Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Holiday mode of transport

Dear Family & Friends

Continuing on with our recent holiday fun memories, we've enjoyed going places in various mode of transportation mainly to experience and gain a more widen perspective in life. We all loved it and we all had good fun.

noisy and rickety tricycle ride

Sometimes we see them as not so comfortable: cramp, rickety, noisy and perhaps not too safe (that is if we don't exercise common sense). It might not be the top of the range transportation there is, but  we experienced the most friendly and hospitable treatment ride, truly unbeatable and most memorable experience:)

a motorized boat that took us across the white sand beach island

As with travelling, we also did endless walking...so good for our physical well-being too:) Fortunately for us, the weather at this time of the year was not too hot and humid.

walking on white sand beach where no sundeck is allowed - bliss and clean

So here ends some of the joy that we will always remember as part of our holiday break. All the unusual things we did. Now that we're back to our routine home and work life, it is also nice to get back to what daily living is really made of.

Wishing you a good day.


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Holiday eating

Dear Family & Friends

Part of our family culture is feeding each other non-stop, basically a love language:) Every family gathering means food sharing. Every time we sit down to catch up with each other's news means - eating:) Yes, we have to be experts in eating and talking at the same time:)

typical rice breakfast meal that we enjoyed a lot

There's endless home cooking and eating out sessions. Our gatherings normally means a big crowd - it's all good fun, no one bickering, with every one just accepting each other's flaw - after all, we all got our own imperfections too.

a nice local hearty breakfast

Food binds up our family. Even hourly snacking keeps us all going with good time:) So, there's endless snacks passed around that we don't normally eat proper food as we eat so many times a day. Don't worry, it's because we're on holiday:)

this was an unexpected free buffet meal from a hotel :)

Now that we're back home, it's back to my homecooked meals, and that means: once a day hot balance meal only...it's a lot of work to keep me in the kitchen - and that's my excuse and everyone has to remain contended:)

All for today - have a nice week ahead.


Saturday, 15 February 2020

Chilling out on holiday break

Dear Family & Friends

It was nice to have a short but very long overdue visit to see family on the other side of the world. An eye opening for the now grown up ladies and they immediately fell in love with the families - most of whom they have never met in their life time.

most ideal place to just chill all day long

Besides meeting the families, we all enjoyed a wonderful time full of laughter, news updates, never ending fun time going sightseeing, and eating every hour of the day and night!

Island beach life

We also had a great escape from winter discomfort to summer discomfort - all in a good way. Life is good:)

sunset at the end of the day

As with everything, even good fun comes to an end - all too soon:( We are so grateful for everything and we will forever cherish this memorable holiday.

Till my next post, I wish you a good day today.


Monday, 10 February 2020

Roof gutters installed to collect rain and snow water

Dear family & Friends

We don't usually experience heavy rain over here but winter and spring time usually send us water from heaven in form of light rain or snow to sustain our land to compensate a normally dry summer.

Our fruit trees have now gone to hibernation mode and all leaves have been shed
Thus in our village it is a common sight to see homes without gutters to deviate water off their immediate home area. As for us, we want to collect the water off our roof and re-direct it to our garden for better use of the natural resource...little or much, every resource counts:)

property borders lined with solid mud brick walls all around

This week, our CEO managed to hang gutters to the house in the adjacent property. Winter is not really bleaked over here as sunshine always comes out to cheer our cold days. So, we managed to meet our next door neighbour as they are home for the winter holiday break whilst working outside. As a handy man, he gave us helpful ideas on how to deal and resolve with some of the little works around our property too.

gutters are invisibly installed just under the roof edges to collect snow and rain water

It's strange how works here and there can inspires each of us to look forward to tomorrow. We all believe that this new year, the start of a new decade has a lot of good things ahead, and that makes us all very excited. We just celebrated the Chinese new year, certainly in a very special and unexpected way this year. I will share it on my coming post. 

