The Great Lent started in Romania - this is the lent before Pascha (or Easter). It lasts for 7 weeks and is the longest of them all, hence the name. OK, now it's close to the end, as I kept on delaying editing pictures and writing. The article is finally here!
During any Lent, Romanians are supposed to fast by eating a vegan diet - so no meats including fish, no eggs and no dairy products. (hmm, I actually don't know if honey is forbidden or allowed.) This page explains better the rules of fasting. It also makes no mention of honey, and thus I think it's allowed.
In any case, when buying premade foods in Romania, we should pay attention to the packaging to say "de post" - this means the product is vegan-friendly. If you don't want to eat honey, search for the word "miere" (=honey) in the ingredients. Fish is allowed for consumption on certain days during the Lent (fasting period).
Romanians don't celebrate Fat Tuesday nor Ash Wednesday. Good Friday is not a public holiday either, but the 2nd day of Pascha (Monday) is a bank holiday, and only hospitals, police, public transportation, and a few shops still stay in business.
I already have a few vegan-friendly recipes posted, and I want to share with you the recipe for Roasted Potatoes as well - this is an important recipe to know how to make if you love potatoes because they're awesome when roasted.
3-4 larger potatoes, preferably suited for baking
powder black pepper
other herbs or condiments you like
also, a baking tray
Peel and slice your potatoes. Make sure to have rather thick slices and not thin. If they're thin, reduce the cooking time by 15 minutes to avoid burning them.
Take a baking tray, smear it with cooking oil, place your potato slices in it.
Smear your potato slices with cooking oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and all the condiments and herbs.
Let bake in the oven for some 45 minutes, on medium heat, preferably on the middle rack of the oven.
You can now serve!
I made this recipe over and over, and I didn't always take pictures. This is why some of them are dated "December 2018." The light is bad because I usually cook in the evening and therefore the artificial light is not great.
It's almost 2 years since I did a wish.com shopping haul. Read it here.
NOT a sponsored post, but I advertise an online shop by talking about it or about the items I got from there.
So here are the items I bought back then, in case you don't want to read the post. I recently watched a few videos in which youtubers were talking about their wish.com purchases. I thought I could update you with my experience.
3 watches, a shopping bag/tote, and 2 decks of cards. I really liked the watches. They didn't look as good in real life, but they still looked really good. And they worked too!
Well, what happened to all this stuff?
I still have everything. But I can't use at least half of them.
The bag is the one item I'm getting the most use out of. It still goes strong, though I think I have to stitch one of the handles. It may have lost a bit of the color and gotten dirty a little bit, but other than that, it's still fine. The zippers are still usable and I couldn't see any tear or another type of damage than the one I mentioned.
The decks they're still in great shape - mostly because I didn't use one of them, and I minimally used the other. The tarot deck got the most use compared to the playing cards.
The watches. This is where the issues start. They stopped working, one after the other, about 1 year of use. I wore the mechanical watch (the first one) the most. It had a soothing ticking sound. I forgot what happened. One day, it just stopped ticking despite it being winded. The other 2 watches, I accidentally stepped on one of them, in the dark, on the bed. It was instant killing. The other one wasn't working so great to begin with. Was losing some 5 minutes per week. I only realized this by accident, after looking at it after looking at the phone. One day it stopped ticking even with a new battery.
What are my thoughts?
First of all, I didn't have high expectations of the watches, except the mechanical one. Well, not even there, considering the low price I paid. All these items were pretty cheap, especially the green watches. Well, now they'd be even cheaper. I currently feel as if I got ripped off, since many listings on the site say "free, just pay for shipping".
Would I buy again?
Yes. In fact, I still ordered two items, and I will place another order next week. One of the items I ordered is for personal hygiene, it arrived, I used it, though I don't think it's a good option for me.
The other item is actually some sewing machine bobbins. 30 pieces for $2, for the shipping. I placed the order yesterday, I paid, and now I'm waiting for the set to ship and to arrive. Buying these here, at this price, would only bring me some 5 bobbins. If you like sewing or DIY projects and you use a sewing machine, you know 5 bobbins are nothing.
Do I recommend to others?
Well, sure, why not? Just pay attention to the seller's ratings, read product reviews and don't set your hopes too high. You might want to buy elsewhere depending on what you're after - say gadgets.
