A few weeks ago now I received the lovely November  gin box from Gin Explorer (read my review here), containing several rather delicious miniature bottles of gin. I was challenged to create my own ‘Christmas Cocktail’ with one of the gins – a challenge, I must admit, I was only too happy to take.

After a bit of experimentation in the kitchen using my shiny new cocktail shaker (an engagement gift) I have come up with the perfect festive drink. I call it: Gin-ger festive fizz. I must confess Paul came up with that name and I think it’s rather clever, what with the main ingredients being gin and ginger ale!

Gin-ger Gin Fizz

What you’ll need (for one drink):

  • Double measure of Herno’s gin (or gin of your choice)
  • Ginger ale
  • An orange
  • A handful of cranberries
  • A dash of orange juice
  • Ice

Equipment

I prepared this drink in a stainless steel cocktail shaker because I am a professional cocktail drinker coinesseur  and because it’s great for getting a good mix of flavours, but it’s by no means essential. The drink could just be thoroughly muddled in a glass instead.

Method

  1. Middle fresh cranberries, a few ribbons of orange and a teaspoon of sugar in the cocktail shaker.

2.  Add a 1 cup of ice, 1 tbsp of orange juice and a double measure of gin.

3. Shake well for 30 seconds.

4. Pour into a tumbler.

5. Top up with ginger ale.

6. Garnish and make it look pretty with some cranberries and a cocktail stick.

7. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Let me know if you give it a go!

Love from,

There is no denying that the staying on top of your health and fitness regime is HARD during the festive season. For one thing, it’s cold and dark and who wants to get their bum down the gym in those kind of conditions. Secondly, the number of parties and social events in most people’s calanders tend to step up a gear at this time of year meaning more food, drink and general merriment. Bah humbug say my abs.

Here are my top tips for getting the balance right and managing health and fitness without losing out on having fun:

💗 Indulge in moderation. If you deprive yourself then you’ll only binge later. Plus, there’s no fun in being the only one at the party who won’t indulge in a treat. If you want something; eat it. Just eat one or two (or a slice – don’t eat one or two Christmas puddings!!) and use your common sense as to when enough is enough.

💗 Work it off. I tend to work with my body on a kind of negotiation basis. ‘If you eat that baked Camembert you have to do 50 burpees in the gym tomorrow’ and so on. And then I make sure I follow through on my promises! Setting these kind of guidelines ensure that you work off any extra calories which might cause weight gain. I also love sweating it out in the gym after I feel like I’ve over-indulged – it helps get my body feeling normal again.

💗 Watch those proseccos. Alchohol – the invisible calories. And my enemy. I’m not saying don’t drink – just remember to take those few bottles glasses into account when you’re doing your negotiations for the gym tomorrow. On that note, you may not exactly feel like the gym tomorrow. Do not give in to the hangover. Get up, get out, work it off, start again!

💗 Don’t stuff yourself silly. There’s nothing worse than, when you’ve enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner cooked with love and maximum effort, feeling sick as a dog because you wanted just one more pig in a blanket. Eat by all means. But don’t eat until you feel ill. It’s not good for your health or your waistline.

💗 Be chilled. You might get on the scales on 28th December and shudder a bit. Chill out. It’s normal to put on a few Christmas pounds. You’ll just have to hit the gym even harder in January.

Above all, enjoy yourself and have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. 

Love from,

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Present wise, men can be a challenge. I’m sure many of you will have the same problem as me. Your husband/ boyfriend/ partner already has a watch, a belt, wallet, nice leather man bag. Over the last few years I have resorted to personalised iPad cases, diaries and even a pocket watch. Short of playstation games (which I refuse to buy) and socks I’m out of ideas.

So I thought I’d put together some of my favourite gift ideas for my husband who truly has everything in case any of you guys have a man in your life like this! I think these gifts are all things which my husband would really like and genuinely use as well.

Personalised Bottle Opener £10- notonthehighstreet.com

Brilliant for the beer lovers and socialisers, and also a really cute personalised gift. You can put names, messages or things they like on it for that real personal touch.

Virtual Reality Headset £17.99 – Iwantoneofthose.com

My hubby tried one of these out a few weeks back that belonged to a friend and he raves about it! And I don’t think you need to be a total techy to appreciate these either. Simply link up to your smart phone and get totally emersed in movies/games and the like.

Modern Gents Shaving Kit £20 – The Body Shop

I’m a big fan of The Body Shop’s men’s ranges and I love the smell of the modern gent line. This shaving kit is classy and comes with a traditional brush and wash bag which are both practical and will look suave on your bathroom shelf. Win win.

