The Clipper Race

The Clipper Race 2017-2018, started from Liverpool and we went to see the start, the 11th race.

 The Clipper Race

The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges. Even though no previous sailing experience is necessary, the race is 40,000 nautical miles long, on a 70-foot ocean racing yacht. The race was envisaged by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

The race is divided into 8 legs and the crew can choose to complete the full race or individual legs. The organizers supply the fleet and all the yachts are the same. Each yacht has its own fully qualified skipper. The teams are made up of ordinary people. They have to go through a training regime to get prepared for the race. This means that the members can be taxi drivers, engineers, bartenders, students, housewives and all are equal.

If you want to read additional details, check the clipperroundtheworld website.

 The Clipper Race

Interesting stats:
– 14 Host ports
– 712 Crew
– 198 Women on board and 514 Men
– 41 Nationalities
– 227 Days racing
– 18 years old the youngest and 76 years old the oldest member
– 337 professions represented in the race
– 361 Brits
– A single member from: Romania, Portugal, Peru, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Greece, Chile, Bulgaria and Austria
– 83 crew members work in Building and Engineering
– Other fields: medical care, science and tech, teaching, hospitality, aviation, agriculture and farming
– 40% of the crew never sailed before

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La Notte Rosa at Bella Italia

Imagine my delight when I was invited at the party of La Notte Rosa at Bella Italia in Manchester, a Summer Festival until the 3rd September. Read more details about the Pink Festival on their website.

La Notte Rosa (Italian for pink night) is celebrated every summer along the Northern Italian coast, started in 2006. It’s a festival  celebrating food and friendship, and having a good time. At Bella Italia, restaurants across the country have been decked out in pink for the duration of the festival, including the three ones from Manchester.

Decorating is not enough, obviously, so special pink dishes and pink cocktails have been developed for the festival. These include ‘Antipasti Rosa’, Watermelon Rosa Salad and Pizza Rosa Coppa. The dishes were created by Vittorio Lettieri, Executive Chef at Bella Italia.

02 La Notte Rosa at Bella Italia

As for cocktails, they include Cipriani Bellini, a classic cocktail invented in Italy in 1948 and an watermelon cocktail, like the one in picture. I loved it. There are two options, a mocktail and a cocktail with Vodka, both fab. I hope they will keep it in the menu, because I would order it.

01 La Notte Rosa at Bella Italia

The restaurant is lovely decorated, with plenty of wonderful pictures on the walls. It has a nice and cozy atmosphere, it’s warm and informal.

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How I keep my hair healthy

I had long hair for all my life, as I love long hair. I’ve always been proud of it and I imagine most of us feel the same way. This means we should do everything we can to take care of it. So, I though I should talk about how I keep my hair healthy. There are options available if struggling with hair loss, like hair transplant. I would say that knowing all sorts of details, including Hair transplant cost* can be helpful.

How I keep my hair healthy

Some of the things we all can do to have a better looking, healthier hair like eating healthy (see my 10-a-day post), sleeping enough and having as low stress as possible aren’t specific to hair. Also, unfortunately, we don’t have always real options on these aspects of our life. Instead I’m going to talk about the things we can specifically do to our hair.

1. Use Good Hair products.

I’ve been using professional hair shampoo and conditioner for a couple of years now. The difference between them and non-professional products is visible from the first use. It’s true that they are more expensive, a bottle being up to 5 times more costly than a supermarket own brand. I’ve used Bed Head until recently, when I switched to another one. As I just made the switch to try a new one, I don’t want to say the name of the new brand before I try it for a couple of months. I think the extra money is worth it, as the hair looks better and feels better.

Besides shampoo, I will use conditioner or, at the moment, a hair mask. I don’t wash my hair daily, so I would use a hair mask. When I had to wash my hair every day as I was training every day, I used conditioner and the mask only a couple of times weekly. As a rule, I don’t wash my hair if it’s not necessary.

I avoid other hair products, like foam. If I would use them for an evening, I would wash my hair the following day.

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How to improve the SEO for your blog

This week Moz updated again and I thought, as both my blogs, this one and CookStyle, have a Domain Authority of over 30 for a few months now, that I should make a post with 8 tips on How to improve the SEO for your blog.
First of all, let’s start with Domain Authority (DA). It’s a score from 1 to 100 given to an website by MOZ. Even if it’s not related to Google, I think it’s a good indicator if a website is likely to appear up in google searches or not. In my case, when I got to high 20 and over 30, I saw a significant increase in traffic coming from google. This means that a post I wrote last year or two years ago still brings me traffic.

No matter how much you want to optimize SEO, don’t forget that you are writing for people, so their experience on the blog should be paramount. I read posts on my blog that I wrote years ago, as my blog is like a dairy for me and I wouldn’t want to read something that’s filled with keywords. It’s also why I don’t have pop-ups on my blog.

