June Goals & A Homemade Salsa Recipe

june quote

Hello again my lovely readers! I missed a day of posting yesterday so I thought I would double up on both prompts. Goals for the month and my go to summer recipe. I have one main goal for this month which, if you’ve read my previous posts you’ll already know what that is, but for those who are just reading this, that is to not spend on anything frivolous this month. That is to say, no spending on any of the things I tend to buy needlessly like washi tape or more stickers when I have plenty. Alan (my hubby) and I decided to spend only on the necessary things such as food and toiletries and on things pertaining to my stationery business Walks in Beauty Paperie on Etsy, mainly materials such as ink for printing and paper.

Another goal for this June is to try and use more of my craft supplies to create both things to send to my pen pals in creative mail or things to sell. I have a few ideas combining mixed media up my sleeve. Also, we both have the goal of exploring more of the art studios in our local area during the Dorset Art Weeks which is a nice free outing and allows us to mingle with local artists and fellow creatives, see what they are doing and support them. We usually tended to go to St. Michael’s Trading Estate for the studios there but have discovered there are some other studios dotted about town or within walking distance in other nearby villages that might be worth going to check out. There is at least one open studio during the Arts Week in the North Mills area I’d like to check out (photographic art) and one in the village of Symondsbury which I am dying to go and explore again. The arts weeks end on 12th June so we should be able to check out many different studios between now and then. Today we saw some beautiful quilt art at Becca’s Fabric Larder, most of the pieces were by either Becca Balazs herself or another very talented quilter, Janet McCallum. This was a private viewing which we were invited to but many of the art studios around there were also open and we could have gone in. Supporting local artists and crafters is a big goal of mine. I want to support them more and the big chain shops less. We are fortunate enough to have quite a variety here in Bridport which is a huge plus!

Now, on to today’s prompt: My go to summer recipe…well, I think that would have to be homemade salsa! I love the stuff! I am not a fan of spicy salsa so I make mine very differently from most people but it’s such a refreshing salad and goes well on tortilla chips or even as a side with meat. We made some last night to go with our lovely nacho salad (something I used to eat at home with my parents in Florida pretty regularly and was craving) and it turned out amazing! So, I thought I would share the recipe for those who are more into a mild and refreshing salsa.

 

 

nacho salad with home made salsa

Homemade Mild Refreshing Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • half a white onion, chopped or 2 large spring onions chopped (green tops and white bits)
  • half a large English cucumber, chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • quarter of a red bell pepper, chopped
  • three sprigs lemon thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or more
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop all of your ingredients that need chopping and place them in a medium to large bowl as you go.
  2. Once chopped, mix and squeeze the juice of one lime over the salsa mix.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix together.
  4. For best results make this a day in advance, mix and cover and place in refrigerator overnight so that the juices work their magic.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you try it out do let me know!

Cheers!

Nadia

 

Memories of a perfect holiday…

Today is a day of recalling memories for me, in some respects because it is the first anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s passing today and in part because, following Hello Neverland‘s June prompts, I am recalling my most meaningful vacation memory. A vacation is supposed to help ‘vacate’ your life to make room for the new and get rid of the old. In the UK where I live vacations are called holidays and for me the perfect holiday was when I came to the UK for the first time three years ago. I still cannot believe how life altering this vacation/holiday was but it was the stepping stone that brought me to a life in this country alongside the man I love. I came here back in 2013 with every intention of exploring and getting to know this beautiful country, thoughts of finding my lifelong partner here barely entered my mind but that is exactly what happened.

My most meaningful memory of this particular holiday is that of having the opportunity to show my hubby around one of my favourite places in England, Stratford-Upon-Avon. He’d come to visit me where I was staying in Birmingham (I was house-sitting for my friend who was away in the Channel Islands at the time) and we had decided to take a little day trip to the Bard’s birthplace. I had been there a couple of month’s prior to that so knew my way around pretty well. For me it was a chance to share the home of one of my idols, one of the reasons why I am a major Anglophile. The time we spent in Stratford truly did not disappoint. We went to Shakespeare’s birthdplace, walked all along the street nearby entering shops, had lunch at a lovely cafe, strolled by the canal and watched the swans, had dinner at a restaurant near there and just had a great time cementing our relationship.

