World Gin Day

Who doesn’t love Gin these days!!

Me and Mr W have been a fan for a while and have grown our own gin collection over the last 3 years so when I heard about a local gin festival with over 100 gins including locally made ones at a nearby pub to celebrate world gin day we had to go.

So last night off we went to The Red Fox in the beautiful village of Thornton Hough here in the Wirral. This is a fantastic gastro pub set in beautiful grounds with fantastic styling.

We had booked a table for dinner too as the food is always great, but first the gin festival! 

They have an extensive gin bar with over 100 different gins perfect for any fellow gin lovers! They had a marquet set up in their beautiful gardens and are highlighting 9 of their unusual or often overlooked gins over the course of weekend!

How pretty is that, they even had a BBQ, so off I went to explore to see what botanical delights they had inside.

Inside was beautifully set up with their gin experts on hand to advise. They even had tonic tasting to demonstrate the difference, glad to see my favourite Fever Tree is the recommended tonic for the classic G&T!

There were 3 gins on offer for Friday night, Burleighs London Dry GinGeranium Gin and Jinzu Gin. I opted for the Burleighs served with a wedge of pink grapefruit and grabbed a Jinzu for Mr W served with kaffier lime leaves! 

We then headed to our table to enjoy some grub and to try a few more of the gin collection.

I have to mention the food too, as always it was fantastic!

For starter with both had some locally grown Claremont Farm Wirral asparagus with poached egg, hollandaise and a paprika crumb! {excuse the cutlery I couldn’t wait to get stuck in} 

It’s hard to get simple good local produce wrong and this was fantastic! 

Mains we both had the same again, sea bass and crab linguine with a ginger and chilli and tempura soft shell crab! A delight!

Dessert was a delicious panacotta with rhubarb and ginger syrup and a ginger snap crisp, perfect summertime pudding!

During the meal we enjoyed a fair few other gins too, all so wonderfully different in tastes. That’s one of the things I love about gin how each one is blended with different botanicals to get such a variance in flavour. The highlights of our gin adventures were:

  1. Bathtub Gin
  2. Botanist Gin
  3. Batshit mental ideas Rum cask aged bathtub gin
  4. Fifty Pounds Gin
  5. Wirral Gin
  6. I also had a Liverpool Aromatic Gin Fizz made with Liverpool Gin, gin bitters and pomegranate liqueur topped up with prosecco

My personal favourite was the Wirral Gin, a floraly gin with botanicals of bog myrtle. I was even more happy to find out it is hand made in small batches only 3 miles from my home in Spital Wirral! We shall definitely be buying some of this for our collection! 

So after a fantastic evening, a hefty bill and a taxi ride home – needless to say a lie in was needed but thankfully my head is ok this morning! 

If you are around the Wirral this weekend and love gin then definitely head to the gin festival at the Red Fox running until Sunday with live music and BBQ!

Otherwise be sure to head to the Red Fox to try some of their fantastic gins {be sure to ask for the gin menu – all 4 pages of it} 

Don’t live gin just go for the food! 

It won’t be long until we are back again for sure! 

A Blue Bride

I’ve been married for just under 2 months now and whilst I am excited for the next chapters in our married life together I’ve had the feeling of this little blue cloud looming over me for a few weeks.

A bit like that sinking feeling after returning from a fantastic holiday or how after the Christmas break going back to work and real life is all a bit, well depressing! 

Well it’s been like that, but worse!  

 And it had been getting gradually worse since we returned from honeymoon, an amazing 2 weeks on the beautiful island of Mauritius and 3 whole weeks off work (the longest I’ve been off since the good old days of school holidays – remember them), what did I have to be sad about! But last week I literally felt completely deflated with no enthusiasm for anything.  

Now in my own defence I’d had a particularly stressful week or 2 in work (no change there then) and my dad had just had a heart attack requiring an operation and hospitalisation which was a massive shock – but by the weekend I was completely exhausted and ready to just stay tucked up in bed and not get up despite the beautiful May sunshine making a welcome appearance.

After dedicating 13 months to planning our wedding, spending all my spare time, every waking minute thinking of everything that needed to be done – I had my life back! But life was just normal again. And not only that, but I was back at work too (boo what happened to my dream of never going back – ha) and the house was and still is a tip.

So I started thinking “what is wrong with me” and why I was feeling so low and dare I say it feeling depressed!  Was I the only newlywed bride going crazy and is there actually such a thing as the wedding blues.

After a bit of Googling I was relieved to find out I’m certainly not alone and the Post-Wedding Blues are indeed a real thing!

