2018… So Far and Looking Forward

Somehow, 2018 so far has been a completely crazy busy year where I also feel like nothing has happened. Does anyone else feel like that? I think it’s one of those times where because so much is happening continuously, your brain adjusts to the ‘busy-ness’, and gets used to it. Therefore, you feel like nothing is happening. Even though you’re surrounded by stuff happening, like, constantly. Does that make sense? Probably not, knowing me.

 

2018 So Far

In January, I took on loads more work. I’ve at least tripled my work load, and it’s great. I love to be busy and there is nothing I hate more than being bored/having nothing to do. Seriously, no thank you! I’d rather work 7-days a week than work for 5 and be bored for 2. My increased workload is probably why I feel like nothing has happened this year, because it’s mostly work. When, actually, loads has happened.

Because I’ve got a lot more work on, I’ve not had as much time to dedicate to blogging & vlogging. This has been a real shame, but I wanted to allow myself time to adjust to having tons more work. Mostly my work is from home and therefore self-motivated, which works incredibly well for me, but it can also be hard. Since January, I’ve been working on my routine and getting used to my new work schedule. Plus, I’ve got other personal development projects on the side which I also need to find time for.

Now, though, I’ve sorted a routine and I’m ready to get back to the ‘work things’ I love doing but haven’t had time for (i.e. my blog and my youtube videos). I’ve already got some projects lined up to conquer this year, plus there is – of course – the summer wedding season, which is just around the corner!(!!!!).

 

The Rest of 2018

I’m a very methodical person and I like to have everything meticulously planned. Of course, this doesn’t always work out, but I do still think it’s a good foundation to have. I like to chop whole years up into manageable sections (metaphorically, duh), which is why my current job is fantastic for my character. Because the first 4 months and last 3 months of the year are dedicated to smaller elopement weddings, it means the big (stressful) wedding season spans across the middle 5 months. This automatically gives me 3 sections to work with. Obviously, this ‘section’ malarky won’t work for everyone, but I personally find it really beneficial.

As I said, since January I’ve been getting used to my new 2018 routine and setting myself small daily/weekly goals which have really helped. At the beginning of March, I vowed to myself my next goal would be to up my visits to the gym. It took a week and a half but I  finally managed it. My goals for the rest of March and the whole of April (i.e. the time left before the 2018 summer wedding season) are to…

  1. Visit Switzerland for the first time!
  2. Finish the course I’m currently doing.
  3. Start blogging more. I’m aiming for a blog post to go up every 3 days.
  4. Start making videos again. I’d like to do one a week, but we will see. I don’t want to be making videos because I feel I ‘have’ to. I only want to make them when I feel I have something I’d like to share/discuss etc.
  5. Keep up with the gym-going.
  6. Drink.More.Water.

When the summer season hits, things get a little craaazy (which is the main reason I want to have finished my course by then). I’ll endeavour to keep up with the blogging & videos, but not be too hard on myself if I don’t always manage it. The gym & the water, however, I’m going to be more strict about. Other things I’ll be focussing on during the summer season (un-work related)…

  1. Turning 23 and not getting upset about it. I mean, I’ll definitely be turning 23 but we’ll see about the upset bit… #byebyeearly20s
  2. Making the most of any weekends where I don’t have weddings. Last summer was insanely crazy and I only had 2/3 weekends off in the 5 months. This year, though, the weddings are spaced out more evenly and for May & June I have quite a few more weekends off than last year! #hellobeachdays
  3. Attending friends’ weddings! (As a guest!)
  4. Enjoying not having to pay the heating bill (it’s the little things).
  5. Going on mini-breaks to Bath & Edinburgh.
  6. Hosting at least one drinks party with friends.
  7. Growing in confidence at work (okay, soz, one work thing!).

And, finally, I have two goals for after the wedding season (so far; this list will most definitely increase throughout the year)…

  1. Starting a new business finance course.
  2. Visiting somewhere else new/going on holiday (not sure when/where though!).

I love hearing about other peoples goals/ambitions/hopes for the year ahead, so please do get in touch if you’ve got anything you want to share!

Scottish Whisky – Let’s See What’s What

scottish whisky tasting notes blog post lila bailey

I am far from a whisky fan. In fact, I can’t even stand to smell the stuff. Luckily, though, Euan (clue is in the name) is – by genetics – a whisky fan. Being Scottish and all. Whether it’s actually in their blood, or whether it’s because they feel they have to like whisky, we’ll never know. (Except that it’s the latter…). Annnyway, because of our gin tasting sessions, the Ever After gin lounge gets a lot of attention. But, Ever After also has a whisky lounge, and there hasn’t been a whole lot on the whisky side of things. So, it’s time I gave you some whisky tasting notes!

While Euan had the task of whisky tasting last week (I say task, I mean pleasure), I did some research. He tried two Scottish whiskies; Laphroaig Lore and Glenmorangie Spios, and I filled my brain with info.

