[LIFE EXPLORER] Playing with #WizardsUnite

Now, you know I’ve enjoyed playing with PokemonGo (and I still am), but just over a week ago Wizards Unite was released by Niantic (the same people as make PokemonGo), based upon Harry Potter. When PokemonGo was released 3 years ago, we all said if they released a Harry Potter version we’d all been there. That game has been released, it seems with a lot less fuss from the press (because it’s not the first, is it?), but a lot of my friends (many of whom are still playing PokemonGo, or they did) are experimenting with it, so we’ll see how long this lasts. I got stuck on this screen the first day (day 1 download pressure), although rebooting my phone seemed to sort that out:

I’ve been experimenting with it for the past week, although at present PokemonGo is still winning out for it’s simplicity at getting me out of the door every day (I only need to ‘spin’ one Pokestop, and ‘catch’ one Pokemon)… but I always like to see what is possible! I only played with PokemonGo for one week originally, learning how it affected churches, before I gave up – then a friend persuaded me back into it, and I’ve just kept going since then (missing 4 days since I was first diagnosed with cancer in August 2017).

Day 1

Once I finally got in, I received a welcome, and a range of introductions to the game, as we looked at how the mapping worked (looks very familiar)

I was back home by the time I got the software to work, and almost immediately Hagrid appeared ‘within my kitchen’:

He was trapped in a spider’s web:

Once I had lined my stars up with Hagrid’s stars, he was released:

Every ‘foundable’ that you release gets returned to the Registry, some of which you only need to catch one of, some of which (as you can see here), you need to catch 4 to return the item fully to the Registry. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you will recognise most of the items:

The map then came up, and I could see where the targets to aim for (most of them in the same place as Pokestops, as they’re using the same mapping software) – but I can see there’s a variety of types (we’ll come back to that):

*Note that the birds, etc flying around in the background are just ‘art’ and don’t have a function! They’re not there to be caught!

I then get notified that something else has been caught, and I’m going to have to ‘cast a spell’ to release the unicorn from the snake (tracing the shape given on the screen … the more accurate, the higher the score on the bar at the top, and the more likely you are to be successful):

Looking something like this:

If you don’t line up well with the spell:

I didn’t realise (until I ran out of it), that I’m using ‘spell energy’ for each spell that I’m casting – and you start with 75 ‘spell energy’, and you’ll be picking this up elsewhere.

Shortly after this point, I work out how to turn off the AR (I’m convinced this saves a tonne of battery life!), and just use the images within game (rather than the ‘real world’ images around me).

Catching ‘Foundables’

As you are walking along, a range of these (related to the boards that you’re trying to fill) will appear. Click on the item to open the ‘challenge’:

Something will appear for you to cast your spell, and hopefully release items to be added to your boards:

Sometimes the spell is not strong enough, and you may get another go or it may just disappear:

There are also ‘ingredients’ to collect:

The ‘Refuelling Stops’

Whereas in PokemonGo there are Pokestops (spin, and collect items) or PokeGyms (fight other Pokemon, having built the strength of your Pokemon). Wizards Unite have a range of stops (and yes, most churches again, and lots of artwork – you really can see the world in a slightly different way through stops):

Wizards Challenge

These are the ‘biggest’ stops, and closest equivalent to Pokestops. When you click on these buildings (when you are nearby), then you get the option to complete a ‘challenge’, which will earn you coins/spell energy, etc.

Within the challenge, pick your level (having completed previous levels, the next time you can repeat the ‘easy’ level, or try a more difficult level). You are given a limited amount of time to fight something(s), and start with a certain amount of spell power. I completely failed the first one as I took a while to work out that I needed to line up with the star, wait for it to complete the circle, and then a ‘spell’ to be traced is provided:

Roughly alternate goes, whatever you are fighting will cast a spell back at you, but you are given the option to trace an arrow which provides the ‘Protego’ protection spell. I still seemed to lose about 10 off my ‘power bar’, but when I didn’t activate it, I lost a lot more!