How to improve the SEO for your blog

1. Internal links

I think every SEO guide mentions the internal links. For us bloggers this should be something natural. When I write a post about a topic that is related to another post on my blog , I would add a link. Using internal links helps readers, it adds value for them. For example, they can have an idea what can be visited in that area if I link to museums and castles or, on my food blog, what other similar recipe is there. It’s something that helps me too, as I can remember when I’m going to see the post again in 3-4 years (when it’s unlikely I will remember which castle was near which museum).

This month I used internal links in three posts so far: on The Bowes Museum post to Barnard Castle that was nearby, in Marvel Giveaway to the Paladone Quiz Night when I won the items and in My July to the books I’ve read that month.

If you don’t use them, please reconsider, it’s not only about SEO. The blog will have a nice flow and it’s more user friendly.

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Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue The Body Shop

I received this Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue from The Body Shop* in a goodie bag at an event I went to last month. I’ve been using it for almost a month and I wanted to make a review as I think the cream is great. I have a face cream from that goodie bag, so I might blog about that one too.

Previously I was using a Foot Balm with peppermint from The Celtic Herbal. It was handmade in Wales, oily as a balm should be and I was very happy with it. I finished it at the beginning of last month, so I was ready to try a new one. When I saw this in the goodie bag, I though this cream would be a better choice for the summer as it’s less oily.

The Peppermint Foot Cream is £9.50 for 100ml and I think it’s good value for money. The foot balm I used before is just shy of £5 for 25ml, but I was using less. Price wise it’s similar to the one I bough.

Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue The Body Shop

The smell is lovely and I like the texture of the cream too. It gets absorbed quickly into the skin and it moisturizes. My feet were soft before using the cream and they are still soft. I use it mainly in the evenings and very rarely during the day.
I can’t say if it would have helped to soften the feet or if you have cracked heels. In my opinion, I don’t think only a cream can do that anyway, it needs a bit more TLC, like using a scrub and moisturizing more often, not only in the evening.

The only negative I can say about the cream is that it’s called Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue, but I don’t seem to feel the intensive cooling part, the tingling sensation I was expected it to have. Saying that I’m not bothered by this being an understatement as it’s not something I would look for. Others might want exactly this, it should do what it “says on tin” and it doesn’t.

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30 Random Questions

01. Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?
I love animals and this is why I make ethical choices from the food I eat to the clothes I’m wearing, the plates I’m buying and the seat covers of the car I use.
I wanted to give an answer a bit more different than the usual friends and family.


02. What is your earliest childhood memory?
Going with my grandparents to the tea rooms and having a lovely swan eclair. It was a treat not because I was eating something sweet, but the whole experience. They treated me like a small adult and it was very special for me. I made the eclairs at home and they were amazing. Recipe on my food blog, CookStyle.

03. What book has had the greatest influence on your life?
Obviously the Primer Book, as in the Alphabet Book. I learned many things from many books, but none as life changing as being able to read.
Another book with great influence were “Freud and Jung on Religion”, the first psychology book I read when I was 15. It made me even more eager to study the human mind at University. I should read it again.

04. What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to?
1. What was before the Big Bang, if it was something?
2. How the Earth will look like in 2,000 years or 20,000 years?
3. How our history would have been like if the Roman empire would have remained as it was for another 1,000 or 1,500 years?

05. What is the greatest peer pressure you’ve ever felt?
The greatest peer pressure I felt was to have children. From the age of 26, being married with a good job and owning property meant that I was under pressure to have at least a child. As the years went by, this didn’t go away. Sadly, I just stopped talking with the acquaintances (and a few friends too) who felt they should impose their views on my life. If I don’t enjoy spending time with someone because they can’t stop themselves to ask me personal questions instead having a lovely chat about movies, books, holidays, recipes and home decor, why bother to meet in the first place?
In addition to having babies, I also experience peer pressure from getting married and loosing weight to choosing the “right” political party. I’m pretty confident with my choices, but it’s still stressful.

06. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?
One of the biggest is that Santa was real. That was not even something that made my Christmases better as a child. I would have rather known that my parents and grandparents where the ones getting me the gifts. I also think I would have had wonderful memories of making gifts for my relatives, like a drawing or something similar, given the choice. It’s a shame.
I had a discussion about this with a couple of parents and they said it’s magical for the kids to know Santa is getting them gifts. Well, I stick to my opinion, less “magical”, but more nurturing and real, gifts are made by parents & grandparents & relatives that love them and want them to be happy. I can’t imagine anything better for a child at Christmas.

07. In your lifetime, what have you done that hurt someone else?
Of course, everybody does, sometimes not even realizing. I wish I didn’t.

08. What’s the best part of growing older?
Cake and pizza for breakfast. I don’t eat those often though as it’s not healthy, but I can do that if I want to.

