Saturday, 30 August 2014

Calvet, Limited Release, Merlot, Bordeaux 2013 - Wine Review

Calvet, the French winemaker has been producing Bordeaux wines since 1818 when the company was first created.

A punchy, juicy and fruity red wine from Bordeaux, France.
It's ripe and smooth with flavours of soft black fruit. We tasted black cherry, blackcurrant, damson, and plum. 13.5% Vol.
I can't remember where Mr.R purchased this wine, but I think it cost about £7.

Calvet, limited release, Merlot, Botdeaux 2013. French wine. Claret. Black and white.

I love Merlot grapes, and this well-rounded wine went down a treat.
A decent tasting claret, that would go well with game, red meat, or hard cheese.
We didn't bother with food, preferring to quaff it on its own.

Calvet, limited release, Merlot, Bordeaux 2013. French wine. Red wine.

From the bottle label -
Specialists in the wines of Bordeaux since 1818 and selecting the best ''cuvees'' is a French brand, distributed in more than 100 countries. 

Are you a fan of Bordeaux wines?
have you tried Calvet, Limited Release, Merlot, Bordeaux 2013?
Did you like it?

Aldi Carino Coconut Shampoo, and Coconut Conditioner - Review

There's nothing wrong with the budgets supermarkets in Blighty, which probably explains why they are currently more popular than ever with the British public.
Mr.R drove us to the local Aldi a couple of days ago, mainly because I wanted to buy a few bits and pieces - all beauty products.
I'd read about their well-known face serum, and thought I'd see if they had any in stock.
It was our first visit to Aldi since we've been back in the UK.

Having mentioned the face serum, this blog post is not about that, it's about the Aldi Carino Coconut Shampoo, and the Coconut Conditioner. Hahaha!
I will write reviews about the other products I purchased when I've used them enough to form a decent opinion.

Coconut shampoo, and conditioner

Initially I'd intended to order some organic shampoo and conditioner online, but I changed my mind - I'm contrary.

I'm also seriously indecisive, and Aldi had quite a few shampoos and conditioners to choose from.
It took me three attempts at making my final choice.
Three times I picked a bottle of shampoo, and a bottle of conditioner, off of the shelf and headed toward the check-out. But then before I reached the tills, I'd change my mind and go back to the shampoos and conditioners aisle, and choose something else.
Anyway, eventually I decided that the Carino Coconut Shampoo, and Conditioner were the ones for me.
There were two other scents available, raspberry, and tea tree.
The coconut one is for all hair types.
The bottles are 400ml and cost a low low low 65p each.

I know it's ridiculous but I was getting a little flustered with my indecision because Mr.R and our dog, Barley the lovely Lurcher, were waiting outside for me. They were slobbering over the window, desperate for me to hurry up and come outside to play. Well, Barley was the one standing on his back legs, nose and paws pressed against the window watching me, Mr.R was slightly better behaved, he was just looking at me smiling. Ahh, bless them!

So, one bottle of Carino Coconut Shampoo, and a bottle of the Coconut Conditioner in my hands, and I'd made my final choice.
I paid.
Exited the shop.
We all left.

So, what did I think of the Carino Coconut Shampoo, and Conditioner?
I've used them a few times now, and I absolutely love them.
For 65 per bottle you may think the contents would be thin and watery, but you'd be wrong. Both the shampoo and conditioner are nice and thick.
The shampoo smells delicious, good enough to eat delicious, and it lathers up really well.
The conditioner also smells lovely, and easily untangled my crazy, dragged through a hedge backwards barnet.
A little of the shampoo and conditioner goes a long way.
My hair is, or should I say was before I used these products, horribly dry, and sad. But now it's much less dry, it feels soft, and looks like it's in a lot better condition.
Thumbs up!

The shampoo bottles has this written on it -
Escape to paradise with this island blend of coconut and exotic lychee extracts to nourish and add shine to your hair.
Superior ingredients + affordable price = glamorous hair every day of the week!
Hair smells and feels great!
Improves softness and shine.
Contains pro-vitamin B5. 

Shampoo Ingredients

  • aqua
  • sodium laureth sulfate
  • sodium chloride
  • cocamide MEA
  • cocamidopropyl
  • betaine
  • glycerin
  • parfum
  • sodium benzoate
  • polyquaternium-7
  • styrene/acrylates copolymer
  • citric acid
  • benzophenone-4
  • tatrasodium EDTA
  • polyquaternium-39
  • coumarin
  • sodium hydroxide
  • panthenol
  • cocos nucifera fruit extract
  • litchi chinensis fruit extract
  • potassium sorbate
Coconut shampoo, and conditioner

The conditioner bottle has more or less the same as the shampoo bottle written on it -
with the addition of -
Detangles leaving hair more manageable.  

Conditioner Ingredients
  • aqua
  • cetearyl alcohol
  • isopropyl palmitate
  • glycerin
  • parfum
  • benzoic acid
  • cetrimonium chloride
  • panthenol
  • potassium sorbate
  • coumarin
  • sodium hydroxide
  • propylene glycol 
  • benzyl salicylate
  • cocos nucifera extract
  • lactic acid
  • PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil
  • sodium benzoate
Coconut shampoo, and conditioner

So, although I initially considered buying some organic shampoo and conditioner from a website that I often use, I'm pleased I opted for the Aldi Carino coconut shampoo and conditioner instead.
I know that a lot of so-called organic products still contain nasty chemicals, and didn't want to spend a small fortune this time. And judging by the results, my hair loves Aldi Carino Coconut shampoo and conditioner.
Have you tried Aldi Carino Coconut Shampoo and Coconut Conditioner?
Does your hair love it?

Visigodo Tempranillo 2012 - Wine Review

I like the picture on the label, a vine with metallic red leaves, and curly roots. Nice.
It was more than likely the reason we bought this wine, as there is no information about it on the label.

Visigodo Tempranillo 2012. Spanish wine. Rueda region. Lidl.
See, pretty wine label - there are worse ways to choose a bottle of wine ;)

This wine was in stock at Lidl during their Iberian products week, it's a Tempranillo from the Rueda region in Spain.
When we poured the Visigodo into our glasses it had a lovely rich dark red colour, the taste was light and slightly tart, with flavours of fresh Summer fruits; cherry and raspberry, and it had a subtle oak flavour too. 13% Vol.
A very drinkable wine. And another winner from Lidl.

Visigodo Tempranillo 2012. Spanish wine. Red wine. Rueda region. Lidl.

We do like Lidl for their wine, and this is another bottle of decent tasting red wine.
Do you shop at Lidl for wine?
Have you tried Visigodo Tempranillo 2012?
What did you think of it?

It's Not Deckchair Weather

According to the news, well, more accurately - the weather forecast, September is going to be sunny and warm.
I hope the forecasters are correct, because I can hardly remember one warm day so far this Summer.

Today is chilly, I'm wearing several layers, and a big scarf, as I sit typing this - indoors.
So I really am hoping for some lovely sunny, and warm days.
But I have a feeling it's not going to be deckchair weather.

Too bloody cold to sit outside. ❄❄❄
Deckchairs on the pier in Blackpool - Empty deckchairs because it's bloody cold ;)

Good weather in the North of England?
I'll believe it when I see feel it. ;)
Do you reside in the UK?
Have you enjoyed a lovely warm sunny Summer where you live?

Salice Salentino 2011 - Wine Review

Italian wine from Puglia region.

Salice Salentino 2011. Italian wine. Red wine.

From the bottle label -
The Salento peninsula, located on the heel of Italy's boot in the rustic Puglia region, is baked in sunshine during the day and cooled at night by mellow Adriatic breezes.
This is no bland, mass-production wine. Generations of expertise ensure that Moramari is rich, spicy and bursting with authentic Puglian flavour.
Harnessing all the natural energy that goes into it, this is a powerful and concentrated wine which is just crying out to be savoured with a slow, home-cooked meal.

Salice Salentino 2011. Italian wine. Red wine.

This wine was quite rich, but a little too acidic for me, and it tasted like petrol smells.
Have you tried Salice Salentino 2011?

Wild Blackberry - Free Food!

A few days ago during our early morning walk with Barley, our lovely Lurcher, Mr.R saw some blackberries growing along the side of the coastal walk.
He picked what we agreed was the largest blackberry, and it was big - compared to all of the other berries, but as you can see it was almost lost in his hand.
The climate here is obviously just not warm enough to produce lovely large blackberries. Despite its miniscule size this blackberry tasted nice, and it's free so we're not complaining.
Having said that, we do miss our old life in the South of France. But we have lovely sea views, so it's not all bad.

Wanted to get some shots of the dog running. Couldn't. He was way too fast.  So here's a blackberry, and a sea-view. You're welcome!  #blackberry #fruit #food #sea #seaview #countryside #sunrise #sunrays #sky #clouds

Ha! Rambling as usual.
I only wanted to post this seaview, blackberry photo - so I think that's more than enough words.
Do you have blackberries growing where you live?
Big, ripe, sweet, juicy blackberries?
Do you eat them as they are, or take them home and use them in a recipe?

Chateau Laurencon Bordeaux Supérieur 2011 - Wine Review

A very drinkable red wine.


From the bottle label -
Made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this elegant red Bordeaux wine, velvety in texture and delicate in bouquet, is delicious on its own as well as the perfect complement to fine food.

Laurencon Bordeaux Superior 2012. Red wine. French wine.

This wine was delicious on its own, that's how I like my wine - unadulterated by food. ;)
Have you tried Chateau Laurencon Bordeaux Supérieur 2011?
Did you like it?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Castillo de Alcoy Reserva 2010 - Wine Review

We can't live without red wine.
Well, we could but we wouldn't want to.

Castillo de Alcoy Reserva 2010. Lidl. Red wine.

Castillo de Alcoy Reserva 2010 has a delicious aroma of blackberry, cherry, plum, red currant, and spice.
It tastes of cherries too, fruity and sour, and jam like flavours of blackberry, and plum, followed by a spicy tang, and light tannins in a medium finish.
This wine is from Valencia, Spain, it is aged for at least 3 years, one of which is in oak. 13.5% vol.
It cost £4.99 from Lidl.

Castillo de Alcoy Reserva 2010. Lidl. Red wine.

Have you tried Castillo de Alcoy Reserva 2010?
What did you think of it?

Good Things Are Coming...........

I believe in the good things coming.
I do.

As is. #nofilter #nonothin' This makes my heart happier.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #sunrise #sun #sunshine #reflection #sea #waves #view #scenery #coast #countryside #clouds #sky #horizon #England
Sunrise during our morning dog walk

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Westons Scrumpy, Cloudy Cider - Review

Despite drinking lots of lovely red wine, we also enjoy cider.
Or more accurately Mr.R enjoys drinking cider. I used to love cider, when we first got together, but now I'm more of a red wine lover.
Having said that, I do like a nice cold pint of cider on a hot sunny day, preferably enjoyed sitting in a nice pub garden. It's a shame we haven't had any hot days this Summer though, and we don't have any nice pubs close-by, so that explains why I haven't drank any cider.

Westons Scrumpy Cloudy Cider.

Anyway, Mr.R likes cider, and he especially likes this Westons Scrumpy, Cloudy Cider.
He says it a traditional non-sparkly cider that tastes of apples.
Yes, apples! Not all ciders actually taste of the fruit they are made from. This one is very apple-y.

Westons scrumpy, cloudy cider is a traditional style still cider, with a cloudy appearance, and a medium dry character. 7.5% Vol.
Do you like cider?
Have you tried Westons Scrumpy Cloudy Cider?

Costieres de Nimes 2012 - Wine Review

Ahh, French wine - le sigh!
It's not only French wine, but wine from Nimes. Nimes! We visited Nimes when we lived in the South of France.
I wish we were still living there, but we're not - so enjoying a bottle of red wine from Nimes is as good as it gets here in the cold wet climes of Northern England.

Costieres de Nimes 2012. Red wine. French wine.

We like French wine, well, we pretty much like wine from every wine producing country in the World, but French wine has a special place in our hearts.
This wine, Costieres de Nimes 2012 was a good example of wine from the South of France, it was bursting with black cherry flavours, with a pleasant herb and pepper finish.

Costieres de Nimes 2012. Red wine. French wine.

From the bottle label -
Southern Rhine between Nimes & the Mediterranean - a lustrous black fruit dominated blend.
Influenced by the South of France's warm climate, this is a wine rich in black cherries with notes of garrigue herbs and peppery spice. 
Ideal with all roast meats.
Are you a fan of French wine?
Have you tried Costieres de Nimes 2012?

Aldi Lacura ProRevive Hand Cream - Review

It's not only bottles and bottles and bottles....... of wine that we buy from budget supermarkets; Aldi and Lidl.
I recently bought a tube of hand cream, from Aldi.

Lacura ProRevive hand cream. Aldi.

The tap water in our house is horrible.
Yes, I know we are very fortunate to have 'safe' tap water, when so many people in the World don't have access to any water........... But it's all relative. I pay a lot of money for our mains water, and I expect decent tap water, but it's not what I get from the local water board.

Anyway, our tap water is really horrible, it's full of chlorine, by which I mean it is seriously heavily chlorinated, and God knows what other nasty chemicals etc. it contains.
What I do know it that the hard tap water in our house is not friends with my delicate skin. Add that to my obsession with washing my hands a lot, probably more than is absolutely necessary, and it's not surprising that my skin is not happy.
As it's my hands that are washed many many many times during an average day, it's my poor hands that suffer the most from the bad tap water.
My hands are very dry, so dry that they have been cracked and bleeding, which made them very sore.

Lacura ProRevive hand cream. Aldi.

So, what to do about my dry, cracked, bleeding and sore hands?
Well, in an ideal World I much prefer to use chemical free products, or at least products whose ingredient list isn't longer than, oh I don't know - think of something that's very that - that.
So initially I did use natural products, the main tow being olive oil, and coconut oil. And although both oils gave me some relief, and made my hands feel slightly less dry, they just couldn't stop the cracking and bleeding.
So, I thought sod-it! I'll get some regular chemically manufactured hand cream and hope it solves my sore dry skin.
During a recent wine hunting shopping trip to budget supermarket Aldi I bought a tube of their own brand hand cream.
There were three different hand creams to choose from; nourishing, hand and nail, and ProRevive.
I chose the ProRevive moisturising hand cream with UV filters, Beeswax and Vitamin E.
The 125ml tube cost 75p.

Lacura ProRevive hand cream. Aldi. Beeswax. Vitamin E. UV filters.

Initially I was slightly concerned about using the hand cream because I didn't want the scent to make my hands any more sore than they already were.
Thankfully when I opened the tube, the Lacura ProRevive hand cream didn't have a particularly strong smell. I applied a small amount of the cream to my hands and gently rubbed it in.
Immediately my hands felt less tight and dry.
The cream rubbed in thoroughly, it's quite a thick cream, but it didn't leave a greasy feel on my hands, which I thought was really good, as lots of hands creams tend to leave a greasy feel on the skin.
After a while, when I was confident that my skin wasn't going to have any bad reactions to the hand cream, i reapplied, and I continued to use the hand cream when I felt my hands needed it - or more accurately when I remembered to use it.
The main reason I occasionally forgot to use the hand cream was a good reason, within a couple of days my hands were much less dry, and more importantly they had stopped cracking and were no longer bleeding.

Lacura. ProRevive hand cream. Aldi. UV filters. Beeswax. Vitamin E.

Directions for use: Massage uniformly into the skin several times a day.

Information listed on the tube -

ProRevive moisturising hand cream
Protects against light-induced skin ageing.

Lacura* products are carefully formulated with the finest ingredients to provide the perfect daily skincare  routine. You can trust Lacura* to gently care for your skin as each product is dermatologically tested. 

Lacura* ProRevive Hand Cream has a special complex containing:

  • Glycerin which helps the skin to retain moisture so to condition and protect mature skin
  • Beeswax to form a natural lipid film helping prevent skin from drying out
  • UV filters and Vitamin E to help prevent signs of premature ageing
  • A rich formula to soften and smooth the skin giving a younger, fresher appearance
Ingredients listed on the tube -
  • Aqua
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Glycerin
  • Octyldodecanol
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Octocrylene
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
  • Cera Alba
  • Cetearyl Glucoside
  • Sodium Polyacrylate
  • Dimethicone 
  • Parfum
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Caprylyl Glycol

Having said I usually prefer to use natural beauty products, I also know that sometimes they just don't work as well as the chemical concoctions do.
I have nothing but praise for Lacura ProRevive hand cream from Aldi.
It has healed the skin on my dry cracked hands, quicker and much better than anything else I've used.
I give it a thumbs up - a lovely soft, moisturised thumbs up. Thank you Aldi you have saved my skin!
Have you used any of the Lacura products from Aldi?
Do you use Lacura ProRevive Hand Cream?

Cambalala Pinotage Shiraz 2013 - Wine Review

Many many years ago we travelled around South Africa, so drinking a bottle of red wine from South Africa brought back some good memories.

If you've read any of my previous wine review blog posts you will know that we buy a lot of wine from budget friendly supermarket Lidl. This wine was another Lidl £3.99 bargain.
Pinotage is a native grape of South Africa, which was created in 1925, it's a cross between Cinsaut and Pinot Noir.

Cambalala Pinotage Shiraz 2013 is a soft wine full of rich ripe dark fruit; juicy blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, with an aroma of cocoa, cinnamon, and vanilla which lingers on the palate. Delicious!

Cambalala. Pinotage Shiraz 2013. South African. Red wine.

From the bottle label -
Pinotage is South Africa's most famous red wine. Teamed up here with the powerhouse grape of both the old and new worlds, Shiraz, it makes for a wine of tremendous depth and excitement. Jammy, ripe blackberry, bramble and raspberry jostle for attention on the palate; the wine finishes long with hints of 
vanilla and cocoa. A superb consort for grilled steaks, roasts and creamy cheeses. 
Mmm, writing that last sentence means that now I fancy some creamy cheese. Hahaha!
Have you tried Cambalala Pinotage Shiraz 2013? Did you enjoy it?

All Day Breakfast - For Lunch

We don't often eat a fry-up, but yesterday Mr.R made us a seriously tasty meal of egg 'n bacon - for lunch.

Mr.R rarely eats breakfast, but that doesn't mean he can't cook a really good one - for lunch.

So, yeah, yesterday we had a lovely fry-up, although the only food that was actually fried were the eggs.
The bacon was grilled, the mushrooms were sauteed in soy sauce (hence the black colour), and the beans were homemade beans in a seriously rich tomato sauce.
The bread was a really nice wholemeal tin-split loaf that we bought from Durham market, smothered in lots of lovely organic butter - it's good for you don't you know.
Everything on this breakfast was absolutely Delicious!

Fry-Up. Although the only fried food were the eggs. Bacon. Homemade baked beans in a rich tomato sauce. Mushrooms. Bread with lots of butter. Delicious!

Sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a proper English fry-up, even if you don't eat it for breakfast - you eat it for lunch.
Do you enjoy a decent fry-up?
What's your favourite combination of food, apart from the traditional egg and bacon?

Kooliburra, Shiraz Cabernet - Wine Review

I intend to take photos of the wine we drink, before we empty the bottles, but as always seems to happen - I forget until the following morning, hence the majority of my wine review blog posts having photos of empty wine bottles on them. Ha!
Here's yet another empty wine bottle shot. 

Kuliburra. Cab Sav.

Kooliburra, Shiraz Cabernet, a red wine from South Eastern Australia, that Mr.R bought from Lidl. It cost £3.99.
Kooliburra is aboriginal for small lizard. 

From the bottle label -
This deeply coloured wine mixes ripe dark-berry fruits with subtle spice and mint. Full bodied and richly textured it displays an intensity of red berries, blackcurrants and plums leading to black olives, cloves and spice. The finish lingers with soft ripe tannins making it a perfect match to full flavoured meat dishes. 

We enjoyed this wine. It's was full-bodied rich fruity, bursting with dark berry fruits, red berries and blackcurrants, with a delicate spicy soft tannin finish.
It's a New World blend of Shiraz Grapes; 60% and Cabernet Sauvignon; 40%.
Have you tried a bottle of Kooliburra, Shiraz Cabernet?
What's your opinion? I'd love to know. 

Rainbow - A Beautiful Double Rainbow

This morning as we walked Barley, our lovely Lurcher, the sun was shining, and then tiny droplets of refreshing rain began lightly falling on our skin.
As we walked towards the sea Mr.R told me turn around, and as I did he pointed out the huge rainbow that was overhead. Absolutely beautiful.

Double rainbow. Today is a wonderful day. ☺️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #rainbow #doublerainbow #noedit #nofilter

As we stood, the rain now heavier and soaking all three of us, we saw that the rainbow was a double rainbow. A lovely multicoloured arc of colours - twice. It was a wonderful start to our day.

Double rainbow. Today is most definitely a wonderful day. ☺️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #rainbow #doublerainbow #noedit #nofilter

As it was raining quite a lot, I only managed to quickly shoot a couple of photos before my poor phone was suffering from the wet. But I think you can see that the double rainbow was most definitely worth risking the life of my favourite gadget.
I also shot a few seconds of video, but I'm buggered if I know how to upload it to this blog.

I can't remember the last time I saw a double rainbow, but it was many many years ago.
I think this double rainbow is a sign of good things coming. I believe in all good things coming.
Have you seen a double rainbow today?

Friday, 22 August 2014


Satsumas always remind me of Christmas.
And although it is only August, I am, at this very moment, thinking about Christmas - simply because I mentioned it in a wine post I just uploaded.

Satsumas always remind me of Christmas. These are not Satsumas - they are Clementines.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #food #fruit #Clementines #citrusfruit #citrus #orange #LittleBallsofSweetJuicyFruityOrangeDeliciousness

So, wine, satsumas, Christmas, - it's interesting where your train of thought can take you.
I love satsumas! Clementines. Tangerines. Oranges. I love 'em all! 
Do you like them? How do you eat them? As they are - or some other way?

Adventurer Series Nero D'Avola 2013 - Wine Review

This wine is from Aldi, and their Adventurer Series.

It is made from the classic grape of Sicily, the Nero D'Avola.
This wine is rich and dense in colour, with brambly flavours of roasted dark fruit and concentrated red cherry, raspberry, spices, and floral notes and polished oak. The finish is earthy with a hint of liquorice.
It reminded me a little of Christmas - it's like Christmas in a glass.

Adventurer Series, Nero D'Avola. Red wine. Sicilian. Sicily. Aldi.

From the bottle label -
Nero D'Avola
Terre Siciliane
Indicazione Geografica Tipica
Sicily's 'icon' grape - rich, volcanically dark and deliciously brambly.
Characteristic Nero D'Avola, with soft, smoky, dark fruit and red cherry laden flavours, complete with earthy liquorice notes.
Ideal with grilled meats.
Have you tasted Aldi Adventurer Series Nero D'Avola, 2013? 
Sounds nice doesn't it? Well, that's because it is. Give it a try, you might like it. 

Internet Savvy Lurcher

Barley, our lovely Lurcher is a very intelligent boy.
He knows and understands lots of words, and he knows how to use the internet.
A couple of days ago I found him laying on the living room floor scrolling through a dog rescue website.
Apparently he was searching for a new brother, or sister.

Barley has obviously overheard Mr.R talking about adding to our family, by welcoming another dog into our home. And judging by his internet activity, Barley clearly thinks it is a very good idea indeed.

Window shopping on Stray Aid.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #StrayAid

Since we've settled back in Blighty, we've noticed that it's popular now to have two or more dogs, at least it seems as though we're in the minority having just one dog.
We've never had more than one dog at a time in our family, so although we're quite certain that Barley would love to have a permanent playmate, neither me or Mr.R can imagine what having two dogs will be like.
Hopefully it won't be much different from one dog - just twice as much fun.
Do you have more than one dog? Two dogs? Is it twice as much fun than just having one?

Venturer Series, Old Vines, Garnacha 2013 - Wine Review

This wine from Aragón, Spain, is another Aldi purchase Mr.R made recently.
It's from the new Venturer range of six wines at Aldi, which cost either £4.79 or £4.99. Not bad for a very drinkable bottle of red.

Venturer Series, Old Vines, Garnacha 2013. Aldi wine.

The Venturer Series, Old Vines, Garnacha 2013, from Bodegas Paniza, cost £4.79. It comes from the Carineῆa region of Spain. 13.5%.
This full bodied wine is a lovely aromatic, dry and spicy wine, and tastes of strawberry, cherry, chocolate and violet with a hint of vanilla oak.

From the bottle label -
Old Vines Garnacha
Vino varietal de Espana
From high-altitude vineyards - powerful red fruits, intense black fruits.
Concentrated grapes from old & gnarled Garnacha (Grenache) vines create this deeply warming, full-bodied wine, which is packed with ripe berry-fruit flavours.
Ideal with rich red meat dishes.

Venturer Series, Old Vines, Garnacha 2013. Aldi wine.

Wine snobs are definitely missing out by not buying their booze from Aldi.
Aldi sell decent budget friendly wines, which are much more palatable than the over
inflated prices customers are expected to pay at that the big four supermarkets in the UK.
Do you purchase wine from Aldi?
Have you tried Venturer Series, Old Vines, Garnacha 2013?

Pure Pleasure - Land Rover

I spotted this Land Rover Defender as we were walking by Seaham Harbour.
There are a lot of smutty comments I could write about it, but I'm certain you can amuse yourself.

110 INCHES OF PURE PLEASURE.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Landy #LandRover #LandRover110 #LongWheelBaseLandRover #longwheelbase
Maybe I should have blanked out the number plate, 
but I couldn't be bothered to edit the photo again.

We love Land Rovers.
One of our first cars was a Landy, not a long wheelbase like this one, ours was a short wheelbase, as were all of our old Land Rovers.
Ahh, the memories - they are seriously fun vehicles to drive.
Are you a Land Rover Lover?

Courgette - Grow Your Own

Homegrown food is most definitely tastier than mass produced shop bought food.

Little 'n Large! Homegrown goodness. Courgette.

Mr.R has managed to grow quite a few different things in pots on our tiny yarden.
Courgette is just one of the vegetables he has grown.
I saw this large courgette this morning, and then I noticed the tiny courgette right next to it.
We had thought about eating the courgette flowers, which is nice, but then we decided not too, and let the courgettes continue to grow - we've had some whoppers.
Mr.R usually grills courgettes, and they taste delicious.
What's your favourite way to cook courgette?

Toro Loco, Tempranillo Superior, 2013 - Wine Review

Red Wine!

Mr.R recently bought several bottles of red wine from budget supermarket Aldi. 
One of which was Toro Loco (Crazy Bull) Tempranillo Superior, 2013.
It cost £3.69 a bottle - bargain!
Well, actually two of which....... he purchased two bottles of this wine, which was good because we liked it.
I like the label design too - Crazy Bull corkscrew.

Toro Loco Tempranillo Superior, 2013, is a lovely Spanish wine, from Utiel-Requena D.O. It's made entirely from Tempranillo grapes, and is full of fresh fruit flavours. This wine is bursting with black cherry, red-currant, and strawberry, and a subtle touch of white pepper.
The tannins are pretty heavy, and the finish is long. All in all, this wine is bloody lovely.

Toro Loco Tempranillo 2013
The large courgette on the left didn't come free with the wine - it's Mr.R's homegrown veg ;)

From the bottle label -
This wine is the perfect reflection of its name. Toro Loco means 'Crazy Bull' and this full bodied wine is full of life, capturing the essence of Spain.
Fresh and juicy, from the traditional Tempranillo grapes, it is a perfect partner to Spanish Tapas or any spicy food. Also great on its own.
You would have to be crazy not to try it. 
Are you crazy? Or have you tried Toro Loco Tempranillo Superior, 2013?

Monday, 18 August 2014

What Can I Eat?

It's a question I ask often.
What can I eat?

Poor Mr.R! Every morning after we've returned from walking our lovely Lurcher Barley, I say to Mr.R, ''What can I eat?''
He very rarely eats breakfast, but he usually suggests lots of tasty foods for me to eat.
And I usually don't eat any of the things he has mentioned. Instead I have either porridge, or Greek yogurt.

I don't know why I always ask, what can I eat? I just do. Despite already knowing what I'm going to eat.
Mr.R cooks lunch for us every day, so that's one meal I don't ever have to think about.
And then in the evening, we don't eat at the same time, I like to eat early, at about 8ish, and Mr.R prefers to eat later, at any time from 9/10pm, up until whenever he feels hungry.
So, in the evenings it happens all over again. I ask Mr.R, ''What can I eat?''
I've been asking the same question for decades, so it's a good thing he's an incredibly laid-back man. ;)

It's cold here. ❄️ I fancied toast, but we haven't got bread. Second choice, a banana, but we haven't got any bananas.  So, a bowl of Greek yogurt with walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, and honey it is. I don't like walnuts.   Act

This breakfast was Greek yogurt with raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, coconut, and lots of honey. I like to have a banana with it too, but we didn't have any on this particular morning.
Despite the lack of banana, it was a seriously delicious breakfast.
Do you eat breakfast?
What's your favourite breakfast?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Batemans Dark Lord, Dark Ruby Beer - Review

Mmm, dark beer!

I went into our kitchen the other day to see what Mr.R was rustling up for our lunch, and I spotted a bottle of beer and a glass with said beer in it, on the worktop.
I immediately grabbed the glass and took a sip. It was delicious!
Mr.R was incredulous.
He'd only just poured the beer into the glass so that he could take a photo, to accompany the blog post he intended to write for his blog.

Bate mans, Dark Lord, Dark Ruby Beer

It makes a change for me to taste something before Mr.R. I was most impressed with this beer. It's 5%, full of flavour, I tasted caramel, toffee, and lovely cooked fruits. Very nice indeed.

Bate mans, Dark Lord, Dark Ruby Beer

The label on the bottle says -
Brewed to commemorate 'Black Tom' who fought the English Civil War at The Battle of Winceby, Lincolnshire. It is RICH and Spicy and goes well with CHEESE AND RED MEAT. 
Gold Medal Winner World's 50 Best Beers International Beer Competition.
BATEMANS are great FAMILY BREWERS who have been brewing beer in their River Steeping in Lincolnshire since 1874. Visit the fantastic Victorian Brewhouse, sit out by the river, enjoy the food and beer, play the old pub games, discover the 4,500 bottled beer collection and investigate the fascinating exhibits. Fun for all the family!
We really enjoyed this dark beer. 
Have you tasted Batemans Dark Lord Dark Ruby Beer? Did you like it?

Pink Flowers, Blue Sky

Walking across the fields by the sea where we often walk our dog, Barley the lovely Lurcher, I saw these beautiful splashes of bright pink against the blue sky.
So I took a couple of photos. The flowers definitely brightened our morning dog walk, because as you can see, the sky did have some blue, but the clouds were coming over thick and fast.
Despite the pink blooms it feels like Summer is saying goodbye for this year.

Day 3 #yogagirlchallenge Rise & Shine @yoga_girl Saw these beautiful pink flowers reaching up to the sky during our morning dog walk. Lovely way to start my day. ☺️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #flowers #pinkflowers #natu

I don't know what this plant, these flowers are, but they were quite tall, elegant, and a vibrant pink.
Do you know anything about wild plants/flowers? Do you know what these are called?

Letters From The Falklands War

Many many years ago one of my brothers was in the Royal Navy.
I always remember our mum saying that right from when he just a few years old, whenever people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would always say he wanted to be a sailor.
And so it was, as soon as he was old enough he joined up, and off he went to HMS Raleigh for his training.

I guess it wasn't surprising that my brother joined the Navy. His grandad, our mums father, ran away to see at the tender age of 14. He joined the Merchant Navy, lying about his age so he could enlist.
Also our dads middle names are very nautical, but I'm not revealing them as I doubt you'd believe me. ;)

As I'm mainly writing this blog post to go with one single photograph, you'll be pleased to know I'm not going to ramble on and on about my brother and his Navy training, this is as I said a blog post, and not a book. Although I could quickly and easily write enough to fill a book; I remember so many funny stories about his early days in the Royal Navy.

Anyway, I was sorting through a box of old photos a couple of days ago when about halfway down I found lots of old letters. Initially I just put them to one side, well, into another box to be burnt actually.
I am very neat and tidy by nature, much preferring not to have too much stuff cluttering our house. But I am also sentimental, so after putting dozens of letters into the burn box, I thought maybe I should open a couple of the envelopes and read the letters.
As soon as I started reading the first letter, that I'd randomly picked, my eyes welled-up with tears.
Now I knew why my mum had kept the letters all these years.

My brother isn't what you'd call an overly emotional person, but obviously being away from home and his loved one, during a war, would make the toughest bloke express their emotions in a different way.
So, I read a couple more of the letters, and by this stage my eyes weren't just watering, I was sobbing my heart out.
Crying gives me a headache, so I didn't read all of the letters, and I'm not sure if or when I will read the others, but the few I did read were full of love. Raw, honest love.
I guess that's to be expected when the author didn't know for certain that he would return home safely.
I remember the Falklands war clearly, it completely controlled the lives of my family.
I was at secondary school, but I would run home every lunchtime to be with my mum, who was always sitting watching the TV news, (no internet access with 24 hour news in those days), she was always on edge waiting for any sighting of the ship my brother was on. Or praying that the phone wouldn't ring, as that would surely mean bad news.
We told everyone we knew not to ring us unless it was an emergency, we had to keep the phone line free, just in case there was news about my brother.

For some of the time we knew where my brothers ship was, but there were also times when we couldn't be told for security reasons.
I remember one day after school I was sitting with my mum watching the news, and we spotted his ship. Oh my God! We were overcome with emotion. Understandably.

My mum not only wrote letters to my brother, she also sent lots of parcels of all the things he'd asked for in his letters.
My brother is a proper mans man, as the expression goes, he's a bloke, tough and manly. So we were a little surprised when in one letter he asked mum to buy as many pairs of thick ladies tights as she could fit into a standard size shoe box.
The Royal Navy had told relatives that shoe boxes were the permitted size of parcels.
No, my brother wasn't getting in touch with his feminine side, he was cold, freezing cold. And so were his mates, which is why he wanted lots of tights, they wore them underneath their uniforms to help keep warm.

I don't remember my mum sleeping much at all during the entire Falklands War. She just couldn't relax, always hoping for good news.
We joined up with other families of sailors through a Royal Navy support group, which was an essential lifeline for my mum.
It was through this group that mum met a couple who went on to become very good friends of our family. They had a son on the same ship as my brother.
Every tiny piece of news would be swapped between my family and theirs. It was comforting knowing someone who was in the same boat (pun unintended) as we were, who understood what we were feeling and thinking.

The Admiral was really good at keeping the families as up to date as he could about everything that our boys were experiencing.
So between the Navy news, the TV news, and chatting to other sailors families we had a pretty good idea of what was happening to our loved one so far away from us.

One morning as I was getting ready to go to school, mum said I should stay home.
I immediately thought she'd heard some news, but she assured me she hadn't. She just said she had a bad feeling. So I stayed home.
I told her my brother was fine, we hadn't seen anything on the news that would imply there was any trouble, but she said she knew something bad was happening. She said she could feel it.
So we sat watching the news. Nothing.
All day, afternoon, and evening, we waited for the news to come on, then we'd sit in silence waiting for anything that mentioned my brothers ship, or the area where he was, anything. Nothing.
That evening I went to bed as usual, but in the early hours of the morning I woke up to loud voices.
I rushed downstairs, my mum was up and dressed.
As I entered the living room I could see she was on the phone. She looked up at me and mouthed the word, Bomb!

Maritime Mail. Reading the letters my brother wrote to my mum when he first joined the Royal Navy, and from the Falklands. Emotional.  But funny in parts too.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #MaritimeMail #post #postage #st

I collapsed on to the sofa. Waiting to be told any news.
The caller was the Admiral. Obviously there were lots of families who needed to be phoned, so he wasn't making small talk.
Mum thanked the Admiral for phoning, and came off the phone. She grabbed me, hugging me so hard I could hardly breath.
Tears streaming down her face she told me that the ship my brother was on had been hit by a 1,000lb bomb.
And then she told me miracles do exist.

Mum wasn't a particularly religious person, but she told me she'd been praying all day. She said she sensed the ship, and more importantly her son, my brother, was in serious danger, more danger than they'd ever been in since the start of the Falklands war, and she told me she'd been praying for a miracle. She prayed for him and his shipmates to be safe.
Mum said miracles do exist.
The bomb that hit my brothers ship, had miraculously not exploded. It had caused serious damage, but it did not explode.
I don't have the words to accurately, or adequately express the emotions we went through that day, or the atmosphere in our house.
The bomb hadn't exploded, but we had to wait a long time to find out if my brother was alright.
And then the phone rang again. He was safe. Thank God!

I remember everything about how the Falklands war impacted on my family, I even remember writing as essay for my English class about it, which I also found in the box with the photographs and letters.
I remember it all so very clearly. And yet, I don't remember it. It's clear, and it's hazy.
I guess that's the bodies way of protecting itself from stress.

It's been interesting finding the letters that my brother wrote to us from his ship during the Falklands War. They stirred up emotions that were buried long ago, but came back with such powerful force I felt as though I was right back in our old house all those years ago.

I wish my brother was here with me now. I'd give him a great big hug. I'd also give him his letters as I'm sure he'd be interested to re-read them, and surprised by their sweet, emotional, and truly loving content.
And I'd tell him, miracles do exist - even in war.

Ha! This blog post is quite clearly not the one paragraph post I intended to write.
And I only took one photo
of the letters, so it looks very wordy.
And I haven't read it through, so no doubt it's full of spelling and grammar mistakes, because it made me cry just writing it, and I can't cry anymore today.
It's all muddled-up. It makes sense in my head, but then my brain thinks millions of times faster than my poor index fingers can type.
And I vaguely remember being taught at school that you shouldn't start a sentence with the word And.
But ever since I noticed that one of my favourite authors often uses 'and' to start a sentence, I thought why not? And I like the way it looks, and the way it sounds in my head when I read it, And...
I also remember being told that you shouldn't start a sentence with the word But.
But that same author does that too. So, if it's good enough for a best selling author, then it's good enough for me.
Not that my writing is comparable in any way to a professional author. I know that. Believe me, I know.
So, there you have it. One photograph of a few letters sent from my brothers Royal Navy ship to our mother during the Falklands War. And rather a lot of words, when simply writing Letters to mum from my brother during the Falklands War underneath would have sufficed.

The End!
Well, it's the end for now. I may, in the future, write a proper blog post, with exact dates, places, names etc.
Then again, I'm not sure I've got enough tissues for the sobbing that would induce.

Winemakers Choice, South Eastern Australia, Shiraz, 2013 - Wine Review

You say Shiraz, I say Syrah. Shiraz, Syrah, Shiraz, Syrah...........

Yep, this is another wine review.
Well, I say review, but I'm sure it's pretty obvious from my previous wine review blog posts that I'm not especially serious about this topic.
No, actually that's not entirely correct. I am serious about wine, I love red wine, which is why I drink it - a lot of it. But as our budget only allows us to drink the lower priced wines, there's obviously not that much I can say about many of them. It's not the wines are bad, they're perfectly drinkable, they're just not complicated or complex.
I mean, at the moment we aren't exactly buying fine wines, we're buying basic supermarket cheap plonk.
So, not to generalise too much, the wines we're buying, and drinking, are all pretty much the same - they look, smell, and taste - like red wine, with subtle differences but nothing so specific that it merits mentioning.

Shiraz. Red wine.

Mr.R purchased his bottle of Winemakers Choice, South Eastern Australia, Shiraz, 2013, from Aldi.
We hadn't been to our local Aldi since we moved here, but a couple of days ago we decided to pop in and see what it was like.
The wine selection was alright, so we were happy.
Crikey! This 'wine review' is more like a nonsensical rant, followed by an Aldi supermarket review - oh well, it is what it is.
But there are two photos of wine, so I think that makes everything alright.

Australian red wine. Shiraz.

From the bottle label -
A smooth and fruity, easy drinking Australian Shiraz. Great with roast or barbecued red meats or full-flavoured pasta dishes. 

We obviously liked this Winemakers Choice Shiraz; the bottle is empty, and it's in the recycling bin. :)
Do you like Australian wines?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Shepherd Neame, Double Stout - Beer Review

I love stout!

It wasn't until our past travels took us to Eastern Europe that I really got the taste for stout, but now I really enjoy it.
This review is not about Eastern Europe though, it's about the oldest brewer in Britain. Shepherd Neame.
Ooh, just writing the name has made my tastebuds tingle.

Almost empty.  #shepherdneame #stout #beer #britishbeer

We recently had a bottle of Shepherd Neame Double Stout, well, I say we, but actually I only managed to have a sip before Mr.R made it vanish.
We love this ale, it is rich and creamy, with flavours of coffee, chocolate, molasses, caramel, roasted malts, and a bitter finish.
It is seriously good. So good, I wish I had some now, but alas I don't.

Mmm, stout.  Shepherd Neame. Double Stout.

The label on the bottle says -
A classic double stout from a recipe discovered in the vaults of Britain's oldest brewer. This beer combines the complex flavours and characteristics of pale ale, roasted crystal and chocolate malts with the finest kilned roasted barley. It is bittered with our famed East Kent hops and brewed in the UK's last remaining wooden mash tuns.
This magnificent example of a classic double stout delivers a velvety-smooth plate of dry, burnt flavours complemented by roast, cocoa and coffee notes. Black, creamy and delicious, it is a Shepherd Neame masterpiece. 
SEE Black
SMELL Roasted, Chocolate, Hoppy
TASTE Dry, Coffee, Bitter 

No more driving for today.  Let the drinking begin.  Cheers! #beer #stout #ShepherdNeame #BritishBeer

Just reading the description of this double stout you can feel the pride in their product. And they are most definitely right to be proud of this seriously delicious brew. It is sublime.

Shepherd Neame Double Stout. Delicious!

Hmm, as I sit typing this beer review I am transported back to when we first arrived back in Britain from our World travels, we didn't have anywhere to live so we were travelling around the country searching for somewhere to call home. At one point we were staying in Kent, where we found a really lovely new home, all be it a very temporary one in the shape of the pub down the road from our accommodation.
What made this pub the perfect home for us was the bottles of Shepherd Neame Double Stout that we spotted on a shelf behind the bar as soon as we entered.
Thankfully the landlady had a few bottles in the fridge too, but not for long. Once we'd had a bottle each, we couldn't resist having a second one.
Just before we left the pub the landlady asked if we'd be back, we said we would so putting her remaining stock of Shepherd Neame Double Stout in the fridge would be much appreciated.
We returned to the pub the following day, and the cold double stout slipped down like the purest silk. Absolutely delicious!
I think it's pretty obvious from my rambling that we love this beer.
Have you improved your life by drinking Shepherd Neame Double Stout?
If not, I strongly suggest you try it at your earliest convenience. You'll love it!


I like to meditate.
I've meditated for as long as I can remember - on and off, but lately it's been more on.
Meditating definitely makes me feel good, and I find it easy, which pleases me as during my waking hours my mind is always racing. I'm a serious overthinker.
That's why I meditate, it stops the noise in my head. It makes me feel clean, calm, relaxed, happy, and of course there are the proven scientific benefits of meditating.
I had written a long list of the reported health benefits of meditation, but then I highlighted the text, and hit the delete button.
I'm not here to tell you about that. This is just a lighthearted blog post about my enjoyment of meditation, and I'm way too tired to add the appropriate links to the medical research papers that would supposedly prove what I'd written.
And I'm sure we are all aware, that most people have an agenda, so even research papers from the most respected source may not be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.......

Crikey! That all felt a bit too much for me.
I only wanted to post a photo, and already I've written far more than I planned.

Meditating. Meditation. Meditate.  Om.  Aum. ✨☺️

So, anyway, meditation - I love it!
Lately I've seen several articles about meditating, usually with titles such as 'How to Meditate' followed by a list of things you need to do in order to be able to mediate successfully.
Often these articles are accompanied by comments from people saying they can't meditate. They say they've tried but it's sooooo hard, they just can't do it.

I don't know what they're talking about.
Meditating is not hard. It is not difficult.
Meditation is incredibly straightforward, and easy.

I think the main reason a lot of people say they have trouble when they try to meditate is because they've read lots of nonsense about How to Meditate etc.
They are over-thinking it. They have unnecessary expectations of what meditating is going to be like.
They think, incorrectly, that to mediate takes a lot of effort, that you must clear your mind of every single thought, that the mind must be absolutely quiet.
They think you must sit on the floor, with your legs crossed in a lotus position, a perfectly straight back, with their fingers forming a mudra.
That may work for some people, and if so that's good - for them. But it doesn't have to be the same for everyone.
If adopting a seated lotus....... blah blah blah....... is something you find comfortable then that's fair enough.
But I think a lot of people are put-off of even attempting to meditate simply because they think there's only one correct way to do it.
And they also think, incorrectly, that you have to meditate for a long time, or for a set amount of time.
Meditation, meditating is whatever works for you.
If you only want to, or only have the time to meditate for a few breaths, then so be it. That's enough.
I dont know! Correct position to meditate, set a timer to meditate...........
They make it complicated. When in fact, the opposite is true, it is uncomplicated, it's simple, it's childs play.

Meditation is not about doing anything. It is about doing nothing.
Doing nothing, for as little or long a time as you want, in any comfortable position you choose.
What could be easier than doing nothing? Nothing, that's what.

Om.  #doodle

Meditation. It's not rocket science.
Simply get yourself into a position that is comfortable for you.
Then just focus on your breath. If you are truly fully focused on your breath your mind won't be wandering off thinking about whatever else it is you like to think about.
I've read many things about meditating that say when your mind wanders, just let the thought come and go, and then go back to concentrating on your breathing again.
I don't think that advice is helpful, it's planting the negative thought in your mind that when you're meditating your mind will definitely wander off somewhere.
I've never experienced this. Once I'm meditating, breathing in and out....... that's it, I'm there.
My mind does not wander anywhere at all.
I am meditating. 
I am. 
I. Am.

So, to meditate - Just breathe. And be.
That's it.
You're meditation. You're doing it. Congratulations!

Mindful. ☺️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #mindfulness #mindful #meditation #doodle

Ha! As often happens with me, and as I've already mentioned I only intended to post a photo on this blog post, with just once sentence - literally one sentence, a few words only. And yet I have rambled on and on about God knows what.
I feel I have oversold the photo I originally intended to post; the top one if you're interested. I decided to add the two other photos of my doodles, to break up my writing.
Oh well, maybe someone out there on the World Wide Web will find it, read it, and who knows - they may even get comfy and meditate.
Do you enjoy meditation? Do you find it easy to meditate?
What are your thoughts on meditating? 
I'd love to hear your opinions.