Walker Stalker London 2017

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Finally!! Walker Stalker 2017 had arrived.  As you well may remember, Walker Stalker is where it all started for us, before then we had been a purely online business but with the encouragement from the awesome fellow vendors I met last year, we’d been tipping our toes into the convention lifestyle.

Last year, the boys and me had the most amazing time, like one of the best weekends of our lives! I can remember a week afterwards sitting around the table with post-convention blues crying that it was a WHOLE year to wait until the next one.  Well you know what?  That year actually flew by and so here we were, getting ready for another fun filled weekend of the undead.  The biggest thrill for me was of course the fact that I had managed to get (thanks to my awesome son) a much sought after Jeffrey Dean Morgan photo op.  I even gave up alcohol for a whole two months so I could fit into my prettiest dress for the occasion.  Trust me when I say that was a big deal not that I’m an alcoholic or anything.

So there was only one more thing to do before embarking on our adventure to the Olympia and that was say a tearful goodbye to this little fella:

My little pooch, totally bemused he had to have a bath before going to stay with Gramma and Grandpa

 Unlike last year, the earliest we could load in was 4pm which was rather inconvenient to say the least.  I had already presumed that it would have been from 1pm and made dinner reservations for 6pm knowing we would have completed most of our display by then.  So what’s the hurry you may ask.  Well the dinner reservation was for Sticky Fingers (yes, again) during Happy Hour and NO WAY was I missing out on that.

So we got there a sneaky 15 minutes early (hey, every minute counts) and as it turns out, everyone else had the same idea and the place was pretty chaotic! We located our booth, right next to Eugene “Big Daddy” Clark who we had the pleasure of meeting last year.  We quickly emptied the car and then off I went to get our vendor passes for the weekend.

Aren’t they pretty awesome? Beats a plastic wristband any day of the week!

You may notice we also picked up a VIP weekend admission pass. Why?  Well, if last year was anything to go by, the queues to meet the guests if you have general admission can get pretty damn insane and quite frankly none of us relished the thought of lining up for a couple of hours for anyone!  Apart from the fact we needed to be back at our booth pronto, standing in line all day is frankly boring.  I knew we wanted to meet a bunch of the guests so it seemed like the smart thing to do, even if it did cost a pretty penny.

We left Bret at the venue to pick up the photo ops.  Did I mention I was meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan?  Then Jesse and I went to park the car in our rented parking space for the weekend and also check into the hotel.  The good news is that the parking space was close to the Olympia, the other good news is that the hotel was pretty close to the Olympia, the bad news is that they were both in the opposite direction.  By the time I had walked from the parking space to the hotel my feet had officially called it quits thanks to my Converse which had caused blisters the size of a 10p coin! Who’s idea was it to wear my flat Converse so I could be comfortable?

On the plus side, the hotel was actually really nice and quite a pleasant surprise.

Not too shabby at all

Incase you’re interested, this was the W14 Hotel which not only was very clean and a great size but the price was also very reasonable and they have a large breakfast room with an all you can eat continental breakfast.  The distance to the Olympia isn’t too bad but when you have already fucked up your feet it can be quite challenging.

We got back to the Olympia and had less than an hour to get as much done as possible before leaving for our very important appointment.

I had those babies ordered before I even decided on my dinner!

Gotta love Sticky Fingers! Especially during Happy Hour (which is actually 3 hours long) when cocktails are only £4 each.  Do you need anymore encouragement than that?  That first one is called a Zombie Killer which was DELICIOUS but the presentation was just brilliant and rather apt don’t you think?  The second was a Raspberrylicious which indeed it was.

Just to prove I wasn’t just there for the cocktails.  Sustenance!

However, I couldn’t just leave after 2 cocktails, I was on a working vacation afterall 😉

Okay, so another 2 for the road!

Ladies and gentleman we have the Pornstar Martini which came with a shot of Prosecco and was quite possibly the most delicious cocktail on the face of the planet.  I could have quite happily sat there all night and drank at least 5 dozen! The second one was a Strawberry Mule which was so strong I did worry that the boys might have to carry me back to the Olympia.

