And They Lived Happily Ever After... | Just Add Ginger

Just Add Ginger blog

When we first got married and had received our wedding photographs, I was very much in the mind-set of not wanting to share too much of our Big Day on social media. It was such a beautiful day, and a part of me wanted to keep it to myself. But as the weeks and months have gone by, and we have shown more and more people our photos I've come to the realisation that I am just in love with them. They have captured such a wonderful moment in time that they more I am able to celebrate them, the better.

It's also a great excuse to create something really bespoke to share them with friends and family who might not be able to see all the shots in person. So, on to the computer I leaped and got busy making a little bit of a montage. In recent months, I have fallen in love with Josh Woodward's music, and his track Crazy Glue made the perfect background melody for a compilation of some of our favourite shots.

Thank you so much again to Keyhole for capturing our day (if you haven't read about our experience with them, click here to check that post out). We couldn't have wished for a more wonderful set of memories.

Let the wedding smoosh-filled spam commence....


Father's Day Fun At Pope's Yard*| Just Add Ginger

Pope's Yard Brewery

I don't know anybody who is a greater lover of real beer than my dad. If there was an Everyman beer connoisseur, it would be Papa Ginger. Forever a fan of trying new and interesting ones, he always tuts and rolls his eyes as I indulge in my girly beers which he affectionately calls "gnat's piss".  So when Ocean Loans got in touch and asked if I would like to get involved in a project to help treat my dad for Father's Day*, I of course jumped at the chance. It didn't take long to decide what we wanted to do, and Ryan, heading up the mission (he shares the same passion for real beer as my dad,) jumped online to see if he could spot any micro or local brewery that we could take Papa Ginger to. 

Pope's Yard Brewery

Pope's Yard Brewery

Pope's Yard Brewery

Pope's Yard Brewery

Pope's Yard is a micro-brewery not too far away from where Mama and Papa Ginger live. I couldn't recall my dad having ever mentioning it, so it waΩXZs pretty much a given that going there would be a wholly novel and exciting experience. With crossed fingers, I put Ryan in charge of digging a little deeper and getting in touch to see if we could pop in for a tour. With baited breath we waited to hear back. Unfortunately there were no plans for any tours, but we were reassured that there was potential for there to be an open day at the brewery towards the end of May. 

The last weekend of the month we headed down to unveil the surprise. My dad's face when we divulged what we would be doing on his early Father's Day adventure was a picture. So, with everyone in tow, we headed down on the bus to Pope's Yard to go and check out all their hoppy offerings. 

Pope's Yard Brewery

Pope's Yard Brewery

It was no surprise that as soon as we got to the brewery, Ryan and his father-in-law headed straight to the bar and animatedly started talking through the beers to each other and to the Pope's Yard staff. Set in the inner-workings of the brewery, the rooms was lined with huge barrels of beer and assorted brewing equipment (I couldn't tell you what it was, but it looked nice!) The room was absolutely packed full of people, talking, laughing, and enjoying their fill of fine craft beers. I'm not sure if this is the first open day Pope's Yard have had, but the turn out was incredible. It was great to see so many passionate people all together in one room, but it really did make the room incredibly hot! With so many people and hardly any space, MG and I left the boys to it and hung back ready to pounce on a vacated table.

Although I'm not a fan of really intense beers, and there weren't that many on offer that I was confident enough to try, under recommendation from a member of the Pope's Yard team I did indulge in a glass (or three) of "Luminaire." Appealing entirely to everything I love in a beer, this was light and refreshing and went down an absolute treat. 

It was really lovely to be able to take my dad out for a treat that was entirely for him. Ryan and I don't get to go to my parents' neck of the woods too often, and when we do, it's normally with a jam-packed schedule, so it was so lovely to be able to take some time out and just spend it with the Family Ginger. This was the first time we had all been together since the wedding, and it was the most amazing way to spend time together as a newly formed family unit.

