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.

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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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Ah, London. You never fail to disappoint me. From the large, beautiful green spaces to plush rooftop bars, there’s always something on offer – especially when the weather is this hot out. There are so many quirky things to do in London this summer, giving you more than enough excuses to brave the tube and head into the capital whilst the weather is still nice.

Even though a day spent sipping cocktails or drinking pints outside a Camden pub is a tempting thought, I’d definitely recommend doing something a bit different this summer.

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SECRET CINEMA: ROMEO AND JULIET
I’ve become a huge fan of Secret Cinema since my first adventure with them a few years back. Although it’s pricey, it didn’t take me long to realize that the price makes the experience more than worth it; in fact when you take into account how much fun you have and how immersive it is, you almost wonder why it isn’t more expensive. This year, they’re offering you the chance to step into the world of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Little is known about what goes on upon arrival, except that it takes place outside with a Verona beach theme. But, I know it’s going to be something entirely unexpected. So if you want something really immersive this summer, here’s your chance to get given a character, dress up and see a movie really come to life…
Secret Cinema‘s Romeo and Juliet runs until the 25th August.

KAYAK TO CRATE BREWERY
If you’re more of an adventurer, why not take to the waters and try your hand at kayaking? Secret Adventures are currently offering you the chance to kayak along one of London eldest canals to Crate Brewery bar in Hackney. The 6km route follows the Limehouse Cut and River Lea, offering views of houseboats, warehouses, swans and other birdlife along the way. The route will conclude at Crate Brewery, where you can try house beers and delicious pizza (not included in the experience), or, if the weather does turn and you want something more cosy, you can hop onto the cosy Alfred Le Roy bar/boat nearby. What better way to enjoy this warm weather before mooring up with a relaxing drink as the sunsets?!
Kayak To Crate Brewery with Secret Adventures costs £45.00 and you can find more information here.

STROLL AROUND EEL PIE ISLAND
After finally getting around to visit Eel Pie Island recently, I cannot stop recommending it to people. It’s super small, yes, but you can easily spend a good hour or so strolling around, taking photos and exploring the stalls available on the island. Some of the art for sale there is absolutely beautiful too. Afterwards, it’s a nice walk along the riverside or throughout Twickenham, and there’s a cute little museum all about Eel Pie Island too. Or, dedicate an afternoon to exploring more of the islands that London has to offer!
Eel Pie Island is accessible only to the public during an artists open weekend, which take place a twice throughout the summer.

SEE A SHOW AT REGENT’S PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE
I’ve recommended this a few times before, but Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is truly beautiful and offbeat. The setting is absolutely wonderful with a really rustic open air stage and has the most amazing food options – I absolutely adore the fact that you can order a picnic or luxury hamper for two – how romantic?! This summer’s offering even includes Little Shop of Horrors – someone take me PLEASE!
For more information, click here.

GET DRUNK
Finally, if all else fails, grab a couple of mates and have a few drinks in the sun at one of London’s many beer gardens or rooftop bars. My personal favourites are The Leather Bottle (which sees it’s garden shacks turned into beach huts in the summer and winter cabins at Christmas), Owl and Hitchhiker (which is obviously dedicated to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so has tons of cool deco) and The Queen Of Hoxton (so, so cool and quirky and has the added benefit of Rooftop Film Club too).
BUT be safe. Drinking in the sun all day can be super dangerous so don’t start too early, drink water in between alcoholic drinks, wear sunscreen and EAT DELICIOUS FOOD TOO.

What are your go-to recommendations for summer in London? Let me know!

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Until Thursday night, I wasn’t aware of how much I needed a giant ball pit for adults in my life.

I feel like I’ve missed out on years of fun. Adults are constantly reverting back to childhood favourite experiences these days, with children’s play areas opening to elders and bouncy castle’s at nightclubs, but although the idea of a ball pit in/with a bar is a simple one, it’s so much more fun than you could ever imagine.
BallieBallerson has become increasingly popular for this idea alone in recent months but up until recently, I’d never had the chance to experience it myself. So I was really, really excited to receive an invite for their press/opening night of their newest venture – GlowyMcGlow.
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GlowyMcGlow is similar to what the uber cool company is known for – it’s still a giant ball pit, it’s still a DJ playing some awesome tunes so you can dance in said ball pit, and there’s still an elusive and tempting cocktail list on offer – only now, it’s all a new theme.
The multi-coloured balls have instead been replaced with clear ones – 250k to be exact – and LED lights have been added beneath to essentially make the balls glow. Mirrored walls surround the ball pit area to instead offer a really surreal experience, and adds a more grown up rave twist to the night.
The cocktail menu now offers a bunch of drinks themed around space, too. You can order fire, helium and dry ice cocktails which makes the upstairs area of the venue just as fun as the ball pit downstairs.
Director Wenny explained to me on the night that although the previous theme had been a success, the company is always looking for something new and unique to try and found the cocktail menu in particular had nowhere further to go. Despite being filled with retro cocktails with added sweets, the lure of clear balls and a glow theme made room for more experimental fun, and thus a space themed cocktail menu was launched using impressive fire and ice elements.
Before we headed downstairs to dive into the actual pit, we explored the drinks menu, spoilt for choice.
I tried Uranus, which was presented with a pill designed to turn my tastebuds upside down. Basically, the idea was to try the sharp drink and then eat the pill, which would then in turn make the drink delicious. The drink was a lot sweeter afterwards and the experience of trying this cocktail was unique in itself.

