Back to the routine

Dear all,

How was your Easter break? Hope it was great!

Mine was fabulosa! Simply because I got to spend it at my home sweet home, in Portugal. :)

So I flew back home for a week for a well deserved break with my dear ones. Cannot believe how time flies over there, especially spending every single day out and about, it felt like I wasn’t gone for long…

But as they say “good things must come to an end” so has my short break. Meh! But oh how I enjoyed it!

Most of my spending money has gone to food. Portuguese food is another level of delicious! Especially on festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter. Due to religious beliefs as being a very Catholic country, Portuguese families go through what we call the Quaresma em Jejum (40 days of Lent Period) when it lasts for the whole 40 days commencing on Wednesday Ash Day and ending on Easter day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ.

I’m not going into much details so I’m just going to highlight the basics. During this time, food consumption is reduced to smaller portions or even having their meals cut to once a day (usually for the evening meal) in order to repent and focus on praying and meditating Jesus’ last journey in the desert where he went through the Devil’s temptation up until his death.

There’s a tendency to avoid the consumption of meat and vegetables on Portuguese tables which is considered to be a luxurious treat. Instead, only fish, bread and water are allowed during the Lent period. Reason being that this is the period when Christians live in a more humble lifestyle, in penitence of one’s own faults and sins.

At our home, it is more simple and not as hard since my mum is a strict vegetarian anyway and she often frowns upon seeing either meat or fish in her fridge. We then stick to our vegetarian regime and only I and the auntie and uncle who are staying at ours would eat fish, but only once a day. I (sort of) started my own Lent regime in the UK (with many failed days of eating more than I should) and then carried on when I arrived in Portugal on Good Friday, only that that time I followed my mum’s regime instead.

As the Lent period finished on Easter Day, you can just imagine what I ate from then on… I dived in all the goodies I could find – BitoqueBacalhau no Forno, Peixe Espada Grelhado, Feijoada, Carapau GrelhadoBolo de Arroz, etc etc.

I know, I know, I am now paying for my own greed by being extra careful with what I eat now and going 4 x a week to the gym. Everything was so worthwhile though that I am actually still feeling mellow for being back to the UK.

Lisboa

Sintra

Every time I go to Portugal, I feel like I’m a different person – I’m more relaxed, easy going and errrm slow? Let me explain – life here in the UK it’s a bit rushed, well maybe except for the weekends. But even now, I feel like I always have things to do during weekends. Not in Portugal, where I take my own time to get to places, do my things. Maybe it’s a Portuguese thing?

I feel as if there’s a whole different aura surrounding me, the environment is definitely different from what I am used to here in UK. Even the people, the way they lead their lives, it’s very laid back.

Drivesunset

While being there, I enjoy my “loner time” too - time when I just stop to take everything in and just appreciate being home. Now, whenever I go back I definitely don’t take it for granted! I would spare a few hours when I’d go off on my own with the car and just relax by the beach or places where I grew up in, just reminiscing everything.

Another new thing I got to try was to add different fruits to my morning smoothies. Though I’m not a big fan of any tropical fruits, my mum managed to convince me to add papaya onto my smoothie. It didn’t taste bad but unfortunately I won’t be able to do it as often here in the UK as we seldom have fresh and organic papaya or many other tropical fruits in our supermarkets. Could try in our local markets though, fingers crossed I’ll be able to find something.

As many are aware, avocados are not my favourite fruit either however I’m aware of its nutritional content so I’ve made it as my must have ingredient in my smoothie. Thankfully, we have an avocado tree along with orange and lemon trees in our backyard. This enables me to save some extra money on buying fruits.

Since young, I’ve always loved climbing trees and still do! Modesty aside, I am very good at it. Hihi! So, every morning I’d climb the tree and pick an avocado and an orange for my smoothie. Not that it even needs climbing as it’s not very high anyway, but just for the sake of the old times, I’d do it! ;) In terms of taste, I found a significant difference between the taste of the avocado from the supermarket (where I usually buy here) and freshly picked from the tree.