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Strangely enough, we wandered into a shop where a local man heard us talking and heard my notable American accent and assumed that it was my husband who was showing me around the place. He seemed shocked and taken aback when he found out that it was the other way around. Hehehe! He must have thought it odd that an American was showing an Englishman around Stratford! Still, we had a good chuckle about that and it is forever etched into my memories of that time spent in each other’s company in that beautiful place.

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I am blessed beyond measure to have been able to create such meaningful memories with Alan back then as they really did help to pave the way for when we had to be separated by an ocean while we tried to sort my visa & immigration status out afterward. It was this and other wonderful memories we created both here in the UK and in the US that kept us holding on until I was finally granted my visa and residence permit last October.

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I cannot wait to go back to Stratford-upon-Avon and create many new meaningful vacation memories with Alan again but I am also very much looking forward to exploring even more places in the UK. Right now with our no-spend month I shall be limited to where my feet can carry me in our area but there is so much to see around here that I expect that should not be a problem at all!

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I would love to know what holiday/vacation memories are meaningful to you and why! I love to hear other people’s stories. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Below are some links you might find interesting! Happy reading!

 

I am making this funfetti cake for a friend’s birthday tomorrow!

If you aren’t acquainted with the Lucky Dip Club you really ought to be, check out my blog post on my snail mail blog.

Always wanted to know more about Grace Kelly? Then check out Kiki’s post about her here.

 

No-Spend June = Creative Possibilities

Hello my lovely readers! Happy first day of June and beginning of the meteorological summer, well here in the Northern hemisphere at least. A little update about things in the Bugler-Perez household. First, we are embarking on a no-spend month which basically means we will spend on nothing extra other than the bills we have to pay and the food we must eat. No outings. no extra coffee dates here and there, no frivolous spending of any sort. Sounds daunting, I know, but I think it will help us greatly in the long run to be able to save for truly extra special events as well as enable us (me in particular) to use the things we have on hand and/or get rid of the things we will ultimately not use. Thirty days of not spending on extras may seem like a long time but in the end I think it will be well worth it.

Another little thing I wanted to share is that I am going to be blogging daily this month using prompts from Hello Neverland for the month of June. I found her blog via Pinterest after I was searching for a way to beat my ‘blogger’s block’ and found her prompts to be really encouraging and fairly easy to fit into my lifestyle blog. Today’s prompt is how do you express your creativity and I think this ties in perfectly with my no-spend month as I am aiming to be more creative in many ways–crafting, cooking, even how I entertain myself and how my husband and I entertain ourselves as a whole. I am hoping this will help us use our time a bit more wisely and allow us to create more.

Generally speaking, I express my creativity in the form of art or paper crafting. I love to create things, pretty things and functional as well. Anything that is visually pleasing is what I like to make to express myself.

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My other main form of creative expression is photography. I just love snapping photos of people, places, things and even abstracts. When I am not shooting with my DSLR my iPhone is almost always out for me to capture a candid shot of someplace or something.

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I’m not particularly interested in how others perceive all the things I make or all the things I photograph, they are mostly for my own pleasure though it is nice to hear that other people enjoy it as well. I also enjoy being creative in the kitchen, trying new flavours and not rigidly sticking to a recipe but sometimes changing it up. I think, being a creative person, I tend to express my creativity in all the things I do on a regular basis. What about you? How do you express your creativity? Is your creative side affecting your pocket too much or have you found ways to manage that well? I am very curious about what you all think and what stories you can tell! Have you tried a no-spend month before?

I am hoping to get creative with all of my paper crafting supplies this month while I am not purchasing anymore to see just how far I can push the bounds of my own creativity. I’ll hopefully be publishing a few entries with how-to’s on my snail mail blog throughout the month of June.

