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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Movie Review: Creation - The true story of Charles Darwin

My dearest hearts,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of Creation. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie or read the book or know anything about the life of Charles Darwin, this piece comes with spoilers ;)**
A few days ago I was telling you about this interesting piece of work I have finished reading: Creation - The true story of Charles Darwin, written by his great great grandson Randall Keynes. The book was found so wonderful that BBC embarked on a journey with Recorded Picture Company and HanWay Films and released in 2009 the biographic drama starring Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin (whom you may remember as the albino monk Silas, from the thrilling adaptation of the book The Da Vinci Code)
I should have known by now that no movie made after a book is the same as the written pages but I must admit my indignation was quite huge, as I expected more from BBC. BBC never let me down when it came to bringing stories alive,  yet in this case I felt betrayed... The way they have portrayed Emma Darwin is dark and evil... they made her into a religious fanatic! And even though Emma loved religion and you can see in the book her pain knowing that she will be parted from Charles in the afterlife, as he was a naturalist and believed in the development of the species rather than the fact that God made us into who we are, Randal never once states that he has found in any letter/note/diary any information  about Emma being blindfolded by religion (as she is portrayed in the movie). 
In the movie we see Annie being punished at school for speaking up her mind and talking about dinosaurs. She is made to stay on her knees in rock salt until she admits she was wrong, thus developing massive skin injuries. Darwin gets upset and wishes to go scold the priest who ran the classes yet Emma stops him... what kind of mother would stop her husband from defending their child? The way she is portrayed makes one think that Religion is to blame for all and I believe that is NOT what Charles Darwin believed. I also do NOT believe that Emma would conciously agree with her children being hurt - even in the name of faith. I do NOT believe that Emma was this simple minded so she would believe hurting a child would make the young one believe less in the natural order of things...
On the other hand, I quite like the extensive portrait of Annie. In the end, it is her story that Randal tells us, through Charles eyes... Annie was the eldest daughter of Charles and Emma Darwin, and I dare say the most loved and cherished. Even Darwin wrote in her eulogy that not once he has spoken a bad word to her nor has he made him feel the need to scold her. She always had a smile upon her face and she always knew how to make others feel better. She enjoyed helping Charles and she would always join him in his daily walks.
I also enjoyed the way the motion picture is filmed - the quality of the frames and their succession, the way in which we are welcomed into Charles mind and see the world through his eyes... it is just Oscar worthy to have a look at the naturalist scenes filmed for the movie - somehow they make me think of a very advanced Animal Planet channel programme. Also the portrayal of the relationship he had with the very first Orangutan brought to the United Kingdom, for the London zoo, is pleasant to watch. The way they communicate and bond is very touching and appropriate as to the content of the book and Charles Darwin's notes. 
Overall it is a pleasant movie to watch, and I recommend to watch it AFTER reading the book. Of course you may be upset on some scenes and you would think you would have done it otherwise, but other scenes will reward you and get you back on the watching track. The movie's pace is quite slow and sometimes agonising, as we feel Charles pain, so if you wish to watch it on a fun date I would definitely NOT recommend it. I watched it alone, in silence, paying attention to the way the director - through Randal Keynes eyes - wanted us to see Charles Darwin. I am glad I have seen it, as now I can match it to the book, but I am unsure as to if I would like to see it again. The IMDB score is 6.8 out of 10 and I feel it should be higher - I think it is this low only for the subject it touches and I know it was not received well due to the fact that it speaks of Creationism... Have you seen Creation? What did you think of it? How would YOU grade it?

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that still loves BBC :)
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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Bucket List: Zorbing / Globe-Riding

Dear friends,

Do you like playing any game that involves balls? Be that football, cricket, baseball, tennis or whatever other games you have in mind... Did you enjoy watching the ball roll? Have you ever imagined what it would feel to be inside that ball, racing sometimes several hundred miles per hour? Well that is what Zorbing is all about! :) You may look at me strange now and ask yourself what Zorbing is... you may never have heard of it or you may have heard or seen it but under a different name - zorbing, orbing, globe-riding is all and the same! The idea is the same: you inside a rubber ball = magic! 
If you are fond of adventures and you love adrenaline pumping through your veins, than you will absolutely love Zorbing and you will place this on your Bucket List, just as I have! :) The sport involves either rolling downhill inside an orb, rolling around on water inside an floatable sphere, or playing a game on land while rolling around inside a metal sphere - hence the 3 types of zorbing arise: downhill Zorbing, flatland Zorbing and water Zorbing. When it comes to the safety measures it can be free or with the help of harnasses. The harnassed ones can be for one or 2 persons but the non-harnassed ones can take inside up to 3 people at one go. The harness gives you security and stability in your position while rolling and it allows you not to bump into the others inside the ball.
Zorbing was invented in New Zealand in 1994 by Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis. It has become popular in many countries around the world, including England, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. The idea of the game is simple: pick the ball, climb inside and let the fun begin! The plastic ball is double walled, so the rider bounces around and gets the thrill of speed, but is protected from the full impact of hitting the ground repeatedly. It is more of a one-time challange, if you ask me. It brings the adrenaline and I can see myself doing this again one day but I would not mark it as a hobby. I think that in the end you would want more and more - a longer track, a faster ride... 
It was lovely to read - while writing this post - all the articles on Zorbing. There is even one on the Sochi Olympics. Also, did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes two sphereing records. Steve Camp set the record for longest sphereing ride in 2006 at 1,870 feet. Keith Kolver set the world record for fastest sphereing ride in 2006 at 32 miles per hour! But on the other side I feel obliged to tell you that in June 2009 a teacher died and a pupil was seriously injured in the Czech Republic while trying zorbing. Also, in January 2013, at a ski resort in Dombay, Russia, a man died from a broken neck and another was seriously injured when a Zorb rolled out of control down a mountain, hitting rocks and eventually coming to a stop a kilometre away on a frozen lake. The incident was caught on camera and uploaded to the Internet. After the incident made international headlines, Russian authorities called for tougher safety laws.
Now all that I said above should not drive you away from chasing your dream and trying out Zorbing. But all I wanted is to make sure you know all sides of the story. Some will try to stop you and say that it is not safe & some will join you and hold your hand while doing it. I had Zorbing on my Bucket List - along with parachute jumping, though I am not sure yet if I have the courage to do that just yet! - and I was wondering when I will manage to cross it out. You know, having a Bucket List is both a lovely thing so you could remind yourself the things you have done, but also a constant reminder of the fact that you still have so many things you have not yet done! Crossing an item from the Bucket List is like sitting out in a field of sunflowers, basking in the afternoon light, and smelling the air - refreshing! :) I managed to Zorb downhill, in a 2 person ball, with a harness, for around 20 meters, down to the lake - it was magical! Sometime, at the very end when we finished rolling, we stopped and I was not sure where I was... it felt somehow that I was floating, I was up in the air, maybe on a cliff?! It took me a while to think straight and realize I was on the lake... One more Bucket List item checked!

