Itsu instant miso soup

Snack Attack! Eat Beautifully with Itsu!

Bonus: why you need iodine, and what the heck is sirtfood?

I’m a Japanese food fan, and a snack queen, so when Itsu asked me if I wanted to try their range, I jumped at the chance. (It felt like I’d only just left Tokyo before I wanted to go back again!)

Istu crispy seaweed thins and miso soups

Health is on the top of everyone’s priorities in January, but it’s hard to turn your back on snacks and treats. When you’ve spent all your calories on healthy meals but you just fancy something crispy and savoury, these seaweed thins are ideal. They’re thin, crunchy layers of salty, umami seaweed, and not only are they perfect for keeping yourself satiated, but they’re also really good for you too! They also come in three flavours – sea salt, sweet soy and sea salt, and wasabi.

Istu crispy seaweed thins

The great thing about these is that they’re packed with iodine, and lack of iodine can cause weight gain, tiredness, depression, dry skin… sound familiar? Up to 70% of young women in the UK are iodine deficient, which is a scary figure. Not only are these packed full of the iodine we’re all obviously lacking (65% of your recommended iodine dose in one pack), but they also have vitamin B12, protein and fibre. All that for under 25 calories a pack ain’t bad if you ask me. The other great thing about these, and the miso soup, is that they’re vegan – many Japanese products contain fish, as bonito stock is such a huge basic flavour there, so it’s great to find a snack that everyone can enjoy.

Itsu instant miso soup

Itsu also have a great instant miso soup you can buy too, which tastes absolutely perfect. I love miso soup and make it all the time, but it’s a massive hassle preparing the stock and rehydrating the wakame, then blending in the miso paste while making sure it doesn’t over heat! I’d tried instant miso soup before, but honestly couldn’t get on with them – the powders just tasted gross, and the pastes had a weird metallic tang that I just couldn’t get on with. Itsu’s instant miso soup is such a fantastic product that I don’t know if I’ll bother making it any other way.

And, to make it even better, miso soup is at the cornerstone of the hot new diet trend I’ve seen cropping up everywhere – sirtfood. It looks like someone spelled something wrong, but no, it’s a thing – trust me. Sirtfood is anything containing high levels of sirtuins – proteins that regulate metabolism and cell defence, something which I’m sure we don’t need a science degree to understand the importance of. A lot of the research is still pretty new about what these do, and there are some incredible claims regarding anti-aging and the like – but considering one of the ‘new’ superfoods is packed inside a dish the notoriously healthy-eating Japanese have been consuming for centuries, I’d say you’re onto a winner with this one! Superfood you can make at your desk, with a rich and delicious taste, for under 50 calories? I’m sold!

Itsu miso soup (£2.00 for three) and seaweed thins (£1 per pack) are available at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Whole Foods, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Amazon and Ocado. Find stockists here.

Itsu provided me with a sample of the snacks I reviewed – my opinions, text and photos are my own.


Birthday Meal at Clos Maggiore

Dining in the most romantic restaurant in London

For my birthday in October, my husband and I went to Clos Maggiore, just off Covent Garden – supposedly the most romantic restaurant in London, and also a place that the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted having a meal with her family. Because I’m nosy, and a foodie, I had to try the place out to find out what all the fuss was about!

The restaurant is usually booked months in advance, so you’ll need to wait patiently for your table. The best seats are in the conservatory -pictured below – but even if you have a special occasion, there’s no guarantee you’ll be seated there (I wasn’t!). This is the restaurant’s main selling point, but luckily I was seated right next to it, meaning I got a great view of the inside and could take some good snaps for you!

The interior is certainly stunning, and with the dim lighting and simple decor, the whole place is a calming and relaxing place to eat. The decoration and the menu are classically French, and having spent a lot of time dining in France with my husband during his French degree at university, I felt very much at home!

The dining tables are very close together, so despite it having a reputation as the most romantic restaurant in London, it’s actually not incredibly discreet… But just like any restaurant, most people are more interested in their food and their companions than they are anyone else!

Even the other areas of the restaurant are smartly decorated with a touch of foiliage – although certainly not as spectacular as the conservatory.

The restaurant offers a three course prix fixe menu during weekend lunch times, which includes a 1/2 bottle of wine for £39.50 (or is £34.50 without). For my starter, I selected the hand picked Dorset crab with celeriac remoulade, which was absolutely gorgeous – fresh and crunchy, with a delightful savoury  hint of the sea.

