Gin Festival Bournemouth*

Last weekend, I re-GIN-dled my love for a much-loved spirit.

Terrible puns aside, the Gin Festival at Bournemouth Pavilion was an absolute delight. The Ballroom was packed with a variety of sights and smells, with over 100 delectable premium gins to sample.

Armed with my trusty partner-in-crime Lisa, we ventured to the Festival on the Friday evening and we were not at all prepared for such an experience! We were kindly looked after by some very hospitable staff and we learnt all about the history of gin and some rather interesting flavour pairings. Oh, and we got to take home our beautiful glasses too!

 

The idea being that you purchase drinks tokens to exchange for your gin and then you choose which Fever-Tree mixer to pair it with (the sponsors of the evening). I opted for classic tonic water whereas Lisa preferred lemonade in her drinks.

My first choice was Pinkster, a dry London gin made with fresh raspberries. Garnished with a raspberry and a mint leaf, it had a very smooth sweet taste. Lisa opted for Silent Pool with lemonade and an orange garnish. It was also very fruity and had a floral, citrusy aftertaste.

Next we wandered over to the exhibitors of the night. Local Dorset brand Conker Spirit was very light, it didn’t have the burning aftertaste that some shots do and went down very smoothly. Next we spoke to James from the Locksley Distilling Company. They were serving their Sir Robin of Locksley Gin with elderflower tonic, which had a really nice blend and a taster of pink grapefruit.

 

 

Our absolute favourites of the night however were Brockmans from Langley. Their gin smelt delectable and got its jam-like sweetness from blackberries and blueberries. Mike from Brockmans told me that they are a brand about the ‘darker side’ of gin, hosting raunchy events and creating some questionable content online. In Mike’s gin masterclass, he told us the story of ‘Mr Gin’ and the creative process that inspired them to combine flavours for a gin you could enjoy over ice. I’ll be buying a bottle of Brockmans for my next night in with friends, that’s for sure!

Gin Festival - Bournemouth Pavilion - Brockmans

Gin Festival - Bournemouth Pavilion - Brockmans

At this point, musicians Holder & Smith took to the stage. Having performed magic tricks amongst the crowd, the duo played some great and fitting jazz and swing covers to liven up the party mood. Having had a delicious pulled pork roll made by the Pavilion’s in-house catering and a bit of a boogie to ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, we then decided to enjoy some drinks outside overlooking the beautiful Bournemouth pier.

Gin Festival - Bournemouth Pavilion - Pier - Jenna and Lisa

 

We opted for two Edinburgh Gin Liqueurs. Lisa had the Raspberry with lemonade and said it was her favourite as it tasted ‘like fizzy squash’. I had the Rhubarb and Ginger liqueur with tonic which was also really sweet with a great tangy aftertaste. This was my favourite too!

 

Bournemouth Gin Festival - Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger, Raspberry Liqueur

 

At the festival, you could also exchange two tokens for a choice cocktail. Lisa chose a ‘Rhubarb Rumble’ which combined Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur with Advocaat, apple juice and fresh lemon. We also got a rhubarb and custard sweet, which the cocktail tasted just like and Lisa said it reminded her of ‘her childhood in a drink’!

I too had a gin cocktail, a ‘Drunken Tulip’ made with Martin Miller’s Gin, Prosecco, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial and fresh lemon. This was really refreshing and I joked that all the fresh, fruity flavour made it taste ‘almost healthy’…

We had a quick chat to the ladies from Gin Explorer too. They are a subscription service who send you 4 carefully chosen 50ml vials of different gins each month. We tried new Black Shuck gin there and the ladies very kindly gave me a code for £5 off your first order with them. Visit GinExplorer.com and use ‘PASSPORT‘.

You’re welcome!

 

Gin Festival - Bournemouth Pavilion - Gin Explorer Subscription Box

Gin Festival - Bournemouth Pavilion - Gin Explorer Subscription Box - £5 off codeWe had a great time at Gin Festival and I’d recommend that you get tickets to an event near you soon.

Make a night of it!

Have you been to a Gin Festival?
What’s your favourite gin or gin cocktail?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

 

* This post is a collaboration with Gin Festival.

For more information, see my disclaimers.

