Busy Weekends and Home Brew #5

Action-Packed Weekends in August

An excellent weekend meeting the likes of Huw, M, TFS, Cerridwen, JimMcG and others in York was followed by a weekend listening to some great music in rain and a muddy field at V Festival!

Fortunately, I didn’t get this muddy!
I’m just so glad I wasn’t camping and must say I felt rather smug on the bus back when it all ended, knowing that I would be sleeping in a nice, clean and dry bed in a hotel! 
We stayed two nights in the hotel and it cost only Β£50 in total. Food and drink wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, even at the festival. One of my friends drove down and refused to accept petrol money so I just bought her a bottle of Prosecco as a thank you gift which was gratefully received – sorted!
That weekend of much drinking was followed by a weekend of much eating, when I went down to London to visit family. I have a cousin who lives in Peckham and my aunt and uncle were visiting from Hong Kong so I thought I’d pop down for the weekend.
Ended up visiting places that I’d never been to before, eg Tate Modern Gallery, Shakespeare’s Globe, Hampton Court Palace and also managed to visit Mayfield Lavender Farm. Used my spanking new Oyster Card (which I ordered online) – get me trying to be a Londoner! πŸ™‚
As the crow flies….at Hampton Court Palace
I have to admit that our capital city is great – I’d love to spend more time in the city so that I can experience all it has to offer.
The weather was great, my trains ran on time, there was no Tube strike, so all in all, another excellent weekend! I even managed to have a little chat with my cousin after I found out that he has savings but has not started a pension.  He’s 26 and works freelance so has no company pension to join. I’m going to email him some info and hope he gets the ball rolling!
My costs for this weekend were mostly related to travel (the 3 T’s – train, taxi and tram) – the train fare’s on my credit card so I’ll be paying that next month.
Latest Home Brew
I’m not a big cider drinker but one of my friends bought me a home brew cider kit for Christmas and I’ve finally gotten round to making it! My cider-drinking friends were very happy when I put this brew on as they were finally getting a chance to sample some home brewing that my beer-drinking friends have been enjoying!
The kit was the Strawberry and Pear Cider kit from the Make Your Own range; the instructions were easy to follow, although I had no idea at the time if I was doing it right because the brew didn’t behave in the same way as a beer brew would behave. Plus, it all smelt very different while it was fermenting, so it was very much fingers crossed when it came to bottling!  In all, there were 42 bottles (21 litres / 37 pints), costing me nothing apart from my time and effort (and a bit on my water bill!). 
A little over a month later, the resulting brew is very clear, sparkly, refreshing and not as sweet as commercial fruit ciders. Can’t really taste strawberries or pears, it just tastes….fruity! It’s a dark pink in colour, although it looks a lot darker in the photo I’ve taken.
I have no idea what the alcohol content is as there was nothing about using a hydrometer in the instructions, but it shouldn’t be more than 4.7%. I’m trying a couple of bottles this weekend to test…haha!
All in all, I’m quite pleased with this. However, as I’m not a cider lover, I can’t see me drinking many of these but I hope my friends will enjoy it – I’ll be turning up at house parties with the stuff!
For my next brew, I’ll be back brewing beer, this time a kit given to me for my birthday so more free drinks!
This weekend?
After three back-to-back weekends packed with social activities, this weekend, I have absolutely NOTHING planned and I’m really happy about that! Looking forward to spending much time in my pyjamas catching up on blog reading haha!
Whatever you’re doing (or not), have a good one all!

11 thoughts on “Busy Weekends and Home Brew #5

  1. Sounds like you're August was as busy as ours with all this back to back activities at weekends. Ours didn't stop though, as we had Baby TV's 2nd birthday last week, and this weekend we're at the lodestar festival (we got free VIP tickets!)

    Have been thinking about starting the home be again in time for Christmas, Wilko have finally got their act together and are selling wheat beer kits now! Have you ever tried these? Last thing we did was cherry wine which is still cheating under the kitchen table πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Weenie

    Sounds like you have had some great weekends, definitely no harm in enjoying ourselves while we travel to FI.

    London is a great city, and I was lucky to work there for 17 years. The Tate Modern is a fantastic place to visit, and as someone who works in construction I think the building itself is a fantastic work of art, when you walk in the space is awesome.

    Anyhow, back to saving and investing, I trust you didn't stop saving, and may have had the opportunity to take advantage of the lower share prices to bag yourself some great dividend shares.

    I hope you enjoy your doing nothing weekend.

    Best Wishes
    FI IK

  3. Hi FI UK
    Yes, the building housing the Tate Modern was incredible, all rivets and metal beams and high ceilings of an old power station. I did say "wow" when I walked in, it was totally unexpected!

    I did save this month but unfortunately bought my shares just before the prices dropped! Prices are still low so I will hopefully be able to take advantage soon!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi M
    Happy birthday to Baby TV! No I'd not heard of the Lodestar Festival before – interesting to read about its values and support of charity, community and sustainable produce.

    I see that V Festival raised some funds for charity but only a fraction of what it could channel towards eco-friendly type causes.

    Hope you enjoy Razorlight!

  5. BTW M, no I didn't know that Wilko are now stocking wheat beer kits! Never tried one but do fancy giving them a go – thanks for the heads up!

  6. Ah, home brew! I remember doing this as a student. We'd heard that if you added more sugar to the mix it would result in more alcoholic content. So we doubled it, bottled it and eagerly waited the result. The result was that the bottles started exploding while the brew fermented! Messy, but not as messy as when we started to drink the stuff. I'll spare you the details. I still love the idea of making my own beer and wine but fear that the idea is so much better than the end product!

  7. Glad you had fun at V and managed to avoid most of the mud. I think if we ever do it again the hotel option will definitely be invoked! πŸ™‚

    Who was headlining this year, I didn't even look? Who was your face act etc? I was always a fan of the dance tent myself, messy! πŸ™‚

    We're away again this weekend for our wedding anniversary but after that have some more chilled out weekends coming up which I have to say I'm looking forward to. Really want to lock down some savings and get some productive stuff done around the house and on line

    Cider looks crisp and refreshing, good job! Going to start a new batch soon so any kit recommendations for a pale ale let me know? Cheers!

  8. It's funny when you talk to people about home brewing and there's always one who's had the experience of bottles exploding! Fortunately, I haven't had that experience…yet!

    The kits these days are very good since home brewing is big business and beers from microbreweries are growing in popularity. You can't go far wrong with them, so maybe worth giving them a shot maybe?

  9. Hi TFS
    We went on the Sunday and it was Kasabian headlining. I stayed mostly at the main stage (as it was getting too muddy to wander around), so others acts were mostly of the pop variety, eg Sam Smith (he who is singing the new Bond theme, woo hoo!), the Courteeners, the Hosiers, James Bay, Jess Glynne.

    Thanks – yes, the cider does look (and taste) really good, I'm very surprised at the results and at my first attempt!

    The lightest ale I've brewed is St Peter's Gold Ale and I would have to say it's the best kit I've done so far. However, there are others to consider, eg check out Coopers Pale Ale (you'll need to buy extra malt/sugar) or Youngs American Pale Ale (I've done Youngs American Amber Ale). Good luck!

    Also, happy anniversary to you and Mrs T – hope you have a lovely weekend!

  10. they literally just got them in in the last few weeks. I'm going to ask for one for my birthday. wheat beer is awesome and my fave kind of beer, ever. it's also somewhat medicinal and good for your skin and inflammatory things, not exactly sure why. but before getting pregnant, i used to 'prescribe' myself 1-2 bottles per week as it eradicated eczema and psoraisis. it could be that all the goodness and nutrients of the wheat comes through without the negative effects of gluten, due to the gluten being broken down in the fermentation process…


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