My husband had the leek and potato Vicyssoise with Parmesan cheese scones – and both of us helped ourselves to the wonderful selection of breads from the bread basket, too. The soup was absolutely fantastic – smooth, creamy and packed with flavour.

For the main course, my husband selected oven roasted Iberico pork loin, which was served on a bed of petit pois a la Francais, accompanied with a foamed Alsace bacon sauce. The meat was tender and rich, and the bacon sauce added a sweet note that elevated the whole dish.

I had a hard time picking my main, but in the end I went for the honey glazed breast of Goosnargh duck, and crispy duck leg Pastilla. It was served with young turnips, sugar snaps and a ruby port sauce.

This was utterly divine. I’d wanted to try pastilla for a long time – it’s a sweet and savoury dish usually made with pigeon or chicken, baked in filo pastry with sugar and cinnamon. The combination of the crispy pastry, the sticky glaze on the duck, and the sweet, poached vegetables was incredible, and the duck breast portion was pretty big. It was absolute heaven!

Because it was my birthday, I insisted we have the Clos Maggiore Caramelised Valrhona Chocolate Sensation for Two, which had a £10 supplement. It came decorated with gold leaf and sparkling, iridescent candy and spin sugar. The Armagnac jelly was delicious, but the presentation was a little slapdash, as you can see… The burnt honey icecream was fabulous, and all in all, it was a treat to have a variety of sweet morsels to dig into at the end of the meal.

Unexpectedly, I also got a plate decorated with a birthday message and candles, as well as macarons and chocolates. What a nice touch!

Clos Maggiore definitely lived up to my expectation as a lovely place to enjoy a meal with your special someone. Dining in the conservatory remains my unrealised dream – although it was nice even to get a peek at it across the room. The food is classic haute cuisine – high quality produce cooked with classical French techniques – and the portions were definitely large enough that I didn’t feel the need to order a side for my main. Dining here certainly isn’t for the everyday, but if you have a special occasion coming up, this is one of the nicest places to celebrate it!

Just like plenty of places that have generated a lot of buzz, the hype can work against your enjoyment of the evening if you let yourself get carried away by the enthusiastic praise. I’ve read plenty of negative reviews of the restaurant from people who clearly expected angels to prepare the food using celestial produce, and to eat the whole thing riding on a cloud serenaded by harps and choirs. Bottom line – this is a beautiful, classical French restaurant with an exceptionally pretty dining area, and an emphasis on traditional gourmet food. If that sounds right up your street, book away! I wouldn’t hesitate to eat here again. Looking at these photos is actually torture, because I’m on a diet at the moment. I wonder where all the weight came from…?

Fortune Teller from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Ciate’s Mini Mani Month 2016: All The Swatches!

My Top Five Nail Polish Swatches from Ciate London

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll probably know that in December, I swatched all the colours from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month advent calendar. I decided to make a post featuring my favourite colours, and there’s a link below to take you to all of the swatches from the advent calendar on my Flickr account!

Starry Night

Starry Night from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Starry Night from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

I dusted this glorious glittery black nail topper over one of my favourite nail colours of all time, so it’s hardly surprising this one made it into my top five! The base was Alexa Chung’s leather effect polish for Nail’s Inc., and I love the extra dimension the texture gives the look!

Fortune Teller

Fortune Teller from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Fortune Teller from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

I layered Fortune Teller on the top of one of my least favourite colours from the month – Pretty in Putty – and created one of my favourite looks! Dusting some sparkle on the tips of your nails is a great way to create a simple and sophisticated look with glitter that doesn’t make you look like you’re five years old and been digging through the craft supplies…

Raising The Barre

Raising The Barre from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Raising The Barre from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

I love a nice, sophisticated red, and I loved the moody, deep colour that Raising the Barre created. Dark and brooding, like a bruise, this is no ordinary creamy burgundy, and I reckon I’ll be taking this out a few more times in winter!

Iced Frappe

Iced Frappe from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Iced Frappe from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

I feel like I’m always on the lookout for a good, neutral, pinky nude, and although Iced Frappe isn’t the kind of colour I usually turn to for this, I feel as though it totally fits the bill! With hints of purple and pink, it’s definitely not a nude, but it makes me feel like I’ve finally had a grown-up manicure. At last!


