Cooking with Gergana: For all bean lovers

Back at it with another cooking recipe! I know I have been absent for the last month or so but I promise I will try my best to be more consistent with my blog and create new and exciting content for every single one of you! Today’s post is dedicated to all bean lovers, including me, who incorporate beans in their meals at least three times a week!

This recipe, just like any other recipe on my blog, is incredibly easy and quick to make but at the same time it is healthy and delicious! As you all must assume by now the main ingredient for this dish is beans but not any type of beans- I’m talking about my favourite type of beans which is baked beans. But before talking about beans, first you will start by chopping onion and garlic and frying it (I usually like my onion chopped finely but you stick to the way you usually chop it). Next for vegetables you will need spinach, carrots, broccoli, green beans. I usually buy frozen vegetables that I keep in the freezer just because I eat tones of vegetables and it is too time-consuming if I have to cut my vegetables for each meal. But you can use fresh or even tinned vegetables according to your own preference. So what I basically did was to add as much frozen spinach, carrots, broccoli and green beans as I fancied to the pan in which I was frying onion and garlic. Fry everything for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally to make sure you don’t burn any of the ingredients. Last but not least, add a tin of baked beans in tomato sauce to the pan and turn the heat down. Now it is time to add a bit of spices to bring the taste in this dish. If you like any spices in particular add those but what I added was salt, pepper, turmeric, basil and coriander. Keep on the stove for another 3-4 minutes while mixing everything together. Now, if you wish you could break a couple of eggs on top of everything and put a lid to make sure the eggs will cook. In about 10 minutes or less the eggs should be done. Once the eggs are cooked, turn the heat off and voalá- your meal is ready to be served! 

I hope at least some of you recreate this recipe and if you do make sure to let me know. Also, I always encourage people to not be afraid to put their own twist on not only recipes but everything in life! You guys must know by now I love sharing my ideas with you because I hope it helps inspire you no matter whether it is for cooking or just life in general! Hope you are having an amazing morning, afternoon or night and I will talk to you in my next blog post!

Ingredients:                                 Spices: salt, pepper, coriander, basil, turmeric

  1. one onion
  2. 3-4 garlic cloves                  Cooking time: ~20-30 minutes
  3. frozen carrots
  4. frozen green beans
  5. frozen spinach
  6. frozen broccoli
  7. a tin of baked beans
  8. 2 eggs

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An extrovert’s guide to being alone

If you are an extrovert, just like me, you must be well aware of the fact that we are very sociable and outgoing people who gain energy and inspiration by spending most of our time talking to others. However, as much as I love being an extrovert, I sometimes find it hard to escape the dullness of the days that I spend alone and I also often have difficulties finding motivation which results in lack of productivity. Over time though, I’ve come up with ideas on how to not feel lonely and stay motivated even on days we are alone. If you are interested in finding more about my tips just keep on reading!

First and foremost, I feel like the best way to feel good when you are alone is to just feel good about yourself and know your worth! A lot of people, including me, like to spend time with others because they appreciate those people more than they appreciate themselves. So they basically want to be surrounded by people at all times because when they are not, they tend to feel discouraged, left alone and even depressed. Thus, they always look to their friends and families for inspiration and motivation. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I myself constantly get inspired by others but I also like to remind myself that I am good enough to be my own motivation and I do not need to be surrounded by people on a daily basis to be productive and chase after my goals. And the same refers to you! You are valuable, inspiring and capable of achieving so much on your own. But for all that you need to feel comfortable surrounded by your own self and believe in yourself! Feeling comfortable surrounded by your own company requires self-love and self-appreciation. I know extroverts are people lovers and that is amazing but you also need to love yourself because at the end of the day you cannot be sure whether all those people will stay in your life for good or bad but one thing you do know for sure is that you’ve got yourself all along the way and thus you should take care and treasure the incredible human being you are!

