The Summer Bodycare Edit

We all have our own definition of what a beach body means (a body, going to the beach, right?!), but summer bodycare is really just about making your skin its very best. Smooth, healthy, toned skin is all we all want, and a radiant, golden glow flatters just about everybody. Here’s our edit of the very best summer bodycare products to be your very best summer body…

Ila Spa Body Scrub for Energising and Detoxifying

For toned summer skin that really glows, the first thing you need is a decent body scrub. We’ve fallen head over heels for Ila Spa’s luxurious Body Scrub for Energising and Detoxifying. It’s luxe, but a little goes a long way with this one, which is designed to boost energy and immune function, as well as leaving skin silky smooth – oh hello, multitasking magic! Mineral-rich Himalayan salt crystals detoxify, stimulate the circulation and banish dry, congested skin, while a rich blend of organic oils moisturise and nourish. For best effect, massage a handful into your skin and then hop into the bath for 20 minutes or so to let the ingredients really get to work. Of course – as with everything else from Ila Spa – the scent of this will make you feel like you’ve spent an hour in a luxury spa. Buy online here.

Legology Sun-Lite Sheer Lingerie For Legs

Once you’ve try Sun-Lite the first time, we’re willing to bet you’ll buy a second tube immediately. Why? Created by legendary beauty journo Kate Shapland, this refreshing tinted gel is designed to “make legs feel as light as air” – as they can tend to feel heavier during summer months. The fast-acting gel-cream works to instantly cool, refresh and energise. Sounds impossible? Totally works. Legs feel lifted and lighter, with a sheer bronze tint delivering a hint of flattering colour to contour and enhance your pins. And Sun Lite’s heady scent of Amalfi lemons is basically summer bottled. Buy online here.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Replenish Body Serum

Aurelia is one of our go-to brands for organic skincare than actually works – and we’re already big fans of their Dry Body Oil and ultra-effective Hand Cream. The luxury brand’s latest treat is the Firm & Replenish Body Serum – we’ve grown to expect pretty packaging and an indulgent scent (lemongrass, bergamot, mandarin and cedarwood) from Aurelia, so we won’t bother to dwell on those. Need to know? This deliciously lightweight serum is intensive, deeply-hydrating and quickly absorbed, leaving skin velvety-smooth and beautifully soft. It also works as an aftersun treatment – buy this one in bulk.

Vita Liberata Ten Minute Tan

One of the things we like least about fake tanning? Streaks and scent aside, it has to be the time involved in the whole process. Exfoliating, application, waiting for things to dry so you can dress – never mind the time to sort out stained bedding. So we were pretty intrigued – albeit skeptical – by Vita Liberata’s latest tanning treat: the Ten Minute Tan. Apply as normal, wait ten minutes and then shower off for a bronzing golden glow? Actually yes – this really does work, with the colour appearing after about four hours, and becoming slightly deeper the next day, with the tan lasting a good three to four days.  Even better, this is 100% organic, with streak-free colour that even suits paler skins. Buy online here.

Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm

Sea, sand, sweat and sun – summer takes its toll on your skin. What you need is a really effective moisturiser – and they don’t get more rich and deeply hydrating than Aesop’s Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm. Enriched with concentrated natural and botanical ingredients, this works wonders on parched dry skin – elbows, hands, feet – and even does double-duty as aftersun. The vanilla-sandalwood scent is how we’d always like our skin to smell of a summer evening… Buy online here.

Prismologie Citrine & Bergamot Energising Shower Gel

Something to bring the summer to your shower? Even when the sunshine isn’t doing its stuff, this is the summeriest shower gel around – if you’re not woken up and cheered up after five minutes in the shower with this, even a double espresso isn’t going to work. It’s also enriched with micro-crystals of Citrine – the stone of confidence, no less – which combines with a refreshing bergamot scent to uplift, energise and rejuvenate. As with all of Prismologie’s products, it’s packed with botanicals to take care of skin from top to toe. Buy online here.

