Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Cointreau Rendez-Vous

Last Thursday evening I was lucky enough to go to the Cointreau Rendez-Vous event.  I was especially excited to be going as they had promised 

"Upon arrival you will be greeted with a complimentary Cointreau drink and whisked into an intimate masterclass in the art of cocktail making. Throughout the evening, top fashion advisers from Wish Want Wear will be on hand to offer style tips and advice, as well as showcasing this seasons must-have designer gowns. For a chic finishing touch, expert nail technicians will be creating bespoke 'Cointreauversial' manicures."


Being a bargain hunter (code for cheapskate) I was especially drawn in by the complimentary drink and goodie bags we would be getting.  And they did not let me down.  Upon arrival we were given our drinks tokens (to left).  I had requested 3 tickets to the event so I took along my fellow business women Ellen, of B Millinary, and Pip, of Pip Jolley.   Cointreau were very generous and gave us two tokens each and there was also the cocktail that we made in our masterclass too, so a total of 3 free cocktails each.  More than enough to get me sozzled!

On to the cocktail masterclass!  We were taught how to make 'MargaDita's', Cointreau's take on the traditional Margarita.  This is the man that taught us --->  there was also another man on hand to help if needs be.  So what is in a MargaDita?  Well here's what:

1 measure of Tequila
1 measure of Cointreau
1 measure of Fresh Lime Juice (not the bottled stuff!)
1 bar spoon of Rose Syrup
A pinch of Chipotle Spice (some sort of chilli powder)

Add ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker and shake till the shaker is all frosty.  Pour and enjoy!

Here you can see Ellen and Pip adding their healthy measure of Cointreau and Myself and Ellen shaking our tail feathers/cocktail shakers.  The set up of the room and bar learning area was really proffessionally done with 3 to 4 people per bench and just enough people to make it feel busy but not so many you couldn't hear what was going on.  The man teaching us was really easy to follow and the recipe really easy!  The only slight nag I have is that the Monin Rose Syrup and Chipotle Spice are quite specialist ingredients and so may take a search on tinternet to find rather than being widly available in supermarkets.

I tweeted this picture to Dita and got a retweet from Mama Von Teese whoop!
The finished result!  One perfectly formed MargaDita.  The glass that it is in was part of our goodie bag (and it's real glass! Impressed!!!).  The goodie bag had everything in it needed to be a host of a cocktail party......well sort of.  

We got a rather snazzy paper bag and in it a mini plastic cocktail shaker, full size martini glass, mini bottle of Cointreau and a voucher for money off a full size bottle of the good stuff.  Ellen's cocktail shaker was a metalic pink shaker whereas mine and Pip's were plastic.  At first we were a little jelous but the plastic one has lines on it for the ingredients to make a Cointreaupolitan so it was just as good as the posh metal one :).  The voucher also had another Cointreau cocktail recipe on it so we were given plenty of good ideas of what we can make at home, not just the MargaDita we made.  And as our masterclass showed us, it is very easy to create amazing cocktails.
 The next activity Cointreau layed on for everyone was a manicure a la Dita Von Teese.
Ellen and I being pampered and a shot of me with my manicure and the cocktail that I made.  There was a limited choice of colour for nails, about 4, on the theme of Cointreau colours.  The ladies were working really hard and there was a long queue of ladies waiting to have their nails manicured.  I chose the traditional orange Cointreau colour for my nails.

The final activity Cointreau had organised was one that was a little dissapointing.  A company with a rail of designer dresses were there.  The point of their website is for women to hire expensive designer dresses instead of them having to buy them.  A brilliant concept as many young people can't afford to buy designer dresses so being able to hire one for a special occassion is great.  They had a rail of lovely looking dresses but, and here's the stinger, we weren't allowed to try them on :(.  They were however running a competition for people attending to win an opportunity to hire a dress for a night for free.........or something like that, to be honest I was a little tipsey at this point.
The other notable thing and possibly the highlight of my night was the venue itself.  It was held at the ninetyeight bar in Shoreditch, London.  The decor was fantastically eccentric

I particularly enjoyed the blue plastic dinosaur that had potpourrie in!  And the ducks on top of the spirit and liqueur bottles.  We bumped into the owner of the bar and she was a lovely welcoming lady.  So if you are looking for a fun, quirky and relaxed place to drink cocktails in, in London, go to the ninetyeight bar!  Anyway the amazing potpourrie dinosaur was sitting on top of a piano..........so naturally in my drunken little head I had to play it.  I have not played the piano in about 10 years, at least!  But I had a go anyway and Ellen filmed it.

I thought Ellen was only going to take a picture so that is why I am grinning insanely and staying very still.  And I clearly have hearing problems.  I decided to play chopsticks because in my drunken mind that was the only thing I remember how to play, and I did a pretty bad job of it haha.

All in all it was a fantastic night with really good company.  I'm a Cointreau drinker and cocktail maker at home anyway, but for those of you who aren't I urge you to try it.  Making cocktails at home is not as difficult as you may think, and Cointreau have made it even easier for us.  Head on over to their website and you can learn about their history and pick up loads of yummy recipes to try out at home.  I even met the man of my dreams.

