Otflol S.p.A https://otflol.com Italian Book Magazine Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:04:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 2017 Kia Soul Turbo https://otflol.com/2017-kia-soul-turbo/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:18:21 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2958 Read More ...]]> We generally support the notion that adding power improves any vehicle, even if every car need not rearrange your innards with g-forces in order to be fun. A case in point is the updated 2017 Kia Soul, which finally is available with a perky turbocharged engine that not only brings a significant boost in performance but an altogether more thoroughly executed feel.

Limited to the range-topping “!” model (Exclaim, in the Kia-verse), the Soul’s new turbo setup starts at a reasonable $23,695. While that’s nearly $7K dearer than the base Soul (and $1545 more than last year’s non-turbo Exclaim), the upcharge includes Hyundai and Kia’s corporate turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four making 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque—71 horses more than the Soul’s standard, naturally aspirated 1.6-liter and a solid 40 more ponies than the now mid-level 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The 1.6T’s power builds smoothly, and its 1500-rpm torque peak translates into ample midrange grunt. We dig the raspy fizz from the Turbo’s twin tailpipes, which sounds spunky yet won’t draw the attention of aggro dudes in slammed Honda Civics. (Although if they notice the Exclaim-specific red stripe around the lower body, it’s probably on. You’ve been warned.

Turbocharged Transformation

The Soul’s turbo engine is paired exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which does without racy launch-control programming or paddle shifters (manual gearchanges are possible via the console shifter). Despite those omissions and carrying 117 pounds more weight than the last 2.0-liter Soul we tested, our 3202-pound test car dashed to 60 mph a full 2.0 seconds quicker (6.5 seconds versus 8.5), and its 15.1-second quarter-mile pass at 93 mph was better by 1.6 seconds and 9 mph. For reference, in our last comparison test of subcompact crossovers, in which that 2.0-liter 2015 Soul finished second, the victorious Mazda CX-3 could manage only 8.1- and 16.3-second runs. Even the 215-hp Nissan Juke NISMO RS trails the Soul Turbo in a straight line, and both it and the CX-3 are notably tighter inside than the Kia. Our test car’s 24-mpg observed fuel economy, however, was considerably lower than the EPA’s 28-mpg combined rating and 1 mpg less than what we got with the 2.0-liter Soul. The 30 mpg that the Turbo returned on our 200-mile highway loop also was shy of the EPA’s estimate but by only 1 mpg.

Still, don’t think of the Soul Exclaim as a hot hatch in the vein of the Volkswagen GTI or the Mazda 3 2.5L. This is simply a bubbly and obedient little box with competent road manners, respectable ride comfort, and plenty of pep to squirt through traffic, all of which helped the Soul lineup earn a 10Best Trucks and SUVs award for 2017 as our favorite subcompact crossover. The only chassis tweaks for the Turbo are mostly unnoticeable suspension adjustments and larger front brake rotors (12.0 inches in diameter versus the regular 11.0-inchers). Our test car’s 169-foot stop from 70 mph and 0.81-g skidpad orbit are comparable with the results of other Souls we’ve tested. And while the Turbo has its own standard 18-inch wheel design, similarly sized pieces wrapped in the same Kumho Solus TA31 all-season tires (235/45R-18) are optional on lesser trim levels.

What’s missing from the Soul’s turbo equation is a manual gearbox, which Kia continues to restrict to the base car, despite offering it with the 1.6T in its Forte5 SX hatchback. The seven-speed automatic is generally well tuned at speed, yet its shifts can be lazy for a dual-clutch in the Soul’s Normal drive setting, resulting in some jerkiness around town and in stop-and-go traffic. We usually toggled the drive-mode button to Sport as soon as we started the car, as it removes some slack from the drivetrain by sharpening the throttle and transmission programming while still permitting the gearbox to use its top gear while cruising. Sport also increases the heft of the precise-if-numb steering. It adds boost and torque gauges to the digital-speedometer readout and italicizes the display font for added theater, too. We’d call the latter feature a bit cheesy, but remember this is a car with available lighted speaker surrounds that flash in sync to music.

