Gin Festival Maidstone

Gins a bit trendy isn’t it? I must admit I’m quite new to the pleasure of a nice cold G&T but with all these creative craft gins popping up all over the place, it’s sure to become my tipple of choice.

So when the lovely peeps at Gin Festival invited me along to one of their events, I thought that would be my perfect opportunity to discover some new favourites. Along with my gin loving hubby, we went to the Saturday afternoon event at the Kent Showground, Detling, Maidstone. Although the Gin Festival has been going since 2013, this year was the first year it came to Maidstone – and it completely sold out!

Gin Festival Maidstone

When you arrive you are given a guide to the festival as well as your very own copa gin glass which you can keep and take home. I thought this was particularly good and wins some eco-friendly points from me on that! There is a cashless system in place so you are also given a wrist band which you can load up with money before or during the event to ensure a smoother process at the bars rather than faffing about with money.

What to expect

There were four brands giving out free tasters, they were: PJ Gin from Belgium – available exclusively from ginfestival.com, Tinker Gin – based in Yorkshire and launched in 2017, Anno – a Kent based distillers whose delish cranberry gin tasted like Christmas and Brockmans – an English gin ‘like no other’.

Well, I quite liked them all with a bit of tonic (which was from the Schweppes 1783 premium range).

Anno Gins at Gin Festival Maidstone

Beyond these tasters there were five bars to get your drinks at, as well as a cocktail bar, snacks, food and live music. There were also masterclasses on. We attended the one held by Dan from Tinker Gins which was really quite funny (and full of swearing hehe!). It definitely adds something when you meet the people behind the drinks and learn about their passions.

Tinker Gin masterclass at Gin Festival Maidstone

Mr QLP loves a G&T and enjoyed a Brockmans Premium Gin followed by a Tinker Gin. I chose a Boe Violet Gin which was very light and sweet, followed by a Marula Gin which was garnished with peach. We also tried the Elephant Gin because 15% of proceeds go to support African elephant charities, which is enough to make me want it, but its also garnished with the winning combo of apple and ginger – yum!

The UK's biggest gin festival

The guide book given out tells you about all the gins on offer and what they taste like as well as what kind of garnish and mixer you should pair them with. There were so many gins to try it actually made it difficult to decide what to go for! I was certainly intrigued by the Hidden Curiosities gin with peppercorns and the Sweet Potato Plum gin liqueur but I’ll have to try those out next time. My only niggle was that I had really wanted to try the Zymurgorium Sweet Violet gin as its supposed to taste like parma violet sweets but it had sold out just an hour into the event. Disappointing.

Gin Life

We ended the day feeling rather tipsy but bought ourselves a bottle of Brockmans to take home! I would definitely recommend Gin Festival and I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled in future for some of the gins I didn’t get chance to try!

Disclaimer: I was given free tickets by Gin Festival but all thoughts are my own.

Update: Unfortunately Gin Festival have since gone into administration however if you’re looking for Gin Festivals then check out www.eatdrinkseek.co.uk/gin-festivals

5 ways to improve your wellbeing

5 ways to improve your wellbeing – tried and tested by me!

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I try what I can to improve my mental wellbeing. After one particularly unsuccessful and unsympathetic trip to see my GP about my anxiety disorder, I decided to look more into alternative ideas and therapies. So I’m here to share with you some ways to improve your wellbeing.

1. Reiki

What is reiki? Reiki is a Japanese technique that promotes relaxation, healing and stress reduction. You lay fully-clothed and your reiki healer places their hands, non-intrusively, on parts of your body to channel energy.

I visited a reiki healer last year that a friend recommended. After a brief chat and a quick form to fill in, I lay on my back on a massage table. My reiki healer dimmed the lights, lit some incense and played some soft music. She then proceeded to place her hands on different parts of my body.

