show your colours, girls;

Any excuse to play this song again, right?

“Do you think we’ll still be friends when we’re old?”

“Oh, definitely. And we’ll go on a Saga cruise.”

“But it has better have an all-inclusive cocktail bar.”

“And we’ll chat up all the barmen.”

You know how they always say that it’s really difficult to make friends as an adult? Well, I’ve always thought of “adulthood” as a relative concept, but it’s true that I met one of my best friends in my mid-20s. You may remember Jehane from such blogworthy adventures as getting to the bottom of a Glaswegian wax, starring on the Glasgow Film Festival Instagram feed during the Internet Cat Video Festival and getting ridiculously involved with preposterous US comedy imports because they happened to star Karen Gillan. What you don’t get to see are the text messages, the constant nicking of each other’s style and the sheer amount of dessert we order on Just-Eat when we’re over at mine’s for aforementioned preposterous US comedy imports.

The Colour Report - Lis and Jehane at Alea Casino

I get a lot of, um, interesting opportunities as a result of this blog of mine, but the email from McCarthy & Stone – the UK’s leading developer of privately-owned retirement properties – still managed to raise an eyebrow. The reason for it though – and the reason Jehane and I were in a casino the other night (oh, I forgot to mention the bit where we were in a casino) talking about how we were still going to be BFFs when we were old was because of a new report published by the company looking at the changing face of retirement. According to The Colour Report:

– over 80% of retirees believe that a strong circle of friends is central to their happiness;
– 54% regularly upload photos to Facebook;
– 70% think that their appearance really matters (and 14% still shop at the likes of Zara and TopShop);
– 58% made a new friend in the last 12 months.

So, nuts to it being difficult to make friends when you’re an adult, really.

So, getting back to the casino: to set us up for the all-inclusive cocktails we’ll be sipping on the deck of our cruise ship in our 70s, Jehane and I went to the Alea in Glasgow for a cocktail-making masterclass. Frankly, I’ve no idea why they thought we needed the training – look at the perfect French martini we poured first time!

The Colour Report - French martinis at the Alea Casino

J/K, mine’s on the left.

The Colour Report - French martinis at the Alea Casino

We were led through the roulette tables to the casino’s glamorous main bar, where we were introduced to Jordan, our bartender from New Zealand. Jordan had only been in the job for a month or so, but he had just about mastered the art of flipping a cocktail napkin and – more importantly – knew how to shake, rattle and roll his way through a cocktail menu. He taught us how to balance the straws in the middle of a French martini, the importance of pouring your measures over the glass (don’t laugh, I genuinely had to be told) and the secret to detaching your metal cocktail shaker from the tumbler you mixed your ingredients in. It’s all in the inside of the wrist, apparently.

The Colour Report - Jordan mixes cocktails at Alea Casino

At least we took away one skill we could take with us into our retirement (and, let’s face it, the many, many cocktail nights to come before). As part of the night, we also got a free turn on the roulette table – a much more glamorous alternative to the bingo, or so we thought. “Just pick a number, and if it comes up I’ll give you £50,” the croupier said. Visions of the pretty dresses we could buy with our winnings danced in front of our eyes, for the thirty seconds it took for the wheel to stop – on the number next to mine. Mug’s game, I tell you. We’ll stick to the gin and flirting.

The Colour Report - Roulette wheel at Alea Casino

DISCLAIMER: This post was written in collaboration with McCarthy & Stone. See my full disclosure policy.