Advent Calendar 1: Sbiten

To get the ball rolling on this recipe advent calendar, here’s a Russian winter warmer that’s great if you want something fruity this festive season.

Sbiten used to be the eastern european go-to warm drink. The recipe was first documented in the twelfth century, and wasn’t replaced by the now more popular tea and coffee until the 1800s.

Full of festive spices and sweet blackberry flavours, this inky drink is going to becomes a season favourite of yours, for sure.

IMG_6770-0.JPG

Sbiten

  • 115g blackberry jam or bramble jelly
  •  honey
  • 1tsp cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, or a pinch of dried
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 625ml water

This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Put all your ingredients in a saucepan and bring it up to the boil, stirring to combine and to melt the jam.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Strain, and serve piping hot.

 

If you have leftover Sbiten, you can store it in the fridge for a day or two and reheat as needed. Realistically though, this sweet and spicy drink is going to vanish faster than you can say ‘Za zdorovje’!

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Lush Christmas: Bubblebars and Wands

Hello kittens!

Here’s the second segment of my Lush Christmas review. Today, we’re looking at the ultimate bubblebath experience- bubblebars.

Bubblebars

Bubblebars, like the bomb formula, were developed by the Lush founders to provide a gentle alternative to commercial bubble bath products. They’re also solid and ‘naked’, like many Lush products, which reduces packaging. They soften the water, produce lovely bubbles and just like ballistics, are vehicles for colour, skin kind ingredients and fragrance. However, unlike bombs, bubble bars can be broken up for multiple uses. Most bars can provide two baths worth of bubbles- some of the larger ones can do six or more.

Holly Golightly

Oh god I love this beautiful creation. Like a Christmas pudding plated in perfect Tiffany silver, this large bubblebar is the perfect gift for anyone who a) likes festive spice and b) enjoys an Audrey Hepburn reference.

IMG_6507

Holly Golightly’s holly topped and silver lustred outer coating yields to a vivid, holly-jolly green. She shares her fragrance with the shower gel Hot Toddy- warming cinnamon leaf oil, festive cloves and aromatic patchouli give a mulled feeling, only richened by the sweet orange and lime oils. It’s a really festive and restoring bath- perfect for a pick me up or a refreshing cool down after a hard day.

Being so large, you can get 4-6 baths out of this bubblebar. I like deep baths, and I like to spoil myself, so I use about half.

 

The Christmas Hedgehog

This cutesy little fella has a clarifying, cool fragrance, shared by last year’s Christmas soap, Noriko. He’s one of the most moisturising bubblebars out this year, thanks to his blue spines being made from a cocoa and shea butter rich bath melt formula.

IMG_6411

Floral ylang ylang complements balancing lavender in this bubblebar, with rose absolute to help with redness and soreness brought on by the cold weather.He’s also covered in pretty glitter and star confetti, for added festivity. In terms of size, he’s quite small, so he’s really only good for 1-2 adult sized baths.

 

Drummers Drumming

This bubblewand makes me smile every time I see it. Now, a bubble wand is like a concentrated bubblebar that you don’t crumble. Instead, you swish it like a magic wand in the water to release the bubble mixture, or run the tap over it into the bath, then allow it to dry off. In this way, bubble bars can be used again and again for 6-10 or even more baths.

IMG_6503

Drummers Drumming has a sweet strawberry scent, the same as the massage bar Strawberry Feels. It contains frankincense (aka Olibanum), if you weren’t feeling festive enough already, plus lovely bright bergamot and sweet, toning geranium. All I know is that is smells delicious, lasts ages, and looks like a retro drumming toy. You can actually use it for this purpose, as the jingle bells (also reusable- my cats are going to hate me) will give great percussive noise as the wand is spun.

 

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has been a festive favourite for several years at Lush. Its beautiful, dreamy fragrance of sexy jasmine and floral ylang ylang have been recaptured in the bath bomb Northern Lights this year, but I know no bath of mine is complete without some bubbles.

IMG_6406

Last year this fair sized bar (about 2-3 baths worth) was purple, but this year she’s a deeper blue, which I think gives a nicer colour in the bath.

 

The Christmas Penguin

If you like Monty, you’ll love this returning little guy. The Christmas Penguin is almost too cute to crumble. Almost.

He’s quite a large bubblebar, so you can easily get 2-3 baths from him. His fragrance is all citrus- aromatic bergamot, sweet orange blossom, bright and brassy lemon and bold mandarin give him a real zing to perk you up.

I love this little guy- he’s a great present for any penguin lover, and he also boasts a super unisex fragrance, so he’s a good option for any pink-shy men in your life. I know my brother received a few of these last year (for the former reason- he loves penguins).

 

Candy Mountain

Creamy Candy is one of the most popular year round bubblebars. Candy Mountain, its shimmery, swirly festive sibling is like a bigger, better version of it. Bigger, because its tall cone shape makes it suitable for 2-3 baths, and better because it’s shiny. Pink and white swirls give this bomb a real touch of Hooville charm. And now I need to rewatch the Grinch. Oh no.

IMG_6497

Like Creamy Candy, this bubblebar has a sweet candy fragrance and is packed with delicious and moreish vanilla. This also means it’s great for sensitive skin. This is a really pretty bubblebar in the water, and just as she comes.

 

Magic Wand

Snow Fairy fans! Bubble fans! Fear not! The Magic Wand has returned to fill your bath with pretty pink bubbles and oodles of pear drop-esque candy sweetness. Just like Drummers Drumming, this wand will last you for ages.

IMG_6501

Finished with a lovely little bell, I feel like a true mahou shoujou (magical girl- it’s an anime thing) with this one. Someone get me my moon tiara and shuffle my Clow cards.

 

I really love the selection of bubbles this Christmas, but with out a doubt my favourite is Holly Golightly. I love her intensely spicy smell, pretty glitter, festive form and bright green colour. Second place goes to Drummers Drumming, as it makes me smile, smells fantastic, and the beautiful two tone effect it creates in the water is super pretty.

Tune in next time for bath melts and soaps!

Later days!

sigdraft