Friday, 30 January 2015

The News - It's Not All About The Snow In Britain

The news is something I prefer to avoid, I mean it's not usually good is it?
It's full of death and destruction, which is why for a long time I stopped reading the news or watching news on TV but lately I've been pulled back into what's being reported as news.

There seems to be so much news too, far more than ever. I guess that's partly due to the expansion of social media, everything can be reported and shared instantly, and re-shared and so on, so it's as though there are a billion news stories every day.
Anyway, here's just a very small selection of the news reports that got my attention.

  • Kent and Canterbury Hospital employs new chief executive Chris Brown on £294,000 a year salary for 4 day working week. Read more here Kent Online
  • Staffordshire police warn arrests may be made after receiving over 700 complaints about snowballs being thrown. Read more here The Sentinel
  • Boris Johnson said home-grown fanatics who join ISIS are wankers, who watch porn because they can't find girlfriends. Read more here The Guardian 
  • Cecilia Carrasco said she was pushed over at work - by a ghost. Read more here Metro
  • Pensioner Doug Yeomans, 78, receives tax bill for £4.7 billion. HMRC told him not to worry, he can pay it off at £950 million a month. Read more here Derby Telegraph 
  • Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for insulting Islam on his blog, has had his flogging postponed for the third week. Read more here The Guardian 
  • New Greek government delays sanctions against Putin in its first fight in the EU. Read more here Mail Online
  • The Secret to a Long Life? A 'good tipple' say oldest sister in the World. Read more here Mail Online
  • Winston Churchill: 50th anniversary of funeral commemorated. Read more here The Guardian and here Mail Online
  • Snow, snow, and more snow in Britain. Read more here Mail Online
  • David Cameron accused of smears, bribes, and lies in dirty tricks election campaign. Read more here Mirror
  • Beer sales in the UK increase for the first time in a decade. Read more here Sky News
  • Qatari royal family have plans to convert 2 homes into one £200 million palace scuppered by planners. Read more here London Evening Standard
  • Big Brother: Katie Hopkins says Katie Price has nice womanly body, after they shared a shower. Read more here Express
  • UK summons ambassador over Russian bombers. Read more here Sky News
I was hoping to post a list of news headlines that were nice and uplifting and funny, you know like stories about cute puppies, or giant carrots... but that's easier said than done. So, I posted, well, what I've posted.
Do you pay much attention to the news?
Or do you prefer to ignore it as much as possible?

Ask Believe Receive - The Power of Positive Thinking

I believe in positive thinking.
Positive thinking is a truly powerful force.
I believe in positive thinking. I do. I think I do.

I read this quote the other day, and I liked it.
''Desire, ask, believe, receive.'' - Stella Terrill Mann


Photo shot in a field by the sea, where we live

Find your bliss.
Be happy.
Love yourself - you deserve it. 
Do you believe in positive thinking?

Libertario, La Mancha, Tempranillo 2013 - Wine Review

This wine is another good buy from Lidl, it cost £5.49.

La Mancha, Liberterio 2013, Tempranillo. Wine. Spanish wine. Red wine.

We've had quite a few bottles of Libertario La Mancha 2013, Mr.R usually purchases 6 at a time.

La Mancha, Libertario 2013, Tempranillo. Spanish wine. Wine. Red wine.

Made from Tempranillo grapes, it's soft and velvety smooth on the palate, with flavours of red berries, and a pleasantly long finish.

La Mancha, Liberterio 2013, Tempranillo. Spanish wine. Wine. Red wine.

From the label -
D.O. La Mancha is situated in the heart of Spain and is one of the largest, best known wine growing areas in the world. Even in the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote and his trusty companion Sancho Panza wandered this bleak landscape, characterised by its many windmills, and treasured the fine wines from the region.
Once opened, consume within 3 days. 12.5% vol.
Have you tried Libertino La Mancha 2013?
What did you think of it?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Vietnam - Remembering Some of Our World Travels

I titled this blog post, Remembering Some of Our World Travels, but because we spent 2 years travelling, and we were moving on every few days, either to a new town, or different country, neither of us can remember everything we did, or where.
We were exhausted a lot of the time. Travelling is fun, and we are truly grateful that we were able to take-off for as long as we felt like it, to see some more of the World, but it can also be a seriously tiring time.

