general, lifestyle

Gin and Vodka Tasting Event at Olives

This weekend saw Whitley Bays first ‘Weekend of Gin and Vodka’, providing an opportunity for local Gin and Vodka lovers to taste and appreciate the popular tipples.

Tying in with this event, Olives at the Station held a Gin and Vodka tasting evening last night, and I was kindly invited along to blog about the event.

Now I should probably point out that I never drink Gin, or Vodka. I stick to cocktails as I dread the actual thought of a hangover. My spirit drinking days are over. However, I have noticed a recent rise in popularity amongst Gin, and felt very tempted by all the different flavours so was more than happy to go along and see what it was all about.

I took along my friend who always sticks to Vodka on a night out, so thought it would be interesting to see her views on the range of Vodkas available.

This experience was a chance to sample a range of shots supplied from a variety of different brands, local business and distilleries including Hepple Gin, Gin and Vodka from Durham Distillery’s,  Alnwick Gin, The Geordie Gin Co, Black Cow Vodka, Graceful Vodka and ‘Old Tom’ Gin from Poetic License, and Tynemouth Gin.

Upon arrival, we were presented with a score card where we were able to rate a score 0-5, with 20 minutes to try each drink until the next was served.

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I did my maths and worked out that if I was to drink every shot, I was going to be quite merry in about 40 minutes, and unable to find my way home by 10pm. Panic!

However, we all had the option to drink each shot neat, or with a variety of mixers including Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon, or Lemonade, which gave me faith I could just perhaps get through the event, or at least half way.

This was blind tasting, and the first shot I tried with Fentimans Rose Lemonade which I love, ice and a slice of lime selected from a wide variety of accompaniments, and it went down a treat.

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Feeling hardcore at this point, I was and ready for shot number 2 and feeling more adventurous trying with lemonade and raspberries.

I changed up my mixers between each shot, and some I could only manage a couple of mouthfuls, but I think that could largely have been down to my choice of mixer rather than the Gin. I sat at a table of 3 other Gin samplers and every one of us enjoyed each shot, and our scoring similar.

I also found that after a couple of sips, the tastes changed and the one which I didn’t enjoy the taste of initially, actually turned out to be my favourite, which was Whiltey Bay Seaglass by the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation.

It had a taste which I recognised but couldn’t quite work out what it was until I heard Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation mention Turmeric.

The vodka didn’t go down so well on our table unfortunately, again with very similar scoring. My friend enjoyed only two out of the eight shots. I’ve never been a vodka drinker (my one and only night on vodka and orange put me off for life) but I did have a taste of the Thunder Toffee Vodka as the smell was divine.. It was suggested on our table it could go well in a coffee. Not something I would’ve thought of, but then again people think I’m strange for having enjoyed Malibu with Chocolate Nesquick Milkshake back in my party days (try it – a-ma-zing)

At the end of a very enjoyable night, the score cards were collected in and results announced seeing Newcastle Gin coming out on tops along with Annos Vodka, which was my friends top choice.

This event was a brilliant opportunity to relax, and to mingle, meet and socialise, and once again, fabulous hospitality by Olives. I especially enjoyed meeting Wil and Jade from Boda Home who we sat with and hearing a bit about their independent family owned store which I really need to visit. And Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation who told us a bit more about Gin, and how to drink it regarding choosing the right mixers.

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I know for sure, next time I am out (which is actually this weekend coming as my birthday approaches), I will defiantly be enjoying a gin or two. Maybe even more as I woke up with absolutely zero hangover. Result!!

 

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anxiety, birth, depression, general, health, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy, wellbeing

July and why and what’s next

So, just briefly, around 8 weeks ago I noticed a post on the Facebook page of a free app, Mush, looking to recruit mums around the UK to market the app in their area.

The app works similar to Tinder (I don’t even know if this is the best comparison) but without the creeps, and the sleeze (no offence if you’re loved up through Tinder and views/opinions my own). But it’s similar in how it connects mums with other mums in the area.

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The reason I wanted to get involved is I know too well how social isolation feels and it ain’t nice. I saw this as an opportunity to help mums sat at home feeling like I did for so many years, with hope of helping them turn their life around.

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve dropped flyers off at local childrens centres, maternity units, handed them to Teachers, Childminders, Midwives. I’ve felt like a super sleuth quickly dropping them in baby change/feeding areas (do you know how weird that looks without a baby?!), changing rooms and even ladies toilets (yes, I know – living the dream). I’ve stuck stickers on park benches, pic-nic tables, bus stops, attached posters to park railings, school gates. I’ve done interviews over the phone for Smooth Radio, The Chronicle and had an exciting morning at Metro Radio, sharing my experiences of how life changes once you have a baby. I wanted to highlight that as expected, you are filled with love, you do feel complete, you do feel blessed, you do feel joy, but you also lose yourself as you put this new little person first. You completely forget who you are and what you like. It takes forever to get ready to go out anywhere, so often don’t bother. You lose contact with friends, or turn down any invites to nights out, to the point your friends stop asking you. The days are long as they start super early, the nights are late and sleep is broken. These are the negative aspects we don’t seem to hear or read about and the devastating affect they can have upon your emotional wellbeing. So basically I progressed from wanting to promote an app, to highlighting issues in parenthood we tend not to talk about. The more taboo subjects if you like. I don’t do taboo. I’ll talk about anything and everything

Moving forward, I knew as part of this role I’d be expected to plan an event. This event would be an opportunity to bring more mums together and to mark the end of the 5 weeks as part of the Mush team. I knew I could organise a coffee morning at a local soft play, or a picnic in the park. But I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted this event to be all about the mums. I wanted an event where the babies stay at home with Dad (you don’t see dads giving up their social life once baby arrives, right?) and the mums get some much deserved ‘me’ time. And I thought I’d throw an opportunity for a well deserved cocktail or two

So it’s in a pub. Out of the 50 Mush recruits, pretty sure I’m the only one to be hosting a piss up. But in my defence,  we’re not just meeting up for a Saturday night sesh in town. We’re Clubbercising first for an hour. We’re throwing on our gym gear and trainers, grass skirts (Caribbean theme) and coconut bras (not me, but my friend is) painting and glittering our faces and doing a dance work out, with our glow sticks, whistles and whoops to 90s to current day tracks on the lit up dancefloor of Flares. I can not wait and loving the prep I’ve been doing this week. I’m currently sat on the sofa with a blow up dolphin to the left of me, and giant banana and crocodile to the right. And a pile of lilos and rubber rings on the table.

We did this in May in aid of Radio Lollipop where I volunteer and it was such a good night, I could not miss and opportunity to do it all again.

flares

I want music, I want dancing, I want laughter and I want a night to hopefully remember. But most of all, I want a fun night with my friends. The girls who mean more to me than they probably know. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve already seen three of them this week. How awesome is that. I want other women who feel alone to realise that it’s never to late to rediscover yourself. To remember what you like, what makes you laugh, how it feels to have fun. But most of all, how important it is to have friends, as they could be a lifeline.

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And I was about to share some more exciting info, but I’m keeping that for a future blog. I’m keeping this one all about the Mammys, how awesome they are, how hard it can be and how they don’t ever have to do it alone.

For more info about my event click on this link

https://www.facebook.com/events/102859490355781/

And to download the Mush app

https://mushapp.app.link/zeSiqqr4mE