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British

There are many words that start with B, British, better, beautiful etc. That's just some of the positives.
When trying to Breach the British border, either by lawful settlement or otherwise, one is faced with a lot of problems. I will just talk here about few of them.
Problem no 1: renting a house
Problem no 2: opening a bank account

1.You just came to the country and want to rent a house. You have some money to secure the smallest room transformed into a studio or 1 bedroom apartment. But then you will be asked for a history reference, your employer, your former employer (that's UK based only), former landlord (again British one), bank account with a credit check... and the list will go on.

2. Since the landlord asks for a bank account you go to open one at Bank *BritishBank. Once you reach there, you are asked for a proof of address. Which is any bill on your name that will prove you live at that address. Needless you say, since you have just reached there and hope to rent, you won't have one.

After weeks of 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 steps you decide finally to live/ fake living in a room in a shared house, just for the sake of the proof of address. The easiest thing is find someone who rented a big house and re-rents it (illegally) to a number of people more than/ equal to the number of rooms. And is willing to let the water to be billed on your name. This requires a long search to make sure you can find such a person. Once the water is on your name, there is a letter sent to the address and finally you are the proud owner of the proof of address.

Happily you go and you open a bank account. Then the painful process of going to your "home" to check for your letters from bank, NIN, NHS. Finally, you registered everywhere, you call the water authority to close the account and send you over the bill. Call them once, waiting, waiting, call them twice. And then months after, two bills come! And the amounts are 100 pounds different. Luckily for me the smallest one is the last. And luckily for me I did call twice, otherwise I would have ended up paying a bill which was 100 pounds bigger.

Oh yes, Southern water - I know another B word - bullshit!

teapots

tea

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Istambuli

INGREDIENTS
3 cups rice
1 big potato
10 small tomatoes (not cherry, just small)
1 medium onion
oil
salt
pepper
turmeric

METHOD
0. Wash and let rice soak into water for 20 mins.
1. Fry chopped onion into some oil.
2. Peel and chop tomatoes, add to the onion.
3. When the tomatoes leave water, add 1cm cubes chopped potato.
4. In a cooking pan mix soaked and sieved rice, all ingredients and a cup of water, cover it and let it boil until rice is cooked.

istambuli

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some books that I enjoyed reading

After hundreds of European and american authors, I finally got a chance this summer to read some Oriental novels.
Tiger's Wife - Téa Obreht
The Harem within - Fatima Mernissi
Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran - Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
The Bastard of Istanbul - Elif Şafak
The Girls of Riyadh - Rajaa Alsanea
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
My Name is Salma - Fadia Faqir
Pillars of Salt- Fadia Faqir
Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Pearl of China - Anchee Min
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie

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genetics

morphed pics of family relatives inspired me to make a small family tree of the childhood pics that I have from my own family.
family

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my life in perfumes

perfume
love them

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Swap

M-am hotarat sa fac parte la swapul handmade de la revista Atelierul
asa ca am desenat cu culorile mele favorite stelutze si cu cele care
nu imi sunt pe plac fulgere pentru a fi de ajutor viitoarei mele
partenere de schimb.
Mersi .

I decided to be a part of the handmade swap:
http://www.revista-atelierul.ro/handmade/swap/ so to make it easier
for my future partner I made a drawing with my favorite/ least
favorite colors. Stars favorites, lighting least favorite.
Thanks.

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Beauty that only nature produces

When hope is lost, we still find hope.

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Best walnut cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

METHOD
1. Mix melted butter with sugar until soft and fluffy. Add egg and
then add all ingredients.
2. Using a plastic rectangle shape into a roll. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Cut into slim slices.
4. Bake for 10 mins at 140 Celcius or until golden brown.

I decorated with Burberry which added a kick of sour to my cookie.
It's definitely going to become a family favorite.

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Farzanah's cardamom cake

If you would like to cook an especially delicious cake with a slight
taste of cardamom I recommend warmly that you make Farzanah's cake.

Beat together
1 cup sugar
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
crushed seeds of 4 cardamom pods

add 2 cups of plain flour in which 4 teaspoons of baking powder is added
and mix well
add 1 cup of milk and mix

pour into the oiled and floured mould and cook on top of a very low
gas for one hour.