 

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Jazmin’s 15th Birthday (in pictures) – We went for a meal at Frankie & Bennys to celebrate my little sister turning fifteen!
what I did at Christmas – a selection of posts about mine and my family’s Christmas celebrations…
Scissors Christchurch Ladies’ Night* – My Nan and I were pampered for the evening by the Scissors team
the perfect Pimms – I make the Pimms’ cup recipe with a little help from my mum!

Hampshire Pride (& What I Wore)

Last Saturday, I got the train to Winchester for something other than crying over my dissertation!

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Me, Paige & James (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

 

It was the second annual Hampshire Pride and this year, it was even bigger and better!

 

Hampshire Pride is a festival celebrating LGBTQIAP+ identities and championing equality and diversity in and around Hampshire. It is an event run by Hampshire LGBT Alliance which includes Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Hampshire Constabulary, Solent NHS Trust and the University of Winchester.

The day kicked off on campus at the University of Winchester with speeches from Co-coordinator Sarah-Louise Collins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Stuart (who is also the university’s senior diversity champion) and renowned teen vlogger and public speaker about trans issues, Hannah Phillips. All shared some really motivational and powerful words with a crowd of very excited and inspired people and there was a short film shown that was made on campus called ‘What is Love?’.

Next we all assembled outside on the steps for a lovely photograph in which you can really see how the Pride parade has grown in a year. Just look at the numbers!

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Hampshire Pride 2015 (Image courtesy of the Hampshire Pride Facebook Page)

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Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

 

The march left campus and a sea of rainbow flags, hair colours and clothes walked through Winchester singing, chanting and blowing whistles. There were families and pets, partners and friends all in unison and you could sense the love and kindness in everyone’s hearts as they walked. Some of the shops had put colourful displays and Pride flags up in their windows to show their support which was really lovely!

 

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Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

Here’s what I wore, it was uhh… interesting.

(Note, I am not a fashion blogger. I’ve linked to the product or similar but most is old stuff and out of stock!)

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|Lady Rainicorn hat | lilac Primark vest | crushed velvet New Look skirt | rainbow socks | leopard print Converse shoes |

 

We finished at the Discovery Centre in town where there was a Market with stalls from various local Hampshire groups and charities raising money and awareness of services. After a welcoming speech from Councillor Roy Perry and an entertaining excerpt from How To Love read by author Sally Edwards, everyone had a little boogie and a heartwarming moment as the Southampton Gay Men’s Chorus performed a few tracks. There was also an incredible performance by the Wessex Dance Academy and refreshments outside courtesy of mobile baristas Coffee Cruiser and The Pie Hole, Southampton.

 

That evening, my friends and I went to The Railway Inn for the Afterparty and we were not disappointed! I opted for something a little classier, which you can see here:

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| New Look blanket cardigan sequined crop top | black pencil skirt | lace up heeled boots |

 

Upstairs we watched a Cabaret show compered by the glamourous and funny Spotlight Vocal Duo and we were treated to performances from catty and sparkly Portsmouth drag queen Cherry Liquor, comedian and lip synch maestro Harold and melodic rapper and singer Paul Andreas.

My absolute favourite performance came at the end of the night in the form of London drag king, Adam All. Adam is a metrosexual cheeky chap with a really impressive array of suits, beatboxing skills and some hilarious musical numbers. Oh, and some rather impressive abs. I managed to get a chat to his parents as they were sat next to us and ‘hadn’t been allowed’ to go to show before (its a bit rude) and I was pleased to see them supporting, taking pictures and cheering him on in the front row. He’s definitely a new celeb crush of mine and he was featured in BBC Newsbeat’s documentary ‘Drag Kings of the UK’ which you can watch here.

After the Cabaret finished, we went downstairs where local student DJ George Nott kept us dancing til the early hours with some camp classics and chart toppers. We had so much fun and it was such a great day to celebrate being who you are with other friendly people!

 

Have you been to a Pride event before?
Were you at Hampshire Pride?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Why I Never Really ‘Came Out’ – I talk about being pansexual and my experiences
Queer Bloggers Network – Jess, Zoe and I have started a community to share content and support those with LGBTQIAP+ identities in the creative industry
My Queerness Erased – A piece I wrote for Zusterschap about ‘straight passing’ and my queer identity

where will we go on holiday in 2016?

If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that as a poor and lowly student I have to travel on a budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t go on holidays, it just means that we carefully plan and shop around to get the best deals… and that I save up rather than going out or buying clothes!

