Tag Archives: gin

Two months of good times…

After last year, I made a commitment to myself to celebrate the small stuff more and not get bogged down in ‘woe is me’ and it seems to be working.

So here’s all the awesomes that have happened in 2015 and the things I have to look forward to in March…

Starting at the very beginning, the wino and I completed a 1,000 piece jigsaw which we started on New Year’s Eve. Got to admit, I did wonder about what had happened to us (for the last few years we’ve either thrown amazing parties or gone and stayed in beautiful country cottages for the festivities) but staying in, eating nice food, drinking pink champagne and doing a jigsaw with the love of my life was exactly what I needed! And it meant that I could be a good daughter for the first time in about 30 years and take my dad to the temple on New Year’s Day. Oh yeah, already winning at 2015.

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I know I’ve hardly said anything about it at all, but I also went on a fantastic holiday in January. You can read all about it, if you’re so inclined, but what was particularly awesome about that trip, other than it being utterly gorgeous, were the wonderful friends we made whilst sitting by pools and drinking gin.

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I’ve had a lot of fun days out with fabulous friends in London – all day drinking (twice) in Soho (and food obviously – ramen at Bone Daddies, pizza from Pizza Pilgrims, brunch at Balans), lunches in Granary Square (and playing in the fountains obviously), a day out at Borough market, brunch at Riding House Cafe and drinking a lot of gin on one day.

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There’s been a lot of quality family time too – my cousin came over from Canada for a spell to visit his mum. We celebrated his birthday this week at a delicious local Sri Lankan restaurant, which was only mildly ruined by the “Greatest Hits of the 1980s-2000s… on pan pipes” CD they insisted upon playing.

I took my darling niece and nephew on a half term day out which included Big Hero 6, Wagamama and Shaketastic. They are too cute for actual words. And we had neon sugar pancakes on pancake day.

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I have started to build up my work portfolio and feeling confident that I may actually be able to afford to get my hair cut and nails done soon. Because, whilst looking like a crazed mountain woman is fine when you’re working from home in your pyjamas, people in actual offices don’t seem to appreciate the wild eyed insane look. Lord knows why.

I had a midweek daytime trip to Ikea (actually not hell on earth then, if you can do it) and have finally got around to framing some of the prints that have lived in tubes for years and bought some lovely new plant pots and succulents to give me something else to look at whilst I work my day away.

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And coming up in March – I’m hosting a gigantic dinner party, my dear friend turns 40 so most of the rest of the month is celebrating him (not nearly enough time to do him justice, quite frankly), I’ve got a couple of friends coming to stay and I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes up to surprise me.

Life is looking a lovely shade of pink at the moment – there’s been some downs too, but what’s the point in reminding yourself of those? It’s all about onwards and upwards and putting a smile on. And getting a haircut.

What do you have to be grateful for so far this year? And what’s coming up to put a smile on your face? I’d love to hear about it.

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Gin Gin Gin Gin Gin.

The title of this post was the description of the second to last photo I Instagrammed on Saturday night, after a day filled with drinking gin. I’m pretty sure I thought I was being eloquent and interesting with that but given the last Instagram photo was at McDonald’s, I don’t think my brain was working as well as I thought.

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I like gin. I like gin and tonic. I like gin and ginger. I like gin martinis (dry, with three olives, since you asked.) I like gin in cakes (weird right? But gooooood). I like that it is great in winter or summer. And a discovery in recent years botanicals a gin can make, so the rise of artisan gins has opened up a whole new world of alcohol(ism) for me. And let’s be honest, I’m a bit of a gin snob.

So when my dear friend of 30 years, Sue, who is also a big old alcoholic gin fan suggested we attend The London Gin Festival, I was more than happy to oblige. For education purposes only, of course.

We've been friends for 30 years. This scares me a bit. We're OLD.
We’ve been friends for 30 years. This scares me a bit. We’re OLD.

The London Gin Festival took place at the Camden Centre in Kings Cross last weekend and I believe it pops up around the country inspiring people to try artisan gins. The event is sponsored by Fever Tree, which if you’ve got tonic snob tendencies (I do) is amongst the best tonics out there.

Love this building
Love this building

We were booked in for the evening session, with Sue’s friend Jo, so the three of us sensibly met at lunchtime in order to line our stomachs. Which we did – at Plum and Spilt Milk where we had quite average bar snacks and not bad coffee, followed by a swift round of cocktails at the Gilbert Scott (always a delightful treat), followed by lunch at the Fellow (my favourite Kings Cross boozer) with too much wine. All told, we’d had a few ‘refreshers’ before getting to the gin fest so I’m not sure I was in the right frame of mind to be educated. But I was definitely up for drinking.

The Honeybee at the Gilbert Scott

The £10 entry fee to the Gin Festival presents you with a gigantic glass, a badge, a pen, a catalogue and a order form. In order to get drinks, you need tokens at £5 a pop – so we bought four each. And then another two each later in the evening. We were basically saint like in our gin intake.

The Gin Festival is home to 100+ gins from all over the world. There is no way you’re going to get through 100 gins (at least, not if you like your liver at all) so if you make it to a future event, it’s worth having a look through the catalogue on arrival and choosing a handful that sound interesting to you. It gets quite busy, as you’ll see from the pictures below, but the layout means you’re never really queuing for a drink, you’re mostly being annoying looking at the different gins on each bar.

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We were given a free shot of Brockman’s when we arrived. This had quite a fruity taste, which wasn’t to my liking but one that you could probably drink neat if you like that sort of thing.

We then moved to the nearest bar where I had a very drinkable Steam Punk gin. This was a good every day drinker, nothing to annoy the senses but lots of subtle botanicals including lavender which is one of my favourite things in drinks. Sue had an Old English which again was really simple and delicious.

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We then headed to the American Gin bar and tried three different gins from St George. Wow. These were mindblowing – gorgeous flavours, fresh scents, transporting you to a different world. The Terroir was my favourite with piney, herbal aromas.

There were a couple of others that passed me by – absolutely fine but nothing of note. Until we discovered Opihr. Pronounced O-peer, this was a spiced, perfumed delight, that evoked memories of the Spice Routes and old Asia. With a splash of ginger ale,this was my absolute favourite drink of the evening. So much so that I bought a bottle. I don’t think it’ll last very long.

Pride of place on our booze tray

There was an amazing stand of vintage gins which sadly weren’t for tasting, but lovely looking bottles.

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And if all that gin became too much, there were hot dogs and fancy pants crisps for eating. And there was a band, but sadly the acoustics in the room made it difficult to hear them unless you stood right in front of them.

Gin and crisps

All told, if you like gin and fancy a relatively inexpensive day out where you can discover new drinks and become a gin bore, this is the event for you. All future events are listed on the website here: http://www.ginfestival.co.uk/events/ and you can follow gin news on Facebook and Twitter.