December 2011





When several of my friends turned 30, it was as though they’d completely and utterly disappeared off the face of the earth.  Ignoring calls of those who wanted to help them celebrate they silently let their birthday slip by.  Needless to say, this was incredibly boring.

Who wants to hide away?  Not me.  When we’re getting older and have fewer reasons for a night out, if there’s a good excuse for a party, use it.

Of course, it’s not about the party – it’s about you.  Birthdays are a celebration of everything you are and everything you still want to be.  Ok, so they do also coincide with getting older, but before drowning yourself in a litre of gin at the thought, consider the convenient fact that you are only ever as old as you feel.

And if there’s one way to feel good, it’s being surrounded by your favourite people at your favourite place, doing all of your favourite things (yes, it’s all about you!).  In stark contrast, choosing to shut yourself away from the world and devouring your own body weight in chocolate will not make you feel good about yourself by any stretch of the tracksuit pant.

Why not let it all hang out, so to speak?  If you’re having a milestone birthday, make it memorable. Do something you’ve never done before.  Try something (or someone) new. Make the party last all weekend.  No one ever said that you have to act your age so forget the number, put on the glamour and strut your stuff like a star.

Feeling despondent about hitting thirty or forty might be an easy trap to fall into but don’t be fooled.  In another ten years from your milestone birthday will you want to remember it for the night you hid at home with the lights off, hoping no one would think you’re in?  I thought not.  For your next milestone birthday make it one to remember – get out there, live it up – party like the star you are.  You only turn that age once!

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All of us enjoy an excuse to get together and have a few drinks with the girls, but whether you are putting on cocktails or mocktails, you can cater for a girl’s night at a fraction of the price if you make your own rather than buying pre-mixed drinks.

Here are some easy and delicious drinks that you can mix in seconds and dazzle your guests with:

Champagne Cocktails: Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, add three dashes of bitters and allow to soak into the cube then pour in one measure of brandy and top up the rest of the flute with champagne.

Brandy Alexander: Fill a cocktail shaker to ¾ with ice then add one measure of brandy, one of crème de cacao, and one measure of full cream. Shake and pour liquid only over fresh ice, or serve with no ice in a martini glass.

Pina Colada: Add 4-6 cracked ice cubes to a cocktail shaker, pour in 3 measures of rum (different recipes call for different combinations of white and dark rum, but using one or the other works fine) 3 measures of coconut cream and 3 measures of pineapple juice. Shake well.

Manhattan: Stir one dash of bitters, 3 measures of whiskey and one measure of sweet vermouth over 4-6 cracked ice cubes. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and decorate with a cherry.

And for some fun mocktails:

Virgin Mary: Pour tomato juice over 3-4 ice cubes, add a dash each of lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce (or black pepper sauce) and Tabasco (chilli) sauce, stir well and serve in a long glass with a straw and a stick of celery to garnish. This is also touted as a great hangover cure.

Cinders: Add 4 ice cubes, juice of 1 lime, ½ an orange, 150 ml pineapple juice and a few drops of bitters to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and serve with soda water or dry ginger to taste.

Muddy Puddle: Juices of ½ lemon and ½ an orange poured over ice, topped up with cola and garnished with a slice of orange and serve with a straw.

Sparkling non-alcoholic apple juice makes a great champagne substitute, try it instead of champagne in your favourite mocktail recipes, or serve it on its own in a champagne flute.

There is nothing as good as a night with your best girls and lots of laughter.  Make sure you do it often.

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