Saturday, 19 January 2013
On the first day we reached Birmingham, we decided to visit the German Christmas market in the evening. The market was bustling with people, children, so much of activity and musicians playing jazz, carols, and lots of music. There were numerous stalls with lots of interesting things on display, lots of food everywhere and one could feel the beautiful Christmas spirit. We decided to try the famed Bratwurst German sausage at one of the food stalls. When I was on vacation, my diet took a short vacation too. I had to be careful not to over indulge and try my best to be aware and in control of the calories I consumed in a day. The hot dog tasted good, I couldn't finish it. Felt full by the time I ate half. Here are some photos.
I was reading about this amazing weight loss journey of Sarah Jackson from Coventry, West Midlands on Daily Mail. Her video of weight loss which you can click to watch below, has become a you tube sensation and a huge motivation for those who want to lose weight. Read her success story here at Daily Mail . Sarah Jackson was a size 24 before and she is a size 10 now and aspires to lose more weight. Before she lost weight, she used to spend 4000 pounds a year on junk food and she ate food that would be normally eaten by 4 or 5 persons! The meetings she attended at Weight Watchers and the group support she received along with a healthy life style helped her lose all the excess weight. She has now become a Weight Watcher's Leader after successfully shedding all the extra weight.
It just got me thinking. I was telling my husband, when an obese person looks at a regular thin person, she or he hardly finds any motivation to lose weight. One would go, 'she/he is lucky to be thin, I will never be able to become that thin'. But if an overweight or obese person were to read or look a videos of actual success stories of people who were once like them, who went through the same food addictions, struggles, disappointments and somehow found the encouragement and a great will to lose weight, now that's a huge motivation to lose weight. A weight loss aspirant can actually identify with the person who was in their situation and follow guidelines and tips that worked for them and incorporate all the practical advises and experience the joy of weight loss. All this proves 'yes, it is definitely possible to lose weight'. Anyone can!
|Sarah Jackson Weight loss - Before and After photos|
“It’s a privilege and a joy to share in the adoration of our universe and the beauty of our existence.” - Bret Webster
Bret Webster is a rocket scientist turned photographer whose work is featured in National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Discover, New Scientist, Travel & Leisure, Islands magazine, NASA astronomy picture of the day website, the US Geological Society and many others. His work is displayed in various galleries and outlets across the globe. As part of 'Art in Embassies' program, the U.S. State Department had invited Bret Webster to visit the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait as their guest, for artistic cultural exchange, exhibition of his works and to conduct a photography workshop. Bret Webster's photographs were exhibited in Dar Al Funoon Gallery from 13 January to 17 January 2013
We visited the exhibition on Wednesday January 16 and got to see some of Webster's unique and artistic photography of space, galaxy, milky way and night sky besides desert, natural rock formations and other amazing work.
Here are some pictures I took of the exhibition held at Dar Al Funoon.
Friday, 18 January 2013
When we arrived in Birmingham last month, the car rental rep had come to pick us at the airport and we had to go the car rental office near by to complete some paperwork. I chose to sit the car, outside their office and enjoy the scenery around me. I was so surprised and delighted when I saw this sweet little bird pop up from the bush in front of me. I was tempted to get out of the car and click pictures. Well, then I thought, what if that were to scare it away. So took out my camera and clicked away sitting right there in the car. It's difficult to get a clear photo through the front window of the car.
It's weekend and are you movie buffs out there wondering which movie to go for? I would suggest, folks, go to the cinescape and watch 'Life of Pi'. It's a lovely fictional adventure tale with a beautiful message. The movie is based on the 'Man Booker Prize' award winning book of the same name, 'Life of Pi' written by Canadian author Yann Martel in 2001.
The 3 D movie is directed by Ang Lee who also directed Broke Back Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie has received 11 nominations at the Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Life of Pi has some amazing visuals and wonderful acting by Suraj Sharma as the young Pi Patel cast way in the sea. Among 3000 boys who auditioned for the role, casting director Avy Kaufman chose Suraj Sharma. Kaufman said, she could tell Suraj Sharma understood who Pi was. 'I didn't have a doubt, I knew he would be able to tell the story that needs to to be told'. The movie won 'Best Original Score' at the recent Golden Globe awards.
The story is about a young Indian boy Piscine Molitor, known as 'Pi', who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on the Pacific ocean for 227 days, in boat with a fearsome tiger called Richard Parker. Facing harsh cruelties of life, Pi learns many a lessons, overcomes his fears, learns the importance of survival skills while he keeps his sanity with faith and great strength of mind. I am not saying anymore, enjoy the movie!
|Suraj Sharma with director Ang Lee|
On Wednesday, January 16, we went for a beautiful art exhibition by Iranian artist, Shida Azari at FA Gallery. What struck me about Shida Azari's work, is it radiates peace and serenity. The paintings with faint women in the background amid beautiful vibrant flowers shows a sense of joy we can find in the beauty of nature and life around us. Her paintings center around nature, people and intricacy of human emotions. Her work has been exhibited internationally and Shida is a recipient of many prestigious awards.
If you are an art enthusiast, do visit Shida Azari's exhibition at FA Gallery. You will certainly enjoy her work. The exhibition continues till 24 January. FA Gallery is located next to Amiri Hospital car park, Gulf Road.
FA Gallery - telephone : 22498999
Timing : 10am to 9pm (Saturday to Thursday)
Shida Azari Exhibition : 15 January to 24 January 2013
These days I have been sleeping a lot. When I woke up at noon yesterday, I didn't have much time to cook. My daughter told me she loves cooking and she finds it relaxing to return from work and make something healthy and quick without having to hang around in the kitchen too long. She had made pasta with veggies and chicken, the first day we arrived in Birmingham and we had loved it. I thought, why not make some pasta. Lucky me, I had lots of vegetables in the fridge and some left over chicken. And I had just bought fresh broccoli from the Farmer's market in Sultan Center at Sharq Mall on Wednesday.