Green. Bananas. 🍌 Market. Hoi An. Vietnam.
Market trader, Hoi An, Vietnam

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Nonsense! These fish needed a bike.  Dalat. Vietnam. fish. goldfish. motorbike. bike. Street life. Candid. Travel.

Fish, Somewhere? Vietnam

I often look through the thousands of photos we shot during our World travels, that's not an exaggeration; at one point we had over 25,000 photos on our various gadgets, which meant we spent quite a few nights deleting images to make room for more photos.......
And although usually, as soon as I see a particular photo I am momentarily transported back to the time and place depicted in the image, sometimes I get mixed up, thinking I'm looking at a photo from say Thailand, when in fact it's a shot taken in Laos.
I know! I know! First World problems.

Through. Imperial city. Citadel. Hue. Vietnam.

Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Random. Market. Da Lat. Vietnam. sweets. car. jeep. Army keep. coffee. statue. Travel.

Market, Da Lat, Vietnam

Anyway, I love apps, and one of my favourites, no make that my absolute favourite is Instagram.
I enjoy messing about with my images in various photo editing apps as well as in the Instagram app itself, and uploading an image, that admittedly looks quite unlike the original shot. But I always keep the original too.
Another app I like is TimeHop. Lately I've been getting daily updates that are full of photos we shot during our travels in Vietnam.
And so, finally, I'm getting to the point, this blog post is simply for me to upload some of our Vietnam travel photos.

Market. Hoi An, Vietnam.
Market traders, Hoi An, Vietnam

I'm not going to ramble on with lots of information about each individual photo.
For one thing, as I've already said, I can't remember exactly where some of the shots were taken, and also for us Vietnam is Marmite.
You either love it, or hate. I don't like the word hate, so I'll just say we didn't love Vietnam.
Well, actually that's not quite correct, we liked the country of Vietnam, it was the people that meant it wasn't one of our favourite countries on our travels. The South of Vietnam was the main place we didn't like, the North was much friendlier.

Nha Trang. Vietnam.

Architecture, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Shop. Hoi An. Vietnam. building. architecture. Travel.
Architecture, Hoi An, Vietnam

Having spoken to lots of other people, both family, friends, and strangers, who have visited Vietnam, it seems we're not alone in thinking that it's like Marmite. Everyone we spoke to, both before we went to Vietnam, and during our trip, said they either loved, or hated it. No one was in the middle, it's a country that evokes strong feelings in people - or at least in all of the people we talked to about it.

Pour. Vietnam. market. food. Street life. Candid. Travel.
Street Market, Somewhere? Vietnam

Japanese covered bridge. Chua Cau Nhat Ban. UNESCO. Bridge. Japanese bridge. Hoi An. Vietnam.
Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam

I'm not saying we had a terrible time in Vietnam, we didn't, but we didn't have the best time of our lives either.
Different strokes for different folks.

New Year decorations. Hoi An. Vietnam. lanterns. truck. traffic. cherry picker. bikes. shadow. Travel.

New Year Decorations, Hoi An, Vietnam

Duck - more graffiti in a pub in Hue, Vietnam.

Duck, our travelling companion, and his grafitti on the wall in Liberty Bar, Hue, Vietnam

Little bit of video shot at the Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Anyway, that's enough of that.
The photos on this blog post were mainly shot on an iPhone, and as you can see heavily edited.
If you are interested in reading more about our Vietnam travels you can read about it on one of the blogs Mr.R has by clicking Our Travels in Vietnam.
Do you like Marmite?
Have you been to Vietnam?
What's your opinion on Marmite, or Vietnam?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Co-Op Spanish Red Wine - Wine Review

We don't purchase wine from our local Co-Op regularly, but when we do we're usually pretty happy with it, and this bottle of Spanish Red Wine was another good buy.

