My Cup of Beauty / Gratitude in the 2015

Gratitude
emmanueldagher.com

I hope you’re all well and settled into the New Year 2016 and that you had a good break over the Christmas and the New Year festivities.

I decided to start this year with a sort of a thankfulness post for all the good things in the year just gone by. It has been a loooong time since a whole year was that positive.

Thank you to all of my ‘old’ and new readers who are still reading my blog. I have been less active on the blog in the second half of the 2015. Thank you for still being here.

I am grateful that I was able to give and be a part of a wonderful volunteer team of lovely people from all walks of life in a local charity shop. It was a wonderfully satisfying and fulfilling experience and I also made fantastic new friends.

Helping old friends and business contacts helped me rebuild my confidence. They have known me for a long time, when I was at the very beginning of my career. They gently guided me, taught and mentored me, believed in me and saw my hidden potential that I myself didn’t believe I had. When after a long time they came to me for help, I was so honoured and proud to have been asked to help them, I did it with such a joy and lightness in my heart. And at the end of it, their many sincere thanks were completely unnecessary, because I was so grateful/thankful to them for uncovering all my long forgotten potential, belief and faith in myself.

It was great seeing my Macedonian friend from Germany when she came up to UK for a brief visit and meeting another lovely lady in London with her.

We finally got to have a holiday after exhausting few years. Slovenia was the chosen destination last year. I revisited places after many years (since ex-YU) and saw things with new eyes. It was a fantastic week. We’d definitely go back there again! I bumped into an old colleague there completely by chance and also met a lovely young couple starting a new life and a better tomorrow far from home.

A trip to Slovenia was like a little test for the Balkans, but very enjoyable and without all the pressures usually present when one travels to one’s home city. I might write a separate post about all beautiful things Slovenian, as those lovely people and places definitely deserve a separate post.

I finally went back to Croatia again after a few years. One of reasons for going was my high school’s 20th reunion. The main reason for going was really to make new, good memories and motivation for more frequent visits. Whenever we went there in the past (three times) we were traumatised for one reason or another, desperate for another holiday just to recover.

It was great making new memories, seeing old friends and acquaintances. After so many years I reconnected with my more distant family and it was great to share old memories with them. I also rekindled old friendships and relationships, people I haven’t seen for at least 20 years. This visit helped me rebuild myself, my life and my future on the solid foundations. It gave me strength to close a few chapters of my life and move on. You have to lay all the old ghosts to rest to be able to move on and be happy.

It was great meeting wonderful new people – my new friends <a href="http://bitchydust.blogspot.co.uk/" onclick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'outbound-article', 'http://bitchydust find more information.blogspot.co.uk/’, ‘Bitchy’);” target=”_blank”>Bitchy and Zuba (which had started as a ‘virtual’/online friendship ), and Tanja et al. from the 4 City Windows.

Lisa Eldridge’s book Face Paint was finally published and I pre-ordered it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to London, to have it signed and see her in person. I can’t wait to start reading it properly when I cross a few more things from my ‘work’ list. For now, I’m just dipping in occasionally and enjoy all the gorgeous photos (practically salivating over them) and a few paragraphs at a time.

I did, however go to Brian Blessed’s book signing! He happily thundered around our Cathedral for a while and then he patiently signed his book for a tonne of people until stupid o’clock that evening. I also bought an extra pre-signed copy for my mother-in-law and an audio book CD, so I can read his book, and actually hear his voice! Really great treat!

I (almost) closed another career chapter and completed a challenging thesis write-up. I say almost because the viva still needs to be crossed off the list.

You know that amazing feeling when you have completed a very challenging project, met the deadline and a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders? I earned a giant/ roaring woo(p) of joy (pun intended) and I walked into a MAC store on the way home and treated myself with a fabulous red lipstick. Because I love myself. And then I strutted proudly and confidently out of the store wearing a satisfied lingering Ruby Woo red smile and boarded the train home exhausted, but so happy because I finally succeeded and won, despite every obstacle thrown my way in the past 5 years. And I sent a virtual kiss to all my cheerleaders who were a significant part of my journey.

Thank you to lovely Louise for giving me something to look forward upon the completion of my work: a day in London at the V&A. We thoroughly enjoyed exhibitions of Indian textiles and painful shoes. It was great thinking about and doing something different (= not hard-core science) and relaxing. Seeing fabrics and textiles and different footwear really makes you think about all aspects of life, past, present and future. It makes you think about life, processing of everyday objects that we take for granted most of the time. About different countries, natural resources, cultures, classes; about yourself and your place in this life and all the changes throughout history that brought us to the life as it is now.

Wishing you all the best in the New 2016!

Is there anything that you were especially grateful/thankful for in 2015?

