Tuesday 3 May 2016

The Bombay Sapphire experience

For my Hb's birthday in January our daughter sent a gift voucher for the Bombay Sapphire Experience at Laverstoke Mill in Whitchurch, Hampshire. As keen gin drinkers Bombay Sapphire is one of our favourite brands and I love their iconic blue bottle.
We decided to wait until the spring to visit and booked tickets on their web site for a tour last Wednesday.

We could not have picked a better day as the sun shone and the sky was a clear blue. The drive from our house took an hour and a half and we arrived in the car park in plenty of time for our 10.45am tour. We were delighted by the sight of the restored mill buildings which are now the home for Bombay Sapphire and where it is distilled.

We  had time to sit by the river and have a coffee in the sunshine.

We knew nothing about the history of Laverstoke Mill and were very pleased that we had booked on the heritage tour. Our guide was so knowledgeable and we were surprised to find out that this beautiful mill is recorded in the Domesday book. In a previous life it was used and for the production of paper for none other that the Bank of England for bank notes. The Portal family continued to manufacture at Laverstoke for over 200 years. However in 1995 De La Rue bought out the company and the mill fell silent.

We were able to handle some beautiful artifacts (wearing white cotton gloves) from the days of paper making.

The Bombay Spirits company only bought the Mill in 2010 and saved the site from being demolished for housing. This is where all their gin is distilled. It is then transported to Warrington where it is bottled. The buildings have been so beautifully restored and there is still some buildings undergoing renovation. They opened the distillery to the public in 2014.

The river Test runs through the mill and has some of the clearest water I have ever seen.

We were shown some of the botanicals used in the making of the gin...the smells were delicious.
 I chose my favourites to find out what my ideal cocktail would be............
I went for The Laverstoke
Their design award winning glasshouses showcase those botanicals which I used in the gin production.

We also toured the actual distillery (no photos allowed of this for security reasons) and marvelled at the copper stills. We saw a display of the various bottles used over the years. The Bombay Sapphire gin heritage goes back to 1761 when the Dakin family started making gin in Warrington, Cheshire. The iconic blue bottle did not appear on the shop shelves until it was re branded in the 90s.

And at the end of our brilliant 3 hour tour we were served a complementary gin cocktail (well my Hb drove so he had an alcohol free one and was given a take home miniature) and sat looking out to the river as we relaxed and reflected on our visit. Yes that's me sitting upstairs reading the cocktail menu
and here is my delicious cocktail bought upstairs by the waiter.

It was delicious.

There is a small gift shop and of course we had to take something home didn't we.....a bottle of Bombay East, a gin stirrer and 2 lovely tumblers fell into our basket. When we got home you can guess what we finished off our day with ;0)

It really was the most wonderful day and when I got home I knew I had to make a mixed media "Moment" of our time there.

To represent the history of paper making at the mill I used a sheet of my very special Fabriano paper I bought in Sicily last year. If you missed that post this is a link to it.

My moment just had to be blue so I got out several shades of blue distress inks.
I blended and spritzed my Tim Holtz blue inks on my paper until I was happy with the background.

Then I added some simple floral stamping.

To represent the gorgeous restored brickwork of the mill I added some Decoart crackle paste through my Wendy Vecchi brick stencil.

I needed a way to make my own " gin bottles" so I die cut bottles which I stamped and stencilled. I found the perfect "Bombay Sapphire" blue shade of ink was TH's  Broken China.

To remember the clock outside the mill I die cut a weathered clock.

For the botanicals I die cut lots of TH sizzix wild flowers.

I stamped and embossed a very apt Visible Image sentiment and also embossed a Visible Image dragonfly whose wings I glittered and then added glossy accents for even more dimension.

It was then time to put on my creative hat and put my Moment together...

Here it is

I would like to enter my Moment into the following challenges;

More than words Moment and clocks

Anything but cute Earth day I was inspired by the gorgeous blues and the whole feel of Mother Nature especially the flowers.
Crafty Boots monochrome
Penny Black and More 1/3 anything goes with stamping
WOW use heat embossing my dragonfly and sentiment are both heat embossed.
The Artistic Stamper 1/3 collage
Pile it on garden creatures
Rhedd's creative challenge altered art/mixed media
Pixie's snippets playground #227
Noor spring flowers
We love to Create 1/2 anything mixed media

We really did have such a great day and when I drink my G+T now I can transport myself back to the beautiful Laverstock Mill and memories of that delightful sunny April day.

