Thursday, 29 October 2009

Cocktail Thursday "Halloween Edition"

I don't know if you love Halloween as much as I do, but these Halloween cocktails will be perfect for Saturday night (or tonight for that matter!) however you choose to celebrate :)
Vampire’s Elixir

{Photo and recipe from here}

Ingredients:
- 1 and 1/2 ounces Raspberry Vodka
- 3/4 ounces White Chocolate Liqueur
- 1 ounce Half and Half
- Strawberry Syrup
Directions:
Dress strawberry syrup on the inside and rim of a chilled martini glass. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Garnish with vampire teeth.
Candy Corn Shooter

{Photo and recipe from The Nest}
Ingredients:
- Oranje Van Gogh Vodka
- Banana Liqueur
- Coconut Rum
- Orange Curacao
- Cream
- Grenadine
- Whipped Cream
Directions:

Combine Combine Oranje Van Gogh Vodka and Banana Liqueur into a mixer with ice. Shake and pour into the bottom of the shot glass. Combine Coconut Rum, Orange Curacao, Cream, and dash of Grenadine (for color). Shake in shaker with ice and gently layer on top using a spoon. Top with whipped cream.
Eyeball Martini

 {Photo and recipe from here}

Ingredients:
- 3 ounces Vodka or Gin
- A dash of Dry Vermouth
- Olive stuffed radishes
Directions:
Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an olive stuffed radish that has been scored to create the "veins" of an eyeball.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM THE BARKERS

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Christmas Party Outfit

My company Christmas party is coming up very soon and I have no idea what to wear! All the girls will be wearing fashionable frocks as we are going out for a meal and then to a club in Manchester and I want to fit in without spending a lot of money. Looking fashionable and trendy while staying on a budget isn't exactly easy though and I'd love it if I could also get a black, work appropriate dress that I could wear again (and again) so I could justify it a bit more. I found some really gorgeous dresses but none that meet all the criteria so I'm at a bit of a loss. Hubby has offered to take me shopping at the Trafford Centre and I'd love to take him up on it, but I feel a bit guilty especially since we are thinking about a holiday to Paris next month that I'd much rather spend the money on.
All that said, I found this lovely Peter O'Brien dress that could definitely do double duty as a party and work dress but it's still a bit out of budget at £80/$132. It's not that expensive and I don't mind spending a bit for a nice quality item that I will be able to get a lot of wear out of, but given the prospect of a Paris trip I would like to stay under about £45/$75. This is still a decent amount so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll stumble across something perfect over the next two weeks...

Monday, 19 October 2009

Titles

Something I had noticed before, but never really paid much attention to was the use of titles. In the UK titles are still used regularly, as opposed to the US where it is much more infrequent. For example, when I answer the phone at work, customers always say they are Mr Bob Smith or Mrs/Miss Jane Smith. I rarely, if ever, encountered this in North America. Most people, myself included, just gave their name when asked who was calling, etc. Although modern Britain is far from the tea and crumpets image most people like to picture, there are still etiquette rules that are strongly believed in. Not using a title is considered impolite and even the title of Ms, the default for women in America, was until rather recently considered too impersonal and the titles Miss or Mrs were the proper ones to use. While this is but a small detail of expat life, it is a difference I have definitely picked up on, especially now that I am dealing with customers on a daily basis and have to remember to address them correctly. At least I don't have to worry about that until tomorrow as this Mrs will be enjoying the rest of her day off!
{Image found here}

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cocktail Thursday

I'm sorry I have been seriously slacking with my blogging lately, I'm still adjusting to my new routine and schedule. I wake up and get ready for work, rush out the door and don't get back to my computer until after dinner and tidying up around 8ish. To top it off by then I'm usually pretty worn out and ready to just crawl into bed. That said, I'm getting better about managing my time and getting things accomplished quickly so hopefully not too much longer until I'm back in the swing of things!

I realized I forgot all about doing a Cocktail Thursday post last week so I made sure to find some that I hope you'll enjoy for this week! This week's theme is Cosmopolitans with a twist! Let me know if you give any a try and if you do, what you think of them...
Rasmopolitan
This fruity cocktail combines raspberry with the traditional flavors of a cosmopolitan.


Ingredients:
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) citrus-flavored vodka
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) raspberry-flavored vodka
- 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) Chambord
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Simple Syrup
- 2 tablespoons cranberry juice
- Raspberries, for garnish
Directions:
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodkas, Chambord, lime juice, simple syrup, and cranberry juice. Shake or stir until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries; serve.
Makes one cocktail. 
Cranberry Cosmopolitan

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 ounces Cranberry-and-Orange Vodka
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau
- Ice cubes
- Orange peel, for garnish
- Cranberries, for garnish
Directions:
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Twist orange peel over cocktail and add to glass. Garnish with skewered cranberries; serve immediately.
Makes one cocktail.  
White Cosmopolitan (a personal fave) 

Ingredients:
- 1 cup white cranberry juice
- 4 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces Cointreau
Directions:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add cranberry juice, vodka, and Cointreau. Shake to combine well. Strain into two large martini glasses. Serve immediately.
Makes two cocktails.

