Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Glamping In Snowdonia

Glamping - a combination of the words Glamourous and Camping, and has been met positively since its inception some years ago. It’s not difficult to see why. The UK, after all, provides some of the very best camping sites in the world, thanks to protected land such as National Parks providing some very gorgeous scenery. Otherwise, the UK in itself provides all the familiarity you need to really enjoy time away from home.

While indeed you're on holiday, you're not in a far flung area of the world, and that's what makes local camping and glamping Snowdonia so viable. Yes, your surroundings are gorgeous. Yes, your camping itself is fabulous. But should the mood strike, you can get into the car and hop off for a cheeky pint in civilisation if need be.

Take Ogwen Bank, a very high-end glamping paradise in Snowdonia, for instance. With acres upon acres of absolutely unspoiled woodland, a view of the River Ogwen that's incredibly envied, and the space between you and your campmates you truly need in order to appreciate the outdoors without feeling that you're jammed in, too close to each other and with absolutely no privacy at all, you'll be able to truly enjoy the surroundings at Ogwen Bank.

Ogwen Bank’s clubhouse provides a rather great little retreat, in order to pop away for a pint, as well as enjoy the social aspect of time away from home. The Ogwen Bank clubhouse also provides a variety of very hearty food which is both attractively presented, and absolutely delicious.

But enough about food and surroundings, you say. What about where you're actually staying?
This is the best of it all. Ogwen Bank have a variety of S-Pods, which are the glamping standard for others to follow. These tiny little cubes are very well designed, providing just the amount of space you need, but also containing a double bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, electricity, Wi-Fi -- and incredibly all have a hot tub outside which can be powered on and set to go even in the most frigid of the North Wales winds.

When it comes to glamping in Snowdonia – there’s only one real choice if you want it all. Give Ogwen Bank a go, you certainly won’t regret it.

A Guide to Aerating Your Wine

When you buy a bottle of wine it’s so easy to crack it open on a special occasion and drink it straight away. Most people know that most red wines (and even some white wines) need aerating to allow for better flavour. But what does this mean exactly? Well, it means letting your South African red wine ‘breathe’ before drinking. Exposure to oxygen will open up the flavour and body of the wine, so that you can enjoy the full flavour and aroma, as intended by the producer.

This doesn’t just mean opening the lid of the bottle prior to drinking – No, your wine will need more exposure than this get the full effect. An easy solution would be your table decanter. This is a wide glass vessel that is designed to allow your wine to get maximum exposure to air. Today’s decanters are quite decorative and make elegant centrepieces. Pour in the entire bottle and let it breathe at least 20 minutes before drinking.

There are plenty of aerating gadgets on the market that will allow for speedier aeration. An Aerator Pourer for example, is a great way to aerate your wine by the glass; great if you only want the single glass. As you pour wine through this small device, its swirls around at a high velocity to allow air bubbles to flow through the wine.

You can even buy aerating wine glasses which work in a similar way to the separate aerating gadgets out there. Your glass will feature a higher glass cavity which will pour your wine out through a number of the tiny holes. The increase in the wine’s flow will allow more oxygen to get through the wine at a faster rate; allowing you to drink straight away. Some even prefer to swirl the wine around the glass themselves to aerate the wine as they drink, but your guests will be risking a spill.

If you can, avoid leaving your wine out for too long – it really is a fine balance. Leaving your bottle open overnight will result in the wine tasting more acidic than it’s meant to.

How to Find You New Favourite Wine

If you’re finding that you fancy a change from your usual bottle of wine but don’t want to spend on something you might not like; finding a new favourite wine can be a challenge. With the average bottle of wine costing £8, it makes sense that you might want to look around before making your purchase. We’ve got a few things you can do before making your purchase to make sure you're getting the best value for money:

Join a wine club or get a subscription box - This is a great way to try new wine; delivered to you at discounted prices. Choose if you’d like to buy a one off case or even continue on a monthly subscription – it’s completely down to you. The great thing about subscription boxes are that you will often get guides and detailed snippets of information included, which will put you in the best position to learn more about your wine.

Wine tasting evenings – At first you might consider a night of wine tasting evening more of a luxury but when you think the range of wines you get to try, you’re actually saving quite a bit vs. buying by the bottle. You’ll be able to compare flavours easily with each variety right in front of you.

Visit a wine festival – This way, you can buy by glass and speak to the representatives of each wine producer who will be able to more about it. It will certainly make you think you’ve got the inside knowledge when it comes to buying your next bottle. A popular one is RAW wine festival, specialising in free from wines.

Follow blogs – Get feedback from other wine connoisseurs; what they like, what they didn’t like about it. You can get to know more about the lesser known Boutique South African wines or perhaps less widely available natural wines. This way you’ll often know more about up and coming wines before everyone else!

Visit your local wine store – Nope not your supermarket, your local store that specialises in wine.  Tell them what your tastes are and ask what they recommend. They can give your suggestions for everyday drinking or even something a bit more special to go with your meal at a dinner party. Wine is their job and they’d only be too glad to tell you about their range.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A Quick Guide to White Wine

There are 9 white wines that are considered to be all time favourites amongst many White Wine drinkers, although there are many other wonderful white wines on the market.

I have listed below the 9 white wines that are most popular from my recent research; however please feel free to list any white wines that you prefer in the comments box below.

  1. Chardonnay - A dry white wine that is very popular worldwide. The Chardonnay grape is pretty low maintenance and can be grown in most climates. Because of this it is widely grown throughout the world and is generally great value for money. It comes in a variety of flavours such as buttery, apple, pear, melon, oak, and even citrus. It accompanies many food types but it probably goes best with seafood, creamy dishes, pork and poultry.
  2. Chenin Blanc - The Chenin Blanc grape is originally from the Loire valley of France. It is very acidity meaning it can be used to make everything from sparkling wine to well-balanced dessert wines.
  3. Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris - An all time favourite in Italy and also very popular in the UK. The Pinot Gris or Pinot Gris is carefully crafted from these grapes. A very light flavoured crisp wine. It has a very smooth overtone and comes in different flavours including melon, pear and tropical fruits. This wine goes well with light flavoured pastas, seafood or cheese and crackers.
  4. Sauvignon Blanc - Another dry white wine grown mainly in France and New Zealand. The French variety has grand herbal tones whilst the New Zealand variety has tropical fruits and gooseberry flavours. This wine is refreshing, crisp and goes extremely well with many kinds of foods including vegetable dishes, Thai food, Greek, Caesar salads and sushi.
  5. Riesling - A very popular white wine and one favoured by many connoisseurs. Riesling comes dry or sweet. The dry variety is labelled “tocken” and the sweet variety is labelled “ausless”. This wine is available in many flavours including pear, peach, and apple. Riesling goes well with Spicy Asian food, pork, fish, appetizers and desserts.
  6. Pinot Blanc - A medium to dry wine available in various tones. Pinto Blanc is native to Alsace in France but also grown in Italy, Hungary and Germany. A light wine with flavours of citrus, melon, pear and apricot. Goes well with flavoured meats, lightly flavoured cheeses, seafood and delicate flavours.
  7. Gewurztraminer - A very fruity wine originally from Germany, with strapping aromas and flowery bouquet, tends to leave a sweet aftertaste. Goes well with BBQ’s, Curry seasoned dishes, Chinese and Mexican cooking and other spiced foods.
  8. Semillon - A classic full bodied dry French wine with distinctly fruity flavours. It is often blended with a Sauvignon Blanc to create a wonderful light drinking wine.
  9. Viognier - An extremely difficult white wine grape to grow because it mildews easily. It grows well in warmer climates. A sweet wine with very strong flavours. And for this reason it pairs well with very spicy food, such as Thai. It also goes well with fish dishes.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Calming your Dog Before Visiting the Grooming Salon

dog grooming Rhyl
For pampered pooches within North Wales, Hafod-Y-Bryn offer dog grooming near Rhyl. Their grooming studio is staffed by qualified groomers, who are able to cater to dogs of all sizes and coat types.

Before visiting a grooming studio, your dog may feel a little anxious. Whether it’s the car journey or having their fur snipped by someone their not familiar with – there are ways to ensure your dog is as calm as possible before and during the visit.

Home Grooming

Grooming your dog at home before taking them to a professional can help them get used to the sensations and sounds they will experience at a grooming studio. It also gives a good indication of what your dog really isn’t comfortable with, so you can inform the groomer or perhaps invest in a muzzle.

If you are concerned about the temperament of your dog around new people, having a visitor or friend comb your dog will help to determine how your dog reacts to someone who isn’t his owner combing him.

Give Them Treats

Positive reinforcement is a great way to train your dog, as well as getting him used to new experiences. Positive reinforcement involves giving them a treat every time they display a good behaviour, or whenever they’re in a situation which could be potentially stressful for them – for example, being in the car.

They will then associate these once stressful situations with receiving tasty treats, and are likely to respond more positively towards them on future occasions.

Stay With Them

One way to keep your dog calm whilst they’re being groomed is to stay close by to them throughout. If your dog has a particularly nervous disposition, talking to your dog may help to relax them during the grooming process.

Ask for Silent Clippers

Some dogs are particularly sensitive to sound, especially when it comes to clippers. There are options available for silent clippers, which allow a dog to be clipped without the typical snipping sounds. If your dog is uncomfortable with the sound of clipping, it’s worth asking your groomer whether they have any silent clippers available in the studio.