Simon says: ‘You’ll never escape.’

Okay, first thing’s first:

Yes, I haven’t written anything in like two weeks.

Yes, I am ashamed.

And yes, it will happen again. I could make plenty of excuses as to why I Hobbit-holed myself (Well, I am never saying that again.) But the truth is that I’m lazy and up until now, I’ve done well to hide that fact.

But fear not, as I have returned with stories of dark rooms and floating chairs. That’s right folks, I got myself locked in another escape room. This seems to be becoming a problem, and I should probably seek help. I would say it’s because I love working as a team and bonding with people, but in reality I probably have some sadistic dark side that has become BFF’s with my competitive demon.

This time it was with a new company, Lucardo (The name kind of reminds me of that blue ninja – fox Pokemon.) and I had a fresh team: Ian, his brother Ali, and my sister, Ruby. To be honest, I had no faith in us. I thought we’d just end up bullying each-other and the guy would just let us out before anyone died.

Lucardo’s building is pretty scary. You have to press a button to get in, and once you step inside there is what looks like an abandoned reception desk. It looked like a huge corporate company (Wait, are they the same thing?) with white walls and the smell of an empty hospital. I guess you could say it looked apocalypse-y, and you had to climb up a lot of stairs until you found the massive Lucardo sign.

Inside ‘the waiting room’ was nicely decorated, but then black and red are my favourite colours so maybe I’m biased.

The staff were friendly, Luke was our own personal Oversee-er. He was very helpful and clear when giving us clues, though if anything I think maybe he was a little too helpful. Without him, we wouldn’t have escaped, as he gave a lot away, compared to other escape rooms where they would help us through riddles.

So thanks Luke, if not for you and health and safety laws, we would still be stuck in that room.

The room we did was called The Dream, though personally I think it should be called ‘Wasted’ or ‘God, I should not have smoked that.’

The story is basically that you’re dreaming you’ve won the lottery, but to actually win you have to wake up and escape your subconscious, or be trapped there forever. Sort of spooky, sort of random.

Our newfound buddy Luke blindfolded us before leading us into the room, and when we took them off I didn’t know what to look at first. The floating chairs, the sheep (Toys, not real. Though that would have been a twist), the bike wheel or the watering cans full of balls. It was insane.

A few of the decorations were just there to throw you off, which was different to the other escape rooms I’ve done. I also spent a good ten minutes playing Simon says before Luke told me that I was supposed to do that later. I’m glad he told me, because I would have been touching my toes and lifting my arms for the whole hour.

And my team worked surprisingly well. I stood around sounding stupid, Ali and Ian figured out the puzzles and Ruby put the codes into the lock. It was pretty smooth and we escaped with two minutes to spare.

I feel like the room was decorated amazingly, and it has a lot of potential. I think the two problems I had was that the website description didn’t really advertise it well enough, and the numbers don’t really work with the dream theme. Maybe it should be called The Lottery, because saying you’re getting ‘locked in the dream room’ doesn’t sound very PG.

Overall it was a fun experience, and definitely worth a try. I feel like Lucardo is much more suited to families than Breakout, and would be great for kids as well as adults.

We finished our day with a victory Nando’s, and I totally dragged Ruby along to see Hotel Transylvania 3. You can tell from this photo how much fun she had!

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FYI: Yes, I know Ali is prettier than me. Damn him.

A Typical Libra

Okay, so in my last post I talked about how I believe basically everything I’m told.

So it goes without saying, I’m one of those people who believes in Star signs. Every morning I wake up and check my horoscope on Snapchat before getting out of bed.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s a little too kooky or superstitious. I mean, if I had a nicer body and less of an appetite for pizza I would totally be a nudist. Alas, I will always be stumpy  and slightly chubby, and I doubt I will ever love colourful clothes, or flowers. So really, I’m quite far away from going full-on hippie.

It’s not like I believe in Horoscopes either, because apparently I will meet my soul mate every week, and have the opportunity for a promotion every other day. That’s a whole lot of men destined to be with me, and I’m 90% sure you can only be promoted three times at Maccies.

No, I believe in Star Signs. I am a Libra. At times, I think the high bloke who wrote the online zodiac descriptions knows me better than I do. I wish I knew his name, so I could send him an email with all my life problems, and he could give me some advice from beyond the stars.

