Friday, May 5, 2017

Why Everyone's Making the Switch to Bag in Box

Boxed Wine is here to stay, even in France where the Bag in Box competition took place in March.

No one thought that buying wine in a box would be so successful. Wine snobs fretted when they were first introduced refusing to believe you can buy decent wine in a box. Thankfully, they’re finally getting over their shame. Bag in box (BIB) is so successful in France that they even have a yearly competition, great incentive for national and international winemakers.

 Bag in Box competition has done even better this year.
Held for the third consecutive year in Toulouse, south-west France even more boxes were on display this year – 384 samples entered this year representing 16% more than last year.  Good to see too is the foreign participation: entries this year came from South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, and the US.

Judged for Quality, not for the boxes in France's Bag in Box Competition 

Winemakers get rewarded for the quality of their wine. No silver or bronze medals but a 'Best Wine in Box award' which will give them added value when the wines go on sale in supermarkets and other retail outlets. At this year’s competition, 123 judges tasted, discussed and gave 113 awards.

 More and more popular

Thankfully the stigma of buying and offering boxes of wine is on the way out. You should no longer be looking at boxed wines as being subpar. The quality of wine sold in boxes these days are much more superior to that of 6 years ago.

Here’s why you should be buying your wine in a Box:

There’s no pressure to finish off the bottle

Once open, you can easily store your box in the fridge. Here in Provence, nothing beats a chilled Rosé on a hot day. Thanks to the airtight seal there’s little oxidation so my red and rosé wine can last a couple of weeks.

More value for money

Buying bottles of wine is more expensive than buying boxes. As a consumer, I appreciate this difference in price.

The environment

Bottles carry a bigger carbon footprint than boxes.

If you care about the environment and shrinking your carbon footprint, you will look more carefully at eco- friendly measures you can adapt on a daily basis.  Think of the packaging involved in buying 6 or 12 bottles of wine – all those bottles, all the material to separate the bottles.

The technology behind bag in box has vastly improved over the years. If like me you enjoy a glass or red with dinner, your boxed wine will last much longer sitting in its lovely box in the fridge.

Judging with full concentration  at Wine in Box competition 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Behavior Pattern do you Show when you Drive?

Staying calm and zen on the road  is our responsibility

We were driving in a quiet country lane, enjoying the scenery when my friend turned to me with a pointed question: 

“Why do you people in the south get so angry and selfish at the wheel? Embarrassed, I fumbled for an answer but couldn’t find one. 

She had noticed the tailgating, the lack of indicating, and the aggressive, pushy behavior of some drivers here. The driving style wasn’t exactly road rage she said but “undisciplined.”

I had to admit, she was right. This set me thinking of our driving behavior, not only in the South of France but everywhere.

Why do we display certain behavior patterns when we drive?  

Our impatience and aggressivity towards other drivers come because of the following:

When the pace is hectic, we become stressed. We’ve got our jobs to do, kids to pick up, bills to pay-  limited time for a multitude of tasks. These might well be reasons for some of the stress of everyday life but they’re certainly not worth taking risks when driving.

      Personal Issues

Ask yourself the following question “Am I frustrated when I drive”. Listen also to feedback from your family. If the answer is yes, then look for what is really bothering you and attend to those issues. Don’t let these situations pile up, deal with the issues instead. Driving is challenging enough, don’t let the road be the place to vent your frustration.

Busy Roads in the South of France

Driving here during the holidays can be trying, a real test of nerves even if you consider yourself a  patient driver. Brace yourself for long delays on days the French call 'les jours de grand departs', days when the French leave the big cities for their holidays. What you need to know is that holiday rentals start from Saturday to Saturday so simplify your life by choosing your holiday dates wisely; one way to avoid aggressive and impatient drivers. 

Four ways to avoid conflict with other drivers

  • Don’t get mad at the other driver; you don’t know why he or she is angry. Even if you are in the right, don’t inflame the situation. It won’t get you anywhere, just let it go calmly, it’s not worth getting a ticket over someone’s rude behavior.
  • Breathe in deeply, breathe out and then scoop your abdominal muscles in towards your spine and concentrate on keeping them there just as your Pilates teacher taught you. Even better, you can meditate or scream. You are in a car so no one will hear you. The car is one of the few places you can scream, shout and holler.
  •  Listen to some inspirational music or sing loudly.
  • If it was your fault show consideration and remorse by mouthing “I’m sorry” and waving.

Let’s face it; driving is more stressful than taking public transport, especially now that our roads are more congested. Brake, the UK Road Safety Charity defines it well “Driving is a complex task, requiring full concentration and a calm attitude.”

Analyzing our driving behavior can only improve our attitude and well being.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Incorporate Lemons into your daily Mediterranean Lifestyle for Inner Beauty

You know that lemons are a valuable source of vitamin C, that’s it’s an antioxidant and good for your health. However, you might not know the following:

Freezing lemons

Yes, to save time you can freeze whole lemons and keep them in the freezer. Wash them and freeze them whole.  The zest is just as good as the juice so next time you do your weekly shop for vegetables and fruit, make sure you buy an ample supply. Simply grate the frozen lemon over your sauces, soups or use in a marinade – it’s that simple.

Start the day with a hot lemon drink.

Even here in the South of France, you can still get winter blues. Okay, we do have a bit more sunshine than the north of France, but we still need to boost our energy levels, making sure we get the right nutrients into our system and beat those dreaded winter blues. This is where the humble lemon comes in. Besides gently waking up your digestive system, you activate the liver; it functions correctly, getting rid of unwanted toxins.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of hot water; add a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Have this before breakfast and make it a routine; it’s an ideal way to wake up your liver with a good dose of vitamin C and to start your healthy daily intake of extra virgin.

Shadows and Dark Rings

Stress, genetic factors, and lack of sleep can cause dark circles under your eyes sometimes called bags under the eyes. You’ll come across home remedies such as cucumber and tea bags, but did you know you can use a mixture of olive oil and lemon as well?
Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of half a lemon. Using a cotton ball apply on the eyes, press lightly on the dark circles for about five minutes, then rinse. Lemon is known for its skin lightening properties, while olive oil hydrates the skin

Massage Oil

Nothing beats a massage to make you unwind and feel relaxed. Here’s massage oil you can use at home. Start by putting 200 ml (7 ounces) of olive oil in your massage bowl; add the juice of one whole lemon and eight drops or so of lavender oil, the essential oil recognized for its calming and relaxing properties. It is ready to use.

Stop that itching

You don't have to put up with skin rashes and eczema - try pure lemon juice on the area, it will soothe and give relief to your itchy skin.

And did you know that August 29 is National Lemon Day? Don't wait for that day to celebrate, let every day be a lemon day.

Full of goodness, a lemon a day is the way to go for perfect cleaning and cleansing.