Sunday, 21 October 2012

a comparative study

..or thereabouts.. of last year's and this year's birthday..

birthday 2011

birthday 2012.


i wonder what birthday 2013 would look like.

dont hold my breath. i might go back to the 2011 or beyond look.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

the beach

we are so lucky that where we are, although a country/farm/forest destination , we are also a few minutes away from the beach.

the downside to this is, every friday, the roads get blocked up by caravans and motor homes that clog the roads because holiday makers come to our side of the country to be either in the forestlands and or the beach.

but that's a minor inconvenience when we have nature's loveliest landscapes for our weekend enjoyment.

some photos of one of the popular beaches down our area.

{old hunstanton beach}

the skyline is interrupted only by this historic lighthouse

some interesting edifice

they serve great ice cream here.

it has stories to tell.

beach huts

Adrian's son, M.

the sun, sand and skies.

can you tell i've run out of models? (lol)


this goes without saying, remind me to take you there, when you're here.


Monday, 15 October 2012

the crossover

There was a time, many may moons ago, i was committed to be single forever, and be contented with life as a single, outgoing, financially independent career woman in-charge of her life, and to be with friends, male or female for my choosing to suit my carefree lifestyle.

Perhaps it was the heartache talking (from a traumatic betrayal), and the jadedness over how easily love and relationships need work and passion to be strongly built over time, yet broken overnight. Whatever it was, it was the focus. The conscious decision.

 I did not set out to meet Adrian. Sure, I was free, roaming the galleys of the dating world (virtual/physical), but i was not in the mood for a steady relationship. Romance,yes. Relationships, no.

Until a man who sounds and acts like that heroic, chivalric, antithesis to the bad-boy who broke your heart (and the many hopeless ones you kissed after him), arrives in your doorstep and grabs you in your waist , kneels infront of you and professes commitment and love and laughter in between, who wants to pass that up? It may not have not sounded as simple or overdramatized as that (in my experience, it wasn't and probably yours wouldn't be either), but indeed, when the chance meeting of the kindest, most charming and most intellectually stimulating person who can hold your defective attention span for far than anyone can, that was it for me. The deal-breaker as it were.

Ok, he didn't look exactly like the knight-in-shining armour in my dreams (and by far no means, i am disillusioned to think i was the replica of the pin-up poster girl on his fantasy bedroom wall,either) but if he makes you feel like you are the that girl with the perfect bouncy hair in the pantene commercial, or gave you the swagger like that lady who was chased by a group of hunky lotharios from the sexy music video you longed to star in---then maybe, this is it, the man who makes you star in your own romantic lovestory.

Fantasy feelings achieved aside, if you had a go at giving people who didn't make you feel half as important and half as beautiful as this one, what is there to lose? Your heart? I thought to myself, damn me, so be it if it breaks twice. If it did, at least the one who broke it this time around totally gave you some good self-worth due you.

But 9 years after, so far, so good. Ego intact, self-worth solid and marriage stronger. I am sure along the way, hurdles are to come, but i know many many years may pass, he'd still be that dashing lothario who i end up with, hand-in-hand, in that make-believe music video. Song title under debate, however.

this is a badly written entry to say, i'm glad i decided to get hitched. for i, never intended to.

getting married was a perfect present for myself, because in reality, my husband is my strength when i'm a bit undecided, my voice of reason when i am incoherent, and the meaning to why i have to be awake on dull autumn rainy cold days. he is.

and i, (without an iota of a doubt), am to him.


(post dedicated to those who are having their carrie bradshaw moment of "will i, or will i not?" )

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Keep Calm and Dine Away

just sharing my recent purchase for the dining area.

our dining area is red and cream inspired, a little spice to the country-cottage theme of the entire house.

here's a cute (inexpensive) placemats and coasters i got.

definitely, we love our Keep Calm quotes in this house. it surely adds humour to the place.

the rhododendrons of Sandringham

Sandringham House is the queen's winter house, where she and her family spend their christmasses and pass winter by. It has beautiful gardens and sprawling woodlands with ponds and beautiful landscapes and is rich in historical sculptures (many of which are presents from visiting dignitaries or other monarchs) and abundant with flora and fauna this side of Europe.

From their website, it said, that Sandringham is her "much-loved country-retreat" and for its historical and visual beauty, it is very much rich in history and i say, is one of the best 'must-visit' places in England.

What's even more beautiful is it is an 8-10- minute drive by car away from me, and some biking afficionado neighbours would bring their beautiful bikes along the estate and and if you are a true-blue Norfolker, you would ramble or walk.

