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My dream job would be watching Netflix, I just love it. I even download episodes and films to watch on my commute to work. It’s so bloody handy! I thought it would be nice to do a little post about what I’ve been watching, because I personally love reading posts like this and getting new recommendations of what to watch. Most of these will be programmes, even though I love watching the films, I generally watch the same kind of romantic, lovey-dovey films ha – so if you have any great films that you’ve watched on Netflix then please do let me know!

The Crown

Okay first has to be The Crown. If you haven’t watched it already, then what are you waiting for?! I’m a teeny bit obsessed with the Royals, I just find them fascinating. Season 1 begins with King George VI and then the coronation and current reign of our Queen Elizabeth II, and it is just brilliant. Being that the Queen was crowned in 1952 and waaaay before my time, I find it so amazing to watch and read up on all the Royal gossip after each episode. Also Claire Foy is just so perfect as the Queen, she won’t be in Season 3 unfortunately and I can’t see anyone else playing the Queen but we will have to see Olivia Colman lives up to the role!

Peaky Blinders

Oh-em-gee. Two words: Thomas Shelby. Well, first of all he is absolutely gorgeous. Secondly, the show is about gangsters. What is not to love?! It’s set in 1920’s Birmingham and follows the Shelby family in the aftermath of World War I. It’s so crazy and intense, so much fun to watch. I think Season 1 was my favourite, it makes a great binge-watch. Season 4 isn’t on Netflix at the moment, and I got so annoyed that BBC iPlayer took Season 4 off before I got a chance to watch it!

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Grace and Frankie

This recommendation came to me from one of my best friends, as an easy-to-watch and entertaining programme. I watched the first episode and fell in love with the characters, the plotlines, everything! It’s subtle comedy and I find it hilarious. I have been likened to the character of Frankie (which I’m not sure is a good thing or not), but I find her so funny so I’m going to take it a good thing! Grace is played by Jane Fonda who looks so good for 70! I won’t give away the story but it’s about two friends who find themselves in an unlikely situation!

The Sinner

The Sinner was one of those shows that when it first came out, everyone was watching it and talking about it, so naturally I wanted to see what all the fuss was about! At first, I really didn’t get it, but that is the beauty of the show is that it pulls you back in every time. I just desperately wanted to know what the story was, so obviously I continued watching. The story focuses on young mother Cora Tannetti, who commits a very violent and public stabbing, with no explanation as to why.

Alias Grace

This was a show that came up as a recommendation after watching The Sinner, and it was such a strange programme but I am sure that some of you will love it! It’s a psychological thriller based on Grace Marks and the 1864 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. Very interesting and at the end of every episode I was so confused so I wanted to carry on watching. It can be quite scary (or maybe that’s me being a wuss), but I would love to know what you think!

Friends

I mean, I couldn’t write a post on Netflix without mentioning one of the best programmes ever: Friends. I know some people think that this show is now so dated (which to be fair it is, it came out in 1994 – when I was born, eeeek!), and the jokes are maybe not what would be acceptable in this day and age, but in all honesty, I couldn’t care less! I loved it when I was growing up and I still love it now. It’s a bloody classic and I’ve watched every episode hundreds of times and I don’t regret one second!

(Although there are a lot of plotholes which will forever haunt and p*ss me off.)

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Gossip Girl

Another bloody classic. I could watch this on repeat all the time (often happens, I won’t lie!). When I went to New York in December, I made a point of visiting a lot of the Gossip Girl landmarks, because even though Friends was set in New York, it wasn’t filmed there and so I knew I had to visit some of GG’s hotspots! I just love the show, it’s full of hot gossip (who would have thought?), and tons of amazing fashion. There are also loads of famous cameos too, and even though Blair and Serena have more fights than you can count, it’s brilliantly entertaining.

The Office

Another recommendation from a friend, and this is exactly my kind of humour, Ricky Gervais is just so funny. He has that dry sarcastic kind of humour and it just makes me die. It’s set in a typical office environment in England, and it’s like a documentary-style programme – so brilliant.

