Archive for 2012

Topping up the vino this Christmas….

Monday, November 12th, 2012

When’s the right time to start thinking about Christmas? Everybody has their signal, the Oxford Street lights going on usually start things off for me but Christmas songs on the radio before December is a no-no. Mr B and I are hosting both our families on Christmas Day this year, it’s going to be a snug affair in our little London house but as it’s the first time we’ve done it I’m definitely starting to plan things way earlier than usual.

Adapting to my new role as Christmas-maker-in-chief will be quite different to my usual role as Vino-topper-upper but as my bump will be getting in the way of my usual Christmas Cheer this year I’ll be handing over the reigns to Mr B. Here are some words of wisdom I’ll be sharing with him to make sure the glasses are full and everybody has a very merry Christmas!

The Vino Topper-Upper: ………

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Half wine… half common sense….!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Names can make or break. Brand names, baby names, getting someone’s name right… getting someoneโ€™s name wrong… The ritual at Starbucks of having to give my name to the till girl makes me not only feel uncomfortable but pledge never to return for anything other than convenience every time they get it wrong. What other such frivolous transaction requires you to part with cash and a personal detail? I spend a lot more at the supermarket and leave with comforting anonymity every time. Company names that do exactly what they say on the tin are just as crucial, so it was with interest that I accepted to taste a few wines from a company called Half Wine.

Half wine, half what? Well, half the size it turned out. ………

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Reassuringly expensive vs suspiciously cheap….

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Where’s the line between good value and suspiciously cheap? These are two questions I wish I’d asked myself in detail before handing over money to the builders we’ve employed to refit our bathroom. Of the quotes we got it was hard not to be lured by the most affordable, especially when they came recommended by friends. Now in week three of a one week job we’re still without a bathroom and I can’t help thinking Mr B and I have been screwed. ………

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The booze and the bump….

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

When you taste as many wines as I do for a living, pregnancy was always going to be a tricky time. I was prepared for the expected upsides like an enhanced palate and a more sensitive nose as well as positives unrelated to work like going up a bra size or two! On the other hand some surprising side effects have been my insatiable desire for melon and curry, albeit not at the same time, and the savoury palate I’ve always credited my filling-free teeth with is now a distant memory. Sugar cravings have replaced the need for anything other than shortbread, chocolate chip cookies and the occassional packet of Haribo.
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Then there’s the obvious downer: not drinking wine, I emphasise the word drinking because spitting is accepted as fine, or so you’d think.

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Sober-October?!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012


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The previous owners of our house had a penchant for bold colours. Our kitchen work surfaces are sparkly Chelsea blue and our bathroom is puurrrrple! Needless to say both will be disappearing with time, starting with the bathroom which is being done next week. During the design decision making we keep being told that contrast is good so we’ve gone for water-turquoise tiles and a slate grey floor. Whether these opposites will look any good remains to be seen, there’s only a certain clarity you can get with two tile samples and a splodge of paint on the wall. .
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Contrast is also being tested in other news where I’m told we should be embracing sober-October in a last chance attempt to give the liver a break before the Christmas party season. This at the same time as London Cocktail Week kicks off. ………

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Follow the yellow brick road….

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
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Naked Wines’ democratic approach to buying has just blown some pretty standard wine stereotypes out of the water! Amongst a room of around 30 tasters, only 3 of which were women, we tasted through 52 Australian wines from producers looking to break into the UK market and were tasked with whittling it down to one. Given the circumstances (mainly men & Australian wines) you’ll be forgiven for assuming the winning wine would be red. But Australia’s come miles since the days of over oaked, sugary Chardonnay and this tasting proved the UK wine drinking public is prepared to reopen its eyes to Australian whites. The winning wine? The delicious Sidewood Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from the Adelaide Hills.
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