Drink Blog: 3 Great Places for Gin Lovers

If you try and type 'Gin' in to your iPhone it autocorrects to 'fun' (well, it does on mine anyway) - and with good reason.

The drink that used to be deemed 'mother's ruin' back in the day, Gin has had some kind of a resurrection over the last few months. 

Why was Gin called Mother's Ruin?


According to Urban Dictionary:

''Gin. Specifically, the alcohol beverage of Gin was called mother's ruin because in the mid eighteenth century the effects of gin on the family and economy were disastrous. Considered the poor man's drink due to its affordability, gin drinking had started out as medicine but due to its easy availability, men became impotent while women became sterile causing the London birth rate to decline drastically. Also, drinking a pint of gin and having an extremely hot bath was recommended as a way to induce a miscarriage (not contraception) in 1950s Britain''

Nice.

In Newcastle Under Lyme alone (a very small town in Staffordshire), we've seen about 5 Gin Bars pop up lately. And there's only something like 20 bars in the entire town in total!

So why has Gin made such a come back?

Well, for me it never went away.

When I was at uni my drink of choice was always Gin and Pink Lemonade. Which, by the way, is a great intro in to Gin drinking for those who claim to not like it yet.

If you have caught the gin-bug (more commonly known as a hangover), I've scouted out 3 must-visit places to get your next gin-hit.

Three Rivers Distillery, Manchester



I visited (and wrote a blog post about) the Three Rivers Distillery a few months ago.

Not only is Three Rivers Gin pretty damn tasty, with an excellent back story and narrative, but they also offer Gin Experiences. 

In their very own on-site Gin School, you can create your very own A* gin creation to take home.

Not only that, but you will also learn about the history of the brand, loads of nerdy info about Manchester itself and have a tour of the Distillery to boot. It doesn't come cheap, but it's worth it if you're a massive gin nerd.

Impossible Bar, Manchester


With the tagline 'We love gin more than Kanye loves Kanye' in block letter across the entrance, it's pretty clear that the theme of this new addition to the Manchester bar circuit really likes gin...

Not only do they like gin, but they also like their weird shit too. 

For example, from the food menu you can order Kangaroo Tacos and Alligator Burgers. I tried the kangaroo option, aptly named Skippy - it was good. 

Here's a picture:

kangaroo tacos impossible bar manchester


But I digress.

Back to the gin.

Upstairs in Impossible Bar, Manchester, there is the snuggly little Ginpossible bar. Which, as you guessed it, serves gin.

Not only do they have an abundance of gins to choose from (over 60 in total), which are surprisingly drinkable sans-mixer, but they also have frozen options too...

Yep, you can have your gin of choice instantly frozen and served in some kind of deconstructed cocktail format. 

The waiters know their shit too, so if you're unsure about gin and don't know where to start, just tell them what flavours you like and they'll recommend from memory - impressive.

Impossible also do regular cocktails and the like across the menus, so even if you're not a gin lover it's definitely worth a visit, if only for the food actually! 

Gin Festival, Nationwide




Before I went to the Gin Festival in Stoke, I must admit, I wasn't sold by the idea.

I mean, have you ever been a beer festival? If not, don't bother, they're boring.

A gin festival though? Good god.

Within an hour I was pretty uhm... 'happy' shall we say?

Not only do they have a variety of gins from around the world on the multiple bars, but they also have masterclasses and tasting sessions in other areas.

The Masterclasses tend to talk you through the history of the brand presenting and they explain the 'perfect serve' for their flavours. Followed by samples, of course.

You also get to take home your very own balloon glass (included in your entry fee) to enjoy a tipple or two at home as well.

Entry is only around £10 and you can see the upcoming locations by clicking here.

I'm sure there are many other places for gin lovers to visit, but these are three which I'd recommend... How about you?

Food Blog: Discovering the Perfect Sickly Sweet Coffee

at home starbucks white chocolate mochaLately I have had such a sweet tooth. It's very unlike me. Usually I opt for anything savoury... Crisps, nuts, crisps and more nuts are my snacks of choice and when it comes to drinks I favour water over juices.

Coffee seems to be the one thing that I do tend fluctuate with my sweetness preference though.

Sometimes I just crave a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha and sometimes I'm alright with a flat white.

But the white mocha days seem to be on the rise, which is why accidentally discovering a sickly sweet alternative at home couldn't have come at a better time.

It started when I went sent a box of coffee from Rombouts. 


It contained a few different types of coffee, with not only the grounds for a cafetiere, but also handy one-cup filters which you literally just pour some water in.

This method instantly reminded me of the Vietnamese Coffee at Tampopo. This comes with a dollop of condensed milk in the bottom of the cup, and they pour filter coffee in the section they place on the top to filter in condensed milk below.



