12 von 12 or: a Day in Pictures

My Morning Coffee.

This picture is part of a new photo project, which I (sporadically!) started a few weeks ago and which shall be revealed when it is a bit more advanced. I`m excited about it, because I think it is beautiful, interesting, marketeable, and it also has a personal meaning to me.

This picture also introduces our new coffee machine from Lidl. Our beautiful cherry red Gaggia died after a long and happy life, bang on on the day that these were on offer and received excellent reviews. I find it (and its accessories) a bit light in weight, which I still haven`t got used to, but it is easy to use, makes good coffee, and it looks stylish, too.

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My lillies have come out!! They are beautiful and fill our whole kitchen with their lovely scent! In addition to a really generous collection with more flowers, those were a gift from an individual who wanted to give me something just from her. I feel loved!! Fortunately, our cats do not seem interested, as lillies are poisonous to them.

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Tearing out pages from my big Pukka Book to free it up for another hobby project (which I will talk about a bit more in a later post). While doing so, I discovered a rather interesting page I wrote while studying the first module of my Business Degree (I just cannot believe that I`ll be starting module 4 in only a month` time!!): What makes people happy at work:

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Breakfast. Scrambled egg is always a winner.

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Liking today`s page of The Accumulator :-):

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Today, I`m going to dehydrate some tomatoes (sprinkled with salt and oregano, drained overnight – drink the juice!) and apricots (flavoured with cinnamon).

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The latter were not bought for dehydrating, but getting a bit mushy, so I decide to bake a cake with them, adding a twist to a cherry crumble from a book which must be more than 20 years old. (I just noticed that I wrote 13 August on the receipe, and I got a feeling I know why, but I promise that these are yesterday`s photos!!)

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Bit burnt, but highly likely because this was my first attempt at coconut flour:

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Coffee and cake at my friend`s house. We are a group of three, and one is missing, but couple time with each is important, too… You can see her mirror image on the tiles, but she knows about the blog and says “that much” is okay. 🙂

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A rather honest picture of my dinner:

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The other half arrived late from a day out, and he bought some fish and chips which the other members of the household feasted on:

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The Accumulator Fitness Plan

I`m not usually that big on book reviews, but I just cannot resist praising The Accumulator, which I discovered while looking for inspiration on getting fit at home.

The concept is dual (diet and exercise), slow (ie not at all overwhelming) and promises to be very effective: Over 30 days (You can do that!!), you adopt one good (eating related) habit and one physical exercise (2 levels of difficulty to chose from, no equipment needed for either). It`s only two double pages to read every day, and the exercises take a minute each (the programme asks for duration rather than repetitions).

Each excercise is repeated the next day in addition to adopting a new one, so on Day 1, you will be expected to excercise for 1 minute only, which will increase by just one minute a day until you are excercising for 26 minutes on Day 30 (there is 4 rest days) – so do-able that I literally started the minute I finished the brief chapter for Day one – I just got up and did my squats before sitting down again and reading on – while being effective enough for me to feel really sore already on what`s Day 4.

All does not end after 30 days: you can increase the intensity of your excercises to a Difficulty Level 2, or you can increase the duration, while re-reading and re-interating a piece of dietary advice every day… Those are all mainly commen sense, but I don`t think a brief reminder in this respect has ever hurt anyone.

Price: just the £12.99 for the book. No special excercise equipment, fancy foods or diet supplements needed.

Everybody can do that, those short of time, breath or money 🙂 Absolute gem!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook: More on Befriending Co-workers (Part I)

Last year, while I was settling into my last job, I wrote this blog about becoming facebook friends with work colleagues.

How did I do between then and (soon) leaving my second job since I resolved not to link in with co-workers any more?

I never added anyone from my last job until I left, when I requested the girl I wrote about in the blog. We still interact there on a superficial basis, and occasionally chat about joint interests, but, as expected, she did not react on my hint re meeting up.

In my current job, I said quite early on I do not add colleagues on facebook. This felt appropriate as facebook has caused, and is still causing, trouble (of several kinds), and our managers actively discouraged my young colleague from linking in with colleagues.

In February, I added one of our agency workers, who I already knew from my last job. One day, she suggested linking me something via Facebook, we friended each other, and that same night, we found ourselves playing old music to each other and laughing so much that she immediately got her reputation with my other half. Most interactions we have there are still PNs, including about private things, which we would never make time to discuss at work. Facebook did bring us closer, but what irritates me is that I now get friends suggestions of other agency workers who, in turn, may see me and my holiday snaps (my Instagram shares are public, but of course, this is my choice which I know how to fix).

