Last night, I faced one of my biggest fears and attended not only The London Bridge Experience’s super scary Halloween event, Phobophobia…but on actual HALLOWEEN of all nights! Dear god did I feel brave (afterwards, that is. I was very, very scared in the run up to the event..!).

The London Bridge Experience is a really fun place to go anyway; it’s really scary (similar to London Dungeons but scarier, whereas London Dungeons is a bit more ‘fun’. TLBE is fun but just that bit more scarier) and I eventually went last summer just in general and really enjoyed myself. There was a lot of fun history to learn about, followed by the actual scare attraction.

Formidable Joy | Review | Phobophobia at The London Bridge Experience | Halloween | Phobophobia | The London Bridge Experience

I was a little apprehensive heading into London last night because a) it was Halloween so it was either going to be overly busy or overly scary and b) I actually thought it would be a good idea for a first date…!

When we arrived, it was busy and we were advised a maximum wait time of an hour but it took maybe half an hour at most. It wasn’t too bad because we had characters walking down the line to entertain us (one kept reminding us we were from Luton everytime he saw us and kept pointing us out to people, haha). Because it was busy and on Halloween, everyone was really in a great mood so it was actually quite nice waiting because it had such a good atmosphere.

I don’t want to spoil what goes on inside but it really is the right amount of jump scares and interaction. I could tell very quickly that it was aimed at adults with the languages and jokes used but in all honesty, at first I was kind of disappointed…as we went through maybe three scenes of a couple of minutes long before being ushered to run onto the next one..and then suddenly we found ourselves exiting the attraction.

I WAS SO CONFUSED. It felt like it was just a very short event spent running between ‘scenes’…however, I felt that something wasn’t right as when we were herded out I had spotted another tunnel…and it turns out (somehow) half of our group had followed the wrong person and left the attraction missing pretty much the entire thing, do’h! I’m very glad I checked because they let us back in again but I feel bad for the others in the group that were just like ‘oh is this it? Cool’ and left! So if you ever go, just be wary when you’re running through scenes and make sure you’re going the right way! It lasts a lot longer than five minutes so if you feel like your time has been cut short, it probably has and you should definitely talk to someone and not just accept it and go home, haha.

The second time around was much better (obviously because we got to do the entire thing). But I felt the atmosphere had improved a little this time, probably because the first group we went with was filled with really quiet people and overly drunk people. The second group was a nice mix of people who got scared easily (me) and people who screamed a lot (also me, but others too), which added to the whole atmosphere.

What I loved most – other than the great sets – were the parts where they intentionally tried to mess with you a little. With smoky rooms and flashing lights, I was constantly seeing things out the corner of my eye. At some points, I was convinced I’d seen a mannequin in a weird pose beside me and then in a blink of an eye ‘it’ was gone. I know this effect is used at a lot of scare attractions but usually, the actors just run around you and try to disorientate you. At The London Bridge Experience, they bided their time wisely. They posed to fool us, they crept up behind us…it worked really, really well and I was very impressed.

I really, really loved Phobophobia at The London Bridge Experience. In the run-up to the event, I was really nervous and the entire thing exceeded my expectations. I will definitely be looking to go again next year!

Have you ever visited The London Bridge Experience? Let me know!

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Last night I headed into London to check out an awesome restaurant event (blog post soon to follow) and to try my hands at one of Handmade Mysteries’ Escape Rooms. We chose to visit Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop at The Depot in Islington, although there’s also Lady Chastity’s Reserve in Battersea.

I’ve only ever been in one ‘sort of’ escape room (which was quite recently) and The Crystal Maze, so I definitely don’t have much experience, nor did I know what to expect. My friend and I arrived at The Depot (really lovely place – I thought it was a random place for an escape room but when I discovered there’s also a theatre nearby it made sense) and met the lovely Tanya (who I’ve known for years through the blogging circle!) and her plus one. We were met by Wynn, who ushered us through to outside the room once we discovered the final two guests weren’t able to make it.

Formidable Joy | Review | Escaping Poppa Plock's Wonky Workshop | Handmade Mysteries | Escape Room | Halloween

The lovely (and slightly eccentric) Wynne explained to us that she was a creation of toymaker Poppy Plock, who has mysteriously disappeared. Once inside the creepy toy workshop, we were given the task of putting resident dummy Roy back together – a lifesize creepy doll hanging on the wall with all his limbs missing. The general idea was to partake in puzzles to gain access to his limbs (to return them)…but of course, it wasn’t that simple.

As well as tough clues and puzzles to decipher, we were also taunted (and sometimes helped) by a ventriloquist dummy who teased us and made many funny innuendoes. For a group of slightly tipsy beginners, this amused us to no end.

Without wanting to give away any spoilers, the entire time spent in the room was so much fun. At times (okay, most times) it was very challenging and I definitely felt an adrenaline rush as I rushed around the room trying this and that. It didn’t take us too long to understand what exactly we had to do for our end result, but decrypting the clues to get there was a whole other bag of fish.

Luckily the room was filled with things to try; toyboxes to open, games to play and things to pull, twist and push. There was never a boring moment and Wynne was absolutely fab, whether it was giving us one of the three clues we were allowed or just popping her head in to drop a dirty joke and check on us.

Because it was for Halloween, there were a few scares too of course, but nothing too bad. I just jumped very easily when the ventriloquist dummy suddenly burst into life/sound.

The hour seemed to stretch while we were in there, but as it got closer to our allocated end time, hearts were definitely beating fast with the tension rising. As it goes, Team Area 51 (terrible name, I know, but the table we sat at before we went in was 15 and it’s the first thing that sprung to mind!) beat the Escape Room with a mere 37 SECONDS TO SPARE. Talk about cutting it fine.

The last few minutes were an absolute adrenaline rush, we knew how we were going to get out but of course, there were some more twists! But we were on a roll and well into what we were doing by this point so luckily we managed to escape.

Formidable Joy | Review | Escaping Poppa Plock's Wonky Workshop | Handmade Mysteries | Escape Room | Halloween[Source]

Handmade Mysteries’ Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop escape room was SO MUCH FUN and considering it was one of my first ever proper escape rooms, it was a lot more immersive and exciting than I expected. I thought maybe we’d be in one small room and have to do a few tough tasks to escape..but it was so much more than that. With so many escape rooms popping up now, it makes me wonder how companies manage to make them all different and unique.

It was obvious to me that Handmade Mysteries had really put so much thought into these puzzles. They were challenging, yes, but not impossible. It helped to have a real mix of people in the group, for example, I got overly into it and spent most of the time screaming for the team to find something or cheering loudly, whereas Tanya was really thoughtful and managed to crack the tougher puzzles. Becky really paid attention to all the little things, finding things we needed and discovering new clues, and Tanya’s plus one wasted absolutely no time in working out what clue was where. We came together to make a really strong team!

Two other things I particularly enjoyed about Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop was a) we were able to take our drinks in with us (haha) and b) we were given a scorecard at the end which had scored us on a manner of random things like how many times we screamed, drunk irresponsibly (lol) and tidying up after ourselves.

I just wish I’d thought to ask if I could take my phone in so I could have had a selfie with creepy Roy! But at the same time, I wouldn’t have wanted to take photos and give anything away…

Overall I had so much fun. Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop really exceeded my expectations and I think the creep factor this escape room absolutely perfect for groups of friends or dates this Halloween!

I’ll have to try Handmade Mysteries other escape room, Lady Chastity’s Reserve next! I’d also like to point out that although I thought the location was surprising for an escape room (then again what is the perfect location for an escape room?) the lovely pub we met in (with beautiful fairy lights outside and a relaxing atmosphere) was a great after (or before) location. Unfortunately, I had to rush off home, but I wish I’d been able to stay for a few celebratory drinks or even had food and drinks beforehand. It was just the right type of place to spend an entire evening with your friends; having a couple of drinks and then doing something really quirky and different.

