Gin Festival Edinburgh 2017

At the weekend Russell and I ventured to the Corn Exchange to take part in the afternoon session of the Gin Festival, here in Edinburgh for the third year!

On offer were local gins, Scottish gins and ones from further afield all set up and patiently waiting for the 3600 gin lovers to crash into the building.

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Walking through the door, I was greeted by the lovely Laura who was helping organise the event. We were given a wristband each which you could load with money to buy your drinks. Each drink was £5 and your band was scanned by the friendly bar staff. This worked wonders and kept queues, if any, to a minimum. We also got two goblet glasses given to us to use for the day, which we got to keep – great for recreating my perfect gin cocktails at home!

Most importantly was the ‘Gin Book’ that was in our glass, this would decide how our day was going to pan out.

Flicking through the pages, the gins were split into sections and allocated certain bars from A-D. Bar D took our fancy as it contained more liquior types.

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I spied the newly talked about Zymurgorium Sweet Violet Gin so obviously I had to try this. What a treat it was. It smelt and tasted like Parma Violet sweets.

Next I moved onto Braeckman Vanilla Jenever – this tasted like American cream soda but an adults version. I had added lemonade so it give it a little sweetness, even though it looked a bit curdled I still really enjoyed it.

I couldn’t go to a gin festival and not have my favourite Rhubarb and Ginger from Edinburgh Gin. I had this on the rocks and it went down very smoothly. First time for Russell trying this one and he liked it.

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Russell’s top pick was Zymurgorium Manchester Marmalade at 40% this was the strongest gin of the day for us. Thankfully Fever-Tree were on hand with unlimited tonic, Indian tonic and lemonade. Great for me as most of you know I am a lightweight.

The atmosphere was great and the live singers that took to the stage managed to get crowds up to dance. There was a real party vibe in the main hall. However, Russell and I spent most of our time in the sample hall – can you blame us though? Everyone loves a freebie.

There were plenty of samples on offer – Tinker, Edinburgh Gin and Persie to name a few. The Tinker sample I tried was mixed with tonic, black pepper and chilli – it was certainly nippy.

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Throughout the day Masterclasses ran which proved to be popular. So popular we struggled to get in.

Now the toughest decision of the day for me was which bottle to buy to have pride of place our drinks globe. After umpteen samples I think (for this month) I will be going with Boe Violet Gin – not only did it taste beautiful the bottle is very pretty. You can buy any gins from the festival on there website and get them delivered straight to your door. Perfect in the run up to Christmas (hint hint Mum/Dad/Russell)

If this wasn’t already the perfect way to spend my Saturday, I was able to stuff my face with Mexican food and Russell could stuff his with pulled pork goodness. We left feeling like slightly drunk piggys!

gin8Thanks for inviting me Gin Festival. I can’t wait for you to return next year!

*** I was given two wristbands in return of an honest review. All views are my own ***

 

 

 

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5 Cocktails to look out for at #CITCEdin

I was lucky enough to head along to the preview of Cocktails in the City which is taking place at the beautiful Mansfield Traquair on the 12-13 October. Tickets are £12 and include a cocktail on arrival. Worth every penny if you ask me! (read last year’s drunken adventure)

The preview was taking place at The Voodoo Rooms – I was very excited as I  LOVE their chicken satay, and guess what, it was one of the canopies being served – happy days all round. On arrival we were handed glasses of Molvino Prosecco – very fresh, locally produced and bubbly of course. This went down a treat.

The idea of the night was to speed date with a cocktail and cocktail master maker. There were 5 stations set up in the Speakeasy room and you had 7 minutes to taste and learn about the bars specially created cocktail.

My notes got less and less as I consumed more alcohol…Ooops.

Anyway, let me introduce you to 5 cocktails that will be on offer…

The Voodoo Rooms & Drambuie – Honey I Shrunk the Bees

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This cocktail is sweet and tastes of honeycomb, like an adult Crunchie. I like anything sweet so it was a hit with me. Although Honey I Shrunk the Bees certainly has a kick… After one small sip I already felt tipsy!

