The Gingerbread Gin Cocktail Recipe (*)

My gin collection is rapidly growing and therefor so are my cocktail recipe ideas. You can't beat a simple G&T or a classic Tom Collins but there's something fun about understanding what ingredients work best to enhance or marry the botanicals within a gin.

Portobello Road Gin has enough alcohol strength to carry flavour of the 9 botanicals and push them through other ingredients contained in a cocktail. The taste of the gin itself has a fresh juniper and peppery palate that develops into a red berries and citrus finish. The 9 botanicals within the gin are juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice root, cassia bark and nutmeg.

Because the gin contains both fresh and grounding flavours it works well with garnishes such as lemon peel, grapefruit, cinnamon, cherries and pear for a simple gin and tonic. But since Christmas is vastly approaching I couldn't ignore those 2 spiced botanicals of cassia bark (aka cinnamon bark) and nutmeg to create something a little festive...

This recipe has a smooth festive taste with a slight sharpness of the gin making it perfect as a short drink... or a gingerbread man bath as I've been told it looks like!

The Gingerbread Gin Cocktail Recipe:

50ml - Portobello Road Gin
25ml - Gingerbread syrup (coffee syrup works great)
1 large egg white (helps smooth out the flavour and add that frothed top)
2 cubes of ice

  • Add the egg white into the cocktail shaker along with the ice
  • Next add the gin and the gingerbread syrup (less syrup if you prefer it less sweet)
  • Pop on the lid and shake until the the liquid sounds thick and the shaker becomes misty
  • Put the gingerbread man into the coupe cocktail glass and pour the liquid 
  • Next finish off scooping the foam on top of the glass and serve
Be sure to eat your gingerbread man before he drowns! 
The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to tailor it to your taste. If you prefer the drink sweeter you can add more gingerbread, if you prefer it smoother you can add more egg white which doesn't add flavour but helps to smooth out the liquid).

Beki Xo

(*) Disclaimer: As part of this blog post I was gifted the Portobello Road Gin however all opinions and the recipe are my own
How to create a yoga a yoga bath at home (*)

The easiest and most accessible type of hydrotherapy is a hot bath. We all know the temperature of the water helps to relax the muscles and blood vessels, improving circulation and releasing natural endorphin's that make you feel good. But how can you turn a hot bath into a spa like experience that can not only melt away the tension but also clear the mind? 

For me, I can't stand still long enough in the same pose for over 3 minutes without getting twitchy so normal yoga is out of the question (unless it's Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga). But the one thing I can do for hours is sit in the tub, so imagine combining the meditation practises of yoga with an hours worth soaking?

Bath meditation is easy, it's as simple as focusing on your breathing, the sensation of the water on your body and keeping your mind quiet, focusing solely on the present. 

But there's a couple of extra things you can do to turn your bathroom into a spa like experience using aromatherapy and bath products. For me I like to use 2 types of bath products, some bath salts that help to draw out impurities and relax the muscles as well as a bath soak that contains essential oils. 

One of the greatest editions to my 'yoga bath' is the Organic Aromas Radiance Essential Oil Diffuser which I've previously mentioned in another blog post >here<. I'm obsessed with using this wherever and whenever I can If I want to induce a deep sleep or relax. I even used it the other day just to fill the room with an 'awakening' scent before some friends arrived as it helps to create a relaxing atmosphere. All it takes is a few drops of essential oil, turn the dial to how much you'd like dispersed and watch the mood lightening change colour as the oil pushes the steam into the air without added water or heat. 

Aromatherapy is incredibly beneficial (for me personally) as it instantly changes my mood. So when I was told that Organic Aromas had created a bespoke collection of 10 scents blended from 60 pure oils, I jumped at the chance to review them! Unlike most diffuser scents that are typically one pure essential oil, these scents are individually blended to create 10 incredibly different and more luxury oils that work together to create results.

Firstly the packing is just stunning with a magnetic closure and velvet lined inside containing 5 scents in each box. One box (Awaken) contains more gentle, intriguing scents that are quite floral, fruity and mild where as the other box (Inspire) has more earthy, woody and crisp scents, which are the ones I prefer to use when I'm having a yoga bath.

To complete your yoga bath experience, once you've set the mood and dipped into the tub you'll want to pop on some spa like relaxing music. Depending on how you're wanting to feel afterwards (awakened, revived, relaxed, calm) would depend on the music you choose but there are trillions of different types out there, just opt for the one you're most attracted to. When you've chosen your type of music, it's good to perform a couple of easy yoga stretches such as seat twists, seat forward folds, side lateral stretches and rolling of the shoulders before taking that 15-60 minutes away in the bath to just breath. 

