Photo with three bottles of gin, two bottles of tonic on a white table with marble backdrop

Gin subscription delivered straight to your door?!

There doesn’t sound like much better than this.

Recently, Flavourly got in touch with me about their monthly subscription boxes. When I heard that they offered a gin subscription I was definitely keen. The rise of subscription boxes over the last few years has been big. And, why not? Hardly surprising that people want to receive something nice through the post – rather than a bill. It’s a great way to discover new brands that you might not have otherwise heard of. And when it comes to gin it can be pretty expensive trying all the ones you fancy.

So, how does it work and what do you get? Flavourly pride themselves in working with smaller brands, who focus on quality and experimentation during the distilling. Each month you will be sent a box with three 200ml bottles of gin, a mixer, a snack and a copy of Flavourly magazine. And all for £35 a month! The box that I got introduced me to some new gin, which I always love! I got a bottle of Badachro Scottish gin, Blackwater no.5 Irish gin and Sovereign no.1 elderflower and gooseberry gin liqueur. Along with this, there were two bottles of Lamb & Watt tonic water and a packet of Soffles pitta chips.

I really like elderflower as a flavour with gin and quite often use elderflower water as a mixer, so I was looking forward to trying this out. I mixed the elderflower and gooseberry gin liqueur with the Badachro gin and used the tonic as a mixer. The result? A sweet, refreshing cocktail that was very easy to drink.

I’ve tried many different subscription boxes over the years, and to be honest, once I got over the initial excitement of them they’ve quickly lost their appeal. I’m not sure if it was because I felt like they maybe weren’t the best value or that the items in the box maybe weren’t right for me. But with this, I don’t think I would ever tire of new gin. And for the money, it really is great value. You would never be able to buy small-batch gin for this price and you get to try brands that could potentially have never been on your radar.

Not a gin lover, but know someone who would love you forever if you bought this as a present? Then you’re in luck! Because not only can you subscribe yourself, you can also give as a gift. Pick from a single one-off box, or in multiples of three (three, six, twelve months).

If you want to give Flavourly a try then use code FROCKS10 for 10% off. And if you do try them out I’d love to know what gins you get!

Oh also, today (9 June) is World Gin Day so that definitely gives you the perfect excuse to drink some gin!

 

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo by me

*I was gifted a subscription box by Flavourly – as always all thoughts are my own.
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Photo of girl in amongst trees with black, green and blue hair

I take a lot of photos.

So when I got asked if I wanted to go to a photography workshop with Kilometre Zero Events recently, I jumped at the chance!

I’ve been interested in photography since high school when I did a class in sixth year. We got let loose around the town (probably one of the attractions for me) during school time. After taking photos on 35mm SLR cameras we then spent time in the darkroom developing them. I loved it. But despite enjoying taking photos I didn’t invest in a good camera until last year. And only took it off auto setting a good few months after.

The workshop I was attending was portraiture photography run by Kilometre Zero Events. It took place on a lovely sunny (and warm) day in Edinburgh city centre. I arrived to meet the photographer taking the workshop and the rest of the people attending, at the canal at Fountain Park. I was really quickly put at ease when I realised that not everyone was a pro! As someone who is not confident with the manual settings on my camera, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t have enough knowledge.

Photo of girl with black, green and blue hair and nose ring looking through bars on a gate

Our tutor for the day, Julien, split us into two groups – one of the beginners and one for those a bit more knowledgeable. There was a model for the day, who went with the more experienced group to start with and within my group we took it in turns to play the model. I found this a bit awkward at first despite quite often being in front of the camera. It was an experience having someone other Mark taking my photo!

After we all got a turn of modelling and directing, we switched about and we got a chance to work with the model. I haven’t yet got to the point of investing in lenses, so I turned up with the 18-55mm lens my camera came with but I was given different lenses to try during the workshop. It was really interesting to see what the difference between the lenses was, and how it affected the final result.

