Summer Wines (and not a bar-b-que or rosé in sight)

Summer is on its way! From tomorrow in the UK, larger events will be permissable albeit at lower capacity in line with safety guidelines. Whether you’ll be attending a summer event in person or enjoying the moment from your own garden, the social season is the perfect opportunity to set up the picnic table, dress up for the occasion and crack open a bottle or two of delicious wine. More than ever it feels important to make the most of the freedom of warmer days and longer evenings. It’s been a long, cold covid winter so take time out to relax and bask in the warmth of the sun, as well as friends and family.

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This week… pizza, photography and life on Mars

A glorious spring week with longer days of sunshine as everything starts slowly warming up, including me. As I write this I have Abba blasting in the background and I have to keep stopping to dance around the living room. The news remains up and down but I’m definitely feeling upbeat. It’s been awhile. Hello optimism.

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A chocolate love affair

Chocolate has come a long way in recent years. It’s up there with raw honey, extra virgin olive oil and fine wines in terms of terroir. A gourmet product involves craftsmanship and loving care so, as with all slow food, take the time to appreciate the work and ingredients that have gone into each tantalising mouthful. Less is best when it comes to consuming sweet foods so it’s worth ensuring the chocolate you eat is delivering the best possible experience in every bite.

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How to enjoy heritage English wines

Wine growing is not new in Britain. While it seems likely that the Romans introduced vineyards it was in the Norman period, with the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066, that successful viticulture really took off. English wine is a growing industry with increased sales both here and overseas. Recent years have also seen a rise in wine tourism initiatives including Cellar Door openings and wine festivals across England and Wales. There are around 3,500 hectares under vine in the UK, up 150% in the past ten years, with an additional 3.2m vines planted in 2019.*

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This week… monastery, Mad Max and movies

January is always a quiet month in the travel industry and especially so right now. The new year is proving slow to ramp up as we face the challenges of living through a pandemic. So I’m pleased that this week, invitations have started to trickle into my inbox. In addition to grocery deliveries and Zoom coffee mornings, I begin adding conferences and virtual events to my diary, and suddenly 2021 offers possibilities to connect with the world at large over the coming weeks.

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New Year’s Eve. Let’s party!

Polaris Festival, Switzerland. Photo Nikita.

Let’s say Goodbye 2020 and Hello 2021! in style. The party has gone online and you can join in the celebrations around the globe. Get friends and family together – safely or virtually – put on your sparkly gladrags, open a bottle of bubbly, and party the night away. From Edinburgh to Dubai, Iceland to London, Nashville to Times Square, New York, and Switzerland to Sydney, there’s a party going on. Check out the details for Virtual New Year’s Eve 2020 Celebrations just published.

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This week… 2020 review

Is there anyone on the planet that isn’t happily waving 2020 bye bye? I’ve never looked forward to New Year’s Eve with such anticipation. The beginning of a new year always feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, a carte blanche. There’s nothing significant about the date but New Year’s bestows permission to acknowledge lessons learned and let go, to move forward. It strikes me that 2021, however, represents the awesome opportunity for the whole of mankind. Here’s to fresh opportunities and, heavens above, how we all need that feeling of hope.

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This week… so this is Christmas

I remember one year as a child when dad came home from work on 23rd December to announce that ‘Christmas is cancelled’. At the start of his career, as a textile chemist in the fashion industry in the sixties, a promised bonus wasn’t forthcoming or something similar. Four little glum faces (later to become five) reflected the disappointment that I can recall even now. Determined to make the best of things, on Christmas Eve we went exploring the countryside with mum to gather greenery and a branch to make our own ‘tree’. It was a straggly thing we festooned with fairy lights and a few ornaments.

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This week… remembrance, relative values, and the Ring

Well, it’s been quite a week. Pandemic numbers have gone practically stratospheric, the world has been holding its breath awaiting the outcome of the US Presidential elections, and in England we’ve gone into #Lockdown2. History in the making. Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK and the traditional two minutes’ silence felt particularly poignant this year. I’m feeling reflective.

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This week… wine, workshops and writing

So, how’s your week been? The tourism industry traditionally slows down this time of year, in the best of times. Pre-2021 season, there’s still skiing and winter sun holidays to consider, if you’re in the market after the economic year we’ve been having. As a freelancer, I’m not that fortunate. Pre-pandemic I had been intending to escape somewhere warm this winter to work remotely. Consequently, I’m sitting at my laptop in the rapidly cooling UK temperatures, wondering what the heck to write about in my journal.

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