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Eden Mill | Gin Tasting Night

The past 2 weeks have been difficult. Jacob had his memorial service on the 28th of March which has been really hard for us. The day after we had another appointment at the hospital for fertility-related reasons. All this, coupled with our hectic schedules, we haven't had much time together. 

After our appointment on Friday, we decided to go into our local Wetherspoons for something to eat. It was completely out of the blue for us but we got a selection of sides and some cocktail pitchers. I thoroughly recommend the spicy prawns! It was a great afternoon date and exactly what we both needed. On the way out, Elyse decided that we should try some of the gins at the bar, she loves gin and is really the only type of alcohol she can manage, we taste tested Beefeater Blood Orange, Eden Mill Candy Cane, Eden Mill Love Gin and also their latest raspberry and meringue liqueur. After trying a few of the brands the bartender said that they were hosting a gin tasting night for the Eden Mill brand on the following Thursday. 

Typically we don't go to events or do much mid-week due to work hours but figuring the change in routine was exactly what we both needed, more so to shake things up, we purchased the tickets. At £10 for a prosecco and three gins it seemed like a good deal - however - we both were a bit ''meh'' about the prospect of prosecco, neither of us really like the stuff.  Thursday finally came round, FINALLY!  I was pumped for it and all the way through the week we were both talking about how excited we were for our tasting session. 

When we arrived at Wetherspoons we had a few drinks (as we were a little early), I got a Banana cider made from the Cockeyedcider Co, which was absolutely amazing, seriously, check it out if you like flavoured ciders. Elyse, wanting to start her gin night early with a Beefeater blood orange, which she said was really "orangey" and an overall good drink. 

At seven we headed over to the cordoned off area where the tasting event was hosted. We were greeted by a very lovely, and cheery man named Steve Lowrie Mackay, the brand ambassador for Eden Mill.  He offered us our glass of prosecco which was nowhere near as dull as we both anticipated - rather than being a cheap glass of fizz it was, in fact, a glass of prosecco with Eden Mill's Love Gin and garnished with a strawberry! Very Schmancy - we were both impressed from the get-go. It tasted refreshing and sweet, something I look for when having a drink. I didn't finish mine in one go (which is pretty rare for me), I had it sitting on the table beside me throughout the night and, over time, the strawberry started to take on a whole lot of the flavour of the gin-prosecco concoction. It tasted great and I would fully recommend leaving your garnishes to macerate.

Steve was there to walk us through the proper etiquette and ways to best enjoy the gin. When tasting any sorts of alcohols, be it wines or gins, there are certain steps you should follow through to fully enjoy the experience. Do not take it as a shot because not only are wasting the drink, but you are skipping a lot of the notes and flavours that you would normally get if you savoured it. 

On to the actual tasting...

 First Sampling 

Our first glass was the award-winning classic gin. This gin won the award for ''gin of the year'' and London dry gin of the year in 2018. It is made from sea buckthorn berries, which are sourced locally (In walking distance) to the St Andrews distillery where possible.  

This berry gives the gin a tart flavour which is balanced out with citrus peel and lemon balm. We were instructed to briefly nose the glass, the smell is very citrusy and Elyse picked up a rosemary note, which likely came from the pine. 

Following the nose notes, we tried the small part of the gin, neat, and Steve told us to gently swirl it around our tongues, to get a good taste of all of the flavours. I found it very smooth and delicate. The citrus notes are easily tasted and strengthen by the tart sea buckthorn berries. The fun began when we started to add some of the garnishes and mixer drinks that were laid out on the table. Me being a novice to the gin scene had no idea that different gins have different pairings. I'm very vanilla, that is, gin and a mixer are usually what I'd opt for. 

Elyse absolutely hates grapefruit, she's tried so many times to like it, but it's just one of those things she can't get past. That was the garnish AND the flavour of tonic that was selected for the classic gin. She tried it and surprisingly, really liked it! I don't think she's fully ready to adopt it into her daily life though, however! The grapefruit coupled with the bitters of the tonic obviously made the gin extremely bitter, but oddly, it worked and I liked it! 