A Classier Cube

Despite the Soul being the only crossover in its competitive set not to offer all-wheel drive (although the company is working on a more conventional small crossover with that feature), the Kia offers similar amounts of interior space as its rivals, and it is downright cavernous next to the Mazda CX-3. More important, Kia has imbued the Soul with quite a bit of refinement over the years, including excellent visibility and ergonomics, tons of standard and optional equipment, and enough adjustability between the comfy front seats and the tilting and telescoping steering column to suit a wide range of drivers. Along with a leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel, additional features standard on the turbocharged Exclaim include proximity entry and keyless start, automatic headlights and climate control, dual-surface leather and cloth upholstery, and a 5.0-inch center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Our loaded example also sported a huge panoramic sunroof ($1000) that effectively made for an all-glass ceiling. But it was the $3000 Technology package that really put a polish on our test car. Spring for that option and not only do you get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, blind-spot monitoring, and HID headlights, but also a premium Harman/Kardon audio system with speaker lights, LED fog and taillights, power-adjustable and heated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and power-folding exterior mirrors. Add $120 for carpeted floor mats and our as-tested total came to $27,815. That’s a significant sum for a small car, but it is one that’s very well equipped for the price. Plus, the added grunt under the Soul Turbo’s hood has a transformative effect on its fun factor, and none of its rivals can match its combination of speed, value, and practicality.

Dorte Mandrup adds thatched wing to Wadden Sea visitor centre in Denmark https://otflol.com/dorte-mandrup-adds-thatched-wing-to-wadden-sea-visitor-centre-in-denmark/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:13:38 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2952 Read More ...]]> Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter paired thatch with blackened wood for this extension to a visitor’s centre on the Wadden Sea mud flats in Denmark.

Dorte Mandrup’s Copenhagen-based firm updated and extended the original Wadden Sea Centre in Ribe on Demark’s western coast to create the “ultramodern, sculptural architecture rooted in local tradition”.

The building is designed as a gateway for visitors to the Wadden Sea region – a UNESCO World Heritage site that sees 15 million birds stop by its mudflats each year, to refuel on their journey along the East Atlantic Flyway migratory route.

The new building has a striking, sculptural thatch roof, which angles up form the ground to accommodate large windows at one end.

“We decided that the building should be sculptural and embedded in the environment so it appears as though it has emerged from the ground,” said studio founder Dorte Mandrup.

“Even at first glance the Wadden Sea Centre gives the impression of a building that has emerged from the ground, drawing a soft, long and clear profile against the Wadden Sea’s infinite horizon,” she added.

“In almost every way we have aimed to root the building in the local surroundings and nature so that visitors are able to have a complete experience by visiting the Wadden Sea Centre.”

The studio based its design on the region’s traditional four-winged thatched farmhouses. Using largely local materials, the architects extended the original three-winged building to create an additional fourth wing. This is positioned to provide shelter on the exposed site.

“The main concept of the architecture is a new sculptural interpretation of the existing building culture of the region,” said Mandrup. “It has been our ambition to build a project that points towards the future and has its roots in the local building tradition and history.”

Straw for the thatching was harvested from a field nearby. Drying its drying process it takes on salt from the sea air.

The €7.2-million (£6.2 million) extension increases the exhibition space within to 2,800 square metres.

Large windows set below the eaves’ highest point open onto a decked terrace that overlooks the birds’ foraging grounds.

“From the very beginning we have chosen an integrated approach to the architecture and exhibition – for example, we have been conscious about the use of daylight throughout the exhibitions as well establishing contact with the surrounding landscape”, said Mandrup.

Each of the areas bordering the Wadden Sea – the Danish Wadden Sea, the Dutch Wadden Sea and German Wadden Sea – were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, recognising the importance of its preserve.

The area, which it the world’s largest contiguous tidal system, is also home to 10,000 animals and plant species year round.

Dorte Mandrup founded her eponymous practice in 1999 following a stint at Henning Larsen Architects. Among her firm’s past projects is a dune-inspired kindergarten in Sweden and an angular observation tower overlooking Aarhus’ harbour.

She also recently revealed plans for a tent-link climate research centre in Greenland, which is to have a roof-top platform for iceberg-watching.

The practice’s sensitive and often landscape-inspired architecture earned it a place at number 177 among the architects featured on the inaugural Dezeen Hot List, a guide to the most influential figures in the industry.

GREEK ZUCCHINI FRITTERS (KOLOKITHOKEFTEDES) WITH TZATZIKI https://otflol.com/greek-zucchini-fritters-kolokithokeftedes-with-tzatziki/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:05:39 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2948 Read More ...]]> With one final, massive zucchini in my crisper drawer, plentiful fresh herbs on my back porch and thoughts of my impending trip to Greece, I decided to try my hand at Kolokithokeftedes . These zucchini fritters have not usually been my favorite mezethes ( small plates of tasty morsels ) but after this batch, I may find myself reaching for them more often.  Usually made with mint or dill, I used both.  I also thickened them up a touch with some flour and panko bread crumbs.  With a dollop of homemade garlicky cucumber yogurt sauce, or tzatziki , they were truly delectable.

