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Food & Drink: Love Gin? Here's Why You Need To Attend The Gin Festival!

Press at Gin Festival 2017
Gin festival in Surrey Guildford Cathedral Marquee
Gin festival 2017 at Guildford Cathedral Marquee
Gin supplier menus and ballon glass
Black tomato gin at the gin festival in Guildford
black tomato gin
Brockmans gin at gin festival in Guildford
food and drink festivals in the UK
Live music at Gin Festival Guildford
Gin themed merchandise at the gin festival\
The boutique gin bar at the gin festival
cocktail bar in action at gin festival
Juniper Breeze gin cocktail
Making a Deset Cooler cocktail gin
Gin cocktail bar at gin festival 2017
nachos or pizza gin festival
Gin festival 2017 balloon glass

Love Gin? There's A Dedicated UK Festival Just For You! 

In recent years, the popularity of drinking Gin has grown and grown, don't get me wrong, there has always been a huge fanbase of loyal gin drinkers, however, I've noticed that gin and tonic and gin cocktails have been much more mainstream with young millennials in the last couple of years, so much so, there is now a dedicated UK festival for gin lovers, for all ages, far and wide! 

I previously attended the Gin Festival when it arrived at Guildford Cathedral's Marquee for a four-day gin-fuelled pit-stop! 

To give you a little bit of background, The Gin Festival was founded five years ago in 2013 and is now on a mission to introduce the best craft gins to as many people as possible, while supporting both homegrown and international gin and tonic brands. 

I was kindly invited along as press for the evening, to experience and see with my own eyes what the festival has to offer and of course, sample plenty of gin along the way :)

For the festival, everything was neatly arranged inside a large marquee outside Guildford's iconic cathedral, with plenty of gin distillers dotted around the outside of the tent, a gin cocktail bar at the back, a couple of different bars with different gin and tonics to purchase, a live band and a couple of food stalls outside, one, in particular, serving homemade pizzas from a wood-fired oven and the other nachos!

Inside the marquee, tokens = power! Basically, everything (food and gin) are purchased via tokens. When you arrive you need to exchange cash for tokens. As a press invite, I received 20 tokens free to share between me, my dad (a huge gin lover) and my husband, Alex. 

However, you don't have to pay for everything, there are plenty of gin distillers to meet in person who is showcasing their creations, who you can chat to and try free samples. 

Throughout each night they also host a series of gin masterclasses, run by some of the gin distillers. If you like a little bit of education, with lots of free samples thrown in, attend a masterclass! 

One of the most memorable samples we tried was a Black Tomato Gin at a whopping 42.3% volume. It's a unique concoction, as it's made from signature black tomatoes which are grown near the distillery in the Netherlands. They even go so far as to add a splash of seawater to the mixture! Sampled on its own, its a bold mix of sweet and savoury, however, what is most unusual with this gin, is that when you mix the black tomato gin with tonic water and rub basil around the outside (as demonstrated by our stall host), hands down it tasted exactly like a bloody Margherita pizza! Delicious!
My next stop? The cocktail bar of course! As a fairly new gin convert, I first discovered my liking for gin a few years ago through its pairing with different ingredients in its most lethal, cocktail-form! On the night, cocktails could be bought in exchange for x 2 drinks tokens. 

I opted for the Juniper Breeze first which muddled Jenson's Bermondsey Dry Gin with St Germain Elderflower liquor, grapefruit juice, lime and cranberry juice and second Fuddled Daisy - Adnams Copperhouse Dry Gin with cranberry juice, Creme de framboise raspberry liqueur, prosecco and a squirt of lemon juice. 

Gin, tasty food, fantastic music, entertainment and a community of gin lovers alike, what's not to enjoy? 