For now, I wish you a lovely day and week ahead:)


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Rebuilding the broken down wall

Dear Family & Friends

We are blessed with thick mud brick walls all around our property boundary. Having this gives us a sense of security and privacy. We can be sure that no stray animals can come into the garden and likewise, our free roaming pets are safe in our garden perimeters too.

our mud brick boundary wall is finished with roof tile cover on top

In our adjacent property, a corner of the boundary wall have broken down and was left unrepaired by previous owners.  If left for a little bit longer, more damaged will be done. So, it was a priority thing to do.

building wall - layer by layer

We like the aesthetic look of the organic mudbrick wall. In the olden days, people invest on making such bricks with mud and straw - and it must have been very time consuming too. Mudbricks are very sturdy and long lasting than the present day mass produced red bricks. Unfortunately, nobody does mudbrick anymore these days.

the width of the wall is at least two feet thick

Fortunate for us, our next door neighbour is knocking down his mudbrick wall barnhouse in preference of re-building a modern day red brick outbuilding. So, we became the happiest recipient of the precious mudbricks which we can reuse to rebuild our broken corner of the boundary wall. 

mudbricks are binded with more mud 

The foundation of the surrounding mudbrick walls is supported with solid big rock boulders to about a metre high, before the mudbricks is piled on top. Once we reached the desired wall height, the mudbrick wall is protected with clay roof tile covering for further weather protection.

beyond this wall far ahead is a glimpse of our existing home

So, our brilliant CEO is so proud of his wall project and it is indeed very beautiful end result. There's more project he is looking forward to complete and it's keeping him on his toes and can't wait to get it all going. He enjoys what he does and it keeps him very fit and happy too:)

More updates as we get on with this house and garden development, but for now, we hope you have a wonderful day too.


Friday, 31 January 2020

Our quiet lifestyle in the village

Dear Family & Friends

A friend who owns a company in the big city that supplies and install windows and doors came to our village to look at the house that we are working on right now. Like most people who live and work in big cities, they find it puzzling as to why we choose to live in a quiet village. He made a funny remark that a village is a place you go to when you have already given up on life!?

we get wisier as we grow older - hopefullly;P
As for us, we find it very puzzling how come people would want to live and tolerate life in a stressful, crowded and noisy city homes? In the past, we had lived in a city that never sleeps, and big capital city that got it all. It was thrilling and fun at that time, but once I experienced a quiet village living, I don't think a city life is a choice anymore.

fresh air, greenery, a melody of farm animal noises are just what you can find in a village

Perhaps it's old age or maturity outlook....but both of our young ladies enjoy our village life too. Yet, we don't deprive ourselves with the convinience that a city offers and thus we have the city apartment as an option to go to now and again. The two young girls enjoy shopping at the mall, eating out when we pay a visit to our apartment, but their heart's preference is always for a calm village home life:)

daily farm to table healthy fresh meals are expected - always delicious

In the village, that's where we put our creativity to work. We've got fast modern internet facilities and both girls are very entreprenuer in their ways, taking challenges, very independent in their works and able to earn a living in a most responsible way. We create our own jobs without fully relaying on big companies for meager salaries - right where we are, in our quiet little village:)

real food for snacks - without colours and preservatives, yet it never fails to attract foodies

It's a complete misconception that there's no life nor future in a village compared to a city - but that's not what we see and experience:) Just an encouragement for others I hope! and have a lovely day too:)


Sunday, 26 January 2020

Non-stop risotto these days

Dear Family & Friends

Our little family loves rice meals, especially little me as I love to gain weight, if I could. So, lately I got stuck with rice risotto - simply because we just have so many pumpkins to use up. Pumpkins are deliciously creamy and a very healthy food too.

rice risotto or a paella - my translation for this type of meal:)

Rice risotto topped with fresh argula salad leaves and perhaps a side dish of egg omelet makes a complete balanced meal for us.

leafy greens gives the additional freshness to it

After a couple of days my brain fizzled out - just couldn't think of new meal creation - so back to pumpkin rice risotto but this time I added shitake mushroom and dried sausage - well, it turns out more of an Asian tasting rice risotto - so yummy too:)

I add sausages or other meat along with root vegetables plus herbs for variation

As always, I take the advantage of pairing some fresh green salad leaves, simply because it's in season and abundant in our garden these days. Nothing beats a freshly picked veggie as the flavour is so full and intensely delicious!

a comfort food specially when it's cold and I need more body fuel to burn up

It's winter and warm food - high carb meals - seems a good option for us as it brings comfort, lots of energy fuel to burn and keep us warm and toasty specially for this season. In the next few days, we're taking a break in a warmer location, it's something that we are looking forward too:)

For now, I wish you a lovely day.