Co-Op Spanish Red Wine. Wine. Red wine. Spanish wine.

This wine was reasonably priced, had a lovely fruity aroma, and a pleasant rich spicy flavour.
I can't say more than that, and I know my description is a bit vague, but I can't remember exactly what this wine was like - as we drank it quite a while ago.

Co-Op Spanish Red Wine. Red wine. Wine. Spanish wine.

From the label -
Shiraz, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
This spicy full-bodied wine has a firm and savoury feel, with ripe fruit and a soft finish.
Easy-drinking, it can be enjoyed on its own or with pizza, pasta, red meats and cheeses.
Have you tried Co-Op Spanish Red Wine?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

You Are The Universe in Ecstatic Motion - Rumi

Stop acting so small.
You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.
- Rumi
Love. Doodle. Heart. 💖

I really like this quote attributed to Rumi; Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī.
It's definitely one of my favourite quotes.
We should all remember we are wonderful, we're all made of stardust.
Do you have a favourite quote?
Share it in the comments. :)

Mind Controlling Lurcher - Always Hungry

Barley, our lovely Lurcher is a funny fella.
He has so many funny little character traits, and I'm not completely sure that he knows he's a dog.
He is unlike any dog I've ever known, and I've known quite a few.

Mind control is just one of the things Barley likes to do. By which I mean he seems to enjoy trying to control my mind. Seriously!
Like right now, for example, he is curled up in his bed, looking all relaxed and comfortable, but at the same time he is super alert. He is staring at me so intently I am beginning to feel very hot; he's trying to take control of my mind.
Why? Because he is hungry and he wants me to go and make his dinner, but it's not time yet, so I thought I'd quickly write this blog post about my favourite furry fella.

I love him. 🐶❤️☺️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #ILoveMyLurcher #ILoveMyDog

Poor boy is always hungry, but I guess most dogs are always happy to eat.
I tried to take a photo of Barley looking at me with his intense stare, but as I got closer to him he sighed very loudly, and hid his face. Ha!
Possibly feeling slightly bad for trying to gain control of my mind. Hehe!
So, I posted a photo of his gorgeous face instead. Isn't he a beauty?
Does your dog try and control your mind? 
Scary isn't it? ;)

Venison Sausages with Cranberry

I am not a supermarket snob, neither is Mr.R - which is just as well because he is the one who does all of our grocery shopping, mainly at Lidl.

Sausages. 🍴😋 Venison and Cranberry. Thank you Lidl. 😊

These sausages were another top choice from our local Lidl.
Very tasty venison and cranberry sausages.
Mr.R cooked them a few nights ago, with a baked potato for our dinner.
In my excitement, I don't get out much, I completely forgot to take any photos of the packet, or the sausages before they were cooked. Not that raw sausages are particularly lovely to look at, unless you're a dog - I know our dog, Barley the Lurcher was most interested in them.
Anyway, here's a shot of them in the oven, and also on the plate, chopped up and served on top of the baked potato with a tangy homemade tomato and Parmesan cheese sauce.

Venison and cranberry sausages. Homemade tomato and Parmesan sauce. Baked potato. Food.

We really enjoyed these venison sausages from Lidl.
They were meaty, had a lovely strong venison flavour, and no bits of gristle. We couldn't taste cranberry, but the decent meaty flavour and nice texture meant that didn't matter.
They were so nice, I wish Mr.R had bought another packet, or two, because our local Lidl doesn't stock this type of food very often, or for very long.
Have you tasted Lidl Venison Sausages with Cranberry?
Did you like them?

David Cameron Says He'll Cut benefits Cap at £23,000 and Deny Housing Benefit for Unemployed 18-21 Year Olds

David Cameron has once again proved he has absolutely no idea what he's doing, or that he cares about his actions.

His latest idiotic plan is to slash the annual benefits by £3,000, from £26,000 to £23,000, if the Conservatives win the next general election.
With the election only 100 days away, Cameron also said he plans to deny unemployed people aged 18-21 any housing benefit.
He went on to say that the money saved will be spent on new apprenticeship schemes.

I was watching the Daily Politics programme on BBC2 earlier today when they were discussing this news.
I can't remember much of what was said, or more accurately, I don't know what they were saying, because I was fuming, talking over the politicians and the presenter Jo Coburn, as they talked about this topic.
Mr.R and I were both seriously frustrated by this news.

It may make sense on paper, but then you can pretty much make anything look good on paper, but in reality, what this idea will mean, if the Tories are elected in the upcoming general election, is that once again the people who need the most help will be squeezed even more financially.
There are already so many people struggling to survive that I genuinely fear for them if the Conservatives are allowed to carry out this outrageous plan.

David Cameron.  I no artist - clearly.
(I don't have anything relevant to this blog post, other than this doodle of David Cameron, to break up the text ;) )

I'm not sure why, but whenever I listen to any politicians, not matter what political party they represent, I hear the same prejudice opinions about people who claim benefits.
The politicians all seem to think that benefit claimants are lazy, work-shy, greedy, people who just want to sit about watching Jeremy Kyle on their wide screen TV's.
This is just not the case, it's not true.

Obviously it doesn't help that the politicians never venture far from London, let alone the South of England.
If they did, they may gain a small insight into the everyday lives of people who are seriously struggling with day to day living.

I'm not naive, there probably are some people who claim benefits, who just don't want to work.
But the majority of unemployed people who claim benefits, are forced to. They can't work because of the short-term contracts that have become all too common in the UK. How can the government expect people to live with such uncertainty?
One day you've got a job, the next you haven't - because the short term contracts, give the workers no rights, and the employers permission to treat their staff badly, and fire them without warning.

Where we live, there is a lot of poverty.
I mean serious poverty.
We live in an ex-mining town, and once the mines were closed down the majority of local people were out of work, with very little, or no hope of ever getting another job.
People here are struggling to live.
It's all very well the government saying, 'get a job!' But what about when there are no jobs.
I mean genuinely, no jobs!
For example, in this area, there are very rarely any jobs available, which isn't surprising when you consider that when the mines closed down, that was it, industry was gone. There were no other businesses to replace the mines, no plan was made for the thousands of workers who were previously employed by the mines. They were left with nothing.

In our street alone, I know of only one person who works.
That's one person, out of all of the houses on our road.
Admittedly, not all of the properties are inhabited, some are empty, boarded-up.
But this street is not alone, the whole area is the same, street after street of people who are forced, by circumstances beyond their control, to claim benefits. Benefits to survive. Not doss about living a life of luxury. They are living basic, lives, with hardly any prospects, and little hope.

So, basically, David Cameron wants to starve these people, doesn't he?
He must do.
Because that's exactly what will happen if the Conservatives win the next general election, and David Cameron caps benefits at £23,000. And makes claiming housing benefit for 18-21 year old unemployed people, impossible.
He just does not care.
Well, he doesn't care about the people, he does care about himself, and his cronies.

I am not exaggerating about the severity of life where we live, for many people it is tough.
On many occasions we have had people asking us for basic essentials like milk, and water.......
I doubt David Cameron is even able to imagine being so impoverished.
He really doesn't have a clue about life in the UK for people who aren't millionaires, like himself, and his friends, family, etc.

And, I haven't even mentioned that main point I intended to say when I first started writing this blog post, which is that the majority of people claiming benefits aren't even unemployed - they are employed.
Yep, that's correct!
The government has done such a great job at looking after the people who pay their wages, that decent, law-abiding, people who work hard, are still unable to survive without help.
It's may not sound true, but it is. Don't believe me? Research it for yourself.
Benefits claimants are not lazy, work-shy, scroungers who don't do anything for this country. Most of them are working hard right now, but they are not being paid a decent wage, so they have no choice but to claim additional benefits.
It's odd how all of our politicians bang on about benefit claimants, always in the most negative manner, insisting that they're costing the country a fortune, and yet they never address the real problem. They don't try to find any solutions, of which there are many.

Maybe the government thinks that by constantly bashing benefits claimants, and moaning about the billions of pounds they cost the UK we will forget about how much the biggest benefits claimants cost us; the politicians, the royal family, and also the billions we give away in foreign aid - but that's a topic for another day.

Apprenticeship schemes are not a good solution.
They are good for the government, because if you're on one of these schemes, you won't be classed as unemployed, so the unemployment figures will look more favourable.
The schemes are also pretty good for the employers, who once they're finished with your cheap, or possibly free labour, will not offer you a full-time job, because they'll just give your 'job' to the next years training scheme apprentice, and so on.......

This country has the potential to be a truly wonderful country to live in, but until we the people actually get a say in how its run that's never going to happen.
Our whole political system needs to be changed.
We do not live in a democracy, and if you honestly believe that we do, well, I feel very sad for you.
Yes, I know we are much better off than many countries in the World, but that's not relevant to this topic.
We need equal representation.
At the moment we have a general election every 5 years. We vote, and then that's it.
Once a party has been elected that is it. They are in power until the next general election, with us having no say in anything they decide to do.
And that's another thing, the lies they spout during the election campaign, are exactly that - lies.
Once the party has been elected, they never do anything they said would do if they got into power.
Surely that's shouldn't be allowed?
I think the manifesto of every political party should be adhered to, in the strictest terms.
If they say they'll do something, then that's it - they have to do it.

Oh my God! I could go on and on about this for, well for a very long time, but I won't.......
More fool us, the people, for letting our government get away with behaving the way they do.
Isn't it true that people generally treat you slightly worse that you treat yourself, that they treat you as badly as you let them?

Right, that's me all ranted out, for now.
I wish I hadn't tuned into the Daily Politics programme, because before that I was having a nice day; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, but now I'm concerned about the millions of people who will be so much worse off if these new benefits caps become a reality.

If you haven't already, and you'd like to read more about this topic you can check out these newspapers -

David Cameron to reduce benefits cap to £23,000 immediately if he wins the election - via The Telegraph

David Cameron vows to slash benefits cap to £23,000 and remove housing benefits for under 21s within first week of general election win - via the Independent 

Conservative health chair criticises David Cameron’s welfare cuts plans via The Guardian

Disclaimer: I am still fuming, but slightly less so than when I started this blog post, which is why I haven't re-read it and checked it for grammar and/or spelling errors. My blood pressure won't thank me if I dwell on this any longer.
As often happens with me, I only intended to write a short paragraph about David Cameron capping benefits at £23,000 and Denying Housing Benefit for Unemployed 18-21 Year Olds, but I've rambled on and on....... I just find it all so fecking frustrating.
Do you care about this issue?
What are your thoughts about it?

Sonnet 43 Bourbon Milk Stout - Beer Review

We drank this stout a while ago, but I've only just remembered to blog about it.
Sonnet 43 Bourbon Milk Stout is made in Coxhoe, quite close to where we live.
It's a very enjoyable stout with aromas of chocolate, coffee, and brown sugar.
It pours a lovely almost black colour with an off-white head.
On the palate it has pleasant malty flavours of roasted cocoa, coffee, toffee, a hint of vanilla, and a sweet milky taste, but a slightly bitter finish. We couldn't detect any bourbon flavour.
It's only 4.3% abv but its depth means it feels a lot stronger.

From the label -
Dark malts give this sweet stout an almost black body with a tempting dark tan head. 
Brewed using the finest ingredients gives a rich, full-body and aromas of bitter chocolate and oak as well as multiple flavour levels comprising delicate sweet bourbon, silky chocolate and dry oak. 