St Tropez Instant Tan Finishing Gloss

Okay, got your tan sorted? The newest St Tropez launch is what you need in your life. The wash-off Instant Tan Finishing Gloss is more gloss, less tan, leaving an elegant hint of shimmer with just a little bronze. Never fear, no glitter is included in this – it’s 100% sheeny, sophisticated gloss, leaving legs, decollete and anywhere else looking HOT. It’s one for summer evenings out, to be worn with your most daring LBD. As a side note – this works on even the palest of complexions, and can be layered up if you’re looking for a super sexy look. Buy online here.

Autograph Pre Tan Primer 

One of the reasons most people (around 92%* apparently) gave for not using fake tan? You guessed it – streaks. Foolproof tanning means exfoliation, but the rather clever new Autograph Pre Tan Primer means you can pretty much skip that time-consuming step. Essentially a moisturiser enriched with glycolic acid, this multi-tasker sweeps away dry skin leaving your bod ready for a golden glow. Even, natural tan? Easy peasy. Buy online here. *we might have made that up

Vichy Ideal Body Extraordinary Oil

Vichy? Summer bodycare? Oh yes. The brand’s Ideal Body 3-Gold Dry Oil might not have the catchiest of names, but it’s one of the best new summer beauty products for 2017. A combination of ten different oils plus gold, copper and bronze particles mean that this might just be the only product you need to take on holiday this year. Easily absorbed, it can be used on dry or damp skin, hair and even as a facial oil, leaving everything smoother, shinier, softer and more radiant. Which is what we all want for summer, right? Buy online here.

Rituals Ritual of Karma Suncare

Suncare? Honestly, we really prefer The Ritual of Karma, darling. Rituals’ suncare range is enriched with antioxidants in the form of white tea and gingko, meaning that it’s skin-loving as well as protecting. Top marks for the SPF 50 Sun Protection Milky Spray which absorbs almost instantly and smells delightfully fresh, while the SPF 30 Sun Protection Body Oil contains a tan booster meaning that you’ll tan more quickly, while protecting your skin. Bonus!

New Summer Books

Whether we have a sun-soaked summer or a disappointing washout to look forward to, those lazy, hazy days call for a pile of new books to fall into. Luckily, we’re spoilt for choice this summer, with mesmerising fiction about musicians, maddening families and much more on the horizon. Here’s the titles to add to your TBR pile…

Novelist Laura Barnett is back with her sophomore book, Greatest Hits (W&N). Her bestselling debut, The Versions of Us, was one of 2015’s biggest literary talking points, but her second novel more than exceeds expectations and has a far less tangled plot to contend with. Cass Wheeler is one of music’s all-time greats – think Carole King, complete with flowing locks and lyrics inspired by heartbreak – but these days she lives alone and tends to shut the door on the world. Encouraged out of retirement to choose the tracks for a special compilation album, she looks back on her youth, her marriage and her career, and at the decisions and dramas that shaped her life. Explorations of the tough side of fame can feel grating and clichéd – the booze! the pills! the regrets! – but Cass is an endearing, sympathetic heroine and her trials are ordinary and real. Barnett is a master storyteller, bringing to life 1950s suburbia, the possibility of the 1960s, and the hedonistic heyday of the music industry so that you simply can’t wait to turn the page.

Another second-timer hoping to match her initial success is Francesca Segal, author of The Innocents and now The Awkward Age (Chatto & Windus), the latter a look at the ups and downs of blended families. In one corner we have Julia and Gwen, inseparable mother-daughter pairing since the untimely death of Gwen’s beloved father. In the other there’s academically brilliant, arrogant Nathan and his dad James; their arrival in Julia’s home sets in motion a chain of dramatic events. If you can get past the melodramatic storyline (I won’t spoil it for you, but at times it felt contrived) this is a warm, funny book dealing with a most modern matter.

