Monday, 20 October 2014

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010 - Wine Review

The wine selection at our local Co-Op is pretty good, especially considering they don't have aisles of shelf space to stock lots of wines like the larger supermarkets are able to.
It was the Co-Op where Mr.R bought a bottle of Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010 a couple of days ago.

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor, Rioja, 2010. Red wine. Spanish wine. Wine.

As we don't splash the cash when purchasing red wine; we drink far too many bottles for that kind of behaviour, we'd have to be multi-millionaires to be able to drink excellent quality red wines in the quantity we enjoy, we buy and drink a lot of budget friendly wines, and to be honest they all taste pretty much the same - they taste like - basic red wine.
That is not to say, they are bad wines. They're perfectly drinkable. It's just that they rarely have any distinctive aromas or flavours. So, as I said they simply taste like red wine, which is also how they smell - like red wine.

This wine is a Crianza which means it's aged for one year in new oak barrels, it also means it quite light and less fruity than, say a reserva. But it's still a pleasant drink.

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor, Rioja, 2010. Red wine. Spanish wine. Wine.

From the label -
Coming from Bodegas Corte Mayor in northern Spain, this regal wine is steeped in the heritage and beauty that is Rioja, Spain's best known wine region and it prides itself on its high quality and distinctive style.
This Crianza wine is made from the best Tempranillo grapes, selected from high sloping vineyards. It has been fermented and aged in new oak barrels for one year, followed by an extra of resting in bottle.
The result is a confident red wine offering great balance of fruit and oak, an elegant finish and velvery tannins.

We bought, or rather Mr.R bought, I waited outside the Co-Op with our dog, a bottle of Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010.
We opened the wine.
We drank the wine.
We enjoyed the wine.
Do you buy wine from the Co-Op? 
Have you tried Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010?
Did you like it?

Bodyweight Exercises, No Equipment Needed

Bum and Tum, bodyweight exercises.

Four exercises using just your body weight.
One minute per exercise, so only four minutes in total. Easy peasy, lemon squeasy.

I don't particularly enjoy exercising.
I mean I don't mind doing it, but it's not my favourite thing in the World.
That's mainly because deep down I think I have to exercise for hours to make it worthwhile. And that it's not worth doing if I've only got a few minutes free time to get up and move.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Wall sits. 
Stand with your back to the wall, feet about two feet from the wall and lean back against it.  
Gently slide down the wall until your thighs are at a 90 degree angle to the floor. 
Contract your abs, and hold the position for 60 seconds.

Lately though I've noticed there seems to be a proliferation of short, easy to do, exercise routines, being shared on various places online, that only take a few minutes to do.

Deep down I may think it requires hours and hours of exercising, and lots of sweat to actually do the body good, but being the contrary person I am - deep down I know that that's not true.
Exercising for hours may be good for you, but just doing a few minutes throughout your day is also good for your health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Walk Outs.
Start on all fours in a high plank position, then walk your feet towards your hands.
Then walk your hands away from your feet, then walk your feet towards your hands, and so on.....
Continue walking your feet towards your hands, and your hands away from your feet for 60 seconds.

Often people give the same standard reasons why they can't exercise, these are usually variations of -
I haven't got the time.
I can't afford gym membership.
I don't have any proper equipment in my home.

I'm sure we all know, deep down, that there are simply excuses not to do any exercise.
None of the reason above are good reasons not to exercise, if you want to of course.
I'm not saying you must exercise.
I have been known to tag my photos on photo-sharing app Instagram #YogaEveryDamnDay or #YogaEveryBlessedDay despite not actually doing yoga every day. Naughty me. ;)
So, I don't claim to be some serious fitness freak, exercise guru, or expert in any way.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Walking Lunges.
Start standing tall. Step far forward with one leg, while lifting up on to the ball of your back foot. Bend your knees, and drop your hips towards the floor. Do not let your back knee touch the floor, or the from knee got too far forward over your ankle. 
Press up with your front leg, and bring your back leg forward. 
Take another step with opposite leg and repeat.
Continue walking lunges for 60 seconds.

Right, so back to the proliferation of short, easy to do, exercise routines that seem to be everywhere online at the moment, they are my favourite things to do - apart from lazing on the sofa and messing about on IG.
Why do I like them so much?
Well, I'm glad you asked dear reader, I like 'em because they require absolutely no equipment.
They simply make use of your own body weight, which is my case is a lot.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Lean Backs.
Exactly what is says, lean back while in a kneeling position.
Tense your abs, lean back as far as is comfortable. Then lean forward to your starting position.
Lean back, lean forward and so on.....
Continue for 60 seconds. 

