Berry Mint Julep

Recipe

A great summer update on the classic. This recipe was pretty accidental, I was making some of my homemade summer fruits syrup for pancakes and thought it may go pretty nice in the Mint Julep I was nursing. It’s a sweeter alternative to the original that can be topped up with soda or lemonade if you prefer your cocktails served long.

Serves one

Ingredients

Double shot of Bourbon (I prefer Bulliet but Jim Beam or Buffalo works great also)

Double shot of sugar cane syrup

5 springs of fresh mint leaves

2 table spoons of summer berry syrup (to make use 1/4 of a pack of Tesco frozen summer fruits, 3 tbsp sugar, half a lemon)

Crushed ice

Lemonade or Soda (optional)

Equipment

A shaker (optional)

Table spoon

Oven proof pot

To make the syrup:

First to make your summer berry syrup, add 1/4 of a frozen pack of summer berries to an oven proof dish, add half the juice of a lemon and your sugar. Stir and put in the oven for 30 mins. Leave to cool for an hour. You should be able to make 2 drinks from this syrup.

To make the drink:

Classic mint julep recipes don’t require a shaker but I use one because I’m lazy.

Put your sugar syrup and mint in a glass and mix together so the mint infuses with the syrup. If you have a shaker, you can instead chuck these two ingredients in and have a really good shake before pouring into your glass.

Next add your summer syrup followed by your double shot of bourbon. Top the glass up with ice, a couple of baked berries from your syrup pot and you’re all done!

Mexican Avocado Spread (V)

Recipe

On top of seeded toast finished with two fried eggs and rocket.

On top of pan fried salmon, rice & baby leaf salad with sweet chilli hot sauce.

Mexican avocado spread (vegan)

A super easy and versatile spread for all meals.

Equipment:

Bowl & fork

Or a food processor/blender

Ingredients:

Large avocado

Half a lemon

Half teaspoon of lazy chopped garlic

Half teaspoon of lazy chopped chilli

Ground Black Pepper

Ground Sea Salt

Process:

Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and put into either a bowl or food processor. Set your blender to pulse or mash the avocado with a fork until you have a thick even consistency. Stir in 2 pinches of salt and pepper, the garlic, chilli and juice from the lemon.

All finished! Keep covered and stored in the fridge for upto 3 days.

Perfect hot or cold. Can be used as a dip or smothered on top of toast or grilled salmon.

Rebirth

Journal

Dress – Shakuhachi

Necklace – The Serpents Club

Art – Sugarhigh Lovestoned

 

Recently I’ve felt an emotional shift that I don’t think I’ll ever fully be able to articulate, but it’s one that i’m feeling happy and relieved about. Since moving into my own place, I’ve felt the most comfortable with myself than I ever have. I believe this is due to a range of new factors, from having a space I can make my own to finally being 100% self reliant.

The main shift is that until 5 months ago, I was in a really unhappy relationship for years, with someone who I was never really compatible with in terms of lifestyle and mentality. This made me feel really stifled for a long time – I couldn’t fully express myself without some kind of passing comment or judgement and he was utterly unsupportive of every venture I ever took up including my business. After a while I became so critical of myself that I developed some major social anxiety issues, which I had never experienced prior to our relationship. I was always known for being really confident, outgoing and social, yet during those four years I constantly feared I was being judged and became almost a shell of a person (something my best friend described as “you were just so subdued and not the person I’d always known”).

After recovering from the demise of that relationship, I began to feel normal again. I enjoyed socialising, I became much more organised and started enjoying old hobbies again (cooking/writing/photography). I would express my humour and sense of self without fear of criticism and even miraculously stopped biting my nails after 20 years! It was surreal to feel so at ease after years of being at constant war with myself and I knew I’d never be able to slip into that frame of mind ever again. Recently that same ex made some disparaging comments and instead of crumbling and wondering what was wrong with me, I realised everything was wrong with him. I told him to hit the road and promptly removed him from my life for good. Conflict or cutting ties with someone usually would have filled me with anxiety, but this time I felt nothing but peace.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt this year (and without sounding like an inspirational instagram post), it’s that you should swiftly drop anyone that makes you doubt your sense of self. If someone is constantly judgemental, unsupportive, critical and just plain awful to you – they don’t deserve any of your time or energy, ever. If you keep them around they will suck you dry like an emotional vampire.

Perhaps this revelation was the result of cutting a toxic person from my life or maybe it’s just the kind of personal growth that comes with the late 20s territory. Whatever it is, I’m glad I’ve finally hit that glorious milestone of simply not giving a fuck. And I invite you, my dear friends, to join me in the sun. It’s pretty nice over here.