They definitely taste much better than the ones bought in the supermarkets and you can tell they are naturally produced as well. Our oranges are smaller and more sour than the ones found in the supermarkets where we can often find them bigger, bright in orange colour and very sweet. Might be due to not being completely ripe yet but mum says that tree of ours does not produce sweet oranges anyway. Nonetheless, they are still natural! ;)

Abacate

I then just add other fruits/veggies bought by my mum such as mango, apple, papaya spinach and cucumber.

After that I always spent the day out and about. Whether locally, by the beach or meeting and catching up with friends or just exploring the beautiful Lisbon city and Sintra. I’ve been a few nights out as well in Bairro Alto, Lisbon, a very popular place to go out at night and Marina de Cascais, popular among  the people who live across the coastal line, like myself.

I also made sure I had a bit of time to go shopping too, of course! :) Clothes in Portugal are cheaper than in UK so I bought myself some jeans, shorts, dresses and sandals.

On my last day, I spent it between Carcavelos (my hometown) and Lisbon with friends as mum was busy with her own things. At night my friends and I went to Chiado for an evening meal and then to Terreiro do Paço to watch an amazing 3D video mapping show.

My friends, mum and auntie and uncle from Melbourne, Australia (they have come to Portugal for personal business and holiday and are staying at ours) have contributed for this holiday to be memorable, as always. And for that, I feel blessed and grateful every single day! ^.^

Now that I am back, I’m still finding it a challenge to force my body to get back to the routine. But little by little, I’m sure my body will get used to it again. Good thing is that I am now reunited with my four-paw bff Lance. How I missed him! And apparently he was struggling not having me around, bless…

My house mate has said that he would spend hours in my room waiting for my return. It really broke my heart when I heard this. But I promised him I will spend more time with him during these next few days.

Lancelot

That’s it from me today. Have a lovely rest of the week!

“Happiness will follow…”

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Officially “facebookless”

Dear all,

Such a beautiful day today, isn’t it? Sun shining days always put me in a good mood, even when I come across with many not so happy people. But then, I just take a deep breath and think “I’m not the problem, they are” and I go back smiling. :)

Here’s some positive intro for you guys! Now moving on to the subject today – Facebook.

Funny how my relationship with this social website works: it’s more of a complicated love-hate relationship. I love to hate Facebook at the same time that I hate to love it too!

I am not going to lie, Facebook is somewhat a life-saver for many, me included. As much as I adore Skype and WhatsApp, sometimes you just want to have a place where you can read friends and family’s lives, see what they are up to, how they are doing, etc. Seems like it gets harder by day for friends and family to update you with the happenings in their life either via Skype or WhatsApp. Easy would be for them to just post statuses or photographs for their friends and family to see what they are up to.

And I totally agree – it is convenient in many levels! However, not everything in and with Facebook it’s a bed of roses and there’s one thing, one major thing that worries me the most when using Facebook – my privacy.

I am no celebrity or nothing of that sort, far from that, whenever possible I like to lead my life away from the curious eyes of my neighbours, so to speak. So, privacy it’s a big deal for me! And I must admit, I am guilty to still keep those curious and not much of true and caring friends in my Facebook friends list. Not because I want to have a good number of friends on my Facebook, oh no. Only because whether I like it (them) or not, I still have to keep ‘em as my acquaintances, for many different reasons. (Look what society has done to us? All of us have been confined to keeping up with the appearances…)

And it would just make my life a lot more awkward when running into them and having to be confronted with the fact that I don’t have them on Facebook. It happened to me a couple of times and it was indeed awkward, that type of let-me-dig-a-hole-so-I-can-bury-my-head awkward. I mean, what would your response be for that? It’s not like they’ve done anything that can be considered wrong against me. They simply are nosy about my life and minding it as if what’s their own business. Like I gave them the right to have an opinion about my life and I forgot about it. And of course, making it as a conversation topic with their “neighbours” and so forth. What’s the name again? Gossip? I think so. This doesn’t make them bad people, just makes me want to avoid them… forever!

So, let’s name this whole situation a bureaucracy (overcomplicating it) for now.

You can argue that I could avoid that if I simply don’t post things on Facebook. And I agree,  this would be an option however I still want to update and share the happy moments with my (true) friends and family too! Just like they do with me on Facebook! I mean that’s what Facebook it’s all about, right? I enjoy posting random things, photographs of me and friends partying it up, without being labelled a wild child by some people and this whole thing getting to my mother’s ears (oh yeah I used to hide a few posts from my mother too!).

