Review: Deception Escape Rooms, Matlock

For my hen weekend a group of us stayed in a lovely holiday house in Matlock, Derbyshire. If you don’t know much about Matlock (we didn’t) it’s a lovely town on the edge of the Peak District with plenty of coffee shops, wine bars, parks, walking routes and cute shops. It’s also driving distance from Bakewell, Buxton and other pretty Peak District towns.

Anyway, one of our (almost) impromptu activities (we only booked it a few days earlier) was Deception Escape Rooms. I love doing an escape room and have now done about 10 in total with various brands. So when I found out that Matlock’s first escape rooms were literally round the corner from the house, I definitely wanted to fit it into our plans!

Deception Escape Rooms - Trapped

The room we did was “Trapped”, which is set in Victorian England in the office of Dr Papet who has returned from war and is conducting creepy scientific experiments in private. The aim is to break into his office and discover the secrets behind some strange goings on and mysterious disappearances.

I thought this was easily one of the best escape rooms I’ve done. A lot of thought had gone into creating a very immersive experience, and the level of detail that has gone into creating the room is brilliant. It’s not just about the inside of the room either – before you even go through the front door of Dr Papet’s office you are stood on a spooky replica Victorian street!

The puzzles themselves were very elaborate and some were very unusual – quite different to anything I’ve seen in other escape rooms. Although I don’t want to reveal any spoilers about what happens, I’ll just say that it was very atmospheric and quite scary at times but that just added to the fun! Although it was quite a tough room we were successful in getting out in time, and my escape rate is still looking pretty good as there’s only one I’ve ever failed!

Escape room success

I’d highly recommending Deception Escape Rooms and I actually wish I lived a little closer so that I could go and try one of their others!

And while you’re here, why not check out some of my other escape room reviews:

Escape from the creepiest motel at Breakout Manchester

BREAKOUT Manchester: the Sabotage room

 

How to Make Fairytale Photo Booth Props

As part of my fairytale-themed hen weekend I wanted to do something a little crafty, and after a lot of deliberation*  I finally settled on photo booth props as it was a craft session we could do ourselves without guidance or instruction, and we could buy all our own materials from places like Wilkos and The Works.

*We had males in the group so I wanted to avoid making female-centric accessories like flower crowns. And I also quite liked the idea of making something that could be used at the hen weekend or wedding.

Disney photo booth props

Here’s how you can make your own fairytale photo booth props:

What you’ll need

  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils
  • A selection of coloured card, including metallic and glitter finishes
  • Scissors
  • Paper glue
  • Embellishments (such as sequins, self-adhesive gems, glitter glue)
  • Adhesive foam pads (optional)
  • Long cake pop sticks
  • Tape and PVA
  • Lots of templates printed out on a standard printer (more details below)

Templates

Although there was a general fairytale theme to our props, quite a few of them were specifically Disney (because I love Disney)! I’ve included a few of the templates we used below for you to download.

I also found some great Disney princess dress templates online. Visit Hot Hands Bakery to download them from their site.

Finding more templates to use

I found all of my templates online by searching for simple line drawings of the items I wanted. Line drawings are easiest to trace! Check out my Pinterest board for more template ideas. Quotes in frames are also a great idea.

How to make your props

  1. Use tracing paper to draw around your chosen template designs and transfer them onto your chosen pieces of card. Start off by tracing the outline of the overall design, which will be the basis of your pop. Then trace around each extra shape individually, as they will all be separate pieces. (If it’s been a long time, here’s a simple guide to transferring images using tracing paper).
  2. Cut out your shapes and assemble your prop using glue or double sided tape. Create 3D levels by raising up some of your pieces using adhesive foam pads.
  3. Add embellishments!
  4. Let all your glue dry properly. Then use PVA and/or tape to fix the long sticks to the backs of the props. Let them dry.
  5. Display in jars in your photo booth and enjoy!

DIY photo booth props

DIY photo booth props 2

DIY photo booth props 3

Photo booth villain

As you can see, we used some of our props for our fairytale murder mystery that very weekend, and then they also made an appearance at our wedding as part of our DIY photo booth area!

Grand Pacific High Tea

I am famously a big fan of afternoon tea, and after many years of trying out various afternoon teas across the North West, I’ve started to look out for the most unusual ones to try. That’s why the High Tea at Grand Pacific had been on my “to do” list for quite some time, and this month I finally got to experience it in all its glory with my mum and sister. It was an early mother’s day treat and we were not disappointed!

High Tea Grand Pacific

First of all, I have to mention the venue itself as it is just a stunning place. It’s a Grade II listed building, formerly the Reform Club, so as you’d expect it has some gorgeous architectural features. And the colonial themed decor really adds a feel of exotic luxury – it’s the perfect setting for a romantic meal or luxurious afternoon tea!

