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

 

Advertisements

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.

389992_10152835181115417_1348561280_n

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.

481536_10152835181670417_78047121_n

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.

575414_10152835181595417_1635359628_n

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!

969957_10152835298600417_1381527291_n

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.

paper crafting

 

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.

florida photography

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!

Shop Update and Goings On…

  
Good Friday morning to you all! It’s way overcast and a bit dreary here in Bridport today but my mood is not dampened by it! I’m excited for a couple of reasons, the most important being that, after a very long hiatus, I’ve decided to open up my Etsy shop again with fresh new designs and more to be added weekly! 

Walks in Beauty Paperie will open its virtual doors this morning at 9:30am and I’m very pleased with what I have in stock at present and what we will have in stock in the next few weeks! 

I worked endlessly for the last two and a half weeks cutting and prepping stock and am looking forward to doing more! 

 

walks in beauty paperie

Stationery stack, all cut and packaged.


The other thing I’m excited about for today is that I’m going to my first British Pantomime show here in Bridport, at the Electric Palace! I’ve been told it boasts lots of laughs and audience participation so I’m ready for a good evening of fun! 

I’m continuing my Portland photo diary series next week with our Day 2 photos from the Coast Path and Church Ope Cove as well as some other posts I’d like to share with you. Saturdays and Sundays I’ll not be blogging as I want to spend that time with my hubby.

What exciting things are you doing this weekend?

Here’s some things I’m liking from around the web this week:

This new Zero Waste post from The Old Fashioned Mama spoke to my heart this morning… 
Littlehouselea’s Instagram photos make me swoon…

These Valentine’s cookies from My Three Little Kittens…yum!!

Have a happy weekend! 

Nadia xo

Blogging Goals and New Series

Lyme Bay from Stonebarrow

Lyme Bay as seen from Stonebarrow National Trust site, June 2014. Photo by Nadia M. Perez Bugler ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Well, it has been a while since the beginning of the year, January is nearly at a close and I am FINALLY getting more organised with things, career-wise, goal-wise and now with blogging. I dislike feeling like I am in chaos or in limbo and while we are not yet exactly where we want to be with our life, Alan and I are taking steps to get there and enjoying actually being together in the same place knowing that the future is brighter from here on out.

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to try a few new things, one being Ali Edwards’ One Little Word project and the other being my New Year’s resolutions of using the massive amount of craft supplies I have in my possession and not buying more until I have run out of things or am getting low on certain things, buying local more often, less waste (would love to get to ZERO waste like my friend Ouissi is doing from The Old Fashioned Mama), and enjoying the simple things in life.

I chose to use EXPLORE as my one little word for this year and have already started exploring more of Dorset and even within our local area. I love going to different villages and just having a wander, photographing them and just enjoying the scenery and atmosphere. So far, from after Christmas and well into this month we have explored the likes of Symondsbury, Poundbury, Broadwindsor, other areas and small hidden away parts of Bridport and more. This weekend we are set to explore Portland Bill and its surroundings while celebrating Alan’s birthday on Saturday. I am looking forward to it and hope we can visit at least one of the places mentioned in the book we got over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season called Secret Places of West Dorset by Louise Hodgson. If you are local to West Dorset and have not picked up this wonderful book you really ought not hesitate to get it. Louise has come out with a sequel to it as well, called More Secret Places of West Dorset which I hope we can get soon!

One of the things I hope to do as Alan and I explore more of our beautiful county is use Louise Hodgson’s books to bring you gorgeous photo diary posts on the blog of the places we discover with the aid of her book. While in Portland this weekend we hope to get to visit Church Ope Cove and the ruins of Rufus Castle and St Andrew’s Church in the vicinity which are noted in the first book I mentioned. I have decided to do a series of posts of each of the places we visit this year that are outlined in Secret Places of West Dorset, photo diary style with minimal writing, so that you too can see it if you are too far away to explore it yourself or perhaps it will inspire you to come out to Dorset and see it all for yourself. Once we have seen each place in the first book we shall tackle the second book! Wish us luck!

As for my main blogging goals, well, I would love to really strive to write a post a day from Monday to Friday, sharing with you all the things I am currently loving, doing, working on and most of all I would love to share what is going on in Bridport and the surrounding area as well as showcase local artisans, shop owners and the like. So, stay tuned for even more blog series coming your way in February as well as more gorgeous photos of my life as an expat here in England, more specifically Dorset.

Have a beautiful day all!

Cheers,

Nadia xoxo

Here’s a few things from around the web that I am loving:

A DIY fruit and veg bag to cut down on plastic bag waste…

Local wedding photographer and my dear friend Dawn Potter‘s website is divine and ripe with her fabulous photos…

Another book I’d love to get: Discover Dorset- Lost Villages by Linda Viner…

Philippa Clunes talks about her home with actor Martin Clunes, Buckham Down in Yarn Magazine

My First #British #Christmas 

  
I took a couple of days off blogging to fully enjoy the holidays and experience my first British Christmas and I must say that while I love American Christmas celebrations, thr British do Christmas just as well if not slightly more family oriented. 

On Christmas Eve, Alan and I did some last minute shopping and also pre-cooked the ham we’d bought from our local butcher’s Balson’s. It was the first time either of us had cooked a ham from its raw state and I was super excited at the prospect of this. It’s much easier than I though! 

 

british christmas

Our ham was too big to fit in one pot do we boiled it in two chunks.


We also had a nice nighttime game of Scrabble before heading to bed to wait for Christmas morn.

  
Christmas morning I received a few goodies from Alan in my Christmas sock…

   
Alan and I spent Christmas Day with his folks here at their home where we are living temporarily and just had a fabulous day of it. We cooked a lovely breakfast together of Brioche French Toast topped with a dusting of icing sugar and mixed berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. So delicious! 

   
 
We opened a couple of gifts before cooking dinner. Our tree looked so lovely the night before…

 

British Christmas

gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve

  
british christmas

Christmas Eve shot of the tree.

 
British Christmas

Christmas tree selfie

  
british christmas

Posing with one of the gifts I opened…

  
Our dinner was scrumptious though slightly less traditional. Since we’d had a turkey back in November at our Thanksgiving celebration we’d opted for having a ham which worked out well with the rest of our food. 

 

british christmas

Cooking pigs in a blanket and carrot & swede mash.

  
british christmas

Our table spread with everything including Christmas crackers.

  
british christmas

Our delicious Christmas meal of Cola & Mustard glazed ham, roast potato & parsnips, carrot & swede mash, braised red cabbage & apples relish, pigs in blankets, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce , and bread sauce.

I’m already looking forward to the next Christmas! The bad cracker jokes, watching Christmas specials on the telly, playing scrabble with my hubby, it was all lovely! 

Here are a few silly Christmas hat pics because they have to be done! 

   

  

  

  

What was your Chrismas like? Do you have any interesting out of the norm traditions? 

Boxing Day was spent at my brother in laws opening more gifts, eating good food and watching movies and shows. 

We returned home yesterday and went for a walk around town a bit. Today we will be going out to watch the new Star Wars movie so expect to hear my reaction tomorrow! 

Cheers and Happy Holidays! 

Nadia xoxo

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © 2015 Walks in Beauty 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY NADIA M. PEREZ BUGLER