I don't know a lot about beer, but one thing I know for certain is that we were all a big fan of the Pope's Yard beers we tried that day. There was something for everybody, and personally, I hope that this open day is the first of many to come that we attend. Having never seen their beers in pubs or bars, it will always be a real treat to try them again!

And yes...we did leave with some Pope's Yard beer to enjoy at home. It would have been rude not to really, wouldn't it? 

Pope's Yard Brewery

Papa Ginger says....

"I was very surprised to discover that there is a micro-brewery less than 10 minutes drive from here. The nearest small, but not micro, brewery to here is, I believe, Red Squirrel which is in Hertford.

Well, the brewery certainly lived up to "micro, being but one single room. It was, and I guess that this was to be expected, packed. Packed with people who appreciate real, or is the current term "craft"?, beers.

The brewer and his assistants were very friendly and very willing to talk about the beers.
I was particularly pleased to see a "milk stout" since this was one of my maternal grandmother's favourite drinks. What is more, I now know why it is "milk" stout. It is not, as I used to believe, brewed with milk, but with lactose. Lactose is the sugar present in milk and is a sugar that yeast will not ferment.

Then there was "Galaxian" an IPA with an impressive ABV of 7.4%. Unlike like many of the newer IPAs this is brewed with Australian hops. (Makes you wonder why, with hops like that, most Australian beer is so dire!) Next came "St. Albans". This is a Belgian-style beer with an ABV of 8.5%. To me I tasted very authentic but we're a taking bottle to Belgium this Summer and will ask a Belgian what he thinks.

I think that we tried another beer, but by now the "Galaxian" and the "St.Albans" had taken effect and the memory circuits in my brain stopped working.

Overall this was a very good outing and I am looking forward to the next open day."

For more information about Pope's Yard, click here, and make sure you are following them over on Twitter

*I was very kindly gifted £50 by Ocean Loans to use to treat my dad for Father's Day. All opinions are 100% my own and always honest.


What To Do With Your Leftover Wedding Day Décor | Just Add Ginger

Keyhole Studios Photography - Wedding Flowers
Photo Credit: Keyhole Studios
When you start planning for your wedding and thinking about all the decorations and accessories you want to get your hands on to re-create the fantasy image of the day you have in your head, you don't really take the time to think about what to do with all the bits and pieces you might have leftover afterwards. It was incredible the amount we had come back to us, and at first, it was a little overwhelming. We just didn't know what to do with it all. However, as time has gone on, we've thought of some cute and crafty ways to make sure that anything that holds a memory of our special day is carried over and incorporated somehow in to our home. So, for those of you who may be sitting scratching your head like I was, here are a few ideas to get your creative juices going. 

Wedding Memory Board - Just Add Ginger

Make A Memory Board 

Over the entire course of wedding planning, we accumulated a lot of business cards, RSVPS, extra pieces of decoration, and finally, leftover bits and bobs from the Big Day. Instead of throwing these out, I took the pinboard we were using for our table plan, and have begun to put together a memory board that we can hang in the house as a piece of bespoke art that brings back a lot of beautiful memories. We've got everything on there - from a newspaper clipping from our wedding day to our Save the Date card, to thank you notes, copies of readings and our vows to artificial flowers from the throwing bouquet I made. It's been a lovely little project to get my teeth stuck in to, and makes good use of all the extra things we have rediscovered along the way.

Rose Potpourri - Just Add Ginger

Up-cycle Your Flowers 

This is a great idea for those who choose to have real flowers as a part of their day, and an idea that in our case has got MG involved as well. She took my bouquet, PG's button hole, and other flowers from the day she could find, and has either turned some into potpourri, or is in the process of pressing them ready to turn in to a piece of 3D art. Not only does this mean that our beautiful blooms will always be a part of our home but that the house also smells amazing

Memory Area - Just Add Ginger

Storing Memories

If you read this post on money saving tips for your wedding, you'll know that we did a lot of sourcing for our wedding day décor from eBay, Amazon, charity shops, and high street deals. Our menus and some of our memory table photos were displayed in frames that were on offer in M&S, so after all the festivities, we were left with a lot of frames spare. Instead of setting these to one side, we have used some to create a memory space in our house, and the rest of course we are going to display future photographs in. Having a little space in the house where we can remember those who can no longer be with us has brought a warmth to it. The artificial candles we had as centrepieces at the wedding breakfast really help to set the tone too.