If you’re looking for something hands-on, amusing and not too scary this Halloween, I’d without a doubt recommend Handmade Mysteries’ Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop – although I’d happily visit any time of year.

Would you try and escape the wrath of creepy dummies at Poppa Plock’s Wonkey Workshop? Let me know!

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I had no idea what to expect when I met with the Love Pop Ups – London team last night for CoLab Factory’s latest immersive experience: a horror show named CopyCat.

All I knew is that it was a murder mystery experience involving the small, intimate audience. The storyline followed helping rogue detective Anthony Lawson who takes the law into his own hands, trying to solve the mystery of three murders and his sister’s murder.

Review of CoLab Factory's CopyCat show

I’ll try my best to avoid spoilers but I can reveal that upon arrival, we left our belongings and headed off to meet Anthony and get down to business with trying to crack the case of ‘The CopyCat’. Part murder mystery, part escape room, CopyCat is the perfext mix of immersive theatre and a real challenge. This was my first experience of an escape room and I can admit I wasn’t very good at it..in fact I spent most of the evening carrying round an old rusty spoon, expecting (hoping) it to be useful later on. It wasn’t.

The rooms were decorated to absolute perfection; no stone was left unturned and the attention to detail was amazing – which I suppose it has to be considering we were rooting around and picking up practically everything looking for clues.

But it was beyond creepy too. Dark lighting, blood stains..again, I won’t reveal all, but if you love creepy stuff like me then this will be right up your street.

If I had to describe the kind of escape room/experience it is, I’d say Crystal Maze meets Saw! The puzzles were spot on (if I’d done it alone I probably would have given up after ten minutes and sat in the corner scared), challenging and each had it’s own creepy twist to it.

It’s also my first experience of The CoLab Factory, who put on other immersive experiences such as The Great Gatsby. I am extremely impressed. They kind of reminded me of Secret Cinema too (in terms of how on point they are with creating a specific world/feel), only without the movie.

The CoLab Factory built up the tension extremely well. I get scared extremely easily anyway, but we began the evening in high spirits, giggling at a few silly names of suspects and it wasn’t long before tensions rose and by the end of the evening we were jumping at every little background sound.

If you’re looking for something unique and immersive to do this Halloween, make sure it’s CopyCat. Tickets are only £22.50 and the show is running until the 11th November.

Would you be brave enough to take on the murder mystery of the CopyCat killer? Let me know..

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Recently I was lucky enough to attend the press launch of Scandinavia 2018 – the brand new concept changing the way that those office Christmas parties are celebrated.

Once I got over the initial weirdness of the feeling of celebrating Christmas on a hot summers day, I found myself pretty blown away when I arrived on site to the cutest and most Instagram aesthetic teepee tent! Although it was in the middle of a square in Milton Keynes, Scandinavia had got the festive feeling spot on.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Scandinavia 2018 | Christmas Party | Press event | Ian Jamieson Photography

Outside the tent, we had choices of different food vendors but inside, twinkling fairy lights beckoned us in. Here we found a DJ, a pop up bar, stunning set ups for beautiful photos and even a donut wall. There was a lot packed into just one tent, however, when it comes to Christmas 2018, nine tents will be constructed and put together for a Christmas party with a bang.

On the night(s), Scandinavia Events will offer a dance floor (with a DJ playing requests exclusive to you), a hygge lounge area (complete with a Campervan photo booth!), a mini food market and an offering of delicious festive cockails.

Even though we only attend a press taster, it was easy to see that this type of Christmas party is something Milton Keynes (and any business, really!) needs! Although I’m not from Milton Keynes, I work in MK and have been on one or two nights out in the city – but there isn’t really much on offer apart from your typical average bars.

So to experience something like this is a welcome change.

