summer essentials

Summer Essentials: Cocktails And Books #LetsTalkBlogChallenge

Today it is time once again for the #LetsTalkBlogChallenge. It is now Week 2 and if you missed Week 1 you can check it out here 🙂

If you don’t already know, the #LetsTalkBlogChallenge is the brainchild of the lovely Sarah Hamersley from At The Beauty Desk and last week was a roaring success!

The topic of the week this time around is Summer Essentials. I decided to do something a little different and not go for anything beauty related for once! Instead, I picked the first thing that comes to mind when I think of summer and I hope you enjoy 😀

When I think of summer, I think of reading… Weird, right? Well not really! Think about it 😀

Who doesn’t like to bring a good book along on holiday for reading by the pool or at the beach? Who doesn’t like to make the best of a long flight and catch up on some reading? Or simply sit in the garden, enjoying the sun with something nice to read?

I know I am definitely a fan of all of the above! Another thing I associate with summer though is cocktails. Fruity and refreshing, a nice cocktail can be the perfect thing to enjoy at a summer BBQ or just to make the most of the long evening stretch. So I decided, why not combine the two?!

Below, I have picked some of my favourite, easy and quick reads which I think are definite summer essentials. To make things interesting though, I have paired each book with a perfect complimentary cocktail recipe for you to enjoy as you read!

The Book: Can You Keep A Secret? – Sophie Kinsella

summer essentials

It’s been quite awhile since a read this book! Probably almost 10 years, yet I still always think of it when remembering the funniest books I have read 🙂 You may know Sophie Kinsella more for the Shopaholic books, which I also loved, but this beats them all hands down. The story focuses on a lady named Emma who has a bit of a fear of flying.

When a flight she is on hits some turbulence, she is convinced she is about to die and decides the best thing to do in that moment, is share all the secrets she has been keeping, with the stranger sitting next to her. The problem is though, she doesn’t die, the plane lands without issue and now this man knows all the embarrassing things she has ever hidden from anyone else! And worse still, it turns out he is not a complete stranger after all and she will be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

This book will have you in hysterics. Emma is hilarious and seems to find herself in ridiculous and embarrassing situations more often than not 🙂 It also turns out, she is not the only one who has been keeping secrets!

The Cocktail: Long Island Iced Tea

summer essentials

As the main character in the book just so happens to work for a Cola company, I thought what better accompaniment to this book, than the most classic Cola cocktail there is! 😀

1/2 shot of Vodka

1/2 shot of Light Rum

1/2 shot of Gin

1/2 shot of Triple Sec

1/2 shot of Tequila

1 shot of Sour Mix

A splash of Cola and a lemon wedge to garnish 🙂

The Book: The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg

summer essentials

This is the book I recently just finished reading and I cannot wait to get cracking on the rest of the series! Nobody writes crime thrillers quite like the Swedish and this is a fantastic example.

The main character in this book is Erica Falck who is a writer who recently moved back into the family home after her parents death. The story is set in the beautiful little seaside town of Fjällbacka where everyone seems to know everyone, yet everyone is a stranger at the same time. Erica’s childhood best friend, Alex, is found one morning, naked and frozen in the bathtub after allegedly committing suicide.

Erica is determined to find out what happened, but having not seen Alex since they were children, she has to get to know her all over again. Nothing she uncovers suggests that Alex would take her own life so with the help of policeman Patrick Hedstrom, she must find out what really happened and who really was to blame. Along the way, they will come across secrets the whole town would prefer had never been discovered and Erica must battle her own demons while trying to find the answers.

I was so glad when I found out this was the first in quite a long series, as I absolutely loved the twists and turns in this book and couldn’t get enough. If you are a crime thriller fan, I urge you to give this a go and I am looking forward to starting book 2 and following Erica’s adventures!

The Cocktail: Lingonberry Cosmo

summer essentials

As lingonberries are the Scandinavian berry of choice and the story is set in Sweden, I thought it would be great to add a bit of a twist to a classic 🙂

2 shots of Vodka

2 shots of Lingonberry juice

1 shot of Lime juice and a lime wedge to garnish

The Book: Anybody Out There? – Marian Keyes

summer essentials

Of course, the list would not have been complete without the addition of an Irish author! This again, is a book I read a hell of a long time ago but I still often think about.

Marian is hilarious as ever with this one. I haven’t read any of her other books about the Walsh family, but this one focuses on the fourth sister, Anna. Anna is normally off living the perfect life in Manhattan with her fabulous job and handsome husband, but she has somehow found herself back in Ireland in the family home with no husband in sight. She has to put up with her fruit cake of a mother, Mammy Walsh and is desperate to get back to how life was.