P.S. I made the video of the location in Krakow, Poland, where I did the Zorbing. Maybe you would like to try that out as well, when you will visit this lovely city :) The Zorbing is done on one hill leading to the Kryspinow Lake.

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

20 Things You Did Not Know About Romania

Dearest hearts,

I don't know if your mothers do the same with you as mine does, but my dear mum loves to share with me - via email and Facebook - information that she founds interesting/intriguing. Some of them I already know, some I don't and once in a while she send this type of information that you just feel like you would like to share with everyone you know. She send me this month an email about the 20 things that one might not know about Romania - my homeland - and I must admit I did not knew them :)  so I thought that if you would like to choose a different travel experience this information would prove fun for you and might make you visit Romania
So, without any further ado, I present to you the 20 points my mum send - in Romanian language, so I have translated them here for you:
1)The network of public transport in Bucharest - not counting the underground - is the 4th biggest in Europe (and one of the most dense in the continent, carrying 2,3 million passengers per day)
2)The Romanian bancnote of 10 bani, introduced in circulation in 1917, is the smallest bancnote in the world. Its measurements were 2,75*3,80cm - read more on Wikipedia about the Romanian Leu
3)The wooden church of the Sapanta-Peri Monastery is the tallest wooden church in the world. The building has a total height of 78 meters and it is located on the banks of the Tisa. It was constructed between 1998 and 2003. The tower of the monastery is visible from a distance of five kilometers over the Tisa and can be admired by Romanians in Transcarpathia, historical Maramures region remaining in Ukraine
4)The most expensive newspaper in the world is a Romanian newspaper. Zimbrul and Vulturul, political and literary journal and the first biweekly newspaper with unionist orientation appeared on July 3, 1850, in Iasi. A copy of 1858 sent to a recipient in Galati, was purchased in 2007 by Joseph Hackmey London collector for $ 1.115 million dollars (830,000 euros). The high value of the item is given by the fact that it has applied homepage eight stamps from the second issue Cap de Bour (Bull Head - one of the most valuable stamps in the world)
5)There is a religion born in Romania and which today is widespread in the United States, Scotland, the Netherlands and Hungary. It's Unitarian faith, which appeared in mid-century Transylvania XVI.
6)Strada Sforii - Rope Street - in Brasov is the third the narrowest street in Europe (after Spreuerhofstraße of Germany and Parliament Street in England). Street is 83 meters long and its width is between 1.11 and 1.35 m
7)The soprano Alma Gluck, one of the finest artists of the world and the first lyric opera singer who managed to sell 1 million records, was born in Iasi, on May 11, 1884
8)And still in 1884, Timisoara became the first city in continental Europe with electrically illuminated street
9)The oldest fossils of Homo sapiens in Europe were discovered in southwest Romania, Oase cave. The fossils, from three individuals (scientists call "Oase 1", "Oase 2" and "Oase 3"), have been dated at 35,000 years old, or 40,500 using calibration data
10)The tallest sculpture in Europe is Decebal's face carved into a cliff in Danube Boilers. The bas-relief is 55 m high and 25 m wide. Other sizes: Eye length: 4.3 meters; Nose length: 7 meters; Nose width: 4 meters
11)The Parliament Palace is the largest civilian administrative building for use as a surface of the world's most expensive office building in the world and the heaviest building in the world. With a surface of 330,000 hectares, is number 2 in the world in the "buildings" (after the Pentagon), and in terms of volume, with 2,550,000 m³ of his, 3rd in the world, after assembly building space rockets from Cape Canaveral in Florida after the Quetzalcoatl pyramid in Mexico - I also knew that it was the 3rd building that can be seen when you are out in space, besides the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian Pyramids
12)Astra Museum in Sibiu is the second largest open air museum in Europe. It covers an area of 96 hectares, of which the actual exhibition occupies 42 hectares
13)The longest love poem in the world is Luceafarul (The Evening Star) written by Mihai Eminescu. A record "formalized" in February 2009
14)The oldest athlete ever to win a marathon is Constantina Dita. It won the 2008, the Summer Olympics in Beijing, at the age of 38 years
15)The racing driver with the longest career is the  Romanian Laurentiu Moldovan. Grand total of 39 years and 364 days
16)Amphetamines were discovered and synthesized for the first time by the Romanian world Edeleanu Lazarus. All Edeleanu Lazarus is the inventor of modern oil refining method
17)The oldest inscription in the world seems to be discovered by the archaeologists at the site of  Sibiu - Orastie motorway 31 October 2012. This could prove the existence of writing since the early Neolithic (c. 6600-5500 BC).
18)The oldest known paint in world history was discovered at the same site: Sibiu - Orastie motorway
19)The Statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - statue considered one of the wonders of the modern world - has sculpted face of a Romanian Gheorghe Leonida
20) The Danube-Black Sea Channel is ranked third in the world among the longest waterways created by man (after Suez and Panama Canal). For its construction were excavated 294 million m3 in the main channel and another 87 million m3 at northern branch Gate White-Midia Năvodari (more than 25 million Suez Canal and Panama Canal than 140 million). Construction of the canal required an investment of about $ 2 billion, implying a payback period of over 600 years

What wonders and records does your homeland hold? :) 

P.S. Did you knew that today Romanian people all over the world celebrate the International Iia’s DayThe initiative of la Blouse Roumaine is to declare June 24th The International Iia’s Day, with the purpose of promoting iia, the traditional Romanian blouse, as a symbol of our country and its beautiful traditions.