I bought a tin of condensed milk and off I went....

Let's face it... I probably got the measurements I little bit off... And I ended up with probably 1/3 condensed milk to 2/3 coffee.

But you know what? It actually worked out well because it tasted just like a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks!




It's probably just as unhealthy as the Starbucks version to be honest...


But it certainly is a little bit healthier on the pocket. A Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha can set you back up to £4 a throw.

Condensed milk? Less than a quid a tin!

You can also pick up the Rombouts One-Cup Coffee Filters for around £2.99 for 10. Which definitely works out a lot better on your purse.

I'm going to be doing a few more coffee experiments with the rest of my box of coffee wonderment.

Any suggestions for some quirky, delicious combos?

Music Blog: 5 Ways to Prepare for Leeds Festival 2017

Music Blog: 5 Ways to Prepare for Leeds Festival 2017
When it comes to festival preparation, you will find that some festivals need very little.... And some festivals you need to properly get in to the ZONE before you even begin to pack.

Smaller, independent festivals tend to be the fuss-free ones. Rock up at lunch time, find a quiet spot to camp and let the fun commence.

Leeds Festival can be next level though. With Early Bird tickets allowing punters in as early as the Wednesday, some people find themselves living in a field well in to the Bank Holiday Monday. 

After visiting Leeds Festival on and off for over 10 years (and every year for the last 5), I've picked up a few tips along the way. We've already established our drinks menu for the weekend, so time to go on to the more practical stuff....

5 tips for preparing for Leeds Festival 2017


Get a Rolling Trolley Thing!

I mentioned this tip in my ways to prepare for Download Festival blog post  and it's well worth investing in one if you're going to more than one festival. Leeds Festival is one of the biggest walks I've done from car park to campsite. And unlike Download - there isn't a race track to give you a break from the grassy terrain! If you're going for the full weekend and early bird you're going to be taking so many supplies alongside your camping gear and one of these bad boys is the best festival investment you'll ever make.

Plan Your Campsite Before You Go

The campsites at Leeds tend to have their own little personalities and types of people that seem to gather in them. For example: Blue and Red always seems to be the party camps. If you're not bothered about getting much sleep and want to party hard the entire weekend, head for these. If you're after a more subdued vibe, go for Brown camp. It's the furthest away from the arena, but it also tends to be the one that families and more females use and can wind down earlier than the others,

Send Your Tents Ahead With Your Mates

If you have friends heading to Leeds Festival with an early bird ticket, then send your tent with them in return for you taking some of their supplies. The campsites can get full pretty quickly and you're going to want a spot away from the sides (as people seem to like to pee there) and away from the main walk ways (as people like to pee there) and away from the toilets (because people like to pee there). You want to go for somewhere central, with a landmark/post so it makes it easy to find! 

Plan Your Band Itinerary 

If you head to Clashfinder you can plan which bands you want to see and when. This makes it super easy to get to the right stages at the right time and not miss anything! Another tip for this is to screenshot it on your phone whilst you still have signal too. Sometimes phone signal can dip in and out, so you'll end up frustrated when you're trying to find out where you need to be at short notice.

Arrange a Meeting Point with Friends

As mentioned, phone signal can be bad at times at any festival. On the first day, find a landmark on the festival site and if you or any of your friends get lost just head there. If you've never been to Leeds Festival before it can be a little daunting. I still get lost despite being familiar with the layout! And I'll be damned if I'll ever find my tent alone in the dark after a few drinks. With this in mind, scout out something big, like the Ferris Wheel and just tell your friends to meet there if you get lost in the crowd at any point.

With just over two months until Leeds Festival on August Bank Holiday Weekend - Who are you looking forward to seeing?

Still wondering which UK Festival to go to this year? Take a look >> here.

Lifestyle Blog: Why I'll Never Go To Another NHS Dentist Again

Before I start this blog post, don't get me wrong - I love the NHS. I've had some brilliant experiences in past and my local GP surgery is quite good.

However, one part of the NHS that people bypass when having the ol' privatisation debate is Dental Surgeries.

A History of My Teeth


Ever since we were little, we were taught to brush our teeth twice a day. My dad was what you can only describe as obsessive over this. My brother and I went to the same NHS dental practice that my parents did and we all went happily until I was around 16.

It was my Dad that first started having trouble with his teeth and to cut a long story short, he's had to have teeth removed, bridges put in and a great deal of stress for many years over failings at the aforementioned dentist.

I thought that maybe my Dad's situation was a one off. So a few years after I signed up to another NHS Dentist. I told them that I felt there was something wrong with my gums and that my wisdom teeth weren't feeling right either....

This was ignored. This was around 10 years ago.

