrive you drive up a sweeping driveway before being directed to the car park.

As we had spent the day at Legoland and then headed to a local pub for something to eat it was around 8.30pm when we made it to the hotel.  The staff were very welcoming and handed out little activity bags to Meg and Eli (which went down a treat) and offered to send up some milk and cookies in about 30 minutes time, giving us chance to get up to our room, unpack and get the kids ready for bed.

Savill Court is a stunning building with a lot of history; there has been a house on the land from as early as 1815 and the current building has stood since 1910.  It was even used as a service hospital during the Second World War which got my spine tingling; I have to admit I love anything like that!

We had booked a family room which was a double bed with a double sofa bed.

The room was fairly spacious and had lovely views looking out over some of the vast 22 acres in which the hotel is set.  Each room has been individually styled and although it was pretty standard decor, it was nice and clean and well made.

The milk and cookies was a brilliant little extra and arrived 20 minutes after we checked in, just about giving us time to get the kids into their PJ's and ready for bed.

The only element which tarnished what was otherwise a pretty perfect hotel stay was the fact that the sofa bed had not been made up on arrival.  We had asked staff when we checked in whether the bed would be made up and were told that it should have been but to call down if not.  We immediately called down to Reception when we arrived in the room but it took another phone call and a 45 minute wait before someone came up, meaning the kids didn't end up going to bed until 9.30pm which was a little disappointing.  

The following morning we headed down to breakfast and enjoyed a great spread.  

Breakfast is served in The Orchid Restaurant and next door there is a lounge area with a bar.  There was a good mixture of cooked breakfast items and continental breakfast and we nabbed a few extra pieces of fruit for the kids to enjoy on the way back to Legoland.

We didn't manage to make use of the leisure and spa facilities as we had an early start but flicking through the hotel information it was nice to see that the pool had specific family swimming times; it was good to know that we wouldn't be disturbing other guests if we took the children for a dip as they could easily make use of the pool outside of those times.

The gym and the spa all looked great too and I really wish there had been time for me to enjoy a treatment!

Whilst James packed the car up, I took the kids for a walk through the grounds so they could burn off some energy and we could have a little explore.  There is a beautiful landscaped lawn at the back of the hotel which you can see from the terrace outside of the Orchid Restaurant.

It looked like Savill Court held a lot of events too and we had a little peek in at the extension which was set up for a wedding.  It looked like the perfect space.

After a quick explore it was back in the car for day two of our Legoland adventures which I will share the final installment of next week.