Category Archives: Cooking at home

All the things we’ve cooked for ourselves at home.

2018 Week 13 Summary – Part 1

Just as quickly as it takes for me to complain about something, a resolution ensues.  Such is my life these days and I am loving it.

Before I continue, Tony advised that it would be better for me to split this post into two because it’s way too long.  So here goes part 1 where I update on Paris & Rome and House Stuff.  Part 2 will be an update on me & Tones in the different areas of life.

Paris & Rome
Paris is a breeze.  He is such a scaredy cat he refuses to touch anything in case he gets into trouble.  The end result is he won’t touch anything unless it’s in his play area.   The onus therefore lies with us and where we keep our belongings. If we leave things in his play area, then they are his to play with.

Rome however is the complete opposite.  Nothing is out of his reach. He will jump onto and climb things where he can.  According to him, everything is his domain and his to treat however he likes.  The fence between him and Paris is the only boundary that keeps him from owning the entire flat and all of Paris’ things, including Paris and every day he bites on it in an attempt to break it down.

Anything we keep out of his reach is just something he will work out how to get to eventually and he has a lifetime to achieve this (that’s approximately 12+ human years.  Right now he’s only 1.5yo so we have many adventures and bouts of destruction ahead).

That was pretty much the destiny of my computer charger.  Paris managed to bite it one night while unsupervised as it was very close to his play area but he didn’t bite it enough to sever the cord.  I was able to fix it and continue using my charger.  Over a year later, Rome managed to climb and reach over the bin barrier we put in place.  He pulled the cord and with one bite, severed it entirely.

 

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I wasn’t happy.  I felt myself upset but not stressed, just annoyed that I had to spend money on a new cord.  That is, until I found it really hard to find a replacement cord online and then I got really annoyed.  Tony however, checked all our other power cords of other electrical items and found that the printer and the camera battery chargers both had the same base power cord that I needed.  So, we just used the camera charger cord as a replacement and didn’t have to spend a cent.

Job sorted in a day.  Happy days!

Before my computer charger, Rome also managed to chew through the power board plug this week too.

What a power cord looks like after #romerabbit chews through it

Tony, wanting to check the level of destruction, touched the cord with his finger and got a nasty 240V electric shock.  We were surprised Rome was absolutely fine.

I must say, if I haven’t already, part of me actually wishes Rome got an electric shock so it would teach him to stop chewing the wires.  The other part of course, is terrified that he will get completely electrocuted and I’d have a BBQ’d bunny to deal with.  I’d prefer just being annoyed at a naughty bunny.

My absolutely adorable, super naughty, one minute chilled out, next minute destroying everything #romerabbit

Cords can be replaced but my Romey-Rome-Rome, no matter how naughty and needing to be taught a lesson, cannot.

Home and House Stuff
The completions have begun again.  After his nasty electric shock, Tony bought a new power board and replaced the cord cover tube.

He also replaced one side of the hallway’s skirting boards because I mentioned that over 3-4 weeks had passed since he insisted I buy them.  He agreed and sorted it over the weekend.  I will have to buy some more for the other side now that we know it’s come out ok.

Since I’d been sick and not paying attention to the food in the fridge, this week, I had to go through and clear it.  I threw away everything that was going off and started to salvage things just before they turned.

I made Kaldereta again because we had enough left over ingredients from last week’s batch, to make another pot full.  That cleared most of the ingredients from the fridge.  This one tasted different.  Not as smoky, instead quite spicy.  It definitely was the chorizo we used as it was a different brand / type to the one we used last week.  This week it tasted more like a spicy chorizo stew.

Kaldereta

I also made paleo bread.  That’s the best way to describe it.  No grains, no dairy.  It used almond meal and eggs.  Tony made almond milk which went off.  When made fresh, you need to use it within a few days and we didn’t.  The almond meal that came from making the milk, I salvaged by turning it into bread then used the bread to scoop and soak up the chorizo stew.

The new food discovery this week is now our brand new all time favourite corn chips.  We loved them so much, we went and bought 2 more packs (they were on sale).

ManoMasa is a brand of corn chips we’ve enjoyed in the past.  But this week, we tried the Hexano with Serrano Chilli and Mayan Yucatan Honey.  This is by far our favourite out of their entire range.  We barely even eat spicy food but couldn’t get enough of these!  Next time you find some, make sure you try it.  It looks like this:

Manomasa Hexano

 

Part 2 of my Week 13 update is going to be posted on Saturday.

So, see you then!

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2018 Week 12 Summary

The week of being sick.  The last time we were sick was during our trip to the Philippines and Hong Kong in December.  It’s been 3 months and we (or rather I… as usual) have gotten sick again.

Tony did some sneezing and feeling a bit unwell for a day but he always manages to nip it in the bud and ends up fine the next day.

I however, ended up thinking I was being really awesome not getting any symptoms when he did  and then 3 days later doing the whole rigmarole.  Day 1 – sneezing.  Day 2 – fever.  Day 3 – coughing.  Day 4 – the start of recovery or so I hope.  I’m on Day 4 right now.

Paris & Rome
I am so glad the boys can’t catch any of my diseases.  They have however, been avoiding me.  I think I must smell different.  When I was feverish, both of them actually hid and really kept away from me.  I felt like I didn’t see them all day and night.

After I broke my fever, they were both approachable but they would hide away again or stare at me with eyes and ears wide open, from afar, during my sneezing or coughing fits.  It must be a sign that I’m getting better when they both allow me to pat them again.

They have both been well and healthy this week with nothing too crazy other than abstaining from pellets.  I feel like Paris isn’t eating anything at all sometimes because I find all his pellets (that he doesn’t want to eat) hidden under his blanket, all his fresh veg wilted and all his hay still in his trays.  Yet, he is happy, binkying and still pooing.

Look at this beautiful handsome (even though he’s so picky with his food) boy #parisbunny

Like I said last week.  A healthy appetite + healthy poo makes for a healthy rabbit.  If he doesn’t have much of an appetite, then I get worried.

So far  his behaviour indicates that he’s eating enough so I’ll just monitor him now more closely and I’m never buying this brand of pellets ever again.

Urgh…. who needs kids when bunnies are just as picky?!

Home and House Stuff
Remember the scotia Tony bugged me to buy ASAP oh, maybe 3-4 weeks ago?  It’s still sitting on a pile of junk in the lounge.  As quickly as they came, the completions have stopped.

I’ve also piled up bottles of hotel shower gels and conditioners on the table to sell off.  Tony collected them on his business travels.  We don’t use them.  Time to sell them.  Ironically, this is my attempt at clearing the clutter.  Over 30 bottles (such a waste to just throw) are now cluttering the table!