Sonnet 43 Milk Stout. Bourbon Milk Stout. Craft Beer. Real Ale. Ale. Stout. Brew House Coxhoe.

''This time to me is a quiet release, 
It's a hug and a handshake, a break and belief.
In gathering together with people we trust,
We all take a moment to remember and fuss.
Sit back and smile and wonder -
Stand up and laugh about blunders.
Lean a bit closer and gather round beer,
Making a case that you all have to hear.
''Another'', is cried from across the bar,
It's gusto, it's guts, it's all taste and heart.
So, create those moments around you,
When building big plans with a nice view.
Bring me a sonnet, a song, and my wallet,
I love it when beer is the right brew.''

Sonnet 43 Milk Stout. Bourbon Milk Stout. Craft Beer. Real Ale. Ale. Stout. Brew House Coxhoe.

Sonnet 43 Brew House,
Durham Road, 
County Durham, DH6 4HX, UK
TEL: 0191 377 3039

We like stout, and this was an enjoyable one, and the fact that it's a local brew made it a bit more interesting for us.
Have you tried Sonnet 43 Bourbon Milk Stout?
Did you like it?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Homemade Pickled Beetroot

A while ago one of our neighbours gave us lots of lovely home-grown beetroot.

Our neighbour gave us beetroot. Lots and lots of beetroot.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #beetroot #beets #homegrown #growyourown #vegetable #vegetables #food

I put off doing anything with the beetroot for a few days, because, well, because I'm a procrastinator.
And I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to do with it.
I thought about roasting it, making beetroot soup, eating it raw, or pickling it, but I couldn't force myself into the kitchen to actually do anything with it. It's not my room - Mr.R does all of our cooking. Thankfully!
I can cook, I just don't particularly enjoy cooking - not that making beetroot edible is cooking...........

Anyway, one afternoon when Mr.R had pooped out I suddenly felt the urge to finally do something with the carrier bag full of beetroot. I decided to pickle it.

I've never pickled anything before, well, not by myself. Although I do have lovely memories from my childhood of helping my mum pickle various foods.

A quick Google search and I'd found a recipe for pickled beetroot that I liked the sound of.
Although as I've said before, on the rare occasions when I do cook, that I don't like following recipes, so I usually find one I like, and then ignore it, and make it up as I go along. Hehe!

Right, so here's what I did to pickle the home-grown beetroot our neighbour had given us.
I started by washing, and then boiling the fresh beetroot, until it was tender.
Once the beetroot was cooked, I left it to cool down, before I peeled it; rubbed the skins off.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Whilst the beetroot was cooking I washed several jars, and sterilised them by heating/drying them in the oven.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

I boiled the jar lids to sterilise them, and left them to dry.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Then I made the pickling vinegar.
Being limited by what's available in the local shops, I had to use basic white distilled malt vinegar as the pickling base.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

I then added a few other ingredients from the cupboard to the vinegar, including -
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Black Peppercorns 
  • Juniper Berries
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Fresh Chili
  • Sugar - small amount added by taste
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
The pickling vinegar only took a few minutes to heat, stirring gently to help mix the ingredients.
It smelt really good.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

By the time I'd added the vinegar and the other pickling ingredients to the saucepan, the beetroot was cold and ready to be peeled.
I gently rubbed the beetroot skins, which came off easily.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Now it was time to chop the cooked beetroot, ready for the jars.
I decided to chop my beetroot quite small; julienne, because I thought it would save time cutting it in the future when we'll eat it on salads or in a sandwich etc.
Plus I thought the smaller the surface area, the more the pickling vinegar could impart it's tangy flavour in the beetroot.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Then I filled the jars with the cooked beetroot strips, topped the jars with my pickling vinegar, and sealed the lids tight.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

Beetroot.  Homegrown.  Grow your own.  Vegetable. Food.  Pickling beetroot.  Pickled beetroot.

And that was it, job done, I placed the jars in the larder to do their magic.

I'd read various recipes about how long you should wait until eating the pickled beetroot, all of which seemed to state different times from one week, to one month.