Thanks for visiting today and for taking the time to leave your kind comments.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x


  1. What an interesting trip, we have been on an Irish whisky tour and a Scottish whisky tour and they were both great fun.
    Love your moment and the colour is wonderful, a really clever reminder of your day along with your gin...of course! ;)
    V x

  2. What a wonderful thing that Bombay Co. saved that magnificent, historic place! I loved the river and unusual greenhouses.. your drink looked delish! Your moment is a great reminder of such a pretty and special place. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. I am so glad they saved these buildings from demolition as it happens to often where old buildings are destroyed. It looks like you had a great time and I love that enclosed garden area...you took some great pictures. I love how it inspired your card with all the beautiful blues and the way you put everything together. Really quite artistic

  4. Fabulous photos Jane of your amazing day out, I've got to go just to see the mill, what spectacular buildings and so full of history, I love places like that. Your 'moment' piece fully captures your experience and memories, love it. Xxx

  5. A beautiful monochromatic card Jane and thoroughly approve of your source of inspiration. Many thanks for joining us at Penny Black and More challenge.

    B x

  6. Lovely piece, given me some ideas for monochromatic work. Nice to see old factories for something other than housing xx

  7. What an interest piece, Jane, and I love your art work commemorating the day so beautifully. You were very near me. I've lived here since I got married in 84 so I associate laverstoke with the banknotes. So glad they saved it,

    Lucy x

  8. What a lovely day out to such an interesting historic place. Your sapphire blue moment is beautifully made! Lovely drink too!!
    Helen xox

  9. Wow....thank you for sharing your wonderful day i so felt as though I had been with you...lovely photos...and also an education! As for your memory page...absolutely stunning...I showed it to my hubby and he commented there are some very clever people out there!.....take a bow my lady!! Love everything about your page, you are so talented (another bow).

  10. First of all - your 'memory' is just so beautiful Jane and sums up the day perfectly. The bottle shapes, the colours, the brickwork, the 'herbs' - just fantastic! Even the dragonfly - which no doubt would hover over the river!

    Like Carole, I must show this post to Len as we live near to Laverstoke Mill and keep meaning to go - lots of our friends have already been and loved it too. The River Test is so clear due to the fact that it's a 'chalk' river - I should know as the limescale down here is a constant battle! And of course, some of the best cress is grown in the Test waters as well. Thank you so much for sharing your day!

    It's lovely to see you in the Playground!


    Di xx

  11. Stunning project, I really love your moment. Lovely colours and beautiful design. Thank you for sharing your work with all of us at Crafty Boots Challenges.


  12. Gorgeous work!
    Thank you for joining Earth Day challenge at Anything But Cute!
    Paper Talk with Samra

  13. Wow Jane, what a great post! You're so lucky to be able to visit such an amazing place, what a wonderful trip! Love those glass buildings, wow! Looks like you had an amazing time, and your inspiration really shows in your project! Beautiful piece, love that you used the blues, and your crackle texture is wonderful!! Thank you so much for joining us at Anything But Cute for our 'Earth Day' challenge! Hugs, Pamellia DT :)

  14. Hi Jane

    What a great post indeed!
    I have learned so much thanks to you.
    Thank you for sharing your visit with us, it's as if we were there with you!
    Your moment is beautiful. Once again, you were most inspired!


  15. This has been the most enjoyable post - I would dearly love to go to that old mill. What history. All of your pictures were wonderful. Would love to know what was in your cocktail! Beautiful colors used for your make and you really created the mood that goes with your favorite gin!
    Sandy xx
    Sandy xx

  16. it sounds like a wonderful experience Jane - and I really love the goodies you brought away! Beautiful memory piece - I think its beautiful! Off to get a G and T now!!! ha ha - you've got me in the mood! Hugs rachel x

  17. Hi Jane,

    WOW! What an amazing place, I am not a Gin drinker but would love to visit there, I love old architectural buildings and those Glass houses wow! Amazing concept.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful design with us it really does capture the moment.

