Gin Festival – Date night at Blackpool Tower Ballroom

I remember the first time I tried a gin and tonic. I was staying with a friend in London and before we headed out to a gig, she poured me a glass of pre-mixed Gordons and tonic. I think I’d just had my youngest daughter so we’re  probably talking about five or six years ago. I’m ashamed to admit it but after one sip I pulled a face and handed it swiftly back to her. I was not a fan. Funnily enough I don’t exactly remember when this changed and when I became one of gin’s biggest fans and out spoken advocate. Let’s face it gin is having a huge moment right now, and I for one couldn’t be happier. If you’ve only ever tried a pre-mixed G&T or a cheap gin with a cheap mixer in a bar then you really do need to give gin another try. With events like the Gin Festival that showcase hundreds of varieties of gins you are bound to find one you love and. I was so pleased to be invited by the Gin Festival to their Blackpool Tower Ballroom event and join many fellow gin lovers for a fun night out last Friday.

 
gin festival blackpool tower ballroom

gin festival

gin festival

gin festival

The way the Gin Festival works is you buy tokens at the ‘Off Licence’ that you then exchange for drinks at the various bars. On arrival you are given a gin glass and The Gin Book, you choose the gin you want from the book and head over to the designated bar and place your order. Easy peasey. I loved how each gin is described and you know which mixer and garnish it comes with. As I particularly like spiced and fruity gins I was able to look for them and the later also try out some more dry and citrus flavours too. 

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My husband isn’t a gin drinker per say but even he found a drink he loved that was mixed with ginger beer, Jawbox gin with Fever Tree Ginger Ale.

gin festival

gin festival

Gin Festival

The atmosphere was fantastic and such a diverse group of people. Gin love definitely spans the generations! Throughout the night there was live music, master classes, street food and you could even try various gin based cocktails.

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We had a great night out at the Gin Festival and I will definitely be going again. I think going in a group of friends next time who like gin as much as more could prove to be even more fun. No offence to my long suffering husband who put up with me photographing him and helped me juggle drinks and my camera! You can find a Gin Festival event near you here.

Are you a gin fan?

Is this your kind of night out?

 

Let me know in the comments below or come and chat to me on social media!

 

Thanks to the Gin Festival for inviting me to cover the event, and giving me complimentary entry.

morganaGin Festival – Date night at Blackpool Tower Ballroom
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A creative photowalk around Preston

For a while now I’ve been wanting to go on a photowalk. For those not in blogging circles a photowalk is when you get together with a few other people and cameras in hand you capture what’s around you and what interests you as a photographer. Most regular readers will know that I’m good friends with Jenny who blogs over at Let’s Talk Mommy, a very talented blogger and photographer. I knew that Jenny was interested in photowalks too so we decided to just pair up and go on one together. We met up in Preston, a city that’s easy for both of us to get to and with our cameras and coffees we went for a wander.

preston coffee photowalk

how to host your own photowalk

We decided to take photos for each other as well as doing our own thing. The great part of it just being the two of us is that we could direct the walk wherever we wanted and combine it with some outfit shots too!

Millers Arcade

Telephone boxes are such a rarity now, we couldn’t resist stopping and taking a few shots

Luckily for us there was an exhibition of Martin Creed’s work at the central art gallery, Harris Museum & Art Gallery. I must admit wandering around and taking pictures took me back to my A Level Art days!

Of course now trip out would be complete without a stop off at a coffee shop. As much as I love the convenience of a Starbucks for working. I do love supporting independents when I’m meeting socially. Ever the bloggers we couldn’t resist popping into Ham and Jam when we saw the gorgeous yellow bike outside it.

I love spending the morning with Jenny on our photowalk. Just having someone that ‘gets’ blogging that you can get creative with is so necessary with the lone working of blogging. You don’t need to be the best photographer to go on a photo walk. Jenny will tell you that I still don’t really know how to work my camera properly and I’ve had it for years! At the risk of being heretical you can even just use your phone as long as it has a good camera. I’ll definitely be going on one again, it was so much fun exploring a city I thought I knew really well and finding little hidden gems.

Top Tips for doing your very own photowalk

Get together with some friends

Make sure you have a camera, or at least a phone with a good camera

Decide where you’ll go collectively

Think about what you want to focus on personally

Get creative and be brave!

