Roller Derby with the Rainy City Girls

The latest opportunity to come my way was to head over to Oldham and watch a Rainy City roller derby match, before joining them for a new skaters session, so I could give roller derby a go myself.

So, on Saturday 15th October, I popped over to the Thunderdome to see what all the fuss was about. I’d watched some of a roller derby match a few years ago, but only for a short time, and I didn’t quite understand what was going on. This time, I started off in pretty much the same way.  Continue reading “Roller Derby with the Rainy City Girls”

Getting started with Rock Climbing

It’s been two months since I had my first rock climbing experience with the Woman Climb event at Manchester Climb Centre. During this taster session, I discovered that I wasn’t very good at rock climbing, but I did really enjoy it, and I wanted to get better.

So, I signed myself and my other half up for a Beginner’s course, thinking it would be something nice we could do together. Continue reading “Getting started with Rock Climbing”

Urban Exploration – Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham

It’s been a while since I last went exploring, although quite some time back, a friend and I discussed the possibility of visiting Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. After spending the weekend at EMF Camp near Guildford last month, the journey home would provide the perfect opportunity to stop off at our chosen location. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Urban Exploration, you can read my guide, here.

The first buildings on the site of Selly Oak Hospital were those of the King’s Norton Union Workhouse, built in 1834. Over the years the site was expanded, and the hospital continued to grow, until its closure in 2012.

Continue reading “Urban Exploration – Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham”

Via Lux Birmingham – My Third Ingress Anomaly

Another year has passed and a few more Ingress Anomalies have come and gone, but August 2016 saw a return to the UK with the latest installment, Via Lux Birmingham.

Having once again spent the last year pretty much forgetting that Ingress existed, having an anomaly we can attend again brought us back out of the woodwork and into this amazing community. Since Niantic separated from Google, anomalies have seen many changes. Firstly, they run a lot more often, and in the past year we have seen Abbadon, Obsidian and Aegis Nova coming and going, we were now ready for the next installment, Via Lux. Secondly, the anomalies themselves are changing, and Via Lux would have us take part in our first ever hybrid anomaly.

Continue reading “Via Lux Birmingham – My Third Ingress Anomaly”

HiddenCity Manchester – Creative Spaces

HiddenCity Manchester

HiddenCity is a company who turn a city into an experience. Currently available in four major UK cities, I happen to be lucky enough to live in one of them. HiddenCity Manchester is called ‘Creative Spaces’, and is designed to help you see classic and contemporary art and design, explore shops and chill out in independent bars and cafes. You don’t require any local knowledge to take part, you just need a map, and a few hours of time.

Continue reading “HiddenCity Manchester – Creative Spaces”

Laser Quest – Preston

It’s been a while since I played laser quest. Well, actually not that long, as I only played laser quest for the first time a few years ago, and I was a bit rubbish…. None the less, I did have fun, so we were excited to pop back up to Preston and attend the launch of Laser Quest, which is the latest addition to the existing Escape Rooms UK Preston site at Aqueduct Mill (of course we squeezed in an escape game while we were there too).

Continue reading “Laser Quest – Preston”

Citydash – a game of speed, stealth, and strategy, played on the streets

Today myself and two friends played Citydash, as Team Awesome, and we almost lived up to the name. While we received entry to the race at a discounted price, this review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

About Citydash

Last month I wrote about a pervasive game coming to Manchester called Citydash. Developed by Fire Hazard Games, you have 60 minutes to reach as many check points as you can, while cracking clues, running, sneaking, plotting routes and working as a team.

The play area is approximately 0.4 miles squared in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and is split into 4 different zones, each patrolled by a guard, who can be distinguished by their high viz vest. While this is helpful to spot them, it also means you will occasionally also run like idiots from bus drivers, traffic wardens, bin men, and almost one guy in a green top, just because you panicked too quickly.

Screenshot_2015-03-22-16-07-08

The game starts out with a number of checkpoints available for you to locate, each with a clue and corresponding grid reference for your map. Some are quite easy and obvious, some are quite cryptic, and you can also get checkpoints from finding the codes on the backs of the guards and one roaming photographer.

While I was the least competent runner, having not run since my Couch to 5k last year, I just about managed to keep up. The game is still good fun for non runners, you can quite easily walk between check points, with the only time you would absolutely have to run would be when faced with a guard who is chasing you down. You wouldn’t win, but you would definitely still have fun.

