Category Archives: Life

My boy turns 8: 8 things you didn’t know about him

Today is Festus’s birthday. As my boy turns 8, I though I would share 8 things you didn’t know about him.

1. He is ambidextrous.
You might think how to tell if a dog is right or left handed. There are a few tests, like recording which paw the dog uses to go down the stairs. You have to record at least 30-40 times to make it clear. Festus uses both in almost equal measures.
There are a few studies about this. Basically, the dogs are mostly right-pawed or left-pawed and only a small percentage are ambidextrous. I think this makes him a bit more special, while he is incredibly special for us.

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2. He hates parsley.
Because he loves mint so much, I though I should try to see if he likes parsley too. He spit it out immediately, it was quite funny.

3. He loves mint.
As a pup, he got mint tea instead of water from his breeder. When we got him at 3 months old, I continued to give him mint tea for another 6 months. Even now, at 8, he still loves mint. He is not eager to have mint tea as he did as a pup, but he will eat mint leaves. See picture below.

Continue reading My boy turns 8: 8 things you didn’t know about him

Questions about the past and the future

In this post I’m going to talk about Questions about the past and the future. This is part of the 365 Provoking questions I’m doing this year. I’ve started in February with 28 Provoking Questions and I might finish it by the end of the year. I looked through the remaining questions and I picked 30 about the past and 20 about the future. As they are so many in total, I’m going to keep the answers short.

Questions about the past and the future

30 Questions about the past

1. When you look back over the past month, what single moment stands out?
I’ve started volunteering at a local stately home, so that is pretty special.

2. What is your happiest memory?
There are so many that it’s hard to pick the one that is the happiest. When I’ve entered high school (I had to take a difficult exam to get in), when I was admitted to University (again, difficult exam-interview), when I’ve got married, when we got Festus, when we bought our home.

3. What is your saddest memory?
When someone close to me died.

4. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
I think moving to UK was the best decision.

5. What’s your favorite true story that you enjoy sharing with others?
I hope I don’t keep repeating the same story.

6. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
Even in business people can take illogical emotional decisions, but I knew that from before.

7. What was your last major accomplishment?
Buying the house must be the last one.

8. Through all of life’s twists and turns who has been there for you?
My husband.

Continue reading Questions about the past and the future

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

I don’t usually write book reviews on their own, but on the 8th last month, one of my favourite authors released another book. So, here is The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory review. This book can be found at the library (most likely it’s already reserved for the next few months) or it can be bought from amazon or even a local supermarket (I saw it in Asda and Tesco).
If you’ve read my monthly books roundups this year, you saw how smitten I am with Philippa’s books. I’ve read many of her books, as you can see at the end of the post.
Philippa said that this is the last Tudor book she will write. Her future projects will be just as exciting, I can’t wait to read them.

If you don’t know Philippa, she was born in Kenya and moved with her parents in UK. She studied here and has an PhD in History. Her first books were a trilogy, Wideacre. I read one of them and I plan to read the other two. The Other Boleyn Girl, a book about Anne Boleyn’s sister is now published globally and the book won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. It was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama. She lives in Yorkshire and has a small charity making wells in Gambia, called Gardens for the Gambia.

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The book is divided into 3 books, the first one about Jane Grey, the second one about Katherine Grey and the last one about Mary Grey. Spoilers! (if you don’t already know their stories).

Continue reading The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

3 reasons why I love owning my home

I was thinking to celebrate the 3rd home anniversary by writing a post on the 3 reasons why I love owning my home. I blogged about the 1st home anniversary and the 2nd home anniversary, if you fancy a read.

It’s obvious that owning a home is not always great. For example, if some noisy neighbours are moving in next door it’s unlikely we could sell the house and move in a matter of a couple of months. That might sound a bit random, but in the three years we’ve been here, one of the neighbours got married and had a child, while before she was out every night. Another elderly couple sold their home and new neighbours moved in, with a cat, dog and kid. Luckily for us, everybody is amazing and polite and we don’t hear noises from dusk to down.

3 reasons why I love owning my home

1. I can decorate how I want.

All our walls are white. It’s not exactly a bold statement colour, but before that our rented home had magnolia. I can’t express enough how much I dislike magnolia, I think I would rather had dark red or black. If, by chance we want to change the colours, we can do that. It’s unlikely as we both love white and the furniture is mostly white too. It’s a great colour to have on the walls if you have a dog, as we can wash and paint over if we need to.
The same applies to pretty much everything else in the house. We were able to modify the lights and we have now all the cables through the walls. The TV is looking like is floating on the wall and I love that.

2. I build up equity, not waste money on rent.

This is the most obvious one. Instead of paying rent, the money go towards an asset. It feels great every time I think of it. I really can’t say anything more on this, it’s just as simple as that.