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Wild Child

Last but certainly not least, it’s the only film on the list! Wild Child is one of my all-time favourites, it’s about an American brat who gets sent to an English boarding school. I love her hair salon moment, and Freddie is so hot! You just can’t help but root for her, even if she was really annoying at first. Typical rom-com, but an all-round girly, feel-good film!

What are you watching on Netflix right now?

 

 

I know Valentine’s Day is not for everyone, and it is also very commercialised (trust me I know, I share my birthday with the damn day!), but I also think that it encourages people to make effort and give yourselves and your partners a lil’ treat! You may or may not agree, but as much as I do sometimes wish it wasn’t my birthday on the same day, there is something a little bit cute about it.

I know that not everyone has a lot of cash to splash, especially to endorse a commercialised holiday such as Valentine’s Day but if you do want to do something and not break the bank, I’ve split these suggestions into ‘Budget Ideas’ and ‘Higher End Ideas’ to make it easier!

Budget Ideas

Organise a Scavenger Hunt – I love this idea so much, it can be tailored to any kind of budget, and you can be as creative as you like! It could be around your house, around your garden or even as adventurous as around your town. If you wanted to, you could leave little presents at each checkpoint instead of a big present at the end – it’s totally up to because you can customise it!

Outdoor Cinemas – This is all the rage now especially around London, and I think this is a lovely idea. When it’s chilly you can snuggle up to your significant other and watch a romantic movie. I know the prices can range from about £12 to £30 per person, so if you can spare it then it is definitely worth it. I visited the Winter Garden outdoor cinema in Clapham Common before Christmas to watch The Holiday and it was so cute! I really want to visit the Backyard Cinema next!

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Photo taken from Backyard Cinema

Dinner & a Movie – This classic date idea is a classic for a reason. If you’re feeling a little bit broke then you can buy fresh ingredients and make something from scratch, such a good idea because it shows that you put effort into it! Also now that Netflix and Amazon Prime are so readily available, I don’t really buy DVD’s anymore, but if you have a favourite movie as a couple, it might be a good idea to invest so that you can always watch your favourite movie with your favourite person (alllllll the cheese).

Volunteer – Everyone needs a little love at this time of the year, and I have been donating a lot of time recently to various different charities and homeless people. Maybe organise a day that you can spend some time volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter and give something back together. I’ve volunteered at Crisis London many times, and it’s a fab thing to do.

 

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Photo from Crisis London

Build a Fort – Just because we’re adults, that doesn’t mean we can’t behave like children sometimes! Get some blankets, pillows, fairy lights and set up in front of the TV with lots of films and you’re sorted! Bonus points if you have red wine, cheese and crackers, turn it into a lil’ indoor picnic and go wild!

Higher End Ideas

Salsa Class – I used to take salsa classes through my office until the teacher couldn’t teach the class anymore. I found it so much fun and with the right partner it can be very sensual. If you haven’t done anything similar to this with your partner then it can be a great way to have some fun and relax after a long day at work. It can also get your super fit so get booking a class and shimmy the night away! There are lots of options, especially in London, so LondonSalsa is a great place to start!

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Photo from London Salsa

Spa Day – I am in love with spa days, I think they are the perfect way to relax and with options to have couples massages, it is the nicest way to spend an afternoon with your beloved. They can be quite pricey so keep a lookout for any cheaper deals you can find. I know SpaBreaks always have some good deals.

Wine Tasting – If you read my ‘What I Got For Christmas 2017’ you will know that I received a voucher for a wine-tasting experience, and I just think it’s such a great idea to do something like with your partner. Obviously it’s a bonus if you and your OH like drinking wine, but even if you didn’t it might be the perfect opportunity to try it and see what you think. Either way, it’s something totally different and fun!

Cooking Class – This would be my ideal date night, maybe that is because I just love cooking and it really does soothe me. But also, I think it’s quite cool that you can learn a some new recipes. It’s quite sweet that you can go home and make that kind of food again and again and always be reminded of a cool date! Groupon always has some great deals on.

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Photo from atelierdeschefs

City Break – This can definitely be a pricey one, especially if you want to leave the country and visit a European city for example, but there are plenty of lovely cities in England that would make for an amazing weekend break, such as Oxford or Bath. You can always look for cheap airline deals online, and look for Air BnB‘s instead of fancier hotels.

