GYM & TONEIC

Swimming in gin at Victoria Baths

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Same month, second festival – living it up to the gin-lush label! On Saturday 25 March I attended my second gin festival of 2017, second festival in the same month… I was invited along to the Gin Festival at Victoria Baths in Manchester, to sup and sample gin and blog about the event.

This was by far my most gin-fuelled fête to date, another fantastic festival that has just got bigger and better each year. I had my partner, Heath, my good friend, Nicola (crazy marathon runner), my little sister, Grace, and her boyfriend, Tom, in tow. I dragged them there kicking and screaming… they snapped my hand off to come along, all being massive gin lushes like me!         

On arrival, I was greeted with a bloggers gift bag, including 4 free drinks tokens (wahoo!), the gin book; a gin bible listing all gins to be sampled and so much more! A gin festival pin badge, pen (you can never have too many pens), and a handy gin goblet carrier bag (a great idea). We then got straight to it; supping and sampling in the sampling pool. We tried all the gins on offer, there were a lot more gins to sample than the previous year (if truth be told I was well on my way before we’d even begun!). A firm favourite for all was the latest gin on the scene, Tinker, a light and fruity, Spanish style gin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Spain make great gins! This may not be made in Spain, but it’s Spanish inspired, and I’m a big fan of light and fruity gins.

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To the main gin room I stumbled… as per previous years gins were split by bar, A, B, C and D, all listed in the gin bible, with a description of the botanicals each is made with and the garnish each should be supped with. We all flicked through the book and circled gins we’d like to sample, and split up in search of our chosen gins. As always, I’ve looked to sample gins I hadn’t supped before, always seeking out new favourites.

Gins I supped and sampled…  

White Rose Leeds Gin. A gin produced in Yorkshire, made with juniper berries, cassia, apricot and the subtle aroma of Yorkshire’s famous white rose petals. Best served with an apple garnish. I have to admit I wasn’t as impressed with this gin as I thought I would be… I felt it was quite a strong-tasting gin, and was expecting it to be a lot lighter and fruity.

Wight Mermaid Gin. A gin produced on the Isle of Wight, made with rock samphire handpicked from the chalk cliffs and Isle of Wight grown Boadicea hops. A gin that is slightly sweet with a touch of sweet pepper and hints of lemon citrus. I loved the sound of this gin, mermaid was the selling point, and being made by the sea. Again, I wasn’t as impressed with this as I thought I would be, another strong gin, that was a little too strong for me. I couldn’t taste the citrussy elements, pepper was most dominant to taste.

Black Tomato Gin. A gin produced in the Netherlands, made with signature black tomatoes which are grown near the distillery, a splash of local sea water and peppery juniper. I didn’t try this with tonic, I had this in a Red Snapper cocktail, gins own Bloody Mary. I LOVE a Bloody Mary, like a meal in a glass, a healthy cocktail in my mind with tomatoes being so good for you. This went down a treat, they even added beetroot to the mix, again very healthy ad good for you. This got a big thumbs up! Not sure I would’ve enjoyed it quite the same with tonic, I’ll have to try it again at some point in the future and let you know.

Tinker Gin. A Spanish inspired gin produced in Leeds, made with liquorice and elderberries, orange and lemon. Best served with a slice of pear. This was a firm favourite of mine in the sampling pool and only left me wanting more… so of course this had to be supped as one of my selection. A gin that is light and fruity, easy and pleasing on the palate. We bought a bottle to take home, for further supping and sampling, and it didn’t last long!

With all the above gins supped and LOTS of gins sampled in the sampling pool, I was very tipsy indeed, we all were! This was the booziest festival I’ve been to, and it just gets bigger and better each year! On top of the hundreds of gins to be sampled, there was a great selection of street food to choose from to soak up all the booze. If you’ve not experienced the Gin Festival yet, you must! I will be there again next year for sure… seeking out new gins and no doubt loving it even more.