The best way to feel good when alone is to keep yourself busy! I find that being busy is key to being productive and productivity always puts me in a good mood. I know you’ve probably heard this millions of times already but I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a planner or a notebook to help you plan your day ahead. Writing down even the easiest tasks such as making your bed or watering the plants and ticking them off when you are done will make you feel accomplished and productive at the end of the day! So instead of wasting your whole day feeling lonely and depressed that you cannot be around your friends or families just use that time to get things done! I promise you you can only benefit from having a planner. Apart from making you feel accomplished and keeping you motivated, you will become a very organised person if you are not already.

Have fun! Most of the time extroverts think they need to be surrounded by people in order to have fun in life. And that is true, I’ve had some of the best times in my life with my friends and I think being able to share amazing moments with other people is awesome but I also think you can simply have fun on your own. I know it can be hard for extroverts to realise that but you do not necessarily need to be surrounded by a bunch of people in order to have fun! You can have fun on your own simply by doing what you love- personally I like to take the time when I am alone to listen to music and dance like no one is watching or practice yoga or even experiment with new recipes in the kitchen. You can do something that you have always wanted to do but never had the chance to such as walking around the house completely naked or pretending to be your favourite character from this movie you absolutely love! Just let your imagination run wild!

Be grateful! Last but not least, appreciate the time you have only to yourself because you never know whether in the future you will have that same “me time” as I like to call it anymore. Just be grateful for the time you are alone and try to live it the best way possible so that when you look back in time it brings back good memories and positivism instead of negative and pessimistic flashbacks. I personally live by this rule of being grateful because it makes me acknowledge everything that the universe is sending me in life! And I always make sure to encourage others to be grateful for this life they are living too!

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That time Birmingham stole my heart

Last week my mother came to visit me in England for a few days and I had organised a day trip to Birmingham because my mom as a crazy chocolate lover had always been keen on visiting Cadbury World. To be fair, I was not expecting to be the one falling for this city but I was very pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer.

The first stop in Birmingham was, of course, Cadbury World. In the beginning, I thought there were only going to be children at the chocolate museum but there were adults as well. And if I have to be completely honest, I was genuinely impressed by this place. There were different zones including Aztec Jungle which allows you to travel back in time and discover the origin of the cocoa bean, Cadabra ride, 4D Chocolate Adventure which offers its visitors to dive into liquid Cadbury Diary Milk and more. You were also allowed to take a look at a demonstration of hand-making chocolate items by chocolatiers. I do not want to go into detail too much about each zone but I want to mention that my favourite one must be Cadbury Story. I found it incredibly interesting, educational and inspiring to listen to what John Cadbury had to go through to establish his business and how his sons helped him build a new and better factory.

 

Having had a blast at Cadbury World, me and my mother were thirsty for more adventures. We made our way to the city centre and our next stop was the beautiful Victoria Square that managed to blow my mind with its magnificence. Being home to the Town Hall and Council House, this place looked absolutely superb and grandiose. Also, I could not help myself but take a picture at the famous Mistry’s fountain known as The River and the statue of Queen Victoria. After that, we took a stroll down the main pedestrian route which took us straight to the Bull Ring. We stopped for a coffee break and sat at a cafe overlooking the gorgeous church of St Martin. Last but not least, we finished our trip off by making our way to the astonishing St Philip’s Cathedral where we sat on the grass and tried to enjoy the architecture of this magnificent building as much as possible.

 

Birmingham is an incredible city and has so many places to offer that are definitely worth giving a go! After spending a whole day there I could say this city sure did steal my heart and I will certainly be going back in the near future!

Dear High School Self

This is advice post, dedicated to all of you who are still in high school but also self-reflection on my high school years. I think being able to look back and reflect is essential for anyone who is interested in self-development and even self-love. But at the same time, I thought this post might be beneficial to any of you who are having a hard time at school and need someone to tell them this is certainly not the end of the world and the best is really yet to come! So without further do, grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s just jump right into it!

If only I could go back in time and tell my high school self to not worry about everything so much! I used to be such a worrier in high school you cannot even imagine! I used to have anxiety attacks before every test we used to sit, I used to panic when a teacher would ask me a question and I would have to answer in front of all my classmates or I would be filled with fear every time before I had to present in front of the class. And last but certainly not least I used to worry all the time that I was simply not enough for people to like me and want to be friends with me. I was just being incredibly insecure about who I was and this prevented me from having an awesome time at high school. Worrying takes so much of your time when you could be having fun instead. I know some people at high school can be very nasty and judge you on a daily basis so this can be very stressful but the trick here is to recognise that they are doing it because they themselves are feeling extremely insecure. So just try to remember to be confident and believe in yourself because you are valuable and there is so much you are yet to achieve in this beautiful life!

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If only I could go back in time and tell my high school self that you do not necessarily have to find love in high school and a heartbreak is definitely not the end of the world. I remember falling for boys in high school because I was simply obsessed with the idea of falling in love. And then I would go through a heartbreak which would seem like the whole world is falling apart and nothing really matters anymore. I would just spend days crying my eyes out over someone I used to build imaginary future with. You silly sausage.. I wish I could just really travel back in time and assure myself that you will certainly fall in love again one day and it will for sure bring you lots of joy and happiness. You just need to be patient and wait for the right person and time to come your way.

If only I could go back in time and tell my high school self to not be so hard on herself all the time! Now, I am still dealing with this one but I have definitely made improvements over the years. However, it is crazy how hard I used to be on myself back in high school! For instance, I would study for a test for weeks and then if I did not get the expected mark I would just spend so much time blaming myself and contemplating things I had done wrong but could have done right. I have always been a perfectionist and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but at the same time we are all humans and everyone makes mistakes so no one should be this hard on themselves! At the end of the day, each and every mistake we make is a life lesson that can only help us become the better versions of ourselves!

If only I could go back in time and tell my high school self that high school is just a chapter of your book and definitely not the whole book! I know when you are in high school your whole world revolves around it but I can promise you you are just getting started! There is so much to come your way and in years time you will probably not even be able to remember most of the things that happened to you in high school. Although your high school years will be completely different from everything life will be throwing at you later on, I guess you could say that high school prepares you for real life in a sense. One thing I’ve personally learnt from my experience at school is to embrace my true self and not listen to what other people say because as cheesy as it may sound it is true that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and work hard for it.

I would be extremely happy if this post is helpful to any of you so please do not hesitate to leave comments down below and let me know about your high school experience! From my personal experience I can tell you one thing for sure and that is that high school can be great fun if you approach it with the right attitude. Even though as a teenager I did have my personality issues back then, I must admit these were some of the most amazing years of my life so far! I just wanted to let you know that you are in control and it is really up to you what your experience at high school will be!

 

 

Cooking with Gergana: Childhood inspired vegetable soup

I’ve realised I’ve posted quite a few recipes on my website considering the fact that I am a new blogger. It’s just that I am passionate about cooking and experimenting with ingredients and I really like to share my cooking experience with you guys! Thus, I have decided to make a new series on my blog- “Cooking with Gergana”. However, I do want to make a disclaimer very early on and say I am by no means chef Ramsay and I am not an expert but I do enjoy spending time in the kitchen and I do like to make sure I cook with love!

Now, if you know me you are aware of the fact that one of the reasons I like to cook my own food is because I am all about cheap and healthy meals. Being a second-year-student in the UK, I always make sure to buy the cheapest ingredients that have nutritional value and are good for the body and the soul. Because when we eat healthy we do feel more energised and are generally happier.