This entry is written by A. She shares valuable life lessons and common sense tips she learned from her (now deceased) grandmother. I think these tips are a must know for everyone these days, no matter where you live or who you are.
This entry is a bit overdue, but the tips can still be applied. A second part might follow at some point in the future.
The cold season is also the season of the flu, and every year different strains show up. Of course, you can catch the flu or the common cold at any time. So, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how my family dealt with issues like this in the past and to be honest never got sick.
When I was a kid, my grandma used to be really careful with me so I wouldn't sick. There were times when I lived with her, my mom, dad, aunt - and sometimes other people would also show up. My grandma always made sure to separate every single dish, kitchen tool, and ask the sick person to wear a mask if it applied.
Every dish was washed right away, boiled - which is really important when trying to get rid of germs - and the healthy people in the family were not allowed to use the same ones as the sick person. (We didn't have dish washers back then, and they're not popular even now.)
Physical closeness also wasn’t permitted. No hugs, no kisses, no nothing - you simply had to stay away from the sick person for as long as they were contagious.
These things really helped and as a result, my mother's sister and all the other family members didn’t get hepatitis when my mom got it. Of course, every disease requires different rules...
Every time I would get a stomach upset I was put on a 24-hour liquid fasting period, after which toast, boiled potato and carrots were introduced gradually.
So, I would get well a lot faster than my friends and other people who usually suffered for days while still eating their usual diet. This is because the stomach truly needs rest when sick, and allowing it that time results in a much more speedy recovery. I’m still following these tips up to this day, or try to.
pictures: are from a book called Florals and Nature - Memories of a Lifetime, published in 2005, ISBN: 1-4027-1998-1, and they're free to use for any type of project. Read more (or buy) here. (Not an affiliate link. Not a sponsored post.)
Today I decided to make a stew and also share the process as well. This stew is 100% vegan, as i made sure not to use anything that was made by animals, or with their meat.
I'm hungry, so let's start the recipe already. Here are the ingredients:
potatoes -more than 1 kg (2.5 lbs? 3 lbs?)
2 medium carrots
some 300 grams of green beans (less than 1 lbs)
1 bell pepper (any color)
1 teaspoon of salt ? (depending on how salty you want it)
1 or 2 spoons of cooking oil
sweet or hot paprika (powder)
black pepper (you can use both powder and whole, or either one)
aromatic herbs - packed individually. -see the image below
You can also add a small eggplant in this stew, if you want. I don't recommend zucchini nor baby pumpkins - I tried and I found the experiment rather unpleasant.
Take the beans and 2 spoons of oil, and put them in a large enough pot, that you place on a small fire or heat source.
Peel and dice your carrots, and place them on top of the beans. Also pour some water and some salt, and cover with a lid.
It's time to peel, wash and dice your potatoes. Potatoes cook much faster than carrots, and if the fire or heat is on medium to low, there won't be much to worry about.
Once this is done, drop the cubed potatoes into the pot, and fill with water just enough to cover everything,much like in the image below. Now leave the pot to cook over medium heat for some 45 minutes.
When the time is up, you add the condiments, herbs, chopped bell pepper (mine was frozen, so you can't see it well), and 2 spoons of tomato sauce.
Now, after you added all that, mix and let sit on the fire for some 15 minutes more. This is enough time for the bell pepper to cook and for the aromas to mix up, and flavor the dish.
Next, you can serve lava hot if you feel like it, but I recommend you wait some 30 minutes for it to cool down a little - it will still be delicious. You can serve it as is or with lettuce or Greek salad, fried tofu or fried soy meat substitute.
FOR MEAT EATERS:
You can also serve with chicken, with fried eggs, fish, and even with steak - basically anything that can be fried or roasted. You can put smoked bacon in it during cooking, if you really want to, for more flavor.
As you already know, I now own a sewing machine. So, I had to start using it. So here, I'll share my first completed sewing projects. I have to mention that the supplies I used were given to me - fabrics, thread, scissors. I only bought hand sewing needles and pin needles (which i still need to buy).
My first sewing project was a kitchen apron. It should be of no surprise, since I like cooking. I can't have too many aprons. Looking through the fabric pieces I had, to see which one would be a better choice for an apron, I found this "beauty".