Bonus Date Idea

Lastly, you can re-create your first date. Now this is a bonus date idea because everyone’s first date is totally different and of course different budgets. But generally if it’s something you can re-create, such as a cinema and a pizza date, then why not? It’s such a romantic idea and it will show that you’ve thought about it and put some effort into the idea.

So those are my Valentine’s Day Date Ideas! Which of these are your favourites? Do you have any plans for Valentines Day?

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It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

When it came to naming this blog post, I had to hope that any readers or followers of The Dizzying Heights didn’t think I’d gone insane. As a blogger myself and especially around this time of the year, I love reading Christmassy blog posts and this is one very close to my heart.

We all talk, write and think about what we love about Christmas pretty much the whole of December and this always includes, what we love to do, what we love to eat and what we love to wear. As weird as it sounds, I wanted to write a blog post about all my favourite smells around Christmas time.

The reason behind this post was because there are some smells around this time of year that just transport me to a different time in my life (nearly always Christmas), and I think that says a lot about them. Even though the majority of the smells are still around the other 11 months of the year, it’s this time of the year that they really shine.

The Spicy Scents:

Gingerbread. Of course, this comes as no surprise as it is a very festive scent, but I do love the smell of gingerbread. Whether it’s gingerbread men or women baking in the oven, or assembling a gingerbread house (such a fun activity to do on a rainy December afternoon), or burning a gingerbread-scented candle, which as you guys must know is one of my favourite things to do to achieve the ultimate cosy day in. I also love gingerbread in my coffee or hot chocolate, so now that we’ve all established that I love gingerbread, shall we move on to the rest of the scents?

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Cinnamon. Another festive favourite. For me cinnamon is a definite winner all year round, I love cinnamon buns and cinnamon on top of my coffee, but in winter and especially around Christmas time, it just feels so warm and again it works so well in candles. That smell of baking in your house is so easily achieved with a cinnamon scent and that is one thing I love so much!

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Nutmeg. If you recall, I did mention that my lovely candle from AA in my candles post that Nutmeg is such an overlooked scent at this time of the year. I do feel like gingerbread and cinnamon are so much more popular when being associated to Christmas, but Nutmeg is actually beginning to take its place in my most Christmassy scents!

The Sweet Scents:

Frosted Berries. As I’ve mentioned before, The Body Shop are always amazing at any time of the year but at Christmas I feel like they really do shine. I love their products so much and their festive range is no different. They have brought out three festive scents: vanilla chai, frosted berries and frosted plum. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I bought all three scents in shower gels and the candles – best decision ever! This smells so festive and quite sweet but very wintery, it is one of my favourite scents so far!

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Frosted Plum. Like I said above, this is one of the other festive scents that The Body Shop have released this Christmas, and this is just such a lovely one. It’s not overpowering and it smells fruity and floral, which is not usually a combo that I like but somehow this just works!

Vanilla Chai. Oh-em-gee. I love this scent, it is sweet yet spicy and it just really ticks all of the boxes for me. My work got some vanilla syrup to put in our coffees, and it really has made all of the difference for me, ultimate Christmas coffees just need touch of vanilla apparently! My babes over at The Body Shop also have this scent as one of their festive scents and it just made my life.

The Fresh Scents:

Pine: Nothing says Christmas quite like the smell of a Christmas tree. I unfortunately have never had a real Christmas tree, which kind of sucks, but that has never stopped me from loving the smell of them! I understand why my parents don’t want a real tree because they can be quite pricey and they are messy too, but when I have my own house, I would love to have a real tree in the house. Candles that smell like Christmas trees really do help replace the scent in my living room, so I can’t really complain!

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Snow: I know it’s incredibly difficult to nail this scent, especially as snow doesn’t actually smell of very much. I imagine this scent to smell like a crisp winters day, when the sun is shining, but it is extremely cold and the air is fresh and clean. That is my favourite kind of day when it gets to Autumn/Winter, those long winter walks are one of the best things ever!

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Open Fire: We’ve all heard the song, and even though I’m not the biggest fans of roasted chestnuts, I am a huge fan of the open fire! I’ve always wanted a huge fireplace with a real fire burning and stockings hanging over it, maybe one day I’ll buy a place with my dream fireplace. For now, the smell (and sound) of a fire will have to do.

The Perfumes:

Perfume Gift Sets or just perfumes are such a common present that I couldn’t not add them into this post. I personally love receiving perfumes, especially brands/smells that are unknown to me because it introduces me to new scents that I would never have known about. I decided to add 3 scents into this category, so that I could highlight one from each kind of price range.

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Budget: Japanese Cherry Blossom I do love the Body Shop, which I think I’ve mentioned a fair few times in this post alone, let alone the rest of my blog! I just think they have fab deals and a great loyalty programme, as well as genuinely good products. Getting perfumes and body mists from here are such a bargain and such good value for money. I use this one as my everyday perfume and it lasts for ages and didn’t break the bank – hurray!

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Mid-range Armani Code. I love the scent of this perfume, it is one of my favourite perfumes to wear when I’m going out, but not somewhere fancy. It is long-lasting, not overly expensive and it is a scent that I feel suits me quite well. The notes are vanilla, jasmine and orange, which do sound quite festive actually! Also I love the look and shape of the bottle, I think it looks very expensive and classy! Top marks all round!

Luxury Fragrance Gift Sets: I know this is fairly extravagant, but Christmas is a time for giving and for those people in your life that you really want to spoil, Clive Christian* always have some gorgeous perfume gift sets. There is a reason that these gift sets are luxurious – they are made with only the most precious and finest ingredients. I can confirm that the samples I received smelled incredible; quite strong scents, musky and rich, and they also lasted for a long time.

As well as the scent, the bottle is also what you’re paying for with this luxurious brand. Queen Victoria was so impressed with these perfumes when they were part of the Crown Perfumery, that she allowed them to use an image of her crown for the top of the bottle. I have to say that I’m a teeny bit obsessed with anything to do with the Royal Family (anyone else love The Crown?), and for them to put their seal of approval on it makes me want to purchase this.

I think this would be a perfect gift for a loved one, everyone loves a perfume at Christmas time, and this is luxurious and you can be sure that the recipient of this beautiful gift will never forget such a beautiful gift.

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Additionally, Clive Christian is doing an Advent Calendar competition so do check it out!

  1. Every day, Clive Christian is hiding advent baubles on their website
  2. Every day, a clue is posted on Instagram to help the user find it on the website
  3. Once the user has found it, the user must take a screen shot and post it on their own account and tag @clivechristianperfume
  4. Each day, one person will win the daily prize!

Aaaaand those were my 12 Scents of Christmas! I had so much fun writing this post, and I’d love to see what kind of smells you associate with Christmas, so do leave me a comment below and let me know if any of mine are the same!

 *This post was kindly sponsored by Clive Christian but as always, all opinions are my own! Read my disclaimer here to see how I work with brands.

Merry Christmas!

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You may or may not agree, but for me one of the best things about Christmas is giving gifts to loved ones. It’s genuinely the best feeling seeing your family opening presents that you’ve spent so much time and effort in finding. Making presents personal is always fun, and I feel like personal presents take the edge from a good present to a great present.

This year I’ve decided to make my own self-care gift boxes. They are just so easy to make, and so easy to personalise to give it that special touch. So when Amara* asked me to pick out a few things from their website, I thought it was the perfect way to fill up my self-care box!

I decided to make mine using products that I personally would love to see, and things that I would be able to relax with, because the whole point of self-care is just take care of yourself! The beauty of choosing the products is that you can tailor it to the recipient, which I think makes gifts even more special.

  •  A Candle. As you can tell from a lot of blog posts here at The Dizzying Heights, I like love candles. Especially around this time of year when it’s chilly outside! I just think there is nothing better than coming home and lighting a few candles for light, warmth and a lovely scent! My favourite candles are from Bath and Body Works, but as they’re not available in the UK, I’d have to stick with Yankee! My Autumn/Winter candle picks was my favourite to write, so check it out here if you want to read more!

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  • Slippers*. This is such a big one for feeling extra cosy, when I get home I put my comfy slippers on (after obvs changing into PJ’s), and you just feel so relaxed! It also helps that these slippers* from Amara are super soft, and they make such a great gift too! I know because I would love slippers for Christmas (in fact I end up buying new slippers around this time of year anyways – whoops)!

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  • Nail Polish. As well as having things in the box to help you relax, I would love to open a self-care box and see things in there to help you feel a bit fancy and glam. I think nail polish is the perfect little pressie to add to this box, and if it’s a festive colour then extra brownie points for you!

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  • Tea. I’ve written a huge blog post, which you can read here about my love of tea (with extra thanks going to teapigs) so I won’t bore you all by explaining why I love tea – I just do! As this box is to take care of yourself and to remind you to have some ‘me-time’, I thought that tea just had to make an appearance. I love sitting on the sofa in a onesie or some cosy PJ’s and watching a Christmas film with a cup of tea. No better feeling!

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  • Face mask. I couldn’t write a blog post about self-care without mentioning a face mask. I just absolutely love them! To me, they scream Sunday evenings and I think they are so important for taking care of your skin as well as giving you an excuse to relax in the bath (whilst waiting for the mask to do its magic of course). Don’t forget that you can also get 20% off with the code DIVYA20 on the entire Bloomtown website – you’re welcome!

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  • Eye mask. Getting a good night’s sleep is so important and occasionally I get a bout of insomnia, which completely sucks. But at least I have become a pro at how to at try and get some sleep on these sleepless nights. As well as a pillow spray, my trusty snoozy teapigs tea and a hot shower, I have started to use an eye-mask to block out any unnecessary sunlight. I have to say that it has worked wonders and this beautiful one from Amara* is so pretty that I feel a little bit cute wearing it.

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If I had more space in the box, I would have added maybe some festive shower gel or a bath bomb, and perhaps a nice notebook and matching pen. The beauty of these boxes is that you can tailor it to the person and also it doesn’t need to break the bank, because the majority of the products can be found at really good prices! Also, it’s always the thought that counts, not how you spend, which is something I really like to remember at this time of the year.

I think this idea is so lovely, and as well as making the contents personal, you can also make the box personal. I actually bought this box from Poundland (would you believe!!!) because I thought it was decorated so nicely, but you could buy a plain cardboard box and decorate it with stamps or Christmassy illustrations – the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, do let me know in the comments below if you have made a Christmas Self-Care Box as a gift for anyone, or maybe if you’ve switched things up and made one for yourself on Christmas Eve (such a good idea – I love a good Christmas Eve pamper!), either way, I’d love to know!

*THIS POST CONTAINS PR SAMPLES, BUT AS ALWAYS ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN – PLEASE SEE MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO

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Ah Christmas! My favourite time of the year, and the best time of year for socialising with friends, family and colleagues. I love a good knees-up but I know that not everyone drinks at all so please know that all of the alcohol in these cocktail recipes ideas can be replaced with non-alcoholic drinks.

Sparkly Raspberry Mimosas 

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I love mimosas because they’re so easy to make, especially when you have a lot of people coming over to your house or a party to host. I also feel like the red and white combo looks extra festive, which is why there is no orange juice in this version of my mimosas. I don’t personally drink a lot on Christmas Day but this could definitely be a breakfast drink instead of the traditional Bucks Fizz.

 Ingredients

  • Fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 ounces of simple syrup (1:1 ratio water and sugar)
  • 1 bottle of Champagne/Prosecco (replace with lemonade or tonic water for mocktails)
  • Sugared raspberries for garnish
  • Cranberry rimming sugar*

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Method

  1. Use a small amount of butter to cover rim of the champagne flute and dip into rimming sugar (you may have noticed that I used cranberry and there are no cranberries in this cocktail, but it tasted lovely!)
  2. In a champagne flute, add the raspberries and muddle using a muddler or wooden spoon until the raspberries are broken up.
  3. Add the simple syrup and fill the glass with chilled prosecco / replacement.
  4. Add some sugared raspberries on a cocktail stick for garnish.
  5. Serve chilled.

Cherry-Pomegranate Southside

This cocktail reminds me of Riverdale (Southside Serpents am-I-rite?), but basically a Southside is like the gin version of a Mojito and since I love gin possibly more than I love most people, it had to be included.

