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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Last Friday it became time to meet my boyfriend's close friends for the first time ever, and in a bid to impress (and save money!), I swiftly booked us all onto a Cocktail Masterclass at Steinback & Shaw, Watford.

I'd actually been wanting to visit this particular bar for a while now as I was intrigued by it's unique decor and it's extensive cocktail menu. Plus, the whole bar is big on skulls and you know how much I love skulls...

So it was my boyfriend's friends birthday which meant we could get the masterclass for half price. £15 per person got us three cocktails (each) which were made during the masterclass, shots of prosecco, free entry and our own table or booth, which is a total bargain.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Steinback & Shaw | Steinback & Shaw Watford | Watford | Cocktail Masterclass | Lifestyle

Although I mainly booked the deal to save money and to impress, I was looking forward to it, as was my boyfriend who is actually a bartender so he was intrigued to see how each drink was made differently to how he makes them etc.

In the class that lasted around 45 minutes, we were taught how to make Sex On The Beach, a Pornstar Martini and a Long Island Iced Tea. I think these were the best cocktails to make because they were a little complicated but in a fun way - for example, it wouldn't have been a lot of fun learning how to make something like a J├Ągerbomb!

The bartender that conducted the class was friendly and talkative and explained each step thoroughly. It was actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Steinback & Shaw | Steinback & Shaw Watford | Watford | Cocktail Masterclass | Lifestyle

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Steinback & Shaw | Steinback & Shaw Watford | Watford | Cocktail Masterclass | Lifestyle

The bar itself was well worth trekking into Watford for. It had such a fun atmosphere. We arrived pretty early as we had plans afterwards, but even arriving around 7pm it was busy with an upbeat vibe but not too busy. As the evening progressed, a DJ began playing some tunes which meant we had a chance to get up and dance too.

Unfortunately we didn't have much time to check out upstairs, but I did notice on the way to the bathrooms that it had ping pong! Which to be honest is as good as an excuse to visit again as any.

Overall, it was a really fun night and I was so impressed with what we got for such a bargain price. My only qualm was that we weren't really well informed of what our night consisted of; I was under the impression that we had a bottle of prosecco and a booth upstairs, as well as entry into next door's club too, but any staff member I enquired to didn't really know the answer. Although we found our table quickly upon arrival, it would have been nice to have one set member of staff to greet and look after us and explain in more detail what our evening consisted of, instead of me having to seek out staff to ask if we had a table upstairs and whether or not we had to give up our table to go upstairs or we could stay there etc.

However, for so many benefits for just £15 per person, there's little I could complain about. We ordered a few additional cocktails too and found they were delicious and priced just right.

We'll definitely be visiting again soon!

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Lately, I've been spending a hell of a lot of time in a sweet little market town called Hitchin and, during this time, I have absolutely fallen in love with the place. It is beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I've been here before plenty of times with family to visit the market, but I've never quite visited the more high-end or cute area of the town and now that I have, I bloody love it.

Hitchin is based in North Hertfordshire and is around a half an hour drive away from Luton. It's also just a half hour train journey away from London.

Here are five places well worth making a trip to Hitchin for - plus it's the perfect place to spend an afternoon visit, with plenty of opportunities for bargain shopping, cute chic eating options or classy bars for a drink.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Hitchin | Hertfordshire | Chia Naturally Healthy

20 Churchgate, SG5 1AB
If you love a bargain like me then you'll definitely want to visit Hitchin market. It takes place on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with Fridays aiming to offer an antique/bric-a-brac market and Sunday being a car boot sale - other market days are just a general market. You'll find all sorts amongst the stalls but it's definitely worth a mooch if you're after something individual and unique.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Hitchin | Hertfordshire | Chia Naturally Healthy

25 Church Yard, 
This gorgeous small cafe is the cutest place I've ever visited in my whole entire life - and the healthiest. The old building overlooks a beautiful view of St Mary's Church and the staff are firm believers in clean eating. The menu is entirely vegan/veggie and offers delicious lunch and breakfast options, as well as hot drinks and smoothies. They also sell a small collection of veggie/vegan products and allow pets downstairs, too. Plus, everything on the menu (plus inside the cafe itself) is ridiculously instagram worthy.

8 High Street, SG5 1BHThe Cock *immature snigger* is a lovely British pub in the centre of Hitchin. The food is mouthwatering with a satisfying selection of sharing platters, one of which includes mini versions of the pub's favourites such as burger sliders, minced beef and ale pies and hand battered cod goujons. There isn't much for vegans, but there is a veggie fish and chips (hand battered halloumi cheese - delicious) and many items on the lunch menu can easily be made vegan. Plus, the food is presented beautifully - and the menu itself is unique in design.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Hitchin | Hertfordshire | Hermitage Rd. Bar and Restaurant

20-21 Hermitage Rd, 
I may be somewhat biased to as of why I've been visiting this place so much lately, but if you're looking for somewhere to go in Hitchin with a more classy vibe then this place is the answer. The bar-restaurant-coffee-house just oozes sophistication with a relaxed vibe in the day, followed by a more upbeat but welcoming atmosphere in the evenings, often with live music to accompany the creative cocktail menu. The food is delicious, too, and the bright and spacious building even has a history; it's been a cinema, a ballroom and even a concert venue in past years.

As if all the independent venues I've mentioned above aren't enough to tickle your fancy, you'll also find Starbucks, Zizzis, Pizza Express in the city centre, as well as a selection of charity shops and small bric-a-brac shops too. Nearby is Stevenage Leisure Park, with a cinema, more foody places, bowling and even crazy golf.

Finally, Hitchin is just damn pretty...

Despite being a pretty mixed town - with lots of elder generations mooching around the market and on-trend hipsters flocking the bars, Hitchin is a sweet but upcoming place overall. Have you ever visited? Let me know..

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Friday, 17 March 2017

As well as having a few dates from hell in my life time, I can admit that I've made some of my own embarrassing dating disasters - hey, no one is perfect..

Luckily I can laugh at these kind of things (if a guy can't handle my crazy side then he aint worth dating) and they lead onto pretty hilarious stories. Here are some of the dating disasters I've made over the years.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Dating | Dating Disasters

Recently, I broke my phone. Well, when I say broke, I mean I smashed it on a night out, smashed it more on another night out and now sometimes it works perfectly (bar having a cracked screen) and other times it'll just open random apps on my phone, type random messages etc. Once it even got stuck in Snapchat for three hours and I couldn't swipe to switch my phone off then back on. But you know where this is going. I met a cute guy in London recently and I'm sorry but I have real 'seize the moment' feelings when it comes to this sort of thing and although I didn't manage to get his number, I did manage to find him on facebook eventually.

If adding him and messaging him wasn't stalkerish enough on my part (in my defence though, he did reply. He's either as much as a dumbass as me for accepting my stalkerish behaviour or maybe he's just a really ridiculously nice person), I was looking at his profile recently when my phone began having one of it's episodes. Determined to stop my phone liking some random photo of his or something, I locked it and put it in my bag until I got home. When I eventually logged on again, my phone had somehow scrolled down his timeline and shared one of his life events to my facebook profile. *face palm*. I apologized profusely, but there's no way he believed it was an accident. On the other hand, that kind of gesture is so batshit crazy that I like to believe no one would actually willingingly do that but who knows. It would only happen to me and I kind of wish my phone HAD just liked a random photo instead. At least then I could have laughed it off and been like yeah, sorry, I was perving on your photos, you're fit..

I'd been seeing a guy for a bit, we stopped talking and eventually started talking again bit by bit. We arranged to go for a drink one evening and I was out shopping with my nan whilst texting him and I mentioned how my nan was driving me crazy. I put my phone away and it wasn't until an hour later when I checked and saw his messages asking me why I didn't tell him I had a baby...I'd only went and typed that my baby was driving me mad! (How my phone autocorrected nan to baby I don't know!) Luckily, this one was easily laughed off.

Of course, I have also done the accidentally liking of an old photo of someone. Except it wasn't the guy I was crushing on at the time. It was an old instagram photo of his new girlfriend and I had no reason to even know he had a girlfriend because a) we hadn't spoken in months, b) it wasn't announced on facebook and c) I only found out on Instagram even though I didn't follow him on Instagram. I immediately made my profile private but, y'know, the damage was done.

Another time I was seeing a guy and it was early days. We'd met on Tinder but definitely hadn't had that 'are you talking to anyone else' conversation yet. Although I later realized it was at this point he was starting to seem more and more off, he asked me what my plans were one day and I told him I was off to see my other nan (as in the nan I wasn't staying with at the time), with lots of smiley faces. Three days later I actually realized I'd typed 'other man', and his reply was just ''. I had no idea how to read that. It had sounded like a) I was leading two guys on at the same time and b) I was actually referring to him as 'my man' already, and his reply didn't reveal much either. Another fuck up from yours truly.

Once when I was a love sick fan girl teenager, I was nosing at a rockstar's facebook, found his rumoured girlfriend on facebook and accidentally sent her a friend request without realizing. I finally noticed around three months later and she'd obviously seen the request. And the giant photo of said rockstars band as my facebook banner, therefore making it fairly obvious I was an obsessive fangirl.

Oh, when in Amsterdam. Not that I promote the use of drugs but, y'know, when in Amsterdam you gotta try the (legal, may I add..) space cakes. Did you also know that in Amsterdam, many clubs have unisex toilets? Well, one evening, after one too many space cakes (okay, well, I had one to myself instead of half for my first time like the man suggested), me and my friend got chatting to these super hot Australian dudes. We excused ourselves to go to the bathroom and agreed to meet back at the bar and whilst in the bathroom, I practically begged my friend to let us hang out with them for the rest of the night because the guy I was talking to was apparently so fit. And then, moments later, the guys exit from the stalls (in the unisex toilets) obviously having heard the whole thing... *facepalm*

And of course, there's been many, many, many drunken messages. Sometimes they've led to a good thing but most of the time it just makes me come across as really over the top. I can't help it. I can play it cool, sure, but as soon as I get a drink in me, all that vagueness builds up and overloads into ten messages in a row of me talking about how fit someone is and how much I like them and how good they smell. It's actually got to the point now where if I know I'm having a messy night and I know there is someone I shouldn't be talking to drunk, I'll actually DELETE their number in advance just to be safe.

I mean some of these things just baffle me. I'll go out of my way to be so careful to avoid getting in situations like these and then they happen but in a way that's a million times worse than they could have. And they always make me come across as someone who literally stalks people online 24/7 when it's genuinely just a one off mistake. God help me.

Have you ever had any dating disasters that you just can't live down? Let me know!

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

For someone that calls themself a blogger, I'm definitely way behind the times when it comes to Youtube. I don't follow any big bloggers like Zoella and up until recently, I only really used Youtube to listen to music and occasionally watch the odd documentary about ghosts.

Then I moved back home and connected all my Xbox up again and I also got sick (hence the lack of updates over the past few days), leaving me bedridden and using Youtube as one of my main sources of entertainment. 

There were a few channels I'd followed in the past, but over the past week or so I've also discovered others. So although they're not massively popular like some Youtubers among bloggers, they're definitely still worth a follow.

Here are my favourite Youtube channels.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Lifestyle | Youtube | Youtubers | My Favourite Youtubers

This dude is hilarious and is well known for the way he draws out and tells every-day stories in a hilarious and over the top way. I followed him years and years back and then last time I looked, he hadn't updated in ages. But when I logged on the other day, he had updated recently! So he's back (or maybe he never left, I'm not quite sure). Anyway, his videos never fail to make me laugh out loud (and I mean real loud) or cheer me up when I need it.
Watch here.

I know these videos are all over Facebook and that anyway, but sometimes you just gotta watch them on a bigger screen, especially if you're planning to cook along at the same time. Many a times I've just put this channel on in the background and just watched video after video, finding inspiration and slowly growing more and more hungry in the process...
Watch here.

This is probably one of the only big bloggers I follow because I love the diversity of her workouts. It still baffles me that I can just pop on a Youtube channel and do a workout at home on my day off without having to lug myself to the gym and I love that she has warm up videos too, as well as workout's for all different types of exercise.
Watch here.

This channel may not be for everyone, but anyone who likes something a bit different or just wants an excuse to think will enjoy the videos found here. The channel offers bitesize takes on different and interesting conspiracy theories - but the videos are quick and straight to the point, using facts only. It's great if you just want something quick or want to learn something new, then of course you can explore further on Youtube with longer videos on each subject.
Watch here.

I'm going to be honest, I first started watching this guys channel to feel cultured as f*ck - and it's working. He covers everyday news (mainly American lately, but mostly worldwide) and just stuff that everyone should know. But he covers it in a straight to the point and unbiased way which is great, especially if you're someone like me who feels overwhelmed with so many different sources of media sometimes. He updates news videos on Monday's through to Thursday's and again, the videos are fairly short whilst also being comprehensive.
Watch here.

These are just some of my favourite Youtube channels/Youtubers but of course I'm always on the look out for more. Are there any you can recommend? Let me know!

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Despite having a pretty busy couple of weeks, I'm all out of content ideas right now so I thought a Sunday catchup was in order. Therefore, here's what I've been up to lately..

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Lifestyle | A catch up

Right now, I'm typing up this post relaxing in bed with a recently cleaned room (new bed sheets, the floor hoovered - the lot!) and Made In Chelsea playing on my Xbox in the background - as I've recently moved back home. The reasons for me moving out of my Dad's/childhood home and into my Nan's for six months or so are personal, but with differences set aside a while back now, coming home was an easy decision for me. I've missed being in my own bed, I've missed my dog and my dad and, um, I've missed the free & unlimited WiFi...

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Lifestyle | A catch up

On Wednesday, I attended Secret Cinema in London. This time around the renowned company put on a production of Moulin Rouge which was of course as amazing as expected. If you've ever seen the film (and/or been to a previous Secret Cinema event), you'll know just how creative the company can get and boy did they deliver. I won't spoil too much, but it was really epic. I was nervous about attending as again, I was going alone, and unlike last year, I knew there was a more relaxed feel this time around. Last time, being put into groups and being chased around by zombies meant that I completely forgot I'd attended alone. However, despite feeling like a bit of a div for the first half hour or so, I soon relaxed into my character this time around and had a lot of fun.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Lifestyle | A catch up

I've spent so much time lately with my sister and my niece and it's amazing to see my niece growing up so quickly. I never really liked kids until my sister fell pregnant and now I jump at the chance of babysitting. Little Ella is almost walking, she's crawling a little bit but mostly dragging herself along on the floor commando style and is starting to talk.

Finally, a month today I will be well into my Mexican adventure with TrekAmerica - and I'm so scared and excited. First of all, I can't actually believe it's finally happening. I've been trying to arrange this trip for years but at last, with everything paid off, visa's sorted, flights non-refundable and such..there really is no going back now. It's my first time travelling which is super nerve wracking but I know it's going to be an amazing experience that will teach me loads. I can't wait. All that's left to do is to buy a swimming costume (I have two bikini's but I want a more secure costume too), change up my money and borrow a backpack. I'm also booked in to get my nails, hair and bikini wax done - eek!

There's not too much else that I've been up to lately but with a few things planned for the next few weeks, hopefully I'll have some more interesting content to offer...

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