Just looking at this photo, my mouth is watering remembering the pleasing contrasts.   The crispy warm fritter with a cool spread of yogurt sauce.  The fresh cucumber aroma in the tzatziki against the bite of plentiful garlic.  A healthy sprinkle of salt brought out the green flavors of the zucchini, dill, mint and green onion.

I made this batch quite big and it was filling enough for our meal.  However, if you want to impress friends with a true Greek feast, I have a plan!  Invite a dozen people over and gather around a table, preferably outdoors.   Make a number of small plates including these fritters, some meatballs, easy fried peppers, and perhaps some skordalia or tarama for spreading on bread. You could stop there OR  follow with this Greek salad and pasticcio.  Of course, don’t forget the ouzo (which we sipped last night alongside these fritters) and perhaps some Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts for dessert.  Sounds like a lot of food but do it Greek style… sit for hours talking, eating, drinking and laughing late into the night.

Greek Zucchini Fritters – Kolokithokeftedes
2 medium to large zucchini coarsely grated
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 green onions including green parts, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 large egg
1/2 cup flour
4 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
olive oil

Wash zucchini.  With skins on, grate them with the coarse side of a grater.  Put the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Let sit and drain for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

Remove the zucchini by the handful, squeezing to remove as much liquid as you can.  Put it in a bowl with herbs, feta and green onions.  Mix with a fork.  Add the lightly beaten egg and stir.  Add flour and bread crumbs.  The mixture should be wet but not watery.  Mix in a healthy dose of salt, I prefer coarse sea salt.

Heat olive oil in a pan about 1/8 inch deep covering the entire pan.  When hot, scoop out a spoonful of the zucchini mixture and put it in the pan.  Let it cook about 3-4 minutes or until brown and then flip them.  Cook another 3-4 minutes until browned. Remove fritters and place on a paper towel -lined plate to remove some excess oil. Serve hot with tzatiki sauce.

Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip)

2 cups plain yogurt (or 2 cups, thick Greek yogurt
2 large cucumbers
1 1/4 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste

If using regular yogurt, put yogurt in a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl. Drain several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Greek yogurt is thicker and does not need the draining. Peel, seed and coarsely grate cucumbers. Drain well. Add garlic, vinegar, olive oil, sat and pepper to cucumbers. Mix well. Add drained yogurt and blend.

Rotterdam Film Review: ‘A Window to Rosália’ https://otflol.com/rotterdam-film-review-a-window-to-rosalia/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:55:51 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2942 Read More ...]]> A road trip with her brother helps reanimate a middle-aged woman who recently lost her job in this delicately calibrated debut.

Debuting director Caroline Leone’s “A Window to Rosália” premiered in Rotterdam’s “Bright Future” section, which is an apt prediction for the filmmaker as well as, to a somewhat more limited degree, her protagonist. An understated, delicately calibrated view into the life of a 63-year-old woman just laid off from her factory job in São Paulo, “Window” never pushes but gives quite a bit, focusing on the character’s initial depression and then, slowly, on an opening into a new life. Rosália’s sadness isn’t completely gone, and her future remains uncertain, but by the film’s end, audiences sense that she’ll recover her equilibrium and, who knows, open herself up a bit more to life’s enjoyments. Leone’s sensitivity and sure-handedness deserve more than Fipresci recognition, and her film should engage programmers and fest audiences alike.

Rosália (Magali Biff) is the no-nonsense production manager in an electronics factory where she’s been employed for 30 years. Her life is one of routine: hard work, the satisfaction of doing household chores, and then occasional embroidery to avoid being idle. Leone’s script doesn’t volunteer much information; it’s all in the quiet visual details, and whatever particulars are needed arrive organically, without exposition. One day her boss tells her a merger is in the works, and she’s laid off: Thank you very much, no need to come back.

The shock sends her into a tailspin of depression. Unwilling to leave her in this state, Rosália’s brother Zé (Cacá Amaral), a chauffeur, insists she join him as he drives to Buenos Aires to deliver a car to his clients. What follows is a classic road trip, handled with a fine sense of low-key rhythm that reaches the first of two climaxes beside the roar of Iguaçu Falls. Until then, Rosália remains shut down, unable to see a future for herself without the structure (and presumably the income) of employment. But then Zé stops at Iguaçu in the hope of getting his sister out of her funk. The power of the falls intimidates her at first, but with Zé’s coaxing she ventures further out onto the viewing platform, places her hands on the rail, closes her eyes, tilts her head up, and allows the force of the water and spray to subsume everything else.