Bar Soba & Bacardi – The Butterfly Effect

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The Butterfly Effect is influenced by Asia. This is a fruity concoction topped with coconut shavings and dark chocolate. This cocktail was smooth and sophisticated. I certainly felt like a proper grown up drinking this one.

Chez Mal at Malmaison & Leith Gin – Blue Steel

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Blue Steel is sweet, colourful and has attitude – 46% Leith attitude (gin) to be correct. Along with gin there is a secret blue dye added, where the name of the cocktail came from.  Probably one of my favourites from last night… but I am a gin drinker!

Juniper & Fair Gin – Fair Play

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Oh lucky me. Another gin cocktail. Fair Play is named after the gin being Fairtrade, so you feel like you are doing good drinking this one. It is served along side a handful of goats cheese popcorn which surprisingly works really well. The cocktail itself is also pink which is an added bonus!

*Tip* – on the night they are also serving a gluten free cocktail.

G&V & Marker’s Mark – Red Wax Tribute

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Red Wax Tribute is a bourbon cocktail served over ice. I am not so much of a bourbon drinker myself but I can say it smelt amazing. You certainly get hints of Christmas peaking through from the infused spices and a right hit of alcohol on the first sip. This is not a beginner’s drink!

And there you have it, 5 cocktails to consider at Cocktails in the City.

PS. You will be glad to know I ended up at home with a pizza to soak up all the alcohol. Roll on the 12 October!

 

Party at the Palace 2017

It is still weird that a festival this big, one that Kaiser Chiefs and Amy McDonald headlined, took place in my hometown. This was my 3rd year attending but first being a VIP – all thanks to my wonderful friend Hope. We had Saturday tickets so we got to see Teen Canteen, Noisettes and Ash to name a few.

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Party at the Palace or PATP for short is a family festival so it caters to kids with amusements, climbing walls and sweet stalls. For the adults you have alcohol tents and more alcohol tents (yay!)

The festival is located at the back of Linlithgow Loch overlooking the Palace. As the sun set the view was amazing. The field is split into two areas with 3 stages: The Main Stage, the Sun Break Out and the Acoustic Stage. Altinak were on the Break Out stage at 2pm, they are a local band and gathered great support!

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The Saturday was busy and we got to mingle with a few names in the VIP tent… Susan Boyle and Gok Wan. However, we left them to enjoy their day as I worked through some Glen’s premium vodka and lemonade. I think most alcoholic drinks were priced at £5 which is pretty good considering. We did have to keep asking bar staff to top up our lemonade as they were making them strong!PATP5

There was a wide range of food. Not just your usual burger and chips which was a nice change. Hope and I went for chicken pakora supplied by the local Indian, Dehli Winter. Everyone was after the pakora so there was a wait but it was definitely worth it as you got 6 BIG pieces for £6. Vegan options and smoothies were also on offer.

Now, I know why you are really here… the toilets. As I was in VIP I got to use the ‘posh’ loos. They were indeed posh. Kitted out with White Company hand soap AND moisturiser – Luxury or what?! I didn’t even need to use my emergency wet wipes as there were toilet roll refills throughout the day. The queues for the normal portaloos seemed to go fast and spilt between men and women.

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To get the VIP area, Hope and I had been walking through the artist area – Oops. If only McFly had been performing then I really would have been trying to get in there! I was quickly pointed in the right direction on one of my mad dashes to the loo.

We didn’t spend much time in the VIP area as we preferred the buzz of being near the main stage. Luckily we found Hope’s family who had come prepared with camping chairs (tip for next time – bring chairs!)

PATP4For Kaiser Chiefs taking to the stage at 8.30pm we worked our way into the crowd. Only to stumble upon my mum and step dad. As soon as Kaiser Chiefs took to the stage the field was bouncing to their hits. I loved them back in the day so it was great I remembered so many songs. Ricky gave his all getting the crowd screaming, balancing on the drum kit and demanding attention in his yellow jacket (I need one).

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It is great to have such a great turn out to a local event. The support from local businesses is good to see too, especially Dehli Winter as they have a new customer in me (even if it is just for pakora!)

Thanks organisers of PATP – see you next year for turning 5!

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Paul Currie @ The Hive

Russell and I first met Paul Currie in the queue for my Dad Wrote a Porno. He stood in front of us eating a Krispy Kreme and pushing a granny trolley, stacked with flyers for his show. I was intrigued and thought there was a possibility of a free donut if we went to his show.

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We never got a donut but the show ‘Cats in my Mouth’ had me questioning my humour. I was very glad we ventured back into the Hive (smelly venue) to see him.

We bought a ticket (£5) before hand as we heard his show can be a busy one. It was. Russell and I sat a few rows from the front and one in from the aisle which I am sure Russell said his prayers as  the lights dimmed as he was sooo close to being on stage in his boxers, sumo wrestling Paul. That would of been AMAZING but the guy next to him got picked.

Paul took to the stage in a white belted boiler suit with cowboy boots. He later stripped down to stained boxers, eye opening! He pranced, danced and sang to the audience who were in hysterics.

For at least 5 minutes we were glued to him reading a Where’s Wally book on stage. One by one he took a member of the audience up to help him. I am not sure why it was funny, it just was.

A few other sketches involved Paul playing the drums on a plant, drinking soya milk from a bowl and changing the words of More than a Woman to meows. Now that is something that will stick with me whenever the Bee Gees come on the radio!

For a whole hour my brain was clueless to what was actually going on but it was great to not have to think about anything. If you are after a show that involves little thinking, go see Paul at 8.30pm every day at the Hive.

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Edinburgh Fringe Highlights // Week 1

Obviously I had to go and see The Kagools again, to show Russell the wonders of their Tutti show. I think I have a slight crush on them and I have been practising my facial expressions to one day maybe become the third Kagool? Anyway, they are a MUST see on at The Caves 5.15pm.Fringe 9I seen 10 minutes of Lloyd Griffith at Comedy in the Dark – I never knew the word asshole (sorry) could be sang so beautifully. He has an outstanding knowledge of Cathedrals and looks like he is a baker. Lloyd had me laughing about history when I have no real interest in the topic. His main show is on at the Pleasance 7pm. (Also he will be appearing on some football show, Soccer AM?)

Adam Rowe’s show is about relationships, his lazy eye and a Primark jacket. This is not a show to go to with your parents! Sat in the front row (as we were being cheap skates and never bought tickets) had some awkward, yet relatable questions thrown our way. He is on at the Mash House 7pm.

Bobby Mair is on at the Hive 7.15pm. Minging venue but Bobby has had the best joke of the Fringe so far for me. He is definitely worth sitting in a smelly room for. His show is based on his life story which is sad yet weirdly funny. I had to resist running on the stage and giving him a hug. He is one half of the tv show Bobby and Harriet get Married (must watch that too!)

Also worth mentioning is Patrick Monahan and Lauren Pattison if you can get your hands on some tickets!

I am away to take extra vitamins so I can hopefully carry on with the next 2 weeks. Speak soon x

 

Brides of St Michael’s

There are far to many adjectives I could use to describe the event I attended on Saturday with my Mum and Auntie: Beautiful, lovely, stunning, gorgeous, eye catching, elegant, amazing – just to list a few.

The event taking place was called Brides of St Michael’s. This grand church is located in the centre of my small town. You can’t miss it as there is a spire on the top, which can be seen from a far. A beautiful place to be married!

St Michael’s was filled with 90 beautiful wedding dresses, dating back to the 1950s – of all which belonged to brides who got married in St Michaels – obviously! As you walked round the church admiring the range of styles, the organ belted out ‘Here Comes the Bride’ adding to the perfect tune to this occasion.

On arrival we were given a programme which contained the names of the happy couples, wedding date and some even had facts about their special date. In 2010 we had a really bad winter here in Scotland so the church had to pull together a team to dig the snow so the bride could arrive and the wedding could carry on! Also, there was a dress that was handed down to her daughter and she wore on her wedding day – keeping it in the family. Beside each dress that were placed on hand-made mannequins by volunteers (you would never of been able to tell!) lay photos of the brides in the dress. It was great to try and guess the year before confirming with the programme. I found the 80s the easiest era to guess. This was probably due to the puffiness and peachy coloured bridesmaids (in the photos)!

Waking around there was a few dresses belonging to people I knew. My mum and auntie knew nearly everyone though.

We did get caught of guard admiring a dress for us to turn round at the bride was standing beside us. She had been happily married since 1968! Her dress was beautiful with long lace sleeves.

One of my favourite dress was the oldest one on display. Number 80 (picture below) was beautiful. The detail from tiny buttons to the head piece were out of this world.

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Working our way round all the dresses took longer than expected, so I had worked up an appetite along with a craving for a coffee. Luckily included in your entry fee of £5, was a serving of tea and coffee and some cakes in the church hall – a perfect end to a perfect afternoon!

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The Pitt Market on Pitt Street

As I have no exciting plans for my day till later and Russell is working an extra shift, I thought I’d fire out another post while lazing in front of the tv. (I’ve already finished Gilmore Girls!!)

A few Saturdays ago I ventured down to Leith to attend the weekly Pitt Market. Where you can try a range of street food from different food trucks and sample a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. All while listening to live music and huddled around open pit fires. I had stalked the market for a long time on Instagram so I was very glad when I had a free weekend to finally attend. Check them out here – the photos will definitely make you want to brave the cold and head down!

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On arrival I was greeted with a friendly welcome from a human and a dog – yes dogs are allowed, another reason to go. I paid £1 to get in and I could stay as long as I wanted to ( I managed a few hours, until I lost all feeling in my toes!)  I had researched before hand so I knew what trucks were attending. Thankfully the week I was able to go Rost were there. I have sampled their wonderfully, cheesey macaroni ‘baws’ before so was hyped to be able to have them again. They are worth the risk of clogged arteries – believe me!

However my first stop was with Chick + Pea for some falafel served on a good few dollops of humus. This was my first time trying humus and I have been eating it ever since. I was classing this as a starter but the portion size was very generous and certainly could of been a main.

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I now needed a refreshment to go with the falafel so wandered over to a makeshift cocktail bar. The bar man was very informative about spirits – but you know me, I drink anything really. I ordered ‘Bizon Cooler’ which was on the specials board. It contained vodka, peach, passion fruit and apple. It did it’s magic in warming me up a little bit.

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Also, another thing with being cold is it makes me need to pee instantly. I was pleasantly surprised with the loos though. Not something I thought I would ever say about an outside event. Let me reassure you, that the toilets at the Pitts where a lot cleaner than your average Portaloo. A nice touch of art work hanging on the wall too!

Next, was time for a main course and where else to head than Rost. I never ordered macaroni ‘baws’ though. I went for the steak and chips after smelling it cooking on the bbq. It was £7 for a paper container stacked with chips and a good helping of perfectly cooked steak. It also came with a generous blob of garlic mayo (something I shouldn’t eat but enjoyed far too much) and a pile of healthy greens which I slyly hid in my napkin. That meal was worth every penny. I would certainly consider hiring them if I ever need catering. Obviously while eating steak another drink was needed. I settled on a pint, but it was a tough call between a cold beer or a glass of rose.

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I was starting to feel a little bit full at this point and beer makes me bloated so I had to pick my next meal very carefully. Do I go for a hot dog the size of my forearm or go for a pudding?

Pudding won.

Parked near the entrance was a crème brûlée truck. It was a must. They had 4 options on offer: salted caramel brownie, cookie smores, hazelnut and white choc or original. This was the toughest decision of the day so far. Very kindly, I was able to mix to flavours to create a salted caramel, cookie smore crème brûlée. The more sugar the better!

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I ate my brûlée by an open pit fire but by this point I was starting to get very cold so sadly had to call it a day! It was now dark by this point and the market was twinkling away with lots of fairy lights and there was a relaxed atmosphere which definitely made it hard to leave (next time I was be wearing more layers)

Next year I will be back… More than once!