Boudoir from Ciate's Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

Boudoir from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month Advent calendar: nail swatch

I thought Mistress was a pretty good festive red, but now I think I prefer Boudoir more! It wouldn’t be Christmas without a cheery colour like this, and this orange-tinted red really has an icy look about it that I love!

So, that’s my round up of my favourite colours from this year – what were yours? It was pretty difficult for me to narrow down my choices to just five, but if you have any others you love, share them in the comments below! Discover the full range of Ciate products on their website, where you can purchase some of the colours I’ve mentioned as full sizes.

Click on the image below to be taken to my Flickr album featuring every swatch from Ciate’s Mini Mani Month in 2016!

Ciate Mini Mani Month 2016: swatches

Skincare regime for oily skin including Liz Earle, Clinique, Hourglass and Estee Lauder double wear foundation

My New Year’s Resolution: Skincare Upgrades!

My quest for skin perfection

Everyone else is sitting there making worthy New Year’s resolutions, like to do more charity work, or to seek inner peace, or to get fit, and here’s me, just desperately hoping that 2017 will be the year that my skin stops resembling an oil slick… I’ve tried hard to not let it bother me, I’ve given it a few half-hearted attempts at switching products around, and I’ve gone through more blotting paper than I thought possible… but really, when perfect strangers comment on your skin’s oiliness in a selfie you thought looked just about okay, you have to start thinking that maybe there’s something else you should be doing…

So, I decided to actually do some research (in the car, on the way to visit my father-in-law – no I wasn’t driving) to find out which products could help reign in my skin’s obsession with depositing oil all over my face at every available opportunity. Annoyingly, I now cannot find where I got these recommendations from, but I’m pretty sure it was via Reddit’s skincare obsession or makeup subreddits…

Current regime

Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash, twice a day (purchased in bulk at Costco and I can’t wait to use it up because of the microbead issue! Can’t wait for them to be banned!)

Olay Essentials Complete Care moisturizer for normal to oily skin, also twice a day (cheap and cheerful with SPF 15)

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation (you know I love me some Charlotte Tilbury, but neither of her foundations really seem to work on me and I think a lot of her formulas for skincare err on helping out those with drier skin…)

New regime

Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash, once a day (again… using it up!)

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, once a day (I tried this once before I wasn’t all that impressed, but decided to have another go in the interests of science)

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturing Lotion (definitely recommended for oily skin, but on the bottle says it’s for Very Dry to Dry Combination skin…  I think I’ve got the wrong thing…)

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (I keep seeing this recommended for oily skin and I took a chance on the colour – seems to match, but I can’t really see my own face most of the time so who  knows?)

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (very pricey, but if I ever use a primer it’s usually a free sample – so let’s see what happens!)

The plan

After a month of using these, or when they run out, I’ll update with my thoughts about each product and decide which ones to keep and which ones to replace! If you have any oily skin recommendations, please share them in the comments!






Umbriah3 high heel slip on loafers Nine West, replikate for Tod's fringed leather pumps

Christmas Day Replikate: Fur Scarf and Burgundy Brogues

Replikating Kate’s 2016 Christmas Day outfit…

Hold onto your hats, this is another one of those Kate-fashion posts you didn’t ask for…

On Christmas day 2016, the Duchess of Cambridge and her family attended church near the Middleton family home. Not being royal, or in line to the throne, or important or special in any way, I was lounging around on the sofa eating chocolates at the time, wearing a terrible oversized Christmas jumper. Kate, meanwhile, was wearing a gorgeous ensemble of browns and reds – the perfect festive church-going outfit, which was chic and elegant, as well as thrifty! With her old Hobbs Celeste coat (which I’d never really warmed to), she wore a pretty red faux fur scarf, and accessorized with her red suede Mulberry Bayswater clutch, and her red Tod’s fringed leather pumps. See the wonderful What Kate Wore’s post about the outfit here.

I waited for an ID… And waited… Turns out everyone else was enjoying their Christmas day, while I was obsessively checking and double checking my Twitter feed. So, I decided to try and ID it myself, with my first stop being Really Wild Clothing, which definitely carries similar pieces. Nothing there, and nothing at Helen Moore either… So, I decided to Google ‘red faux fur collar’ and the first result that came up was this listing for an ASOS Faux Fur Mini Slot Through Collar.