Yours truly, 
 The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Monday, 22 June 2015

Creation - The True Story Of Charles Darwin

Dearest hearts,

The book that I will tell you about today does not praise Charles Darwin's knowledge and sustains his arguments in one way or another. Creation: The True Story Of Charles Darwin is a biographical book written by Randal Keynes, the great-great grandson of the one and only man who developed The Origin of Species.We get to see how Darwin was, through a magnifying glass, as we explore his private writings and his family letters, but the focus is always on the family - his wife and his children. From his letters to his wife and his close family friends, you can clearly see how much he has adored his better half and loved truly his children. 
A great "earthquake" is produced in the family relationship when his daughter Anna gets ill and eventually dies of what it seems to be (with the knowledge of today) tuberculosis. From that moment on it seems that Charles is unable to come back to his natural stage of family bliss... It did not help also the fact that his wife - Emma Darwin - was of strong Christian faith and that he was determined to show that science is the one that prevails. I find it wonderful that though they had different opinions on life they still loved eachother dearly and held the family together. The lack of communication though deepened the sorrow of Charles and it was until the very day of his death that he thought frequently of Anna - their lost treasure
"We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of our old age: she must have known how much we loved her; oh that she could now know how deeply, how tenderly we do still and shall ever love her dear joyous face. Blessings on her." (C.D. April 30, 1851)
Emma believed that she will be reunited with her but Charles opinion on the matter was quite different... The book shows Charles human side and it is refreshing to see a different side of him than the one we usually are taught at school.
Instagram photo from when I was enjoying the book -
Favourite Quotes from the book Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin:
  • When Emma was due to give birth, her sister Elizabeth came to be with her, and Charles engaged a doctor to attend as accoucheur. There were different views at the time about childbirth and the pain of delivery. Some consisted "the endurance of pain during delivery essential to the fulfilment of the primaeval curse, consequent upon the temptation and fall of our first mother, Eve". But one obstetrician wrote that childbirth was a natural process and suggested that "no sentiment is more pregnant with mischief than the opinion which almost universally prevails, that this process is inevitably one of difficulty and danger".
  • Many were disconcerned by the images the apparatus caught, but they had to accept them as objective, and truthful in that new way. One commentator wrote: "The common remark upon showing your sun picture to friends is, "Well it isn't a flattering portrait, but it must be like, you know!"" And George Cruikshank, the Punch cartoonist, wrote in a poem, "Photographic Phenomena", "Well, I never!" all cry; "it is cruelly like you!" But truth is unpleasant to prince and to peasant." The commentator warned ladies not to "make up a face for the ocassion" because the result was often disastrous. "If ladies, however, must study for a bit of effect, we will give them a recipe for a pretty expression of mouth. Let them place it as if they were going to say prunes".  => Would that maybe be the antique version of a duckface? Try to say the word prunes and look at the mirror - tell me I'm wrong! :)
  • Jane Taylor suggested that children should face up to death. "Let not young persons think this subject inapplicable to them. For, not to mention the uncertainty of life at every age, it is of the highest importance to be early impressed with just ideas of death and futurity; that it may become a subject of familiar and agreeable reflection, rather than of dread and terror." => I totally agree with this point of view. When we will have children I wish to teach them both about life and death from a very small age. This way they will know about it and get used to the idea that there is a natural course in life.
  • In 1869, Henry James, then a young American visitor to London and as yet unknown as writer, accompanied a friend to lunch at Down. (...) "Darwin is the sweetest, simplest, gentlest old Englishman you ever saw... He said nothing wonderful and was wonderful in no way but in not being so."
  • "I heard a child, little under four years old, when asked what was meant by being in good spirits, answer, "It is laughing, talking, and kissing." It would be difficult to give a truer and more practical definition."
If ever you get your hands on this book and if you love biography books of people living in times long forgotten, I recommend you to read it. Once you are done drop by and let me know what you thought of it. I, for one, am planning to see the movie made after this book. Who knows, maybe I will write about it! :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Friday, 19 June 2015

