The Gin Festival at Nottingham 

Around 2 years ago the only Gin I could have named was Bombay Sapphire and that was only because it was my parents Gin of choice. That slowly started to turn around and now, since the Gin Festival came to Nottingham, I have plenty of Gin knowledge.

The festival came into the city over the weekend and held a few sessions both morning and afternoon across Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April. By Saturday lunchtime I made my way across to the Nottingham Conference Centre and the atmosphere was fantastic. There were plenty of people that had already arrived and everyone was given their own Gin Festival glass to take round with them. A great idea as you aren’t continuously wasting cups and it is a memento from the day.

I had chosen the afternoon slot to attend from 12.30 until 5pm and, as it was suggested previously, this is plenty of time to sip and sample gin. The first thing to do was collect your tokens. These come in the form of small cards and works better than taking money out each time. It works out as £5 a drink which for a Gin, tonic and entertainment is a good deal.

The bars were set up in two different spaces and were labelled A ,B, C and D. These were defined with what kind of gin each bar was serving and most people were going in order. Highly sensible, I’m sure. I decided to follow suit and got into the line for Bar A. Along with the glass you are given when you enter you are also gifted a Gin Discovery Book. This was very useful to me at that moment as there were Gin brands I had never heard of or knew what they tasted like. I decided, from the book, to go for a Daffy’s. Described as having a ‘hint of toffee’ and a ‘buttery finish’ I thought this was a very good place to start. You helped yourself to Indian tonic water supplied by Fever-Tree placed at the end of each bar or a flavoured tonic if you wished. The book recommended each pairing including a garnish, I don’t know if anyone went against the book but I certainly left it to the experts. The Daffy’s went down very smoothly as I wandered around the rest of the event and I would suggest trying it in its hometown Edinburgh.

Whilst you have a drink in hand there is still lots to see at the Festival. In another room there was multiple brand stands with a little information about each and plenty of Gin samples being handed out. I went to the most local brand that was there on Saturday which was Two Birds based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. Every stand was busy and this one was no different. They were also holding masterclasses throughout the afternoon to learn more about the companies and the gin making process. I attended the Two Birds masterclass as it was a few minutes away and very much enjoyed learning how Gin was distilled and what elements were included.

After the masterclass I was joined by a couple of friends and we got in line for another drink. The queues, although they looked long, were not bad at all, especially when you’re having a chat. The bartenders were quick to serve you and mark off a token whilst still being cheerful and helpful. There was live music at the conference centre and it really gave the event a festival atmosphere whilst being in the comfort and warmth of the indoors with no fear of getting wet if a downpour was to happen. We got to see two bands while we were there and commented on how good both were.
We got to try a few more drinks over the next couple of hours with my next being the Belgium based Braeckman’s Hazelnoot Jenever. I’ve always loved Irish cream and this sounded like it would be similar. It was, and of course it was delicious.

The only downside to having an ‘after dinner’ drink was that there wasn’t enough of it so we got into the queue for Bar B shortly after. This time I decided to try something more local and went for the Sir Robin of Locksley distilled in Sheffield. This was described as having a ‘lingering citrus finish’ and it did indeed, whilst still tasting sweet and smooth. It was recommended that it go with the Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic and together they made a perfectly fruity drink garnished with pink grapefruit. This was probably my favourite gin and tonic mix from the day and I would certainly have it again.
The one that we didn’t particularly take a taste to was the Black Tomato Gin but I’m sure if you’re a Bloody Mary connoisseur you’d enjoy it as it had a similar flavour.
Other stalls at the festival were the shop to purchase drink tokens and various gin related gifts. You could also have your picture taken at the photo booth. This queue took longer than the ones at the bars but no one seemed to mind and you didn’t have to pay.
The last drink I was able to try was the Two Birds London Dry Gin. After hearing about it in the masterclass I learnt that it had five botanical’s and they had kept it as a ‘top quality gin’. This was paired with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic and garnished with cucumber. It certainly tasted the neatest. 

After a few drinks it was time for something to eat so we followed the signs for street food. We stopped at the Alimento tent to have tapas. It was incredibly good food and I wish we could have tried more from the other couple of tents but it was now time to go. Last orders were called and slowly people made their way out.

On returning home the Gin Festival was all I could talk about for the next few days and we are hopefully planning to attend the Sheffield Gin Festival. I would definitely go again as I feel there was so much more to experience and a lot more Gin to try!

Thanks for reading! 

Kiehl’s Skincare Samples: First Impressions 

A couple of weekends back I headed into Nottingham city centre and saw the Kiehl’s Van parked up in the market square all opened up and serving customers. I walked over to take some photos and see what they did. By this I mean what products they offered as I had never tried their skincare range before or even read any reviews despite walking past the shop in town multiple times! 

The ladies in the van were very welcoming and gave me some samples to try after asking what my skin type was. I need all the moisture I can get so was kindly handed the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil along with the same in a Concentrate, their Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream and the Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. All of which would be good for dry skin and problem areas including my uneven skin texture at the minute and dehydrated dark circles. 

The Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil and Concentrate are the ones I was intrigued to try first as I love applying products in the evening and being able to sleep in them. I feel that for me this is the prime time to take care of my skin as I am not sweating at work or washing products off. 

Next I tried the Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. The name itself gives it a lot to live it up to. The smaller print on the front of this got me excited to see the results by saying it reduces the look of dull, tired skin, which most of the time I think I have. Not good I know but there are products like this one to combat it! A little of this product certainly went a long way and on the first use I could have applied it twice. My thoughts were that being a sample size there wouldn’t be much in it. How wrong was I? The Concentrate is somewhere between a liquid and gel so goes on easily without running everywhere and spreads very well. The proof is in the pudding with this one and I did see a visible result with my skin definitely plumper and a great deal smoother. 

Thanks for reading!

London: Go Karts and Biscuits 

It had been a while since we had visited our friends in London and we thought we’d pay them a visit and make it a good one. The plan was to relax on the Friday once we had arrived and have a good ‘ol catch up over dinner. 

We made plans for the Saturday to try Go Karting in the morning. After a full English breakfast in Wimbledon we went to Team Sport Go Karting in Mitcham and booked two 15 minute sessions for the four of us. Unfortunately it was guaranteed that myself and my friend Colette weren’t going to be winning fastest driver of the day what with the guys being in super competitive mode. I have been Karting before but I can’t say it falls within my skill set. 

After the first round I can confirm that Go Karting doesn’t come naturally as I was tenth – out of ten. After the second round this was still true however I had sped up my lap time by 5 seconds which I can ultimately say that I am pretty proud of. The two Mr C’s gave each other a good run and their competitive streak certainly came out. My Mr C happily lapped everyone on the second turn and came out top of the leader board. Well done you! 

For some reason being sat in a little kart, concentrating on sharp corners and moving your arms makes you quite tired so we headed back for a break and lunch. I had been wanting to visit the Biscuiteers shop whilst we were in London since seeing them on Twitter and their amazingly decorated treats. This became the afternoon plan and we made our way to their shop in Clapham. 

I’ll say now what I really wanted to do was decorate biscuits. They have an icing cafe section where you can drink tea and turn your hand to a bit of biscuit design. Online it says you can simply turn up however when we got there it was too busy and we should have reserved a place. So as a note to all if you’re wanting to go at the weekend call them up first. After a walk down the high street and back we ended up returning to the shop managing to get a space for four. 

They seated us and prepared a cake stand of plain biscuits in various shapes. Butterflies, aeroplanes, teapots and presents were all there amongst a few simpler shapes. We were also given a bowl with coloured icing all ready to go in piping bags. It was £15 for 3 biscuits and £2 for any extra so we decided on a set per couple seeing as the men of the group weren’t so sure as to what we had gotten them into. 

We ordered teas and coffees to keep us going through the process and got on (mostly in quiet concentration) with decorating our chosen shapes. For my first biscuit I chose a teapot and Mr C went with an aeroplane, our friends chose a butterfly and the three tier cake before we moved onto the next ones. I will say here, before I go any further, we didn’t know that the biscuits, once iced, got put in the oven to harden. As we didn’t know this Mr C decorated his aeroplane biscuit then scoffed it straight away. No nonsense that man. The rest of our biscuits however made it to the oven and all the way home after being wrapped and boxed very carefully. It has to be commented that the ladies at the Biscuiteers shop were nothing short of lovely, smiley people and I personally would return to do it all again. But next time pipe icing better, of course. (If you couldn’t tell my biscuit is the bottom picture.) 

Myself and Mr C left London shortly after to drive home. Two great days were had and we will certainly be going back soon, to do what I’m not sure. Any recommendations or ideas let me know! 

Thanks for reading! 

The Beauty Bus and Kiehl’s Van in Nottingham 

Nottingham, like most city centres, was very busy at the weekend and I’m sure that this had something to do with the sun and the fact it was fashion week. As an addition to the styles and trends going on at the minute there was also a double decker beauty bus in the middle of the market square along with the Kiehl’s truck. Naturally I visited both. 

Firstly I entered the beauty bus to see what brands and products were on board. There was Origins, Lancôme and Clarins all on the top level and each offered customers a view on what new products were available and showing their best sellers. I had never tried any Origins products before so decided to head there first. They were demonstrating their facemasks and one definitely caught my attention. The bronzed coloured GinZing Peel-Off Mask looked just as good out of the tube as the tube did itself and kept its coloured shimmer on my skin. The purpose of the mask is to refine and refresh the skin and even though I had only tried it on the back of my hand it does make me want to try the product fully. Next to these were the other facemask products that grabbed my attention, the Flower Fusion sheet masks. I’m a bit late on the bandwagon here and haven’t tried one yet so am certainly going to purchase one next time I see them. Each mask had its own purpose and due to my dryness I would have to go for the Rose mask. 

Next up I visited the Clarins stand at the back of the bus. There was a small display of their latest Hydra Essentiel range. As I have just mentioned anything that states that it is hydrating I simply want to know all about it. There was also the Double Serum on show and guests were kindly given a sample to take home with them. I have previously tried a couple of Clarins samples and they are good but without trying a full product or more of their range I can’t give an educated opinion on the brand. 

Last but not least was the Lancôme representative in the centre of the bus. She was absolutely lovely and was very busy with others so I stood and watched for a minute as she took a look at each guests skin shade and gave them a sample of their Teint Idole Ultrawear Foundation. This product has reportedly come top recently in a blind test and comes in forty shades (!). The Lancôme stand and representative were from John Lewis at the Intu Victoria Centre and from the brief consultation I would definitely pay them a visit. 

Out of the bus and back in the market square was the Kiehl’s truck. I had frequently passed their store but not knowing anything about the brand or products (apart from other bloggers online) had never gone in. The fact that the truck was open and welcoming made me head up and see what the brand was about. The truck had a lot of products on display and it was hard to take it all in but the ladies were very happy to help out and ask me about my skins needs. I left with four samples including the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil and and Midnight Recovery Concentrate which really caught my attention as I love products that I can leave on overnight.  The results from these samples will have their own post soon so keep your eyes peeled. 

I stayed in Nottingham for the Intu Bloggers Event which was great fun, beauty and fashion all in one day. Perfect! 

If you visited the beauty bus or have any recommendations or views on the products above, let me know! 

Thanks for reading! 

Nottingham Intu Fashion Event 

The afternoon started with Bellini’s whilst sat in Rizzoli’s and the sun streaming through the glass roof. How fancy does that sound? Well, as one by one the bloggers started to arrive we each got treated to a flavour of choice Bellini and our own section in the restaurant of Rizzoli’s chatting away and snapping photos of menus and drinks, mainly because Bellini’s are very Instagram-able, who knew? This was all in aid of the celebration of Nottingham Fashion Week. There was plenty to see and do including catwalk shows and the beauty bus which I shall talk about more later. 

This event was organised by the lovely people at Intu Victoria Centre and the next part of the day was in the throw of things. On a backdrop of the latest trends was going to be a fashion show every hour. We were able to watch one showing new pieces and the Spring trends being sold at the Victoria Centre. These included embroidery, fuschia and frills along with how to style the pieces again with different accessories to make an outfit go from daytime to evening. 

The show was great to watch and take photos of to remember the key items I would like in my wardrobe. The fuschia jumpsuit was an absolute favourite of mine, being wearable, bright and how it could be dressed up or down it would certainly suit my style. Another was a piece on show behind the models, a jacket from River Island featuring embroidery and stripes. 

When the fashion show had finished we again had the opportunity to take photos of the pieces and ask questions about anything we had seen. It was here when we also got photos taken of ourselves by the ‘paparazzi’ a great addition to the event on a busy Saturday. 

Next on the agenda was our Fashion Challenge. We each picked out a ticket from a lucky dip attached to a gift card for the Intu centre. Our task was to use the gift card to purchase an item linked to the phrase on the ticket. These phrases included Seeing Red, Nautical Stripes, Ruffles and Frills amongst others. I pulled out Ruffles and Frills and was very happy as I love the trend right now. We had just over 30 minutes to complete the challenge so three of us grouped together to name the shops we were going to visit and head to each. Yes, we actually had some form of tactics. It’s serious business when you have a time limit on purchasing clothes. 

After a quick run around we each found a piece to match up with the cards given and were happy with our purchases. We then took them back to meet up with the others at Handmade Burger Company which we were again very much treated! Over burgers, fries and a gin and tonic we chatted and showed each other our items. Some girls had bought shirts, some scarves and some lipsticks relating to their red or pink theme. 

Once the day had finished we all went our separate ways, a couple even going back to use their remaining gift card. I can say that it was so far the best Bloggers Event I’ve been invited to and wish to thank the organisers at Intu Victoria for bringing it together. 

If you went to any of the Nottingham Fashion Week events, let me know and tag your blog links below. I’d love to see them! 

Thanks for reading! 

FrezyDerm Product Review

I always stick to my usual skincare products. A few times I have strayed off course, most of the time trying to save a bit of money. With a lot of skincare products I have tried and tested over my time, what with samples from previous spa jobs and various facial treatments, I have unfortunately found that spending a little more gets you a little more. Whenever I have attempted switching to a cheaper drugstore alternative it hasn’t worked for me – moisturiser, cleanser, nope! They seem too heavy or too runny and don’t heal the skin but simply sit on the surface until you wipe it off. I also try to save my more expensive spa products until I absolutely need them, which also probably does my skin no good, so I needed something that worked and didn’t cost the earth. FrezyDerm products are fitting the bill right now after I was sent two full sized tubes, one to be moisturiser and one to be serum. With my constant dry skin and season-changing t-zone I was sure going to put them to the test. 

I tried the moisturiser at the perfect time, a major flare up of dry skin. After three gym classes without a sip of water and washing my face fairly vigorously I found my skin felt incredibly dehydrated. I will admit that because my skin was so sensitive at the time I was hesitant about applying a new product but I needn’t have worried. Almost immediately the moisturiser soothed the dry skin on my cheeks and the area around my mouth which had started to become uncomfortable. The moisturiser hydrated the rest of my face which had previously felt very tight before application and made me feel much more human.

Applying the product was great as it is a light texture that doesn’t feel like it’s clogging the pores or simply sitting on the face. It slides easily, soaking into the skin, and moves around so you do not need as much of the product. I use two pumps for my face and one for my neck which works well for me. I have been using the moisturiser once a day, in the morning before applying any make up, as it also states it can be used as a base.

The Revitalising Serum was another product I was able to try from the range and this was one I was wary about. Every time I have previously used a serum it has blurred my vision. Not in such a bad way I couldn’t see just so much that I repeatedly ended up drying my eyes. After this happened a few times I applied less each time, finally trying it just on my cheeks, yet nothing worked. Serum use stopped after a few times when different products gave the same results. This one from FrezyDerm however did not give me that issue, no blurry eyes and no wiping, perfect. Another plus point for this serum is also its texture. It is thicker than most so there is no waste. Some serums with a more watery consistency tend to slide through my fingers before it has reached my face, not this one.

My first impressions of the packaging were mixed. The products certainly look like they have come out of the lab with their test tube appearance but on further use I actually love it. It’s different and completely shows off the FrezyDerm company background and origin (being made for dermatologists). The pumps are also great giving you just the right product amount without waste as some tubes can do.

As I hadn’t heard of the brand before I undertook some research on who they were and what else they provide. The brand has many areas including baby care products, skincare including treatments for skin issues such as acne and sun protection products. Due to their history in dermatology they can be seen as a trustworthy and knowledgeable brand and even though I had not seen their lines in stores previously I would now purchase online. The 24 hour moisturiser I had been sent cost £16.50 from the FrezyDerm website with the Revitalising Serum priced at £24.50. These to me are very reasonably priced and lie inbetween the high street and spa prices but certainly have the quality in their products results.

If you have tried anything from FrezyDerm tell me how you got on! Did you like it or are you wanting to try it now?

Thanks for reading!

Threads Beauty Co. Eyelashes Review 

A couple of weeks ago I kindly received some stunning false eyelashes in the post from Threads Beauty Company. They will soon be opening their store in London and I absolutely can’t wait to attend their open day and see it showing off their products. 

I have only applied my own false lashes a couple of times and I will unashamedly say that this was actually around 5 years ago. You can tell I didn’t get on with them! The glue didn’t stick properly and they repeatedly became loose or fell off making me and my eyes look a little lopsided, this wasn’t the look I was going for so I soon stopped using the lashes and hadn’t touched the self application ones since. A year ago I was given the opportunity to try some semi-permanent lashes from a beauty therapist in training. The outcome of the treatment looked fantastic and I loved having my long, head turning eye lashes that did look quite natural. The only downside to this was the fact that it was a treatment and a long one at that. If my memory serves me rightly it took two hours to apply the glue and individual lashes and unfortunately I do not have this time available on a regular basis to maintain the look. 

This is why, when offered the chance to try the lashes from Threads Beauty Co. I jumped at the chance to try again at home. The lovely company sent me three sets to use and review. So here’s my review; I love them! I received two more natural looking sets and one pair of lashes that gave all the drama you could possibly want. Not wanting to waste their beauty I waited to wear them on a Saturday when I would be heading out shopping and visiting family. With past experience I gave myself plenty of time to apply them but I needn’t have bothered. Applying the glue carefully and minimally to the lash strip I took a second for the glue to become tacky and gently picked them with the tweezers to place them as close to my own lash line as possible. With a gentle press down and a few seconds they were stuck perfectly with the glue showing no peeling corners or lifts on the centre. It literally could not have been easier and I don’t know why I have put off false lashes for so long. 

After the lash application I put on some MUA deep purple shadow with a lighter pink in the corner of my eyes and lined them with the MUA felt liner to completely disguise the strip edge. The glue went completely, and rather surprisingly, invisible and there was no over hang or bits peeling off. The lashes sat exactly where they were glued and there was no movement even after applying the eye make-up. Both lashes stayed on all day even after being out in the wind and rain on a shopping expedition and braving the British weather and I couldnt have asked for more from the products. 

The lashes have been very comfortable to wear without bearing down into my eyes or becoming heavy on my lids. I am saving the larger, more dramatic lashes for my Hen night which should be coming within the next month or so. They will be perfect for the occasion and I believe they will give such a photo ready finish to whatever make-up look I choose for the evening. There have been a few people comment on my look and ask why I looked a little more ‘dressy’ than usual. This is what I loved when I had the semi-permanent individual lashes applied I just simply found that I couldn’t keep the process up maintaining the care and re-applications. The cost also comes into consdieration here as one treatment for false lash application was going to cost around £50 each time whereas the products from Threads cost £9.00 per pair and can be reused. 

If you have used the products, or any others from Threads, let me know! 

Thanks for reading!