Friday, 28 February 2014

Six Word Fridays- Light

The pink hue of evening light 
casts a glow on golden shores.
 Birds gracefully fly home to roost.
 their silhouettes framed against the sky.

Later when rosy skies turn orange, 
The echoing beat of their wings
will just be another forgotten moment.

My Memory Art six word fridays

Linking in with Adrienne to bring you six word Friday.
See you soon
Amanda x

Thursday, 27 February 2014

A February Invitation to Tea

Gosh, it's the 27th February already! How the time has flown. I can't believe it's been a month since you were round for tea. You must have seen the invite from Abi, Welcome back.
Please do come in and make yourself at home.
Now you'll have to excuse me every once in a while, as I may have to nip into the kitchen. There are some cookies baking in the oven- and I do happen to make a habit of forgetting about things and burning them! It is much easier now I have a lovely new oven though- at least things do cook!
How are you doing? Are you oK? How's the weather where you are- As you can see, we are back to blue skies- I'm certainly not complaining:)
Listen me waffling about- I haven't even offered you a cup of tea.

What would you like? I have some Lotus tea if you fancy it- My friend brought it back from Cambodia, along with some sugar cane. Don't you just love how they have packaged up the sugar cane in the leaves- It seems too nice to open doesn't it. If I try it before you come round again, I'll let you know what it's like. As for the tea, I haven't had that either, but she assures me they are both very good!

Oh, good, one tray of cookies are ready, just give me a minute whilst I go and check on them.
Are you ok just sitting here and admiring the sunset?

There you are, you might want to wait for a few minutes before you have one though- they're a little warm!
Or I have some fresh mango if you would prefter that- I do love mango, it's one of my favourite fruits, however I never seem to be able to cut it properly without making a mess or without mango juice running down my arms! Would you like some?

 Feel free to have a wander round. I'll apologise for the mess now! Since my friends went back to the UK, I've started to get back to normal, but there still seems to be stuff everywhere- I mean...Just look at the state of my bookcase! I really don't like getting rid of books, but I do think I need to have a bit of a sort out. Particularly as come July, I'll have to either pack them up or get rid of them. I think I just need to read more!

My desk is such a state too! I'm in the middle of making pages for my Art Journal 52. I'm way behind with it- as i am with most things- but I have enjoyed pottering about with it. Maybe at some point I'll actually finish something, so you can have a look at it!

Would you like anymore tea? The biscuits should be cool now too- Would you like one? If you don;t want to have one now, I can share the recipe with you. I'll just put my link here.

Oh, Let me show you what I ended up buying recently. Over the holidays I went to Kuching and ended up buying quite a bit of souvenir stuff. I'm not sure if i'll get back there again, so just in case I don't- I stocked up! Some of it will be for presents and some just for me!
As you can see, wood and weaving play a big part in my finds- and of course, there's lots of batik too. I bet you didn't know that Sarawak is famous for its black pepper? So I stocked up on that too!
In fact I stocked up on lots of herbs and spices- I just couldn't resist. Now I just have to cook with them!
These boxes didn't come form Kuching- I got them last summer in Bali- They are cute though! At the minute they are empty, but perhaps not for long. I'm sure I could find a use for them somehow!These will be something else I shall end up shipping.
As will this! Another Bali find! I really don't know where I shall put them. I really should have a declutter. Maybe I should start to spring clean?
Wow, that time has just flown by, I hope everything was ok for you. I should really let you get a word in edge ways shouldn't I?
It was lovely to see you again- I do hope you'll pop in again next month.
Take care.
Amanda x

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Photo Heart Connection- February

You know me, I love a good sunset!

Photo heart connection is all about reviewing your photo graphs and finding one that speaks most to your heart and connects with it.
So I'm joining in with Kat at and her photo-heart-connection.However this month, for whatever reason -I missed the Link up- but thought I'd share my thoughts and picture anyway before the month was out.

I'm going to miss these sunsets! Living here on the coast of Sabah means we get some spectacular sunsets. No matter how many times you see one, there always seems to be a better one a few days later. It's at times like this when you realise how beautiful it all is- and how sometimes you really do just have to stop, think and take in the view-Literally!

This was a little further up from us, amidst the mangroves and wetlands, the orange glow of the sunset casting a watery reflection, that coated the surface of the water.

