Many of us are obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise, and would do almost anything to have the most immersive wizarding world experience possible.
Amazingly for Hagrid fans, you can now rent a holiday cottage which is inspired by the fictional home of Rubeus himself, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
The Groundkeeper’s Cottage has opened at North Shire near Saltburn on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, and is almost exactly a replica of Hagrid's Hut in the magical series.
The cottage has three interlocking circular slate-roofed buildings featuring stained glass windows, an open plan living room, seating in front of a feature fireplace, wood beams with Hagrid paraphernalia and a lantern-lit wooden door.
The owner Carol Cavendish has loved Harry Potter since her early 20s, and has incorporated small Potter-themed touches such as an ink bottle and quill and bespoke copper basin in the bathroom.
The cottage itself took £195,000 to build, and the holiday rental can sleep up to six people. If you've got a dog, or your very own Fang, you're also welcome to bring one well-behaved pet for an extra cost.
She's made a comfortable retreat for any wizards or witches to adore, for just £195 (€225) per night.
*Runs to book slot*
Grab your brooms and get down there before it sells out years in advance.
You'll receive a dashing robe to wear, and a magic wand of course. Then you'll be led to an interactive work station where you can learn spell-casting 101 by pouring a drink of beer, a cocktail or a mocktail.
The Cauldron work with Wicklow Wolf, the Irish craft brewery from Bray, to create Wicked Wolf; a limited edition collaboration beer made exclusively for The Cauldron of Dublin. The floral IPA has some magical ingredients- Jasmine, Green Tea, Malted Irish Barley and Wicklow water.
The Magical Experience will then invite you to brew two of their molecular potions that change colour, bubble and even smoke. We're sold. The three-month pop-up in The Liquor Rooms is set to be a sell-out, at just €29,99 per magical being off-peak and €34.99 during peak times.
The experience is almost entirely self-guided, but don't worry about doing a Séamus Finnigan on it and blowing up the place. A potions master is on hand to make sure you don't poison yourself, or anyone else. Alcohol-free, gluten-free and vegan options are all available too. We do adore dietary inclusivity.
It's hard to believe that The Cauldron first began as a Crowdfunding project in 2017. Co-founder Matthew Cortland, a George Mitchell Scholar and former reading teacher, was living in Dublin, simultaneously working at a tech startup, and finishing his master’s degree in Creative Digital Media at DIT.
Cortland later moved to London to set up the business and is bringing the project home.
“This concept has such strong roots in Irish Design and individuals in Dublin– from our illustrator to our wand maker to our key advisors. We even shot our first video in The Gravediggers in Glasnevin, a location that was a major source of inspiration for the interior design vision for The Cauldron."
"Without the assistance and contribution from these people, I’m not sure that we would have ever gotten to this point," Cortland added. “I’m incredibly grateful." So are we Matthew, so are we.
Co-founder David Duckworth, a molecular cocktail and experience designer, compares The Cauldron’s concept to Irish folklore.
“Celtic folklore and mythology ties into the fantastical experience we are bringing to Dublin. The idea that magic is real and just inaccessible to ordinary people or that the veil to the other realm is just beyond reach is a concept that resonates with those who love fantasy and mythology.
"Our goal is to use science, the magic of our world, to make that dream real," David quipped.
If you want your chance to experience The Cauldron while it's in Dublin, head to underground speakeasy on the quays; The Liquor Rooms,
Off-peak seatings are from Monday to Thursday all day, and Friday from 11am-4:45pm. Peak seatings are Friday nights, and weekends.
The experience is over 18s only, and tickets must be booked in advance to attend. A limited food menu is also available on site, if your magical antics make you peckish.
Check out the clip below of the Magical Experience and you'll be scrambling to book tickets;
First things first, I learnt far more from the film industry’s female ‘villains’ than I did from the so-called ‘heroines’. The ‘villains’ are simply exaggerated versions of the women some of us are desperate to be, but don’t feel brave enough to cast off the mask.
As far as Hollywood is concerned, there are only two types of women- it’s your typical scenario of the femme fatale, a deviant who utilises her wily powers of seduction, or the Virgin Mary.
The angel or the devil, the child-like heroine or the evil queen. It’s limited at best, but there’s something so fascinating about the ‘villains’, they are more anti-hero than purely evil. No hero is all good, and no villain is all bad.
Society has always been suspicious of powerful women, it demonises them to try and create a backlash, to attempt to convince us that their ambition is wrong. It also plays the insanity card WAY too often to disregard them.
Think of all your classic Disney villains, most of them are childless. This creates the preconception immediately that they are somehow unnatural, they are barren and cold and ruthless.
Ursula, the Queen of Hearts, the White Witch, Miranda Priestley, Bellatrix Lestrange.
Anything and everything is done to use the audiences’ preconceived idea of the natural to focus your judgements on how inherently wrong it is for a woman to want more than the cards she has been dealt.
After all, the idea of a witch came about from fear of female sexuality in the 15th century, women who were single and childless were assumed to be evil.
We are fixated on these women because they revel in being all the things that we are told we simply cannot be. They allow themselves to get angry, to take action, to get even.
Most of the time they are just portrayed as being obsessed with regaining their youth through whatever means necessary, they use their jealousy to punish young and beautiful female characters. They sneer, they cackle, they are impeccably dressed, and their red lipstick is ALWAYS on point.
Personally I think this is an insult to women everywhere, we are complicated beings and beauty isn’t the pinnacle of our world.