Check out ginfestival.com to find upcoming events, buy tickets and gin!                         

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The Gin Society Festival 2017

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On Friday 3 March I went to my first festival of 2017… A gin festival of course! I attended The Gin Society festival at the iconic Manchester Cathedral once again, but this time with my gin twin and fellow foody, fashion and boozy blogger, Dawn (check out her blog Just Mee Dee).

Back for the second year, the festival was bigger and better, as expected, with the gin-revolution still showing no signs of slowing – praise the lord! There were more gins to be supped and sampled, more producers sharing their wares and more guys and girls guzzling the good stuff.

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On arrival, we were given a gin goblet and guide, a fancy printed feature listing all gins to be sampled; fruit gins, world gins, British gins and gin cocktails, as well as a brief history lesson of gin. We flicked through the guide in search of new gins that tickled our fancy, made a note and then marched off (in different directions). As I’ve mentioned before, me and Dawn share a whole lot a love for gin, but have very different tastes when it comes to the supping. She prefers the tough stuff (that I can’t handle even the smell of), whereas I prefer light and fruity gins that are easy on palate and nose.

I have to say, I was disappointed once again that the first 2 gins I selected to sample were out of stock. The first gin that grabbed my attention was ‘Mom – God save the gin’, which would’ve been a perfect and very fitting festival opener (looks as though everyone else thought so too!). The second gin I wanted to sample was ‘Tinto’, a sweet and sour Portuguese gin, red in colour. It was the colour that grabbed my attention, and the sweet and sour combo that intrigued. But hey-ho, I’ll have to sample these at another festival! 😉

Drink gin to repent sin! On to the gins that I did try…

Dutch Courage from Holland, the historical home of gin, another fitting festival opener! A gin citrusy on the nose and palate, with a spicy taste and notes of violet, anise and juniper. A full-bodied gin with a bittersweet and intense finish. Best served with ice and a slice of lime. I have to say the description lured me in, I really liked the sound of it, but wasn’t so keen on the taste, a bit bland in my opinion.

Boodles – Mulberry a British gin, that combines mulberries with notes of raspberry and currant to create a sweet and subtle medley. The addition of rosemary and sage botanicals, create a balance and complexity of flavour. Best served with fresh mint. I enjoyed this sup, but it’s very sweet. Not a gin I could sup all night, one or two and that would do.

Filliers Dry Gin 28 – Pine Blossom a Belgian gin, that I had to try after reading the first descriptive line. ‘Featuring a breeze of pine blossom running through its centre’, the word breeze has a special place in my centre, working on the awesome women’s cycling initiative, Breeze, for so many years. A creamy, earthy and intensely refreshing gin, best served with rosemary (I’m a big fan of gins served with a rosemary garnish).

Last but by no means least…

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Alnwick Gin a British gin, new to the scene, produced in Northumberland. Hand-crafted and expertly infused with locally foraged botanicals and exotic spices for a crisp, aromatic taste with a smoky finish. A unique taste of wild and rural sophistication, best served with grapefruit and rosemary. However, I supped mine with apple and cinnamon, a taste sensation, like drinking apple pie. This was by far my favourite of the night, so much so I purchased a bottle for the road.

We had lots of fun at the festival, it was great to see its growing success and to get to speak to more producers. Who couldn’t sing more praise for the event organisers and hosts, who’d catered so well to their needs. One of the things that stood out from discussions, was that this is a festival supporting small start-ups, by not charging them a small fortune to share their wares, like many other festivals do. Expansion, growth and popularity is all good, but out price your producers and they’ll go elsewhere… then you’re left with the big brands that can pay the big bucks, as the only ones in attendance and you lose your audience! People like me, who always want to try something new, the latest gin on the market, looking to find my new favourite sup. You’ll never catch me asking for a Gordons, a Bombay or a Tanqueray or wanting to try the same gin twice. The Gin Society festival has still got a local, artisan feel, that’s not showing signs of becoming cutthroat and corporate any time soon.

