Category Archives: Thoughts

Let’s talk about money

I went through the remaining questions from the 365 Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself This Year and picked the ones related to money. Last month I did a 100 Questions in 10 words or less and I enjoyed the twist of answering like that. So now I will talk about money. It’s a subject I don’t like to talk about, it should be personal. Also, what I consider a bargain can be deemed overpriced for someone else, while what they consider a bargain can be overpriced for me. We can have different values and priorities and that influences the way we relate to money. Anyway, I answered these questions and I enjoyed writing the post.

1. What can money not buy?
Not a lot of things. Money are important, from getting a place you are happy in to clothes, petrol and tickets for travels and sightseeing.
Loyalty, love, attention, these in theory can’t be bought. Showing love, appreciation is not easy without any money. You have to buy ingredients for a special homemade dinner, a card for an anniversary or a bunch of flowers. Some of these things might be only a few pence or a couple of pounds. Even if the gesture is more important than the value, but that still means money.

Let’s talk about money

2. What do you do with the majority of your money?
This is the sort of question I would avoid. So, my answer is: I buy things and services, can’t be more vague than that.

3. Other than money, what else have you gained from your current job?
Money are not the most important thing for me when it comes to jobs. Being able to be creative and loving what I do is more important than more money. I need a challenge and I have that too.

4. How much money per month is enough for you to live comfortably?
I think I live quite comfortably as it is, I have many things that make me happy. With more money I would pay my debts faster, get a newer car, I would do a bit more work to our house, buy lots and lots of crockery and kitchen tools&utensils. I might travel more. If I would get all those things, would I want to stop there or would I think I want another thing? I think it’s only human to strive for more and adjust the definition of what is comfortable to add a bit more.

5. If I gave you $1000 and told you that you had to spend it today, what would you buy?
I would book a weekend away with my husband and our dog. With the rest I might buy some kitchen stuff and shoes and maybe a dress and some makeup and a few books. Something for the dog and for my husband.

6. How would an extra $1000 a month change your life?
I would do a few of those items mentioned in question 4. The more important questions is what I would have to do to get those $1000 a month? If it means I should get a 2nd job, my life wouldn’t necessarily change for the better, as it would mean less time with my husband and less time doing other things that make me happy, like reading and cooking.

7. What things in life should always be free?
Why should anything be free? I think we appreciate more the things we work for and not those that come free.

8. What job would you never do no matter how much it paid?
I wouldn’t do a lot of jobs that would be against my values, too many to make a list.

15 Ways to feel at Home in a Foreign Country

I saw a similar post on a blog and I thought I should write my own guide which I named 15 Ways to Feel at Home in a Foreign Country. There are a few obvious things anybody who wants to move in another country has to do, like learning the language and a bit of geography, familiarizing with the law and customs. If moving to United Kingdom, refer to it as UK, don’t say England if you are referring to the whole country (only imagine what Nicola Sturgeon would say about that). Beside that, the only thing needed is a desire to integrate and keep an open mind. It’s that easy.
I enjoyed thinking of this topic.

1. Make you house your home.
I started with this because it’s one of the most important things regardless if the move is to a different flat/house, city or a country. I don’t think I should even start talking about the importance of having a nice and cosy home, everyone knows that. I know it’s more difficult when the house is rented, but it can be made homely with pictures, favourite books and vases, a cuddly toy and nice things bought from travels. I have in my living room a cuddly toy my husband bought for me in our honeymoon, a 500 years old piece of pottery I got from London last year. Little things can make a huge difference.

15 Ways to feel at Home in a Foreign Country

2. Local foods.
Try local foods. There are plenty of new and exciting things to try in a new country. Imagine if you really like the new food. Also, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it again, but at least you’ve tried it. Also, if you are talking with someone about food, you will know what they are talking about.
It might sound obvious, but it’s not. I had a chat with an expat who had no idea what a Christmas pudding is, despite celebrating Christmas two times in UK. Maybe not everybody likes it, although I can’t understand why someone would not try a pud filled with dried fruits and booze. I can’t imagine now my Christmas day without a Christmas pudding. My husband doesn’t like raisins, so it’s not as keen on it.

