RIH Drinks

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 Drinksthis 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.

cranberry spritz

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

cranberry

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.

artisan drinks

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.

Status Anxiety

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.

Party Polish

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…

polished ponytail

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.

polishe pony 1

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.

polished pony 2

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.

polished pony 3

STEP 4: Starting just in front of the crown, take small sections and using a backcombing brush tease the roots.

polished pony 4

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.

polished pony 5

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.

RIH Drinks

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…

martell ginger spice

35ml Martell VS
15ml Blackcurrant or Blackberry Liqueur
10ml Lemon Juice
Ginger Beer

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.

martell cocktail

For more information about Martell and special cocktail recipes, see the brand’s website.

The Interiors Fix

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..

sensual candles 2014

 

spicy candles 2014

woody candles christmas

sweet winter candles

The Street Art Stay

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.

pearly room andaz

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.

pearly queen andaz

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…

Andaz One Day Walk

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 one day walk

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

Sweet Theatre

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.

Sweet Theatre Chocolates

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).

Sweet Theatre Chocolate

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

A Sense of Calm

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.

RIH Drinks

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.

peroni nerone cocktail

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

peroni cockail

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.

Malala Power

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.