This weekend just gone, I spent a couple of days in London due to a gig on Friday night. As I booked the afternoon off work, I was eager to make the most of my time in London so when the opportunity came up to review The Lift of Doom escape room on behalf of Love Pop Ups – London, I of course jumped at the chance.

We headed straight to Hoxton (my fave) to 104 Hoxton Street which was an edgy bar where the escape room (or rather lift) was situated. After a delicious cocktail each for dutch courage, we were ushered towards the back of the bar and into a small lift, whilst the lovely barmaid explained why we were there.

Formidable Joy | Review | Fun Times Immersive Escape Room: The Lift of Doom | Escape Room | London | Experiences

The storyline goes;

You’ve been imprisoned by evil scientists in an old mental health clinic. You realised your only chance of escaping is through a service elevator and when the security went on lunch you took your chance… But what you didn’t know is that this lift had been cursed..can you cheat the fate and escape alive?… let’s find out!

With the creepy music and hearing her locking us in, I wondered for a split second what we had signed up for. With no radio or anything, I have to admit, I was slightly worried in case we got forgotten about. The experience itself was only 25 minutes long (rather different for an escape room), but having been to a few lately for the first time, I was convinced I was an expert on this subject now.

I was wrong.

The tiny room was ever so basic and we both felt immediately stumped. Bar a couple of signs on the wall and a few props, we were faced with virtually no clues whatsoever. I didn’t even know where to start! I think we wasted a good five minutes just feeling dumbfounded, but once we found our first clue, the ball got rolling.

Unfortunately, we did not get an escape in time (although we were told if we had just a few minutes more we would have been fine!), but had a lot of fun trying anyway!

I did have mixed feelings about this room. The small size and lack of props made it so much more challenging than I would have thought but, also, one or two of the props seemed pointless and had nothing to do with our escape..so I pondered why they were there at all. Other clues at the time seemed silly and confusing, but, thinking back, I can understand why they were necessary and the reason why they seemed silly was because in actual fact, they were quite challenging.

Overall, we both enjoyed our experience – however I think those with more experience or who may have visited more immersive escape rooms with better attention to detail may feel a little disappointed. For beginners, however (which my date was!), it was perfect!

I also enjoyed the fact that we got a couple of free cocktails, making it more of an overall experience rather than just half an hour spent in an escape room! The limited space, delicious cocktails and laidback vibe of the bar made it the perfect date night – I would suggest this escape room is perfect for dates or couples, especially if your boyfriend may be a bit cautious or wary about the idea of an escape room!

Plus, the location is perfect= Hoxton is uber cool for drinks afterwards and the venue itself is close by to Queen Of Hoxton.

Would you be interested in trying The Lift Of Doom? Let me know!

*Please note, although I visited this experience free of charge for honest review purposes, all truthful thoughts and unbiased opinions are entirely my own.

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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 love a good trend. I know I praised a lot of love for mermaids in a recent blog post, but today I am going back to the unicorn trend by discovering Unicorn Superfoods.

I stumbled across them on Instagram, capitivated by their beyond beautiful unicorn smoothies and mermaid toast – which not only looks amazing but is healthy too!

Formidable Joy | Brand Crush | Unicorn Superfoods | Healthy | Vegan | Natural

The brand was created by two twin sisters in Australia who cite health, love and fitness as their passions. They created colourful superfood powders which you add to, well, nearly anything you can think of!

Superfoods have a number of different benefits, such as helping people to become more energized, positive and motivated. They also improve memory and strengthen immunity, nourishes hair, skin and nails and reduces bloating!

Additionally, all products are all natural. They’re USDA organic certified, vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free and kid friendly!

The various mixes come in a manner of different colours and flavours with different benefits – although, of course, it’s all good for you! The website includes recipe ideas, states all the lovely benefits from the different blends/powders and the brand is spot on when it comes to social media.

Just scroll through their Instagram once and I bet you’ll be motivated to start eating more healthy, creating more with your foods and jump on the #unicornsuperfoodstrend.

So of course, I gave in to the trend and purchased their Unicorn Bundle. My first attempt of mermaid toast didn’t look too appetizing, but my first smoothie bowl was tasty. My first breakfast smoothie looked like sick according to a work colleague (thanks Nicki!) but come Friday, I think I got the hang of things.

Instead of using coconut yogurt for my on-the-go smoothie, I used oatly milk so that it was less thick and so I could enjoy it as a drink. The colour came out perfect too. I’d also used frozen bananas instead of fresh ones, so this made a bit of difference.

But does it work?

Formidable Joy | Brand Crush | Unicorn Superfoods | Healthy | Vegan | Natural

Hell yeah! I managed to make my smoothie look pretty damn colourful, and I’ve already began experimenting with foods more (especially breakfast food).

Plus, it really does help with energy.

Picture this. I woke up on Friday morning exhausted. I hadn’t fallen asleep till 2am the previous night and was up at 7:30am. It was one of those ‘should I call in sick?’ mornings – before I realized, no, I really couldn’t. I ran to the shop to get breakfast on the go and was going to forgo getting a Red Bull but it was on special offer and I was so damn tired that I was sure I’d need it.

