Category Archives: Lifestyle

Rum Cocktails

Rum cocktail recipe the Dark 'n Stormy with Zacapa rum. Rum cocktail recipe the dark rum Espresso Martini with Zacapa rum.

Something that I love almost as much as the colour black is good dark rum. Anyone who has ever had even a few drinks with me will know that a classic rum and coke, or Cuba Libre if you’re being fancy, is my signature drink. But I could will happily drink almost anything with rum in it.

I actually used to work in a cocktail bar, so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks over the years and I still enjoy mixing up a good drink. The Dark ‘n Stormy and rum Espresso Martini are two of my favourites. They’re both super simple to make and require only a few ingredients, so they’re perfect for whipping up to impress friends.

I prefer my Espresso Martini with a little twist, replace the vodka with dark rum, and add sugar syrup for extra sweetness. Rum and coffee are such a great combination, and this makes an already great drink even richer and far more delicious, in my opinion. If you prefer a stronger and less sweet drink, just double the rum to 50ml and remove the syrup.

Sugar syrup is something that’s called for in many cocktail recipes. It sounds fancy, but if like most people it’s not something you have lying around, you can make your own at home in just a few minutes. Simply add equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stir continuously for 2-5 minutes until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Any kind of sugar you have will do, but I think brown sugar is especially nice with rum!

A little tip for the Dark ‘n Stormy – when building a drink in a glass, the easiest way to create a layered effect like this, is to gently pour in the liquid you want to ‘float’ over the back of a spoon. This stops it mixing with the other liquids as it’s poured in. You can also use this technique for any drink that should be layered, such as another one of my favourites, the White Russian or Cuban (with rum!) and various shooters.

Rum is such a versatile spirit to have around and a great staple to have in your drinks cabinet. A nice rum like Zacapa is wonderful all by itself, but it can also be combined with lots of simple ingredients to create everything from easy mixed drinks to the fanciest classic cocktails.

For more rum cocktail recipes check out theBar.com.

This post is in collaboration with theBar.com

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Vision Express Brands Launch

Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Vision Express black Heritage glasses frames eyewear Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Vision Express black Heritage frames eyewear Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with stylist Gemma Sheppard choosing Vision Express glasses frames Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT choosing Vision Express glasses frames Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Vision Express black Heritage frames eyewear

Last month Vision Express launched a brand new, exclusive collection of in house brands. I was invited down to the Oxford Street store for the launch event to check them out and for a personal styling session with the lovely Gemma Sheppard to find my own perfect pair.

As I arrived I had a quick browse of the store before being handed a glass of bubbles and taken upstairs to have my eyes tested. The last time I had an eye test I was told that I really ought to start wearing glasses for computer work and reading. I feel a little bad admitting it, but I didn’t think they seemed all that bad and so I just never got around to getting myself a pair. That was two or three years ago now, but over the past year I’ve noticed them getting quite a bit worse. As I expected, my eye test confirmed that one of my eyes is long sighted and one is short sighted. The optometrist also told me that this is something that could really be contributing to my frequent headaches and I suddenly felt pretty annoyed with myself for putting off getting a pair for so long.

Once it was clear I needed glasses I went downstairs to see Gemma, who had already laid out a good selection of frames she thought would suit my face. It was lovely to see Gemma again and have a little catch up, plus a quick play around in the photo booth! I’d met her before when I went to check out the Zatchels factory in Leicester way back in 2013, and it was so nice that she instantly remembered me, even despite how long ago that was.

We both agreed that a black pair of frames were obviously most suited to me, and so we tried on a few different styles from the Heritage and In Style ranges. As soon as I tried this pair on, it was clear to both of us that they were the frames for me. The slight cat eye shape is super flattering on me and the oversized lenses make a great statement. I love that they are kind of like a hybrid of my favourite cat eye and wayfarer sunglasses too, meaning it took me no time at all to get used to seeing them on my face and adjust to wearing them.

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Winter Walks

Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with husky dog Nico wearing OASAP pom pom beanie, The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 jacket, H&M asymmetric jumper, Hunter wellington boots, Topshop faux fur handwarmers. All black everything dark style winter dog walking outfit. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with husky dog Nico wearing OASAP pom pom beanie, The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 jacket, H&M asymmetric jumper, Hunter wellington boots, Topshop faux fur handwarmers. All black everything dark style winter dog walking outfit. FAIIINT Siberian Husky dog Nico. FAIIINT Siberian Husky dog Nico, standing up and playing. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with husky dog Nico wearing OASAP pom pom beanie, The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 jacket. Dog kissing licking face. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 HyVent jacket. All black everything dark style winter dog walking outfit details. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with husky dog Nico wearing OASAP pom pom beanie, The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 jacket, H&M asymmetric jumper, Hunter wellington boots, Topshop faux fur handwarmers. All black everything dark style winter dog walking outfit. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT with husky dog Nico wearing OASAP pom pom beanie, The North Face Evolution TriClimate 3 in 1 jacket. Outfit details.

It’s finally drawing to the end of winter, the days are getting longer and the chill in the air is slowly disappearing, which means me and Nico can at last get in some proper daylight walks again. I always enjoy when it first starts to get dark early and we can walk around the eerily quiet streets and by the park looking at the stars, but as winter drags on, walking in the pitch black, unless it’s a weekend, quickly gets a little depressing. Especially when all you want to do is curl up inside and hide from the cold.

I’m not quite sure how I managed to survive the last few freezing months of dog walks without this The North Face jacket from Blacks. It’s one of those things that I never really knew I needed, but now I have it, I don’t know how I ever did without it. I can’t bear the thought of ever going back to piling on jumpers under my old coat and battling with an umbrella to keep myself warm and dry – and usually still ending up freezing and soggy regardless! Those are the kinds of things that really take the enjoyment out of going for a walk, and when you have a high energy dog who needs his walk no matter what the weather is doing, it’s pretty important that you enjoy going. I think Nico can kind of sense when I’m in a mood and don’t really want to be outside too, we definitely both have a nicer time when I’m not cold, wet and annoyed!

With an innovative 3 in 1 design, the jacket has a fleece inner which cleverly zips in to the outer shell, meaning they can be worn together for added warmth on cold days or worn individually too. The Polartec fleece is deceptively lightweight for something that is this good at retaining body heat, it’s kept me so toasty when I’m all zipped up that I haven’t even bothered to put a jumper underneath it recently. It’s a highly functional jacket and the HyVent outer shell has lots of nice built in features, like underarm ventilation, a storable hood and a double layer storm flap, making it a pretty unbeatable wet weather companion and super versatile too. I feel like it’s got me covered, whatever this unpredictable British weather (or Nico ‘look how muddy I am, lets hug!’) throws at me.

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Nocturna

FAIIINT Nocturna 'Salem' candle and Arcana Rose Water Mist. Dark homewear decor still life with deer skull.FAIIINT Nocturna 'Salem' candle.FAIIINT Nocturna 'Salem' candle and Arcana Rose Water Mist. Dark homewear decor still life with deer skull.

I’m slowly working my way through buying each piece on my indie designer and jewellery wishlists, and last month I finally got my hands on one of Nocturna‘s candles. I have been meaning to try them out for the longest time, the names and scents really intrigued me and of course they look absolutely beautiful in their black glass holders too.

All of Nocturna’s candles are hand poured in Australia, they are made from only the finest cruelty free ingredients and are vegan friendly. Crafted from an eco friendly coconut and soy wax blend, which is harvested from sustainable sources they are free of additives and dyes making them clean burning and safe for both humans and the earth.

I was torn between which to get first, but I finally settled on ‘Salem‘ after Sam told me it was her personal favourite. It’s an oriental scent made up of frankincense, myrrh, balsam, patchouli and sandalwood, the fragrance is beautifully delicate and not overpowering like some candles can be. It sounds like a weird thing to say, but it really reminds me of the way Nico’s fur smells. I mean that in the best way possible too as it’s one of my most favourite scents, I’m always burying my head in his fur! Huskies do not have a typical ‘doggy’ odour and smell kind of like puppies do, it’s this lovely outdoorsy, warm, sweetly powdery smell and it’s so comforting. That’s the perfect way to describe this scent too, comforting. I’ve been burning it whilst curled up on the sofa at night reading or laying down listening to soft music, it’s incredibly relaxing. My favourite thing though is the wooden wick, which makes a gentle crackling noise as the flame flickers and gives off a subtle smokey fragrance, like a log fire. None of my other candles quite measure up now.

I also couldn’t resist adding the newly released Arcana Rose Water mist to my order, I love a nice toner and I was completely drawn in by the beautiful black violet glass bottle too. Made from double distilled and 100% pure certified organic Rose Otto water sourced from the sacred ‘Valley of Roses’, the fragrance is absolutely intoxicating and it has become the perfect final step in my nightly cleansing routine. I like to use this routine as a way to wind down ready for sleep, using balms and relaxing essential oils to massage the skin. I’ve been misting this over my cleansed face to lock in moisture, it’s super hydrating and refreshing on the skin and the fragrance is wonderfully calming before climbing into bed.

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Nico & Treasure #RIGiveADogAHome

FAIIINT Siberian Husky Nico with River Island and Dogs Trust whippet Dog-equin dog mannequin.FAIIINT Siberian Husky Nico with River Island and Dogs Trust whippet Dog-equin dog mannequin.FAIIINT Siberian Husky Nico with River Island and Dogs Trust whippet Dog-equin dog mannequin.

This month River Island have teamed up with Dogs Trust to re-home 1,200 limited edition dog-equins and give them a new home just in time for Christmas. Dogs Trust are the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, they do wonderful work caring for over 17,000 stray and unwanted dogs every single year at their re-homing centres, which are full of a vast variety of different breeds and mixes all looking for their forever homes. The campaign aims to remind people of these unwanted pups that would love nothing more than a new family to call their own and that a dog (or dog-equin!) is for life and not just for Christmas. The dog-equins range from £6-48 and all proceeds from their sales will go straight to Dogs Trust.

Being the crazy dog lady that I am, of course I couldn’t not get involved in this! River Island kindly sent Nico the nicest little doggy box full of treats, a blanket and some bits for me too which he was super excited about, but that was nothing compared to his excitement when I brought home Treasure (she likes long walks and catwalks). I loved the idea of the campaign and I really wanted to support the cause myself too, but couldn’t get down to my local River Island until after work and I was pretty sure they were all going to be sold out. I had my heart set on either the long haired Afghan Hound or the Whippet and as I looked in the window, there was this one lone Whippet left, so of course I took her home with me. As you can see, I think Nico is pretty smitten with her too!

Most of the dog-equins are now sold out, but it’s worth checking with your local store if they still have any left, or alternatively if you’d just like to support this wonderful cause you can donate directly to Dogs Trust via Paypal here.

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