The change is barely perceptible, and the hesitant smile doesn’t linger long, but it feels like there’s been a crack in her melancholy. The scene is terrifically edited as the siblings approach the main part of the falls, with each shot using the sound and power of the thundering torrent to build to a sense that an important breakthrough has been achieved. Back on the road, in an Argentine spa town not far from the Brazilian border, Rosália loosens up a little further in the company of a group of boisterous peers whose infectious high-spirits are hard to completely resist. Leone’s discreet, respectful handling is again revealed when she shows her protagonist taking a raffle number, but not the moment when she wins. Rosália views the prize, a bright blue shirt with silvery gewgaws, with deep skepticism, but shortly thereafter, when she has it on, audiences know for certain she’ll be engaging with the world around her.

Even the film’s titles (the Portuguese original translates as “Through the Window”) have a restrained yet poetic ring: And by using “window” rather than “door,” the director acknowledges a more hesitant opening that Rosália passes through. Leone defers to the character she constructed rather than to the audience, though she manages to be honest with both. Equally vital to this concept is lead actress Biff, who fine-tunes her reactions and downplays any jarring sense of catharsis – the hint of a smile is sometimes more effective (and more genuine) than an ear-to-ear grin. Paired with Cacá Amaral’s supportive warmth, the duo embody a deeply satisfying naturalism, abetted by Claudio Leone’s finely tuned lensing.

Dodge Journey V-6 AWD https://otflol.com/dodge-journey-v-6-awd/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:31:41 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2931 Read More ...]]> An interesting thing happened on the second day of our test of the 2016 Dodge Journey: We started noticing them everywhere. Schools, fast-food joints, athletic-field parking lots. Sure, we nodded approvingly when Dodge overhauled the dismal first-gen Journey for 2011 and admired the tougher-looking Crossroad trim that debuted in 2014. But until now, any Journeys we’ve encountered in the wild have disappeared into the landscape.

Suburban Satisfaction

We shouldn’t be surprised to see so many examples of the Journey crossover, as Dodge sold more than 105,000 units in 2015 alone and nearly 94,000 in 2014. With prices ranging from $21,990 for a two-row, four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive model to nearly $40K for a full-boat, three-row, all-wheel-drive V-6 R/T, the Journey certainly casts a wide net over the mid-size crossover segment.

The Crossroad Plus trim (below only the R/T in the hierarchy) of our test car brings unique front and rear styling; “Platinum Chrome” roof rails, side sills, and front and rear fascia accents; 19-inch aluminum wheels; and some additional minor embellishments. Finished in basic black of varying textures and sheens, the interior provides utilitarian style rather than flash, featuring leather seating with mesh inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Chrysler’s ubiquitous and intuitive 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, a power driver’s seat, and a trick storage bin under the flip-up cushion of the front passenger seat, which makes it easy to keep phones and tablets out of sight but within easy reach—as long as no one is sitting there, of course.

Our test example also included the $1250 Popular Equipment group (heated front seats and steering wheel, remote start, alarm); the $1295 Navigation and Backup group (navigation, backup camera, park assist, and the usual collection of SiriusXM travel and traffic services); and finally, $225 built-in rear child booster seats that make lugging around those grime-grabbing portable plastic boosters a thing of the past. And the pricing is very competitive among three-row crossovers; our nearly loaded $34,660 Journey is thousands cheaper than, say, a no-options Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD, which goes for $36,900.

So it’s no wonder Dodge advertises the Journey as the “most affordable three-row V-6 AWD crossover.” It is not, however, the roomiest. Encouraged by the easy use and functionality of the aforementioned second-row booster seats, we figured the time was right to let the kiddies populate the third row, and that’s where things hit a snag. Despite being equipped with the necessary articulation to allow the second row to—in theory—move out of the way, it’s still a painfully tight squeeze through the gap into the third row. Luckily, the children in our test group took glee in simply flinging themselves over the second-row seatbacks to get to the third row. It’s worth mentioning that although the front seats offer Barcalounger levels of comfort, the second row is tight for grain-fed adults. Frankly, most of the Journey’s competitors offer better second- and third-row accommodations.

Comfortably Numb

Dynamically speaking, driving the Journey is akin to piloting a rolling sensory-deprivation chamber. The steering, brakes, and other controls are vague and feel disconnected, even compared with uninvolving three-row competitors such as the Toyota Highlander. And vehicles such as the Toyota 4Runner and the Jeep Grand Cherokee offer the kind of off-road capability that would leave the Journey spinning its wheels. But the Journey will work among those for whom the weight of day-to-day life has long supplanted any need to contemplate the subtle intricacies of chassis refinement or rock-crawling capabilities.

