What Monday detox?

giphyMany people earmark Monday as a healthy day – hit the gym, eat kale, drink spinach smoothies and abstain from alcohol. Start the week on a good note and atone for the sins of the weekend.

I am usually successful at adhering to this philosophy – with the notable exception of last Monday. No acts of penance were paid to my waistline or general health after I reluctantly (who are we kidding?) agreed to indulge in steak, truffle chips and wine. Continue reading

Why I dislike the phrase “Anything But Chardonnay”

anigif_enhanced-buzz-19719-1403867617-10There are a number of cringeworthy phrases in the English language. My carefully cultivated list of most annoying expressions ranges from corporate guff such as “move the needle” (what does that even mean?) to everyday sentence-starters such as “to tell you the truth” (why is this necessary – do you usually lie?). While these phrases are mildly aggravating, there’s one that practically sends me into a state of convulsions: “Anything But Chardonnay“. Continue reading

A week-long hangover

Lcwmainimage (1)Hangover. The horrible by-product of fun. If you’re reading this blog, you have probably been diagnosed with this condition at least once in your life.

If you are now looking forward to reading about a cure, I’m going to disappoint you. I wish I knew one. Unfortunately, hangovers are as unavoidable – and as painful – as the Jubilee line at rush hour.

Last week, London experienced its largest and longest collective hangover – an event known as “London Cocktail Week”. Continue reading

Why I have been so quiet

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Grapeful HQ for now.

I’m not sure if anyone has observed that I’ve been a bit inattentive to my blog over the last month. If you have indeed noted my authoring negligence and are concerned about my whereabouts (like my darling mother often is), rest assured I am sitting at the same desk working away at being a winepreneur.

So what on earth has kept me so busy? Continue reading

I won a pitch!

Last month I did a short presentation on my app Grapeful at an event at Google Campus, and I won a prize! It was a pretty interesting experience – about 70 entrepreneurs each did a 30-second pitch to an audience of c. 200 people. Speaking for just 30 seconds was quite a challenge – as my friends know, I can talk for days on end.

phone pitch 2

Thanks to the lovely guys at Elance, the prize effectively allowed me to commission a new video and a photo shoot of Grapeful. I’m pretty pleased with the 49-second video – you can watch it by clicking here or below. I think it’s pretty catchy. Enjoy!

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes

I spent the better part of a fortnight racking my brain for a relevant and (hopefully) interesting wine-related topic to blog about; unfortunately I was suffering from an emotionally crippling condition called writer’s block. Every single one of my pens stopped working and I forgot how to type (admittedly I am brazenly abusing the figurative sense here).

Eventually, Tesco stepped in to lend me a hand on the inspiration front.

A few days ago, I was on my way to my cousin’s house for dinner when the bright lights of Tesco Express lured me in. I gave in to temptation under the premise of picking up a few healthy snacks – a mission which failed miserably given I walked out with a pretty sizeable bag of maltesers and a bottle of wine.

But it wasn’t just any ordinary bottle of wine. Continue reading

It’s all Greek to me

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Psarou – my favourite spot in Mykonos

I never seem to learn my lesson.

Every time I go to Greece I descend into the same predictable cycle: I fall in love with Greek wine, I buy a few bottles to bring home, I open one in rainy London and I wonder why it never tastes as good as I remembered.

Much of the enjoyment we derive from wine comes from the surroundings. My garden – as pleasant as it is – simply cannot compete with white sandy Myconian beaches and the sparkling blue Aegean sea. So, after three holidays to Mykonos and countless bottles transported home only to sit unopened in my fridge for months on end, I made an executive decision: no more Hellenic wine for me outside Greece.

I was doing a pretty good job of avoiding it – until last Sunday.

Continue reading

6 wines every man should have at home

Inspired by a tweet I spotted earlier this evening, I created a Buzzfeed article outlining the six wines every man should keep stocked at home.

You can read it here. 

Which wine came out top as the manliest? It had to be Argentinian Malbec. If wine were a sport, Argentinian Malbec would be wrestling. It can knock anyone out in seconds. Full body? Hell yeah. Tannins? Bring them on. A manly wine.

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Why runners should drink wine

6588c812c627c28f0dc30e081b5985b7A few months ago, a few friends and I signed up for a 10km run. Yesterday – also known as five days before race day – one of my pals suggested having an alcohol-free week in preparation for the looming adventure. At that very moment (somewhat ironically) I was drinking an unforgettable wine that I had patiently waited two years for – a delicious chardonnay not only from some of the finest soils in Burgundy but also from an exceptional vintage (Domaine du Chateau de Meursault 1er Cru 2010). When my aforementioned friend became aware of my hedonism, her exact words were: Shakira, what on earth are you doing drinking the week of a race?   

My answer was simple: umm, don’t you know wine is good for runners?

I wasn’t lying. It actually is. Continue reading

A last-ditch attempt to hold on to summer

September 1st is a noteworthy day.

It’s the day the wreckage of HMS Titanic was discovered (and subsequently the ship’s magnificent cellar housing 12,000 bottles of wine – many of which were still intact). It’s independence day in Uzbekistan. It’s Gloria Estefan’s birthday. It is also the 244th day of the year – a scary thought, quite frankly.

On a personal level, I’m not a fan. The unwanted arrival of September means summer is coming to a close. We can wave goodbye to quiet roads in London. We must trade in our flip flops and dig out more sensible shoes. Yesterday I reluctantly binned the August page of my calendar (using a bit of artistic licence here; I don’t actually use a paper calendar but it’s far less impactful to say “click the September button on my Google Calendar”).

Continue reading