{All photos and recipes from Martha Stewart}

Thursday, 8 October 2009

First Week

and I've already gone home sick :/
I woke up this morning feeling okay but by about noon I had an absolutely splitting headache and felt like I was going to throw up so after I sat down for a while and still didn't feel better, they sent me home. I took some medicine and rested in bed so I'm feeling better than before, but still not one-hundred-percent. I am going in to work tomorrow no matter what though, so hopefully after a good night's sleep I'll be feeling a bit more healthy.
As for work itself, I'd say it's going pretty well! While it's taking some getting used to as it's not the kind of work I'd been intending to do and because I'm not used to such long hours and standing all day. Although I'm sure I have better hours than a lot of people, 8.45-6ish is a long day to do on your feet in heels! I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't rather still be a housewife making dinner and taking care of chores, but it is nice getting out of the house and meeting some people.
Unfortunately a really nice girl called Sara who I've been working with this week is leaving on Saturday, but all the other girls are very nice as well and I'll get to meet anybody I haven't and see everyone let their hair down this weekend when we go out for dinner and drinks for Sara's leaving do. Should be interesting!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

20% off at Awear

In case anyone was tempted by the dresses I blogged about earlier this week, I found a 20% off code in this week's issue of NOW magazine (page 82) which says...
"To claim your 20% off, visit www.awear.com. At checkout, enter the code NOWOFFER09"
They've got the party dresses I blogged about, plus lots more I've got my eye on. Hope this helps any other shopaholics out there, but act quick because it says the offer is only valid until 13 October 2009!

Friday, 2 October 2009

I'm Employed!

As of yesterday afternoon, I am employed! Cue cheering and applause, teehee
I have taken a sales position with a small local jewellery company. There are five branches across the country and I'll be working at the head branch which is here in my town. Although it is quite different to what I thought I would be doing, I am just very happy and relieved to have found employment this quickly! It'll be nice to get out of the house everyday, use my brain a bit more and I'm not going to lie - the extra income and jewellery discount will be lovely.

{A gorgeous 18kt yellow gold and citrine ring from our collection that I've got my eye on}
My degree is in history and African studies and the majority of my work experience is in education, so I didn't expect to go into a sales position, but I'm really looking forward to the new challenges and learning experiences. I start on Tuesday so I'm really going to enjoy my last full weekend of complete freedom, bring on the good times!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cocktail Thursday

One of my all-time favourite drinks is a rum and mint classic that I'm sure you're all familiar with - the mojito! Since you've probably tasted the original, how about giving one of these fruity twists a try?
Strawberry Watermelon Mojito (serves 1)


 {Photo and Recipe from Brides} 
Ingredients
- 1½ oz. Smirnoff Strawberry Vodka
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- ½ oz. mint-infused simple syrup
- 1 cup fresh seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
- Club soda

Directions
To make mint syrup, bring 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and add 8 to 10 mint leaves. Let cool for 30 minutes. Strain. Combine vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, ½ cup of watermelon and about 10 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass with ice and remaining watermelon. Top with club soda. Garnish with additional mint leaf.

Cherry Mojitos (for a crowd, serves 12)


{Photo and Recipe from Martha Stewart Living}
Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups lime juice (approximately 9 limes)
- 3 lbs dark cherries (such as Bing or Buriat, pitted)
- 2 1/4 cups best quality cherry or plain vodka (or could substitute rum to stay more traditional)
- 750mls sparkling water

Directions
Bring sugar and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. (Makes about 2 cups syrup.) Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
Put lime juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Halve 2/3 of the cherries; add all cherries to lime juice. Stir in syrup. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
Stir cherry mixture and vodka in a large serving bowl. Fill 12 glasses with ice. Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass. Top with sparkling water; serve immediately.

Not a sweet tooth? Try this cool and refreshing cucumber, basil mojito...

{Photo and Recipe from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette}
Cucumber Basil Mojito (serves 1)
Ingredients
- 4 basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons brown or white sugar (the mojito in the above photo was made from brown sugar)
- 1 1/2 ounces light rum
- 1 cucumber rind, julienned
- 1/4 fresh lime
- soda water

Directions
Tear the basil leaves in half and place in bottom of tall glass. Add sugar and 1/2 ounce of the rum. Coil 12 inches' worth of cucumber julienne in bottom of glass. Mash together these ingredients. Squeeze lime and drop in glass. Add remaining rum. Top with soda water.