Despite its indifferent controls, the Journey is at least in the hunt when it comes to quantifying its ability to go, stop, and turn. Equipped with the optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and all-wheel drive, our test car required 7.8 seconds to reach 60 mph and 16.1 to complete the quarter-mile, clocking within several tenths of the numbers posted by the 2013 Dodge Journey V-6 we tested earlier. With 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the corporate V-6 pulls competitively, but the engine feels like it doesn’t really wake up until about 3500 rpm, and the six-speed automatic is lackadaisical. Slow to respond whether shifted manually or left to its own devices, the gearbox in our test car repeatedly exhibited a clumsy two-three upshift that probably added a few tenths to the acceleration times.

The stop from 70 mph consumed a respectable 177 feet, and the 225/55R-19 Kumho Solus KH16 tires held on long enough to post 0.76 g of grip on our 300-foot skidpad. These numbers fall reasonably close to those produced by the mid-size crossover set, such as the two-row Nissan Murano (178 feet, 0.78 g) and the three-row Toyota Highlander (186 feet, 0.80 g). So while the Journey is capable of keeping the pack in sight when pressed, it doesn’t really enjoy it. Finally, we were disappointed with the 17 mpg overall that our Journey returned. To compare apples to bigger apples, that’s the same mileage figure we achieved in our test of its big brother, the Dodge Durango with the 360-hp Hemi V-8. If fuel efficiency is your goal, there are thriftier ways to ride than a Journey with the V-6 engine.

It’s been said that life is a journey, not a destination. Dodge Journey owners, on the other hand, are advised to focus on the destination part, as there are numerous competitors that make for more compelling travel partners.

Chevrolet Trax https://otflol.com/chevrolet-trax/ Wed, 14 Dec 2016 07:03:13 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2917 Read More ...]]> Late last year, we invited a Chevrolet Trax to compete against five of its peers in a comparison test. Although its roomy interior and surprisingly composed handling impressed us, the Chevy’s cheap cabin and “terminally dull” exterior design ultimately let it down. When the dust settled and the scores were tallied, the Trax finished in sixth place among six.

Dashing Dashboard

Fortunately, our most damning gripes have been at least partly addressed in Chevy’s refresh of the Trax for the 2017 model year. An all-new dashboard is primped with details like available contrasting stitching, chrome accents, and an analog speedometer that nestles around a new 3.5-inch digital information display. An improved 7.0-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system adds both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and now also includes a physical knob for volume control, as well as a quartet of additional hard buttons. Regrettably, the new dashboard’s improved perceived quality comes at the cost of last year’s lidded dashtop-mounted storage bin and secondary glovebox. Meanwhile, the Trax’s door panels continue to be lined in cheap plastic, and the front passenger seat lacks an inboard armrest.


As before, the slab-sided Trax’s hatch opens to reveal a class-competitive 19 cubic feet of cargo space behind its 60/40-split rear bench. The rear seat can accommodate two comfortably and three in a pinch. Folding the back seats expands cargo space to 48 cubic feet, while a fold-flat front passenger seat adds even more versatility. Newly available safety and convenience features include blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic and forward-collision alert systems, as well as a proximity key with push-button start. Each of those items comes standard on the $26,995 Trax Premier, and all are available as optional extras on the midline, $23,795 Trax LT. None of these features are offered on the bottom-of-the-barrel $21,895 LS.


Really, Really, Generically Good-Looking

No matter the trim, all 2017 Chevrolet Trax models wear Chevy’s handsome, if somewhat generic, corporate face. The new mug leaves a visual impression that the Trax is both taller and wider than before, even though both measurements are unchanged. Overall length, however, is down by 1.3 inches.

While base Trax LS models make do with a set of standard halogen-bulb headlights and daytime running lights, LT and Premier examples class things up with a pair of projector-beam headlights and LED running lights. A new rear bumper and mildly revised taillights complete the 2017 transformation.


Traxadaisical Performance

In spite of its refreshed looks, the Trax is dynamically unchanged from last year. Momentum continues to come courtesy of a 138-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine—the Trax doesn’t get the newer, 153-hp 1.4-liter turbo that’s available in its sister vehicle, the Buick Encore—mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, as are rear drum brakes; however, all-wheel drive and a set of rear discs can be added to any Trax trim for $1500. Good low-end torque—the Trax’s maximum of 148 lb-ft is available at 1850 rpm—assists in low-speed acceleration. As speeds increase, though, the little mill feels perilously overworked, especially when equipped with all-wheel drive. The last all-wheel-drive Trax we tested, in the aforementioned comparison test, took a lackadaisical 9.8 seconds to reach 60 mph, and we have no reason to believe a 2017 model will be any quicker. No matter how many wheels are driven, though, the Trax sips fuel more quickly than do competitors such as the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3. Front-wheel-drive Trax models are rated at 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway (down from the 2016 model’s rating of 26/34 mpg), while all-wheel-drive versions register figures of 24/30 mpg (down from 24/31).


