Three weeks

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This will be my first summer spent entirely in London. I have a new job and so no holidays for now.

This is year there will be no amazing sunsets, no delicious seafood, no big hugs from friends, no noisy family dinners, no beautiful landscapes, no walks around Lisbon, no tram rides, no dance until late, no busy days .

And worse than this is the fact that my family went for three weeks without me. I was left alone here in London where summer just lasts for three weeks and that was in July.

So what can I do in these three weeks? Well, apart from work I can read without interruptions. I can cook whatever I like or if I don’t want don’t need to cook. I can sleep until late on weekends. I can visit all those museums that the kids think are so boring. I can listen to loud music and dance like nobody is watching.

Yes, I can do all those things and I have done some. I was expecting some joyfulness, but I can’t feel it because I missed them too much. I miss their voices, their laughs, their smell, I miss being called one hundred times a day, I miss their sleepy faces in the morning and their tired bodies at night. Most of all I miss not being there.

So what I have been doing with my time? I have been reading, sleeping, writing, drawing, listening to music, wandering the city, taking some pictures and hoping that these three weeks will fly by.

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My birthday present

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I already wrote about this book and until today it was on my wishlist. My birthday was yesterday and I got my present today! Thank you A.

My memories of a skateboard go back when I was just five years old. My older brother and sister used to skateboard on our building corridors. I probably ride it, sitting on it and with someone pulling me. This was a long, long time ago in Angola.

In my teen years, in Portugal, where I lived the kids built their own skate ramps and half-pipes. There were the skateboarders and the BMX bikers. Most of the time they got along and sometimes they didn’t. Both did crazy things in the ramps, in the streets, in the roads and in the parks. I always liked watching them, especially the skateboarders.

I learn to skate in a little plastic red skateboard. I spent hours practising, pretending that I was riding a wave, dreaming of becoming a surfer. It didn’t happen, I’m not a surfer, yet, but when I jump into a skateboard I feel the same! I ride the same way, like I am surfing an endless wave and it makes me feel sooo good!

For my Christmas present I want one of this to ride in the London’s Park. Yeah, plus a helmet, knee-pads and an accident insurance.

So check these photos by Hugh Holland between 1975 and 1878. It’s a time travel, is like going back to the streets of California in the 70’s.

locals only

local only2locals only3

The land of Ice and Fire

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The first time I heard about Iceland was because of Björk. A friend introduced me to her music saying that she was from Iceland. Iceland? Where is that? I remember thinking.

Without internet to google it, I stayed with this image that Iceland was some place where weird but beautiful things come from. As I grew older this image didn’t change, actually it got stronger as I looked at videos, images and photos of Iceland.

Last weekend, my little one asked about volcanoes, how they work, what they do and so on. We decided to google it – all the knowledge at your fingertips – and we watched a great BBC documentary about the Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

Amazing, beautiful, astonishing and breathtaking images. Literally it is the land of Fire and Ice, but it has also mountains, ocean, waterfalls, green landscapes, colourful towns, cute animals and brave people.

My little one watched the entire video and often he cried: “so beautiful!”. We asked him if he would like to go there. He stopped for a minute, said something about the volcanoes and at the end he answered “yes, I want to go there.” He must have been truly overwhelmed by the beautiful images and landscapes cause he normally doesn’t want to go where he senses fear. Beauty overcame the fear and so one day we shall go.

Today I leave you with these great Icelandic photographers who I found today browsing in the “new” Flickr.

Gúnna

Sverrir Thorolfsson

Skarphedinn Thrainsson

Back to baking

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Today was reading day at school followed by coffee morning with the parents.

Today’s conversation was all about baking. Baking for cake sales, baking for kids, baking for family, baking gadgets, baking recipes.

When I was walking home I realized that it has been a long time since I baked a cake. My problem is that my husband only have a slice or two, my kids have none and so I have to eat all the rest.

Eating without sharing has no fun for me and beside that I have to watch my weight.

But now I have an assistant to help me with the eating, my brother, my long term guest.

So today I will bake this delicious Lemon Cake.

Lemon Rosemary Olive oil Cake. Adapt from here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Zest and lemon of 2 lemons
  • 3 large eggs

For the drizzle

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Grease a loaf pan and dust it with a little bit of flour. The original recipe calls for a tube pan which I don’t have so I used a loaf pan and the result was quite nice.

