Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Happy Spring - a new season

Dear Family & Friends

Driving and dentist are not my favorite 'things' in life!! Somehow the new season seemed to help me overcome this:) My family are very impressed...they forgot that I can even drive a car as it's been a long time. Doing so, I have given my two girls great encouragements too! Our CEO himself is busy and well motivated with a lot of things. Our home is one very busy place. Everyone engrossed with projects and plans. 

New season of Spring in our home

We have been having endless clear blue sky as spring time is here. Everything is waking up...a new start, a new beginning and a new season in life. I'm hoping as I'm writing this, that you find yourself encouraged where you are too.

tree blossoms means fruits are on it's way

With my to and fro exciting dentist trips ... and the never ending sowing and propagating gardening season...it's another day of a very simple meal like: rice with egg omelet, the best I could come up with, but everyone is very happy! It must be the benefits of tons of fresh herbs from our garden that I throw in with the omelet. or perhaps the 'serotonin' in the eggs that contributes to people's mood: making them kind and happy. How true?...I don't know! Egg meal certainly make my life's schedule easy to cope on busy days:)

when you see spring flowers you see new hope

All of the fruit trees and shrubs we planted autumn last year have taken on - showing new shoots and greenery:) It's definitely nothing to do with green fingers... sometimes, these are just seasonal things to do. We just do the best we could and know how to, for it's all under God's control.

my garden friends, even better than the frog prince - they're beautiful:)

People are coming out after a season of winter hibernation (talking more about myself)...even the froggies are out and I'm so happy to see them again. I will make a pond for them this year so they can have a happy home with a swimming pool in our garden:)

staying healthy and having free fun at the same time

Unlike the members of my little family here, I don't do as much exercise - fun exercise like cycling! But I promised myself that I would keep up with that too...got to move this old body!!

Well, that's us here...let's all try to stay positive and motivated in whatsoever is good...hope you do the same too...and have a great day!


Friday, 24 March 2017

Few Steps for a better garden ecology

Dear Family & Friends

Over the last few years, I have become more aware that as I grow older, it's inevitable and a fact of life that one moves on for the next generation. The children will inherit what the prior generation leaves. There's more to think of, than ourselves. What we make of our environment now will be passed on to the next.

autumn was the best time to gather leaves to mulch the entire garden

I definitely can't change the whole world but I could start within my own little piece of world - my home-my garden. My goal is to pay attention to the principles that guides my choice and action for a more sustainable garden for the sake of my children and the next generation.

 we built some trenches as part of our design to help our garden soil retain moisture.

In my piece of garden...
  • There is no digging or plowing, for it merely damages the soil community and structure. Anyway, who needs extra work when it is not necessary?
  • Every roots in the ground will be left there except for the ones that we eat, like carrots, potatoes etc.... As plant activity changes, the composition of soil community will change. The roots will decay in place, decaying is part of a living cycle.It will leave nutrients for other new living roots, and will create a passageway deep into the soil for air and water.
  • Return unused produce (kitchen waste) to the garden...it is very essential to provide food to our garden ecology. When we take, we also must give.
healthy soil community is so important

Just a few simple ways that I want to put into practice for our garden at this time. It's definitely not much to implement but it is enough for now, and I must start!

Spring is here. Have a happy gardening day.


Monday, 20 March 2017

A Milestone- time to move onto the bathroom

Dear Family & Friends

Whilst Monday to Friday is a very routine day, with each one of us occupied with either working for a living, running a home, or completing our education requirements - all these done from within our home. Comes Saturday, we set out Hi-ho... hi-hoing to our city apartment to carry on  with our family DIY interior decorating project. Thus, on Sundays, we are grateful that our wise God gave us a mandate that we have to have a rest day too:)

lighting shopping day

Being Saturday, my little girl normally have language teaching at home, but since her student got an engagement, it was canceled. So, she and I managed to join in the family project team.

we don't own a palace to accommodate this grand chandelier...

