César Manrique’s Jardin de Cactus

My mum and I took a trip to Lanzarote last month. I had been expecting something a bit Benidorm-esque so I was thrilled to discover a stunning volcanic island of small white-washed houses, gorgeous blue sea and lots of work by the architect and artist César Manrique.

Born in 1919, his work provides an incredible contrast between the tradition and natural beauty of Lanzarote, and his own bold and graphic style of design. This came together at his home, which now houses the César Manrique Foundation, and features a living room built in a lava bubble – but more on that in another post!

Mum and I hired a car one day and decided to take a trip to his Cactus Garden. The place is a tribute to…well, cacti, as well as the stunning volcanic rock the island is covered in. With the addition of some small architectural features and an awful lot of wry humour, the gardens look like something out of a Pixar movie.

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Elderflower Rinse Martini

In the wake of World Gin Day last week, I am happily celebrating World Martini Day today!

I know the word ‘martini’ has become synonymous with ‘something drunk from a martini glass’, but I’d like to use today as a opportunity to step away from the Porn Star, Appletini and other fruity variants, and bring it back to something a little more classic.

This recipe is my favourite way to drink a martini: dry, with a good gin, lemon twist and an elderflower rinse.

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Happy World Gin Day!

First impressions count for a lot. The first time you meet a person, the first time you hear a song, the first time you try a food – it colours every experience you have afterwards. Working in a bar, one thing I heared a lot was “oh god, I can’t stand that. The first time I had it…”, generally followed by a story involving a misspent youth drinking cider on the beach, or doing one too many tequilas in a night out.

The first time I tried gin, I was seven years old and I’d stolen a sip of a G&T from a friend of my mum’s at a New Year’s Eve party. I can’t say it was my favourite taste in the world, but I certainly went back for a second swig before being banished to bed. Ever since then, gin and I have been, if not partners-in-crime (rum probably deserves that title) then badly behaved friends.

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I had a whole post about the history of gin, and some of my favourite gin cocktails, written out. But then my mum decided she wanted me to make her something with some apricots we found in the greengrocers, and thus this piece was born!

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Whilst I love making infusions and syrups, I wanted to branch out a little today so I decided to make a shrub. Shrubs, or “drinking vinegars” (doesn’t sound quite so appealing…) are a good way of preserving fruit in sugar and vinegar, which appealed to me because sometimes I find the sweetness of syrups a bit limiting. It also appealed to me because it’s seriously simple, and I was feeling lazy!

Check out the recipe and my World Gin Day cocktail below!

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World Gin Day sneak peek

I’ve just arrived back from a week in Lanzarote with my mum. I’ve got about a gazillion photos to edit and share in another post, but suffice to say I had an amazing time sunbathing, surfing, and drinking far too much red wine!

On my way home, Mum and I picked up a few bits from duty-free, including Brugal Reserva (yippee!) and a bottle of Tanqueray Export – just in time for World Gin Day tomorrow.

I had a big ol’ post planned out with a few classic cocktails, but armed with the Tanqueray and after a quick trip to my local greengrocers, I decided to scrap it all and make something a little different. Here’s a sneak peek…

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Check back later on for the full post!

London

I am a very disorganised person. This has been compounded in recent weeks by the fact that I’ve been travelling around the country to visit friends and do some bits of work. If I have a laptop, my camera and an internet connection at the same time, I’m generally so excited that I forget what I’m meant to be doing (blogging) and end up watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother instead. Hey, it happens!

This is why it’s taken me two ENTIRE weeks to get round to posting about London (but I have watched like half a season of HIMYM…)

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