Here's my recipe which tastes different from my daughter's. I don't know what sauces and secret ingredients she added that made her pasta taste heavenly. When I asked her yesterday, she laughed, saying, 'I just add whatever is there and make something quick'.
boiled chicken (cut into small pieces)
carrot cut into thin strips
french beans cut thin and long
mushroom (preferably fresh and not canned)
* Red bell pepper (capsicum)
mixed Italian herbs
Tomato sauce, tomato puree
olive oil ( I used extra virgin olive oil)
green chilli sauce or crushed green chilli mixed in bit vinegar and olive oil
red chilli flakes (dont over do it - just add the right amount to your taste)
** Add your own seasoning of spice powders for zest and zing
*** While serving, add grated parmesan cheese on top if you like
Boil the pasta with salt and bit of olive oil in plenty of water. Drain and wash with cold water, so they turn sticky. Heat a large sauce pan, add some olive oil, when it turns warm, add your veggies and stir fry - dont over cook them. Veggies should be crisp. * You can add celery and red pepper as well ( like my daughter did), but I didn't have those at the time I made pasta. I cooked the mushrooms separately, as it requires a bit more cooking time. Keep aside. Heat the same pan again, add olive oil, chopped onions and garlic, saute. Add tomatoes and saute. Add the tomato puree and some water and let cook, add the green chilli sauce (or crushed green chillies in vinegar and olive oil), salt and pepper, saute till the raw taste of tomato puree disappears and the sauce would begin to taste yummy. It shouldnt be dry. Add bit of water to make it thick and saucy. Add cooked chicken pieces and the stir fried vegetables, and mushroom. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the red chilli flakes. Add pasta and stir. Or serve the pasta sauce with chicken and vegetables on a bed of pasta. It tastes great. ** You can add your own creative seasoning to add zing and zest to your pasta.
|Here's my Pasta with chicken and vegetables - light, healthy, tasty and something you can prepare quick when you don't have much time|
|Now this pasta is what my daughter prepared on the first day we visited her in UK. I clicked this picture when I was half way through !|
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
I am always fascinated by impressive window decors. I think its a great form of art to make a window of an outlet or store look fascinating for shoppers and passersby. This is taken at the Mail Box (mall) in Birmingham.
Hi everyone! Happy New Year to all you great readers.
We had a great vacation - a beautiful birthday celebration, a very joyful Christmas and a memorable New Year's eve with our daughter in UK. I enjoyed the great sales and discounts during christmas and did a lot of shopping. Its so freezing cold here in Kuwait, that I feel lazy to go out. So I havent had the opportunity to actually wear all the new stuff I bought. Waiting for the weather to improve. Somehow the winter in Birmingham was nice, there was so much to do and see that the cold weather nor the slight rains bother us in anyway. I'll be posting photos we took in and around Birmingham. A huge thanks to our daughter; she made our days very special.
I can't believe 2012 is over and another new year has begun. So what are your aspirations, dreams and New Year resolutions for this year? Was 2012 a good year or it wasn't? Do you secretly hope and wish for 2013 to be a wonderful year? What we view as good or bad is based on the attitude we hold towards life and how we perceive and interpret things, situations, people or incidents, how we chose to act or react, what choices we make with our free will. We all are equipped with an internal guidance system, some call it an inner voice, or intuition that guides us. It's important to pay heed to those signs and thoughts that guide you to what's truly good. This happens when you quieten your mind and other distracting thoughts and seek answers from within.
Are you concerned how to make your dreams and aspirations come true?. Are you worried that you may not fulfill your New Year resolutions although you want to see them become a reality? To unleash your potential, how about embarking on a journey of self discovery...We are creatures of habit. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. For example, if you want get up an hour earlier than to rush to work looking haggard, its not difficult, when you set your alarm and get yourself out of bed early, and you repeat that for 21 days, it becomes a new habit. If you decide not to snap at others, then, consciously refrain from doing so and voila, you will be a more peaceful person, not reacting and raising your blood pressure in just 21 days. If you want to start an exercise regime, don't fall prey to the lazy talk your mind gives you. Keep exercising for 21 days and it becomes a healthy habit.
Look into your past and present, explore what's actually stopping you from achieving what you want, what are those blocks or fears?. Or is it laziness or procrastination or is it that you don't think you have what it takes?. Have those unresolved issues or past pain that you constantly give life and form to turned into troublesome monsters in your mind?. Identify your strengths and talents and cultivate a sense of gratefulness for all the good things and blessings in your life that might taken a back seat. Gratitude reaps abundance. Be determined to change your negative thoughts or beliefs imposed by yourself or others, that prevent you from achieving what you want. Leave the past where it belongs, in the past. Let go of disappointments, sorrow and pain and travel light, and see how good you feel. Let the lessons of the past guide you make better choices. Obstacles and failures are a but a natural part of life. Don't remain fallen and wallow in self pity. You will find a way to overcome the obstacles. Whenever you fall, the wounds will heal through time. Get up to face the challenges. Remember fortune favors the brave.
Every new day that's gifted to you is an opportunity to engage positively in your life and you have the power to choose to do what's best for you. When we don't think positive thoughts, our negative attitudes, vibrations and tendencies are likely to attract negative situations and life loses it's lustre, beauty and meaning. Our circumstances will not always be perfect due to the constant dualities that exist in nature. However we can live a wholesome, healthier and happier life through a positive attitude, healthy lifestyle, faith and a personal and professional ethic that touches all spheres of life.
May 2013 be a great year for all.
Peace and Blessings,