You could also say that I shouldn’t mind about what other people think or say about me. I don’t really, what bothers me is what I have to deal with after it has been put out there. Let me explain it better – I have many “friends” who are my mother’s friends’ children. We kind of shared a bit of common growing up environment for a while, hence having to be friends with them on Facebook.

They see something, they mention it to their friends whom I also sort of know and to their parents. I see the parents when I’m out with my mum, I greet them and they make me a topic conversation there, on the spot! Something like “Oh my daughter has mentioned that she’s seen you with a handsome guy not long ago” when all the daughter did was to see a photo of me with a male friend all aquafresh smiles on Facebook. But you know, people twist their words and who tells a tale, always adds a tail. So of course, my mum not knowing about this, and mind you she’s very Asian, once I get home she starts questioning me like a true CSI detective.

If you have an Asian mother, you would know that no matter what you say, even if it’s truer than the truth, she still won’t believe you. She will always find it more credible what that friend said and this might be due to the fact that I have limited her access to some of my posts on Facebook.. And yes, it then becomes a hassle for me. Therefore, privacy on Facebook is everything!

Especially now that she feels like she needs to be more involved in my life (more like my love life) and she feels like I am keeping her in the dark about and I quote “the most important aspects in your life, like love”. I do that, yes because my mother is Asian, she goes with the tick box system. And I am not like that at all!

Coming back to the subject, I always had to worry about my Facebook privacy settings. To the point that whenever Facebook goes through its usual changing phases, I always make sure I read the policy and updates to see if anything changed regarding to its privacy.

Last makeover it had? Well, that was a joke! Yeah it completely messed the system up! I don’t know what happened there but I was completely fine with the previous Facebook and quite frankly I saw no major changes on it now compared to the previous version. Only that it has placed some features in the other side of the screen. Oh yeah and completely messed all my privacy settings up!

I don’t know about you guys, but I was not able to select the audience for my individual posts any more, which I have been doing so far, given my situation at that time of being obliged to keep those curious people on my Facebook. Again, the whole thing where I decided to name it as bureaucracy.

And trust me, I spent a lot of time putting my privacy settings right and it just goes back to showing it to everyone! How messed up is that??

So I went That’s it! with Facebook and just deactivated my account. It’s easier right? I now can respond back saying “Oh I deleted my Facebook” to those curious eyes. The only but, of course is that it won’t be as easy to share moments with friends and family as it was before. Or even communicate with few friends since not all use Skype or WhatsApp.

I’m sure I’ll come back to it though, because as much as I hate it, I also love it so once they sort the mess up and put the privacy settings back on again, then I’ll re activate it again.

That’s it from me today!

“Happiness will follow…”

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Happy Birthday Sarofski!!!!

Happy birthday to one of my oldest friends Sara R B!!! <|:) Not because she’s old but because we’ve been friends for years! haha

Unfortunately, I’m not able to celebrate with her today however we have plans for a late celebration in two weeks, taking over the Cascais night scene in style!

sara2

 

From my end, I’ll be celebrating her birthday by enjoying Boyce Avenue’s concert tonight. ;)

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Engineered Engineer

Dear all,

Just want to take this opportunity to honour a very special someone who was, has been and will still be very important in my life – Kevin O P.

He is officially an Engineer now! :))) My heart is truly filled with joy and pride for this kind-hearted person who has everything to succeed in life!

I could go on and on and fill this post with compliments after compliments but there’s no need for that as everyone who knows him, knows it well the kind of person he is. He’s just full of charisma and goodness and I am blessed to know and have this Kevin in my life!

KevsterYou know when someone is so selfless that when they really care about you, even being far away, busy and/or tired, they will still make time to make sure they’re still part of your life? Take interest in your affairs and goals/ambitions in life, be there as a caring friend and comfort you with talks that you can only have with your best friend? He’s that kind of person!

Kevin is one of the busiest person I know: he works, was finishing his massive thesis for his Engineering title which very much took his entire life during the last 6 months, plays football, surfs and also has his own social life back in Gran Canaria. But he still makes time to spend a few hours to Skype me. Such a beautiful soul this guy is!