 

ABOUT LAPHROAIG LORE SCOTCH WHISKY

Laphroaig Lore whisky is made on Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, since 1815. There are (apparently) very unique elements that make Laphroaig the whisky it is. The Kilbride Stream, hand-cut peat, floor malted barley, cold-smoking kilns, mash tuns, copper alchemy and the subtlety of oak aging. Each and every stage crucial in producing the most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies.

They have a fantastic website with loads of info about their process and history. Take a look!

scotch whiskey Laphroaig_Distillery

EUAN’S LAPHROAIG LORE TASTING NOTES

On the nose: Rich and smokey with a slight sweetness that is probably vanilla. “An alcoholic bonfire of flavours” (Euan’s words, not mine…).

Taste: A very rich flavour. Initially spicy with a blast of peaty-ness, but moves towards a sweeter taste.

Finish: Quite a dry finish with a spicy yet sweet lingering aftertaste.

Colour: Rusty gold/dark honey.

scotch whiskey Laphroaig lore

 

ABOUT GLENMORANGIE SPIOS SINGLE MALT SCOTTISH WHISKY

Glenmorangie was created in 1843 in the Scottish highlands. The distillery is home to the tallest stills in Scotland at 8 metres high. This means that only the very lightest and purest vapours make it to the top, therefore giving a smoother, more elegant whisky (or so I am told).

A trend in whisky making at the moment is blending the traditional scotch whiskies with other types of whisky – American for example – and, in the case of Glenfiddich, even IPA beers. Fun fact: Glenmorangie Spìos is the first Glenmorangie whisky ever to be fully matured in American ex-rye whisky casks…

You can learn more about this history and distilling process on their website.

scottish whiskey Glenmorangie Spìos

Let’s see what Euan thought.

EUAN’S GLENMORANGIE SPIOS TASTING NOTES

On the nose: Toffee flavours with hints of vanilla and spice.

Taste: Another rich flavour with medium sweetness due to a fruity taste, picking up on hints of cherry.

Finish: The rich taste lingers to the end, with a spicy oak finish.

Colour: Light gold.

scottish whiskey Glenmorangie Spios

 

 

Hopefully you’ve learnt something from all this whisky stuff! Now, take a tour of Ever After’s whisky & cigar lounge… And if you’re more into the gin, check out my last gin blog post.

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Goal Setting

goal setting lila bailey blog

I started this year with a fresh mind and healthier attitude than ever before. I am determined to make every day great (but to also not be too hard on myself if I don’t quite manage it). Goal setting is something I’ve actually learned through my job, and it applies to your work and your personal life.

I’ve always found setting myself goals easy. I do it all the time. But actually managing, evaluating, and measuring these goals is another thing entirely. It’s all very well setting yourself a goal, anyone can do that. But how do you know when you’ve reached your goal? Or what if you’re falling behind? Is your goal actually realistic and achievable?

 

Getting Started

Sit down with a notebook and pen. Pick a goal (or several) and write it down. Then, get specific. Why have you set yourself this goal? What does this goal involve? Who does this goal involve? Ask yourself in-depth questions, and really pull apart exactly what this goal of yours is.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have an even clearer idea about where you want to get to and why. You can then set yourself a time limit, evaluate the achievability of the goal, and decide how you are going to measure your progress.

Don’t just stop with one goal either. Keep going! Every time you think of something you’d like to achieve, write it down. Even if you don’t do the evaluation malarkey straight away, at least it’s there in black and white for you to come back to. I would definitely forget most of my goals if I didn’t write them down. They come and go in waves, and sometimes you have a random urge to achieve something that’s completely unrelated to your current life and ventures. Ask yourself why you had that sudden urge to achieve that certain thing. It is amazing how much more you can learn about yourself from just taking the time to think.

 

Measuring the goal

Set yourself benchmarks for checking in on your progress. The benchmarks will be different for each goal. I’ve set myself some goals which require daily and weekly checks, and others which are a matter of months (and even years!). Setting yourself these time frames means you are constantly keeping on top of what you want to achieve. If something needs to be evaluated weekly, but you don’t look back over it for 4 months, then you may not have progressed at all and simply wasted 4 months!

This section will make the most sense when you’ve finished the first. So get cracking mate-y!

 

Making a change, one step at a time

I’ve found that a lot of people coast through life without a great deal of direction. This is especially apparent with people in their 20’s who aren’t really sure what they want to do with their lives. That’s normal, and the whole point of being young is discovering stuff. But you also want all your years (whether you’ve got 80 left or 10 left) to count. These goals don’t have to be drastic life-changing things. They can be the smallest and most insignificant of things. But they are still important. For example, one of my goals is to drink 2 litres of water a day. I still went through the motions of evaluating this goal, even though it seemed stupid at first. And it was so helpful.