Sea Buckthorn Berries
Lemon Balm 
✔ Orange Peel

 Second Sampling 

The next gin was the 42% Oak Gin. This one is something else. I'm a whiskey drinker so this is right up my street. This one had an oaky and a sweet whisky nose. I was very impressed with the fact that this is aged in oak casks for only a couple of weeks! It has a vanilla taste and notes of spice and honey can also be picked up. 

The mixer we used was ginger, and it really brought out the flavour of the gin. To garnish, we used orange slices. Elyse also discovered that blueberries work too for this sample. Overall, this was my favourite from the set but Elyse didn't fancy it too much and needed the blueberries to sweeten it up. 

✔ Juniper Berries
✔ Angelica 
✔ Coriander 
✔ Oak from beer barrels 
Carmel, vanilla and fudge

 Third Sampling 

Last, and certainly not least. The Love Gin was sampled. This is made with rose petals, marshmallow root, lovage, hibiscus flowers and goji berries. The colour of this gin is the first thing that hits you, it's so pink! It has a floral fruity nose and tastes sweet, vanilla-y and with a flowery citrus finish. Mixed with an elderflower, which I usually hate, but was surprisingly good, I found. The garnish was strawberry. Elyse liked this one too, actually, it was her favourite - so much so she ate my strawberries sneakily. 

✔ Rose Petals
✔ Goji Berries
✔ Marshmallow Root 
✔ Crushed Cupids (Elyse says this is a fact and don't believe what Eden Mill say if they say otherwise). 

At the end of the tasting, Steve whipped out some of the brand's mixology cans. These were amazing! and the Roasted Martini Oak Gin cocktail was a huge hit with our table. Elyse is a serious fan of this one. Others in this range include; Love gin berry bramble, Basil smash hop gin and Citrus fizz original gin. All of which, are equally good in my opinion! 

We really enjoyed our time sampling these gins and I'm more aware of proper gin sampling practices! All of these products can be found on the Eden Mill website. They also regularly host tastings at their Gatehouse location in Guardbridge, which we will be checking out as soon as we can.

This is not sponsored, affiliated or collaborated in any way. 

Opacity | The Future of Distributed Storage?

Anyone who uses the internet probably knows what Dropbox or Google Drive is, right? 

If you don't then they are major players in file hosting. As a blogger and a parent, I relied on these services to store many of my images and documents as USB's and computer storage just doesn't cut it. However, with the increase in demand, these companies have taken to charging for their services. The charges allow you to store more which is invaluable to any online user. You want to be sure the service you choose for the long term is suitable for your needs, allows you to upload and download freely and has large enough storage - but more so it's secure! 

Google Drive, Dropbox and Mega are centralised platforms, in simpler terms, this means that there is a main Governing body who controls all of the chips and with that, your personal data. How can you really trust who is accessing your valuable, personal data? Breaches are still very much an issue - we hear about it all of the time from Facebook and Google. Did you know that Dropbox is partnered with Google Cloud? 

So how can you protect your data, documents and images? 

Decentralisation that's how. 

When a company is decentralised it's not governed by one power. All aspects are delegated so power is held equally and far more securely. In a sense, the company or service runs transparently. This is not something you will get from companies like Dropbox or Google based sites. 

That's where the guys at Opacity come in. Opacity is an anonymous file storage solution with aims of decentralisation. Like it's competitors they will offer a range of packages to suit all needs, the lowest featuring 100 GB and the largest 2 TB. Packages are purchased using Opacity cryptocurrency (OPQ) ensuring that every aspect is kept anonymously.  Currently, Opacity can be purchased on exchanges, but there is a possibility of adding a fiat gateway in later versions. 