Have a very happy and blessed June! I’m off to bed! Chat more to you all tomorrow!

 

PHOTOS: Paper punched & hand cut shapes for use in paper crafting; far side of Coquina Beach, Florida 2 years ago.

Want to use the same blogging prompts I’m using? Here’s the June prompts from Hello Neverland.

The hardest part of being an expat…

expat blog

It’s my mother’s birthday today and I am over 4,000 miles away in the Southwest of England, sitting in the bedroom that is mine and my husband’s and wishing that for one day I had the ability to teletransport to Florida to be with my mother on this new milestone in her life. I don’t think I ever fully understood or grasped the difficulty of my own parents’ expatriation from their own country and their family ties and connections until I was finally granted my spouse visa and residence permit to reside here in the UK. I have been here a little over 6 months now and the hardest part for me is not having my parents or siblings nearby to just see, talk to or spend time with. I am fortunate enough to have some family here, mainly all of my husband’s immediate family and many relatives nearby. My own mother and father only had each other when they moved from Venezuela over 35 years ago to the US and though many friends helped them out and became like family, their own parents and siblings were all mostly still so far away.

I think I can now comprehend how my parents felt, in particular my mom, when they could not be with their own family and loved ones on birthdays and such. It’s one of the consequences of choosing to live abroad, elsewhere away from home–bittersweet really. Still, I am grateful that technology has come so far in the recent decades that we can now spend time with our loved ones virtually in real time even if we are not physically there. It is even a blessing that my parents at least got to do the same with both of my grandmothers before they passed away. The joy on my little old ladies’ faces when they saw their children and, even their grandchildren and great-grandchildren on some occasions, is enough to warm your heart at the thought that in the best sense technology has brought us all closer together when before you had to wait weeks to find out how a person had spent their birthday when the telephone hadn’t yet been invented. We have come a long way and our sense of belonging to our little familiar tribes has had a great aid in these technological advances.

Still, it is hard not to be physically present, to be able to hug my mom on her birthday or to bake her a cake and watch her blow out the candles. I guess I understand a little better these days the saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. We worked so hard to get me over here to the UK, it was my all-consuming thought last year to now feel sad that I can’t be in the US with my family whenever I want. That is the give and take aspect of life, isn’t it? I am sure that many of my readers will be able to understand this to some degree whether they are expats or not.

family expat life mom birthday

So, while as expats we may not always have our family right down the road, or the same can be said for living in the same country but at long distances, we can say that we always carry them with us in our hearts. Even after they are gone, they are still there with us, still a part of us and when we are able to see them and spend time with them in person it is all the sweeter.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I miss you lots and really wish I could be there in Florida to celebrate with you but I know you know you are loved, cherished and treasured.

Love,

Nadia xoxo

 

The title photo for this post is one I took while in Scotland. More about that soon!

Another May baby, my friend Kiki, celebrated the Queen’s 90th last month in style at the Ballantyne in the US. Check her post out here.

My latest travel buddy and partner in crime, Bekah, has added a new pasta recipe to her blog.

Just discovered this blog, Gingerlillytea, and OMG…such beautiful photos!

Spring Has Sprung

spring walks in beauty

Everywhere you turn lately there are signs of the full bloom of Spring here in Bridport. Indeed I am sure it is like this in most of the Southwest of England and probably beyond in many other parts of the UK. It is beautiful right now, colourful in fact, and I am enjoying it despite the fact that I have been dealing with hay fever. Having local honey in my tea seems to be helping immensely since we got a new pot a week and a half ago at Washingpool Farm Shop. Anyway, took a long hiatus from blogging after Alan’s birthday since life had gotten so busy and time management has never been a forte of mine. This week I have been getting more done as I have been rising earlier and trying to get a bit more organised so hopefully I can do a bit more blogging each morning.

I have lots to share from March and April with you all, highlights really, as I had the opportunity to travel around the UK a bit with my dear friend and basically twin soul separated at birth–Bekah from Canada (and please reserve all your American & Canadian jokes for another time). We had some amazing adventures and if you want to see the incredible amount of photos we took throughout our journeys you can search the hashtag #theadventuresofmaxandmouse on Instagram to travel a bit with us.

