Gunwharf Quays Fireworks Night

Last November, Tom and I went out on the boat with his family to watch the Gunwharf Quays fireworks. We moored up at Haslar Marina to get the best view in the house - and even better, there was no one else there, so it was a bit of a private showing!

I'd highly recommend heading out to watch the Gunwharf Quays firework display if you haven't before - whether you watch from Gunwharf itself, from the water or from Portsdown Hill, they'll definitely look amazing! They are usually a few days after Bonfire night, meaning you are able to see fireworks twice. Awesome!

Travelling Home from Padstow

The sun decided to come out and greet us for our last full day in Padstow - which made for some pretty photos! (and gave us a great excuse to have another ice cream...)

If you've ever been to Padstow, you'll know it's full of art galleries, each with a different range of items on display. We popped into one, and found some awesome paintings by a local artist.

We came across a cocktail bar that specialised in Gin - lots and lots of different Gin and Tonic combinations. It was a pretty good tipple!

We drove home the next morning - and that was the end of our little holiday!

An Autumn Trip to Padstow

Last October, Tom and I went away for a weekend in Padstow with some of my family. We arrived just before midnight on the Friday night after a long day at work (and a very, very long journey!), and were so shattered we collapsed into bed as soon as we got to our cottage.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any photos of the cottage (how annoying), so you'll have to use your imagination!

One of our favourite things to do is wander round different places, looking at boats (yes, we're basically elderly!), and Padstow was the perfect place to do this. We even had ice creams - though it was very chilly - to complete the full British tourist experience. Perfect.

Unfortunately, we were only in Padstow for a couple of days - we would have loved to have been there for a week to just relax by the fire in our cottage and have peaceful days out around the town.

One of the nice things about staying in a self-catering cottage is that you get to browse Rick Stein's deli and take some delicious seafood and other bits home with you - which is definitely one of my favourite things to do!

Hopefully we will be back in Padstow soon - and I can't wait!

Victorious Festival 2016

Last Summer Tom and I went to our first music festival, which luckily for us was right on our doorstep! We were more than happy to go to a festival that didn't involve any porta-loos, mud or camping in a field - so I'd recommend Victorious Festival if you're like us!

What I liked about Victorious Festival was that it was on the seafront (always a winner), there was loads of choice of food stalls, and there was lots of little stands to explore - from homemade furniture, to clothes, to handmade beauty bits - the works!

We came across a company called Morning Wood Co (yes, we laughed too) and I fell in love a little with their rustic, bright, hand painted bits of furniture. Unfortunately none of it came home with us - I couldn't quite convince myself (or Tom!) that it was worth lugging a load of wood back to the car.

Probably a wise choice. 

It was a very hot day - so after feeling slightly sweaty for a couple of hours, we rewarded ourselves with some grown-up drinks... In the form of slushies!

After a day at Victorious Festival, we decided that it wasn't really our cup of tea - we aren't the biggest fans of live music, there was a lot of people around, and lots of queues for each stand. To top it all off, the price of Pimms was a little bit ridiculous (And we all know that's very important!). However, it was a fun day out, and I'd recommend it to someone local to the area looking for a good day out - it just wasn't for us!

Now, I WILL say that we do like one kind of festival - and that's a food festival. Stay tuned to find out about our first visit to a food festival!

A Tour of the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery

Last year, for Dad's birthday, I organised a trip to the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillary, which is at Laverstoke Mill near Winchester (website here). We opted for the simplest option, an unguided tour around the distillery with a cocktail at the end - perfect!

Laverstoke Mill is a huge, beautiful old building which was originally a paper mill, and has now been repurposed as the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery - and is the site where all the Bombay Sapphire is distilled and dispatched to suppliers. It was incredible to learn about the history of Bombay Sapphire, and how it has developed to become the huge name that it is today.

The distillery has two huge greenhouses where the botanicals are kept, and they are heated using heat from the distillery process.

The heat from the distillery chambers flows into the greenhouses from these connecting pipes. Isn't that amazing? Bombay Sapphire pride themselves in being eco friendly - they re-use the heat from the distilling process, they burn the leftover botanical pump from the distilling to heat the columns, and they have solar panels fitted to the roof.

Next to one of the distillery rooms is effectively a classroom filled with the botanicals used to make the gin. You are given cards at the beginning to help you choose which cocktail you receive at the end of the tour - and how you react to each of the botanicals determines which cocktail you would most enjoy. Each botanical has a smelling jar with the fragrance trapped inside, and you task is to smell each and take note of which ones you like - there was spicy smells, woody smells, fruity smells and so on.

The distillery room itself was VERY hot - as you would expect! It was very interesting learning more about the distilling process, and we were given a little of the undiluted end product to try - it was incredibly strong, but left the most amazing fragrant aftertaste of the botanicals! The alcohol was so strong that it evaporated almost immediately on your tongue.

...deeeeep sniff...

I opted for a fruity cocktail at the end of the tour - which was very nice indeed - and Tom opted for a raspberry spritz. One of the things I really liked about our visit was the attention to detail - if you were the designated driver (sorry Tom!) you were given a Mocktail as well as a little drivers pack (a mini bottle of gin and a mini tonic) to take home with you.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery if you are ever given the chance - even if gin isn't your favourite tipple! It was a really interesting experience, in a beautiful rural setting with lots of history - plus a delicious cocktail and a great gift shop!