Visiting Italy has been the most exciting and rewarding experience in my life. I like to come back to those memories often, especially when my usual, day-to-day life spins like a rollercoaster, to remind myself how much happiness travelling has brought me. To keep those memories alive even longer, I always try to bring something back home from the journey, something that will remind me the taste of gorgeous, mouth filling food, or the smell of lazy Sunday afternoon in the summer or to remind me of people I have met. That is how this Grappa has arrived at my home.

Grappa is an alcoholic beverage, made of grape pomace (the skins of grapes remaining after the grapes are pressed to make wine) that contains around 35% to 60% alcohol.  In Italy, Grappa is mostly used as a digestivo (that, according to Italians, will help you digest all the food you just had) after a meal, or in caffee corretto (espresso + few drops of alcoholic beverage of your choice).
This Grappa comes from Poli distillery in Bassano Del Grappa, a picturesque city in the Vicenza province of the Veneto region. Poli distillery has been founded in 1898 and uses the grape-pomace from the surrounding areas, that are famous for the cultivation of grape vines for the production of Grappa, in the discontinuous distillation cycle- the artisan way of production, whereas the oldest cooper Still used in the has been installed at the end of the 1920s by GioBatta Poli.

Poli Grappa Museum, founded by the Poli family, is situated in the centre of Bassano del Grappa city, opposite the historic Ponte Vecchio (or Ponte Degli Aplini, a wooden bridge dated from 1209). The museum is admission free, and besides learning about the production process, you can smell different kinds of grappas or purchase some of the finest alcohols from the Museum Shop there too.
Worth mentioning, Grappas come in many colors and flavors, depending on the process and its length, products used as well as other ingredients added. My Grappa is, for example, liquorice flavoured.

And lets talk about wine now… Do you know the feeling when you think you do not need something until you actually get it and cannot imagine your life without it any more? That is what I felt when I saw those spongy wine-spillage protectors in Italy for the first time! A genius invention, so simple yet so crucial for anyone who has to compromise between a white tablecloth and serving red wine for dinner. Your fears are over! Spilled red wine (should) not be a problem any more, just put one of those spongy, round, flower shaped-things over the bottle and fear no longer, all those wine drops will soak straight into the sponge.  It is obviously Italian invention and one of the most precious souvenirs I have ever brought home.

The other very Italian invention, that I have received as a gift for Christmas, has purely decorative purpose. Those small round, rubber decorations can brighten your wine glasses in a very funny way.



I have just very recently became a proud owner of three woollen, handmade sweaters.
They are ridiculously warm, soft and obviously, one of a kind.
Woollen sweater is essential for colder climates, especially when temperature falls below 0 C. From time to time you might need one even in England. 
Merino wool's properties varies depending on the origin of the yarn, but what should be remembered in general: it will keep you warm, as it is an active fibre, and as it is extremely breathable wearing it you will not sweat. Some of the merino wools can be quite prickly and very unpleasant, if worn directly against bare skin, but one layer of cotton clothing under the sweater will sort the problem out. Finer merino yarns can be softer, making them suitable even for child-wear, as they will not be prickly at all, not compromising on its amazing properties.
So, wearing wool might be tricky, but what is more trickier is the garment care. Always read the label, even if your garment has been bought in the shop, whether it contains even traces of wool. Nowadays most wool yarns can be washed in the wash machine, but if you do not want to risk shrinking your sweater (or destroying it completely), always check the label before. 
I wash my sweaters by hand, even if they have quite a low wool content (around 30%), as I believe it is a more gentle and less invasive way of cleaning them to prolong their wear-life. I always use the fabric softener as the final step, making sure they sit in it for some time, as it softens the fibres.
Obviously, if you have no time/patience and the garment can be machine washed, there is nothing really that can stop you.
Drying wool garments, especially if made of 100% wool, is also important. They should be dried lying flat, to preserve the garment's shape.
Always remember, the more wool in the garment, the better for you. It will be warmer, more suitable for your body, more breathable and it will last longer than any acrylic material. The only problem is that not many high street shops offer sweaters with hight wool content, if you do not believe me, you can check it for yourself. Knowing your clothes, conscious buying, can be very beneficial - always check the label, do not settle for low quality materials.