Bottle of gin from Edinburgh Gin Christmas gin with art deco style label and can of tonic water sitting on a kitchen worktop

GINUARY?!

What a bloody fantastic idea! I’m a fan of whoever came up with this. While others are opting for dry January I will be partaking in Ginuary.  I won’t be going for a gin a day but I will be trying one (at the least) a week and I might even give some cocktails a go.

First up is Edinburgh Gin’s Christmas Frankincense and Myrrh gin. I spotted this in one of our local and often frequented off-licence shops, Luvians in St Andrews, a few days before Christmas. Although we mostly go here for the beer they have an impressive selection of gin too. I couldn’t justify buying it for myself so close to Christmas but when I got a bottle from Mark’s brother on Christmas day I was very happy.

On the Edinburgh Gin website, it’s described as having “spiced, aromatic notes of frankincense and myrrh”. Any idea what frankincense and myrrh actually are? Yup, me neither. Frankincense is an aromatic resin taken from the frankincense tree. Oil is extracted from the resin and is often used in aromatherapy. Myrrh is also a resin, extracted from small thorny trees. Doesn’t sound overly appealing, but I can confirm they do taste nice. Plus, both frankincense and myrrh promote health benefits, which basically means drinking this gin is good for you!

Bottle of Edinburgh Gin Christmas gin. Close up of label with art deco design and gold, red, green, blue and cream colours

Before I go into the taste of the gin, I would like to take a minute to just appreciate the design on the bottle. We actually proudly display our bottles of gin (for me, whisky for Mark) in our kitchen so I’m a total sucker for an aesthetically pleasing design. Although many Edinburgh Gins are present in the display this is the first one in the newer bottle. I love the art deco styling of the glass and also on the label itself. The geometric shapes look great and the colours of this work well together and are subtly festive.

I had a taste of the gin straight first of all. There was a hint of orange and a nice subtle spiciness to it (as described on the website). Mixed with Fevertree tonic and lashings of ice, and served in a short glass it made the perfect G&T. We haven’t quite got back on track with our shopping so there was no fruit in the house for me to use to garnish. The Edinburgh Gin website suggests an orange garnish, which would taste lovely. For a really festive taste, I might even put some cloves in the orange. This would nicely compliment the subtle spices. But I’ll be waiting until next year for that.

 

Have you tried the Christmas Gin? I would love to hear your thoughts on it and what mixer and garnish you used.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photographs by me

Follow:

Photo of a bronze glitter diary with twenty eighteen written on it in black font, pink hello kitty pen and mug of tea. Sitting on top of a marble surface with fairy lights

Happy New Year!

I had the best intentions to post this earlier this week. But having plans every day between Christmas and New Year left me feeling pretty tired. So I’ve been enjoying the last few days with no plans and getting to spend time with just Mark.

Mark and I saw the new year in chilling in our flat. This Hogmanay we decided we weren’t going to make any plans and it was really nice! We ate pizza, caught up on TV from the festive period and had a few drinks. 2018 was the first year in a really long time (possibly ever as an adult) that I’ve not woken up hungover on New Years Day.

If you read my last post you will know I’m kinda glad we’ve started a new year. The new year always seems to fill people with a kind of hope. 365 days to hopefully fill with fun and happiness. For me, things are already starting better than 2017. I start a new job this month. And a job I wanted, rather than one I got just cause I needed a job. It seems like with most things in life, once you stop desperately trying for something and come to the realisation that it might not happen, it happens.

I start a job that has marketing in the job title! Something I’ve been trying to get for about four years. And much more seriously over the last year. Although I did have a marketing job for a short time it really wasn’t what I was looking for and was much more a sales role.

Now we’re in 2018 and it’s time to look at the year ahead. Every year I like to set some goals (not resolutions). This year I’m going to try and keep them manageable and realistic, as I don’t think I really did that with my goals last year. Before I get into this years, let’s have a look at my 2017 goals and how I did with hitting them.

Blog more often – This one I did. Maybe not as much as I wanted but I’ve felt more confident with my writing and a bit more like I’ve found my voice and writing style. I also moved my blog over to WordPress and gave it a wee make-over. When I say me, I mean Mark. He busted a gut getting it looking great and doing all the technical/coding stuff.

Spend less time stressing – NOPE! 2017 was a really stressful year.

Get an awesome new job – Erm, nope. I did have a job for a couple of months. But it was far from awesome. In fact, I hated it, more than being unemployed. I learned a pretty good lesson from this experience though – listen to my gut.

So what are my 2018 goals?

Get the most out my new job.

The job I’m starting this month is a temporary contract for eight to nine months. Although it’s only temporary, it’s a marketing job. I want to make sure that I learn as much as I can so that I can get another marketing job after it.