Now that we have already finished the ceiling works, we have to start thinking about the lighting features. Thus, we visited a large lighting retail shop. The choices are many. We have in mind to hang a small chandelier...so we went to look out for a suitable one.

this small chandelier might fit in...

It has to be quite small as our apartment is only tiny, but we want to add some elegance - for interest, to compensate the size. I think an interesting feature will do the job. So far, we have found one lighting that we might go for. The lighting for the hallway, bedroom and bathroom have yet to be consider..sometimes all these decisions to make can be too much for the old brain...but we will get there slowly.

a sample of the floor tile design for the bathroom:)

Next shopping stop was to a bathroom tiles outlet. Again there's so many beautiful choices. Tiles made in Italy are the most expensive choice, those from Spain comes next in ranking. The Turkish tiles are more commonly sold as they are the cheapest in the market. 

Turkey got some very good tile designs in their historic buildings, from historic times, so I thought of looking at their tiles. I was a bit disappointed that the design pattern we wanted came in set of four. Only two of the four were appealing and we are not given the free choice to make:( Just as we were about to leave the shop in despair, we caught another floor tile pattern that really match our idea. I was so happy...even more so, because this one is made in Bulgaria. I would rather patronize a local product. The price was reasonable too....so our shopping day ended with a big dance of joy.

measuring carefully before cutting the floor boards...one at a time

The rest of the day was spent in our apartment and we finally finished all the flooring in the main room, hallway and the bedroom. There were a lot of measuring, matching, cutting and fitting, till evening caught up with us again.

piece by piece, and then it was all done!

We just need to finalize it with a skirting board on the edges. Then it's time to move on to the bathroom works.

we forgot that this was the 'before'  photo some months ago....

We easily forget that some weeks ago, the apartment was not all this homey.. Slowly, it's all coming together:)

the room is basically ready with just the skirting board to put around the edges...

It is a challenge for us because we're mere amateur in this field but we are not afraid to give the best of what we could do. Learning as we go, and if we don't have the knowledge...we go find it.

Onward is the direction...and I hope you have a good week ahead to look forward too:)


Friday, 17 March 2017

Indoor birthday picnic

Dear Family & Friends

My little girl turned fifteen! I said: 'Let's have party'...and she said: 'Mummy I just want your home cooked spaghetti'. So, on this Saturday, after she finished her weekend morning teaching job, we head off to our little apartment in the city to have a birthday picnic:) The plan was to have fun birthday celebration and a little bit of weekend work in the apartment at the same time.

the teenager with her French language self-study

We are homey bunch and prefers to have fun in our own home where we can take all the time to enjoy ourselves. So, for this little party, it was all made easy. We just bought a bucket of deep fried chicken, bought a selection/assortment of mediterrenean salad...and made some local yogurt drink:) plus my home cooked spaghetti which we packed with us. I tell you it was the best party ever! We were all filled with contentment:) There's nothing better than a family who finds joy in the simple things of life!!

deep fried chicken, assortment of anti-pasti salad, a quinao salad, homecooked spaghetti in tomato sauce, yogurt drink

We ate till we couldn't move....that our usual Saturday decorating work was put to the side for that day. Instead, we made further work plans for the following week. As for the preparation, we also managed to go shopping for the next job's materials that we would be needing. It's really a great blessings to have flexible family that are united and in agreement:)

tiramisu as the  birthday cake:)

By the end of that day, we head back home to our quiet village after a hectic running around the city....and had a tiramisu birthday cake as the finale of the day.

That was how we celebrated a teenage girl's 15th birthday:) All fun!

Life is good and I also hope you have a good day today:)


Monday, 13 March 2017

This working hand

Dear Family & Friends

This girl is not into nail painting or is a fan of a beauty saloon.... but since we were at the mall meet up place early, she popped into a nail varnish shop who's encouraging customers to try on their product..so she decided to paint her nail for free to fill the time.

the manicured hands

This is a hard working hands...a hand that loves painting, yes that includes DIY wall painting, furniture painting and water colour paintings! But today she got the sense of humour of showing her painted nails to the chickens in our garden!!..perhaps to cheer up a dull and cold winter's day.

let's see what the chickens got to say about this hand...

'Come on chickens...have a look and let me know what you think about my painted nails.' ...the chooks are curious creatures...at least three of them came forth in response.

They were willing to engage in a conversation with the girl...it's all girlie talk.

I think they were impressed by it all

Judging by the look of this candid photo, I think they were fascinated with what humans can come up with....which they call: manicure:)

It's true there's nothing much going on in our garden at this time of the year...but having chickens in our garden keeps us entertained all year. Well, just some small talks to include in my journal. I'm afraid nothing's so exciting going on for the moment. Hope you have more excitement where you are and do keep happy:)


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Free Extras for the Apartment

Dear Family & Friends

When you buy a new built apartment in Bulgaria, it's common that you pay the price for the size by square meter which includes the outside balcony. Basically you get the very basic structure of rooms with walls and concrete flooring. All other detail like wall finish, kind of floorings, electrical fittings, bathroom fittings, windows and doors are buyer's extra expenses and preferences.

free internal doors were installed in our apartment 

It's our first time to purchase a new built apartment in it's bare skeleton structure. Perhaps it's guts, or perhaps it's mix naiveness. Fortunate for us, we chanced a developer/constructor who offered good standard workmanship. Many gives shabby work for more profit...

Surprisingly, a double glazed windows and balcony doors were included and installed for us. Then later on, they also included internal doors, security door phones, doorbells, plus all electrically wirings and switches/sockets too. All these extras were for free. A bonus for us:)

a nice extra little touch - no. 3 on our main door

Today when we visited the apartment to do some weekend work, we found out that not only they came in to fit in two internal doors of our color choice...they also placed a little touch of brass number '3' on our outside main entrance door. It placed a smile on our face.

a black bird in our snow covered garden...it was hard to photograph him...he is so movable!

Little surprises do bring smiles to our faces. I hope you have many such smiles too along your way this week:)


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Kind and Gentle Speech makes people happy

Dear Family & Friends

Today I heard somebody saying: kind and gentle speech makes people happy. It's what stacked in my mind and hopefully it will stick there forever with me.

my thumb size little people - all homemade with love

This week, I've picked up some tiny scrap materials and hand sew some happy little people. All very different - each one with their individual character, nonetheless - all very beautiful in their ways.

so many things you can do with yarns!

Yesterday, someone visited a craft shop and took a photo of the yarn displayed. One of us can't help but dream of all beautiful things she could knit and make. Not every dream we dream of is achievable...but it pays to be an encouragement to each other..with kind and gentle words - always...because other's happiness is that important too.

Wishing you a Happy day today:)


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Progressing ever so slowly

Dear Family & Friends

For the duration of our winter season, there was nothing better than to enjoy doing the interior works in our tiny apartment. We were amazed that even without any heating system it didn't feel cold at all.

the incentive or 'the bait' for our workers

Most of us really enjoy and are looking forward to go there to help in with some manual works. Although we don't get paid for any work contributions, yet there are always food incentives...fast food and crisps snacks are on offer!! These unusual baits are always attractive!! 

insulation for the floor...plastic  lining topped with foam sheets

All messy painting works are now done with. The next phase is the flooring installation.

precision...precision while cutting the floor boards

Our big boss is very meticulous and a bit perfectionist in everything. So, you can imagine how slow work goes.

it will be nice once the flooring are all laid down....

So, at times the workers get impatient ... but there's always the extra activities they get into - to fill their time in between. ...like, reading all product manuals and instructions which are written in Bulgarian. They enjoy studying every word therein to improve their language skill further, till big boss is ready with further work instructions:)

every word on the work manual/instruction is studied and translated

I guess it will be a while before we finish this decorating works. Mind you, we only get to our project  site once a week because there's just not much time available these days. Well, we just do what we can do...a day at a time.

