Nowruz

Yesterday we were invited by one of hubby’s friends at VOOO to celebrate the nowruz. Nowruz, or the New Day, is an Iranian celebration marking the first day of spring; occurring on the astronomical Spring Equinox. This is the first day of the Persian new year, being celebrated for over 3,000 years.

The signification of nowruz:

“Nowruz is the Persians’ longest and most cherished festivity, on which all Iranians celebrate the New Year with the nature’s resurrection from withered winter. It is deeply rooted in Zoroastrianism and counts as the oldest Iranian festival. Nowruz ancientness, variety, colorfulness, and rich symbolism mark it off from its peers in other nations and countries.

Nowruz is the Celebration of Life; it is determined according to the spring equinox and coincides with March 21, or the previous/following day, marking the start of the spring in the northern hemisphere.”

source: irpedia

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Body fat caliper

We women tend to care how much we weight and we tend to ignore the most important thing of all: what does that number mean. We all know two persons with the same height and weight can look very different and we usually “blame” the bone structure, but a different body fat percentage makes a great difference too.

The body fat percentage is the amount of fat tissue in your body as a percentage of total body weight. It’s important to know your body fat percentage because a high percentage means you have a higher risk to develop weight-related illness (I’ll write more in the future). Another very important reason is that a higher percentage means you need fewer calories to maintain your weight… or even gain weight.

The body fat can be measured easily with different online-calculators, but for the most accurate ones that you can use at home involve a skin-fold caliper. I got mine last week, from eBay at a low price (less than 2 pounds).

This is a picture of the caliper. It’s very easy to use and has a chart with the normal limits. Give it a try… it could change your life.
body fat caliper

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Women’s day

In Eastern Europe the 8th of march has a very special meaning: women’s day. It’s a day that celebrates the woman regardless if she is a mother or not. Of course we celebrate this year too. I asked hubby to make it a special day out and he said yes. Fortunately we had a lovely weather and our walk was great.

First of all we went to Williamson tunnels. I saw the website before moving to UK and I really wanted to visit the tunnels. The reviews on tripadvisor were great too.

We had a guide that told us the lovely story of Joseph Williamson (born on 10th march), a very eccentric man, who succeeded to get from an orphan child that arrived at 11 years in Liverpool to a wealthy tobacco merchant. He was, from my point of view, a great philanthropist too. The lady-guide talked with such enthusiasm and we loved the tour. If you came in Liverpool, make a stop to the tunnels, you will have a great time.

Some pictures. This is the entrance. I had to wear a helmet, but there are no risks.
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We paid attention to the tale and forgot to took pictures of the tunnels. After Williamson died in 1840 the tunnels were used as a dumping site, but, as the lady told us, it’s just a matter of perception… now every piece is an artifact :)
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This was a pot for steamed vegetables. The holes were made so the steam could go out so the vegetables wouldn’t get mushy.
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Jam jars with the inscription: “Not genuine unless bearing W. P. Hartley’s label”. We saw Hartley jams in store, but I’m not sure we’ve tried it.
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The entry fee is just £4.5 per person, it’s a small price considering they receive no public funding and the guide is included!

After we saw the tunnels, we were headed to World Museum when I saw that St. George’s Hall is open. We stepped in and enjoyed a short visit.
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I was standing near the judge’s chair.
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The hall looks amazing.
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St. George’s Hall is the first building with air-conditioning in the world. The engineer David Boswell Reid designed this system in 1851. He named it “Systematic Ventilation” system, and he designed the one for the Houses of Parliament too.
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The hall from outside. The hall has no entry fee.
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Near the hall is the World Museum.The museum is huge! There are five floors and many exhibits and it’s free! On the first floor we saw the Aquarium. The pictures have a lower quality because hubby didn’t use the flash (it was a requirement and a polite thing to do).

The lovely Clownfish, that unfortunately it’s considered an endangered species.
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Another endangered species, but I forgot the name. They look so funny.
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Near the entrance of the bug house is the giant bug. A little scary :)
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Two scorpions.
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Ants. Their display is very interesting, they get the food in one place and the ants move it to their habitat. I think very organized and lovely.
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The bug house has a huge number of butterflies! A lot of the insects are put in special drawers-insectariums. I’ll go again to read about them and take pictures. They are so many, so I think only this exhibits will take 2-3 hours to see properly.
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After the bug house we went in the Clore Natural History Centre. There were many children so we moved faster. I’ll go back another time, fortunately it would be a smaller crowd. I loved this exhibit. On the wicker chest is wrote: “Dare you open the box to see the most DANGEROUS ANIMAL in the world? Watch out it is alive!” and inside there is a mirror…
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On the ancient world sector I saw for the first time a mummified crocodile. There are a few mummies as well because Liverpool is a center for research of the Egyptian archaeology and here was founded the first institute of archaeology.
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I also found my ancient Egyptian name: weser nefer sat.
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Very beautiful arrows. The middle one is just lovely.
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Interesting pairs of sunglasses made by Eskimos.
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Here I was searching for the right runes to write my name. It was pretty hard because the difference between the runes wasn’t so big.
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my name
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In the Natural World section there were many warnings about our endangered planet. For example: “Every year an area of forest the size of Yorkshire is deliberately destroyed forever. It is estimated that in 30 years these enormous forests may have completely disappeared. Can the world afford to pay this price for “progress”?”
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A fossil in stone. At the museum there are a few fossils and they all look lovely, at least from my point of view.
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British Pie Week