So I paused, snapped, and watched for those few seconds that change the view ever so subtly- but then as the seconds tick by, the light intensifies and you end up with the most dramatic sunset. 
It does make you want to stop and stare.
It does make you think.
It does make you wonder.
And at the end of the day - Literally and figuratively-
isn't it so amazing that every day the sun rises, the sun sets and we are around to appreciate its beauty.
I'm going to miss these sunsets!
Amanda x

Monday, 24 February 2014

My First Blogaversary

Well, One year ago today, I was listening the bang, banging of  drums and the crackling of fire crackers. Chinese New year was much later last year- and so that's what I wrote about- Chinese New Year, Here! My first ever foray into the blogging world and 'Graham's Landing' was launched. 

I didn't know at the time, why I was really blogging, nor why anyone would want to read my blog- and so to be here a year later and still have stuff to say- well, it's all a very pleasant surprise.

It's been a great year, a strange year and a busy one. It's been a time for decisions, confrontations (with Situations- not people:)) Making new friendships, rekindling old ones.Sharing times with friends and family and learning to live at opposite sides of the world.

I've been lucky to be able to share some of the things I've got up to via my blog and the feedback has always been positive. 

In the last 12 months we've been to 4 countries, other than the ones I live in- Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. I've visited the UK three time. Had various weekends away and had umpteen flights. I've shared with you, nights spent in the Jungle or lazing by the beach- I've para sailed, kayaked, been diving and white water rafted.

I've taken thousands of photos and written 233 blog posts. I have another 30 more drafted!

Amazingly, I have gone from 0 followers to 27, although I know I have lots more of you lovely people who read my blog as well. 
I have had 22, 755 page views- although it is very possible that most of these are mine :)

Over the last year- my all time most visited blog post was an "October show and tell" at the Kota Belud Horse Festival.

If you had to ask me, which was the posts I have enjoyed most- I really would find that difficult to say. I must admit, I really enjoyed posting something Everyday in May and also the Advent Calendar - perhaps it's the daily commitment I enjoy of having to remember to post something!

Some of post have been fun to do, some have been more of a challenge or even a little bit sad- but at the end of the day, I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

What make's it special- is the fact that I have never had to go this alone- I have always had you lovely people there to share it all with me ...and so I thank you for hitching a lift- and steering me along the right path. Whatever happens, whether it be here or on different shores, Graham's landing will continue to be..hopefully...around for another 365 days.

I hope you'll join me
Amanda :)

Friday, 21 February 2014

Six Word Friday- With A Twist

The 'Six Word Friday' theme for this week, kindly set up by Adrienne was 'Twist'.
I had a few thoughts but wasn't all that convinced, until I was snapping away at my after school photography club- and there it was -  not one, not two but three 'Twist' photographs, just shouting out to made into a Six Word Friday.
So apologies for posting more than one, but here goes:

We were out looking for lines,
Horizontal? Vertical? Discovering rules of thirds.
Some were lucky and found curvy,
snapping away among twisted metal frames
trying to get the right angle,
whilst others just scaled new heights

Literally and figuratively up they went,
 seeing the world from up high.
Making the most of different perspectives,
 learning that photography isn't always easy.
Sometimes snapshot rules should  be broken-
It's what they like, that matters!

We also found some natural curves.
Bamboo roots that twisted and coiled,
like tangled serpents looking like Medusa,
Planting itself firmly in the ground.
Sheltering creatures away from prying eyes,
This mini, natural world, amidst concrete!

Thanks for joining me. 
Have a good weekend :)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A Year of Books and a Simple woman's Book Club- February

I  have a dilemma! Is it cheeky to link two very worthwhile linky posts together, when both of them are about the same thing? You see, I desperately wanted to share this book as my February read for the "Year of Books' with Laura at Circle of pines.
I was really looking forward to writing a post that would show you what I was going to read in February.
I was intrigued by the cover, loved the graphics, got hooked by the blurb and yet in the end I walked away from the book shop empty handed. I had too much to read- my own bookshelves were overflowing,I had other books to read, I had visitor's arriving and school work to do- Time for a new book was out of the question!

But then my visitor's arrived and brought with them the very same book... Call it fate, serendipity or what you will.. So I sat down to read... and devoured it, page by page!

So here's my Dilemma- Can I now write about my book once I've finished it? And if so, can I link it to another bloggy book club that I would love to take part in?
I took a decision to say yes- It's too good a book not to share. So I'm going to spread the book love and join in with thesimplewomansbookclub too.

 So for My Book for February is 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' by Deborah Rodriguez. It looks like it should be some kind of Chic Lit or cosy read-(and in fact, some of my friends were put off by that, thinking it was along similar lines to the knitting club, Supper Club, Cupcake shop, kind of genre) but this book is a little more than that.

Title: 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' 

Author: Deborah Rodriguez.

I read this book in  Paperback.

My personal thoughts on this book: 
This might not be everyone's cup of tea (Or coffee!) but I really enjoyed it. It may seem a light read, it certainly isn't a great literary masterpiece- but then again this is Rodriguez's debut novel, and whom, in fact, is a hairdresser not a novelist. However it is based on her experiences in Kabul and it is this insight into aspects of the Afghan culture that certainly ring true. The story tells of Sonny, an American, who runs a coffee shop in Kabul and a cast of characters that frequent and work there. Yes, the characters may not be very full bodied and the plot a little iffy, but it still didn't stop me from wanting to read more.  The five main women characters are interesting, each very different, each with their own story to tell and and yet are joined together through their shared experiences. It reads easily, yet touches on some very salient points about the treatment of women in Afghanistan. If you want a heavier read about Afghanistan, then 'The Kite Runner' and 'A thousand Splendid Suns' will be more to your liking, but as books go, this certainly gave me enough to go on and to enjoy it for what it was.

Here is a link where you can find/purchase this book:  Amazon  has the book for sale in a variety of editions, including Kindle.

A favorite quote from the book
Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they're put in hot water.
Eleaanor Roosevelt
(Written as the preface to the book)

Maybe next month I shall do two different posts for two different books- but for now I hope Laura and Peggy, my book club hosts, nor you, don't mind sharing:)
Amanda x

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Simple Women's Day Book- February

Joining in with thesimplewomansdaybook to ponder over things in February.

Outside My Window ...It's pitch black- It is night time after all. I really don't know where this evening has gone- but gone it has and all I can see now are the lights coming from other apartment windows, t.v's flickering through open curtains and the lights of an occasional car as it comes along the road. There's a low rumble of traffic, a distant hum of a plane and one or two barks from the neighbourhood dogs.

I am thinking ...that even though I have a 101 things to do, I don't feel I've been very productive tonight. Very little school work has been done, no creating to be seen, dinner was leftovers from the freezer-... sometimes you just get days like this and this evening was one of them!

I am thankful... that after working hard the last couple of days, my midyear reports are now written! Yay! I will never learn to get them done any earlier- iim definitely a last minute jack and so I always end up with a frantic couple of days before the deadline- however- now they are done- I can breathe a sigh of relief.

In the kitchen...there was a whole pile of groceries to be put away after shopping. Unfortunately not a lot of food- just a lot of other stuff. You know- the stuff you only end up buying once in a while- but then it all runs out together- Washing powder, kitchen cleaner, Fabric softener, kitchen towels etc etc you get my drift!
On a more happier note, my fridge has got rather a nice collection of cheese, chocolate and Christmas puddings that were brought over from the UK last week. I'm going to ration them out and then savour them.

I am wearing... A new turquoise and blue dress that I got back in the UK at Christmas- it was in the sale, so I was lucky. This wasn't the dress I was going to put on this morning but when I got the other out of the wardrobe I realised how many creases were in it- definitely one for the ironing pile! 

I am creating...some journal pages for my Journal52 project- I am way behind on this, but it doesn't matter- as I just enjoy playing around with paints etc and them putting words together to go along with it. I haven't made anything for ages so it's quite nice to get back into it. As a class we made 'Fraction circles' yesterday and of course i had to make a prototype. We then used them in our math's lesson this morning- all good fun. I also put together a new display for our 'Postcrossing' Swaps- It's a work in progress, but I shall add new postcards as and when the arrive.

I am going the phone shop tomorrow- I seem to be having problems with my internet- and as I'm a total technophobe- i need someone to tell me how to fix it rather than waste hours trying to do it my self! That's what i've wasted my time doing this evening- playing around with 2 laptops, a smart phone and an ipad!

I am wondering... what to make for dinner this weekend, as I have friends coming over. Not sure whether I'll go down the traditional English Route or a more local dish. I'll ask them and see if they have a preference. I really enjoy cooking for other people and have made an effort to invite friends round regularly to try out some new recipes.

I am reading...'The first Telephone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom..Technically, I have just started it.. But as it's a book club read I just need to get on and read it! I've just finished The Snowman By Jo Nesbo and loved it- a good thriller/ Detective story.

I am hoping use my time a little more wisely. I have so many things going on at the minute at school, it is very easy to get waylaid. I need to get organised and take everything a little chunk at a time.