We had a great night and I'd like to say a huge thank-you to organisers of Gin Festival for inviting me along. I look forward to attending my next location :)


(*) My entry into the Gin Festival was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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Travel: Where To Visit In Barcelona - Park Güell

famous park guell landmark
how to get to park guell
couples city break to barcelona
park guell greenery
what to see and do in barcelona
tourists exploring barcelona famous sights
very hot day at park guell in barcelona
mosaics at park guell
rightupmystreet travel blogger
gaudi works of art park guell
city break to barcelona
exploring park guell and its architecture
colourful works of art at park guell
gaudi landscape gardening
exotic palm trees barcelona
scenic photos at park guell
exotic plants at gaudi's park guell
landscaped gardens barcelona
architecture at park guell
gorgeous spring flowers park guell
park guell gardens

Barcelona Travel Guide - Park Guell

As any Barcelona travel guide will tell you if your visiting for a short city break Park Guell is a must-visit tourist destination to check off your Barcelona bucket list. 

With only 72 hours to spare in this iconic city, we were determined to fit in Park Guell alongside another popular architecture hotspots; The Sagrada Familia and foodie and social corners, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter and Placa Reial, where I previously highlighted one of my top 5 food and drink hotspots

After a quick research online and my standard rummage through a couple of different travel blogs, they came to the same conclusion. As Park Guell is always a popular hot-spot, I (and plenty of others) would definitely recommend booking your tickets in advance to avoid having to join a lengthy queue on the day.

From the comfort of our central NH Collection Barcelona Podium hotel room, I booked our park tickets via the Park Guell website with the piece of mind that we stroll straight in tomorrow morning. Tickets cost €7.50 each for self-guided tour entry into the Monumental Core where you will find most of Gaudi’s artwork. Easy breezy. 

However, if you like to be a little more organised, you can book your tickets up to 3 months in advance! You will be assigned a dedicated time-slot, so you need to make sure you arrive at the access point so you don’t lose your assigned entry time. 

You do not require a ticket to explore the rest of the Park so if your early, there’s plenty to explore beforehand. You can also purchase group saver tickets and private guided tours. 

There are three different entrances for Park Guell, one directly by the famous Gaudi landscapes, Carrer de Larrard (main entrance) which is immediately recognisable by the two Hansel and Gretel style gatehouses and another, where we entered via Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya, a 15 minute walk from Lesseps metro station (green line L3). From here, we had to pace up a couple of hilly residential streets. 

Thankfully, there is always someone else heading to Park Guell so it’s quite difficult to get lost and luckily near the top, the hilly streets are replaced with a couple of escalators to help you reach the top. It is quite nice to enter the park via this side because you get to walk through the architectural gardens. 

During our weekend visiting Barcelona, the weather was particularly humid. 

Just a warning, Park Guell is a very open space and if your visiting on a hot day, you’ll be extremely susceptible to the heat, there is very little shade, as we found out in the 30-degree heat that day! In between admiring the beautiful Gaudi artwork, we found ourselves regularly retreating to the beautifully tended flowerbeds where it was thankfully, sprinklers galore - a refreshing welcome! 

As I’m sure you will have already noticed, all over the internet and the blogosphere, there are plenty of valuable photo opportunities at Park Guell where you can capture Gaudi’s creations with Barcelona’s cityscape gracing the background. 

An Instagram favourite is the Banc de Trencadis, a tiled bench that curves sinuously around the Sala Hipostila’s perimeter, such a colourful and eye-catching centerpiece for this broad open space - obviously I made time to pose and grab a cliche shot for the gram :) 

To see our favourite food and drink hotspots: Top 5 food and drink hotspots

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Lifestyle: 5 Little Things I Look Forward To In Spring

yellow stone houses cotswolds spring
the newlyweds mini-moon
the fish hotel farncombe estate
the fish hotel in the cotswolds mini moon
countryside walk from the fish hotel to broadway
broadway village cotswolds
beautiful houses in the cotswolds
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looking for a pub in broadway, cotswolds
autumnal leaves in october
broadway cotswolds travel blogger
fish hotel to broadway walk
exploring the cotswolds 
the new mr and mrs stocker

5 Things I look Forward to Most In Spring


Because for the first time, it felt like Spring was officially on its way, with temperatures reaching highs of 10 degrees it made me smile inside and out. It's funny thinking that only two weekends ago we were in Munich experiencing bitterly cold -10 temperatures. 

