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Saturday, 29 October 2016

10 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

Dearest sweethearts,

I have realised that maybe I sounded a bit down with what I write on "Thoughts about Motherhood" and maybe my turning 30 did not help as well... but I want you to know (a warm thank you and a big hug to those who asked! :* They know who they are!) that we (and that includes me, myself and I ;) ) are doing fine and we have much to be thankful for. I have many things that make me happy right now, simple things that bring a smile upon my face, so my heart and soul keeps young. I have God to thank for it :) so maybe sharing these 10 Things that make me happy right now might make you smile as well and get you thinking of the things in your life that make you smile. I think we have grown used to some things in life, we consider them for granted until the moment they are taken away from us, until the moment when something changes. Now let's do an exercise, after you read my 10 Things think about at least 10 of YOUR Things that make YOU smile! Write them down and reflect upon them :) if you wish you can share them with the ones you love and thank them for making you smile or you can keep it for your heart. But think about it!
Without any further ado, let me tell you my 10 Things that make me happy right now:
1. Being able to feel thankful - there are so many things we should daily be thankful for yet still take for granted.  I try to be thankful daily for the water that we have and the food that we eat, for the fact that we both have jobs and running salaries, for our family and friends and especially for the fact that we don't live in a war area nor do we have earthquakes. So many countries are affected by the lack of one or more of the above and others suffer due to earthquakes that I feel happy and safe to live where I am now. I thank God and hope other countries keep an open mind and heart. I hope that they will understand that war is not the way to go... though recently Mother Russia might think differently...
2. Walks with the little LadyBug Baby Girl - she's a fan of fresh air (as fresh as it could get in Krakow right now that winter is drawing near and people start to heat up with wrong materials...). It's a joy and a blessing to see her immediately fall asleep as soon as we exit the block of flats. No matter if I take her with the pram or with the mei tai/elastic wrap she falls asleep and manages to take an afternoon nap of sometimes even 3 hours! We collect leaves, chestnuts and talk to the little ladybugs that we find :)
3. Warm showers - gotta be thankful for that! Who doesn't love a warm shower after a walk in the park? The crisp autumn air is refreshing but wait until you get home and have a warm shower and maybe even a cup of nice tea/coffee (whatever rocks your boat!)
4. Falling in love with fall - that's one of the things that makes me happy every year. I firmly believe that there is no better season! Try to contradict me: it's not like winter when you have to layer up like an onion and it's not like summer when you sweat and sometimes you just feel you are on fire! Autumn makes me happy in many ways, not only because it is my birthday :) but also because of its colors and shades and smells and sound. For me autumn is Heaven!
5. Counting down to December - only because I'm a huge Star Wars fan and I am so looking forward to watching (and if course rewatching) on the big screen the magical Rogue One ❤ of course Christmas coming is a plus and it's Emilia Elena's first one so we shall celebrate big time!
6. Seeing the little LadyBug Baby Girl smile - that's just priceless! She stared doing that frequently when she turned 1 month old and it still amazes me how a small smile can brighten up your day! It is true that babies smile the brightest ad they lighten up the room they are in. They smile with all their heart and soul - not only a smile upon the lips but on the entire face and the eyes shine bright like 2 stars! That's a piece of Heaven there ;)
7. Autumn rain & nature - that deserves a point in itself. Who doesn't stare in awe at the beauty of a forest / group of trees that change color? The dozen upon dozen of shades and the shapes and sizes they come in... add to that a soft and chilly autumn rain that leaves nature covers with small drops that twinkle and shine in the warm(ish) sun and you have a winner!
8. Cuddling with the little LadyBug Baby Girl and watching together period movies / drama like Poldark or Jane Austen adaptations. Warm blankets and a quiet time holding my very own lady in my arms and watching the lovely scenes unfold... I know it's good for her to hear more languages and sit next to mum so I call this quality time ;)
9. Elastic wraps - they are heaven for the mums of small babies ❤ you can carry your little bundle of joy with you, wherever you go! You don't have to stress about a big carriage/pram that you have to handle around (it sometimes gets tough when it's just you and the little one). You have more flexibility in your movements and you can get up and down the stairs in a jiffy! No need for elevators or special ways for the prams, you are almost as free as a bird ;) plus you get to have your little one very close to you and you can monitor their every breath and smile and sigh :)
10. Free time - trust me, when you are the moment of a little bundle you will be thankful and happy for every second of free time. You will probably use it for sleeping or talking to friends and family (like I do); you might even go wild and if your significant other can stay with the little one, you may even go out ;) it will allow you to have a sense of "normality" coming back :))) thought you will always be thinking what the small one is doing at that certain moment in time... don't worry, it's natural! ! That's how Mum's work - they are multifunctional :)

Last but not least, my family makes me happy; but they make me happy and proud all the time :) I am thankful for my Granny who raised me up and loves me unconditionally, I am happy I have my Mum who understands my whims and wishes and although I might not be right she still supports me in my dreams, I am thankful I have a inspirational big sister that I love and I am very proud of & I am happy that until I turned 30 I managed to cut off an item from the #bucketlist and have the lovely LadyBug Baby Girl ❤ these are the most important 4 women in my life and they make me happy and proud everyday!

Yours very sincerly (as always),
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her 10+ Things
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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Thoughts Upon Turning 30

My dearest friends,

It seems yet another year passed by... I have no clue where time flies like that! Seems like yesterday that I was a wee lass and I wanted time to pass faster so I would be "grown up" and do stuff that only grown ups could talk about. Now, as time passes, I realise that what my mum was telling me was right: when you grow older you will wish to be small again, so enjoy the time you have at each age! I guess everyone wishes for something that they can't have (or no longer have). I remember thinking that when you are 18 you are already grown up and everything over 30 was already quite a large number for me... I would say that I would even consider the population over 35 as "old". I feel ashamed to admit it, as along time I have realised that in fact the "old" can be "young" and the other way around. You are as old as you feel! And guess what?! You can always remain young at heart!
One of my mum's favourite quote from "The Lord of The Rings" is the one that Bilbo Baggings says for his birthday, the quote from the first movie, where he compares himself with a slice of bread where you spread some butter and it was not enough... I must admit I don't have a quote to counteract that but I do agree that there are moments when one just feels old and tired with life. I also admit that in the next instant you can look or think of something or someone and feel young again. For example, travelling makes me feel young and happy and accomplished and always puts a smile upon my face. And I bet you have something that makes you smile and feel young at heart (at least).
Picture taken by Natalia, who is an amateur photographer
There are people at young ages that feel old and beyond their time and there are people that you cannot guess their age, because they take care of themselves and smile and think positive each day of their life. I guess that's hard to do at the beginning, if you are not used to smiling or being happy, but in time you develop a routine around it - or so I believe. For me it's quite natural to smile and be happy around people - I am a people person. That's maybe why many have said that I have a "Baby Face" - and I like that :) it is again one of the things that make me smile.
I'm turning 30 today - that's 18 years + 12 of experience ;))) it's my sweet 16 + 14 years of soul searching. When I was young I always wanted to make myself accomplished and not be a spinster (like in the Jane Austen books that I love - getting married by 20 years of age was a must!). I always said that I should have a baby by the time I am 30! When I turned 18 I realised that even though there is still a long road ahead, I may not reach that goal, so I setup a new one - to be the best auntie for my sister's child. I focused no longer on relationships and men - who looks at men when there are so many beauties to be discovered in this wide world?! I focused on growing myself through relationships of friendship that taught me something and by travelling as much as I could. Guess what?! That's when the magic happened and I found my better half ;) There is nothing better, no better way to step forward, then letting things go - no longer think and dwell on things that bother you or make you sad. Let it go!
Magnificent shot of my 2 great loves - done by amazing Iza from Bellove Moments
I let things go, take their own course, and here I am: married to a proud Polish lad and in love. Before turning 30 we have created together a small LadyBug Baby that we are madly in love with. Now the math has changed: 1+1=1 happy family that grows and learns everyday. 1+1=3 small souls living in harmony (even when the small one cries and screams in the middle of the night!). The little LadyBug Baby turned 2 months old 6 days ago. She is the apple of our eye so celebrating myself is actually celebrating her and the other way around. She is the perfect gift :) 30 years of age is quite a round one... nowdays people say that once you turn 30 you are no longer in the "young" group... I guess that means no short skirts, no evenings out, no loud laughing, no having fun... a general "NO" rule! Well guess what?! I don't agree with that - don't listen what the world says but listen to your heart!

The top 3 things I want you to know, now that I am 30 ;p are the following:
1. Love is the most important thing in your life - nobody will take that away from you and you should tell the ones you love how much you do love them. Everyday, every second you can tell them, tell them - you don't know how long they will still be around!
2. Look for experiences and not material things - you won't be able to take them in your grave, you know?! It's more important to spend time with your family and friends than for you to go shopping at the mall for the latest trend in clothing while you leave the small one with a baby sitter - every single day... :/ Give the love and care the small ones deserve! Else the baby will grow up and you will ask yourself why your relationship is not working. Spend money on travelling and learning a language (that's also a good trick against Alzheimer) not on the latest model of iPhone and iPad. Think wisely and invest time in those you love!
3. Not everyone you meet is a friend - some people come into your life as a lesson that you must learn.  Their relationship will hurt you, will make you cry, but it will also teach you a lesson. Choose your friends carefully and open up your heart slowly. I tend to jump out and be a friend to everyone,  help whomever needs helping, but with that you give a piece of yourself to others... some may not even deserve it and they will hurt you. Be careful but also stay kind! Love them and forgive them - but don't worry, forgiving is not forgetting ;)

I'm The Twisted Red LadyBug and I just turned 30 years old! I am not afraid to say it out loud and I pray to God that he gives me strength and love and peace in my heart - I wish to be old in age but young at heart and the way I act. I wish, on my birthday, to see the world always through the eyes of a child. I wish to smile and be happy and make the ones around me happy as well. How about you? Have you turned 30? Are you old or young at heart? What have you learned so far?