 

What do you think?

Will you be trying out a photowalk?

morganaA creative photowalk around Preston
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5 Things I Love About La La Land (and why you should probably go and see it)

Last Friday I had a little impromptu cinema trip. It had been a busy and rather stressful week so on Friday lunchtime I popped into our local cinema and bought myself a ticket to the much anticipated La La Land. With the added bonus that I had enough points to get the ticket for free! I know people might think I’m a little weird for admitting this but I’m no stranger to solo cinema trips. If there’s a film I’m desperate to see I will make time to go and see it, I guess this is one of the perks of my children being at school and me working from home. The last film I saw on my own was Suffragette, you can read what I thought about that here. I knew I had to blog about La La Land from about 5 minutes in, so here we go with the 5 things I love about La La Land

5 Things I Love About La La Land

5 things I Love About La La Land

  1. The homage to old Hollywood glamour

It was like a love letter to LA, a nod to all the beautiful and iconic musicals that have gone before it. As a child I loved watching the bright coloured and evocative American musicals on TV. Often they’d be on BBC2 on a Saturday afternoon and instead of playing outside as my mum wanted me to, I would curl up on the sofa, my eyes glued to the screen swept up in the perfectly choreographed routines, the often chaste exchanges and the glamourous dresses. It took me far away from our little house in Cornwall. La La Land had the same magic for me, and I smiled my way through it. You’d think that because of my exposure to these musicals at a young age then it would mean I’m a bit of a musical buff but I fear the opposite is true. I can count on one had the number of theatre productions of musicals I’ve seen. I can however safely say that I’ve watched many film adaptations and that’s really where my heart lies.

 

2. They aren’t the stereotypical leading man and leading lady

I’ve read some criticism that Ryan and Emma’s vocals weren’t particularly strong and how actors with a more musical theatre background should have been cast. While I agree that their voices weren’t the ones you’d expect in a musical, I do however think that they were perfectly cast. I loved their chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love (a must see, if you’ve not watched it) and it’s very much present in La La Land. Emma as struggling actor Mia is simply charming, I found her instantly likeable, and Ryan brings a little edge in his performance as the jaded Jazz pianist , Sebastian.

I particularly like their voices, it adds to the clever juxtaposition of contemporary film and storyline, and old school musical. I think it could have been so dull with standard musical theatre actors with powerful voices. That brings me on to..

3. The music

The La La Land soundtrack has been on my Spotify most days after seeing the film. My girls love jumping around to the opening number Another Day of Sun, and while it’s not my favourite or even indicative of the rest of the film it is a song you can’t help move to. Mia and Sebastian’s Theme is so evocative and just those first few notes transport me right back to the film. It’s hard to really talk about it without spoilers, but let’s just say it becomes really emotive.

I have to mention the jazz. I love jazz and Sebastian’s passion for the art form is simply magnetic. I’m not as enamoured by the song Start a Fire though, but I think that isn’t really surprising when it’s viewed in the context of Sebastian wanting a ‘steady job’ and John Legend’s character’s spin that it is bringing jazz to the masses you can understand it. Plus is crazy catchy, dammit.

You can listen to Justin Hurwitz’ full score for the movie here –

 

4. The clever juxtaposition

This film walks a clever line between musical and contemporary film. Set in ‘modern day’ but with a very Hollywood musical feel to it. I want to point out that it’s not just a film with songs and dance numbers thrown in incongruously, something that I fear has been the case with a few more recent musicals on the big (and small) screen. I also dislike it when a TV series decides to set one of it’s episodes as a musical (Greys Anatomy being one) as to me it feels so clunky to watch a cast member of a drama suddenly break out into song. It just feels odd. Due to my feelings on this I did have my reservations when sitting down to watch La La Land, but thankfully for the most part it was cringe free. For those not used to musicals I can imagine some of the scenes could have been confusing or unnecessary – the number at the planetarium for example. Personally I enjoyed them as they reminded me of when in musical films they’d suddenly have a scene with dancers in floaty dresses with a pink floor and back drop and it would all get a bit arty and dreamlike, I wish I could give a clear example here but I’m afraid I didn’t really pay attention to the names of films as a child.