3. Read books written by British authors.
I think reading a few books will make the culture of the new country easier to understand. I didn’t do that from the beginning, but I’ve read British authors since I was a teenager and I read novels in English 5-6 years before moving to the UK. This is what I would do if I would move to another country. I think it’s a really helpful way to learn a few things before moving.

Continue reading 15 Ways to feel at Home in a Foreign Country

3 Funny things people have asked me

I am asked funny things sometimes and I wanted to share 3 of those questions. When I hear a question like this I’m lost for words. How can I reply?

1. You put your food & snacks on the plates only for taking pictures?

Hmmm… the obvious answer is no, I eat from plates like, hopefully, most of the civilized world. I don’t like eating out of a bag, so, if I can avoid it, I would toss the crisps/popcorn/puffs in a bowl and eat it from that.

I use props for taking food pictures, but those are obvious. I don’t think anybody eats their cookies with jars of flour on the table, sprinkled raisins and whatever props appear in the photo.

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2. If you are vegetarian, you can’t have turkey, what do you eat at Christmas?

I was amazed to be asked something like this. I have an accent and it’s obvious for a Brit I’m not born in the UK. Besides UK and the English-speaking countries (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) which started as colonies, the rest of the world has different customs for Christmas. I never had turkey for Christmas, not even when I wasn’t vegetarian, it’s not something people eat in Romania.

Funnily enough, there are more vegetarian or easy to make vegetarian options in the British Christmas dinner comparing to the Romanian one. Brussels sprouts can be vegan or vegetarian, the same can do done with roasted root vegetables. Onion gravy is delicious too, that too can be vegetarian.

3. Can you read in English? After a 5 minutes chat, the second question: When was the English Civil War?

The first question wouldn’t exactly be funny unless paired with the second one. I really can’t imagine how you get from: “can you read?” to a question about a 9 years time frame in the British history from the 17th century. This happened at a house transformed in a museum, in a small village up north.

I said 1648 and I got it wrong, but not by much. The Civil War started in 1642 and the second one started in 1648, as I said, when Charles I was captured and was executed the following year. That was what I knew, the year when Charles I’s was in captivity. I also knew the Civil War finished in 1651.

The lady who asked the question said she is not sure and this is why she asked me. First of all, I can’t understand why somebody who works in a historical museum has no idea when the English Civil War was, it’s not like knowing all the kings and queens from 1066 and up to date. Britain has only one civil war and it was the only time when there weren’t any kings on the throne. Although, considering that Oliver Cromwell was buried as a king and his son followed him, it’s not exactly a huge difference.
I had a look online to learn a bit more about that time and on 29th May 1660 the English monarchy was restored with King Charles II.

100 Questions in 10 words or less

This is the newest post in the series: 365 Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself This Year I mentioned in my first post. I was excited about it and I still love some of the questions, but some of them are daft. So, to make things a little harder, this month I will answer 100 questions in 10 words or less. I love this challenge and I hope you’ll enjoy reading my answers. It was hard to answer using only 10 words. I skipped one because I wanted to talk more about it, so that is in the next update.

100

1. Do you ever celebrate the green lights?
Not really. This is what I meant on daft questions.

2. What personal prisons have you built out of fears?
None, the notion of prison is too harsh.

3. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
Go on a very long hike.

4. Why are you, you?
I’m me due to past experiences and born characteristics.

5. If you haven’t achieved it yet what do you have to lose?
What I achieved so far.

Continue reading 100 Questions in 10 words or less

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Last month I answered to 28 Provoking Questions from the list of 365. As this month has 31 days, I’ll answer to 31 more questions. I hope you don’t find the post too long, there are a lot of questions.

01. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
I hope I would have said as much as it was necessary and also I hope I would have done as much as it was necessary.

02. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
Eat your veggies! Just joking, I don’t know, why is there a large group of people, maybe they are gathered to talk about something else and me mentioning veggies would be strange.

03. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I can’t answer this question. I chose to live my life considering my lifespan is 70-80, so my choices reflected that. The whole world would have been different with a lifespan of 40, like it was a couple of hundred years ago.

04. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?
We have so many things in common, even when we don’t agree, the “why” behind our actions can be the same.

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05. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Those Facebook memes aren’t always right. It depends on why someone would like to try or should try and, of course, the thing they are thinking of trying. Never trying sky diving is better than failing at it, isn’t it?
Although trying to hand feed the wild geese is a great idea, do try it.

06. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?
I asked my husband his opinion, what I would say and he said exactly the book that I would choose. I prefer not to say which one because it’s not a novel and the reason to pick that one isn’t exactly to promote it.

Continue reading Which is worse, failing or never trying?

28 Provoking Questions

I saw Danielle from underlandtowonderland is making a series based on 365 Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself This Year. I wanted to give it a try, as a monthly series. As it’s February, I will answer to 28 questions.

28 Provoking Questions

If some questions will be too personal, I will avoid answering them or I will answer vaguely. But the purpose of this series I’m starting is to look more in depth of things I might avoid. Knowing the why and asking the question is the first step into solving a problem.

1. When was the last time you tried something new?
When it comes to food, I try new things weekly, recipes or ingredients. When it comes to activities, I learned how to make my own perfume and I enjoyed that a lot.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
I make an effort not to compare myself to others. I don’t know their story and how they got where they are. As a blogger I might compare myself with other bloggers, or I compare myself with high-school colleagues and I do that when it comes to work. As soon as I realize I do that, I stop and I try to take a step back.

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
I don’t know. At the moment I have as a background on my laptop: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.

4. What gets you excited about life?
Traveling with my family, my work, cooking.

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
All life lessons are learned the hard way, or they wouldn’t be life lessons.

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
Nothing really. I just moved to UK and everything was new and exciting. I was visiting the city and discovering new ingredients and recipes. It was so exciting.

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I ask many questions. I’m very interested in discovering the WHY behind the actions.

8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
I love my husband and our dog. I should do more about it, more special moments, less arguing over stupid things.

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
Some of my beliefs would be quite controversial to disclose on my blog, so I will refrain from that. One I talked about is being vegetarian. At the moment there are more people eating meat than veg*ns, so it’s something the majority of the people will disagree.

10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
This is a very interesting question. The first thing that I though of is that now I am happy to make decorations with fondant. I was scared to try it, because I wanted to be perfect. When I stopped being scared, I tried it and I loved it. Funnily enough, I think the decorations I made look perfect.

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
Neither. I don’t like revealing my feelings in public, so I almost never cry if others can see me. I can’t say I cry often though.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
If it’s something I believe in, I don’t care if others will judge me. They might judge me either way, but it’s my life and I must be the one happy with it.

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
Yes, it’s a part of being happy. I’m not a naturally happy person, but I know that and I know how to put myself in the position to focus on the happy things. Celebrating the things I have is a part of it. For example, we celebrate the day we bought our home.

14. What is the difference between living and existing?
It’s a huge difference, obviously.

15. If not now, then when?
Good question. Well, let’s try now.

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
It’s work related, so I’ll not get into details. I was so happy and proud when I saw the results, a special moment.

17. What does your joy look like today?
Going to see something new, having a laugh with my husband and walking with the dog.

18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
Yes, of course.

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
I think this is the most important question from the whole lot. I don’t know, but it’s a question I will ask myself monthly and hopefully answer will be a longer and longer time.
We know we should be kind to others, but being kind to ourselves makes us egoists, doesn’t it?

20. Which activities make you lose track of time?
Reading and cooking.

21. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
Cooking.

22. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
I’m not sure if regret is the best word, as I love what I’m doing, but I would have loved to be able to practice what I studied at Uni. I also think it’s a shame I be even more organized.
As for regrets of not having someone in my life, it wasn’t fully my choice. Even if I pushed someone out, it was their actions that brought us to that point.

23. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?
I think we all do that.

24. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
I don’t know, I’m not in that position.

25. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?
I don’t think there is ever a time to stop calculating risks. I also don’t think there is a time to not do what I know is right. I didn’t feel this way 10 years ago, but I was 10 years younger and less mature.

26. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Well, 5 when I’m playing with the dog or picking up Disney JPs because they are cute. I can also be around my age (hopefully less) when I’m dressing smartly. And around Mary Berry’s age when I’m baking the perfect Victoria sponge.

27. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
This is a strange question. The law doesn’t always depicts the moral values that any of us might have. For example, would I speed up while driving to get my husband to the hospital if it’s nobody on the streets and it’s safe? I think most of us would say yes. I’m not sure I would say yes because I don’t usually drive and I might get ourselves killed before we reach the hospital.
I can say I think I would break the law, if it’s in accordance with my moral values, to save a loved one.

28. What makes you smile?
The dog makes me smile every single day. My husband makes me smile, cooking makes me smile, my work makes me smile.

Why I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day

I’m not sure if the title “Why I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day” is the best one, as I’m celebrating with my husband, obviously, so I should have included him in my title too. He has the same reasons as I; basically, it’s fun, there is chocolate and/or cake, a special meal and cards.
Last year in late January and early February I had a couple of discussions with friends about Valentine’s Day. Some said it’s a commercial day, all about buying, other said that it should be: “Valentine’s Day EVERYDAY”. Well, I can’t disagree more with both points. There are cards and gifts for everything, from V day to Christmas, moving to a new house, Halloween and so on. I don’t see why is that a bad thing. Every relationship is different, we rarely buy things for each other for anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, that is what works for us.
The second point, of “Valentine’s Day EVERYDAY” adds so much pressure on a relationship. I can’t expect my husband to bring me flowers every single day for the rest of our lives, we can’t have pink/red cakes and drinks/cocktails every single day and we do disagree sometimes. On top of that, we are busy with work and life, without having to build a house extension for all those flowers and working out a couple of hours each day to burn all those extra calories from the cake.

Why I'm celebrating Valentine's Day
I hope you, my reader, are impressed with the stained glass biscuits I made, recipe will follow on CookStyle, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

1. Special moments. I strongly believe that a happy marriage (relationship) needs special moments. This is, in my mind, the reason to celebrate anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. I mentioned anniversaries because we do have a lot of those: the day we’ve met, our first date, our 1st wedding, our 2nd wedding (2 months after the 1st one), the day we moved in together. We also celebrate the day we took Festus, our dog. I know when it’s 4th of February that is the day we moved in together, I can’t just ignore that, even if we are away with work, we can do something a little bit special.
We’ve been a couple for 14 years, we moved houses, countries, changed a few jobs, got pets, we’ve renovated both homes we bought. Anniversaries and Valentine’s Day too bring back happy memories from years ago and we also make new memories for years to come.
One time, for Valentine’s Day, I talked with a friend of ours. He said he is not celebrating V day because he doesn’t seem to find a reason to do so. I told him only one thing, that his girlfriend might actually like celebrating it. He and I made reservations at a restaurant in the countryside and all four of us went there for dinner. The restaurant wasn’t busy as it is far from the city, it had some heart confetti on the table and a chocolate heart. Next day, our friend told me it was a fab idea, his girlfriend was happy and it was a lovely evening.

2. Cards. I love cards. I spend a lot of time looking in shops to find the perfect one and it’s a thing I like to do. All the cards I receive in an year are going in a drawer and, after Christmas, I put them in a zip bag and they go on top of the cards from the last years. I’m not sure what happened with the cards I had before, they might be in a box in my in-laws’ loft.

3. Food, food, food. Another reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day is the food. I love preparing special meals or going to new restaurants. My husband isn’t as excited about special dinners because, if I cook, we might not even know how an ingredient or two are called. I do that, I get strange things to cook and, most of the time, I love them. Of course, we also have dessert, cake or cheesecake in a jar type of dessert, maybe biscuits and chocolate… maybe more than 1 dessert.
For Valentine’s Day we usually stay at home. I love cooking and we might prepare the meal together, as my husband is a great cook too. The only downside is that he is more traditional when it comes to food; he likes to know the names of both dishes and ingredients. Cooking together is part of the fun for us.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?