3. My home is not checked by letting agencies or landlords.

This is one of the things that annoyed me most when renting. While the visits were ok when we were there, it happened once not to be at home. We’ve notified the agency and they replied that they can’t change the date, even though that meant only a week before or the week after, and it wasn’t their first check either. So, being away and knowing that someone comes into what I’ve considered my home to check how clean it is was awful.

I think the law should be changed and landlords shouldn’t be allowed to check a property if the tenants aren’t in. Just think of all the stuff we had at home, we were supposed to trust the guys from the agency will not take anything or will not open a drawer from our furniture… while checking if we are trustworthy with the house we’ve been renting for a long time. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? I would understand landlords entering without permission if they were denied access a few times or there are a few complaints from the neighbours.
Owning our home means we don’t have to deal with that. It feels more secure and that we have privacy.

Do you own your home? What do you love about that?

My August

August has proved to be a fantastic month. I’ve started volunteering at a stately home as a room guide, Croxteth Hall. As a plus, I even dress up as a housemaid. I’ve been there twice and it’s so much fun. Besides learning about the house and the family, during school holidays the volunteers are making truffles with children and it’s delightful. I love it and I wish I would have asked earlier if they were looking for volunteers.

I’ve started two online courses and I’m learning interesting things. Both courses take 2 to 3 hours each week, so it’s not too demanding. Also, if I have the time, I can finish the course faster, by doing two or three weeks at a time. I like the flexibility.

August

In August I’ve visited Barnard Castle and The Bowes Museum in the north, Blists Hill Victorian Town in the south, I went to Manchester Jewish Museum and I blogged about all these locations.

In the last few days of August, I went to a Painting Class, to a pub, I visited a small and cute village (lots of amazing pictures to share) and I’ve been to Anderton Boat Lift. As they are so many, I’m going to blog almost every day for the next 10 days or so. I enjoyed all these activities a lot, only wait and see my masterpiece.

I’ve read a lot of books, 8 in total, and today I’ll finish another one, but that will be included in the roundup for September. I’ve reviewed my foot cream and what I got from UKLingerie.

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When it comes to food, I made quite a lot of new things this month like, clockwise from top left Danish Thick Pancakes, Deviled Eggs, Swan eclairs and Roasted Tomatoes Blackberries Salad. Obviously I baked bread as I always do.

September will be a fun month again. We are celebrating Festus’s birthday (he turns 8), we are also celebrating our 3rd home anniversary. It will be a month when we’ll visit again new places as it’s Heritage Open Days and I have a couple of other trips in mind.

How was your August? Do you have something planned for September?

Currently reading

This month I managed to read a lot of books again, 8, all non-fiction, that brings the total to 46! I think the next month will be pretty similar as I already borrowed&bought a few books that I’m keen on reading.

Currently reading

Before moving to UK, terrorism wasn’t a part of my life. I remember vividly the news about the 9/11 attack, I remember telling my mother horrified that the second tower collapsed. I remember how I was feeling at that time, the memory had too much of an emotional impact not to remember every detail. I also remember other events that happened in UK, for example, with the same accuracy. While all these events were memorable, it wasn’t like any of them would have a direct connection to me.
So, why does terrorism matter now? Maybe because I’m here and it happened in places I’ve been to, like London, in a location I know well, in Manchester the day after I spent the weekend there. It happened at a concert, at a supermarket, at an event, on the streets.
I know that it’s more likely that I could die in a car crash, we even had a few of those (minor incidents), I still travel with the car. It’s also more likely I would die from heart problems, but that doesn’t stop me eating something that’s not healthy or having a second cocktail. I wanted to understand, so I got a couple of books about terrorism. I learned a lot from them. Sadly, after I finished the first book, another two attacks took place in Spain. So, I continued with the second book. While I was reading the second book, another attack took place in Finland.

Continue reading Currently reading

30 Random Questions

01. Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?
I love animals and this is why I make ethical choices from the food I eat to the clothes I’m wearing, the plates I’m buying and the seat covers of the car I use.
I wanted to give an answer a bit more different than the usual friends and family.

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02. What is your earliest childhood memory?
Going with my grandparents to the tea rooms and having a lovely swan eclair. It was a treat not because I was eating something sweet, but the whole experience. They treated me like a small adult and it was very special for me. I made the eclairs at home and they were amazing. Recipe on my food blog, CookStyle.

03. What book has had the greatest influence on your life?
Obviously the Primer Book, as in the Alphabet Book. I learned many things from many books, but none as life changing as being able to read.
Another book with great influence were “Freud and Jung on Religion”, the first psychology book I read when I was 15. It made me even more eager to study the human mind at University. I should read it again.

04. What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to?
1. What was before the Big Bang, if it was something?
2. How the Earth will look like in 2,000 years or 20,000 years?
3. How our history would have been like if the Roman empire would have remained as it was for another 1,000 or 1,500 years?