Without further do, lets just jump right into it! For today’s recipe I have decided to share how I make vegetable soup but not any vegetable soup- I am talking about my childhood inspired vegetable soup! When I was little, my grandma always used to make tomato soup and it used to be my favourite. For this reason, when I want to cook something cozy that will bring back my childhood memories I always make this soup! It is extremely easy and fast to cook and also you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

First you want to start by chopping an onion and frying it for about one to two minutes. Then you add to the pot as many frozen vegetables as your heart desires to- I usually add carrots, garden peas, cut green beans and sweetcorn, but you can add any vegetables of your own choice. Then I also add about half a mug of rice and about four mugs of water. And last but not least I add a can of chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock cube and salt and pepper to season it all! Bring it to the boil and then simmer for about 15-20 minutes! And voilà – your soup is ready to be served! It is so easy and fast but at the same time so delicious, I feel like this would be the perfect start for someone who’s a beginner at cooking! Also, I always encourage people to add their own twist to each and every recipe so if you feel like adding more spices or more ingredients be sure to do so! I just like to keep it pretty simple because the taste reminds me of my grandma’s famous tomato soup! Please let me know if you decide to recreate it and make sure to send me pictures!

Cooking time: ~20-30min
Ingredients:

  1. one onion
  2. frozen vegetables (use any vegetables of your own choice and add as much as you want)
  3. 1/2 mug of rice
  4. 4 mugs of water
  5. 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  6. vegetable stock cube

Spices: salt, pepper

 

The town of the hills

I am so incredibly proud to have been born and raised in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. And since my hometown has been chosen to be the European capital of culture 2019, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to a few of the best places to stop by when in town.

The three hills on which Plovdiv’s Old Town stands were settled by Thracians in the 5th millennium BC. One of the most picturesque of Bulgaria’s historic urban centres, Plovdiv’s Old Town consists of steep cobbled streets lined with fine National Revival houses, many of them built for wealthy merchants. Mostly built in the mid-19th century, these houses gradually fell into decay as the cost of maintaining them outstripped their owners’ means. However, state restoration projects in 1970s did much to preserve these houses, several of which are now museums.

 

 

When in the Old Town, making your way up to the Roman Theatre is a must! I know I am particularly passionate about this place because as the daughter of an engineer and Technical Director of the Opera, I basically grew up at the amphitheatre! Most of my childhood memories are running up and down the steep stairs and almost causing my dad a heart attack every time as well as going on stage and pretending to be a prima ballerina! However, this impressive marble Roman Theatre, set in the hillside overlooking the city and the Rhodope Mountains beyond, was built in the 2nd century AD, when Trimontium (Roman Plovdiv) was at its height, and formed part of the acropolis. Today the theatre is used for concerts and plays most generally.

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Nebet Tepe, also known as the Prayer Hill, is another place I would highly recommend to visit when in the Old Town. As the city’s highest point, the summit was the site of a citadel. Situated close to the Maritsa River, it stands prominently in the centre of the plain between the Rhodope and Stara Planina mountains. It is a good vantage point from which to view most of the city, spread out below.

 

 

Last but certainly not least, I would like to introduce you to the Roman Stadium, located in the city centre. Crumbling marble terraces and tumbled columns oddly incorporated into the concrete foundations of modern Plovdiv are almost all that remain of the town’s once huge Roman Stadium. It was built in the 2nd century AD, and could seat 30,000 spectators.

 

 

What it is like to work for Youtube

Youtube is a video-sharing website which dates back to 2005 when it was first introduced but an important part of its history is when Google bought Youtube for $1.65 billion. (Jenkins, 2009) What makes this website so revolutionary is the level of participation it offers to the whole world. Not only is anyone able to watch as many videos as they desire to but they can also make their own unique content and share it with everyone. Moreover, if one’s content is good enough to get a lot of views, they can even earn a living out of it. ‘If Youtube seems to have sprung up overnight, it is because so many groups were ready for something like Youtube’ (Jenkins, 2009, p.77) Even before the emergence of the website, there were so many people interested in the DIY and music culture, for instance. Youtube is an amazing opportunity for all those creative people to freely express themselves online. Nowadays, there are many video genres on Youtube most popular of which seem to be Vlogs and Fictional short movies and sketches followed by music videos, Youtube moments videos, DIYs, Political videos etc. (Simonsen, 2011)

