Great British Beer Festival 2016

My favourite festival of year, hands down, is the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia. 

Yep, that is pink beer. More on that in a moment. 

If you're new to my blog, or my drinking habits, this is the flagship event in the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) calendar. It's the home to over 900 Real Ales, Ciders, Perries and International Beers for 5 days a year. CAMRA have beer festivals all over the country all year round, but this summer one is always a highlight of the season for me. 

Here's how I approach it: 

I book the day off work when I want to go. Ideally I go no later than the Thursday, this is because by then there is a risk that some of the ales will have already sold out (there was an incident this year where one of the Fuller's ones sold out in 45 minutes - and that's one from just down the road in Chiswick) and also Thursday is traditionally hat day. I left my headgear at the mercy of my Twitter followers this year: 

... decision made. Lots of people enjoyed saying 'Hello Kitty' to me because of this. 

Mew :)

Next, I go out for brunch. This is basically the same tactic as lining your stomach with something decent before you go out on the lash on a Saturday night. Not that it's an event where you drink like that, but when I'm in for the day and trying lots of different ales, I don't like to do that on a delicate tummy. Bill's in Ealing was my chosen brunch venue this year. 

Then it's down to Olympia for 1pm to crack on with the event. I know, I told my friend Martin I'd be there from 1pm and he basically sent me the Whatsapp version of this: 

Look, it's not like I go in there and sink pints. This is a marathon, not a sprint and also 900 DRINKS TO CHOOSE FROM. It takes me 10 minutes at each bar to make a decision.

The bars are usually split up around the two large floor halls in Olympia into regions of the UK, then Europe and further overseas. The cider & perry bar has it's own space too. You're basically visiting a bar with 30 beers on that you have to select from. It's worth buying a £2 guide on the door so you can easily seek out tasting notes and alcoholic volumes to you can make a decision before getting to the bar. 

I drink halves in these events, it means I can try more beers. You can do pints, or even thirds, it's all up to you.

So here's my beer list for the day: 

Alongside that little lot, I was also trying the beers that all the guys bought in my group. I swear there was a Belgian one that tasted like the nicest red wine you could ever dream of. Yes really, I wasn't trashed. 

Oh, really unhealthy food happened too. When in Rome ... 

I had a very long day. I was done with drinking by around 7.30pm, but I stayed socialising until 9.30pm and my feet were dead. I was very thankful to get home and get into bed. 

I always keep my festival glasses, you can hand them back at the end of the event at get your £3 deposit back, but I like keeping them (I have nine now! One from every year I've been since moving to London) plus the next day it's good to have something to drink big glasses of water out of! 

My standout beer for this year was the pHuchsia from the London Brewing Co. Partly because of the name, partly because of the colour and partly because it was a mild sour raspberry beer, and sour beers really are my thing this year. 

Quite glad I only do this once a year, though, it's a pretty hardcore day! I'll be ready for another go next summer, though. 
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London Film & Comic Con Summer 2016

MOAR NERDING! At the end of last month it was one of my favourite events of the year: London Film and Comic Con. 

I can only start with positivity and praise, as the layout at Olympia was much better than the previous year by a country mile. I knew last year was going to be full of teething problems as it was the first year in Olympia since moving from Earl's Court, so I did give it some leeway, however this year Showmasters really got their act together and created a spacious event. The event took over both of the main halls; downstairs being used solely for stalls, shopping and the cosplay stage, the upper decks used for signings, photos and panels. 

Friday was so peaceful, Saturday was a lot busier (but still nothing as chaotic as last year) and Sunday was another peaceful day. It felt really stress-free. The downside of this being that I spent much longer in the arena walking around, and was therefore completely knackered by Sunday night but at least I wasn't ready to kill anyone. 

Here's how I filled my days: 

  • I stuck to autographs this year, no posed photos. Simply because some of my best photos over the years have been spur of the moment ones over the signing desks - and those are free. This meant I was less time constrained, as all I had to do was collect virtual queue tickets and wait my turn - and it meant I got more time to talk to the people who were signing things for me. Paul McGann almost launched himself over the desk to manhandle my flower crown (not a euphemism) and Mads Mikkelsen was so happy to have photos with everyone (on the Friday at least). 

  • I spent a lot more time up in YALC. I love YALC! It's the ultimate chill out room, filled with books and comfy places, people love giving you sweet things (at one point there was free Nutella ice cream being passed around) and everyone wants to talk books. Oh it's great. I met Simon Mayo when Emma was getting her book signed and if you're a Radio 2 fangirl like me, that's a very cool thing. 

  • I talked to as many guests as I could, even the ones I wasn't getting anything signed by. This translates as 'I spent a lot of time attempting to flirt with Daniel Portman'. My friend told me Colt Cabana is doing an Edinburgh Fringe show, so I asked him about it and committed to go see it when I'm up there. "You better f*cking come and see me, now!" was his response. Alright, mate ;)

  • As it was better laid out, I saw almost all of my friends for chats. HOORAY! It can be near impossible to see everyone, but this time we managed it. It was lovely to go to the pub on Saturday night and see even more people - I think at one point we were a good 35 strong. 

  • I cosplayed, which is always ace, mostly because anyone else dressed in a similar way came up to say hi (there were a lot more female Ghostbusters than I'd ever seen). Plus, I got to wear interpretive Twin Peaks style costume, which was comfy and stylish. Everyone was very polite and asked before taking photos. 

  • I went to a panel, which was Mads Mikkelsen, so it was mostly about Hannibal and Casino Royale (as he's under a shushing order about Rogue One and Doctor Strange) but that was right up my street as I loved Hannibal. 

  • I shopped. But I was restrained with my shopping as I'm very minimal. I bought myself a couple of Pop Vinyls, some jewellery, button badges from Little Miss Delicious and a book from YALC. I kept within my budget and didn't spend a penny more than I'd allocated. 


I can't express how much better it was than last year, the space made it. One of my friends came along on Friday (her first time at one of these things) and she seemed to really enjoy herself - but then who wouldn't enjoy meeting Mads?

Sadly, there are no other Showmasters events based in London until Summer next year now, but I've already got those dates in my calendar. If the event improves as much again as it did this year, then I really cannot wait to go back.

See you next year, my beautiful nerds. 

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Star Wars Celebration Europe

Last month I was lucky enough to spend a whole weekend nerding out at Star Wars Celebration Europe. 


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The July Round-Up

July  -  the month where the sun finally came out.

I finally got those drinks on Richmond Green ... 

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You Beauty (Part III)

It's been a while since I did a beauty post, so here's another one full of products I've been trying over recent months.



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The Joy of Missing Out

I was recently approached to write a blog post for a ticket vendor with the message that we can avoid fear of missing out (FOMO) by going out more.

My problems with this type of unsolicited pitch are as follows: firstly, I don't write content like this (see my About Me page) for agencies or vendors (zero points for your research) and secondly, I don't suffer from FOMO ever. 


If I'm going out, I'm going out. If I see an event happening that I want to go to, I make it happen. My blog shows how much of a social person I am with a wide variety of interests. If I have no social life or human interaction aside from seeing my work colleagues for two weeks, then I've chosen to do just that.

I'm talking about JOMO, people, the joy of missing out. 

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