This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Sky One and NOW TV.
I’m definitely a witchy person. It’s no secret that I adore anything gothic and I’m starting to find my way with beliefs relating to nature and the universe and so, I guess it comes with the territory that I’ve always been really into anything in popular culture that’s even slightly witch-related.
It all started when I was a little girl and I used to pretend to make potions in jars from pasta and food colouring and, as my obsession grew, my Grandma and Grandad once surprised me with an actual broomstick that I tried to fly and sweep away my fears with.
I used to dream about being Sabrina The Teenage Witch and embarassingly — I was really young here OK? — every once in a while I’d try and feel the ‘power’ and point my finger at things in the vague hope that colourful sparks would fly out of the end and I’d finally know I was magical.
Then came a little infatuation with Willow from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (because Willow was so badass!), wishing I could move in to ‘the manor’ and become another of the Halliwell sisters and, umm, didn’t we all want to be Mildred Hubble? Oh, and Hermione Granger!
So, as you can imagine, when I was invited to an advanced screening in Oxford of the new A Discovery of Witches TV series — based on the All Souls Trilogy books by Deborah Harkness — hosted by Sky One and Now TV, I was over the moon (despite being miffed with myself for not having read the books before!)
The screening took place on Thursday and consisted of a DNA testing at Waterstones, access to the Spellbound Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum and lastly, the chance to preview the first episode of the new A Discovery of Witches show. Here’s what happened…
DNA testing and book signing at Waterstones, Oxford
The bus I took to my hotel drove past the Waterstones on the way out of the city (to which I was plesantly surprised because I was dreading trying to find it later on) and I was like “What are they DOING over there?” as I caught a few glances of a HUGE crowd outside the shop window where some men in white coats were taking what looked like swabs from a woman sat in an old-fashioned medical chair.
It sooned dawn on me that this was likely to be the DNA testing that had been mentioned in the itinery and I felt a strange mixture of curiousness and nerves knowing that I would be sat in that chair a few hours later!
Upon returning that evening, I had my own DNA ‘tested’ in a really fun and elaborate roleplay to see if I was a witch, vampire, daemon or human. Of course, I already knew I was a witch *wink, wink* but still felt a little spark of joy when it was confirmed.
You can see the video of my DNA test over on my Instagram story highlights. I especially liked the smoke at the end!
In case there was any doubt of my witchy genes, I was given a shiny certificate to show off together with a creature guide and a copy of the questions I answered to assist the ‘scientific’ testing process.
Following this, I was lucky enough to have a quick meet with Teresa Palmer, the lead actress of the new show who plays Diana Bishop, and we had our photo taken together. I hadn’t heard of her before but now that I’ve seen the show I’m already a huge fan (plus, she was really lovely IRL).
She’s incredibly talented and I’m sure she’s set to become a household name across the next few months because this show is a BIG deal.
Lastly, we were very kindly gifted a copy of the first book from the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, which I had signed by Deborah Harkness herself at the end of the screening, eek!
By the time you read this I’ll be on my way to Devon for a week of family camping and I’m hoping to get stuck into the book across the next few days as I’ve heard SUCH good things! My inbox was full of lots of you really excited about the advanced screening when I announced where I was off to and saying it’s one of your favourite reads. No doubt I’ll end up addicted as well!
Private tour of the new Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum
As a newbie to the city, I’ve never had the chance to visit the Ashmolean Museum before and my first thoughts were about how magnificient the building is as it towers over you. I’m going to have to bring the fam-a-lam next time (loving this word as Lily has picked it up recently and it sounds cute when she says it) so we can view all of the exhibitions in our own time as I saw so many things that I wished I could’ve stopped and studied properly whilst we made our way through the rooms.
The Spellbound Exhibition at the Ashmolean was truly amazing with books and artifacts unveiling some of the ancient and magical traditions our ancestors would swear by whether it be the iron horseshoes they’d hang above their doors to keep witches away or the protective prayer rolls they’d wrap around pregnant women to keep them and their baby safe as childbirth was deemed so incredibly dangerous in medieval times.
Special thanks to this lovely gang! – @CardiffMummy @dear_mummy @dearbearandbean @fivelittledove5 @musingstiredmum 🧙♀️🔮 #ADiscoveryOfWitches #SpellboundExhibition #APremiereOfWitches pic.twitter.com/ORYtH0G5SS
— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) September 7, 2018
We were also treated to a display of some of the props from the show, which is based in Oxford, so you’ll be able to see some of these when you tune in next week.
The Spellbound Exhibition runs until 6th January 2019 and is well worth a visit if you get the chance!
Advanced screening of the A Discovery of Witches first episode
After a quick glass of fizz, we headed into the screening room with some popcorn to preview the first episode of the new A Discovery of Witches show. I’ll be honest with you, I thought the first five minutes were a little cheesy but I quickly became caught up in the story and I really liked the way it was filmed.
I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprise for you but the series follows main character Diana Bishop, a young witch who refuses to practice, as she returns to Oxford and accidently calls upon an ancient book that has supposedly been missing for hundreds of years. She is approached by a vampire, Dr. Clairmont, who wants to get his hands on the book and there’s definitely some hints of a romantic attraction between the two of them. That’s all folks, you’ll have to watch it for yourself to see what happens!
When the credits rolled, I was actually gutted. I now have to wait TWO WHOLE WEEKS before I can see the next episode and I’m already hooked.
At the end of the evening, I was introduced to author Deborah Harkness who was absolutely delightful to speak with (super kind!) and who signed my new book. I was absolutely made up and blushing so much that my face went tomato-coloured (although the lighting didn’t help as you can see!)
I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Sky One, Now TV and The Flea Network for their invitation to the advanced screening of A Discovery of Witches and for my short stay in Oxford. I had a wonderful time and I’m really grateful to them for such a fantastic opportunity.
You can catch the first episode of A Discovery of Witches this Friday 14th September on Sky One and NOW TV.