Category Archives: Life

My birthday

A few days ago I’ve celebrated my birthday. I received an amazing gift from my husband, and we had a lovely day out.

Cake with drinks, a bunch of flowers and candle

First of all, I’m going to start talking about the cake. I made Tschumi’s Chocolate Cake. It’s a cake made by a Swiss chef to the Royal Household, called Gabriel Tschumi. He made this cake 100 years ago for Queen Mary’s birthday and from that day, this is the Royal birthday cake. I love its story and, after trying the cake, I loved it too. Have a look at the recipe if you fancy trying it.

Gifts, a book and a chocolate birthday card

My husband bought a book for me, something that is always appreciated, but this book is a very special book. I’ve read it when I was a teenager. I think saying that it changed my life sounds a bit much, but this is what happened. I knew I wanted to study Psychology before that, but, after reading the book, I realized that I enjoyed learning about concepts too. The book also made me question things I thought before. I can’t wait to read this book again. My husband said he is eager to read it too.

Besides the book, my husband gave me a lovely chocolate birthday card. I’m yet to try it, as we had a very chocolatey cake, but I will try it soon.

Continue reading My birthday

23 Questions

I have 46 questions left on the 365 Provoking Questions Challenge. I’ve decided to split them in two, therefore to 23 I’m going to answer today and the rest next month. Let’s start.

1. What good comes from suffering?
Maybe a few lessons, if the person suffering has the ability and the willingness to learn.

2. What are you uncertain about?
Well, things that most people are uncertain I would think. For example the future, what can happen with North Korea, what opportunities I will find (work related), if the neighbours will still be here next year and not very noisy new ones.

3. How would you spend your ideal day?
Playing with the dog, going somewhere with my husband to visit something we haven’t seen before, having a lovely meal and some drinks.

4. What do you admire most about your mother and father?
I admire my monther’s strength.

5. What is your most striking physical attribute?
I would say my eyes.

Continue reading 23 Questions

My October

October was a fun month. We’ve had lots of celebrations. On 2nd October it was the anniversary of the day we’ve met, many years ago. I went to Liverpool Fashion Week.

Another fun thing I did this month was to see the donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary. I bough funny slippers and a new iPhone. When it comes to blogging, I took part in a lovely campaign about the things we feel free to talk with our family and friends – TENATalk. I blogged about all of these.

I also enjoyed a fab meal at intu Trafford Centre in Manchester and I’m going to blog about it this month. I visited Football Museum and that is another thing I’m going to blog about later this month.

Yesterday Bake Off had ended. Last year and the year before I baked along at least one of the challenges each week, this year I didn’t because I don’t like the new line-up. I don’t think the new presenters are a team like Sue and Mel, not keen on a few of their jokes either. I was a bit annoyed of the constant compares with Bake Off and “this is the most amazing cake in the whole Bake Off series”. I feel it is not as it was before and I miss the old Bake Off and Mary and the challenges and the excitement I had before.
Besides the Bake Off, F1 was a bit annoying too. Lewis Hamilton was crowned 4th times world champion with 2 races to go. I’m not a fan of Lewis, but I think he fully deserved the championship. He was a better driver, more mature and confident. Vettel acted inappropriately a few times and made stupid mistakes, his actions made him lose the championship. Verstappen was amazing, I hope the Red Bull will have better cars next year to have a chance for the championship. Some annoying things happened too, like Verstappen getting a penalty when others did the same thing and didn’t get anything, in US, then in Mexico, Grojean got a penalty while Vettel didn’t.

Last month was very busy work-related, my volunteer work and with blogging too. I have many plans for this month too. I have some interesting books I’m keen in reading. I have a new volunteer position for a special project. I’m very excited about that project too.

Autumnal reads

This month I’m blogging about Autumnal books, all the books I’ve read this month. Some are more obvious Autumnal than others, but I think all of them are lovely to read on a colder day with a blanket and a hot tea (or any kind of beverages you fancy).

I mentioned in the last book roundup that I was one book away from my 52. I surpassed this target this month with the 4 books I’ve read.

The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world's happiest people by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world’s happiest people by Meik Wiking
I already blogged about The Little Book of LYKKE. It’s the perfect Autumnal book.

Continue reading Autumnal reads

New iPhone SE

After looking for a new phone for a few months, I finally decided to get an iPhone SE. This is my first iPhone, so it will take a while to get used to it.

iPhone SE

I chose iPhone SE, see more details on apple, because is a new-ish model. The phone was released in March last year. Considering is not the latest, it was much cheaper. I’m not keen on having the latest model, so it was an easy option for me.

Why an iPhone? Because I never had one and I wanted to see the difference between a Samsung and an Apple. It might sound strange as a reason to buy a particular phone, but well, that is it. I’ve read one of Steve Jobs’s biographies, I worked on Mac (I still prefer Window laptops).

The iPhone SE has great specs. The camera takes good pictures indoors and I’m very pleased with that. Another feature I love is the Touch ID, basically I use my fingerprint to unlock the phone and I can also use it for payments. I’m yet to discover the second part, but it’s something I might use. I love the techiness of it, very James Bond-ish. It’s not new, Apple had this feature from iPhone 5s, but it’s new for me.

