Tuesday, June 26, 2012

flea market finds: green tea goodness

what are the chances of me finding two very similar products that are entirely different at the same time? 
care for some tea, luv?

(a pound each)
it has a citrusy smell with top notes of bergamot and peppermint. fresh and light :) can be worn by guys too!

*linking to ThriftShare Monday @Apron Thrift Girl and Flea Market Finds @ Her Library Adventures :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

birds of the same feather...

...are the same birds!

a bird mobile post from Spool inspired me to make my own little birdies of which i planned to hang outside our verandah especially now that its summer :)

but of course, it took me a while to sew (my greatest frustration in life!) and i found out later on that balancing them on a stick is like solving the meaning of the Nazca graphic lines! it is endless trial and error!

i am still in the middle of a balancing act at the moment but will deffo post my finished mobile soon as i figure this out (harder than rocket science, i tell ya!) in the meantime, i leave you with pics of my little birdies flitting all around our house :)
("huddle everyone! this is the nth time she's stuck our butts on another itchy stick!)
("is she nuts??? a bird bouquet??? seriously???)
("wish we're in Rio right now...")
("dudleyyyyy, stop staring into the abyss, man!  you're scaring us!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

the aerialist

what is that?  yes, yes, i can see they are not from around here.  but,  where did they come from?  somewhere exotic?  where light and roomy garments and a colorful hat is as common as pavement?

and a balancing act too?  how strange.  how mind-boggling.  how i wish i could do that.

a crowd has started to form (click-click-click) fully armed with cameras and cam-corders.

i slipped away and thought to myself, "i do that all the time!"
(hot new item this week in Main Street)
remember this?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

calentita, calentita, calentita

(warning: sort of a long post)

calentita is Gibraltar's national dish and also the name of its annual food festival held every beginning of the summer.  this year, i attended my first calentita and not only did i stuff myself into gastronomic proportions (get it? hehe) but also met some amazing people :) 
pretty much this is what a real calentita (see below) looks like.  its a simple "bread-like dish made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt and pepper" and is heavily influenced by the many people that make up Gibraltar long ago.
it is also very similar to the Italian farinata so i am guessing that the very first people who introduced this would probably be the many Genoese who lived in Catalan Bay in the 18th century.
because this festival is gaining popularity over the years, it has now spilled out to Market Place (from Casemates Square) to accommodate other activities such as poetry reading, all kinds of dance, the fine arts, and of course the usual arts and crafts stalls
i am fascinated by this man.  he has a very distinct character!  just look at that hat.. and the brogues!  what a very good subject eh?
okay, on to the food!  the most sought-after stall with the longest queue would hands down be the Moroccan with its popular pinchitos :)  
pinchitos are skewered, barbecued beef or chicken marinated in Moroccan spices.  these are the mister's favorite and since he couldn't attend this year's festival because of work, he asked me to buy a few for him :)
inside these white-domed tents are gastronomic delights from all over the world!  calentita also celebrates food from around the globe representing everyone that has either visited or stayed in Gibraltar.  one of my favorites is the Malaysian food stall with its perfect Malaysian laksa and Kung Pao chicken and Malaysian curry!  manned by the owners of Fusion Deli, this place is not to be missed!
vegans and vegetarians need not feel out of place because there is a stall especially just for them :)  likewise for those with a sweet tooth (err.. with a little piece of pizza thrown in maybe? a confusing sign!)
 bratwursts anyone?
the German stall with its equally long queue!
another one of my favorites is the HongKong Dim sum stall!  oohhh i can still taste the sio mai, the crispy wontons, and the spring rolls!
what's a gibraltarian food festival without a celebration of its own desserts?
 and of course, spanish tapas!
and the best the UK has to offer!
funny stall name but they are actually raising funds for a charity :)  buy a ticket and you can win  a bag of sweets or something :)
aaahhh now to the best part :) i stuffed myself silly in this stall!  they all have my favorites but maybe because i was so homesick of Philippine food that i didn't notice the food was a bit "toned down".  the distinct Filipino-ness was missing (imho)...
but any which way, i bought two of everything for the morning after :) two empanadas, two ensaimadas, two vegetarian lumpias, two pancit, two cassava cakes, two fried rice, etc.
some of the lovely filipina ladies who made the food were from Spain but just look at all those people still queu-ing up!  
live, love and eat!  Wolfgang Puck couldn't have said it more succinctly :) 

Monday, June 18, 2012

daddy cool!