We have brought a number of visitors and friends who come and visit us to Sandringham House, and all of them are in awe of its beauty and its surrounding woodlands.

But before i show you what is inside the beautiful electric 'magical' gates, let me tell you about the popular rhododendrons of the Sandringham estate.

They bloom just about summer time. They are famous for so many things because all you see coming to the estate are dots and visuals of purples, lilacs, lavenders and baby pinks.

Its beauty has been marvelled by poets and writers, and the country walk when it is dotted with the colours are often painted by artists, and needless to say, many a photo-sharing online groups have a  special dedicated group for the rhododendron sandringham estate (go google!).

I remember my high school English teacher Mrs.P asked us to read a poem called rhododendrons (that was the first time i heard of the plant), so indeed it is a remarkable shrub which flowers inspire many a creative mind.

Im waiting for it to hit me.


The Sandringham estate was abundant with these colourful shrubs.

Up close,the flower looks like this.

if you have been a long time friend, you would know, taking photos of flowers or landscapes is not one of my favourite subjects. i love looking at them, or being in the place, but as photography subjects,i love people and events more. I guess its always preference. 

Here, Adrian is  at his element, surrounded by flowers and nature. And he loves taking photos of them. He is not one of the best photographers out there, (he sometimes ends up with pictures of his thumb and fingers than the subject,but still, it makes him happy, so i let him be.)

Rhododendrons' genus are native to every continent of the world, except South America and Africa. -Wikipedia

Hey,Mr. Happy. 

'ang nawawalang damo'... some weeds can be the prettiest.

it's abundance in the woods just made the woods more magical

a thick forest of shrubs and trees surround the estate.. popular for walking, trailing and orienteering

just within a few metres is the queen's winter house. and you wonder what its like for her,too, to be in this vast space of nature.

the rhododendrons of Sandringham.
 its there to be gazed at, marvelled upon and longed for, for those who are into the beauty of the flower itself, for nature lovers, or like me, nature neophytes who are just discovering the beauty to be surrounded by nature, day,after day, after day.


this goes without saying, remind me to take you there, when you're here.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Old Coach House (Pub Dining)

If there is one thing i noticed about Norfolk is that not only is it abundant in pubs, but the pubs are not your run in the mill watering holes. They are pubs of good standing, most often notably mentioned in food magazines, or even better, Michelin starred at that, or popularly mentioned by gastrophiles or within hush-hush restaurant critic's circles. Most of these pubs are bought by well sought-after chefs in England, and some even celebrity chefs you see on tv.

(an article about the acquisition)

One of them is a noted pub called The Old Coach House. My celebrity chef favourite Marco Pierre-White bought this establishment (many others) and turned it into a gastronomic experience.

One April day, Adrian and i decided to have lunch somewhere different. We treated ourselves to some nice pub grub of a certain standard. We were not disappointed. Ther atmosphere was indeed a pub, but one that you know, that not only serves great ale, but will give you authentic coastal and country flavours akin to the locality where it is located.

When you're here, remind me to take you there.

a nice customer offered to take our photo.

Adrian loves his greene king ipa

the nice waitress gave us our menu..and said we could take it at home.

PS you know when a restaurant is confident about their pricing and their food, when they are not scared of customers taking photos of their food and prices..this one even gave us a copy of their menu

charcuterie board and a basket of fresh bread

their fresh pies. this one was chicken pot pie. adrian gives it 2 thumbs up!

pan fried seabass

my dessert..sundae 


more pub features,soon ...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

wishes for Roi

(a photo of Roi, when he visited me in England in 2009)

a lot of people do not know that my brother was born very tiny, just almost 6 ounces and the size of a kitten in the palm of your hand. he was always thin and sickly when he was young, and my mom had trouble feeding him.

because he was so sickly and tiny (and short), he would be the butt of mine and my other brother's pranks. Roi would end up just either in  corner observing or laughing out his older sibling's pranks like a little meek kitten.

in a few years of recurrent hospital admissions, and a good number of United American Tiki-tiki vitamins, Roi  grew (in bulk, hehe, peace,bro...) and he also was becoming the charmer that he is to peers and to family--his sense of humour just is unparalleled and he has the best company one would be in luck to share with. (he also is a very good actor. in his high school, he would always do theatre and acting productions as part of his extra-curricular activities. even years later at work, he would always be production leader for any presentations. what can i say, nagmana sa ate! LOL).

he is always my number one ally (we one time left the house, and 'layas' together,hahaha), and i will always have a soft spot for him because he is such a doting brother, and i will always miss his company when i'm anywhere in cebu without him. plus-- we share the love of food. (thank you American tiki-tiki that you made him enjoy food,haha).