Beki Xo

(*) As part of this blog post I was gifted the Organic Aromas Elements Premium Essential Oil Blends Collection however all views and opinions are my own

White Christmas Cocktail Recipe Ft Martin Miller's Gin (*)

Since starting my gin collection I've been wanting to experiment a little more with gin based cocktails. A good old G&T is at the top of my list along with a classic Bramble but there's something fun about taking the the taste of the botanicals from the gin and experimenting with other spirits and liqueurs.

The latest gin added to my collection is the rather popular Martin Miller's Gin. Now, I'll admit I'm always hesitant of 'popular' gins. From my experience a couple of them are a little too smooth and less flavoursome. I prefer more well balanced, full flavour gins that have that after kick of bouquet, citrus or spice. Don't get me wrong I'll never turn down a mystery G&T but I do have my favourites!

Martin Miller's Gin contains 9 botanicals, however breaking from tradition the gin is created through 2 separate distillations. As well as the base of juniper the first distillation includes the more earthy notes such as; coriander seed, angelica root, liquorice root, cassia bark, Florentine iris and a small portion of lime peel. The second distillation has bitter orange peel, lemon peel and lime peel which are all finally married together to create a fresh, clarity of flavour.

As well as their more modern take on creating the gin they also go to extreme lengths to give the botanicals the purest and and softest canvas for the flavours to really dominate. That length is all the way to Iceland for the freshest earth water that almost gives a sweetness to the gin, making is the freshness and clarity of flavour perfect for my cocktail!

I wanted to create something festive, a dessert like cocktail that reminded me of an indulgent Christmas day with a twist. So if you love tipples such as a Tiramisu cocktail, Baileys Martini, Irish cream coffee, a Grasshopper cocktail or something along the lines of an alcoholic milkshake... you'll love this.

White Christmas Cocktail Recipe: 

50ml - Mozart White Liqueur
25ml - Martin Miller
3 - cubes of Ice
1 - pinch of cinnamon or grated chocolate

  • Add the ice, liqueur and gin to a cocktail shaker. 
  • Shake until the the outside of the shaker is misty and the ice has less movement (due to the froth created)
  • Using a cocktail strainer pour into a tall prosecco glass and garnish with cinnamon 
The great thing about this cocktail is that it works with so many garnishes. You could add mint or orange or coffee, anything that goes with white chocolate works. The gin has such a clear and unique flavour that it manages to pull through the liqueur giving it a fresher, more balanced taste.

It feels like you're drinking an indulgent dessert but the great thing about Mozart is that it's 60% less fat than other liqueurs so we're on to a winner!

Beki Xo

(*) Disclaimer: I was gifted Martin Miller Gin as part of this blog post however the recipe and opinions are my own

The £150 Caviar Face Mask For £6.99

Yeah I know, I can't believe it either...

You'd be wrong to pass the makeup and skincare in Aldi and remark them as being just another cheaply made Aldi beauty brand who are trying to flog their old stock in the supermarket chain. But since the German skincare brand is quality tested alongside brands such as Olay and L'oreal from my experience of the Lacura brand, they're very much something to shout about.

As usual I ventured into my local for the usual small food shop and came out with something I didn't really need but I'm now very happy I picked up on a whim!

It was the words 'Caviar Illumination' which first drew my eye to the new 'luxury skincare' range, followed by an interesting ingredient labelled on the side of the box... snow algae.
Also referred to as 'watermelon snow', it's a species of fresh water green algae that grows on coastal polar regions around the world. Apparently the substance contains properties that when applied to living cells (your skin) helps to repair DNA and improve moisturiser to restore skin's elasticity.

The packaging itself looks pretty expensive with the cream being contained in a weighty glass jar accompanied by a small face brush. It's one of many similarities to the La Prairie Cellular 3 Minute Peel Mask which comes with a hefty price of £149.99.

The product itself is a gel like cream that when applied to skin (using the brush) glides on freely leaving a sheer film. As the product contains saliclyic acid it's strongly advised to avoid the eye and lip area whilst you wait 3 minutes for the cream to do it's thing. The mask is non drying and there for extremely comfortable to wear and remove. After removing the product on my first try to skin felt incredibly smooth, soft and plump, more so than the results i get from many of my nourishing face masks. I also noticed that 5 minutes after I removed the product that it had calmed my breakouts, reduced the redness in my skin and minimised my pores.