I’ll be sharing a few highlights posts from our trip with pictures taken on my Nikon for you to see. By the end of Bekah’s time here we had discovered that we basically share a brain and were finishing each other’s sentences, laughing the same way and even reading each other’s thoughts!

Back to the current month at hand though, May brought with it some nicer and warmer days though it has also brought with it rain and clouds. Last weekend we did manage to get in the first BBQ of the season and ate outside two days in a row which was lovely. Hoping this coming weekend is as lovely.

I’d like to just share a few photos from this weekend with you so you can see the lovely day we had this past Saturday the 7th…

St. Swithuns Church North Allington Bridport Dorset

St. Swithuns Church on North Allington in Bridport, with cherry blossoms in front.

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Beautiful garden bluebells in the churchyard.

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A close-up of an ornamental cherry blossom from a tree in the churchyard.

And lastly…

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Close-up of typical cherry blossoms in the churchyard.

The colours of Spring are truly wonderful, aren’t they? I look forward to sharing more posts with you from now on about trips, lifestyle changes and just life in general.

Cheers!

Nadia xo

 

Love snail mail? Check out my latest incoming, outgoing and unboxings in This is My Letter to You.

I adore Wales, as should you and here is why: SPRING TRAVEL GUIDE-THE WELSH HOUSE.

I think I’m going to take a page out of their book and forage for wild garlic this weekend…

I am crushing on these desk accessories from Papermash right now…

Inside the #Portland #Bill #Lighthouse and other views…

Portland Bill Lighthouse and more

Part three of our journey to the Isle of Portland was all about going up inside the lighthouse and taking in the last few scenic views of the area before heading back home to Bridport the following day. Sunday dawned grey and windy, cold and not the best day in the world to be out and about but we made the most of it heading first to the Coast Watch Tower for a mini tour by the volunteers there (it’s free and they really like visitors). The tower itself isn’t much to look at but going up there is worth the trip just to have a look through the giant binoculars. The detail of the lighthouse that can be seen through them is incredible! After that we walked down to the lighthouse to book a tour spot. We went up with 15 other people and a guide, some of which included children. A word to the parents out there who wish to take their children to Portland Bill Lighthouse, because of the potential safety risks due to structural features of the lighthouse, small children are only permitted to climb the lighthouse if they are at least 1.1 metres in height and capable of climbing up and back down without help. If your children are too small to go up inside, it is still worth the wait until they are tall enough to go in.

So, without further ado, I will share some photos of our last day of exploration around Portland Bill!

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Looking down on the Old Lower Lighthouse from the road by the Coast Watch tower…

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The grey day made for some very atmospheric photos…

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One last look at the Pulpit Inn where we had eaten the bulk of our meals that weekend…

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Heading back toward the lighthouse, getting ready to head inside it…

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Hubby taking a few last shots of the area…

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Best view of Pulpit Rock we had throughout the weekend. It was too wet and windy to actually stand on the rock bed in front of it…

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Close-up so you can see how narrow the lighthouse is, and we went inside that with 16 other people!

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Inside the ground floor of the lighthouse at the start of our tour. Those steps above are quite narrow and steep.

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A little bit of lighthouse history on this Trinity House plaque…

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Still within the ground floor, looking at all the commemorative items inside…

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This was above us on the next level up…

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A look at the actual light from the lighthouse. The bulbs inside are small but just imagine the beams they make reflecting off of all those panels!

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This was taken of the obelisk from inside the lighthouse, in the part which houses the light…

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And one last look at Pulpit Rock from inside the lighthouse…

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Hubby inside the lighthouse so you can see the scale of the windows that the light shines through…

We were really hard pressed to leave such a naturally beautiful place! We fell in love with Portland Bill and can’t wait to explore again, especially when it is a bit warmer. The lighthouse tour was not very long but it was worth the £14 we paid to go in and have the experience. It is volunteer run through the Trinity House Trust. Would you go up into the lighthouse if you had the chance?