If you’ve not experienced a gin festival yet, then this is a must! You can find more information and tickets for upcoming events here. I’m going again in a couple of weeks’ time, to the Buxton event with my other half, Heath, who’s a lover of gin. Another stunning venue, that’s a bit closer to home. I’ll be sure to report back on new gins we sup and sample.

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Gin guzzling gift ideas

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Give the gift of gin this Christmas. Christmas is a time to be joyous and merry, and traditionally involves sipping sherry! But hands up, who actually likes sherry? No, me neither! It’s all about gin these days and there’s lots of festive cocktails and concoctions to be made. I’m sure ‘Father Christmas’ would much rather have G&T to wash down his mince pie too…

If you’re stuck for gift ideas and stocking fillers, here’s a few suggestions to put a big fat festive smile on the face of the gin lover in your life…

Ginvent calendar. Make the countdown to Christmas a merry one indeed with a gin advent calendar. At last there’s a calendar for adults, a calendar to blow all cheap crappy chocolate calendars right out of the water… at £125 it is rather steep and indulgent, but if you can’t indulge at Christmas when can you…

Emergency gin keyring. We’ve all been in a situation where this would come in handy! Forget emergency first aid kits… break out of the office and break open the gin! Note: I’m not condoning this kind of behaviour, just saying…

Gin related gym gear. Now you know my blog is as much about the gym as it is drinking gin, I love both in equal measures! Well now you combine the two with quirky gym clobber.

Join a gin club. There’s a few of these around, where you join the club and get a different bottle of gin to sup and sample each month. Here’s a few to check out Craft Gin Club , The Gin Crowd , Five O’ Clock Club , I Love Gin. Being such a kind and generous lover or friend getting them this, they may just let you in on the monthly sampling action.

Get tickets for the gin festival. But of course you’ll have to buy two, a present for them and a present for you! I’ve been to a few festivals this year (as you may have read / seen), the festival in Manchester at Victoria Baths was by far my favourite, so much so I’ve already bought myself tickets for next year’s event (it’s already ticked off my wish list!).

101 gins to try before you die. A gin book to live by. A friend of mine who has this book made a pact with friends to get together and try a new gin each week, they are still going strong. What a great idea and excuse to sup and socialise with friends.     

Gin mug. Life isn’t a fairy tale; I have lost shoes (and on occasions my dignity) and it has been gin related! This is also true, gin is for life not just for Christmas.

Finally… if you’re still searching for the most fitting Christmas jumper for your office party, check out this beauty on the gin festival website!

In need of more ginspiration? Check out:

BuzzFeed gin gift list

Etsy gin gifts

Not on the high street gin gifts

** Heath, if you’re reading this the above is a BIG hint and help if you’re struggling for gift ideas! **

Gin-gle bells, gin-gle bells, gin all the way…

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Manchester Three Rivers Gin press launch

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Rivers of gin in a city full of sin! Sin of the best kind that is… alcohol… Manchester people are good time people, who love the vibrant city that’s full of trendy bars and cool eateries, there’s something for everyone! And now Manchester has its very own gin distillery, how exciting is that!? A first of its kind in modern times. The gem that is Manchester Three Rivers Gin distillery is hidden away under a railway arch in the resurgent Green Quarter, under the very railway that Dave Rigby, Master Distiller and brainchild behind the super-premium sups grandfather worked many moons ago. An area that is alive with industry, innovation and creation.

I can tell you first hand that this new cultural attraction is very exciting indeed and most definitely worth a trip, as last night I had the honour and privilege of attending their press launch event, to sample Manchester’s newest gin experience for myself and share it with you lovely lot… I attended the event with my gin twin and fellow gin-fanatic, Dawn, along with other Manchester bloggers and local media, ahead of their official opening to the public next week, on 18 August.

