Monthly Archives: February 2013

Postcard from Puglia 3 – Negroamarro


Guagnano in Puglia is at the heart of the Negroamarro territory and last summer was home to a wonderful evening of wine, food, art and music in the form of  Terra del Negroamarro 2012. Earlier in the week Donna and Paola had hosted a tour of three cantinas in the area ranging from a small family affair, to a co-op, to a smart modern set up. The behind the scenes look at the work, lives of those involved and of course testing the products, with drivers and translators to hand makes for a great day out! They work hard to find the best places to visit and to arrange the whole experience so I won’t burst the bubble by saying which places were on the tour, but they are all very good.


The evening event was wonderful, as usual arriving too early, the booths were still being constructed and there was not that much evidence of what would follow.  A short sojourn to a café and gradually it was evident that people were moving towards the old town centre. On leaving the café the ends of streets had candles alight and following them led to the town in all its glory.  Suddenly thronging with people and queues at the ‘casa’ discussing what tickets to buy. On this occasion a ticket would buy a glass for tasting and a certain amount of samples of wine or various options on numbers of plates of food.  Basically you exchange the tickets as tokens for food and wine.  Different cantinas had paired with restaurants.


One of my favourites was the mozzarella stall, where they were making mini mozzarella fresh. There was such a range of dishes, candle lit roads leading to the stalls, fabulous wine, lots of live music and art shows to go with it.


An evening for strolling in very busy streets doing the circuits with a new experience at every corner.


The wine tour was arranged via Debbie and Bob hosts for the fortnight.  Donna and Paola both have villas too, follow the links under their names. I thoroughly recommend doing a wine tour with people who have researched the cantinas and developed valuable relationships, the behind the scenes views, translation (and transport) are well worth it.


Stinky Pits? – Vaseline Compressed – Bzz Report



I am a Bzz agent... sounds exciting (maybe), well it is quite nice; I get sent free samples of stuff to try and the condition is that I let people know what I think of the products. The current gig is Vaseline’s new compact deodorant. So here’s the Bzz from Unilever ….

  • Lasts just as long with less packaging
  • Delivers even better protection than your old Vaseline can
  • Perfect size for your handbag
  • More environmentally friendly – it’s easy being green!

My view:

– well yes you can see from the pic above it’s smaller than your average deodorant aerosol – that green thing is a standard coffee coaster, made from an old circuit board.  I can only assume that it does use less packaging and propellant gas – smart move on their part as well as being less environmentally damaging I assume the lower price of materials will cover the development costs over time.

– I don’t normally use Vaseline, or Sure or any other aerosol. I’m normally a roll-on person and my preference is actually for PitROK or a similar neutral product.  So I can’t qualify if it offers better protection than other cans. I do know it smells more.  I’m not used to smelling of deodorant and the fact the smell is there hours later when you get hot again is unusual.

– Yes I agree it’s small, not as small as a roll-on. The Bzz guide suggests you leave it out for people to notice when you are at the gym etc. I tried – can’t say anyone was bothered to be honest and I will keep doing so while the product lasts (I have two free samples). However, my general thought is that aerosols are antisocial beasts, the whole changing room does not want to share your spray. Whilst it is fairly ‘targeted’ in action it still spreads a smell a lot further than a roll-on would.

– More environmentally friendly? Discuss. I had an interesting twitter chat with someone when I mentioned the product. They said they would never use a Vaseline product. I assumed it was a Unilever/big corporate issue. But no, they assumed it had petroleum jelly in it. So I took a look at the product list for it and PitROK – Here is my compare and contrast….



Vaseline PitROK
Aluminium chlorate Ammonium Alum
Parfum Parfum
Disteardimonium Hectorite  
Propylene Carbonate  
Helianthus Annus Seed Oil Citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract
Lecithin Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice   Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Citric Acid  
Potassium Sorbate Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate Sodium Benzoate
Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone Polysorbate 20
Amyl Cinnamal 3-diol
Benzyl Benzoate 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1
Benzyl Sallicylate Phenoxyethanol
Citronellol Citronellol
Limonene Limonene
Linalool Linalool
  Hydroxymethylpentylcyclohexene carboxaldehyde


I’ve done my best to line up similar ingredients but it’s not easy. I checked both products’ websites, both a bit vague – Vaseline refer to “Pro derma” – Hmm, what is that and what the heck are the rest for?  I can see that some are propellants and I get that ‘The Law’ says that the perfumes even natural oils have to have their chemical names but it would be great if the websites said something like “Limonene – extracted from lemons, used for fragrance ——- if that’s the case; or Butane – propellant” etc. I would love the companies to add their ‘What the chemicals do’ comments.

Will I use Vaseline compact after the trial samples are used up?  Unlikely, unless I think I’m going somewhere where I’ll get very hot and don’t care if people can smell my perfume over the smell of the deodorant; plus I’m unconvinced by the ecology argument – better than a big spray possibly but not better than a roll-on.

Unilever are now advertising several compact deodorants on the TV – what do you think?

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