Author Archives: ingridstrand

Harry Potter – Hearing Aids

You guys might not know this, but I use hearing aids. A couple weeks ago I saw someone post on Facebook – they had bought ‘decorations’ for their hearing aids, and I was intrigued. I have seen people decorate their aids before, but this person had bought some different things from this company, Lugs. I googled the company and looked through the things they have. I wasn’t really gonna buy anything, but then I saw this Harry Potter kit, and I thought why not.

Today it arrived in the mail, and I had to test it out. And just so we all know, it’s meant for kids and I am not going to use this every day or anything.

In this kit I got 2 sets of vinyls to cover the aids, and a set of stickers to decorate the vinyls. There is also two sets of charms featuring Harry Potter and you-know-who. Or as the shop advertises it: Harry and The one who’s name we don’t speak!

The charm is quite visible, and I think it would be fun for kids to have these on display. The vinyl and sticker is quite hidden behind the ear so it is not as visible. I guess that is more of an option for me if I want some Harry Potter on my ears.

 

I took just one sticker on each aid, but one is free to go crazy. I have more vinyl so maybe later. I think I’ll use this for more special occasions related to Harry Potter. Either way, it was fun to try and a little different to have something Harry Potter related to my hearing aids.

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Queenie’s Apple Strudel

If you don’t know already, this year all the Geek Gear Wizardry boxes has included two or three recipes somehow related to the Harry Potter universe. And let me tell you something about me, I love to try new recipes and cook in the kitchen. I don’t do it all the times, but some days I can spend hours making a dish. Usually I do it while visiting my mum and dad, because I need someone to eat it. Didn’t mean for this to turn into a long story… I don’t even have a point to this anymore. What I was supposed to say – I tried one of these recipes, and now I’ll tell the tale of how it went.


The honour of being the first recipe tried went to Queenie’s Apple Strudel. The thing about many of the recipes from GeekGear is that they have ingredients which aren’t sold around here. I am sure they are easily available in the UK, but not here. Take this recipe; it ask for Filo Pastry. You might get it in a huge supermarket in the capital or something, but you might not. I actually crossed the border to go buy this. Yes, I went to another country to buy ingredients for this. While there I tried to find other ingredients for some of the other recipes here as well, but no luck. Anyway, the other ingredients were available at my local supermarket.


I changed up the order of things a little. First I made a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel and put it aside for later. Then chopped up the walnuts and put it aside as well. The reason why, I wanted to watch the World Championship (soccer), and figured I could peel and chop apples while watching first half. And then at half time I could make the strudel and put it in the oven before second half. It didn’t go quite like that in real life, but alas.

Filo pastry is so thin. I want to say paper-thin, but I think it was even thinner. And it rips so easily. I just pretended there was no rips whatsoever. You take one sheet, butter it up, put on a new layer, butter it up, a new layer, butter and final layer and finish it up with butter. So much butter. So even if I ripped it, there was other layers so there was no place where it was ripped the whole way through. On top of all this I put walnuts.


The recipe then called for the chopped apples, which I were to speas over the lower third. Here I wonder if I made a ‘mistake’? I had the dough like above, and put them on the lower third closest to me. But I may have been supposed to rotate the dough 90°. In the picture on the recipe the strudel is wider than mine turned out. Not sure if it made a huge difference, but it might have made the strudel taller. The apples weren’t as spread out and made a bigger heap. I don’t know. My strudel was a lot darker on top then the one in the picture, but that could be just bacause of the oven and not because the top was closer to the heating element.


Same mistake with the braids. I didn’t cut the strips lengthwise, and here it even say to do so in recipe, so definitly a mistake by me. Don’t really think it made much of a difference, but I could have tucked the ends underneath the strudel. Did I mention that this pastry rips easily? I had so many broken braids by the end of this. The ones I ended up with aren’t good, but they are almost whole at least.


While the strudel was baking I made the apple roses to decorate with. It was surprisingly easy to make, and I will probably use the technique later!