I must say, the attention to detail was spot on to. From the copper cocktail shakers to the matching font on the beyond beautiful marketing material (which included further info and a pull out map!) – it all really made the difference. It showed me that the organisers are all about the little details meaning you’ll no doubt be looked after on the night.

Would you consider booking your Christmas party with Scandinavia Events? Let me know!

*Please note, the images on this page are copyright to Ian Jamieson Photography and are used with permission.

 

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As we all know, your 30th birthday is kind of a big deal. It signifies being a proper adult (even if you still feel like you’re 21!) and generally, most people choose the age of 30 to have their sh*t sorted by. Now that I’m 28, the big 30 is looming and I’m starting to put a lot of thought into my birthday plans – and what epic adventure I’ll be going on to celebrate.

I’ve got to be different, so of course a nice meal with friends and family just won’t do it. I’m only just starting to get my life together so I’m hoping by the time I’m 30, I’ll have a lot to celebrate. Therefore, I want to celebrate in a way that’s really fun, out there or special = which means planning/saving money kind of needs to begin ASAP.

Here are some ideas I’ve got so far (I’ll obviously just be choosing to do one of these and hopefully the others in later years…)

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Crazy Ideas for my (way off) 30th birthday | The Rickshaw Run
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RICKSHAW RUN
I can’t remember how I came across this crazy adventure but it’s one I would love to complete for my 30th. Not only is it fun, it’s also a huge challenge. The Rickshaw Run involves a team of two or three people to take part in a giant race across India – in a rickshaw. If you don’t already know, a rickshaw is a crazy tiny, um, compartment on wheels/a bike. If you’ve ever been on one of these in London (drunk or otherwise) you’ll know how crazy it is. Along the way, the rickshaw (which you can get designed/grafitti’d in advance) is more than likely to break down. There’s accidents and parties along the way and it sounds like an ultimate challenge. Plus it’s all for charity..

A CRUISE
I’m not fussed about where the cruise goes but I’ve heard great things about cruises – and not just because of how plush they are. There’s so much to do on ships that you don’t really have any reason to get off at ports if you don’t want to, there’s a huge variety of food and activities on board and you wake up in a new country/place each morning. It’s perfect. This is one I’d love to do with family.

VEGAS BABY!
I don’t exactly what I’ll do in vegas (except get drunk, party, gamble and probably end up getting married) but I’ve always wanted to go to vegas and what better time to go all out and go a little crazy than on your 30th birthday?!

TRY INTERRAILING
Another travel idea! My brother got me this fab book for Christmas once about how to travel around Europe on the cheap and I’ve always liked the idea of interrailing, even if I only chose to travel for a week or so. Luckily I’ve already visited a few places in Europe already (Spain, France, Romania, Amsterdam) but there’s still so much more to see without travelling half way across the world.

TREK AMERICA’S THE GREAT 48 TOUR
I have always wanted to do a road trip around America and, though pricey, Trek America’s tour sounds like just my dream trip. Although there’s so many trek’s I want to do with this company, this one stands out as being the ultimate dream – the trip includes visiting all 48 states (obviously) and includes visits to cities, deserts & canyons, mountains and national parks. Only thing is, I also want to do a road trip across America for my honeymoon (if I ever get married, that is) so we’ll see which one comes first…

BE A ZOMBIE EXTRA
And, finally, I’ve always wanted to be an extra in a TV show or movie just to say that I’ve done it and what cooler way to do so than by being a zombie? I’m such an expert on zombies that I can definitely say I’ve got that limp/movement down to a tee, and being an extra also involves getting paid.

These are just some things I would absolutely love to do for my 30th birthday but they are pricey of course! As it goes, I’ll likely only be able to afford one so I better get saving now. However, I’m hoping to rope my brother and sister into doing the rickshaw run with me, so we’ll see!

Do you plan to do anything out there for your 30th? Or, if you’re already over 30, did you go on any epic adventures? Let me know!

 

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