In March, I proceeded to add my room mate. We didn`t have the best of starts, but had already improved, and that day, we really bonded and laughed a lot, which felt special enough to share this on facebook with her tagged in. I noticed that she was linked with other colleagues, too, but none too close to me, so no pressure to request them, too. (One requested me, which I did not react to and which she never mentioned offline.) What however irritated me was that she is linked to the girl whom I`m providing maternity cover for, and they sometimes talked via comments about her coming back and how much they were both looking forward to this. As if she had forgotten that I was reading. Sadly, our relationship deteriorated again after my room mate resigned, and I knew for a fact that a particular complaint had been dealt with when I found myself not only deleted, but actually blocked. I was fine with the deletion, but the blocking, I perceived as a, work related, act of aggression. Much to my own surprise, it bothered me, and I felt childish when I spoke out and was reminded of how silly and overrated facebook is. Her leaving do was also being organised on facebook, and by being deleted, I suddenly found myself un-invited to something I was already “coming” to, which I found humiliating in front of other colleagues, who (at least from me) knew nothing about our difficulties. She, overall, wasn`t a good experience at all on facebook either.

A couple of months ago, I met an old colleague in headoffice – it was her first day with us, and although we never got close in our old work, we had a really nice chat, and I spontaneously said I`ll request you on Facebook. I did, but she never accepted me, which is okay. We really don`t have much in common, and this was the first and only warm conversation we ever had. I`m actually glad she didn`t. I think she posts a lot about her kids, who are both about 20.

The one colleague, who is extremely special, is not on facebook (any more), and, rather than being disappointed, I found that he rose in my esteem, probably because by separating himself from facebook, he also separated himself from everything that annoys me there.  I almost felt silly admitting that I`m still on it. In some way, “no facebook” makes our relationship feel more special – we don`t need it, and an occasional text, just for you or me, feels so much more personal than a broadcast or comment on social media. The importance of “no facebook” really stroke me when he announced he was leaving, and we spoke about what this would mean for our friendship. Never mind how deeply moved we both were when we agreed that we wanted to keep in touch and that this should include actually meeting again, rather than just texting a few more times – with facebook, we probably wouldn`t even have had this conversation. It wouldn`t have felt necessary, because who you have “got” on facebook, will never really go away, or so it feels, at least.

(to be continued…)

 

 

Sicily: Hotel Food

We travelled half board and had breakfast and dinner at the hotel.

Some reviewers on Tripadvisor were commenting about the frequent repetition of some dishes, but I cannot possibly see what`s wrong with that when there is so much choice, and everything is so delicious!

The breakfast bar includes all the usual item including a vegan counter, champagne (see that before, but you`d pay a small surcharge – here, it was free) and cake:

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Dinner was three different meat and two different fish dishes, two soups, five pasta (incl risotti) with additional oils with various flavours, two counters of salads with a huge selection of dressings, three of cooked antipasti (warm and cold), lots of bread, one couter with raw fruit, two with cakes and one with icre cream:

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Further full lunches, snacks and drinks were available at really reasonable prices at the pool, and we treated ourselves twice to their amazing house salad (EUR 6.oo), which came with five rolls and so was enough for two people.

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We like to go out for food when abroad, but actually, we didn`t (apart from the trip to Mount Etna, which included a lunch), apart from a few ice creams and a sandwich (which was easily beaten by the ones in the hotel!)

Really recommending Hotel Olimpo, of which there will be pictures of the lovely views and sceneries shortly…

Sicily Day 2: Discovering Taormina

Taormina was a 20 min bus ride away from us. It was recommended that we go either before 11am or after 3pm, because in between, the half-hourly bus would be so full that it would just drive past.

I had read in advance that Taormina is a shopper`s dream or nightmare, and I must admit that I wanted to buy at least 10 dresses at dizzying prices (and therefore treated myself to just one, which fully consists of midnight blue lace). I still don`t know when to possibly wear this, but I`ll sure find an occasion for it! (as Truth of the Matter was once again: I found the Italian women incredibly well dressed, but on second thought, I had to admit that almost none of their outfits would be suitable for me to wear at home without getting weird looks, as in Britain, I would just stand out too much.)

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Me, posing on the piazza (from here, you could see Mount Etna, which I will show in my next post):

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Of course, the G7 Meeting had taken place here just 2 weeks prior to our arrival, and we still saw some of the remnants:

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Prettier things in other corners:

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A nice break in a wonderful beer garden, were “proper” seats were rare and nibbles complimentary:

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And no, no amphitheatre for us. But been told it`s worth it.

Memories from Crete

I can`t believe this holiday was more than 7 months ago (September last year) and I have still not posted any pictures of it. I wasn`t going to, for it was our third time to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. You kind of run out of things to photograph, but I have progressed since our last visit (in both equipment and composition of my photograph), and I have quite a few followers here, who are interested in travel pictures.

Our previous visits were always July, but last year, we went in September, when the weather was just about to turn – it was no longer as hot, but, apart from one shower of rain, still beautifully warm – we spent most of our time at the beach or pool (as said – third time!), no longer needing shade and swimming in the sea, and the other half still took a proper sunburn for not using sun lotion!

Our first walk round the place… bush rose petals being swirled around by the wind, and me against a white wall, once again scarily looking like my mum.

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This is where we went in the evenings, when the sun was gone, but when it was still too early to go out and enjoy the night life:

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And here`s the reason… When in Southern Europe, I`m forever photographing cats – and those ones were beautiful, glossy, and very well cared for. In Chania, on the other side of Crete, we met a couple from Birmingham who purposely took ham from the breakfast buffet and then went out looking for cats. The woman invited us along, but here`s my husband`s limits…

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A day out in Elounda – beautiful place, which I definitely recommend fitting in!