• Lowest Priced Package: 100 GB storage, unlimited downloads and anonymous. 
• Medium Priced Package: 1TB storage, unlimited downloads and anonymous. 
• Largest Priced Package: 2TB storage, unlimited downloads and anonymous. 

When using Opacity Storage you'll be surprised to find there's no email or password login. So, how can you use a service if there's no login? When uploading to the Opacity platform, the user will be issued with an "Opacity" handle, the handle is basically an encryption key comprising of various characters is used as a way to get into your account - the handle will not be made up of any personal data, but rather the first 8 characters of the file name of the file you are uploading. 

As for pricing, there's a pretty huge difference in comparison to centralised competitions, Opacity peg the price, this means that the price is pegged naturally to the storage value which ensures you're always getting the better deal in comparison to competitors. 

Here, take a look: 

Speaks volumes, right? 

It's pretty clear I'm more than excited about this. I'm a huge fan of cryptocurrency in general which is pretty evident from my Twitter but to team cryptocurrency and file storage in a decentralised manner at a super low price is pretty incredible. Surely it's not just me that's seeing it that way? 

They aim to launch in May this year. I'm sure it's going to be a huge hit, especially in the cryptocurrency and blogging communities but even if you are looking to save money in the long run and currently pay for the services shown above, it's one to consider as the pricing between the companies is so varied. You can't not save money by moving to Opacity. 

Let me know your thoughts on Opacity Storage or decentralisation in general, is this something you feel should be more common? 

You can check out the website yourself over on Opacity Storage and also find out more about the company and service over on their Medium 

This is not sponsored, affiliated or collaborated in any way. 
I am not benefitting financially by posting about Opacity. 

Back In The Saddle? Sex After Having A Child

From the moment your wedding ring was put on, your life was changed forever. And after that, you added an extra bundle of love to your life with a baby, and again, your life changed insurmountably. And the fact is there's a lot of work to be put into ensuring that you, as a couple, stay close to one another. When you have a baby, the sex immediately drops down the priority list. 

And so, what can you do to ensure that this doesn't become one of those things that only happens once or twice a year?

Getting Closer Again

A lot of people can feel like sex after a baby is a chore, but this is when you have to think about the fact that it's not something that needs to be done so, therefore, you can feel close to your partner. It's about becoming closer with your other half, and sex becomes a by-product of this. 

Instead of forcing it upon yourself to do it like clockwork, you should think more about spending quality time together. This is very important during the first year of your baby's life. If having a baby puts a lot of demands on you, you may very well find that you and your partner are like passing ships in the night. Take the opportunity not to do it to “get it out of the way,” but sit together, talk, and do those things that you did so effortlessly before the baby came along.

Not Piling The Pressure On

We can feel that we have to do this so we can feel like a couple again, but it's not about piling this pressure on, and if you decide that you would like to do it at the weekend, think about making it more playful, and just relaxing into it, rather than filling yourself with nerves and anxiety so it doesn't happen anyway. And, just think about integrating playfulness and fun back into your lives, rather than feeling like you've got duty upon duty to complete. 

Having a laugh is just as important. And you can make it part of the fun. Perhaps print some custom condoms with a playful message, or just think about having a play in other ways. Don't think about it being an almighty pressure, because you won't enjoy it!

Is It Just Not Physically Possible?

Understandably, many parents feel doing the deed while there's a baby sleeping in the Moses basket next to them doesn't just feel right. And as children get older, they may end up sleeping in their own room, but they may also end climbing into bed with you! And this can put a lot of pressure on your parenting, as well as your relationship. And if you're both feeling the urge, then it's time to think more carefully about it, perhaps move to the couch. 

But if you've got a child draining your mental and physical resources anyway, you're not going to want to do it. And, unfortunately, it might just be a case of having to let this pass. Or, putting more rules in place, so the child sleeps in their bed. This can mean a lot of tantrums from their perspective, but if it means you’ll have the opportunity to get close again, then it's worth it.

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