Once you’ve defeated everything, that’s your challenge complete. I have found that if you start a challenge and walk away, you can finish the challenge on that level (whereas PokemonGo, if you’re ‘fighting’ and you walk away, the fight stops).


There are blue roofed and green roofed inns:

After following the spell line, one of these platters will open to provide you with a selection of something (I noted Honeydukes chocolate on the platter) which will help you catch more ‘Foundables’ and give energy to fight:

Like in Pokemon, wait 5 minutes, and you can re-collect more from the particular stop. The chimney smoke seems to indicate that the stop is unavailable for now.


Greenhouses I am still getting my head round, but they look like this:

Within the Greenhouse, you collect one item by swiping up (we’ve no idea what ‘plant’ this is, but it’s to help us with our ‘potion making’):

We can also contribute some of our spell energy to helping something grow (faster, or does it mean I collect the item later?):

I think I need to work out how to do more, because this seems to appear very fast (from collecting as walking along). Yes – it wants money (collected by completing challenges or paid for with ‘real’ money):

Potion Making

Whilst out walking, or from inns, you can collect items that can help make your potions (I’m still trying to work out which are the equivalent of the basic Pidgey in PokemonGo):

Once a potion is brewing, which takes a couple of hours or longer, you’ll see that you can PAY (again) to collect missing ingredients, or to speed up the potion making. If you have the ingredients, you can ‘brew’ up to 4 potions at once:

These potions then be used when trying to cast spells and collect ‘Foundables’, to make your spell stronger, and more likely to ‘catch’ or ‘release’. I’ve run out of space to collect more of these too… these can be managed within your ‘vaults’ (I’ve not really worked out what they all do yet though):

Port Keys

So, if you play PokemonGo, these are the equivalent of ‘hatching eggs’ – there are 2k, 5k and 10km portkeys. You collect ‘keys’ as you’re out participating, and then can ‘open’ the portkey (in Harry Potter books, these transport you to ‘another location’ and can be an old boot or coat hanger, whatever)

I really struggled to work out what to do with this once I completed my first PortKey, it said you ‘need a lot of space’, so trying to activate it in a shop was not really going to work:

I ended up looking on YouTube for some tips (as well as a bit of Facebook input). Finally, back in my house – I pointed the phone at the window – and you have to ‘walk forward into it’ – the first couple of times I needed to fall over the sofa and through the window – but once I started further back in the kitchen and waited – pointing the phone at the sofa – the ‘magic appeared’, and I could walk into the new room, and click on 5 of these (balls of light – chemobrain – it begins with a W), which adds more items to the itinerary:


There are ‘daily challenges’ set – 7 different activities (including walking 0.25km, although my Apple ‘Health’ app will tell me I’ve walked 2km, and it’s still not registered 0.25km (PokemonGo can be a bit glitchy like this too) – I thought these were a ‘bit much’, but actually very similar to PokemonGo ‘research challenges’ which I tend not to complete every day:

There are also other challenges available, giving opportunities for a few more coins, etc.

Joining a ‘Team’

Within PokemonGo, you choose whether to join the red, blue or yellow team. Within WizardsUnite, once you get to a certain level (6), you can choose your ‘profession’ (I thought about Auror, but thought I’d go for the one I want in reality):

Along the route, we are collecting ‘scrolls’, and certain numbers of these, allow us to progress to becoming a better professor (if only it was that easy)!

Where am I now?

As with PokemonGo, there are far more options within urban areas – this is when I went into town on Monday (and we’ll see that there are purple inns are well). I’ve seen several of these areas with ‘flags’ – saying can catch more items in the related colour – but haven’t work out to activate those as none near me:

I find the game a little more complex, although even writing this out makes me realise how much knowledge I’ve transferred from PokemonGo, and actually how easy it would be to learn – but you can’t play both games at the right time, and I seem to have to ‘stop’ a lot more – which when I’m going out to try and get some steps in, doesn’t seem so helpful (although also fits with the reduced energy/mobility).

