by Vanessa

DIY: Easy Sea Urchin Place Card Holders

May 20, 2015 in DIY by Vanessa

If you follow my do-it-yourself musings somewhat “religiously” then you’re likely thinking, “sea urchins, again?”

Yes. Again.

Assembled on a whim, this two step diy requires minimal effort and utilizes items found about the home.
Then again, you might not hoard shells as I do.

Order sea urchins with a quarter-inch gap from here. As always I beg you to source from a wholesaler whose shells are sold with ecological certification.

Pinching a No.2 paper clip, carefully place it in to the hollow opening at the top of the sea urchin.
I opted for a muted palette of gold, cream and white.

Secure name card in the exposed loop and reserve your guest’s seat at the table.

by Vanessa

Hibiscus Margarita

May 18, 2015 in RECIPES by Vanessa

Earlier this month, before being seated to a dinner of carefully selected meats imported from our northern neighbor, I had the chance to chat over cocktails with the team overseeing the three-part introduction of the Meliá Nassau Beach hotel at Baha Mar Resort. Surrounded by three of the hotel’s six restaurants, I sipped on a Hibiscus Margarita. Later in the evening, under dim lights casting shadows along the modern-hip interiors of Black Angus I browsed a menu lined with steakhouse favourites infused with tropical touches, think: a creamy conch chowder appetizer that segways into guava glazed pork chops served alongside a family size serving of lobster mac & cheese. It was whilst savouring the flavours of the night that my mind began to wander to the pre sweet and sour libation, and I quickly realized I must recreate it in my own kitchen:

Hibiscus Simple Syrup:
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup dehydrated hibiscus

Frosted Rim:
1 cup dehydrated hibiscus
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Margarita Mix:
6 tbsp tequila
2 1/4 tbsp of lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp of simple syrup
3 tbsp of triple sec

In a pot of boiling water gradually add sugar, stirring constantly. Once dissolved, lower heat and add dried hibiscus flowers. Steep for 20 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve. Using a spatula, gently press down on soaked flowers so as to release all juices. In a blender place ingredients that will frost the rim, blend until it becomes powder. Add salt up to you liking. After frosting the rim, place simple syrup and remaining ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake to cool down. Pour and serve in a margarita glass.

by Vanessa

What’s On The Horizon for The Cove Eleuthera

May 8, 2015 in 7 ON 7 - ACCOMODATIONS, ELEUTHERA by Vanessa

Lounging on a recliner, overlooking an infinity pool that pours towards one of two half-moon shaped beaches, I am torn between the need to request that the music be amplified and the desire to book a shockingly early morning yoga session with island yogi, Kalin Griffin. A quick exchange of emails decides that our paths won’t cross so I promptly reach for yet another bottle of rosé. But the expansive lawn at the tip of the peen continues to draw my attention. Come salute the dipping sun it almost suggests. It’s then the shrill of laughter echoes across the aquatic surface and back in to party mode I quickly bend.

The mixed feelings continue to rotate during the length of our three-day weekend. Naturally, upon our return to the mainland, at hearing the welcome news of Enchantment Group’s - the same group behind “one of the world’s best destination spas” - acquisition of the Cove Eleuthera, I ponder what would I like to see changed, and what I would like see remain the same. Here’s what I hope is on the horizon for the Cove Eleuthera:

There is something to be said for first impressions, especially in an age when unique touches that distinguish one luxury resort from another are highly difficult to come by. It’s upon our arrival to the secluded gates of the Cove Eleuthera that we are asked for our beverage of choice. An unexpected question at first; not because liquid libations aren’t considered a symbolic form of welcome throughout the tropics, but because I’m curious as to how a lone security-guard will communicate such at the entrance to a long winding drive. Then I spot a head-set and watch the words discreetly whispered in to a mic. Later, in the shadow of an umbrella, lounging over a bed of sand, I place an individual logo’d flag, indicating my need for service and celebrating the resort’s overall running theme: that relaxation is key.

What is now an open-air beach bar serving grilled and sushi favourites, with an acute vision can be upgraded to an outdoor outlet at which seasoned chefs and nutritionists host cooking demonstrations. As several farms dot the elbow-shaped island and a deep ocean caresses its shores, a farm and sea to table dining experience can effortlessly be employed.

Similarly, at the top of the peninsula, carved in to limestone beneath a grass bed, is what I saw as an underutilized bar and under-appreciated ocean view. It’s here I envision the serving of fresh-pressed juices and healthy infused alternatives throughout the course of the day.

Sprinkled across acres of rolling garden, bordered by lush vegetation, are studios, cottages, villas and suites. Dressed in white, the smooth lines of the angular high pitched roofs contrast dramatically with the honeycomb limestone that separates two beaches. In hindsight, the Cove is the ideal setting upon which to spend a moment or even the better part of the day appreciating the island’s varying textures, for it’s across the landscape that they come in to sharp focus.

A study in minimalist principles of design, the rooms are calming and uncluttered. Or perhaps calming because uncluttered. White tongue-and-groove walls typical of coastal design meet low-profile furniture that appear visually light to the discerning eye. Heightening the overall airy feel are louvered shuttered sliding-doors which screen the sun and lead to a modest private balcony.

Like the design and architecture, the surrounding grounds continue the celebration of modern simplicity. In tune with the symmetry lining the pool is a cobble-stone walkway lined with coconut palms. Void of any vibrant colours typically akin to the islands, the tropic splendour of the highly manicured landscape is heightened by the untamed beauty that defines the 110 mile island.

Whether the reason being Eleuthera’s untouched landscape or the Cove’s overall resort design, where existing as one I couldn’t shake the feeling that what the experience really warranted was the inclusion of a spa and scheduled fitness activities, both on and off the pristine property. Outside the resort’s gates landmarks such as the Queen’s Bath and the Glass Window Bridge beg to be walked to, crossed and climbed. And while the two sandy coves that hug the resort aren’t ideal for long walks on the beach, Surfer’s Beach, located a few miles south, could entice even the most unenthusiastic individual out of bed for a majestic sunrise and a lengthy secluded trek along a wave-crashed beach. Inside the gates, beyond the already complimentary aquatic sports, I saw a landscape that called for sunrise yoga and palm tree suspended TRX.

Thankfully, mixed feelings aside, the decision has been made for me to pick up a yoga mat and put down the rosé.