ASOS faux fur mini slot through collar as seen on Duchess of Cambridge Christmas Day 2016

It looked pretty similar so I threw it out into the internet ether as a possible replikate until the real item could be found… But then I started to wonder – is this really a replikate, or is it the same item? Eventually, after the lovely Giulia from Lelepug began to wonder as well, I decided it was a pretty good bet that I’d actually stumbled upon what’s possibly the bargain Kate item of 2016 – as this scarf was just £10.50 in the sale!

Of course, I bought it straight away, because I have more money than sense (and I have very little of either going right now…), but I didn’t have anything to wear it with. So, after a tip from Lauren on Instagram, I nabbed these Nine West loafers from the House of Fraser as a fairly decent replikate for Kate’s Tod’s loafers. Lauren observed they were very plasticky, and I have to agree, but at £29 I didn’t mind too much (although for the original price of £95 I would have been very disappointed!).

Nine West Umbriah High Heel Slip on Loafers replikate for Tod's fringed leather pumps

So the hunt continues for a burgundy or brown coat to go with this ensemble… I tried the Oasis Kimberley car coat in burgundy, but the neckline was too low for the scarf to fit properly. If anyone knows any good replikates for the Hobbs Celeste, please let me know!



Get your body ready for January with LQ Liquid Health Joint Care

Get your body ready for January: keeping healthy in winter

People love to pour scorn on New Year resolutions almost as much as they like to make them. January is a natural time to reflect on the last year and try and make the next 12 months better than the last, though – and it’s a good time to get stuck into exercise too, if you’ve spent December on the sofa overindulging! 

I get sent a lot of supplements and vitamins throughout the year, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you in time for the New Year. These are things you can start taking right away to get your body ready for whatever you want to throw at it come next month! 

Vitsnap is a fab new vitamin subscription service set to start in January. There are a wide range of blends you can order for everything from hair care (which is what I’m taking!) to exercise or skin or weight loss. The vitamins come to you in handy sealed pods for each day, and deliveries are made every two weeks. If you sign up now at and enter the code GEMMA50, you can get a subscription with 50% off before the service launches! I love my hair care ones – it’s too early to tell if they’re having an effect, but giving my hair a boost gives me confidence too! 

If you’re planning to be taking part in a lot of high impact exercise like running, HIIT, spinning, exercise classes, etc – or even yoga and weights, I’d definitely recommend taking something to protect your joints. Yes, I know it sounds really boring – and worrying about your knees is far from sexy, but trust me, it’s better to worry about them now rather than later. You can take something as simple as cod liver oil tablets, but I like this LQ Liquid Health Joint Care – it’s a vial of a medicinal tasting blend of ingredients to protect your joints and promote health. Don’t wait until you start needing products like this – get on top of it and start protecting yourself right away. (Did I mention I actually really like the taste of this, even though it’s weird!)

Finally, hydration is important – but just as important are electrolytes. Your body needs to replace these when you’re working out, so if you’re going to get your sweat on, you’ll need to drink water and make sure some of those drinks include electrolytes. There are loads of options including sports drinks, coconut water or even a DIY blend (Google DIY electrolyte blend for loads of ideas!). My favourite new discovery is this coconut powder, Proto-col Coco Minerals, which turns tap water into coconut water – so much more convienient than buying big fridge packs! Plus, you can add spoonfuls to your smoothies too, giving you an added punch for fruit blends. A seriously smart product and a brilliant idea!

Do you have any exercise goals for January you’d like to share? And which Vitsnap blend would you like to try out? Let me know in the comments below!


Festive Tipples: What To Drink At Christmas Part Two

If you’re a hopelessly retro traditionalist like me, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Snowball or two (or three). I don’t get why people don’t drink this more – it’s light, sherbety, and frothy, and you get to serve it with a maraschino cherry! You can buy packs of ready made Snowballs, or you can mix your own. Take one part Advocaat, three parts lemonade, and add to a glass. Mix in a tiny drop of the maraschino cherry syrup (this is my secret trick), a dash of lime cordial, and top with a toothpick adorned with cherries. Now drink it and make another one right away. Isn’t Christmas telly GREAT?!

Now, I’m sure I’m teaching grandma to suck eggs here, but I only really recently learned the perfect way to make G&T – well, the way I like it, anyway… remember clever Charlie and his recipe for homemade Pimm’s? He makes an excellent gin and tonic. 

His secret is to add a third to a quarter of gin to Indian tonic water, then a big squeeze of lemon, plus a nice slice of lime. And ice – that’s important too. To be honest, I’d always missed the importance of these latter three ingredients, but they really do lift the whole thing and make it something special. (And good gin helps – Tanqueray is my favourite, followed by Bombay Sapphire, and Fever Tree tonic is a must!)

