London Escaped Vampire Slayer escape room – Review

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.

London Escaped have a couple of different rooms to experience such as the Da Vinci and The Prisoner, but I went with a lovely group of escape room veterans via Love London Pop Ups to give their new Vampire Slayer game a try.

So, 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 and it was great for a novice like me to get a sneak peek into some of the other rooms.

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2014 goals!

I’m not going in for all the new Year resolution crap this year. Diet, exercise, less alcohol blah blah blah!! I’m not knocking those that are- more power to you but I NEVER keep my resolutions so I’m not going to even bother.

I can’t exercise due to the M.E and my diet will get back to normal after all the Christmas food and goodies are eaten. I no longer drink like a fish although I give it a good go on occasion I don’t feel I drink enough to say I need to cut down ( no I’m not an in denial alcoholic- honest).

So with this all in mind I put my own mind to things that I want to learn or achieve this year. I have also kept the list small and very simple so it’s more than possible to achieve and therefore maybe spur me on to do some more.

Since dealing with long term illness I have increasingly become better at appreciating the smaller things in life. Yeah don’t get me wrong I still want to win the Lottery and live the life but in the meantime it nice to find happiness in the LITTLE things.

**So first on the list is to learn to CROCHET!! I know ‘go me’ next I will be at the WI ( did contemplate it actually!). I’m an avid knitter but cannot for the life of me teach myself to crochet. So  I have today booked myself on a one day course at a local yarn shop in just over a weeks time- YAY. There is another follow on course in Feb so that will definitely be my next step if I get the hang of it.

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Summer Bucket List Update

Yes we are one full week into our summer break. As we were finishing for the summer I decided to get a list of things together to accomplish over the holidays, some for the family and others selfishly for me! To check out my list here

So, one week in and already we have managed to:

*set the pool up with much nagging to the OH….

Complete with very brave or stupid cat!!

We have also completed our full day’s fishing with lots of fab catches:

Youngest’s biggest catch to date!
Not my biggest to date but biggest I caught that day!
OH had to get biggest of the day at 9lb15!!! He was gutted as wanted a double figure- over 10lb LOL

After a full days fishing I also managed to fit in my pj’s day!!! Not through choice but because the fishing day had taken it’s toll so I spent most of the day in bed and stayed in my jim jams for the rest of the day LOL…………….still that counts surely!

Also earlier in the week we found ourselves child free for an evening- Yes you heard me right- CHILD FREE!! So we treated ourselves to the cinema, Gallery seats at Bluewater no less- lots of leg room, super comfy seats and complimentary snacks and drinks………..don’t mind if we do.

Well here’s to next week to see what I can knock of the list- wish me luck.

How’s your Summer Bucket List going?

 

Schools out- Summer Bucket List!

I have read a few posts lately about the impending school holidays. Love them or hate them they just won’t organise themselves!

I have found it much easier and more fun to organise when the boys were a lot younger. I envy  all of you with the 5-10 age group as there are LOTS of things you can do that cost NOTHING but a bit of time and planning- park picnics with friends, days at the beach, walks in the woods/ forests, kite flying…….and the list goes on.

However as they get older I find it becomes far more costly and a trip to the park is literally like you want to end their lives as they know it- SOOOOOOOOO uncool!!! Being able to get away with a ‘special’ trip to the cinema over the hols is now one of the main things they want to do……………….and money just does not grow on trees, whatever anyone tells you.

So I now find myself with a 15 and 12yr old, both boys ( and both mine- I didn’t just kidnap them off a random street), and the thought of trying to organise and keep a budget of any kind over the summer is virtually non existent.

However I will not be outdone, I will sort summer the summer hols, it will not break me *cough*. So here are a few things that I definitely want to include over the holidays, both for the kids, as a family, and some ‘just for me’ selfish ones thrown in too.

* Cinema trips- 1st to see Worlds End with the eldest ( as he is 15!) and 2nd to see The Internship with the 12 yr old (not my choice)

* Fishing day- this is already arranged with friends so I can say with confidence that this will happen- next wednesday to be exact!! ( I’m a fishing addict and proud LOL)

* See the Brainiac Live show that is showing at Bluewater and also up London hoping at least one of them will accompany me.

* Organise a huge swim day at a fun pool for both boys and whatever friends they want to bring. I have a 7 seater car so the more the merrier LOl

* Try the ‘Up at The 02’ experience, requested by my youngest- at £25 a ticket I have emailed them from my blog to see if they want a reviewer!! Cheeky I know but if you don’t ask you don’t get LOL- If not I will bite the bullet and let OH and youngest go.

* Take a trip on the new Greenwich cable car- with kids would be good but if they turn their noses up at it then just me and the OH!!

* A mammoth game of Monopoly as a family- this tends to go for hours and I can keep the arguing to a minimum by providing fizzy drink and sweets and snacks.

* Camping- we have actually booked this and are going for a week in Aug to the Isle of Wight!! I cannot wait

* Have some girlie friends round on a sunny evening to drink copious amounts of pink wine, talk crap and eat rubbish! ( even better get a take away)

* I would love a PJ’s day! Just for the sake of it, a lazy, not going out past the door, watching dvd’s all day just because I can!!

* A trip to my Mum’s in Plymouth- on my own LOL like that will ever happen!!! But you never know stranger things have happened as they say! My eldest is getting to go next week for a week on his own- to say I’m jealous would be the understatement of the day.

* Have friends round for a chilled out BBQ, everyone chipping in, kids off playing football out in the park and jugs of Pimms to enjoy for the adults.

* Get the pool up for the boys- I am nagging the OH as I type- he hates putting it up as It is huge- but may encourage youngest to invite his cronies round for the day!

* Sit in a lovely beer garden on a sunny afternoon enjoying a mega cold beer or G+T- this one with no kids and don’t really mind if it’s with girly friends or OH!

* Would love a day down at Dymchurch beach- a bit of a trek for us but worth it if you get the weather and time the tides right LOL

* A poker night! Ok maybe it’s not great to teach your kids to gamble but we love a game of Texas Hold’em in this house. We invested in a poker table with drink and chip holders!!

* A HUGE water fight while the weather is still hot, with friends as much more fun the more people you have- and we are lucky to have a huge park outside our back gate!! I feel a panic buy of water bombs coming on!

* Get to watch through the series 2 of The Killing in peace! I know I am behind on this but lets face it with it being subtitled I cannot exactly sit on Twitter and FB  iron or knit while watching it LOL

 * Become an expert in beating the teenagers butts at Swingball! One of the less energetic sports I can do LOL Just bought a new retro metal ‘old style’ proper one- BRING IT ON KIDS!

At the moment that is about it but I’m sure I will add some or change some along the way. Still hoping to get the teens dragged along involved in someway in at least some of my list, but only time will tell.

So wish me luck and let me know what’s on your list.

 

Teenagers and the Summer Holidays

TEENAGER ALERT!

Recently I have been reading and envying all the latest posts about keeping the kids entertained over the summer break. I used to do the same, list all the things we wanted to do and all the places we wanted to visit, arrange meeting up with friends for picnics in the park, swim afternoons, beach visits………………….and the list goes on.

My boys are now 15 and 12 (almost13) years old., and with ALL the will in the world I cannot get them enthused about anything ( obviously Xbox is not included here). I’m aware that the age they are now they like to lay in occasionally, have lazy telly mornings and later nights. But really what the hell am I going to do over the holidays? I cannot let them fester in their rooms all day!! I know they prefer to manage themselves even if it means just watching tell or playing on their phones or whatever they do whilst they lounge about in their black holes. The mere mention of going to a park or a walk somewhere sends them into meltdown mode! Things like cinema/ bowling/ Go Ape etc all cost lots so would only do occasionally.

So, I’m frantically looking for options.

We have booked a week away camping in the Isle of Wight in August. Actually they are both looking forward to this as they went there with their primary school on their Yr6 trip. So although we have booked the campsite etc, we are leaving the holiday up to them- we have the guide books and they know pretty much the places they want to visit over there (inc the hotel that they stayed in LOL). So this week away should be great for all of us ( even with their continuous bickering). To top it all off we are NOT- I repeat- NOT on a budget this time after a little radio win in May I have purposely kept plenty of spending money!!

My OH with be working as normal on shifts so there will be days when he is here with us and others were he wont. The days he is not here are perfect lazy days or cinema days that will fit in with my M.E. However, when he is here I would like us to actually DO something rather than waste the 5-6 weeks!

So apart from the normal having friends over for xbox and a sleepover I’m manically trying to sort ideas that wont cost the earth but that they actually want to do—no point forcing them to do stuff they don’t want to as no one ends up enjoying the day.

My list so far:

* Groupon have a great offer on for tickets to Horrible Histories Live in London ( still a pay out but def worth doing for a major treat)

* Thinking of possibly one of those Cineworld monthly tickets? Anyone tried these and are they worth it?

* Eldest has already arranged to go stay in Plymouth at my mums as my brother lives there and they spend days walking the moors!

* Fishing (my new obsession!) with the youngest while the eldest is away……youngest loves it and eldest detests it.

*If the weather holds out we will definitely get a day at the beach, complete with burgers cooked on the beach for tea- that we still like doing but cannot swamp them with doing it lots! Might offer them each to bring a friend which will separate them and contain the arguments.

*They still enjoy movie nights- so invest in a few new DVD’s or a pay per view off demand with popcorn and fizzy drinks to keep them happy- again could get them to invite a mate or two as a change???

* Games nights- monopoly being a favourite, as is Texas Hold’em ( *cough* nothing like teaching your kids to gamble!!) We invested in a proper poker table last year with cup holder etc

Other than that I’m pretty stumped, neither are bothered about cooking/ baking really and definitely making things/ craft is soooo out of the question 🙁

All you with teen boys, what else would you suggest?

Our Father’s Day!

Unfortunately for us the OH had to work so he had to leave by 1pm. That meant we had to do something only in the morning.

So it started with a wake up coffee made by the eldest. Cards and pressies while still in bed! ( lazy sod what do you think this is??? Eh?? Some sort of special day!!!!)He was happy with his concert tickets- Level 42 in September- totally NOT my cup of tea so have sent him with a mate and us wives will accompany them there but sit in a restaurant while they go in, possibly looking like ‘special friends’ LOL

His little stash of cards

Once up and around ( anytime you like love……….anytime!) he had a shower in peace while the youngest got started on his part of the day:

TAKE NOTE: it was me up at 7am to make the batter!!!

However, he is the BEST pancake maker I know LOL

PERFECTION

Then before we knew it he was off to work, taking the left over lasagne for his dinner much to the youngest’s disgust! IT IS FATHER’S DAY YOU KNOW. Alright don’t bloody milk it hun…….

Then I remembered this picture I had in my address book still, taken over 19 years ago, and now sadly missed for the past 10 years!!

This was taken over 19years ago now on my wedding day ( no sh*t sherlock) and his birthday…………….MISS HIM LOADS.

SO HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU DADDIES OUT THERE

How did you all celebrate?

What category of parent are you?

There are only two choices available here:

A) a parent that DOES or

B) a parent that doesn’t!

Now I only have to spend 15 minutes on Twitter to know that anyone from there that reads this will be an A, you just have to take a look at the links to blogs and pictures of what your kids (and you ) are up to.

However, I bet if you were completely honest you could name a few parents that you know that are a B, right?

My friend and I have had experience of this over many years, and after taking the kids down to the local park sledging on Sunday we started talking about it on the way home. Yes we had an extra with us then ( i would never begrudge the child ever) which is what started the chat.

That said parent had contacted my friend to say she would call when she needed him back!!!!! ER excuse me……..we will not be gone for the rest of the day, maybe an hour or two!!

So then we started thinking about all the stuff we do even though our eldest’s (who will be 15 this year)are probably getting way too old:

*Halloween, we still have a get together and do the Trick or Treat thing and want to progress on to an ‘older ‘style party to include the adults dressing up too.

*Easter, although family and friends drop the Easter eggs into the boys we keep them aside and still hide them around the house so they have to ‘hunt’ for them in the morning.

*Christmas, my two are old enough to know that ‘Santa’ is not real *cough* however, they do play the game even though they roll their eyes when I go onto the NORAD site LOL

*Pancake day, we still love to have home made pancakes for breakfast before they go to school and after our tea on the same day.

*Summer beach days, in the hols we still love a day at the beach and we still make our sand angels before the tide comes in to cover them.

*Snow, as this is often a very rare sight we make the most of it, they still make a snowman and love to go sledging AND even though they are both old enough to go on their own we like to go with them!! How else do you get those pictures???

*New Year, we had friends around and celebrated with fireworks and we all set off lanterns with our hopes for 2013 written on them ( we wont mention the fact that we almost set our neighbors fence alight! *cough*)

We came to the conclusion that if we don’t as adults make the effort to enjoy these events with the kids they will grow up and never pass on that enthusiasm to their children. I cannot believe there are parents who just cannot be bothered or for whatever reason just don’t do these things. Or is it that they are happy for the kids to go off with others to do it so they don’t have to?

What do you think?

So tell me, what do you do with your kids that you hope they will pass on?

Life since my trauma!

So I haven’t posted for a while since my trauma in London a few weeks ago- if you haven’t already then check it out here . It has taken me a while to get over the shock.

But I have also had a lot of mundane normal stuff going on. My youngest is in yr 6 and due to leave so we have been organising the Leavers party

We wont mention the Ralph Lauren Polo top I had to drive to Ashford for on my birthday!!

CD photo books and after school picnic’s and water fights!!

In between that I had my birthday. Yes *groan* another year older and wiser. Although I had to drive to Ashford designer outlet for my son’s Leaver’s party shirt (typical) I had a great day. It was very chilled, me and the OH had a lunch out and did my pressies when the boys came home from school.

A nice roast dinner out with the boys!
Complete with dessert

Sorry for the bad pics they were taken on my phone by my youngest in poor light!!

Anyway, moving on I came home to these…………

I also managed to squeeze a relaxing day fishing with the OH ( YES I DID SAY FISHING!) and I caught………………………………….wait for it……………………………….57 fish!!! AMAZING!

Ok I will admit some of them really were tiddlers however I was pleased to be catching some slightly bigger ones too.

Now concentrate on the size of the fish rather than the state of my barnet!! It had been raining people!!!

Sadly, I really have got into this fishing malarkey- even to the point of taking the hooks out after the catch!!! Something I thought I would never do.

Then we had some Groupon vouchers to use up for Namco up in London. I must say the deal was fab as we got over £50 in tokens for only £14!! Now I wasn’t expecting too much of the place, never having been there myself. I thought we would be in and out in an hour. How wrong could I be we spent several hours in there enjoying bowling, bumper cars, and arcade games!!!

The boys racing each other on the bikes!
The 3 of them gearing up for the race!

So that’s me caught up I think. I’m now preparing myself for an emotional week as my youngest goes through the traditions of the last week of primary school!

Cue the tears……………………………….

What have you all been up too??

Priorities- necessity or luxury?

Ok this might sound  a little weird, but if you where asked a question to prioritise whats important to you on a daily basis what sort of things would be at the top of the list for you?

I don’t mean family or good health etc which is important to nearly all of us. I mean the selfish stuff, you know,more money, a size 8 model figure, ‘good hair’ days everyday and the like.

For me it would be a range of things. As you know I have had M.E for the past 3 years and it has significantly changed my life. I have gone from being a Qualified Driving Instructor with my own business, jogging 2-3 times a week, having some spare money to spend for the family, being active with the kids- cycling and activity holidays etc, to being unable to work, loss of earnings, unable to do activities with my boys and spending several hours a day in bed in order to get through the rest of the day. I struggle with anything physical, so cleaning, ironing, walking (any distance on some days) are pretty impossible without being laid up in bed the next day in pain and exhausted.