09. What’s been on your mind most lately?
Something that I want to start in a couple of years. It will take a bit of time to make sure it’s something I really want to do.

10. What do you think is worth waiting for?
I can’t think of anything. Some things take time, but that doesn’t necessarily makes them better.

11. What chances do you wish you had taken?
I took most of them.

12. Where else would you like to live? Why?
I would like to move to another city in UK because I love discovering new places.

13. What motivates you to go to work each day?
The pleasure work gives me.

14. What do you wish you had done differently?
Nothing, as I like where I am and, more importantly, how I am.

15. What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
I think both are one and the same: being a realist. Sometimes it’s better to have a pair of pink-shaded glasses to view the world through them.

16. When was the last time you lied? What did you lie about?
Can’t remember. I try not to lie and I would skillfully avoid the answer or say something I think it’s true that is a bit related to the question without saying the more important thing, that can be hurtful.

17. What made you smile this week?
My dog, he makes me smile every single day. My husband also made a couple of jokes that made me ROLF.

18. What’s the best part of being you?
I would say that my view of the world.

19. What motivates you to be your best?
The fact that I have to be with me every single moment for the rest of my life.

20. When was the last time you lost your temper? About what?
I don’t know, it might be politics or economy. My husband is always laughing when I start “yelling” at the telly and tells me I should stop arguing with it. I know he is right, but I get so annoyed and I know I can’t hurt the telly’s feelings, so I can yell at it.

21. What will you never give up on?
My values. They might change in time, as I change, but I will never give up on them.

22. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?
The naivety to think that some people will change enough to be different.

23. How would you describe the past year of your life in one sentence?
Business as usual, I had ups and downs, I saw and tried amazing things, I cooked and I enjoyed time with loved ones.

24. What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Talking with someone on the train? More details on: How I met hubby. Maybe it’s not the most spontaneous thing I’ve done, but surely it’s the most important spontaneous thing I did.

25. What makes you uncomfortable?
Lots of things. I have a bit of anxiety and a phobia and I don’t feel comfortable with public displays of affection (unless is a hug & kiss on the cheek). I don’t feel comfortable if I’m in a group and someone is talking too loud and getting attention from others. I don’t feel comfortable with personal questions and I would avoid them as much as I can.

26. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what one thing would you miss the most?
I moved almost 3000 miles and I missed things I never thought of, like green walnut jam. I don’t know what I would miss if I moved 3000 miles again.
I looked online to see what places are ~3000 miles from Liverpool:
Guinea-Bissau – Bissau
Kazakhstan – Astana
Chad – Ndjamena
Kuwait – Kuwait City
Turkmenistan – Ashgabat
So, I can say I would miss the British weather (I love it!) and I imagine all sort of other things too, especially if I moved in a place that would be so different. I like that I’m living in a country were being gay, transgender, catholic, protestant, muslim, atheist, covered from head to toes or in a crop top and shorts is legal and widely accepted. I like that I live in a country with a lot of diversity that still holds on to traditions. I love the history and the care most people have for their culture. I also love the Queen and the Royal Family.

27. What worries you about the future?
Being able to do what I want.

28. What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months?
Both are one and the same, but I don’t want to share them on my blog. I’ll say what I need and want regarding my blogs. I need a better structure for promoting posts on social media, unless they aren’t seen and it’s a shame (because I do value the work I put into the blogs) and I want to do more recipes for my Taste the World project.

29. What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them?
Unless you can experience something firsthand you can’t fully understand.

30. Do you like the city or town you live in? Why or why not?
I like Liverpool a lot. It’s a lovely place with lots of events and nice museums. I like walking in the city centre and on the docks. There are plenty of shops in L1, Metquarter.

The Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum is in County Durham, close to Barnard Castle that I visited on the same day. The museum is in a lovely chateaux built specially to house the museum.

The Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum was on my bucket list for this year. I saw it on a blog a few years ago (can’t remember where, I would have linked) and I wanted to visit it. Durham is over 2 hours drive from us, so I kept postponing until I checked the bucket list and I saw that I didn’t visit much of what I planned. On Saturday we went there, the weather was lovely and we had a wonderful time.

The Bowes Museum

The museum was purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes. John, the son of the 10th Earl of Strathmore, was born in London. His mother was a commoner, Mary Millner, who worked on Teesdale estate. They lived as husband and wife, but without being married. The Earl married Mary 16 hours before dying, in an attempt to secure John’s succession. Even after two court cases John was not recognized as the legitimate heir to the Strathmore title.

Despite being educated at Eton and Cambridge, John was never accepted by his peers. He had a very successful business with coal mines. In his 30s, he spent time in France where he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier.

Joséphine was born in 1825 and she was an actress in the Théatre des Variétés, Paris. She was a talented amateur painter and she shared John’s love of the arts. They got married in 1852 and they soon thought of the idea of creating a museum in Teesdale to show art to the local people.

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