As before, the Trax rides comfortably enough, especially when equipped with the LS or LT’s 16-inch wheels and tires. (We found that the Premier’s 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires let a fair amount of impact harshness into the cabin during our drive through Chicago.) Meanwhile, quick steering and limited body roll add to the Trax’s nimble driving experience, and a high H-point and low beltline boost the vehicle’s sense of maneuverability.

No doubt, the 2017 Chevrolet Trax is a marked improvement over last year’s model, as its refreshed styling and dashboard, as well as additional safety features, put a nice coat of polish on some of the vehicle’s duller aspects. Still, the Trax labors against its remaining lackluster elements, chiefly its strained power train.


THE 5 FOODS YOU NEED TO EAT FOR SUPER-SHINY, HEALTHY HAIR https://otflol.com/the-5-foods-you-need-to-eat-for-super-shiny-healthy-hair/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:07:57 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2877 Read More ...]]> Whether your hair is curly or straight, black or strawberry blonde, we all aspire for strong, healthy hair—with shiny being a huge bonus.

How to get it? Great products help, but gorgeous hair is a byproduct of having hair follicles that are well-nourished. In other words, you can build beautiful hair from the inside out with your diet. You don’t have to just rely on great products: There are strategic foods you can eat to create your beautiful hair.

1. Greens


My love for greens was made famous by my beloved Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS). Growing great hair requires minerals and protein, since your hair is largely made up of protein. Greens supply high-quality and easily assimilated amino acids that build the macronutrient in your body and digest cleanly. They also supply a wide variety of minerals, along with beauty-building vitamins A, C, E, and K. Try making the GGS, or just load up on greens by tossing them into your wraps, soups, or any dish you happen to be eating. Rotate spinach, chard, kale, arugula—whatever is in season and looks good.

2. Chia seeds


Healthy fats are an absolute must to nourish vibrant hair. Chia seeds not only supply great whole-beauty fat, but also omega-3 fatty acids that promote circulation, ensuring that maximum nutrition gets to your hair follicle. Plus, they provide antioxidants that help protect your hair from environmental damage. Soak chia seeds in almond milk in a 1-to-9 ratio, with a touch of coconut nectar or coconut sugar and cacao powder for a delicious dessert that helps your hair look awesome. Now that is multitasking.

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3. Pumpkin seeds


You also need B vitamins to grow lush, beautiful hair. Pumpkin seeds naturally contain biotin (B7), which not only promotes the growth of strong, resilient tresses, but also encourages increased growth. Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin C as well, which helps produce sebum, the body’s natural oil that conditions hair.

4. Bee pollen


Never heard or tried it before? You can find bee pollen from a local beekeeper or in the refrigerated section of health markets. It contains a whole host of minerals, antioxidants, and B vitamins, and is a complete protein. Just throw some in your smoothies, or even try what I call Energy in a Spoon: a little scoop of bee pollen with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. But be sure to introduce bee pollen in tiny amounts and build from there to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction.

5. Hot water


It’s key to stay hydrated, so your hair stays moisturized and shiny and doesn’t dry out. Water helps flush out waste and supports your liver, which is your main detoxifying organ. The more detoxified your body and blood are, the easier it is for nutrients to circulate and get to your hair follicles.

Why hot water? Excessive cold can contract your stomach, impairing it from properly secreting enzymes and impairing your entire digestive system to a degree—which is not so great for helping your hair get the nutrition it needs! In contrast, hot water (in the form of herbal teas and hot water with lemon) helps enhance cleansing.

Top 5 healthy foods to make you sleep better – naturally https://otflol.com/top-5-healthy-foods-to-make-you-sleep-better-naturally/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 07:15:07 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2867 Read More ...]]> Have you ever found yourself unable to drop off at the end of the day? Most people will experience problems sleeping at some point in their life and it is thought that around a third of Brits suffer with chronic insomnia.

Many lifestyle factors can contribute to a sleepless night – stress, diet and environment – but when we do find ourselves tossing and turning into the small hours of the night, it can be all too tempting to reach for the sleeping pills and a report published by a leading mental health charity suggested that Britain has become a nation of “sleeping pill addicts”.Reduce your risk of becoming addicted to these pills and try something natural instead. Research from across the globe has suggested that some whole foods may improve sleep quality by up to 42%. So before you pop those prescription pills, take a look at these tips from Sun Chlorella Holistic Nutritionist Nikki Hillis, who has shared some of her favourite foods to help you achieve a longer, deeper sleep.



