I always look forward to my birthday. On that day, every year, there is a special type of energy the flows, swirls around and gets me excited. It is my one special day of the year when I feel the sun shining on me and for me. I can never understand people that purposely dismiss their birthdays and live to skip the day rather than celebrate it. 

So naturally, I would expect my boyfriend, having seen his girlfriend going through cancer treatment and remission in the past 6 months, to be a liiittle bit more prepared and enthusiastic, organising the big return, the special present and the fancy dinner. 

Instead, I came to a bit if a disappointment when on Sunday morning he declared he wanted to go shopping ‘for few things ‘. ‘Few things’ being some things for me. Go shopping in Ealing Broadway Shoping Centre, not even Westfield? Go shopping means I would know my present and if this is a present I know, then this is not a present at all. My boyfriend is normally a thoughtful and considerate person, he brings me flowers every Saturday when he comes to my place and I normally cook dinner for us. Flowers replaced Lindor chocolates when it became clear cancer loves sugar and I had to cut down dramatically on this luxury for the soul. The idea to go shopping for my birthday was also considerate on a very prime logical level as he wanted to make sure I don’t refund or return the present he bought me and that I actually buy something I would love and would wear.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love shopping with him as he encourages me to try new clothes, sometimes completely outside my comfort zone. Like the green neon dress I bought for Ascot few years ago. But despite of this, I love the idea to get a surprise for my birthday, to open my birthday cards with messages that I have not seen, to open my presents with things I have not bought, to have a surprise cake that has been hidden carefully from me. Was I, am I, expecting too much from him? 

In reality I don’t need anymore clothes or bags or special presents. I do not need a dinner in a fancy restaurant. When I was lying in bed post chemo I wasn’t dreaming of any of that. But I was seeing myself travelling, having a picnic in the park, doing normal, everyday things that I enjoy. Making effort to notice and enjoy the small things in life.

This man, my boyfriend, also cried every time the doctor said I am in remission or my cancer is fully gone. He helps and supports me in every way and what does he get from me? An excessive list of demands?

It’s not about the EXPENSIVE pre planned birthday surprises. It’s about planning and making ordinary things special. It’s about putting time and effort to create joy in someone’s life that makes their day a day to remember. Is it him getting more complacent now that I am on the clear or is it me being picky and demanding?


New beginning

2014-08-20 18.09.17

It has been two days since I have been given all clear from the doctor and it seems as if the last 7 months did not happen at all.

I still have petty arguments with my mum like why the grapes have finished and my son is telling fibs about completing his homework.  So I did the one thing I am expected to do and take a grip on this family – gave a lecture to both of them. Yes, I had my morning coffee and toast and gave a speech to my respective audience about what responsibilities each of us has in oir little household and how we are expected to perform. Given the short timeframe and no preparation, I structured it well, addressed each member of the group, looked them in the eyes and even raised my voice to make my points clearer. I am sure they will both be reflecting on that as the day goes by as neither of them was in a talking mood when I finished.

When I had cancer, I changed my attitude to life, my diet and number of other aspects which will continue to have an effect (she said with hope). I became more relaxed and started to delegate more responsibility, I spoke to my nearest and dearest for the need to have more consideration to their daughter and mum and they nodded thoughtfully. At the time I actually thought that what I am saying is sinking in. Now i think my mum was probably thinking about the next episode of Masterchef while my son was wizzing in his mind to the next level of “Bottle Flip” or “Tanki online”.

I kinda thought that now I have, I had, this condition, they will be more attentive, kinder (obedient even) but each member of my family has a very strong and opinionated mind and sadly it seems they don’t like to be told what to do. Cancer or not, life goes on. I just have to find a way to be more convincing.

Dear PC Doctor


Dear PC Doctor,

I am writing with the hope that you will be able to understand my position and provide a suitable care for my beloved.

My Dell laptop is only 4 years and 6 months old. I paid handsome money for it and although the public perception is that dowry is thing of the past, I still do believe that this is a good way to introduce two upright families.

It was love from first sight – him with his mate black cover and Ferrari red lights dashing and dazzling in the late nights when I had to catch up with some paperwork, me – an inspiring high achiever who did the occasional work marathon until the early hours of the morning. (I still remember those jealous looks when we were going through airport security…) He was fast, responsive and very agile. I was totally captivated by him.

But now I feel that he is ageing faster than me.

His health deteriorated rapidly. During his lifetime he underwent a number of technical interventions, resuscitations and reboots. I looked after him and provided a weekly cleaning care with wet antiseptic wipes, anti-virus software and an initial 3 year guarantee (which came in quite handy, keeping in mind that the we had to call the helpline in the first year). I even upgraded his operational system, changed the lights to a more calming blue and refrained from a regular contact and use.

