Monthly Archives: January 2013

Takin’ a break

Well, I’m studying for my WSET Advanced exam which is taking place next Monday (4th February). I haven’t sat an exam in a while and given that I’m a bag of nerves, my free time will be devoted to reading about the wines of Burgundy, the viticultural practices of Chile, and the quality levels of German Riesling.

I’ll be back blogging about the good stuff in a week, by which point January will be over and we’ll all be off the diet – well, I will be (wahey!)


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Fend off the chill

I don’t know about you but we have experienced a fair smattering of snow today and the icy cold chill has given me a craving for something warming with a lick of spice. For dinner this evening we’re having a delicious spaghetti bolognese and to go with it, a glass of Domaine des Trinités Le Portail Faugères 2009 from the Languedoc region of France.


A blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, this juicy red has blackcurrants and spicy red cherries in equal measure. Easy drinking and – at 14% – rather warming, this wine is just the thing to keep you toasty in front of the fire/ radiator on frosty evenings such as this one. Pick up a bottle for £9.99 from Cambridge Wine Merchants and batten down the hatches.

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January juice detox

This week I am deviating from my usual wine recommendations/ recipes in favour of a January detox plan. Never fear, I will be back in my usual capacity next week (just a few pounds lighter).

Throughout the majority of the year I am pretty healthy – eating plenty of fruit and veg and exercising regularly. Yes I drink wine, and yes I love my food but I make no apologies for that (I just go for a run!)

Then the nights draw in, the woolly jumpers come out, and I tell myself it’s too cold/ too dark to go for that run. From about November, I give myself a free ticket to stuff my face with giant portions of warming dishes, daily mochas from Starbucks, and a regular glass/bottle of red wine, and come January I have gained more than a few ‘festive pounds’. Every January I go on a diet and every January I see such slow progress that I tend to fall off the diet wagon within a couple of weeks. I know I’m not alone in this and this year I decided to give up caffeine and alcohol for a week and take part in the ‘World’s Biggest Juice Detox’.

Devised by ‘Juice Master’ Jason Vale this programme, which replaces your daily meals with five juices and smoothies, is designed to help you lose weight (7lbs in 7 days to be precise), cleanse your system, and kick start a healthy lifestyle. Here is what I needed for the programme:


Juicer – I used the Philips Avance Juicer
Blender – I used an old one of my mum’s!
3 x flasks
Lots of fruit and veg (see shopping list here)
Supplements – probiotic, psyllium husks, spirulina, wheatgrass powder
Jason’s phone app/ book/ CD (whichever you prefer)

Made up of just freshly extracted juices and smoothies plus the odd supplement, since the start of the week I’ve heard it all from my nearest and dearest – “you’ll pass out”, “it will mess with your digestive system”, “you’ll put it all back on again at the end” but in spite of all that I have stuck it out, haven’t felt hungry or weak, and my digestive system has been just fine thank you very much. Believe it or not I have actually had more energy this week than I have had in a long time!

Obviously I wouldn’t recommend living on such a plan for a long time (hence the 7 days malarky) and it is pretty tiresome getting up early to juice when you’ve got a full day ahead, but in just 7 days my skin feels amazing, my hair is shiny, and I have lost an amazing 6 pounds plus an inch from my waist – well worth the extra effort I say! There is always a risk that the weight will go back on but having seen such results, I have no intention of slipping back into my previous gluttony.

Below I have included the recipes of a couple of my favourite juices from the programme but if you’d rather just incorporate the odd juice into your daily life, try the sherbet lemonade (simply juice two apples and a large lemon wedge and enjoy over ice). More recipes can be found here.

The lemon-ginger zinger


2 carrots
2 apples
1 inch slice of lemon
1/4 inch of fresh ginger

Juice the lot and pour over ice.

Super juice


1/2 lime – peeled
2 apples
1/4 pineapple
1/4 medium cucumber
1/4 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp wheatgrass powder
1 level teaspoon of spirulina
Ice cubes

Juice the apples, pineapple, cucumber and lime. Put the juice and avocado flesh into a blender along with the ice, wheatgrass, and spirulina. Blend until smooth.

Whatever plan you’re on this January, good luck and for the rest of the year remember ‘everything in moderation!’

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great Christmas! Mine was filled with lots of food, wine, cocktails, food… you get the gist. As a result, the old January guilt has set in and I’m looking to lose a few pounds. Last year, I blogged about a non-alcoholic option which is ideal if you’re taking part in the ‘dryathlon’ this month (I salute you if you are) and next week I will be forsaking solids and wine as part of ‘The World’s Biggest Juice Detox’ – a seven day plan is quite enough for me!

If you’d rather just adopt the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra, why not go for something a little lower in alcohol? I don’t mean an artificially sweet 5% sparkling wine but something with a naturally lower abv of less than 11% such as a German Riesling or Hunter Valley Semillon.

Dr L Riesling 2011, 8.5%, available for £7.99 from Majestic
Aromatic and fragrant, this slightly sweet white has a fruity nose with flavours of apricot and honey. Serve well chilled with a smoked mackerel pâté or a light Thai dish for the perfect low-guilt supper.

dr lTaste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillon, 10.5%, available for £9.99 from Sainsbury’s
With intense flavours of lemon peel and honeysuckle and toasty aromas, you would be forgiven for thinking this warming wine contains more alcohol than it actually does. Easy to drink on its own now alongside a lemony chicken dish, this white will also age well in your wine cellar/rack.

hunter valley semillon

Good luck with whatever New Year’s resolution/s you have set for yourself and keep an eye out for my next post on how well (or not) the juice detox went!

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