Tuesday, 21 January 2020

opening a passage way between two properties

Dear Family & Friends

What happened last year was beyond our expectation,. We wanted to buy this property that shares part of our boundary wall when we observed that it was unoccupied and more or less abandoned when the old grandfather passed away. We tried asking around about it but we got nowhere. So we left it there. Then one day, a man knocked on our door and said that he wanted to sell this property to us for a price that was almost like a giveaway! The rest is history!

a opening between the two properties have started by knocking a portion of the border wall
We like this property more than our existing home because it got more character to it, but I feel that the home we live in is still my home where I want to live in. Nonetheless, we are all very excited to make this new property as beautfiul as we could - afterall, this is our gift and we will look after it.
A long and narrow back passageway to the adjacent property
So far, we opened a passageway to connect our existing home to this adjacent property by opening a portion of the boundary solid wall. It will be connected with a secret garden door.

a few steps down leading to the narrow passageway
With this passageway, it's easier for me to go and work in this new extended garden too. It's slightly bigger than what I already got, but I'll take it all as another challenge:)

a secret garden door will be installed here
Hopefully my next update on this would be a finished secret garden door. I really like this idea but we got a lot more work ahead of us to do - it's wonderful that we are kept busy and we all enjoy working. It keeps us motivated, challenged and blessed.

Enjoy a lovely day:)


Thursday, 16 January 2020

No fuss cooking in our small apartment

Dear Family & Friends

From time to time, we take a family outing and sleep over in our small city apartment. My kitchen there is so small, in fact it really doesn't look like a kitchen, more like a little nook area but we can create many cozy meals to enjoy.

handy induction cooker - cook on table top and store away afterwards

Having this induction cooker, I have learned to prepare very simple warm small meals. In a small space, you don't really want to fill up the place with food smell, but it is also nice to eat in, than in a restaurant atmosphere, because it is more relaxing. 

all done - quick and easy cooking

Eating cozy little meals in a small cozy little dining/kitchen area is great fun for us. Often, we all work hard day after day, with each of us having his/her own schedule to deal with. It's always nice to have a little sit down together time to get refreshed now and again.

one simple meal we had and enjoyed

A family sharing food together, even the most simple dish makes the most delicious meal there is. It's being happy, content, and building each other up as one should, that counts the most.

I've got lots of exciting stories to share but that will be for another day. Hope you are having a lovely time too:)


Saturday, 11 January 2020

Prawn curry to warm our tummies

Dear Family & Friends

Everyone seems to have big appetite during cold winter days...so I treated them to a rare treat of prawn curry in coconut milk to go with the turmeric rice. This will warm up hungry tummies with joy. It's cold even in our kitchen these days as we're into our mid winter season now. So this explains why my photo is misty, while I was cooking!

steaming up my kitchen as I prepare our lunch for the day

If you have noticed, I also mixed in some pumpkin with this curry meal. There's still lots of pumpkins to be consumed and I'm hoping that I can use them all in time. Adding pumpkin to this curry dish makes it nice and sweet...so we all ate till we were very full:)

homecooked prawn & pumpkin in coconut milk curry

Now it's time to get back to my log burner, to maintain our heating system and keep everyone from freezing. January is the height of our winter here, not the ideal time to have one's birthday in my opinion, but I did and had a very happy one too:) 

In just a few more days, our little crew are going to have a big adventure, I'll keep you posted. For now, hope you are staying comfy where you are too.


Monday, 6 January 2020

Planning a garden design for the new garden

Dear Family & Friends

It's cold out there, so it's the best time to put some of my concept onto a piece of paper to help me out with a garden design for the adjacent property. Perhaps not all of my design concept will be able to be executed immediately, but having a written guideline will help me stick to the design concept in a more realistic way.

The home and garden sketch map

In reality, there is a lot of work waiting for this new garden - too big for little me. Yet, I must remind myself all the time that I will just do what I can, to the best of my ability and strength - a little at a time. That way, the chore will be more enjoyable. Never mind what people think but it's wise not to get carried with pressure and stress.

here's how I plan for this new garden

So far, I am already enjoying this time as I dream of how I want it to look like, gathering plants and propagating them to plant out, and sourcing other materials that I need to create the garden beds border and pathways. 

notes and more notes to keep my plan intact

At this point, I've done a few plant propagation and hopefully by spring time they will mostly be ready for me to plant out. Recently, we were also able to arrange with our next door neighbor to give us their unwanted roof tiles as they are taking down their barn - these will be materials for me to create edgings for my garden beds and pathways too. I have no budget for this project, so being creative and resourceful adds even more fun challenges for me:)

I can't wait to start this project by spring time, but for now I have to exercise the virtue of being patient as I wait for the winter season to do it's task. Wishing you a good day.


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Not belonging got it's freedom - Let's start another great new year 2020

Dear Family & Friends

To talk like they do, think like they do, dress like they do..There's a certain security when you belong to a group, but to be an independent thinker that is not encumbered with the narrative or dictation of a group is what I call freedom.

I think it is very important that we don't put ourselves inside a box so we can decide what's best for us.

My two girls didn't have the situation of having to conform with everyone in their early growing years and we noticed that they have grown into young adults that are not easily dictated by fashion, trend, materialism.  Instead, they are very creative and has become very entreprenuerial in their ways. They have less fear or none at all, to be different. You can physically see their great joy of freedom everyday reflected in their happy disposition.

We need each other to some extend but we must also have the great freedom of how we arrange our lives. After all, we all have different inbuilt character and no two people are completely alike.

These are my deep thoughts today and I hope that this new year 2020 will be a good one for you and that you will be bold and full of courage to conquer everything ahead of you with great success:)

At this time, we're building up our excitement for a great family adventure ahead of us. Wishing you all a good day too:)


Friday, 27 December 2019

Precious gift from the heart

Dear Family & Friends

When our CEO came back from his UK trip visit, I got a wonderful surprise: a gift from our tenant! I felt so overwhelmly loved. I've never personally met our tenant in the UK but she seem to understand how much I appreciate these food gifts that she shares with me out of their food pantry!

a bottle of dried fish in olive oil and two packets of pili nuts

Food memories that I miss so much becomes so precious as it's impossible for me to get them from here. It's probably not easy for her to find them in the UK either, except when someone brings them in for her...thus, sharing them with me means that it's truly a gift of love:)

I had this all to myself and have been so happy:)

I had this bottle of dried fish preserved in olive oil all to myself because my two girls suggested that I deserved it to satisfy my full craving:) That's another wave of love expression from my girls that overwhelms me once again. The fact that they don't know what the content of that bottle taste like and it didn't mean as much to them as it does to me, I didn't argue with their proposal and I thoroughly enjoyed it all to myself! As for the pili nuts, it's to be shared because I understand that sharing is caring:)

Have a lovely day today:)


Sunday, 22 December 2019

Homemade burger weekend again

Dear Family & Friends

Winter have settled in, in fact we already saw the first winter snow fall of the season at the beginning of December but it all melted away quickly. There's no more gardening chores for me these days although I'm still grateful that I can still ran out to the garden to gather some leafy green leaves and spring onions, which has become more of a food habit thing to do.

homemade hamburger with leafy salad

Despite of the cold temperature, the sun seems to always come out to brighten up our days. Were it not because of the freezing cold air outside, we would still do some grilling of burger out door...but, it doesn't mean that we can't have homemade burger weekend as we fancy one. So, that's what we did...pan fry burger in the kitchen for a simple burger meal:)

quick meal to assemble

So far, we have been having non-stop soup meal these days, especially as we have so many potatoes and pumpkins peeping out of boxes in our hallway - that's what is in season for the winter days and no one is complaining...after all, it's exactly the food that we need to keep ourselves warm these days.

Enjoy your day and wish it's a beautiful one:)


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

New windows installed

Dear Family & Friends

We're not known to be quick with our work projects but we will do them as time and schedule permits us. Not all things in life are urgent, it's good to chill out from time to time too. There's few renovation we want to do with the house in the adjacent property. So far, we managed to replace the old windows and this will keep the house better insulated too.

all windows were replaced to new double glazed for better insulation

We've also opened up a passage way to connect our existing home to this adjacent property. Many other works will have to be done when winter season is over. I have been thinking of the big garden waiting for me to do. This winter is the best time to think about how I will design it, and I would also like to see what perennial plants will come up this spring time, for free extra plants to spread out.

then, we could do some cosmetic touch up around the frame later on

There's a long list of things we want to do for the improvement of this house but it's a project that we will take on slowly as time permits - no pressure what-so-ever:) Winter season slows us down a bit with our work plannings but we take it as our time to relax because it's what the season dictates us:)

I will post changes and work updates on this property as we go along, but for now, I wish you a beautiful day.