So the things that would make a huge difference to me would be things that I would class as luxuries- yet feel like necessities to help our situation.

1. A Cleaner– this would be a godsend and I’m sure you will all agree that it is impossible to keep on top of. But add on to that the physicality of hoovering etc for me is just horrendous. So my OH (who is an absolute star) does most of this for me- yes I know how lucky I am. However he is a VERY hardworking man working full time shift work with extra duties and cancelled days etc and thinks nothing of coming in and ironing at 10pm at night!! BUT THAT SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT FOR HIM. So for me someone coming in twice a week would improve our lives unbelievably.

2. Massage– yes we all love to go for a girly spa day etc, but this is seen as a treat RIGHT? Well for me alternative therapies can ease the amount of muscular pain I can be in. A massage once a week would be great to ease my neck and lower leg pain- and to go on a regular basis could help me be a little more physical myself without so much muscle pain.

I could think of a few more but you would really think I was a selfish cow.

What stops me then? Well I totally consider these to be luxuries and with things as tight as they are financially, due to not being able to work, they cannot be justified in any sense!

So back to the question………….necessity or luxury?

What’s on your wish list?

Grassroots football voucher scheme

 

We are not a huge football family in this household, however I am completely behind any scheme that gets kids off their backsides, away from screens and outside in the fresh air getting active!!

In our own childhoods ( those of us of a certain age *cough* anyway) we were always out playing, or that is at least what I remember. We didn’t have all the range of after school activity clubs that are available now, so we made our own fun. Playing football, rounders, rollerskating and what seemed like forever out on our bikes!!

But today’s world is a very competitive sporting world. Yet children who excel in the sports world to any recognisable level may struggle with funding or even having the specialist facilities or coaching available in this country.

However, with football being regarded as one of the nations favourite sports a new initiative is now being introduced for all those mums and dads who give up their time to coach children’s teams without any training.

Click the link below to find out more:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/otkFlmPo2Rc

Martin Keown paves the road to Wembley for mum and dad grassroots coaches:

Grassroots football voucher scheme launched along with a search for 12 coaches to head to Wembley for Coaching Masterclass with football legends

Grassroots football across Britain is set to receive a massive boost following the launch of a new coaching voucher scheme, backed by football legends including Martin Keown, and Sir Geoff Hurst, which will see 500 amateur coaches offered FA accredited coaching courses, while 12 will be put through their paces by Sir Geoff and ex Manchester United youth coach, Eric Harrison at a one off Coaching Masterclass at Wembley in November.

The vouchers, which are being rolled out by the FA’s Community Partner, McDonald’s, are available to the thousands of mums and dads and members of the community who give up their time every week at football clubs around the nation to coach their own kids and others.

While these parents and volunteers tirelessly fill the coaching gap that currently exists in grassroots football around Britain, the majority of them have no coaching qualifications and in many clubs which struggle with funding, there is no opportunity or resource to provide them with the chance to upskill.

The concern is that unlike in other football superpower nations such as Germany and Spain, young footballers in this country are missing out on learning basic and vital skills at a young age because of a lack of qualified coaches at grassroots level, which ultimately could impact on the game at national level in the future.

Recent research of football clubs by McDonalds found that the three major challenges faced by the majority in Britain are money –  chronic shortage of funds (for kit/courses/facilities), time – often ‘lost’ to admin (business skills, applications, development) and behaviour – dealing with poor conduct (players and parents).

 

It’s hoped that the McDonald’s vouchers , which are available to all potential and existing coaches in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will give these cash strapped clubs a valuable boost, by helping not only individual coaches but the clubs as a whole gain new coaching knowledge and skills.

While 500 coaches from around Britain will be offered FA accredited coaching courses, 12 will be given the opportunity to be part of a once in a lifetime Coaching Masterclass session at Wembley in November taken by Sir Geoff Hurst and Eric Harrison, the man widely credited with talent spotting and developing Manchester United’s golden generation, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, and a host of other footballing greats.