Wednesday, August 31, 2011

featured place in Gib: Rosia Bay

i felt the stirrings of cabin fever last weekend. and i tell you, its bordering on madness. sooo not good. in order to remedy this, a drive was in order, i said to the mister. so we grabbed a bag of crisps and a bottle of pop and drove aimlessly for a while (it doesn't really take so long to see everything there is to see in Gib). we finally stopped at one of Gib's hidden spots where the view was awesome.
looking down on turqouise pools and peacock green waters
people enjoying the tail-end of summer in this tiny cove (in the crux of summer this is usually jampacked)
i panned the camera towards Spain.... and look what i spied with my little eye...near the bottom right hand side... a house! a real one! with an infinity pool (partially hidden by the boulder).. and a perfectly manicured lawn... i couldnt believe my eyes! such a thing actually exist in Gib :) ( i thought it was just a myth hehe)

Monday, August 29, 2011

you say tomatoe, i say tomahto...

yay! for the first time we harvested our "balcony farm" the other day and now!... presenting... the two fat, juicy, organic Beefsteak variety tomatoes that survived the "harsh landscape"! ta-dah!
the little garden truly made me happy this summer. just digging my fingers into the dirt, replanting them, watering them and then pruning them made it so life-affirming. i highly recommend it for everyone!
i cant wait to do this again next summer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

feeling artsy-fartsy

i dont know where i got my love for art and literature. no one in my family is even remotely what you can call an artist or a literati (this includes all forms: be it in writing, acting, singing, painting, sculpture, culinary skills, etc.) but we sure do know how to appreciate art. or the process of art. maybe because my parents made sure to "set the scene" for us. they encouraged us to read when we were very young. they danced and made us appreciate music. my mother especially taught us to look to nature for inspiration. looking back, i realized there was a certain emphasis on the creativity involved in making art. the time and effort and love poured into producing something. and i think thats what really matters.

i also think its a very personal journey. when i look at art, i can only surmise what goes on inside the artist's head when he created it. and in that moment a story unfolds. his story. we all love stories don't we?

in the meanwhile, my watercolor dreams are tucked away inside a drawer waiting for another tomorrow. sooooo, i will leave with you this poor excuse for art that i have created using no less than the loopy website below. i came across it yesterday and it felt good putting my feelings into "digital art" (however tacky it is!). i encourage you to be gentle when you come up with what you think was my story when i created this one :) and feel free to create your own too!

Click here to create your own painting.

give us this day our daily bread...

the mister and i now have the habit of saying grace before meals now that we are making our own family traditions. it is a comfort to me that i will be passing on positive influence on not just the mister but also to our future children and also to the people we meet in our everyday lives. The Lord's prayer is also something that we both feel deeply about because we find comfort and solace in the holy words... in any and every situation. i was struck by how these words "..and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us..." could immediately follow words about sustenance "...give us this day our daily bread...". forgiveness is for the soul while the bread of life is for our everyday living. now thats food for thought!

lately, i have noticed the many remarkable positive changes the mister have adapted especially in his "trains" of thoughts. i've noticed he now applies his critical thinking skills! i am a proud happy hippo! as you know, we have been watching what we eat since the year started and trying to eat healthy and be conscious about our food intake as well as where we buy them. we now choose locally-grown food especially fruits and vegetables and as much as possible it has to be home-made.

and so this is why the other day, just out of the blue, he decided to bake healthy bread! using wholewheat flour, he was in the kitchen for only a matter of minutes and voila!
we had a laugh as he stuck our initials on top. it was easy-peasy, he said
here he is with a big smile on his face a few weeks ago when he made "rustic" pizza with home-made pizza dough :)

Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts that we are about to receive from thy bounty. Amen!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

welcome to the christian world gabriel!

