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.
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..
The area around Liverpool Street has a bit of a double personality. Monday to Friday, it’s all sharp suits, briefcase carrying and business meetings. Come the weekend, the City of London comes into its own, with markets at Spitalfields and Brick Lane, and all manner of merry revellers spilling out of the bars of Shoreditch. A stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station, although the Andaz Liverpool Street has a distinctly businessy feel during the week, it’s perfectly located for weekend stays and exploring the artistic delights of East London.
And The Room With A View project at the five-star luxury boutique hotel perfectly encapsulates this dichotomy. The hotel has commissioned four artists to transform rooms, inspired by the local area and its rich history and vibrant creative spirit. Being revealed gradually over a year-long period, each of the rooms is individually decorated – guaranteed you’ve never stayed anywhere like this before! A street art-style stay is pretty special, after all.
The first room to be unveiled was Chris Price’s Pearly Room: a monochromatic tribute to the flamboyant Pearly Kings and Queens of the East End. The level of detail in Price’s drawing is nothing short of remarkable, depicting Spitalfields Church, the streets around Brick Lane, and thousands of tiny pearly buttons. The story goes that in the 19th century a Japanese ship sunk in the Thames, along with a cargo of pearl buttons, which then washed up on shore. The local market traders took to sewing them onto their clothes, and the rest as they say…
The second room is inspired by the idea of being a flanêur and exploring the local area. Patrick Vale and Paul Davis’ One Day Walk documents the artistic pair’s nine-hour journey, starting with breakfast at St John Bread and Wine, and taking in iconic places along the way, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Columbia Road. It’s a fascinating overview of the area and its quirks – who says you need a city guide?
Andaz Liverpool Street’s Room With A View Large King rooms is now available to book from £378 on weekdays (Sunday to Thursday night) and £252 on weekends (Friday & Saturday) until July 2015. For further information about Andaz Liverpool Street telephone 0207 961 1234 or visit www.andazliverpoolstreet.com
Chocolate. Culture. Can there be some way that we can combine two of our favourite leisure pursuits? It seems unlikely. But wait! Meet Sweet Theatre: a company making sublime chocolate bars inspired by none other than Mr William Shakespeare. Created to celebrate The Bard’s 450th anniversary, the chocolates are based on Shakespeare’s best-loved leading ladies.
Fancy the dark chocolate and mint? That’ll be Twelfth Night’s Viola. Or perhaps you’re more of a milk chocolate fan? Go for Hamlet’s tragic lady love Ophelia or either Beatrice (milk with honeycomb), Miranda (milk with sea salt).
Of course, there are appearances from all your Shakespeare favourites – Lady Macbeth is a dramatic, seductive dark chocolate with orange accents, while Romeo’s heartbroken sweetheart Juliet is a sweetly simple white chocolate. Once you’ve done the really big names, you should really make time for Rosalind and Katherina too… Heavenly flavours, high quality artisan chocolates and exquisite illustrations inspired by our greatest playwright – we’ve never found it so easy to convince ourselves of our need for chocolates….
For more information, see the Sweet Theatre website. You can also buy online at Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason.
We should learn to develop a readier awareness of our beautifully miniscule place in the wider scheme of things, to free ourselves from our constant debilitating anxieties. Let’s take the time to bring a little perspective back to our needlessly tense and preciously brief lives.
For more interesting, introspective videos, see The School of Life’s YouTube channel.
Beer in a cocktail? OK, you could be forgiven for thinking “Have the RIH team been drinking?” The answer is no – we haven’t. But try one of the new cocktails available at the House of Peroni pop-up venue in London and we think you’ll agree that accompanied with the right ingredients, beer in cocktails works beautifully.
Our favourite? The Nerone is a surprising mélange of fresh and exotic flavours, served long – perfect for relaxed sipping, perhaps with a marinated olive or two to nibble on…
150ml-170ml Peroni Nastro Azzurro
20 ml lemon juice
10 ml hot chilli gomme (1kg caster sugar, 750ml water, 15 sliced Bird’s eye chillis – cooked for 15 minutes then strained.)
10 ml lapsang souchong gomme (1kg caster sugar, 750ml water, 20 Lapsang Souchong tea bags – cooked for 15 minutes then strained.)
20 ml passion fruit puree
Shake all ingredients together and then double strain into a long glass. Garnish with a passion fruit circle and a Bird’s eye chilli.
The House of Peroni is open 3rd– 31st October, Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 12 midnight, at 64 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JX. The House is free to visit (18+ only), with events priced from £25. For more information and to book,see the House of Peroni website. More information on Burro & Salvia can be found on the store’s website.
Truly deserving of her Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai has an eloquence and courage far beyond her 17 years. In this speech to the UN from last year, she explains “I speak, not for myself, but so those without voice can be heard”.
The consequence of her being shot in the head by the Taliban? “Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born”. A light in our world and an icon for our time.
As I have become older, and my career demands quite frankly inordinate amounts of my time I have found myself appreciating time spent on, and also by myself more and more. During autumn as the days are getting shorter and the weather remarkably more dreary by the minute, there is no better time to treat yourself to a quick fix. Just one hour, that’s all you need.
A treat-yourself-trend hot on the heels of the increasingly popular walk-in manicure (my nails literally repel varnish, chipped before I even get out of the door), is the walk-in blow dry. Should you find yourself in chichi Belgravia with half an hour for yourself and twenty five quid may I suggest hitting up blo by real hair on Elizabeth Street? Responsibly using products developed specifically to protect hair from heat treatments to banish any fears of split ends, in just thirty New York minutes you can have supremely glossy locks to swish all the cold air and impending darkness away with.
Celebrate the bounce in your barnet afterwards over the road with one of Peggy Porschen‘s Salted Caramel cupcakes and a pot of tea for the ultimate indulgence. Or a glass of fizz should you fancy. Cake and a blowdry; there’s no easier way to banish the post summertime blues – book yourself in for some me-time.
The shades to nail for Autumn/Winter 2014? As we move into a cooler colour palettes, look to soft wintry nudes and jewel tones from deep dramatic scarlets to sophisticated sapphires and violets…
In the past decade, artisan chocolate has really come into its own – it’s fair to say that the days when Milk Tray and Ferrero Rocher were considered posh chocolate are long gone. Phew.
One of our favourite places to find delicious new brands doing scrumptious and exciting things with chocolate has to be Selfridges, which stocks an amazing range of artisan chocolate bars. Our latest discovery is Vioko: a small Barceloneta-based company making insanely moreish chocolate with the finest ingredients sourced from only the best producers: “pistachios from Iran, flowers from France and hazelnuts from Piedmont in Italy”. Yes, please to all that!
But it’s with the marvellous flavours that Vioko really comes into its own. Something sweet yet slightly different? Try the white chocolate with tonka beans and sea salt. It’s an absolute flavour revelation. Or fancy something with a sexy, sensual edge to challenge that gourmet palate of yours? Go for the black chocolate with cayenne pepper. A classic with a twist? Gotta be the dark chocolate with pistachios. Maybe not actually a massive chocolate fan at all? We recommend the white chocolate with yoghurt and raspberry. The crystallised violets bar and the blond chocolate also come with our stamp of approval. Try them all, love them all. Moderation recommended…. If you can.
For more information, see the Vioko website, or shop the range online at Selfridges here.