These are only a few ideas, and ones that have really worked well for us and the items we had left following our wedding day. If you're seriously stuck for ideas on how to upcycle your decorations, head to Pinterest. It's the perfect place to find great arts and crafty projects to try out. I was an absolute Pinterest-aholic leading up to our Big Day, and am still going strong! 

What projects have you been getting stuck in to lately?


Pebbles Of Possibility | Just Add Ginger

New Possibilities - Just Add Ginger

After having a complete life evaluation last year, and deciding that I was finally confident enough within myself to make the giant leap from working in childcare to embracing a more creative path, I landed an opportunity that I could have only dreamt of. After leaving university, I had taken it upon myself to ensure that I continued to build and nurture my creativity, to not ever stop letting my fingers tap away at those keys. To always be writing. Whether it be a list, a blog post, an article, a recipe...I didn't want to stop. And last year, I finally started to realise my dream. 

So you can imagine when, at the beginning of the year, and upon finding myself back at square one, what a shock it was to the system. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. I was devastated. After building my confidence up for so long, I found it almost completely dashed. I wasn't really sure what to do at first. But, never one to be defeated by fate, I picked myself up dusted myself off, and jumped right back on that creative horse. 

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, you will know that one of the main things I define myself as is positive. I understand that being positive doesn't take all of life's problems away, but I am a firm believer that by adopting a positive and uplifting outlook, we can embrace anything that comes our way a little easier. Hell, I just need to look how far I've come with a glass half full attitude - how much I've learnt, how much I've grown....if positivity hadn't played such a big part in my life so far, I can't even imagine the person I would have been! 

Which is why, instead of tripping and stumbling over this pebble in my road, I have picked it up, put it in my pocket, and carried on walking. I've taken the time I have had given to me as a golden opportunity, wrapped my arms around it, and made sure that I don't let it go to waste. I know in my heart where I want my life to lead me, and just because one door closed, it doesn't mean several haven't opened. And I feel that in a short space of time, I have really come in to myself more, and it truly feels wonderful. I have become what essentially equates to an almost full-time content creator for the time being. My little blog baby has become an even bigger part of my life than I ever imagined, and I have been so fortunate as to have been given some amazing opportunities along the way. 

And it's not just writing. I've made it my mission to learn as much as I can. Things that I've always wanted to know. Sure, I am no expert, but I am so much more aware of some of the tools I have at my disposal. I've learnt more about Google Analytics, Windows Movie Maker, and Google Trends in the past few months than I ever have before. I have become more of a presence in online engagement, taking part in Twitter chats (The Girl Gang chat is my personal favourite) and really worked to get my blog, and my brand, to a place where I am proud of it. To a place that I feel really illustrates where I am right now. 

Sure, there can be shitty days, but I never let them get me down for long. It is not at all in my nature to wallow in misery and let the world pass me by whilst I weep. Oh no. Life is too short to mope and wait for someone else to pick up the pieces. 

Life can deal us a bad hand sometimes. It's bound to happen at one point or another. But we always have a choice. We can get caught trying to walk over that rock in our way or take it as a pebble of opportunity, one we don't neglect, but use as a chance to make this stumbling block our inspiration to spur us on and make a difference, whether it's in our lives, the lives of others, or making plans for the future. We create our own paths in life. They won't always be smoothly tarmacked, but they will give us one hell of an adventure along the way. 

So walk on with your head held high, and plenty of room in those pockets. There are going to be so many pebbles along the way that try and trip you up. You've just got to decide what to do with them.