exactly two months and two days ago, a precious baby boy was born to parents, ed and lyra langston. they named him gabriel edward langston and he is soo ridiculously cute i could just spend the whole day gazing into his plump, bedimpled cheeks waiting for him to show me his rare smile. he spends his days feeding and sleeping, you see
here he is on his first few days out of his momma's tummy. he is a brave little boy and a joy to everyone, even if he demands his milk every hour now, ive been told. babies are just bosses in one-sies, don't you think? :)
the other day, the mister and i were invited to witness gabriel's baptism into the christian world. he was such an angel because he slept while the priest poured holy water on his head. as you can see, everyone was all smiles :) from left is proud grandpa albert and grandma elizabeth, followed by mommy lyra holding him and daddy ed, then uncle neville and then me. we had a sumptous lunch after at the happy grandparent's house
the food was not to be missed... as was the view from their balcony :D

featured place in Gib: the Gibraltar Fair 2011

its that time of the year again. the Fair is an awaited event here in Gibraltar. where families enjoy the sultry summer nights with a little entertainment for everyone. last saturday, on a whim, and because it was a very nice night, the mister and i decided to take an after-dinner walk and check out the whole she-bang.
bokeh effect...or my poor attempts at it
this ride is called "Pirata", which is very reminiscent of one that i took with my sister back in the Philippines ("Anchors Away" in Enchanted Kingdom) that we swore to ever NOT take EVAH again!
care for some Dora? or SpongeBob's friend perhaps?
this looks fun! how i would love to do some Zorbing (the adult version of this) in Marbella
tweeners waiting for their turn in the middle of the razzle and dazzle
i am in love with this fake coconut :) is it maybe because its so reminiscent of home? or maybe its so kitschy i can totally see this in my balcony?
the mister just can't wait to try this booth out
and so he did...of course i know why
not bad dear! he said he would have aced it but the target was too small
well, i also found a booth i like :D £1 for 5 lucky dips and i won 2 lovely plants! score! this is probably a variegated specie from the Alocasia family
we had one like this in our front yard in Iligan. my mother called this one "manaw" or the Bird's Nest Fern (scientific name Apslenium Nidus)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ouchy fellas

look what the mister brought me last night! prickly pears! they grow in the wild up the Rock and somewhere in the world they grow them as food. recently, we saw these cacti fruits for sale on the side of the road in front of the Watergardens and also right after you cross the frontier to Spain. i was curious as to how they tasted but never really found the time to have a taste.
around the fruit itself are little needle-like hairs or "glochids" that is so bothersome if it gets into your skin. its a bit tricky to handle them. we used a thick kitchen towel to open one.
this is my first time to eat these prickly pears. inside is a succulent ochre-colored flesh with tiny black hard seeds that taste like a cross between a pear and a young guava (IMHO). i've been told that it has components in fighting type II diabetes :D well, at least some species are.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"homecooked takeaway": an oxymoron

i dont think i can live without rice. there i said it. and to think i've only realized this after living in a non-rice eating country for close to three years! i thought i can do it but alas i cannot. so. occasionally, i do my hometown proud by making us some authentic Asian cuisine. i probably cook about 70% Asian food in a week in our house since the only Asian food available here is either Chinese (1 restaurant in the whole of Gib), Thai (also 1 restaurant in the whole of Gib) and Indian (1 fine dining resto and several takeways).
Filipino fried rice made with healthy brown rice garnished with spring onions fresh from our garden
to accompany the fried rice are Chinese honeyed prawns with toasted sesame seeds
this is the mister's favorite and needless to say we didn't have leftovers that day

Honeyed Prawns
500 gms King prawns, peeled
1 cup self-raising flour
1 and 1/4 cups water
1 egg, beaten
olive oil, for frying
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsps. sesame seeds, toasted
1. Sift self-raising flour into medium bowl; gradually whisk in egg and water until batter is smooth. Coat prawns in cornflour, shake off excess; then dip into batter, one at a time, draining away excess.
2. Heat oil in wok and deep-fry prawns, in batches, until browned lightly and drain on absorbent paper.
3. Set aside left-over oil in wok but leave about 2 tbsps of it. Pour honey in the oil in low to medium heat, uncovered, until bubbling (be careful not to burn it). Add prawns; coat with honey mixture. Serve sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