So with cocktail hour well and truly over it was time to get back to work.  Luckily I had a pair of slippers in my bag (which I always put on when I’m behind my table at conventions because I’m an old granny like that) so that I could walk back in comfort without causing my blisters to rupture, trust me, those buggers were sore!

We got back to the Olympia about 7:30pm and then had until 10pm to get some serious work done which we just about managed but still needed a good hour or so to complete it so the plan was to arrive at 7:30 the next morning.  Just before we left for the evening I had time to take my first bathroom selfie of the weekend. Hurray!

I look absolutely knackered! Trust me, the cocktails had well and truly worn off!

Getting back to the hotel was an utter disaster.  It started to rain and lets not forget I was in my slippers so we popped into a Sainsbury’s Express on the way back for a few naughty treats.  Bad idea, as when we got out the heavens decided to then open up and literally pour a month’s worth of rain on us in 5 minutes.  If that wasn’t bad enough, my son took us down the wrong road to the hotel and we had to walk the long way around.  By the time we got back I was utterly soaked and my slippers a couple of soaking wet, squelching messes which wouldn’t dry out in a month of Sundays!

Oh yes, the glamour of it all! Then to top it all off my Mom sent me a photo of my poor baby sulking in his bed.

That face right there is a guilt trip and a half!

Luckily it didn’t take us long to get dry, jump into bed and forget the whole ordeal.

Sweet dreams!

Tomorrow was going to be a BIG day! Did I mention I was meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan?  I set my alarm for 6:50am (which is utterly disgusting, that’s still night time for gods sake) and hoped for a good night’s sleep.


I woke up feeling like I needed another 300 years sleep and it seemed to take forever to get our ass into gear.  Unfortunately that meant that a leisurely breakfast was off the cards as we had to get to the Olympia at least an hour before opening.

Woah! Full length mirror selfie! Awesome! Isn’t my dress just beautiful 😉

By some miracle we did actually manage to get to the Olympia on time only to discover that I had left my very important folder back at the hotel.  You know the one with the table plan, the price labels and the inventory sheets! Yep! Awesome!  Luckily my son was not too pissed at my stupidity and offered to walk back to the hotel for it while I got on with the table.

Somehow, just before 9am, we managed to pull it off without so much as a single tear! Phew!

We made it! YAY!

Cool as a cucumber! That’s me 😉

So with everything set up, now we could start the weekend! Oh yeah, did I mention that I was meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan? I also have to mention that it was also nice seeing a lot of familiar faces, especially my vendor friends who I had met last year at the same convention.  Another familiar face that morning was my friend Andrew who had come as Gareth (who we all know has been my biggest crush on the show so far! RAWR!!!).  Lucky for him I’m old enough to be his Mom infact I’m actually a few years older than his Mom so he was probably relieved to know I wouldn’t be kidnapping him.  I actually met Andrew last year because we were staying at the same hotel and then it turned out that his Mom was someone I’d known for a few years! It’s a small world people.

Gareth having a mid morning snack!

He came complete with a severed leg which he asked me to mind for him at my booth.  Listen up people, I’m more than happy to look after your stuff and thangs for you but be warned, if it can serve as a selfie prop, I’m going to well and truly take advantage of that 😉

Nom Nom Nom! Doesn’t it look appetising?

It’s hungry work you know!

Next to stop by the booth were 2 of my cousins.  Yep, we certainly like to make it a family affair at Walker Stalker!

Miss PlayBox and my Walking Dead family.

Once again, I got entrusted with looking after precious property and when I mean precious property I’m talking about the one and only Lucille!

I have no idea why I look so happy! It’s not even mine! 🙁

Bret then decided it was time to go meet his first guest of the weekend – none other than Mr Michael Cudlitz and this time it was the REAL Michael Cudlitz (you’ll have to read last year’s blog post to understand the significance of that).  Abraham had become Bret’s favourite character and then of course he met Lucille which did not go down well.  Apparently when Bret met him, he did rehearse in his head everything he was going to say but then he met him and was too nervous to say any of it.  Bless!