Also dealing with generational strife is Nickolas Butler’s meandering, beautiful The Hearts of Men (Picador, 13th July), which takes as its stage an American summer camp for boys in the 1960s. In 1962, lonely outsider Nelson is befriended by the archetypal cool kid Jonathan Quick; their loyalty to each other sealed by a particular gruesome game of capture the flag. Despite their differences, the two remain close, even as Nelson is sent off to war and returns to take over at the camp he attended in his unhappy youth, and as Jonathan marries and becomes father and grandfather. As the decades pass, the two families remain connected, with devastating consequences. If you’ve read Butler’s brilliant Shotgun Lovesongs, you’ll be familiar with his gentle portrayal of rural American life; if you haven’t, start here.

Continuing with the rural setting, but raising the creepy factor is Jennie Melamed’s Gather the Daughters (Tinder Press, 25th July), a dystopian novel about a religiously-motivated, patriarchal society almost entirely cut off from the outside world. On the island, girls and women are chattel, fathers are sinister figures, marriage takes place almost as soon as puberty occurs, and adults are euthanised once they become a burden. The rules are strict, the life brutal and short, save for one thing; every summer the children are cut loose; they roam the island with complete impunity until the weather changes. A chance discovery on one of those heady days calls into question everything the community is built on; as the daughters rise up, the question is whether they will be strong enough to change their fates. There are elements of this novel that call to mind The Handmaid’s Tale, but Melamed is less concerned with politics and more interested in the psychological impact of living a life without choice or hope. Gather the Daughters is gripping, if disturbing.

Lastly, Julie Buntin’s Marlena (Picador), which comes heralded by a flurry of praise from authors such as Jonathan Safran Foer, does not disappoint. Our heroine is Cat: a thirtysomething with an ostensibly well-ordered life, who has been forever changed by a teenage friendship and the tragedy that destroyed it. Arriving in rural, impoverished Michigan with her newly divorced mother and unhappy brother, beautiful, confident Marlena offers the hope and escape that Cat is craving. But Marlena’s life is anything but a fairytale, and as their friendship develops Cat is drawn in to the seedy, insalubrious underside of her world. Beautifully written and insightful in its understanding of the complex relationship between girls on the cusp of adulthood, this is bittersweet and wonderful all at once.

The Beauty Fix

Summer. The season of sunshine, making fun plans with friends and family and long, lazy days at the beach. But it’s also the season of constantly checking your calendar so you can plan when you need to schedule waxing appointments and make time to visit the salon… Much, much less fun. There must be an easier way? Luckily, we’ve got the perfect alternative – and it’s called epilation. Introducing your new best friend: the Braun Silk Epil.

The simple solution to smooth legs all summer long? If you haven’t tried an epilator before, you’re definitely missing a trick. Forget spending time and money on waxing, epilating is quick and fuss-free, whether you’re at home or travelling. The best bit? Epilation lasts for ages – and you don’t have to wait for hair to grow back as you do with waxing, epilators work on hairs as short as 0.5mm. Let’s face it, stubble is only really sexy on George Clooney.

It’s also a more long-lasting hair removal solution as hairs are removed at the root, meaning up to four weeks hair-free. And the pain factor? Waxing is definitely worse. For an even more comfortable experience, you can actually use the Braun Silk Epil Wet & Dry Epilator in the shower. Plus, the more you epilate, the less painful it gets. #WINNING. Even better, choose an epilator with massage or exfoliating attachments, and you can create a pampering spa experience at home… Wine, candles and chill-out music optional. You can also epilate while you catch up on your favourite podcasts – and who doesn’t love multi-tasking?