Grand Pacific Manchester

The High Tea itself is served in 2 courses, unlike the traditional afternoon tea where you’ll receive both savoury and sweet treats on one cake stand. I really liked this for the simple reason that I could really enjoy the savouries without being distracted by cake! Alongside this we had tea and a glass of prosecco.

High Tea Grand Pacific, savouries

High tea savouries 1

High tea savouries 2

The savouries (pictured above):

  • Smoked salmon potato cake
  • Salmon and tuna lomi
  • Classic sandwiches
  • Goats cheese arancini
  • Crumpet with crab butter
  • Eccles cake with cheese

High tea sweet course

High tea sweet treats

High tea sweet treats 1

High tea sweet treats 2

High Tea Sweet treats 3

And then came the sweet treats (pictured above):

  • Lemon tart
  • Passion fruit brulee
  • Jasmine tea bread
  • Sherry trifle
  • Sesame brittle
  • Lamington lollipop
  • Chocolate truffle
  • Pavlova

I think this has to be one of my favourite afternoon teas so far! Even though there were so many items to enjoy, I didn’t find myself as hugely full as I would do with traditional sandwiches and scones. Everything was the perfect size, which meant I could enjoy the whole thing. All the food was very original and felt a little more special than a traditional afternoon tea, with exotic flavours as you’d expect on a Grand Pacific menu. Even though I can honestly say I enjoyed everything, the standout items were the savouries, which is surprising as I’m usually such a sweet tooth! I didn’t find myself missing a scone or a slice of cream cake either, and very much enjoyed the mix of exotic flavours in the desserts.

So overall it’s a glowing review for me for the Grand Pacific High Tea. At £25 per person (including a glass of prosecco) it’s in a similar price range to many of the other afternoon teas in Manchester, and it’s more than worth it for something a bit unusual.

High Tea Manchester

Have you tried this High Tea, and are you a fan of more traditional or slightly quirkier afternoon teas?

9 Things You’ll Understand if You’re a Christmas Person

I’m a Christmas person and proud of it. For me it genuinely is the most wonderful time of the year, and I know I’m not alone in this. So if you’re a Christmas person too, this list will sound very familiar…

christmas person

1. Christmas is a season, not a day.

The weeks of build-up are usually better than Christmas Day itself.

2. It’s officially ok to get start getting excited as soon as Halloween is done!

Once November hits there is nothing to stop the excitement building!

Christmas leslie knope

3. December is actually too late to start thinking about Christmas

As I’m realising this year, there’s not enough time to fit everything in! I’ve hardly had time to watch any of my favourite Christmas films or do any Christmas crafting because there are too many Christmas gatherings, parties and lunches. Then there are things that I like to do every year such as visiting the Christmas markets, and on top of that is all the shopping and wrapping! Get started early, people!

4. It’s ok to think about people’s Christmas presents all year round

Drop hints any time you want – I am always listening out for ideas!

elf

5. It’s disappointing that your home still has to be functional

All I want to do is remove all the ugly appliances and general life stuff and replace them with twinkly lights and decorations!

6. You put a lot more thought into your Christmas outfits than the rest of the year

It only comes once a year so you need to make sure you sparkle!

Sabrina

7. Truly terrible films get away with being terrible if they are Christmassy!

(The new Netflix film A Christmas Prince is a perfect example.)

8. Christmas traditions are sacred

It doesn’t matter if you do the same thing every year. Nostaligia is everything and Christmas is not a time for change!

9. Other people might not get it

Not everyone will share your love of Christmas. They may even think you’re rather odd…

Grinch

10. The January blues hit you hard

By the time it’s all over you’ll definitely feel the comedown. If you truly love Christmas then you might even need to develop coping strategies for the January blues! Check out some of mine…

 

Irresistible Gifts for Your Christmas List

December is right around the corner and if you’re like me you’ll now be busy with your Christmas shopping. You’re probably also thinking about your own Christmas wishlists (it’s hard to go shopping for other people without at least noticing some things you’d love yourself), and that’s where the inspiration for this post came from – a collection of gorgeous things that I could just as easily buy for myself as any of the ladies in my life. Add them to your Christmas list, or treat your loved ones.

Glossier Cloud Paint

Glossier Cloud Paints would be on my Christmas list, if I hadn’t already bought some on Black Friday! I’m so excited to try these natural cheek tints in their seriously cute packaging, and I’ll review them very soon.

Glossier Cloud paint

Disney Bone China Teacup and Saucer

Every lady needs a bone china teacup, and now you can get one for (almost) every Disney Princess! I’ve featured Aurora here because this post seems to have a pink theme, but the one I bought (a while ago) was Belle in yellow. They’re all so pretty though!

