For the non-drinker, Christmas can present a bit of a trying time. First off, people will inevitably question your reasons for abstaining from booze and try and wheedle you into having a tipple or two. And secondly, non-alcoholic drinks tend to be pretty uninteresting. You can expect to find soda water, orange juice or – if we’re being adventurous – sparkling elderflower.
From Lindy Wildsmith’s inspired Artisan Drinks, this recipe for Cranberry Fizz is deliciously different and wonderfully seasonal. On festive occasions this stunningly colourful drink can be dressed up for the non-drinker at the party. And it also works beautifully with a splash of gin, should you wish! Vary the fruit in this recipe to make vibrant fizz at any time of the year – rhubarb in spring, soft fruits and cherries in summer and blackberries in autumn.
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cranberries
Finely pared rind and juice of 1 lemon
Finely pared rind and juice of 1 orange
300 g (10.5 oz) sugar cubes
2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) boiling water
3 tsp (10 g) fresh baker’s yeast, or 1.5 tsp (5 g) active dry yeast
Pinch of caster (superfine) sugar
20 ml (0.75 fl oz) warm (not hot) water
1.5 tsp (5 g) cream of tartar
Put the fruit in the crock or deep bowl and crush with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin or even better a mouli-legume or mincer. Add the citrus zest and juice, add the sugar cubes and the cream of tartar. Pour the boiling water over the top, stir and leave to cool to blood temperature. When the liquid has cooled sufficiently, mix the yeast and caster sugar with the warm water, stir into a paste and add to the liquid. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 48 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, skim and discard any debris that may have floated to the surface. Strain and using a large jug and funnel pour into bottles. Stand for 48 hours. Keeps for 2 to 4 weeks. Once open drink up within a few days before the sparkle subsides.
Lindy Wildsmith’s Artisan Drinks is published by Jacqui Small. Buy online here.
The first question you tend to get asked when you meet someone at a party is “So what do you do?” And according to how impressive your answer is, people are really keen to get to know you or swiftly leave you behind by the nuts.
If you ever needed proof that the School of Life completely lives up to its billing, watch one of their YouTube videos. In just over four succinct minutes, you must get at least one hour’s worth of therapy. In this clip, the School of Life tackles an oh-so-timely issue: status anxiety.
So that’s how to beat status anxiety and get past focusing on what other people think of you. After all, who actually cares what you do? For more like this, subscribe to the School of Life’s YouTube channel.
You really need to make sure you get at least eight hours. Oh no, hang on, if you want to be super successful, you should be able to train yourself to manage on four hours a night before an energising gym session. And then there are the insomniacs amongst us. ARRGHH – aren’t we confused about sleep! OK, how about if we told you should wake up in the middle of the night…
People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through? Read more: Aeon Magazine.
Thinking of splashing out and treating yourself to a Christmas party blow-dry? If you’ve more than a couple of festive events to attend, you’re probably not going to be left with much cash for gifts, now are you? Spare a thought for family and friends and take the sensible option: book one of Headmasters’ Party-Ready Masterclasses – available across the nation for a cash-not-card price. For £45, you can learn how to create one of three chic styles to wear to Christmas parties including an elegant updo and this rather chic polished ponytail. Read on to discover how to recreate the look…
STEP 1: Start by prepping damp hair with L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Volume Architect for a satin like finish. Blow-dry hair using a small ceramic brush to aid natural volume at the roots while encouraging curl at the ends.
STEP 2: Take a horse shoe section and pin away. Taking sections at the sides tong randomly away from the face (remember to pin and allow to cool). Repeat this with the top section but make sure you tong the hair away from the face. Add a mist of L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Fix Anti-Frizz Spray to give extra hold.
STEP 3: Begin brushing out the set using a natural bristle brush form the upwards from ends to roots to make sure you don’t brush all of the curl out.
STEP 4: Starting just in front of the crown, take small sections and using a backcombing brush tease the roots.
STEP 5: Using your fingers rake the hair back into a pony tail between the crown and the nape and secure with a bungee. While securing the bungee tip your head back to make sure there is no sagging. To finish, take a small piece of hair from underneath the ponytail and wrap around the bungee.
Headmasters’ Party-Ready Masterclasses are available at salons across the UK, priced at £45 for a 45 minute appointment. For more information, see the Headmasters website.