Tactics

There are many tactics you can use to stop the guards from catching you. In order to be ‘caught’, the guard would have to get close enough to read the 3 letter code on you front or back. You cannot cover these up with jackets, bags or other items in your hand, but you are perfectly fine to throw yourself on someone’s car (sorry to the person who’s car had me thrust against it), ask random strangers to hug you, lie down, or just try to run away sideways. You are also allowed to try and coerce random members of the public into helping you, I actually wanted to try and pay homeless people to go get codes for us that were guarded, but unfortunately none were available in the areas surrounding the check points.

In fact we were off to quite a good start, jumping to first place quite quickly when I managed to get two guards codes in quick succession with my stealthy moves, but we quickly lost this position as the game went on.

After 30 minutes I was flagging, and even though I had been really good at spotting guards and stealthily avoiding them, it seemed that whenever we paused to catch out breath and check the map, we managed to have a guard walk right up behind us. We definitely failed on the vigilance skill for this game, but being caught only 3 times turned out not to be so bad in the end.

The Scores

 

After the hour was up we returned to base to find out the scores. Out of 16 teams we came a respectable 8th, with 370 points, although our score was no where near the top 3 (top score 770!), we weren’t too bothered about winning. Our main goal for the afternoon was to have fun, and Citydash definitely provided that for us.

The play area was a perfect size to keep you spread out but not having to travel too far between checkpoints. The clues had just the right amount of local knowledge without making it impossible for non-locals to play, and the fun never stopped for the whole hour. We would definitely play Citydash again, and can’t wait to see what game they bring to Manchester next!

Check out our scorecard! As a geek I love love love the Score Cards and geeky little titbits of info about our team.

citydash

My Winter Iceland Adventure – Day 2, Whale Watching

After a no show from the northern lights on the first night, we got up early on the second day intending to head to the Perlan and watch the sunrise, before heading out on a whale watching espedition. Breakfast at Hotel Klettur was good, with the usual options of cereal or continental breakfast. One this I always try to do when being offered a continental breakfast is to make myself a cheese, ham and tomato sandwich to stow away for lunch later, and I even managed to pinch some pastries for pudding too!

Standing on top of the Oskjuhlio hill at 25.7 metres high, the Perlan provides excellent viewing of Reykjavik and the surrounding area. Unfortunately sunrise was 09:50am and the Perlan didn’t open until 10am, plus it was quite cloudy, so although we didn’t quite get to see sunrise as we intended, we still got some amazing panoramic shots from the viewing deck.

Continue reading “My Winter Iceland Adventure – Day 2, Whale Watching”

My Winter Iceland Adventure – Day 1, Reykjavik

For a while we have wanted to travel to Iceland to see the northern lights, and finally we had found a reasonably priced trip! Our holiday was booked through Fleetway Travel, who’s Iceland break advertised in April was listed on the Travel Zoo Top 20 Holidays.

As a booking agent I thought that Fleetway were great, I booked with Jordan, who gave us some great advice and went over all my options. After booking, you get your rep’s direct number and email if you have any follow up questions, and Jordan was incredibly helpful, and was happy to help us, even when we decided to change our excursions and he had to amend the whole order for us…..

In the end we booked 3 nights at Hotel Klettur, flying with easyJet, and we booked 3 excursions with Gray Line Excursions Iceland, a Northern Lights Mystery Tour, Whale Watching, and the Golden Circle & Fontana Geothermal Spa, and also return transfers from the airport. The total cost for Hotel, Flights, Transfers and 3 Excursions was £733.00 for 2 people. Travel insurance was £17.14, and airport parking was £16.99. After returning home, my credit bill was £99.51, meaning the total holiday came in at £433.32 per person!

Continue reading “My Winter Iceland Adventure – Day 1, Reykjavik”

Helios Manchester – My First Ingress Anomaly

Saturday the 24th August 2014 saw Manchester’s City Centre host an epic battle between the Enlightened and Resistance factions of Ingress.

The pervasive game by Niantic Labs holds what the players call Anomalies as a worldwide series of events which assist in progressing the story line. The outcome of the series will affect how the ongoing story behind Ingress moves forward, and it gives players from all over the world a chance to get together and work in what I can only describe as a military style operation to win battles against their opposing faction.

The current anomaly is named Helios, and is running from the 12th July to the 27th September 2014. Each Saturday during the 2 month period, the anomaly occurs at one or two Primary locations, and two or four Satellite locations, spread across 4 continents. One thing Niantic have been criticised for is failing to include sites in Africa and Australia, although the vast majority of users are based in North America.

Continue reading “Helios Manchester – My First Ingress Anomaly”