Throughout the whole workshop, Julien kept checking on everyone and giving pointers and tips on the settings on your camera. In total, we were taking photos for two hours. This felt like just the right amount of time while also flying in! It was so much fun. And because there was a group of us I was thinking nothing of sitting on the ground. Something I would normally feel self-conscious about!

I had a great afternoon and I was pretty pleased with some of the photos I took. And even more pleased with the fact I feel a little bit more confident with using my camera on manual mode! I met some really nice and interesting people. Plus I got some great new accounts to follow on Instagram – which I always love!

Kilometre Zero also run fashion photography workshops along with workshops for yoga and meditation. You can find all the experiences they offer here.

Photography of girl with black, green nd blue hair looking from behind green leaves

A bit about Kilometre Zero Events:
Kilometre Zero create unique creative events where you’re not just learning the theory of something, but getting hands-on experience. They offer a range of workshops and classes that you can enjoy without any long-term commitment or membership needed. As well as group classes and workshops, they offer one-to-one tuition and can even be hired for parties with a difference.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photographs taken by me

*Sponsored post with Kilometre Zero Events

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Photo of a cake with five candles, streamers and a peg board with 'Frocks and Fairycakes 5 today' on it

Half a decade…

Today marks five years, half a decade, of me writing Frocks and Fairycakes!

It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I wrote about my wee blog turning four. And last year writing that milestone felt like a big deal. Getting to five years somehow feels different. Bigger. And mostly because I really don’t normally stick to anything!

I started writing this blog when I was 25. Even that seems like a lifetime ago. Frocks and Fairycakes came about as an outlet for my creativity. A way to escape my boring day job for the big bank and do something that felt more “me”. Maybe I was going through some sort of quarter-life crisis…? When I first started blogging I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t want any of my real life people knowing about it. Someone I knew IRL finding me on Instagram was the worst thing ever! Now? Now I love to tell people I’m a blogger. Hell, it’s on my CV.

Setting up a blog with no tech knowledge at all was not really that easy. Despite getting started on Blogger – a fairly easy platform to use – I still had to figure out how to get widgets on my blog. Mostly because I wanted my Instagram feed down the side! When I was 25 I was living back with my Mum though. This must have been how I had time to figure it all out – I didn’t have any housework or cooking to do!

That being said, I really do cringe when I look back at old photos on my blog. Or remind myself of how it used to look! I never used to edit my photos! Occasionally I would crop them with PicMonkey (back when it was free). I definitely used to do more outfit related posts, mainly because I didn’t know what to write about! I also seemed to have the ‘moody blogger’ look down to a tee. With my new photographer, I find it hard not to smile or laugh when we take photos!

Even in the last year, there have been some changes to the blog. I made the leap (finally) away from Blogger and actually spent some money on it. A new theme has also resulted in me being a lot happier with the look. It feels more grown up. I’ve also been seeing an increase in opportunities. Which I’m super happy about! I’m not sure if that’s a result of the move and the new look or whether it’s almost five years of work paying off. Either way, I’m not complaining!

The move away from Blogger really wouldn’t have happened without the geeky knowledge Mark possesses. He pretty much did everything for me in terms of moving it over and getting it to look just how I wanted. So he now has the added responsibility of helping with the website maintenance as well as being my photographer (and daily Instagram boyfriend).

I’m sure the next year will again fly in. I hope that when I get to six years I’m feeling just as enthusiastic about writing. I’m still amazed that people actually want to read what I write about, and I hope that continues.

Oh, and damn right I bought myself a cake to celebrate turning five! Because I love any excuse for cake…

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

Photograph taken by me

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marble and mint green background with writing saying home improvements my BoConcept wish list

I’m 30 and I’ve never properly decorated a home.

I spent most of my 20s renting and moving often.

