The Kilner Pop Up Event at REX, Liverpool

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Twas the night before Kilner, when all through the streets,
Not a person was stirring, not even a peep.
Kilner® Jars filled with sweets, mince pies and Christmas bows,
Glistened in the shop window, as they lay in the snow.
The bloggers were settled, asleep in their beds,
Whilst scenes of Freakshakes and goody bags, danced in their heads.
Then the sun lit up Bold Street signalling a new day,
and shoppers began gathering, outside the Kilner® display.
For REX had transformed into a winter woods,
Filled with Kilner® gifts, creations and homemade goods.
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and frantic posting,
spread the word across the city, of the events Kilner were hosting.
Bloggers piled in to see what the fuss was all about,
To be greeted by gifts, a Chocolatier, festive drinks, but the rest?
You will find out...

On Thursday the 24th of November I was fortunate enough to have received a very exciting invitation indeed. An invitation to the REX store in Liverpool with Kilner. I received a very cryptic yet wonderful e-mail the night before containing the verse you read above - I had to share it as it's fantastic!
I teamed up with my fellow blogger Gill of for this one and we made our way through the November frost to the centre of Liverpool, wondering what was in store for us..

REX is a space for innovators and creatives, providing businesses with a platform on which to build. Situated on Bold Street, it houses a cafĂ© as well as 'lab' spaces and retail opportunities, so as you can imagine I was incredibly intrigued as to what Kilner would be doing with such a space. When we arrived, we were greeted with a fantastically festive display and a warm, welcoming atmosphere!
Kilner are known for their glassware. Notably, the blog-worthy jars you see all over instagram and beyond! I was excited when I got this opportunity as I've always loved the aesthetic of such items, and while we were there we discovered that Kilner was actually based in St Helens at one point. I had no idea! They started in 1862 with pickling jars, and have branched out over the years while being helped along by the glass jar trend. Some of the items in this post aren't available just yet, but will be filtering into shops over the next few months - you can truly appreciate how far they've come!
Glassware adorned every surface - from bottles to jars, to brewing bottles and beyond. It was a little intimidating as there were so many people in attendance and so much glass, but I don't think there was any catastrophes. I actually fell in love with a Spiralizer which I ended up indulging in for work related meals, but I'll be sure to share that in a blog post in the near future. They're exclusive to Pop-Up events and John Lewis, but at £15 I think its a steal.
As you can see, the Pop Up store showcased a huge variety of different products produced by Kilner. I was intrigued to see the butter making kits, as I've never even considered making my own! Another one that caught my eye was a cheeky Kilner Cocktail Making set - I had already set my heard on a Spiralizer but I was almost swayed. I think the huge variety of products available really was a shock - I hadn't realised that the brand had grown so much. All the pieces have the same Kilner look and guarantee, that chunky glassware feel and had been stamped proudly with the logo.

The products weren't the only things there though - various stalls had been set up to give you inspiration and guidance when it comes to your own Kilner stock. Gill was entranced with the Freak-shake workshop and you can read her entry on that here - I was more enthused with the infused water and gin stands!

Food was also something you could indulge in. The tabouleh was stunning - I actually finished it when I got home. A mix of parsley, tomato and mint (with a few other ingredients!) it was a refreshing change of pace from boring iceberg lettuce based salads. There was various hummus(es?) of which I picked up an avocado one, and a whole stand of yoghurt/overnight oat inspired delights.

A chocolatier was also busy at work, piping names onto delicious looking slabs of chocolate - unfortunately, mine melted on the way back home so I didn't get chance to indulge. I made up for it with the small bottle of red wine which had been included into the goodybag, however!

Infused water is a guilty pleasure of mine. My personal favourite is lime and mint, which gives you a mojito flavour but there were plenty of ideas for the uninspired here. I had a cucumber water as I felt I needed to justify tasting the infused gin at the next stand, but I did pick up a few recipes here I'll be sure to share in the coming weeks.

Yep, you can use your Kilner jars to infuse gin. Simply add the gin, the ingredients you'd like to infused said gin with and seal - shaking the jar thoroughly once a day for a week. Once seven days have gone by, you have your flavourful infusion! I fell in love with the candy-cane gin here with its pastel pink hue, it was quite sweet but definitely something I could easily have a nip of during the cold winter months.