Anyone can start their own business on Youtube as it does not require a university degree. Getting to meet a lot of people and go to many exciting places and events is definitely a perk of being a Youtuber. Also, anyone can start a Youtube channel with no money just by using the resources they already have. For instance, you do not need expensive and modern camera equipment to film a video, you can just use your phone or laptop camera. So instead of stressing out you do not have money for a tripod or lighting, you can simply stack books or shoe boxes instead of a tripod and film right in front of a window for natural light. (UWIRE, 2014) Once you start earning some living and are sure Youtube is your thing, it might be beneficial to invest in some modern fancy equipment. However, although Youtube is available to everyone and everyone can upload their own content providing they have an account, one cannot claim that all Youtubers are equal. In fact, if you have recently started a channel and you work as hard or harder than a very successful youtuber, you still will not get paid quite as much as someone famous on youtube because: ‘as is true in high school, popularity gauges something’ (Juhasz, 2009) The truth is numbers are important on Youtube, the more views one gets, the more they get paid regardless of how much time and effort they have put into filming and production of the video. Not to mention filming and editing is so extremely time-consuming a lot of Youtubers tend to feel lonely and isolated. (Chanel Ambrose, 2016) Also, Youtube is about constantly coming up with unique ideas for videos which can get quite hard and challenging at times even for creative people. When outlining potential disadvantages of this kind of work, one cannot forget to talk about money. Although there are many people out there who do Youtube just as a hobby and do not financially rely on it, there are Youtubers for whom Youtube is a full-time job which might be quite tricky because as freelancers they never know how much you will earn each month (Maria, 2017). And last but not least, exposing oneself on the Internet is very scary and even though there are many brave people out there who do it, receiving hate or negative comments can really bring them down.

A current issue that has been causing discontent among Youtubers is demonetization which means that advertising of certain videos is turned off and Youtube no longer promotes these videos. This means that any inappropriate content which, for example, consists of disrespectful comments or dark humor that other people might not understand and take for an offense is no longer ‘advertiser friendly’ which also means the Youtuber is not going to get paid much because the ad revenue will drop. However, Youtube is doing nothing wrong but to follow their terms of service.

Your content complies with YouTube Partner Program policies, YouTube’s Terms of Service, and Community Guidelines. YouTube reserves the right to disable monetization for accounts that do not follow our guidelines. (Youtube, 2017)

Some Youtubers like Philip DeFranco argue that taking away monetization is a form of censorship because creators who are not that successful are basically crippled as they cannot survive without monetized videos and therefore will not be able to make them. (CIOL, 2016) Meanwhile a lot of ad companies have started removing their ads from YouTube because they are afraid their ad might show up alongside inappropriate content. (Watson, 2017) Thus, ‘YouTube’s policy lists a lot of things as not ad friendly including: sexual humor, inappropriate language (i.e., profanity and vulgar language), promotion of drugs and regulated substances and controversial or sensitive subjects and events’. (UWIRE, 2016) One cannot proceed without regarding the question: ‘who benefits from all that?’ Is it YouTube which in fact loses money from not promoting certain videos as this results into the videos not getting as many views as they would normally do? Or is it the ad companies which do not get any profit from not allowing their ads to pop up alongside videos? It certainly is not Youtubers who create their own unique content and their videos get demonetized because they did a bit of swearing or something YouTube would regard as inappropriate. And it certainly is not the audience who requests a certain video or waits for it for a long time and then when it has actually been uploaded it does not appear in their subscriptions because of the excessively strong language it contains, for instance.

Youtube is making people’s dreams come true, the website is innovative and revolutionary in the sense that it allows creative people to earn a living by expressing themselves but it also causes problems such as the issue of demonetization as well as not providing a monthly fixed income and hides challenges like having to deal with hate and being able to always come up with ideas for videos.

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