Thanks to BBC Good Food, I have a delicious and different punch recipe for you to enjoy this summer. Personally I love to make a refreshing and delicious punch for Christmas, it's a bit of a tradition for me but I do like to change it up each time. This one is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy with the ginger punch making it super refreshing.
Ginger, Apple and Vanilla Punch
1 Litre of Ginger Beer (not Ginger Ale!)
500ml chilled apple juice
500ml Vanilla Vodka (or add 1tsp vanilla extract to plain vodka or rum)
4 limes, 2 juiced 2 cut into wedges
1 apple thinly sliced
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1. Combine ginger beer, apple juice, vanilla vodka and lime juice in a large jug.
2. Add ginger, apple slices and lime wedges to the punch and add lots of ice before serving.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2012.
Going on holiday is one of life's great pleasures, and seeing the amazing diversity of culture, art, architecture,
However, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable trip takes planning and packing sensibly and thoughtfully - how many times have you overpacked and thought "next time I will pack smarter"?
Below is my holiday guide in interview format with some tips from Mela Purdie the goddess of travel style herself thrown in!
What are your essential fashion items for travelling in comfort and style?
- Basic jersey hip length tank and leggings, the perfect building base for a comfortable in-transit outfit. You can easily throw a light tunic over the top and a topper coat if necessary for temperature changes at your destinations.
- A light knit or wide wrap scarf, indispensible on planes and in airports where climate control can be all over the place! Packs down small but offers a layer of comfort to take the chill off.
- A stretch denim skinny pant in black, comfy and stylish for day with a jersey tee or top and easily dressed up for night with a silky Charmeuse blouse.
- As mentioned above, at least one blouse in the stunning Charmeuse, it is non-crinkle, non-iron - perfect for dinner when you're straight off the plane and suits any other dressy/casual occasions and is light enough to wear in the heat, yet with a layering basic underneath can be sensibly warm for a cool climate.
- A mousseline top or dress. The genius 1-2 hour wash to dry time and non-iron nature of the Mousseline fabric makes it absolutely essential in the travellers case. Straddling the line between dressy and casual, it's the perfect multitasking fabric and goes back naturally with jersey and stretch denim co ordinates. Best of all it packs down to next to nothing!
- A lightweight showerproof trench or coat in memory fabric. It packs down super small, and you just shake it back into shape - choose a neutral colour and a classic style that will never go out of fashion and will complement any outfit. My suggestion: The Spring Anorak by Mela Purdie
- Not too many pairs of shoes!!! Most importantly comfortable flat shoes. My pick is a pair of leather brogues or loafer styles. Effortlessly stylish and suit a multitude of fashion pieces. I like patent leather as the shine makes them dressier if need be. I would also pack one pair of comfortable but dressy heels or wedges in a neutral colour for dressier occasions or have these in mind when shopping at my destination!
Lanvin leather brogues (left) and Paul Smith Leather loafers (both in my dreams!)
How to pack these items with care and space efficiency?
I like to roll my clothes, Mela Purdie suggests leaving hangers on whatever you can and simply rolling items up together with hangers. When you arrive at your destination you simply pull them out and hang them in your hotel closet. Mela's fabrics travel so well you shouldn't need to wait too long for the creases to drop out, if at all!
Pack heavier items like shoes at the wheel/bottom end of your case so they don't fall down and crush other items when the case is standing.
Separate all liquids & cosmetics from clothes in sealed plastic in a separate compartment if possible, I have had the disaster of a broken tube of lotion squirting all over my case contents. Not ideal!
Wrap anything more breakable in clothes for padding and protection. My partner managed to get a 16 piece dinnerware set back here from Sweden safely by wrapping each piece in an item of clothing!
What are your essential makeup/skincare items for the flight and beyond?
- Flights can be very drying, so I always have a hand cream, paw paw ointment for dry lips and my favourite hydrating face spray by Avene - thermal spring water in a spray can. Spritz it on your face for a refreshing and skin hydrating boost. I love Diptyque moisturing lotion it has a lasting silky texture and hydrates for hours with a stunning fresh and floral scent. A bit of luxury goes a long way when you're stuck on a plane for 15 hours.