Apparently it is common for one in ten brides (and even grooms) to become depressed after their wedding day! 

But why do we get blue? All the stress of planning and coordinating just gets replaced with a feeling of well emptiness once the wedding is over! Whether I had wanted it to or not, ‘the wedding’ had became a major focus in my life and letting it go had really knocked my mojo!

So great – I’m not alone but how the hell do I shift this feeling?

Well for a start it was certainly time I gave myself a proper kick up the backside and a good old talking to myself! This usually works when I’m feeling low about things and I just have to pick my sorry self up and get on with it. Dwelling on a sad feelings only breeds more sadness! It’s time to find something new to be excited about. 

After all the wedding and honeymoon, as amazing as they were, are actually only the first steps on our future together as Mr & Mrs – there will be plenty more exciting things in our lives, the wedding hopefully only being one in a long line of them.
What I learnt from my research to help shifting my cloud it was a good idea to plan some exciting post wedding things to do with my husband. To make an effort to make everyday events exciting and important.  

So I’ve made a list (agreed with Mr W) of what we want to do over the first year of our marriage and maybe even what we want to do for our first anniversary, and I’d thought I’d share it with you! (Well the first draft at least, I’m sure it’ll evolve as the year progresses as lists always do)

1. Complete our garden – when we moved into our home just over 2 years ago it was a repossession that had been rented out for a few years. The house itself is only just 10 years old but had been completely abused by its tenants and the garden was, well err – not a garden! It was a small piece of wasteland with a broken washing machine, rotten wooden decking, tones of gravel, mud and some weeds. Not one plant or tree had been planted and it was a very sorry state. We did not even attempt to do anything for the first year, but with an engagement party planned we were spurred on to design our own piece of paradise. We called in the big guns and had all the hard work done for us with a new patio and levelling the ground – so now we need to fill it with plants and to generally prettify it. I will share about our garden makeover once its complete!

 2. Finish all the decorating and all those little jobs in the house that we just ran out of energy to do when the wedding took over our lives.

 3. Plan some weekends away for some time together. We actually did this the first weekend we were back and went off to Harrogate for a little weekend break to go to the Harrogate Spring Flower show for some inspiration for the garden. It was fantastic so we want to get a few more things planned to do. 

4. Go on bike rides to explore the local area more. Where we live, the Wirral Peninsula, is as its name suggests a small peninsula surrounded on 3 sides by coastline nestled between North Wales, Chester and Liverpool. It’s where I grew up but my husband is new to the area and there are so many places even I haven’t explored. We made a start on this at the weekend and discovered some little gems only 4 miles from our home.

5. Make time to catch up with friends. With all the planning and tight purse strings in the run up to the wedding I kind of sidelined any social life I had which was already dwindling and focused all energies into planning the big day (big mistake)! So now I have some more time and pennies I cannot wait to catch up with the girls! 

6. Plan some new things to do together – cookery classes, date nights, days out! Things we had to limit during the wedding saving!

7. Find a new interest for me. I used to do adult learning courses in the evening but haven’t done anything in a while, so I’ll have a nosey to find something to do just for me! 

8. Get back into my gym routine. In the year up to the wedding I joined a new gym and was there frequently! Since the honeymoon I’ve just not had the motivation but that lack of happy endorphins created by exercise probably isn’t helping!

We’ve also talked about future plans and when we feel it may be right for a new addition to the family if we are so blessed! And no I don’t mean a dog!!   

And if you are feeling as blue as me remember the highs are not just what your life together as a couple is about, its about getting back into the routine of daily life and cherishing the little things together!

And failing that well I could always start plans for renewal of our vows in say five or ten years! 

I’d love to hear from anyone else who has is is feeling like me! 

Until next time! 

Jess xx 

Image by my fantastic wedding photographer Teresa Cunningham Find her page here

Planning a Wedding – Where on Earth do you Start?

So congratulations you’re engaged!!

He got down onto one knee (maybe, although Mr W didn’t but that’s another story), popped the question, you cried, laughed, eventually said yes, told all your nearest and dearest then felt like you were having a heart attack with shock for about 3 weeks! – no? Was that just me and all the coffee I had been drinking at work then!

But now what do you do, where on earth do you even start to plan a wedding and how much is it all going to cost? This was something entirely new to me and probably for you too!

So my first step, along with probably every new bride to be was of course to buy every single glossy wedding magazine I could find on sale in the WH Smiths near work and lug them back to read for ideas on my lunch. Glorious pages of things you never even knew existed or was even wanted needed for a wedding and limitless ways to spend money you don’t have.