The Theory of Everything

My dearest hearts,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of The Theory of Everything. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie, it has spoilers ;)**
It is clear that we are just an advanced breed of primates on a minor planet orbiting around a very average star, in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. BUT, ever since the dawn of civilization people have craved for an understanding of the underlying order of the world. There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe. And what can be more special than that there is no boundary? And there should be no boundary to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope - Stephen Hawking
If you did not see this movie, I am not sure what you did last year. Have you got out of the house and went to see any movie? Have you seen the Oscars? Do you know who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role? That's right, it was the wonderfully talented Eddie Redmayne! He plays in the movie The Theory of Everything, the role of the fascinating Stephen Hawking. This is one movie that is hard to forget and Eddie did a fabulous job in painting Stephen's portrait for future generations to come - the way he walked and talked made me instantly feel like I was watching the real Stephen. Based on the book 'Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen' - the memoir written by Jane Hawking - the film catches the transformation of Stephen, along with their relationship.
Jane was his first wife and she was the one who supported him throughout his growing illness. The movie - to the regret of many - does not follow the scientific discoveries or his theories in detail, but rather focuses on his human side and his relations with other people. It is to be expected, I believe, knowing that the movie is after a book written by Jane. She wanted the world to know Stephen from the human side, and not see him as a robot / as someone who could not be touched. The great center of the movie most believe it to be Stephen, but I believe it is Jane. Even though she wanted us to see him in a different light, what I can see - more than anything - is her wonderful personality and the way she cares about him. Jane is not the kind of person who would stand out of the crowd and I believe she does not like publicity either. She wanted people to know Stephen more and respect him as a human being. In return, somehow, she managed to let us see her as she truly is: a powerful human being! She is stubborn in her decisions and also has enough courage for the both of them - without her I believe Stephen would not be the man he is today!
The Theory of Everything is a love story, and as you know not all love stories have happy endings. I must admit I wished somehow for a miracle and Stephen to be able to walk and talk again and be with Jane and have a wonderfully talented family, but God works in misterious ways! After 25 years of marriage, Jane divorced Stephen... Should I mention that Stephen Hawking actually had to have his tears wiped away after viewing this movie? Now that shows the high class acting from Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones!

P.S. Bring handkerchiefs! Loads of them as you will get teary eyed for several times!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Brussels Airlines And Tintin's Rackham

My dearest friends,

Did you knew that Brussels Airlines has a plane - an Airbus 320, to be precise - that is painted with Tintin? Disguised as the famous shark submarine from the TinTin album “Red Rackham’s Treasure”, the Airbus A320, baptized as “Rackham”, is one friendly plane. Rackham is the pride and joy of the company and it even has its own page! You can go online and see where it will fly to and from next and you can see the latest pictures from Instagram that were tagged with its very own hashtag #SNRackham.
Not only the outside of the aircraft is painted in this spectacular Tintin livery. In addition, the atmosphere continues on the inside of the plane, where the rear cabin walls have also been reworked and carry images of Tintin and Captain Haddock from the same comic album. "Rackham" is derived from the name of a Tintin album called "Red Rackham's Treasure", in which Tintin and Captain Haddock navigate a shark shaped submarine in search of the treasure of a pirate called Red Rackham.
Several Tintin designs were on the table during the planning phase of the project, but it became clear very soon that for both Moulinsart and Brussels Airlines, it had to be the shark, as no one expects a shark in the sky. (source)
You can find the schedule for Rackham for the following three days in this link. The schedule listed is the most current, but please keep in mind that it can change last minute, and without notice. After all, would you expect less from a crazy shark in the sky? :) The livery will stay until 2019, according to the press release and the page dedicated for him, but I must admit I would rather they change their mind and let it stay indefinetely. It is quite a sight to behold and it makes one smile :)
HINT!!! In case you aren't a Tintin fan and haven't read 'Red Rackham's Treasure' the airline is providing it on the aircraft in three languages: Dutch, French and English. We did not knew that unfortunately, at the time we boarded the plane, else I would have asked for a copy. But who knows, maybe you will be luckier so make a mental note if ever you get inside this lovely aircraft! I think that will make the time pass even more pleasant :)
You can follow the latest Instagram Pictures live on Meet Rackham Page :)
So if you never visited Belgium I think this will be a great opportunity. If you will book Brussels Airlines check in advance if you are lucky to get with this lovely piece of art and get your camera/phone ready. And don't forget to ask for the comic book to read it while you are up in the clouds, inside the belly of a fabulous shark ;)))

** This post was made out of love for flying in beautiful aircrafts. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! Long live #SNRackham - Long live Tintin! Keeping my fingers crossed for your very own #SNRackham adventure :)  **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Comic Books With All Her Heart :)
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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Happy 2nd Anniversary To The Twisted Red LadyBug

Dearest hearts,

For She's A Jolly Good LadyBug, For She's A Jolly Good LadyBug, For She's A Jolly Good LadyBug, Which None Can Deny :) The Twisted Red LadyBug Blog is turning today 2 full years. Thank you for sticking around with me for so long and thank you again for being patient and reading all the blog posts on all the random topics I saw fit to write about. Sometimes it's hard keeping up with both family, work, life and the blog at the same time. On the other hand, it's nice to know I have you reading and sharing interests with me. I am glad of all the friends I have made - like Elisha @Arbonne - and the journeys I have shared with my better half. 
During these 2 years we have changed from being friends to being engaged and being married; we have changed from living in a rented flat to having our own apartment where we can put nails in the walls everywhere we please :) It's good to know that next time when my sister will come and she will play with my bow I will not have to worry for the wholes in the wall she may make ;))) It's a nice and warm feeling to know you have your own place in the world and that your friends can come at any time and sleepover if the wish to... (You are all welcome :*)
In these 2 years we have traveled, the 2 of us - side by side, to places we have never been before together:
* Our first trip abroad together was in lovely Austria, when we went to Vienna, The City of Music
* We have been to Germany and visited noisy and excentric Koln (Cologne) & quiet and home-like Bonn 
* We went recently to Belgium, to my lovely and smart sister :* who has an internship at the European Parliament
* Marek visited for the first time Romania and now we go each year there and we try to see new places everytime, if possible - this year we went to Neamt County - The Citadel of Neamt & Suceava County - The Ladies Rocks (Pietrele Doamnei - Rarau)
*  I, on the other hand, got a couple of collaborations with @DiscoverCracow and along with Marek, we went to The Eagle Nest Trail & Wieliczka (the UNESCO renowned salt mine)
* Also, together, we went to see other interesting places in Krakow (and its surroundings) and in Poland, so I recommend you to drop by the What To Visit In Poland page ;)
I would like to thank YOU, dear reader and friend, for being here with me on this journey. I hope that many more years like these will come, but you never know what lies ahead. I would like to thank the great audieces I have from the top 10 countries that visit me on a daily basis ever so often: 
United States
United Kingdom
Czech Republic
Thank you for being with be and respecting what I write and giving me feedback. Thank you for my fellow expats who share my feelings and understand why I do this. In these 2 years I have seen many expat blogs and read their stories on how they settled down in their adoptive homeland. It takes great courage or a huge amount of insanity (or maybe both?!) to get out the comfort of your well known bed, pack your things and go explore the world. In the end, the things you take with you, beyond the veil, are not the bank accounts or the houses or the cars or the iPhones and other electronics... in the end, the things that matter and the things that make you who you truly are... those are the memories and the places you have been to and what you have seen with your very own eyes :)