05. What is the greatest peer pressure you’ve ever felt?
The greatest peer pressure I felt was to have children. From the age of 26, being married with a good job and owning property meant that I was under pressure to have at least a child. As the years went by, this didn’t go away. Sadly, I just stopped talking with the acquaintances (and a few friends too) who felt they should impose their views on my life. If I don’t enjoy spending time with someone because they can’t stop themselves to ask me personal questions instead having a lovely chat about movies, books, holidays, recipes and home decor, why bother to meet in the first place?
In addition to having babies, I also experience peer pressure from getting married and loosing weight to choosing the “right” political party. I’m pretty confident with my choices, but it’s still stressful.

06. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?
One of the biggest is that Santa was real. That was not even something that made my Christmases better as a child. I would have rather known that my parents and grandparents where the ones getting me the gifts. I also think I would have had wonderful memories of making gifts for my relatives, like a drawing or something similar, given the choice. It’s a shame.
I had a discussion about this with a couple of parents and they said it’s magical for the kids to know Santa is getting them gifts. Well, I stick to my opinion, less “magical”, but more nurturing and real, gifts are made by parents & grandparents & relatives that love them and want them to be happy. I can’t imagine anything better for a child at Christmas.

07. In your lifetime, what have you done that hurt someone else?
Of course, everybody does, sometimes not even realizing. I wish I didn’t.

08. What’s the best part of growing older?
Cake and pizza for breakfast. I don’t eat those often though as it’s not healthy, but I can do that if I want to.

09. What’s been on your mind most lately?
Something that I want to start in a couple of years. It will take a bit of time to make sure it’s something I really want to do.

10. What do you think is worth waiting for?
I can’t think of anything. Some things take time, but that doesn’t necessarily makes them better.

11. What chances do you wish you had taken?
I took most of them.

12. Where else would you like to live? Why?
I would like to move to another city in UK because I love discovering new places.

13. What motivates you to go to work each day?
The pleasure work gives me.

14. What do you wish you had done differently?
Nothing, as I like where I am and, more importantly, how I am.

15. What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
I think both are one and the same: being a realist. Sometimes it’s better to have a pair of pink-shaded glasses to view the world through them.

16. When was the last time you lied? What did you lie about?
Can’t remember. I try not to lie and I would skillfully avoid the answer or say something I think it’s true that is a bit related to the question without saying the more important thing, that can be hurtful.

17. What made you smile this week?
My dog, he makes me smile every single day. My husband also made a couple of jokes that made me ROLF.

18. What’s the best part of being you?
I would say that my view of the world.

19. What motivates you to be your best?
The fact that I have to be with me every single moment for the rest of my life.

20. When was the last time you lost your temper? About what?
I don’t know, it might be politics or economy. My husband is always laughing when I start “yelling” at the telly and tells me I should stop arguing with it. I know he is right, but I get so annoyed and I know I can’t hurt the telly’s feelings, so I can yell at it.

21. What will you never give up on?
My values. They might change in time, as I change, but I will never give up on them.

22. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?
The naivety to think that some people will change enough to be different.

23. How would you describe the past year of your life in one sentence?
Business as usual, I had ups and downs, I saw and tried amazing things, I cooked and I enjoyed time with loved ones.

24. What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Talking with someone on the train? More details on: How I met hubby. Maybe it’s not the most spontaneous thing I’ve done, but surely it’s the most important spontaneous thing I did.

25. What makes you uncomfortable?
Lots of things. I have a bit of anxiety and a phobia and I don’t feel comfortable with public displays of affection (unless is a hug & kiss on the cheek). I don’t feel comfortable if I’m in a group and someone is talking too loud and getting attention from others. I don’t feel comfortable with personal questions and I would avoid them as much as I can.

26. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what one thing would you miss the most?
I moved almost 3000 miles and I missed things I never thought of, like green walnut jam. I don’t know what I would miss if I moved 3000 miles again.
I looked online to see what places are ~3000 miles from Liverpool:
Guinea-Bissau – Bissau
Kazakhstan – Astana
Chad – Ndjamena
Kuwait – Kuwait City
Turkmenistan – Ashgabat
So, I can say I would miss the British weather (I love it!) and I imagine all sort of other things too, especially if I moved in a place that would be so different. I like that I’m living in a country were being gay, transgender, catholic, protestant, muslim, atheist, covered from head to toes or in a crop top and shorts is legal and widely accepted. I like that I live in a country with a lot of diversity that still holds on to traditions. I love the history and the care most people have for their culture. I also love the Queen and the Royal Family.

27. What worries you about the future?
Being able to do what I want.

28. What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months?
Both are one and the same, but I don’t want to share them on my blog. I’ll say what I need and want regarding my blogs. I need a better structure for promoting posts on social media, unless they aren’t seen and it’s a shame (because I do value the work I put into the blogs) and I want to do more recipes for my Taste the World project.

29. What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them?
Unless you can experience something firsthand you can’t fully understand.

30. Do you like the city or town you live in? Why or why not?
I like Liverpool a lot. It’s a lovely place with lots of events and nice museums. I like walking in the city centre and on the docks. There are plenty of shops in L1, Metquarter.