Perhaps not traditional at Christmas, but still one of my favourite drinks – Campari! It has a pretty festive colour, don’t you think? Campari is a bitter orange liqueur and the easiest way to drink it is with lemonade, soda water or tonic water. 

If you’re hankering after something a bit stronger, try my new favourite cocktail – the Negroni! It packs a heck of punch! Luckily the recipe is simple, so even after you’ve had a couple you should still be able to whip up some more… You just mix equal parts gin, Campari and red vermouth, and serve over ice. Hic!

Finally, there’s a couple of really good sweet dessert wines that are perfect for this time of year – ice wine and Sauternes!

Both are super sweet, thick and syrupy wines perfect for pairing with mince pies, Christmas cake or Christmas pudding. (And Sauternes is delicious served with chicken liver parfait too!) 

My favourite Sauternes comes from Fortnum and Mason (and was delivered in my Christmas hamper this year!) but ice wine can be a little trickier to track down. It’s made from grapes which have frozen on the vine, creating a super sweet taste, and is mostly produced in Canada and Germany. Funnily enough, the only place I’ve found it for sale is Lidl – but at £18.99 a bottle, this isn’t a bargain basement deal (and as I said, is absolutely delicious!). 

What are your favourite Christmas tipples? Let me know in the comments!


My Beauty Obsession: Why Charlotte Tilbury Is The Reigning Queen of Makeup

Darlings, if you haven’t fallen under the magic spell of beauty goddess Charlotte Tilbury, then I don’t know where you’ve been these past couple of years. From cult beauty brand to mega makeup maven, with a beautiful boutique in Covent Garden, Charlotte Tilbury has waved her magic fairy wand over me and thousands of other fans, bringing her special blend of glamour to our beauty bags.

Charlotte’s positive mantra of self-love and confidence, and her ‘beautiful before, beautiful after’ tutorials give her brand a real old-school feminist vibe. Think Hollywood glamour, seductive boudoirs, and Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Charlotte calls on the star power of both old Hollywood (with her lipsticks like So Marilyn and Hepburn Honey: still my favourite colour), and new (with Kidman’s Kiss, Secret Salma, and the rest of her Hot Lips collection. This is a celebration of pure feminine power – I bet you didn’t think you could buy that in a tube, did you?

One of the things I love about Charlotte Tilbury is her ten makeup looks – ten core makeup wardrobes that create stunning looks in a variety of themes and moods, collected together so you can just buy the lot and know they all go together.There are five daytime looks, and five heavier evening looks.

The first look I bought was The Uptown Girl, a palette of shimmery greys and pearly pinks for the eyes, and the pink neutral lipstick Bitch Perfect, wearable everyday. Each look is demonstrated in a YouTube tutorial hosted on the site, and many of Charlotte’s lipsticks and eyeshadows are demo’d on a variety of skintones, so you can see how it’ll look on you. There are even suggestions for how to kick it up a notch for evening time (and for Uptown Girl, try switching Bitch Perfect for the bolder Amazing Grace.)

Since then, I’ve purchased palettes for The Sophisticate, The Rock Chick, The Rebel and The Dolce Vita – a combination of gold, brown and deep, browny red, my ABSOLUTE favourite look, and one which I’ll wear any time, any opportunity I get. My most recent purchase was The Vintage Vamp, which is a glorious combination of pinks and reds. There’s just something addictive and simple about collecting makeup looks, and I think Charlotte completely nailed her themes and created a range of styles which will suit almost any lifestyle.

As far as lipsticks are concerned, although Hepburn Honey is my everyday go-to, I’ve actually purchased a ridiculous number of other colours – amongst which my favourites are Stoned Rose, Bond Girl, Secret Salma (actually a press sample!) and The Queen. The latter was a limited edition which is now sold out, but given the popularity of The Crown on Netflix I really hope they bring this one back! (Pictured above, from top centre going clockwise are Coachella Coral, Bitch Perfect, Nude Kate, Amazing Grace, The Queen (sold out), Secret Salma, Hepburn Honey, Stoned Rose and Bond Girl.)