But now I feel that I have explored all options and I will have to retire him. He is becoming non-responsive and dementia is taking hold of him to the extent that I have to awake and re-boot him three to 5 times before he recognise me. He just blinks and the look disappears from his face, I can see his icons becoming mere shadows and waning on the background.

In the past 5 or 6 months he failed to perform on number of occasions and I feel let down and alone.

I don’t know about him but I don’t think this is a healthy way to have a relationship.

And this is why I have started to use internet and look for another partner. I know this is not right and I feel guilty and ashamed, but I need someone reliable, handsome and hardworking, preferably with big hard drive but light weight. It has to be modern, easy to operate and good with children (he will have to get along with my 6 years old son as mandatory). References are very important as I will be checking the reviews thoroughly.

Dear PC Doctor, I hope you do understand my position and help me to find a suitable and retirement home for my dear Dell. If this is not possible, I will have no choice but to ship him to Bulgaria.

Yours truly,


Two rare pictures

Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman photojournalist and the founder member of WNCA, turned 94 this year. Her camera has captured some of the defining moments in the country’s political history.This black and white picture of Nehru lighting a cigarette for the then British high commissioner’s wife is an absolute stunner.

Some photographs are to be admired, some are to be celebrated, but this one has the potential to give you goose bumps. Bedi says it was photographed when he was working on a new feature in Bishnoi in Rajasthan. The Bishnois worship nature in all its manifestations, and are a conservative community.

“It was hard for an outsider like me to come with my camera to photograph them. One day, I saw that a village dog had killed a chinkara fawn’s mother. So the Bishnoi family had adopted him before he becomes prey to other predators in wild and nursed him as if it was their own child.I was looking for one picture that can tell the story of their community’s strong feeling for the environment. After great difficulty, some six months later, I could get this picture showing how human beings live in harmony with nature.”

Vijay and his brother Ajay Bedi are the only Indians whose wildlife film has been nominated for the Emmys. They are also the youngest Indians to be honoured with the Green Oscar.

Male speech patterns

“I can’t find it”
MEANS: It didn’t fall into my outstretched hands so I am completely clueless.

“That’s women’s work”
MEANS: it’s difficult, dirty, and thankless.

“Will you Marry me?”
MEANS: both of my roommates have moved out, I can’t find the washer, and there’s no peanut butter left.

“It’s a guy thing.”
MEANS: there’s no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.

“Can I help with dinner?”
MEANS: why isn’t it already on the table?

“It would take too long to explain”
MEANS: I have no idea how it works.

“I’m getting more exercise lately”
MEANS: the batteries in the remote are dead.

“We’re going to be late.”
MEANS: I have a legitimate reason for driving like a maniac.

“Take a break, honey, you’re working too hard.”
MEANS: I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.

“That’s interesting dear.”
MEANS: are you still talking..???

“Honey, we don’t need material things to prove our love.”
MEANS: I forgot our anniversary again.

“You expect too much from me.”
MEANS: You expect me to stay awake?

“It’s really a good movie.”
MEANS: It’s got guns, knives, fast cars and naked women.

“You know how bad my memory is.”
MEANS: I remember the address of the first girl I kissed and the registration number of every car I’ve ever owned but I forgot your birthday.

“I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses.”
MEANS: the girl selling them on the corner was wearing a bikini.

“Oh, don’t fuss, I just cut myself, it’s no big deal.”
MEANS: I have actually got a pretty deep wound but will bleed to death before I admit I’m hurt.

“Hey, I’ve got reasons for what I’m doing.”
MEANS: what did you catch me at?

“She’s one of those rabid feminists.”
MEANS: she refused to make my coffee.

“I heard you.”
MEANS: I haven’t the foggiest clue what you just said, and hope I can fake it well enough so that you don’t spend the next three days yelling at me.

“You know I could never love anyone else.”
MEANS: I am used to the way YOU yell at me, and realize it could be worse.

“You really look terrific in that outfit.”
MEANS: Please don’t try on one more outfit, I’m starving.

“I brought you a present.”
MEANS: It was ‘free ice scraper’ night at the ball game.

“I’m not lost, I know exactly where we are.”
MEANS: No one will ever see us alive again.

“This relationship is getting too serious.”
MEANS: I like you almost as much as I like my truck.

“I don’t need to read the instructions.”
MEANS: I am perfectly capable of screwing it up without printed help.

“I missed you.”
MEANS: I can’t find my sock drawer, the kids are hungry, and we’re out of toilet paper.


Autumn in London

It’s autumn again and to be precise it’s the 35th autumn in my life.