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On arrival we were greeted with small samples of the gin to try neat, yes neat! And given a couple of drinks tokens to try their G&T perfect serve. We talked all things gin with Dave, learning about his background, how he started off as a university lecturer teaching film, before he took the decision to follow his passion and leave university life to create his own café bar. This was a great success, and lead him to the realisation that it was the products he was interacting with behind the bar that really ignited his passion, in particular modern craft gins. This was the start of his gin journey… Dave is a proper Manc (down to earth, friendly chap!), a proud Salfordian that wanted to create a gin that represented the history and heritage of Manchester, listening to his story was and is totally inspirational. The gin and the experience he has created is a labour of love… it made me proud to be a Manc and inspired to create something, do something – pull my finger out and crack on with PT’ing and maybe give gin production a go myself someday…  watch this space!

Pour me a river…

Manchester Three Rivers Gin, named after the three rivers Manchester sprang up around – the Irwell, Medlock and Irk, is produced and bottled by hand in small batches by Dave and his team on-site. It’s made with 11 botanicals which include the obligatory juniper, as well as coriander, angelica, orrice, Madagascan vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, almonds, dried Valencia orange peel, black pepper and oats. According to Dave, it’s the inclusion of oats that gives it its smooth and creamy mouth-feel, so smooth and delicate on the palate that it can be enjoyed neat. Its unique and exquisite taste is matched by its unique accompaniment – cherries! With the gin revolution in full swing I find myself equally excited about the garnishes, as I am to try new gins, lemons and limes simply don’t cut it for me anymore! Gin-soaked cherries bring to mind the bakewell botanicals and make for a very nice boozy-bite to nibble on at the end, a truly perfect serve.

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The spirit is made on-site in a custom-built Arnold Holstein copper pot still named Angel, which is a nod to the historic Angel Meadow area the distillery calls home – she is a thing of beauty, the queen of stills. Dave tipped his hat to all homebrewers, distilling in make shift stills in their bathrooms, but said for him if he was going to produce the finest of gins Manchester has to offer, it had to be made in the best of the best, to ensure the greatest quality possible!

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I thoroughly enjoyed the night, the experience and the company, and was very impressed by the look, layout, concept, team and most importantly the taste – so much so I purchased a bottle to take home for myself (which I may share with friends!). Thanks guys for the invite and hospitality, I have absolutely no doubts that this is a concept and gin that is going to be BIG news across Manchester and beyond!

People of Manchester… if you love Manchester and love gin – drinking it, learning about it and want to have a go at making your very own blended batch to take home, you’ve got to experience Manchester’s newest gin school for yourself. Tickets for the 3 hour tour and gin education cost £95 and are on sale now, find out more at manchesterthreerivers.com and show them some love on social Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’m always open to and up for a gin jaunt, all recommendations and invites accepted with much love and gin-appreciation – share, comment and post below!

‘For Manchester is the place where people do things…’
Judge Parry, 1912

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Gin jaunts… lack of!

Drink more gin

Must drink more gin! There has been a serious lack of gin love in my life of late and that NEEDS to change! This blog is supposed to be about gym and gin love, in equal measures… I’ve been cheating on gin with gym for too long! Time to get planning, sipping and supping…

Looking back at the gin goals I set back in January, I’ve only ticked off 1! I went to Manchester Gin Festival back in March, you can read all about that here – awesome event! I haven’t got round to the other two I set, going to the Old Bell Inn and embarking on Manchester’s Gin Journey. I must tick both of these off and add to the list…

My Friday has been made very happy indeed this week, with the news that another gin festival is coming to Manchester city centre in September AND Manchester’s first gin school and distillery is opening next month!

Manchester Three Rivers Gin school and distillery opens its doors for the first gin experience tour on 18 August. Based under a railway arch on Red Bank, on the edge of the city centre, the craft distillery is already in action producing new small batch spirit ‘Manchester Three Rivers Gin’, and I can’t wait to sample it!