[this entry is to tell him how much i love him, because it's no use if i will shower someone i love with such adoration when they are not around anymore. (not that he is going anywhere, simbako!). ]

today is his birthday and i want to tell him all in one blog entry what he means to me and to us as family. but i failed because this space is not enough..

so let me just wish him some of my wishes for him.


Dear Roi,

i wish you good health-- a long healthy fruitful life.

i wish you a productive career that you wanted--one that involves busy kitchens and hot burning ovens (your idea of heaven)

i wish you a wonderful ageless love with your equally lovely wife,S-- one that involves healthy dose of romance and less of the challenges, but enough to keep the love warm and beautiful.

i wish myself a world of many mini-you's. because really, i know you will be a wonderful father, and most of all we all need more of you in this world: someone always cheerful and light to be around with, happy and funny and just a great person all around.

i love you. i miss you, my tiny little brother (yes, in my mind, you are still the scrawny tiny one).



Wednesday, 10 October 2012


lotus man...tamil nadu,india (2010)
listening to your calling,giving in to your purpose --is hearing out your own soul speak to you.

when you think you have it bad...(let me tell you this) you don't.

let me first say this, if you are able to read this, in the comfort of your own technology: PC/MAC, phone, ipad, reader, in the comfort of your own room, office, etc --you have it good.

thank your lucky stars.

tonight, i saw a programme on tv (as part of a tv documentary series) about India on BBC,that Adrian and i are following, that made me thank my life, my comfort and my safety.

i have visited and been to India, and i come from the Philippines where some of these documentaries i see are made to document socio-economic differences, i am sometimes horrified to know that it actually happens, but i am still astounded when i discover a different kind of poverty i never knew existed.

i used to think, i lived a realistic down-to-earth living back home. i witnessed poverty, i witnessed and experienced hardships, but after seeing such documentary, i feel i lived a sheltered life,after all.

this documentary about India, talks about the life of certain pockets in the society that not the touring population know, and probably not the rest of their own people know.

the first series looked at the lives of a man who shared a rental room with 15 other men, they sweep gold-dust from the street and sell it to gold-hawkers. and another man,who squatted in the beach to open up an illegal pub. the second series was about this woman who lived in a shanty in the city with her many children and husband, to recycle plastic bottles and sell it to wholesalers. the second series showed that apart from money struggles, they had to contend with the urban mafia who keeps collecting money from them or else the husband could get beaten up or shot.

the first series showed how this man in the gold district (quite  a busy street where gold exchange and buying happens) this gold-dust sweeper, wakes up at 3am every morning, to beat other gold-dust sweepers and get the first sweep himself. in india,where women, and children have gold on them, sometimes lose a piece of a the jewelry they are wearing, or even perhaps the gold hawkers lose  speck of a gold they have on them to the street.

but the man who buys gold from him was conning him and buying his gold for a very meager price than the original market value, so being an ingenuous person, he thought of a different tactic: he was not sweeping the street anymore, he was going to go inside a street canal, fill up 30 sacks of sewage mud/dirt (imagine the human,animal and domestic waste, ugh!) to sell to the wholesaler/big buyers of gold dust by the Ganges (where they sift the mud to extract the gold).

so the story follows him on his daily struggles , waking up at the crack of dawn,to go inside a dirty sewage, get covered in muck (toilet/city sewage on him--i say that, coming from me who work with human waste in a clinical setting is nothing--we have gloves, sanitiser and hygiene protocols where i work), and still have the energy to follow his dream.

it was only the second part of the series so far, but i find it such a mind opener what lengths (and depths in his case) people have to go through to get that next meal.

i have been to india, and seen people live there, ate with locals and celebrated a cultural event with them, but i have only seen the educated/upper class indians' way of life. the postcards and photos we see of people living the 'picture-perfect poverty'photo actually doesnt come with the story--the urban mafias threatening to kidnap their children when they cant pay, or the 'love marriage' that resulted in the poverty because the parents were not pleased about the coupling, yet resulted in happy well-dressed children that go to boarding schools despite living in squattered makeshift tents as houses. these stories not even my indian friends could tell me because they themself drive range rovers and put us up in expensive 5 star hotels and shower us expensive sarees as tokens.

while watching the documentary, and blurting out to Adrian that "oh shocks, i think the Philippines is better off than they are".  Adrian said to me , "You are saying that from your experience, but you do not know anyone from the Philippines who come from that section of society, but there are people in your country who probably do, and maybe worst".