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Last year Josh and I went on a group holiday to Dublin with two of our close friends, Lora and Leeann.We had a great time and packed it full of things to do on the cheap. You can read more about where we stayed and what we did on that trip here.

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We also we went to Manchester for a few days for our anniversary last September and had a really great time having our own little adventures together. You can read about them here.

So we’ve been thinking about where we want to go this year already because it’s rainy and everyone’s skint at this time of year and looking at holidays and other places is quite frankly a good way to cheer yourself up, whether or not you actually end up going! While there’s no finalised plans yet, I thought I’d give a run down of my most-wanted destinations and what we’d do if we end up going there in 2016. As much as there’s some amazing global places, I’ve narrowed it down to those in Europe here because of the cost… but one day, the world!

 

Amsterdam

Things to see and do in Amsterdam

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There’s no need for me to list the reasons that I want to visit Amsterdam. Its quirky, vibrant scenes are something not to be missed and a few of my friends have already been. This is shaping up to be our group holiday for the August bank holiday with Leeann and Lora this year and as Lee’s been before, she can show us where to go. I am going to want to squeeze a couple of my own things in there though, including the Anne Frank House, the hofjes, the Alkmaar cheese market and the Munttoren for starters.

I’m leaving the transport and accommodation to Leeann too. The little travel bug that she is, she’s picked up a few hints and tips about how to get the best deals as she proved with our Dublin stay. We have discussed using AirBnB to find somewhere to stay but the girls want to opt for a house boat like this one and I’m petrified of water!

Paris

Despite having studied French for bloody ages, I’ve only been to France properly once and that was for Hellfest. Not a lot of speaking and listening practice at a metal festival, I can tell you that!

Things to see and do in Paris

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I want my first visit to Paris to be with Josh and not just for the romance but because he’s as big of a culture nerd as I am and I just know we’d have a great time doing all the cool things.  Top of my list are all of the usual suspects of course: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame… but I have also bookmarked the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden,  Deyrolle, Musée des Arts et MetiersRue Crémieux and a few others that I’m keeping a secret…

I’d like to go in near September for our anniversary and get the eurostar from London, then perhaps stay in a quaint bed and breakfast just outside of the city. We don’t really spend much on transport once we’re there usually, I’ll be happy to walk into the centre during the day.

Prague

Things to see and do in Prague

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So I’m pretty crap with history but I know that Prague has a rich and vibrant story and that there’s some incredible things to see and do there. Whoever I went with would have to understand that I’d want to go to the Jewish Museum and see the Astronomical Clockbut I’d also want to pay a visit to the John Lennon Wall and walk across the Charles Bridge.

Being sneaky on SkyScanner using incognito mode (it keeps the flights cheap) I found that we can get there in two hours from a London airport for just £80 each way if we were to go around October time, but then of course we have to factor in the cost and time of travelling up to London. I think because of the language barrier we’d need a very tourist-friendly and central hotel but again I’d consider using AirBnB to ‘borrow’ our own self-catered accommodation.

Florence

I have wanted to go to Florence ever since we did our Renaissance module back in the first year. Everyone who had been there was amazed by the beautiful art and architecture and told me that I had to go when I got the chance. Again I think this would be something that Josh and I should do together on our own as it will be an enriching experience.

Things to do and see in Florence

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I’m most interested in going to the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and admiring views atop the Ponte Vecchio but the liberal arts loser inside me would have to go and see the greats at la Basilica di Santa Croce  and the Galleria degli Uffizi too!

Using Skyscanner again, I found that we could go for a long weekend in June flying from London for only £120 each way. This is dirt cheap for two people but… there’s a catch. The journey would involve a couple of hours stopover in Rome, both ways. Perhaps this trip would be best planned well in advance and we could combine it with a couple of nights in Rome? This one requires more research.

Berlin

Things to see and do in Berlin

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I’ve also got a good grip on the German language but I’ve never actually been to Germany! It’s ridiculous, I know. I’d be happy to go to Berlin in a group or even just with one close friend and I’d want to take a trip to see some of  the various historic Memorials and the Brandenburg Gate, maybe have a picnic in Viktoriapark and take a wander round Alexanderplatz to name but a few things.

Much like Prague, I can fly from London to Berlin in a couple of hours. Even in July, I’m getting quotes for about £75 per person per flight. Annoyingly though, I can’t return to the same airport that I departed from. This would make getting transport back home to Bournemouth a bit more complicated.

I will add that I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a ‘luxury’ hotel if we went to Berlin, as there’s so many beautiful ones to choose from.

Copenhagen

Things to see and do in Berlin

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6|

It was Rosie’s travel diary post on her blog about her stay in Copenhagen that first sparked my interest in going there. Her photos really captured some beautiful sights of the city and they did some great things on a budget so I fancy a go too!

First stop would probably be the Torvehallerne Food Market then a look at the magical Tivoli Gardens and of course, a visit to the Little Mermaid Statue. I’m also quite interested in checking out the Amalienborg Palace, The Round Tower and the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art while we’re there.

Gatwick to Copenhagen in early November was coming up at about £60 per person each way and less than a two-hour flight which is great! I would want to stay in an AirBnB apartment like Rosie did because there are so many cute ones to choose from there and we’d get our own privacy.

 

You can follow my Pinterest for all of my budget travel hints and tips including restaurants, hotels, museums, sightseeing and more!

Are you already planning holidays for 2016?
Have you been to any of these places? Do you have recommendations for us?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
what to do when you’re in Manchester // what to do when you’re in Dublin – what we got up on on our holidays on a budget

 

Jazmin’s 15th Birthday (in pictures)

So my little sister Jazmin is now fifteen which is terrifying – as if I ever needed reminding that I’m growing up ever faster!

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I remember changing her nappy for crying out loud!

I remember reading her bedtime stories and watching countless episodes of Dora the Explorer.

I remember cutting all the hair off of her Barbie dolls once because she annoyed me.

I remember how she was very compliant in starring in my plays and wearing whatever weird costumes I asked her to.

I remember how I made her be the student and we would play ‘school’ where I’d give her pretend work to do.

Mostly I remember how I was so glad to have a sibling to play with.

She gave me a reason to act responsibly, encouraged my love of learning and taught me a great deal about patience and fairness . I had to share, take turns and set an example in what I did from there on out.

Basically, my little sister made me want to be somebody she looked up to.

 

frankie-and_bennys_restaurant_bournemouth

For her birthday we went to Frankie & Benny’s in Bournemouth for dinner.
Me, Jaz, Mum, Nan and Josh had a great time joking around and stuffing our faces with some great food.

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Jaz was pretty impressed with her Banana and Butterscotch Milkshake

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…and her new wheels for her longboard!

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I got some lovely pictures of my beautiful Mama and Nanny… I hope I look as good as them when I’m their ages.

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Josh and Jaz spent a lot of time goofing around…

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I had a really tasty Grilled Chicken Pitta with barbecue sauce which came with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw.

It was a really big portion for just £11.45 and everything was cooked well.

salted_caramel_cheesecake_ice_cream_dessert_frankie_and_bennys_food
I even had dessert and I never normally opt for something sweet!
Mind you, it was Salted Caramel Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream so my hands were tied…

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It’s a great family-friendly restaurant and the staff were really helpful. We didn’t have to wait long for our meals either, despite it being a busy Friday night. We also got 20% off our total bill because I used my NUS Extra card. I’d recommend Frankie and Benny’s Bournemouth for groups on a bit of a budget but would advise that some might find it too lively for a first date or a catch up with someone.

Have you been to a Frankie and Benny’s? Did you enjoy your visit?

Where have you been for dinner lately?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
hangover bacon cups with British Lion Eggs* – a morning-after breakfast savior made with ethical eggs
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – My Nanny and I got a night of food and pampering thanks to Scissors Salons!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – A Bournemouth conference about kick-ass women and gender equality in business.

adventures: Christmas Family Fun Day

(I know this is a bit late but if you want to read why I didn’t post over the Christmas period, see here. For the vlog on this page, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

I am proud to be called an Auntie to three amazing children – Ofelia, Erin and Logan. Despite usually finding it difficult to bond with peoples’ kids, these three are very important to me and I try to dedicate as much time and energy into spending time with them and their parents as possible.

Just before Christmas, I planned a whole week of seeing my nieces and nephew because the magic that children see at that time of year is the best. Unfortunately, I got tonsilitis and wasn’t able to see Erin and Logan until recently but me, my sister-in-law Lisa and little Ofelia had a really fun and festive day just before I got ill so I thought I’d show you guys what we got up to!

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First on the agenda was visiting a local garden centre because their Christmas displays are always gorgeous. We went to Haskins in Ferndown and Fee was instantly enamored with all the soft and sparkly seasonal stock.

 

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There were some beautiful ornaments, some of which had moving parts that we really liked but it was important not to touch them!

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The trip made me really wish we had our own place so that I could have got some nice decorations but this time next year, I’ll definitely be going back. After a quick bit of ‘ladies who lunch’ we went next door to Hobbycraft to get some gifts.

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ofelia_lisa_toddler_shopping_hobbycraft_mumNext stop was the supermarket to grab some ingredients to make Christmas cookies. Fee really enjoyed doing this but kept asking “Can we eat them yet?” before we’d put them in the oven!

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While baking the cookies, we opened Fee’s Peppa Pig advent calendar.

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Then we made some Christmas cards using some of the bits we got from Hobbycraft. Lisa helped Ofelia to make cards for her grandparents and one for me and Uncle Josh (“Make sure Uncle Josh gets my card!” she said…)

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We had lots of cuddles and playtime then snacked on our cookies – delicious! It was a really fun day overall and we did it all on a budget.

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Below is my rather poorly cut together vlog from our day. It is best watched in 720pHD with the sound on.
Please bear with me as I still get to grips with the camera, the editing software and basically everything!

Did you do any fun activities for the holidays?
What children’s activities do you do on a budget?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:

Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went offline in order to spend the holidays with my loved ones…

adventures: Scissors Christchurch Ladies’ Night*

So I’ve had my head firmly lodged in the books as I’m almost halfway through my final year of my degree – eek! – but when Scissors Salon Christchurch invited me to their Ladies’ Night last week – I couldn’t refuse! After all, it’s essential when you’ve got a lot of work to do that you #treatyoself from time to time (as Tom and Donna taught us in Parks and Rec).

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The event was on Thursday 26th November in the evening and I brought my Nan along so she could treat herself too. We were offered complementary Prosecco and some delicious canapés, both savory and sweet, which was a really nice touch.

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The stylists were offering ‘hair tweaks’ to guests so I got my hair beautifully curled for a change!

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In addition to this, the salon had a private colour consultation room where you could get expert advice and tips about how to achieve the colour you want, without wrecking your hair.

(Scissors Winton already helped me do this though, see my journey to silver hair posts!)

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A raffle was also part of the evening with funds being raised for the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospices charity, Julia’s House and there were some great prizes kindly donated by several businesses.

We were kindly given a jam-packed goodie bag filled with little treats from various businesses. This not only included salon-approved haircare products but treats from The Sweets Emporium, The Bay Tree Health Store and even money off vouchers!

I also had a quick chat with Director Mia Parmar, who told me that Francesco Group’s recent campaigns are all about stressing that their salons are for people of all ages, genders and styles.

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Thankyou Scissors Christchurch for giving my Nan and I a lovely evening – I’m sure we’ll be popping into one of your Salons for the specialist treatment again as we felt really welcomed and valued there!

 

Have you been to a similar event to Scissors Ladies’ Night?
Where’s your favourite salon and why?

 

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!
Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

If you liked this post, you should check out:

my journey to silver hair series – from red to blonde and my Scissors Winton experiences
she who dares wins ’15: in pictures – a local conference for women in business
What To Do When You’re In Manchester // What To Do When You’re In Dublin – Josh and I go on adventures together!

adventures: she who dares wins 2015 (in pictures)

She Who Dares Wins is a free-to-attend storytelling event that aims to inspire and empower women in local business. The fourth installment, held at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and hosted by Wise Old Uncle Ltd did just that, as it brought together women from all walks of life to share their journeys, their knowledge and lots of advice about how to push yourself further and achieve more. Whether you were at an early point in your career, haven’t really started it yet like myself or you’re someone who has founded their own company, many of the attendees agreed that there was something for everyone to take away from the day.

 

(Continues after gallery.)

 

After a fantastic cup of tea and a delicious cookie dough bite from local bespoke baker Heather Brown, there was a warm welcome from our host, creative and digital consultant Matt Desmier. Matt has previously had huge success with Silicon Beach, a larger scale annual conference for creatives that gets more big names as tickets get more in demand each year.

The first guest speaker of the event… Continue reading on Bournemouth News & Info.