How to: Keep drinks cool

By Sally Newall

The mercury's rising, you've got guests and you want to impress with some posh-looking cocktails. But how to keep your creations ice-cold but undiluted? James Fowler, UK World Class Winner 2014 in the World's Best Bartender competition, gives his tips...

"Bag your ice: put some large ice cubes into a sealable plastic bag and bung in a punch bowl full of your favourite tipple. The cubes will melt but not into your drink."

"Shroud it in ice. Cut the top off a one-litre plastic bottle, and put a 70cl spirit inside it. Fill the outer bottle with water, adding in flowers, leaves, rose petals, shells, or whatever, around the sides. Freeze, then run it under a tap and slide off the plastic to leave a visually beautiful cooler."

"If it's a small party, put a flask in the freezer to really chill it down. Then put your drink of choice in here and serve up straight from the flask."

Rotating column: Boo! Zoo booze

By Simon Usborne

I did wonder as I stared at a pygmy hippo, tipsy after two pints, what sense there was in mixing booze with zoos. I mean, it was great, the beer adding to the hippo-notising incongruity of a beast in a north London park. It seemed to glisten more, and I wondered what it was thinking.

But others have, predictably, got carried away at London Zoo's weekend 'after parties'. One man leapt into the penguin pool, another poured beer over a tiger. There were reports of a woman trying to enter the lion enclosure.

This is bad etiquette, clearly, but it would be a shame if normal hours were restored. As I moved on to the giraffes gambolling at dusk, and attempted to mount one, I wondered which other viewing experiences could be improved with drink.

*No animals were harmed in the writing of this

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I've risked wearing shorts to the office, to mixed reviews. Should I give up, or carry on?

A. Shorten your shorts by half an inch each day, until the desired effect on your colleagues is achieved. But be warned: in these overworked, understaffed times, you may be on 'batty-riders' before anyone notices.


Micro extract: Back to nature

"Within a couple of generations, cats can revert back to the independent way of life that was the exclusive preserve of their predecessors, some 10,000 years ago. Even today, millions of cats are not pets but feral hunters."

From 'Cat Sense’'by John Bradshaw (Penguin paperback, £8.99)

Four play: Flower-based conflagrations

1. Aztec Flower wars

2. War of the roses*s

3. Opium Poppy wars

4. Carnation revolutions

*Battle of Edgecote was today in 1469

Takin' it easy: Woooah, oh, growin' up (lazily)

By Larry Ryan

There is an area where the Takin' It Easy Doctrine rubs up against the Growing Up Ultimatum: decorum. For many years, I let laziness dictate an extremely haphazard approach to marking others' births, marriages and deaths – and the meals in between. But there comes a point where you have to just get on board with the suckers: buy that present, send that card, remember that date… But maybe you can offset this with tactical taking it easiness: you can get decorum-based tasks out of the way swiftly and painlessly, then get back to putting your feet up.

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby

Mug's game


Tea time just got a bit prettier with the new 'Daisy' tea service range from Wedgwood (above), with products ranging from a splendid pot and cups, to a cake stand and sandwich tray. From £30,

Temple trap


Temple is a new label from sisters Louise Graham and Davina O'Connor, combining utilitarian structures and luxurious materials, across accessories, homeware and apparel. We love this rucksack (above). £250,

Trill out


Neal's Yard Remedies founder Romy Fraser has launched a collection of boxes containing products created at Trill Farm in Devon. Each includes a seasonal selection of organic goodies. £75 per box,