If you’re a makeup novice, or you want to dip your toe into Charlotte’s world, or you want an everyday makeup look that’s easy to apply with great results every time (and easy to take on your travels), then Instant Look in a Palette: Natural Beauty is my number one recommendation. It’s currently available here as a limited edition. Inside the palette are three eyeshadows, two blushes, a highligher and a bronzer. You use all of these to create one, gorgeously understated and flattering look, which you can punch up and add to if you want to go bolder. It’s a massive favourite of mine, and works on so many complexions it’s unbelievable!

There’s even a new Instant Look In A Palette – Seductive Beauty, a limited edition version for £49 which has all the ingredients for a smokey eye and gorgeous cheeks! Yikes… that’s on my wish-list already!

This is my latest love – which arrived today along with Vintage Vamp! This gorgeous deep red clutch is actually storage for four mini makeup brushes! I just couldn’t resist – I wish CT would release a larger version that actually was a clutch you could fit a lipstick and a phone in, but for now this will certainly do!

Have you fallen under the spell of Charlotte Tilbury yet? Let me know what your favourite looks are in the comments below!



Red is the colour: the ultimate Christmas bag from Ilex London

If you’re still on the lookout for the perfect Christmas bag, can I please introduce you to this beauty, c/o Ilex London?

I love red accessories at the best of times, but there’s no denying that red is the unofficial colour of Christmas. It goes so well with metallics, especially gold, and it pairs beautifully with navy and white – just ask Father Christmas!

Now, while a smart little clutch might seem like the ultimate Christmas bag for parties and cocktail dos, I’m here for your wake-up call. You don’t need a red clutch, you need a red tote! Stuff it full of Christmas cards, hide your partner’s pressie inside when you’re shopping, cram your scarf in there for good measure. Take it to the works party and line it with tupperware to nick sausage rolls and quiche to eat later.

Take it to a carol service and throw the order of service in afterwards. Buy a pack of mince pies and mulled wine and retrieve them on a visit to a friend, and look like the most casually perfect and festive guest in history. Pair it with sequins and tartan and red suede high heels or black novelty slipper shoes.

Wear it with a black velvet dress, or a white shirt and jeans, or a navy skirt and cable knit jumper. Carry it to work, to school, to appointments, to parties, to friends and family – take it on Christmas day and Boxing day and NYE! Put your clutch INSIDE it and then you’ll never be without space for all the things we actually need at parties – your phone, spare lippy, extra tights, a mirror, your keys…

Have I convinced you yet? Nab your Harriet here for £205 (but if you sign up to the newsletter, you’ll get 10% off!) Also, check out the Ilex sale here, where there are a few bags in the same lovely colour red available!


Festive Tipples: What To Drink At Christmas Part One

Welcome to part one of my festive drinks posts – I’m covering wine in this one, and I’ll be talking about spirits and cocktails in my follow up!

The question of what to drink with the dish of the day isn’t surely at the top of the list when it comes to party planning on Christmas Day – which is why it’s handy to have a couple of no-brainer options under your belt. Whether you’re the host or a guest, picking up a bottle of red and white to go with the meal is a sure fire recipe for success!

To pair with turkey and roast ham, pick up this Giesen Sauvignon Blanc for £8 from Majestic and Sainsbury’s – a pretty damn good price for a sweet, versatile white with gooseberry notes! This is the perfect bottle to pick up if you’re only bringing one with you – because turkey or chicken is sure to be on the menu. I also reckon it would be a great gift as well, especially if you pair it with a handwritten note with serving suggestions on it!

If you’re having darker roasts like duck or game (and we’re having duck and partridge this year!) you should check out Château Labadie, 2009 The Wien Society, £10.50. With its medium body, it’s a great partner for roasted meats of all kinds, making it a great way to spread a little Christmas cheer at the table. Rich and decadent, with a velvet mouthfeel, this went down a treat when we taste-tested it at my parents’ house for Sunday lunch!

But you know, mulled wine makes Christmas – yet I rarely drink it on the day. Instead, it’s served before carols or after a long snowy walk, to redden your cheeks and steam up your glasses. Huddled over a cup of mulled wine, inhaling the wisps of cinnamon and orange, snuggled in the candlelight with a cosy blanket over your knee – this is what Christmas dreams are made of! I absolutely love these super little sachets c/o Hotel Chocolat – bundles of festive joy you can chuck into the pot like a big witches brew, to steam and seethe while your guests arrive! Who needs scented candles when you’ve got these babies to hand?!

What tipples will you be serving with the big meal this year?

Samples of the products mentioned were provided as PR samples, all text and photos are my own.