So what are the similarities between the £149.99 La Prairie Mask and the Lacura Caviar Mask?

The packaging
The 50ml amount
The application brush

The light texture of the face mask
The length of time in which you leave it on
They both contain acids to exfoliate 
The both contain caviar extract
They're both aimed to firm, tone, smooth, exfoliate and hydrate. 

Of course I'm unable to compare the products directly as there's no way I'm paying £150 for a 3 minute face mask but i'm super impressed with the Lacura Caviar Face Mask and would highly recommend it! 

Beki Xo
(*) I was not sponsored or gifted the product featured in this post. All opinions provided are my own

If you're as obsessed with Autumn as I am then you'll of been collecting those pretty munchkin pumpkins all month and now Halloween is over and Autumn is turning into Winter, they just don't quite look right nestled on the table.

I'm not one to waste anything and although the usual pumpkin soup and pumpkin stew are as delicious as they sound, I fancied baking something sweet and healthy... it's been a while after all.

Okay, okay. I may of bent the truth a little. Only 2 out of 3 of these recipes are 'healthy' versions but we're allowed a sweet treat once in a while right? The baked pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes are incredibly delicious but if you''re after a healthy version you can use the cupcake recipe in my 'Healthy Pumpkin Spiced Latte Cupcakes' >here< and just follow cream cheese recipe swapping the sugar for sweetener. 

It's super simple to make 'pumpkin puree' and there's no need to try and hunt down a can itself, as we all know it's like gold dust in the UK. Simply stab a number of holes in the top of the pumpkin and pop it in the oven for 40-60 minutes (depending on it's size). Once it's cooked, peel the skin and spoon out the insides removing any seeds. Taa-dar!

So which recipe is first?

Chewy Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

You will need:

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup soy or dark choc chips
3 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey 
1/2 cup coconut flour

How to:
  1. Put the oven onto 180 degrees and grease proof a deep oven dish
  2. Add the dry ingredients into a bowl (cocoa powder, baking powder, coconut flour and coconut sugar) and mix until evenly combined.
  3. In a separate bowl add the rest of the ingredients and whisk 
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl, whisking as you pour
  5. Pour the brownie mix into the grease proof  oven dish and pop it onto the middle shelf for approx 40 minutes
  6. Let the mixture cool before cutting into squares and serving. 
  7. To make them look a little prettier you can dust a touch of icing sugar over the tops

Next recipe?

Chunky Pumpkin Spiced Loaf

You will need: 

1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cups of wholemeal flour
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
2 medium eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil 
1/4 cup of milk 
1.5 tsp pumpkin spice
1 pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda or 2 to make is 'fluffier'

How to: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease proof a loaf tin.
  2. Pop the coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds or near a warm heat source so it melts
  3. Take the coconut oil and add the eggs, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, maple syrup and pumpkin puree. Whisk until evenly combined. 
  4. Then slowly add in the wholemeal flour, whisking as you pour until the mixture is even and 'gloopy'.
  5. Last of all add the bicarbonate of soda and fold into the mixture before pouring it into the loaf tin.
  6. Pop it into the oven for approx 40 minutes (test with a cocktail stick, if it comes out clean the loaf is ready).
  7. Leave to rest on a cooling tray before roughly adding some icing sugar to decorate and serve

And last but not least...

Baked Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes 

For the cupcakes you will need: 

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup rapeseed oil 
1 tsp baking soda 
2 large eggs 

How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and greaseproof a muffin or cupcake tray. This mixture will do 12 cupcakes. 
  2. Whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and pumpkin puree and mix until even. 
  3. Add in the rapeseed oil, vanilla extract, eggs and baking soda and whisk until the mixture is even.
  4. Next fold in the plain flour and continue to fold until ingredients are combined well 
  5. Pour approx 2 tbsp of cupcake mixture into each tray and leave to the side whilst you prepare the cream cheese 

For the cream cheese you will need: 

225g of plain cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (depending on how sweet you like it)

  1. Add all the ingredients together in one bowl
  2. Take 1 tbsp of cream cheese and add it onto of each cupcake 
  3. Once each cupcake has it's own tablespoon of cream cheese, take a tooth pick or chop stick and swirl the cream cheese into the cupcake mixture
  4. Pop the cupcakes onto the middle shelf of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes 

Beki Xo
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