Despite living in unfurnished places, lack of funds meant that furniture was purchased based on affordability rather than it actually being my style. When I did eventually get round to being a homeowner and got to furnish a place it still wasn’t completely the choices I would have made if I’d been given free reign. Well, I no longer live in that flat. And I moved in with Mark into what is definitely a boys flat!

I’m desperate to decorate. I have Pinterest boards for almost every room in the house. All I’m waiting for is the green light from Mark so that we can start painting and replacing some of the furniture. I also feel I’ve got to the age where I want some pieces in my home that aren’t budget buys. I love the pieces in BoConcept – simple Scandinavian design that manages to feel modern and contemporary with a hint of mid-century design. Right up my street.

yellow cushion

We’re not at the point of buying any new big pieces of furniture but I’m pretty keen to splash a bit of colour into certain parts of the house. One thing about moving into a boy’s home is that it’s dark. Dark wood, dark walls and we have a dark leather sofa. I love bright colours, and they’re the perfect way of injecting a more homely feel into your place. If you also pick right they can add warmth – something I’m always after. I’ve been on the hunt for some yellow cushions for the sofa for a while. It’s a colour that makes me happy, and if added in small quantities still makes your house feel like a grown-up home. This cushion is perfect. Bright yellow with baroque style embroidery, a few of these would look great scattered on the sofa.

Our bedroom is the room I want to decorate most of all. I wrote about our orange (yes ORANGE!) bedroom wall in another post and my desperation to change it. I’ve already picked out a mauve paint I want. For me, a bedroom should be a calm place. A place where you can relax and clear your mind before you drift off to sleep. Orange doesn’t work for this.

 

Dusty pink armchair with wooden legs

 

I also believe that all bedrooms should have a chair of some sort for the nights when you can’t bear actually putting the days clothes away before crawling into bed. The Adelaide chair would work well for this and the dusty rose would go well with the purple shade I have in mind. Also, apart from being used to chuck my clothes over it looks pretty comfy and the ideal place to sit and work or read a book. Adelaide is fully customisable- you can pick the fabric, colour and even the legs on the chair.

I know I’m not alone in my love of rose gold. It gives a bit of luxury to anything you add it to. I’ve already been collecting little bits and pieces and even bought rose gold spray paint for some DIY photo frames for our bedroom. The colour of the Tone mirror is fab and it would add a bit of warmth (all about the warmth!) to otherwise cool colours in the room. And at a meter in diameter, it’s some size! I also love mirrors in rooms to give the illusion of more space and they make a room seem lighter.

 

Round rose gold mirror

 

I’m hoping we will be using some of our time off work this year to get decorating. Just to clarify, Mark is totally happy (or so he says) with me making our home a bit more homely. And thankfully he doesn’t have any issue with pink. Which is just as well because we already have quite a few pink things in the house! Although he is reluctant to give up that orange wall…

What would be on your BoConcept wish list? Check out their website or visit their furniture stores in Glasgow or Edinburgh to see more.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

Top image made on Canva. Product images from BoConcept.

*Post sponsored by BoConcept
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Black and white photo of a desk top with a laptop, pair of glasses, pen, mug of tea and Hello Kitty headphones

A year ago today I was made redundant.

I found out in October 2016 that I would be losing my job. With my redundancy officially taking effect at the end of February 2017.

The idea of redundancy excited me a bit. Although I wasn’t leaving a job I hated, I was leaving a job that had started out as a stop gap after uni. Eight and a half years later I was still there. I’d been applying for other jobs on and off for years but got nowhere. And to be honest, it was hardly surprising. I was applying for jobs in a completely different field, and not really in a position to take a pay cut. Redundancy was the push I needed to get myself on a different career path. And the opportunity to take a pay cut with the safety of a redundancy payout.

I started applying for jobs straight away, I applied for entry-level jobs. Jobs paying minimum wage. I applied to companies I really wanted to work for (Schuh I’m talking about you). I had many rejections. Many I didn’t hear back from. Redundancy very quickly sucked. For the best part of a year I was out of work, and at times I really struggled. Ten months out of work gives you a lot of time to think, and I learned some stuff about myself during this time.

