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Frog's Leap Wine Tasting - a whimsical leap of faith to Napa.

A somewhat impulsive Saturday afternoon’s decision to visit Frog’s leap winery in Rutherford, Napa, made the experience even more enchanting. The only connection we’d previously had with a Frog’s Leap wine tasting was via The UK Wine Society which was a supplier, so then why not? Plus, I rather liked the name and the corresponding image of a frog leaping seemingly blindly into the air. At $15 pp we booked ourselves slightly ahead and online for the garden tasting. We naively thought the outdoor part would distract the kids sufficiently while we got stuck into the wine. This was before we realized just how chilly that Saturday was turning out to be. Fortunately, the organizers cleverly relocated the tasting underneath an attractive patio heater in the Red Barn where the kids could also run free. Everyone was happy and warm either chasing dust or consuming Frog’s.



Mythology, chocolate and childhood adventure in Belize

Once upon a time only a few years ago I lived in Belize for a year. I got so caught up in the fascinating Mayan history, culture and the plight of the jaguar, I had to write a fictional children’s book about it. It is available on Amazon and will take you on an imaginary trip to Belize to solve a cacao covered mystery and save the jaguar from evil celebrity chef extraordinaire Cefity Belcher. I had a lot of fun researching, writing and drawing for this fun book targeted at the 8-11 age group. I have Belize-living Artist Chris Emmanuel to thank for the cover painting and Belize-based Gecko Graphics for the cover layout. Do let me know if you or your kids have read it and hopefully I didn’t put anyone off chocolate forever. Unlikely, I’m sure. For further information on the Jaguar Preserve in the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary, click here. If you’d like to read about the incredible efforts of Zoologist Alan Rabinowitz and his struggle to create the jaguar sanctuary then this non-fiction book entitled ‘Jaguar’ makes for an enlightening read.



Chewy Choco-Chip Cookies

This has to be the easiest cookie recipe out there and they are really tasty too as my kids don’t have any trouble eating them. You can substitute the chocolate by adding raisins, dried cherries, nuts to the mix and it might just taste even better!



Back to Bistro Bouchon

We can’t seem to get enough of this French restaurant in Yountville, Napa and this time we invited the kids and the in-laws also. We were keen to get there at the allocated reservation time and no later as our previous visit involved a stressful ten minute late arrival and temporary loss of table.




A weekend down the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea brought with it a chance to enjoy the great choice of eateries and, after a spot of research using Open Table I opted for the cozy local hangout of Basil. Basil specializes in seasonal, organic and locally produced dishes in an intimate setting off a main street which made it a little hard to find but maybe that was part of its charm. Being two adults and two kids we decided to dive straight into the main course especially given the soporific atmosphere of low lighting, loud conversation and a heavy heat that already had the kids heads bowing.


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