5. The ending

Don’t worry there will be no spoilers here. If you’ve already seen it I’d be keen to know if you agree. And yes. I got rather emotional. I did not expect to but when Sebastian sits down at the piano poised to start and tentatively plays.. oh boy I was a wreck.

So there we have my top 5 Things I Love about La La Land!

If you’re not a typical musical fan but go in prepared to embrace it then I think you could enjoy it. I’ve nearly convinces my husband – the storyline and the jazz are swaying him, plus he liked Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love, so we shall see. Perhaps, when he’s seen it I’ll add his non-musical loving perspective.

Have you seen it yet?

I’d love to know what you think

morgana5 Things I Love About La La Land (and why you should probably go and see it)
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Eating out at Disneyland Paris – The Earl of Sandwich

We recently visited Disneyland Paris in October Half Term and as you can imagine we had a fantastic time. While we were there we had the opportunity to go to both Planet Hollywood, and The Earl of Sandwich, two of the restaurants at the Disney Village. 

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Situated in the Disney Village, The Earl of Sandwich is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before heading back out and enjoying the rest of Disneyland Paris. With the option to take away or eat in it’s quick food that tastes great.

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Since it opened, Earl of Sandwich, Paris has been serving its customers The World’s Greatest Hot Sandwich®. Made to order in just 4 minutes, the gourmand’s delight comprises of deliciously fresh, top-quality ingredients and is served on bread baked to order, on the premises (the recipe is a closely guarded secret). Featuring hot sandwiches as well as a selection of salads, wraps and desserts the restaurant also has a breakfast menu and offers a selection of delicious fruits and home-made cakes and puddings!

After ordering you get a buzzer which will buzz when your food is ready to be collected.

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earl of sandwich

Unfortunately for us we went on an extremely busy day, it was a French Bank Holiday, so the queues were huge. I guess this shows just how popular it is! The staff were still friendly and helpful despite being run off their feet.

The girls were happy with the meal deal style of kids food both the mister and I were happy with our wraps and potato wedges. It was good to get a lunch that was warm but not too heavy and despite being busy the service was really fast.

earl of sandwich

This is a perfect place to stop in and grab some lunch and have a break from the park. It’s not far from the hotels either so well situated if you’re staying on site like we were.

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Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris? Read all our Disneyland related posts here.

We were given complimentary lunch for this purpose of this review, all views are our own.

 

 

 

 

morganaEating out at Disneyland Paris – The Earl of Sandwich
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Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life – My thoughts

First off, this post will contain spoilers so if you haven’t finished watching Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life then click away now, do not read this post! I would hate to ruin it for anyone so please, please don’t read this post unless you you’ve watched the four new episodes.

Who’s still with me?

Right, here we go, here are my thoughts on the most recent Gilmore Girls episodes. First off, it was so good being back in Stars Hollow, even if it was just for a few hours. Everyone has aged so well (if a little puffy faced..) and I felt like I wanted to clap every time one of the much loved characters came back on screen.. just me?

I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Spring and Summer and wasn’t surprised to find out that they were written and directed by Daniel Palladino and not Amy Sherman Palladino. They had a different feel to them for sure and what was up with the musical?! I want those minutes of my life back. I felt like it didn’t add anything to the storyline, apart from the scene with Lorelai and that one song. I’d love to know what you thought of it? I ended up skipping over most of it.

I’m so happy that Lorelai and Luke were together and that they ended up getting married. It was the perfect conclusion for them and brought a whole lot of closure and relief.

Let’s talk about Rory, I do feel like she got the rough end of the deal with these episodes. Gone was the focussed, ethical and sensible Rory we all knew. Instead she floundered and flip flopped throughout the series. Although the Paul storyline was funny, it was also rather cruel and not what we’d have expected from Rory. I guess she’s been so ‘together’ her whole life she was bound to have a season of ‘wandering’ at some point and instead of doing it in her early twenties she’s doing it in her thirties. I imagine lots of people can relate. I read an interesting interpretation that Rory has the tenacity of Lorelai but the entitlement of an elite trust fund kid, something that teen mum Lorelai eschewed. This led to Rory assuming she’d walk into top jobs and get the success she craved but didn’t prepare her for the ‘real world’. 