Before leaving the house, I quickly made myself a Bubblegum Smoothie (2 x frozen bananas, a couple of teaspoons of Unicorn Superfoods’ Pink Pitaya and Oatly Milk) for breakfast on the go.

It wasn’t until gone 2am that I realized a) I’d barely eaten all day, except for a snack for breakfast and b) I hadn’t had – or needed – a Red Bull all day! Normally by 11am my tummy is grumbling and often I’ll crack open a Red Bull between 11am and my lunch at noon.

But Friday? Nothing.

I did have a Red Bull at about half two – not because I was tired – but just because we were hitting the afternoon slump and I knew I needed a boost to keep myself motivated.

So as it goes, I didn’t think anything of it at that time, but that simple smoothie with Pink Pitaya kept my hunger at bay and stopped me feeling tired!

I’m definitely being a lot more concious not only about what I eat overall now but especially for breakfast. If making a pretty and colourful breakfast helps me eat more healthy then who’s complaining?!

So far, I’ve stuck to using Unicorn Superfoods in my breakfasts (going healthy? Slowly does it!) – the smoothies are delicious and I’ve finally got the knack of breakfast toast (as shown above – cream cheese, Unicorn Superfoods powder and blueberries on sourdough toast), but I’m excited to try some more recipes from their webste such as vegan donuts!

Would you give Unicorn Superfoods a try? Let me know!

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London is fast becoming a capital for vegan food and I am constantly surprised at all the amazing vegan restauraunts popping up around the city. Purezza is one I’d wanted to visit for a while now because I adored my visit to their Brighton branch, but unfortunately couldn’t justify going back to Brighton all the time just for their pizza (which I wish I could but it’s rather expensive!). So when the opportunity came up to visit and review their (still slightly new) Camden branch in London (on behalf of Love Pop Ups – London), I jumped at the chance.

I never grow bored of creative vegan food and I definitely never grow bored of vegan pizza so it was really a win-win situation for me. I headed down with my friend Ali recently and found the restauraunt was only a short walk away from Camden Town station – perhaps five minutes at most.

We ducked inside to the slightly small but ever so cosy premsis and were taken upstairs to a smaller more intimate room with only three or four tables. It was so cute and really cosy, although downstairs had been really busy too! The whole restauraunt – downstairs and up – had a nice ambient buzz to it.

With such a vast menu – all pizzas could be made on three different basis and there is non pizza choices too, such as lasagne or a ‘pure bowl’ – we found it hard to pick. I was tempted to go for the delicios Portobello Road again – I do love my mushrooms – but decided to go for something new and settled on the Season.4.Pizza.1 which boasted artichokes, olives, mushrooms, smoked beet and salad cress.

Ali went for the Marinara and between us we chose doughballs and garlic bread as sides. I have to say, despite going in too early and burning my mouth, the doughballs are to die for. I still don’t know how they get the delicious vegan cheese to melt and ooze like real cheese (whenever I try to re-create anything similar, it just ends up rubbery) but somehow they do and it just hit the spot.

Formidable Joy | Food | Purezza Camden | Purezza | Vegan | Italian | Pizza | Food Review

I couldn’t fault my choice. Two slices in and I’d already forgotten we were at a vegan restauraunt – the smoked beet, although it didn’t taste of meat, provided the look and texture you’d expect from meat on a pizza and I’ve said this many times before – if it looks like meat but isn’t, you can very easily forget that you’re eating a vegetable. I’m not even a massive fan of beet but it was delicious and my pizza was filled with so much flavour that even if I had a giant pepperoni pizza in front of me too, I’d still choose the vegan one.

I took only a bite of the Marinara (at this point, I was struggling to finish my own) but it was delicious also.

Cocktails were also on the menu for us that night (well, it was for everyone, but you get my point) and whilst Ali chose a glass of prosecco, I went for something that I can’t quite remember the name of but was a take on a cheese cake and was beyond delicious. Normally I find fancy looking cocktails aren’t actually all that nice, but this one really hit the spot.

By dessert we were struggling. My friend went for the very wise choice of a Brownie which was so cute and small (in a good way!) it looked too good to eat. I was drawn in with the choice of Oreos and chose the Oreo Pizza – basically a chocolate pizza – and only managed one small slice before giving up and asking to take the rest home.

Formidable Joy | Food | Purezza Camden | Purezza | Vegan | Italian | Pizza | Food Review

Formidable Joy | Food | Purezza Camden | Purezza | Vegan | Italian | Pizza | Food Review

I did have some more when I got in but I had mixed feelings about this. It was really tasty, but I couldn’t really get past the fact that it was on a pizza base. I know that’s the point but this really threw me and I struggled to enjoy it as a dessert – that’s not to say I didn’t like it, but perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t also had a pizza for my main.

Overall, however, the entire meal was mouth watering and so tasty and full of flavour. The food at Purezza is a prime example of a selection of healthy plant based foods that you don’t even realize you’re not having any meat. You either don’t crave any anyway because the options just sound too tasty, or the food is so good it makes you forget you’re eating entirely vegan.

Nestled away in the heart of Camden, Purezza is the perfect treat for next time you’re in London and craving some healthy Italian food.

Have you ever been to Purezza? Let me know your thoughts!

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