True Ginspiration

11.25.2014

 

The Warwick is a classy bar located right in the heart of the West End.
They just underwent some renovations and have created the ultimate gin emporium
where they are working their liquor skills to create the perfect Gin & Tonic.


Heather and I were invited to check the bar out, and attend their Master Class to learn some 'gin-ology'.
We were introduced to all that The Warwick has to offer - and they have a LOT.
From African inspired botanicals to artisan small batch produce, we were in for a great night of gin.


At the end, we needed to choose which gin was our favorite
so that they could make us a final drink with it.
Which is hard for me to do - because how can you ever choose only one favorite of anything?


We were given an introduction to each gin, and then a sample to try straight.
Yes. STRAIGHT!
Good thing they advised us to add splash of water to each glass,
or else I may not have remembered if I liked the last few...


Well then - let's get to it.

BRING ON THE GIN!

 
Portobello Road Gin
Containing 9 botanicals, including nutmeg and licorice,
the drink is garnished with tasty grapefruit.
Like you'd imagine, it has a very citrusy, fresh taste.


Berkeley Square Gin
This was my first favorite.
....between the only two I had drank so far .
It was much more herby, infused with sage.
It'll be garnished with basil in your gin & tonic.
This was so incredibly smooth going down - 
and when it comes to straight liquor - I do like it smooth.


Whitley Neill Gin
On to the third!
It contains 9 African botanicals, including the baobab tree and physalis.
Don't worry - I had to look these up too.
The baobab tree looks like the Lion King tree, and physalis is a fruit similar to the tomato.
The gin goes down very smoothly, so obviously it became my new favorite.
This drink is also garnished with an orange twist - YUM.


 Sipsmith Gin
My new favorite of the night... I promise this doesn't become a pattern.
Okay it sort of does.
Anyways - Sipsmith Gin contains 10 botanicals, including almond and lemon.
It's garnished with lemon and vanilla. I know - you're drooling already.
Well it tasted just as good as it sounds.
A little strong, a little spicy, and the aftertaste of almond was surprising and delicious.


Elephant Gin
So this one didn't make my list of favorites taste-wise,
BUT
it was my favorite brand.
Elephant Gin is made in Hamburg - you know that's where The Beatles played, right?
Surprisingly, though, that's not why it's my favorite.
15% of the profits are donated to two foundations that support the preservation of African Elephants.
Each bottle is named after a famous elephant - you can see we were drinking to Duke on this night.


Boodles Gin
Yup. New favorite.
And yup again - smooth.
Boodles is a sagey tasting gin.
It's garnished with a sprig of rosemary, and like I said before - VERY smooth.
Another way to describe it: delicious.
  
Hendrick's Gin
 This was the most recognizable of the bottles.
An incredibly cucumber-y tasting gin, which is like paradise for Heather
who is absolutely cuckoo for cucumbers.
The drink is garnished with Bulgarian rose and cucumbers.
And did I mention cucumbers?


 
 Williams Chase Gin
 The big winner of the night!
Distilled from organic apples, and garnished with an apple slice the taste is so fruity, and fresh.
I mean, it tasted like apples! How could I not choose this?!

------------------------------

Next up - the drinks.
Like I said, I chose Williams Chase.
And Heather
-although I thought her cucumber craze would take over-
decided to try something different and chose Sipsmith.

Our fantastic teachers concocted everyone's favorite gin & tonics,
and we were sent upstairs to the main floor to enjoy, mingle, and eat the snacks that were supplied to us.
Booze and mini-burgers?
It actually doesn't get any better than that.

The Warwick is located right off of Regent Street at 1-3 Warwick Street.
The closest Tube Station is Piccadilly Circus - close as in, it's right around the corner,
so don't worry about getting lost after you've decided to try each type of Gin & Tonic they have to offer.


Thank you to The Warwick Bar & PRandEverythingInbetween for this lovely event and a great night out!