I've uploaded a few examples of bodyweight exercises, by which I mean I quickly doodled the basic moves, and added the names of the exercises underneath my doodles.
I am better at exercising than drawing - I hope.

So, that's just four simple bodyweight exercise, that you can do in the TV advert breaks.
I hope I've written easy to understand methods, if not Google will help you.

Right, all this talk of exercise has made me feel like doing some myself.
I actually feel inspired to do the four exercises I've mentioned in this post, by which I mean I'll get up off the sofa, and walk to the fridge where I'll grab a couple of dark chocolate digestives.
What?! I can't help it, the tasty chocolate treats are calling my name. Can't you hear?
Do you enjoy exercising?
Have you tried bodyweight exercises?
What do you think about bodyweight exercises? Yay? Or nay?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Triple Chocoholic Stout from Saltaire Brewery - Review

I love beer, and I love chocolate, so chocolate beer is something I'm always happy to try.

Triple Choholic. Saltaire. Real ale. Ale. Beer.

Mr.R recently bought me a bottle of Triple Chocoholic from Saltaire Brewery.
I think we've had it before a while ago, but I couldn't remember if I'd liked it.
It cost £3.10 for a 500ml bottle. Alc 4.8% ABV.

Unfortunately it didn't hit the spot for me. That's probably why I couldn't remember what I thought of this chocolate stout the first time I tried it, I didn't like it, it was not memorable.
I found Triple Chocoholic too bitter, and I couldn't taste any chocolate at all, not even the slightest hint of chocolate flavour. Disappointing.

Don't let my negative review of this beer put you off trying it though, because it is a very popular, award winning ale.
This beer won in the stout category at the Hong Kong International Beer Awards in 2012.
Triple Chocoholic is exported to Belgium, Brazil, Italy, and Mexico.
It's most recent win was a gold medal at the Great British Beer Festival 2014 - so someone obviously likes it.
Triple Chocoholic stout is a winner!

Triple Chocoholic. Saltaire Brewery. Real ale. Beer.

From the label -

Bordering the World Heritage site of Saltaire in Yorkshire, Saltaire Brewery uses traditional brewing methods to produce great ales, with a contemporary twist!

Style - A speciality chocolate stout.

Malts - Pale Maris Otter 80% Pale Oat Malt 4% Torrefied Wheat 4% Chocolate Malt 12%

Hops - Fuggle hops provide bitterness and aroma

Tasting Note - A smooth chocolate stout with a strong chocolate aroma and flavour provided by the addition of cocoa, chocolate syrup and chocolate essence.
Are you a stout fan?
Have you tried Triple Chocoholic Stout from Saltaire Brewery?
Did you like it?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Green Tea - I Love Tea!

I love tea.

Lately I've been drinking more and more of it.
I went from having a mug of seriously strong espresso coffee every morning to drinking a mug of tea instead because I was beginning to feel a bit too wired drinking coffee, and making it weaker wouldn't be as enjoyable for me.

I love tea, all tea, but at the moment my favourite is green tea, or Camellia sinensis if you prefer.
Over the past few months I've been steadily increasing the number of times I make a brew, so much so that I've lost count of exactly how many mugs of tea I'm drinking each day.

Tea.  Green tea.  Cup of tea.  Mug.  Mug of tea.

Green tea is delicious.
I don't drink it for the reported health benefits; weight loss, protection from diabetes and heart disease, blood pressure, alzheimers and parkinsons, depression, tooth decay, cholesterol, and cancer, to name a few, I drink it because I like the taste, I enjoy the flavour.

I can't get enough of green tea. In fact if I wasn't quite as lazy as I am, I'd get up off of the sofa and make even more tea than I currently do.
My obsession with tea may or may not explain why I uploaded dozens of photos of tea to my flickr account yesterday.
I think I've already uploaded a blog post about tea, complete with some photos of tea in a mug, but I've added one to this post too - just incase you need a push to get up off of your sofa and go and make yourself a nice cuppa.
PS: Have a biscuit with it too. I just had two three dark chocolate digestives with my last cup of green tea.
A little of what you fancy does you good.

Are you a Green Tea lover?
What's your favourite tea?

Do You Want, The Good News, or The Bad News?

The good news is, nothing lasts forever.

The bad news is, nothing lasts forever. 

Doodle.  Truth.  Quote.