And not because he feels obliged to, given our past history together but because he cares! And surely, you would know when someone truly cares about you, am I right? We are much closer as friends now than we ever were before! And, his good looks are just a bonus *cough cough*. All the success he is experiencing and will experience from now on it’s all thanks to his great character and hard work.

Some people you just know were born to achieve grand things, to change the world somehow, and Kevin is one of them! He just never gives up and he never lets anyone give up on achieving their goals. Ambitious – yes he is but never greedy because given his grounded upbringing, he stays true to himself.

convo1Kconvo

Oh dear, I did fill this post with compliments… But that only goes to show the type of person he is! I mean how many girls have you heard or seen writing about their exes like that – honouring them as if they were some sort of Thor or Hercules? I do because I was blessed for that beautiful story we had and now blessed with this great friendship that was left from it.

The last conversation we had, I became so cheesy and wished him all the best luck with all the lame lines you could ever imagine, haha! Nonetheless, I meant every single word of it! Apart from my family and best friends, I have never been happier or cared that much for someone else’s success and well being like I do for him!

Creo que ya sabes lo cuanto eres importante para mi y deseo que seas felíz y que tengas mucho pero mucho éxito, estés donde estés! Siempre te voy a tener un gran cariño y estoy segura que nuestra fuerte amistad perdurará por muchísimos y largos años, pase lo que pase. Que este triunfo sea sólo uno de muchos más por venir. Hasta pronto chico! Que todo te vaya muy bien! :*

“Happiness will follow…”

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Jogging time with my best buddy

SundayLance 23/03/2014

Good morning all! :)

Lance and I want to wish you a happy Sunday! :D

Off we go for our usual morning jog. :) He knows his routine already so he’s been acting as my four-paw-alarm and I only have to thank him since that way I can never make up an excuse to not follow my training plan. Such a good motivator he is!

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Friday night!!! …at home.

Fridaynight

Dear all,

It’s Friday once again and I will be spending it with a relaxed night-in with my new friend Lance (Sir Lancelot his name).

Not by our choice, of course. I would have wanted to join my friends/house mates and party the night away but truth is, I’m getting too old to go out on a Friday. Reason being that, after a long tiring day at work, I barely have any energy left to go out and go cray-cray on the dance floor. I mean, what’s the whole point of going out if I’m gonna yawn all night? Exactly! So I much rather stay in tonight and rest. Weekend has only started anyway! ;)

Besides, I didn’t want to leave Lance by himself tonight as he’s just getting used to this new house and being surrounded by us, (we’re taking care of him now as he was my friend’s dog but unfortunately she cannot take care of him any more due to unforeseen circumstances). Long story short – he is now part of our family! ♥

Do not fear though, I have not become a complete anti-social granny (yet)! I still go out, however it has to be either on a Saturday or on a night when I know I won’t have work the next day or when is not after a tiring day at work/gym.

After a long day at work, I still managed to find a tiny bit of energy somewhere within me to spend 45 mins at the gym. I’m on a light regime which is being closely and safely monitored by my beau who acts as my personal trainer now. He’s very strict but very awesome! :) All this to get my own purrrrrrfect summer body! :D

Meet our new best friend/family member:

Lance
12/03/2014
My walking companion

I’m not one to take many selfies due to my own insecurities about the way I look (I’m a female, you do the maths). But I’ve learned to deal with them as well as my imperfections.

An example of that would be my bushy eyebrows – I used to hate ‘em with passion when I was younger, but then I realised it actually matches well with my face complexion. So I came to learn to love them! Funny enough, bushy/thick eyebrows have become a trend now. All I do is to give ‘em a lil shape every now and then and that’s it! :)

Another thing to add to just one of my many insecurities, are my eyes. If you look closely enough, you’d see that one eye is bigger than the other and that used to haunt me a lot! Mind you that it’s more noticeable when I smile and half-close them. Now, I just don’t care and move on with it, haha!

So, herewith my own vain-loner-moment:

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Tomorrow, I’ll be in Swindon to babysit my two nephews for the weekend as my brother and sister-in-law will be heading off to a romantic weekend away for two. :)

That’s it for now. I shall return to my moviethon, with my wonderful pets and beau!

Have a lovely weekend!

“Happiness will follow…”

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