The Gin Society Festival is taking place at Manchester Cathedral on 2-3 September, day before my Birthday (4 Sept) – all my Birthday wishes come true at once! Tickets for this got purchased with my gin guzzling girls earlier today… can’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 30+2!

All suggestions for gin jaunts most definitely welcome… share and suggest on a post below!

I LOVE gin

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Manchester Gin Festival

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A festival of gin, I’m in! As soon as details of the 3rd annual gin festival were announced, the date, location and exact time (to the second), that tickets would go on sale got etched in the diary. This was an event that had mine and my gin twin’s name all over. After missing out on tickets last year, there was no way I was missing out again…

We managed to bag tickets for the afternoon session on Saturday 26 March, what better way to spend Easter weekend, supping on the good stuff in stunning surroundings! The festival took place at the grade II* listed Victoria Baths, where more than 100 different gins were showcased from craft distilleries across Britain and beyond.

Decisions decisions… so many gins, too little time!

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On arrival we were given a gin glass the size of your head and a gin book (bible), listing all of the gins available to try. I’ve always been a girl that studies last minute or wings it, however, had I had this book a day or two before the event I would’ve studied it cover to cover!

Unfortunately we didn’t have the time (or liver capacity) to try 100 gins; although I’m sure we’d give it a bloody good go given half the chance! We scanned the book and each picked 4 gins we’d not tried before to taste.

Gins I supped included:

  • Pinksters – a pink gin made with 5 botanicals, most notable fresh raspberries. This is a dry gin, with a soft and fruity finish. Best served with fresh mint and raspberries to bring out the flavours. It’s also gluten-free, as the creator has a wheat allergy. I liked this a lot, very easy on the palate, perfect to sip in summer.
  • K-25 – a Spanish gin made in the Basque country, this is a citrusy gin with a cool blue tone. Distilled 14 times, with bitter and sweet orange, lemon, mandarin and coriander. Best served with Rosemary to bring out the flavours. I wasn’t sure about the look of this one at first with it being blue, it reminded me of a blue WKD (brings back BAD memories of many BAD decisions made in my youth!). However, I was tempted by the botanicals and curious about the rosemary accompaniment, and was very pleasantly surprised indeed. A great decision to try and taste (30+ older and much wiser). Rosemary and gin is a great combo!
  • Sikkim Bilberry – another Spanish gin, inspired by the mountainous state of India, famed for rooibos tea. This is a dry gin, with the sweetness and depth of fresh blueberries and blackberries. Best served with fresh blueberries to bring out the flavours. I picked this one because I liked the purple bottle and because blueberries are a superfood, making it a ‘healthy gin’ (I’m going with that anyway!). Very nice indeed, another great drink for summer.
  • Ely Dark Chocolate – a dark chocolate and gin liqueur, rich with cocoa it has a woody fruitiness. Best served neat on ice or with fresh orange juice, no garnish. I picked this one as it was like having a dessert, this being the final gin I supped of the day. Also because it’s Easter weekend, and all about sweet treats! I drank it neat, and loved every sip.

Throughout the event we mixed and mingled with fellow gin lovers, and were treated to live entertainment, talks from gin industry experts aka gin gods, and feasted on tasty treats to soak up all the booze.

Gin lessons learnt at the gin festival

  • I definitely prefer light and fruity gins over the tough stuff! Whereas Dawn, my gin twin, prefers the stuff that’ll put hairs on your chest, she can handle her gin…
  • Rosemary is an amazing garnish (with suitable gins)
  • Spain produces great gin!

This was my third gin jaunt of 2016, a fantastic festival that I highly recommend fellow gin lovers attend. A total bargain in my mind, tickets cost £7.50 and then drinks tokens cost £5 a drink (which is pretty standard for a G&T). There’s a number of events taking place throughout the UK in 2016, but be warned tickets sell quick! Find out more and get involved: ginfestival.com.