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Banana (apple, pumpkin) bread

With more time to myself I had times to try to cook cakes. My first
cake was a banana bread, and then I cooked variation of the same using
apple, pumpkin or adding chocolate powder to the banana bread. All of
them were absolutely delicious and very easy to cook to my surprise.
The best was the banana bread, you absolutely have to try it.

INGREDIENTS
3 bananas (or 2 cups grinded and evaporated apple or pumpkin pulp)
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
1/2 cup cream (~125g)
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 packet of ready made hot chocolate - optional (I saw a variation
using green tea powder - yummy)

METHOD
1. Mix the melted butter and sugar with a mixer.
2. Add bananas and eggs and keep on mixing. (don't mix too well to
mash the banana too much.
3. Add everything else and keep on mixing.
4. Oil one cake tray and place the content into the oven 175 Celcius
degrees 40-50 mins.

Enjoy! We really enjoyed it with some cream and strawberry marmalade.
Image courtesy of chef jeff
Buttermilk-Banana-Bread

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Happy 1st of March

What better gift for 1st of March than the gift of beauty. Here it is through the eyes of Iranian painters.

fardin jalali
Fardin Jalali


Saeed Panahzadeh

Javad Soleimanpour  (2)
Javad Soleimanpour

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2 painters with same initials: J.K.

Josef Kote

Josef Kote

Justyna Kopania

Justyna Kopania

Happy New Year!

I wish y'all to have a better, brighter, more prosperous, healthier year!

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It's a hard task to design a costume that is describing a country, making the girl beautiful and not funny. These are my favorites from 2012. As I've seen from previous years the designers seem to get better :). (not Romania)
See other misses here

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Korea, Albania, Czech, Bulgaria

Downloads4
USA, China (winner)

Downloads5
Brazil, Mexic

Postcards from Washington DC

Thank you, Elena!

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Beauty

Tea would be tastier in this divine cup!

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Xmas wishlist

Sigh!

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Postcards from Cuba

Thank you, Georgiana!

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2 painters

Tzviatko Kinchev

Downloads

Kal Gajoum

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Shopping in Isfahan

Some favorites from the bazaar

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Eating in Isfahan, yum

While walking through the bazaar, I noticed some stairs and people who were climbing them so I decided to follow them despite being with a push-chair. It was such a great decision because the stairs were leading to a beautiful and old restaurant.

Besides the usual kebab that you can find in any restaurant they had some other food as well. Dizi, which is a meat soup, Beryiani - minced meat cooked in a specific Isfahani way and served on sangak bread, koofteh - a huge minced meat ball with rice inside, mirza ghasemi - eggplant cooked with garlic and tomato paste and kashke-bademjun - eggplant cooked with kashk. I let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Easy to cook, healthy and tasty, my baby can vouch for this :).

INGREDIENTS
150 g barley (use rice or some other grain if more convenient but then it won't be barley soup)
250 g mushroom
1 carrot
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion
1 garlic
2 eggs
1/2 cup of greeneries (dill, parsley, mint, basil, etc use your favorites)
1 small floret broccoli
2 lemons
1 tablespoon dry chicken stock
salt as required
2 ltrs water
20 g butter

METHOD
1. Wash 3 times the barley grains and then boil them.
2. When they are almost ready, add all the chopped vegetables, butter, chicken stock and the rest of the water.
3. When everything is boiled, add the lemon, taste and salt accordingly.
4. Stir the eggs with a fork and then slowly pour them into the boiling soup mixing with the fork continuously.
5. Leave to rest for 5 minutes and then serve it. Enjoy!

I love how the freshness of the vegetables is complemented by the barley grains which is a bit crunchy even when boiled.

Egg-Drop-Soup

Isfahan - tourist around the town

Except living for 3 days in Hotel Abbasi which was a pleasure by itself, Isfahan was a nice city to visit with lots of things to see and do. We haven't seen all the tourist attractions, we missed the pigeon towers and the moving towers (twin towers, you go up in one of them and shake it and the other one will also shake). But the ones we've seen were really lovely and worth seeing.

