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Five Charming Towns in Puglia

If you close your eyes and envision a European paradise, Puglia is that dream come true.

Imagine standing with your feet buried in the sand looking out at the azure blue sea... imagine spending hours taking in the gorgeous details of baroque architecture, unravelling history building by building … imagine a fairytale village transporting you out of this world.

If this sounds like your eutopia, stay awhile as we reveal the most enchanting places to visit within Italy’s golden heel

Alberobello

Alberobello is the place you go to convince your family that magic exists. Spend a weekend in Europe’s Hobbiton and be transported to a fairytale world. The town is notorious for its Trulli, traditional Apulian buildings with cone-shaped roofs made from the stones peasants cleared from rocky fields centuries ago.

There’s a reason this town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fifteen-hundred Trulli have been perfectly preserved and are a testament to the region’s historic authenticity. Symbols of religious and mystic origin can also be found painted on the grey limestone roofs, further giving Alberobello an out of this world ambience

Bari, Old Town

Bari’s residents do most of their existing outside on the cobbled streets of the city’s historic old town. Entire families come together for daily catch-ups in the sun. It would feel like intruding if it wasn’t for the warm smiles that greet you during an afternoon stroll.

Plan a morning sauntering down these streets and watch pasta makers hard at work. You can try your own hand at crafting the region's famous ear-shaped orecchiette. Fair warning - it's not easy!

Follow the black stone pavement symbols that once helped merchants navigate through the labyrinth of the old town. But getting lost isn’t a bad thing when you can spend your afternoon feasting on fresh Focaccia laden with sun-blushed cherry tomatoes and organic olives

Locorotondo

If Alberobello was a town for hobbits, Locorotondo would a home for elves. The perfectly painted narrow and rectangular houses here - called cummerse - are elegance personified. Pink geraniums drape the decorated balconies as if Locorotondo is in perpetual festivity. Make a day trip out of strolling along the town’s gorgeous streets, stopping for lunch at one of the many quaint cafes in the area. And spend your evening sampling Locorotondo’s notorious sparkling white wine that’s crisp and delicate in taste. 

The town’s surrounding countryside is also worth exploring. As well as trulli dotting the area, vineyards and olive groves can be seen for miles. Book yourself in for a tour at Cardone where you can explore a vineyard away from town, learning about the grapes which make Locorotondo’s wine so delectable

Polignano A Mare

Polignano A Mare is postcard-perfect. Regarded as the most picturesque seaside town in Puglia, you can’t help but go camera happy while exploring this ancient settlement and its spectacular coastline. The town is on the edge of a craggy ravine, making for a starkly beautiful contrast of jagged grey limestone against the blue-green sea.

Are you a thrill seeker? Owing to Polignano A Mare’s sharp cliffs and deep waters, Red Bull has claimed the area for its Cliff Diving World Series. For the brave, diving into the aquamarine waters is an experience like no other. But if don’t fancy plummeting into the sea at high speeds, enjoy a candlelit dinner at Grotta Palazzese, a luxurious restaurant built into the cliffside overlooking the sea

Lecce

Dubbed “Florance of the South”, the city of Lecce is a magnet for history lovers. Known for its baroque architecture, elaborately decorated churches, grand palaces and a half-buried 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre, Lecce holds secrets begging to be uncovered surrounding Puglia’s rich and colourful past.

After you’ve spent a day discovering the city’s history, indulge in drinks or party in style at one of Lecce’s many sophisticated bars. The nightlife draws in locals and tourists alike, being a university town full of students on the hunt for la dolce vita (the good life). But don’t be surprised if the party runs into the day. Bars in Italy are social hubs that draw in locals no matter the time.

“Amore A Prima Vista” …

Means “love at first sight” in Italian. And that’s exactly what you’ll experience when you visit Puglia. How could you not? With its charming villages, towns and cities brimming with natural beauty, magical architecture, sensational food and affable locals, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Italy’s southern paradise.

So book your flights, snooze on a plane for five hours, and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime in the breathtaking region of Puglia.

Healthy Home Made Dog Treats

 

 

Dogs have a knack for appearing permanently hungry. They’re also experts at looking sad when food within smelling-range isn’t for them.

The begging routine can be a daily battle. Because any good owner will know that giving in to those puppy-dog eyes can lead to an unhealthy diet.

But what if you could occasionally treat your pup without the guilt? There’s only one way to achieve this and it doesn’t involve a dog on a treadmill.

All it takes is time and the right ingredients. You can produce healthy snacks that won’t implicate your bowwow’s well-being when given in moderation. Here are six regret-free homemade treats that’ll induce furious tail-wagging and contentment for your favourite pooch.

Frozen Peanut Butter and Yoghurt Bites

The ideal snack for hot summer days, these frozen sweet treats are a scrumptious way to reward your dog after a lively play session in the sun. Choose a peanut butter like Whole Earth that’s high in good fat and sugar-free to keep these treats nutritious.

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz vanilla yoghurt
  • 128 g peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Melt the peanut butter in a pan or microwave
  2. Combine the melted peanut butter and yoghurt
  3. Pour the mixture into cupcake papers
  4. Store in the freezer

Healthy Pumpkin Balls

Looking to fit in extra nutrients between meals for your pup? These pumpkin balls are packed with fibre, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron. Treat your dog to this delicious snack sparingly and provide benefits such as increased immune function and efficient functioning of muscles, nerves and enzymes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz canned pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250 g whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix pumpkin, molasses, vegetable oil and water together in a bowl
  3. Add the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon to the mixture and stir until dough softens
  4. Scoop out small spoonfuls of dough and roll into balls
  5. Set the balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork
  6. Bake approximately 25 minutes until dough is hardens

     

Chicken Dog Treats

Fair warning, your dog might go barking mad for these delicious chicken treats. The good news is that they’re completely free from additives and preservatives. Offer these tidbits a few times per week to avoid spoiling your four-legged friend.

Ingredients:

  • 125 g chicken
  • 160 g cooked rice
  • 3 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 tbsp of parsley
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the chicken, rice, flour, parsley and egg together in a medium-sized bowl
  3. Spoon the mixture into silicone moulds
  4. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until golden brown
  5. Allow to cool and remove chicken bites from the moulds
  6. Store in fridge

     

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes not only taste incredible, they’re full of vitamins to keep your dog in tip-top shape. This vegetable contains large quantities of Vitamin A and is also an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. And the best part is that they’re easy as pie to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Cut the washed and peeled sweet potato into evenly sized long fries
  3. Coat the fries with oil and spices
  4. Place fries on baking sheet
  5. Set the timer for 15 minutes
  6. Flip over fries for even baking
  7. Bake for another 10-15 minutes
  8. Allow to cool before feeding them to your dog

     

Ginger Apple Dog Bites

Are you dog-tired of looking for grain-free treats? Then these fruity bites are a perfect alternative to pet biscuits. Test out the theory of an apple a day keeps the vet away by serving these delicious delights when your pup gives you a paw.

Ingredients:

  • 128 g brown rice flour
  • 120 g diced apple
  • 3 oz plain yoghurt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl
  2. Once the mixture has come together, turn it out on to a floured surface
  3. Roll the mixture out with a rolling pin to around ¼ inches
  4. Cut the mixture into shapes
  5. Place the bites on a greased baking sheet
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown
  7. Cool before serving 

     

Cinnamon Bun Biscuits

When you want to show your dog exactly how much you love them, give them a cinnamon bun biscuit. It’ll be like Christmas every day with these mouthwatering sweet and nutty flavours (minus the junk food!).

Ingredients:

  • 270 g of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup water or milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

 Directions

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  2. In a small bowl stir the wet ingredients together
  3. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until you have a soft dough
  4. On a floured surface, roll the dough into an 8×14 inch rectangle
  5. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and nuts
  6. Starting from a long edge, roll up the dough
  7. Pinch the edges to seal the mixture
  8. Slice ½ inch thick rectangles
  9. Place on a baking tray greased with non-stick spray
  10. Bake for 15 minutes until springy to the touch
  11. Allow them to cool

 And They Call It Puppy Love

Put some time aside this weekend to give back all the love your dog gives you unconditionally. These healthy treats made wholly from fresh ingredients are bursting with health benefits and seriously-good flavours and will have your pooch wiggling with happiness.

Before you leave, here’s a dog-friendly takeaway: always make sure you consult your vet before drastically changing your dog’s diet. And if you’re in doubt about which vitamins to introduce check out this helpful guide by Cesar's Way.

How to save more water (and money) at home

Whether you have a water meter or not, cutting your water usage is something everyone should strive to do. Not only can it save you money on your bills, but it can help the environment too. Many rivers in England and Wales are at risk of drying out and the more water that is used in homes, businesses and farms the less is leftover for our rivers which are often homes to amazing wildlife.

One of the best ways to start your water conservation journey is to contact your water company. Many providers will help you out by providing free water saving devices. However, if you can’t get one for free then you can usually purchase one online for just a nominal price. Devices like shower timers, tap inserts, water saving shower heads and cistern displacement devices can all help.

If you aren’t already on a water meter, then you can ask your water company to install one. Without monitoring your water usage you’ll have no idea how much you use and whether or not your water saving steps are working or not. You may even find to your surprise that you are using much more than makes sense to you, in which case there may be a leak that once fixed could save you lots of money.

Next, get yourself acquainted with one of the many water saving apps out there available for both android and iOS phones. They can log your water use and show you ways to save on water. Simply search for ‘water saving’ or ‘water efficiency’ on your app store.

Sometimes saving water is as simple as changing your daily habits. For instance, turning the tap off while you brush your teeth can save as much as 13 litres of water every single day.  Taking brisk showers instead of baths can help too, and even shortening your shower by a single minute can save up to seven litres of water.  You can also save money in your daily routines by using a half-flush wherever you can.

Everyone’s heard of the dreaded hosepipe ban. The reason hosepipes attract so much attention from water conservationists is that they use an inordinate amount of water – as much as 16 litres every minute it is in use - whereas the humble watering can use far less. If you really want to save on water in the garden, then try and choose plants which are less water hungry and need less maintenance and install a water butt which can collect rain water to use on your plants.

Did you enjoy these tips? Do you have any of your own to share? Don’t forget to let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you have any of your own tips that you would like to share.

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