She heads back to Manhattan but everything is not the same as it was before. She seems to see her husband Aiden everywhere she goes, but he never answers her calls and hasn’t tried to get in touch. So what happened to drive them apart and how is she supposed to fix it?

When you find out what actually happened, if you are anything like me, you will be in tears! This book had me crying with laughter and crying in misery as it is comical and heartbreaking all at the same time! I am seriously considering reading this again but don’t know if I can take the emotions 🙁

The Cocktail: Apple Martini

summer essentials

The obvious choice here may have been an Irish Manhattan cocktail, but I wanted to go for something a bit more fruity and refreshing. It still represents the New York setting of the book though with the Apple theme 🙂

2 shots of Vodka

2 shots of Apple Sours

2 shots of Apple juice

Add a cherry in syrup to this cocktail to sweeten the tart taste 🙂

All cocktail images from

So there you have it! Those are just a few of my favourite books which I think are perfect for summer reading , and some cocktails to enjoy at the same time 😀

Have you read any of these books before? Would you like to see more book and cocktail combos in the future?! Or how about some non-alcoholic alternatives? Let me know in the comments below!!

Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the Monday posts for the next few weeks, and check out the #LetsTalkBlogChallenge on Twitter, Mondays at 8pm for everyone else’s posts!!

Until next time!


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  • Aishling (@fluffyVW) May 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Oh my gosh! I just love this post! Such a good idea! 😀
    The Ice Princess sounds interesting! My kinda book hehe!
    I want to drink all those cocktails. Seriously. Awesome!

    • May 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Aw thank you 😀 Thanks for helping me make up my mind!

      The Ice Princess is probably my favourite on the list! These were just some random picks 🙂 Even though I am afraid of almost everything, I somehow still love reading thrillers like that haha!

      • Aishling (@fluffyVW) May 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm

        Hehe! I didn’t do much! But you’re welcome 😛

        I’m like that with thrillers and things as well haha! 😀

  • auroralapetite May 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Can you Keep a Secret is so funny, laughed my way through it!

    • May 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      So good isn’t it? I remember hearing in secondary school that they were making a movie out of it, but nothing ever came of it :(. It’s a shame but after the job they did on Shopaholic, maybe it’s not so bad haha!

  • Aisling McGarrigle May 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Love this post! Can You Keep a Secret sounds hilarious! But Long Island Ice Teas get me wayyyy to drunk so I’d have to stick to the cosmos hahah xxx

    Aisling |

    • May 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Yea I probably couldn’t even handle a Long Island Iced Tea myself haha! I would stick to the Apple Martinis but I know some people like cocktails super strong so I wanted to do a mixture 😀 xx

  • LilliWhiteRose (@Lilliwhiterose) May 5, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Love your post it’s a great twist on Summer Essentials. Going to download The Ice Princess now, I love a good crime and thriller to read! x

    • May 6, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Thank you! Really hope you like it 🙂 let me know how it goes! xx

  • Claire May 6, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Oh my god I loved this post! Such a fun idea! If you like coctails Captain Americas woo woo is amazing!!!! Used to read so much Marian Keyes! :O x

    • May 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Aw so glad you liked it! I used to get a company discount in Captain Americas and was in there so often, it got kind of embarrassing haha! 🙂

  • Rachel May 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I’ve read the Sophie Kinsella one yeeeeears ago!! Cannot for the life of me remember what happens so I might read it again. Also I’m a huge fan of Marian Keyes. Rachels Holiday is quite good. Must investigate in The Ice Princess for my hols in 6 weeks! 🙂 Xx

    • May 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      I never read Rachels Holiday but a lot of people seem to recommend it! May have to give that one a go next 😀 xx

  • Claire Kane May 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Genius! Books and cocktails, two of my favourite things. Although I have learned to stay clear of a long island ice tea. the horror!

    • May 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Haha, yea they are a bit on the strong side alright! 😀

  • Sarah Hamersley (@sarah_hamersley) May 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    OH MY GOD STEPH I love this post. The perfect book/cocktail combination and you’ve included recipes..aaahhh!!! BRILLIANT!! I think I’m going to take up reading more over the summer just so I can have a cocktail to go with it haha 😉 xx

    • May 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Ah I’m so glad you liked it! Was worried I was overthinking things a bit and taking summer essentials totally the wrong way, but it was fun to put together! 😀 Looking forward to next week! xxx

  • Kerrie O'Neill May 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Books and cocktails is such a brilliant idea! You should make this a regular thing. Oooh imagine a book & cocktail club 😀 I want a long island ice tea, i don’t know what it is but it sure looks awesome!

    • May 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Aw thanks you! I might do it again some time if I can find the time to read as much as I’d like 🙂 You don’t know what a long island iced tea is?!?!?! :O we definitely need to fix that for you at some stage haha!