A Libra’s strengths are:

‘Cooperative,diplomatic, gracious, fair-minded, social.’

Wow, we were doing so well up until the social bit. I think we’ll just ignore that, and focus purely on the fact that I annoy a lot of people by being diplomatic. If you come to me ranting about someone, prepare to also rant at me for trying to defend them.

A Libra’s weaknesses are:

‘Indecisive, avoids confrontations, will carry a grudge, self-pity.’

Once again, this is pretty close. I am far too lazy to carry a grudge though. It takes too much energy and most of the time I forget why I’m being grumpy with someone. To me, my worst trait is definitely being indecisive. There is too much food in the world for me to pick what we have for dinner.

A Libra’s likes are:

‘Harmony, gentleness, sharing with others, the outdoors.’

I never thought I was an outdoors person until I moved away from Cumbria, it only took a few days for me to miss the silence and fields and even the sheep. I also get very stress if there’s tension in the air, so I guess the harmony part is very true.

A Libra’s dislikes  are:

‘Violence, injustice, loudmouths, conformity.’

Out of all of the points, this is the one that is spot on. I don’t understand how people can even physically be violent. I hate Spiders, but I would never kill one, so it’s beyond me how anybody could punch another person. Also I’m not a vegetarian, so maybe this point makes me a bit of a hypocrite because animals die so I can eat? But I’m pretty sure a cow would eat me too if it got the chance, I can see it in their eyes.

Those are just a few of the points I wanted to share because I’m honestly addicted to the zodiac signs, but going through the whole thing would take all day and would also be very boring for you.

In fact, I believe in them so much, I even got a tattoo of my elemental symbol: air. I would have got the Libra sign, but let’s be real, nobody wants a tattoo of some shabby scales.

Is my hometown even real?

I grew up in a tiny village in The Lake District. For those who don’t know, The Lake District is a beautiful place where people pay ridiculous prices to go and stay in a cabin, or where the rich people go to retire. Either way, people don’t stay long.

Sometimes when I go home, I laugh at how much the place is like a fantasy novel, and I love it. It’s like it’s stuck in time, always a little bit behind the rest of the world. So, without further ado, here is the list I’ve made over the last few weeks:

Reasons why The Lake District is some sort of Fantasy Land

  • Carlisle is literally nick-named ‘City of the Lakes.’  Even though there are no lakes in the city? Misleading but magical.
  • In one of the villages I lived in, there is a beck leading to a river. Kids splash and play in the beck all summer, and the road even goes into the river. How many children can say their parents drove through a river on the way to school?
  • Down the road from where I live, there is an Ice Cream Farm. That’s right folks, we get ice cream straight from the cows udder. There’s a place where you can pet the calves and there’s even fake cows for you to sit on while you enjoy your ice cream. I always thank the cows for the deliciousness they’ve provided. (The real ones, not the fake ones. You numpties.)
  • There is a man in the town centre who goes by the name ‘Tatty Tim.’ I’m not even going to explain that one.
  • There is also a man so famous that our town wanted to name the Wetherspoon’s after him. I’m not entirely sure who he is or why he’s so legendary, but where you at Rowland?
  • Buses? Pfft, who needs them? There is one bus trip a week from my village, and if you get on it, you better know when it’s due to come back. Otherwise you’ll be camping there for the week. You may also have to pick a fight with the elderly if you want a seat, and NEVER sit in ‘Margaret’s’ seat, even if she’s not there. The others will batter you.
  • The biggest event of the year by far is Appleby Horse fair, where the population of 3,000 increases to 30,000 as travellers from across come together to trade horses. They literally come to celebrate horses, wash horses in the river, and leave again. I get it’s traditional, but outside of Cumbria it does seem a little strange.
  • There is a marmalade festival. I kid you not. There is an entire festival, where people stick pictures of oranges everywhere and sell marmalade? What even?

So that’s my list so far, no doubt it’ll keep getting bigger the more I travel home. But for now, Netflix is calling my name.

VIP Interactive Introverts – A spoiler free review!