Hope you are doing good ...keeping busy - out of mischief - at the same time, enjoying every hour of the day too:)


Saturday, 25 February 2017

It's gardening time once again

Dear Family & Friends,

I told you that winter only last for a season = three months here... and I'm  right of course:) Snow drops comes just at the last month of our winter season - around February. They are the first flower that comes up in our garden.

a cluster of snowdrops

I was so happy to see the buzzing bees around the cluster on the first warm sunny day. Yes, they're back and they're announcing that spring is a matter of few days away:)  I've recently learned that snowdrops are easy to propagate...simply dig them up to divide the bulbs further and replant them. They will multiply quickly. I will do just that as soon as they finish flowering

I've noticed they have spread under the grapevine areas:)

Today I have been out gardening for the first time for this new year...How I miss gardening! I surveyed the garden and saw that some new plant shoots are already coming up. I pruned and trimmed old plants, planted the cut stems into the ground, hoping that they will take roots, sown some cold loving salad plant seeds and peas too:) I heard that the next two days will be even warmer before a light sprinkling of rain is to come. Just perfect!! I will carry on again for another day...it's now time to rest:)

Whilst we are very fortunate with almost perfect weather in Bulgaria....Sad to say, UK seem to have non-stop terrible time with lots of storms all throughout the year - it seems:(  Recent storm Doris flew a couple of roof tiles which did damage to our house porch:(  Must be a very frightening strong wind, but at least no one's hurt. Hopefully I could say...all these are just but for a season...

Still hoping all the best of the week for you! Keep safe wherever you are.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The secret of distraction

Dear Family & Friends

I often wonder why I see my daughter diligently - or it seems to be diligently, working on her school work for long hours...yet, she seems to not get to the end of it all! I suspect there's some distraction going on.. but I don't have any evidence for it....

distracted by drawing

...until I discovered papers with lots of drawings! I'm supposed to tell her off for getting distracted every so often, but... I thought it was not worth it. After all, I enjoyed her doodles!

all the days work....

On her desk top...all her school works are laid out...no drawings papers to show any evidence of distraction...until you open the drawer...

drawing collections are hidden in this drawer

That's where all the hidden distractions are located! Her leaking ink pen (the one I told her to throw away ASAP before it'll stain my tablecloth) ... her collection of drawings done in between time... including her drinking mug!! Yes! they were all inside the drawer!!

it includes the old ink pen...and drinking mug!!

Oh whatever next!! I kept my composure well and not show any amusement either. Life is too short... some fun must be done as well. Bringing up children is such an interesting phase of life. Children are precious including their funny character. You just have to love them all for who they are.

Hope you are having a good week....one that is not too distracted from the set goal. Yes, keep on achieving that goal...afterall, we're still at the beginning of the best year!


Friday, 17 February 2017

Snow and Icicles

Dear Family & Friends

Time seems to go by so quickly. We had lots of snow for weeks on end...not just cold but bitterly cold winter...yet, only for a season. We witnessed quite a few interesting bird species happy frolicking in the garden. They are enjoying the season and perhaps like little children...they love the idea of snow around:) Some got berries in the beaks, telling me, they are well provided for, even when most garden goods are covered in snow at this time. 

garden bird enjoying a cool day

The sun is shining so brightly today but not enough to melt all the snow...but it is thawing a bit during the day.

a city snow track prints

As soon as the bright sun sets off, cold settles back in for the night. So, when we get up in the morning, another beautiful scenery is formed - icicles:)

icicles are beautiful

In life, every thing is just for a season. It reminds me that we must not be prideful of anything - for everything in this world will just come and go. Contentment is the key to happiness. Enjoy each day...there's goodness in each day to look forward to:)