Mix the flour, the rosemary, the baking powder and the salt in bowl. In another bowl put the sugar, olive oil, milk, lemon juice and the zest and the eggs, whisk everything until smooth. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Let it cool for 15 minutes before take it out of the pan and then let it cool completely.

For the drizzle: combine the icing and the lemon juice and pour it over the top.

Vivian Maier

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I love photography in all its ways, but street photography has this effect on me, makes me feel like I am being transported into the picture.

I like to unriddle every detail and try to imagine the feelings, sensations and the emotions printed in the photograph.

Street Photography is about the ordinary or extraordinary interactions in the urban space. Street photographers “they thrive on the unexpected, seeing the street as a theatre of endless possibilities, the cast list never fixed until the shutter is pressed” (Street Photography Now).

One of my favourite hobbies is walking alone in the streets and capturing with my eyes the pace, the movement, the characters, the stories, the details, the drama, the expected and unexpected.

I love to walk in the streets like an outsider feeling at the same time as being part of that moment.

A couple of years ago I came across with the amazing story of Vivian Maier and John Maloof on the internet. I love her work and above that I love the story.

She was an amazing street photographer, she captured the street in its raw and truthful side.

What puzzles me is, since she never showed her work to anyone, what moved her? For who or for what was she saving the 100.000 negatives? Did she secretly wished to show her work? She only did for the pleasure of that single moment?

Whatever the reasons I am grateful to the John Maloof that he found, organized and shown to the world one of the greatest street photographer.

vivian Maiervivian Maier4August 1975vivian Maier3

Kew Gardens

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When a place is as beautiful as Kew Gardens is there isn’t much to say.

We spent a day there and fortunately we didn’t see everything so we have to visit it again.

We took loads of picture and although they are quite nice they don’t do the justice to this World Heritage Site.

School projects

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Every school term my kids have to do a school project. I confess I prefer to help them do a project which involves cutting, painting and collage than help with the ones which involves write and maths.

I don’t believe in Portugal the kids are asked to do so many projects, they have loads of exams instead.

Since we have been here we have done many projects: a table game about hurdling, a weather mobile, a replica of the solar system and a representation of the sea.

I am not a crafty person, but I am very proud of our projects.

Unfortunately I only took photos of the last two.IMG_5949Solar System

Anatomy of a giant

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There is a giant among the medium/short size surfers in the world and his name is Owen Wright. He is 23 years old and he’s from Australia

He heights 190cm which is more 15cm than the world champion Kelly Slater. His wingspan is longer than Michael Phelps. Apparently everything is balance, otherwise it wouldn’t be good to watch him surfing.

And why is this interesting? Well, I don’t know, but the guys from Indoek thought that it would be interesting and so they made this amazing video. via Olybop

And you can see the giant in action. He doesn’t look giant, does he?

Luckily

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I love music, but I can’t distinguish the instruments in a song.

I love music, but I can’t tell if a singer is tuned.

I love music, but if I have to clap I’ll definitely be out of rhythm.

I love music, but I won’t dare to sing along.

I love music, but for me reading music sheets or Chinese text is the same, they both are meaningless but  beautiful doodles.

Luckily I don’t need to understand music to enjoy music, as this beautiful video wisely concludes. via design mom

Dedicated to my husband who in the last fifteen years and with a lot of patience has taught me a little more about music – soundwaves, rhythms, instruments, music history – thus increasing my love for music.

Percebeiros

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Percebes are small, jelly and ugly little creatures that taste like sea which for me is the same as heaven.

Me and my husband once a year we allow ourselves to have this luxury tidbit, normally somewhere in the Costa Vicentina.

It can be very expensive, but considering how it is caught it worth the money you pay for. Percebes thrives in areas that are exposed to the hard beat of the waves since they need the water motion for feeding.

Catching percebes is a typical activity in the coastal areas of Northern Spain (Galicia) and Southwest of Portugal (Costa Vicentina). Being a percebeiro (a man who catches percebes) it’s a very dangerous job. The men have to face hazardous conditions like violent waves that can smash anything against the rocks.

Watch this short documentary for you to understand why it’s considered an occupational hazard.

Percebeiros it’s a short documentary directed by David Beriain that tells the story about Serxio Ces, a Percebeiro from Cedeira Galicia,

Percebeiros es la batalla contra el mar de unos guerreros que no se consideran héroes.