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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Thoughts On Motherhood: What I've learned this year

Dearest hearts,

I know I have not been a mum for a very long time, considering that my little LadyBug Baby Girl has turned 4 months old just a couple of days ago; but I still firmly believe that I am entitled to say what I think out loud. You may or may not agree with me, but I will just put it out there so other mums / future mums will know about this. Maybe they will find it helpful and maybe some will find it reassuring that one has "been there, done that" and that they are not the only ones who toss and turn at night over thinking baby issues... so, here are some thoughts about Motherhood - pre and post birth: 
1. Pregnancy can be split in 3 different types of period: 1) the first 1-3 months when you have no clue what is happening with you, you don't feel any changes yet you need to slow down your pace and be responsible, it's also the time when you should not travel as it may be harmful for the development of the baby. 2) months 4-6 are the best ones! You have energy, you are not so big - if it's first pregnancy u you might not even show! You are also allowed to travel and it's a good time to enroll on a gym for pregnant women.  You will glow and look the best during the pregnancy! 3) months 7-9 you will feel tired and energy will drop down fast ... the last month for me was a constant "are we there yet?!" moment... 

2. The books and movies and what people say should have importance only if you wish it. Every pregnancy is different so trust your instincts and your gynecologist. If you feel the need for a second opinion ask another gynecologist not your friend from work. The qualifications are different!
3. Being at peace with yourself is more important than being at peace with others. If you do not accept and love yourself how do you presume others will? And how can you not love yourself when you will become a mother? You will go through the finest act of creation. Sure it will hurt like hell... sure you won't get much sleep... but you will have a little person who will love you unconditionally!

4. Being fit before giving birth gives you an easier labour. I have been for several months before birth to a gym center especially created for ladies that are pregnant or that have small ones over 6 weeks - the first 6 weeks after birth (8 for c section cases) you should not exercise. It is the recovery period. No discussion! These kind of gyms focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles you will use during birth and trust me, you will be thankful you did it! I know ladies that exercised even a day before they entered labour! Talk about dedication!
The 2 great Loves of my life ❤
5. The pain during natural birth is real! You feel that someone is tearing you apart from the inside... and I know that they measured it and it is as if you would have 20 bones broken at the same time... well I had my bones broken more than once but this does not compare to it! The pain is real and I did not forget it after birth, as loads of mums say. Would I do it again? The first months it was a definite NO! But now... after 4 months almost... I would maybe give it another go... in about 3-4 years or so ;)

6. The first months (even the first year/s) of a child's life are quite solitary for both the mum and baby. I ain't the only one saying that! Let's face it... your friends and family have their own life and job and dreams and aspirations and plans, that may not longer match your own. You will probably stay on maternity leave for a while (Poland: half a year payed 100% your salary or full year for 80% ; Romania: you can take 2 years off and as far as I know there is a fixed amount you are payed). Your friends will continue to have a job. You will lose touch. You will need to focus on the needs of the little one rather than your own. You will feel alone and sometimes when you will think it through you will realise it's quite odd talking to yourself - the small one will not talk back for a while...
7. You will stop buying things for yourself and start focusing on the little one. You will probably buy in advance clothing and books and toys just because you saw something cute/nice/cuddly that he/she might like. Mmmmm... actually I think we buy - in a way - the things we would have liked to have. The small one does not have an opinion yet... or maybe they do but verbalising it until they reach a certain aga is hard. Of course my small LadyBug Baby Girl was dressed in a LadyBug suit at her first photoshoot. Of course she has LadyBug toys and books. Mummy's girl ;)

8. Nothing is too much when it comes to your babies health.  You would spend any time and money to make sure all is fine. Having 3 types of insurances when you go abroad might be considered a bit over the top, but screw that! Do what is best for your little one and/or for your mental sanity. You will be stressed if something should happen and if it does you will be thankful you had things covered. You know... it's better to be safe than sorry!
DO! Take daily walks with your little bundle of joy 
9. You might have considered travelling fun and you might have had a relaxed attitude about it, but once you need to fly with a small one is guarantee you that you won't be able to sleep in the plane anymore ;) Our little LadyBug Baby Girl had her first flight just one day before she turned 4 months old. It was supposed to be a 2 flight with a 4 hour break in between so we could relax and take things slow... Guess what?! First plane got cancelled and we got 3 flights instead, each of them delayed and for each of them we had just few minutes to catch (before being announced that there is a delay...). Not fun at all :(