I removed two of the braids, which were charred. Well, all three of them were burnt, but this one were redeemable with a little icing sugar. And here you can see that mine isn’t as wide as the one in the recipe. There you can see six apple roses on top, with braids next to them and still some pastry next to that again. Where am I supposed to have my two other braids (if they were edible)? But that is not the important thing, the important thing is look at that!?

I made an apple strudel! I’ll admit that I did remove the top layer of the pastry before eating, because that tasted like ash. But the rest of it, delicious! I ate the whole thing. Mind you, not in one go. I would actually go as far as saying it actually tasted better the day after. Reheated slices in the microwave and it was heavenly.

Trying candy from Honeydukes (WB Studio Tour)

While at the Warner Bros Studio Tour (Harry Potter) I bought a lot of things, which you might remember from this post here, including Harry Potter themed candy. Fast forward a couple of months and finally I got around to actually taste them. I approached it like a research task, made a worksheet and all.

 As you can see I not only had a column for taste, but also for looks, which included design, accessibility (easy access to the candy is important) and size. But now; results!


// First test object was the Chocolate Frog. Possibly the most famous Harry Potter themed candy? It cost £8.95 for one box, which includes one frog and one card. The design of the box reminds me of the movies, and does have that magical feel in its design. It is an unusual shaped box, and has ornamental design. It is also bigger than expected.

It taste like milk chocolate. It is nothing special about it, which makes it an option for a lot of people I guess. The frog it self is massive, and I would recommend to cut it into pieces to make it easier to eat. Overall I would recommend this one. It has the Harry Potter feel to it, through the way it looks and you do get a magical card. And most people like milk chocolate, right?


//Next up was Sherbet Lemon, which is known as one of Dumbledores favourites. The box has a more traditional look. Nothing ‘magical’ by it, but it does have the Honeydukes logo and Honeydukes colours. They have a range of sweets with this kind of design, which I think it’s meant to be muggle candy. Correct me if I am wrong! Dumbledore offeres Sherbet Lemon to McGonagall and she doesn’t know what it is, and Dumbledore tells her it’s some sort of muggle sweets. And the other sweets with this kind of design also seems to be ‘muggle sweets’. I do like that this is a tin can, and easily can be reused by owner.

In way of taste, it is like a traditional hard boiled candy with lemony flavour. It has some citric acid which give it some sourness, but it is not overwhelming in any way. If you don’t bite it/chew it up one will last you about 15 minutes. One whole box of Sherbet Lemon cost £10.

As you might have noticed I switch between calling it candy and sweets. I guess one is american and one is british, but since I am neither it just won’t stick. 


// Fizzing Whizzbees. £ 8.00. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. Chose it from the shelf based on looks and a vague memory of it being mentioned in a book or two. The packaging is a little quirky, which fits the theme of Honeydukes and Harry Potter I guess.

It turned out to be milk chocolate with some crunch in there. There was a hint of some other flavour (fruity?), but hard to place since it was barely there. It was good, but didn’t feel like it matched the description on the box, “Made with Chocolatey Fizzy Fruit”. I guess the ‘fizzy fruit’ is the crunchy bits.


// Exploding bonbons. Again, a quirky packaging. This might be the one with the ‘hardest’ access to the candy, but still fairly simple. I kind of liked that the chocolate was individually wrapped, not enviromentally, but aesthetically. I am kind of picky when it comes to candy (and food), so I was a little sceptical to this one since it had white chocolate and pineapple in it (Yeah, I am one of those people), but it turned out to be the best tasting ones. It was smooth, almost creamy, and rich in flavour. The taste lingered for a long time. Felt like expensive chocolate to me, not that I have much experience with that though. I would recommend to eat it at room temperature, and not straight from the fridge! Expensive tasting or not, it cost me £8.00.


