What I Miss About ‘Normal’ Life

Shelley's Party

I know I was aiming for more ‘light-hearted’ content but I wanted to write a quick post about the things I’m missing today. Although overall I’m doing okay I am having moments or days where I’m completely fed-up and instead of focusing on what I can do I’m focusing on what I can’t do. I don’t want to take that attitude ‘cos that’ll just make things more difficult but maybe writing a list will help as it’ll show me what I have to look forward to when we eventually get out of lockdown (and I think it’ll be a while before we’re completely out of it). But here we go, some things that in no particular order, I miss about ‘normal life’.

Nights Out

50th Birthday

I literally only went clubbing once for the entirety of last year (although I did go to a few parties) but I weirdly miss it now that I can’t do it. I went earlier this year with my friend Sorcha and we had a good time and we had been planning to go again the week the country went into proper lockdown. I was looking forward to it but if I’d been asked to compile a list of my favourite things to do clubbing wouldn’t have been very high. I prefer parties and getting drunk whilst dancing to cheesy music with friends and their family (who I trust) rather than being surrounded by strangers listening to tunes that I don’t know.

And yet, here I am, wanting to get dressed up and go for a night out on the town with my best friends. When the clubs open up again I think it’ll be one of the first things I do, I already have my outfit picked out so I’m bloody ready for a night out.

Drunk Conversations with my Friends

Girls

After Hirst’s Halloween party last year me, Jess and Becca stumbled back to my house, ordered takeout and just talked until stupid o’clock in the morning. On New Year’s Eve we met up again to get drunk and although we mostly played games my favourite moments were our drunken conversations about life, politics and everything in between. One of my favourite parts of being drunk is the stupid conversations me and my friends have.

Okay, so I could get drunk and FaceTime my friends but God it’s not the same. Alcohol goes one of two ways for me, I’ll either be super happy or super sad so if I end up super sad I don’t think it’ll help my lockdown life at all. So I’d rather wait until I can see them in person. I want a night in at one of their houses playing stupid drinking games or something, or maybe just a drunk conversation and takeout session after our night out at the club. I just miss them so much!

Long Car Rides

Weirdly specific but obviously I haven’t left my hometown since this all kicked off. Once a week me, my Mum and brother would drive to visit my Nan in West Bromwich and the journey would take about 40 minutes in the car to get there and then another 40 minutes to get home and I loved sitting back and listening to music whilst staring out the window. My Mum’s still driving over to my Nan’s, not for a visit but to drop off supplies and I did think about volunteering to go with her as company for the car ride but she generally pops over before work and also maybe she appreciates just having some alone time in the car.

In fact, this doesn’t just apply to cars. I also miss long train journeys. I’m used to visiting London quite regularly and I appreciate the long train journey. It’s just a nice bit of time to sit and relax. Obviously I’m still listening to music and chilling at home but it’s not the same.

Meals Out

Me + Ian

I’ve been lucky enough to not have any specific cravings for fast food or my favourite foods from particular restaurants but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them. Having to think what to make myself for dinner every single bloody night is grating on me, I don’t like spending too much time in ASDA anymore so I feel like I can’t go up and down looking for ingredients so I’m grabbing whatever’s convenient. I can’t wait to go back to a restaurant, have someone cook my food for me and then do the washing up for me like yes please.

The places I miss the most are probably Wetherspoons (controversial but it’s cheap and quick) and TGI Friday’s (which is weird ‘cos I never even ate there that often). I’ve not had many cravings for fast food like McDonalds or KFC but no doubt once those open I’ll go and grab some. Weirdly I’m also missing my Boots meal deals that I’d grab at lunchtime which is very irritating as I was getting bored of them when I was still working in the office.

I know we can still get takeout from certain places but my parents are being absolute snakes and keep ordering it without telling me so I haven’t even been able to enjoy that at the moment, I just keep having to cook for myself and it’s stressful. Every time I go to the shop I forget every food I’ve ever enjoyed so I’m finding myself eating a lot of the same lately.

Cinema

Cineworld

I love going to the cinema. I love going to my local Cineworld, ordering myself a large milkshake and then settling into my seat to pay attention to a film for a couple of hours. I can watch films at home but my attention wavers a lot at home whereas at the cinema I’m able to focus solely on the film even if I’m not 100% enjoying it. I’m way fussier about films at home, I don’t know why, I think it’s because I’m surrounded by too much temptation. Plus I’m one of those people who won’t even take their phone out for a split second to check the time in the cinema ‘cos I think it’s really rude so it’s almost impossible to get distracted.

There were some cracking films coming out this year as well that have been pushed back, the one I was looking forward to most was definitely ‘A Quiet Place 2’. I can’t wait for the cinemas to be open again, honestly.

Browsing in Stores

I’ve managed to perfect my food shop so that I only need to go to ASDA once every two weeks now and whilst I used to really enjoy shopping I actually low-key dread it now. Okay, that’s not entirely true – I like getting out of the house to actually do something but God being in the store stresses me out. I feel the first few aisles are okay, everyone’s respectful and I wonder why I got so worried. Then the middle and end aisles are horrendous, people just don’t give a damn about social distancing and can’t follow the arrows on the floor. By the time I’m done I’m absolutely exhausted from shoving round my full trolley whilst trying to avoid getting too close to anybody else.

Before lockdown I was a ‘shop as and when’ girl so I’d put enough food for the next couple of days into a basket and then just go out when I needed. I also liked to take my time, weigh up my options in my mind, did I really fancy that etc. Now it’s basically grab and go. Nowadays I sort out a mental list of everything I need a couple of days before I go and try my best to stick to that. It’s also more annoying now if I forget anything non-essential. Last Monday I forgot to grab custard but obviously won’t be popping out to buy any. I miss being able to take my time and also not worrying that all the other shoppers were gonna infect me with a deadly disease because they don’t understand the concept of bloody social distancing.

It’s not just grocery stores either, I used to pop to my local shopping centre every lunchtime at work and I’d love to have a browse in PRIMARK and other stores but that’s obviously not an option at the moment.

Visiting Family and Friends

Me + Little Nan

This is obvious and I’d imagine probably applies to most people. Obviously I’m still talking to my friends but it’s not the same as when we’re all sat in a room together chatting shit. Or out and about doing something. My Dad’s phoning me once a week but it’s not the same as going to his house for dinner. I used to see my Nan weekly which I obviously can’t anymore so I’ve been writing her letters and putting them in with the food deliveries my Mum takes. But it’s obviously never going to be the same as seeing your loved ones in person.

Unfortunately I think my grandparents will be some of the last people I see because even once the restrictions are lifted we’re still going to be a risk to our elderly relatives. I know my brother’s missing my Nan (he keeps throwing tantrums whenever I look after him the little shit) so it’s a shame it’s going to take so long to get back to ‘normal’. But we’ll all have to be patient.

Having the House to Myself

I love having the house to myself. As many of you may know I really don’t get on well with my step-dad and even if I did I’d still appreciate having some alone time to roam around the house. Sometimes it’s just for an evening or sometimes it’s for a bit longer if my parents are on holiday. I like it because I have full access to the kitchen to make whatever I want without worrying I’m taking too long and I can also sit in the living room which apparently is a privilege in our house.

To be fair I imagined we’d have all reached boiling point by now since none of us can go anywhere but we’re ticking by okay. But I’m still looking forward to when they can go out again so I can have the house to myself again. At the moment I’m sort of just stuck in my room and although it could be worse it could also be better.