Jess and Logan

We didn’t see much of Jess did we? I get the feeling that Jess is in Rory’s future though. He seems in such a good place and when Rory settles I imagine he could be the Luke to her Lorelai. Did you see the clever similarities woven into the storyline? How Jess got rid of the wifi box for Luke, he gave Rory the listening ear and the boost she needed like Luke would so often do for Lorelai. Talking of character paralells, we have to mention Christopher and Logan. I can’t be the only one that spotted them in the scene where Rory visits her father. Christopher’s phrasings, mannerisms and words were so Logan! It was then that the cogs in my little brain started whirring and I started to figure out where we could be headed with those last four words.

The last four words

Did you see them coming? Or were they a bolt from the blue?

I hate to be ‘that person’ but I had an inkling of what they could be and wasn’t that surprised with how it ended. It seems that we’re doing a full circle. Rory – Lorelai, Logan – Christopher, Jess – Luke. Did you spot the parallels? Maybe you disagree? I know there are a lot of theories knocking around and if you have one I’d love to hear it.

Favourite bits

The Secret Bar – How funny were the shouts of “Five O” when Taylor was about to walk past? Honestly, I was in fits of giggles.

Kirk – Oh how I love Kirk! His short film, the pig, Ooober, it was all funny.

Lorelai trying to pack her camping back pack. In these scenes Lorelai is my spirit animal for sure. The way she keeps trying to stuff everything in and then waking up in the morning still surrounded by it all, so funny.

I have to talk about Emily, her storyline was hands down my favourite. To see her character develop and change in the wake of Richard’s death was perfect. I loved the scene with the DAR when she calls then all out and wanders off. To see her happy and settled doing her own thing in Nantucket just warmed my heart.

Least favourites

Rory – I get what they were doing with her character I really do, but man she was dull. It was like banging your head against a wall watching her at times.

The musical – so, so awful

The lack of Sookie! I know, I know, Melissa McCarthy is super busy and there was scheduling conflicts, and blah blah blah but it still wasn’t the same without her. The five minute scene she was in felt shoe horned and I’d have preferred her to have been at the wedding.

 

All in all I of course loved being back in Stars Hollow and have already watched through the series twice. Do you think they’ll bring in back so we can follow Rory and her pregnancy? They’ve certainly left it open for it haven’t they? I’d love it if they made more but on the other hand I wouldn’t be devastated if they ended it there. What do you think?

Now it’s over to you.. what did you think? What are your theories? I’d love to know!

 

morganaGilmore Girls A Year In The Life – My thoughts
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Mummy and daughter time at Crafty Vintage

When I have a weekend with just my girls I sometimes worry if I’ll manage, if they’ll get bored or if they’ll just play up for me the whole weekend and I’ll be weeping into a glass of wine come bedtime. You never can tell quite what the days will bring! Single parents I apologise for this, as if I were you I know I’d probably be rolling your eyes at my dramatic stance but as someone not used to solo parenting at the weekend it can be both exciting and rather daunting! For this particular weekend I was pleased to note that one of our favourite events was on, something that my girls love going to, so having that up my sleeve definitely helped. Early on Sunday morning we got dressed had breakfast and at ten headed out the door to the Crafty Vintage Fair at Brockholes Nature Reserve.

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We’ve been coming to this for years and know how massively popular it has become. I figured that Sunday morning would be the quietest time and would hopefully get us a parking space. The last couple of times we’ve had to abandon the idea of coming because its been too full to get in. In other words avoid going in the early-mid afternoon!

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There’s a variety of food trucks and pop ups as well as vintage stalls and locally made crafts. I particularly love going to the one before Christmas as it feels really festive and is a great place to pick up Christmas presents.

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Chris Harrison and Judith Harrison -info@gardendesigner.com

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We fell in love with these gorgeous handmade felt characters from PepperPot Crafts, with the mermaid being a particular hit with the youngest.

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crafty vintage

Ida and Rudy – Handmade Organic Children’s Clothing

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Ida and Rudy – Handmade Organic Children’s Clothing – Facebook, Instagram

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Unlike a lot of craft and vintage events there’s lots to keep the kids happy too, with facepainting and a craft corner.

