Alphabet Dating - T is for Tasting Tour

Alphabet Dating – T is for Tasting Tour

Copper Rivet Distillery Tour

There are many kinds of tasting tours you can do for alphabet dating letter T – tapas, street food, beer, chocolate… We chose to do the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour which is situated in the historic dockyard of Chatham in Kent.

The distillery is set in the Victorian Pump House No. 5 and brews vodka, whiskey and gin. Although the dockyard itself has a long history, Copper Rivet Distillery didn’t come into planning until 2005 and didn’t open for tours until 2016, so its relatively new.

Pump House No.5 - home to the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour

When you arrive at Pump House No. 5 you walk straight into the bar which proudly displays some of the awards that Copper Rivet have won. There’s a nice relaxed atmosphere there with a vibe of old-meets-new. The bar acts as a waiting area before your tour so if you’re early enough you can have a drink beforehand.

Dockyard gin - bar display

The tour was interesting. We learnt about the process of making the alcohol, the Russell family who set up the distillery and a guy named Abhi, the head distiller at the Copper Rivet Distillery and a bit of a genius in his field from the sounds of it!

The stills at the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour in Chatham Dockyard

The stills are all named after members of the Russell family who are no longer with us (but here in spirit. Pun intended). ‘Sandy’ the whiskey still, ‘Joyce’ the column and ‘Janet’ the gin still. Janet is a bit of a special one (I think our guide may have even said the only one like it!) and is a patented design. The other thing Copper Rivet are immensely proud of is that they are one of only a handful of distilleries in the UK who control the whole distillation process from grain to glass!

Janet the gin still

After being shown the stills and learning the history and processes, we were able to sample the vodka and the gin. The whiskey is busy maturing so won’t be ready until around 2020 so whiskey fans may wish to wait! I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the vodka, but vodka is not my tipple of choice. However the gin was pleasant and what we were really there for anyway. The Dockyard Gin is flavoured with 9 botanicals too – orange peel, orris root, lemon peel, elderflower, angelica root, green cardamom, coriander seeds, juniper and grains of paradise.

Copper Rivet Dockyard Gin

At the end of the tour we were given a full glass of gin and tonic to savour, complete with a slice of grapefruit – how Dockyard Gin is recommended! You can also buy bottles of the spirits to take home too.

After our tour we stopped off at one of the local restaurants in the dockside for some burgers and cocktails to round off a fun afternoon out!

The Copper Rivet Distillery Tour at Chatham Historic Dockyard - excellent idea for a date or fun afternoon out.

The Copper Rivet Distillery Tour lasts for around 1 hour and costs £12pp. If you enjoyed this you might like reading about the time I got tipsy at the XXXX brewery in Brisbane or some of my other Alphabet Dating adventures.


3 places to see the stars in Hollywood

When you think of Hollywood you immediately think of glitz, glamour and movie legends. So here’s my brief run-down of where to see the stars (kinda!).

1. Book a Movie Star Homes Tour

We took a tour with Starline who depart from Hollywood Boulevard among other locations. We were taken up into the Hollywood Hills where we saw the houses and former houses of celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson.

The gate to Michael Jackson's former home in Hollywood
Michael Jackson’s Former Home

We got to see the Hollywood sign (albeit from a distance) and also took a trip down Rodeo Drive. We were told that Rodeo Drive would be the best place to spot a celeb but sadly our luck was out that day. If we had had more time in L.A. then I’m sure we would have gone back for a spot of window shopping and playing paparazzi.

Take a Movie Star Homes Tour and go celeb spotting on Rodeo Drive
Cruising down Rodeo Drive

2. Get up close and personal at Madame Tussauds

Ok so I cheated slightly with this one, but you can always take a selfie with Will Smith’s wax form or something and pretend to all your friends back home that you just so happened to bump into him as you were hanging out in some hip L.A. club or loitering outside the Chateau Marmont or wherever.

Places to see the stars in Hollywood - how about Madame Tussauds?
Just chillin with the Fresh Prince!

We actually got free tickets to Madame Tussauds as part of a deal with the movie stars homes tour so it was a win for us. Plus it’s fun doing silly poses with the wax works!

Have your picture taken with Zorro at Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Posing with Zorro

3. Check out the Walk of Fame

So it’s unlikely that you’re going to see Hugh Jackman just casually strolling down the Walk of Fame but you might very well see a Wolverine looky-likey who will have his picture taken with you for a couple of dollars. You’ll be guaranteed to spot a Marilyn Monroe and at least 3 Spidermans (or should that be Spidermen?) too.

Hugh Jackman's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hugh Jackman’s star on the Walk of Fame

There are of course literal stars on the pavements here so don’t forget to take some snaps of your favourites. You can even find out whose star is where beforehand right here.

So there you have my tongue in cheek list of top 3 places to see the stars in Hollywood – you’re welcome I’m sorry! Have you ever been to L.A? And did you bump into anyone famous?

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3 places to see the stars in Hollywood - read all about it!

Beer for brunch – XXXX Brewery Tour

XXXX Brewery Tour Brisbane

XXXX Brewery in Brisbane Australia

During our visit to Brisbane we decided to do the XXXX Brewery Tour as neither hubby nor I had ever done a brewery tour before so thought it might be something quite fun and different.

As the tours are at set times and it was our last full day in Australia, we wanted to get ourselves onto the 11am tour so we’d have the rest of the day at leisure. We were running a bit late so neglected to eat any breakfast, got lost finding the entrance to the brewery and arrived hot, sweaty and 5 minutes late. Not the best start to the day but the lovely people at XXXX said we could still join the 11am tour, so it was all good.

We were given a free XXXX branded baseball cap each to keep and also were required to wear lanyards, goggles and fluorescent vests. I also had to wear some plimsolls they provided as I was wearing open toes shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever looked so attractive.

There were a handful of other people on our tour and we were led around by a guy named Hoff who was very knowledgeable and had a really dry sense of humour! We were shown a clever video of the XXXX story and taken around to see the working brewery in all its action. If you want to know how beer is made then I suggest you either google it or take the tour yourself because I can’t even begin to tell you.

Beer on the conveyor belts at the XXXX brewery in Queensland

After seeing the brewing tanks and all the bottles whizzing about the factory on conveyor belts, we were taken into what I guess you would call a small museum dedicated to the history of the beer. We could see all the different bottle designs, the XXXX mascot as well as other paraphernalia.

Mascot and paraphernalia at the XXXX brewery

1878 bottle of Castlemaine ale - taken at the XXXX brewery

At the very end of the tour, after we removed all our health and safety gear, we were taken into the bar to sample four of the different beers brewed there. I can’t remember what they all were but it was fun to taste them all, even though I’m not much of a beer drinker. Our tickets also included a free full sized beer to enjoy in the bar after tasting the samples.

XXXX Brewery Tour - free samples

The barman had accidentally poured an extra beer so kindly offered it to my husband and then I was offered a glass of champagne because they had poured too many glasses out for the people who were celebrating the Melbourne Cup in the bar. Naturally, we found ourselves a bit drunk! Beer for brunch, what piss heads!

As we were naughty and hadn’t eaten, we decided to stay at the XXXX bar for lunch and get something to soak up that alcohol. My husband had a yummy looking burger, while I opted for a healthier meal and had a delicious salmon dish.

Salmon dish at the XXXX brewery in Brisbane

The atmosphere in the bar was great, there was a large group of people enjoying watching the horse racing on a big screen, while we just sat in some comfy seats and had a leisurely meal. Perhaps it was all that beer making me feel that way!

I enjoyed my time at the XXXX Brewery alot more than I expected (as beer isn’t my tipple of choice), the staff were all really friendly too, so if you’re ever in Brisbane and fancy doing something a little different then go check it out!

If its booze that you’re after then you might enjoy my post about the Copper Rivet Distillery Tour in England.

Melbourne for the Aussie soap nut: part 2 – Neighbours Tour

Neighbours Tour

If you Neighbours aficionados missed part 1 you can find it here but if you’ve been waiting with baited breath for part 2 (unlikely, but I can dream) then here it is!

No Neighbours nut would consider visiting Melbourne without a trip to the holy Mecca of Australian soaps – Ramsay Street, or as it is known in real life – Pin Oak Court. You can of course travel there yourself but it wouldn’t be the same as joining the official tour.

On the morning of our tour we found ourselves legging it across the city because the tram we were waiting to catch didn’t show up (yeah TRAMS AGAIN). Anyway we made it to our meeting point (the Official Neighbours Centre) in good time, for our pick up on the Neighbours bus.

The official tour bus of the Ramsay Street Neighbours Tour in Melbourne.

Our tour guide had us singing the show’s theme tune and kept us entertained with trivia as we travelled around on the tour. She wouldn’t tell us much in the way of soap secrets unfortunately but you might find that the cast member you meet later on will dish the dirt quite freely!

Our first stop was Erinsborough High School. We couldn’t go in but we could have our photo taken outside next to the sign with the school badge on it.

Next up – Ramsay Street! We weren’t lucky enough to see them filming but we were able to just wander around the street and take photographs of the houses – as long as we didn’t venture up the driveways and cause too much disturbance as people live in those houses! One of the biggest surprises about the street is how much smaller it is in real life than it appears on tv.

Ramsay Street - one of the houses on the Neighbours Tour

After some time on the street, we headed off down to Grease Monkeys Diner (which has a load of random dusty items in the windows and looks more like a closed up charity shop than a hip burger bar). And across the road is the garage, which again looks alot bigger on the television. It was here that we also saw the famous bus stop that the characters always exit the show at when leaving by bus (usually when they run away to Sydney). Outside the garage we had our star meeting with the actor who played Declan Napier (James Sorensen) who happily posed for photos with us and answered lots of cheeky questions we had that the guide wouldn’t answer (such as who was about to die in the current storyline).

Grease Monkeys Diner on the Neighbours Tour in Melbourne

And then it was time to head back to the Neighbours Centre, but not before we saw Detective Alec Skinner (that cop with the moustache who pops up every now and then) cycling past us!

We arrived back in the city in time for lunch! All in all the tour lasts for around 3 hours, with pick up and drop off at the Neighbours Centre on Flinders Street. You can buy souvenirs at the Neighbours Centre but they’re not that exciting (unless you want a cd of Karl Kennedy’s band). The tour we did was the weekday tour but there is a weekend tour also available where you can see the Lassiters complex.

And as cheesy as the soap can be (remember that episode where they saw Santa flying past in the sky?) it will always have a special place on my television screen after our fantastic time in Melbourne!