I LEARNED I NEED TO WORK. I had about 10 months out of work. And honestly, I hated it. I’ve been working full time since I was 20. I actually enjoy working (so long as it’s Monday-Friday, sociable hours). I enjoy doing a good job. Helping people and problem-solving is something I like. Work is part of my identity, as it is with many people. For me, I’ve always thrived more in a work environment compared to, for example, studying. I like the instant results of work, like seeing something you’ve put time into coming together. And seeing your wages in the bank at the end of the month.

I LEARNED THAT I DIDN’T MISS BUYING NEW “STUFF”. I definitely had to curb my spending while having no regular income. And I didn’t enjoy that. I like buying new clothes and shoes. But what I really missed was experiences. I had to cancel plans with friends because I couldn’t justify spending the money on nights out. At points even putting fuel in my car was a struggle. Missed blogger events were also something that happened on occasion. Partly because I couldn’t really afford the train fare, and partly because I wasn’t feeling in the mood to “network” and make chat with people. When you already feel lonely this just makes the feeling of isolation a lot worse.

I LEARNED THAT I’M NOT AT A POINT TO WORK FOR MYSELF. The idea of working for yourself is great. Get to sit in your pj’s all day, awesome. Not have anyone tell you what to do, awesome. Having to generate your own work, not so awesome. I think I was a point where my confidence was at rock bottom. I didn’t feel I was good enough to approach people and ask them to hire me. You need to feel that you kill it at whatever you want to do to be able to do this. There is also the problem of no regular income, and having to chase invoices. I’m still chasing one from October!! And although it’s not a lot of money it’s the principle. I can’t live like that, not knowing if someone will actually pay me money I’m due.

I (RE)LEARNED I LOVE BLOGGING. One of the good things about unemployment was that I had time to blog more. It’s difficult to fit in everything in that you want to do if you work full time. Sometimes you don’t even have the capacity to think about more than making dinner and getting comfy on the sofa at night. Having the time to blog more reignited my love of it. I gave my blog a (much needed) revamp and feel a lot better about how it looks.

I LEARNED THAT I NEED TO BE BUSY TO KEEP BUSY AND BE PRODUCTIVE. This sounds weird I know. But I seriously lacked motivation when I was off. In between applying for jobs, studying a bit and going to the gym, I watched a lot of Netflix. I seem to get my get up and go later on in the day. But, if I feel like my time is a bit more precious I use it better.

I LEARNED WORKING 8-4 FOR YEARS KILLED ME. I’m the type of person that needs A LOT of sleep. A morning person I am not. For a lot of my years at HSBC I worked 8-4, I had to get up at 5:30 am once I moved over to Fife. It was exhausting. But it was my routine and it’s what I did. Once I stopped having to do that every morning I realised just how bad it was. It made me feel pretty certain I didn’t want to start another job that had such an early start. Now I have about the same commute as before but I start at 9 am and I’m nowhere near as tired!

I LEARNED NOT TO SETTLE AND TRUST MY GUT. I’ve spoken before about trusting my gut, you can read about it here. There is something about getting made redundant that makes you realise how unimportant and replaceable you really are. It also makes you question your loyalty to a company. To the people who make the decisions, you’re probably just a staff number. When I was getting close to leaving I remember worrying about getting another job and hating it. Someone pointed out to me that if you start a job you hate, you don’t have to stay.

 

I wouldn’t wish redundancy on anyone. In theory, it seems great. In reality, it’s extremely stressful, especially if you don’t get a new job quickly. But in every situation, there’s always some good to come out of it. Sometimes it’s the push people need to make that career change or take the plunge to start their own business. For me, it gave me the push I needed. I’ve been craving a change for years.

Have you ever been made redundant? What was your experience?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo by me

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