However good today is, make sure you enjoy every second.
However bad today is, remember, tomorrow is a new day.

The News - Things I Read or Saw Today That Pissed Me Off

The news really pissed me off today.
Well, not pissed-off exactly, but not happy, over-the-moon, or jumping for joy.

We don't buy newspapers.
I don't often watch the news on TV.
For one thing, it's rarely news they're reporting, because whenever a big story breaks it's all over the internet, social media long before it's being reported on TV.
And for another thing, it's usually all seriously depressing, and most definitely biased to suit whatever the agenda that day is.

But as an avid user of the internet I can't help but see some news stories every day.
Usually I just see the headlines as I'm flitting about on various sites online, and I don't pay them much attention, or bother to read the whole story.

Sometimes though, the headline alone, leaves me fuming.
Stay with me, I am getting to the news that pissed me off today.

Ironically, as I sit trying to write this blog post, without my mind wandering too much, I am watching the news on TV.
Well, not watching it fully, but half listening to the news reports.
Just now they're talking about Ebola.

I was only half paying attention, but heard that currently 70% of people who contract the disease die.
That's a depressing statistic.
But, slightly less worrying, possibly, was the fact that a spokeswoman from the W.H.O. said that although viruses constantly change, there is no sign of the Ebola viruses mutating and becoming an airborne pathogen.

The news segment about Ebola also reported that there was a near riot in Freetown, Sierra Leone after the body of a lady who died of Ebola was left on the streets for two days.
You can read the BBC News story here.

There were a few other news reports that got my attention today, most of which pissed me off - and reaffirmed my thoughts that reading the news is more often than not a very bad idea.

Here's some of the news that I think would make any right-thinking person feel pissed off too.

Children in Need is sitting on a £90 million fortune.
The money is reportedly being held in investment portfolios, rather than being handed out to the worthy causes for which the generous public donated their cash.
You can read The Telegraph story here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Judy Finnigan voiced her opinion about Sheffield United footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans during her appearance on ITV programme Loose Women.
There have been calls for Judy Finnigan to be sacked, as viewers thought she was defending the rapists behaviour, after Judy Finnigan said, "He's served his time. The rape and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape - but the rape was not violent. He didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person."
Judy Finnigan went on to say,"It was unpleasant, in a hotel room, I believe, and she was – she had far too much to drink.” 
''And you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time.''
''Now when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job? Again, even though he has already been punished?"

Today the news has reported that former This Morning presenter has since apologised, saying, ''I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Smoking in parks in London should be banned, health advisers tell Boris Johnson.
Yep, they want to stop people from smoking in parks in London.
The news I read said that smokers are bad role models for children who use the parks.
There's more news about this story in The Independent newspaper here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sainsbury's customers angered after receiving emails informing them that the loyalty card points are to be cut in half. 
The full story can be read on Reuters UK here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

David Cameron says only the 'very wealthy' should pay inheritance tax. 
He says the middle classes shouldn't have to pay the tax on properties they've lived in for many years, and that the limit could rise to £1 million next April.
The Guardian has more on this story here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That's all rather depressing isn't it?

Ebola - We seem to only have become interested since people in the West have been infected.
Now it's being used as another scare story to be reported in the news, along with the Islamic State.
Which one will kill us first?

Doodles.  Doodle.

Children in Need - The charity is holding on to the cash donated to them.
While I realise that potentially they could take your £100 donation, invest it, and turn it into a million pounds, well, not really but you get the gist, I am appalled that they aren't immediately giving the money to the people who need it so desperately.

Doodles.  Doodle.

Judy Finnigan - I used to quite like watching her and hubby Richard Madeley presenting This Morning.
She is entitled to her opinion, and I support free speech, not that it truly exists in the country anyone - sadly, and in theory I don't disagree with what she said about convicted rapist Chad Evans being allowed to play football again once he's free from prison.
I mean, he will have served his time, or some of it (thanks to the pathetic justice system in Britain, he's only serving half of what was a short period of incarceration anyway), and the fact that he has been convicted of rape, is not related to his career as a footballer.
Some people are commenting in the media that he shouldn't be allowed to play football ever again, because he's a role model. 
I don't agree. 
He is not a role model. He is a footballer.
Having said that, I do think it's wrong that if your famous you can get away with things, that non-famous people can't.
No doubt Chad Evans will be out of prison and back to normal, living his life, but the life of the girl he was convicted of raping will never be the same again.
Judy Finnigan mentioned the fact that the young girl was drunk. So what!
Enjoying a drink does not mean you should be raped.
If a woman, or man for that matter, wants to go out and drink alcohol, and get drunk, they still deserve to be treated as a sober person, not taken advantage of, not abused, not raped.

Why is it, that all too often, the victims of rape are portrayed as the ones at fault.
Your sexual history, state of sobriety, clothing, or behaviour should not be relevant.
It is not the behaviour of the rape victim that we should be reporting in the news, or focusing on, but the behaviour of the rapist.
The rapists are the ones who are wrong, they are the people we should condemn.

Instead of sacking Judy Finnigan, or banning Chad Evans from playing football - maybe Loose Women should be axed?

But, the main thing that pissed me off about this whole thing was that I read the girlfriend of Chad Evans has said she's standing by her man. 
Yep! Natasha Massey reportedly said, ''He is no rapist.''
Actually, it doesn't piss-me-off, it makes me feel so very sad. 
Sad that like a lot of women today, Natasha Massey has so little love for herself that she is determined to continue a relationship with someone who has been convicted of raping another woman. 
I can't imagine behaving that way.

According to a lot of the news about this story, Natasha Massey, refers to the rape as cheating
I suppose that makes it easier for her to ignore that her boyfriend cheated on her.
Well, even if it wasn't rape, and it was cheating, why stay with him?

Oh well, it's her life, nothing to do with me really, but I wish young woman, no all woman, knew how special they are. We all deserve to be loved and treated well. Cheating is not love.
I'm not sexist. Men deserve to be loved and treated well also.

Oops, seem to have gone on a bit too much about that news story - probably because it's all over the internet.
In fact I've just seen a headline reporting that Richard Madeley wants the police involved after there were rape threats against his and Judy's daughter, Chloe Madeley on twitter.
That is disgusting behaviour by keyboard warriors. I'll say no more about this, for now...........

Update -
A few days after first uploading this blog post I've just read that Chad Evans was released from prison yesterday, and welcomed home with a party.
The news article also said that Chad Evans has been offered a new £500,000 contract with his old club Sheffield United - as long as he says sorry.

I also read that the young lady who Chad Evans was convicted of raping, has had to move away from the home where she lived with her family, and change her name, because of a barrage of online abuse. She was reportedly mentioned by name 6,000 times on twitter alone, immediately after Chad Evans was convicted of rape.
According to the newspaper the young woman is the first rape victim to ever be given a 'relocation deal'.
What is wrong with this country, that the victim of rape is forced to go into hiding, while the perpetrator is able to live his life as he always has?

According to the news where the rape victim used to live in North Wales, before she was forced to move, she is a liar. And Chad Evans is a hero.

I can't begin to know how the young lady is feeling today, if she's seen the news about Chad Evans being released, after serving only half of his sentence, and now being offered a highly paid, high profile job with Sheffield United, while she can't even use her own name, live with her family, or ever go back to being the girl she was before the rape.

This whole thing is depressingly sad.
I feel for women, in this country, and everywhere in the World.
It is heartbreaking that in the year of 2014 women are still considered as less important than me.
Women are constantly undervalues, treated as property, belongings, pieces of meat to be bought and sold, used and abused.
It's as though we are still living in the dark ages, and not the 21st Century.
Will women ever feel equal to men?
Will women ever be equal to men?
Will we ever be enlightened?

Doodles.  Doodle.

Smoking in parks to be banned - This story really pissed me off.
I don't smoke. Never have.
But this is nonsense.
Of all the news reports about this that I read, none mentioned health.
They all seemed to be banging on about children seeing people smoking in the parks, and that it would encourage them to start smoking cigarettes too.
For Gods sake!
Where will it all end?
In Britain we already live in a nanny state. 
Big Brother is constantly watching us, and telling us what to do.

Also how will they police this?
I can't remember the last time I saw any real policing in Blighty.
All I see is police, always in twos, driving in their safe police cars. 
They don't seem to want to get out of the comfort of their vehicles - it's way too dangerous to confront crime.

Initially it seems strange that the government would want people to smoke less, considering how much money they make from helping to keep people addicted to cigarettes, and it seems unlikely that they'd be able to enforce it - when was the last time you saw a copper on the streets?

Having said that, I bet that if this law does get the go-ahead, it will be fully policed.
Because they'll make a fortune with on-the-spot fines of anyone caught in a park smoking a cigarette.
It's outrageous that smokers will be caught by the police and punished, but genuine victims of crime can't get any police help at all.

Doodles.  Doodle.

Sainsbury's cutting their loyalty card points by half - Nothing surprising there.
We know that the big supermarkets in this country are obsessed with one thing, and one thing only, making as much profit as they can. 
According to the news, budget friendly supermarkets Lidl and Aldi are doing really well in Britain now. Thank you very much!
So, it was obvious that the other supermarkets will want to find ways to keep their profits high. They don't care if they're ripping off their loyal customers.

Doodles.  Doodle.

David Cameron and Inheritance Tax - It doesn't matter what he's saying, it's only talk. David Cameron is just saying what he thinks voters want to hear.
Everything about this subject pisses me off.
Inheritance tax! 
It shouldn't even be a thing.
It should not exist.
This is something that is very important to me, and something which Mr.R and me often talk about, mainly because it seems to be in the news quite often.
Quite simply I think inheritance tax should be abolished.
It's criminal!
You pay tax on the money you earn. That should be it.
If you buy a property or have oodles of cash in the bank, and then leave the property and money to your loved ones, they should not be taxed. It has all already been taxed!
No one should be taxed for anything they inherit.
I can't believe it even happens. It is crazy.
No one should be taxed for something - twice! 

I could happily, no, unhappily rant on about inheritance tax a lot longer, come to think of it I could easily rant on about most things the government says and does, but my poor brain is in danger of seriously overheating - seriously.

Doodles.  Doodle.

No doubt you'll be relieved to know, that's it for the news from me today, that's if you're actually still reading this - and if you are I thank you. Thank You!

Oh yes, one more thing, excuse the low quality pictures I quickly doodled to add to this blog post.
I know they're bad, they're supposed to be.
Although having said that, I do quite like the Judy Finnigan one, apart from her overly yellow hair. Hahaha!

The End
Do you like to read or watch the news?
What's your opinion on any, or all of the news stories I've ranted about?
I'm truly interested to know. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Luang Prabang, Laos - We Enjoyed It So Much, We Didn't Want To Leave

Luang Prabang, Laos.
Or Louangphrabang, is about 300kms from Vientianne, the capital of Laos, and another place in Laos we visited during our time in the country.

Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the confluence of the Nam Khan river and Mekong River, and it is very popular with tourists, which no doubt explains why there are lots and lots of hotels, cafes, and restaurants.

I was never sure how to pronounce it correctly, whether the 's' was silent or not.
But now I think I know, the s is pronounced, not silent. At least that's how I heard it pronounced by Jeremy Paxman when I was watching University Challenge on TV the other night. 
I doubt Mr.Paxman would get it wrong. Would he?

National Museum, former Royal Palace. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. temple. building. architecture. Travel.
National Museum, former Royal Palace

Anyway, so, yeah, Laos. We went there.
As with a lot of our last lot of travelling; 2 years spent going all over the place, by which I mean travelling the World, but that sounds like I'm showing off. Oh whatever!

Strolling. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. monks. Buddhist. Buddhism. car. vintage. orange. Candid. Travel. Street life.
Strolling. Monks. Vintage car.

We went to Laos.
We like it. A Lot.
In fact, we enjoyed the country so much that we often decided to extend our stay in various places we visited. 
Luang Prabang was one such place. We felt really comfortable and relaxed while staying there, so we extended our stay a few times.

Pattern. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. Travel. woman. child. stranger. people. Candid. street life.

Pattern. Street life.

In total I think we stayed in 3 different hotels, because, well, for a few reasons actually. The first hotel we'd booked, intending to stay for a few days, was full on the day we were due to check-out, so we couldn't extend our stay there.
Other reasons for staying in different hotels was that we were looking for better and/or cheaper accommodation, and it's nice to 'live' in different areas to experience the same place in a different way.

Shrunken. Lovely ladies. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. women. people. fashion. butterfly. temple Buddha. Buddha statue. Buddhism. Buddhist. Candid. Travel.

Tourists. Buddhist Temple - and a little fun with photo apps

Having said that, all of the hotels we stayed in were quite close to each other. Hahaha!

My main memories of our time in Luang Prabang are of wandering round in the wonderful warm air with the sun beating down on us, food; lots of lovely food, and visiting temples.

Good smells. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. Sweet potato. market trader. food. Street life. Candid. Travel.
Good smells. Street seller cooking sweet potatoes.

I haven't managed to upload many photos of our time in Laos on to my flickr account, which is where I get the photos that I add to my blog posts, hence only adding a few to this post.
Have you been to Laos?
Did you visit Luang Prabang?
Did you love it?