I use the phone as a hotspot and it works great. Even if the phone is downstairs, the internet works great upstairs too. I’m very pleased with this. Today I’m going to use Maps. By the looks of it, it will work fast. After having issues with the Samsung, I hope the iPhone will work better. There are a few things worse than hearing “GPS signal lost” when you are about to leave the motorway and head up some minor roads.

iPhone SE comes in 4 colours and I picked rose gold. I like the colour a lot, is a small phone and it gives it a girly feel. I need a case for it and hopefully I will get this weekend. It’s a matter of having the time to go to the shops to get it.

Continue reading New iPhone SE

The Little Book of LYKKE

In August I finished a book by Meik Wiking called The Little Book of Hygge, review in “Curently reading”. I think most people know this book. It’s a must read for all bloggers. You might not know though that he published a new book last month entitled The Little Book of LYKKE. The Danish search for the world’s happiest people.*

The little book of Hygge was a bestseller. It outsold all other hygge titles combined last year. It is published in 31 countries. I imagine, after reading it, that The Little Book of LYKKE will have a similar success. It was a pleasure to read and I will read it again in a few months time.

This new book is about Lykke (Luu-kah) (n): Happiness. He starts by talking about how you measure happiness and how happiness is personal. As what makes me happy is not what would make others happy. After that, the next chapters are about the components of what makes one happy: Togetherness, Money, Health, Freedom, Trust, and Kindness.I will avoid talking too much about any of them, because the whole point of this post is to make you want to open the book and read it yourself. I will mention though a few things from the book.

One of them is about money. He said that, after you have the minimum amount of money needed (for rent/mortgage, food), the extra money will not make anybody happier.
He mentions Michelle McGagh, a British woman that lived an year buying the bare minimum and how she discovered what really made her happy and it wasn’t weekly dinners at the restaurant or pub. It resonated with me. I had a point in my life when I was going to restaurant because I was too busy to cook at home and I wasn’t happy. Now I love cooking with my husband, each of us doing something, is so much better for us than going to a restaurant for dinner.

In another chapter he talks about freedom. This is another point that resonated with me. I need to feel free, it has a real impact in my happiness. I enjoyed that chapter a lot. He talks about the parental happiness gap (child-free couples are happier in UK, a definitely interesting read) and the happiness of entrepreneurs, despite the issues related to being your own boss and not employed somewhere.

I would definitely recommend the book. Meik presents stats (that is something I love in a book, real scientific data), but in a way that is enjoyable for everybody, including the ones not that keen on stats and percentages. The Little Book of LYKKE is filled with lovely looking pictures, something I enjoyed a lot in the hygge books. The pictures are creating a relaxing mood while I’m reading.

If you fancy the book, it is available on Amazon, Foyles, Hive, Waterstones, and WH Smith. I think this book can make a wonderful gift for Christmas and it has just the right price for a Secret Santa.

*I received the book for the purpose of this review.

A little Auto love n care

I was invited to take part in the campaign A little Auto love n care by Fife Autocentre. I blogged about my car before, my day-trip essentials, the importance of having the right tyres. This time I’m going to talk about car love. The car we currently own is our 3rd car. We got our first one 10 years ago.

I am smitten with having a car, I rarely use public transport. I went a couple of times with the train in London and once with the coach and it was tiring and actually more expensive than driving. Around Liverpool and Manchester we always use the car and this means we need the car to be reliable. The last thing we want is to get stuck on the side of the road with a broken car. While this might happen no matter how good we are taking care of the car, it’s still pretty important to show it a bit of Auto love.

A little Auto love n care

I thought about it and these are my 5 tips for car maintenance:

1. Tyres. It’s so important to have the right tyres. Check them regularly, check the tyre pressure and the tyre tread. If you need new ones, there are plenty of options available. You can order tyres in Dundee online on Fife Autocentre website. My husband and I always pick good quality tyres, at the moment we have Pirelli, even though they are more expensive, they last longer, consume less fuel, are better on wet and are quiter.

2. Whippers. Make sure the whippers are doing their job of cleaning the windscreen. Used whippers aren’t as efficient as the change in temperature, in time, affects the rubber. Have a look and change them if is needed. You don’t even need to go to the service for this, it’s an easy job to do. Also, check you have enough washer fluid, so you don’t run out when is muddy and you really need it.

3. Change the oil and filters. I think it’s better to change them before the recommended time passes. For our car, is recommended every 5,000 miles. Some suggest is better to change them at 3,000 miles. Because we tow the caravan, we should change it closer to the 3,000 miles mark. It doesn’t take long to do it. It’s true that is a hassle and it’s an expense, but is surely better than having problems with the engine afterwards. From time to time, check the oil level and top up with oil if is needed.

4. Don’t let it run dry on fuel. This is another thing that can cause issues in the long term. Fuel can have impurities and if the car runs on low fuel, those impurities can get into the engine. So, make sure you have plenty of fuel. I know we don’t always make sure we have enough fuel and it happened to run out of fuel exactly when we’ve entered the petrol station, but make it a goal to refuel even if you still have £15 worth of fuel in the car.

5. Check the lights. It is obvious that you need good lights, is mainly a matter of safety. As with the tyres, I would suggest buying a good quality brand as they will last longer. You might not realize you have a problem, especially if you are mostly driving in a well lit city. Before leaving for a longer drive, especially if it means leaving the city and going on country roads, check the lights. It takes only a minute to do it. Also, is not difficult to change the lights, so make sure they are working.

I hope you found my tips for A little Auto love n care campaign helpful.

* Post in collaboration. All opinions are my own.