We haven’t cooked much either because I’ve been sick.  Tony has just gone to the shop and bought ready made soups so that’s all I’ve been having for the past 4 days.  I can’t smell or taste them though so it doesn’t even make a difference what flavour he chooses!

On a positive note, Tony cooked a Filipino dish this week.  He made Caldereta using a Filipino cookbook my cousins/Uncle shared with us from our last visit.  It’s the first Filo dish he’s ever made.

Beef Kaldereta / Caldereta

It’s so awesome to be able to make and eat dishes from all over the world, in your own kitchen  – this is the power of technology!

The best part?  The recipe called for chorizo.  We were able to put Spanish, from Spain chorizo in this dish.  That smoky paprika taste actually gave this dish such a different but welcomed flavour.  We were also able to put fresh liver pate in there instead of canned AND we put the beef in the slow cooker so it stayed solid just enough to be able to deliciously fall apart, in your mouth.

I tell you what, it doesn’t look like much in the picture but  Caldereta just went up a few notches on my favourites list.

With the left over Chorizo, we just put it with garlic and a bit of olive oil in the oven.  I added tomatoes which gave them some sweetness to balance out the smoky, salty, fatty, garlicky taste.

Chorizo with tomatoes

I wished we had bread but alas, we did not.  Tones used free from (free from wheat/gluten) crackers to soak up the oil.

Also went shopping and ended up finding these for £1.99.  I actually thought they were going to be thin rice crackers covered in chocolate but they weren’t!!

They were actually thin sheets of Pringle shaped chocolate with little crispy balls of puffed rice.  Cappuccino flavoured at that!  Oh what a lovely discovery!

Belgian Chocolate Thins

Joy & Tones

Mental Health
We watched all 8 movies back to back of Harry Potter.  I wanted to.

I wanted to re-watch from beginning to end with the information you get at the end.  I wanted to see the same sequence of events with a different perspective.

It makes me think of life and things about my life I might have seen differently, had I been given all/different information.  I wonder if this is what happens when you die.

Physical Health
As mentioned above, I’m sick, Tony is not.  This is where Biochemical Individuality steps in and produces different outcomes.

Tony and I have been eating the same food, same supplements and exercising similarly to each other for the last 10 years but when it comes down to fighting disease, he’s always stronger.

I’m MUCH better than I used to be.  I used to get sick once a month every month without fail and I’d be sick for 2 weeks at a time.  It was horrible.  At least now, 5-6 days every 3 months is doing well.  BUT I have also been better than this.

I think I’ve gone over a year without getting sick which if I could, I would replicate ALL THE TIME except I know what it takes and it takes a lot of discipline and effort!  Tones I’m sure of it, has gone over 2 years without getting a cold when we were making that effort!

So, it plays to the tune of us requiring different nutrients (and/or different amounts of them) and Tony having everything he needs at the right dosage and me, not quite.  That’s the conclusion I’ll draw from this situation at the moment and also that it means, I do better when I’m juicing (urgh!)

Spiritual Health
It’s been officially 2 months since we’ve started meditating twice a day every day.  How ‘bou dat?  (Sorry…. but ever since hearing it, I can’t unhear it and now I can’t just say “How about that?”.   I also know I just turned an impressive statement into an oxymoron by adding that last bit but it can’t be helped.  If you’ve got a problem with it, you can always “cash me outside!” Ha!  My humour.  Yep, again, sorry if it made you groan or cringe.  That’s just how I roll.  Tony’s still with me after years of it, so it can’t be that bad! Hahaha)

Can I talk of changes from meditation?  Not distinctly but I know things have changed.  For example, when I look at things in our life right now, they had started to move and now it looks like it’s stopped, paused, halted and yet I don’t feel like it has.

Perception is different.  It’s almost as if we just spent the first 2 months breathing in and right now, we’re just waiting to exhale.  The movement is still there, it’s just at a different phase.

What is different between now and before is that before I would have gotten upset or depressed or even angry that things weren’t moving but now, it’s understanding that it’s like the passing of a season.

Seeing the ebb and the flow.  It’s like I’ve finally started to understand what it looks like – the time for sowing, the time for growing and the time for reaping look different, for different things.

Some things you need to put effort into and some things you don’t. Some things you actually destroy by doing too much and some things die when not given enough attention or energy.  I can’t say I’ve got the knack just yet for each situation but I can say the cogs are turning and a greater understanding is starting to take shape.

Financial Health
They say that rich people talk about money and poor people don’t.  So I suppose if I want to be rich, I’d better start talking about money then hey?

I would say our finances are average but I guess that depends on what you’re comparing it to.  On a global scale, our finances are above average and that’s because we’re comparing to all the billions of people who live below the poverty line in third world countries.

On our own scale, we’re doing OK.  Compared to where we’d like to be or think we should be, we’re not quite there but we’ve improved from where we started so that’s a good thing.

Compared with our neighbourhood, we’re poor.  We recently put bubble wrap all around the borders of our windows to stop the cold draught coming in.  I told Tones I didn’t care how povo we looked as long as we stayed warm.

That’s a tough thing isn’t it?  Keeping up with the Jones’.  Well, I refuse to keep up with the Jones’ if it’s going to put us in the red.  I would always prefer to look poor and have money than the other way around.

Except having dodgy windows isn’t looking poor, it is being poor.  There is keeping up with the Jones’ and then there’s maintaining a certain standard of living.  Functional windows isn’t a luxury.  It is a necessity especially when it’s -5’C outside.

There is of course, the question of affordability.  It’s going to be a big expense (anywhere up to £5,000 as they are wooden sash, bay windows – $10K AUD, $7K USD).

Regardless of what it costs, if you can’t afford a necessity, then that is being poor.  Windows that work come under providing adequate shelter.

Besides, it’s not that we cannot afford it.  It’s just that we hate parting with that kind of money.  We’re really frugal (my new polite English expression rather than the Aussie “tight ass”).

If I can get it for less than half that price I will.  It may mean we need to get the PVCU stuff ie not real wood but I’d rather that because it means it doesn’t need refurbishment / replacement every 5-10  years.  I might even request triple glazing.  No noise, no cold. AAA energy efficiency rating 😉  (even though you can’t get it ’cause the highest rating is A) Alright!

Emotional Health
To know where you’ve been and see where you are now and realise how far you’ve come is a blessing.

Of all the different areas of life, I must say that I was way behind the eight ball with this but this challenge has become my biggest blessing in life and if I ever had to live it all again I would.

I would never wish my experiences on my greatest enemies but I’m glad I went through it all and come out the other end as sane, as grateful and as blessed as I feel right now.

There may be no accolades or prizes for accomplishing great feats in the emotional world but I know what I’ve achieved so far and the inner peace that comes with each revolution of evolution is a wonderful reward.

See you next week!

2018 Week 7 Summary

Whoot!  7 weeks into 2018 and we get to start the year again!