Check out more pictures from the event over on my Facebook page

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Gin tasting World Record – sign me up!

Photo by Nic Taylor

My second gin jaunt of 2016 was to take part in a gin tasting Guinness World Records attempt – how cool is that! No sooner than I’d heard whispers (been tagged a hundred times in a Facebook post) about the gin tasting record attempt, happening at The Botanist bar chain, I was in touch to ask for an invite.

Me being me (cheeky), I had to try my luck and ask to be involved, I couldn’t not! Not every day you get to be part of something like this, and I’m no stranger to setting Guinness World Records, this being the second title to my name, not one to gloat *cough*, I’ll share that story another time.

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The Botanist (New World Trading Company), have a number of record titles under their belt too. For ale tasting and having the largest collection of rums commercially available, but this was for gin, glorious gin. They drank their way into the record books once again, by hosting the world’s biggest gin-tasting night to celebrate their new perfect serve gin list. The attempt saw 100 people at each of the nine sites, from London to Glasgow try three gins from sponsors – Tanqueray 10, Whitley Neill and Caorunn.

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My plus one, fellow gin-fanatic and fashion blogger, Dawn, and I propped-up the Deansgate bar – taking the attempt and tasting with utmost seriousness of course (before the celebrations kicked in!). Every tasting is an education – new gins tried and tested, learning about the botanicals and most fitting accompaniments (increasing my gin-snobbery). My favourite on the night was Caorunn, served with tonic and apple slices – delish!

Following the attempt a celebratory party was thrown, which we were more than happy to get involved with, loving the live music, nibbles, gin cocktails, and yet more gin tasting… we had a ball!

Feedback from gin jaunt number two – awesome night, awesome atmosphere, awesome company, awesome!

In case you wondered…
The other Guinness World Records title I have to my name is for the most mechanical energy produced by pedalling on static bicycles in one hour – 4,821.40 watts! Which I coordinated and took part in, alongside 120 awesome women for British Cycling’s Breeze – proud!

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The ultimate test of will power!

The girls

My first gin jaunt of 2016, and guess what… I couldn’t touch a drop! With just 3 days left of dry January, one of my oldest, nearest and dearest friends, Becky, decides to throw a gin tasting shindig for all the girls on 29 January – thanks Becky!

She asked everyone, bar me (still sulking!), to do their research and bring a different bottle of gin, along with the appropriate accompaniments and a tapas style dish – because we’re ‘sensible’ in our old age and know that drinking on an empty stomach never ends well!

Gin night at Bexs

The gins brought and supped were:

  • Hoxton gin with cranberry juice – a gin with an exotic twist, distilled with coconut and grapefruit. There was a lot of surprise and delight with this gin, the first one supped and was a big hit!
  • Edgerton pink gin with Seville orange and pomegranate pressé – a gin blended with fifteen exotic ingredients including pomegranate. Presented in pink, to make the girls wink! Another big hit.
  • Opihr gin with ginger ale – a spiced gin, distilled with peppers, cumin, coriander and oranges. This gin was one of my personal favourites over Christmas, it didn’t go down so well with the group.
  • Masons Yorkshire gin with tonic – a gin blended with secret botanicals, there were no grumbles here.
  • Edinburgh gin with tonic – two types were supped, rhubarb and ginger and elderflower, lots of gin appreciation for both.
  • A home-brewed plum gin with tonic, brewed by my friend’s hubby – this went down like a lead balloon, I think the word ‘paint stripper’ was used! One of the commandos managed to ride it out and drink the full glass, a true gin warrior. The others sniffed and turned up their noses. The vile taste was found all the more funny with the misspelled labelling of plum ‘plumb’, brilliant! Perhaps there was some truth in the misspelling and it was in fact plumbed, as opposed to distilled – giving it it’s industrial flavouring, in which case it was on point!
  • Greenalls wild berry gin with tonic and fresh berries – a gin distilled with blackberries and raspberries. It went down well – let’s face it, anything would after plumb gin!
  • A few sipping gins were then thrown in for good measure…