The colors on it are neon green and neon orange, and not this reddish color. I thought it was a pretty fabric for an apron - really where could I wear such a color combination other than around the house?
The fibers are man-made, most likely polyester. It's a pretty stiff fabric? not very thin, but thanks to the grid pattern on it I could cut it straight enough.
Now, I already had an apron from H&M, so I used that one as "guide lines". And because I forgot to take pictures from the start, you'll only see the already cut fabric. It also seems I had already one seam at least pinned down. The above picture, is actually of the left-over fabric, sorry to mislead you.
The colors are off because I did this after the sunset, and i have bad lights in the room - and i know everyone has them. Sometimes my creativity sparks in the evening, so I can't wait. I know it's a really bad habit.
So, to cut out this shape, I laid the fabric on the floor folded in half, in such a way to have most of the left over on one side. I can't tell which side of the fabric is the "right" one and which one is the "wrong" one, not with this particular piece, pattern and color combination. I folded my old apron in half as well, and i simply cut around it. I'm pretty sure I left some seam allowance, especially since i had to turn the edge in twice to avoid unravelling. This fabric can really unravel fast!
Then, i started sewing the straight edges, after I pinned them down. I wen't slowly since I had pins in the fabric, and I didn't want an accident to happen and ruin my machine, or worse.
Then I had to make the ribbon-like strips of cloth that make the apron stay on the body. I cut 3 strips of cloth, 5 cm wide and some 60 cm long. The original apron has 4 of them, 2 tying around the waist and 2 around the neck, or a combination, depending on your imagination.
I also cut 2 strips to cover the rounded edges around the arms. These strips were also about 5 cm wide, and just a bit longer than what i needed. You can see a little bit of the ribbon after it was attached to one of the rounded sides of the apron. Because this specific ribbon was a bit longer, I left it as it was, and i sewed the other 3 ribbons to the "extension" - I didn't want the fabric to become too thick. Up close it doesn't look very nice, but from afar, nobody can tell i made this faux-pas.
To attach the narrow fabric to the rounded edges, I pinned down the fabric first. I had to make sure to attach the ribbon to the 'right' side of the apron, as once i made hems, it had a right and a wrong side. Then i used a straight stitch from one side to the other. I twisted the ribbon over to the front, and tried to pin it down with the raw edges in, and straight stitched it in place. It looks a bit wonky on the wrong side, but who can tell?
To make the ribbons that keep the apron on the body, I first had to stitch the edges be hand. the fabric was being difficult and I don't think I would have managed to do it by machine from first try. I had to make sure the raw edges stay inside the ribbon. I folded the ribbon in half, and straight stitched and attached to the apron.
And now the apron is complete! maybe not quite as complete as I want it to be. And can you spot the mistake? the neck-ribbon is twisted. Twice. and sewn in place. Yes, I didn't pay attention to that. And it kinda bothers me, but I won't fix it.
So, if you pay a bit of attention to the H&M apron, it has a white pocket. I put it there, because I feel it needs a pocket. So, i decided to make a small pocket for my new apron. And the nice part is that this apron and its pocket will look much better because they're from the same fabric.
The pocket is not very big, and I had to follow a similar approach as with the ribbons. I had to make sure the raw edges stay inside the hem/stitched part, so I made sure by using some thread, needle, and my hand. One of the edges, the one you see stitched by machine was the salvage part of the fabric, so I only turned it in once. I was then able to attach the pocket to the apron, and now it was really complete.
NECK-TIE FOR THE BEAR PLUSH TOY
The second project was a neck-tie for this plush toy. Well, I has to fix one of its eyes as well, as it was broken. I bought it on sale, for half the original price, because of his missing eye. I felt bad, ok? The non-shiny eye is actually a button I had.
I thought the bear looks a bit boring or sad, so I thought it needs further grooming or cheering up. I decided to make a ribbon of sorts, that I would tie around its neck. I once had a flannel shirt that I didn't like for some reason. I cut it into pieces, hoping i'd make something else out if it, at a point when i didn't have a sewing machine. As a result, I decided to cut 2 strips from that fabric, and sew them together into a ribbon of sorts.
I first sew together 2 of the short edges, and then around the new longer strip, then to turn it inside-out. The idea was pretty good, but in practice it was pretty difficult. The new strip/ribbon was a bit too narrow and it was difficult for me to do. I only learned a trick for it to be done fast, a couple of days later.
The new ribbon was pretty long, and I decided it worked well as a neck tie. So, I made a tie knot around the bear's neck. I didn't think the look was complete, so I decided to add a button as extra decoration. I wasn't going to use that button for anything as it looked pretty ugly on its own. On the neck-tie, on the bear it looks quite elegant? chic? I find it pretty at least.
I hope you also like my projects. What else should I make? I already have in mind to make some clothes for Barbie. That's for a different, future, blog entry.
Naked bushes scattered on the shalow snow
Make me feel as frozen as the air.
The cold deserted scenery makes feel welcomed
Others pay no attention -
too much in a hurry to reach their destination
This is how winter nests itself in our hearts.
Everything is quiet, cold and white.
In the night, yellow and white lights show the roads blanketed by heavy snow.
Hungry beasts bear their teeth at anyone daring to venture in the darkness.
December just started as I start typing this. But knowing me, it will take a while for me to gather my thoughts and finish it. -As I post this is already the end of January. lack of inspiration.-
However, I need some sort of a conclusion for 2018. It will help me with remembering things when I'll be older. Placing events according to a time frame is not my strongest point. It does seem like I have many weaknesses, doesn't it? At the very least, one of my biggest weaknesses is (still) cleaning, as we all remember.
I'm sure you remember i drew a couple conclusions at the end of the past years. I'll link the 2017 one here, mostly for myself ... and to be able to compare the 2 years better.
Last December I made my first resolution for the new year - you know the stuff I'd like to accomplish in 2018. I'll show a picture of it, and then talk about how I did.
The first picture is last year's resolutions. In the second picture I recorded my workout progress or efforts, along with how much i weigh at the end of the month. The last picture shows my resolutions for 2019.
I think I did pretty well with working out. It didn't turn into a routine, but I did work out more than I expected. I hope to continue on a similar note and to improve. However, so far throughout January, I failed. I also did pretty well with studying Chinese last year. I think the worst was the calligraphy as I practiced nothing in that regard, though I did write by hand throughout the year. Just not for this specific purpose.
I also did pretty well with less swearing - while i didn't record myself talking, I always tried to censor out all cuss words. I still feel like cussing a lot, and a times i do let out some cuss words. I was cussing a lot in 2017 - this year, so far I think i cussed once or twice.
snowmen and frozen nature
This winter came early - the first snow fell at the end of November. Of course people had to make snowmen. The 2nd one seen above, was actually VERY small -maybe smaller than the length of my palm? I had to squat to take a picture at its level.
This winter didn't only come early, but it's also quite extreme. Last week it rained and there was a strong wind that turned the water into instant ice. It froze the grass, the trees, the fences, the parked cars, everything. Some tree branches even broke because of the weight of the ice.
It looked beautiful - like a forbidden frozen city from a magical land where people were somehow transported. Yesterday, it all started slowly melting. I'm glad I took some pics.
So, first things first. This entry is WAAAAY overdue, oops, as the event took place in March 2018. I was so disappointed with it made me delaying talking about it. But I still have the pictures, and I think the idea was rather cute, though some might find it a bit ... of a cultural appropriation, and you'll see why in just a second.
A bit of a background
In February of last year, I saw the ad for a school festival, done in Japanese style. In Japanese, "bunkasai" means "Cultural festival ." I believe this was the 2nd or 3rd edition of this bunkasai, and was inspired by the school-life of Japan - most likely because this is the only school in Bucharest teaching Japanese. I learned about the event from Facebook, and it seemed interesting enough to go check it out. Gotta say that such festivals are not done over here, unless things have changed, and I didn't get the memo.
inside and around the school
As you can see fro the above pictures, there was snow on the ground because a couple of days before, a snow storm hit us.
About the Event
The Facebook ad was mentioning all sorts of attractions at this festival, such as sushi, a haunted house, workshops with origami, caligraphy, drawing and not only, as well as (maid) cafes - basically what you'd expect to see in an authentic event in a Japanese school.
Everything sounded great, at least on screen. But of course, the reality was ... different to say the least. It was disappointing ... and a bit cringy. Mostly because it looked like a cheap imitation of the real thing - with which i'm familiar only from manga and anime, where it looks different. Add to this, the fact that some of the students organizing the whole thing, were wearing yukata (=a type of kimono worn in summer, made of thin fabrics) in winter! Just no!
We went there towards the end of the day, and this meant that most of the stuff were over or sold out, if you wanted to buy something. This added to the disappointment. To enter the haunted house [or room, better said] we had to wait in a long line, and we just didn't feel like waiting.
Let me show you some more pics from that event, though they're not great in any way.
the halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted room
I hope any future similar events will improve. I also think other schools could get inspiration from it and make their own unique events, or events that are more connected to Romania's identity and cultural heritage.
We didn't spend a lot of time there, so we left. We went to McDonalds at Unirii Square. We got some fries that we gave to the seagulls on the river. It took them a couple of seconds to eat the fries. I don't have enough pics, and the ones I have are not even good enough, but I hope you like seeing some birds.
This is the first entry for 2019, so happy new year! I will try to update you soon (fingers crossed) with how I managed to keep my last year's new year resolutions, and which are the new ones.
You know I have (paid) work to do when I start writing or doing anything else out of stress. .. as long as I can get some stuff done, I should be forgiven? no? only if I meet the deadline on Friday? I'll meet it. ;)
And now on with the recipe! First I have to tell you that this recipe first appeared on my old blog, back in March 2017. However, last night I re-made it and took more pictures, so I post this as a fresh entry, but with both old and new pictures.
They say spinach is very healthy for you, but not everyone likes it. I must say I REALLY like spinach for some reason. Too bad I'm not eating more of it, though.
I'll not go into why is it good for you, or give one hundred reasons to eat it. I'll just advise you to try new recipes for the foods you don't really like.. or better-said vegetables you like least. I'll share a rather simple recipe that hopefully will make you curious enough to try it out. Perhaps you'll even like it.
There is a bit of garlic in this Romanian recipe - in the original version which I want you to try. You probably know by now I don't eat or cook with onions or garlic, but I will share this recipe exactly how it is done - as I believe most of you will like it better this way. Let's say that you can easily get nauseous because of this food if you don't add garlic, and you can't use onion instead either.
INGREDIENTS: (4 servings)
1 kg (2 pounds) fresh spinach *
5-6 tablespoons oil
5-6 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
800 ml cold milk
salt [to taste]
8 eggs [2 for each serving]
Wash your spinach well, several times if needed. Make sure you have only nice looking leaves in there. [skip this step if you use a frozen product like me]
Boil it for a few minutes in salted water. It should look cooked. Strain.
Grab your wooden chop board and a non-metal spatula or spoon** and finely chop your spinach. [you'll skip this step for frozen products, as they might already be chopped]
Heat oil in a pot large enough to hold 4 pounds of food, as you'll add all the ingredients in here. Chop or mince your garlic*** and add it in to cook a bit. The garlic should become a bit translucent not brown (or the food becomes bitter) just enough to give some flavor.
Add your flour and mix well and wait for it to become a bit brown.
Add half of your milk and let it simmer for about a minute - you should have a white [thick] sauce at this point. Mine was a bit lumpy because I didn't mix/stir well enough. Avoid lumps in your sauce [if you can].
Add your chopped spinach and stir.
Add the remaining milk until you get the desired consistency. Don't forget to add salt. Let cook until it becomes steamy again. I personally didn't feel I needed etra milk.
OPTIONAL: add a teaspoon of sugar and vinegar (or juice from a half lemon). I didn't add these, so I'm not sure if it will taste better. Apparently, some older women cook it this way. ****
Fry your eggs sunny side up, and place 2 on each serving, and serve!
You can also serve with fried chicken liver like seen below, but it simply tastes better with eggs. We eat fried liver in Romania - chicken and pork liver are most popular and delicious when hot!
*I used frozen spinach because it is impossible to find fresh one in December, around here.
**we have special butcher knives made of wood or silicone.
***I'm not sure if there is a taste difference, but the idea is not to use the garlic cloves as they are.
****The first time around I didn't add neither lemon nor sugar. Last night I added lemon. I used the juice from half a lemon for the whole quantity of food.
Towards the end of the month of November we decided to have some Mac and Cheese, but like the real deal. And yes, there is a non-real version too. So I asked A to search for the recipe as I never made this and I tend to just whip some dishes up, with no recipe and the result is not always good, as you can imagine.