Disney Teacup

Sister & Co Gift Set

I really want to try some of the gorgeous skincare products from Sister & Co., so what better way than with a gift set of their top essentials?

sister and co gift set

Rose Bath Shard

Bath bombs and melts are old news – it’s all about the bath shard! This rose one from Miss Patisserie is made with conditioning cocoa and shea butters, and when it melts in the bath it releases gorgeous rose petals. Now that’s a princess bath!

Rose Bath shard

Strawberry Prosecco Candle

I’m a big fan of Flamingo Candles, and love their quirky new designs.

Prosecco Candle

Beauty & the Beast – Illustrated Book

When I visited the MinaLima store in London I got distracted from all the Harry Potter merch by their unbelievably stunning illustrated fairytale books. Seriously, they are so gorgeous inside, with lovely illustrations and magical interactive features! Truthfully, they are probably too beautiful to read, but what a gorgeous gift they’d be!

Illustrated beauty and the beast

Velvet Cami Pyjamas

Cute velvet pyjamas. I don’t need to explain.

Velvet pyjamas

Happiness Planner

Happiness planners are all the rage right now, and since we should all make happiness a priority, I’m all for it! This blush pink one is simple but lovely.

Planner2

What’s on your Christmas list this year, and have you been sidetracked by pretty things whilst shopping for your loved ones?

Note: All the beauty products in this post are cruelty free.

15 Favourites: Velvet Everything

Finally, a post dedicated to my current favourite trend – velvet! You’ve probably noticed that it’s everywhere at the moment and you can buy any item you want in velvet. I love how it looks so luxurious and Christmassy, which makes it the perfect texture for this time of year. Not mention that it feels so soft – I could wear velvet all day long! Here are 15 of my favourite velvet pieces around right now.

Party velvet

You don’t need to wear head-to-toe velvet – just adding a few velvet touches to party outfits makes them look extra festive.

Party velvet pieces

1. Pink velvet shoulder bag from Simply Be; 2. Grey velvet sandals from Dorothy Perkins; 3. Velvet dress from Zara; 4. Pleated velvet skirt from Zara; 5. Necklace from Mango

Daytime velvet

I love how cute these velvet pieces are for adding a little luxe to your casual wardrobe. I want all of these things!

Casual velvet pieces

6. Velvet denim jacket from Topshop; 7. Velvet pinafore dress from Topshop; 8. Crushed velvet backpack from Matalan; 9. Blush velvet lace up boots from Dorothy Perkins; 10. Burgundy velvet trainers from EGO

Accessorise your home with velvet

I clearly have a colour preference when it comes to velvet home accessories. If only I had the space…

Velvet home accessories

11. Crushed velvet beanbag from JD Williams; 12. Cocktail velvet chair from Oliver Bonas; 13. Vintage pink velvet footstool from MADE.com; 14. Crushed velvet cushion from The Range; 15. Soft velvet throw from Debenhams

Are you a fan of the velvet trend? How will you be wearing it?

Escape from the creepiest motel at Breakout Manchester

Last week I took on another live escape game at Breakout Manchester, and this time it was a room with a creepy twist which made it just perfect for the run up to Halloween. I’ve now attempted 7 escape room games, and I have to say this was one of my faves!

Creepy motel escape room Manchester

The room was “Vacancy”, and we were checked into a very ominous motel room before realising that our host had locked us in and had murder in mind. We then had an hour to escape by solving a series of puzzles and codes. I really loved this room – the puzzles were great and the creepy theme was very atmospheric with an excellent level of detail. I loved that it was a fully immersive experience, even to the point where we had to sign into the hotel guestbook before entering our room!

I’ve tried a few different “brands” of escape room now, and although quite a few have a high standard of game, Breakout are coming out on top for me because they make the effort to really set the scene and create backstory before you enter. This is so much more fun than just being dropped off in a room and locked in, hoping you’d read the synopsis online beforehand. A theme can easily get lost in the chaos of hunting for clues, and the atmospheric intro I’ve always had at Breakout really adds something extra. I also prefer Breakout’s big screen approach to giving hints (always cryptic) when you are lost. I’d much rather this than have the game (and mood!) interrupted by asking for a clue.

Breakout Manchester

Vacancy is quite a tough room (rated 4/5 for difficulty), and the panic started to set in with 5 minutes to go when it seemed we would never check out of the Crimson Lake Motel! However, I’m pleased to say that we escaped with just over 3 minutes still on the clock and we felt very exhilarated afterwards. As I say, it was one of my favourite escape rooms to date, and I would definitely recommend it for a creepy Halloween activity. They have some even scarier sounding rooms if you dare!

Have you ever tried Breakout or any other escape room game?