flea market finds: a starfish diva and some wee ones

waaaaahh!!! my favorite haunt is closed for the summer :((( but that can only mean more good stuff come September when they open weeeeehh!!! in the meantime, am sharing with you my recent finds:
i love this deep-blue glass starfish saucer/ashtray/treats container/ whatchamacallit. i can't find a mark anywhere but i think its perfect for a sea-themed summer tablescape, don't you think?
right now, it serves as a paper-weight to my coffee table books which by the way includes this:
my fashion inspiration! bought from our favorite second-hand bookstore :)
and last but not the least, a group of tiny adorable magnets that am guessing is from Japan :D they are now stuck to our CPU with Hello Kitty! and being hunted down by the evil T-rex under the magical moss tree :D (tree was made by me for the mister's military figures which he never used btw :P and the blue dino was bought long ago for entertainment purposes, supposed to be for a terrarium that i was planning to do but never got round to, and the Hello Kitty! was free from a bag of crisps).

so. hows your summer so far?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the color cure

when i think of design and planning for our future house (soon!)and other crazy ideas, i always find my inspiration in nature. now that we are in the middle of summer here in Gibraltar, flowers are bursting with colors! take your pick: from exotic birds of paradise to sunny marigolds to sultry fuchsia hibiscus to deep-purple morning glories :D oh happy days! they are an instant blues chaser!

Monday, August 8, 2011

good things come to those who wait

it wasn't so long ago that i started our little garden in our little verandah. on top of Alejandro (our bonsai plant) and a lovely young lavender, i planted tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, parsley, dill and some chives. i browsed through a lot of gardening sites to make sure i am doing the right thing. (thank God for the internet!)
as you can see, they are all crowded into our verandah where they get some precious sun every morning. of about 50 pots, i only bought 5 and the rest were either found in the dumpster in our building or were given by our friend, Victor, who is our buildings' gardener. he also checks in on us sometimes and gives us valuable advice on how to care for our organic babies. the sticks that serve as support for the tomatoes i also found in our building's dumpster. someone threw away a bunch of them and i regretted not getting the whole lot. we ended up going up the Rock to get some more sturdy sticks.
this is one of the very first tomatoes that grew out of the wilted flowers as if by magic. any day now, we are going to be harvesting the fruits of my labors :) we've already snipped some spring onions and parsley leaves :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

featured place in Gib: thursday football at the Victoria Stadium

it was only when i came over back in April 2009 that i knew football was HUGE in Europe. naturally, the mister is a fan. in fact some of his friends are athletes in the Gibraltar Football Association. regularly, they have matches and/or "friendlies" with other teams in Europe, mainly the neighboring cities and towns in Spain. yesterday was the start of the Festival Cup and they had a match against Cadiz. so we decided to cheer the national team on. the match by the way was in Victoria Stadium, the only stadium sitting right next to the airport in tiny Gib with the Rock as an imposing backdrop.
here is the Gib team wearing their national colors warming up for the match. the GFA president is the guy in jeans, Gareth Latin.
on your left is the team from Cadiz with their checkerboard uniforms and the reds are our guys.
the match wasn't so exciting (imho) and this young lady obviously shared my sentiments! she just couldn't sit still. she was sitting right next to us with her very engrossed dad. she kept fidgeting for her mobile and sitting precariously like this!
just to show you how lovely the view was :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

featured place in Gib: West View Park and a mixed-use park

when we first moved in to Westview Park, the recreation area behind the building was still in construction. this area was destroyed by a severe storm back in October 2008. now, however, a new park and playground is up and running. it is lovely and we often go there for a nice walk or a try at one of the exercise equipment they you can see, Westview Park is the sand-colored building on the left and Atlantic Suites on the right.this park and playground is pretty long stretching from Atlantic Suites to HarbourViewsthese are the exercise equipment (oddly similar to the ones found in every HDB building in Singapore) that we usually try out when we are thereHarbour Views in the background, these gazebos are perfect for group meets or picnicsbig, earthy planters with colorful flowers and really nice topiari-ed ficus treesthe kids had a say on this tooto enjoy the view, sit in one of these benches and enjoy some quietudei am still a bit confused about this one. they look like beehives or wasp nests but i don't know what they are for. maybe petanque? or some kind of bowling? if someone knows kindly illuminate me.true to a mixed use park, there are a smattering of playground equipment for kids of all agesa yellow domeahoy there, matey!a bright yellow slide wwweeeeee!a big rubber swingand these colorful climbing apparatus