Travelling

Tokyo 2

I was due to go to Sweden over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend but that obviously didn’t go ahead. To be fair I already knew before we went into full lockdown that I wouldn’t be able to go but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t the end of the world. As I’ve pointed out a couple of times I managed to have my big trip to Florida in February so I could give up my weekend in Sweden. I’m due to go to Disneyland Paris for four nights in November but obviously that’s not a certainty anymore but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I think that since I’ve booked it all through a travel company they’ll be able to rebook for me so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Last year I did tons of travelling, probably the most I’ve ever done in a year (6 countries) and I really miss it. I think it’s hard not being able to book anything to look forward to because we don’t know when everything’s going to be back to normal. Yeah, I am struggling with the lack of travel. I can’t even explore the UK at the moment let alone other countries.

Theatre

Me + Hirst

I bloody love going to the theatre and to be fair, before we went into lockdown I’d already been a fair few times. Shortly beforehand I managed to see Six two nights in a row, the first with my Mum and then the second time with Hirst. I’d also had a few weekends in London watching various different shows. I am missing it though. In April I was meant to see ‘Friends – The Musical Parody’ which unfortunately was cancelled. Me and Mum were due to see ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first weekend in June but I’m certain that will be postponed which is a shame as it was my Christmas present. I’m definitely missing my theatre trips.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I miss if I thought about it for a while longer but these are the main ones. Feel free to let me know what you guys are missing but for now stay home and stay safe.

Quarantine Tag Game

Social Distancing

So I found this tag on Tumblr and although no one tagged me in it I’m gonna give it a go. There’s not many questions but I have little else to write about in this lockdown so please enjoy!

Are you staying home from work/school?

Yes, we were all moved to work from home. When this originally started we were going to move onto a rota so half the team would be in the office whilst the other half worked from home and we’d keep alternating but it reached a point where they couldn’t open the office full stop. I last went in for half a day and we couldn’t leave until we’d sorted an automated voice for the phones and since I was in the office I got nominated by my colleagues to record the voice because I have a ‘posh voice’ apparently. It’s a bit cringe but my friends rang the number and said I sounded very professional so there’s that!

I’m low-key enjoying working from home whilst also missing my colleagues and being out and about. I miss walking over town during my lunch break whilst listening to music. I am saving money on Boots meal deals though.

If you’re staying home, who is there with you?

My Mum and Step-Dad. At first my step-dad still had to go to work whilst me and my Mum worked from home and that worked well but now my step-dad is home fulltime and it’s uh… Not perfect but working better than I thought. Luckily I think my Mum knows he’d drive us insane so she told him to keep himself busy whilst we’re working and he has been so far. We’ll see what it’s like in a few weeks I guess.

Me + Mum 3

Are you a homebody?

Uh yes and no. Whilst I always enjoyed having the odd day in the house I was generally out most nights of the week. I’d go out for meals, go to the cinema, meet my friends, go to the theatre etc. I also travel a lot. So whilst I can manage staying inside there are a lot of things I do miss.

Has an event that you were looking forward to been cancelled?

The first one isn’t an event but I was due to go to Sweden over the bank holiday weekend which obviously isn’t happening now. I am gutted because I wanted to see Sweden but after my horrible flight back from Orlando I was really dreading getting on a plane again. Also at the moment I’m just counting my blessings that I managed my big trip to Florida in February, I’d have been more devastated to miss that one so I can let go of Sweden.

Stockholm

I was due to go to the theatre to see ‘Friends – The Musical Parody’ which is now cancelled. I am disappointed but I got to see ‘Six – The Musical’ just before all this kicked off and that was fantastic.

Then I have nothing until June when I have a ticket to see Mary Poppins and a ticket to see My Chemical Romance and to be honest I’d be most gutted if those two were cancelled or I couldn’t go. I have a horrible feeling they will be but for now I’ll just cross my fingers.

What movies have you watched recently?

Me and my friends have discovered and are utilizing Netflix Party. We recently re-watched the Twilight series which I’d hated as a teenager but must confess I really enjoyed watching with my friends. Now we’ve moved onto The Hunger Games – we originally couldn’t watch it because it’s not available on the UK Netflix but Jess managed to find a way around the system and now we only have Mockingjay Part Two left.

Mockingjay Still

By myself I re-watched ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Brave’ on Disney+ and I have much more in my watch list to get through. I also have a few films on Netflix that I want to watch.

What shows are you watching?

At the moment I’m working my way through ‘The Simpsons’ on Disney+ because it’s comforting and familiar, like I don’t have to think too much and it’s just light-hearted. I want to start a series but my attention span is so low that I’m not sure what I’m feeling. I want to rewatch all the old Disney shows, maybe that’s what I need during these trying times – old and familiar lmao.

The Simpsons

What music are you listening to?

I’ve literally had the ‘Six’ soundtrack on repeat ever since I saw the show, I immediately loved every song and I can’t stop listening to it. Between that I’m also listening to my usual K-Pop mixed with some My Chemical Romance and other various bands. Right this second I’m listening to Hands Up by Cherry Bullet (which you should definitely check out, it’s their best song yet). I’m also listening to the ‘Birds of Prey’ soundtrack fairly regularly.

Six The Musical

What are you reading?

After watching the ‘Twilight’ saga with my friends I decided to give the book a try because I really didn’t get to grips with it when I was a teenager, I tried and just really couldn’t get into it. So I ordered the first book and have finally managed to read it – so I’ve ordered the rest of the series to give a try.

Twilight 2

I am reading a fair amount; this is the perfect time to up my total for my reading challenge. I recently read ‘The Love Hypothesis’ by Laura Steven who is quickly turning into one of my favourite authors. I’ve also read ‘A Dark Secret’ by Casey Watson, she’s a foster carer who writes books about the children she’s looked after – I personally prefer Cathy Glass but I’m up to date with all of Cathy’s so decided to read more by Casey. Then I read ‘Are You Watching’ by Vincent Ralph which wasn’t incredible but did keep my attention sufficiently I suppose.

I’ve got a good amount of books to keep me going for the foreseeable future I think!

What are you doing for self-care?

Not a lot because I’ve actually been weirdly busy to be honest. I’m playing a lot of Animal Crossing which I think is good because it’s calm and is a good bit of escapism. I’m also trying to go for more walks as I’ve found I’m struggling to sleep at night recently and I think it’s because I’m obviously moving around far less than I normally would if I was still going out to work. Unfortunately though the walks aren’t that calming as I’m doing my best to social distance from everyone and some people just honestly don’t care and it really stresses me out but I think they do help with my sleep pattern so I’ll have to carry on.

There we have it, my quarantine tag! I hope you enjoyed, feel free to link me to your own answers.

Weekend in London 13/12/19 – 16/12/19

London

Earlier this year Mischief Theatre announced their play ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ was returning to London and I was super excited. I’d been to see it with Jess a couple of years previously but it hadn’t returned to London since then. They also announced a tour and I would’ve gone to their Birmingham show but I’ll be in Florida so won’t be able to attend. Although it’s not directly a Christmassy show it does feel more like it should be seen at Christmas so I was happy to take a trip to see it in December.

I decided to extend it to a full weekend after watching ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ with my friend Hirst in August. I was getting a big pay out for something or other so decided to treat myself with premium seats for the show that weekend. I figured I could travel up to London the Friday after work, watch two shows on Saturday, see Cursed Child on Sunday then travel home on Monday. So that’s exactly what I did.

The journey to London did not go swiftly. My train was at 6:01PM to take me to Wolverhampton where I’d catch my train to London Euston at 6:45PM. There have been some issues with trains in the UK recently so I decided to catch an earlier train to Wolverhampton just in case. A few people thought I was being over cautious but I’m glad I did because once in Wolverhampton quite a lot of trains were either delayed or cancelled – including the original train to Wolverhampton I was meant to catch. This meant I was waiting around for a long time in Wolverhampton but I’d have rather that than getting stressed and trying to rush to catch my train.

First Class

The train to London Euston was ten minutes delayed but did eventually show up and it could’ve been a lot worse. I’d decided to go for a first class ticket on the way there as it wasn’t too expensive. It was worth it I guess simply because my carriage was nearly empty whereas most of the standard coaches I believe were quite full. I was a bit annoyed though because I hadn’t had any dinner and had expected something to eat in first class – they did bring out cheese burger and chips for the carriages further away but in our carriage I literally only got orange juice. I munched on chocolate bars to keep me going and decided to grab something once in London.

Unfortunately we got stuck in Coventry for a while because London Euston was being evacuated so we were delayed even further but we did eventually start moving again and I knew this could’ve been a lot worse. Once we got to Euston I went straight to my hotel in Putney Bridge, dumped my bags in the room (which was a decent size!) and went straight out to find something to eat. I’d stayed at this particular hotel (Premier Inn) earlier in the year so knew that down the street there were some fast food places and a Sainsbury’s. I decided to walk to Sainsbury’s first to stock up on snacks but unfortunately Sainsbury’s had closed at 10PM and it was now 10:50PM. I was in a pretty foul mood anyway because I was tired, hungry and London was really busy so I stomped over to McDonalds, ordered some food then went back to the hotel. After dinner and a shower I went to bed.

I had breakfast at Premier Inn the following morning, walked to Sainsbury’s again to get my snacks and then came back to chill in the hotel room. Since London was so busy I didn’t feel like going off exploring and decided to relax before my first show of the weekend.

I set off at about 1:30PM as the journey would take me about 30 minutes. Normally I like to arrive at the theatre exactly half-an-hour before the show starts but this can be a bit tedious when I’m by myself because once I’ve got myself a drink and popped to the loo there’s still a good twenty-five minutes until the show actually starts and most theatres in London don’t have good signal so I basically just have to sit and let my thoughts occupy me until the show starts – so I’ve tried to start arriving a little later but still with plenty of time to do everything I need to before I get to my seat.

As I missed my first tube I was a bit later than I’d hoped (see I don’t wanna arrive too early but then get anxiety about being late!) and got to the Ambassadors Theatre for 2:20PM to see the 2:30PM production of ‘Ghost Stories’. As the show was only an hour and twenty minutes long with no interval I decided to just get my ticket and find my seat.

Ghost Stories

I’d seen the film about a year or two previously and really hadn’t liked it. I thought it was weird and confusing, and just generally a bit of a crap film but I went in with an open mind and was looking forward to seeing any differences from the film. To be honest once I entered the theatre I was instantly creeped out as they play eerie music and they have police tape hanging with lights that flicker every so often. After a short wait the play began.

I loved it so much more than I thought I would. The atmosphere was so spooky and although I think some of the visual effects could’ve been a bit spookier it was the noises that got me, even ones that weren’t necessarily meant to be scary. The stage show was pretty much the same plot as the film but it was just done better, I don’t know how to explain it without spoiling it for anyone but I’m so glad I decided to see it even though whenever I was in my hotel room at night for the rest of the weekend I kept replaying parts of the show in my head and got really creeped out!

Ghost Stories 2

My only peeve from the show is that so many people were rustling wrappers! One woman behind me very slowly opened a packet of sweets before whispering “God it’s so LOUD!” Yes love, it is, why didn’t you open them before the show began? Also the show literally started at 2:30PM and it was only on for an hour and twenty minutes, do you really need to eat in that time? Take it from the girl who literally never stops snacking – it was completely unnecessary.

Once the show had ended I decided to take a quick breather outside as I was really on edge (a car went past and tooted its horn and I peed myself) before making the poor decision to head back to my hotel. I needed a wee and I was feeling a bit peckish so had the brief idea I’d head back to the hotel, have a wee then get dinner in Putney. Once I had signal on the tube I realised that the Alexandra Palace, where my evening show was being performed, was an hour and ten minutes away from my hotel. But I was committed now so I went back to the hotel, had my wee, shovelled down a chocolate muffin and then headed back out to catch the tube to Wood Green.

I was getting worried that I wouldn’t have time to grab dinner as Alexandra Palace is a bus ride away from Wood Green underground station but it was 6PM when I arrived and there was a McDonald’s right across the road from the station. I ran over, ordered my food and then wolfed it down deciding that the latest I should leave McDonalds was 6:30PM. I was in such a rush that I actually finished eating at 6:15PM – but that was good because it would give me time to get lost. Luckily I found the bus stop quite quickly and was soon heading off to the Alexandra Palace.

We went one stop on the bus and then it all went downhill. Apparently the darts were on at the Alexandra Palace at the same time and I hadn’t realised that darts was so… Rowdy? Several groups of drunk men dressed up climbed onto the bus and soon it was absolutely full to the brim with drunk, chanting and stamping men. It was quite scary even though they were clearly all happy and thankfully they left me alone although I was worried the bloke next to me was going to spill his beer on me. With all the stamping and chanting I was a little bit worried that the bus would ‘fall over’ as we started heading up the hill but of course the bus didn’t fall over and we got safely to the Alexandra Palace. In a way I was glad they all got off at the same stop as me otherwise I’d have had no chance of getting off that bus.

I’d been a bit worried about finding the theatre as I’ve only ever visited Alexandra Palace for concerts and never been in the theatre section but I ended up walking with a couple who had been on the bus and we followed the signs and managed to find the theatre. When we were let into the hall I discovered I was smack bang in the centre of the front row which I hadn’t remembered booking but was happy about.

As mentioned earlier I’d seen the show with my friend Jess a couple of years previously and have seen pretty much every other Mischief Theatre show more than once but had only ever seen this one once so I was really excited to see it again. I’ve seen the version they filmed for TV a few times but it was fun to see the full show again. The actors were incredible and I was crying with laughter at some points. My favourite part is definitely when the stage starts revolving and they can’t get it to stop. I also like that the actors come out into the audience before the show has even began – I just love everything about it!

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

It was a long journey back to the hotel but since I was on the underground I missed most of the torrential rain and the hotel was only a two minute walk (if that) from the underground so it wasn’t too bad. I had a shower, went on my phone for a bit then went to bed ready for another day of theatre the following day.

I have no idea what happened the next morning but I went to bed thinking the time for Part One of Cursed Child was 1:30PM. The next morning I even double-checked the email and said to myself ‘yes, perfect, 1:30PM’. I got to the theatre at about 1:05PM but by the time I’d got my tickets from the box office, taken a photo of the theatre and then headed to the entrance it was about 1:10PM. I did wonder why it seemed quieter than usual as normally there’s a queue of people round the theatre waiting to get their bags checked to go in but somehow I still didn’t twig.

I walked up the woman by the entrance who was like “Hi, can I help you?” and I was like “… Yes, I’m here for Part One?” She looked at me for a second before saying “Okay, you are aware it’s already started though? It started at one.”

It then dawned on me that the guy in the Box Office had looked at me like I was an idiot but I hadn’t quite twigged – and it was of course also the reason why everywhere was so quiet. I’d spent an awful lot on these tickets so I could get a decent seat this time and for a horrifying moment I thought she was going to tell me she couldn’t let me in. I’ve always said I’d rather just not go than turn up late to the theatre and the only reason I’d said anything in the first place was because I genuinely thought I was twenty minutes early, not ten bloody minutes late!

Cursed Child 2

Luckily she checked my bag and told me to go into the theatre so in I went and found that luckily I wasn’t the only latecomer and in fact the other latecomers were seemingly unfazed by it, even asking if they could go the loo before we went in (pretty sure they were told no which was fair, I wouldn’t have had the balls to even ask). We were taken into the stalls and had to stand at the back for a while before being taken down to our seats during a transition scene. Luckily I was on the aisle so didn’t need to make anybody stand up to get to my seat but I was still absolutely mortified. I honestly still can’t believe I was such an idiot.

In a way it ruined the first half of Part One (of course that was my own fault) because I spent most of it feeling embarrassed that I’d managed to screw up so badly. It’s the fact I double-checked the email and still thought it started at 1:30PM – I looked again after the show and found it definitely said 1PM so I’ve no idea how I managed to misread it. I used the loo in the interval, grabbed a drink and then spent the majority of the rest of it with my head down and hoping nobody was judging me! I was mostly concerned about the lady next to me and the lady behind me – in fact I nearly apologised to the woman next to me but didn’t want to draw attention to it.

Luckily by the time the interval was done I’d relaxed a bit and was able to just enjoy the second half of Part One – which was just as fabulous as every other time I’ve seen it and made even better by sitting in a decent seat where I could actually see all of the action. Once Part One was finished I triple checked my ticket and knew for a fact that Part Two started at 6:30PM and I definitely wasn’t going to be late a second time so decided to find somewhere close by for dinner.

I ended up in Zizzi’s which to be honest was a bit of a disappointment as most of the menu is just pizza but I felt like I couldn’t be picky about where I ate – and I was also quietly relieved to have time for a table service meal instead of having to wolf down yet another McDonalds. I had spaghetti Bolognese which like was okay and then I had time for a chocolate brownie afterwards which was lush. It was about 5:40PM by the time I was done so I headed back towards the theatre, had a quick browse in the geek shop down the road then headed into the theatre at bang on 6PM so that I definitely wasn’t late this time.

I didn’t mind waiting this time and the first half of Part Two was just as incredible as I remembered. When the interval came around I actually got chatting to the lady next to me and the lady behind me (the same people from Part One) and I was privately pleased they were being nice to me as I’d been worried they were still annoyed but they’d clearly either completely forgotten or didn’t mind. It was nice to have someone to chat with to pass the time and then the second half of Part Two began.

Cursed Child 3

Halfway through Part Two there were some ‘technical difficulties’ and I won’t lie I did get worried ‘cos for a hot second I thought the stage was gonna blow up or something (I do tend to be a bit pessimistic or over think things). Without wanting to spoil an aspect of the show for anyone it was a scene with Harry and Dumbledore’s portrait but the portrait frame hadn’t come down onto the stage – the actors still went with it and I only noticed because I’d seen the show before. It’s quite an intense scene to be honest and midway through it the lights at the back of the stage began to freak out – yellow, green, red, blue before they went off completely and I could hear some strange noises. You could see the actors look to the side of the stage wondering what to do before they both left at the same time.

Someone came out to announce there had been a technical issue and they were working to fix it. I didn’t mind too much as I got to chat to the ladies next to me and behind me, they were both so lovely. It was both their first time seeing it and they were amazed when I told them it was my fourth time. It wasn’t long before someone came out to announce they’d fixed the difficulties and the performance would continue. The scene began again and the rest of the show went without a hitch.

I actually love Cursed Child and urge you to go and see it if you’re a Harry Potter fan as it’s definitely not to be missed. I’m not overly fond on the storyline for a few reasons but it also got a lot of things right and is just generally an amazing show.

Once the show was done I headed back to my hotel and just like that my theatre weekend was over. I didn’t do much the next day as I couldn’t be bothered to drag my suitcase around central London, I did some quick Christmas shopping in Putney before catching the train home. But I had an incredible weekend and definitely need more theatre weekends in 2020. I don’t think I had anywhere near enough this year.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

Shelley's Party

We’re about to enter a new decade and I am excited! I’ve got a few things booked for 2020 and I don’t doubt I’ll soon have more things to look forward to. When I entered 2019 I had no idea that later that year I’d be jetting off to Hong Kong for my birthday or that I’d go on a trip to Berlin. Me and my friends hadn’t even booked our trip to Belgium yet. So the things I’ll write on this list are just the things I know I’m definitely going to do, I don’t doubt 2020 will also have some surprises for me though!

London Theatre

Theatre

I’m spending the first two weekends of January in London (here’s hoping I have enough money!). The first weekend will be to see ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ with my friend Janie and then the weekend after I have a ticket to see Mischief Theatre’s ‘Magic Goes Wrong’.

I’m looking forward to seeing Janie’s reaction to the play as it’s one of my favourites and I’ve told her to stay away from the book so she can be completely surprised at the show, and I know she’s looking forward to it. Then I know that I’ll love ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ because there isn’t a Mischief Theatre show yet that I haven’t enjoyed. So the first two weekends in January should be a lot of fun!

On Christmas Day my Mom also surprised me with Mary Poppins tickets, a show I’d mentioned to her that I’d love to see so we’ll be going down in June for the night and I’m super excited! A few people in the office have seen it and all said it was amazing so yep, definitely looking forward to that!

I don’t doubt I’ll head down to London several times this year to go to the theatre, I bloody love the West End.

Sweden

Stockholm.jpg

In Hong Kong I spent nowhere near as much money as I thought I would. I bought a fair few souvenirs and tickets for things but somehow came back and swapped a lot of money back to GBP’s. I reassured my Mom that I wouldn’t be booking any trips with it as my annual leave at work is a bit complicated at the moment and also I wanted to save up for my trip to Thailand with my friends. Then I had a day off work, got browsing on skyscanner and suddenly I had flights from Manchester to Sweden booked.

I’ll be going over bank holiday weekend so no need to book time off work, I’m just getting stressed on how I’ll get to and from Manchester airport but like I’m sure I’ll figure that out. Sweden was the first place my friend Becca travelled to on her own and she’s always said it’s one of her favourite places she’s ever visited so I have a feeling I’ll love it too and I’m really looking forward to going!

My Chemical Romance Reunion Tour

My Chemical Romance 2019

Okay, so the dates haven’t been announced and they haven’t even officially said they’re going on tour yet but this girl is holding out hope that they will announce it and tour all of the UK instead of doing what my fave K-Pop groups do and just visit London. I’ve already decided that if they are doing a tour of the UK I want to ideally go to at least three of their shows – probably Birmingham, Manchester and London. I doubt that I actually will go to three shows due to money and annual leave etc. but a girl can dream and that’s my general plan.

I’ve had a lot of people messaging me asking if I want to go with them to see them live and I’ve said yes to everyone but I’m sure I’ll figure out who I’m actually going with closer to the time. I’m just looking forward to having a couple of nights where I can relive being a thirteen year old fan girl. Please My Chemical Romance, announce these tour dates soon!

Florida

Disney World

For a while I was obsessed with the idea of going to Florida. I popped up to my friends like ‘I’ve found some deals, we should go one day!’ and whilst they were enthusiastic they were also realistic and were like ‘we’re not gonna have that kind of money and we were thinking of booking Australia soon etc. etc.’ I shelved my ideas for a while and when I received a fairly big pay from working at my brother’s I decided to have a few nights at Disneyland Paris instead. I mean, I’d loved it when I’d visited with my friends a few years previous and that had only been for the day so surely I’d love to go for a few nights.

But then I received a letter that changed everything – my tax return. Presumably the last tax return I will ever receive and it was a hefty amount, I won’t lie. I was like ‘cool’ but then an idea formed – could I afford to go to Disneyworld Florida with this money? I was straight on the internet looking at deals and eventually found a reasonable one with Tui. The moment that money hit my account I was online and booked the deal.

So in February I will be jetting off to Florida for ten nights. I originally wanted two weeks but finding a decent deal was DIFFICULT and this meant I only had to book ten days off work instead of fourteen or something. I really wanted to stay at a Disney hotel and I found a good deal on their ‘All Star Music Resort’ so I’m looking forward to that. I’m so excited but also so confused, I’ve been watching vlogs and reading blogs and this whole talk with like ‘fast passes’ and everything else is making me think this trip is gonna be really complicated but we’ll soon see I guess! My fast passes are booked and I have a couple of dining reservations but yeah, the whole thing seems way too confusing but hopefully it’ll all make sense when I actually arrive!