Monday, 13 February 2017

The family project is going great

Dear Family & Friends

Lots of work for us here but it's what keeps us going for the moment. It's what wakes us up early  in the morning, all ready to go...something to look forward to. It might sound funny but a working goal is exciting for our family unit!

one big shopping goods hauled back

As a family we decide together how we want the apartment to look like. We have chosen the paint colour, all other materials and design of products we need for the interior works such as wood flooring, wall and floor tiles, paints etc... one room at a time.

working till you get covered with dust and paint all over:)

This project enables us to put into practice and gain extra skills in decorating works. It also helps our two teenage girls to develop teamwork abilities. 

teamwork...everyone have their corner to tackle with

It's surprising how much pride it brings when you accomplish hard work. Work develops more value when you earn and do it yourself.

the walls and ceilings are now sanded and painted...next job is the flooring

Learning skills by doing is by far the best schooling you could get. These two teenage ladies learned a lot of practical skills from their father. They appreciate work and are never afraid of hardwork. Work to them is another opportunity to gain accomplishment.

bycycles and reclining chair in case some relaxation is needed in between jobs

We brought two bikes to the working site. This is in case somebody fancies a break and go for a relaxing bike rides instead ... but no one bothered...they just want to concentrate and finish the task. As for the neon green garden chair...it's also an equipment for relaxation...this offer is taken...positioned in a sunny balcony in a cold winter's day, to sit on and enjoy a light lunch before going back to do more work.

night draws in once again...it's time to head home

I'm proud of these three workers in our family. They work from morning till it's dark - before they come back home. My role is to pack their lunch early morning, and be the home keeper till they come back. By then, our home will be warm, log burner going and there'll be hot water ready for them to get clean before we all have warm cooked food together. We all have a role in the family unit to help and keep each other happy. Each of our roles are important - big or small.

Hope you are achieving happy goals too..for it is important in our daily living.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Let's Make A Better World - The Homemaker

Dear Family & Friends

Today we are going to talk about the most difficult and most under appreciated work there is in our society - the homemaker aka housewife, stay at home mum or dad.

Is being a homemaker a job? DEFINITELY! This is one of the most difficult work in the whole world because here lies the state of the whole family: From the main bread winner, to every member within the family unit. Because of that, we shouldn't take for granted the role of  a homemaker in our financial life.

What is it like to be a homemaker? What are the challenges of a homemaker?

Being a Homemaker is a 24/7 job. Taking care and raising the children is a 48 hours job and is not measured by time alone - it's the value system. The homemaker is the children's mentor...their role model and it's a big thing. The children look up to them. Raising up children is not a joke. We need the values, communication ability, and love.

To those of you who are covering this role...well done! Keep up the good work. It is not always easy but you are not alone.

To those of you who are not so sure of what I'm talking about...it might not be agreeable to you for the moment, but at least know that a homemaker's job is a humbling experience and that they are the backbones of their secured family...that will form a safe community where we all live in.

This is one interesting and thought provoking discussion...not to provoke anyone by any means...but it's what I believe in... and here, I give my acknowledgement and salute to every homemakers.

Let's make a better world.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

White is the colour - mainly

Dear Family & Friends

My last post seemed to be all white as the main colour...well, it still is...our snow is still lingering on..refusing to melt completely...but February month is already here. This is the last of the winter quarter. January's worst is over and temperature is now expected to remain above freezing, I hope:)

our village centre hall

Inside our home where it is warm...my little girl just want to knit another warm, soft white alpaca wool scarf for a friend.

knitted white alpaca wool is all done

In our city apartment, the colour theme we are working on seems to be all white too. Yes, we love the colour ! All white walls and it's going to be white flooring too:)

colours in our tiny apartment would be mainly white

Well, actually...there's also a lot of water colour art paintings going on in our home too...For that, our artistic girls couldn't resist with riots of colours.

A water colour painting done by my little girl for a friend

Colours we see around us can bring us a lot of cheers: white or multi-colours:)

Have a wonderful and interesting week to you all.