Monday, 30 December 2013

A New Year

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We have had lots of colds, coughs and sore throats here which hasn't been much fun but it was nice to spend Christmas at home with some amazing food thanks to my husband.
I have been reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. This year has been mostly about settling as a family of 4, moving to our new home by the sea and working the work/life balance. We have made a lot of changes, all of which have felt extremely beneficial. Our move to a new home by the sea was by far the biggest and has changed our lives. Having the sea at the end of the road has been pretty amazing not to mention the brilliant summer we have had. Our first family holiday and experience driving to France was a great success and we are now planning our next trip. Exercise has also been on our list this summer and I took up running while the Mr continued his passion and rides his bike several times a week. I always like to think about the year coming up and write out some goals and aims.
So 2014, goals and aims:

1. Crochet projects: Bed throw and 3 baby blankets on the list so far.
2. Improve on sewing skills - made easier with a dressmaking course I start in February - a Christmas present from my husband. I can't wait. I haven't made clothes since I was at school.
3. Painting projects - I have many but would love to at least get started. Bedside tables and TV cabinet up first.
4. Keep on running!
5. Write more blog posts and work with others - stylists, magazines and local companies.
6. I have also signed up to do The Big Blogging Bootcamp e-course in January.
7. Driving - I am not a confident driver so I would like to keep practising and doing some longer journeys.
8. Planning lots of family days out
9. Photography - improve skills, research, practise and use different formats including 35mm and polaroid.

What are your aims and goals?

Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2014 is a great year for you.

Love Lemon x

Monday, 2 December 2013

Have yourself a very Vintage Christmas

I don't know about you but I can't think about a home bar without thinking retro and chintz. I have come across some fantastic vintage drinks cabinets over the years. I love just checking out the way it works – some have lights, mirrors and all kinds of quirky goodness. It got me thinking about the Christmas season and hosting a party of your very own. Now I'm not saying you need to go and buy something like this but there are lots of ways to feel like a member of the Mad Men cast drinking sophisticated cocktails with your friends.
How amazing is this TV-turned-cocktail cabinet? I'm not sure you could get any more retro and it's a great way to upcycle.

So what are we missing?
Cocktail anyone? I had my first ever vodka martini in New York on my 21st birthday. Amazing – I will never forget it, although mostly for the experience as the drink itself was too strong for me!
Dry Martini
1 part french vermouth
5 parts gin
Mix in a tall glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass with an olive for garnish

2oz Whiskey
1oz Sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Pour all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Something more Christmassy?
Brandy Alexander
1 1/2 oz Brandy
1 oz Dark creme de cacao
1 oz Half-and-Half
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Shake brandy, creme de cacao, and half-and-half with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Ice cubes
1 part Advocaat
3 parts lemonade
Lime juice
Fill a highball glass with ice, add Advocaat, lemonade and lime juice to taste.

Check out this site for a bit of history on the cocktail and some more recipes.

Of course, a cocktail tastes better in the right glass. My favourite are the vintage Babysham glasses, available from an Etsy seller but often found at vintage markets.
Canapes started out in the 1950s and 60's, so for our vintage party they are the perfect accompaniment to those glamorous cocktails. However, if we are to follow the theme the glamour may stop there – prawns with a cocktail dip, small cooked sausages, meat paste & pates on crackers, deviled eggs, ham rolls and cream cheese, and not forgetting a bit of cheese and pineapple. 
How stunning is this bar? The added vintage items complete the look. I have lusted after a pineapple ice bucket for some time now. How fabulous would this brass beauty look?
This was found on Ebay
There are some great plastic fruit ice buckets and vintage soda syphon bottles are easy to get hold of – I found one of mine at a vintage market and the other in a charity shop. Have a look on Ebay too; these honeycomb cocktail sticks would look great:
Find these on the Pipii website
Why not serve on a vintage party platter or serving dish like this very cool Orange one from Etsy:
Other ways to add a vintage feel to your party; tell your guests to dress up, add vintage fabric to tables, play records (not MP3s!), and use a drinks trolley or specified table with decanted alcoholic drinks or even a punch bowl.

Love Lemon x