I also have tickets booked for Universal Studios and I’m guessing the easiest and best way to get there would be by Uber, which I’m a bit nervous about getting alone in a foreign country but I guess we’ll have to just give that a go.

BabyMetal

BabyMetal

I was initially a bit annoyed to see that BabyMetal’s London tour date was on a weekday I mean like really? Although I like them I didn’t want to take two days off work to see them again. But then they announced a Manchester date on the Saturday. I debated whether or not to go but after listening to their song ‘Pa Pa Ya’ I decided to get myself a ticket.

The only downside to the BabyMetal concert is that it’s literally the day after I get back from Florida. My basic plan was early night on the Friday, travel to Manchester the day of the concert and then just nap all day if I’m still tired before seeing BabyMetal in the evening. I need to buy their new album and give it a good listen before going so that I’m familiar with all their new songs. I think it’ll be sad seeing them without Yui but BabyMetal know how to put on a good show so I have faith that it’ll still be good!

Holidays with My Friends

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Me, Jess and Becca have been talking about going back to Asia to visit Thailand and potentially also slotting in another country whilst we’re over there – we know we definitely want Thailand and it looks we settled on Vietnam for the second country. It’d be great if Hirst could come but I don’t think she’ll be able to afford it unfortunately so hopefully we’ll go on a Europe city break again so that the four of us have all been on holiday together. We’ll have to see if everyone can afford it though!

Seventeen

Seventeen

A couple of weeks ago I received a random email from Ticketmaster advising me ‘Seventeen’ tickets were on sale the next day. They were Jess’ favourite K-Pop group once upon a time, on par with BTS but she hadn’t mentioned them in a while. I messaged to ask if she was going and in the end we decided we’d go together.

The next morning I actually forgot the tickets went on sale and didn’t realise until 25 minutes afterwards. After much trying I managed to secure us two tickets and so in March we’re off to see Seventeen!

We’re also hoping to get SuperM tickets when they’re announced and also BTS are doing that annoying thing where they’re like ‘aye we’re gonna tour, that’s all the info you get for now so have fun!’ so hopefully we’ll get to see them again too!

So yeah, that’s what I have to look forward to so far but like I say – 2019 was full of surprises and I don’t doubt 2020 will be the same! It’s going to be an exciting year.

Weekend in London 8th June – 9th June 2019

London 2

A few months ago my Mom announced she was going on holiday to Spain for a few nights. People that know me know that I don’t get on well with my step-dad and the thought of spending five nights alone with him was not appealing in the slightest. I like going to the theatre so decided to book one of my usual trips to London for one night to escape for a little bit.

On the Saturday I caught the train early-ish, around 10AM and made it to London around 12PM. I don’t normally bother with a suitcase when I go to London for the night as I can fit my things into a backpack but I hadn’t stayed at home for two nights prior to going to London and hadn’t had chance to pop home so I had no choice but to take a suitcase with me. Luckily Euston do store bags for people but Jesus wept at what cost? It was a lot more complicated than it had been when I’d stored my bags in Japan because my bag had to go through a scanner like you get at the airport but I suppose you can’t argue with safety precautions. At least my suitcase was safe and I didn’t have to lug it into the theatre with me (though I think they’d have denied me entry anyway).

My first show was ‘Betrayal’, a show I didn’t know much about and had only booked because Tom Hiddleston was in it. I went straight to the theatre and joined the complicated queue system – luckily there was a member of staff outside who pointed people in the right direction and made sure people were in the correct queue. There were people lurking near the stage door who I guess were there on the off chance they’d meet Tom – me and Becca had been planning to do this the week before when we were in London but unfortunately didn’t have enough time.

Betrayal

Picking up my ticket was easy enough and I went off in search of the bathroom. I ended up at the top of the theatre and stood in a ridiculously long line and when I got to the front I was annoyed to discover there was literally one toilet. Whoever designed that needs to re-evaluate their life.

My seat was good, I was down in the stalls, a few rows back and on the aisle. This ticket hadn’t been cheap and I’d forked out £140 to see this show. There were signs everywhere advising that if you needed the loo mid-show that was a shame because you wouldn’t be allowed back into the auditorium. You literally couldn’t miss them yet it didn’t stop one bloke getting up mid-show – the attendant literally sprinted down the aisle to tell him he couldn’t go back in if he left so he reluctantly went back to his seat.

The show began and it wasn’t a long show, only 90 minutes without an interval and relied heavily on the three main actors which were Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox. I’ll be 100% truthful and admit that whilst I was happy to see the show as I would’ve been gutted to miss it, it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. It was just three characters talking, lots of long dialogue and not much action. Which like is fine. Just not particularly my cup of tea. The play was non-linear as the further into the story we got the further back in time we went, and the basic plot was that Zawe was married to Tom Hiddleston but was having an affair with Charlie – I can’t remember the characters names, sorry!

I’m also very ashamed to admit this after how much I spent on the ticket but once or twice I did nearly fall asleep. No disrespect to the actors who did an amazing job, or the story itself, it’s just I’d had a lot of late nights that week and there were a lot of long, dramatic silences in this show. When the show finished I had wanted to try and meet Tom but I was so relieved to walk around and wake up a bit that I decided to just collect my luggage and go find my hotel. A lot of people did try and meet Tom, the girl sitting next to me literally climbed over me to leave the theatre so she could go and join the queue by the stage door outside. I would’ve loved to have met him but I was pretty much a walking zombie by the time the show was over.

In the end it was quite lucky I didn’t join the queue as the trip to my hotel was actually quite long. I’d booked a Premier Inn in Chiswick, an area I’m relatively familiar with as I used to stay regularly in a budget hotel in that area. This meant it was quite out of the way of central London which is a both a pro and a con. A pro because the general area is quieter and a con because it takes longer to get there.  I caught the tube to Turnham Green and then went off on the fifteen minute walk to find the hotel.

I’ve discovered that generally you can’t go wrong with Premier Inn and if you get the right deal they can actually be cheaper than most ‘budget’ hotels. After a few naff hotel rooms I’m comfortable just sticking with Premier Inn for the moment. Check-in was easy and my room was a decent size.

I was then met with a dilemma. I had a ticket for ‘Mamma Mia’ at 7:30 and I’d been hoping to get to the hotel, have a power nap and head back out. Due to how long it had taken me to get to the hotel I literally had ten minutes in the room before I needed to head back out to get to the theatre in time. It was just as well I wasn’t hungry because there definitely wasn’t enough time to get dinner. I was honestly so tired that I wondered about losing my money and just getting an early night. If I’d nearly fallen asleep at ‘Betrayal’ would I last for an evening show?

In the end I knew I’d regret not going so I put my shoes back on and headed out. It did take a while to get to the theatre but I got there in plenty of time to use the loo, grab a drink etc. It was nicer as I’d been able to dump my backpack in the hotel and only had my handbag with me now. My seat was good, I was on the top balcony at the end of the aisle but on the front row and the stage didn’t seem very far away at all. There was a bar to stop people toppling over the edge of the balcony but if I leant forward it didn’t obscure my view.

Mamma Mia

The show began and I’m so happy I decided to just go for it as the energetic music and general atmosphere of the theatre kept me awake and I loved every second of it. At the end the actress playing Donna announced this was the last night for a lot of the cast including herself and it was a bit emotional, and I’m truly glad I didn’t miss out on it. I had seen ‘Mamma Mia’ in London previously with my Mom but at the time I wasn’t a fan of the film. I am now and was glad to see it now that I’m a bigger fan of the story and the songs. I also didn’t remember the atmosphere being as fun as it was but maybe that’s because it was the casts last night or maybe that’s always the atmosphere? I’m not sure!