Use these goal setting techniques to better yourself and your life. The only person getting in the way of what you want to achieve is you. And the more you tell yourself that isn’t the case then the more you’ll end up going nowhere. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen with minimal effort.

Keep focused. Stay motivated. You’ll get there.

 


Whilst we’re on these motivational and personal lines, have a read of my happiness blog post (if you missed it).

Sabatini Gin – Wedding Ginspiration from the Italian Hills of Tuscany

sabatini gin lila bailey gin blog wedding ginspiration

Another month, another gin! This time we were sampling a gin I’d never heard of before; Sabatini Gin. (If you’re unfamiliar with my gin blog posts, then catchup with number 1 here).

 

SABATINI GIN

I am completely in love with the story behind this gin. Italy is one of my favourite countries, and I spent a lot of my childhood roaming around Tuscany. So when I realised this gin was from the heart of Tuscany, I was thrilled.

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

In 2015, the Sabatini family made their gin dream into a reality. They made Sabatini gin using botanicals from the heart of Tuscany, combined with the sacred rules of traditional English distillation. Most of the botanicals are grown on the family’s own land, showcasing their passion for Tuscany (and their passion for gin!).

You can read more about the Sabatini family and their gin on their website.

 

TASING NOTES

Now for the fun part! Euan tasted the gin straight first of all, and commented on it’s initial softness with a light and ‘lemony’ favour, followed by a sweet finish.

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

Euan did a little bit of research prior to our tasting session, and discovered that the gin’s recommended garnishes are either lemon or rosemary. As a result, we tried one glass with lemon and one glass with rosemary and compared the results.

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

I found Sabatini gin incredibly easy to drink, and (despite already being in love with it because it’s from Tuscany) I did absolutely love it. It was really smooth, and I actually found it very pleasant with lemon (I don’t usually like gin & tonics with lemon), but I definitely preferred it with the rosemary. The two different garnishes brought out completely different elements of the gin. The lemon made it sweeter, whereas the rosemary made it fresher.

Euan thought much the same; pleasant and very drinkable. He, however, preferred it with the lemon (each to their own, I guess…). He would recommend it as a summer gin for ‘everyone’. I agreed. It had enough of a kick that a strong-gin drinker would enjoy it, but wasn’t so overpowering that someone who preferred milder gins wouldn’t enjoy it. Somewhere in the middle, let’s say!

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

 

BRANDING

I think the branding for Sabatini is effective. It’s not super bold and ‘in-your-face’, therefore might not stand out on a shelf. However, I think the colours of the glass – to create the illusion of the Tuscan hills and blue sky – is super (and the trees at the bottom are really sweet). I also like the simplicity of the letters, letting the bottle do most of the talking.

 

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

 

 

GIN COCKTAIL

sabatini gin ever after wedding ginspiration blog post

For this particular gin, Euan recommends a Classic Tom Collins as the cocktail of choice. A simple and easy-to-make cocktail which emphasises the qualities of the gin.

 

Ingredients

  • 50ml Sabatini Gin
  • 1/2 a freshly squeezed lemon
  • 25ml (max) sugar syrup
  • Soda water
  • Lemon to garnish

 

Method

Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and pour in the gin. Squeeze the lemon, add the sugar syrup and stir thoroughly. Top up with soda water, and garnish with a lemon slice (or two). You can also shake the gin, lemon, and sugar syrup, and strain into a glass over ice (if you want to show off your cocktail shaking skills!).

The Perfect Post Does Not Exist

the perfect post lila bailey blog

I’ve had a serious amount of writer’s block recently. I’ve been working super hard on blogs for work and completely neglected my own blog. I’d like to say that it’s because I’ve been incredibly busy, but that’s not necessarily true. The truth is that I’ve put a stupid amount of pressure on myself to create the perfect post. Hey, guess what? It doesn’t exist.

Most of wedding blogs are about beautiful images of beautiful weddings which, of course, are always favourable. And I get to write loads of them for work (you can check them out here). This blog, however, was not created for that. I’m not a photographer, florist, or venue, who needs stunning images to showcase their work. My blog is about advice, experiences, and ‘real talk’. Weddings mainly, but ‘life’ stuff too.

I like writing my mind (because I have a lot to say, soz). And I love having a platform to share my world of weddings with anyone who is interested. Stunning images are always fabulous, and I try to make my instagram page the home to all things pretty. Here, though, I’m expressing and sharing. In the hope that one or two of you might take something away from my words (advice? Not sure I can quite call it that).

About 20 minutes ago I re-read a few of my blog posts and reminded myself how much I enjoyed writing them, and asked myself why I’m not writing for myself every single day. Committing to a daily blog is probably slightly too ambitious (a girl can dream) but my epiphany has happened. Expect to hear from me a lot more (again, soz).

So, here is the perfect imperfect blog post, to explain how the perfect post does not exist… Does that even make any sense? Not really… Hence the imperfect.