But of course, I do know of poverty, I claim. I see it on TV patrol, on the news, heck, i even reported about it when i read the news on AM radio (the Inayawan scavengers, and squatters, etc)--but Adrian is right. until i know of someone, or friends with anyone/someone who live that life, i may get the picture in my brain, the vision of how it would look like--but to truly to know it-- i will not know.

and i do not wish anyone i know or friends with or related with, to let me discover the depths of it too.

(an ice cream vendor in tamil nadu... he has it easy compared to those on the documentary)


in consequence, i am even more grateful, but i somehow feel a little guilty of why we have so much while some have barely anything.

i do not have the answers,but all i know is, i will appreciate MORE what i have. and i will do my best to be of help to the society so that the government can focus on the ones that truly need the help.

too deep, i know. on a wednesday night, at that. but it has to be said.

a reminder to those like me who whine about the traffic (while im inside a nice heated or A/C'd car, or bemoaning the lipstick i forego to buy because i spent it on an overpriced Zara pump ..)

years has passed, maturity helps with lessening the whining and the shallow overtures, but real live stories like theirs are such a boink in the head.

i will go to work whistling tomorrow, and not complain about my taxes, my never-ending auditing and research assignments, and i will even love early mornings and the cold weather to get there because going to work in a nice comfy hospital (with free coffee,and biscuits), is far far better than going inside a ditch to scrape gold out of sewage.


PS. i might still complain about the weather,though. (hahaha).

i wonder if i can record the documentary for you guys to see (its interesting and informative to say the least). i'll see what i can do. 

watch this space.

Monday, 8 October 2012

love where you are at

i do. i do.

i know i've only been here a year exactly a  week ago, but deep down my heart, this place had me from the word 'go'.

you know, i always have been taught that where you live, and who you live with affect our capacity to gravitate towards good things. when you live around negativity, and bad atmosphere, it will not only bring your mental wellbeing down, but it will also kick away the good energy meant for you.

i always thought i had it good where i was before. i loved our house (i still do, i miss my kitchen truth be told :-0) but this entire historical county has grabbed my heart hook, line and sinker.

i know Adrian and i will not be here permanently (because we own a house on the London border), but we plan on staying until all my family have visited *knock on wood* (that is the plan), and of course, until i have finished my rotational assignment.

i also think that i have matured as a person, and with the maturity afforded me, with it came the openness to receive blessings (people,love, affection,relation--- non-monetary) that head my way. the place, with all its visual trimmings, the charm and the people that come with it, the experiences attached to it, it just gets better. 

i could not ask for more. 

(except better health for my love ones, i must add


how about you, where you are now, and can you say it has given you the "oomph" to accept life's offerings?

are you willing to (physically) move/ relocate to get a healthier and refreshed outlook about your life?

or do you actually believe that a place has anything to do with one's capacity to receive good energy?


Sunday, 7 October 2012

sister love, always.

My sister have been very very busy recently and although we Skype every week and an occasional Viber and Whatsapp during the week, i feel it's never enough updates from her.

Whenever i talk to my mom over the phone, i get an occasional update on what  Ana has been doing and i must say she lives a wonderful productive life.

So today over skype, i made her promise to update me with her life with all that she does, with a blog i can visit.  Reluctantly, she agreed, quite unsure whether she has enough time to do so.  But i asked it to be a birthday gift for me.

Here, she writes.

Ana is, (and always will be), a flighty blogger (just like her Ate). She cannot stick to one, and she is still finding her foot. Although there are some blogs i love to read, hers will always be something i especially look forward to read because she has a wonderful life, one i love to see and one i get inspired from.

I hope this one will be something she will stick to-- and update regularly.

(PS. she said,she had time to write because she just broken up with her boyfriend. Lets hope she doesnt find another one so she could stick to this bloody blog,lol..*joke,of course,Ana*)


Sending you tight hugs and beautiful moments with your sisters. 

birthday post (part 3 --the dinner)

After walking to the car, and took back the 'mini-shopping' i did for myself, Adrian and i had a glass each of a drink, at an acoustic bar.

a glass of lemonade for me, and a pint of lager for Adrian, we headed and walked back to the restaurant where we booked the meal.


The love for food adventures is something Adrian and i share, and what better way to celebrate my birthday but with food we both love.


Also, i am so blessed with lovely pressies and cards from the day. I am blessed. I thank my lucky stars.

my bestfriend K's birthday card. her present was so beautiful,too. she knows me too well.

my bro and sis in law's pressie...

my birthday card from my work colleagues..sweet.