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I must include a shoutout to the bar staff here too. They were super friendly and really impressive to watch as they created each cocktail. They were easy to talk to too, and a real laugh. Also, if you do ever pop down, keep an eye out for one of the bar staff members who is a spitting image of Josh Dun of twenty one pilots…
After experiencing a bunch of delicious cocktails, we headed downstairs through the bold and bright graffiti’d venue, handed our belongings into a cloak room (it’s so easy to lose things in the ball pit. My friend lost her shoe, and I have a Snapchat video of her screaming ‘Abort mission!’ in a panic. It was hilarious) and jumped in.
And, I mean, we literally jumped in. This wasn’t some half-assed attempt of a ball pit where you can just wade in through really shallow balls. No. You could actually jump in and like, not hit the floor. It was an amazing feeling. 
We waded a little though. We swam. We burrowed to the bottom and hid. We partook in ball fights with the venue staff and we attempted to dance. I will tell you this – it’s so much fun, but there’s no way to act ladylike when trying to stand up again. 
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Every half hour or so, the lights dimmed and a UV rave began, with the balls changing colour even quicker.

Overall, it was so much fun and such a unique concept. I’ve already planned to go back. Even though the idea of just a giant ball pit sounds like it may get tired quickly, it really doesn’t. You don’t get bored at all and of course, if you do need a break, you can always nip upstairs for an impressive cocktail adjourned with glowsticks, dry ice or whatever else (I am slightly sad I did not get a chance to see them all!).
Plus, it’s affordable too. A £15 ticket will get you entry into the venue/bar/ball pit for two hours, or you can choose to splurge £35 for a Bottomless Brunch weekend ticket, which includes bottomless spaghetti meatballs, bottomless punch, bottomless prosecco and of course, entry into the ballpit. I think this will be our next shout…!
However, I really cannot begin to explain how much fun it is. You just have to experience it for yourself. Oh, and if you do, give my number to the Josh Dun look-a-like will you…?
Would you fancy channeling your inner child and visiting GlowlyMcGlow? Let me know with a comment!
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Cinema has changed greatly over the last five years, with new quirky viewing options popping up all the time.
Gone are the days where we’d go down to our local Cineworld and pay a good £20-£30 for tickets, food and drink for just two people. Although ‘other’ cinema experiences do tend to be around that price too, the fact of the matter is, doing something a little different offers you a lot more bang for your buck.
I can’t believe I’ve just used that phrase.

But the thing is, people are no longer willing to pay that much when they can do exactly the same thing at home for free. We live a Netflix-and-chill era where when we’re not hooking up between (and sometimes during) movies on the sofa at home, we’re avid on chasing the next alternative or unusual option out there.
But, this isn’t a bad thing. It means independent cinemas are doing better, because whilst there’s also out there options like sitting in a hot tub on a roof to watch a movie, a lot of people are also going back to basics and enjoying the historic cinemas that show independent and more classic films.
Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s around about that time to start booking these all in. On one hand, you can choose oddball outdoor showings to soak up the warm weather or perhaps you might want to choose something more basic and indoors, which can always be followed by a slow stroll around the London sunshine.

Here’s a quick guide to what’s worth booking this summer.

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ROOFTOP FILM CLUB
Chances are, you’ve already heard of the offbeat Rooftop Film Club. Not only are they a super approachable team (just look at their Twitter),
but it’s also a wise and popular choice for summer evenings spent in
London. Rooftop Film Club are probably one of the most popular
alternative cinema events and even host some showings at my ultimate
fave, Queen of Hoxton. 

OUTDOOR CINEMA
Okay, ‘outdoor cinema’ is pretty vague and is probably the most basic (but cheapest) on this list. Outdoor cinema does what it says on the tin – you, er, watch film outdoors. This is quite reliant on the weather, but what’s nicer then kicking back on a blanket with the sun setting and watching a film amongst good company? You’ve got Pop Up Screens for the basic and affordable and take place all over London, whereas The Nomad Cinema, tends to pop up at more quirky locations, such as graveyards and stuff. And there’s also the Luna Cinema, which pops up at really picturesque locations, such as the beautiful Warwick Castle this summer. Sundown Cinema is worth a mention too (and includes showings at the beautiful Luton Hoo which is ever so local to me, so is totally on my bucketlist this summer).

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HOT TUB CINEMA
If you can face getting into a hot tub with strangers, then Hot Tub Cinema is for you. And if not – you can rent a hot tub out between just your friends if there are enough of you. Hot Tub Cinema takes place on rooftops around London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. Attendee’s are generally encouraged to drink and dress up (or rather, dress down) and if you don’t have enough friends interested, don’t let this discourage you. The general audience is young quirky types (no old perverted men) so chances are you’ll end up getting on with whoever’s tub you may end up in.
 
DRIVE IN FILM CLUB
Drive In Film Club is by the same team behind Rooftop Film Club, and I can personally vouch for this experience being awesome. Film showings tend to be set just that little bit later when it’s dark, but obvs you won’t get cold as you’ll be in your car! The tickets are super cheap being that they’re per car, meaning you can fit as many people as possible into your motor and split the cost. There’s plenty of hot dogs on hand too, and yes, you do get popcorn and drink delivered to your car window. You WILL feel like you’re in America.

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PILLOW CINEMA
Pillow Cinema is dubbed the ‘cosiest night in night buy ventolin out’ and I’m not surprised considering how comfy it all looks – and isn’t that what it’s all about? I need to be comfy when watching a film, in fact, when I’m at home, I can’t sit and watch a film unless I have my blanket with me, even if it’s a hot day. Obviously dressing down and lounging about is slightly discouraged at most cinemas but Pillow Cinema encourages it! Personally, I think it’s ideal for dates…

ELECTRIC CINEMA
With two locations – one in Portobello and one in the uber cool Shoreditch, Electric Cinema brings plush on a cool level – they’re basically very Instagram worthy and chances are you’ve spotted images from the cinemas on Pinterest already. Each cinema has super comfy chairs and sofas – and one even has beds! Plus there’s food and drink that can be taken back to your seats, too, and again, I’m not just talking about your standard local cinema popcorn.

EDIBLE CINEMA
This one’s for the foodies. The general process is that it mixes film with food and you attend a showing to be given a tray of small numbered containers on your allocated seat. Throughout the film, a screen-side light box will light up to reveal what package should be opened when – mixing canapes and cocktails with the films. But it’s not just popcorn and hot dogs at Edible Cinema – the food is meant to add to the experience of the film. It’s probably one of the most unique quirky cinema events out there and worth doing at least once in your life. Plus, you’ll feel really cultural afterwards, too.

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SECRET CINEMA
If you don’t know what Secret Cinema
is yet, then it’s probably not up your street. The not-so-secret event
is based around a movie and consists of an immersive experience that
often encourages attendees to dress up and get in character for, followed
by a showing of film in a quirky location. Over the years, they’ve been
praised for their showings of Star Wars and Back To The Future and, most notably, 28 Days Later. You can read my personal vague review of that here.
It’s pricey, so unless you’re willing to throw yourself into it, you’re
probably not going to enjoy it as much as you could. That said, I’d
recommend everyone to try a Secret Cinema event at least once in their
life.

BACKYARD CINEMA
Backyard cinema actually started in someone’s backyard, so this company really knows what it’s like to start from the very beginning and still offer that relaxed home-away-from-home feel. The showings are set in unique locations and are sometimes accompanied by actors and live music. Each event is designed to feel like a night out. Their current big event is a showing of Romeo & Juliet in a church, with a choir, too. Tickets can vary from a basic place either on a deckchair or a sofa, to date night tickets that include a bottle of fizz, ice cream, popcorn and a blanket to share. So cute. The theme for summer 2017 is Miami Beach!

THE REX CINEMA
The Rex Cinema, Berkhamsted is a resorted art deco cinema which is perfect for you vintage types. Showings include classic and independent films, as well as more modern ones, also. But the venue itself is beyond beautiful, with plush red seats surrounding candlelit tables which, yes, you can get food brought over to. My sister took me once here for my birthday and I loved the whole experience. If I remember rightly, someone even comes on stage to introduce the film!

From hot tubs on a rooftop on a hot summer’s day, to snuggling up on plush beds or sofas when the weather is just too cold outside – there’s plenty of choice this summer and autumn when the local cinema just doesn’t do it for you.

These are all I can think of off the top of my head but there are PLENTY more. Are there any I have missed that should be added to this list? Are there any you’d like to try? Let me know!

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