I can only look at the positives from this torture…

  • I’ve not consumed the boozy calories.
  • I’m not hungover.
  • They’ve done the legwork; I can just go straight in and try the preferred gins.
  • I’m thankful to have a big group of friends that love gin as much as me; who I’m sure will happily do this again – when I can join in!
  • I didn’t crack and break dry January; if I’m going to transform my physique and fitness, will power is what I need a lot of – being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing!
  • I got to spend time with my fabulous friends – I will take my revenge and get them all back at some point!

I hope they’re all hungover to hell today!

I’m off to treat myself to a Thai massage for having the will power of a warrior and completing yet another dry Jan! Relax, de-stress and loosen up my aching muscles… just what I need.

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2016: Gym, gin and general life goals

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Forget gold digger, this year I plan to be a goal digger! Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself, to give you focus and direction, as well as an aim to train. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they’re realistic, achievable and timely to keep on track. Here’s my 2016 gym, gin and general life goals…

Gym goals…

Shape up. I want to lose fat, build muscle and tone up. I want to be stronger, fitter and sculpted (the buzz word in fitness for defined). I don’t have a goal weight and don’t really get hung up on what the scales say. It’s more about how I look and feel, for me strong is sexy/healthy, skinny isn’t attractive or appealing in the slightest. I’ve noted my weight and measurements at the start of the year, I’ll show and share my progress over the coming weeks and months. Check out The Naked Truth.

Start Yoga. Something I’ve said I’ll do for the last few years. I’ve been to a few classes, but never stuck at it on a regular basis. I’m well aware of the many health benefits, and need to improve my core strength, flexibility and balance – I am going to start and I am going to stick at it!

Enter some challenge events. This is still tbc at the minute, but I’m thinking a distance/open water swim challenge or a triathlon…

Complete Kettlebell and Studio Cycle Instructor qualifications. I’ve already signed myself up for these one day courses in February and March, two of my favourite fitness classes, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Start Gym Instructing. Putting my recent qualification in to practice. I’m going to look to do this on a casual basis initially, around my full-time job and see where it leads.

Gin goals…

Every year I do dry January – borderline necessity after the booze fest that is Deathcember! So the gin jaunts will be from February onwards…

No endorsements intended! All escapades are my own sourcing, links just for info.

Get involved at Manchester Gin Festival. A date that’s already in my diary, I’m going to the Gin Festival in March with a good friend, Dawn, my gin twin and fellow shoeaholic. Taking place at the beautiful Victoria Baths, we’ll be treated to masterclasses, live music, great grub and 100 different gins – sure we can do 50 each Dawn!
ginfestival.com

Pay the Old Bell Inn a visit. Situated in Saddleworth, this hotel, restaurant and bar holds a Guinness World Record title for the most amount of gins commercially stocked – a whopping 600 different gins! I heard about this place just before Christmas. I’ll be booking in for a week… and detoxing for the rest of the year!
theoldbellinn.co.uk

Join the gin journey. A chauffeur driven gin jaunt around Manchester, that takes you to 5 bars, to try 5 gin cocktails, have fun and meet fellow gin lovers along the way. Led by the gin commandos at shakerattleandstir.co.uk.

I’m sure more gin jaunts will be added to the list as the year goes on.

General life goals…

Manage my money better. I have no idea where it goes and what I spend it on most months, but I’m always counting down the hours till payday, AND class my overdraft as part of my salary and credit card as free money. Not good, not good at all!

Read more. I really enjoy reading, but go through phases of reading loads and then not at all. I annoy myself, I’m really impatient and inquisitive by nature, when I start reading something I want to know what happens (yesterday), so I’ll devour a book in a matter of days, reading so much I give myself eye strain. Patience is a virtue, to be learnt!

Meat free Monday. Something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. There’s not much I won’t eat and I’m an alright cook, but I want to increase my veggie culinary repertoire, improve my health and do a bit to reduce my carbon footprint.
meatfreemondays.com

Writing my goals down and sharing them with the world is like writing them in blood – time to stop talking about them, pull my finger out and start doing! Like starting this blog, something I talked about doing for months, telling friends and family all about my ideas, plans and goals, but not doing the doing.

I’ll update on my progress over the coming months and if I’m slacking feel free to give me a telling. All good read, veggie recipe and gin jaunt suggestions welcome too…

Time for less talk, more action! 

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Me

Hi! I’m Kate, a 31 year old Lancashire lass on a mission to shape up; improve my physique and fitness, and develop my knowledge and understanding of the fitness industry. I’ve followed hundreds of exercise programmes, tried countless diets and fluctuated in weight, dress size and shape over the years. However, 2016 is my year! I’m adamant that this is the year I get in the best shape of my life and make big changes to my lifestyle and career.

The blog

Gym & Toneic is an online space to show and share my exercise and social escapades. As the name suggests, I’m a big fan of the gym and of gin, in equal measures. Thus why I don’t look like a buff beauty (yet…). I’m using this blog to document my fitness journey, as a means to motivate myself and hopefully others too, and share my gin drinking jaunts with fellow gin lovers – it’ll be more about lifting weights than cocktails this year though!

Gym love

I’ve been a frequent gym goer since college, and generally workout at least 3 days per week – endorphins make me happy! I’ve worked in various roles in sport and leisure most of my working career, and have a number of instructing qualifications under my belt. I decided to take my passion for the gym to the next level at the back end of 2015, and qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor, and I’ve signed myself up for a few more courses over the coming year. By no means do I know it all… I’m newly qualified and finding my feet, studying to develop my knowledge and broaden my horizons – every day is a learning day!

Gin love

I developed a taste for gin in my late twenties; cider supping on the swings is but a distant (hazy) memory. It’s my drink of choice, refreshing, easy on the palate and waistline! I’ve been to a few gin tasting events in Manchester and have subsequently turned into a bit of a gin snob. Before I order a G&T at a bar, I check out the gin selection and ask what they’ve got to accompany it, and if the reply is simply ‘lemon and lime’, I’m less than impressed…

Bloom gin is my personal favourite, light and fruity, best served in a glass the size of your head with fresh strawberries, and supped in the sun! Over the winter months I took a liking to Opihr, a spiced gin, served with ginger ale and an orange slice. I’m very much looking forward to finding new favourites in 2016… watch this space!

Other loves in life

  • Animal print; leopard, snake, zebra you name it. If it’s tacky and looks like something Kat Slater would wear, I’ll probably love it! Big fan of purple too.
  • Chips, cheese and gravy; a hometown delicacy #Btown. Don’t get me started on gravy, cannot beat good gravy.
  • The beach; sun, sea and a stunning sunset – my idea of heaven!
  • Friends; cheesy I know but I’m a social soul, I love spending time with friends old and new, making memories – good friends are your forever.
  • Laughing; you know when you laugh so hard and loud you can’t breathe, I love that. Life shouldn’t be taken so seriously.
  • Quotes; fitspo, friends, fun times – I do love a good quote. My all-time favourite #fitspo quote has to be, ‘sweat like a pig, to look like a fox’. I plan to sweat a lot this year!
  • Tom Hardy; that guy is too hot for his own good!
  • Shoes; my name is Kate Brooks and I’m a shoeaholic.
  • Tattoos; I’ve got 3 so far, I’m always thinking about my next. The hypnotic buzz of the needle, unknown pain factor, and adrenaline rush that leaves you craving more.
  • Sleep; I’m a 10 hour girl and not much of a morning person – I’ll never be in the early birds exercise club. Approach with caution before 10am!

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