Now that is one very happy boy! And I think Bret was pretty thrilled too! 😉

Bret just about made it back in time before he had to leave for a very important appointment with Andrew Lincoln.  Yes he was one of the lucky few who managed to get a photo op.  It wasn’t long before he returned with a huge grin on his face clutching this in his hands:

Mr Lincoln himself! OMG!!

Bret was beaming ear to ear, not only because he just had his photo taken with Rick Grimes but because he had complimented Bret on his trench coat and told him that he used to have one when he was younger.  So there you go people, Andrew Lincoln used to wear a trench coat!

Wow, all this excitement and it wasn’t even 1pm yet!  Oh did I mention I was meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan?  Actually I have to be honest, I had to forget that I was actually meeting him because I would have just been a bag of nerves so I tried my best to push it to the back of my mind throughout the day.  Yes, I seriously am that lame!

Time for some quick bathroom selfies to calm me down!

What I needed was a bit of shopping therapy.  I’d had my eye on a handbag that I’d actually seen at a few of the Comic Cons and it clearly had my name written all over it.  A quick bathroom break to debate with myself whether or not I should treat myself and then 10 minutes later it was mine.

WooHoo, I got a Harley Quinn handbag, how freaking awesome is that?

The day had been pretty busy but I have to say that the whole convention (in my opinion) was organised so much better this year.  There was room to move and the place didn’t feel so packed in like a tin of sardines.  It was more open and spread out and made for a really pleasant experience.

Later on in the day, my very happy cousin came back to show me the moment his dreams came true:

It’s Daryl Dixon! And one very happy Alex (he’s the one on left)

Last year, Alex had been devastated that he never got to meet Norman Reedus.  If you were there last year you’ll remember why, so many people wanted to meet him that they had to turn most people away.  I was just so chuffed that this year he got his wish.

It was nearing the end of the day and I had to face the fact that I was actually going to meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan! My photo op had been changed to almost 6pm because Mr Morgan couldn’t arrive until later than planned.  This of course meant I had a lot longer to fret about it.  Guess there’s only one thing to do to calm the mood in circumstances like these…

Pointless Selfie Time!

Awesome! I feel so much more calm now.

Except I really didn’t!  I felt sick, nervous, excited, scared, happy, tired, hungry, *insert every emotion under the sun* but yes, especially sick and nervous because I happen to be a dork like that.  Bret walked me over to the photo ops and told me what to do (he was now a pro afterall) and basically all I did have to do was get in line and then wait.  Wait a very long time infact.  Wait for eternally actually.  But yes, it was probably the longest wait of my life.  But then I was about to meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  After what seemed like forever, the VIP line started to move and then I realised I was getting closer and closer! Holy Crap! Then I was actually close enough to see Jeffrey DREAM Morgan from outside the photo op booth.  Then I was inside the photo op booth.  Then, OMG, I was NEXT in line to actually meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan. At this point I could have probably emptied my guts on the floor, luckily I hadn’t eaten all day so there was nothing to empty!  THEN…. wait for it….

I MET JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN!!!

Now, if you’re a regular at most conventions then you already know that photo ops move REALLY FAST.  Like you literally get seconds to say something, then smile, mumble something quick and then you’re off.  Well the Walker Stalker ones move even faster, it’s literally like being in a sheep dip! However, one thing I noticed with Jeffrey (I’ve met him so I can now presume we are on first name terms) is that he did acknowledge you and I mean truly acknowledge so that you felt like you were the only person in the room for about 10 seconds!

I walked up to him with probably the biggest Cheshire Cat grin in the world, like I’d just been given a Glasgow Smile or something.  He stared right at me with those HUGE brown eyes, oh holy fuck, those eyes and said hello. I replied that it was so lovely to meet him and he put his arm around me and then with both arms hugged me close which was just as well because my legs were jello and it gave me an excuse to hold on for dear life.  We then posed for the photo and then before I was ushered out he leant down just inches from my face, stared at me with the HUGE brown eyes again and said that it had been lovely to meet me. Candy is DED!

I honestly have no idea how my legs worked walking to the photo collection point.  Wow!! That was just so freaking incredible.  I make no apologies for being a pathetic fangirl who obviously is way too old for this kind of shit, I don’t care, I met Jeffrey Fucking Dean Morgan!