I waited about a month, turning the jars upside down occasionally to make sure all of the beetroot was getting a good soaking in the spicy pickling vinegar.
Finally, unable to wait no longer we opened one of the jars of beetroot to taste it. It was seriously delicious - perfect!
In fact the beetroot was so tasty that despite promising some to family, I decided to keep it all for ourselves.
Just in case you are wondering; the neighbour who generously gave us the beetroot didn't want any of it back, he had lots of his own to eat.
Do you like beetroot?
Do you like pickled beetroot?
And finally, do you pickled your own beetroot, and if so what ingredients do you use?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

2012 Piccini Chianti - Wine Review

I don't know why, but the word Chianti always, or more accurately usually makes me uninclined to try the wine.
But having recently enjoyed a bottle, with Mr.R. of 2012 Piccini Chianti, I think my opinion has changed.
I really liked this wine, and at about six quid a bottle, it's one I'd definitely drink again.

Surprisingly nice. Liquorice. 😋🍷😊 #blog #blogger #blogging © #Chianti #wine #redwine #Italianwine #swirlingglass #wineglass

Not surprisingly, 2012 Piccini Chianti, has won several awards -
  • The Dallas Wine Competition, 2014: Bronze 
  • Decanter World Wine Awards, 2013: Bronze 
  • International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2013: Bronze 
  • International Wine Challenge, 2013: Commended
Wine. Red wine. Wine glass.

Made using the Sangiovese (Nielluccio) grape, the 2012 Piccini Chianti had a lovely full-on fruity aroma, and flavour, with a bright berry appearance.
It was full of red cherries, black plums, ripe strawberries, delicious raspberries, anise, and liquorice.
Obviously it may have been the food I ate prior to drinking this wine, but the liquorice flavour was really quite intense, which I absolutely loved.
It's a smooth medium-bodied wine, with lots of character.

Cheers! 🍷 Chianti. Piccini, 2012. Tuscany. Italian wine. Red wine. Wine.

From the label -
Chianti Piccini is a great international success. An unique Chianti, intensely fruity, with a velvety and soft palate, marked by pleasant notes of ripe berries. 
A versatile wine easy to pair with pasta, pizza and red meat.
Recommended serving temperature: 18C. 
Bottle by: PICCINI Srl - Castellina in Chianti - ITALIA
Do you like Chianti?
Have you tried the 2012 Piccini Chianti? 
Did you like it?

Berry White Organic Drink

Mr.R enters lots of competitions, and by lots I mean lots, hundreds every day.
So, as doing competitions is pretty much a numbers game that means he wins quite a lot of competitions too.
This soft drink was one such win; Berry White Organic Drink.

Berry White Organic Drink. White Tea. Goji Berries. Peach.

Basically, it's a cold tea, white tea drink with goji berries, peaches, and echinacea.

Berry White Organic Drink. White Tea. Goji Berries. Peach.

Mr.R is not particularly a fan of soft drinks. My favourite soft drink is water.
So neither of us were in a hurry to try this bottle of tea..... and despite putting this drink in the fridge to chill, I didn't open it for a few weeks.
When I finally remembered there was a bottle of Berry White Organic Drink in the fridge waiting to be drank, I opened it.

Berry White Organic Drink. White Tea. Goji Berries. Peach.

What did I think of it?
Well, firstly, I like the fact that it's organic. I also like that the bottle was glass, and not nasty pba plastic.
And that the company say they make a donation of a minimum of 10% of their profits to the Global Angels charity every time you buy one of their drinks. But as we received this drink as a freebie, that doesn't count in this instance.

Berry White Organic Drink. White Tea. Goji Berries. Peach.

But what about the drink itself?
My initial thoughts were that it was cold. Ha! Surprising I know, considering it had been refrigerated.
The flavour was very subtle, I couldn't particularly taste and flavours of goji berries, or peaches, it pretty much tasted like incredibly weak white tea.
It wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't mouth-wateringly delicious either.
I wouldn't buy it if I was out and saw it for sale. But that's mainly because, as I said, my favourite soft drink is water - of which I drink lots and lots every day.

Berry White Organic Drink. White Tea. Goji Berries. Peach.

From the bottle label -
Goji berries with peaches, white tea, and echinacea.
Inspired by all things good, Berry White is a delicate light and refreshing organic soft drink.
We make a donation to the charity Global Angels every time you buy our drinks, pledging a minimum of 10% of our profits. 
No added sugar
No colourings
No 'fruit extract'
No preservatives
No artificial sweeteners
Have you tried Berry White Organic Drink?
What did you think of it? Yay? Or nay?

Self Talk - Conversations With The Universe

Be mindful of your self-talk -
It's a conversation with the Universe.

Moon. Obviously! 😉  Shot in France, many many moons ago. 🌗😜😂
I don't own a photo of the Universe ;) so here's a photo of the moon, shot when we lived in the South of France - many many moons ago. Hehe! :o

I like the quote I posted at the beginning of this blog post. Probably because self-talk is something I feel I spend a lot of time engaging in. I like self-talk. Whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know...........
Do you 'Self-Talk'?
Is your self-talk positive?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Château Venus 2011, Graves AOC - Wine Review

Mr.R bought a bottle of Château Venus 2011, Graves AOC, from Lidl, it cost £8.99.
He bought this wine a while ago, before Christmas, but I've only just got round to blogging about it.

A tiny bit of Bordeaux in Blighty. 🍷 #blog #blogger #blogging © #Claret #Bordeaux #wine #redwine #Frenchwine #blackandwhite

This Château Venus 2011 is from the Graves region of Bordeaux, its name comes from the gravel-rich soils of the region which are known for producing elegant, perfumed wines.
It's predominantly Merlot, hence the dark juicy plums on the palate, and a slightly tart finish from the tannins.
It's definitely a wine with an enticing aroma that makes you eager to taste it; blackcurrant, cherry, and plums, and a subtle hint of leather.

Chateau Venus Graves 2011. French wine. Red wine. Wine.

This wine is one of almost fifty new wines that Lidl now stock as part of 'The Lidl Premium French Wine Collection'. The prices range from £4.99 to £25.99.
Here's is what Lidl say about this wine -
Graves is one of Bordeauxs oldest appellations, producing wines that offer a good balance of flavour and freshness. With dark, plummy fruit and real crispness, this would be perfect with rare steak or fattier meat like duck. 

Vin rouge. 🍷 #blog #blogger #blogging © #wine #redwine #wineglass #blackandwhite

As soon as we opened the bottle and poured the wine into a glass the gorgeous vibrant violet colour certainly got our attention, closely followed by the beautiful aroma. We got delicious blackberries, juicy plums, ripe cherries, and damsons - our taste buds were tingling.
Château Venus 2011, Graves was quite dry, of medium acidity, and plenty of ripe tannins.
Although it a few years old, it still tastes very young and quite light, it would probably mellow and develop more depth if you kept it for a few years.
But as I'm sure you know if you've read any of my other wine review blog posts, that's not how we treat our wine. We buy it. We drink it. And this was a very drinkable wine.
If you haven't tried it yet, go and get a bottle, now - while stocks last.

Chateau Venus Graves 2011. French wine. Red wine. Wine.

So, yep, once again Lidl has done good.
This is, as I've already said, but feel like repeating, a very enjoyable and drinkable wine.
Château Venus 2011, Graves, 13% vol.
CHATEAU VENUS, 3, Pertigues – Brouquet 33720 Illats – France.
Have you tasted Chateau Venus 2011, Graves?
What did you think of it?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Breath - Breathe and Be Grateful

''That Breath That You Just Took.......
That's a Gift.'' - Rob Bell


Be Grateful.
I like this quote, it's one of my favourites.
Do you like quotes? Have a favourite quote, what is it?