// Sugar quill. Do not remember what this cost, and can’t find my receipt… I liked the look of this one. It is a fun way to have lollipops. Not what I imagined it would be from the books, but you can see these in the movie. They are quite big. Hard to compare them to a regular lollipop when they are in this shape, so I can’t really tell.

Unfortunatly it tasted weird. Not sure what the flavour was supposed to be. I thought beforehand that it would have the taste of some red berry or fruit, but it was like licorice mixed with something else that I couldn’t place. I threw it away to be honest, it was not to my taste. But again, I am picky, so someone else might would have liked it. Just not expect strawberry or something. I was slighty disappointed, ’cause I thought this would be a safe buy, but alas.

Overall I am satisfied with the sweets I bought. Might not buy them again since they were quite regular in taste, but fun to try and will exhibit the boxes on my shelf, so I am glad I bought them. Have any of you tried any of these sweets or other Harry Potter sweets? What is your favourite?

GeekGear Wizardry – June 2018

Firstly, this heat is killing me. Secondly, Why did I move to somewhere this far from the post office. I have to walk there and back again, and it will literally take me more than an hour to pick up a package at the post office.

Most of the year I am fine with it, but in this heat… Like I said, it’s killing me. I came back home an hour ago, and I am still sweating. More information than you needed I am sure, but I simply had to rant about this heat. If you wonder, it is not THAT warm, but in this area this is considered a heat wave or something. Right now, it is 28° celsius, which is like 82° Fahrenheit for those of you who doesn’t know celsius.

But I am willing to put up with this heat to pick up my Geek Gear box. It was not my favourite box of the year, but it was a nice box. I am not showing everything here, but took some pictures to show some of my favourites from this box.


// Had to put this up to get it all in frame. It is about 1,5 meter long. This one is the Ravenclaw one. Meaning there are different ones for all the houses.


// It was so hard to take a good picture of this necklace. It is four “gems” in your house colour and one house mascot in some sort of metal. They are all loose, and will move around inside this case.

The Wand Collection: a book review

A month ago I read the book “The Wand Collection” from cover to cover. It was an interesting read. In the beginning of the book you can read about wands in general, and how the art department created all the wands, and more. Part two (and the biggest part) is picture and information about the wand of the different characters. Not every character in the whole franchise, but more than fifty different ones. All the way in the back there is an index, with small pictures of the wands and name of the owner. I might not read the whole book cover to cover again, but I’ll use it for reference and like a lexicon or “wand wiki”. Some times I get wands in the GeekGear boxes and I might be unsure of the owner, in which cases I now will use the book to figure it out.

If you are a wand lover (or a Geek Gear subscriber) I would recommend this book. I would say it is meant for those of us who love to read about the things that happens behind the scenes. How was it made, what does this mean, etc.

While we are speaking of wands, I thought I would share my wand collection as of today. I keep all my wand in this cabinet that is my “Harry Potter showcase”.

Back left is mostly wands I have made myself in conjunction with my theme party two years ago. Has it been two years aleready?! In front of the jar is my three official wands, bought in proper stores. On top is the Funko POP figure of Seraphina Picquery because the pink wand box on top contains her wand.

The two boxes besides them is one that I made myself (Hello theme party!), and one that came with a wand I ordered off Wish. On the back wall is a “Ollivanders” sign, and “The Wand Collection”. Front and center is all the wands I have gotten through Geek Gear. Far right is some of the boxes the Geek Gear wands has been packed up in.


Top to bottom: Seraphina Picquery // Hermione Granger // Albus Dumbledore (The Elder Wand)


From left to right: Newt Scamander // Voldemort // Harry Potter // Ron Weasley (the wand he broke second year and tried to fix with Spellotape) // Ron Weasley (His new wand) // Fred Weasley // Sirius Black // Severus Snape // Ginny Weasley

There you have it, The Wand Collection, both the book and my personal one.
Let me know, which wand is your favourite one? Mine changes all the time. Right now it is the Harry Potter one, it is perfect to twirl and fiddle with.