    Love & hUgs

    Jacquie J xxx

  18. Fabulous project and what a fun way to remember your special visit. I too am not a gin drinker but have always enjoyed going through distilleries and wineries - you learn so much when you do. Thanks for joining us at Anything But Cute.

  19. This is an incredible journey you have taken us on through your delightful pictures! Sounds like you and your DH had a lovely time and enjoyed the trio as well as each other's company, and some booze. Hehe! Gorgeous design with the bottles! How clever and original! Your sentiment is so perfect for this and so very true! Awesome sauce and fantabulous stencil work and details!

    Thanks for joining our "Earth Day" challenge at Anything But Cute! Hugz. ~Niki DT

  20. Well, you made me so jealous with all those photos and the cocktails !! It seems you really had a blast !! Your project is simply fantastic, I love everything about it !! Thank you so much for joining us at More than Words !!

  21. It looks fascinating, Jane. I'm a big fan of the blue glass bottles too... and I love your page inspired by them. Great use of the wildflower die-cuts and crackled wall, and the dragonfly is fab. But I have to say it's those amazing glasshouses which have slightly stolen the show in this post (those and the cocktail!).
    Alison x

  22. What a terrific starting point for your deliciously blue piece Jane!The details are luscious on your artwork. Love the textures too!
    Thank you for joining in at Rhedd's Creative Spirit this month.

  23. I love the gorgeous blue colours and the techniques you have used on your card Jane. A card to treasure by the lucky reciever. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and good luck in our prize draw.


    1. Sorry... I meant to say thank you for sharing your card with us at Penny Black and More.

  24. Such a fabulous project to remember your trip. The photos are lovely too, my only regret is that it's a bit too early for a GT here :)

    Love and hugs

  25. What a fabulous post. We literally live just half an hour up the road and didn't know this place existed. We have been to the Whitchurch Silk Mills many times. Love your creation which is a perfect memory of your day out. Hugs Mrs A.

  26. I hopped over from the playground to look at your wonderful card and got captivated by reading about the distillery - we live about half an hour away from it and have been threatening to visit for a while now, and my daughter and son in law are planning to go there very soon. It sounds as if they will have a fascinating time.

  27. Love all those pretty textures! Thank you for entering your project at Rhedd’s Creative Spirit. Sammy-x

  28. FANTASTIC post! Lovely pictures of your special treat day out and a FAB moment made to capture the memory. WONDERFUL

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

  29. Beautiful shdes of blue! Thank you for playing with us @ More than Words!

  30. Stunning place and gorgeous inspiration, fabulous blue creation Jane.
    My hubby's fave drink is the Bombay Sapphire!
    Thank you for sharing at Penny Black and more;-))m

  31. I am so glad I read your story so I understand how much thought and time went into the creation of this card. Every detail of this card has a special meaning for you and even though I dont drink, I experienced the adventure with you through the card. Love the techniques and the colors and how you tied it all together. Great job.

  32. I love your bottle influence on your work! Your tour looks amazing! Thanks for playing along at More Than Words.

  33. What a wonderful way to remember this beautiful day by... your canvas is very beautiful! Thank you for playing along with us at More Than Words! Just a little note that in order to be eligible to win, you have to include our challenge board image into your post. :)

  34. Absolutely gorgeous creation,Jane, beautiful shades of blue.
    Thanks for joining us at Artistic stamper this month.

  35. This is a stunning creation! I love the inspiration for it! I am a gin girl myself and am currently drooling over that lovely photo of the lovely drink!! All the best from MTW! :)

  36. Really enjoyed reading your post ! What a fabulous place, I love those Greenhouses . Your canvas is gorgeous! It really reflects the wonderful day you had. Quite delicious ! Toni x

  37. Hi,

    Thought you would like to know that you have been placed in the Crafty Boots 'Monochrome' Challenge. Many congratulations.

    We are offering the winner and two runners up from this challenge Guest Design Team spots for the Crafty Boots challenge that starts on 20 June. Please contact me at CraftyBootsDT@gmx.co.uk if you would like more information about participating in this new challenge.

    Do not forget to collect a copy of the Crafty Boots Challenge badge from our blog.

    Kindest regards.


  38. This is excellent!
    I´m amazed how you managed to do this with only blue and white!


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Jane x