Start the fans, please!

I’ve always been a big fan of the Crystal Maze. I loved Richard O’Brien as the host and all of the running around trying to solve the puzzles and laughing at contestants that got locked in or fell into the water. I remember watching a special episode where they’d got children in the Maze instead of adults and was really jealous of the children and remember thinking to myself, “One day, I’ll be on the Crystal Maze” (I was only young, #dontjudgeme)

 

So, when they announced they were bringing the Crystal Maze back via Crowdfunder, I jumped at the chance to do something. First thing was trying to get a team together. I sent a text to the usual suspects to say that if I could get 7 other people interested on a first come first served basis, then I’d send money for a team off to Crowdfunder. My partner was in the room when I sent the text out, and was the 5th person to reply. I’d got a full team of 8 together, plus 2 reserves. Money went off to Crowdfunder, and we waited.

 

It seemed like forever before they confirmed that they were ready to take bookings. And once they announced available dates, I had to try and find a day that everyone could do. Not an easy task! We settled on a date, and I booked us in. I did have problems booking but after several phone calls and a bit of hassle, we finally had the booking sorted.

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Cue more waiting. People that we knew went to the Maze and came back saying it was amazing, which I think got us even more excited. The week before we went I was worried that it might not live up to my expectations (which were pretty high). Finally the day arrived, and the team members set off down to London. We’d been pre-warned that the venue wasn’t well signposted, but managed to find it pretty easily.

 

The initial entrance wasn’t very Crystal Maze-y. There isn’t a sign outside to let you know you’re in the right place or anything, but there were a couple of people in the reception area wearing t-shirts with crystals on which gave it away!

 

We went in, put all of our belongings away and had the chance to don the fabled jackets. We were the green team so our jackets were a lovely forest green. We waited around our green table, in our green jackets, very excited for games to begin. It was a really warm day so we were told we wouldn’t be able to take the jackets in with us as it would be too hot (it really would have been!)

 

After a quick brief from one of the team members about safety, we were taken to our start room – ours was in the Medieval Zone – and we were left to watch a video before our Maze Master appeared. Our Maze Master was full of energy, which was really good as there isn’t much time to rest while in the Maze! It’s pretty full on. When you’re not in a room doing an activity you’re probably cheering on a team mate, providing “helpful” advice or trying to think of who’s doing the next room and what type of room it’ll be. There are 4 room types, Physical, Skill, Logic and Mystery.

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I won’t say much about the individual rooms, but I’m pretty sure they are all rooms based on the TV show. So, if you’re planning to go, watching some reruns would be useful! Going as a full team of people was a definite advantage as we knew who was going to be better at some of the types of games and who would be a disaster. I also loved how the Maze Master didn’t try to be a copy of Richard O’Brien but instead had his own style. I don’t think it would have worked otherwise!

 

The zones were incredible, and felt true to the show. The Aztec zone was full of sand (trust me, I accidentally bought a shoe-ful of it back), the Medieval zone was dark and gloomy, the Futuristic zone was clean and crisp and the Industrial zone was really well done. My only criticism is that it was hard to see through the windows of the Futuristic Zone rooms. All of the other viewing windows were really good in the other zones.

 

After the games, it was off to the fabled Crystal Dome to try and collect as many gold tokens as we could (no silver ones in this version of the game!) We were the last team to go, so tried to pick up hints from the teams before us. Sadly, all of those teams cheated but weren’t called up on it until the end – so we collected tokens using techniques the other teams had used… and were told that our scores wouldn’t be counted as all of the teams cheated! We did get chance to get a photo of the team in front of the dome though.

Crystal Maze

All in all, we had a fantastic time. We hung around in the bar around the dome afterwards and had a drink, talking about our favourite games. Everyone on our team had managed to get a crystal and played at least two games, so there was lots to talk about. We were warm and sweaty after running about in the Maze but no one cared as we’d had so much fun. I’d definitely recommend doing it if you get a chance. There’s also chance to buy any souvenirs after the games, a few of us bought crystals (you can’t do the Crystal Maze and not get a crystal in my mind!).

 

 

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Events, Judging Harshly, London

Judging Harshly – Crystal Maze, London

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Events, Health, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Color Run Manchester 2015

It seems like aaaaages ago when we signed up for the Manchester Color Run. Don’t panic, I’ve not gone all American, that’s the way they spell it, even in the UK!

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Having never done anything like this, neither of us knew what to expect. We’d seen the pictures and videos and it all looked fun – but could it really be as fun as it looked? Or had they hired some fantastic actors for the videos and promo shots?

The actual event was so much more fun than I had expected. It’s amazing how quickly 5km goes when you’re getting covered in paint every so often.

The idea is pretty simple – a 5km route to walk/run/roll/hoop around (yes, we saw somebody hooping the course!) with 4 stations of colour in powdered form. Volunteers at each of the four stations throw paint at people as they pass through, covering the runners/walkers/rollers/hoopers in colour. At the end of the course the participants can stay for the afterparty, and get covered in even more coloured powder. The event raises money for charity, with the 2015 charity being NSPCC.

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A couple of weeks before the event we were sent our entry packs, which contained a white Tshirt, a headband, some temporary tattoo transfers, running number and safety pins and some vouchers from the sponsors, Ocean Spray and Original Source. The packs were also supposed to contain glittery face paint, but neither mine nor Emma’s packs did, which was a bit disappointing. We didn’t let it stop us though, and Emma’s face makeup was particularly stunning!

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We walked to the event, and were met with lots of other people wearing the white Color Run T-shirts. I was amazed at how many people were there, and recognised a few familiar faces. We lined up near the starting area, and after a little bit of waiting, we were off!

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The first paint area seemed to come along very quickly, and we enjoyed getting covered in yellow paint. It was a bit longer to the next area, which was blue, followed by pink and finally orange near the finish line. Water was distributed about halfway round the course which was great as it was quite a warm day. We may have stopped for a quick selfie after each of the colour stations… #don’tjudgeus!

IMG_4428At the finish line we were handed some more water and a packet of paint. There was a stage with loads of people bouncing around to the music so we headed in that direction, waiting for the fabled Color Burst from the stage, when everyone opens their paint packets and gets even more colourful! After this, we wandered around a bit more, and found the Original Source and Ocean Spray tents which were handing out free samples. After a delicious cranberry juice we found the metro tent who were taking photos and printing them out, which was a lovely souvenir.

They say the Colour Run is the happiest 5k on the planet – it certainly was a fun experience! I’d probably have to try another few 5ks before I could say for sure if it’s the happiest on the planet or not though. I had a great time and came away saying that I wanted to sign up for next year. Definitely an experience I would recommend to others – there’s no pressure to run it, lots of people take their time and go at their own pace. Everyone seems cheerful, and the paint makes the course seem to go quickly!

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Where’s the finish line?!

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Finished!!!

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Crafts, Events, Food, Planning

Don’t judge me but I loved Planning my friends Baby Shower

So recently my friend has had a baby and as soon as she told me she was pregnant, I cried, congratulated her and I asked if I could arrange a baby shower. She agreed and following my usual planning process, I set about creating a Pinterest board with inspiration for cute baby shower themes, gifts, accessories, decorations, games and food ideas.

Baby showers are traditionally an American affair but I love the idea of getting people together to celebrate the arrival of a new baby.

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Cakes, Chocolate, Classes/ Lessons, Cupcakes, Events, Passing Judgement, Product Reviews

Intro to Baking Class – with Currys PC World and Kenwood

Last week I was invited to a bloggers Intro to Baking Class, with Currys PC World and Kenwood. I’ve been a little bit lax on baking recently with lots of things going on, so I jumped at the chance to get back in the kitchen, hoping for some inspiration. Continue reading

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Chocolate, Classes/ Lessons, Events, Food, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Chocolate Making Class

Firstly a big thank you to Laura who arranged for me to spend an evening doing a chocolate making class in Salford a few weeks ago. It was great and I thought everyone involved was very friendly and helpful.

The room was all set up when I arrived and everything looked lovely. We were offered a glass of Prosecco and some nibbles before the class started which allowed some get-to-know-you time on the table.

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Escape Room Games, Events, Judging Harshly

Judging Harshly – Make a Break, Manchester

A while ago I went with a group of friends to a live escape game in Warrington, Clue HQ. The game was fantastic, we all had a great time and loved every second of it. Having had so much fun the first time, we thought we’d try another one, this time in the centre of Manchester, Make a Break.

Live escape games are a simple concept – you get locked in a room and have an hour to get out of the room by using the clues in the room. Sounds easy, right?

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