Avene Thermal Spring water spray (left), Lucas' Papaw Ointment (both available at Priceline) and Diptyque body lotion available from Mecca Cosmetica
- Always pack tissues and carry them around with you everywhere. You never know when you will need them - like when you arrive in China and the public toilets do not supply toilet paper! Ditto for hand sanitiser lotion.
- Sunscreen (a great option is tinted moisturiser with a good spf factor) and a good fake tanning/bronzing lotion for emergencies!
- My makeup essentials for when you can only have the bare minimum are blush, mascara and an illuminating concealer like Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat (there is a reason one of these sells every 5 seconds across the world - it's amazing and the creamy formula is great for older skin). This is great for covering dark circles under the eye when you are jet lagged or simply sleep deprived, and covers any blemishes too. Mascara makes eyes appear bigger and brighter, and blush or a facial illuminator gives life to your face. If you can have a bright lippy on hand that will always lift your look also.
From left: YSL Touche Eclat concealer (David Jones, Myer), Hourglass Film Noir Mascara, Nars cream illuminator series (both Mecca Cosmetica), Tom Ford Lipstick (David Jones)
- Lastly, DON'T FORGET YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!!!
What was the highlight of your last trip overseas?
My last trip overseas was to China for the wedding of a friend. Naturally I'd have to say the wedding was a highlight, the couple were Australian-Scot/Chinese and it was a perfectly east/west fused ceremony. We had several rooms in an amazingly opulent yet somehow decrepit hotel shared with several other good friends who had made the trip over from Aus, and the ceremony was held on an island in the stunning grounds attached to the hotel. Afterwards was a traditional Dragon procession which is apparently not that common with drummers and then a chinese banquet for 300 at which we were served Baijo, a plate of cigarettes and a multitude of delicacies including preserved pigeon heads complete with eyes and open beaks!
Another highlight of course was climbing the Great Wall which was a tough walk (see my sweaty pink face below!), and the trip there and back was memorable as we had an amazing driver who had taught himself English from a phrasebook and dictionary. He had incredibly good English, but we did have to teach him a couple of words as we were quite confused when he told us of his dream to move to the country and keep in his living room "A bird in a bag". After some gesticulating we realised this meant a bird in a birdcage!! So we taught him 'birdcage' and wrote it in his dictionary for him. He took us to a local resaurant on the way home where we had fish that was caught right in front of our eyes on the banks of a gorgeous river.
What is your must see destination in the next year?
I am off to Japan in April next year and can't wait to see the cherry blossom festival, the red Torii gates in Kyoto (as famously depicted in the film Memoirs of a Geisha) and the craziness of Tokyo city, the twinkling of Kobe at night and shopping in Shibuya! And stuffing myself with Ramen and soaking in natural hot springs!
I hope this has given you something to think about when planning your next trip!
My good friend taught me this dip recipe which her Mum taught her, and I know that avocado dip is not exactly a culinary masterpiece - but I can't help devouring the whole bowl whenever my friend makes it!
You should definitely make more than you think you need!
2-3 ripe avocadoes
A small tub of natural plain yoghurt
A lemon (for juice)
Salt and Pepper
Smoosh the avocadoes up into a paste with a fork in a bowl, then add a tablespoon-ish of yoghurt, stir through. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a generous sprinkle of Cumin spice and salt and a generous amount of pepper.
Keep adding these things to taste until it's perfect for you! But make sure you can taste the cumin, that's the best part! Lemon juice will help stop it going brown in the air.
This works great with Sakata seaweed rice crackers, carrot sticks, or corn chips - and is great as guacamole with a mexican meal!
Style inspiration - I love the relaxed look this girl has going on. She looks so effortlessly pulled together, and how cool is that hair? Simple cuts and elegant colours, pretty jewellery. Love!