And as for the price? Try epilation now: Shop Braun epilators on Amazon – with up to 50% discount, meaning more more to spend on books to read on the beach, summer sandals and city breaks. Love it, or get your money back! Plus, think of all the time and money you’ll be saving from waxing appointments…

This feature is created in partnership with Braun

The Winner: The Women’s Prize For Fiction

Heard of the term ‘feminist science fiction’? If not, you’d better get used to it pronto. That’s because Naomi Alderman’s The Power – a major proponent of the genre today – has been awarded the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Alderman’s fourth book was praised for its “brilliantly imagined dystopia” in which women can discharge electricity from their hands, turning gender politics and the world order on its head. Sound like perfect reading for today’s uncertain world and turbulent political landscape? The judges – including newsreader Katie Derham, comedian Sarah Pascoe and journalist Sam Baker – thought so too. What’s more, readers won’t be surprised to hear that Alderman was mentored by Margaret Atwood, whose much-loved brand of speculative fiction pervades every page. In her victory speech, Alderman spoke of the influence of other women writers, saying “The support and power of other women have been more important to me than electricity.”

The win comes at a time when dystopian classics are seeing a resurgence in popularity – such as Margaret Atwood’s own classic The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984. The judges were keen to stress the importance of books at a time of political uncertainty, and reminded us how different the world felt this time last year before Brexit and the Trump presidency.

The Power came top of a strong shortlist that included: Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay With Me, Linda Grant’s The Dark Circle, CE Morgan’s The Sport of Kings, Gwendoline Riley’s First Love and Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

The Power is published by Viking. You can find out more about the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and all the winners online here.

We Love Mornings

When you think of dancing at 7am, it’s probably a picture of sweaty all-night ravers that comes to mind – not healthy, happy people starting their day in the most positive way possible. Since it first launched four years ago, Morning Gloryville has created something of a revolution, with events now taking place across the globe and the rise of ‘conscious clubbing’. Dancing your heart out sans alcohol is actually a truly, truly wonderful experience, and one that – once you’ve tried once – you’ll want to repeat ASAP! Ahead of Morning Gloryville’s fourth birthday extravaganza, we talked energy, happiness, wellbeing and the power of dancing with their CEO, Samantha Moyo…

What is so special about dancing?

Dancing is a medicine that is 100% powered by YOU! It’s an opportunity to release, unleash your spirit and connect to your heart. The moment you are lost in a dance you stop thinking and when you stop thinking you are free as a bird and in bliss!

Top wellbeing tip?

Feel good in your body and mind throughout the good times and bad. If you’re feeling awful, do awful well. And guess what – if you’re feeling great, do great well.

What does mindfulness mean to you?

To me, mindfulness is the ability to observe everything going on within the inner plane (mind, body and soul) whilst cracking on with life. It’s an infinite set of tools that help us manage life. It’s important to recognise that part of mindfulness is mindlessness.

What does your morning generally look like?

I LOVE to wake up gently and stroke my lover. Then some breathing or meditating. Then showering and moisturising. Then trying to start working as late as possible. In an ideal world, all meetings and seeing of people is from midday.

What do you do to boost your energy?

Pranayama. I learnt Atma Kriya Yoga and it’s literally saved my life. It teaches how much LIFE, ENERGY and NUTRITION is in every breathe.

Why are so many people so tired these days?

Good question. I thought it was from working so much but then the other day it dawned on me. It’s because we are becoming more sensitive so we’re processing more of everything around us – like computers. The more we expand our consciousness as a civilisation the more we are learning to operate differently and the more energy it’s taking. I believe there will be a collective breakthrough. Remember this is also the first time people are openly talking about feelings and tiredness and consciousness and wellness. All of this takes energy.

What does happiness mean to you?

Happiness is when my heart feels warm and fuzzy or when I choose to smile.

Favourite music/song/album/DJ to dance to?

Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim’s Praise You and I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone.

Top morning energy tip?

Breathe in deep like air is your food. Then listen to your favourite music. And then smile. Oh and summer love-making is always great for getting your shine on!

Morning Gloryville‘s Fourth Birthday takes place at the Brixton Beach Rooftop on the 1st June, promising to be their biggest rave to date, with a surprise headlining act from one of the world’s most famous DJs, and attendance of over 1000 sober Londoners. With past acts including the likes of Rudimental and Basement Jaxx, the secret performer this year is sure to wow guests and get pulses racing. To book tickets, see the Morning Gloryville website.

All Day Cocktails

There seem to be so many silly days celebrating random things RN. But a whole day dedicated to cocktails? Hell, World Cocktail Day is something we’d happily celebrate 365 days a year! And the best kind of World Cocktail Day? Who doesn’t love a sparkling cocktail? So without further ado, here are three cocktails made with the finest Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco – one for breakfast or brunch, one to enjoy in the afternoon and one to make if you’re inviting people over for a relaxed dinner or garden party…. Cheers!

The Pink Grapefruit Sumac Mimosa

A twist on the traditional mimosa, this adds a hint of Middle Eastern flavours into the mix, with a zing of tangy sumac and an aromatic hint of star anise – all finished with scented lemon thyme. With fresh pink grapefruit juice topped up with Skinny Prosecco, this is basically the perfect AM cocktail to enjoy with breakfast/brunch and the weekend papers – a little perk-you-up* to get Saturday or Sunday started. Packed full of Vitamin C too, so it counts as one of your five-a-day right? (*also an excellent hair-of-the-dog).

Pink grapefruit // Sumac
Star anise // Small bunch of lemon thyme
Skinny Prosecco

Juice the pink grapefruits and strain out the pips – one grapefruit should make two mimosas. Lightly wet the glass rims and then dip them in sumac to coat. Pour in pink grapefruit juice and then top up with fizz. Bash two or three stalks of lemon thyme against your palm to release the aroma then add as a garnish. Carefully turn the star anise in a flame for ten seconds or so, then add one to each glass to finish.

The Strawberry Jasmine Afternoon Tea

What flavour says summer more than strawberries? Whether you drink the Strawberry Jasmine Afternoon Tea with Champagne or Prosecco, it’s a wonderfully light afternoon cocktail – and delicious with cakes and sandwiches. Or just on its own – up to you! Jasmine tea and rose water add a slighted scented finish, but you can easily omit these if you want. Fresh strawberry puree with a twist of summery basil is a delicious combo – and even better when the sun is shining… For something a little different, finish with a little dusting of black pepper – it works beautifully with the flavour of the strawberries.

Strawberry puree //  Rose water
Jasmine tea //  Skinny Prosecco
Basil  //  Jasmine flowers

Start by making the jasmine tea and leaving to cool ahead of time. Then prepare the strawberry puree – one punnet should make three or four cocktails depending on the strawberry size. Don’t forget to sieve for seeds! Add three or four tablespoons of strawberry puree to each glass and then a couple of drops of rosewater to taste. Stir in two to three tablespoons of jasmine tea before topping up with Prosecco or Champagne. Finish with a basil leaf or two, and some fresh jasmine flowers – or pink rose petals if you prefer.

The Garden Goddess

This is one marvellous cocktail to make lots of if you’re having people over for drinks – perhaps an al fresco meal of a summer evening, or a long, all-day barbecue with people popping in and out. Make a big jug or pitcher with lots of ice, fruit, a little cloudy apple juice and top up with Skinny Champagne. We haven’t given exact quantities as this cocktail is really best made to your taste. You can also add in gin if you’d like a stronger cocktail – but a word of warning: the Garden Goddess is very, very moreish. Perhaps one of the most drinkable long cocktails we’ve come across.

Cucumber // Apple
Cloudy Apple Juice // Light sparkling elderflower
Pear // Lemon
Mint // Skinny Champagne

First prepare the fruit – thinly slice apples, pears and lemons and add to a large jug or punch bowl. Add long, thin strips of cucumber (create these with a peeler) and top up with half-and-half cloudy apple juice and sparkling elderflower – then leave in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, throw in lots of ice cubes and mint, before finishing with fizz. Easiest cocktail ever and everyone loves this one!

For more information on Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, see the Thomson & Scott website.