I friended a lot of my friends via Facebook, a feature available from the beginning (whereas it was added to Pokemon a year or so ago), although at present there’s no associated functionality (or maybe I’m not at a high enough level)… I’ve made it to:

Level 10

And…. not forgetting .. safety first (even when you’re standing still sometimes):



[LIFE] Wild Water Swimming #BusyLivingWithMets

Ah, what an evening! It’s important to do things that make life ‘zing’, so after talking to Kate for quite some time about joining her for wild/open water swimming, we made it tonight as Bryony and I were nearby … water temperature was 5.9 degrees – so ‘very chilly’ … we swum in a little loop a couple of times, then enjoyed hot choc… and I SO want a DryRobe!!


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As promised – in water pics with @vahva and @revkatebottley #openwaterswim

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Popped into the water with @vahva @revkatebottley … in water pics to follow! #openwaterswimming #busylivingwithmets

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Here’s to more of this kind of thing!


#EmptyShelf17 #25: Declutter Your Mind by @habitsguy

Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking (Mindfulness Books Series Book 1)Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by S.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book only took 20-30 mins to read at a quick run through and brought together a strong selection of material on mindfulness, defining values, doing the things you’re meant to. I have a quibble (unsurprising) with the default assumption that tech is a problem/taking away from other activities, but I’ll continue to do work on that & suggest ways that tech is embedded and can enhance, rather than take away. Even covered mindful eating in about 4 screens!

View all my reviews


Life Exploring: #WOMAD2016

So thanks to changing my gas/electric to Ecotricity, as recommended by my friend Steve, I ended up with a free ticket to WOMAD Festival last weekend as a welcome offer (or I could have had a £50 voucher for Ecotopia). I hadn’t heard of WOMAD, but asking about it on Facebook, lots of positive reviews, so although no one seemed to be going (and I’m not a big fan of camping), I decided to try it out! Steve was unable to go, but thankfully Ecotricity allowed the ticket to be transferred to a friend who I’d been chatting to on Facebook.

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Plenty going on in Siam tent
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Opportunities to ‘travel the world’ by experiencing acts from different continents .. although we just happened to be sitting nearby for this one. Keeping bluetooth on all weekend didn’t seem a great idea, but looking at the energy it used – was less than Facebook!
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That explains the free wi-fi available (although still patchy!)
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The kids definitely had some interesting costumes
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Hot weekend – definitely appreciated my chilled refills from Frank Water
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This kept making me chuckle…
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Sophie and I found the WOMAD sign
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This looks like my book cover (click photo for link)!
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This didn’t look as high as it felt when we went on it! Old fashioned ‘health & safety’ always more terrifying!
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Stumbled upon the Ecotricity stage in the Arboretum – excellent music!

Think it was this artist.

I wasn’t too sure by the end of the first day if WOMAD was really for me, definitely a variety of music, but I prefer listening to watching music … and the shops were full of ‘knick-knacks’ – and I’ve spent years getting rid of such things!

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Breakfast … with cheese!
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Listening to a ‘human book’ for half-hour – actually more of a conversation
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Channel 4’s Jon Snow and his wife Dr Precious interview an author from Zim
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The ‘happiness’ panel – one of the highlights of WOMAD for me!

Must check out more at The Museum of Happiness, the Happyness Hub, Walking on Sunshine, and already enjoy Psychologies Magazine.

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When one was near certain trees, one was asked questions about them. One did not have to get it correct first time!
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Decided to have a go at Samba = fun!
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Hackney Colliery Band were FABULOUS!
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Ha, not been on dodgems in years!
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… or one of these!

