Did You Know…? Surprising Facts About Wine

Did You Know…? Surprising Facts About Wine

Now, it’s no secret that I’m someone who enjoys the odd glass of wine (or two!). To me, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a glass of rose wine on a summer’s evening. Come wintertime, I love to snuggle up on the sofa with a glass of red and my favourite book. But considering my love of the drink, I know very little about it. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled some fascinating facts about this delightful drink. Some will make you chuckle, some will make you gasp and some are just plain bizarre. So, without further ado…



- It’s believed that monks were the first people to learn the skill of winemaking, way back in the Middle Ages. In fact, one of the most famous champagnes, Don Perignon, is named after a monk. He lived during the 17th and 18th-centuries. He is believed to have been one of the earliest known advocates of organic winemaking. He managed to perfect this skill during his lifetime. And more than 300 years later, his techniques are still being used today.

- The oldest bottle of wine is currently on display at the Pfalz Museum in Germany. Historians believe it to be a staggering 1,650 years old. This means its origins stretch as far back as the times of the Roman Empire.



- Ancient Egyptian pharaohs refused to touch red wine. They believed that its appearance was too much like blood. They saw the effect that alcohol could have when drank in excess. They believed that it made people crazy and that they were incurring the wrath of the gods.

- Strangely enough, there are people who actually suffer from a phobia of wine. It’s a condition recognised by medical professionals all over the world. It’s called oenophobia.

- Back in the 1920s, alcohol was banned and made illegal (god forbid!). So, those who wanted to flout the law had to find ingenious ways of drinking alcohol without getting caught. One rather creative method involved a bottle of grape juice mix. The label gave clear instructions on how to use it to make alcohol. But it was written as a warning against taking such steps! Thankfully we have no such problem today. There are countless legal ways of buying your favourite tipple. Online retailer, The Fine Wine Company, is just one such example.



- The Prince of Wales reportedly uses red wine in place of petrol to power his Aston Martin. (Am I the only one who thinks that’s a waste of perfectly good wine?!)

- We’ve all heard about the high antioxidant content in red wine. But did you know that soy sauce contains an astonishing ten times more of this essential health-promoting nutrient?

- In Japan it’s possible to actually swim in specialised pools filled with either coffee, tea or red wine! Those at Yunessun Spa believe that in doing this they are utilising the health-promoting properties of some of our favourite tipples!

We bet you’ve learnt lots about wine that you didn’t know before. We just hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as we did putting this list together!

Uh-oh, Busted!

Christmas and birthdays are days of joy; days of celebration; days of gift giving and receiving. Family member meet and exchange gifts that they’ve lovingly bought after picking the perfect present out; just hoping you love it and getting a rush of joy as your little face lights up when you open… and then there’s Uncle Pete, who once again has just re-wrapped something that you gave him last year and given it back to you. Either Uncle Pete forgot you gave it to him or hoped you’d have forgotten what you got him the year previous. But you didn’t; you never do.

Uncle Pete needs to look at this infographic as it states 5 rules that any re-gifter has to follow. Uncle Pete needs to follow these rules as maybe then he won’t be caught out so easily and his family can once again trust him and think that he went out and bought something with his own money before beautifully wrapping it (I have to say Uncle Pete is a beautiful wrapper – for a fictional character, that is).

Top 5 rules of Regifting
Top 5 rules of Regifting is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree

Treat Your Children To The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover – They Deserve It

Treat Your Children To The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover – They Deserve It

A child’s bedroom is one of the best places to decorate in a home because we can have fun with it. It is one place that we must often redo because as the child grows, so do their interests. It is just a natural part of growing up.

We can have fun in there by thinking back to when we were young and introducing features that we always wanted. There are many DIY chain stores out there that offer fantastic products, so it is easy to find inspiration when we run out of ideas. There are no fixed rules when dealing with a room or children; have fun with the project. Let your imagination fly, and treat your children to the ultimate bedroom makeover. Here are some ideas to help you on your way.

Wallpaper Mural

When we speak about wallpaper murals, it conjures up an image of ducks flying in formation over a green landscape. Modern murals are much more than that. Thanks to the digital age, we can take pictures and view the results on a computer screen. Are you aware that there are companies that will make a mural from your digital photographs? In fact, they will print any image for you. Maybe the kids have a favourite hero or television program. Those characters could adorn one wall in the room. If you find an image, make sure that you have the right to use it. Companies could be fined heavily if they printed a picture that is under copyright.


The beds are the biggest items of furniture in the room. Think about giving them something special. Take some sketches to your local joinery and see if they can make the bed to your specifications. The one in the image is amazing; can you do better? It could be a spaceship or bunk bed bus. The possibilities are endless. You might want to ask the joinery to come up with a matching wardrobe too.

The children will probably have friends to stay overnight at some point, so get a sofa bed from Multiyork or your local outlet. The kids will have somewhere to sit and watch TV in the day, and somewhere for their friends to sleep at night. It is wise to buy one with removable covers too, you know how kids are.


Sarah Embaby


We spoke about the digital age earlier. You can help your child get ahead in the world of information technology by installing a computer, television, and DVD player in their room. They will be able to talk to their friends online, play games, and stream movies from the internet. Some people shudder at the thought of this idea, but with the correct parental safeguards in place, it is essential to their education. Many children have this equipment already, and your little ones might be at a disadvantage if you do not give them the tools they need.

I think you will agree that you dreamed of such a room as this when you were a child. Living standards improve over the generations, and everyone strives to give their children the things that they never had themselves. Are we spoiling them? That will be the subject of debate for eternity. You must do what feels right; only then can you have a clear conscience.

A Romantic Walk by the Banks of the Serpentine to Hyde Park

A Romantic Walk by the Banks of the Serpentine to Hyde Park

London holidays pack in a true punch. Be it complete exhilaration, informative historic tours or plain romantic escapades, it is all on offer! And if you wish to enjoy a truly fulfilling vacation, choosing hotels in Paddington for accommodation would be a great idea. Paddington properties are close to prominent places of interest like Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. You can easily access these destinations without wasting too much time on travel.

quiet walks

Quiet Walks to the Leafy Hyde Park would be Hugely Fulfilling

If you have checked in one of the hotels in Paddington of repute like The Paddington Hotel London, enjoying quiet walks by the banks of the Serpentine, right up to Hyde Park, would be a truly relaxing experience.  You can escape the busy streets of London and spend some quiet moments with your partner, in complete solace. The only sounds here are the cries of the wildfowl and the lapping of the waters of the lake. Spend time sharing thoughts and simply unwind as you walk along.

Getting to Hyde Park by Foot

You need to start on the south bank of the Lake, from the Lido Café point.  From here, you would need to head eastwards for about 600m. Once you reach the east end of the lake bear left and proceed for about 150m to the left till you reach the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen. Follow the rounded path keeping the Serpentine Lake to your left. Head westwards along the north bank and pass below the Serpentine Bridge, heading north along the Peacock Walk. Move towards the fountains of the Italian Gardens up to the top of the lake, close to Bayswater Road. On reaching the fountain, turn left once more. You will pass the statue of Peter Pan here. Continue moving back to where you started, at Lido Café. When you reach the Serpentine Bridge, you would see the Princess Diana Memorial fountain ahead. Continue as you walk past the memorial foundation and the Lido Café till you reach the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen.

Preparing for the Walk

Well, considering that this is a relaxing walk, not much of preparations would be warranted. However, putting on a comfortable piece of footwear would be ideal. Keeping meals light would also help you in gathering the energy for a long walk such as this. And considering that there are cafes and eateries on the way, you can always stop by for a cup of coffee or a quick grub. You may even wish to take your kids along. Especially the Peter Pan statue and the Princess Diana Memorial could be of special interest to them.

Other Destinations to Explore

Other destinations to explore when you have chosen from among cheap & budget hotels in Paddington include Paddington Station, West London , Madame Tussauds , Kensington palace , Knightsbridge ,

Harrods , Westminster Abbey , Buckingham palace , Hyde Park , Bays water. Consider planning your trip in such a way so that all you wish to attend can be explored with ease.

The Paddington Hotel London,
28 Gloucester Terrace, London W2 3DA,

Phone: 44 (0)20 74025077, Google+

 Top Tourist Attractions in Central London

 Top Tourist Attractions in Central London

London is the largest city in England. If you are planning a trip to the city, you should first know that it may not be possible to visit all the tourist attractions in a single tour. It is a good idea to visit all major destinations in Central London before you move on to other parts of the city, such as West London or East London.

Interestingly, many of the tourist hotspots are located in the centre of the city. As such, a Central London tour is a chance for you to visit some of the top locations quickly and conveniently. Finding a suitable accommodation in this part of the city should not be a problem. Top central London boutique hotels like Eccleston Square Hotelprovide top class facilities at discounted rates.


Where to Visit in Central London

Whether you are planning a weekend gateway or a long vacation, it is always a good idea to create an itinerary before the trip. The idea is to make sure that you do not miss some of the major locations. The top options in Central London are;

  • Westminster Abbey – The 700-year-old building is a must see for history lovers. The Gothic Church is famous for its architectural excellence and historical significance. There are a number of famous tombs within the area. For years, it has been one of the most notable burial sites in England. Many world-famous personalities are resting in peace in the Abbey. Some of them are Tennyson, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Hardy, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, Edward I, Mary I, Rudyard Kipling, Richard II, Edward III, and George Frederic Handel. The church remains open from Monday through Saturday. Handheld audio guides are available in eight languages. Be sure to visit this place when in Central London. It is located close to Gatwick Express and London Passport Office.
  • British Museum – If you choose to stay in Central London, do not forget to visit the British Museum.  Most of the top London boutique hotels in this part of the city are located close to the museum. It has a collection of more than 8 million works that represent the history of London. The museum was established in 1753, with the collections of Sir Hans Sloane, the famous British physician. Now it houses a huge collection of antique items, books, manuscripts, and sculptural works.
  • Hyde Park – One of the Royal Parks of London, Hyde Park has a meadow, a large lake, and several flower gardens, with more than 4,000 trees. If you visit London with your friends and family members, be sure to head to Hyde Park in the evening. It could give you a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life. You and your kids can participate in outdoor activities, such as, boating, skating, swimming, cycling, tennis courts, and even horse riding.

Other famous tourist attractions in Central London include Sloane Square, Chelsea, and some tourist spots in Victoria. If you are on a budget, consider planning your trip during off-season. Top Central London boutique hotels usually offer seasonal discounts and discounts for advance booking.

Eccleston Square Hotel, 37 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1PB

Phone: 44 (0)20 3489 1000, Google+


Top Tips When Viewing a Property for Sale in London

Top Tips When Viewing a Property for Sale in London

We all know that buying a house is a stressful process and unless you are a trained estate agent, there are many mistakes you could make when viewing a property for sale in London.  These mistakes could mean that you pay much more than you wanted for a house or that you buy one that is not as good as it seemed.  To help you with your next viewing in the following post you will a selection of top tips.

First Time Viewing

The first time you visit house, it is a good idea to treat it just as a building that you are inspecting rather than a potential home.  Not only will this avoid you becoming too attached to it too quickly, it will not give the estate agent the impression that you are keen on the house.

How Many Times Should You View A Property And When?

It is always sensible, if possible, to view a property at least 3 or 4 times and at different times of the day, before making any decision on whether to buy or not.      Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes looking around the house and then another 30 minutes walking around the actual area.

Find out as much as you can about the area where the house is located.  Find out what it is like on weekdays, at the weekend, when the pubs close and during rush hour.  It is also wise to drive to and from the property to school and or work during rush hour to see how long your daily commute is going to take.

What Should You Look Out For When Viewing A Property?

When you are actually viewing a property, look at the structure and if you see damage such as hairline cracks, investigate these before making any decisions.  Remember the seller or estate agent does not have to tell you about problems with the property, and they may even try to hide them.  People will often use these cover-ups – rugs over problems with the flooring, covering cracks with furniture and painting over damp.

Don’t Be Put Off By Faults or Damages

Even if there is no visible signs of damp, keep your nose open as a property with damp issues will always have a musty kind of smell.  When you do spot any faults with a property, like the ones mentioned above, you should not be too hasty to give up on that house.  It may still be worth getting a professional opinion about the problems and then using this to your advantage when renegotiating on with seller on their asking price.

Always Remember To Get a Proper Survey Done Of a Property

Often when people sell their homes and properties they think they have had a proper survey conducted, when really they have just had a mortgage valuation.  This type of survey is not for your benefit buy for the mortgage provider and you should always make sure that you get a professional property survey done before making a decision on a house you are interested in.

Quick and Easy Decorating Tips and Cheats

Quick and Easy Decorating Tips and Cheats

As we head full on into summer, you may be considering taking time off work to redecorate your home.  However, if your budget is not as big as you would like and you do not feel particularly adept at decorating and DIY in general, then this is the post for you.  Below you will find some easy and reasonably inexpensive decorating hacks that will make you feel great about injecting a new lease of life into your home.

Clear Clutter

The best way to start any decorating project is to have a good rummage through the things in that particular room and get rid of anything that has seen better days.  If there is some furniture or accessories that are in good condition but have been in the same room since you moved in, it may be worth either repainting them or moving them into a different room, or completely repurposing them.  For instance, an old vase that you loved looking at on your bookshelf or fireplace, might make a different room feel fresher.

Consider All the Senses When Decorating

Although it is tempting to just concern yourself with what appeals to your eyes, particularly when it comes to choosing wallpaper and paints; you should consider all your senses.  Adding texture to walls and furniture can make a room come alive a bit more and in your living room for instance, it can often be nice to have a fountain on a bookshelf or some wood chimes to add a bit of magical sound.  The simplest way to arouse your sense of smell would be to have scented candles or a bowl of potpourri obviously.

Put Bookcases to Good Use

If you don’t want to spend too much time or money hanging wallpaper in each and every room throughout your house, there is a simple solution.  You could remove the backing of that plain bookcase and cover it in some nice and elegantly patterned wallpaper.  By doing that you will add a splash of colour and design to the room that people will notice in the corner of their eyes.

Is it a Mural or Wallpaper?

As we are discussing wallpapers, it seems appropriate to mention Pick A Wall, an Australian company that specialise in truly unique and exquisite customised wall paper.  Similar to wall decals, the mural wallpaper they sell can have any image from their catalogue of 80 pictures, or one of your own and are easy to apply, remove and reapply.  This is great if you hate the thought of the wallpaper paste and table.

Create a Stunning Runner

We have already spoken about repurposing things and using them in different rooms, but this tip takes that idea one step further.  Do you have a collection of old, tired looking rag rugs that are taking up space in a cupboard and collecting dust?  If so, you could put them to good use by sewing them together to create a custom runner as a focal point for your hallway or living room.  If you do not feel confident sewing them together yourself, you could ask a friend or relative or even contact your local dry cleaner or upholsterer to ask if they will do it for you.

Tips for Getting the Best Hotel Rate

Tips for Getting the Best Hotel Rate

Although many things nowadays have very strict set prices, hotels are still something that you can haggle for to get a better deal.  If you are heading down under and want to save money on hotels, you may find the following tips very helpful.

Ask For Lower Rates

It may sound simple and perhaps silly, but you’d be amazed how often it works.  Try phoning ahead and asking whether a hotel you are interested in have any packages or promotions that they are running and also check if special rates such as frequent flier, government discount, weekend, hotel membership, family, senior or AAA are applicable (obviously only some of these, if any, will apply to your own circumstances) Many hotels even have a fall back rate, which is basically a rate they can offer if customers are resisting the brochure or website price.

Shop Around

It goes without saying that this is sound advice when looking to purchase anything.  With hotel rooms, you’d be surprised how much money you could save not settling for the first deal you come across.  Check the websites of your favourite hotels and also look at sites such as Sleep And Go, as you will often find great deals and promotions.

Always Book Based On Price Not Property

If you are more interested in saving money than staying at a particular hotel, it is a good idea to use a site that allows you to search based on the price, without knowing the location.  This way you may be able to find a decent priced hotel room that falls within (or even below) your budget without the prejudice you may have if you were browsing through property pictures and names.

Speak To Hotels Directly

Another suggestion is that you speak to hotels that you are interested in directly.  Often there may be some specific deal or promotion that they are running that has not been listed on their website or that you can only take advantage of once you are there.  This is also a great way to find out from the horse’s mouth if there have been any last minute cancellations, which may not have been updated to their online system yet.

Be Flexible With When You Intend To Travel

Depending on the type of hotel you choose, you will find that the prices of rooms varies dramatically.  Hotels that are aimed at business and corporate travellers more tend to have better than weekend than midweek deals, whereas places that are aimed at leisurely guests will often having lower priced midweek deals, because the weekends are busier.  The time of the year that you intend on travelling can also impact the price of hotel rooms.  It is always a good idea, if possible, to look into booking your holiday accommodation at a less busy time of year when there is likely to be less tourists.  Another positive is that along with costing less, the hotel will also be much quieter – ideal if you want some peace.

Australia’s Top 5 Wine Regions

Australia’s Top 5 Wine Regions

As this is primarily a blog about having wine the way you want it, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk a little about Australian wine and wine tours.  Wine tours are a great way to taste and experience the work and effort that goes into creating your favourite tipple.  One of the easiest ways to organise one of these is through a site like Check-In as it has a section that you can search various activities – wine tasting tours being one of them.  If you are unfamiliar with Australian wine, or just not sure where to start your adventure, in the following post you will learn more about Australia’s top 5 wine regions.

Margaret River in South West Australia

Margaret River is home to many world famous, high end wine produces, a lot of which are run by families.  The region itself is naturally beautiful, full of quaint and quiet towns and painting-worthy landscapes.  The wines Margaret River is renowned for are Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  However, some great reds have come from this region too, including Cabernet Merlot.  The wineries worth visiting in my opinion are Leeuwin Estate and Sandalford.

Clare Valley in South East Australia

Clare Valley is situated very close to Adelaide and is perhaps one of the most beautiful wine regions in all of Australia.  It is not as well-known as some of the others on this list, but has a unique character which is a combination of magical vineyards, stone architecture and good old fashioned Aussie bush land.  The oldest and most famous winery in Clare Valley is Sevenhill, which was established by priests in 1851.

Tamar Valley in Tasmania

As well as award-winning wine, you will also find some truly wonderful local food and produce in Tamar Valley.  It is one of leading up-and-coming wine regions when it comes to cool climate wines such as Riesling and Pinot.  Make sure you stop in at the Holm Oak and Three Wishes vineyards.

Hunter Valley in South East Australia

Just less than 2 hours’ drive from Sydney, Hunter Valley is one of the oldest and most famous of Australia’s wine regions.  Well-known labels such as Tyrells and Lindemans were established in this region.  Coupled with its great wine heritage, the area boats a World Heritage listed national park and is one of the highest points in all of Australia.

Yarra Valley in South East Australia

Even more famous than Hunter Valley is Yarra Valley and can be accessed easily by car from the capital of the state – Melbourne.  As with most of Australia, the area’s high points are the beautiful colours of the landscape and the just as beautiful vineyards.  Due to the area’s cool climate, Yarra Valley is perhaps most famous for world-beating examples of Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

It is not only home to big players in the wine industry such as Yering Station and Rochfords, but also to small boutique wineries and small family run cellar doors, like Sutherland Estate, which offers a unique wine tasting experience.

5 Tips for Accessorising Your Bathroom

5 Tips for Accessorising Your Bathroom

In recent years there has been a major shift from modern bathrooms being very practical and functional, but ultimately cold rooms into relaxing and stylish places where you can find some peace and tranquillity.  In general, human’s lives are busier than they ever have been in history, which is why it is important that bathrooms are somewhere we can escape.  If you don’t have the time or money to spend completely renovating or redecorating your bathroom, the following 5 tips will show you how accessorising your bathroom with some well-chosen products from a place like Allure Bathrooms can alter its appearance.

Storage with Style

You may have expensive and luxury grooming and toiletry products, but these will just add to your bathroom’s clutter if you don’t prioritise storage.  Shelving units and cupboards are functional but can also look really good too.  Another option is rattan and wicker baskets which can be customized using spray paint.

Pick Head Turning Taps

It is not an exaggeration that basin and bath taps are probably the most important accessories you can invest in.  As well as providing the function of running water, they also need to fit in with your bathroom’s overall décor.  If you want your bathroom to have a modern look, brass taps with a chrome finish will make even the plainest baths and basins look stunning.  If you are looking for something a little more on the traditional side, cross handle taps can be more subtle, but elegant.

Add Texture

You can enhance the look of your bathroom by choosing different patterns and textures.  One of the easiest ways to do this is by the use of tiles.  Stone tiles are very trendy at the moment and can give a very rustic and natural look and feel.  They can also be arranged into interesting designs and patterns.  Another interesting thing that many people are doing is having a feature wall, by keeping one wall that continues the floor tiling to direct attention towards that wall.

Add Warmth

Particularly in the winter months, I don’t know about you, but I hate leaving the shower and then scrambling to get dry as quickly as possible to stay warm.  You can add a bit of luxury to your bathroom by adding a heated towel rail.  There is a huge variety to choose from so you are bound to find out that fits in with your bathroom’s décor, and obviously come with the additional bonus of ensuring that your towel is nice and toasty warm when you have finished bathing or showering.

Finishing Touches

Once you have sorted the larger accessories, give some attention to the finishing touches.  Buy a matching set of towels that fits in with the colour scheme of your bathroom.  Also, invest in a decent mirror.  They not only enable you to check your reflection, but help to bounce light round your bathroom and can make even the smallest room feel a lot bigger, if placed on the right wall.