Yours truly,
The Crazy/Twisted Red LadyBug Who Loves Each And EveryOne Of Her Readers :*
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Friday, 12 June 2015

10 Questions for Elisha Arsenault - Have You Heard About Arbonne

Dearest sweethearts,
Today we are having a very special feature, first time on this very blog! :) Today I will share with you what a dear friend does for a living. You may look funny at the title and ask yourself whom this Elisha may be. Sit tight and grab yourself a cup of tea. We met only a while back but Elisha has this kind of upbeat and loveable attitude that just makes you come up to her and hug her and speak to her for hours. She has this beautiful clear smile and loves to experience new places and not in a tourist like manner but more in touch with the locals. So without any further ado, I give to you my interview with Elisha:
1) We met in Krakow, Poland.  What brought you to Poland?
Elisha: I came to Poland to learn more about the Polish culture and to grow my business with Arbonne.  Before my trip, I found you (Anda) on FaceBook and quickly learned how much
you know about and love Krakow.  You were so kind to take me on a personal walking tour of
Krakow and teach me so many morsels of interesting history. I already knew that I loved
Krakow, but you helped me begin to see its true heart!

2) What is Arbonne?
Elisha: Arbonne is a 35-year-old globally expanding company of botanically based premium Swiss quality products that are pure, safe, and beneficial.  They have skincare products for
baby through anti-aging for men and women, makeup, nutrition, and sports performance
products.  Arbonne’s products work synergistically to support health from the inside out. 
Arbonne is an amazing company who cares about the environment, its consumers, and the
industry.  Our products follow the European standard as opposed to the loose US standards,
are made of the best ingredients available, and are free of GMOs, gluten, petroleum, animal
products and by-products, and the long list of harsh chemicals that disrupt hormones and
cause cancer. Arbonne is open in the US, Canada, UK, Poland, and Australia.

3) What does it mean to be an Independent Consultant with Arbonne?
Elisha: Having an Arbonne business is a simple concept.  Arbonne does not pay for
advertising, so it is my job to share products with people by finding what they are interested
in, helping to redirect spending, and to ultimately add health.  Some people are just product
users and some people see the business opportunity and decide to grow their own Arbonne
business. My role is to lead a team of people to do the same.  When people join the team,
they open their business and they set their own pace and goals, following a system that is
proven to work.  The biggest factor in my business that I drew me in was it could be a part
time or full time commitment and my business can be as big as I want it to be.  I have a huge
vision for my team and I am so excited to grow more leaders in Poland.
Elisha and me :)
4) When did you start your business?
Elisha: I began almost a year and a half ago.  At the time, I was a math teacher in a local
school here in Massachusetts, USA, and a friend of mine who is a school principal asked to
meet for coffee.  We chatted about the business and because I saw that this business could
answer that I was looking for, I got started right away. I for a moment suspended the fear of
failure and thought, “what if this works?”

5) What is your favorite product?
Elisha: Ah I have so many! My favorite skincare product is the Intelligence Genius
Resurfacing Pads because it has completely changed my difficult skin that on its own tends
to be dry and break out!  My favorite makeup product is the makeup primer. I didn’t even
know what a makeup primer was before I started by business and I LOVE IT.  For men and
women! Its colorless, but helps to eliminate shiny foreheads and noses.  My favorite nutrition
product is the chocolate protein shake.  I have a protein shake or smoothie every morning for
breakfast.  It is easy to digest, easy and fast for hectic mornings, and tastes amazing.  I
cannot pick just one!

6) What do you love most about your business?
Elisha: As a teacher, I absolutely loved helping students grow and learn, but I was looking for
more.  I really wanted to help and give back in a much greater way, but I didn’t have a way to
do that with my schedule and finances.  I knew I needed more and I needed to make a
change.  My business grows as I help others grow their business and get healthier.  It is
really exciting to lead others to be successful and as a result, I can give back to others in a
really big way.  I will be able to have the time with my future family.  A great aspect about this
business is that I started it while I was teaching and began building it alongside my career.  I
am currently only working on building my business, and I am so excited about what it has
allowed.  I am gaining time and financial freedom, I am growing as a person, and I am
sharing the opportunity with so many others.
7) What are the benefits of having an Arbonne business?
Elisha: There are SO many! Some of the BEST benefits are the people that I get to meet and
work with, the financial and time freedom that I’m creating by adding a really strong residual
income stream, and having the time to do what I love.  I now know what I want my dream life
to look like and am working to make it a reality, while helping others do the same. That
wasn’t an option with my teaching job.

8) Who can have an Arbonne business?
Elisha: Anyone over 18 in the US, Canada, UK, Poland, and Australia, and later this year we
are expanding to Taiwan.  Anyone who would like to expand their financial resources, is
looking to add health to their network of people, or has dreams and goals that their current
situation does not allow.

9) How could someone try the products?
Elisha: Contact me and I will connect you with what you’d like to try and make sure you get
the best deal.