Start doing yoga.

I’m not talking every day, but at least a few times a week. My muscles get really tight from running and I think yoga will help me. Plus I need to try something to maybe help me relax a bit.

Improve photography.

I actually went to a photography workshop last year and finally got my camera off auto. I want to keep practising and get better.

Be a better adult.

We have run out of loo roll on more than one occasion in the last year. I never do housework often enough, and more times than is acceptable there have been full washes done of just underwear… As adults in our thirties, we should be better than this! So that’s something I’m definitely working on this year. With Mark, because you know, I’m not solely responsible for all household duties.

VLOG!

I’ve been saying I’ll do this for a while. During 2017 I did actually film and edit some videos but never got the guts to put them up. I want to do this during 2018. With my blog turning five this year I feel like it’s time to try it. If anything I will learn a new skill and that’s never a bad thing!

 

So there you go, my 2018 goals. Have you set goals or made resolutions? If so, I would love to hear what you’re looking to achieve this year.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photograph by me

Follow:

Photo of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with blue sky and 2 shadows on the ground

So long 2017!

I feel really glad to be seeing the back of this year.

This post started life a bit differently. 2017 hasn’t been my best year. But it hasn’t been my worst. When I first started planning this post I was very much of the “2017 can f**k off” thinking. In fact at some point during November I was literally wishing away the days until the end of the year. I’m not sure why though, why does the start of a new year make you think all your s**t will go away?!

I voiced this to my Mum during a (slightly) teary phone call one night. And, as Mums generally do, she put things into perspective for me. Has 2017 really been that bad? Worse than two years ago when I called off a wedding, ended a relationship that had lasted (almost) nine years, had to move back home and then deal with the stress of being bought out of a mortgage? Well Mum, when you put it like that, not really.

So I gave myself a good shake. This has not been my finest year, and not the year I’d hoped it would be. But, I’ve still had fun during the year. I’ve learned some pretty good lessons. And there have definitely been highlights. Here’s a wee round-up of my 2017, and I guess a reminder that even when things seem bleak, and you feel pretty close to rock bottom there is (almost) always good in your life.

 

Went to my first rugby game. And my second.

After Mark going to a game with one of his friends earlier this year, we had a conversation about how I’d never been to one. Mark bought us tickets for the Scotland v Italy game in March, and it was great fun. Despite me not having a clue what was going on I loved it! The atmosphere was great, Mark didn’t get annoyed at me asking lots of questions about what was happening. And you’re allowed to drink in the stand. The game was an early kick-off so we went for more drinks and dinner in Edinburgh after. A fun, and slightly drunken, day.

We went to Scotland v New Zealand in November and got to see the Haka which was pretty cool to experience.

Was on the radio to talk about blogging and the Edinburgh Blogger Conference.

This was a really surreal experience. While planning the first Edinburgh Blogger Conference we were contacted in May through our Facebook page by Black Diamond Radio. They wanted one of us to be on their daytime show to talk about blogging. I was the only one available so volunteered, and then got the fear! What if I made a total arse of myself?! What if I got asked something I hadn’t prepared for?! Mark listened and assured me I sounded good, not like an idiot, and it was nice to chat blogging with someone. This was a MASSIVE out my comfort zone moment, but something I’m glad I did. Plus it was a nice bit of promotion for our first event.

Realised that I need to learn to trust my gut!

I got offered a job I hadn’t applied for in April this year. I guess you would say headhunted…? The job was Sales and Marketing Manager, and to be honest, from my first interview I never felt like it would be right for me. But, I needed a job. Badly! And the fact it was related to marketing swayed me to take the job despite alarm bells going off. I didn’t actually start the job until June, and by the second week in July I had decided I wouldn’t be staying after the two month trial period. Again, despite my gut telling me to run, I continued working with the company on a freelance basis. This did not work out, and I knew it wouldn’t. So 2017 taught me to trust my instincts and if something feels wrong for me, it probably is.

Planned two events as part of the Edinburgh Blogger Conference team.

Just after I found out I was getting made redundant last year, I took a chance on an opportunity to plan a blogging conference. Our original team of six reduced down to three and along with Jadine (The Punk Rock Princess) and Taryn (She Hangs Brightly) we planned an amazing conference in June. A day-long event with panels of speakers, workshops, brands and networking. Oh, and we had Nando’s too! The conference was a great success and we really made it our own, fun and relaxed while still educational. It was such a success we were pretty quick at putting plans in motion for our next one which was in December. As well as this opportunity giving me some great experience I gained new friends, something which doesn’t always seem so easy as you get older.