Okay, before I begin, it’s worth mentioning that recently I have discovered that I either feel nothing, or feel too much. There is no in between. It’s not even in a bad way, it’s just my own little unhealthy coping mechanism that I’m going to do nothing about, until I can’t ignore it anymore.

The reason I’m saying this is because yesterday was the first day I felt more than one emotion at once in a long time. Honestly, I’m still finding the whole thing very surreal.

I was excited to see Dan and Phil’s new show, Interactive Introverts. But I was not actively excited. It was more of a nostalgia thing.

I used to watch Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil back in the day when I was full of teenage angst and felt like the only people who got me were these too emo-haired guys on the internet. And I got less angry and slowly forgot about their existence. (These things happen, okay?)

Then, one fateful day my little sister (She is 12 and wishes I would stop calling her that) came home from school and started talking about them.

I was taken aback, shook and took a brief trip down memory lane. For the next few months, she showed me all the videos I had missed out on. And told me that Danisnotonfire re-branded to Dan Howell. That was the moment I knew I had grown up.

She told me she was gutted because she missed their only tour, and I joined in with her disappointment, until November when they released information about their second tour: Interactive Introverts. I jotted down the time of release and got her VIP tickets for Christmas. (What else are student loans for?)

Yesterday arrived sooner than I thought it would. I don’t usually do my make-up, but I thought ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity here, stop being lazy and get out of bed.’

So I did my make-up and hair all nice, and even painted my nails. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur tbh. One second I was asking Ruby whether she was ready, the next we were sat outside The Lowry, my pale skin getting burnt by the unforgiving sun whist we ate Nutella Donuts. At that point, I was ready to go back to bed. I was daydreaming about the McDonald’s we were going to have for dinner and I could feel the nerves bubbling off of Ruby.

Something in my mind decided to make those nerves worse. I am generally an awkward person to be around, and not the sort of person you’d invite to a difficult Doctor’s appointment.

‘You know,’ I smiled at Ruby, ‘Dan and Phil are in that very building in front of us.’ Ruby just looked at me, her eyes spread wide. I should have got the hint to shut up, but I continued. ‘I think they’re in the roof.’

She face-palmed. Like, literally face-palmed. ‘No,’ She said. ‘They’ll be in their dressing room. I want to die right now.’

I frowned at her. ‘That would be the obvious place for them to be. But think about it, if I was nervous about performing a show, I would go pace in a place nobody would suspect. And that place is the roof.’

She just tutted and carried on looking worried. We were called into the theatre to queue up for the meet and greet.

A very nice man gave us our wristbands and explained the process. When he was gone, I began feeding off Ruby’s nerves again. ‘You know Doobs, I reckon they’re in that room there.’ I said, pointing upwards. I don’t know why I said it. I think it’s because I was starting to get nervous too.

I mean, I’m generally a nervous person and I was in a room full of teenage girls who were emitting nerves like they some sort of floating hormones. I only received a glare in response. Ruby gets talkative when she’s anxious, she started to talk about school and maths and friends. I nodded and commented occasionally, but I was starting to feel sick. I didn’t even know why. I’m not particularly a huge fan. Maybe it was just the way everyone else was feeling rubbing off on me, but it was the most horrible, yet thrilling thing I’ve ever experienced.

Next we were shown up some stairs, where security checked our bags. I only had a small handbag with me, and I opened it up for them to peer into. The lady asked me to open ‘that’ and by ‘that’ I assumed she meant my purse. I picked it up and began to open it before she tutted and said ‘No.No.No. The zip on the bag.’

I said, ‘Oh sorry.’ and hoped that brief bit of embarrassment would be the only shame I would put myself through.

But this lady just kept going on and on, saying over and over: ‘Why would I check that?’ and ‘That’s none of my business.’ It felt like the longest bag check in the history of security. Honestly, she was probably just being friendly and it only lasted 30 seconds but I already felt like I wanted to die.

We had to wait a little longer, and I saw a man rowing on Manchester Thames and started cheering him on. I have no idea why anxiety affects me so much, but I seem to go from a somewhat-mentally-stable-21-year-old to a completely-insane-10-year-old. I have no idea why I’m like this.

Finally, we were shown into the room where the mythical creatures of Youtube were. I was ready to have a full on break down, and to make things worse I didn’t even know why. I wasn’t even that hyped for this. I had never felt so many emotions at once and it’s like my brain malfunctioned. I don’t even remember what me and Ruby talked about.

We saw Phil first. Now, I have trouble deciding what pizza topping I want, so it’s not in my nature to have a favourite anything.

But… Phil is my favourite Youtuber. *Hides behind Eeyore blanket* I love Dan too but I don’t know, I feel like I want so much more AmazingPhil content. His live streams really make me smile, and I genuinely believe that he would get into The Good Place.

So, when we saw the back of his head stick out from behind the big temporary wall thing they had, I went from excited to just plain giddy. I don’t even know, but Ruby and I just shared this big goofy grin.

Then we saw Dan’s head, and I saw Ruby inwardly explode. Dan is her favourite, and for a moment I wanted to pause. It was probably one of the only times in my life where everybody around me was completely happy. Ruby is a big ball of puberty at the moment and I don’t recall the last time I saw her genuinely smile.

And then it was our turn to go behind the temporary wall of joy. I made Ruby go first, I wanted to see her reaction to meeting her heroes. As I went around the corner, I could feel my face flush bright red.

Why?

I don’t know. I hadn’t embarrassed myself, yet I found the fact that my face was going crimson embarrassing. WHY WAS I BLUSHING? Damn it, Lucie.

At least they were tall, so I could just talk to their chests which would theoretically stop me from jumping out the window because of awkward eye contact.

The hugs were great, but I think that’s purely because I’m not a hugger. They were pretty much hugs that said ‘Thank you for coming and being a fan, but to us, you personally mean nothing.’ Which I actually prefer to soppy, emotional hugs that I’m forced into by family members and friends.

I had prepared a surprise question for them to sign. It’s a good thing I had written it down too, because my mind had completely gone and at this point I was basically a ginger mop.

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If you were an alien and came to spy on people, what would you disguise yourself as? 

I don’t know what I expected. Maybe just them to pause to think about their answers, or to look shocked at the unexpected question. Alas, the sadistic devil on my shoulder was disappointed and they handled the question well. They didn’t tell me their answers, they just wrote them down. Which is a shame, because I want to have a deep debate about it.

I mean, I think a dog would be an obvious candidate for alien’s to spy on us. But I think they’d be like ‘Right. Let’s disguise ourselves as a shiba.’ And then they’d see another breed and be like ‘Woah. No, I want to be a pug.’ And then they’d see another breed and be so overwhelmed by the cuteness that they’d never actually make a decision.

And a cactus would be good. Except the alien would end up dead as cacti are surprisingly easy to accidentally murder.

Dan asked us if we wanted a selfie, so we got one each. A nice one, and a silly one. The thing is, despite the strange bag search and my red face, I hadn’t done anything that made me want to die.

That part of me clicked when it came to selfie time. Ruby was next to Dan, and I was between her and Phil. Phil is tall, like a giant penguin, so he leaned forward to fit into the photo. For some reason, I leaned forward too, meaning I was head height with my 12 year old sister. This somehow felt wrong, and a little strange, but instead of standing straight again, I decided to step backwards.

Onto Phil’s foot,

in Doc Martens.

It was one of those scenarios where we both knew it happened, and for some reason, I was too awkward to apologise, and he was too polite to say anything.

So, I seemed rude and my face went red and suddenly jumping out of the window seemed like a good idea.

And basically that was the end of the meet and greet. Dan said ‘Thanks for coming.’ and we left, completely dazzled.

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I had a beer and Ruby had a coke while we waited for the show to get started. We talked for ages about how nice and lovely they were, and honestly at this point I couldn’t get over the amount of feelings I’d experienced in one hour. My brain still hadn’t returned from planet Lucie, meaning I thought it was a good idea to spend £180 on merch.

I want to talk about the show itself, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, so I’ll keep that to myself. All I’ll say is that if you get the chance, it is defo worth going.

I didn’t know what to expect, how could Youtubers do a live performance? My mind is blown at the creativity and effort that has gone into the production. I’m not the type of person that thinks ‘Oh, those people are cool. I want to be friends with them.’ But the show made me actually want to socialise with them as people.

Just like in a coffee shop, discussing alien disguises or something. I don’t know.

Just go see it.