Summer Cocktails

Garden parties, social occasions and summer evenings are somehow just that little bit better with a cooling cocktail in hand, aren’t they? From refreshing spritzers to punchy fruit cocktails, here’s our pick of the very best summer cocktails to make right now…

Plum & Thyme Prosecco Smash

Unexpected but delicious – this is also a really pretty cocktail to serve of a summer evening. Or if you’re having a special brunch, this makes a chic replacement for the traditional mimosa. Recipe via My Diary of Us.

Sangria Verde

Quite different to too-sweet traditional sangria, this take on the Spanish staple is a refreshing blend of lime, cucumber, mint, basil and melon – mixed with Vinho Verde. Recipe via The Bojon Gourmet.

Passionfruit & Elderflower Fizz

Scented elderflower pairs with passionfruit’s tropical vibe, and topped up with sparkling water and a twist of lime, this is actually pretty healthy too! Add in a shot of vodka if you’d like a boozy version. Recipe via Eat Love Eats.

The Love Potion Cocktail

Blackberries, thyme, prosecco – who would have thought something so simple could be so darned delicious. Not to mention eye-catching. Make a big jug of this – it’ll go quick! Recipe via Lark & Linen

Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade

Lavender might not be to everyone’s taste, but here it works beautifully with sweet pear and fresh, citric lemonade. It’s also easy to make without the vodka for the Designated Drivers too. Recipe via Sugar & Cloth.

Strawberry Thyme Lillet Spritzer

Strawberries. The pure flavour of summer no? Serve this sparkling spritzer with afternoon tea, or make a big punchbowl of it if you’re expecting company! Recipe via What’s Gaby Cooking?

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Ginger & Jasmine Rose Cocktail

And now for something quite, quite different. Oh come on, you’re thinking, rosé mixed with fresh ginger and jasmine tea? Sounds wrong, tastes very right. Recipe via Sugar & Charm.

Rose Lemon Spritzer

Yes, this might be the most Instagrammable cocktail ever. But just LOOK how pretty! Luckily it’s also incredibly easy to make, so prepare to knock your guests’ socks off with this one. Recipe via Half Baked Harvest.


Black Cherry Bourbon Cola Smash

If you’re B O R E D of gin, how about a cocktail with a lil bourbon to spice things up? If you’re not keen on cola, you can substitute for ginger beer – or swap for a diet version for an almost saintly tipple… Recipe via Supergolden Bakes.

Chili Lime Mango Margaritas

Who’s making margaritas? Get the tequila on the go with these punchy mango margs, with a hint of lime and a hit of chili. Counts as one of our five-a-day, right? Recipe via Minimalist Baker.

Wedding Guest 101

Invites are arriving and weekends are getting booked up. Oh yes, wedding season is on the horizon! After you’ve decided what to pick from the gift list and booked your hotel, the next big question is – of course – what to wear. Read on for our tips for how to get it right every time…

Plan Ahead

Yes, we’re all busy, but honestly slinging all the possible sartorial choices and various pairs of shoes into a suitcase with the intention of choosing on the day is never, ever a good idea. Panic isn’t generally consider conducive to choosing an outfit that you feel happy, confident and comfortable in. Even if you’re not thinking of buying something new to wear for a wedding, take ten minutes to lay your outfit out, look at different accessories and shoes – and try it on!

What’s The Vibe?

Countryside wedding or city shindig? Relaxed affair on the beach or white tie? Find out what you can about the wedding before the day arrives, that way you’ll know if it’s the moment to dress down and keep things low key, choose to impress with something ultra-chic and on-trend or stick to a simple day dress and heels. If it’s an all-day affair, you’ll also want to wear something to take you from afternoon drinks to dancing come sundown. Considering the weather and hot weddings under the midday sun or chilly evening receptions is also important – perhaps pack a hat to shade your face or cosy cashmere wrap?

Be You

That green lace jumpsuit is rather fabulous and yes, you’re sure to turn heads, but does it really feel like you? Wedding are all about dressing up, but now is not the time to debut a new style direction that you’re not 100% confident of. And if you don’t want to wear something that looks like it’s a typical wedding guest outfit, don’t! Another thing to not – you do NOT have to wear a dress. Elegant jumpsuits, chic culottes, a skirt suit combo or sophisticated tailored trousers all work well for weddings, so if you don’t want to wear a dress, that’s fine! The most important thing is being yourself and wearing something you feel confident and relaxed in – and that suits you and your sense of style

Styling Tips

Outfit sorted? Excellent news. Next up? Hair, makeup and accessories! A spectacular hat can be the star of the show if you’re wearing a simple frock. And the right clutch, earrings and necklace can make all of the difference to your outfit too. Makeup-wise, if you’re doing your own, make sure that it’s achievable and ideally choose long-lasting products so that you’re not worrying about touch-ups when you should be enjoying yourself. Makeup counters are always a good place to start if you’d like some advice on new products or trying something different – and who doesn’t love a free makeover? If you’re doing your own hair, again – don’t go for anything too complex or time-consuming – soft waves or a simple blow dry are timeless and elegant.

Choosing Shoes

Of course, we LOVE sexy shoes, but they become distinctly less sexy when they’re shoes you’re struggling to walk in. If you’re not used to wearing heels and don’t find them comfortable, don’t wear heels, it’s that simple! If you’re attending a wedding that lasts all day, it’s worth taking an extra pair of shoes for the evening reception. Whether you find wearing heels all day long challenging or don’t want to miss out on tearing up the dance floor with Uncle Magnus, take some matching flats along! And – just in case – don’t forget blister plasters…

Getting Spendy

Of course, you want to pick the perfect outfit, but bankrupting yourself splashing out on just the right clutch or overspending on a dress which is only going to be worn once? Forget it! Best case scenario – choose items that you can wear again, whether that’s for another wedding or special occasion, or even dressed down for work. And reviewing your wardrobe is always a good idea – you never know what gems you might find hiding at the back of your wardrobe that you’d totally forgotten about!

Not forgetting…

It’s fine to wear white – just make sure your dress doesn’t in any way resemble a wedding gown. AWKWARD. Black is also very acceptable these days, but do break things up with colourful accessories and a bright lip, for example. Leather and denim don’t really look right at a wedding honestly, so avoid – aside from perhaps a biker jacket over your frock for a little extra edge. Most importantly? When it comes to wedding outfits, don’t overthink things! This is a day celebrating friends or family – so enjoy every moment. In the end, no one will remember your shoes – they’ll be focusing on the bride’s radiant smile as she says “I do!”

Showtime Cocktails

Book your tickets and take your seats ladies and gentlemen, London’s hottest show has arrived in town – here for a one year run in the heart of Covent Garden. We should say shows actually – as this is no less than 17 shows in one! Confused? Don’t be – we’re talking, of course, about One Aldwych hotel’s brand new Showtime Cocktails menu, which is an impressive production in itself.  It’s taken almost one year to put the show together, and The Lobby Bar’s Showtime Cocktails collection is sure to wow theatre fans and cocktail aficionados alike.

Inspired by the London hotel’s Theatreland location, the menu has been divided into Comedies, Musicals Satires and Dramas – plus a sneaky peek Backstage too, more on that later! Directed by the Lobby Bar’s award-winning manager Pedro Paulo, the showstopping collection has something for the serious amongst you – a Mediterranean Macbeth (gin, rosemary, campari and Champagne) or King Lear-inspired Three Reigns (gin, bergamot, elderflower, rooibos and Champagne) perhaps, as well as those looking for something a little more light-hearted – try Take A Chance on Me (Mamma Mia-themed with gin, Champagne and gooseberry liqueur) or The Holy Mary (with tomato-and-strawberry, inspired by The Book Of Mormon).