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Ingredients

  • Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate
  • lime juiced (about 1)
  • 1/2 cup cherry juice
  • 2 shots gin// leave out for mocktails //
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sprite
  • Ice

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Method

  1. Fill four rocks glasses with ice.
  2. Place the pomegranate seeds and lime juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or large jam jar. Use a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon to muddle the seeds by pressing them into the bottom of the shaker to release their juices.
  3. Add the cherry juice, gin and honey to the cocktail shaker, then fill with ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then strain the mixture into each of the rocks glasses.
  4. Top off each rocks glass with Sprite and serve.

Peppermint Swirl

I love a fresh drink and it doesn’t get fresher than peppermint. I know people love mint in their hot chocolates and peppermint teas but I loved the idea of drinking a minty cocktail. I also love the colours of red and green, making it super festive-looking.

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Ingredients

  • 70ml prosecco // use Sprite or lemonade for mocktails //
  • 40ml vanilla vodka (or add two drops of extract with normal vodka) // leave out or add cream soda for mocktails //
  • Peppermint liqueur (2 drops of peppermint oil + 3 tbsps of water)
  • Peppermint rimming sugar*
  • Candy canes (+ extra for garnish)
  • Crushed ice

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Method

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine ice, vodka, crushed candy canes and peppermint liqueur.
  2. Stir gently and strain into a chilled martini glass or flute rimmed with peppermint rimming sugar.
  3. Top with prosecco and garnish with a candy cane.

Spiced Apple Fizz

Add spiced to the beginning of any cocktail in this festive season and all of a sudden it becomes a Christmas cocktail! But yes that is exactly what I’ve done here (no shame here whatsoever). I love a bit of fizz and a bit of cinnamon, and I know that apple and cinnamon go well together and the rest was history.

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Ingredients

  • 50ml gin// leave out for mocktails //
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp apple juice
  • spiced apple bitters*
  • 2 pinches of ground cinnamon
  • handful ice cubes
  • 200ml bottle prosecco // add Sprite or lemonade for mocktails //
  • ½ small apple cored and thinly sliced

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  1. Pour the gin into a cocktail shaker or large jam jar. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, the apple juice, a generous pinch of cinnamon and a handful of ice cubes, pop on the lid and shake well.
  2. Strain into 2 fluted glasses and top up with prosecco. Sprinkle the apple slices with the remaining cinnamon and thread onto 2 cocktail sticks. Balance a cocktail stick across the rim of each glass and serve straight away.

Merry Mulled White Wine

Last, but certainly not least, we have the festive favourite of mulled wine. This can also be made with cider and I think I might have to try that because I love red wine and I’m not the biggest fan of mulled wine, it kind of tastes like it’s gone off (wow, doing a great job of inspiring you to make these aren’t I?), so I think cider might taste better? Anyways, I know lots of people love mulled wine at this time of the year and it’s one of the easiest to make, as well as turn into a mocktail. Also, I was so prepared to make this with red wine and then I realised that mulled wine can be made with white wine yay!

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P.S. Can we please not judge this pinker-than-pink mason jar? I know it belongs in the summer but my clear glass one broke literally moments before I began making cocktails *cue heartbreak*!

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Ingredients

  • 2 bottles of white wine // use hot apple juice for mocktails //
  • 500ml cider // use lemonade for mocktails //
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • Orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Orange bitters*
  • 2 tbsps elderflower cordial
  • 75g sugar

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Stir over a low heat for 10-15 minutes – don’t boil.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl if you wish and ladle into glass mugs.

So that was it for my festive cocktail ideas! I hope this has inspired you to make some Christmassy-themed drinks for when you have Christmas parties, or even if you want a cosy night at home with some friends and family. I’d love to see you re-create any of these drinks, so if you do make any of these, please post them on Instagram and tag me @thedizzyingheights – and do give me a follow whilst you’re there too (cheeky little plug – but it is Christmas right?).

Merry Christmas!

*THIS POST CONTAINS PR SAMPLES, BUT AS ALWAYS ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN – PLEASE SEE MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO