Sunday, August 17, 2014

a summer picnic

If one more person mentions fall or autumn I might cry.
It's still summer!  Albeit, I did have to wear a sweater yesterday.
But, I'm going to enjoy summer until the very last second.

Since we're moving in a few weeks, we want to make sure
to enjoy Blackheath several more times before we go.
There are few things more typically London than a picnic in the park.

First, we popped over to a deli and purchased some food.
Somehow we ended up with all the beige food.  Pork pie, scotch egg  and quiche.
Yikes, not much fruit or veg in sight.  Well, except for a few berries.

 In the form of a cupcake.

We've had this kite in the trunk of our car for ages and I was determined to fly it to watch Matt fly it on the heath.
Unfortunately, there were some issues with the kite.

Luckily, we had this little treasure chest to take our mind off of the kite fiasco.

Travel Retailer World Duty Free has partnered with expert Mixologist Charlie McCarthy to
come up with 23 great new cocktails for their annual Summer Drinks Festival.
They asked us if we would like to try one of them out.  Yes, please.

This was Matt's first modeling gig and he took it very seriously.
Of course, I was paying him in cocktails so he was well motivated.

Being a lover of the traditional Gin & Tonic, gin obviously played a major role
in the cocktail we selected, the English Garden.

Start with 35ml of Martin Miller's Gin and then 15ml of Elderflower Cordial.

Add 100ml of pressed apple juice, pour over ice and garnish with lime and mint.

There you have an English Garden.
We both loved it.  You would think it might be too sweet, but it wasn't at all.
(To be fair, we probably upped the gin measure a bit.)
Very light and quenching, a refreshing alternative to a G&T.

We had a lovely afternoon with our cocktails on a checkered blanket in the sun.
One of the best ways to spend a summer day in London.

And look.... success!
This was the 3 seconds it was actually in air before it went into a crazy death spin.
It was probably closer to playing lawn darts than flying a kite.

If you want to try your own hand at a fun new cocktail,
check out World Duty Free's website for some step-by-step video tutorials.

Before I go I have to address that photo in the bottom right corner of the collage.
Obviously, a) I took it (see the shadow of my hand) and b) I'm not really asleep.
But, still... I think it's cute and we were truly cuddling in the summer sun.

Have you tried any new cocktails lately?  Share the recipe.


 World Duty Free sent us the ingredients for the cocktail for the purposes of review.  
 All photos, writing and opinions are my own.   
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers. 
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Monday, August 11, 2014

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Market

I'm really hoping that there are at least one or two of you
who've texted your girlfriends and exclaimed "We're going to Provence!"
So, this is what you must to do on Sunday in Provence.

Hop on a train and visit the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Market.
Its just a short journey from Avignon and a perfect way to spend the day.

Each Sunday the town is taken over by the largest outdoor market in the Luberon area of Provence.
The backdrop of the Sorgue River and several moss covered waterwheels,
amidst a massive food, antique and flea market.
Not to mention cafes, shops and restaurants.  It's all of Provence laid out before you.
Food, wine, bread, olive oil, antiques, cheese, textiles, architecture.  Seriously wonderful.

Even a bit of rain couldn't put a damper on this day, although there was one slight altercation.
I mentioned that we walked out of one French restaurant in Avignon.
In Sorgue, we were actually asked to leave a restaurant!

It was time for lunch so we found a restaurant, sat down, ordered wine (priorities)
and began perusing the menu.  About the time the waitress slammed the closed bottle
down onto the table and walked away, we started to question our choice.
We opened the wine and poured (again, priorities),
only to realize that the menu wasn't going to work for a variety of reasons.

We eventually got the attention of the waitress to let her know
that we weren't going to be eating after all.  Major faux pas.
 We weren't welcome unless we were going to eat.
 Sharing a plate of fries between us was also not an option.

We asked if we could at least finish our wine before leaving which led to a visit
from the big burly chef who encouraged our immediate departure.

 We all stood up and grabbed our glasses.  
You've never seen four women chug down a bottle of wine so fast.
This was followed by 45 minutes of giggling (remember, we hadn't eaten yet)
as we searched for another dining option.

Can't take these girls anywhere.  Trouble in Provence.


Thankfully, Gina is fluent in French or there is no telling how it would have played out.
It actually turned out for the best, because we ended up sitting outside and having the
most wonderful crepes for about half the price.

 Not to mention a titch more wine.  This time enjoyed at a much more leisurely pace.
And sitting down.

I realize that this post has a ridiculous number of photos,
but seriously, Provence is just gorgeous.  I can't help myself.

Throughout our day at the market, we each purchased a bit of food.
Cheese, baguettes, fruit, meats, spreads, sweets and wine.
We ended our day with a massive feast under the stars back at our B&B.

So, there's your Sunday in Provence sorted.

Have you been kicked out of a restaurant before?

Friday, August 8, 2014

All the pink wine

Obviously, we don't need much guidance in finding the pink wine.
But, we thought you can't come to Provence and not learn a little more about what you're drinking.
So about 9pm one night we found ourselves trying to book a wine tour for the following morning.
Last minute booking?  No problem.  Viator was happy to accommodate us.
Because the larger tour was already fully booked, we ended up with our very own private tour.
So, we hopped in a little car and were buzzing around Provence with our lovely guide.

 "On this private wine tour from Avignon, admire the beauty of Provence
as you travel to the famous wine villages of Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape for wine tastings.
Sip signature rosé wines and red wines — reputed to be the favorite of French kings and popes — 
while learning about winemaking in southern France’s stunning Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.
At the end of your wine tour, you’ll take a panoramic tour of Avignon,
passing the medieval city walls and seeing the famous Pont Saint-Bénézet (Saint-Bénézet bridge)."

That is exactly what we did. 

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

We absolutely enjoyed the wine and the company.
But, these views simply took our breath away.
I think each of us had a pinch me moment looking out across the vineyards
and scenery straight out of a travel brochure.  It was magical and the
sweet buzz wasn't just from the wine.

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

If you are ever in Provence, you just can't miss the views
from the ruins of the medieval castle at Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour
Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

"The wild movement of the grenache vine battered in the Mistral"
 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is known for this asymmetrical bottle designed for a competition in the 50s.

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Such an easy, breezy holiday.
If you hear about a pink wine shortage in France, we know nothing.

How do you feel about rosé?