Becoming A Wine Connoisseur

“Where there is no wine, there is no love- Euripides”

As daunting as it is to become a wine expert, there are many people who are still confused between oenophile, connoisseur, and sommelier. Well, let me clarify; you drink wine with an oenophile, you discuss wine with a connoisseur and you buy wine from a sommelier! Simple as that!

There’s always that friend who, with the swirl of a wine glass, will leave you awestruck of their sophisticated wine skills. If you want to be that friend, then this blog is totally apt for you!

 

 

Here are some points that will help you become a wine expert:

• Start with the basics
Buy wine from the local grocery store or the local wine shop. Taste it and know the difference. You will develop your palate to differentiate between the good and bad taste. Make sure that every wine you taste you swish around in your mouth instead of gulping it directly to the back of your throat. You will soon develop your palate to taste flavor nuances.

• Learn the terminologies
Take some time to learn some basic wine terminology, it helps in understanding terms such as ‘tannins’ and ‘terroir.’ Remove the unfamiliar terms barrier by learning from the knowledgeable ones.

• Pairing food and wine
Order for a glass of wine, rather than the bottle. Wine can impact the flavor of food, and it will allow you to taste different wines with different dishes. You will start to learn combining food with wine, such as white wine, and shellfish enhance each other. You will find that some combinations when taken with food is just perfect! It always helps when you are organizing a party.

 

• Lookout for your new favorites
If you feel in love with a wine and it’s not available, try to look out for the newest available on the market. Find new wine experiences, read the labels, the stories about each wine and more. It might look discouraging but know you are in for an excellent time. Wineries always welcome new wine experts to know more about their wines.

• Sit down and read a book
Pick up a book about wines and read about it! Read till you understand everything about wine and the making of wine in different countries. This will give you a better understanding of the quality of wines and appreciate their taste.

• Taking risks
Taste as much as the variety of wines you can. It helps to develop your taste buds to the wines, buy the cheapest and the expensive wines and differentiate their taste. Step out of your comfort zone and try the newest wines!

Your journey to becoming a connoisseur has just begun! Take a class to know more!

5 Interesting Traditions Around the World

Traditions are beliefs that contribute to our culture. They are passed down from generation to generation and remind us of our ancestors and rich historical background. Some traditions are celebrated all around the world such as Christmas and birthdays, nevertheless, there are some weird and fun traditions that are practiced only by a group of people in some countries.

  • Cimburijada festival of scrambled eggs in Zenica, Bosnia

Well, do you like scrambled eggs? You can wholeheartedly satisfy your scrambled egg cravings in Bosnia during spring or more precisely during the month of March. During that festival, eggs are scrambled and given out for free. It is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new season. You will come across a lot of tourists during that festive season. Not just because they want free eggs, its because this festival is fun-filled.

  • La Tomatina or tomato craze in Bunol Spain

Are you ready to paint the town red? Every Wednesday of the month of August, Spanish people use tomatoes for a fun fight. It is considered to be the world’s biggest tomato fight. This festival is meant only for entertainment. If you are planning to visit Spain anytime soon, you can add this to your itinerary.

  • The Polterabend custom in Germany

This custom includes a lot of breaking. Family and friends of future married couples meet over dinner and break a large number of porcelain dishes. The couples are then obliged to clean the mess. The aim of this custom is to teach them the importance of teamwork and unity. It is also considered as good luck and essential for the relationship to last longer.

  • Famadihana: dancing with the dead in Madagascar

Reburial ceremony, Madagascar

Also known as turning of the bones, this festival honors the dead. It is celebrated every 7 years. Only the families who can afford lavish dinners and new clothes for the existing family members celebrate this festival. Family members dance with their dead relatives and show them respect. They even give gifts to the dead. Note that crying is strictly prohibited during the celebration.

  • Throwing cinnamon to those still single at 25 in Denmark

If you are 25 years old and still single in Denmark, be prepared to be drenched in cinnamon! This tradition is practiced on the person’s 25th birthday by friends and family. The individual is doused with cinnamon sticks. The interesting fact is that this tradition encourages single people to look for a partner before they turn 25.

15 ways to practice self-care everyday

Self-care is not about salt baths while relaxing in your bathtub or eating chocolate cakes the whole day! It is about opting for the right choice in order to build a better and organized life. Even though life can get busy, there are lots of small things that you can do on a daily basis to take care of yourself. All it takes is a minimum effort!

1. Say goodbye to social media for an hour everyday

Whether it is during lunchtime or before going to bed, make it a habit to put your phone on aeroplane mode and give yourself a break from the buzz on social media.

2. Take time to breathe deeply

We tend to get so busy in our hectic lives that we forget to take deep breaths. Take a pause every day and practice deep breathing. This exercise will help you reduce and manage your stress level.

3. Learn to appreciate nature when you feel anxious

Whenever you feel like you are not good enough or feel like your anxiety is really draining your thoughts, take some time out and watch the sky. Surrender all the bad thoughts as you enjoy your surrounding.

4. Make use of herbs in your tea when you are sad

Some herbs such as Lavender and peppermint have some very soothing effect on your mental health. They help to boost your happy hormones. Keep them around for whenever you are feeling low.

5. Enjoy your daily routine

We get so lost in our daily routine that we forget to enjoy or focus on the little things of life. So whenever you are at your table, having breakfast or dinner, take some time to enjoy that moment. By practicing this, you will notice that your brain will be more active for the whole day.

6. Practice more stretching

Sitting for a very long period of time can result into muscular pain. The good news is that you can have a mini stretching session within 2 minutes. Stand up and rotate your shoulders, neck, feet and wrists!

7. Give yourself a positive affirmation everyday

The moment you wake up and head straight to the wash basin to brush your teeth, look at yourself and say “ I am strong and can do anything on my own” or “ I am enough for my whole self”. It will keep you motivated for the whole day.

8. Take time to moisturize

Skin to skin contact can be very soothing. Moisturizing your hands and legs is not only good for your skin but also has a great effect on your mental health.

9. Give yourself something to look forward to

Whether it is watching your favourite movie or reading a good book, always make a fun plan after work. Doing something that you like after a hectic day will definitely put you in a good mood.

10. Give someone a compliment

Spread positive energy all around you by doing kind things for people. While doing so, you will find yourself uplifted emotionally.

11. Create completely different habits from your routine ones

Habits help you to build a mind frame and positive habits can result into happiness and a source of motivation. Whether it is cleaning a closet, practicing yoga or even meditating. Dare to invest into a new life-changing habit.

12. Just laugh

Dedicate a few minutes of your day watching a funny video on YouTube or Facebook. Laughing cheers you up, makes you feel good and awakens the happy hormones in your body. You might as well save some jokes to read on your way back from work.

13. Listen to relaxing nature sounds

Listening to relaxing nature sounds that soothe the mind and help to concentrate. It is advisable to listen to nature sounds while working.

14. Keep yourself hydrated

Make it a habit to always keep yourself hydrated. You can put reminders throughout the day to remind you to hydrate and drink water. Being hydrated prevents you from feeling stressed and tired.

15. Practice meditation

Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and promote emotional health. By doing a two minute meditation, you will find more headspace to continue your work better.

16.List all the things that you appreciate about yourself

We can readily make a list about all our negative traits but dare to turn that around and notice all the little positive qualities that you hold. It will make you feel good about yourself.

17.Treat yourself

We struggle so much to save money that we forget that a little splurging on one self can be rewarding. Treat yourself once in a while.

18.Smile

It is almost impossible to feel bad when you are smiling. While doing so, give others a reason to smile as well.

19. Get enough sleep

Getting 8 hours of sleep is essential as everything is hard when your body is tired.

Cooking – the joy is just beyond words

 

Factors determining what you are going to cook tonight

The meal you are going to cook tonight is determined by what you have experienced during the day. It pertains mainly to your mood, environment, taste and liking. A peaceful and joyous mood will encourage you to eat some delicious meal. It also depends on the proximity of the food and of course, some good cooking skills and organization in your kitchen.

Instances that will determine your choice of dish

Cooking is nourishment, happiness and the feeling of being loved. It depends on your way of life and food consciousness. Let’s picture it – you had a good conversation on game meat with your colleague at work. Since that particular moment, your taste buds have been sending signals to your neurons. On your way back home, you pass through a park where you can smell the freshness of the woods. By now it is obvious, you have decided you are going to eat something from the woods, game meat for dinner! You are in the mood to cook tonight.

Uniting the mood and the charm

The condiments you are using to cook is spreading a typical mouthwatering aroma all over the house. Your spouse is also helping you in the kitchen and the cooking experience is bringing you both closer. Words just cannot describe the magic of the moment.

Healthy food at home

The food you crave often depends on the season. Home cooking has many benefits. It gives you the opportunity to cook healthy balanced diet meals. For example, you can choose to eat organic food because you firmly believe that organic food is better for your health. It also helps you contribute in encouraging organic farming.

Cooking is one of life’s great pleasures

You have to use your creativity to prepare any dish. You need to dirty your hands, make things happen. You want a well-garnished platter. The end product is worth the time, energy and patience. Finally, once you’ve done the cooking and sit at the table together with your family and eat the food, the satisfaction you experience is a well-merit one! You know you have worked hard for that. Life is compensating your effort. When you get into that trance, the joy is so immense. You feel in harmony with the universe.

What are you waiting for, get cooking!

Aspects of cooking

Cooking is in the ADN of each cook

Each dish has its own unique flavour, which depends on the cook. What makes a good chef in a 5-star restaurant depends on the chef’s feelings during the day, the selection of ingredients, the cutting of the meat, chopping of the vegetables, presentation of the dish and the right dosage of seasoning.

Cooking involves team spirit

Cooking in a team requires good team spirit for it to be successful. It has the power to unite people as it involves communication and helping each other. Cooking is often a team building activity in many businesses. At the same time cooking is a sharing of knowledge, with each individual having their own skills and preferences in either European, Oriental, Australian, Modern Asian, South American, North American, African and even Traditional cooking.

The art of seasoning

Seasoning is the right balance of sweetness and sourness or acidity in the food. Some people know how to harmonize sweet, sour, salt, and bitter flavours. Salt enhances sweetness and suppresses bitterness while uplifting the taste of the food. For example, when you are using hot chilli, you will need to add more sour and salty ingredients, but of course, it all depends on your personal liking. Most people learn how to cook from printed recipes. However, only experience can teach you how to fix the dosage of ingredients despite some cooks are naturally gifted with that quality.

The freshness of your ingredients

Fresh veggies and fresh meat or fish defines the quality of your meal. I remember eating The catch of the day, which was prepared by the chef at Restaurant La Plage in a five-star hotel, So Sofitel Bel Ombre, Mauritius. It was such an exquisite experience. My palate has never tasted something so good. The fish had a saline taste from the sea, the flavor was typical from the coast. It was a mixture of all the smell from the surrounding area. The preparation, the texture and quality of the food was a class above. I suddenly felt I was already in paradise!

Cooking is a passion

After all, cooking is a passion which liberates our own creativity. It is a manipulation of different kinds of ingredients. It is a blend of the love, patience and effort put into action. Nowadays, most hotels offer cooking classes to their guests, which is a nice way for them to experience the local culture and food.

Cooking can be a really enjoyable experience. Try it!

Paving stone for your landscaping project

Originating from Europe, manufactured paving stones were used after the war when Europeans needed an affordable paver to rebuild streets. This clay-based product is not easily manufactured as the majority of its content are primarily concrete based. The secret behind the beauty of precast paving stones is that they can stand alone on a gravel base. You will not need special equipment to move them due to their small size.

Precast paving stones are used for landscaping purposes due to affordability and versatility. The majority of these fall into the following categories:

Interlocking pavers: These stones come in different shapes and colors. They produce a paving pattern upon installation. The patterns are visually attractive and are preferred over expensive stones and tiles.

Precast unit pavers: They produce a uniformly crisp surface with shaped units such as bricked rectangles in multiple sizes.

Tumbled precast unit pavers: To produce a natural surface, these pavers are tumbled at the factory. They give an ancient appearance and mimics hewn stones. They are safer options for pool decks and sports courts as they offer a softer edge.

Open Cell pavers: These pavers were designed to increase permeability in parking lots as it allows water to drain through the openings in the pavers.

Turf pavers: Turf pavers were designed for emergency equipment to drive over the lawn. They are mostly used for overflow parking.

Choosing the perfect pavers

The addition of pavers can enhance the beauty of your outdoor space, driveways, and walkways. It is no surprise that pavers make a drastic difference in the appearance of almost everything, from pool decks and walkways to barbecue area and porches. Since pavers are versatile and can be used in different shapes and forms, it is necessary to make the right choice. Like plants, paving material adds glamour, texture, color, and pattern to your landscape.

Paving materials come in two kinds: quarried stones and composite materials. You can choose either of them according to your budget. Quarried stone such as granite and slate are mostly dug and shaped accordingly by cutting, splitting or crushing whereas composite materials are more like bricks and concrete pavers which are processed and molded when soft. To choose the perfect paver for your yard, you should consider your budget first as some of them can be really costly. You can talk it out with your contractor before taking any decision.

How to choose your landscape contractor

The right landscape contractor can make your dream of a beautifully landscaped garden come true. So, choose one that will dedicate ample time in the planning, designing, and execution of the project as per your requirements. You need a contractor who is going to give you a good guidance till the end of your project.

Make a plan of favorite landscape design

It is always better that you make your own research before turning to a professional about your landscape design. You can collect magazines or browse through different websites on the internet to gather ideas. In that way, you will know what kind of walkway, safeway or water feature you want or what you want to use your outdoor space for. You can always make a sketch of your favorite design to make the landscaper’s work easier. You find the right contractor easier when you are clear in your mind about your design. If you write a description of what you want, it will be better to compare to the different opinions that you are going to get from various contractors. You can then choose the best.

Research about different landscaping design companies

It is always wise to research about landscaping companies near you and shortlist the ones that you like. It makes choosing easier. You can as well talk to your acquaintances and family for trustworthy referrals. If you like your neighbor’s landscape design, ask them about the contractor that they hired. It is always a good idea to gather information before choosing the ideal professional candidate. It helps you to take a better decision.

Things to keep in my while making your choice

There are a lot of factors that you should keep in mind while choosing your perfect landscaper :

  1. Team Approach: make sure that you are always having a good bond with your contractor.

  2. Education and Experience: check your contractor’s website to learn about their work and customer’s feedback.

  3. Affiliations and certifications: Make sure that your contractor is up to date with all the new designs on the market.

  4. Licensing and Bonding: Always check if your potential bidder is licensed to do this job.

  5. Cost: always choose a landscaper who can meet your budget.

Choose your contractor wisely and fulfill your dream of having a beautiful garden!

Why should parents send their children to day care centers?

A couple has to work for the benefit of all family members, some single parents cannot handle looking after a child and working at the same time. Daycare centers have been proved to be the best option whereby parents can go to work without having to worry about their kids. Daycare education has a long-lasting social, economic and academic effect on kids. Studies have proved that infants from 6 months to 4 years old benefit a lot from the daycare environment. High-quality daycare has a positive influence on a child’s development and social life.

Below are some advantages of sending your child to a day care center :

  • Regular Activities

Even though infants do not have a notion of time, the daycare teachers plan their whole day that they spend at the center. Their days are filled with fun songs and storytelling. Fun tasks are essential for toddlers. They help with their personal development and intellectual growth. They also have a particular time for eating, playing and napping.

  • A step ahead in the academic field

It has been proven that children who also have attended day care have greater chances to achieve higher scores on the academic level as a teen. Spending time in a high-quality day care is beneficial for children to help them build a future. As they learn how to take care of themselves and others at a tender age.

  • Spend time with children of their age

Many parents arrange for meetings within families and neighbours so that their kids can play with other kids of their age. Day care centers are prefect for kids to spend time with friends of their own age. It is filled with fun time and interaction in a supervised and safe environment. While interacting with others, kids learn to care, share, play and learn together. They also manage to build their personalities and help their mind grow.

 

  • Interacting with other adults 

Since they are young, children know mostly a few adults in their life which are most of the time their parents and senior adults of the family. The children sees only those people as a role model. Day care provides the child with the opportunity to be familiar with other adults and experience that even other grown ups are able to provide them with a positive guidance in life. Day care providers encourage the child’s growth, provide a positive attitude and discourage negative interactions within the child’s environment.

  • Smooth transition to Kindergarten

Studies have proved that children which have been to daycare from a very young age face less problems to join kindergarten. They are already familiar with the environment where they are left with many kids around. It is easier for them to adapt to the kindergarten environment which is beneficial to both parents and kids. Parents do not have to bear tantrums of kids who are having a hard time to adapt to the new environment and the kids make friends easily.

  • Promotes language and cognitive skills

At day care centers, your child has the capacity to increase his language skill. Early learning care providers give your child an environment where they will not face any problem to communicate appropriately. Their activities include conversational games and they are encouraged to develop language skills by answering thought-provoking questions. When it comes to cognitive skills, kids are engaged into various activities, awakening their inquisitive nature.

  • Promotes Math and reading skills

To prepare the child to face kindergarten environment, teachers at day care centers offer a wide range of games and activities. Since the child is at a very curious age, teachers allow themselves to slide some math and reading to equip the children for future academic years. Teachers try to make math and reading as fun as possible so that the child understands and enjoy the subjects.

Parents should collaborate with day care center providers to be able to choose the best path for their kids. Your kids deserve the best. Before choosing a day care center, make sure to get acquainted with their day to day schedule, the staff and credentials , in that way you will be less stressed to leave your child among strangers.

The Perfect Wedding Guest

Weddings can be stressful and complicated, but if you are not planning it then you are lucky! Guests are lucky as they have less to invest in terms of time and money. However, there are different types of wedding guests- the uncles, aunties, hoards of cousins, and friends! They are the ones that lead the wedding after the bride and groom. We rely on them for a great time, memorable experiences and unforgettable moments.

 

 

Choosing the perfect look for a wedding can be tricky as you will dress up according to the theme and even if it’s themeless, then it will be according to the bride’s wish! If you are still confused with being at the perfect wedding, here’s a short list of do’s and don’ts for wedding guests:

Do’s

• Do RSVP before the due date. You don’t want to be counted out of the list!
• Buy an early gift. Whether it is from a couple’s registry or more personal, buy it earlier.
• When the date and time are mentioned, it means that the wedding is expected to start at that time specifically. So be on time!
• If the wedding is themed, do pay special attention to the dress code imposed by the couple.
• Stay away from the photographer! Not because he/she is creepy but because the couple would want the focus to be on them. That’s what he/she is getting paid for.
• Congratulate the whole family, even if you don’t know them personally. Do thank them and congratulate them.
• Enjoy yourself! Grooms and brides may get worked up if they notice that guests are not enjoying themselves.
• Sign in the guestbook. Even if you have wished them personally, don’t forget to write in the guestbook!

• Before leaving do take your favor! It’s a sign of gratitude from part of the couple.

 

Don’ts

• No WHITE OR BLACK dresses, gowns or tuxedos. Wearing white is exceptionally for the bride that day! None of the shades of white is allowed.
• Don’t wear pantsuit or too-short or revealing cocktail dresses.
• Don’t overdo your makeup.
• Wearing backless dress with lingerie reveal isn’t suited for weddings. So NO!
• Leave the animals prints where they belong- in fashion shows. Not advised to wear for weddings.
• Don’t bring a date unless it is mentioned that you can!
• Don’t bring large gifts!
• Don’t forget to turn your phone off!
• Even if it’s your close friend’s wedding or your cousin, it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to get wasted! If you know you get drunk quickly, then stay away from alcohol!

 

 

We do hope that this clears out the confusion you had about being a wedding guest!

Vintage Clothing Shopping Guide

Vintage clothing is a term used to describe clothing between 20 and 100 years old representing the era in which it was produced. Donning in a vintage piece is like traveling in the past where the clothes was appreciated and loved! Often referred to as ‘retro clothing’, vintage clothing is now becoming trendy and worn by most millennial.

 

 

Here is a guide to help you understand why vintage clothing shopping is not a piece of cake:

  •  Know what vintage is! Learn the difference between classic, retro, and vintage. Don’t embark on a vintage journey and end up showing retro clothing.
  •  Know your eras well. You don’t want to end up at a party themed the 20s with a clothing from the 50s. Imagine the embarrassment!
  • Don’t go for the size rather go for the undergarments! Wear the right undergarment to complement the clothing as to your body shape.
  • Research on how much vintage costs and plan your budget accordingly.
  • Tailor it! If the clothing isn’t available in your size, then better give it to a tailor!
  • Know your fabric, which one that suits your style and preferences.
  • Say no to plastic. Never store your clothes in plastic. Your garments need to breathe!
  • Know where you can buy good vintage pieces.

 

After all these points, I can assure you that your inner Hepburn and Monroe would be satisfied!