Cheers,

Nadia xo

 

For more information on Portland Bill Lighthouse please visit: http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/lighthouse_list/portland_bill.html

For Health & Safety Regulations: http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/visitor_centre_h_s_guidelines.pdf

Along the Coast Path to Church Ope Cove

Portland Bill

I should know by now that when I set out to fulfill a goal something usually gets in my way so apologies for being so late with the second part of our photographic journey around Portland Bill and other parts! As I had stated in an earlier post, my one little word for this year is EXPLORE and having purchased the Secret Places of West Dorset book earlier in the New Year we could not resist going to at least one of the places mentioned in there during our stay on the Isle of Portland. We decided to head to Church Ope Cove the Saturday of our stay which also happened to be my hubby’s birthday. We both love walks, photography and being outdoors in general so he was quite happy to have an exploration adventure on his special day.

Since we were staying in a B&B in one of the old Coast Guard cottages and were within a stone’s throw from the lighthouse we thought it was just a bit more exciting to walk to Church Ope Cove than to drive there as the book suggests. Also, we don’t own a car so relying on public transport and our own two legs is a must. Louise Hodgson does a great job of telling you exactly how to get to each place in her book when you are driving there but it is also easy enough to follow her detailed instructions on foot. Our host was able to tell us that following the coast path from the Bill would lead us to where we wanted to go so that’s what we did. In the following selection of photos you will get to see the coast line leading from the lighthouse to the Cove just as we saw it on 31st January of this year. Enjoy!

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Starting point, Portland Bill Lighthouse & Obelisk as seen from the coast path.

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Waves crashing in the crags along the coast line.

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Silhouette of a lone derrick, these dot the coast path along the former quarry sites one passes through.

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A look back as we walked farther down the path…

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Beach huts and boats dot this first part of the coast path heading East…

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Stone, waves, and huts in the distance…

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Just a look out to sea…

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Hubby sat in a boat with the sun shinning, a derrick in the background…

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Beach huts and the Old Lower Lighthouse in the background…

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Seeing the crags fill with waves crashing onto them was just breath-taking…

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It continued to get rockier and deeper as we continued along the path…

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Alan stood close to a derrick that was not covered in water…

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At this point along the path we could no longer see the lighthouse but rather saw mostly rocks…

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We stopped near here, an abandoned quarry site along the path, to have some refreshment before heading on. You can see parts of the Isle of Purbeck in the distance from here.

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Finally arriving at the site of our destination, trees along the entry way to Church Ope Cove, just outside of Rufus Castle…

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Looking up at the imposing Rufus Castle, more a fort than a castle really…

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The view of Church Ope Cove from just below Rufus Castle…

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Rufus Castle is a Grade I listed building and also a scheduled monument and dates from the late 15th century…

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The rugged coastline of Church Ope Cove is dotted by small beach huts below…

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The way down to the Cove from just below Rufus Castle…

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The impressive archway attached to the castle…

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Part of the overgrown ruins of St. Andrew’s Church which lays just below Rufus Castle and above the Cove…

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Ruins of St. Andrew’s Church…

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Long view of the top of some of the beach huts at Church Ope Cove with rocks above and to the East…

 

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A rocky getaway…

Isn’t Portland a beautiful place? We can’t wait to go again and explore other areas that we didn’t see on our visit. It was quite rainy and muddy the majority of the time we stayed. The Saturday was really the only clear day we had which worked out perfectly as that was our main outing, aside from going to the top of the lighthouse. I recommend that if you go in the winter months and want to do some walking and exploring you take  good pair of hiking boots so you can trek through the mud. We can’t wait to explore more of Dorset in the next few months!

Have a beautiful week and keep travelling!

Cheers,

Nadia xo

 

More about Rufus Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Castle

More about St. Andrew’s Church: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrew%27s_Church,_Portland

More about Church Ope Cove: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Ope_Cove