The journey back was long and unfortunately I believe I picked up a bug on the underground. The journey was convenient actually as I didn’t have to change but I remember sitting in a seat, listening to my iPod and holding onto the bar for some reason and I think that’s where I picked something up. I made it back to the hotel feeling a tiny bit under the weather but I shrugged it off, had a shower and settled down into Premier Inn’s comfortable bed and went to sleep.

One of the most convenient things about Premier Inn is that in the lift they advise what breakfast times are the busiest, which are quieter etc. I’d paid extra for a Premier Inn breakfast so I didn’t have to faff around finding anywhere to eat and when I went down it was a bit busy but they managed to find me a table straightaway. Everyone milling around was doing my head in so I didn’t spend long down there before heading back up to my room.

I’ve been to London so many times now that I feel like I’ve ‘been there and done that’ with all the tourist spots so I chilled in my room until it was time to check out and then headed back to Euston so they could store my suitcase for me again. I don’t understand their prices though because three hours and under is only £6 something, anything between three and twenty-four hours is £12. Where is the logic? Surely between six hours and twenty-four hours would be a bit more fair than three?

I spent some time chilling at Euston before hopping back on the tube to go and see ‘School of Rock’. I’ve seen this show a couple of times and hadn’t intended on going to see it. For Christmas my Dad got me some ‘theatre tokens’ which were a thoughtful gift but unfortunately are only redeemable either over the phone or in person. I hate talking over the phone so had originally been planning to bring them with me then shop around until I found a show. I accidentally left them at home when I set off a couple of days previously so on a whim just paid for a ticket to see ‘School of Rock’ again as I do love that show and it had been a while.

It was when I reached the theatre that I began to feel under the weather again, I could feel my throat was a bit funny so I decided to treat myself to a cookies and cream ice cream which didn’t help very much but did taste really nice. My seat was good, just a few rows from the stage and the view wasn’t blocked. It’s a decent theatre, not massive and quite modern so I enjoy my visits there.

As usual the show was amazing, if you’re a fan of the film then I think you’ll definitely enjoy the stage version. It’s essentially the same storyline as the film but with more songs. My favourites include ‘Stick it to the Man’ and ‘When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock’. When I first saw the show they were giving out badges but they’ve stopped doing that which is a shame but I’m glad I got one!

School of Rock 2

After that it was back on the tube to Euston, quick dinner at Burger King and then time to catch my train back to Telford. I’m glad I went but gutted I picked that bug up on the tube as it lasted a week and I haven’t felt that ill in a LONG time – it was actually horrendous. But overall it was a good weekend in London and I’m looking forward to my next theatre weekend – I just need to book it!

Weekend in London: 2nd March – 3rd March 2019

London Weekend.jpg

You may recall my post from last year where me and Becca went to see Cursed Child for the first time. Before the show had even finished we both decided we needed to come again but this time in better seats. More tickets were announced about a month later and we quickly snapped up two tickets worth £150 for both parts which was a bit of a leap from the £30 we’d paid for both parts the year previously. We had to wait almost an entire year but eventually the date came around and we were off to see the show again.

The first time we went we came on a Wednesday meaning we’d both had to book two days off work. When we booked the second batch of tickets though we both knew we worked Monday – Friday 9 – 5 so we were sensible and bought tickets for a Saturday so we didn’t have to take any time off work. London was a little busier due to it being a weekend but it’s not like it mattered as we were in the theatre for most of the day.

We caught the 10:08AM train just as we did the year before which got us into London Euston at 12:33PM. Both times I’ve been super stressed that one of the trains is going to get delayed and we’re going to miss the first half of part one but of course that didn’t happen. Our train was reduced from ten carriages to five but we both managed to get our seats and our carriage actually wasn’t too busy which was strange.

By the time we got to London we were starving but knew there wasn’t much time to be fussy about where we ate so we ordered food inside London Euston. I got Burger King which I don’t love but will eat when desperate and Becca got two pizza baguettes. Last year I’d been convinced the show started at 2:30PM when it actually started at 2:00PM – we were lucky we’d arrived early to take photos outside the theatre as otherwise we probably would’ve been late.

This year we were way more stressed for some reason and the moment we finished eating we went straight to theatre. Google Maps kept screwing us around but luckily we managed to find the theatre okay, picked up our tickets and went straight inside. We were so worried about being late we actually ended up in our seats 35 minutes early. This was good though as it gave us time to use the loo, grab a drink and just generally chill before part one started.

Cursed Child

We were on Row J in the stalls at the end of the aisle so the view was much better than when we’d been at the very top of the theatre. Last time there’d been a whole section of the stage we couldn’t see. I’d been worried about someone tall sitting in front of me and they did but if I leant forward I could see between their heads and still had a good view.

Some of the cast had changed whilst some were still the same – me and Becca had a conversation about who we thought had changed and we mostly disagreed on who was the same but both agreed it was definitely the same Draco as when we’d last been. Regardless of whether they were the same or not the cast were amazing and I quickly got sucked back into the story. I’m not a big fan of the plot but it’s told better on stage than it was in the screenplay, it just works better.

I think I prefer Part Two to Part One but Part One is still amazing and it was great getting to see the magic closer up this time. Before either of us knew it Part One was over and we had to come back later for Part Two which started at 7:30PM.

Because we’d been in such a rush to find the theatre and get inside we hadn’t taken any pictures yet. Luckily it was still bright out so we took individual pictures in front of the theatre and Becca eventually worked up the courage to ask a woman if she’d take a photo of the two of us. It came out really nice and then we set off to find somewhere for dinner.

Cursed Child 2.jpg

Last year we’d checked straight into our hotel so we could dump our bags but this year they weren’t too heavy so we decided to just go out for dinner instead (which turned out to be a good choice as you’ll discover later). Finding somewhere to eat with available space in Central London is never easy and we walked around for maybe half-an-hour to an hour before finding an Italian place that was relatively reasonably priced and had a table so we went inside.

It was a bit crammed but it was a nice place. Becca flitted between wanting a meal, wanting a starter, not wanting to eat at all, and then said she’d love a dessert but there weren’t any on the menu. Luckily I found the dessert menu on the table so Becca settled on a slice of apple pie and two chocolate milkshakes whilst I had an orange juice and spaghetti Bolognese. It was a nice meal and killed sometime between part one and two.

Last year after seeing the show me and Becca had made some poor decisions and spent a lot of money on unnecessary Harry Potter merchandise. We both agreed this year we would stop each other from spending – mostly because of a concert ticket fiasco the day before but let’s not get into that, that’s for another post. We needed money for the following Friday so we agreed not to let each other make any unnecessary spends. Which is why I was nervous when Becca kept suggesting we go to PRIMARK as they had a Harry Potter section.

After getting Becca’s word that neither of us would spend any money we went to have a look and it’s safe to say the pair of us nearly caved in. There’s nothing I love more than house specific merch and our town is dreadful for that. Becca really wanted a Slytherin night shirt and I wanted a Hufflepuff nightie but we didn’t let the other spend any money before heading off to see Part Two.

I personally think Part Two was funnier moments and just generally prefer it (although as mentioned, Part One still has amazing moments too!) so I was looking forward to this one and it was just as funny as I’d remembered it. Obviously the whole of it isn’t hilarious there are some dark or sad moments too but it’s still amazing. And just like that Part Two was over! The day we’d been waiting for over a year had finished.

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I won’t talk anymore about my personal opinions on the show as I already did that on last year’s post but like if you’re a Harry Potter fan you need to see this show, it’s actually amazing. If you read the screenplay and hated it, don’t worry, I get you, but it’s much better on stage than in the book.