10)  What is the best way to contact you?
Elisha: Email is the best initial way, and then we can Facebook, FaceTime or Skype if that’s

Now I have to say this out loud: Elisha is an amazing lady and you should talk to her at leats once to see how enthusiastic she gets about what she does and what she loves.

** This post was made out of love for this lovely and positive young lady. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Bucket List: Film Music Festival in Krakow

My dearest honey buns,

When you get to see Diego Navarro and hear live from a wonderfully talented orchestra the soundtracks of your favourite movie series... When you see Hans Zimmers favourite cello player working on her magic both on the normal and electric cello... that's when you know you had an amazing journey in the land of dreams come true... Ever since I came to Krakow 4 years ago, and I first learned about this Festival, I wanted to be a part of it and go to one of the Gala's one day. Each year something would happen and I would not be able to go. My heart was sinking more and more :( But this year I said I would buy the tickets even if I would not make it - but we did! And it was a dream come true! 
 The Film Music Festival in Krakow (FMF), organised by the Krakow Festival Office and RMF Classic, is a captivating showcase of the highest quality musical interpretations of the moving image and one of the most important festivals in the world of film music. Performed by leading musicians and orchestras in Europe and the world, the festival provides a unique concert experience by setting it to live screenings of the world’s most spectacular films, well-known for their dazzling cinematography, top-class direction, enthralling plots, and emotive acting (source). 
FMF is an important industry event, the sight of international and Polish premieres, which often take place in the presence of world-class directors and composers. The Festival hosted, among others, Oscar winners: Elliot Goldenthal, Tan Dun, Howard Shore, Jan AP Kaczmarek; eminent composers: Joe Hisaishi, Shigeru Umebayashi, Don Davis, Alberto Iglesias, Trevor Morris, Michal Lorenc, Wojciech Kilar, Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Abel Korzeniowski, Eric Serra; film directors: Tom Tykwer, Julie Taymor, and Tomas Alfredson. In 2014, Elliot Goldenthal, Garry Schyman, Johan Söderqvist, Dario Marianelli, Patrick Doyle, Gustavo Santaloalla, and Hans Zimmer graced the Festival stage (source). 
Game of Thrones, The Borgias, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, Lost, Time of Honour, WatahaWhich of these TV dramas is your favourite? Well guess what? I was lucky enough on the 30th of May 2015, during the 8th Edition of the Film Music Festival in Krakow - The TV Series Gala - to listen all their lovely soundtracks directed by the wonderfully talented Diego Navarro. The International Series Gala was held at Tauron Arena Kraków, featuring a review of the most popular productions of recent years. An important point of the programme - for me at least, as I am a huge fan of drama series and this series in particular - was the performance of the double-Emmy awarded soundtrack from Downton Abbey penned by John Lunn. The Scottish composer took the stage to perform the solo part of his own suite. The concert was performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia, the Polish Radio Choir, and the outstanding Nordic soloists Einar Selvik and Hilda Örvarsdóttir. The musicians were led - as I have mentioned before - by the Spanish conductor Diego Navarro

For me it was a night I will not forget. I was glad I could be there and share these amazing scores with the one I love. I may have been a been feverish and coughed from time to time but I would not have missed it for the world! I really do hope that next year I will be able to join in #FMF again in their wonderfully constructed journeys in the land of sound and dreams come true :) I can mark out one of my Bucket List points now :)

P.S. HINT - KRAKOW ARENA - If ever you will have a concert at the Tauron Arena and it will end up late - as this one did, after midnight - make sure you bring your own car as you will hardly have any chance to catch any cab or bus. Take into consideration the Arena is huge! The Gala we have been to gathered over 10.000 people. Imagine that and then you will understand why I say that ;) - I would not recommend leaving before the show ends though! That is very unproper!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves OSTs & FMF :)
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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Top 7 Movies That Inspire You To Travel

Dearest hearts,

Have you ever watched a movie that made you feel the need, the urge, to get up and pack your backpack and leave for the places that you have just seen? Those far off places that the motion pictures present to you so appealing and so close and reachable that you might even think you could get there in a blink of the eye and only with what you have on yourself - you will manage the rest, all you need are your keys / passport / wallet & credit card. First step: open the door wide and jump in your very own new adventure! Here are my very own favourites when it comes to movies that make your heart jump and pack your own backpack:
1) Forrest Gump - now that is one of the best inspirational movies I have ever seen! When it comes to travelling in the good old USA, this movie has it all: from Utah to South Carolina and Georgia. I have never been to Washington but this movie made me long for it and hope that maybe one day I will manage to see it. A huge plus of Forrest Gump is the true teaching behind it, that no matter who we are and how weak we are physically, you can still manage to overcome yourself and see the best in people and in life. Being with disabilities does not limit you - the only limits that are set are done by your own 2 hands and your own mind. You can be whomever you choose to be and you can go anywhere you wish with just a pair of shoes and will ;) 
2) The Darjeeling Limited - now I must admit I have a huge crush on all Wes Anderson movies (a crush I also share with my very best friend, Dana :) and we are proud of it!) and that I would have loved to be on set on each and everyone of them, but I choose to tell you only of this one as it touches one of the places I hope once I will visit: India :) The movie is all about 3 brothers that have not been communicating with eachother, yet after their father dies they have this train trip throughout India. The way the movie is filmed, the vibrant colors and the culture presented is extremely appealing. Most of the times I just feel the need to reach out my hand through the screen and transport myself there to be able to see / smell the things live...
3) Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen movie - the light and the music in the movie helps enhance the beauty of The City of Lights. Paris is lovely during daytime but when night comes it is like a different city, filled with laughter and light. Woody knew he wanted a romantic Parisian film with lots of soft yellow, gold and bronze and brown tones. That is exactly what he got and the way the movie shows the athmosphere of  the 1920s is just charming! Again, it is one of those movies where I would have liked to switch places with the main character and walk those cobbled streets... I visited Paris before but I would love to do it again and again and again... Paris sera toujours Paris :)
4) The Lord of The Rings / The Hobbit - until I have watched these movies I did not know much about New Zealand. I have to hand it to Peter Jackson - he was brilliant in selecting this location: it has everything you need! The landscapes are simply out of this world - Middle Eart could never had a better location to represent it! Right now, due to the huge interest from the fans, there are a lot of organised tours on the locations where the movie was filmed.
5) Mamma Mia & My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Greece is the cradle of life, the cradle of civilisation as we know it... I have always held Greece close to my heart and I have always felt at peace there. “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.”- Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek. I dare to think and say the same :) Each time I see a shot of the combination of sea-mountain, the islands, the fine sand, the crystal clear water... I lose my thoughts and I back to the times when I would go each year for at least a week in the lovely sunny land of the old Gods.
6) A Room With A View - the best views in Florence can be found in this lovely movie :) Fabulous cast, beautiful cinematography and a tale that presents the shift from the repressive Victorian age to the more liberal Edwardian time. The movie makes you pick the next flight to Florence, Italy, and pick your clothes for your very own adventure, just like Lucy :) Gorgeous Tuscan cinematography, lush opera music and a cast of talented British actors makes the movie PERFECT!
7) Dan Brown novels directed on the big screen: The Da Vinci Code  (2006) / Angels & Demons (2009) - I don't discriminate, I admit it! I loved both movies and I can hardly watch for Inferno (2016) to come to the big screen! I must admit I was lucky enough to be on almost all the sets of the Angels & Demons movie. Da Vinci Code = Louvre, different sites in Paris / Malta / UK / Scotland. Angels & Demons = LA & Rome mainly - with the lovely Castel Sant Angelo, my very favourite location in Rome :) Commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family, the building has seen service as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. On the top floor, there’s a terrace with spectacular views over the city - the best place to take pictures of Rome at sunset ;)

What are your go to movies when it comes to travelling? Which movied inspired you to pick up your things and go see the world? Do you agree with my selection - have you seen them all? :) 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug That Loves To Travel
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Top 10 Polish Brands You Should Know

Dearest hearts,

Poland is one very particularly proud country. I have never seen any other inhabitants of any other country more in love with their homeland. It is, as if, through their veins history and patriotism flows and if you would cut them they would bleed history... Anywhere you go, everywhere you turn, this land has small "post its" all over herself - small reminders of heroic acts done by its inhabitants. That is maybe why they are always so keen in buying products made in Poland, sustaining also the local economy by having almost all the time trade fairs. Today I will tell you my personal favourite 10 brands from Poland that I love and buy things from quite frequently.
1. Inglot - Founded over 30 years ago in a small town of Przemyśl, INGLOT Cosmetics is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers in colour cosmetics. INGLOT has right now international presence and it is a brand respected WorldWide - from the Fashion TV gala to the Broadway productions, the make up artists now use INGLOT and give it praise on the social media. The colors used are vibrant and you cannot find them elsewhere, but at the same time they company produces them with natural ingredients and pushes them to the market with a fair price. The range consists of over 1,500 colours with over 450 ways to improve your lips, 600 ways to enhance your eyes, and over 300 ways to portray your face, while the extremely rich collection of nail polishes consists of up to 400 shade (source). 
Plus, they have developed this Freedom System that is just brilliant! The Freedom System Palettes come in a range of sizes and for a range of products. A magnetic layer on the bottom of the palette holds pans in place, but also allows you to rearrange and exchange each item for convenience and easy product replenishment. The unique Freedom System allows you to mix and match products and colors to make your own custom designed palette of almost any size. All INGLOT Freedom System products come in eco-friendly reusable palettes. You can mix and match and buy only the ingredients you need and replace them on the palette - you can have 2 lipstick, one eye shadow and 2 blush powders all in the same place!
2. Ziaja - Ziaja Ltd was founded in 1989 by pharmacists, Alexandra and Zenon Ziaja in Gdańsk, Poland. Now after 25 years it is one of the biggest cosmetics company in Poland. Zenon Ziaja gained his pharmaceutical experience in a hospital pharmacy. Back then, many medicines, especially ointments, were produced by on site pharmacies following doctors’ formulas. Zenon found this work very interesting and this small scale production quickly became his hobby. In his free time he experimented with own formulations and thus the idea of his own company was born. 
In the early years Zenon and his wife Alexandra did everything themselves in the company, from manufacturing the creams, to packing them and delivering to the shops all over Poland. Following the same company’s philosophy regarding product formulation soon other creams were introduced. Sales grew quickly and the company had to employ people to help fulfill the increasing demand. Zenon decided  to keep the role of delivering the products himself.  He liked talking to people, finding out what they thought about his products, and what else they may need. The wonderful thing about Ziaja is that it has high quality, natural products, at a extremely low price. We have a lot of products that we use inside the house from Ziaja and I truly recommend this brand ;)
3. Wedel Chocolate - Founded in 1851 by Karol Ernest Wedel (1813-1902), the company and its products became known in most of Central and Eastern Europe. The logo of the company is based on Karol Wedel's signature. His son Emil Albert Fryderyk Wedel (1841-1919) apprenticed in candy and chocolate factories in Western Europe before inheriting and expanding his father's business. His descendant Jan Wedel (d. 1960), the last member of the Wedel family to own the company, was considered "the Willy Wonka" of pre-war Poland. In 1894 the company moved its main factory from Szpitalna street in Warsaw. 
In 1934, during the time of the Great Depression, Jan Wedel opened a second factory in Praga, one of the most modern in the Second Polish Republic.The company was also known for its very generous social welfare policies. As one of the first in Europe, it had its own creche, kindergarten, hospital and cafeteria, and rewarded its best employees with no-interest housing loans; its model was highly acclaimed by the Polish Socialist Party. Hence prior to World War II, Wedel became a successful private company, with shops in London and Paris (source). If ever you are in Poland or in a Wedel shop, no matter where, do try out my personal favourite: Ptasie Mleczko - chocolate covered marshmallow. In Poland, Jan Wedel, owner of the E. Wedel Company, developed the first Ptasie mleczko in 1936. Wedel's inspiration for the name (translated it would mean "the milk of the bird"/"bird's milk") of the confectionery came from his voyages to France, when he asked himself: "What could bring greater happiness to a man who already has everything?" Then he thought: "Maybe only bird milk."
4. SURGE Polonia - Surge Polonia was founded 11.11.11 (simbolic date for the Polish people). The brand name comes from the cries of "Surge Polonia" (Arise Polish) on the banner of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, commanded by General. Sosabowski - the patron saint of the brand, which became famous in participating in the largest-ever airborne operation code-named "Market Garden" in September 1944. This is the world's first patriotic clothing brand that combines a patriotic theme with the latest trends in design! The brand was created by a group of friends that were (and still are) very much in love with Polish history. 