Happy Chinese New Year!

This week, week 7 was the week of completions.  I was introduced to this concept of completions back in 1998.  Back then I just understood it as someone’s fancy way to name their to-do list.

“The completions I accomplished today were….” and then to me it just sounded like listing things off their to-do list that they managed to “complete”.

It’s only now, 20 years later that I finally get it.  So let me explain so you don’t need to take 20 years to figure it out (I know, I’m slow like that!).

So, you know those things that exist for you to do that you kind of leave and put off and then before you know it, months or even years go by and you still haven’t done it?  You know you’re supposed to do it so every now and again, something will come up that will remind you of it.  We all have those right?

WELL, let me tell you that the feeling you get when you actually get the thing done,  when that weight is off your shoulders, when the niggling can finally stop, when any thoughts of “oh yeah, I still have to do that” just disappear about that item….  THAT is a completion.

This week, was a week of that and it feels REALLY good!!

Paris & Rome
Rome’s exercise area has been in the hallway ever since he and Paris began to fight (about a year ago).  We barely let him into the bedroom because he bites EVERYTHING.  You only need to see our skirting boards and all the broken wires we’ve had to fix and/or replace, and now the entire underneath of the bed to understand.

If you like your stuff pristine, don’t get a rabbit.  Otherwise don’t put anything you care about, in a place where he can reach it with his teeth!!

This week, we bit the bullet and decided to trust him and leave him on his own in the bedroom.  We moved his entire play area into the room, finally clearing the hallway so we can walk through it freely without tripping on boxes, his toys or him.

It is the first week in over a year that we’ve been able to open and close our front door freely without hitting his boxes and having to walk in through the door sideways.  It feels AMAZING!

This is what Rome thinks about it…

Rome’s new play area. He’s upgraded from the hallway. Do you think he likes it?

The boys have taken it in turns to moult and go through some episode of GI stasis this week including me having to stay up until 3am just to make sure Paris was actually eating but pleased to report they’re both still alive, happy and eating and pooping well again.

I don’t mind this, I actually like having an excuse to massage their fat furry bellies.  It’s the only time they’ll let me touch them on their tummy (to gently ease their tummy ache).  I think being able to help them at this time has allowed the bunnies to learn to trust me even more.

House Stuff
The week of completions definitely compensated for the extremely lazy week we had last week.  Here were my completions of house stuff:

  1. Re-cleaned (because there were still some pee stains on it even after hosing it down with the shower and scrubbing it down) Paris’ carrier and finally packed it away.  This was outstanding since beginning of Jan when we got back from holiday.
  2. Cleaned all my makeup tools and brushes.  I made a point to do this once a year since I only wear makeup about once a year and it was due to be done at the end of last year.
  3. Fixed the blinds in the bedroom.  One of the ropes had come away from the blinds.  The one you pull so the blinds go up.  I had to hand sew quite a few places to put it back in place and get it working again.  This has been outstanding for at least 6 months, if not more.
  4. Fixed sliding door rubber lining (as much as I could anyway).  Rome pretty much destroyed it so I salvaged what I could and stuck it back on.  Again, another thing that has been broken for more than 6 months.

    It stops the sliding door from banging – what do you call this? Anyway, whatever it is, I had to fix it…
  5. Fixed chewed up wires – this is never ending since we got the bunnies but I’m hoping this was the last of it and that is because….
  6. We rearranged furniture and wires in the bedroom so that Rome could stay in there unsupervised without reaching or destroying any more than he already has.  There is part relief and also partly wondering if we’d done a good enough job in this department.  Hilarious to watch our inability to outsmart a rabbit.  When they really want to get to something, they can be very clever (and destructive) about it.
  7. Made new batches of natural personal and home cleaning products (Shampoo, Conditioner, Body wash, Face wash, hand wash, all-purpose cleaning spray and dishwashing detergent).  When I have to make many different kinds because they all finish at similar times, I procrastinate about it.  Probably shampoo / conditioner were the longest outstanding, for about a month or two (we just used hotel shampoos that we’d collected from holidays instead).
  8. Fixed Tony’s mala beads.  MULTIPLE TIMES.  I had to rethread all the beads because he broke the string, scattering beads everywhere.  This has been outstanding since last year.
    Tony’s Mala Beads (Tiger’s Eye) which are now just in a vase because we lost some after they scattered

    When I finally fixed it, he broke it again and so I just threw the beads into the vase as “decorative” rocks for flowers.

It’s really a wonderful feeling when you don’t have to think about things anymore.  Not because you’ve forgotten or blocked them from memory (because that requires effort) but because you really don’t have to think about them anymore because you’ve dealt with it and COMPLETED it!

On top of my completions, I also attempted to make almond milk AGAIN.  This is the 3rd time around.  This time, I blended the almonds and then used a muslin cloth to strain.  The result was a much smoother almond milk.  It was really good!!!

I made cake again using the strained almond meal.  This time I attempted making the same chocolate cake recipe without the cacao (because I wanted to know what it would taste like).  Bad idea.

Tony and I ate it anyway, doused it in strawberry jam and cream and when we ran out of jam, we used honey and cream.   Yes, this is honey.  It’s all crystalised because it’s raw honey and it’s cold in London 😉  It looks way better than it tasted!!

Chocolate Cake without the chocolate. It tastes like bicarb!

 

Joy & Tones

Mental Health
For completion, we finished watching the rest of Season 5 of Vikings.  I suppose I could just look it up but are these tales/stories of real people?  Is this series actually based on historical fact or are they fiction?

We’ve seen all of Ragnar’s life and right now we’re up to King Alfred (Alfred The Great) becoming King in England and Ragnar’s sons Ivar The Boneless and Bjorn Ironside having a Viking civil war.  If sticking closely to fact, then this is the first time I’ve actually enjoyed history lessons!!

In addition to this, we also managed to watch Daddy’s Home, Daddy’s Home 2 and Darkest Hour.  Some comedy and some more history!!  I actually liked watching Darkest Hour having watched Dunkirk maybe a month or two ago and also watching The Crown.  All three has the events of WW2 in England seen from different perspectives.  It really does bring history to life!

We’ve also continued to eat high fat (for brain health) foods.  It doesn’t do a thing to change weight and I might be going about it in the wrong way (eg we’ve eaten more cream and cheese in the last 2 weeks than we do in a year) but I’m doing it to help my brain and surprisingly, although very subtle, I’m definitely experiencing less brain fog episodes.  I’m still experiencing brain fog at times but less so than I was, late last year.

Physical Health
So, this week I went to Dharma for beginners.  The first time in a year? or 2 years?? and we LOVED it.  It was the same teacher whose classes we went to before and although it wasn’t at the same studio, he remembered us!