As far as I remember back from my childhood in Bulgaria, I never really liked autumn, because it marked the end of beautiful, hot and carefree summers. It meant that I can no longer take my bag and skip to the beach, spending all day in the sea without the watchful eye of my parents and until my lips became blue and I had drunk more or less half of the Black Sea. I missed the long nights strolling the main streets all the way to the Sea Garden with its beautiful terrace with Viennese bannisters and the most amazing view over Bourgas harbour all the way to Sunny Beach. Summer was the one season we all lived for and partying all the way to October the thought of autumn and winter was so distant as the Antarctic is from Bulgaria.

Until one morning you wake up and feel the cool breeze in you bedroom, sneaking messenger for the winter, and realise that the leaves are fallen and gone way, the crops are reaped and harvest collected and you reach to you wardrobe for the winter coat and it’s smell of anti-moth balls.

That’s way I never liked autumn back then. It was short, unexpected and brutal. I was not prepared for it and it always brought a sense of loss.

Unlike England.

I found myself looking forward to that magical moment of when the leaves start to transform, the feerie of colours, the sensitivity to light and the dark shades of imminent demise were striking. The passionate reds, the royal purples, the distinguished browns make an amazing autumn in England on the backdrop of green fields and well…quite unpredictable skies. The quite and beautiful transition would wave its way from the bottom of the trees, across land, homes and spaces until one day a fierce storm will shake and disturb the idyllic piece, will rage and reign until the last leave has fallen and kidnapped in the hands of its almighty power.

And this is when it starts to smell like Christmas.

Niagara falls, year 1911

Niagara Falls 98 Years Ago

Margaret writes:
Her mother had a cousin living in Niagara Falls that year.  She told the family that she and her neighbors woke up in the night feeling something was wrong. It took a while but they finally realized that it was the lack of noise.  They had all become so used to the roar of the Falls that the silence was unusual enough to alert their senses.  Of course at that time nearly all the houses were near the Falls.  Amazing pictures!  Almost 100 years old.  Can you imagine walking on Niagara Falls?

Never argue with a woman

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, his wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, ‘ Good morning Ma’am. What are you doing?’

‘Reading a book,’ she replies, (thinking, ‘Isn’t that obvious?’)

‘You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,’ he informs her.

‘I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading’

‘Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up..’

‘For reading a book,’ she replies.

‘You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,’ he informs her again.

‘I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading’ know you could start at any moment.. I’ll have totake you in and write you up.’

‘If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with Sexual assault ,’ says the woman..

‘But I haven’t even touched you,’ says the game warden.

‘That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.’

‘Have a nice day ma’am,’ and he left.


Never argue with a woman who reads. It’s likely she can also think.

Jean Francois Rauzier – dreaming through photography

I was lucky enough to visit the  recent exhibition at Watermans & Dodd in London where Jean-Francois Rauzier had his first exhibition in the UK.

Needless to say, I had formed an initial opinion and generated a considerable interest prior to seeing his works, but what I saw went beyond my imagination and expectations. The intricate details and pursuance clearly definite in his works are beyond any expectations of photographic mastership and undoubtedly represent only the tip of the genius iceberg of this artist with what it seems an infinite imagination.  Complicated yet clean, multilayered yet defined, his works are encyclopaedia of his knowledge, passions and ability as an accomplished photographer. His over 30 years of experience on the advertising field have everything to do with the meticulous execution of his hyperphotos and luckily have not affected his vision in typically marketing direction of the immediate attention grabbing shot.

Quite the opposite.

Jean Francois Rauzier’s works looks almost natural until you manage to concentrate on a fragment and turn your pre-conceptions upside down. Pebbles on a long beach, oh no, these are actually clocks; beautiful tree with a lake (is that a little girl over there?), block of flats in an entangled honeycombed building; an immense ‘no beginning-no end’ library… So, now are you seeing it? I mean really SEEING IT?

Jean Francois demands attention.

Going beyond the pixels per frame attitude of the modern photographers he uses up to 3,500 images per photo, yes, there is no typo here. Some of the pictures he exhibits actually contain up to 3,500 images and hold on to it – have size of about 30-40GB! The monolith works could spread over 50 metres and one could not possibly imagine the patience and surgical brilliance of matching and adding, resizing and collating the images together until a truly exceptional pieces emerge. But besides the pure technological accomplishment lies his vision of a fine artist, a modern day Rafael, Da Vinci or Titian who uses his mouse as a brush and his Mac as a canvas.

Once should feel privileged to be able to see in person the brilliance extraordinaire of this man. Jean Francaois Rauzier set a very high marker for comparison and a standard in its own rights.

Art review by Elena Todorova-Stanev, Cerise Art Agency 2010

Creative Ads @ Unusual Places

Mondo Pasta

Tangled phone lines are a common sight on the streets of Bangkok, so Procter & Gamble decided to take advantage of how they resembled long strands of tangled hair. To promote P&G’s line of Rejoice conditioners, a large green comb was placed on the telephone lines, reading: “Tangles? Switch to Rejoice Conditioners.”