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Fisherman in Agios Nikolaos plus cat (who we actually saw bagging a head :-):

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… and we actually had a day of rain:

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Drinks by the pool… I never drink Campari Orange (or any other cocktails apart from Capirinha) at home, but abroad, I somehow fancy things like that…

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One beach pic – just one:

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This is where we spent most of our time, actually – relaxing, being warm, drinking chilled white wine and swimming in the sea…

(as ever, holiday booked with EasyJet Holidays. Good bargain at this time of year, and notably less busy, though still nice and lively…)

Edinburgh: A Sunday out in Town…

There was a Vintage Fair on the Grassmarket on Sunday, and we took the opportunity to go out and visit my beloved Edinburgh again. Sadly, I don`t have enough reasons to go there these days. The fair was nice, a good mixture of clothes and jewellery, bric-a-brack, vintage cars and bikes, performance and some (obviously not vintage!! :-)) food stalls.

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I took the opportunity to take out my “new” “velvet” coat in sea blue (courtsey of a friend who bought and never wore it) and bought a cute little red polka dot dress for a fiver. Dita von Teese, eat your heart out!! I bet ou wish you`d seen it first! And yes, I totally wore that to work!!

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The Royal Mile – that`s cobbled streat exactly one mile long that`s leading to the Castle…

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A gorgeous little coffee stall under a cherry tree opposite Waverley Station

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Lord for sale!

Were talking about this again today…

Albeit rather bewilderedly, I can now claim to know someone who has apparently purchased a title of nobility. Or, as someone suggested, simply changed his Christian name to “Lord”, so it didn`t cost him anything. Although it only costs £195.oo to become a Lord, Earl, Duke, Sir or Viscount.

The product is advertised to people who seek to increase their social status, and some claim to have received free upgrades on flights, in hotels and restaurants, but some reviewers also bought a title for other people, as a special, funny or romantic gift.

Hm. I wonder how “real” nobility feels about this…

Raw, vegan Chia Walnut Pudding

declarations of an eater

The other day, I was cleaning out my cupboards and found half a packet of chia seeds, next to half a pack of walnuts. Both expired last month, and I decided to quickly make them into something now.

I wasn`t quite keen on the chia seeds when I first tried them (hence, they were still there), but just recently, I half read a receipe for something called “turkish delight chia pudding”, and without referring to the book again, created what turned out to be an absolute winner.

ingredients

2 1/2 cups of walnuts

a few drops of vanilla essence

1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar (or other sweetener)

2/3 cup of chia seeds

1 tsb of rose water

nut milk

You can use any nuts, but I had walnuts to use up, and I found them very suitable for the Turkish theme, too.

Soaking the nuts overnight first starts the digestion process and makes…

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The Grand National

I`ve been living in Britain for almost 16 years now and am generally having a really good time over here. However, there are still things about this culture, which are alien to me – horse racing being one of them.

I now accept it as a given, but still find it impossible how much of an event they make about what takes about 15 minutes – everybody has to inform themselves weeks (or at least days) in advance about who is hot and who is not. Placing a bet is almost non-optional (unless you`re a hater!), even if, like us, you never bet on horses all year and know nothing about them. (We just pick what names we like.)

I`ve seen men watching the race inside the betting shop (who provide free nibbles!) and been invited to barbecues with race-themed dress codes – never mind the red carpets, Royals, celebrities and paparazzi seen in Liverpool.

There`s a racecourse in my home town, and I have been once – it was fun and we won some money, but it failed to get me excited. My sister, who was with me, and is very much into horses, was watching out for mistreatment all the time. And of course, horses fall, get injured and sometimes die, all for our entertainment and making money.

As said, we always placed a couple of bets for the Grand National, but not any longer. A few months ago, my husband has been to the races with a few colleagues and came back upset and downbeat. He had watched a horse going on with what was very obviously an already broken leg, then it fell, and although a screen was put on, everybody heard the gunshot that put it out of its misery. People were leaving, there were children… It was awful, and my husband vowed never again to bet on horses.

I never even watched it this year but couldn`t resist Twitter. Although they were boasting (!) about there being no fatalities for 5 years running (I remember this poor creature well – my colleague had placed a bet on it and felt so guilty for shouting at it in front of her telly!) about half of all horses fell, and did so quickly. Twitter was exploding with hate posts, concern and excitement alike – a rather interesting mixture. The Grand National excites and divides, but ignoring it is not an option.

Almost concluding the matter, I must say that can name at least two guys who appear to be making quite a handsome amount of money on the side just by betting on horses (and football), which is not a thing to be underrated. Everybody likes earning money for themselves, and it probably helps to accept or ignore the downsides of this sport. Brits love betting, and winning alongside your horse or team, of course, will attach them to the sport.

P.S.:

The names are interesting. Eric Berne and others have already written about how names can determine the fate of humans (particularly if named after other people), and what on Earth were they thinking calling a racehorse “Dropout Joe” and “Wounded Warrior”? They both fell – of course. Pardon the pun.