Sugar and Spice and Tom Ford things nice…

Champagne_Tom-Ford_Counter_JarroldsI’ve written only one review of the MU / beauty sort of experience, and that’s not been published yet. So this will be the first beauty post I’m publishing. I am not sure how good I’ll be at this, but I’m giving it a try anyway. My Cup of Beauty is having an adventure!

A much as I love nail polishes and makeup, I’m not really obsessed with it and my life doesn’t depend on it. I enjoy using nail polishes (often) and makeup (when I can be bothered). I’m not a beauty expert or anything, but I thought I’d share my opinion. I hope you find it useful and share your thoughts with me.

If you read my post about a day in Norwich, you’ll know that I had a spur of the moment mani at the new Tom Ford counter in Jarrold store. I promised a post on those polishes and here it is.

I prefer a proper mani, when you can sit and relax for a while and have a breather, not worry if I’m going to be late for my next appointment or whatever is in my diary/planner. While this was a lovely impromptu mani, the Husband and I were in a rush.

This was only the 5th mani I ever had, but I did notice yet again my nails were filed as they shouldn’t be (in more than one direction). I am really careful about this when I do my own nails as they break in layers easily. The only time I had experienced ‘proper’ nail filing was by a French professional at a hotel spa in Monaco. Not surprising, considering the location.

Anyway…Christine from the TF counter said that the mani is complimentary and that there was no pressure of purchasing. Which was great as I really don’t like pressure selling and run from it like from the Plague.

I was looking through the selection of all the nail varnish bottles Tom Ford counter had and found it hard to make up my mind and choose one gorgeous colour. So I chose two colours instead: Ginger Fire and Black Sugar wikipedia reference.

Ginger fire is a gorgeous, shimmery, vibrant orange with a tiny hint of red. I think it would look great on both lighter and darker skin tones (my opinion, not evidence!).

Ginger-Fire

Black Sugar is a creamy, taupe base with just a hint of red shimmer. That hint of red shimmer is precisely that, a very subtle hint. It is more visible in the bottle than on the nails (even with three layers), which is a real shame.

Black-Sugar

Brush wasn’t ideal if you prefer wider brushes, like Essie (retail).

Both these colours were quite sheer and needed 3 layers for full coverage (after their base coat). With only two layers of Black Sugar, some uneven coverage was clearly visible. Very slight tip wear started on day 3 and by the next day, the tips were chipped, so I removed it. Rather disappointing for a costly price tag of £26 (12ml).

TF_mani_ginger-fire_black-honey

Would I buy these two colours? Not for that price tag and the hassle of three layers minimum. I can do without it. I’ll probably play with my Bourjois 04Taupe classy and OPI Die Another Day. I won’t get the same mix and texture, but I’ll have fun trying.

Have you tried any Tom Ford polishes? What do you think?

A Day Out in Norwich

Husband and I went to Norwich on Thursday after we voted. A Fine City, Norwich. As usual, we had a good time there. But I thought I’d write a little post about it because I had really great time and lots of fun, it felt like a little outing.

I love Norwich. We lived there for a few years while I was studying at the UEA. Since we’re still living ‘in the neighbourhood’ (one county down), we like to come up and visit our friends whenever we can. Apart from being a good place to shop, it also has some hills, a nice change flatness of the Fens in Cambs.

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We had our traditional lunch at The Pantry in Jarrold’s. We first went there while shopping in the haberdashery part of the store years ago. I like having lunch there because of their lovely cold meats and salad bar. Pantry_napkinIf you don’t make roast dinners yourself, this is a good place to have a delicious roast. If you’d prefer something warm and quick, an omelette or a soup might be more up your street. I never tried those, and keep thinking I will, but I see the salad bar and forget about everything else. I love my salads, so I piled my plate with tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, a bit of mackerel, a hardboiled egg, olives, mixed salad, etc.; as we planned a late dinner with family and colleagues. I topped it off with a caramel tart and a pot of English tea. As we were there during the week this time, instead of the weekend, the restaurant was rather quiet. We could actually hear ourselves talk (not just enjoying the view), and I chatted to friendly staff there.PAntry_salad-1 Pantry_salad-2

After we stuffed ourselves almost like Christmas turkeys, we had a quick walk down the stairs to the ground floor. As I was dragging my feet through the Makeup and Beauty department, looking and turning everywhere, a lady from Tom Ford counter asked if I’d like a complementary manicure as they are introducing nail polish into their range of products in the store. I saw another lady enjoying hers with a glass of champagne, so I said, why not! Surprise, surprise *rolls eyes* continue reading this. Never mind the eternal waiting Husband who was ‘forced’ to go out and entertain himself while I was being pampered by a great guy called Chris, whose mother comes from the Balkans. I chose Ginger Fire (gorgeous, shimmery orange with a tiny hint of red) and Black Honey (a creamy taupe with just a hint of red shimmer). Thank you, Chris and Danielle!Champagne_Tom-Ford_Counter_JarroldsTF_mani_ginger-fire_black-honey