 

Craft: Prophecy Orb

Spoiler: If you have seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, (and the movies after that one) you probably remember the prophecy. Harry and his friends goes to the Ministry of Magic, to “save” Sirius and there they encounter the prophecy room, which includes Harrys own prophecy.

Inspired by that very prophecy I wanted to try to make one. Found a reference photo on the internet (see below). In the movie we mostly see the orb itself, and not the base that much. But the base is the fun part to make, so here we go.

I ignored the whole black block, which is not really a part of it. Just something it stands on when they sell it at The Noble Collection or wherever they sell it. Started out with Fimo Clay to create the dragons. Are they dragons? Someone here with more knowlegde of mythical creatures?

Gave them a light roast in the oven, as per the instructions on the package. While the dragons were chillin’ in the heat I sprayed the ‘orb’ with Satin Lacquer.

For the orb I used one of these “DIY christmas ornament baubles”. Can you tell I have no clue what to call it whatsoever? When the varnish/lacquer was completly dry, I cut of the little protruding bits. Should probably have done that before I sprayed them, but hey, it worked fine. Stuffed the bauble with iridescent foil to make it look a little more like in the movie. As you can see in the reference pic, there is nothing in the orb there, but in the movie it has this kind of swirling blue-white smoke… Yeah. My description might leave something to be desired. See the movie or google it, and you’ll know what I mean.

Anyway, my dragons were done with their roasting and cooling and I proceeded to paint. I used spray paint in the exciting color gold. Had to do it in several turns to make sure every angle was covered.

When dry, I painted it a little more. This time I went over with black to enhance the details. You paint with black and then you wipe it off with a cloth or something. Some of the black will remain in the creases.

In the picture above you can see the difference before (right) and after (left) I have applied some black paint. It’s not that much of a difference, but it gives an aged feel to it. Leave it to dry for one last time. Then I put my orb and dragons together, and it is complete. One could glue the orb to the base, but I wanted to be able to take them apart, so it’s just resting on top.

If you compare it to the reference photo, you’ll see that they aren’t that similar, but it was fun to make and I am happy with it.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

For the past few weeks I have been trying the new Harry Potter themed game from Portkey Games, Jam City and Warner Bros. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is kind of a role-playing video game. You create an avatar and go to Hogwarts. While there, things happens and you take classes, and there is a plot aside from that, you make friends and enemies, in other words; you get the Hogwarts experience.

You have to make choices along the way. You can’t really change the whole plot or anything, but you can affect little things, like your house points or skill level. I am currently in my second year. Every year has some chapters, in which you will learn certain things, take certain lessons and meet certain people. Below you can see my avatar:

All pictures are screenshots from the game, and all you see is created by Jam City. 
You can change your clothes, your hair, your facial features and make it look more like yourself or something you want it too look like. Aside from going through the school year and levels, you also earn points within three traits, as seen on the right side. A higher level enables more choices and gives more of a bonus in some cases.


You will have different tasks, like a lesson in transfiguration, as seen above. You might see the blue lines, they indicate that there is something you can do with this person or object to gain points in that lesson. You have to gain points to get the stars needed for the lesson. (See the bar at the top?)


You can also do things outside of the classroom, and throughout the game more rooms or areas in the school will be available to you.

I am not the most avid player. I play every now and then, not even every day. Empty out my energy bar, and come back another day, unless I am in the middle of a task and just have to wait for the refill, then I’ll come back an hour later or something to finish the task. Sometimes I forget that I am in the middle of something and the task will have run out of time, and I have to start over. I have seen that some complain about the waiting time for energy, but personally I don’t find it a bother. I guess for those who actually go in several times a day, it can be bothersome, but I am sure the developers have thought this through. I am glad that there is a limit to how much one can do in one go, otherwise I would have played the whole thing through in a night, and then what.

Are you guys playing? How are you feeling about this game? I like the game, and I’m looking forward to see what happens later in the game.