One of the things I need to improve is my willingness to follow recipes and the presentation. Sometimes I'm also under the impression the taste is not the one I imagine it to be. Since we have no reference point, we just have to think the food tastes good. However, the good news is that I plan on cooking more in 2019, even if I won't share everything I cook.
Enough babbling, on with the recipe!
250 g macaroni;
125 g (real) butter;
150 g cheese - we used a local cheese called "telemea"
some ground black pepper
Boil water with some salt, and add the pasta. Let it boil according the instructions on the package - usually some 10 minutes.
Dice the butter and shred the cheese. This way, the butter will melt faster.
When the time is up, drain the water, add the butter and the cheese and mix.
Let everything in the pot, on the fire for 2 extra minutes, then turn off the fire.
When the time is up, add the black pepper on top. You can eat it right away, but better wait some 5 to 10 minutes so it will cool down a bit, with a lid on top.
Let me tell you that this was the best pasta I had in a very long time. This is why I decided to share this recipe with all of you. Also, if you never tried Mac and Cheese before, this is a great chance to try it out. I know some folks prefer to make recipes that have been cooked by others before, and that were successful.
Earlier I mentioned I used the cheese telemea. It's a Romanian cheese similar to feta, if I'm not mistaken. You're better off learning more about it from its Wiki page. It's usually salty or very salty, though less salty varieties have been made too. Nowadays, most telemea cheese on the market is made of cows milk, probably because it's easier to come by.
I haven't posted a recipe in a very long time, i believe. I think it's time I shared something - a salad this time! It's easy to make, pretty good for the upcoming holidays, delicious in my opinion, and is also vegan friendly!
Well, ok, what I'll share is not vegan friendly because I used eggs, BUT keep the eggs out and you can safely enjoy it! If you're wondering why I had to specify this is a Romanian version of the salad, is because Google showed me a different type of salad when I searched for the name of this dish.
I'm not exactly sure what's the story behind this salad, all I know is that it's pretty easy to make, and that it's never enough.
1 kg potatoes
200 g black olives (for color; use seedless ones)
200 g pickles
1 red bell pepper
2 eggs (you can skip them for a vegan salad)
aromatic herbs - parsley (fresh or dry), dill (i skipped it)
some salt and ground black pepper
oil and vinegar
This is the list of ingredients for a basic salad I found on a Romanian website. I know some people add more stuff in this salad. One of the most common ingredients is sliced onion, but you must know we don't eat it. Other ingredients I noticed were shredded cabbage, raw cucumbers (along the pickled ones), and pickled beet, and the salad becomes a bit pinkish.
Do not add any type of meat in this salad, because then you'll make something else.
Start by peeling and dicing the potatoes. Then throw them in a pot with water, and place on medium heat. Don't forget to add some salt - I used some pink salt, not that it really matters, but we were curious. I boiled the potatoes for some 30 minutes, but I don't think I had 1 kg.
The next step is to slice or dice the rest of the ingredients, including the olives and eggs. Don't forget about the other ingredients you want to add.
Next, when the potatoes are done, rinse them with some cold water, and mix them with the ingredients. Of course,don't forget to add oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the herbs.
Look at those vibrant colors! This salad is eaten usually by itself or sometimes maybe with steak or chicken. There's no need for bread when eating this dish. You might need to eat other dishes before or after it to feel completely full.
Life is a journey. Or so I have been told. ObscureJourney is a blog about My life, the things I experience and learn. I hope I can learn from my mistakes. The blog used to known as "TheOwnerTravelsTo" and i had a separate blog called "CookingMyExperience".
The purpose of obscurejourney blog is to share positive ideas and experiences -hopefully- while showing you that you don't need a lot to be happy.
Not all failures mean the end of the world. They mean that whatever you were trying out wasn't meant to happen:
it wasn't your life's journey. We all have a particular life journey, even if we don't discover it from the start. But remember:
You will discover your path! Do you think I discovered mine? Perhaps I did, but I have yet to fully walk it. I know writing is part of it.
All content is created by me, with my silly mobile phone and its camera. Unless otherwise stated, the following applies:
All blog entries are written by me, Charly Cross -this is a pen name, unless mentioned otherwise.
Pictures are mine - especially if I signed them with a (c) and my blog's name (or former name of the blog).