A stone’s throw away from Jarrold’s is a lovely tea and coffee shop – Wilkinson’s of Norwich where I stock up on some teas, when I can’t get what I want locally or want to try something different.Wilkinsons_tea_4_every_occassion

After that, a good talk on the exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts – Francis Bacon and the Masters . If you’re in Norwich, I recommend seeing it before it closes on 26th July. Some of the works exhibited in this exhibition have not been shown in the UK before. There’s plenty to see, so don’t go around savouring the exhibition on an empty tummy. Unless you are one of those people who practically runs through exhibitions and museums and don’t really think about the works displayed. Picnic on the UEA Broad  or a snack or lunch in the cafe there with a view of gorgeous sculptures are a bonus.

Eggs, Rakija and Gratitude / Jaja, Rakija i Zahvalnost

Jaja_rakija_zahvalnost_susjedova_kokica
Ovo nije kokica moje prijateljice, vec nekog covjeka u susjedstvu. Setali Muz i ja neku vecer i spazili kokice u necijem vrtu uz cestu jer jos nije bilo lisca na njihovoj zivici. Ljepota u gradu – kokice i jaja. Husband and I went for a walk the other day and saw some chickens in a neighbourhood garden. Their hedge didn’t have any leaves yet, so I took a photo. Beauty in a city – chickens and eggs.

I thought I’d write this post as a thank you to lovely Sharon who gave me a little pressie on Sunday last week as a thank you (a lot of thanking here). Something like a proverbial thank-you rakija (vodka). She brought me some lovely eggs.

Htjela sam napisati ovaj post u znak zahvalnosti divnoj Sharon koja mi je pklonila 6 domaćih jaja koje su snijele njezine sretne, šetajuće kokice. Dobila sam divna jajca u znak zahvale (nešto se ovdje puno zahvaljuje ovih dana!).

Free range from her happy chickens! I was utterly touched and very pleased. For a Balkan in the UK, that feeling catapulted me straight back to the said Balkans. You know when you were very grateful to a village or small town doctor? So you or your parent or grandparent bought some coffee, or a box of chocolates or a bottle of rakija (read methanol) – Sljiva, Loza or a bottle of wine; or made some cakes or biscuits or whatever other homemade product and took it to your/the doctor as a token of appreciation. Is that still done down there?

Jako su me dirnula ta divna jaja njezinih kokica. Za mene s Balkana, to me odmah katapultiralo u ona vremena dok sam još bila dijete. Znate ono kad idete kod doktora ili slično, pa ste toliko zahvalni da jednostavno ‘Hvala’ nikako nije dovoljno, i osjecate veliku potrebu da u znak zahvalnosti donesete spomenutom doktoru (ili kome vec), bocu rakije ili kave ili da ispecete nesto domacih kolaca, itd. Se to jos uvijek radi?

I had great plans for those six eggs: pancakes, baking, bread making, fried eggs,… Until I heard my Husband going on and on and on about our holiday breakfast at our friends. Our friend’s Dad keeps happy and free range chickens, so regularly has fresh eggs to give his kids. So when a friend of mine came for lunch yesterday, I boiled three eggs and served them together with some improvised salads and snacks. The eggs were really delicious and yummy!! I have to admit that I really don’t want to eat the rest of those divine eggs, I just want to adore and devour them with my eyes; because they’d last longer than if we gobbled them up straight away. But we should probably eat them soon because they won’t stay that fresh for long!

Imala sam planove za tih 6 jaja: palačinke, kolači, kruh, jaja na oko,… Sve dok Muž nije spomenuo kako se još uvijek sjeća jaja na tvrdo za doručak od kokica što ih ima kumov tata. I nikako da on zaboravi taj okus i osjećaj friških jaja. Tako kad nam je došla prijateljica na ručak jučer, ja skuhala tri jaja na tvrdo uz neke salate i improvizacije od svega pomalo. Ajme divote! Sad moram priznati da mi se ne kuhaju ova druga tri jaja, jer mi ih je žao tako divno friških i ukusnih (radije bi ih obožavala i jela očima), pa mi neće puno trajati ako ih sve brže bolje potamanimo. Znam da ćemo ih vjerovatno pojesti uskoro, jer inače neće više biti tako divno friška.

 

Did you ever get a proverbial thank-you rakija? Jeste li vi tako dobili ‘rakiju zahvalnosti’?