A prettily illustrated menu acts as a programme for the production – which also serves to showcase the spectacular original glassware used for the cocktails, think sculptural goblets, engraved copper tumblers and globe-shaped vessels. Suffice to say, there’s more than a touch of theatricality at work here! We loved the heady hit (mezcal and tequila) and exotic fruit flavours (passion fruit, pomegranate and peach) of the Aladdin-inspired Jasmine Breeze – sure to impress as its served on a bed of billowing scented smoke. The impossibly pretty Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed Fairy Garden Infusion is presented in a magical glass wheel, filled with fresh fruit and an aromatic mix of gin, white port and rose lemonade, offset with a hint of coriander bitters. The sweet-sour Don Quixote-inspired Sancho Panza is another one we tried and loved – a punchy blend of rum, ginger and vanilla.

But the real showstopper of the collection comes when we take a spectacular trip behind the scenes using virtual reality – and try The Origin. Pop on your headphones and VR headset, and prepare to be transported to the Scottish Highlands to discover the background of The Origin. Aerial footage takes us over sweeping hillsides, forests, fields and shimmering blue waters to the heart of where Dalmore 12 year old whisky is made. As the two-minute film comes to an end, we make our way – thanks to virtual reality – back through the streets of Covent Garden, and into the hotel bar. As the film fades, there’s a hint of the scent of cherrywood smoke in the air – and taking your headset off, you’ll find The Origin before you, ready to try. Sweet yet smoky with deep notes of chocolate bitters alongside cherry liqueur and whisky, it’s a fascinating – and fun – experience.

If the cocktails are starting to go to your head, never fear – there’s bar food pairings devised to match with the drinks. The pulled pork buns and spiced lamb tortilla wraps ensure you’ll be able to make some headway on the bar’s 17 shows – Moulin Rouge, The Lion King, Les Miserables, The Play That Goes Wrong and Uncle Vanya are all waiting to go on stage!

Showtime Cocktails are priced from £16, with bar bites costing £7. To find out more information or to book a table, see One Aldwych’s website, telephone +44 (0) 20 7300 1070 or email LobbyBar@onealdwych.com.

 

 

RIH Drinks

Is the civilised world going to give up its obsession with gin any time soon? Probably not is the answer to that question, oh gin-swigging friends. Known once upon a time as ‘mother’s ruin’, these days gin couldn’t be hipper, with bars regularly offering special gin & tonic menus, gin festivals taking place across the country, and a bottle or two gracing the booze cupboards of most homes. But not all gins are created equal – and Pinkster Gin has something just a little different to just about anything you might have tasted before…

Described as a “natural gin with a mischievous grin,” Pinkster Gin is the creation of a chap who began experimenting at home, after enjoying making his own sloe gins and other flavoured concoctions. Pairing different fruits with everyone’s favourite spirit, it quickly became obvious that the delicate flavour of raspberry worked beautifully with gin – adding a sweetness and freshness to offset the aromatic botanicals.

The raspberries used in Pinkster Gin are grown in rural Cambridge – so yes, this is a British gin through and through! And how best to imbibe said spirit? Well, the people at Pinkster suggest that topped up with tonic is the best way to bring out the subtle raspberry flavours, before garnishing with fresh fruit and herbs. Mint works well, as does a hint of rosemary – plus a zingy twist of lemon. We’ve also added some fresh rose petals and a drop or two of rosewater to our G&T for a very slightly scented finish. Plus they also make this look SO sophisticated, right?

This is the easiest cocktail to prepare, serve – and impress – your guests if you’re having people over for dinner or hosting a drinks party. Everyone loves a G&T! Choose some pretty glasses, fill with ice cubes, raspberries, lemon slices and mint or rosemary. Add Pinkster gin and a couple of drops of rosewater then top up with good quality tonic. So simple to make, serve and DRINK!

For more information, to buy Pinkster Gin and to find stockists near you, see the brand’s website, where you’ll also find cocktail recipes plus events where you can try the magical stuff.