We left Kilner and its Pop-Up to travel home, laden with a goody bag containing a recipe book and our very own Kilner mugs - as well as the small bottle of wine I mentioned earlier. It was a warm, friendly evening and I met so many welcoming faces - the staff were fantastic. I can't thank Kilner enough for hosting such a wonderful event and urge you to pop by this weekend (25th to the 27th of November) to the REX store in Liverpool to experience this for yourself!

Re: #LidlSurprises

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Image taken from the Lidl Suprises page, here.

Dear Lidl.

I really liked your #LidlSuprises adverts - the premise is a great one. Tackle the naysayers on social media, and prove them wrong - or enlighten them to your way of thinking.

Alas, I have to confess that Debbie's Journey just doesn't sit right with me..

I'm thrilled that the turkeys have a wonderful life there, on the 'RSPCA approved farmland' in Norfolk. I'm really happy that they can roam around freely, that they get fed apples as a treat. They get tucked back into bed in the barn, all cosy and safe for the night.. Then Debbie is invited to the poultry farmers Christmas dinner and there's one of those birds right there on the table.

While you are educating the masses on your 'free range' culture you've certainly taken the time to miss out the horrifying truth about just what happens to those turkeys. The fact that at a very young age, they are taken from that sunshine-rainbow-farm-of-happiness and thrust into the very building that will be the last place they ever know. The slaughterhouse. But lets look at some of the pieces you've missed out on, shall we? Your advert spurred me on to research this, so I feel its only fair to share it with you so perhaps you can make an advert somehow throwing glitter at it.

The turkeys are caught - usually by gangs of people, and some are injured in this process. Imagine being chased, hunted - and struggling to get away. This, is the truth Lidl.

Then, they're crammed onto lorries - literally crammed. This, after the ordeal of being caught and manhandled into the lorry in the first place. A loud, alien environment which probably involves hurtling along a motorway. At the other end of this journey, the true nightmare begins. I'd prefer not to delve into the details about the slaughterhouse I researched into - but you can have the visual I did. Now, your advert certainly didn't show that part of the journey, did it?

Perhaps if Debbie had followed her turkeys to the end of their journey.. Or perhaps, watched the beginning of a new journey with the artificial insemination of the over-fed female turkeys I wouldn't be writing this post. Your campaign to be transparent about your products, the whole #LidlSuprises ethos, yet you paper over the truth about what will happen to those Norfolk Bronze Turkeys. As I previously mentioned, I liked the whole feel of Lidl Surprises, but this one? No.

I think that the comments on your Facebook are proof enough that the advert is distasteful and incredibly misleading. As one user said: "A turkey doesn't magically go from a berry-browsing, apple-enjoying, free-ranging bird to clean, bald and cooked on a plate.." and I think you should recognise that.

Merry Christmas, Lidl.

The 2016 Secret Santa Survival Guide

Monday, November 14, 2016

* sponsored post

Those dreaded words.

"Shall we do a Secret Santa this year?"

Yikes. Immediately, you have that sinking feeling that you'll end up with that one person from your workforce who just doesn't 'get' your humour or really, you at all. That crushing paranoia that you'll be that person who gets the title of 'Worst Secret Santa' this year. You could always just bottle it, and settle on a box of chocolates and a some wine but honestly - where's the fun in that?

There is so much variety available now with the internet. Here are some of my favourites! I've been quite open with the pricing - although I did include a thrifty section for those who don't want to be spending too much.

Satsuma have compiled a whole host of Christmas articles from bloggers who have their own ideas to share - you can view that here!

For those who make you laugh:
We all have those people around us, who seem to spontaneously make the corners of your mouth turn upward. Whether its the joker of the office, or a loved one with a wicked sense of humour these gifts will really hit the spot.

Chocolate Brussels Sprouts, £9.95 from
Enid Blyton for Grown Ups, £7.99 (each sold separately) from
Donut Mug, £9.99, from
Retro Embossing Label Maker, £19.99 from

For those you treasure:
The people who really rock your world. I love a good sentimental gift exchange and I tried to make sure I listed a variety of gifts you can personalise to your hearts content. From quotes to photographs, make someone's Christmas that little bit more loving by letting them know how much they truly mean!

Personalised Wooden Star, £7.50 from
Friendship Knot Earrings, £9.99 from
Adjustable Constellation Ring, £9.99 from
Personalised Metal Polaroid Print, £12.75 from

For the serious ones:
Those office goers who you just don't quite get. They have an incredibly professional side and you haven't seen them let loose yet - there isn't anything wrong with that, but sometimes they can be a tricky one to pull out of the hat. Have some fun by getting them gifts they can appreciate all year round - aside from the Egg Nog Cologne which is a winner in my opinion.

Grey Bird Scarf in a Box with a Golden Initial, £15.50, from
Personalised Colouring Book for Adults, £8.99, from
Name Necklace (silver pictured; others available) £24.90 from
Egg Nog Cologne, £9.99, from

For those you don't really know that well:
The new starter. The people who work down the hall who you never really see. I've found a selection of quirky but nice secrets that anyone would be happy to find!

Sparkle LED Jam Jar Light, £9.95 from
Chuppon Self Watering Animal Planter, £9.99 (each sold separately) from
Grow your own Cactus, £9.99 from
Great British Bathe Off Bath Melts, £8.95 from

When you need to be thrifty:
Christmas can be a nerve-wracking time for anyone on a budget. I browsed around my favourite online gift stores and settled on a mixture of fun items that would add a little something for a little money this year!

Animal Egg Moulds, £5.99 from
Scented Macaron Coin Purse, £8.99 (each sold separately) from
'Mug Cakes' Book, £7.95, from
Toast & Jam Bodywash, £6.95, from

This post was written by myself, in conjunction with SatsumaLoans. All words and choices are my own. Pictures are from the respective websites.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum

Sunday, November 06, 2016

This weekend we decided to explore the wonderful Liverpool. I love Liverpool. I really do - there's a huge sense of pride in the city, and wherever you look there is something there to catch your eye and pique your curiosity. In particular, we had a wander down to the Marina and explored the Maritime Museum - free entry, and absolutely jam packed with various events throughout the day. Truthfully, the boys and I got separated as they were persuaded into a showing of 'Car Wash', presented by AFRO SUPA HERO & Liverpool Small Cinema.

I dealt with this better than expected - for those readers with similar anxiety to my own, I've found an excellent way of 'tuning out' of my fears is to put a Podcast on and listen to that. I recommend downloading the Castbox app, and searching for Knifepoint Horror. It kept me focused on what was happening on the Podcast, and I was able to wander around the exhibits for a good hour or so absorbed in what I was doing.

I got completely lost in some of the exhibits - quite literally. Some parts of the museum have so many corridors and so much information for you to take in, it can be very overwhelming and you soon lose track. I was particularly caught up in the story of the Lusitania - I'd never heard of the Lusitania or her story, mostly because I come from the industrial middle of England and maritime history doesn't feature too heavily around where I come from.

The exhibit captured my heart however, especially the enchanting 'an Ode to Fido the Lion'. Fido the Lion is actually displayed in all his glory on the first floor, I do recommend visiting.

As I've previously mentioned, a lot of the exhibits are absolutely full of things you can look at and read - the images above highlighting just how much so. We visited on a busy day, and despite not having the boys with me and being able to wander freely there were points I couldn't move due to congestion in the corridors. I think people wanted to stop and read the information presented to them, without realising that in hindsight they were blocking the path through therefore causing a build up behind them. If you have smaller children with you, perhaps keep them close by!

Contrastingly, at other points I suddenly became very aware I was wandering, alone. Not another person in sight. Perhaps due to the winding nature of some of the layouts in the exhibits, but something to be aware of.

Another exhibit that captured me was the Titanic exhibition. It was too dark to take photographs in there and it was incredibly busy - but I fully recommend taking the time to fully explore it. Letters from some of the passengers are on display, as well as a thorough timeline of what happened that terrible night. Some of the items on display truly captured the extravagance that some passengers would have experienced - from golden tea sets, spoons and all, to the formal uniforms that staff would have worn. An incredible insight into the one maritime disaster everyone knows the story of.

I couldn't possibly finish my post without mentioning the International Slavery Museum which is housed in the same building. Some of the stories which emblazon the walls here are gruelling, but a must read to fully appreciate the journey Liverpool herself has taken when it comes to the diverse community that she houses. This is on the third floor, and also includes art and objects of interest which are displayed.

There is also a lot of information surrounding the subject of modern slavery - a current issue that is being tackled in Britain itself. It really does bring home the fact that this practice isn't something that was completely abolished, and its something that we should be working on as a nation - it isn't just something that happens 'elsewhere'. Here, now, in your neighbourhood. We should be aware of this, we should be stopping this.
© She & Life. Design by FCD.