10. Babies are awesome! If you never smelled a baby you should do it asap! The are the softest, cutest and most cuddliest human beings! On the downside they drool and fart and the poo smells... God! You just can't compare it :/ but they are wonderful! Their brains are indeed like sponges and they learn so fast things that I am constantly amazed of my little LadyBug Baby Girl. I could stand and look at her sleeping serenely for hours and hours... she makes me smile when I am sad and no matter how much of a pain she is when she cries out loud for the whole day... I still love her, more and more everyday! It's an amazing feeling!
Nobody teaches you how to be a mum and everyone will come with tips and tricks and ideas of how you should raise your child. You can listen to them and take notes and try things out but in the end... your instincts will teach you more ;) feel the Force, just let it in! :) if you are a mummy as well, especially a fresh one, I would love to hear from you your thoughts and feelings  about being a mother... do you feel the same? :) 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl
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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Made in Poland: Madame GooGoo - Baby Carriers and not only

Dearest hearts,

As a fresh mum there are so many things I get excited from when it comes to my little LadyBug Baby Girl - what to dress her in, what toys to buy, what music we should listen to... bur also practical things like how to carry around my little bundle of joy without killing my back. Let's face it, kids grow up so fast! She is over 4 months now and more than 12 cm longer than the "original size". I want to keep her next to me and also be flexible about it.
My dear friend Claudia is a huge fan of carry on options for the babies - she knows everything from cotton wrap to elastic wrap to carriers - and I am proud to say I was her padawan :) she was the one who told me about Madame GooGoo for the first time. Claudia lives in Romania and heard about an amazing company for baby carriers #madeinpoland ! I could not believe it - I live here for 5 years and had no clue... but then again I am a fresh mum and the "mum topics" never interested me until now... But when we settled that I shall be talking my little LadyBug Baby Girl home to Romania for a few months I began searching for the best options to travel. I was already familiar with the elastic wrap - that saved me from many cries and tantrums... - so I thought carriers would be the next logical step ;) That's how I got in contact with Justyna Grzegorek, customer service specialist at MADAME GOOGOO. She was kind enough to accept a small interview for my blog, as I was dieing to show you their magical world - they create true pieces of art when it comes to carriers ❤🐞❤
1. Good day MADAME GOOGOO :) can you tell us how the company started, when and why you choose this name for it?
It all started a few years back when Agnieszka Lipińska was looking for a baby carrier for her little daughter. However, none of those which were in the market back then could really satisfy her needs. A boring design and plain dark colours were not what Aga would see herself wearing. However, her creative spirit combined with excellent sewing skills encouraged her to make a carrier on her own! Soon she found herself doing first prototypes in her apartment, which she later meticulously tested on her family, friends and babywearing mums met online. When designing the carriers, Aga was not afraid to choose vibrant colors and fun patterns, combined with stylish hoods and adornments, which soon were to become the characteristic features of her recognizable style. Months of hard work paid off. Finally, she could open a small sewing studio and started receiving first orders. The company needed a name, though. When trying to come up with a catching phrase, Aga found an inspiration in her baby daughter’s cooing sounds, which gave her an idea for the name “MADAME GOOGOO”. So here’s an advice for all parents out there: always listen closely to your little ones! ;)

2. What are most important 3 things that you consider when you are creating a carrier for the little ones? 
We put a strong emphasis on the ergonomics, safety, and fun design of our carriers.
 
An ergonomic structure should be a key feature of every babywearing product, as it needs to ensure a comfortable and healthy position for both the baby and the wearer. MADAME GOOGOO offers a wide range of sizes, which can also be individually customized with each customer. Every single part of the carrier is designed with utmost care. The panel equipped with deep seat darts and legs out padding provides plenty of room for the baby’s bum and protects the baby’s legs. Thickly padded shoulder straps and waist band ensure maximum comfort for the wearer by evenly distributing the weight of the carrier.

Out of concern for the safety of our products we use highest quality components: certified buckles, strong threads, and Oeko-Tex certified fabrics which were tested for harmful substances. All MGG carriers are made by skillful seamstress in our two workshops in Warsaw.  
 
We believe that babywearing should be a joyful experience for the whole family so we don’t forget about aesthetics. Customization is the key word here. Our customers have a possibly to customize their orders by choosing their favorite fabrics and design features. Additionally, we offer many fun accessories: ears, dino spikes, wings, decorative gems – you name it! All this makes their carriers even more special to them… and to us :)

3. How did you extend the market from being a #madeinpoland product and selling just in Poland vs. opening up worldwide?
It’s funny cause we’ve always been more popular internationally rather than locally. Majority of our customers come from North America, Asia and European countries, whereas orders from Poland constitute a rather small percentage of all sales. I believe this is due to the fact that babywearing is a relatively new thing in Poland and you don’t see many people wearing their babies here. However, things are changing rapidly! With each month we keep noticing an increase in inquiries and sales from Poland, which makes us extremely happy!

4. What are your greatest achievements this far? What are the 3 things you are most proud of?
We are super proud that MGG is constantly developing, trying to improve the quality of products and services, and ever aiming at perfection. We keep adding new options to our offer, for example we’ve recently came up with an idea for an adjustable panel, which turned out to be enormously popular with our customers.

Excellent contact with our customers is yet another aspect of our job which we value very highly. We always try be attentive to the needs and requests coming from the MGG community, as very often they are a great source of inspiration. Our customers come up with amazing ideas we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves! It is only now that we’ve completed a custom carrier inspired with a cat – it has whiskers, a tail, and cat’s features – all made at a special request of an individual customer.
    
Lastly, we are proud of the recognizable style MGG has developed over the past few years and been known for in the babywearing world. Being true to oneself is something that each designer wishes for.

5. What plans do you have for the future? What is MADAME GOOGOO up to next?
Currently we are working on a collection of in-stock carriers with fully adjustable panels. And then… who knows! We are open-minded and look forward to new challenging projects!
 
Bonus question: If you could turn back the clock of time and grant one person a MADAME GOOGOO carrier, whom would that be and why?
It’s a tough question, as there are too many people who would deserve being given such a lovely gift. However, if I were to turn back time and pick only one person, I’d give it to my mother, as a sign of my immense love and gratitude to her :)

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Madame GooGoo Carriers ❤
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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Merry Christmas dear hearts!

Hope that this year you got all the gifts you needed, not necessarily the ones you wanted. This last year I had a few revelations of my own over the difference between what we wish for, what we want and what we actually need. And guess what?! What we actually need in order to be happy is not much - most of the times it is to be next to the ones you love.
The Christmas Tree In Piata Unirii - Iasi - Romania 
I hope that at least in this season of joy you will open up your hearts to the world and think not only of yourself. Teach Yourself and the ones around you kindness. Start that by having a look at your closets/wardrobes and do a thorough sorting of what you have there. Take all that away and give it to the poor, the homeless, the needy. You don't need dozen of bags and shoes and for sure if you haven't used an item for more than a year you will 99% not use it again. Take that away and make someone happy! Minimalistic living is the way to go!
The Christmas Tree In Krakow Main Market Square 
It's the most wonderful time of the year so open up your heart to joy and laughter and be human. Be nice to the people around you, smile and listen to those in need. If you can't help with physical things you can always help in matters of the heart. Think about the ones you love and try to spend as much time possible as you can with them. You never know what life throws at you and when you will see them again. It's Christmas time so there are queues everywhere... make an elderly person smile by granting them your place in front of the queue. The little things matter the most and we should do them everyday, not just for Christmas... but it's better to start from one Point, one day at a time! 

P.S. don't be a Grinch! Dr. Seuss knew what he was talking about: Christmas is a time for love. Let your heart be filled with love and spread the good spirit around - all the year round, if you can! Challenge yourself to be good to others. 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves One And All
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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas Markets in Krakow

Dearest sweethearts,

In Europe I believe that's quite a madness over the amounts and styles of Christmas Markets. Once December settles in the best place to go out to is your own, local, Christmas Market.  It provides the fun and excitement for children of all ages, ranging from 0 to 99 years old ;) it's never too old to be a child! And I always like to say that one is as old as one actually feels, so if your heart is young... well... you know what I mean ;) you may physically get old but you can remain young at heart. For me Christmas was always a time when I could see people turning, even for a split second, in children again. 
Watching the snow fall for the first time - the first snow in a crisp December, unwrapping the Christmas gifts, putting the decorations around the house... even thinking about these things makes one smile. It makes us remember of childhood, about the time when we were small and little things in life made us happy, the time when the worst worry was how we should dress the dolls or how much cereals one would be able to stuff at once in your mouth ;))) December comes with a clean white slate of wonderful times to come. Where best to discover them if not at a Christmas Market?
Christmas in Poland is lovely as every city hosts at least one Christmas Market - Krakow has quite a few of them, of all shapes and sizes, but my favourite ones are the ones in the main market square, right between Sukiennice and St. Mary's Church (or as the locals call it: Kosciol Mariacki) and the one next to the Galeria Krakowska and the old Main Train Station (Dworzec Glowny). The first one due to its size and the fact that you can get almost anything there! The first one due to commodity reasons and due to the fact that it usually has quite a decent skating ring that runs even later in the night.
My top things to do once the Christmas Markets are open are the following:
- get myself some (plenty!) of "oscypek" - that is the traditional Polish highlander cheese. My favourite version is the yellowy one, smoked and very salty. It the Christmas Markets everywhere you can get the regular oscypek grilled for only 4 zloty but I rather like the "upgraded" version wrapped with bacon and with a dried plum on top, for only 6 zloty ;) 
- have some fresh mulled wine - you will spot the barrels with the "good stuff" in a jiffy as there are always large queues in front of them... hey, you can't blame people for wanting to get warm! ;) you can buy it in the plastic/paper cup or you can pay extra and get it in a ceramic mug that you can keep ;) it's a nice gift for yourself! 
- listen to some live caroling - in the Christmas market near Galeria Krakowska they have a small stage buy I rather recommend you attend the larger stage in the main square, hosted by the national radio RMF FM.
- get some other traditional food fresh done there - the smells will definitely call you and drag your nose to the place of your choosing. You can eat traditional pierogi or some bloody sausage or some pig knuckle or... be brave and try the homemade bread slices with lard! I know... sounds scary but if it is fresh and nicely done you will want more! Plus that's a traditional Polish snack for before or during drinking parties ;) just so you know!
- immerse yourself in the crowd that flurries past the stalls - if you get upset due to all the hustle and bustle there is no point of you going to any Christmas Market. It's a given that it will be crowded and noisy so better relax and go with the flow. I love watching people especially the little ones and how their eyes light up from all the goodies on display :)
- handmade wooden Christmas decorations - you gotta get YOURSELF some! It's a must and if you have kids you'll be happy as they won't be able to destroy them anymore ;) they can pull down the Christmas tree as hard as they can! These ornaments won't pop and crackle and snap ;) 
Usually the Christmas Markets in Poland start in the last week of November and lasts through December 26th at least - after that places usually get cleared up and stages are being raise for the New years Eve concert. But fear not! Most of the times the organisers, looking at the weather and - no doubt! - at how much money they make (especially from the tourists!), keep the markets open till January 6th - the Epiphany festival.
When it comes to the Christmas Market in the Krakow Main Market Square (the biggest main square in Europe, if I may add!) you need to know that the stalls are generally open from 10 am to 8 pm and this year 2006/2017 the cheerful atmosphere will last from  Friday, November 25th till Sunday, January 8th ;) so make sure you come in time to catch this beauty!
When it comes to the Christmas Market near Galeria Krakowska, market known as the Galician Advent Market, located on Plac Jezioranskiego, otherwise will be open only until 24th of December and the stalls are open a bit longer - from 10 am to 10 pm. Probably due to its central location, next to the Galeria and to the main train and bus station. It's worth a look if you have time ;) and as I have said, almost every year there is a piece of ice for ice-skating ;) 
Of course, maybe you will say that other countries are more popular when it comes to hosting Christmas Markets but trust me, nothing beats up a white Christmas in Poland! Pair that up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate (the best one is in Nowa Prowincja if you ask me!) and take some time to enjoy the local treats. You will see why people who come here once will want to come again ;) after all... it's #themostwonderfultimeoftheyear and Krakow is a magical place to spend Christmas! Have you been in winter in Poland? How was it for you? :) 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Christmas With All Her Heart
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Friday, 16 December 2016

Issues That Multicultural Families Face

Dearest sweethearts,

Nowdays, that the world's distances are no longer that wide and travelling by plane is sometimes cheaper that travelling by bus or your own car, not to mention faster and more comfortable! people get together from all races and colors and more and more you will see multicultural families. Being an expat is a frequently faced issue, you might have a dozen or more friends in that situation. Some have gone away from their country for a more stabile environment, for a better job or just to change something in their life. Maybe they are like me... I said I would stay in Poland for maximum 6 months, build up by CV a bit in the corporate environment and then move on, maybe to UK. Well... you never know what life throws at you, so here I am - more than 5 years later - married to a proud Polish lad and having the greatest blessing: #ladybugbabygirl is in our life! Well... and it's not only me in this situation... many multicultural families started like that, and considering how different the backgrounds of each of the partners could be... well... sometimes this might raise an issue. So without any further ado, here are some issues that the multicultural families face, as far as I could figure out:
source
  1. Where do you call Home? Where will you settle in? Where will you build roots? - everyone takes it as a given that once you get married you need to settle down, buy a place and make kids. In less words: get stability! That means you need to figure out where you wish to live, yours or his/hers homeland or just start it altogether in a whole different city / country. Either way you will go, don't listen to what others say. Think about it together, the 2 of you, seeing the pros and cons. Be brave!
  2. What language will you speak in together? What language will your children learn? - well that was a tough one for me... I always wanted to learn Polish so I could understand people around me, but you know... it's the 3rd hardest language in the world! And it did not resemble to any other language I knew... maybe a bit Russian but I did not remember that much Russian from what my granny taught me... now 5 years later after listening intensively I can understand pretty well unless you talk in dialect. We agreed that it is best for our small one to learn all 3 languages at once: I talk to her in Romanian, Marek in Polish and when together in English.  I have met a couple who did the same. Their kid would mix the languages but when he turned 4 he understood the differences and talked truly in one language at a time. Kids brains are like sponges!
  3. What religion should they be baptised / christened in? What celebrations will you keep? Of course Christmas falls at the same time for everyone but take for example Christian and Orthodox Church and Easter. Very rarely they fall at the same time. We love to celebrate all; it keeps one continuously in a festive spirit, with a smile on your face :)
  4. Health, safety and the way to raise the child - maybe one of you ran around barefoot, bumping his head against objects in the way, eating fresh flowers or paper or stuffing your mouth with rocks vs. Proper child, probably raised with a nanny and not being allowed to get his/hers hands dirty. The way to go: find the middle ground so all of you (including the little one) will be happy. 
  5. Splitting the holidays between 2 countries and probably not having any real holiday as you will have to visit family, friends, acquaintance and then... poof! Your vacation days are gone! The best thing is to try somehow to get family and friends to visit you at least once a year or meet on "neutral land", some country in between where you could actually have some time off ;)
How about you, are you a part of a multicultural family? Are you an expat like myself? What are your thoughts and feelings about the issues that multicultural families start? Or do you believe all is rainbows and unicorns? :) do share! I am all ears!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her Better Half And Her LadyBug Baby Girl 
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Travel Tuesday: 5 things to do for free in Cardiff

Dearest hearts,

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming a guest post from lovely Julia from the blog Drops of Wander. As she describes herself she is a French trainee journalist / conservation biologist / photographer. She, like myself, craves for travelling to new places, discovering new things and enriching her mind. Is it not true that the only things we can actually take with us anywhere are the memories and the experiences we have been through?! On this note, I would like to leave you this #traveltuesday with Julia, in order to discover the wonders that Cardiff has to offer. To tell you the truth, once I have read her ideas - involving castles, dinosaurs, Celtic history and Harry Potter's Bertie Botts - I had to put Cardiff on my #togoto list ;) and probably so will you! And did I mention that some are for free?! :)
In the Welsh capital for few days and on the look for free activities? I’ve got you covered with this list of five things to do for free in Cardiff!

1) Spend an afternoon in Bute Park

The Welsh capital offers an incredible amount of green spaces in the city. Bute Park is definitely the largest with its impressive 56 hectares and is also known as the green heart of Cardiff. Perfect for a jogging, taking a walk or even just having a break, the park will have something for everyone. Filled with beautiful flowers, trees and sculptures, Bute Park is also a great place to see grey squirrels happily foraging. If you have few hours to kill and feel like having a long walk, you can take the Taff Trail and walk toward Castell Coch (2-2h30 walking distance).The green heart of Cardiff also provide a good view on the back of Cardiff Castle and making it a good spot to take some photos. Hungry after all this walking and exploring? You can head either to the Secret Garden Café or Pettigrew Tea Rooms (more expensive) for a nice afternoon tea. 

2) Visit the National Museum Cardiff
Whatever your interests are, you’ll surely find something you’ll like at the National Museum. From geology, archeology to art and natural history, this museum offers you a rich diversity of things to do and see. The art collection comprises 500 years of paintings, sculptures, drawings and other art forms from Wales and across the world and will keep you busy for hours. The natural history gallery is interactive and kids can even have time exploring natural wonders in a room reserved for them. You will get to discover as well, the latest dinosaurs discoveries made in Wales recently with the free exhibition ‘Wales’s Newest Dinosaur’. Make sure to check the program before you go as many talks and extra activities are available. 

3) Have a picnic in Roath Park
Roath Park is another great park and one of the most popular in the city. Perfect spot on a spring or summer day, this park and its lake offer various activities which will delight the entire family. From boating to fishing, the park even provides in the Pleasure Gardens bowls, tennis and basketball facilities. Perfect for a sporty afternoon! The walk around the lake is also really nice and give you the opportunity to spot various birds including some ducks, gulls, herons and other species depending on the season. The botanists will also be amaze by the Wild Garden and the Botanic Garden which both showcase a vast range of species. If you go in spring or summer, the Wild Garden is a perfect spot for a picnic surrounded by colourful roses. 

4) Discover the Welsh history at St Fagans
You can reach St Fagans National History Museum in 30 minutes by taking the bus 32A in Westgate Street. Free to visit, this open air museum will take you through the Welsh history from Celtic times to the present day. Being one of Europe's leading open–air museums, St Fagans offers a mix of theory and hands-on activities giving its visitors the possibilities to see Welsh craftsmen showcasing their traditional skills. The museum stands in the ground of St Fagans Castle and gardens, a beautiful manor house built in the 16th century. Give yourself an entire day or at least a full afternoon to be able to explore the 100-acre of St Fagans and its 40 original buildings! Perfect way to combine cultural and outdoor activities, St Fagans is a vibrant museum and has a lot to offer! 

5) Go to Penarth
Head to Cardiff Bay to enjoy some coastal vibes. Once you’re there you can take a 20-30 minutes walk to Penarth longing the Bristol channel. This 6 miles-long walk is perfect for a sunny day and will take you through some of the bay landmarks such as the Pierhead, the Senedd, and the Norwegian Church. Crossing the bay, you’ll finally reach Penarth, charming Victorian seaside town. Its beautiful coastal scenery and magnificent manor houses are definitely worth the walk. Take a seat on the pier and enjoy the view and the music. Your inner child will be pleased to discover that an old sweet shop is hidden there containing treasures of all sort. From Willy Wonka Golden Ticket to Harry Potter Bertie Botts jelly beans, this shop is the perfect stop to buy original souvenirs and gifts!  

You can find more about Julia on her Facebook page and Instagram account :)

With loads of love,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover New Places To Travel 
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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Amazing Polish Women: Marie Curie

Dearest hearts,

Poland is amazing through many things and one thing the Polish people are very proud of are their Nobel Prizes and they have quite a few. The most famous one should be the physics award from 1903, on the 10th of December (this very day, over 100 years ago!), awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie. You may have heard of the famous physicist and chemist Marie Curie Sklodowska, but probably you might think she is French. Wrong! She was born and raised in Poland - unfortunately at that time women were not allowed much and even though she tried to go to university in Krakow and Warsaw she was rejected. France was at that time very open minded and they said Yes! Why not? :) so... she got to continue her studies and met her half - Pierre - and they started working together. 
Marie Curie Sklodowska 
Just so you know...
  • Marie Curie Sklodowska was the very first women that got a Nobel Prize.
  • Marie Curie Sklodowska is the only women, even until this very day - more than 100 years after she took her very first Nobel Prize - that received 2 NPs!
  • Not on was she amazing but she instilled that awesomeness over her daughter as well. Marie Curie's daughter won a Nobel Prize for chemistry as well, making them the one and only mother-daughter duo that won Nobel Prizes. 
  • Marie Curie Sklodowska discovered the element in the chemical table named "polonium", named after her homeland - Poland.
  • Marie Curie had money issues... In 1891 she moved to Paris and enrolled in the University of Paris to pursue her dream studies of physics, chemistry and maths. She studied during the day and gave tuitions in the evenings. She has so less money that she lived on on bread, butter and tea - she occasionally fainted from hunger :(
  • Marie Curie Sklodowska met Pierre Curie because she was looking for a place to rent where she could be able to do her research.
  • Initially the committee for the Nobel Prize did not want to award Marie as well. Pierre found out though an advocate of women's rights and pressed on so she would be awarded as well. With the money they got they were able to afford an assistant for their experiments.
  • She was so amazingly dedicated to her work that she died because of her experiments. In 1934 she went to the Sanatorium in Passy, France to get some rest and strength. She died there on the 4th of July 1934 of aplastic anemia - caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.  
Marie Curie and her Nobel Prize awarded daughter, Irene
How amazing is it to be a women ahead your age, paving the path for the others? She must have been a sight to behold and talking to her would have left you with your jaw dropped for several days. Marie Curie Sklodowska is one of Poland's amazing women that knew how to carve their way and amaze the world, making it a better and wiser place. Did you knew all that about Marie, or have you thought she was "so French"?

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Speak About Amazing Women
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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Krakow - Cukiernia Starowicz

Dearest sweethearts,

Love always goes through the stomach, or so I have been told! If you know how to cook for your man than you are for sure to be married happily. Nonsense... my cooking skills amount to being able to prepare a decent breakfast made out of eggs. I can prepare a mean portion of scrambled eggs with whatever is in the house... but that's about it! You can check out my DIY page and see my tryouts there... I am jeleaus on all those bloggers with perfect pretty pictures of food they make... haha! Leaving that aside I am lucky my better half actually loves sweets. He definitely has a sweet tooth for all sugary items - including myself ;))) so naturally trying out sweet shops is a must. 
The Jewish District offers many sweet corner shops, some older than before the Second World War! The sweet shops in Poland are named "Cukiernia" from the word cukier that means sugar. You can usually find in a "Cukiernia" both candies and lollipops and marshmallows but also, and more frequently, baked sweets. My favourite baked sweets: szarlotka (apple pie) and sernik (cheesecake); but if I'm on the go and I feel the need for a quick snack the "drozdzowki" always do the trick! 
You might ask what is a "drozdzowka"... well... it's a sweet roll, a sweet bun that in Poland is usually served with sweet cheese ( sometimes with raisins added), poppy seeds and/or jam. It comes in round flat shapes or in long twirly ones (usually the ones with cheese). Well this shop in Kazimierz, the Jewish District, that I will tell you about: Cukiernia Starowicz - does a mini version of the "drozdzowki" that is just fingerliking amazing!!! You won't be able to stop eating them!
Cukiernia Starowicz started out in 1951 in a different location, on ulica Bartosza. They started out by producing the famous (at least for the locals) ice cream named "Pingwinek". They used to sell it in prams with wooden ice boxes and it would sell out in a jiffy! It was homemade, natural and sweet; and the kids (and grown ups alike) loved it! Stanislaw and Jan Starowicz also opened up a place in Bozego Ciala, being so successful with the ice cream selling - the shops name was "Fortuna". There they started to diversify their products - they sold the typical caramel candies called "krowka", along with waffles and huge lollipops to satisfy the young customers. They also started producing sweets especially for Christmas, in special packaging so they could be used as decorations for the Christmas tree & the traditional sheep made out if bread "baranek" for Easter.
The items available that day and their prices :)
In the spring of 2013 the company moved into its new location on ulica Swietego Wawrzynca 32. It is quite a popular location now with the locals but not only, as word-of-mouth always spreads fast. They also have a Facebook and a Internet page. They have been featured in the local newspaper several times and they boast on saying that their sweet called "Dzwon Zygmunta" (Zygmund's Bell) was a delicacy distinguished by the Internet users in a contest of the municipality of Krakow.  

I only tried the mini drozdzowki as I was in a hurry and I felt the need for something sweet and tasty and those just looked perfect - round shaped and small enough for a bite... I mean... they were just too inviting not to shove them in my mouth ;))) The mini drozdzowki cost 30 zloty per kilo and they are totally worth every grosz! They are sweet and soft and the cheese is so smooth and fine that you think these pieces are from the stuff Heaven is made! Every time I think of them my mouth waters! I must go there again to try Zygmund's Bell :) there is also a corner with table and chairs if you wish to have it there but I always prefer to have my goodies to go - by the mouthful!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover New Sweet Shops
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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Krakow - MilkBar Tomasza - The Best English Breakfast In Krakow

Dear hearts,

One of the greatest joys in life is the joy of eating something tasty, something that makes you smile and think of good times! No! Don't lie to yourself, you don't have to be a gourmand, a specialist, in order to love food. And don't tell me that at least once in your life you smiled due to eating something you viewed as delicious - tastes here don't matter as everyone is different and our taste buds are unique. Some may enjoy eating cake with pickles, some may like the combination of hot & cold, some may adore spicy food (some lucky people who don't have hemorrhoids!)... you don't account for tastes... but if more than a dozen people say the best English/Irish breakfast in Krakow can be served only at MilkBar Tomasza, well you better believe it!
As I have said, good food can put a smile upon your face and considerably brighten up your day. For me a good breakfast is important - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It has to be well done and filled with tasty calories that you get to burn throughout the day. Ever since I was a wee lass I never skipped a breakfast and it would 99.9% of the time have eggs (usually fried, sunny side up) and bacon ( if possible crisp - fried). I always loved the USA breakfast - with some orange juice and maybe pancakes and Mo-Ja Cafe offers a delicious one ;) but the number 1 place goes to the true British breakfast - it has sausages!!! So when I came to Krakow I tried a lot of places and figured out my top places to have breakfast in the Old Town - MilkBar Tomasza is one of them ;) and I'll tell you why!
MilkBar Tomasza is - as the title also states it - a choice that should be considered by everyone, be it breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner ;) milk bars in Poland are quite popular and they are a memory of the communist times in Poland. Here you can get cheap and good food, "made for the masses" aka in very large portions. Food made in huge pots always tastes better, don't you think? It reminds me of the food made in the army or made in the good old cantina for the students.  Never ate better mashed potatoes or soup or anything with gravy... yum! MilkBar, if one visits Poland, are a definite must - they should be part of your #bucketlist and they are as cheap as it can get! The only minus that you might find is that it is self-service (polish: samoobslugowa) - that means you gotta move your arse to get the food! Another minus might be that these places are always crowded with students and locals trying to get some hot, good and cheap meal
MilkBar Tomasza is one of a kind, Quite close to the Old Town main market square but way off the touristy beaten track. As the name locates it, the MilkBar is on the Sw. Tomasza (Saint Thomas street). It comprises of one large room with less than a dozen wooden tables matched with wooden chairs and benches. There is only one toilet both for women and men - it's a payed toilet if you don't consume anything but it's free for the customers. The menu is also listed on large blackboards above the counter and the first sign you see is the one stating that they serve "Irish Breakfast". It is their most reviewed (on TripAdvisor and other platforms) and most recommended by the ones who try it at least once.  They probably serve it around the clock but I am not sure ... I ate it around 1pm and everything was just as it should! It's not for nothing that the British expats come here once in a while especially for it. 
When I asked on the Facebook Krakow Expats group what the true  British expats have to say about the Irish Breakfast at MilkBar Tomasza I got the same answer: the best one in town! Apparently the owner brings the sausages from Ireland even - now that's a different level of dedication for a meal! I tested the Irish breakfast paired up with a few glasses of fresh lemonade with mint leaves. They both tasted delicious! The breakfast was scrumptious and to fell in love with - the toasts were perfectly soft and crunchy and not burned! the butter was enough for the toast, the bacon was crispy, the tomatoe was fresh and juicy, the beans were nicely seasoned, the potatoe chips were crunchy yet soft on the inside, the eggs were soft and fresh and the sausages were fingerliking great! The lemonade was fresh and not very sweet, with delicate mint leaves - made me order the second glass in an instant!
The price:
- amazingly yummy Irish breakfast = 18 zloty (a piece of Heaven if you ask me!)
- a glass of fresh lemonade = 4 zloty

Now I dunno if the magic was complete due to the fact that the radio they had was playing only British music... a lot of U2 that melted my heart! And when I started my meal it started playing "Sunday gloomy Sunday"... awwwww! They touched a soft spot! So if you are in Krakow in the Old Town and you are searching for a good breakfast spot, make sure you reserve a day for MilkBar Tomasza ;) and... for those who have "been there, done that" I would love to hear your opinion :)

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Breakfast
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Romania's Great Union Day

Dearest hearts,

Let's face it! Romania is not such a popular country and most probably people that are now 40-50 years old might know more about it than you do! They might have cheered up for the amazing gymnasts that we had, for the fabulously gracious Nadia Comaneci - who scored the perfect 10 at the Olympics in Montreal; your father might even remember Hagi and our football team; you... on the other you might know only Transylvania from the horror novels with Dracula. Fear not, Romania is not our about that and you need not fear about vampires and being with you holy water when you visit. As I said, Romania is by no means a popular country, a popular choice for holidays... everyone knows when The Independence Day for USA is but I bet you did not know that today, in Romania, there is one of the biggest national holidays - a free day for one and all: Great Union Day!
Wikipedia: Great Union Day (Romanian: Ziua Marii Uniri, also called Unification Day) occurring on December 1, is the national holiday of Romania. It commemorates the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia, which declared the Union of Transylvania with Romania. This holiday was set after the Romanian Revolution and it marks the unification of Transylvania, but also of the provinces of Bessarabia (ro: Basarabia) and Bukovina (ro: Bucovina) with the Romanian Kingdom, in 1918. Prior to 1948, the national holiday of Romania was set to be on May 10, which had a double meaning: it was the day on which Carol I set foot on the Romanian soil (in 1866), and it was the day on which the prince ratified the Declaration of Independence (from the Ottoman Empire) in 1877. In Communist Romania, the date of the national holiday was set to August 23 to mark the 1944 overthrow of the pro-fascist government of Marshal Ion Antonescu.
The King and Queen of Romania entering Bucharest
If you wish to see a parade in town, in Romania, especially in the big cities, than this day is the perfect pick. I recommend Alba Iulia and Bucharest for the best ones ;) though Iasi (my homecity) also has decent ones ;) People gather around in the Union Square and they do the traditional "hora" - traditional Romanian dance that is done in a circle, people joining hands. I love this tradition as it brings people together of all ages, status, ideas... for a moment they all have something in common through the rhythm of the music. If ever you are there during this celebration, close your eyes and open up your heart and dance with all the dozen upon dozen of people gathered! Happy 1st of December, Romania!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug - born and raised in a fine country that once was Romania
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