Lastly here is a group shot against the Cointreau background, a great opportunity for a spot of posing!
I'm wearing quite high heels and still I look like a midget compared with the other girlies.  Oh well!  Thanks Cointreau for a great night :)

Lots of Love 
Betty xxx

P.S  I almost forgot I totally need to get me one of these:

Very "on brand" ;-)


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How to be beautiful 24/7 - Tips from 1938

It can be said that if us girls were to keep ourselves perfectly preened and glamorous every single day, we would have no time at all to do anything else.  Looking beautiful all the time takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  There's cleansing, toning, moisturising, exfoliating, waxing, plucking, shampooing, conditioning, brushing, setting, face masks, manicures, pedicures and not to mention the layers of make up applied with skill.  With modern busy lives, sometimes these things can slide a little - after all no one can see your hairy legs if you have trousers on.  So when I found a useful little section in one of my vintage books, I just had to share it with you.

The book of which I speak is actually a book for "The Bride".  I found it whilst clearing out my Uncle's house (he recently passed away).  It was a present from a Mr Kennard (whoever he is?!), on the occasion of my Grandparents engagement, to my Grandma.  It is a little sexist by today's standards as it is not only a book on how to plan the perfect wedding, but also a handbook on how to be the perfect housewife and wife in general.  That aside it does have some really useful hints and tips.  In particular it has a super useful "Beauty Calender", a daily list of areas to concentrate on so that all your appearance is lovely and becoming 24/7.  I believe this is something the modern gal can learn from.  It breaks down all the tasks us ladies have to do into manageable daily chunks so beautifying isn't as daunting a task.

MONDAY.- Nails, hands and elbows.  A once-a-week manicure should be sufficient if you do it properly, and are careful to push back the cuticle whenever you are drying your hands.  On your "nails, hands and elbows day" after you have filed your nails and removed the polish, cover your hands with a rich cream, paying special attention to the cuticle, then have a look at your elbows.  Even if they are in fairly good condition, it will be a good plan to massage them for five minutes with a cream of which the base is lemon or peroxide.  Then wipe them off, wash them in warm water, and dry them.  By this time your nails will have had a good oily soak as well, and you can finish your manicure.
TUESDAY.- Look around for incipient wrinkles-at the eye corners, between the brows and around the mouth.  Pat in a nourishing skin food.  Let it remain for five minutes.  Take it off with a pure skin lotion, and then pat some more of the lotion into the area.
WEDNESDAY.- Neck and chin.  Apply olive oil or a skin food into the neck with an upwards motion towards the chin.  Remove this with warm water or tonic, rub in some more cream and leave it on the skin for at least five minutes.  Tap along the surface under the chin and the jaw line, with fingers that have been dipped generously in skin food.  When you remove the cream, take a piece of ice wrapped in a cloth and rub it upwards on your neck and around the chin and jaw.
THURSDAY.- Face.  Cover the face with a cleansing cream and leave it on for five minutes.  Then remove it with skin tonic.  Now apply a beauty mask.  You can make one with Fuller's Earth and Skin Tonic mixed to a thick paste, or if you dip cotton wool into the unbeaten white of an egg and apply this all over the face, in an upward movement.  Lie down flat on your back for half an hour.  Keep your eyes closed and try to relax.  Then take off the beauty mask with skin lotion, apply a good coat of skin food and leave this on for five minutes.  After you have taken away all traces of the cream, rub ice over your skin.  Your skin will feel fresh and renewed.
FRIDAY.- Teeth and eyes.  Look at your teeth in a good light and see if there are any discolourations.  If so, try the bicarbonate of soda hint mentioned in the paragraph on the care of the teeth.  Turn your attention to your eyebrows.  If they are uneven, pull out the odd hairs with tweezers.  Try to spare twenty minutes or half an hour for the eyes themselves.  Dip pads of cotton wool in strong cold tea which has been strained.  Lie down and cover your eyes with the pads, renewing them occasionally.  This rests and refreshes the eyes and makes them brighter.
SATURDAY.-Very special bath and care of the feet.  Make this a really ceremonial bath.  Don't just pop into the tub and out again.  Wallow in that warm water.  Put some of your favourite bath salts in it.  After you have thoroughly dried yourself, use a spray with eau-de-Cologne.  Then have your weekly pedicure.
SUNDAY.- Hair.  Give your scalp a five minutes' massage, keeping the thumbs pressed against the head and moving the scalp with the fingers.  Far from hurting your wave, this will help to renew it.  Then give your hair a really good vigorous brushing.  Lastly, set it back into its normal shape, and if possible, cover it with a veil or net for half an hour.

Phew!  Did you get all that?  Some of the advice is written in quite an old fashioned way.  For example you have to use your noggin and realise that 'skin food' is probably moisturiser.  But I believe that if you list all the areas that you wish to improve upon in your beauty regime, then break them down into little tasks and assign a day, you won't get those days where you think 'urgh my skin looks so dull and dirty' or 'yuk my feet are all dry and flakey'.

Another section in the Brides Book which I love is the chapter on Entertaining.  All about how to host the perfect cocktail party!  But that shall be another blog post topic.

I shall leave you with the very exciting news that the Black Nell Robe is back in stock IN ALL SIZES!!!!!  So if you missed out last time on this beaut, go on and treat yourself.  Alternatively celebrate all things British (with all the Olympics and Paralympics on the telly and all that) by grabbing something made entirely in the UK on my website ;-).

Lots of Love
Betty xxx