Cat Who Got The Cream!

Look! His beard is in my hair!! HIS BEARD IS IN MY HAIR!!! OMG, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s beard is in my hair!!! For the love of god, he’s holding my arm!! His beard is in my hair and he’s holding my arm! Yep, I met Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

I would say that the rest of the evening didn’t matter and that it was all a blur until the next morning but there is something I have to mention.  Afterwards my boys and me went next door to the Pizza Express for dinner.  Nothing unusual about that, we always go there when working at the Olympia right?  Well, after our meal, my boys told me that it was their treat and they were buying their Mommy dinner.  I almost cried, well actually I did.  My boys!  Wasn’t that just the loveliest gesture?

Wow, what a day! Even now, typing this blog I have to stop and smile, it truly was an incredible day.

By the way, did I mention that I met…….   😛  haha, just kidding.


We woke up the next morning excited for another day but a little bit sad that it was all going too quickly and it was the last day.  We packed up, ready to check out and stopped for a bit of breakfast first.

Back at the Olympia the first order of the day was to purchase my very own Negan!

 

Isn’t it just the cutest? Did I mention Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s beard was in my hair?

Then there was just time to do a short session of pointless selfies, just to get the party started.

We certainly know how to party hard here at PlayBox Designs.

We decided that if we were ever to take on extra staff, 99% of the interview process would be based on just how well you can do pointless selfies.  Seriously, that stuff is important.  Anyway, back to our regular programme and Bret decided he would go meet Alexandra Breckenridge aka Jessie (and who I met last year if you remember).

And there he is meeting her! By the way I got told off for taking this photo 😐

Alexandra always does the BEST selfies! She took so many with Bret that he actually ran out of different faces!

His face says it all! *tug at heartstrings moment*

Of course I had been standing about 10 feet away grinning like a demented fool and after the selfie session Alexandra gestured to me and asked Bret who I was.  “That’s my boy! That’s my boy!” I shouted across to her.  Bret told her that I had met her last year and she turned to me and waved.  She then shouted to me “I LOVVVVVE your dress!” very very loudly that even my other son heard it and he was about 30 feet away.  That made me very happy and Bret was very happy so it was a win win.

Next on the agenda it was my turn to go meet someone.  I’d decided months ago that I would choose Steven Ogg who plays Negan’s right hand man Simon.  Yes he’s an asshole but he’s a funny asshole and he also happens to be rather handsome which helps if you’re an asshole.  I knew from my son that he was also a voice actor for Grand Theft Auto but other than seeing him in a few episodes of WestWorld I didn’t know much else about him.  So rather than stutter my way through an awkward exchange I decided to take him a gift.  So I got one of my Zombie Plan Keychains and customised it a bit (adding Lucille of course), wrote a little note, popped it in a bag and went to meet him.

This was definitely one of those moments where the VIP pass was worth every penny.  His line was LONNNGGGGG!  There was at least a couple of hundred people waiting to meet him but with my VIP pass I was then 4th in line.  Trust me, it’s worth the price if you don’t relish the thought of waiting in queues all weekend.

When it was my turn, I walked up to him and the first thing he did was ask my name and shake my hand which was really nice.  I told him I had a gift for him and he said “Oh, is it a Candy gift because that would be really cool”.  I’m not sure I could actually give myself as a gift but maybe next time 😉 I presented him with the keychain and explained that every charm would be something useful to help him survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  He genuinely seemed to love it and gave me a big hug.  He then asked if it had a hook and I showed him where it was.  Next thing, he swings his pelvis over to me and gestures to the belt loop nearest to his groin on his jeans and asks me to put it on for him.  There I am, my hands and face just inches away from Steven Ogg’s crotch! All I could think about was whether my damn fingers would stop shaking long enough for me to get the damn clasp shut.

Afterwards I gave his guns a cheeky pinch (well hey, that was tame compared with what he asked me to do) and he commented that they were a lot smaller than they used to be.  Next it was time for some fun selfies!

This is me meeting Steven Ogg and Bret didn’t get told off for taking this photo!

I love this photo!! <333

Crotch shot photos FTW!  And the now famous Zombie Plan Keychain!

Afterwards he told me to enjoy the rest of my day and off I went a very happy bunny indeed.  What a genuinely lovely man though.  I rushed downstairs to go tell Jesse all about my exciting meeting and then he decided that he would go up to meet him too.  Jesse had already decided that Steven Ogg would be the only guest he would meet all weekend, mainly because his man crush Jon Bernthal was busy filming and couldn’t make it this year.

Jesse obviously gets his hugging skills from his Mommy 😉

When Jesse met him, the first thing that Steven did was compliment him on his awesome moustache! Gotta love a man who appreciates the work of art that goes into my son’s facial hair.  Jesse then pointed to the keychain that I had just put on his jeans and told him “My Mom made you that!”.  Apparently Steven looked and him and said “WOW! You are one fucking cool family!” LOL!! That is just too awesome!

Steven Ogg looking enviously at Jesse’s moustache!

What I discovered later is that Steven kept the keychain on all day, while he was doing his panel and also when he did his photo ops.  The only reason I found out is because people were uploading their photo ops to Instagram and there in the photo you can clearly see the keychain on him.  I’m going to write to a few of the people and ask their permission to put their photos on this blog so stay tuned for updates on the famous keychain!

Having enjoyed meeting Steven so much I decided to go meet one more guest.  Trust me, I would have met them all if I could afford to.  After much deliberation I finally decided to meet Alanna Masterson who plays Tara.  I briefly met her last year when she photo bombed mine and Alexandra Breckenridge’s selfie session which I have to admit was pretty damn awesome and really made my weekend.  I decided to take her a gift as well because it’s so much easier than trying to make small talk.  I got one of the Zombie Plan Charm Bracelets and customised it a bit to reference her character so of course added a can of fizzy orangeade and an arrow opps, too soon maybe.

Once again, the VIP pass meant I only had to wait 5 minutes before meeting her.  The very first thing she said to me was how much she loved my outfit.  I blushed and said thank you! LOL, 2 Walking Dead ladies complimenting me on my choice of clothes, I feel so special. I presented her with the bracelet and she immediately recognised the Tango reference.  She thanked me for it and placed it into her bag.  OMG, one of my Zombie Plan Charm Bracelets is going home with Tara!

She thanked me for her bracelet again and then off I went feeling on top of the world.  Gotta love the lifestyle of a dorky fangirl 😉

It was nearing the end of the day so just a couple of quick pointless selfies with Bret before he went on his travels to track down every single cosplayer in the building and get a photo with them.

You have to admit, we always look as though we’re having the best time and that’s what it’s all about!

Okay the next few photos are Bret with different cosplayers.  Unfortunately I don’t have any names so I can’t credit the photos properly but PLEASE PLEASE if you recognise yourself or someone else in the photo then please contact me at playboxdesigns@aol.com so I can properly give credit (or indeed if you would rather me remove the photo then that’s cool too).

Bret’s favourite cosplayer of the weekend and it’s really not hard to figure out why!

Bret with Rick and Tyreese

 Bret with Dwight and being pushed around by some zombie!

As always, the effort that goes into the costumes is outstanding and I always have to give you cosplayers a round of applause.  You are always a really major part of any convention and I think your dedication to your craft is amazing.  Plus the patience you guys have is always astonishing, I’ve seen some extremely popular cosplayers barely being able to put one foot in front of the other without being stopped for a photograph.  It must take them all day to get from one side of the hall to the other.

Sadly, Walker Stalker 2017 was coming to an end and once again it had been one of the most amazing experiences ever.  The boys and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.  We had an amazing time meeting some of the Walking dead cast, we had an amazing time meeting people in general to be honest.  I would just like to thank all my customers that weekend, as always, none of this would be possible without you and I’m truly thankful for each and every one of you.  Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my booth and purchase one of my creations, it means a lot to me.

So time for just one more pointless selfie before we say good bye and hope that we all see you again for Walker Stalker 2018.  We can’t wait, let the countdown begin!

Lots of Love from the PlayBox Team xxx

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