Fedex whiteout cross walk ad

A print of a cup of Folgers coffee was placed on top of manhole covers in New York City, USA. Wordings around the cup reads “Hey, City That Never Sleeps. Wake up.
–from Folgers”.

Coop’s Paints made use of the side of a building right through to the car park for this ad.

This is ad for Mini Cooper was placed at the Zurich (Switzerland) train station.

This is a clever ad for HSBC by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai ad agency in India. The bank wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming, so the ad guys glued an aerial photo of a city’s skyscrapers to the base of a swimming pool.

Watch Around Water is a campaign designed to educate the public about what adequate supervision is, and encourage parents/guardians to take on the responsibility for adequately supervising their children while visiting public aquatic facilities.

A billboard for Zwilling J.A. Henckels , famous knife-makers

“Reserved For Drunk Drivers”

To celebrate swimwear designer Shay Todda’s new collection, Nivea fashioned this Good-Bye Cellulite sofa for the event. You could call it a product demonstration carried out when our target thinks about cellulite the most.

“Thousands are held prisoners for their beliefs in places worse than this.”

Mesmerising and touching – Kseniya Simonova, 24

This video shows the winner of  “Ukraine’s Got Talent”,  Kseniya Simonova, 24,  drawing a series of pictures  on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II.  Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about £75,000.

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated. It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again.
Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos  from which a young woman’s face appears. She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a  monument to an Unknown Soldier.  This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye. The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.

Kseniya Simonova says:  “I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art, especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings some audience members to tears. And there’s surely no bigger compliment.”

Small discoveries: The Last Supper by Francis de Cleyn

The painting is the work of Francis de Cleyn, painter to James I and designer of the Mortlake Tapestries, and a noted painter of ceilings and panelling. Holland House contains some of his fine work. De Cleyn was a German and studied in Rome, following Parmigiano.

In 1960, Brian Duppa, Bishop of Winchester and Prelate of the Order of the Garter, presented the picture to St George’s Chapel. In the Great Rebellion it was rolled up and buried in the plumery along with St George’s Altar Plate.  In 1698, according to an order of 29th April, it was ‘refreshed, and a new handsome frame made for it’.  In 1702 or 1707 it was shown to Verrio and to Sir James Thornhill and others, all of whom highly approved of it and it was hung over the Alter at St George’s replacing the famous hanging tapestry, “Our Lord and His Disciples at Emmaus” after Titian.

It was cleaned in 1739 and 1756 and then in 1788 when extensive alterations were carried out at St George’s, the painting was given to the Parish Church by George III.  A picture of the old Parish Church shows it in use as the Altar Piece over the Communion Table (1788 onwards). When the present Parish Church was built it again occupied the place of honour over the Altar. About 1870, when the present rounded apse was added, the painting had to be removed to the West End, over the Gallery.

In 1913 it was taken to Evans’ Studios, Fizroy Square, London, where it was cleaned, restored and re-lined at a cost of £73.00. In 1959 it was again cleaned by Mr Harry Hubbard and illuminated under the supervision of Mr Cameron Ward, the cost being defrayed by a parishioner.

Sometime before 1698 the painting was ‘maliciously cut’ while in Urswick Chapel at St George’s, but fortunately, the slash was in the top background and did not reach any face or figure.

The picture has the vivid colouring, the intensity of feeling and the strong characterisation of an old Master. The perspective is strong, one has an impression of actually looking into The Upper Room. The seventeen portraits have escaped damage, apart from a slight discoloration on the side of Judas’ face. Peter bears a strong resemblance to Da Vinci’s portrait. All the faces are strongly characterised, full of reality and one feels the deep emotion storming through them. By contrast, the Saviour is calm, full of power and radiant, dominating the scene. He is centralised in the Alcove (again like the Da Vinci).

A feature of the picture is its accurate representation of the traditional Passover fare as described in Exodus, Chapter 12 “The young lamb, complete with head, legs and the purtenance thereof, roast with fire” is central on the board and on other dishes are ‘the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs’. Another feature is what appears to be the towel wherewith the Lord had washed the disciples’’ feet, cast over the shoulder of His blue robe. The Saviour’s hand is lifted in blessing. It is the moment that has held the devotion of the centuries. We are witnessing the institution of the Last Supper.

Following a campaign spearheaded by Mary Lynn Landgraf from America and Michael Harding, churchwarden, the painting was restored by South East Conservation Centre and new lighting installed in 2003.

You can find the Representation of the Last Supper In the West Gallery of Windsor Parish Church, Windsor, Berkshire, UK

Twitter exhibition meeting in London ‘The Elixir of Life’ @ The Smithfield Gallery #temil ! Vote your preferred day now!