I must admit their ambition sounded at first quite hard to achieve, but looking on the streets in different cities in Poland and seeing people wearing more and more of their products, I must admit that makes you have faith in them. Their ambition is to create a widely recognizable apparel brand associated with high quality and patriotic message. They have engaged Polish young talents (designers) and created models that attract the eye and make you want to wear the products. In order to better match the different clothing to your individual characteristics, brand assortment is divided into lines: Army, Classic, Sports and Chic. Army line clothing and accessories is designed for persons engaged in patriotic style of life and at the same time interested in militaria and military, while a clothes line Classic addressed to people who value individualism and originality, who are not afraid to show affection to their own country. Sports clothing line is ideal for those who are physically active, they like challenges and cheer Polish national representations and Chic line of products are aimed at people who appreciate stylish design combined with discreet patriotic motives. I must admit that both me and Marek & our Polish family side love this shop and we bought t-shirts, hoodies and shirts from there, and now they have a new line of leather belts that we are thinking of buying ;)))
5-7. House - Cropp - Reserved - LPP S. A. (Lubianiec Piechocki i Partnerzy) is a large Polish retailing company based in Gdańsk whose brands include: Reserved, CroppTown, Reserved Kids, House, MOHITO and Sinsay. It has a total of more than 1,300 stores in Poland and abroad, mainly in central and eastern Europe. Besides Poland, stores are located in Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Marek Piechocki has been president of the management board of LPP SA since it began trading publicly on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in 2000. The design center for the Reserved, Cropp and Sinsay brands is located in Gdańsk, while the center for House and MOHITO is in Kraków. These are actually the 3 shops I love to buy clothes from as the material is almost all the time 100% cotton :) The dressed from Reserved and House are very nicely cut and you feel comfortable as if you were wearing just your skin + the pijamas from Reserved are always very nice to wear and fluffy. 
 8. Kruk - W. KRUK is the oldest jewelry company in Poland, which has been established in 1840. The company joins manufacturing tradition lasting four generations and the latest international trends in jewelry world. In several dozen of W. KRUK company stores spreads over Poland the highest quality golden and silver jewelry, diamonds, precious stones and international famous brands watches are available. Every year W. KRUK presents own collections designed by the group of young designers from W.KRUK Design studio, which combines the fresh look with expression and can meet even the most courage tastes. My very own engagement ring, bought by my awesome husband all by himself! :) was bought from KRUK. He stole one of my rings and went bravely all by himself to the store to buy the perfect engagement ring. He did not manage at first try to find it and it was not exactly what he had in mind at the very beginning... but I must admit I love my engagement ring and I would trade it for no other :)
9. Matras Bookstore - You know about it if you are an old friend of this blog ;) In case you did not know, the Matras Bookstore located in the Main Square is the oldest bookshop in Europe! In 1473, in Kraków, Kasper Straube of Bavaria set up the first printing house in Poland and in 1513 Florian Ungler's printing press produced the first book ever to be printed entirely in the Polish language: 'Raj duszny' (Paradise of the Soul) by Biernat of Lublin. It should come as no surprise that in Kraków books are held in high esteem. Kraków is also the home of one of Europe's oldest universities and provides fertile ground to discuss books and issues to do with their sale and promotion, as well as a chance to meet those who are involved in the literary profession. The bookstore in the Rynek has also a very nice coffee shop that I recommend from the bottom of my heart! The cakes made there are also finger-licking good...
10. Coffee Heaven - Coffeeheaven (stylized as coffeeheaven) was a Central European coffee house business based in Warsaw, Poland. It operated specialty branded coffee/sandwich bars in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary, with stores in Latvia trading under the brand name Coffee Nation. The company was formed in 1999 in Poland by Michael Ovadenko, with the first store opened in Gdynia the following year. In December 2001 the company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, the first Polish-based business to do so. This enabled expansion across Central Europe, with the first store opening in Prague, Czech Republic in 2004, and Latvia in the same year. The company then acquired the seven existing stores of Coffee Nation, expanding to Riga. 
As of January 2008, the group has 81 stores trading in six countries. coffeeheaven was one of the first of over 70 leading companies in Poland that are supporters of Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility. In December 2009, Whitbread PLC subsidiary Costa Coffee agreed to acquire coffeeheaven group for £36 million. In 2011 all coffeeheaven cafés in the Czech Republic were rebranded to Costa Coffee. You might have realised how much I love this coffee shop due to my increased number of blog posts on it - example 1, example 2, example 3.

** This post was made out of love for Polish Brands. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! The information was retrieved mostly from Wikipedia and the main sites that are linked to eash title of the brand. If you have a Polish Brand that you love I would love to hear about it :) **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Buys Products From Polish Brands Frequently! :)
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