On the way home from work I even contemplated taking the roof down on my convertible. Don't worry, I didn't, but even so, on my route home, I started to make a mental list of all the things I love about this special season. 

Longer days, warmer temperatures and that distinct spring smell - what's not to love about spring season? 

So what am I looking forward to most about Spring? Here's my top five little things...

(1) The lighter, longer evenings and the "spring air"

A couple of things that everyone loves about spring; rejoicing because it's still light when you arrive home from work. Being able to eat outside. That distinct sweet smell of the season - fresh grass and sickly sweet spring air. Arranging to go to a beer garden to enjoy an after-work bevvie - blissful. Who doesn't love spring? 

(2) Driving with the roof down

This is still rather a new excitement for me as I only picked up my convertible last Spring, in April. Hands down, the best time of the year to appreciate all the things that are great about a convertible is spring and summer. I'll never forget that feeling when we first drove my MX-5 with our heads bobbing and exposed down a windy countryside lane making our way towards our favourite beer garden. 

We felt empowered. Feeling the spring air on our faces, sunshine peeping through the clouds and the wind in our hair (well mostly my hair - Alex doesn't have much ha) it really is something I look forward to and makes road trips even more exciting! 

A little nip in the air? No worries, I'll turn on the heated seats - what's that I hear you say, the first bit of sunshine has appeared in the UK? Yes, that's me flocking to the nearest pub garden or beach, how very British of me! Without sounding snobby, dropping the roof really does expose you to a whole new world of sights, smells and sounds. And it really makes such a difference after spending a day stuck inside a stuffy office!

(3) Spring flowers

Tulips here there and everywhere! In spring, flowers are blooming wherever you look from left to right and the sun is usually right behind, beaming a dewy glow. Daffodils and daises are popping up in meadows and fields all over the place. Its a colorful affair of pastel yellow and I'm feeling mellow. Bliss. I tend to fill my house with tulips too so I can appreciate spring inside and out. 

I'm also looking forward to the warmer weekends where we can get outside and sort out our otherwise miserable garden. Spring is an ideal month for re-planting and injecting some colour and life back into the garden!

(4) Open windows

There's no better feeling that flinging the bedroom windows open on a warm, sweet spring Saturday or falling asleep to the night-time sounds of birds chattering and chirping. There's something about the fresh, clean air, it does wonders for my mood, and is especially great for airing out our home which has otherwise been suffocated for the last three months of cold winter!

It's a pleasure to see because in Spring everyone has their windows open, which makes the indoor air become as fresh as the outside. You can hear the birds chirping in celebration of the warmer weather, you can hear people in their gardens laughing and chatting over a glass of wine and most importantly, people begin to mow their lawns - how bloody satisfying is that sound?

(5) Injecting life and colour back into my outfits

When the weather's warm but still a little chilly? My favourite. Warm enough to warrant bringing out your favourite selection of spring dresses paired down with a gorgeous chunky knitted cardi, enough to keep the breezy spring chill at bay. 

For the last couple of months, my everyday outfit has felt very un-inspiring, at times I've felt like I might just end up turning into a thick grey blanket scarf because I'm wearing it so much! I'm excited to dress up an outfit again and project some personality into the colours I wear. Don't you find yourself very much dressing for the season? If it's cold and wet you'll likely find me head to toe in black and grey. When spring is here it's floral tea dresses galore! Roll on the spring! 

How excited are you at the prospect of spring? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below. 

The pictures above are from our mini-moon to the Cotswolds. Although it was a late October in Autumn at the time, we had the most wonderful spring-like weather and spent the weekend exploring, walking and appreciating nature in all its beauty. See that huge smile on my face? That's the effect the weather has on me, oh... and being a newlywed probably helps. 


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