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Personalised Scrabble Print £29.99 from Getting Personal

A bit soppy yes, but if your guy is a bit of an old romantic, or indeed obsessed with Scrabble (as mine is) this is a really cute gift idea. It may not be something they would buy for themselves, sure, but it will definitely make them go ‘awhh’.

bowtie

Bow Tie £20-£40 from Mrs Bow Tie

What man wouldn’t want a groovy bow tie for his collection?! And even if he doesn’t wear it it’s still a lovely, classy thing to own. Mrs Bow Tie are an amazing online supplier who stock every single bow tie you can imagine from plain, rainbow, floral, animal print, union jack and even a Dr Who bow tie collection. My other half bought his wedding bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie and it’s fantastic quality.

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Saint Christopher Leather Bracelet £32.99 from Cherish Us (Etsy Shop)

I actually bought this for my own hubby last year and he really loves it. Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travel and essentially his symbol is supposed to bring safe travel and protection to those who possess it. It’s a lovely sentiment and makes a really nice (but still manly) piece of jewellery.

Gin Explorer Club Monthly Subscription £24.99 per month or £279.99 annually

If your man is a gin fan, or indeed if you are a gin fan, then this really is a fantastic idea. And I can almost guarentee he won’t have thought of it himself! Sign up to the Gin Explorer Club and every month you will have a gorgeously presented gift box delivered each month, containing 4 differently bottles of gin (double measures) from around the world, some mixers and information  about where is the world your gins have come from. It’s a really creative gift for the gent in your life.

Hangry Art Print £8.22 from Etsy

A bit of a joke gift – but if your other half is anything like mine then this will ring true with him! Something to put in the kitchen as a bit of a laugh and a talking point!

A meal at Hawksmoor London from £35 for a meal

I know, I know; a bit of a stereotype. MAN LOVE STEAK. But if it’s the case then this place needs to be tried out by you and your cave man. The best steak in London is a bold claim and I’m determined to find out if it’s true very soon! I haven’t been myself yet, but I’ve heard the food is wonderful and well worth the price tag.

Christmas Indulgence Hamper £80 from Interflora

And finally, if you really want to push the boat out with your Christmas spirit then how about this luxurious hamper for the special person in your life. Packed full of biscuits, snacks, mince pies and wine – there’s no way he could finish it on his own, so you’ll get a look in too! 

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I hope some people will find this helpful, I know how difficult it can be sometimes trying to come up with a creative and cute idea for a gift for my husband, sometimes you’ve just got to think outside the box! 

Happy shopping!

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Happy 1st December!

Okay, I’ll admit, this post is as much for me as it is for everyone who reads it. I’ll be the first to admit that I can get a little down in winter time; I’m a summer girl through and through and the short days, dark mornings and cold weather really put me in a bad mood sometimes.

I truly believe that when life gets you down you can make such a difference to your mood by just acknowledging the amazing things in your life, the things to be grateful for, and appreciate just how bloody wonderful life can be. We all have up days and down days, but hopefully this list will remind you (and me) of the little things which can make us so, so happy.

💖 Loved ones. This may sound obvious but if you have people in your life who you love to bits and who love you back then we all need to be grateful for them everyday. But especially around Christmas which is a time for celebrating our family and friends. If I’m ever feeling miserable on a cold evening I cuddle my hubby, call my mum/nan or one of my close friends and I feel better straight away. Love makes the world go round – be grateful for it.

💖 A warm home. Not everyone has a lovely warm home to stay out of the cold winter air so it’s really something to be grateful for. I’m guilty of taking this for granted. I’m always complaining about our flat; how small it is, how it can get damp in the bathroom. But in reality we are super lucky to have a nice place to live and somewhere to be happy and relaxed.

💖Pretty Lights. Christmas lights are getting more and more beautiful every year and London especially is somewhere which really goes in for pretty lights. Everywhere you go the shops and restaurants are decked out in gorgeous classy displays and it just makes everything look lovely.

💖 Cosy nights in. At this time of year it’s easy to get a bit down in the dumps because we tend to go out less right? In the summer I’m always down the park, going for walks or (probably more often than not) in a pub garden! Being outside gives us endorphins and makes us feel happy and energised. But there is a real joy in coming in from work, kicking back with the TV on in your PJs and chilling out with the heating on full blast!

💖Good movies. Now, I’m not what you’d call a Christmassy person, but even I’ll admit that Christmas time is the best time for fantastic movies! It’s really the only time of the year when you can turn your TV on at any point and there is a wide choice of actually decent films on the normal terrestrial channels! I love it.

💖People are joyful. Now, this time of year may not fill me personally with buckets of joy (scrooge, I know!) but plenty of people absolutely cherish wintertime and find themselves overflowing with Christmas cheer. And generally, when people around me are happy – I’m happy.

💖Only six months to summer! And, if all else fails, we are over halfway to the best time of year again! Summer will be round in no time. Right?!

Wishing you a very Merry December full of joy and happiness.