It might seem bizarre but an algae supplement such as Sun Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll that contains high amounts of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, tryptophan and omega 3 fatty acids, all essential nutrients for quality sleep. A recent study by Oxford University showed that the participants on a course of daily supplements of omega-3 had nearly one hour more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with the participants taking the placebo.[4] Furthermore, the tryptophan found in chlorella is a sleep-enhancing amino acid used by the brain to produce neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin that help you relax and go to sleep. While young people have the highest melatonin levels, production of this hormone wanes as we age. Calcium and magnesium relax the body and B vitamins are essential for stress relief.



Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and sesame seeds are rich in magnesium and calcium – two minerals that help promote sleep. Walnuts are also a good source of tryptophan. The unsaturated fats found in nuts improve your serotonin levels, and the protein in the nuts help maintain a stable blood sugar level to prevent you waking in the night. 100 grams of sesame seeds boasts over 1000 micrograms of tryptophan. The same amount of chia seeds have over 700 mgs of tryptophan, while pumpkin seeds have almost 600 mg.

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Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. Lemongrass’ calming properties have been long revered to ward off nightmares while chamomile tea is used regularly worldwide for insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.



Research suggests that eating kiwi fruit may have significant benefits for sleep due to its high antioxidant and serotonin levels. Researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University studied the effects of kiwi consumption on sleep and found that eating kiwi on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity. After 4 weeks of kiwi consumption, researchers found that the amount of time it takes to fall asleep after going to bed decreased by 35.4%, the amount of time spent in periods of wakefulness after initially falling asleep fell 28.9% and the total time spent asleep among the volunteers



Honey promotes a truly deep and restorative sleep. If you take a teaspoon or two of honey before bed, you’ll be re-stocking your liver with glycogen so that your brain doesn’t activate a stress response, which often occurs when glycogen is low. Honey also contributes to the release of melatonin in the brain, as it leads to a slight spike in insulin levels and the release of tryptophan in the brain.

9 pancakes in Dubai you want to wake up for https://otflol.com/9-pancakes-in-dubai-you-want-to-wake-up-for-2/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 06:58:03 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2854 Read More ...]]> Fuel yourself this weekend with these scrumptious pancakes. Whether you have an intense sweet tooth, or you prefer a healthier option to start your day, we’ve got your guide on the 9 most mouthwatering pancakes of Dubai. Let the feasting begin.

1. Cocoa Room’s banoffee pancakes


These fluffy pancakes are drizzled with toffee sauce and sprinkled with fresh bananas and digestive crumble. The crumble gives the dish the perfect amount of texture and crunch. The banoffee pancakes are very rich and perfect for people who have a sweet tooth.

2. Holland House’s mini pancakes


These are tiny pancakes the size of small hockey pucks. They are fluffy, warm pieces of heaven and come in servings of 10. You have the option of drizzling them with a vast array of sauces including, Nutella, lotus, honey and sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon, maple syrup and cheese. We recommend the lotus sauce, it’s a delicious and less sweet alternative to Nutella.

3. Palm Avenue’s ricotta pancakes


Palm Avenue at the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah serves one of the most delicious and fluffy ricotta pancakes. They are topped with white chocolate and homemade blueberry jam. It is one of the stand out dishes on their menu and make for a wholesome and tasty breakfast

4. Clinton Street Bakery’s blueberry pancakes


These pancakes are known all around the city as one of the best. You have the option of having the pancakes with blueberries, banana walnut or chocolate chip. But we highly recommend you pick the Wild Maine blueberries topped with maple butter sauce. It is undeniably one of the best in town.

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5. The Coffee Club’s coconut infused pancakes


You’ll feel like you’re on a tropical island with this breakfast. The dough of the pancake is infused with coconut flavour, while the toppings consist of sliced and caramelized bananas. The dish is then finished off with candied cashews. More than enough reason to get up in the morning

6. Comptoir102’s buckwheat pancakes


Comptoir’s pancakes are more for the health nut. It is a super filling, super healthy stack of gluten free buckwheat pancakes. They are topped with the most delicious organic maple syrup and fresh berries. We particularly love this guilt free option.

7. The Boulevard Kitchen’s whole wheat pancakes


The main restaurant at the Manzil hotel also serves up one of the best pancake dishes in Dubai. These whole wheat pancakes are covered with fresh berries and drizzled with a unique cardamom infused maple syrup, to really give it that hint of arabesque flavour.

