A shot of style: Billini SS13-14

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Is it a coincidence that Aussie shoe brand Billini sounds an awful lot like tasty champagne-based treat Bellini? If their delicious new S/S14 collection is anything to go by, I think not.

Entitled Hola Mexico, the new range encapsulates the colour and vibrancy of Mexican culture through some ridiculously cute kicks. Tall and short, straight up and with a twist, the 9 different styles will suit all tastebuds.

Read on as I serve up the top 5 (okay, 6 – it was too hard to choose!) tastiest treats from Billini’s latest collection, and the Mexican cocktails that’ll have you dancing all night in them.

The Luxe in Blood Orange + Habañero and blood orange tequila

Billini SS13-14 Luxe

Sharp, fruity and fiery: the Luxe is a so-cool-it’s-hot sandal that will see you in good stead from poolside to pavement (and the cocktail lounge in-between). The metallic embellishments and vibrant patent finish ensure you’ll look polished enough to get into any establishment, whilst the lack of heel promises to keep you safe from any stumbles that may occur after a few habañero and blood orange tequila shots.

Ingredients:

1 bottle (700ml) blanco tequila
½ blood orange
½ habanero or Scotch bonnet chilli, de-seeded

Put all the ingredients into a clean, airtight container and leave to infuse for a week. When the flavours have permeated the tequila, sieve the liquor back into the original bottle.

My tip: Serve in shot glasses with a blood orange wedge, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

The Glory in White + Mojito DF

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‘White hot’ is the best way to describe the Glory. With stems thick enough to withstand hours of mojito-fuelled twerking on the dancefloor, it’s arguably your perfect summer party platform. I can already picture how good it would look paired with tanned limbs and tangerine toes – my other two summer must-haves.

Ingredients:

20g demerara sugar
large handful of mint leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges
70ml apple juice
70ml tequila

Muddle the sugar, most of the mint leaves and all the lime wedges in the bottom of two tall glasses with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin. When you have extracted all the juice from the lime, pour in the apple juice and tequila, fill with crushed ice and garnish with the rest of the mint leaves.

The Atomic in Brown + Smoked peach old-fashioned

Billini SS13-14 Atomic

If the blogs are to be believed, Birkenstocks are going to be big this summer. But since there’s no way you’ll ever catch me in those cumbersome clompers, I’ll instead channel my inner Jesus-freak in the Atomic: an unassuming, Roman-style sandal made for wholesome excursions to the local farmer’s market (to buy cocktail ingredients, of course).

Ingredients:

small pinch of salt
100ml reposado mescal
5ml peach bitters
20ml gomme syrup
rind of 2 oranges
2 orange twists, to serve

Half-fill a large glass (or the glass from a Boston shaker if you want to be a pro) with crushed ice and water, adding a small pinch of salt. Put the glass inside the shaker, add the mezcal, bitters, gomme syrup and orange rind and top up with large ice cubes. Stir very well with a bar spoon for around 4 minutes.

Strain into 2 tumblers. Garnish each with an orange twist and serve with a small black straw.

To make a citrus twist:
Take a sharp knife and cut off the ends of the fruit. Now cut off the peel from one end to the other, shaving as finely as possible to avoid the bitter white pith. You want to end up with strips about 1cm wide. Curl the strips around your finger to make loose corkscrew shapes and use them to garnish cocktails.

The Galaxy in Citrus + Tamarind Margarita

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Like a blast of zesty fresh air, the Galaxy is the perfect stiletto to brighten any day or night. Bright without being neon, and with an eye-catching metallic ankle strap, the boys won’t be able to look away (nor will they want to – after all, anyone who has the good taste to pull on a pair of these is automatically a Class-A babe). The Galaxy will look as good with a pair of statement floral trousers as it will with a thigh-skimming summer party frock, making it the trans-seasonal heel of choice.

Ingredients:

fine sea salt mixed with chilli powder, for rims (optional)
70ml tamarind purée
70ml tequila
30ml triple sec
2 lime wedges, to garnish

Prepare 2 tumblers with chilli salt rims if you wish. To get the perfect rim, dip the cocktail glass into a saucer of water so that only the very edge is wet, then dip the glass into a saucer of whatever salt/sugar mixture you are using.

Shake all the ingredients over ice and pour into the tumblers. Garnish each with a wedge of lime.

The Morgan in Black + Bloody Maria

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Reluctant to relegate your grungy winter ankle boots to the back of the cupboard? Never fear; Morgan is music to your blackened punk-rock heart. It’s flat, it’s studded to within an inch of its life, and it’s perfect for long nights on your feet dancing away at whatever gig/music festival/house party you find yourself at – because aren’t countless party offers one of the best parts about summer?

And when the sun comes up and the party dies down, the Bloody Maria will be there to easy all your aches.

Ingredients:

chilli powder, for rims (optional)
140ml blanco tequila
500ml good-quality tomato juice
juice of 1 large orange (about 100ml)
juice of 1-2 limes
25ml grenadine
1-2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges and chilli powder, to garnish

Prepare tumblers with chilli rims if you wish. Shake all the ingredients over ice and pour into tumblers. Garnish each with a wedge of lime and a dusting of chilli powder.

(Leave out the tequila from this recipe and you’ve got yourself Sangrita – a popular Mexican aperitif traditionally served in small glasses alongside a shot glass of tequila and sipped in equal measure).