Your truly from the bottom of my heart,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that turns 30!
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Thoughts On Motherhood

Dearest hearts,

When  they release one from the hospital after a birth, doctors and nurses and midwifes say the same thing: after 6 weeks it's going to be all normal again. Wrong! Don't listen to them: nothing will ever be the same again and for sure this "normal" will not be the regular normal that you used to have. You have created a life and brought it into this world. Along your body has been through immense pressure and you have been modified on the inside and out. Even your brain does not work in the same way, so normality is a word that they use in order for you to feel more comfortable and confident in the future. We are pass that mark - yesterday we celebrated our 2 months and 2 days :) my little LadyBug Baby Girl was born on a Saturday late afternoon and she turned our life topsy turvy and at the same time she is our greatest joy and accomplishment. It's hard to define what one feels once you hold your bundle of joy for the first time or when she smiles at you, from ear to ear... but it's not all roses and rainbows and unicorns and as much as you would prepare and no matter how many books you will read something will catch you unawares.  You heard me talking before about the things no one tells you about natural birth, well there are plenty things that none tell you about Motherhood and raising a baby.
Maybe it's better not knowing anything than reading and hearing 1000 opinions and trying to figure out what is best for your little one. Maybe it's a bit better if it's not your first child but at the same time no child is the same and they will think and act differently. It may be your first child was a pain and did not want to breastfeed and needed you to be with them 24/7 and the 2nd one to be a perfect angel - eating regularly, being quiet and nice and sleeping well... I have seen many babies and not one is the same with the other. Not even twins! Some people say that being a mother comes in gradually and by instinct you will know what to do and what to expect... well not really, you may know that a child cries of because of 3 things: he is either wet/has pooped, either hungry or wants to sleep. That's nonsense! Of course he will cry for the reasons listed above but also because of thousands of other reasons - be it external: maybe she wants the lifts down low or internal: she just is discovering her hands and she put a finger in the eye... sometimes I wish I could make a double of myself so I could be with her 24/7 but that is not possible... we can live without water or food but one can't make it without sleep! So when you can, if you can, get sleep! That is one of the things I miss the most!
Some people say the toughest and most painful part of Motherhood is giving birth. I'm not saying no, the physical pain is the worst ever. It is said that it equal at least 20 bones in your body being broken at the same time. I had my right hand broken twice si I thought I would handle it like a piece of cake. Nope. Nobody and nothing can prepare you for natural birth. But hey! Nobody thinks or speaks of the inner torment and spiritual pain when ones child is sick or in pain and you simply cannot tell how you could make things better... it's not physical but it's like a knife twisting and turning... and you stand there helpless... don't listen to others and the books, listen to your child and your inner self, stay in tune with the little one and you will find middle ground. I have realised that now I don't live for myself and my life has turned into a life for the little one. Sometimes it is hard and depression might come but think of all the lovely things you will do together. Think of all the memories that you will collect! It will be magical, hang in there!
I can hardly wait to teach her all about being a nerd and loving Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and all that connects to Jane Austen and the amazing Bronte sisters. She already is very fond of jazz and loves listening to good old Frank Sinatra. But it may be she won't turn out to be a nerd but be very much into something else... be prepared to be surprised by your little one! But love them nonetheless for what they are and what they wish to be. Love them unconditionally! And with all your heart and soul. Release yourself from what others think and teach your small one to release herself from all that as well
 Be free and love them - love them like you love yourself as they are a piece of you!

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl
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Friday, 21 October 2016

10 Reasons To Fall In Love With Fall

Dear sweethearts,

Is there a more lovely time of the year than Autumn? Truly and wholehearted I agree with what Anne of Green Gables used to say, that it would be hard to live in a world without Octobers.  It's not only because in October I was born, it's also because it's the month in which you feel autumn the most. Autumn's love is grand, it's the moment in the year when all the hard work one placed on the field begins to pay off, it's when children get back to school and encounter their old friends and start learning new and exciting things (some thought they may not ever use, nonetheless it is exciting to always find out something new!), it's also the time of year when you are neither too hot not too cold and you begin to layer up but not yet like an onion ;)) it's the most warm and friendly and inviting time of the year! And after I tell you these 10 reasons to fall in love with fall I dare you to say it isn't so! :)
1. The weather is perfect: not too hot and not too cold, sunny with a side of rain. It's not winter yet so you do have to layer up as the temperature drops but you don't have to be like an onion. You can still wear flats and skirts and you can accessorise them with a large shawl or a leather jacket and you're done ;) it's not like summer when you need constant cold water / ice cream / deodorant / eau thermale sprays... you won't have to worry about makeup running or sweating or weird odours in public places (public transport).
2. Snuggling time starts - all hail warm fires, soft big blankies and cups of warm and foamy beverages... Heaven can be found in sitting quietly with a good book in your perfect armchair, snuggled up in a large blanket that covers you whole. No social media is needed, just you and a good story that can absorbe you whole...
3. The perfectly magical autumn's smell - don't you dare tell me you never felt it! It's the smell of leaves that fall and crackle under your steps, mingled up with the fresh autumn flowers, the smell of grapes and fresh wine, apple pie with cinnamon and freshly spiced wine... it's the smell of a good book, muffins baking in the oven, pumpkins crashed and wallnuts, the crisp fresh air in the mornings... Autumn's love :)
4. Nature - the trees with leaves that dance into the soft wind... people say that autumn's the season when leaves start to fall. I contradict them, it's the time when they dance away their last dance. Some are stubborn and stay up there until the first frost, some hurriedly fall right before winter kick in but most of them dance away in the friendly wind. They twist and twirl and glide, finalising their dance steps on the warm pavement or on the green changing to orange grass. They say their farewells and get crushed into dust... don't he sad, they said their story! Nature all around changes and shades of green turn to yellow and orange and red. Thousand upon thousands of shades! Magical!
5. Warm drinks become popular again :) starting from hot tea with lemon to mulled wine / beer / honey to hot chocolate with marshmallows (and as it is typical here in Poland with the additional shot of sour cherry vodka). Everything is great to warm yourself inside out when it rains or gets a bit too cold. The hot tea keeps you safe and healthy, the hot chocolate / cocoa is perfect for when you snuggled and if you go out with friends, the mulled wine is a perfect treat!
6. PUMPKINS!!! Let's face it, by himself Mr. Pumpkin is quite bland and boring! Sure it looks great as a decoration, sitting on the porch or being carved and placed in the window for Halloween (if you choose to celebrate it...) but make some pumpkin pie or some pumpkin muffins or some pumpkin spiced latte (Starbucks's number one sale item in fall, I believe!) and you have a winner! Pumpkin everyday!!!
7. Soup time! Warming you up from the inside you will want a portion everyday for lunch. Considering the cornucopia of vegetables in autumn there are so many options of soup recipes to choose from that one could do one type everyday and not repeat the recipe ;) let's start with a creamy pumpkin one!
8. Fall spice = cinnamon & Fall fruit = apple. Heavenly combination and you know it! As I write this article and think about the combination of the 2 items listed above my brain clicks and I remember the smell of freshly baked apple pie made by my granny, one of the smells of my childhood! Tell me if apple and cinnamon does not make you feel as if you would have stepped up into a forest with fresh leaves crumbling under the soles of your feet!
9. Arts revival = autumn is when theater, opera and the philharmonic box house opens again. That means you can infuse yourself again into music, sounds and motion that makes your heart vibrate. It means your eyes will water (cry), your chest will be like the ocean in storm and your brains cells with interact and your whole body will be in sync with the world - don't tell me that does not happen to you when your favourite piece plays! I always get goosebumps on Carmina Burana or when I hear the "Flower Duet" from Delibes... Heaven is a place on earth when one is in contact with Art!
10. LOVE - I truly believe that "Fall" has this name due to "Falling in love". Some people celebrate love on 14th February with Valentines Day but I believe the best time to fall in love is Fall - one can snuggle with their better half, they can go out for some hot cocoa or for an evening at the Opera. She will get cold and he will give her the coat... Her scarf will flow in the darkness and she will smell of cinnamon... and he will open his long black umbrella and be a gentleman, shading her from the soft rain.

How can one not fall in love with Fall?! Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower - Camus had that right ;) how about you - have you fallen in love with Fall? What are your reasons - I would love to hear them out ;)

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Autumn
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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Travel Tuesday: Visiting Kraków On A Budget

Dearest travel friends,

Visiting on budget the magical city of Krakow is not that hard as one would think, considering all the options that the city has. Almost every day of the week there is a museum with open doors, a museum that you can visit for free and enrichen your culture. Even if you are not the museum fan you can always do outdoor activities like the free walking tours that show you more at the price you choose to pay. The possibilities are unlimited! Generally Europe is way more cheaper than the other continents (to visit) - at least the part where Krakow resides. Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and it is full of history. As you walk on its cobblestoned paths you can discover most of it for free.  The National Museums of Krakow has open days on Mondays and Sundays and there are plenty exhibitions to choose from - be careful, the temporary ones are payed even in the free days ;) 
Transportation: no need to rent a car nor come with your own. The public transport in Krakow - and Poland in general - is lovely! The trams have electronic displays and they come in time.  Same for the buses - in every business stop there is a schedule and the drivers stick to it like glue.  With public transport you can get anywhere! Download the Polish-English app called Jakdojade and it's gonna be your best friend - locations you via GPS all you need to do is put in where you wanna go and it will give you the best option of public transport  (even bus and tram combinations!). If you are here for the weekend or the week you can buy singular tickets or the weekend / weekly ones - no ID needed and you can buy them at any automat ;) 
What to visit: mainly all the things worth visiting are free and outdoor - except museums and synagogues (in the Jewish District) - so it's easy to keep the budget to a minimum.  Follow the Royal Route for the best sights. I also wholeheartedly recommend the Free Walking Tour Krakow  (yellow umbrellas) - start with the Old Town one and then do the Jewish District. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as all beautiful places are within walking distance.  Plus you might get tired in the Old Town if you wear heels... it's all done in cobblestone. When it comes to museums check one that has free days - all National Museums of Krakow branches has an open door day. I highly recommend the Czartoryski Museum for mummies and parts of The Book of The Dead & the 19th Century Polish Art Museum on the 2nd floor of the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) for amazing paintings that cover up full walls and have dozen upon dozen of characters painted upon them!
What/Where to eat: The Milk Bars (Mleczarnia) are a must! My favourite is the one on ulica Tomasza: Milk Bar Tomasza - it serves both traditional Polish dishes like pierogi but also the best English breakfast in town (and that has been agreed upon by the British expats living here ;) so it's vouched for!). The Milk Bars in Poland are cheap and have good food. The portions are more than decent. The downside is that these places are self service and always filled (most of the time.with students - cheap and good meals). You should definitely try the pierogi! I prefer the ones with meat, fried, from Babcia Malina - great price and great taste + very filling! Also the zapiekanka from PlacNowy in Kazimierz is a must - just ask the locals! It's the best place to eat it ;)
Accommodation: there are dozens of hostels in Krakow with great prices, especially if you book in advance! But the one I prefer when it comes to location vs setting (what's inside) vs price: Globtroter Guest House Krakow - rooms for 2 person up to 6-8 with kitchen included and bathroom. And it's in Plac Szcepanski, 3 min walk from the Main Market Square and right next door to the wonderful Charlotte - chleb i wino restaurant with typical French items. Do buy fresh bread and pastries there or try to find a place for breakfast (one of the best in Krakow!).

Are you planning on coming to Krakow soon? In need of tips and tricks, advices from a local expat living in this magical city for more than 5 years now? I'm here to help ;) just shout out!

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Travel And Discover New Places
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Krakow - Van Gogh Alive Exhibition

Dearest hearts,

"After Berlin, Milan, Florence, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Singapore and Warsaw, it’s time for Krakow – a city closely associated with art and culture. The long awaited Van Gogh Alive – The Experience is open for viewers since 20thof August at The Old Train Station in Krakow" - this is how the site for this lovely exhibition sells itself (and rather short! as I truly enjoyed the story that the expo tells). The exhibition is open only until 20th of November so better buy your ticket now! You can buy them online (quick and easy) or at the beginning of the expo. An adult ticket Monday to Friday costs 50 zloty and in the weekend it is 60 zloty. Students (under 26 years) and seniors (over 65 years old) can go for 40 zloty - 50 zloty. You can also go in groups of 10+ and there the price varies. Children under 6 years of age can go for free, accompanied by an adult.
The overall exhibition time is said to be of one hour - I cannot tell you if it takes that long... for me it took a bit over 2 hours as I went to the exhibition with my mum. All the expos, movies and moving image information is given in 2 languages: English and Polish. My mum understands a bit of English but Polish is not her thing, she speaks the language of sweet France, so I had the pleasure of enjoying this exhibition with her but I had to go slow and translate all the data - this is why it took me longer but you might go through it in under a hour. Van Gogh Alive Exhibition allows oneself to immerse yourself in Van Gogh's life and body of work - without having any physical painting displayed!
 Developed by Grande Exhibitions, SENSORY4™ is a unique system that combines multichannel motion graphics, cinema quality surround sound and up to forty high-definition projectors to provide one of the most exciting multiscreen environments in the world. SENSORY4™ can transform any exhibition space to create a dynamic, informative and visually spectacular experience. Incredibly detailed images flow through the mass of projectors and merge with digital surround sound to saturate the space in a breathtaking immersive display.
I must admit I had heard about the expo before and re-read about it when it reached Warsaw and a dear friend of mine visited it and said "it's a must" if one catches it! When I heard that it would come to Krakow I was thrilled and at the same time a bit scared... I was due in August and I was not sure I would make it - to see it... considering I would have a small baby girl around me. Thank God Mum and Granny came and gave a helping hand! The exhibition went live in Krakow on the 20th of August - the very same day our little LadyBug Baby Girl was born! :) And we managed to reach it and see it on a rainy Monday afternoon, on 3rd of October. It's the perfect thing to do in a rainy day! Take a friend / loving family member and enjoy it!
The exhibition starts with a long corridor where on one side the story of the expo and Vincent's life history is told & on the other are some of his most important pieces showcased, with notes that make connection to his life. Here is where I found out that during his lifetime he had created over 2000 pieces of art - 800 paintings and the rest are drawings and sketches. He used to sketch on letters to his friends and family - especially to his dear brother (who died shortly after Vincent's suicide). Also in this corridor, at the very end, a live reproduction of the painting of Van Gogh's bedroom is done. It's remarkably well put together and when you look at it (or even take a picture of it, like I did) one would think it is a painting! Of course, when one looks closely you can see the difference and the points that don't match ;)
To get to the next section of the expo you must pass a long corridor that has long wide screens on both sides. Both sides display at the same time - in rotation - 4 paintings deeply connected to the life of Vincent. My personal favourites are 2 of the 4 displayed: Starry Night and the branch of cherry in Japanese style, done by Van Gogh when he heard his brother had a son - whom he named Vincent ;) there is something truly enchanting about this display as it makes something in the image/painting move. The next room is a visual and sound display telling Vincent's life through his paintings - with quotes from his letters attached. There is also a drawing room where one could exercise and learn how to draw nature and how to draw the human body. The final room is a display of Vincent's letters - with the background music of Delibes "Flower Duet". Overall a remarkable experience for the history buffs, art fans or... simply for one who likes to know more. I truly and sincerly recommend it! It is worth every penny (I mean zloty)!

P.S. For more Krakow - Van Gogh Alive Expo videos that I have taken, please check out this video-list ;) some may be with the audio turned off due to copyright issues, I am sorry for that! But do trust me when I say the exhibition is a moving experience - the combination of visual effects and the music is simply touching! Do feel free to ask me any questions you might have about it ;) 

Yours very sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Art - Paintings - Exhibitions :)
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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

And the Liebster Award Goes To…

Dearest hearts,

I love the kind of TAG! YOU'RE IT! games and I surely love my lovely fellow bloggers from the community. I love the social media and especially good old Facebook that never lets one down. Ever since I created the Facebook Page for the blog and started engaging with bloggers around the world on the speciality groups created, I have met a lot of lovely and active and engaging people. Some live rather surreal lifes, some are fascinating, some are fun and sometimes some are just boring - nevertheless I have to hand it to them: they stay true to their dreams and like to share what they think about life. My favourite are the travel bloggers, the lifestyle bloggers and especially the ones like myself: the expat bloggers :) I love also the blogging badges that one gets from time to time and I have received this badge before, but it's always nice to get recognition from your fellow peers ;) Liebster Award is becoming popular in the blogging community as a way to introduce, support and promote smaller (under 200 followers) blogs by fellow bloggers. It’s a great way to be discovered and connect with other bloggers you may not have heard of before.
I got nominated by 2 fellow bloggers:
1) Lana from The Stylish Voyager - we have collaborated a while ago when Lana did a guest post about "London - 5 Things To Do According To A Local" on my blog and I did one on hers about "Krakow - 5 Things To See From A Locals Perspective"
2) Ameeta, an Indian expat in London, that writes at Aye Wanderful blog - she loves to explore London so you really should head out and read some of her posts ;)

The rules of the award are fun and easy:
  • Someone nominates you for the Liebster Award and you chose to accept it or not
  • If you accept it, write a post about it including:
    • Thanking and writing a bit about the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
    • Posting Liebster Award badge on your site (Hooray!)
    • Answering questions the person who nominated you has asked
  • Chose other 5-10 award-worthy bloggers, with less than 200 followers, you want to nominate
  • Pick 10 questions for them to answer (can be about their blog or about themselves)
  • Let them know you have nominated them for the Liebster Award and ask to answer the questions
So without any further ado, let me cut in the 10 questions from Lana:
  1. Tell about yourself/your blog
  2. What is your most favorite destination (why)?
  3. When did you start blogging and how did you choose the topic/focus of your blog?
  4. Give one top tip to other bloggers or someone who is considering blogging?
  5. What is the best and most rewarding part about blogging?
  6. What is the least rewarding part about blogging?
  7. Are there any tips you would share with fellow bloggers on growing your exposure/presence?
  8. What post on your blog you are particularly proud of (why)?
  9. What is your favorite social media platform (why)?
  10. Who are your favorite bloggers (why)? 

1. Well, you know my story by now - having probably read all about it in the Who Is The LadyBug? section of the blog. But let's make it shorter: I am a Romanian expat, living in Krakow - Poland - since 2011. Married to a proud Polish lad that loves his homeland's history. Mother of a small LadyBug Baby Girl - Princess. In love with photography, history and dearly wanting to travel the whole world. I blog mainly about Poland, places one could visit (especially in Krakow), locations one could dine and ocasionally I blog about life and thoughts that come into my head :) 

2. My favourite destination is HOME :) And guess what? I always said that HOME is where your heart is, and if your heart is in amillion places, spread around with the people that you love, than your HOME is the entire world. It's true I have my favourites: Krakow and Iasi (where I was born), so if you ever wanna visit these magical cities let me know. I can tell you tips and tricks ;) 
3. The Twisted Red LadyBug blog was started on 14th of June 2013. It was not my first blog but this one stayed with me - with this piece, with this page, it feels like I am leaving a piece of myself for the world to see. I felt the need, living in a new country, to share my thoughts and feelings freely and at that time I started not agreeing with the public policies of Facebook. The blog was a way to share the photos I made and I was proud of, without handing out the license for them to a brand/corporation. I figured out that it was a way to share my life to those who cared and not flood Facebook with constant updates. The topic came freely: my life in Krakow, my life in Poland.

4. If there is one tip I would like to share is the fact that life is short and you should try to stay as true to yourself as you can. That, and don't sell yourself short! You are important and someone up there loves you and believes in you. If you truly feel you need to blog and share to the world your opinions, your photos, your... whatever you wish to share... DO IT! Don't go into it half way. Invest time and make yourself - make your heart - happy!
The Gorgeous Wawel Cathedral
5. The best and most rewarding part about blogging is having someone tell you how much they liked your article or your picture or the problem you raised. Sometimes it's about the prizes you win or the awards you are granted, sometimes it's about the blogging conferences you go to or the fellow bloggers you meet. Sometimes it's all the above wrapped in one :) But for me the best part about blogging is the possibility to share!

6. The least rewarding part about blogging is the time - blogging takes time and patience and care. You can have a post a day or a post per week... but what you need to do is to stay true to yourself but also relevant and not redundant to the people who read you. You need to be interesting and engaging to your target audience and this takes time - time to do pictures, type things down, spell check it, edit it, research... and so the list can go on!

7. One tip to grow: join the blogging communities on Facebook! - people there are warm and kind and willing to give a helping hand once in a while ;) 
8. The blog post that I am the most proud of are actually 2 posts ;))) I'm sorry I just can't pick one! I love them both for separate reasons. I love "Best Breakfast Places In Old Town Krakow" as it brought to me almost 2000 views and it allowed me to touch a subject I love: breakfast, combined with a bit of know-how of the magical Old Town Krakow. It also allowed me to share 7 places that I truly enjoy to visit and revisit - places that I have taken my family and friends to, places I can vouch for! The second blog post I love is "Thoughts Upon World Youth Day Krakow" - the post I wrote while I was pregnant with my little #ladybugbaby. It is also the post that brought me a New Record: 2068 views per day for #twistedredladybug Record reached on the 30st of July 2016.

9. My absolute social media platform that I have grown to love just recently is Instagram, followed closely by evil old Facebook. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It's an evil I just can't do without - it allows me to connect with my family all over the world and with my dear friends, it allows me to find the news I want and see what others have been up to. In terms of blogging I found out similar blogs to mine and I have connected with lovely people over the Blogging groups. It has a lot of pluses but it also takes a whole load of ones time! Instagram is a friendly version... that fulfills my love for photography :) so... it's a tie!
10. My favourite bloggers... Oh, that;s a tough one :) I follow many lovely travel and lifestyle bloggers but I must admit that the last year or so I have developed quite a crush on the style of writing - open and very strong! - of an American lady living in Poland. An expat like myself :) Her blog - Kielbasa Stories - is refreshing and makes me laugh/smile/cry. Each post is written from the heart and you can truly feel how she opens up to the world. Way to go Chris!!! :*

My Questions:
1. If you would choose to be a book, what book would you be?
2. If you would choose a specific period in time to live in, which period would that be and whom would you like to be?
3. If you find out that all your previous posts have been deleted, how owuld you react?
4. What is the place you can call HOME?
5. If something goes wrong with the programs on your PC or just with your PC while working on your post, would you call a Help Desk or would you try to fix it?
6. What is the best vacation you ever had?
7. What is your fav travelling spot and what would you recommend visiting/doing there?
8. Take the closest thing to your right hand and tell us its story :)
9. Surprise us with a true confession about yourself :) 
10. How do you like my blog and what would you change in it? What atracted you to it? I appreciate the honest and true answer, no matter how bad it will be ;)

1-10... Oh, I am bad at this as I am following a lot of lovely lasses that have more than 200 followers :( So... everyone who is reading me and has under 200 people haunting them, please feel free and more than welcome to join in the game and let me know if you did it so I can say Congrats! and give you a virtual hug but warm hug :)

Yours very sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves The Bloggers Community
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Black Monday - Black Protest - Family Thoughts

Dearest hearts,

I firmly believe in a world where everyone is entitled to his or hers opinion. Where there is liberty of opinion and expression, where people are not afraid to speak up their mind. I believe that God created us with free will and knowledge of good and evil. I believe that even if you do not believe in God you know deep inside of you what would be the positive things and the negative things in life. It is somehow built within us the knowledge and the feeling of wrong and right. In this way, if you were faced with a situation where you would need to take a life I hope that each of us thinks twice and trice before doing so. I believe also that desperate people in desperate situations act in chaotic and negative ways - later on they need to cope with what they have done but nonetheless it is their decision. I believe also that no life is greater than another - we are all equal in this world. Maybe the value added that we offer to the place we are in is different, but somehow weare all the same. It is true, not all have the same strength nor knowledge nor wisdom nor way in which we interact with people. Some of us have IQ and some of us have EQ (emotional intelligence) but we are nevertheless important - to our family, friends, society and ultimately to the world as a whole.
The beauty of a child - by The Twisted Red LadyBug
Police estimated that over 98,000 people across Poland participated in this Monday's #BlackProtest - when women raised up their voices for the abortion ban in the Parliament. It seems the Parliament pulled back the law, due to the pressure (seeing the women - and not only!) raise all over Poland against it. They are also thinking now of creating a new body of law similar... I just wonder how they will formulate it now and if it will be as tight as before.

"If the law - which has cleared one parliamentary hurdle so far - goes through it will make Poland's abortion laws as restrictive as those in two other countries in Europe: Malta and the Vatican. Women found to have had abortions would be punished with a five-year prison term. Doctors found to have assisted in an abortion would also be liable for jail time. Abortion is already mostly banned in Poland.
The current exceptions are:
  • where the woman's life is in danger
  • where there is a risk of serious and irreversible damage to the foetus
  • where the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest - this must be confirmed by a prosecutor"
Don't get me wrong, I am totally against abortion. I would not do it if I were in anyones shoes, but I understand the decisions of those that do choose to go through it. It is true, rape is a terrible thing and I see why one would choose not to go through it and terminate the life of the unborn child, but I think rather then killing a life it would be better to go through and choose life. I understand you might be 13, victime of even a gang rape and not know whom your child is, this opens up your eyes to a brand new world where people can be monsters. You are not even fully developed, you may even still play along with dolls, skip stones and think Hanna Barbera cartoons are fun (or whatever is hip these days...). I believe it is still best to carry on the child, give it to adoption but leave the possibility open - you might once want the child and you can't turn back the time nor call back life. You are marked either way psihologically... Sometimes we think only of ourselves and not of others - be strong, stay next to the ones that love and support you!

Again... if you are a doctor and you know that the mother will die and the child will die as well if the baby continues, what would you do? Should you save a life or end 2 - and psohologically damage the family? I think that's a tough call that nobody should ever make. I believe that life is supreme and that every child is entitled to it. Family is the most important thing we have in our lifes and we realise that sometimes too late. Take your time today to be thankful for the people close to you in your life. If you are pregnant may God bless you and give you strength, may he give you rest and calm and power to overcome all that you will face in life. May your Baby be strong and smart and powerfull and may he believe in God with all his heart! May he live in a world where the possibility of choice still exist and may he/she always make the right one!

Yours very sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug - A Mother
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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Krakow - Galeria Mlynek

Dear sweethearts,

I hope you celebrate life everyday. I hope your heart flutters and your soul rises everyday. I hope, as the Irish saying says, that the wind is always on your back and the sun upon your face. Some days are harder then others and in those days you feel as if you would sink... I always try to do something that makes me happy or hang out with someone whom my heart is in tune - like my family and close friends. I have been in plac Wolnica numerous times and if you remember I was telling you about GoodLood - the best place to have homemade icecream in Krakow! I have always passed Galeria Mlynek and I always said I would try it out and I would always end up somewhere else in the Jewish district. Well... almost 2 months ago I managed to get there with my Mum and Granny - just a few days before I gave birth ;)
Cafe Mlynek (Galeria Mlynek) is listed as #144 of 1,117 Restaurants in Krakow, with 4.5 of 5 stars with over 200 reviews. It was also awarded "Certificate of Excellence" by TripAdvisor. It also has over 2800 likes on its Facebook Page. It's a great option in the Jewish district for a vegetarian restaurant. You can get here anything from breakfast to dinner and there is also an option of bed & breakfast. The athmosphere of the cafe is interesting and old-fashioned / vintage. No table nor chair is the same as the other one - it seems to me that all the old bits and pieces were gathered from around the houses in Krakow, maybe from the flea market. It's quite a popular place with the locals, gathering a lot of people from different walks of life. As you enter the room is on the right side and there is also a terrace outside, on the sidewalk, looking towards the plac Wolnica. Galeria Mlynek hosts exhibitions of paintings and photos - that can be bought (It's always good to support the local emerging artists!). It also hosts workshops and one can check them out on their Facebook Page or Internet site (that runs both in English and Polish language).
We had a good time, having some sweets in a rainy August day - I had pancakes banana and chocolate, Granny had some with apple and cinnamon and Mum had toasts with spinach and cheese. We love to mix and share so we would all get a bit of everything, to form an opinion. I really really loved the pancakes with banana and chocolate - with white chocolate cream on top, seeds and blueberries. They were warm and well done, the chocolate melting with the soft bananas, becoming creamy and heavenly delicious... mmm... they went well with the freshly squeezed lemonade with ice! I really recommend the combination: sweet & sour. You won't get sugar high that much with it ;) and you will be able to enjoy the sweetness of the pancakes in this way! I must admit that I found only 2 minuses for this place (if we do not count the fact that it has a NO MEAT menu and I believe the best vegetable in the world is pig!):
1) the toilet is shared, in the main corridor, it has only one room and toilet seat and the key to the room must be taken from the bar (from the ladies serving)
2) the slowness of the service - it took more than 15 min to get someone to get us a menu and in the end I stood up and went to the counter to get myself one... as I saw that noone was "surveying" the room (even though it was not full!).
You can pay both cash and card and I would rather say the local is not exactly children friendly. It's more for the younger generation that do not mind rather crowded places and have time and patience to be served or to get the food/drinks themselves. The food and drinks were good and at the optimal temperature. I liked that they had the menus both in English and Polish and the ladies at the counter did speakgood English. Overall I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars for a cafe, as they have some points to improve. Have you ever been to Cafe Mlynek? What's your opinion?
The Prices:
- hummus (diverse sortiments) - vegan dish - 18 zloty
- salads (diverse sortiments) - from 19 to 24 zloty
- soups (diverse sortiments) - from 6 to 10 zloty
- pancakes with spinach - 23 zloty
- pancakes with appples (and cinnamon) - 16 zloty
- pancakes with banana (and chocolate) - 17 zloty
- pancakes with white cheese (and chocolate) - 17 zloty
- sandwiches with camembert cheese and pears - 17 zloty
- toasts with spinach - 10 zloty
- fruit shake - 11 zloty
- freshly squeezed grapefruit/orange juice - 12 zloty
- home made lemonade - 10 zloty
- cafe latte with honey - 12 zloty
- coffee with milk - 7 zloty

Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to find new places to have a snack (in Kraków and not only!)
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Monday, 3 October 2016

The Stories Of Krakow Doors (Entrances) - Part 3

Dearest hearts,

A while back I started on my Instagram page a series about Krakow's doors / entrances. Each door in Krakow, for me at least, has a story to tell. Let me know if you think the story fits or if the picture tells you a different story than the one I think of :) You can also read here the first 2 short stories and here the second batch!
Short Story number 5 - What are the things that make you smile as you see them and pass by them? I always had a thing with flowers... I don't encourage the selling of cut flowers and the only ones I am truly glad to receive are the ones in pots. It seems to me a sad thing to kill a flower for a few moments or beauty. Keeping it in the ground gives it a longer life and a greater possibility to give joy to the many people out there. That is why I love the fact that Poland sells so many flowers in pots ❤ it's #ecofriendly and it makes me smile. Each time I get to the main square and pass this doorway to this #florist shop... it makes me smile 🌹💐
Short Story number 6 - Rise and shine for yet another day of hot weather in Kraków. Hope you enjoyed the #wianki and that you will have time to check out the medieval fair next to the Wawel Castle. There is also an old car display at 12 at the foot of Wawel hill ;) if not... you can always wonder about the streets of Kraków and search for old beauties like this one. I love finding old doors, entrances that tell stories. This one is from 1904 - more than 100 years ago! Think of all the stories it can tell! 1904... that's the year when - on February the 17th - Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly" premiered in Milan and same year in December "Peter Pan"play premiers... such a wonderful year!
Yours sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Magical Doors That Tell Stories
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