Escape Room Games, International, Passing Judgement, Riga

Judging Harshly – Mission: Riga, Mystery House, Riga

Welcome to my first international escape room review! I went to Riga with my partner and while we were looking for this to do before we went we came across several escape rooms. We checked out Tripadvisor and the top escape room caught our eye – Mystery House. I emailed to check if there was a problem with us attempting to do the room in English (I kept thinking back to escape rooms we’ve done in the UK, most of which had puzzles with English instructions) and quickly got a reply to say that they can do the room in English, Latvian or Russian. There was an offer on, if you booked 2 rooms they would arrange collection.drop off from the city centre. This seemed like a good plan, especially as it’s a bit out of the city centre, so we went ahead and booked the 2 harder rooms, Mission:Riga and Dr Zinc.

 

From the website:

You are a team of the best agents of your country, and are visiting Riga on a mission. Return home is possible only with secret document #2291, stolen from double agent`s apartment. No doubt, this is the most secure apartment in whole country. If all this isn’t enough, you have only 60 minutes to get the job done. It is time to start the Mission:Riga. Collect the target and leave unseen before agent returns. Be ready to solve puzzles, look for clues left behind…, and do it fast. Be aware – he has played this game for a while… Remember, only as a team can you accomplish this mission

We were picked up by a particularly grumpy taxi driver, and dropped off at Mystery House where we met our game operator, Gundega. She was lovely and bubbly and it was nice to meet her in person after speaking to her via email before our trip. We were offered bottled water and sweets before being set lose in the Mission: Riga room, where there was more water and sweets in case we wanted them during the hour.

The room was lovely and clean, with music coming from a radio in one of the corners of the room. The room certainly kept us busy, with plenty to do with several red herrings. We only had one small issue with the equipment – a key got stuck. It wasn’t the first time this had happened but it doesn’t happen on a regular basis. It’s not often that a game operator has to come into the room to fix something, and when they do it can spoil the atmosphere of the room, but Gundega did it in a really nice way that didn’t detract from the experience at all. We all had a laugh about it and she left and we carried on.

The theming was done well, and Gundega kept an eye on us throughout, keeping in touch with a walkie talkie. I’m not usually a big fan of the walkie talkies, but in this room it worked really well – and I particularly liked that we had to find it in the room to use it, and that when she wanted to get in touch with us she called us “agents”. It’s a small thing, but I think it added to the experience.

The puzzles in this room were superb and some were quite unusual. We managed to get out, but there wasn’t much time left on the clock – we escaped in 58:11. It was the first game my partner and I have played as just a two and we worked well together (and were still talking to each other at the end of the game which I wasn’t sure would be the case!)

 

Although Doctor Zinc is rated as a harder room, the escape rate for this room is lower, probably because they encourage people to try this room before attempting the harder one. It was a really good room, and I can imagine it keeping all the members of a larger group occupied.

Mystery House Riga

Advertisements
Standard
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!

IMG_4298

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.

IMG_4394

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!

IMG_4429

IMG_4383

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!

IMG_4388

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!

IMG_4423

Where’s the finish line?!

IMG_4402

Finished!!!

Standard
Food, Health, Meal Planning, Passing Judgement, Product Reviews

Yoghurt maker review

I recently bought a yoghurt maker from Lakelands. It cost £19.99 and since I got it, I’ve used it about 10 times and it’s great.

You only need two teaspoons of yoghurt as a catalyst to make a whole litre so if you keep some back at the end of every batch you never have to buy yoghurt again.

You do need milk though. Any milk can be used but the easiest option is Uht milk as it has been pasturised already (heated and cooled in a specific way to eliminate bacteria) otherwise you have to do this yourself and it time consuming and (to me) more complicated than its worth.

I’ve also purchased some muslin cloth to strain the yoghurt. This makes it thicker and more the consistency of total yoghurt that the runnier natural or Greek style yoghurts you get in the supermarket.

There were a few options I found when looking for this yoghurt maker, including a £10 option from Wilkos. I ruled this one out because although the machine was cheaper, they advised you to use sachets of powder with milk to make the yoghurt and the packets were £2.50 each (plus milk) so overall it wasn’t as cost effective.

There were also other options that for example had several jars that you incubated at once however for me space is an issue so I wanted something more compact (and I got 4 smaller but ideally sized Tupperware tubs from wilkos to store the yoghurt in).

Admittedly I don’t eat flavoured yoghurt, I tend to eat plain yoghurt with fruit and honey or make my version of a yoghurt salad as a savoury option which I enjoy with spicy foods. So I can’t say weather this would be the right product for you if you’re looking to make flavoured yoghurt.

It’s definitely a good option for me though as its got no added sugars at all and I can make it to whatever texture I require using muslin cloth.

Standard
Beauty, Makeup, Passing Judgement, Product Reviews

Makeup Revolution – Salvation Velvet Lacquer

My cousin recently told me about a brand of make-up I had never heard of before and 1 week later, I’m in love with it!

Makeup Revolution is a relatively new brand available in Superdrug and on-line. It’s main goal seems to be to provide affordable make-up that is the same style as the high end brands. To that end it has several dupes in it’s product range that are similar to brands such as Mac, Nars and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

Continue reading

Standard
Escape Room Games, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Breakout Manchester – Classified

Time for another escape room review, which again will be kept a little bit vague as I don’t want to spoil it for others by being too specific!

When I heard that there was an escape room called Breakout in Manchester which had 2 identical rooms that could be played at the same time I knew that we had to play them. I’m not saying that we’re a competitive group, but when the first question when doing the escape rooms is “did you make it and what time did you get out” before someone says hello to you… well, there may be a slightly competitive element.

There were 9 of us doing the rooms, so we split into a 4 and a 5, with Emma and I on different teams. We were all briefed together by Daniel, who was friendly and funny, putting us at ease. The theme of the room, Classified, is that it is the final exam of a secret agent. My group went upstairs while Emma’s went downstairs. Due to how the unit is, we could hear what they were shouting and vice versa. It was really difficult remembering not to shout when you solved some of the puzzles! Daniel told us at the start that as it was a bit of a competition if they gave one team a clue, the other team would automatically get a clue which I thought was really good and would keep the playing field level.

The room itself was quite bare, with almost everything in the room having a purpose. This meant that some of the time one or two of us were standing around waiting/doing nothing as there wasn’t anything to do (near the end for example) Compared to other games we have played where there are extra objects in the room that aren’t part of the game and are there to throw you off, this made the game feel quite linear. The bare room may have been a reflection on the theme of the game, as it was supposed to be an exam. The time went quickly, as usual during these rooms, although it did drag a bit near the end when a piece of equipment wasn’t working the way it should have done for us!

So, to sum up – much better than Make a Break in Manchester, but not as good as Escape Quest in Macclesfield or Clue HQ in Warrington! I believe that the lease for the Classified units is up soon, but the premise of being able to compete against friends is a good one that I hope is done well in the future. Breakout Manchester also have several other rooms with different themes, and hopefully we’ll be trying out some of those soon.

Just to be clear – if we’d had a vital piece of equipment working properly, then we would definitely have made it out first. As it was, our team of 4 (with one new player) were very close behind the team of 5 (who have all played 2 games previously!) so we feel the victory would have been ours had things been fair!

Standard
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

Standard