5th – 11th march is the British Pie Week!

Hubby insisted we should celebrate this great holiday by eating pie every day. So today I’ve made apple pies. Enjoy!

I decided to update the old post as the pie I made a few years ago didn’t look as good as the one I made this year, 2015. The recipe I’m using now is slightly different than the old one, as I added 1 egg in the pastry. The flavour is so much better.
For decorating I usually cut the dough into long strips to make a woven lattice on top. Now I’ve tried something different with leaves and it looks amazing. I don’t want to make the pies too doughy as I prefer to taste the filling. Another aspect is that I feel I would add calories. This pie had 1580 calories (without the custard) and I would say there are 6 good size portions. This means that a slice of pie had only 263 calories, almost half the calories that are in 1 shop-bought cupcake.

01 apple pie

02 apple pie
Make the pastry with 75g butter, 150g flour and 1 egg. Mix the soften butter with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and knead the dough. Leave it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

03 apple pie
Roll the dough with a pin and place it in the baking tray.

04 apple pie
Wash and peel the apples. Grate them on the large holes, add 50g of sugar, 1 spoon of flour and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Fill the pastry with the apple mixture.

05 apple pie
For the decorations, roll the remaining dough.

06 apple pie
I wanted to use my ivy cutter, but I didn’t find it, so I made freehand leaves instead. Using a pizza cutter, for a more smooth finish, cut the dough in the shape of a leaf.

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With a knife, make a visible dent in the middle of the leaf and continue to make dents for the veins.

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Make a branch from the remaining dough and add the leaves. Bake it for 40 minutes at 180C fan.

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09 apple pie

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I served the pie with vanilla custard.

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Martisor

Hubby gave me a lovely martisor this year. It arrived today and I’m so happy.m_01

He got a fish from Butler & Wilson. I love their jewellery… bold, colorful and beautiful. I’ll wear it tomorrow evening when we go out.
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For the readers that don’t know the meaning of martisor:

“Mărțișor (Romanian pronunciation: [mərtsiʃor]) is an old Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring, on March the 1st. Symbolically, it is correlated to women and to fertility as a means of life and continuity. The name Mărțișor is the diminutive of marț, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), and thus literally means “little March”. It is also the folk name for this month.

In modern times, and especially in urban areas, the Mărțișor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship or love, appreciation and respect. The black threads were replaced with red, but the delicate wool ropes are still a ‘cottage industry’ among people in the countryside, who comb out the wool, dye the floss, and twist it into thousands of tassels. In some areas the amulets are still made with black and white ropes, for warding off evil.”

source: wikipedia

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Wild geese

update! wild geese by night:
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Today we went in St. Helens. Hubby and a friend had a meeting with Paul Sculthorpe, former Saints captain, at Saints Stadium. A picture taken at the stadium.
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Meanwhile I went shopping in the town for a while. I got a nice compliment from a old gentleman: “you look like a flower, love”. It was very nice and this was the first time I actually enjoyed what I was told by a stranger on the street. It made my day much prettier.

After the meeting I managed to convince hubby to make a short trip to Knowsley, but when he turned back the car we saw a swarm of not-so-wild geese.
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A dad and his kid were feeding the birds, so I had to do the same. We dropped the plans to go to Knowsley and went to Tesco to buy some bread (whole wheat, of course). After a small discussion about the number of breads… we got 2 and went back to feed them. As soon as I got out of the car the geese approached us with no hesitation.
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I hopped the geese would came near me, but my expectations were too small.
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The geese came very close and they had no problems steeling the bread from my hands and getting into a lot of fights. This is the 2nd time I’m so surprised birds can be so aggressive. The first time I saw some very “upset” penguins and now the geese.
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As I said…they fought a lot. If one of them caught a piece of bread, another one or maybe two would pinch her.
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One tried to get the breed from the wrapping and a few tried and succeeded to get some bread from my hand.
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Another fight…
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I really enjoyed feeding them. It’s a shame they are so far from us.

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A diary of my travels, events, my thougths, blogging, craft projects and my home.