Since I haven’t been to any yoga for a while and have only done 3 classes (one vinyasa, one bikram and now one dharma), I was very stiff and weak.  I could barely hold myself up in side plank and was sweating profusely.

I was also unable to do warrior 3 (balancing stick)  with my arms perfectly straight/without strain.  Also, I used to be able to touch my knee to my forehead and now I cannot do that.  And don’t even get started with the binds… my shoulders are stuck in hunched forward position LOL

The great thing is, for the first time, I didn’t judge myself for it.  I just noticed that I couldn’t do certain things and instead of making myself feel bad (which I normally do), I actually thought, “Wow, it’s been a while huh?  It’s ok, you’ll get back there soon enough.  Just take it easy, take it as it comes.”

Spiritual Health
Which leads me back to meditation.  I got it wrong last week.  It is only THIS week that we’ve been meditating for 4 weeks.  Yet, there have been so many changes in our lives that it feels like it’s been way longer!!

This concept of “Take it easy, take it as it comes” is one that has made the most significant impact.  I’ve noticed that this is the thought that helps me to let go of expectations, let go of outcomes.  It is also the same concept that has me understand kindness and compassion to self, everything and everyone.

It’s also become easier to apply that kindness to myself and for that I am grateful to have found something that works to that effect.  Don’t get me wrong, my episodes of kindness and compassion are still few and far between.  I’m just saying, it’s becoming easier!

Chinese New Year Dinner 2018

So, here it is, our CNY 2018 meal.  We usually do this on the eve.

CNY 2018 Meal

We only took one photo.  Sorry, we were distracted chatting as we invited a couple of friends to help us eat it.  Whole steamed fish, whole ginger-shallot chicken, crab yee mein, dried oysters with fat choi and jai.

Our place has become pretty squishy since getting the rabbits and you can even see the fencing to the hallway in the background but it was nice to be able to invite people over even if it was “cosy”.

CNY is the one time of the year that I become really superstitious.  All those rules of cleaning the house, wearing red etc all get adhered to in our household and CNY meal ends up being the same/similar each year.  So anyone that’s seen me post about this in previous years will see pretty much the same picture every time!! Hahaha

Why?  Because when we started following all those superstitious rules about food, home and routine for CNY, life just started to improve. With each year, we have gotten healthier, happier and wealthier.  Even in tough years, it never ends up as tough as things used to be.

It could be experience or age or a different outlook to life but whatever the case, life started improving after our first CNY  when I looked up all the rules and adhered to them.  Why change/stop it if it works right?  If I had a pair of lucky underwear I’m sure I would wear them on CNY just to ensure the year ahead is more prosperous than the last.

And with that, I wish you too a very prosperous year of the Dog.  I hope you were wearing your lucky underwear and eating lots of long life noodles!

See you next week 🙂

 

2018 Week 6 Summary

Lazy week.

Paris & Rome
T
oday I spent 3 hours sitting around waiting to see my Paris bunny poo.  For 3 hours he’d done 3.  All morning.  As in 3 pellets in total.  They do over 100 a day.

So I chased him around and wouldn’t let him sit still.  I gave him tummy massages even though he kept trying to run away.  I brushed his fur for at least 45 mins  while he continued to run away, all so I could collect a fur ball large enough to be another rabbit.  Better in the bin than in his stomach.

He keeps having trouble pooing because he loses so much fur every moult and ends up ingesting a lot of it!  Except he does this every 3 months and every time, without fail,  he has an episode of constipation (GI Stasis).  If he weren’t a rabbit,  I wouldn’t be so worried but he is a rabbit and rabbits can actually die from GI stasis if it goes on for any longer than 4 hours.

He’s more active now and he’s moving around quite a bit on his own (without me having to chase him).  He’s even done a few binkies which means he’s feeling better.   He’s also managed to do a poo of more than 10 pellets and has eaten his favourite treats (still refuses the hay).  We’re not in the clear yet.  What a process!

Paris Bunny poking his head out of the tunnel to eat pellets from my hand.

Apart from that, this week, everyone in the house was being super lazy.  I’ve never seen the bunnies so lazy before.  Paris barely came out of his hutch the whole week preferring to just chill out in there, whether the door was open or not and Rome, after being let out to run, would more often than not, just head straight to his favourite spot behind the bed, plonk himself down and go to sleep.

They’d sleep for hours!  From 10.30am through to 11pm both of them would just sleep!!  This is not normal and yet they both did it, independent of each other.

Such a character. This is Rome Rabbit in his younger days “relaxing” in his hutch. Unsure why he chose to stick his double chin and paw over his litter. It looks so uncomfortable and yet he stayed like that for ages!

Nothing’s changed in diet, environment or routine, so it must’ve been the blue moon!

House Stuff
I keep sneezing.  The house is covered in rabbit fur which is so light it blows about as you walk past and I keep breathing it in as it floats by, so it keeps tickling my nose.  I’m sure it’s been all in my food too.  It’s exactly like when you get a tiny bit of dust on your tongue and no matter what you do, you can’t find it to get rid of that sensation that it’s there.

Within a day of vacuuming, there’s so much fur everywhere again that it looks like I didn’t vacuum at all.  It makes cleaning a nightmare.  On the upside I finally got around to cleaning Paris’ travel carrier which, was stained and full of pee.  I have no idea if it was him or if the sitter had shoved a different rabbit into his carrier during their 3 week stay.  Either way, Paris is not one to pee in his carrier because he’s a neat freak.

So… either she kept him there for way too long and he couldn’t hold anymore or, it was another rabbit.  It was so hard to clean.  It’s like trying to wash a small tent in your shower cubicle when your shower only fits one skinny person.

To add to all my usual chores, Paris also managed to jump onto the couch after his foot soaked up his pee.  So he left 3 pee-soaked foot prints all over the couch that I had to scrub out.  It’s the only bit I don’t understand.  Rome is super messy but very rarely gets pee on his foot. Paris, the neat freak seems to keep having his pee roll back down to his foot 80% of the time!

I made almond milk again (this time using the juicer) and with the “pulp”, I also made chocolate cake….. again!

Chocolate cake again. This time cream and honey on top.

Joy & Tones

Mental Health
I don’t think you can imagine just what kind of a lazy week we had.  So let me tell you.  When we get lazy, we watch movies or series.  This week, we managed to watch:
1.  Jumanji
2.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi
4.  Thor Ragnarok
5.  Downsizing
6.  Wonder
7.  Murder on the Orient Express
8. ALL episodes of The Crown, Season 2
9.  Marshall
10.  The first 6 episodes of Vikings, Season 5.

I think I’ve forgotten to list a couple of things but when you watch that much, it all becomes a blur.  Unsure what this much TV watching does to the brain but it sure makes the days go by really quickly and I don’t think we’ll need to watch TV again for a while!

Physical Health
I missed Saturday yoga this week because Tony thought there was a Dharma class in the afternoon so we missed the morning class but realised too late that Dharma wasn’t on so we didn’t go at all.

For the first time ever, I managed to slice a bit of flesh from my finger with a knife.  Tony was talking to me while I was slicing carrots.  He was showing me something and of course I turned to look at him at the exact same moment I pushed down the knife which rolled off the carrot and straight into my finger.  It took a week before I could remove the plaster (bandaid) when normally I don’t have to use one because I don’t bleed or, it will heal in a day.  Slicing my flesh is a whole new ballgame.  Up to now my finger still hurts.

I did manage my first Bikram class on Tuesday.  The first in months!! I sat out pretty much one set of each posture in the standing series right after the warm up but I did promise myself to take it easy.  I still managed a toe stand 😉  The best part is, no ill after-effects.

The sharp pains in my shoulder that I mentioned last week have stopped about as quickly as they came.    For that to happen, I had to make an effort, not to make an effort.  I realised that when I wanted something to happen desperately and was being impatient with it or trying to control an outcome (no matter what it was), that’s when my shoulder would hurt.  If I let it go and just let it be, my shoulder would stop hurting.

In other words, I had to let go of my expectations and allow for whatever outcome to happen and as soon as I did, the pain would disappear.  Strange right?  Unusual to find such a bizarre solution to shoulder pain but that’s what happens when a pain is psychosomatic and I realise now that I push myself really hard and attempt to control many things that are out of my control, to the point where it causes me physical pain!

Spiritual Health
Still meditating twice a day every day and it’s getting much easier with being able to sit still the whole time.

I can’t believe we’ve had 4 weeks of meditation.

The 2 consistent things I have DEFINITELY noticed since starting meditation practice:
1.  Everything we eat tastes delicious.  We haven’t had a bad meal since we started meditating.  Bizarre!

2.  Every stranger we come across that we interact with, whether it’s waiter/waitress, courier, shop assistants etc, have all been super duper nice and helpful to us.

We’re in London!!  London – home of the shittiest customer service I’ve experienced anywhere.  London – the place where you have to stick your elbows out while walking, just to physically specify your personal space and prevent getting bumped around like a pinball between fast walking locals and tourists who always manage to stand right in the middle of any and every high-footfall pathway.    London – where customer service is self service.

You’d be lucky for anyone to even be in the department to ask a question and yet, each time we needed something, there was someone around and that person would go out of their way to help us get exactly what we needed.  Finding competent, friendly people to help you with each interaction is a miracle and I am loving this!!

Holiday
So as not to bore you with rabbits and chocolate cake, here is another picture of our last holiday.  This is of, I guess, an indoor flea market which was located inside a shopping mall in Manila, Philippines. It was huge and spanned the entire basement area of the mall with all manner of trinkets, gadgets, clothes, jewellery, carpets, bedding and electronic devices.  This was just the t-shirt/clothes section!

I don’t know but this reminded me of all the knick-knacks I once used to buy that would sit on the shelves collecting dust and my frequent visits to the mall where I’d come back with bags of clothes, shirts and ornaments just because I thought they were cute.

It’s been a long time since we’ve done that.  Tones and I haven’t bought anything that’s not for the bunnies or for health in a very long time.  He bought his first thick winter jacket just yesterday.  I’ve been wearing the same winter jacket every day, all winter (I only have one) for the last 8 years.

Viewing this flea market from above is as surreal as it gets.  It’s like objectively viewing our past, consumeristic selves or, seeing a vibrant, colourful representation of what people’s cupboards and houses look like – every nook and cranny jam-packed full of stuff.

All I can say is, it’s nice to see this on holidays and I can’t wait for the day our place  doesn’t look like this either! 😉

Indoor flea market so you can shop for your trinkets in the comfort of air conditioning!

Well, that’s all for now.  I have to go do some vacuuming – AGAIN!

Next week, my blog will be late because it’s Chinese New Year’s eve next Thursday and Tony and I will be spending all day cooking.  On the upside, next week’s post will have all our food pictures of the CNY food we cooked.

See you then!! x

2018 Week 5 Summary

Goodbye January.  Hello February.

Sorry for the late post.  I had a week long feeling of procrastination about a lot of stuff (probably overwhelm – making changes to diet and lifestyle takes a lot of work!) and by the time I got around to doing the blog, I couldn’t finish it in time.

Am now starting the week completing things that were meant to be done last week!  Here’s the update…

House Stuff

We bought a bin.  It was to hold together and protect a whole bunch of wires (to stop the bunnies from getting at them and being able to chew them).

We already bought 2 previously to test out and so far so good which is why we bought the third.  At least the wires now look a lot neater than they did before.  They are now a tangle in the bin rather than a tangled mess all over the floor and shelves!  The negative is that Rome has found a new thing he loves to bite.  Cheeky monkey.  At least we know the bin works and he’s not chewing the wires!

The blinds and floor remain broken/undone but I did manage to make natural dish washing detergent, natural laundry detergent and all of the following:

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Steamed Aubergine with Shitake Mushrooms and Asparagus

 

Vegetarian Greek Wraps with homemade Tzatziki. Wrapped in a spring green leaf (instead of bread) to keep it grain free.

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Yes…. I made chocolate cake twice in one week!  Yes!! Me!! The non-baker who absolutely gets it all wrong and cannot bake to save her life made 2 chocolate cakes in one week!!!

One was made with coconut flour and the second was made with the soggy left over almond meal I got after whizzing the almonds in a blender with water to make almond milk 😉  #homemade #organic #almondmilkandchocolatecake #zerowaste #omgitwassoyummy

Joy & Tones

Mental Health
Tones when people ask him about what he’s eating (he’s brought the above for lunch):  “Joy’s been watching this thing on the brain and so now I have to eat this.”

To clarify, I watched a docu-series for 8 days that talked about the preventative measures you could take regarding dementia and other forms of brain degeneration and mentioned that changes to your diet are necessary to look after your brain health.

The way he says it, it sounds like I watched some propaganda and then forced him into a horrible fad diet which is a painful process to him.

So I want to make it clear that he decided to do this on his own!

I am now attempting to remove grains and as much sugar as possible from my own diet considering that I’ve been displaying multiple episodes of brain fog and I’m much too young to have this much memory loss.  If it works and I no longer suffer from brain fog and memory loss, I will continue it and if not, I will find something else that will work!

Tony is showing absolutely no signs of losing his mind and is therefore allowed to eat as many biscuits as he likes.  However, he has also watched parts of the docu-series and seen that I have displayed all the symptoms they spoke about!!!  So, as a preventative, he’s decided to take on the same pro-active choices about diet as I have.

Judge for yourself, from the pictures above of what we’ve been eating, it’s not really a bad thing now is it?  Everything we’ve been eating has tasted really good!

Physical Health

I went to my first yoga class in a few months, this week.  It was a Vinyasa class.  That was on Saturday.  I took it easy and felt good afterwards.  It was the only class I did all week.  Tony did Vinyasa and Bikram.  He actually enjoyed his Bikram class and said he needed to do it more.  Somehow I feel my body calling for it too.  Maybe I’ll re-introduce myself to it next week.

On Wednesday, my shoulder started producing sharp pains.   The same as that which I had a couple of years ago that had me stop doing yoga for a while because it lasted for months.  It doesn’t make sense for this pain to occur so many days later after only 1 yoga class and to be so acute.  I can barely lift my arm!!

I’m thinking this is some sort of physical manifestation of an unresolved emotional issue which is now coming up to the surface because of the changes I’m making in mind and body.  That’s my theory anyway.  I will still take it very easy.

Spiritual Health
Had my 10 day check-up with the meditation teacher (where they just check that you’re happy with the progress of your meditation and answer any questions you may have about your practice).  Turning this into a habit is actually difficult.  I can’t believe I’ve been meditating for 2 full weeks by the end of today!

When asked how often I meditated, I answered, 20 mins twice a day, every day.  This was the truth.  However I didn’t find it easy.  I would prioritise everything else instead.

My morning meditation would end up getting done in the afternoon and my evening meditation would get done at 1 am just before I went to bed.

Then I wouldn’t be able to sleep because I’d feel energetic after meditation and then I’d have broken sleep and wake up really tired and groggy in the morning.  I’d then find myself really irritable and unable to sit still for the next meditation and so would postpone it for “a little bit later”.

It’s so funny the things we do to sabotage ourselves and yet, here I am, 2 weeks later having managed to get it done.  I am amazed at the ease in which it happened.  I’ve never stuck to anything for this long on the first go, ever.

It is quite interesting to watch this battle I’m having with myself – the Id/Ego vs the Superego.  Experiencing and watching the struggle to change or form habits because my unconscious is so happy with sticking with what it’s used to.

 

Paris & Rome

This was an eventful week for the boys as they got an unexpected visit from our neighbour and her 4 year old son.

We bumped into the neighbours in the hallway, Tony mentioned we had rabbits and with that, they came up to visit.

Her son was so happy to see them.  Rome and Paris were completely freaked out and didn’t give them a friendly reception.  It was their first ever visit with anyone in their own territory.

Paris was particularly shy and although curious, would keep hiding or watching everything from inside his hutch.  Rome would come out only when they left his play area.  He’d steal some food and run back under the bed to eat it.  They just looked like a couple of scared, wild rabbits.  They wouldn’t eat from our hands, they wouldn’t eat when being watched, they wouldn’t come when called.

If you saw them, you would think all my stories of their cheeky behaviour and training, were made up!

Since we stressed them out with the visit, we decided to just take it up a notch and cut their nails.  This involves Tony carrying and holding them still (which they absolutely hate and often fight) and me cutting their nails.  We did this after the neighbours left.

This time Paris scratched Tony’s finger enough to make it bleed and while held, he was hyperventilating and breathing really loudly 😦  They stress so much it stresses us out and so we avoid picking them up as much as they avoid being picked up!  Nail cutting is not pleasant for any of us!

In another event, Paris nearly bit me.  He lunged at me with mouth open and I retracted my hand just quickly enough to get scratched but not punctured by his teeth.  They’re moulting at the moment so he tends to get GI stasis (and therefore really grumpy because he’s in pain) if he ingests too much of his own fur.  He lunged when I wouldn’t stop bugging him to eat.  The good part is, he ate soon after and he hasn’t suffered from GI stasis as much this moulting time around.

Right… see you in a few days with the normal Thursday blog 😉

 

2018 Week 4 Summary

Time flies when you’re having fun!  Week 4 flew by in a flash.

Paris & Rome

The boys have been very happy this week so we have been treated with lots of adorable binkies and speed running by both of them.  However, I didn’t capture any of it on camera  because unlike many people in this day and age, I don’t keep my phone or camera with me at all times.

So instead I show you this… one of my favourite pictures of Rome simply because it looks like I’ve completely squashed him and turned him into a floor rug but the truth is, that is just how he is when you pat him!!!  He relaxes so much, his legs splay, his eyes close and he flattens his head on the floor.  He’d melt into and through, the floor if he could!  This was taken in August 2017.  He’s just under 1 year old.

I squashed him because he’s so squishy!

So you have a comparison, this is what he looks like when he relaxes on his own, without the patting.  Picture also taken in Aug 2017:

Rome resting next to his toys

Yes, he has a lot of toys.  A grass ball, planks of wood from a see-saw which he broke (chewed apart), rope with blocks of wood to throw around and chew on, cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls, kitchen paper rolls but of course he’s not interested in those.  Life is much better attempting to melt into the floor. #romerabbit #rabbitlife #whatalife

Here’s Paris using his quilt as a pillow looking like he can’t be bothered.  Actually he had his eyes closed and was sleeping but I just can’t get close without him opening his eyes:

My Sleeping Paris Bunny

My boys both look like they’re lazy and completely comatose but my heart beams when I see them do this.  It means we’ve provided them with an environment where they often feel very relaxed  🙂 #parisbunny #goawayyouaredisturbingmysleep

House Stuff

Tony:  Thanks for the doing the washing.
Me:  What washing?
Tony:  The clothes washing.
Me:  I didn’t.

Yes! I have caught up with all the laundry such that I had one day where I didn’t have to wash the clothes at all!  Whoot!

Our blinds are broken though, they have been since the end of last year but I keep forgetting to fix them.  One of the strings that threads through to help you pull it up, has broken but I need Tony to take them down completely so I can fix them.  I just keep forgetting to ask him.

We haven’t cut holes into the floorboards yet (for the washing machine) either.  Plus I’m supposed to rabbit proof the wires so that Rome doesn’t bite them when he’s in the bedroom.

There’s more but I won’t list them yet.  Why am I writing it here in the first place?  So you can hold me accountable.  I will aim to do the above by next week.  You are very welcome to bug me about it.

Forgive me but if nobody holds me accountable, I’ll be just as comatose as my bunnies because life is so much better that way!!  I mean look at them!   #amibovvered

Am I bovvered?

 

Joy & Tones

Mental Health
One way to exercise the brain is by learning a new language.

Tony has decided to join me with learning Chinese (Mandarin).  At the moment it’s all on audio.  I have to listen and repeat.  This way I learn how to make the same sounds.

As mentioned, I was already struggling with it before, but now he has completely confused me and so I have to start again.

For example, to say “American” you say “Meiguo ren”
Tones comments during the lesson:  “Meg Ryan!! It sounds like Meg Ryan!”  Me in my head:  “It so does not!!!” but of course I’m so emphatic about it that it sticks.