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Hands down, my youngest girl’s most favourite thing about this event is the ‘Magic Man’. Both my girls have watched this magician countless times and they adore him. He does the same magic tricks that I saw as a child and they mesmerise my two as they did me when I was little. In such a digital age where children are constantly being bombarded with the latest tech for entertainment, it warms my heart that simple tricks that have pantomime ‘it’s behind you’ elements still get kids excited and involved.

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Of course we can’t come to Brockholes and not have a walk and play in the play parks!

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We had such a lovely trip and I’m so pleased that we managed to get there before it got too busy. The Crafty Vintage fair was the perfect mummy-daughters trip and we’ll definitely be going again.

PS I survived the whole weekend.. and so did the children 😉

morganaMummy and daughter time at Crafty Vintage
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Gilmore Girls viewing party – 10 things you have to have!

OK, hands up, who’s stupidly excited about the return of Rory and Lorelai? If you’ve no idea what I’m on about then you might want to read a different post, maybe this one? For all you die hard GG fans, keep reading as I’m going to share the ten things you need to host the ultimate Gilmore Girls viewing party.

Have you seen the trailer? Of course you have! But you’re going to watch it again, aren’t you? I can tell 😉

Right, so here we go, are you ready

1.Your best GG fan girls

You cannot have a Gilmore Girls viewing party without your fellow GG lovers. Set a date for your viewing party and if it’s for the new ones A Year In The Life then make it on the actual night it’s released of make a pact to wait and all watch them together at a later date. For the latter you all must love each other a whole lot to wait!

2. PIZZA

pizza

Self explanatory. Any GG party has to involved food and pizza is right up there with coffee when it comes to what is synonymous to Rory and Lorelai.

3. Bingo cards

Add even more fun to you night and play Gilmore Girls Bingo. Check out these downloadable bingo cards or you can even turn it into a drinking game though that could get a little messy.

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Gilmore Girls Bingo Printables – Jane.com

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Gilmore Girls Bingo -Playpartyplan.com

4. Pop Tarts

So you can buy them, which let’s be honest that is exactly what Lorelai would do, but if you’re feeling particularly creative you can make your own, like these beauties.

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These awesome homemade Pop Tarts are by Hello Glow,  I’m wondering whether to try and make mini pop tart pops, OR I might just buy Pop Tarts and a load of sweets instead 😉

 

5. The Rory

Remember when Emily threw a birthday party for Rory and even named a cocktail after her? Well, you too can drink a Rory, check out how here.

6. MORE food – take out

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned food already BUT this is the Gilmore Girls we’re talking about, there can never be enough food. Whether it’s take out, tacos, or just loads of sugary sweets, you need to annoy Luke and get loads of junk food for your party.

Check out these awesome take out boxes by PaperConfete! You can download them and make your own.

gilmore girls viewing party

 

7. Fan girl t-shirts

Whether you make your own or buy them here are a few of my favourites..

 

 

 

 

8. Coffee or at least coffee cake!

You can’t channel you’re inner Lorelai without lots of coffee, whether it’s hot coffee, iced or even coffee cake, there has to be a nod to the good stuff at your party.

Check out this awesome coffee cart by A Beautiful Mess!

coffee-cart

 

9. Whose team are you? 

This is a big deal and something every GG fan will have an opinion on, which guy should Rory end up with (you have to choose between Dean, Logan and Jess, you can’t opt out and be wishy washy saying that maybe it’s someone she hasn’t met yet.

Whether you have t-shirts, badges, or cups with your team on, make it something fun. Of course we all know which Team is the right Team, don’t we… 😉

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Team Jess pin – Greenwich Letterpress

10. Decor!

Make sure your living room looks the part. There are so many cool GG printables out there, like these from Jane.com 

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blog-tableHere’s a

Here’s a direct download link

You can even do a GG photo booth with these cool props available from GenuineDesignCo’s Etsy Store, digital download versions are available here.

Gilmore Girl Photo Booth Props - GenuineDesignCo

Gilmore Girl Photo Booth Props – GenuineDesignCo

I’m throwing a GG viewing party with some fellow GG fangirls so keep an eye out for my post about it in the coming weeks. Let me know if you throw one, I’d love to hear about it.

For more ideas check out our Gilmore Girls Pinterest board

 

morganaGilmore Girls viewing party – 10 things you have to have!
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