I then went a few more times after that, to the same dentist. Repeating my issues, but being told it was all okay and nothing to worry about.

After around 2 years of not going to the dentist I swapped again... To another NHS practice.

During this visit to my new NHS Dentist I repeated the same issues. He took an x-ray and asked if I ever ground my teeth. I've literally never ground my teeth. He assured me that I did and showed me some 'shadows' on the x-ray. He said I should stop grinding my teeth... Which wasn't hard. Because I categorically don't do that. 

He then told me I needed 1 x filling. I booked in to have that done and the hygienist also gave my teeth a polish. Not a scale and polish. A polish.

Without thinking much of it, I felt I was in good hands. The filling didn't hurt and it was almost a positive experience.

I explained to the hygienist that I was trying to use those Tee-Pee Tooth Flossing things but having difficulty getting them between my teeth.

Her reply was that my teeth were too close together....

Another problem I have is that a few years ago I slipped with my toothbrush and physically pushed my gum up. This exposed a big bit of tooth which was meant to be under my gum. The NHS dentist told me that nothing could be done about this.

Fast Forward 6 Months....


Two weeks ago I booked in with a private dentist. 

I did this because I just knew my gums weren't right (still) and my wisdom teeth (which have been coming through on and off for ten years) started to hurt a bit more.

After a 45minute dental examination and x-rays I was informed that I needed two x small filling and 1 x big filling...

Bear in mind I'd only visited a dentist 6 months prior to this.

The big filling would have definitely been there during this visit, but was ignored. 

My wisdom teeth should have been referred for removal years ago (apparently). Because they hadn't, one has actually started to decay due to the concave shape trapping food.

Brilliant.

She told me she could pop a filling in, but there was little point as they will be taken out as soon as the hospital can fit me in.

Regarding the exposed tooth from the gum/toothbrush incident, I was told that my NHS dentist should have put a fissure/coating on it. As the exposed enamel is soft, it's more prone to damage and leaving it like this would only result in further damage.

Oh, and after 10 years of telling the dentist I had something wrong with my gums, I've been swiftly diagnosed with gum disease.

I never said this blog post would be glamorous did I?

Anyway....

I've now been to see the private hygienist who confirmed that my gums were a lot worse than initially realised. I had a tartar build up under my gum line, which left untreated could have resulted in bone deterioration and tooth loss. Turns out that the 'shadows' the NHS dentist pointed out, was actual tartar build up.

She gave me a FULL scale a polish after she performed a 'bleed' test. A bleed test is where they literally stab your gums all the way around and see how much they read.

On average this should come back at around 10%.

Mine was 65%.

An hour with the hygienist and my teeth have never felt so clean. I can't stop licking the back of my teeth haha.

And you know how I was told my teeth were too close together? It was bullshit. What is actually was is a build up a tartar behind my teeth. Because guess what? NOW I CAN FIT THE BLOODY TEE-PEE THINGS IN BETWEEN THEM.

How Much Does a Private Dentist Cost?

I know a lot of people think that private dentists will try and charge you for work that you don't need. But I honestly think that's just a myth. Everything they recommend is backed up with x-rays and in-depth explanation.

The dentist I have visited charges £19.50 for an initial check up. That's not too far from the NHS cost really. In fact, Band 1 of an NHS dentist visit is £20.60 - so this initial checkup is actually cheaper.

During the extensive examination you also have x-rays done and a full recommendation of what work you need.

You're under no obligation at any point to have the work carried out there.

My hygienist visit cost around £65 and my fillings are going to be £67 each.

I've also thrown in some tooth whitening for £195, as I've probably wasted that much on crappy kits from Boots in the past. But now I'm having it done properly by professionals. 


I feel both relieved and disappointed....

I'm so glad that I've gone private now, as all my tooth issues can be resolved. Despite being costly, it's a fair price to pay to keep your teeth for as long as you can! You only get one set after all!

But equally I feel really disappointed that I'd flagged issues to separate dentists for them to ignore it.

I understand that they have time and budget constraints. I really do. But at the end of the day I could have ended up in a situation like my Dad has, which has resulted in tooth loss and years of anxiety, pain and cost. 

I'm sorry NHS dentists. I just can't trust you again.

About Hello Terri Lowe


A UK Lifestyle, Food, Beauty and Music Blog, based in Staffordshire, you can also expect to see reviews of places around the country. Often spotted Manchester or Birmingham at the weekends, you can expect to see a little bit of everything from festivals to food and everything in-between. When not blogging, you can find me having a nice sit down with my cats, Stevie and Kitty, or enjoying a fine cup of coffee. Don't forget to take a look at my 'about' page if you're interested in collaborating on any exciting opportunities!



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