So, now every time I have to say “American” in a sentence my brain says “How do I say American again?  Who was that actress again?”  and I imagine scenes from When Harry Met Sally… or Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail and am unable to remember her name and by the time I do, my response time is finished and I have not even started my sentence.

Also my pronunciation is all wrong because I’m thinking “Meg Ryan” instead of “May Gwo Yren” (with intonation).

He has done this with a number of words / phrases so now my brain has too many associations and my response time and accent which was already poor to begin with, have both diminished.

SO…. I’m starting again… from scratch and I’m going to do my lessons when he’s not around.  I realise with language learning, I need full on concentration!!

I’ve also been watching and just finished the 8 day docu-series “The Broken Brain” which talks about all sorts of brain issues like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ADHD, Autism, Brain Fog, Anxiety, Depression and Brain Trauma.  It also goes through ways to prevent and/or reverse effects of brain damage / deterioration.  It has been very educational.

Tones has been watching some of the series with me.  Last night he mentioned going to the shop and picking up a packet of biscuits that he wanted.  He says, he looked at the ingredients, saw the % of wheat flour and sugar, then concluded “hmmm…. 80% Dementia”.  He put it down and walked away, hoping that when he got home, I would have made some chocolate.

It turns out, I did!! #rawchocolate #softcentre #cashewbutter #hazelnut #tasteslikeferrerorocher #chocexperiment #dairyfree

Raw Chocolate with Cashew Hazelnut Centre

Please forgive what it looks like.  It’s a bit rough looking compared to last week because I over-filled it!  I need some practice and restraint when it comes to filling.  I tend to do the same with won tons and spring rolls (I over fill them and they explode when being cooked)!

Anyway, I cut one of the chocolates open so you can see the inside.

The outside is made of the same stuff as last week.  The inside is a mixture of cashew butter, coconut oil and crunchy hazelnuts with lavender honey to sweeten.

It’s good brain food because it’s high in fat.  Also, it has zero artificial sweeteners, zero preservatives, zero dairy and zero grains!!  All of the ingredients are raw and most are organic.

The best part?  Tony says, “it tastes like Ferrero Rocher without the wafer.”

Alright!  I’m chuffed with that!  Now I just have to work on refining how it looks!

Physical Health

I haven’t yet re-started yoga.  I was going to go this week but last minute changes to the schedule (see below) meant I’ve had to put it off.  I remain sedentary.

Meanwhile, my hamstrings have reduced to the size of my foot and I’m now standing with my knees bent.  Who needs to worry about Dementia when you can’t even touch your toes anymore?

Tony however, has continued to go regularly maybe 1-2 times per week.

Also I got my results back for my 2nd cervical screening (pap smear) and I’ve got the all clear.  No cancer, all normal and I don’t have to do it again for another 3 years.  PHEW!  I am so relieved and happy about this.

Spiritual Health
We started meditation classes on Saturday that just passed, with 3 follow up sessions Sunday through Tuesday for answering questions and going through some of the theory of meditation.

I put it here in Spiritual health but I think meditation works on all levels (physical and mental as well as spiritual).

To do the course was a last minute decision.   It was a choice between learning how to meditate on our own, or getting some guidance on it and reassurance for whether or not we were doing it correctly.

After my comment last week about time passing, never getting it back and checking whether or not I spent it well, I decided not to procrastinate about the meditation.

I’m glad we made the decision to do the course.  Although you can find plenty of information for free online, doing the course and having accountability meant that we had to make time do it.  It really was a good way to kick start the habit of regular meditation.

It’s been less than a week and already, we have seen the benefits.

It’s just small simple things at the moment but I’m finding better focus and clarity, memory retention and efficiency (I get more things done in the time I have than I did before).  So in that sense, it’s exactly what I needed, to feel better about how I spend my time and improving my brain function.

Holiday
Thought I’d give you yet another snippet of our holiday.   😉  Guess where we are and what we are doing?

We are not surgeons and we are not in a hospital!

Ha ha!! #mynewlook #fashiontrendasia2017

This is my Uncle and I at a property development company’s offices.  Tony took the picture.  What he didn’t capture was that the guy behind the computer screen was also wearing a surgeon’s mask!!

Why?  Because that’s what they do in Asia when they are sick!  I just thought I’d follow suit.  So my Uncle was fighting off a cold/cough.  I had managed to get one on the flight to Manila and the guy behind the desk was either sick himself with something else OR he covered his own face so we wouldn’t infect him.  Hilarious!

We weren’t buying a property btw, we were there for investigative purposes for my dad. #thethingswedoforfamily

Having just been on a 13 hour flight from London not sleeping at all on the plane, 2 hour stop over and pretty much having had no sleep for almost 48 hours,  I was prime for getting ill.  To top it off, the air conditioning on the plane from Hong Kong to Manila was freezing and the guy I sat next to was sniffling and coughing and his wife was fussing over him for the entire flight.  I think he was actually having a fever.

During the flight I started coughing.  In fact I started having coughing fits.  The kind where your eyes water and you feel like dry retching.  I would cough into a tissue and cover my mouth the whole time but I noticed the people around me (across the aisle, in front, behind) started putting things over their noses and mouths (scarves, shirts, bandanas, whatever they had).

By the time we reached Manila, I was surrounded by people who looked like they were ready to rob a bank in a country and western movie.  #gangsta

The picture above was our first day in the Philippines.  I couldn’t believe how many people I saw with surgeon’s masks on!  I even saw a flight attendant wearing one.

Before this visit to the Philippines, whenever I saw an Asian wearing one of these masks, I always thought it was because of pollution.  Now I realise, it’s so they don’t get other people around them sick or, so they don’t breathe in the germs themselves!

I wish people in London were considerate enough to wear masks.  Now that I think about it, nothing is more disgusting than feeling someone’s warm, wet cough right in your neck and hair when standing in a crowded tube.  It has happened to me in the past.

So many people don’t even cover their nose or mouth when they cough or sneeze! #sogross  #theyshouldwearamask #itsagoodidea #beconsideratelikeasians

See you next week! x

2018 Week 3 Summary

It’s about now where some panic sets in.  Week 3.  I realise by labelling my blogs this way, I’ve inadvertently started counting the weeks that have passed and I’ll never get back.  Did I spend them wisely?!

My mild panic has indicated…. I don’t think so.

It’s been 3 weeks since 2018 started and there are still so many things I have left outstanding.  How did we get here already?

Paris & Rome

I need to spend more time with Paris.  Rome requires so much supervision with all his biting everything, that Paris just gets left to his own devices.  He doesn’t break or bite a thing.  He doesn’t even walk off his play area even though it’s unfenced.  He just behaves but this does mean he gets left unsupervised a LOT.

Tony doesn’t spend any time with him either because he’s scared of Tony and will often run and  hide.  I don’t want him feeling neglected so I’m going to spend more time with him in the evenings.  For the past 2 nights I’ve lay down in his area so he can come and say hello if he wants.   He’s a “I’m happy to  hang out with you in the same space but don’t touch me!” type of bunny.  For now I’ll just have to be happy with his whiskers tickling my face when he comes to sniff my head as I lie on the floor.

Paris on the couch

I’ve let Rome run around the bedroom again and he loves sleeping under the bed or between the wall and the bedhead and he hasn’t bitten the bed at all.  Phew!  Progress.

Rome in his play area looking for a new toy after demolishing his grass ball

Lastly, when I took them to the vet, they weighed in at almost 1.5kg each.  Vet said it was a healthy weight so I increased their pellets according to their weight (25g per kilo in body weight).  I’ve upped their feed from 25g to 37g each of pellets.

I don’t know but they’re now starting to look fat to me.  Rome’s got his double chin back but I’d rather that than feel his bones.  However, the other day, Tony saw Paris and said “OMG! He’s so FAT!!!”  So I guess it wasn’t just my perception.

So, I may have to watch them now.  There’s nothing worse than a fat rabbit… if they get too fat they can’t clean themselves properly which means I will have to clean their bums.  I’d rather put them on a diet.

I also want to get them partners.  They’ll do so much better psychologically if they were husbuns to their own honeybuns (see what I did there?  Somebunny is getting into her bunny parent terminology) but alas, we cannot.  Not until we get a bigger place. #goals

House Stuff

After our adventures with the broken washing machine, I’ve mostly caught up with the laundry.  You don’t understand what a feat this was.  It’s a very carefully organised number of washes per day, every day that I can do to balance out hanging space and length of time required for drying.

There are rabbits’ sheets and floor rugs as well as our sheets, Tony’s wet yoga gear (because as of now, I haven’t been to yoga for almost 3 months) and all our clothes plus all our holiday clothes and the filthy state in which we received the rabbit carriers.  There is limited hanging space and everything takes 1-2 days to dry.  It’s getting there.  By this weekend, I’ll be back on track.

Joy & Tones

We went to a friend’s birthday dinner at Jaimie’s Italian in Angel and I got to try a Karma Cola (sweetened with stevia, #drinknoevil).  I liked it but nobody else who tried it did.  They said it was like drinking flat Coke.  Tones doesn’t like the stevia aftertaste.   Never mind.

Dinner was better than expected (I kind of expect Jaimie’s restaurant food to taste like food you’d cook at home but this was better than that!), the service was good and we got to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in YEARS.

Fi’s Bday Dinner

I’ve started learning Chinese (Mandarin).  God help me.  Wo bu hui shuo Putonghua or any Chinese for that matter.  Although it’s in my blood, my tongue and ears don’t register and cannot produce the same sounds in the same tones.  I’ve done one lesson.  My brain hurts.

The rest of the week has been catching up with / connecting with friends and family online, eating Chinese takeaway and watching movies.  You know, really going sedentary so that I can give my body a real shock when I go back to yoga…. whenever that will be.  I know… it’s all or nothing with me!

Oh… and I made my own #organic #vegan #rawchocolate 🙂

I used equal portions of cacao butter, coconut oil and cacao powder, sweetened to taste with raw lavender honey.

My Handmade Raw Vegan Chocolate

Do hashtags actually work on blogs?  Who knows.  As promised, I’ve added pictures to my blog.  Hope they helped!!!

PS – It’s been 3 weeks since coming back… so here are a few pictures to prove we did actually go on holidays – we went to Philippines and Hong Kong.

This photo was taken from the top of Mt Tapyas which isn’t really a mountain…. at least it didn’t feel like one.  It was much easier to climb (it was just a lot of stairs) than the likes of Scafel Pike and Ben Nevis.

View from Mt Tapyas

It shows Coron, Palawan in the background.  The place where my grandfather spent much of his later life / time running a Shell petrol station which, in his day, was pretty much the only petrol station in all of Coron.

Before, I’d feel safe because I couldn’t get lost.  No matter where I was, all I had to say to anyone was “Shell Petrol Station” or my grandfather’s name and everyone would know a) to make sure they looked after me and b) exactly where I lived to take me home.

These days, there is no Shell petrol station and there are many petrol stations competing for business and the town proper is bustling with tourists who are looking to do island hopping and scuba diving.

There are now a number of restaurants and hotels.  Even the dirt road from airport to town is concrete and instead of riding in on a jeepney, there are air-conditioned minivans!  It has changed a lot since my visits in the past.  Nothing was recognisable, not even the petrol station.

It’s been 17 years since my grandfather passed away and 11 years since my last visit.    This time around, I was just another tourist.

Oh…. and every time I’ve visited in the past, the water is blue and so is the sky but it doesn’t look that way in the picture because this day was in-between typhoons.  One just ended the day before and another was on its way.  Plus Tones and I had just emerged from 3 days bedridden with fever.  We felt we needed to get out since it stopped raining and it was our last day in Coron!

This next picture is from Maquinit Hot Springs.  I visited Coron when these Hot Springs were nothing but hot water bubbling from the ground and a few rocks were planted on the sand to form a basic pool.  The hot water would over flow into the sand and into the sea.  The water was HOT!!!!  Plus, there was only us there.  It was like having your own private Jacuzzi.

Now there are several pools, walkways, ramps, toilets, change rooms and of course, ENTRY FEE and a tonne of tourists.  The water was a little warmer than lukewarm.  I suspect it’s because the big pool is no longer close to source and you would need to sit in the smaller pools for that.  Except…. there were too many people!

We managed to find a nook where none (people/tourists) could be seen on camera.  There was a young couple and someone else’s kids running around, only half a meter away.  The photo looks much more peaceful and intimate than that right?

I actually love that I got to know Coron without all the hoo-hah and have those memories of it too.   You see a glimpse of what that was like here.  It’s still a lot of grey clouds but at least you get the hint of blue 🙂

View from Maquinit Hot Springs

Lastly, proof we were in Hong Kong.  We arrived there Christmas eve.  So Tony sent this photo to many when he wished them a Merry Christmas.  We stayed at the YMCA which was recommended by a friend.  Loved the view.  It was perfect.

Unfortunately we were  never around or in our room to see the Christmas light show which happened every evening we were in Hong Kong!  Can you imagine?  They closed the streets (from cars) for this.  People would travel and crowd up along the harbour side to see this.  We had comfy , unimpeded seats/views from our hotel room and we weren’t there!!

That’s like having a front on view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Years and not being there for the fireworks.  Ridiculous….

Anyway… we spent time with family which was more important.

Until next week….

View from YMCA, Hong Kong