8. Eataly’s Nutella pancake


Eataly, one of Dubai’s favorite Italian restaurants, is home to one of the city’s best European-style pancakes. If you take a walk around their Dubai Mall or their Dubai Festival City store, you will notice that they have a Nutella bar. We’re not kidding. There is literally a counter dedicated just to Nutella. In that Nutella counter you can order a thin and folded pancake filled with the warm chocolaty goodness. You have the option of adding strawberries, bananas, pistachios and even gelato. We highly recommend topping the pancake with some vanilla gelato, or their Venci chocolate gelato if you’re a true chocoholic.

9. Baker and Spice’s gluten free pancake


Baker and spice makes these delicious pancakes that are great for people who are trying to be a bit healthy.  Made with organic oatmeal and ricotta, they are light, fluffy and gluten free for those who need them to be. The best part is, that they’re topped with caramelised bananas, berries and get this… date syrup, for a local touch.

Revealed, the 10 best foods to boost your energy levels https://otflol.com/revealed-the-10-best-foods-to-boost-your-energy-levels/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 06:46:52 +0000 https://otflol.com/?p=2836 Read More ...]]> Forget chocolate or fizzy drinks – healthy foods can boost your energy too. Spinach is high in magnesium, which is vital for producing energy. Nuts are packed with nutrients – soaking them overnight boosts the levels. One cup of mushrooms provides 50% of recommended amount of iron.



By eating raw, unsalted nuts your body is provided with a high-energy boost packed with nutrients and free from any form of processing.

If possible, try and soak your nuts overnight in water to activate them.

Activated nuts starts the germination or sprouting process, increasing the nutrient value of the nuts and allowing the body to more easily digest them.

Try my Sweet Spiced Nuts from my book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian.



Add a dollop of natural goat’s milk yogurt to your breakfast, favourite salad or on top of the next curry you make to get a great boost of calcium and huge dose of probiotics.

Probiotics are the good bacteria found in yogurt with can help to facilitate changes in the microflora of the gut and enhance the body’s immune system.

Probiotics help to keep your gut healthy, assisting in digestion, which in turn leads to you getting the most of the food you consume and helping to fight fatigue.



Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to help lower cholesterol, potentially reducing your risk of heart disease.

Not only is it great for the heart, salmon is high in protein, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue what these last few are. Basically, they help to convert food into energy – giving you a healthy wake up call when you think you are going to fall asleep at your desk.



One cup of mushrooms provides almost 50 per cent of your daily serving of iron – which is essential in transporting oxygen within the bloodstream.

Without an efficient oxygen supply to our major organs, we can often feel fatigued and lethargic.

Consuming mushrooms will boost the level of iron in your body, boosting the cells within the bloods ability to transport oxygen around our body and fuel our organs to function effectively.



Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function.

Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast.

If you think you have enough spinach, think again Just keep adding it!

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Sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in wooden spoons

Snack on a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds and you will get about half the daily recommended amount of magnesium.

Like in spinach, magnesium helps in bone, protein and fatty acid formation, helps to relax muscles and maintain adequate calcium levels.



My favourite source of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes, contain iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D – all of which help to increase energy levels and stop your from feeling tired.

Sweet potatoes are hugely versatile and you can enjoy them mashed, grilled, steamed, roasted, in a salad, by themselves or in a curry.



Without water there would be no life. Sorry to sound so gloomy!

But water is undeniably the most essential substance on earth and is essential for human to function on a daily basis.

Water is needed to help carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, both of which if are in low supply can lead to fatigue and nausea.

On average its recommended adult women have about eight cups of water per day and men approximately ten cups per day.

One good way to ensure you are getting enough water into your diet is having a glass before every meal.



I could happily talk for days and days about why people should eat seasonally: sustainability, cost, health, environment, nutrient value, flavour, colour… the list goes on.

But when it comes to fighting fatigue, seasonal produce is at its maximum nutrient potential that it could possibly be.

This refers to the total amount of nutrients that a vegetable could ever have.

As the product is stored and transported – which happens when it is not in season – the nutrient potential rapidly decreases.

By eating in season you are getting the biggest reward from the produce and should feel more alert and awake after eating seasonal produce.

When it comes to fighting fatigue, seasonal produce is at its maximum nutrient potential that it could possibly be.



Gone are the days of limiting your intake to six eggs per week – I say eat eggs until the cows come home.

Eggs are the highest source of complete protein with eggs providing an impressive 30 per cent of your daily requirement.

They are great to help after exercise to ensure your muscles can recover properly and your body feels fresh for the day ahead.

My curried egg and walnut recipe combines the amazing protein benefits of eggs with the power of nuts. You could also add some extra spinach for some added energy.