I had a lot of fun on the second day, and referred to the (very good) app for ideas for what to do Sunday

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The Body Mapping workshop, wasn’t sure if would be awake for it, but – you know – camping! Wasn’t sure what to expect, but Beyond Chocolate has encouraged me to keep looking at relationship with the body. Was actually a great way to start the day – with the main exercise being 7 minutes (each-way) working with a stranger – shut your eyes and let them guide you … see how your body/other senses responds, followed by a conversation about why you came to this. Very powerful..

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Ooo – who’s that? The Hairy Bikers!
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Oh, and run into Lemn Sissay again..
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Track by Graeme Miller: face-up and camera-style the viewer is gently pushed by their individual ‘grip’ along 150 metres of dolly track and invited to gaze up. For the participant, the work creates a total shift in relationship with the environment. For the onlooker, that space is transformed by the vanishing tracks and the continuous, hypnotic motion of the viewers and the people pushing them.

Fun with @hairybikers …

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Decided to have a go at Hip-Hop dancing … was enjoying it til ended up with too many people joining, and kept falling out the back of the tent.
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Checking in for comedy poet from Radio 4
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Worth the queue! Very interesting – and stand out is that he works 9-5, things take as long as the time allowed, and thinks most of his work is nothing to be proud of!

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As a final event before I hit the motorway, I thought this talk looked useful for work… My notes:

Duncan Campbell: Govt laws just covers up what has already been done for year – see with every new technology …

Internet relies on fibre cables (smaller than human hair) … Govt working out how to ‘spy’ on this ASAP inc via mobile phone ..

Snowden – mass surveillance – hoovering up huge amounts of data … ‘Just in case’ – anti human rights/privacy campaigners

RePo – huge datasets esp via movement via smartphones … Pokemon Go = one of easiest to hack into … Access to pretty much on my phone.

Angela Patrick: Online/offline lives integrated in a way couldn’t have imagined in 2000 – last time govt tried to regulate our interaction with info – thought was future proof but v unclear. Now govt saying trying to find law suitable for a digital age – need to start again from scratch – need surveillance but need balance with privacy. Sounds good: comprehensive, comprehensible & world leading … But not much new – just legitimises old activities – on basis of old legislation not intended to deal with that …

Not comprehensive – covers info we generate – so can intercept our Comms – like phone tapping. Then Comms (meta) data/envelope data – but digital has a lot more substantive info than that – gps & sites visited etc. Currently phone companies required to keep 12 months of data & hand over – flawed & now embedded. Hacking = permitted for purposes of seeing inside. Bulk equipment interference – inc entire computer networks .. Doesn’t include human interaction – not being looked at now

Not comprehensible – 299 clauses long, etc waist height .. Can have thematic warrants for group activity rather than individuals. Can be v generic/broad .. Eg all people who have ever been to WOMAD. Snowden made us think about what it’s possible for spies to do … US saying shouldn’t be doing this any more, whilst UK going other direction.  Judicial warrant not required ..

Surveillance = important – done well/targeted = saves lives, but done poorly damages relation with state. Limited time to participate in this discussion as Nov – to law.

Matthew Rice: bulk datasets … Govt collected so much data that they don’t know why/for what purpose … Indication that if more transparent = difficult to do because SO much data … Sleepwalking – need to understand the slope we’re going down. Politics is a numbers game so if speak up MPs have to deal …

What are the connections you have that are suddenly going to become dangerous? What event/petition, etc? Societal/relationship issue much wider than personal. Many thinking ‘this isn’t a problem for me’ .. If a 14 year old can release 6mil names via TalkTalk – can we accept formalised back doors via the govt to our digital data …

Q&A: What would happen if the Internet in the UK went down for 3 weeks – what would the impact on the economy be … Govt should be bound by wider legislative framework .. But via its nature it’s secret ..

Act now rather than thinking about exactly what will happen when already a probs … Quicker to ask mobile cos to say – which phones in these 3 areas rather than full on policing … Very big .. Interaction between different agencies … We live our lives intimately online – we need to care …

Overall, I enjoyed it, would go again, but if either/or, would probably still choose Greenbelt first (though I can’t go this year!