 
 
 

The Commitments - The Palace Theatre

11.19.2014


If you've read anything about me, you know I'm quite the old folk when it comes to my music.
So what better way to spend my Sunday night than rocking out to some soul tunes?

The Commitments was a 1980s novel, that was eventually turned into a film,
and has now been turned into a musical.
It follows a group of young Irish kids as they make their way into the music scene.
Led by the ambitious and unfortunately untalented Jimmy Rabbitte -
he brings a group of lads and lasses together and lets us watch their roller coaster of a journey
as they attempt to become the world's greatest soul band.



Denis Grindel leads the group as Jimmy - and between his witty banter and defying logic wearing what I think may be the skinniest pair of jeans in the entire world, he does his West End debut with great justice.
Daniel Lloyd - playing Deco, the lead of the group - woos the audience with his gorgeous voice,
all while driving his band mates hilariously crazy.
And the girls of the group, Imelda, Bernie, and Natalie
- played by Sarah O'Connor, Jessica Cervi, and Natalie Hope -
add the sexy to the soulfulness of the group.
It was a great cast who were impressively able to hate each other, then love each other, then hate each other, then ... I think you get where I'm going with this.

'Papa Was A Rolling Stone,' 'Knock On Wood,' 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine.'
And those are just a few of the incredible throwbacks you'll be hearing through the night.
The show is a great story, packed full of laughs, and you'll be tapping your foot from start to finish.
I mean, what more could you ask for?

And if what more you are asking is 'Come on Caity - WHEN CAN I DANCE!!??'
Don't worry - you'll finally get the chance to rock around the theatre - and believe me,
you'll be itching to do so throughout the entire show.
The post-show encore is packed full of energy from both the stage and the crowd,
as well as plenty of amazing tunes to sing along to.
Daniel Lloyd took great advantage of these sing alongs, and even jumped down into the aisle during 'Mustang Sally' for some audience vocals.
Yep - you know where this is going...
Mic shoved in my face - terror throughout the theatre.
Juuuuust kidding.
Lucky for them I backed away a bit, grabbed the woman next to me and sacrificed her to musical embarrassment instead - I'm clearly an 'every man for himself' type of girl.
No one thanked me, but if they only knew what I sounded like outside of the shower, they definitely would have.


All in all - it was a great feckin' show!

The Commitments plays from Tuesday - Saturday 7:30PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00PM and Sunday performances at 2:30PM & 7:00PM.
The running time for this show is approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes with an intermission. 

Travel Talk! My ABCs

11.18.2014

I saw Kaelene do this, and loved the idea.
And I've been away from travel-land and into London-land lately, so why not reminisce a bit
on some of the greatest experiences of my life.


A) Age you went on your first international trip:
I'm going to NOT count going to Mexico/The Caribbean with my family growing up,
so my 'real' international trip was at age 20 when I did my study abroad semester in London.
I mean, it was an alright trip - London's pretty decent..

B) Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:
Terribly cheap when it comes to beer, so I'll definitely say the Hofbräu Original in Munich, Germany.
The mix of the deliciousness, the fact it was a whole liter to enjoy, along with the atmosphere of the beer garden - 
Yup. Definitely my favorite.

C) Cuisine (favorite):
Is this a real question?
ALL THINGS ITALIAN!
Gelato, pizza, spaghetti, wine - give me it all.

D) Destinations–favorite, least favorite, and why?:
Favorite: 
 These questions are a killer - how am I to choose one?
Every place I've been to has been absolutely amazing,
but if you're MAKING ME choose one,
I'd obviously have to go with Liverpool -
I've never connected with a place so much.
I mean, I dedicated an entire post to why it's the greatest city in the world..

Least Favorite: 
Easy.
Naples, Italy.
I know I know, it's gorgeous there, etc. etc. etc.
When Heather and I made it, though, we were in the absolute wrong area for enjoyment.
There was nothing around but cheap shops, and there was no way to get to the coast and see the water.
Terrible location choice on our part - I'd love to go back and give it a second chance.

E) Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Scotland.
I was not expecting the trip at all.
I have never seen views like I did there.
It was the most incredibly visualizing experience I have ever had in my life.
Even now, I'm still remembering the weekend and saying
'Wooooooowowowoow that was gorgeous'


F) Favorite mode of transportation:
Come on now. Walking!
Why would you ever want to travel somewhere and NOT scout it out on your own two feet?
A trip wasted if you're spending it in a bus or underground.

G) Greatest feeling while traveling:
Realizing where you are.
I can't tell you how many times we've been somewhere and I've said to Heather,
"Do you realize we are in *ENTER CITY*??!!
Like, really. We are in *ENTER CITY*.
How weird is this? This is our lives right now."
When you take that moment and think about your life and what you are doing with it.
Such a surreal feeling - the absolute greatest.

H) Hottest place you’ve ever traveled to:
Hmmmm - probably Cinque Terre, Italy.
But I blame half of that because it was hot,
and half of that because we clearly had no idea how to prepare for hiking 5 miles of hills...
Hot and dumb, basically.


I) Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?:
Speaking of Cinque Terre, that's the answer to this question as well.
We splurged and stayed at the cutest hotel in the village of Monterosso - Hotel Porto Roca.
Located on a cliff of the village with a breathtaking view of the ocean,
the entire hotel was full of antique furniture and decor,
and the staff was more that ready to help with whtaever we needed - even if it was sandwiches at 10PM. Thanks again for that..

J) Journey that took the longest:
Well, there was this one time that Heather and I jumped on a German workers train on accident..
The trip was only about three hours, but between not knowing where we were headed and the scantily clad German men yelling that we were going to be arrested - it was the longest. trip. EVER.

K) Keepsake from your travels: 
I wanted to have some type of memory from every place we visited,
and I'm not really the shot-glass collector type.
Instead, I found local vendors selling their art on the streets and bought from them.
I came home with a drawing, painting, or mosaic from every city and hung it on my walls.
It didn't help with the travel-sickness I felt, but it was great to still be able to surround myself with these places.

L) Let-down sight, where and why?:
Same as my least favorite - Naples.
Majority of my blame is on us for not knowing how or where to choose to stay,
but it was the biggest let-down of the semester. So unfortunate.

M) Moment where you fell in love with traveling:
Ah, my first trip out of London!
We had a week off of classes in February, and decided to cram Prague and Paris into six days.
Such a quick and thrilling trip to both - I think we walked 20 miles between the two cities.
It was getting back to our flat and hitting the floor in a mix of happiness and exhaustion when I just knew this life was meant for me.

N) Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
Well - my travels aren't known for their luxury.
Hostels, hostels, and more hostels have made up the majority of my accommodations,
but I absolutely love hostel life, so that's exactly how I wanted it to be.
So I'll go back to the splurge of the century when we were in Cinque Terre in Hotel Porto Roca.
It was absolutely the nicest place, with the nicest view.
Will be going back in about 20 years when I can afford it again..

O) Obsession–what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
I love a great building with a blue-sky backdrop.
Something about the way it looks on a clear sky is just so beautiful to me,
and the photographs turn out just stunning.




P) Passport stamps-how many and from where?:
Literally just pulled out my passport for this.
Prague, Paris, Dublin, More Paris, The Bahamas, Munich, Italy airport stamps, student stamps, and this one time my flight from London was diverted and we landed in Moncton, Canada.
That was fun.

Q) Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?:
Hm. This is a tough one for me.
Does St. Paddy's Day in Dublin count? That was quirky all over ... and green. Very green.
So were we.


R) Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy? 
Luckily, Heather and I have both felt and been very safe in all of our travels - even when we were careless.
The only place that ever made me uncomfortable was Paris - walking home one night, a guy followed up and went all the way to putting his hands on Heather's neck. It didn't go any farther than that, and we got away from him, but proooobably the worst moment of our entire time abroad.

S) Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling:
Food! It's so amazing to try all of the dishes from different cultures.
And it's delicious - YUM.

T) Touristy thing you’ve done: 
One time Heather and I took photos with a dress up Roman soldier in front of the Pantheon.
Well, we were conned into it. 
It was all fun and games until he ended with 'FIVE EURO NOW'
...

U) Unforgettable travel memory:
The mini-backpack trip we took through Switzerland to Germany to Italy to Scotland counts as one, right?
There are so many amazing memories, I don't know how to narrow it down.
Riding on freight trains, sleeping on the street, almost being talked into skydiving with an Australian, singing in the most famous club in the world, drinking games through Dublin on St. Paddy's, eating pizza by the ocean in Italy, dancing through the original Hofbrauhaus with the friends I made 20 minutes prior.
There are too many - and THAT, is why travel is amazing.

V) Visas-how many and for where?:
Two - one for my study abroad semester in London, and one for my master's degree in London.
Clearly there's a lot of London love over here - if you haven't noticed already...

W) Wine–best glass while traveling:
Wine didn't grow on me until the year after I came back from abroad, but I do know that the best glass I did have was in Italy - OF COURSE.
Does it get better than wine in Italy??

X) eXcellent view and from where?:
Scotland - like I said above. WOW.
I don't really know how else to explain it but that I was utterly speechless.

Y) Years spent traveling:
I guess I can say three now!
Starting with my study abroad semester through Europe, then coming back home to Ohio,
taking a job up to Massachusetts, spending a month in London, moving down to Florida,
and then finally moving to London.
I feel like I haven't settled in quite some time!

Z) Zealous sports fans and where?:
The UK-UL college rivalry will always be my favorite.
The greatest energy, the most annoying fans, and all in my home state.

Trying to get into football over here too - and I'll tell everyone I'm a Liverpool fan.
Come on - did you expect anything else?




Tell me one of your ABC answers!

Sunday Lovin'

11.16.2014

Okay, OKAY.
I know it's November.
But we're on London time - and that means I'm actually about 3 weeks late for Christmas...


1) Yes - IT'S CHRISTMAS!
.. more like 'not quite but pretty much so we're just going to act like it is' CHRISTMAS!
Heather and I aren't going home to our families this year - it will actually be our first holiday away from home.

We decorated our flat the other day courtesy of poor girl's grocery heaven - Poundland.
And I have to say - with the exception of the tinsel that looks like glow-in-the-dark snow, the place looks prettttttty good.
I was going to put a picture below, but there's one on my twitter
so heeyoooo self-promo plug --> follow me HERE


2) Speaking of,
Heather and I watched all of the Christmas adverts last night too.
And that was just the icing on the cake - I'm absolutely obsessed with the holidays in London.
Not to mention Tom Odell's cover of The Beatles 'Real Love'
I'm never particularly in favor of Beatles covers
(I meeeeeean if it ain't broken...),
but I have to admit - Tom did em' well.
AKA I've played it about 6 times tonight alone.




3) Also still speaking of Christmas, how cute are these Christmas cards??
(Courtesy of Jess at Stamp in My Passport)
Currently sending to every family member, friend, and stranger.


4) Snow goes in with this now Christmas themed post, right?
Well, Van at SNOW in Tromso did a complete blog renovation, and I'm loving it!
She's basically me, except she's German and living in Norway.
But I mean, that's BASICALLY the same thing, right?


5) This coming week I've got an event with the lovely PRandEverythingInbetwen at The Warwick on Thursday.
And I'll just say - there will be gin. Lots of gin.
I'll also be out in the West End seeing The Commitments tonight, and I'm SO excited!
I've heard a lot of great things about this show and I'm ready to rock out to some oldie goodies.
Watch this space for reviews on both events!



And now I'm ending this with the greatest father-daughter duo ever -
Actually. can't. handle. the. cuteness.
SH!