After leaving the theatre it was time to check into the hotel which should’ve been a half-an-hour tube journey away. We got on the Northern line to Waterloo and prepared to change to the Jubilee line only to hear an announcement that it wasn’t running. Neither of us had any signal so we left the station and went to find an alternative route. My phone was being relatively useless (telling me we needed to catch a boat) but luckily Becca’s phone took us on a route that involved a bus ride and then getting on the DLR.

It was getting quite late at this point and both of us were exhausted. I was suddenly worried check-in would close and checked the booking.com app to see if this was the case and it advised check-in was until 11PM. It was now 10:50PM. I tried ringing the hotel to let them know we’d be late and ask if anyone would be there but nobody would answer even though I was getting charged 19p a minute to call the stupid number.

When we finally got off the DLR Becca followed the Google Maps instructions on her phone and was clearly so keen to get to the hotel that as I hurried to keep up with her I almost fell over. Unfortunately it was really confusing trying to find the hotel as it was next to a river, lots of areas were blocked off and there was construction work everywhere. At one point I could see the hotel but couldn’t tell how to get there. We even had to duck under a chain (or crawl under in my case) to get to the pavement. I could see Becca getting increasingly frustrated and was relieved when we finally reached our hotel.

Last year we’d booked a twin room and had arrived to find we’d been given a double bed but decided to just put up with it. This year we were actually given twin beds but they were so close together it might as well have been a double. We were so tired that neither of us cared and within an hour we were both in bed.

Neither of us slept particularly well but we couldn’t have a lie-in as we had a slot booked at Madame Tussauds for between 9:45AM – 10AM, and as the jubilee line was down we had to allow for more time to get there. I got up feeling like an absolute zombie but managed to throw some clothes on and we were out by 8:15AM.

The trip to Madame Tussauds turned out not to be too difficult but we did both nearly fall asleep on the first bus. We were a bit early so we grabbed a drink and then played I Spy to pass the time. In the final round I nearly murdered Becca ‘cos her one was stupid (“I spy with my little eye something beginning with T” – answer turned out to be ‘Transport’). Whilst we were playing we joined the queue and before we knew it we were inside.

I hadn’t been to the Madame Tussauds London since I was about 12 with my Mum – we came to London for the day, queued three hours to buy our tickets and by the time we were done it was all we’d had time to do. With Becca we bought our tickets in advance meaning we got in a lot quicker. As it was a Saturday it was quite busy but it was worth it, we love places with lots of photo opportunities and that’s pretty much what Madame Tussauds is for!

Madame Tussauds

We took tons of photos in every room and I’m happy with most of them, I wish my hair had looked a bit better but that’s life I guess. We had our photo taken on the ride mid-way through Madame Tussauds but neither of us liked it very much which was lucky as we didn’t really have the money to spend on anything other than food. They’d also added the Marvel 4D cinema since the last time I went and as a massive Marvel fan I really loved it. The last section was Star Wars themed which went completely over my head but Becca’s a big Star Wars fan so she had lots of photos in there.

Madame Tussauds 2.jpg

Madame Tussauds had killed an hour or two so when we came out we still had a few hours to go until our train home so Becca asked what I wanted to do. I said I wasn’t sure so with a grin Becca asked if I wanted to go to Kings Cross.

We’d been last year and that had been our absolute downfall, I’d spent way more than necessary at the Harry Potter shop and knew I would again if we went but for some reason we still agreed. As we got on the tube I made Becca agree that we’d only spend £15 each.

When we got to Kings Cross the queue to have your photo taken with the trolley had been cut and we were a bit confused so we decided to go into the shop instead and there was even a queue to get in there. I’ve never seen it so busy in my entire life but it was midday on a Sunday so I guess it made sense. Inside was absolutely rammed so I felt like I couldn’t have a good browse, just getting to Hufflepuff section took about 50 years. It didn’t stop me from buying a Cursed Child lanyard (which I now wear at work like a lame-o) and a Hogwarts Oyster Card holder (as my Hufflepuff one from three years ago had finally bit the dust). Overall I spent about £7. Becca spent about £25, I can’t even remember everything she bought, I know she bought a little Ron necklace to match her Harry one which I’m a bit jealous of. There was a necklace with Luna’s glasses on, I might have to go back and buy that ‘cos it was so cute.

Once we were done in the shop we went and asked about the queue for the trolley photo and the woman informed us it hadn’t been cut it was just so long that we had to go and queue outside so we did that. This was only the third time I’d been but the other times I went it had only taken about 20 minutes max to get your photo taken – we queued for over AN HOUR. We’re such Harry Potter trash I swear to God. We killed time in the queue by doing impressions and just generally messing around until finally it was our turn.

Becca’s been a few times so she’s had her photo taken with every scarf at some point so this time she picked Gryffindor as it matched her outfit. I did the same as I already have Hufflepuff and Slytherin so I only needed Gryffindor and Ravenclaw to complete my collection and Gryffindor matched my outfit. We asked if we could have a picture together and we changed into our actual house scarves (Becca’s a Slytherin and I’m a Hufflepuff) and asked for a fight photo. It came out quite well so when we went in I bought the group one where we’re looking at the camera, Becca bought both group ones and her solo one. Becca ended up going quite a bit over the budget in the end.

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As we’d queued so long to have our photo taken we now had to head back to Euston to grab lunch and head back home. We were both exhausted and kept falling asleep on the first train back but after that we had to change twice until eventually my Mum picked us both up from the station.

Overall it was an awesome weekend, it was great to see Cursed Child again (in better seats) and we’re already talking about going next year and visiting the Studios as well next time which would be so much fun. I’m already going to see the show again with Hirst in August and my friend Janie has mentioned going and seeing it but honestly there is no such thing as too many times with Cursed Child!

Review: RTX London 2018

RTX London

RTX first announced it was coming to London last year and I was over the moon – until I realised that I’d actually be in New York the weekend it was coming. Absolutely typical. But obviously I had an amazing time in New York and when the dates were announced for 2018’s RTX I was happy. I’d been worried they’d be announced for a similar time to last year and would be on whilst I was in Japan but luckily it was two weeks before I go so I booked myself a ticket.

Booking the ticket wasn’t as much of a nightmare as I’d thought it would be, I booked them at work and it took literally two minutes. The autograph code however? Absolute nightmare. I sort of already anticipated not getting who I wanted (Ryan & Jeremy) but I’d assumed that’d be because I’d tried my best and they still sold out. I was disappointed that on the day I couldn’t get an autograph because my code was one of the ones that didn’t work. You literally just had to be lucky and have a code that worked to get through on that evening. I tried for 40 minutes until I eventually had to give up and go to my brother’s girlfriend’s house to look after her dog. When I logged back in my code finally worked but everything was gone.

So we didn’t get off to the best start. I was part of a Facebook group who kept trying to reassure people that impromptu signings did happen and you could grab anyone you wanted to meet if you say them walking around. This low-key irritated me because I know it was meant to be comforting but I knew for a fact my anxiety would be way too high to stop anybody if I saw them. Having a signing meant that yeah I’d still be nervous but at least it was in a sort of controlled atmosphere so I wasn’t worried about bothering or irritating them.

I decided to travel down to London the day before the convention because I think the hall opened at like 8AM on Saturday or something silly like that. I booked the afternoon off work and travelled down on the train. I also decided to see a show on Friday night because I can’t go to London without seeing a show and after much deliberation I settled on ‘42nd Street’ because it was one of the few shows I haven’t already seen.

