Tuesday 8 December 2020
Today my post is like Oprah's favorite things except I don't buy any of them for you.
Actually, I might be late with my list but maybe you still need some freebies or maybe you have people asking you what you want? Maybe you'll have some money to spend after Christmas and can save my list?
Basically I walked around my house and thought about what really adds value and what I really like.
Here we go…
If you like self-tanner, I really recommend this giant pump bottle. Wait until it goes on sale for $ 39 and it will last a very, very long time. It's really natural with a tiny bit of sparkle. It doesn't smell as bad as a lot.
I'm not sure if this is still available on Amazon, but I have worn earrings from this set almost every day. They are so comfortable and I can find a color to match whatever I wear. You forget you have earrings and they also worked with my masks.
My white Madewell sneaks up. I really love it. Madewell is a great brand and I also love their bags. Really, you can't go wrong with this brand!
Target is killing it this season and Target, I'm so sorry I tried to swear your clothes. This GoodfellowandCo. the sweater would be so cute monogrammed - or not - and it is ideal for both men and women. Universal Thread, A New Day, and Knox Rose are my favorite brands at Target.
Area! The sweatshirts, jumpers, pullovers and leggings I have at American Eagle and Aerie (same company) are of high quality at reasonable prices. That leopard sweater, side split sweatshirts, crackle leggings would all be great gifts for others or for you.
This bag strap or purse with that kind of strap would be awesome! I loved cutting this out on my white or brown bags and got a lot of compliments.
The Target Stars Above dress! I love this! I've also heard others rave about everything Stars Above from Target.
I found out the hard way that I can't drive without my popsocket holder for my phone. I love this doo-daddy.
And, of course, I love my pop take. It allows you to hold your phone vertically or horizontally and allows you to hold your phone firmly in your hand. Also, the pop plug is a necessity for the best phone holder I've ever had. You need both in your life. You must be able to stick (with a sticker) the holder to your car console. My husband has nowhere to stick one, unfortunately.
A Woodwick candle! The crackle is so nice.
I love this shower cap! In fact, a shower cap period will change your life and protect your hairstyle.
Blue blocking glasses!
I finally listened to so much and changed all of my underwear for the Soma brand. They are the best! I am half black and half naked.
A more expensive gift - but AirPod Pros! Tom bought them for himself but doesn't like them as much as his originals so Merry Christmas to me! He says this shape doesn't stay in his ears but this shape is better for mine. I don't like the shape of the originals. Win-win!
And I love my Seint makeup system (formerly called Maskcara). I feel like my skin is so much better and I really cleaned up my makeup. Let me know if you want to know more about Seint and I can send you to see my college girlfriend.
What are your favorite things? I would like to know!
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A little time put into preparation makes for an enjoyable evening. Drinking cocktails should be a fun and relaxing experience, so take a while to think about ingredients in advance, to avoid any rushing around last minute.
One of the foundations of many cocktails is sugar syrup. This can be prepared in advance. Here’s my tip for easy to prepare simple syrup : Add 200 gm white sugar to 200 ml boiling water. Stir till sugar is dissolved, and liquid is clear. Allow to cool then bottle
If you mix lemon juice 50 : 50 with simple syrup, you should have a solid mid-line sweet-sour balance. But remember, every palate is different. tera find your own point of balance, mix 15ml fresh lemon juice with 15ml simple syrup, and then dilute the mix with up to 90ml water. Congratulations, you’ve just made fresh lemonade ! If this tastes too sweet or too sour, adjust by adding a little more citrus or syrup. Using this method of calibration, you can adjust any cocktail recipe to suit your own palate.
Ice is the solo most over-looked ingredient at any home bar - you’ll be surprised how much you can go through. Cocktails need ice like baking needs ovens. If popping to the boutiques for ice isn’t an option right now, keeping a freezer bag topped up with ice will ensure you don’t run out unexpectedly. For best quality home-made ice, try using a silicone ice tray with a lid, to prevent your ice from absorbing unpleasant odours. And wash your ice tray after each use.
Where possible always go for premium spirits, the freshest herbs, and the best juices you can get your hands on. For instance, the taste difference between cheap juice and pressed juice is more than worth the small extra expense.
Try to use glassware appropriate to your drinks. It’s entirely possible to drink a martini from an old coffee mug, but that misses the point of drinking a martini !
If you can make a Whiskey Sour, you can make a Daiquiri. If you make a mean Negroni, you can riff on a Boulevardier. Once you’ve mastered the Manhattan, have some fun in Brooklyn on your way to Martinez. Cocktails exist in family trees. Once you are comfortable the basics of each category the world is your oyster !
You can pre-mix punches in advance - an old trick from the godfathers of bartending in the 19th century. You can bottle punch and store it in the fridge, ready to use on the day, or later that week. If done properly, quality and consistency are assured. If your punch has a fizzy ingredient, such as champagne, only add this your glass just before serving.
If you follow the Punch Ratio, you can’t go far wrong : 1 part sour ( citrus ) 2 parts sweet ( simple syrup ) 3 parts strong ( spirit ) 4 parts weak ( juices etc ) And don’t shy away from warm spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and mace, to make that punch really sing. Don’t have those spices to hand ? No problem, a few dashes of Angostura bitters will do the trick.
We all have a few unloved ingredients lying around that need using up. For instance, that last bit of red wine in the bottle ? Try drizzling it over your Whisky Sour, and voila, you’ve got yourself a delicious New York Sour ! Do you have some nice but neglected spice mix in the kitchen ? Try mixing a teaspoon or two into your simple syrup as it cools to give your next petit cocktail an added dimension. Seasonal fresh herbs make a wonderful aromatic petit cocktail garnish.
So now, you’ve hit your stride and you’re getting creative in your home bar. Great ! Our top tip for cocktail creation ? Write down the exact specifications as you are making it. It’s not always easy to perfectly recall the recipe for that killer petit cocktail the next day !
If all this sounds like a bit of a chore, then keep an eye open for delivery services available from many local cocktail bars. After all, with the finer things in life, it’s nice to sit back, relax and let the professionals do all the work.