I actually however did find the handy wedding planning pull-out guides with budget tips, planning and timing tips really useful, oh and approximate costs of everything to blow the minds of all budding wedding planners – well it certainly did for us and our imaginary budget soon became a complete fantasy for what we liked.

Swiftly all those glossy magazines were left to gather dust under the coffee table and instead oh dear I turned to Instagram and Pinterest to fill my head with inspiration for colour schemes, flowers, table decorations, LED dancefloors, cheese towers, fairy light canopies, hand written gold foil calligraphy, mother of pearl heeled shoes, butterflies, sequins, sparkles, cakes, flying unicorns (you get the gist)– anything and everything a bride-to-be could ever literally dream of – so long as their budget is around oh say £1 million!!

After establishing I was just ever so slightly short £1 million short of my Pinterest planned dream wedding I soon realised we had some serious researching to do to establish what it was we really wanted and most importantly how much we actually had, or could realistically save, for our wedding.

So we sat down and before we had even been to see a venue or anything we wrote down all the names of who we wanted to be a part of our day. This for us was the best thing we did, from day 1 we had a rough idea of how many guests we would have which made getting near enough exact quotes easier from the start.

That’s what we then did and got a rough (very rough) estimate of costs and set up a spreadsheet with lists of all the different elements of the day we could think of from the venue to the stationary, the photography, flowers, food and drink packages, suits, dresses . We missed loads of small details in the start but added them all in, everything including pens and the stamps for the invites – don’t forget them!!

It was the number of guests and what we decided would be essential elements to our day that kind of set a budget for us, plucking a figure out of the air we thought would cover it just wouldn’t have worked for us!  If you are on a really strict budget then having an absolute maximum you can afford to save is a good place to start.

We then set up a separate joint account solely for wedding saving. We opted for the Santander 123 account because the monthly interest (3% AER (variable) payable on the entire balance when you have at least £3,000 in your account) was perfect as there was going to be a fair chunk of money going into that account and it was better than most saving or ISA’s accounts would give us.
NB – You do need to set up direct debits to get the interest on the balance so check out the T&C’s! check out a 123 account here

We then agreed how much each of us could afford to put away into savings each month towards the big day – and we stuck to it.

We had all our wedding savings in one place, we always knew how much we had and could easily track how much we had spent. And the spreadsheet was religiously updated with every single purchase. For us this was the best way to get ourselves organised right from the start.

Organisation really is the key from the start and being strict with savings if you want to have the cash by the time the big day arrives. I won’t lie it wasn’t easy, we saved hard for 13 months, we didn’t have nights out, we sacrificed certain things (mainly it was work clothes for me and I felt like I looked like a homeless person in the office some days) but it was definitely worth it – and just think how rich you’ll feel after the wedding!!

I’m enjoying that part at the moment and splurging my wages to excess for the first time in ages!

So get planning, get saving and save a bit more!

Bye for now! Xx

Married for 1 Month

A lot has happened in my life recently most notable was of course becoming Mrs W and sharing an amazing honeymoon with himself after the wedding!!

Now 1 month has passed, the dust is beginning to settle, the flowers have wilted but the memories we have I will cherish forever!

However having spent 13 months planning our wedding, scrimping and saving and micro managing every single detail I now find myself with a little spare time in my busy mind and also a burning desire to get the other stuff out of my mind!

I’m not sure exactly when I got the idea to start a blog but having discussed with Mr W a while ago ways of trying to declutter my brain which was at bursting point I came up with the idea of creating an electronic diary as it were!

I set to thinking of a name which wasn’t too hard given I’m positively tiny and my favourite jewellery being pearls! Next came the hard part actually creating the blog!

Now I’m a procrastinator at the best of times, (in fact I had considered the name procrastinating petite but eventually decided against it), I will think long and hard about what I need to do, then think some more, maybe even write it down on never ending lists in fine details, but then find anything else that needs to be done until the absolute last moment! This can work fine in the day job as sometimes a looming deadline can really focus the mind – however not so good at starting a blog.

I’d noticed that a few of the lovely ladies I follow on Instagram had started up blogs and decided I had nothing to lose!

So about 4 months after the initial idea and some planning while away on honeymoon over the odd gin fizz or 6 I did it, 1 random night while working late I set myself up!

So here we are, my own blog, my first post, a list of things I can’t wait to share with you and a slight sense of achievement that I even figured how to do this!! Go me!!

I do hope you all enjoy what I hope will be an entertaining and lighthearted view into ramblings of my slightly mad mind!

Catch you all soon, best go & get our dinner cooked!

Love Jess – Petite in Pearls