I am looking forward to... going away at Easter time. I've booked my flights off the Island and i just now need to plan where to go. In all probability it will be Cambodia, with perhaps Mynamar (Burma) tagged on too! 7 weeks to go!

I am way around my new 'Ipad Air'. This should be easy- but you know me... there's more to these things that meets the eye. I  need someone near me all the time just to point me in the right direction!

Around the house... It looks like a Laundry. There are clothes and sets of bedding everywhere. My friends came, stayed and have now gone- but now I'm left with 3 beds to change and a lot of washing! 

I am pondering ...over what I have to do, what I want to do and what I would like to do in the near future. The lists gets longer.

A favourite quote....

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judges by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character"
 Martin Luther King Jnr, 1963

We've been reading a story called 'Martin's Big Words',a biography of MLK. My class have really got into it and can't understand how or why the past was like it was. We are very lucky, here in Sabah, that everyone gets on together without reference to creed, religion or colour.
Each and every time I watch the 'I have a dream' speech, it sends shivers down my spine and my eyes fill with tears- It's so very moving.

One of my favourite things..Playing around with my new ipad
....Roses that I got on Valentines's day from one of my class...Spending time with my freinds over from the UK...Almost daily phone calls from family back at home.

A few plans for the rest of the day... at this late hour, it will be a few pages of my book and an early night!

A glimpse of my day..

Hope you've had a good day too!
Amanda x

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Simply a Sunday Moment

Just sharing a moment in February with Alexa

Sunday mornings are made for this, sitting on the balcony, cup of tea in hand, gazing out at blue skies. But this morning, it's different, it feels illicit, a sneaky, stolen time, time to capture and just savour the moment.

The pool waterfall rushes, sounding like rain, into the aqua water, sunlight glinting off its surface. Children's laughter reverberates around, echoing off the sides and and then intensifying into shrieks and yells as they dive bomb in, bigger splashes that invite onlookers to glance in their direction.

The low hum of cars on the nearby road as others go about their usual Sunday business and above, a rumble as a plane passes over the town, forging a path through the blue sky, leaving the noise of its engines and a white tail in its wake.

A light inconsistent breeze, stirs the trees and flows onto me, a welcome coolness. Birds sing their morning songs softly to each other, their sound interrupted by the distant hammering sound coming from the adjacent houses. A whirring joins in - a mower going about its weekly ritual.
There's a faint, unexpected, smell of bacon, that wafts down from neighbouring apartments- a rarity in this Muslim country- It smell's good.

The children continue to laugh, shout and play and as I sip my tea, I fleetingly contemplate that maybe I could go and share the cool water.
But I sit, knowing that for a minute, or two or ten, this is what Sunday mornings should be like and I resign myself that today, this is just a one off- 
Today, I can't- I have to make a move inside. 

I leave the balcony doors open to let the soft breeze and the sound of Sunday float in. There will be other weekends to sit, savour and enjoy- But there's only one deadline for my reports, that's creeping up way too fast...I'd best get on with them!

Amanda x

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A Valentine's Day Six Word Friday and Some Kisses Thrown in Too!

A happy Valentine's day to one and all. I've got some words for you, a photo, a card or two and one of my favourite recipes- all with a valentine's theme.

Welcome to my first Six Word Friday, capturing a theme - with six words- be it in total, or on a line
Linking in with Adrienne this week's theme is appropriately- 'Heart'

Home is where the heart is!

Now, home and heart are Borneo,

Soon, England will be my home,
but will my wanderlust heart follow?

With friends and family close by,
my heart will surely find happiness,
but a small piece will remain.

My Memory Art six word fridays

Kisses for St Valentine

One of my favourite recipes is for Vanilla Kisses. The original recipe calls them coffee kisses, but as I never liked the flavour very much, vanilla soon came to be the flavour of choice. Quick, simple and obviously made with love!

You will need:
175g Self Raising Flour
75g Caster Sugar
75g Butter or Margarine
1 Egg - beaten
few drops of vanilla essence
or if you want a coffee flavour instant coffee mixed with a tablespoon of warm water.
Preheat oven to 180 Centigrade.

1.Mix together flour and sugar, rub in margarine.
2.Stir in egg and essence, mix well.
3.Divide into little balls, the size of a walnut. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins.
When cool, sandwich together in pairs with butter icing.

So there you are a few kisses for you. 

Happy Valentine's Day
Amanda xxx