Isfahan at a glance

Isfahan at a glance

Isfahan the local library

Isfahan the local library

Still alive

Still alive

Waiting for slim customers in front of the Emam mosque

Waiting for slim customers in front of the Emam mosque

Emam mosque detail 1

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Emam mosque detail 2

Emam mosque detail

Indian summer in Isfahan

Indian summer in Isfahan

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Lovers in front of 40 columns

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40 columns detail

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40 columns

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40 clumns garden at the back

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Vank armenian christian orthodox church

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Vank armenian christian orthodox church detail

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Hotel Abbasi - queen of the castle

The glorious architecture of Iran, like a piece of gem, has been constantly glittering among other architectural monuments of the world and has occupied a worthy place in the world of art. It was in the reign of the Safavids, that the city of Isfahan reached such a renown and elegance which was called " half of the world".

Among what has remained from the age of the Safavids, there still exists a school, bazaar and caravansaray complex which sparkles like a piece of jewelry at the side of Chahar Bagh street.

This complex was built at the time of king Sultan Hossein of Safavids about 300 years ago. King Soltan Hossein attributed this magnificent complex of building to his mother. That is why it is called "the school and caravansaray of Madar-shah" (which means king's mother)."

Hotel abbasi

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Ashura

Huge crowds, drums, feathers... but it's not a carnival, it's ashura in Tehran... a time to mourn for emam Hosein for the religious shia and a time to meet boys/ girls for the liberal young Iranians (there is more makeup sold at the time of ashura :) . Free tea, milk, cookies and food everywhere you see! An excitement that you can't find in any other time in Iran. Everyone, religious or not, is so to go out in the street and meet their neighbors and celebrate together with free food and drinks. And everything happens at night.

There are lots of processions on all the streets which begin with an "alam" (sort of a long T decorated with different animals and adorned with animals) .

I went on one of the nights to see the celebrations and I went in the tent of the women. Most of them were chatting along and did not listen to the religious speech, when I asked them what the "mulah" (muslim priest) is talking about they were not able to explain. From what I understood they were not missing much because that particular mulah was talking about the expenses of the "haiat" (neighborhood) and the food that was prepared, rather than the life and good deeds of the emam Hosein.

For me as a foreigner it was a strange feeling seeing men hitting themselves with a "zangir"(chains), I asked a young man if it is painful and he said no and another one said a little. The rhythm of the songs played was very exciting and since I love dancing I was very much tempted to dance but would have been very disrespectful to do so.

One of the days is special since they are celebrating a small baby which was killed in the entourage of emam Hosein and many mothers dress their babies like Arabs. It's very cute to see them and sad at the same time to think of the innocent life which was lost at that time...

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Happy Thursday

My baby is always dancing on this song :)
Jamshid Mano in roya

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DIY

My dear friends have organized a grand lunch which was kind of farewell for us. I made a small embroidery/ crochet for their gorgeous baby boy...
diy craft crochet train  embroidery name

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Postcards from NY

Start spreading the news.... lalalala. Thank you Elena!








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plans plans....

Make plans and God will smile at them... but it's good sometimes to look forward and decide what to do with your days. So here are things I am looking forward to do in Iran.

1. Visit Golestan palace. I've visited Niavaran, Niavaran II and Saadabad but on the day we visited Golestan was closed.
2. Visit Esfahan. There is so much art in Esfahan and almost all Iranian artists are born / formed there!
3. See the desert. I've been to Iran but I have not seen the desert until now. I want to go somewhere where I don't see even one living soul (except for the ones accompanying me).
4. Learn some craft, maybe make some of the beautiful blue pottery that they have over there!
5. Visit some more beautiful mosques (too bad I can't take pictures) and the Christian Orthodox Church on Christmas. Visit some traditional restaurants and tea places.
6. Go to an old Persian bath. I haven't been yet. I will not bathe there, I can't be comfortable naked close to strangers, but one that has been transformed into a museum is good with me.

Things that I am not looking forward to:

1. Having to wear a scarf outside of the house. For the first few days it's fun and I can pretend to be a Hollywood actress under cover, but after that it's just annoying.
2. Long sleeve all the time.
3. Manteau, if it's something that's really ugly in this world is a manteau. It looks like a housedress with buttons in front, or the other things that manteau reminds me of is a chemists robe. I can honestly say I like the scarf more...

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7 years like 7 days

With 7 days left on the island of love, I do feel very nostalgic and think of the past... So I did feel the need to go through old pictures and recap. They were indeed 7 years full of love, friends, trips, events, parties and even sad moments. See them in pics and links.
2005
2005

2006
2006

2007
2007

2008
2008

2009

2010

2011

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