Happy Father's Day to all the cool, selfless dads out there!  (belated...aherm

i called my dad yesterday to tell him i love him and as usual there was a catch in his voice and a silly half-laugh that is his trademark.  before he said he loves me too, he told me first how much he misses me there.

my dad's the coolest :)  i've written a lot about him but i am going to repost my favorite here.  later, i will go to the beach and touch the sea, remembering how he first taught me how to swim when i was a young "warthog" :)
(bowl cuts were the rage back then *sigh*)

The Heart of My Father

18 June 2010

My dad turned 66 the day we arrived from far, far, away. It was a low-key affair and the usual suspects were in attendance. At last, the magic circle was once again complete. At last, he was surrounded by the most important people in his life. He was basking in our love. His smile lit up all of the 7,107 islands. 

But what makes my dad special isn’t his smile. It’s his heart. My father’s heart is anchored firmly in the heart of God.

Let me walk you through some of the reasons why my dad rules:

Leadership - We grew up with a “man in uniform”. His word was the law. (of course, this was before we all knew that “behind every successful man is a woman”) He made us see the importance of wise choices and good decisions. But this doesn’t exempt him from washing clothes (by hand!) and cooking for the family.

Compassion - It comes naturally for him to empathize with the aggrieved, the downtrodden, the broken-hearted. Many a time that he has given more than what was expected (especially at Christmas). Many a time that he has invited people we don’t even know to a family meal. 

Generosity - If you ask for a kilo of lanzones (local tropical fruit), he will bring home a crate! If there are bananas or mangoes ripe for the picking, everyone in the neighbourhood gets a bushel! He insisted we bring back a carton of mangoes but I explained the fines we would have to pay in immigration!

Discipline - He made us even prouder of him by quitting smoking recently because he said he still wants to live a little longer to enjoy life with my mom and us and his grandchildren. His willingness to learn at his age is commendable! When we were younger, he admonished us not to swear because nothing good ever comes out of it. It is one of his lessons I remember the most even until now. (although, over the years, my cursing has evolved and has become sophisticated and reserved only to those who truly deserve them)

Resourcefulness - My dad can make a dish out of nothing. He can build a bed out of wood scraps. He can fix a leaking nipa (thatch) roof as fast as an artisan. He can handle a group of carpenters until the wee hours of the morning. To us, he is the man to rely on.

Time - My dad is a master in the art of listening. However stupid or silly or trivial your concerns are, he is always there to listen. Once, I thought my world as a teenager has crumbled because of a stupid haircut and he patiently listened to my rantings all the way home and reassured me I still looked cute. My uncles run to him for a good old man-to-man talk over countless cups of coffee.

Friendship - Now that we are older and have left the nest, my father has found the gift of unconditional love from our beloved pets, Max, Boots and Porky. Everywhere he goes, they all follow (except Porky who’s a poor excuse of a guard dog, but he tries, really). He is very active in his senior citizens group and has become an officer in our neighbourhood association. His friends keep him busy but he also has his “me” time at home playing Solitaire.

Care - When I was in college and was rushed to the infirmary because of an asthma attack, he was there reassuring me everything was being taken cared of and that all I have to do is get well. When I accidentally “stabbed” him in the hollow above his eye and my mother tried to talk sense into me by threatening to send me to jail, my dad reassured me he wont let that happen and if I could just please apply more antiseptic to his wound. 

Fun and Laughter - We had a lot of good times with my dad when we were little. I remember he used to give me and my sister piggyback rides even when he was so tired from work. His most famous trick was for us to get the 1 peso coin hidden inside his closed fist. There were few victories for us that time. But boy, was it fun! We also watched movies together. I learned to love old movies from him. Going to the beach is something we looked forward to even until now that we have our own families (Joaquin loves the water). 

His love for my mom - My dad is not the most perfect father in the world. He has made many stupid mistakes and bad decisions in his life. But one thing no one can ever surpass is the love he has for my mother. He is cheesy when it comes to telling my mom he loves her (we cringed at one point) but he says it and then my mom transforms into a young lady again. They make a good team. 

Himself - Even greater than my dad’s gift of love and time and everything else combined is when he gave the gift of himself. He is a funny guy when you get to know him. In our family he is known as “The Joker”. He is quirky when it comes to his flip-flops. He wants it only in one brand and only in one color: Spartan, size 9, yellow. Although lately he has moved on to his trusty Crocs and a pair of Adidas running shoes for his morning walks.