In the spirit of self care and getting my shit together, here’s my incredibly late list of (lets not say, resolutions), but plans for what remains of 2018:

  • Work work work
  • Finally expand my business (I’m so behind on my strategy plan uhhh)
  • Sort my accounts out because I’m not 20 years old anymore
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Be a good friend to those who need me and support them fiercely in any way that I can. The last 5 months have shown me how fucking awesome my friends are. They held me up when I was at my worst and put me back together; I will never not be humbled and inspired by them. It still chokes me up to this day when I think back to how incredible they all were and continue to be (and I am not a cryer at all let it be known)
  • Take a fucking holiday, it’s been 5 years ffs
  • Make my new place every inch my own (a museum like wall of prints, crazy rugs and a green velvet upholstered chair need to happen )
  • Take care of myself better (three square healthy meals a day, 8 hours of sleep, lots of water, less smoking – I’m on week 3 of not getting stoned, so gold star for me I guess)
  • Update my blog more often, because writing has always been cathartic
  • Visit one new place every week; whether it’s a city, a restaurant or some form of local landmark
  • Listen to one new album a week (Spotify I know you’ve got me on this)

Soundtrack:

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here”

Inspiration

I’ve recently reignited my obsession with Korean cinema and watched an old favourite: Sympathy For Lady Vengeance by Park Chan-Wook. The cinematography, art direction and story is incredible, which is no surprise based on his earlier works (Old Boy, Thirst, Sympathy For Mr Vengeance). I’m obsessed with the colours and costume design in this film; it’s almost as though Amelie and I Saw The Devil had a lovechild that went on to study surrealism. Even if subtitles aren’t your thing, I strongly recommend this film. It’s visually stunning and the story line is one of the best in the revenge thriller category.

Perpetual Oblivion

Fiction
He would call me late at night and distract me from my demons. As time went on, I began to believe that maybe he could be the one to tame them for good. We drowned ourselves in each other, suspended in a lust induced fever dream for which I never wanted to leave. The early days of any perceived romance always begins that way and we were naive enough to believe that this euphoric state could last. For those first few weeks, it felt as though twin spirits had, by some miracle, crashed into one another. That the cruel twists of fate, the heartbreaks, the despair, the mental torture we had endured had finally been for something. But alas, we’d both been broken down so many times by the ones who came before. Each of us had a black hole beneath the surface and with it, an inability to connect  beyond a superficial level. Now here we were, desperately looking for a quick way to fill the voids within and we were using anyone we could find to do it. 
 
The problem with voids is they’re bottomless and ever expanding, and his eventually swallowed me whole. His demons must have beckoned him once more because without a word, he was gone. The calls stopped and the voices of doubt and self loathing returned, this time much louder. I found myself late at night replaying our time together, searching for nuanced warnings signs that maybe I had ignored. I was lost in an emotional purgatory and my black hole was becoming a little bigger. Could I have saved myself from this? Would I have saved myself? I told myself I would have, but his affections were like a drug for which I would have hit all day given half the opportunity.
 
The days that followed his disappearance dragged and felt heavy, but in the early hours of the morning, I would always find myself. I would think about all the things that I didn’t like about him and unpick the tapestry of his character. He was far more fucked up than I gave him credit for and I hated that he amplified the weakest parts of my nature. 
 
As a feeling of frantic uncertainty burned in the pit of my stomach, I took solace in convincing myself that his issues were too deep rooted to be solved and that if I ever tried to truly care for him, i’d be done for. So many times it became clear that the person he presented to the world wasn’t actually who he was. He constantly contradicted everything he claimed to stand for and what was worse; he wasn’t even self aware enough to realise it. The person I had wanted so wildly was merely an illusion; a disguise. Perhaps it was this, me seeing his mask slip, that made him retreat so swiftly. If only I could remember these breakthroughs for more than a few hours, I told myself, then maybe I could be free of his bullshit. 
 
Dawn would break and the vicious cycle would reset. Missing him would override reason and I would argue every point that I had made to myself the night before. It felt as though no amount of rationalisation could pull me back from the edge or pull him closer to me. I hated feeling this out of control of my emotions and thoughts. The blanket of numbness I had used for so long as a coat of armour had began to lift and now all I wanted was sweet sedation. I didn’t want to face the possibility that maybe I was actually the problem, that maybe there was moments in time where I could have been more or less like myself. Was it possible that I had been showing my hand too much all along and wearing my past scars like badges of honour? No matter what I told myself, I knew the power balance was off. It felt as though I was losing some invisible battle. My friends were convinced that my feelings were purely the result of psychological warfare; a seemingly powerful woman needing to dominate a seemingly powerful man.  Maybe they were right, maybe I didn’t even really care about him at all; I just needed to the victor in this particular story and not another one of his victims.
 
It’s 3am and I’m here again, staring down the emptiness and in need of a new vice, a new distraction. It’s been 2 weeks since he vacated and I decide it’s time to find his replacement. I pick up my phone and begin to scan the faces, quietly preying that this time I don’t let them in. That this time I can remain detached and history won’t repeat, again. 

 Soundtrack: