Gin-spirational Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts
from Silent Pool!
Still searching for that perfect Mother’s Day present? The Mother’s Day countdown is well and truly on… meaning it’s high time to buy that thoughtful gift for your mum or that special mother figure in your life… and Silent Pool Distillers have the solution!
From delicious drinks (and it’s not just handcrafted gin on offer!), to glitzy candles and appealing apparel, Angela Sara West offers some last-minute gift Gin-spiration, spills on her stunning Silent Pool shoot in the Surrey Hills with her own mum for Mother’s Day 2021, discovers celeb fans of the brand, including Amanda Holden and Joe Wicks, along with Agatha Christie connections, and chats with the company’s new celebrity ambassador, Surrey-based TV star, Laura Hamilton.
When an unexpected invitation dropped into my inbox late last week, I was straight on the ‘phone to my much-missed mum.
“Mum, how are you fixed on Monday 8th March? Silent Pool Gin want to treat a Surrey-based journalist who has worked through lockdown, and their mum or mother figure, to flowers, and (best of all) GIN! You up for it?!!”
I needn’t have asked if she fancied this decadent treat… a bit of a no-brainer, her response to this very-much-welcomed proposal was a resounding “Yes, please!”
Gin glorious gin… we’re willing to try it! And wow, were we in for a treat…
Styling it out in the Surrey Hills
This exciting event would also entail a socially-distanced photoshoot, so my next call was to my go-to fashion designer, Vaishali (known as V) from Vz Perfection, whom I’d met at Denbies Wine Estate’s Christmas Fair in Dorking last December. The Surrey-based stylist trained at Guildford College, and has gone on to showcase her wonderful work at London Fashion Week, alongside creating glittering jewellery collections, so, when it comes to top-to-toe styling, I know I’m in the best of hands. A huge fan of Silent Pool Gin herself, V had arranged for the brand to create a very special bottle for her last big birthday, and was, therefore, particularly inspired by this impending photoshoot, focusing on perfectly mirroring the attractive teal blue of their beautiful bottles and Copa glasses in my elegant attire. Turquoise and teal just happen to be my favourite colours… Style perfection! With Mum the main star of the show, V matched Mum’s elegant bright red coat with a poppy-peppered scarf from her Vz Collection, which worked so well, I’ve subsequently purchased it as an extra Mother’s Day pressie.
Teal, gin, my mum… a match made in heaven!
My fresh designer look would be accompanied by my lovely Louis Vuitton bag from Dorking-based business glamonmygrid, a sustainable brand that buys and sells your no-longer-used vintage and new designer fashion.
Outfits sorted, now, there were a few things to shuffle…
Being a busy freelance journo, my Monday morning was choc-a-bloc with work deadlines and other commitments, but this special event with Silent Pool Gin was an offer I simply could not refuse. I managed to move a few things, but there was one very important thing that I was not willing to change…
Back to school…
As a mother myself, it was the long-awaited school return on Monday for my eight year-old son. Finally marking the end of homeschooling for all of us frazzled parents-turned-teachers, the stress at last lifted from our shoulders, those challenging days of juggling full-time jobs with this relentless task was now (hopefully!) all in the past… and for that, we take a bow!
The return to school was a very big deal for both kids and parents alike, following so many months stuck indoors at home. And the latest lockdown had proved the hardest of all, with not only the pressures of the pandemic and homeschooling, but Christmas without our families, missing friends more than ever, and the cold winter weather… All taking their toll before the transition to school, which would pave our way back to the ‘norm’.
Let’s face it, it’s been a tough 12 months for all, and with the constant changes and challenges, I’m sure Harry wasn’t the only child to shed a few tears before bedtime the previous evening, before foot-dragging their way to breakfast and the notorious palaver of getting them out of the door…
And, of course, I also had to get MYSELF suited’n’booted for the shoot… just wish Boris was also allowing hairdressers to open today!
Prior to all this, a rushed trip to the shops to pick up the balloon bunches I’d promised for Harry’s school here in Horley, to celebrate his and his Yattendon classmates’ big return and for being such champions during lockdown, was another priority, in my voluntary role as a ‘Friend’ on the school’s PTA. This little token would also hail all those multi-tasking mums like me, plus dads and carers who have had to juggle the heavy pressures of pandemic home-schooling with holding down full-time jobs.
Mission accomplished, Harry, my husband and I arrived early at school to set up the blue and green balloon bunches around the big ‘Welcome Back’ banners. But, those pesky elves must have been at play again because somehow the ribbons had got their knickers in a proper twist and tangled in the breeze as we’d walked them up the road, causing chaos solved only with scissors!!
As for Harry’s nerves, the second he saw his best friend, Viola, set foot in the playground all reluctance quickly dispersed. With the classroom calling, they raced back into school together, beyond excited… and they didn’t look back! With a tangible excitement in the air, we joined in with the millions of other parents across the country simultaneously letting out a tangible sigh of relief. Wiping the home schooling sweat from our weary brows, that particular pressure of the pandemic now out of hands, we could finally return to the usual routine, our kids safely back in the hands of the pros.
Fresh from the emotive school drop-off, I headed off from our home in Horley to the heart of the Surrey Hills...
I'd never been to Newlands Corner before but, as it happens, it was high up on my bucket list of places in our wonderful county to visit this spring or summer. The area always receives such great reviews, and many of the famous faces I have interviewed for Surrey Life and Time & Leisure magazines have mentioned it, along with Silent Pool, too.
Lockdown lifesaver Joe Wicks is a Silent Pool Gin fan, who adores jumping on his motorbike to head to the Surrey Hills. “I love going through all those beautiful little villages, Shere (where ‘The Holiday’, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz was filmed)… Ripley… Send… all of those nice places for riding. I just love living in Surrey!” he told me.
I’d also been given a glowing recommendation of Newlands Corner from former Strictly Come Dancing stars Flavia Cacace and her Hollywood actor husband Jimi Mistry. “We LOVE Newlands Corner with its beautiful views,” they said during my interview with the dancing duo about their love of Guildford.
The area also hits the right notes for United DJs presenter, DJ Mike Read, too. Mike grew up and was schooled in Surrey, and the Saturday Superstore and Top of the Pops host is a big fan of the birthplace of the wonderful gin my mum and I were about to try. “I love the Silent Pool near Guildford," he gushed.
And the award-winning DJ, who spent many poptastic years presenting BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast Show (where I subsequently worked on the station’s Entertainment News shows), also raves about those Surrey Hills Newlands Corner views… a place firmly on his playlist. “The southern high points have breath-taking views across the weald to the South Downs.”
As Chairman of the British Plaque Trust, celebrating Surrey greats with those prestigious blue plaques you might have spotted around the area, Mike particularly enjoys commemorating the county's captivating past. "Rich in heritage, Surrey has a fascinating history, and is still the most wooded county," he explained.
The first steps to lockdown freedom… A date with Gin!
Following Boris’ announcement of the first partial lifting of restrictions, I’d already arranged to meet my Mum for a walk in a park sometime this week, somewhere halfway between Horley, where I now reside, and Carshalton, my home village where my parents still live.
But this incredible invitation from the innovative brand not only brought our much-anticipated get-together forward by a few days, but upped it by a billion levels.
Silent Pool sure had some sensational surprises up their scrumptious sleeves…
Blow that coffee on a bench, BoJo - GIN on a bench is the way to go!
On Monday 8th March, as Boris allowed us to finally meet up with a loved one, albeit only for a socially-distanced walk or perch on a park bench for a coffee, the luxury English gin distillers made sure they took him up on the opportunity… big time…
To celebrate being able to spend time with one of our nearest and dearest again, following such a tough lockdown, the brand took over THE bench with a view in the idyllic Surrey Hills, decking it out with delightful flowers to create a lovely experience for my mum and I in the lead-up to Mother's Day this Sunday.