Monday, 27 May 2013

Isle of Islay

This post is going to detail the wonderful island that I class as my home from home: Islay.

My father was born and brought up here so we visit frequently and I would always spend a few weeks here each summer. The island itself is known as the 'Queen of the Hebrides' and this is evident if you stroll around the towns on the island. I've always stayed in Port Ellen or just outside it, and its here that most of my childhood memories lie.

Islay is home to many distilleries and they are famed for being very smoky tasting as they are heavily influenced by peat. Most people will either love this, or hate it. As I now work within the whisky industry I can appreciate how special Islay is in terms of this. The whisky from Islay is completely unique and instantly recognisable, even by people who don't know very much about whisky at all.
Laphroaig Distillery

Two healthy drams of Laphroaig Quarter Cask
The distilleries on Islay are Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain and Bowmore.

Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig are situated on the south of the island and these are the most intensely peated whiskies and arguably the strongest tasting whiskies in Scotland. A lot of the barley malting takes place on the island as well with both Laphroaig and Bowmore malting a percentage of their own barley, and the maltings in Port Ellen catering for the others.
Caol Ila Distillery

There are two ways to get to Islay: by ferry or by plane. You can get over to Islay by travelling to Tarbert and catching a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig on the island; alternatively you can get a flight from Glasgow airport to Islay.

Singing Sands beach
The scenery on the island is wonderful and it is home to a number of fantastic beaches. My favourite beach is called the Singing Sands, it is very secluded and on a warm summer's day, you could be fooled into thinking you are abroad. The island is beautiful in terms of scenery; it has picturesque beaches, rolling hills and an abundance of wildlife and this has long attracted tourists. There is a certain magic in the air on the island; the locals are so friendly that everyone who visits feels welcomed, wanted, and with the wonderful food and hospitality services, well looked after!

Carriag Fhada lighthouse, The Oa

Friday, 10 May 2013

Hendricks Gin - A Most Unusual Gin...

For all the gin lovers out there, most women that I know, Hendricks Gin is something that I had never tried up until last year. I started working at Glenfiddich Distillery as a Tour Guide; The distillery itself is owned by the overarching company William Grant & Sons - technically still the founding family - but they own many other brands - one being Hendricks. This gin is ridiculously good. All you need is a generous measure, a splash of tonic water and garnish with a piece of cucumber and you are ready to be blown away. It is distilled in small batches which essentially means less than 1,000 litres per distillation. It can be used in cocktails and also drunk neat. A wonderful, wonderful gin owned by a wonderful traditional company.

Benefit Brow Zings

I am in love with this product. Even more than the Tom Ford Eyebrow sculptor. For £22.50 this product is such good value for money. It has completely changed the way I go about filling in my brows. 

Firstly, you start off with a wax which holds your brows in place and gives you idea of the shape you are after. This brown wax is put on with a small angled brush which gives you just the right amount of an arch for the brow shape itself. You then use a highly pigmented shadow to fill in the rest of your brows and covers any sparser looking areas. I don't think I could actually go a day without it. It keeps your brows looking defined and full all day long and is a complete steal at £22.50.

It comes in three shades: light, medium and dark, and the set also contains a guide on filling your brows in and a handy pair of mini tweezers!