Winter Favourites 2017-18

The nights are getting lighter and longer, this can mean only 1 thing… Spring and summer are nearly here!

This winter I have had some adventures, done much hard work and have now picked out my favourites for the 2017-2018 season. This is my collection of products, activities and things that have happened over the past few months, and why I love them so much. During this season we have Christmas so one or two of these products are gifts. The advantage to that is that I have got to try out things I wouldn’t have normally tried, which is always exciting. We haven’t had many adventures this season, a few nights in the camper van and that’s about it. However, I am looking forward to getting out more as the weather improves. Right, let’s get started and look at my winter favourites.

Warner Bros Studio Tour

This was the main winter adventure we went on. A trip to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour, it is the ultimate Harry Potter fan attraction. This huge studio is not only full to the brim of Harry Potter props, costumes and sets, it was where they filmed parts of the films too. That makes it even cooler, to be walking in the footsteps of the actors and actresses who took part in the famous franchise. My favourite part of this trip was seeing all the details behind every prop, you can see exactly how that prop has been sculpted, any hidden qualities and its role in the films. You also get to see exactly how the broomsticks moved, oh and don’t forget the Whomping Willow too!

Hogwarts castle model at Harry Potter Studio Tour on Mindful Adventures Blog

The newest attractions are the Forbidden Forest and Hogwarts Express. Seeing the Hogwarts express was pretty cool. To think that before it was used in the films it was a running public passenger train. I have done a full blog post about my day trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour if that tickles your fancy. However, I fully recommend the studio tour even if you aren’t the biggest Harry Potter fan, as there is something for everyone there!

Lonely Planet Guides

I first heard about Lonely Planet a few months ago, I heard good things about them and that the guides are high quality and very informative.  However, I thought that they were more aimed at those who travel further afield that I do, to exotic places around the world. Then for Christmas, I received the Scandinavian and Devon and Cornwall guides. Super excited to discover they cover places closer to home such as Devon and Cornwall. The guides themselves are a handy ‘pocket’ size so can be taken in a rucksack or on travels easy enough. Very handy for those last minute travel tips.

Full of travel ideas such as road trips, train trips and other suggestions of the best way to see all that a place can offer. Then there is the breakdown of each major town or area to visit. This includes recommendations for places to stay, eat, explore and play. Since receiving my first two Lonely Planet guides I have purchased 2 more; New Zealand and South Pacific. Great winter reading, getting ready for all the travelling I want to do in the future.

Selection of Lonely Planet guide books for Mindful Adventures winter favourites 17-18

Finished Van Conversion

Last summer, Joe and I purchased Evie the Vauxhall Vivaro to turn into our mini home on wheels. Since we brought the empty shell of a van, it has had 2 beds in 3 different places, a new floor, several adventures and 1 time stuck in the mud. Over the Christmas period, Joe and I took a few days to finish our conversion properly. It now has a sliding out bed, side storage and shelving. We also added key camper van elements such as many strands of fairy lights!

Finished campervan conversion, bohemian theme, orange, grey

The work done over Christmas was the side storage, now complete with shelves too. It holds our kitchen equipment then at the back we can store wetsuits, clothes, walking boots and much more. By doing our conversion they way we have, has allowed us to explore different designs and ensure that our final conversion is practical but suits our style. If you want to know more about what we did and the process of completing our camper have a look at the Camper Van Conversion page. Already this year we have spent a few night down the seafront camping in the van, our next adventure is in March when we are off to North Devon.

OS Map – Dartmoor

This year I am looking to #GetOutside more and explore my local area. Living in Devon there are hundreds of walks around the coastlines and across the land to enjoy. Then there is the Dartmoor National Park. I have done 2 hikes on Dartmoor so far this year (which you can catch up on here: An Afternoon on Dartmoor & Fernworthy Reservoir Hike ) Therefore, I have only seen snippets of what this wonderful area of natural beauty has to offer, so I aim to hike more and see more of what is out there.

To help plan my hikes I am using an OS Map of Dartmoor. It is their explorer range map so the scale is 1:25000, allowing a closer view of the area and the footpaths available to me. A key feature of this map is that I chose the active version of the map. This means the map if weatherproof. There is a plastic type coating over the map that makes it more durable and water runs off it instead of soaking it. Perfect for Britain’s unpredictable weather!

OS Leisure map of Dartmoor, next to a compass and the OS Maps app on an iphone for Mindful Adventures winter favourites 17-18

So these are my winter favourites for 2017-2018. The Lonely Planet books on here are brilliant, especially for causing major wanderlust so stay tuned to hear about future travel plans for this year and the adventures that are going to happen. The Dartmoor map will get much use as we start to explore more of our local national park. Then roll on spring and summer where we can get out in our camper van, I feel some surf/sup weekends coming on.

Do you have any recommendations on where we can go this year in our van?

OS Leisure Dartmoor Map, Lonely Planet Guide, Harry Potter wand and a hiking boot for Mindful Adventures winter favourites 17-18

See you next time and happy adventuring!

Jo x

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Please note that all of the opinions here are my own opinion and not sponsored in any way. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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