It’s the pinnacle of what our society expects us to be for success and happiness, but women deserve better stories than this. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, motives can often have substance and a moral grey area.
They define transgression, and cross the imaginary borders into the dark unknown where society has ostracised them. They more than likely live in a lair, with some kind of animal side-kick, and don some luxurious fur coat.
They also always do this while looking flawlessly evil, and are more than likely single. They are portrayed as being loners, as being unwanted, precisely for desiring more than what they are supposed to. The poor men who cross their path are either demolished, disgusted or destroyed.
Let’s take a look at some of the film industry’s most fabulous villainesses, and we guarantee you that some higher knowledge will be dropped by these fierce females.
Miranda Priestley: Dropping the knowledge bombs left, right and centre.
Based on the Vogue editor-in-chief Anne Wintour, Meryl Streep perfectly embodied the uberboss who terrorised interns day and night, who could make anyone cry over a cerulean blue sweater, and whose soft spoken voice could tear you down brick by brick and leave your self-esteem in tatters.
A simple “that’s all” and her classic arched eyebrow is all that’s ever needed to destroy everything you thought you knew.
Impossible to please, manipulative, and yet every intern who was unlucky enough to cross her path ended up with the thickest skin imaginable, and this later became their best asset in the cut-throat fashion industry.
A top female executive’s main priority is to teach those who come after her to be the best, because most of the time mediocre men can reach heights that only exceptional women get the opportunity to jump for.
Miranda also epitomises the female sacrifice, and society’s obsession with rating women’s worth by their appearances.
The second she has seemingly lost her youth, they replace her with a younger model who is not even close to being as qualified as her.
It’s the only time we ever see a crack in her ice-cold persona, and the audience is given a glimpse into her life, which has revolved around a fashion publication. Her marriage, her family, her career; the impossible juggling balance that every woman is expected to do, like walking tightrope in a circus.
Miranda is fierce as hell, serves blunt reality checks to everyone in sight, and never wastes her time with pretending to be the glowing subservient heroine.
She shows the industry how good she is at her job, without the façade of aiming to please.
Second, is of course, Regina George. The woman who has everyone feeling victimised, second guessing their wardrobe choices and cutting holes in their t-shirts.
Regina is the constant reminder that appearances and perception go hand-in-hand.
Image is often pivotal to society’s understanding of women, but some of the most famous female characters have twisted this in their favour.
Regina George is queen of the put-downs, every girls wants to be her and every guy wants to get with her. Her power is the shallow angle of popularity, and she uses it to perfection.
Amy Dunne from Gone Girl is another classic example of a beautiful woman using her perceived image to manipulate those around her.
If you’ve seen the boxcutter scene from the film, you’ll have realised just how evil Amy really is, and how intelligent.
She is easily one of the most dedicated villainesses you’ll see on screen, committing to her plot so much that she writes an entire fake diary to frame her husband of her murder, and writhes around in bucketfuls of blood. Bit much?
Evil in many ways for these characters is constrained by their womanhood; their identity is that of a jealous wife, a vengeful mother, or a scorned partner whose husband has been having an illicit affair.
These stereotypical gender notions limit their depth and complexity which is given to nearly every male villain, they are expected to fit a single mould and heavily penalised if they don’t. These villains push the boundaries, and don’t care about likeability, a rebellious act in today’s world.
Some of the scariest female villains are those that inflict evil on other women, after all, gals need to stick together. Of the many lessons we can learn from a decent villainess, it’s that women are not the fragile creatures in need of protection that many heroines are conveyed to be.
The most badass female villains twist cultural norms of femininity into something else entirely. We need some more Dark Ladies to get the ideal balance, to show realistic, three-dimensional female characters on screen and on paper.
Power makes poison, but every villainess is a heroine in her own mind.
Halloween is just around the corner, and things are certainly starting to get spooky around the place.
Well, rather than run and hide from the ghosts and ghouls, we've decided to totally embrace all the spooky wonder that comes with this time of year.
With that in mind, we'd like to kindly introduce you to "Exclusive Evil Spirit Gin" – a terrifying tipple, green in colour/.
The folks at Moonpig are selling a very special kind of gin, and each bottle has been individually 'cursed' by an actual witch.
Yes, an actual witch.
Her name is Julianne White, and she has been a practising witch for over 20 years, and we are pretty obsessed with her.
According to the website, "This wickedly delicious gin is made with an infusion of mint, apples, and a dash of Devil’s Claw. But, these aren’t just any ingredients. The apples and mint are plucked from Pluckley, which is England’s most haunted village according to Guinness World Records. From the Watercress Woman to the farmer Edward Brett, it’s rumoured that there are at least 12 haunted spirits in this quintessentially English village."
Oh, and if that isn’t enough to send a chill down your spine, each bottle has been individually ‘cursed’ by professional witch, Ms. Julianne White. A bespoke blessing has been cast over the gin during October’s full moon to enhance the effect of her unique spell: “The blessing empowers the drinker to follow whatever their hearts desire – whether it is for good or evil”.
Please enjoy responsibly. These tantalising tipples should not be consumed during a full moon. Just as an FYI, Moonpig is not responsible if you’re transformed into a toad, zombie, or werewolf.
These exclusive and limited edition gin bottles will haunt any Halloween cocktail – how COOL?
A 20cl bottle of this exclusive Evil Spirit Gin (Alcohol by Volume: 40%) will set you back £13 – which is not too bad.