Did my first Tough Mudder.

Straight after the blogger conference in June, I was on my way down to Dumfries to do Tough Mudder. Although this seemed like a great idea at the start of the year when I signed up, I didn’t feel so great when I was on my way down. But it was great, the most fun I’ve ever had while caked head to toe in mud. Was it tough? Yes. It’s called Tough Mudder for a reason! Twelve miles of obstacles and running (sometimes wading) through mud. A lot of the obstacles were fun. The Mud Mile and Shawshanked were not! My body has never wanted to do anything less than dropping out of the tube on Shawshanked into the water below! The girl beside me felt the same, our mutual fear helped. We went on the count of three. If you’ve been thinking about it, do it! So. Much. Fun!

We went to Berlin!

2017 was meant to be a year of trips. After Amsterdam last year, I realised how much I wish I’d seen more places in my twenties. Obviously, the lack of job meant the plans we had didn’t quite happen. But in July we decided f**k it and started planning a trip. One of the good things about neither of us doing much travelling before now is that most of the places we go neither of us will have been before. Berlin is somewhere both of us were keen on and it was a really fun trip. You can read about it here, and here.

I turned 30.

Not really something I felt overly happy about at the time. But, I feel a lot better than I did turning 21 and I feel like my thirties are going to be a lot better than my twenties.

I got offered a job. A marketing job!

All hope of actually getting a job in marketing was pretty much gone, I thought that I wasn’t going to get to have the career change I’d wanted when I left HSBC. I had two interviews in a week in the middle of December and I got offered the one I thought I had less chance of getting! I start next month and I can’t wait!

 

So there you go, my 2017. There have definitely been points this year when I’ve struggled to focus on the good. Often when you feel crap the bad outweighs the good. But this year has been good overall. Yes, it’s been stressful. Yes, I’m glad it’s almost over. 2018 is already looking up and I’m looking forward to the start of a new year.

I’d love to hear about your 2017 highlights.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photograph taken by me.

Follow:

Photo of band Idlewild on stage with blue, white and pink lighting

Music is a big part of my life.

So much so that when I started chatting with Mark, one of my first questions was about what music he liked. And as bad as this sounds if he had (in my opinion) pish taste in music we probably wouldn’t have got to a first date!

Luckily for me, and him, his taste in music is good. And very similar to mine. Which is great because it means we never argue over what to listen to in the car. And we love going to gigs together. This year we weren’t meant to go to many gigs. It’s a luxury that really only people with jobs should have, and since I’ve spent most of the year unemployed I didn’t think we would be going to any. However, it ended up that was not the case and we’ve been to our fair share.

Here’s a rundown of our 2017 gigs:

Deftones – SEC Glasgow

Photo of band Deftones on stage with blue/white lighting

Our first gig of the year and I was so hungover! We also had to wait in the longest queue to get in. I enjoyed this gig, but I think Mark enjoyed it more. For me, I was more focused on getting some hangover food after it…

Idlewild – Hidden Door Festival, Leith Theatre Edinburgh

The Hidden Door Festival happens every year in Edinburgh. It’s a non-profit art festival which brings forgotten, abandoned places to life with art and live performances. We got some really last minute tickets to go and see Idlewild. It’s the first time I’ve been to Hidden Door festival and it was also the first time I’d seen Idlewild. The venue really made the night for me, I LOVE abandoned buildings. And although money is being raised to restore Leith Theatre it was very much still a building that had been neglected. It was a great gig from Idlewild, along with performances from Loud Poets and lots of art to see. Hidden Door festival is set to return to Leith Theatre for 2018.

Paramore – Usher Hall Edinburgh

This was my first gig in the Usher Hall, I was surprised how small the venue was on the inside. But this made it really nice and felt like you were at a much more intimate gig than you were. We were stood near the back and I could still see the stage really well. It was also the first time I’ve seen Paramore and they did not disappoint. Plus to make things even better they had Lauren from Chvrches join them on stage. A really fun gig with lots of energy. A band I would love to see again.

Metallica – Hydro Glasgow

Photo of band Metallica on stage with red lighting, cubes hanging from the ceiling with tv screens on them

My ears were ringing for days after this gig! It was amazing. The stage was set in the middle of the floor so people could stand all the way around it. The screens hanging from the ceiling were used well and the gig wasn’t just about the music it was a great performance. Of course, we got beer thrown over us and Metallica broke their curfew but this just added to the experience. Well worth the super expensive tickets and us not getting back home to Fife until almost 1 am.

Brand New – O2 Academy Glasgow – CANCELLED

I was so excited for this gig! I missed seeing Brand New in 2015 and although we saw them last year supporting Biffy it’s not the same as seeing them doing their own gig. Plus with their new album out this year, it was going to be great. We had booked a hotel in Glasgow for the night so we didn’t have to drive home after it which we kept despite the gig not happening. Instead, we saw the Christmas lights being switched on at George Square, went for pizza and beer and the cinema. Still a fun night.

Queens of the Stone Age – Usher Hall Edinburgh

Standing tickets sold out really fast for this so we were sitting for this gig. Normally I would prefer to be standing at a gig but I was pleased to have somewhere to put the one million layers I had to wear because of the cold! Apparently not the first time I’ve seen QOTSA (a bit of a thing with me…!), this is the first time I can remember and it was a great gig. I didn’t have to worry about not being able to see the stage and as well as the entertainment the band provided we got to see some drama happening. Like the guy getting chucked out by bouncers, and the crowd surfers getting hauled over the barrier at the front.

Idlewild – O2 ABC Glasgow

Last gig of the year and it was a good one. More often than not we’re not too bothered about the support acts but when we heard Scott Hutchison was one of them we made sure we got there to see him. Along with Scott was poet Michael Pedersen who was actually hilarious! I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of poetry but I really like his. Being early meant that we got a space right at the front! The gig was for the 15th anniversary of The Remote Part so along with other songs the band played the full album.

 

What gigs have you been to this year?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photos taken by me and M Richardson

Follow:

Black peg board with copper frame and the words "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings" with a lit candle and a mug of hot chocolate with a candy cane

Woo hoo! It’s December!!

I’m pretty excited about the start of the festive season!

December is the perfect time to light some candles and get snuggled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and blanket. I absolutely love a Christmas movie, and like many people I have some that are classics from my childhood. Then there are others that have part of my Xmas tradition as I’ve gotten older (…and some that didn’t come out until I was older). I’m going to share some of my favourites with you.

Home Alone

I don’t think I’m alone in loving Home Alone. For most people my age, this film has great childhood memories. If you don’t know the story (you must have been living under a rock for the last 17 years), after an argument with his family Kevin wishes they would disappear. And of course he gets his wish and gets left home alone while his family go on holiday for Christmas. Much hilarity ensues including a house full of booby traps to catch burglars – The Wet Bandits – in a series of stunts that would surely actually kill a human. The idea of getting left at home alone and having the run of your house with no parents about is most kids dream. Getting to eat whatever you want, watch whatever you want on TV, for as long as you want…!

Love Actually

This film gives me all the festive feels! Bill Nighy playing an aged rocker bringing out a Christmas single with the tune of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around”. Everyone loves a feel good romantic film at Christmas right?! The fact that Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are in this movie, totally makes this film for me. I love Hugh Grant’s dancing! I has become a bit of a Christmas thing to watch Love Actually with my wee brother and stepmum, although we do fast forward through a certain part cause it’s a bit awks…

The Holiday

Yup… another romantic Christmas film! Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s characters do a house swap in December after both have guy troubles. It’s a typical, “guys are d**ks but then they both meet the loves of their lives” film. This one has Jack Black, my (not so) secret and weird crush. I literally love everything he is in, he is just so funny! Despite not normally being into mushy stuff (I realise my Crimbo film picks disagree) I really love this film. It makes me happy.

Elf

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without this film. Will Ferrel plays Buddy the elf, a human who found himself in the North Pole after crawling into Santa’s sack. After finding out there’s a reason he doesn’t fit in, he heads to New York in search of his real family. Hilariously funny, with an infectious excitement for Christmas, it definitely gets you in the mood for Santa day. And it makes you want to eat candy for breakfast every day in December!

It’s A Wonderful Life

I have saved the best for last. For me it isn’t Christmas until this movie has been watched. It has become a Christmas Eve tradition to watch this with my family since my wee brother and sister got old enough to watch it, and it’s honestly one of my favourite Christmas traditions. I don’t watch this film at all in December and save it for Christmas Eve. This year Mark and I will be going with my family to watch it at the GFT.

Clarence the angel is sent to help George Bailey, a man in need who has reached the lowest point in his life. We see George’s life from when he was a boy, up until the point he is ready to jump off a bridge. If you’ve never seen it, I know this doesn’t really make it sound like a must see film. But it really is. Clarence goes on to show George just what impact him never being born would have on the lives of all his family and friends, and it turns out that everyone’s life has been made better by him. And it also gets us to “remember no man is a failure who has friends”.

 

I really could go on with this list, there are SO many great Christmas films. But I had to stop myself at five or we would have been here all day!

Have any of your favourite Christmas movies made it into my top five? Whats your all time favourite?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo taken by me

Follow: