What is luxury for me?

The idea for my topic, without doubt, was inspired by the recent curator’s talk of the new exhibition in V&A museum “What is Luxury”. I was looking forward for almost two months for its release as my passion for craftsmanship and luxuries products has always been unquestionable in my mind.

The exhibition investigated the luxury at the deeper context of this world. Far from superficial shopping plazas which are more hyperbolic, market – driven it asks a visitors questions about the emotions about emotions and passions that make us human.

Luxury afternoon champagne

What is a luxury does not possess a straightforward answer. It is a relative concept for most of us.
I was amazed by the selection of pieces during a journey through the exhibition’s themes and concepts including opulence and exclusivity, pleasure and preciousness, precision and expertise, innovation and rarity, authenticity and inauthenticity.

Undoubtedly, materials play a central role in the relationship between value and luxury. Expertise and skilled craftsmanship can transform and elevate materials such as plastic and MDF. However, it also presents materials more regularly associated with luxury – materials that can be acquired at some expense, including gold, diamonds, crystal, leather, lacquer and fine textiles.

The interesting example was showing a set of six engraved crystal glasses. The value of each was justified by a number of dots engraved. This was a reference to the time, precision and craftsmanship devoted to engrave each one on a thin crystal glass. The maker of fine glassware commits himself to refining skills, inventing techniques, challenging conventions and creating the unbelievable.

The high quality craftsmanship is regularly cited as one of the key factors distinguishing luxury goods.
By all means, the question of luxury is a personal one. Everyone decides for themselves what their luxury is. Enjoying or affording luxury is not only a question of budget but of individual circumstances and preferences.

Freedom to dream and the ability to take decisions are fundamental to enjoying “the luxury”.

What is your luxury, how would you define it? My luxury is to be able to attend afternoon tea every week in a beautiful space of a boutique hotel or brasseries, drinking from a beautiful bone china and having a sip of the exquisite champagne from a crystal glass less ordinary…

Rhubarb Mojitos – the cocktail of distinction for your extravagant garden party

Mixing cocktails has become one of my favourite creative outlets as of recent years, so I couldn’t resist using some seasonal beauties as an inspiration for my cocktail of tonight.

Rhubarb Mojito

Rhubarb Cocktail Tonight

You may or may not know that May is the season of Rhubarb which is one of my favourite ingredients for pies and juices and so and they call for a celebration! Why not to take advantage of what English spring has to offer and apply to my ever favourite mojito.

Cocktail History

As the basic canvas for every proper mojito is rum I will celebrate this sugar cane based spirit with a short introduction.

Rum’s story begins with the colonization of the New World. In 1501, nine years after Columbus’s first voyage, sugar cane was successfully planted on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Since then almost every Caribbean island had a sugarcane plantation. Sugar and its products were among the most valuable commodities on a new global trading platform.

Probably the first cocktail based on rum was created on British ships when introduced by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1740 halved the daily 1 pint ration (or tots) and diluted it with water and citrus juice ( arguably the first Daiquiri cocktail ). Despite many challenges which rum had to face related to heavy taxes introduce on sugar, various movements, rum lost its reign in favour to gin, whiskey and brandy nevertheless, the hot climate, Latino flair and flowing rum cocktails made certain counties such as Cuba the first choice destination for tropical and relaxed lifestyle lovers.

This is the reason why mojito is my favourite drink. Despite being incredibly refreshing it evokes all those lovely memories of endless summers, good company and salsa night clubs.

Rhubarb Cocktail

Rhubarb Mojito

To make a rhubarb mojito you will need to prepare the rhubarb syrup. It takes little preparation however, its flavour added up to a classic mojito will amaze your guest and show off your creativity.

Simply put a few cups of chopped rhubarb into a saucepan and add some water. Cover and boil down on low heat until the rhubarb is very soft.

Strain the mixture through a sieve, and you now have your syrup. Add sugar to sweeten to your own personal taste.

Rhubarb Mojitos

  • 5 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 50ml/2 oz. rhubarb and lime syrup
  • 25 ml/1 oz. Bacardi superior rum
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Gently muddle the mint leaves with crushed ice using a shaker or some type of tall container.

Add in syrup, juice and rum. Shake your mixture very well, and pour into a highball crystal glass. Top it up with the soda, and garnish with lime wedges. The sky blue colour of glass combined with a blush pink hue of mojito will impress your guests.

How to make the perfect cocktail

The introduction to the series “My favourite cocktails

What equipment to buy to make the perfect cocktail?

Modern bar in low light

I was always fascinated by a mixology concept. Surprisingly enough the common perception of it is not a simple one. There is lots of science involved in mixing drinks and it is important to stress that the mixology itself is an art.

Surrounded by our beautiful crystal glasses it was easy enough to start thinking on how to utilize various martini glasses which I collected over the last few years working in Gurasu.

The purpose of this post is to give you the most important information on a basic equipment which I have researched extensively through reading books, blogs and watching videos on how to make beautiful and tasty cocktails at home for yourself and your guests and what is crucial to enhance the whole experience.

Enjoy x

What is the mixology?

Molecular mixology is the term applied to the process of creating cocktails using the equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy. Introduction to Molecular Mixology :: Art of Drink

Fundamentals of preparing the cocktails – basic equipment

Being an amateur home cocktail enthusiast I don’t use a lot of equipment to make great drinks. Most of cocktails you can prepare with a cocktail shaker, mixing beaker, barspoon, jigger, stainer and ice only.

If you wish to become more experimental with your creations the digital scale, fruit peeler, knife and large syringe can help.

What I have learnt from reading various articles is that if you are going to spend money on a nice piece of bar kit let it be a barspoon. They come in all lengths and breadths, some have a kind of pitchfork and some have nothing at all.

Jigger – they all come in different shapes and sizes but their main purpose if to measure liquid. The most fashionable one is a double –ended cone- shaped jigger.

Shakers – I will not mention that my perfect shaker would come in a classic style made of a crystal glass and a silver top but generally the very good shaker can be made of stainless steel. Steel is the most cost effective option because it does tarnish easily and it has a lower thermal conductivity than copper, aluminium and silver. One source suggested that the best and most fancy material for a cocktail shaker could be the titanium as it is highly resistant to corrosion and acts as a great insulator.

Mixing beaker – without hesitation I can confidently say that the best mixing beakers are the one made of glass or crystal but when you choose to buy one, the most important aspect when you choose to buy a beaker is how well it pours the liquid.

Glassware – 90% of cocktails can be served in one of three glasses – the martini glass, high ball and old fashioned. Think about what drinks you like to make the most and consider what size would sit them. Nevertheless, the glassware is there to improve the experience and enhance the environment. Therefore, a good quality crystal glass whether clear or coloured will make a huge difference to the whole drinking experience.

My favourite recipes of cocktail will follow next week. I am looking forward to it.

Do Champagne Flutes Really Make A Difference?

We have attended glamorous parties where we have been served fabulous champagne in the most ordinary glasses. We have also been to evening events where crystal champagne flutes were polished to perfection, laced with raspberries and filled with the best of champagne.

Aurora Champagne Flute, set of 6

Aurora Champagne Flutes

Yes… the subsequent looked fantastic and made you feel special. Still some of my friends ask me if crystal champagne flutes are necessary. When the cork is popped and years of delicate aromas and flavours are released, does it really make a difference what glass you are using?

Here I look at three reasons why crystal champagne glasses really do make a difference, changing a dinner party from ordinary to opulent.

1. They satisfy all of the senses

A champagne bottle surrounded by an array of crystal flutes is an impressive theatrical display and can be a great opening visual for your guests on arrival. We all want our dinner parties to astound all of our guests’ senses, from first sight through to the delicate taste, aromas, soft popping of bubbles and feel of a pristine glass.

Champagne flutes manage to satisfy all of these requirements, as well as adding sheer luxury and sophistication to an event at the same time.

2. They are better than champagne coupes

The coupe, or champagne saucer, rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century and is one of the oldest designs of champagne glass still being used today. However, the design of the glass means that the bubbles (one of the most important elements of champagne) can be lost fairly quickly.

More bubbles are generated with the champagne flute which not only makes it more impressive visually, but also means the fizzy taste explodes in the mouth. It has been shown that champagne flutes do not allow for much development of flavour in champagnes because of their style, however, this has only been proven for more complex, matured wines.

3. They keep drinks colder

The design of a champagne flute allows for drinks to be kept colder as the temperature within the room has less chance to affect the liquids inside. This isn’t just true for champagne, but also prosecco, cava and other highly carbonated drinks. Guests want to be able to enjoy the luxury of their champagne, which means they don’t want a flat, warm drink within minutes. Champagne flutes are the perfect vessel and always recommended.

I very much hope that when you ask yourself what glass to use for your private or corporate event you will decide to serve in the right glass. Crystal champagne flutes really do make a difference when serving champagne. For a glass that keeps the flavour and bubbles of champagne while looking effortlessly luxurious, the champagne flute still reigns supreme.

Colourful Easter table

Whether it’s your first time hosting Easter lunch or your 20th time, everyone can use some fresh inspirations. And when you ask me why should you style your table with crystal rather than pressed glass I would say that it is all about little luxuries that counts which make a huge impact on whether your table is elegant and sophisticated or just casual.

Gurasu Shining Star Lavender crystal tealight candle holder

I find that as a colour lover, I often choose a decor that involves bright hues that can complement neutrals interiors. I have a pleasure in repurposing things in my home and give my guests something to talk about when the conversation about who got which egg in their Easter basket wanes.

The first thing to keep in mind when you’re putting together your ideal tabletop is to ask yourself, “What is going to fill it up?” Is family-style food your thing? Perhaps a sophisticated mini nibbles? Is a killer flower arrangement? Perhaps lovely place cards? You can have it all if you follow these tips.

  1. Start with basics like the table runner or a table cloth. My favourite come from Designer’s Guild . It’s a piece you can use for any formal dinner but it provides a neutral start to any decor. I also love table napkins which are playful, with a neutral tone, and totally worth a splurge.
  2. Stick with one type of flower in medium crystal vases. If I can be honest my favourite is Victoria vase by Gurasu crystal. It’s opulent and classic look adds on a splash of glamour to any interior style whether Scandinavian or more traditional.
  3. When I decide on flowers I often use tulips because they’re in season and very easy to find in various colours at a farmer’s market.
  4. Add pops of colour by using handmade crystal votives around your clear crystal vase and candlesticks. Sky blue and amber or amber and lavender will look stunning.
  5. An Alternative to large vases can be few small . Take single flowering tulips, English roses or hydrogens and mix with textured ,Gurasu hand cut crystal votives which can also be used as small vases too. For more elegant look I often choose three same colour vases whether clear crystal or lavender shining star vase.
  6. Embrace change. We all long for a picturesque table scape with perfectly placed napkins, shiny silverware, fine modern crystalware and calligraphy place cards.

Now you are ready for all that Instagram-ing you might need to do…

Need more ideas, see our post from last year on creating a beautiful Easter table.

Spring events – London favourites

Spring has sprung! The new season might not officially kick off until late March, but the days are noticeably longer and warmer already. So, we have decided that it’s time to get out and about and enjoy the warmer weather with our favourite London Spring events. (And should those infamous April showers strike, we have a few indoor options for rainy day play, too).

Show with angel wings

Shoe with angel wings

 

1. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

The first retrospective of fashion’s enfant terrible was one of New York’s most visited exhibitions. It’s has finally come to the UK, settling at the V&A from March 14 – August 2 – and we can’t wait. Over 200 McQueen designs will be on display, charting a spectacular career tragically cut short.

14 March – 2 August

V&A Museum – www.vam.ac.uk

2. The boat and goat races

The oxford and Cambridge boat race is one of the most eagerly anticipated annual sporting events in the city, pitting the rowing teams of both universities against one another over 4.2 miles of the Thames. Each year is hotly contested, with a genial crowd of supporters congregating along the river. However, this year will be even more exciting than most, as for the first year ever, the women’s teams will race on the same day (one hour earlier) and same course as the men. Hammersmith Bridge is one of the hot spots, with a big screen showing all of the action and plenty of excitement in the bankside pubs as the crews fly past.

However, just prior to the aquatic event, there is another race in Spitalfields… The area’s city farm hosts a ‘goat race’, where two goats, one named ‘Oxford’ and the other ‘Cambridge’ race one another. More low-key but no less fun, the race is both a satire and an homage to the main event – and the result is always kept a secret s as not to dishearten the boat crews…

Goat race: 6 April

www.thegoatrace.org

Boat race: 11 April

theboatraces.org

3. London Craft Week

A celebration of the finest British craftsmanship, bringing home-grown talent into the spotlight. Workshops, exhibitions, talks and showcases offer and insight into the exceptional people and techniques behind some of the country’s most elaborate and exquisite crafting.

6 – 10 May
www.londoncraftweek.com

4. London Marathon

It’s a magnificent feat of endurance 26 miles through the streets of the capital; thousands of runners and tens of thousands of spectators – it can only be the London Marathon. Although the ballot to enter is close for 2015, there is still a chance to be part of the action. Pubs and cafes along the route are thronged with well-wishers, shouting out words of encouragement to the professionals and amateurs taking part. The start is in Greenwich, the finish in Westminster, and the route takes runners through the docklands, the city and the Southbank.

26 April

www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

5. ‘Bits and pieces’- Glass mosaic show

And finally to all of you who have a passion to glass, the Contemporary Glass Society is launching the glass mosaic show on 13th March in conjunction with invited curator Martin Cheek, a glass mosaic specialist. 45 artists from 14 different countries have been selected for this show, who investigate ways of working with glass to explore new ways of covering objects, walls and more with pieces of glass.

13th March 2015

www.cgs.org.uk/exhibitions/bits-and-pieces-glass-mosaic-show

International Women Day – #PaintItPurple

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I am sparing a thought for the women who, as a female designer and entrepreneur, I found intriguing and inspirational. I strongly believe that each of us needs strong female role models to personally progress – women we can relate to and understand, women just like us, who have overcome difficulties and hardships, who’ve survived and achieved.

#paintitpurple women's day hashtag banner

What I found the most inspirational in women that I interviewed are optimism and a desire to follow certain passions with a hope of fulfilling the mission. They have many attributes in common that made me call them successful. They are perfectionist, hard-working and ambitious and never give up…

Diana Van Nieto – the CEO and founder of Positive Luxury seems that she has achieved a lot. However, she says it did not come with an ease.

https://www.positiveluxury.com

When I stepped down from my last business I felt a sort of failure, as although I had built an extremely successful B2B model we were still not reaching the end consumer. I wanted to find a realistic way for people to keep spending and buying the items and experiences they want, but know if the brand they buy into is ‘good’. My, and our, vision is to provide consumers with the knowledge that enables them to makes choices that reflect their values. I was born in a dictatorship, in Argentina, so I’ve always wanted to fight for what’s fair and that’s my consistent driving force.

Serena Bolton – a portrait photographer, a wife and a mother. Her work celebrates women and their achievements:

http://www.serenabolton.com

As a female photographer I am passionate about capturing what matters most to women: their children, husband or partner, family, friends, home, pets, weddings, celebrations, work, health and wellbeing.

When I asked about the work – life balance it seems that we all have the same opinion. “To be honest I am not sure I have achieved a work/life balance it’s more a question of remaining very focussed, juggling it all and keeping a sense of humour.” said Serena.

Catherine Milner – Two weeks ago I met Catherine Milner, reputable interior designer to the luxury industry. Having had a conversation I asked her to tell me about women that inspired her and had an influence on her personal and professional development.

http://catherinemilnerinteriors.com

I think I must first mention my mother as an inspiration to me, as she embodies the natural elegance and beauty which cannot be bought, it is just simply innately there. Catherine referred to a number of inspirations women in film and literature including Silvia Coppola and Nancy Mitford as well as interior designers like Eileen Gray and Nancy Lancaster to name a few. However, she ended on the most inspirational young woman in her life, her daughter, Antonia – I cannot quite believe that I created such a beautiful and gifted girl. I am so proud of her in every possible way.

Her processional mission is to keep attaining the very highest level of achievement what requires both innovation and passion and the complete desire to create something which is entirely unique and remarkable for each individual client and project she undertakes.

Every woman I met embraces on her passions, high aesthetics, enthusiasm and a sense of leaving a treasure behind.
By inspiring and empowering one another we can continue to pave the way for all women. It makes me feel very proud that the evolution created the most beautiful creature in the entire world – a woman.

Coloured tumblers

 

This Sunday I promise myself that I will take my purple crystal champagne glass and will drink to all women that have the drive and desire to keep making our world beautiful, meaningful support each other and make it happen– #PaintItPurple for purple international women day.

Crystal Glassware Gifts for Mother’s Day

The countdown to Mother’s Day has begun and we’re all looking for the perfect gift to thank and celebrate our mothers. The pressure can leave us reaching for the sensational chocolates, stunning jewellery or finest flowers as we debate the many choices available.

Citrine crystal wine goblet

I dare to think that thoughtfulness is the most important part of present choosing. Buying a gift that represents your mother’s interests or one that she can enjoy for many years to come is the ideal way to combat your gift-buying panic and make your mother smile.

Crystalware full gift range

Our range of crystal glassware is a sophisticated and timeless choice. The high quality and effortless beauty of the crystal seems to me as a perfect synergy between a fine glass that is functional and a beautiful luxury. As a passionate designer of crystal ware I create glassware that I can use and enjoy every day.

I would hate the idea of keeping these designer pieces away in the cupboard unused and only appreciated during the Christmas Day. I am a strong believer that Gurasu Crystal appeals to mothers everywhere and they will be able to treasure their gifts for a lifetime.

For instance, crystal cocktail glasses can add a touch of class to the day as you and your family celebrate in style, or why not combine a crystal decanter with a special bottle of wine that you can all share? Our range of coloured crystal will definitely brighten up a crisp March afternoon and you can choose from a variety of tones based on your mother’s preference.

Mother’s day gift for every mummy 

Of course, Mother’s Day isn’t just about mothers, mums and mummies. All of our female relatives can be included on this celebratory occasion. Would your aunt appreciate crystal cocktail glasses or would she love a set of wine glasses for her dinner table? Perhaps your grandmother would like to sit down with a drop of whisky in a classic tumbler?

The wide range of crystal glassware available on the website means you’re sure to find the ideal gift for all of the women in your life. Make this Mother’s Day one that will be remembered by your family forever.

If you did not quite find that perfect gift, do get in touch.