I’ll admit it felt a little strange at first to be lying in some random lady’s house but having always been a slight hippy at heart it didn’t take me long to relax into it. The session lasted an hour and I felt peaceful afterwards. Some people say they see colours and hallucinations while receiving reiki treatment but I didn’t experience that. However, once I had left my reiki healer’s house, as I was walking back to my car, I began smiling. A big genuine smile. I don’t know why I was smiling (I think I’m more resting bitch face) but I’m putting it down to the reiki.

2. Yoga

I’ve mentioned yoga before and I’m trying to make it a weekly part of my routine by attending a class every Wednesday. I always feel much more upbeat after a class, so much so that I vow to myself that I will start doing some yoga at home, either practicing what I learnt in class or following some youtube videos. It’s easier said than done though when your cat makes himself comfy on your yoga mat as soon as you roll it out!

yoga cat sat on the yoga mat
Yoga cat sat on the yoga mat

3. Nature Therapy

Nature therapy, or forest bathing as it is known is Japan, is basically the idea that being out in nature is good for your well-being, both body and mind. Studies have shown that being in nature and among trees can lower your blood pressure, increase your self-esteem and generally ease symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. I can safely say that for me, nature therapy works wonders and during these last few weeks when my anxiety has been sky high, the only things I am interested in doing are lying on the sofa watching tv or going for walks – I know which one is best for me too!

Image via unsplash

4. Meditation

Meditation is one of those things that sounds easy but really isn’t. After trying it at home without much success, I decided to attend a drop-in session. The theme for the session was contentment but my main reason for attending was to learn how to meditate. There were about 12 of us all sat on chairs facing the front of the room while we were guided by a lady who had quite an air of wisdom and calm about her. There was a Buddhist poem sung at the beginning and then she told us to place our hands in our laps, close our eyes and concentrate on the cool air we breathe in and the warm air we breathe out. There was some thought provoking chitchat, another meditation session and then a Q&A session with tea and biscuits.

The session I attended gave me some food for thought but I think I would have preferred an environment that didn’t remind me of old school rooms or a doctor’s waiting rooms, some cushions and candles would have been nice! But it hasn’t put me off trying again at home, and there are apps you can download to help you get into the mindset for it.

5. Spa day

If all else fails, get yourself in for a spa day. My go-to treatments are a facial and a back massage. A spa day doesn’t have to be expensive either, there are plenty of deals to be had if you shop around. Even if the soothing effects of a spa treatment are short-lived, it is so worth it even just for one worry-free day.


Do you deal with anxiety? What would your personal well-being tips be? Sharing is caring 🙂

5 ways to improve your wellbeing

#GIRLBOSS – Book Review

I’m about a year too late to the party, but having recently watched the Netflix series I felt inspired to read the book itself. I am of course talking about #GIRLBOSS.

#GIRLBOSS book review
Background image via unsplash

You probably already know by now, but #GIRLBOSS is written by Sophia Amoruso, founder of multi-million dollar fashion empire Nasty Gal, and is a bit of a rags to riches kind of story. Sophia tells her tale in this book which is part autobiography, part motivational speech.

I didn’t know much about Amoruso or her Nasty Gal empire before I watched the tv series, but I felt that the book was kind of like getting a pep talk from your sassy, savvy (and very rich) friend. I enjoyed the first half of the book and it made me feel inspired and wanting to get up and go do something extraordinary but unfortunately my interest dwindled towards the end of the book… there’s only so many times you can read “I am the CEO of a $100-million-plus business” and not grow jaded.

This is not a self-help book in the sense that it will give you insider info to help you run your own empire, but it will give you a bit of a pep talk to go out there and get shit done.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol”

“It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission”

“Focus on the positive things in your life and you’ll be shocked at how many more positive things start happening. But before you start to think you just got lucky, remember that it’s magic, and you made it yourself”

“When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your invention”

“It’s cool to be kind. It’s cool to be weird. It’s cool to be honest and to be secure with yourself. Cool is the girl at a party who strikes up a conversation with you when she notices you don’t seem to know many people there”

“Clothing is ultimately the suit of armor in which we battle the world”


Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What motivational books would you recommend? Feel free to comment below!

2017 Resolutions… How did I do?

Hiya!

I’ve been rubbish at blogging again haven’t I? Oh well, maybe I’ll try better next year?! LOL.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit my 2017 New Years Resolutions and see how I fared. And you know what, I did much better than I would have thought!

So, what were they?

1. Follow a passion and learn something new – I mentioned that I was doing a distance learning course. Well I am still doing the course. It’s taking ages but I’m almost there and not to blow my own trumpet but I’ve done really well at it! It’s for a diploma in zoo animal care, behaviour and welfare – something totally different to my day job but I’ve always had an interest in the animal kingdom so perhaps a future career change?! Who knows! It might not amount to anything but at least I’ve given it a go.

2. Reignite my creative spark – This was semi successful. Me and my husband enrolled in a local art class that lasted from February until July. It was great to get out of the house for a couple of hours on a Monday evening and experiment with paint and pencils etc. However the subject matter (imaginary spheres?!?) got quite tedious. I did come away with quite a nice drawing of a giraffe so I guess that’s something right?

3. Look after my mental well-being – Hmm. Not sure what to say about this one. I guess anxiety is one of those things that’s with me for life, it’s just down to whether I control it or it controls me. More on this shortly.

4. Be more conscientious – The big focus here was cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries which I’ve stuck to. With all this recent news of plastics choking our oceans, my next focus will be to try and cut down my use of plastics – starting by using the rather pretty Chilly’s water bottle my hubby bought me instead of using plastic water bottles.

5. Do more volunteer work – The best thing I did in 2017 was volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre in Costa Rica. If you want to read about it then check out my post A girl’s guide to volunteering in Costa Rica. Coinciding with my interests in all things zoological, I ended up volunteering at two other places in the UK, unfortunately though on top of my day job and life in general it all got a bit too much and I burnt out, so at present I am not doing any volunteer work but I’m sure I will again when the time is right.

Volunteering in Costa Rica - caring for howler monkeys among other animals.
Chew with your mouth closed! – Me in with the Howler Monkeys

So what about 2018?

I am making one resolution for 2018 – to try and be more positive.

I’ve been in quite a negative place this past year and I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately negativity breeds negativity so I need to try and distance myself from bad vibes and attempt to keep my head above water. This all goes back to my mental well-being point above. I have a few ideas so watch this space and wish me luck!


How did you do with your 2017 resolutions? And are you making any for 2018? Leave me a comment below x

I went phone free for 48 hours

i went phone free for 48 hours
Image via Unsplash

I went phone free for 48 hours. And I liked it.

I haven’t been a very happy bunny lately. I got home on Friday evening feeling quite deflated and low after work and decided that I really wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, look at social media or waste my time reading banal rubbish online. So I text my mum and told her if she wanted to contact me to call the house phone, then I switched off my Samsung and tucked it away in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.

And you know what, it was easier than you might think.

Yes I admit, I had a little moment where I did a bit of online shopping on the Asos app on my ipad, but other than that there was no waking up and seeing what was trending on Twitter, no mindless scrolling of my Instagram feed, no Facebook (although I hardly use FB these days anyway), no looking at jokes or motivational quotes on Pinterest to lift my mood and no constant checking for messages.

And you know what, I only really missed the BBC weather app. I don’t know if that’s sad or refreshing, but either way I don’t care.

This isn’t me going phone free forever because I admit, they are useful. I would literally be quite lost without google maps! But this is me being more – dare I say it – mindful about how much time I may or may not waste with my head bent down staring at my phone. Time to stop reading the garbage they churn out on Buzzfeed as my bedtime reading and actually, you know, read a proper book.

I would encourage everyone to put their phone down and appreciate their surroundings a bit more. Go for a walk, hug a tree, admire a flower without the need to instagram it – go on, I challenge you!