Brain Pickings is one of our favourite blogs when it come to interesting, insightful, uplifting and creative articles. Spirituality, self, happiness and life lessons aplenty; this selection of 14 books is essential reading for anyone looking to live a little more meaningfully…
How to be alone, wake up from illusion, master the art of asking, fathom your place in the universe, and more. These are the year’s finest books on how to live sane, creative, meaningful lives. Read more: Brain Pickings.
Once upon a time, we thought that travel – and the experiences we enjoy while travelling – could make you more interesting, and life richer and more interesting. Now with more and more people taking in gap years, hostelling across far-flung climes and spending weeks volunteering, it seems that travel is becoming an exercise in narcissism.
By shrinking the world, the tyranny of the web has stifled our capacity for independent discovery, catering to an appetite for foreknowledge that inevitably demystifies foreign places. Instead of taking time to absorb and consider, many people seem more inclined to travel quickly, tick off the ‘don’t miss’ highlights and form broad-brush assumptions based on the bare minimum of immersion. Yet the axiom that all ‘travel’ (as opposed to tourism) is by definition enriching and transformative persists. Read more: Medium.
With dark nights drawing in, these days we’re favouring warming, comforting wintry flavours. And of course – it’s all about staying seasonal and as simple as possible. We love a mixologist-created cocktail as much as the next person, but after a long day at work, it’s best to keep things straightforward and shake up a sure-fire winner. Cognac is an ingredient you might not have considered for cocktails, but that would be a mistake! From the the oldest major cognac house, Martell VS is a deep, rich spicy blend with notes of citrus, pear and saffron. And it matches beautifully with mixers too. The Ginger Spice is the cocktail you’ve been waiting for…
35ml Martell VS
15ml Blackcurrant or Blackberry Liqueur
10ml Lemon Juice
Build in a hi-ball glass over cubed ice and top up with ginger beer. Garnish with crystallised ginger, blackberries or a lemon slice. This also works well prepared in larger quantities as a ‘punch’ for parties.
For more information about Martell and special cocktail recipes, see the brand’s website.
On 13th July 2014, I was followed on Twitter by a cat. Not just any cat, arguably the most pampered and fashionable petit chat on the planet, one Miss Choupette Lagerfeld. Apart from the fact that I just worship her ‘Daddy’ Lagerfeld, I am also obsessed with felines so this was the ultimate social media top trump of follows for me.
Now Choupette’s world can be explored in a new book published by Thames & Hudson, Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat. This charming book includes photographs and sketches, chapters about her diet and beauty regime, as well as her activities as an e-cat on the net. There’s even some of her published work as a model in fashion stories shot by Karl, sharing the limelight with supermodels such as Linda Evangelista and Laetitia Casta.
Did you know that Choupette’s blue eyes inspired a colour palette for a recent Chanel collection? Or that she only travels with personalised Goyard luggage? I love these little insights into Karl’s life and workings. His love for this kitty inspires and delights him, and it’s a real treat to feel like you are learning secrets of this incredibly private designer’s life. Plus Choupette really is just a beautifully pretty cat. The book’s final chapter looks at other great artists such as Baudelaire, Gorey and Jean Cocteau and their love for the feline, bringing home just how special these animals really are. Meow – definitely cool for cats…
Published by Thames & Hudson, Patrick Mauriès’ Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat is available to buy online here.
We seem to spend a lot of our lives chasing happiness. Working out how to be happy can be a valuable lesson – and it’s not that complex really! Investing in relationships, being kind to your body and evaluating what makes you happy (and why) are just a few of the inspiring happiness tips from the experts.
Experts including comedian Ruby Wax, author Gretchen Rubin, and LSE professor Paul Dolan tell you how to find happiness in everyday life. Read more: The Telegraph.
Scented candles. Most definitely a luxury. Do you need your living room to be sweetly perfumed with the heady scent of warming spices or wintry pine? Not really. And yet, of a winter’s evening, what could be more indulgent the perfume of a scented candle filling your home? It’s instantly relaxing, warming and comforting, and really makes things feel cosy. For an even more luxurious experience, why not light two candles simultaneously – combine a natural, woody fragrance with a homely, inviting sweet scent, for example? Spicy, sensual, woody and sweet, these are the scented candles we’ll be lighting up this season..