42nd Street

When I got there my ticket had been upgraded, I assume this was because I was on the top circle and they hadn’t sold enough tickets to justify people sitting right at the top so I was moved down to the Royal Circle in Row C so the view was fantastic. On one side I was sat by a really nice couple and on the other was another couple who were also nice but the man got a bit drunk and way too enthusiastic about the show. Overall I did enjoy it but I feel like it was more about the spectacular dancing rather than a solid storyline because this was a bit flimsy and didn’t really seem to go anywhere. I’m glad I saw it but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to see it again.

I got back to the hotel quite late, had a shower, watched an episode of Friends and then got into bed ready for an early morning the next day.

Everyone in the Facebook group had been stressing me out as they’d talked about how long they’d had to queue to pick up their badges so I decided not to rush there because I wasn’t really sure what to expect anyway. I had breakfast at a Wetherspoons near the hotel then hopped on the tube for the hour long journey to the Excel Centre.

I got there at about 9:30AM and the queue to pick up badges was non-existent by this point, I wandered over and got mine pretty much instantly. With the badge we were also given a PE bag with ‘RTX 2018’ written on it and inside was a programme letting us know where/when signings and panels were happening. At this point I was a bit confused so headed into the main hall and found the centre stage.

At 10 something was happening called ‘XBOX’ so I kind of sat down to watch because I wasn’t sure what else to do. The panels in other halls didn’t really appeal to me at that time and I wasn’t sure what else was available. I was really surprised when Jeremy and Ryan from Achievement Hunter came out along with Lawrence from Funhaus and I’m not 100% sure on the other guy’s name.

RTX London 2

I’m gonna put it out there now, I’m only really a fan of Achievement Hunter. I’m not trashing any of the other channels, I’ve just never really watched them. All I’ll say is that RTX is probably a lot better if you’re a fan of everything Rooster Teeth related instead of just one area of it.

They each had their own computer and played a game, I’m not sure of the name of it but it was a car game and they raced to see who could get the best time. Then they invited fans on stage to see if they could beat their times – I could’ve volunteered for this but I’m not exactly good at video games and the thought of Ryan and Jeremy watching me was too much. It was a lot of fun though.

Once that was finished I decided to take the chance and head to the room for the Achievement Hunter panel to see if I could potentially be let in. The one thing I’m grateful for is that the RTX Facebook page gave me realistic expectations and I knew queuing for panels, especially those with Achievement Hunter, were always long, stressful and most people got turned away. The queue was horrendously long but I decided to take the chance because why not, right?

It was like joining the stampede of hyenas in the Lion King, all of us desperate to get into the hall. Eventually 100 people were taken into the overflow queue which was cut off when I was literally the next person in the queue. Frustrating at the time but I now see it as a blessing because I don’t think the overflow queue made it into the panel, they just had to queue an extra hour in the hopes they would get in.

I decided to get lunch because it was midday by this point so I grabbed a chicken strip meal deal (£11? Are you serious?) and then headed back into the main hall. There was a ‘Let’s Play Panel’ at 2 but the guardians weren’t letting people sit down so we had to stand in a square and wait until 1:30 when we’d be allowed to grab our seat. I was one of the first people there but it wasn’t really a queue as such, there were three large squares and we just had to stand in them. At 1:30 we were given strict instructions not to push, run or generally be a dick. Luckily I made my way forward and managed to grab a pretty good seat.

I’d been naive and assumed it would be the Achievement Hunter members but it was only Geoff from Achievement Hunter, there was a mix of different people from different channels. I’ll be honest the first 30 minutes or so didn’t particularly interest me because it felt like they were just having a conversation with each other and the crowd almost weren’t there. For the last 30 minutes Geoff came into the crowd to take audience questions so this was more interesting.

Once this was over I had a look around at some of the stalls but with my trip to Japan coming up I couldn’t afford to buy anything. The queue for the Rooster Teeth merch store was literally a mile long so I couldn’t even browse that unless I wanted to queue for ten years. There were also stalls where you could play video games, most of these were full and I felt like I couldn’t sit at the ones that were available because I didn’t know anything about the games and I was worried I’d look like an idiot. I know that’s stupid but most other people at the event were serious gamers and although I’ve played some with Jess the only game I’ve ever really been invested in is the Sims.

I was considering going to the 4:30PM centre stage event which just said ‘XBOX’ as I’d been lucky enough to see Ryan and Jeremy play earlier. RTX tweeted that the people playing would be Alfredo, Trevor, Geoff, Jack and Michael (all from Achievement Hunter) so I decided I would give it a go. We ended up queuing in the boxes again but as before I managed to get a decent seat.

This one was good because they showed us a preview of a Let’s Play for an unrealised game (I think? I’m not video game expert, I was just there to have fun) while they commentated which was really funny and then Alfredo played Tomb Raider while the others made fun of him which again was hilarious. It was really fun and finished at about 5:30PM so there was only about 30 minutes left of the event so I decided to head back to my hotel as I’d had a late night the night before.

I had dinner at the Wetherspoons up the road from my hotel, came back, watched some episodes of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ and then got into bed for like 8:45 because I was just absolutely exhausted.

The Mighty Boosh

I was a bit more chill the next morning and made it to RTX a little bit later. To be honest it might just be me but it felt like there wasn’t an awful lot to do. It was almost impossible to get into any panels for people I wanted to see and there weren’t tons of stalls so it didn’t take long to look round them. The impromptu signings that people had mentioned were always capped quicker than you would believe. You literally had to be there the second it was announced like if you were on the other end of the centre then you had absolutely no chance. I saw Alfredo doing a signing that I would’ve loved to have joined but unfortunately it was already capped.

Jack did do a ‘Jack-off’ where anyone cosplaying as him could come and meet him on both days but I couldn’t tell if this was open to anyone or just for cosplayers. I wasn’t cosplaying so I decided to leave it because pretty much everyone would be there anyway and as I wasn’t cosplaying I would’ve felt like a bit of an imposter.

I went back to centre stage and watched some guys play that game with the car and you have to shoot the ball into the goal, I can’t remember the name of the game or who was playing but they were really funny. If anyone knows then let me know, I wouldn’t mind checking them out.

At one point I sat on the floor and every Achievement Hunter member walked past because they were headed to a panel so that was pretty cool – I got to see people I hadn’t seen at panels like Gavin and Lindsay so that was pretty cool!

I went to centre stage again and saw Ryan and three other guys (I forgot their names, I’m so sorry) play Sea of Thieves and then Human Fall Flat which was actually hilarious. After that I wasn’t really sure what to do and at 4:30 I made my way to the Euston so I wouldn’t miss my train home.

Overall, I don’t think I’d go back to RTX unless one of my friends suggested it – I wouldn’t go alone again. It felt like unless you were in one of the panels or at a signing then there wasn’t much to do. However, if you’re into pretty much everything Rooster Teeth related then it’s probably a lot more enjoyable as I mentioned on because there were plenty of panels that were easier to enter it’s just that they didn’t particularly appeal to me. Also I’m still a bit disappointed about the autograph code thing but that is what it is.

The positives were that it was awesome to see my favourite YouTubers gaming in real life even if I didn’t get to meet them. I loved all the cosplays that were around even though I personally didn’t have the courage to cosplay and I have no idea what I would’ve gone as anyway. All the guardians at the event worked super hard and were some of the friendliest, nicest people I’ve ever met – can’t have been easy considering most people ignored them when trying to enter panels but they did an amazing job.

I didn’t have a bad experience at RTX because I went in with realistic expectations thanks to the Facebook group and I enjoyed what I did see, it just wasn’t quite what I’d expected. It was a case of having to queue ages in advance if you wanted to see any of the panels, even the ones at centre stage. The one thing it did do though was make me want to watch more Rooster Teeth content and not just Achievement Hunter.

If you went over the weekend then let me know what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy! Or leave recommendations for other Rooster Teeth content that isn’t just Achievement Hunter.