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The last week has been a really nice break from the reality of work. Every year around this time I take a week of as my birthday is coming up, and it’s nice to take the time and chill out from the hustle and bustle of customers and coffee. It’s been a busy week, and even though I’ve been off I’ve still been getting up early [despite my desire to have at least a bit of a lay in].

Every day has been busy in one way or another, but this particular blog will focus on the last couple of days, as they have been awesome. I went to see Nuri in London on both Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday Nuri treated me to dinner along the Southbank, where we had a really awesome view of the Thames:

We walked around the Southbank and by Parliament. I tried getting some pictures of it all lit up in the night time but I didn’t take my powerful camera, and I won’t share the pictures that I did take because they didn’t come out particularly well. Instead, I’ll share this picture of some pretty lights that are at one of the supports for the London Eye. It was the light that attracted me to it, and it turned out it was a memorial for one of the engineers and technicians for the London Eye. I thought it was a really quite sweet tribute.

On Thursday I went to London again, this time with Alex, and we went on Nuri’s walking tours. She works for one of the tour companies that gives bus tours and walking tours. We did two of the three that Nuri did; the Royal Walk [which Alex and I were a little bit late for as the train got delayed on the way into London], and we also did the Harry Potter walk.

I have never seen the changing of the guard before, and the knowledge that Nuri has about it astounds me. It makes me realise just how little I know of not only the country I live in but also the city that is literally only a small train ride away. It was a lovely walk as well; we saw the changing of the Horse Guard, and then the changing of the palace guard. It was a really enjoyable experience – the weather was really nice yesterday which obviously helped. I was surprised at the number of people that were there to watch to the changing of the guard – so many people! And I am told it gets far busier than that.

After a small break [Nuri treated me and Alex to breakfast in one of her favourite cafes], we went on to do the Harry Potter tour. I took my Luna wand with me for this, and my Ravenclaw scarf as well [it had to be done, I made Alex bring along his Hufflepuff scarf as well]. It was really interesting to see some of the places that inspired JKR’s London and the wizarding world. We also saw some of the filming locations – it’s so strange when you can see the real place and the changes that are made to that place when it’s all put together. [One example of this when I think of London is in Skyfall [James Bond] when he’s sliding down the escalator on the Northern Line – in reality there’s signs all along the way so that you can’t use the middle bit as a slide like Daniel Craig does].

We went to a real life Honeydukes – a sweet shop called Hardy’s – which was also the real inspiration behind the famous sweet shop. I bought my first ever chocolate frog [my card was Snape], and some jelly slugs [which I haven’t tried yet].

This day has made me want to re-read the series again and actually, I plan to do that this year. I started last year I think but stopped at Prisoner of Azkaban.

Thanks to my best friend for treating me to two very lovely days in London!