My father is an ordinary man with extraordinary powers. I don’t think he could ever be a Renaissance man nor a fashionista or even an activist. But from his love and his life, we discovered our purpose, identity and true worth. Family is very important to him. He draws strength from that. He understands that in order for him to be a good father to us, he first needs to understand what kind of father God is to his children.

Pa, you know you are loved beyond measure. Happy Father’s Day Gar!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

flea market finds: without a clue

silly and funny but wise and true, thats Dr. Seuss for you!
(bought for .50p each)
 but what about a Rock, connections and a thing or two, hhmmm?
(bought for £1)
are those oranges?... or a turquoise rose?... or a silver ring? 
(bought for £1)
for the life of me, i could never identify this thing!
(£1.50 each)

*linking to Thrift Share Monday @Apron Thrift Girl :) and also to Flea Market Finds @ Her Library Adventures :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

a tale of frolic and fun

under the watchful eye of Molly Bloom...
and the illustrious General Elliot...
these two friends monkeyshined on the swings...
the lovely lillies nodded their amusement and giggled at their antics...
the cabbage roses ooohhh-ed and aaahhh-ed...
the tide pool sighed and wished he could join our shenanigans while the little fishes scrambled up front because they just love having their pictures taken...
CEO-in-the-making baby G is so pleased at his progress reports that he just enjoys a holiday everyday!
in the meantime, rocket-in-a-pocket baby J however is busy conjuring his favorite sweet things in his really big silver ball :)
alas! a table is nowhere to be found in this land of rubber mats and rope swings... but nevermind, a bench will have to do :)
"oy!,"  said the red telephone booth in the corner, "don't put everything in your mouths or i'm calling your mothers!"
but there was no need because it was already naptime and... "frankly," the babies said to the red telephone booth, "we are pooped!"
hasta la vista, baby!

Friday, June 15, 2012

letters from my best friends

there is something about letters that turn me into a hopeless, old-fashioned, excited little puppy.  seeing mine and the senders name, the stamps, the smell, the weight of it... beats any happy pill any day :)

there is also something about best friends that make me long for the familiar and be melodramatic about it :)  

one arrived from the Little Red Dot.  filled with beauty and love and understanding and patience.
i was teary-eyed by the scribblings of a little boy whom i love dearly.  he wrote a lot of "i-love-you's" on the edges of his mothers's letter and enclosed three paper cranes that he made just for me.  An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.
as i write this post, i am enjoying a cup of tea using my new silicon strawberry tea diffuser :)  what a way to start the day :)
my other care package came from the Land of the Rising Sun.  i am amused at the number of stamps she had to stick to the envelope!
inside there can only be orange goodness!  and a letter of friendship through many, many years and of remembrance of things past, and of hope and encouragement, victories and defeats, love for God and how He endures forever :)  
these little things bring a smile to my lips and happiness to my heart :)
handmade table runner, place mats and coasters in magenta all made by loving hands by a group of women in one of the beautiful islands from home.
i miss my best friends a LOT and i can't wait for the day i will see them again :)  i am thankful to have such great people in my life :)

tell me about your best friends :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Royal heebie-jeebies

Gibraltarians were hit with Royal fever last monday when their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex (aka Prince Edward and Countess Sophie) strutted their stuff in John Mackintosh Square as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubes celebrations.  he is the third son and fourth youngest of the Queen and Prince Philip.

red, white and blue was the color of the day and you don't have to be "bri-ish" to feel the "britishness" in the air :)

i am not really a "Royal-ista" but i just love the fact that they are so approachable and so simple in their ways.  which brings me to the following absolute truths (according to me):

(1) the ultra, mega, super rich and powerful look so simple and so natural!  the Countess Sophie only had on a simple ecru dress and pearl earrings.  effortless beauty! her make-up is soooo "less is more".  love it!
(photo courtesy of Gibraltar Insight magazine)
again, here she is soooo elegant in a bonbon shade of rich cream.  very simple but she somehow oozes some kind of quiet charm and power.  love it!
(photo courtesy of Gibraltar Insight magazine)
(2) the ones trying so very hard to look rich pile on more and more stuff on themselves that they look completely opposite of what they want to appear to be!

i was sticking my head out of the window just to get this shot.  he is my first Royal after all :)
last night, after a parade for the Queen's birthday, her image was projected on the north face of the Rock as part of the Royal visit (for the benefit of Spain perhaps?).
(photo courtesy of Mark Galliano)
(photo courtesy of Jason Fa)