The Lorna in Tan + Green tea and rhubarb Collins

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The Lorna is more than just a gorgeous bohemian platform sandal. It’s Billini’s first leather offering; a latticed upper atop a 70’s wedge base just begging to be shown off in crowded seaside cocktail bar. Ideal for gypsters and Nicole Richie-wannabes, the Lorna would be best paired with maxi lengths and stacked hardware (of the accessories, not handyman, variety).

Ingredients:

100ml Green tea tequila**
50ml fresh rhubarb syrup***
50ml fresh apple juice
200ml soda water
green apple slices, to garnish

Pour the tequila, rhubarb syrup and apple juice into 2 tall glasses and stir well. Add enough ice to fill the glasses, then top up with soda water. Stir again and garnish with the apple slices.

**To make Green tea tequila, place 60g green tea leaves (the best quality you can buy) and 1 bottle (700ml) blanco tequila into a clean, airtight container and leave to infuse in the fridge for 48 hours. Sieve the tequila, discarding the tea leaves, then pour back into the original bottle

***To make fresh rhubarb syrup, chop 500g rhubarb into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the zest of a lemon, the juice of half that lemon, and 5 tablespoons sugar. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You want the syrup to be quite sweet, so add a touch more sugar if needed. The leftover syrup will be delicious with Greek yoghurt.

The entire Hola Mexico collection is on sale now over on Billini’s website – it was stupidly difficult to choose only 6 styles to feature here, so do yourself a favour and check out their whole range. With prices ranging from $39.95 to $79.95, you actually can afford to buy one for every cocktail. And if you’re a social kinda gal, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram for sneak peeks and serious sartorial inspiration.

All cocktail recipes have been taken from Thomasina Miers’ Wahaca: Mexican food at home. This is the best cookbook you will ever buy. Seriously. The recipes are easy, cheap and will broaden your view of Mexican cooking far beyond the boundaries of burritos, nachos and tacos (though it has plenty of those too).

 

Images: The Lovely Thrills, Bright Green Laces, Billini, Net-a-shopper

 

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We love nights out with Smirnoff and 2threads

Ah Smirnoff. How you shaped my formative drinking years: so many fond memories of jelly shots at house parties and night’s spent huddled in nightclub toilets with my girl friends, taking turns to swig your wares from inconspicuous water bottles. So when the lovely Amanda from 2threads asked me to share what getting ready for a night out means to me, in your honour, I couldn’t resist. I had to do you justice.

I was, however, somewhat stumped. Here’s why: getting ready has never been a big deal for me. If I’m allocated more than one hour to primp and preen, and pre-drinking isn’t included, I’m pretty lost. My getting ready routine usually takes place at work, whether it be the office or my hospitality gig, and involves throwing on the outfit I grabbed together that morning, touching up my eyeliner, and attempting to tame my hair. Hardly glamorous.

So what’s a girl to do? Enlist the photographic talents of her best friend, Miss Rebecca Hiscock, and show what getting ready looks like, Lowdown-style.

Kikki K jacket, Sportsgirl shoes

First step: make sure you don’t forget the little things. I’m usually far too lazy to paint my toenails, but with the warmer weather come gorgeous open-toe heels, and no-one likes manky talons. Besides, it’s a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the stunning grounds of Carclew Youth Arts, where I’m lucky enough to earn my living.

Imprint dress; vintage dress

When it comes to a night out on the town (or a night out anywhere, really), dresses are my item of choice. The one on the left is perfect for a casual summer’s eve, dining and barhopping with friends. It reworks the ever-popular nautical stripes into a dainty, flouncy number, that works just as well with flats for the day as it does with a sexy pair of wedges for night. I usually cinch in the waist with a simple tan belt, and will definitely be making sure I fake tan-it-up before I actually wear it out.

The dress on the right is from the Fitzroy markets in Melbourne and is one of the best bargains I’ve ever scored – it cost a measly $5 and creates a stunning hourglass silouhette. I’ve worn it to fashion parades, art exhibitions, theatre openings and cocktail parties, and its simple elegance perfectly compliments my disorganised brand of accessorising (more on that a bit later).

(Please forgive the facial expressions – the Lowdown office is currently going through a Zoolander phase)

So we’ve got the shoes and the dress – now for that extra touch. Like most people I’m usually trying to do about 5 things at once, so getting ready in front of my trusty brick of a Mac is often the way to go.

Fix the hair…

Check the pout…

Left hand: my grandmother's ring, Stannard-inc cuff; Right hand: Bauhaus rose ring, Cult ring

And add the accessories. I tend to wear the same few accessories with everything (which is silly when you see how many necklaces/earrings/rings I actually have…) At the moment I’m obsessed with this Stannard-Inc cuff I bought at the Bowerbird Bazaar a few weeks back. It says “Danger! High Voltage” which I think is hilarious (holler all you Electric Six fans) and it gets commented on every time I wear it. I wear those rings, along with a vintage Alice in Wonderland one that I recently dropped while drunk and broke, all the time as well; the big copper rose in particular is great for mosh pits when drunk girls in heels are getting you down – just “accidentally” stab them in the back with your ring.

And there you have it! Getting ready, these things we love style. For more (useful) tips, check out what the lovely Katherine of caught couture and Sam of Twin Cat vintage had to say; and don’t forget to bookmark 2threads for all the latest in everything fashion.