First of all I want to make it clear that this was my very first time in an escape room ever. So this review is based solely on that one experience rather than a comparison to other escape rooms of other styles. I was lucky enough to be asked to go along to London Escaped Vampire Slayer to review.
London Escaped have a couple of different rooms to experience such as the Da Vinci and The Prisoner. I went with a lovely group of escape room veterans via Love London Pop Ups to give their new Vampire Slayer game a try.
As someone who hasn’t been to an escape room before I was literally going in blind with absolutely no clue of what to expect. I knew there would be clues and puzzles to work out and obviously you are under a time pressure to ‘escape’. We were a group of 7 people and for this game they advise between 2-8 people. But it can accommodate up to 10 people if necessary and it lasts for 60 minutes. We were there for a 4pm start and at that point in the reception area it wasn’t busy. It was great opportunity for a novice like me to get a sneak peek into some of the other rooms.
I’ve certainly been asking myself that for a while now. I’m a mum of 2 boys but they are now 20 and 17 (almost18), finding their own independence, as one is at uni and the other is at 6th form and also working a part time job. I have been married for 24 years and my hubby is a shift worker so that means I now spend the majority of my time alone! Due to my illness and chronic pain I’m no longer able to work a conventional job (I was a driving instructor), but I’m lucky that blogging and running social media accounts can be done in pj’s even on a bad day if necessary.
Yet when the boys where younger my life was busy (illness or not) with after school clubs, kids parties, meeting up with friends in the holidays etc, and although I am still officially a taxi service, a cook and a bank, my life is much more subdued. That in itself gives you time…………………..LOTS of time! Time to ponder and think about your own role in life. Yes I am still a wife and a mum but I am also ME. So, with 48 looming very quickly (and my hubby turning 50 last year!) I am starting to think about my time. How do I want to spend my time now my kids are off doing their own thing most of the time? Read more
Last week I had the bizarre pleasure of visiting the opening of the Phobophobia , The Ventriloquist Nightmare show at the London Tombs. I hadn’t been at the tombs before and to be honest I wasn’t sure of what to expect, however, this show has been put together especially for the half term and in particular the run up to Halloween.
Now I love my ‘jump scare’ horror films and to be honest any sort of horror film, as does my teen son, but that does not mean that I wouldn’t be scared. My husband does not ‘do’ horror in any way and looking back I cannot believe I actually got him to go first in our group when we entered!
The evening started with drinks ( which were definitely needed before entering the show) and socialising with large reptiles, so look away now if you do not like snakes……….
This year I vowed I would be super organised and to be honest I have been ‘more’ organised but still find myself sitting now a week away from the big day with a huge ‘to do’ list and the panic is starting to set in.
I know this year a lot of people seemed to be putting their Christmas trees and decorations up towards the end of November and although it was nice to see the pictures I am a true December girl and mine always go up in the first weekend or week in December. However, I did start present buying mid November in an attempt to get ahead.
At the end of November I was lucky enough to attend the Ideal Home Show at Christmas which was a first for me. My friend and I had a fab time, bought lots of Chrismassy bits and pieces and had our first mulled wine of the season. It really did get me into the Christmas spirit and gave me lots of ideas for pressies along the way. The place was beautifully decorated and we had groups of carol singers and performers helping with the Christmas spirit.
This I am very excited about and thankfully only have a week to wait. This years Ideal Home Show at Christmas will be taking place at Olympia London for the first time ever. The UK’s biggest Christmas exhibition will be open from the 25th – 29th of November to provide everything you could possibly need in the run up to the festive season, from over 600 exhibitors showcasing top Christmas shopping inspiration, a plethora of celebrity appearances and a Christmas bandstand hosting live entertainment……………c’mon you Christmas lovers what more could you need?
Yes it was that time of year that we love in this house of the good ol’ Sports Relief run. I must start by saying I have been chief photo taker for the past few years due to my M.E but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the day.
We set off to London on Sunday morning all ready to meet up with friends and do our bit for charity. The boys have raised some money together from friends and family, plus we registered for the run itself, and we purchased our 2012 Sport relief socks. So as a family we are happy that we have contributed enough to save a few children’s lives with the £5 vaccines.
Anyway, Sunday was a glorious day weather wise, and the atmosphere started on the train as most of the people travelling up there had some sort of Sport Relief attire!
So I was plonked in a great viewing spot and adopted my new title of ‘bag lady’ along with the photo taking………..who says I can’t multitask!
They headed of to the start line with JLS in their race, an I started celeb spotting. Jon Culshaw, Dame Kelly Holmes, Richard Hammond and his family, the GB Netball team, David Tennant (*swoons*) oh and of course JLS!!
Now I must admit that these boys do nothing for me at all, although I’m sure they are very nice and all. However, when they came towards me ‘celeb fever’ took over and I found myself shouting to my family opposite to slow down so I could play paparazzi to JLS before snapping my family!!! LIKE I SAY I DO NOT KNOW WHAT CAME OVER ME AT THAT POINT!!
So to make up for it I ditched celeb world and concentrated on snapping the family as they came past heading towards the finish line- it was the least I could do.
Now I would be lying through my teeth if I didn’t admit to being a little jealous of them. The atmosphere is fab for the spectators but it must be fantastic to be part of it yourself. So with that in mind I have decided that in the next Sport Relief in 2014 ( OH MY F**KING GOD MY ELDEST WILL BE ALMOST 16!!!!!- strike that thought) I should hire a wheelchair, ‘pimp my ride’ as they say and get a few of my fellow clan to pull or push me along!!!
That way I don’t have to do what I did on Sunday and cheat by ‘borrowing’ someone’s medal for my picture!!
I was lucky enough to be invited to the screening of Journey 2 The Mysterious Island last weekend, we had seen the first film so generally had an idea what to expect.
However, when we arrived at the Vue in London we were taken by surprise as we were met by allsorts of snakes, spiders and lizards!! Not what you expect when you go to see a film!
Anyway, this had my youngest totally in his element. As both myself and my eldest wandered casually around eating the lovely croissants and drinking juice cocktails that had been supplied, my youngest went around trying to hold everything he could( this may have had something to do with the toys they were giving away to the kids who bravely held them)!
At one point a very nice lady politely asked me if I would like to try some snacks but as I looked at the plate it was true ‘Bush Tucker Trial’ stuff. I’m not kidding, she just laughed when I politely declined but asked to take a photo ( a true blogger me!).
Then it was time to go into the cinema. We got our 3D glasses at the ready and took our seats.
Now if I’m honest after seeing the first film ( that was a birthday treat if you don’t mind- funny how our birthdays always get taken over by the kids ideas!!) I wasn’t really expecting too much. However, I was pleasantly surprised. There was an element of comedy that was aimed both at the kids and the adults with a little obvious slapstick for the youngest of watchers too. The serious charm of Michael Caine as the grandfather was a great match against Dwayne Johnson ( who I expected to be slightly wooden but surprisingly wasn’t). The little one liners between them kept a great rivalry going. Watch out for Dwayne’s ‘pec’s’ talk………..hilarious.But Luis Guzman as Gabato played the comedy character you couldn’t help but like…….Bless him.
So premise of the story if you don’t know:
Sean gets crypted messages from a ‘mysterious island’, Hank ( stepdad) helps him uncover the code and accompanies him find the island. Gabato and his daughter help them get there by using their helicopter. Long story short…….they get there by default, find Sean’s long lost grandfather (Caine) and have to find a way off the island as it’s sinking!! Cue the Nautilus/ Atlantis slant.
Anyway, all in all a great film to take the kids too over the coming half term. Action, adventure and a splash of comedy makes for a kids film that even the parents may admit to enjoying for what it is.
The film has been rated as a PG and has a running time of 94mins
Declaration: I was given the free tickets to review this film, however all opinions are my own!
Sorry about the quality of the photos…..I stupidly forgot my camera and had to rely on my Blackberry!!!
Thank You to the lovely Emily at Think Jam for the chance to review Journey 2 The Mysterious Island.
In more ways than one. Actually it was the 6th Annual ‘Wicked’ day in London. If any of you have seen the hit musical then you will know what I’m talking about. It has become a bit of a phenomenon and I was taken by surprise at really how serious the fans take this!
The queue outside just before opening was huge and not your regular queue, no it was full of people dressed up in full costume (and not just for Halloween!).
On entering everyone was given a style of goodie bag, with details of the day and advertising for the musical itself. There were real costumes from the show on display along with other props.
Paul Phear from Magic FM was there on the day as our main host, with performances from some of the cast throughout the afternoon. They then mingled around the crowd posing for pictures along the way.
There was an endless queue for eager beaver fans (young and old) to sing their hearts out defying their own gravity for top spot in the karaoke competition at the end. The 3 finalists were truly unbelievable singing on the main stage in front of the crowd.
It was advertised as a family day and there were lots of children around! they provided activities for younger children in the way of face paintings, workshops and games.
There was a quiz to find the fan who knew the most about the show overall who had to go ‘head to head’ with some of the cast in order to win!
My youngest was filmed with an up and coming 17 year old magician who managed to wow him with a fantastic trick!
Anyway, all in all it was a great afternoon. However, I think next year I will round up a few girlies and head down there for a nice lunch, a civilised glass of wine and then into the 7th Wicked Day- who knows enough wine and I might attempt Defying Gravity on the karaoke!! Ok maybe not!
So for those of you who haven’t actually seen this musical so far, well shame on you! You must try and see it, go with the girls for a great night out.
For more information check out the Wicked website.
I thought that with the start of the school holidays I would have so much more time to do…………things, chill out, catch up on a bit of telly, blog amongst others.
HOW WRONG COULD I BE!
I cannot believe that we are into the second week of the school holidays already. In fact a slight panic has set in, have I actually got enough time to do everything. My eldest has already been and returned from his week long scout camp!! We are heading off tomorrow to my MIL’s caravan along the Kent coast until Monday, as hubby now has a few days off work (thank God!). Now my boys are pestering me to go to their Nanny’s, who happens to live in Devon, which would be fantastic but I’m not sure I can drive that long on my own ( due to the M.E sometimes my muscles are extremely painful and an almighty fatigue can set in). We also have a festival in the middle of August and I haven’t even thought about uniforms ( apart from my eldest’s new blazer……….which I never forget after leaving it into a dry cleaners once only to wake up middle of the night on the day he was due back to school, in a total panic about what to do!!! Believe me my OH was not best pleased as I almost gave him heart failure thinking someone had broken in!!)
Anyway, last week was great with one child away it was great to spend time with the other on his own, and boy did he have his week planned out. OH was off Monday so my son decided he wanted to visit St Paul’s Cathedral in London!! So naively we thought great a little afternoon up there, we would listen to the tour gadgets and take a few pic’s and then home….
Oh no were there for 5 hours!! Yes you read it right………5 hours. They convinced me to go up the stairs to the Whispering Gallery, which I really wanted to do anyway. However, then they persuaded me to go further to the Stone Gallery! Which turned out to be fantastic as it was a beautiful day so we sat and had our lunch there!
That’s us on the stone Gallery
View from the Stone gallery
Then they persuaded me to go a bit further, to the top in fact. From there we had just the most fantastic view across London, so I felt it was worth it in the end.
View from the very top!
However, I started to struggle coming down and after several rests I got to the bottom only to find my legs started shaking uncontrollably and I was stuck to the spot for about 15 minutes!!!! It was sooo not funny, bad enough when people pass you on the stairs and look at you as though you are a complete pleb for not being able to get up there, let alone how people look at you when your OH is practically holding you up in the middle of St Paul’s!!( M.E is invisible so people look at you as if your are an idiot when your OH helps you up or holds you up for whatever reason). We made it to the cafe to recuperate …………a cuppa and a chocolate crispy cake is like a miracle cure.
Then a purchase in the shop ( I very sadly collect fridge magnets from wherever I go) and a snoop in the Crypt and we then being practically thrown out we had been there so long.
When I thought it was all over my son casually mentions going across the Millennium Bridge ( which is practically in front of St Paul’s) so I plodded on.
That’s us heading towards the bridge…………..slowly.
The day was fantastic although I knew I would suffer the next day.
So on Tuesday my OH took over and the pair of them built a ‘den’ in the garden while I watched from the sidelines taking pic’s and drinking tea.
The finished product!
Complete with warning.
Wednesday my Oh returned to work so I promised my son that we would use our prize from a competition and go play our free round of mini golf at Bluewater. That was great fun until my son beat me by 2 points!!! I was so not impressed………I’m not one of those lovely parents who let their child win at things. I don’t know what happens to me but a competitive streak takes over and not an inch is given.
However, I consoled myself with a Krispy Kreme and a coffee before letting my son window shop around Bluewater to get a few ideas for his birthday.
Thursday, I had a lovely invite to HMS Belfast which you can read about in the previous post. So little ol’ me and my son and his buddy spent a fab few hours on the ship before returning home. He then was invited to his friends for the afternoon ( his mum is a start and knew I would be heading to bed after a busy morning out) and didn’t return until dinner time!!
Friday was a meet with a friend at the pool, boys went swimming we had a coffee and then went back to hers for lunch and a great catch up in the afternoon!!
By then I was completely drained so Saturday was a complete blur to me and spent most of it in bed. But my eldest returned from his camp very happy but tired!!
This week had already started with an impromptu water fight yesterday afternoon and a swim ‘play date’ with their friends this afternoon.
A make do water spray!! LOL
We will be off to the caravan tomorrow but I’m yet to get everything packed and I am sitting on the computer doing this!!!!! I’m waiting on the magic fairy to come in the night and sort it all out for me……………….OK that means I will be up late and then not sleep as I think of the things I have forgotten to pack!!! Meanwhile my lovely boys (including OH) will sleep fantastically well as they only have to remember to put on clean pants……and sometimes that’s a struggle.
So here’s to a few hopefully relaxing days away where I am hoping my OH will take over the ‘entertaining’ of the boys for a while as I sit on the sidelines and recuperate a little in readiness for the next few weeks!!!
We were lucky enough to be invited to HMS Belfast on Thursday to see the new Gun Turret exhibit that is opening on board.
I arrived with my 10 year old son and his best buddy on a beautiful sunny morning to be greeted with tea and pastries and a press pack with all the information about the exhibit and HMS Belfast itself. We were then guided along to the exhibit which actually does take place within one of the ‘gun housings’ themselves. we went in and a black curtain darkened the inside. There is only room for a couple of families at a time in there so the children were encouraged to move forward to the front. A short film started to play with the story told from the perspective of a serviceman on board the Belfast in time of war. It takes you through what would happen in the run up to the guns being fired, with the workings moving and getting prepared. The experience culminated in a reenactment how it would feel to be inside there if the guns were fired, so loud noise, floor shaking and some smoke too. The boys thought it was great!
I am told that this film will be running on a timed loop for visitors to enter and watch during their visit. There is no extra cost to this so once you have paid your entrance fee everything then on board will be included. With this film on a constant loop it would be something that you could watch a few times on your visit if your children enjoy it.
Afterwards we were taken to the Operations Room where there are a couple of hands on games they can play. It consists of touch screen maps were the children or adults use ships and helicopters to search for aircraft wreckage on a timed game. The two boys loved this and were very disappointed by a ‘Mission Failed’ on their first attempt!!
Then we moved into the front control room with the Captains chair complete with uniform and hats for the children to try on, and two very helpful guides who encouraged the boys to put the coats and hats on and got them searching for different things to spot out of the window with the old sets of binoculars! The boys were in their element.
View from the Captains Chair!
In his dreams LOL
We were then offered a guided tour around the ship or the chance to explore by ourselves. The boys opted to investigate the rest of the ship using the guide map. We went from the very top to the very bottom and had great fun on all the levels along with the child friendly hands on displays.
Using Morse code!
Attempting the knots!
Word of warning……go sensibly dressed in trousers and don’t wear flip flops!!!! Not that I did, but there was a lady with her son there who had great difficulty in a maxi dress and sandals, going up and down the very steep ladder/steps!!!
Although I went round with two gun mad boys who seemed to love everything about the ship I didn’t feel that this would be a trip exclusively for boys. There were lots of girls on board who seemed to be having just as much fun. There is also a fab little cafe on board for that necessary thirst quenching cuppa for the adults, but if your budget doesn’t run to extras there is an area just as you come on board where lots of families were indulging in their picnics too.
As with most London attractions, visits don’t come cheap with an adult ticket @ £13.50 and a child @ £5.50. However don’t be put off as there are lots of 2 for 1 offers when travelling by train, and if your child is lucky enough to be the proud owner of a Blue Peter Badge ( yes they are still going!!) they will get in free!!
SO CHECK OUT THE GREAT AND EASY COMPETITION BELOW FOR FREE TICKETS!!
Just as an extra there is a competition running for a family to win tickets to HMS Belfast with the opportunity to be aboard when the fire the guns for real!!!!
To enter the prize draw, readers just have to email firstname.lastname@example.org and the winner will be selected at the end of July.