Books and magazines

About 108 yoga gratitude journal, self publishing and why now?



What is actually this word ... GRATITUDE 

Gratitude … a word just like any other word … a label ….a convention …. A word we use  often in nowadays conversations …. But … do we really feel it?…..a hard but very relevant question for today’s troubled world?  The good thing is that this word starts to really, really come alive at certain moments as we journey through life. Most of the time this happens when we’ve experienced pretty challenging circumstances … wise, in our professional life, family life or just as we live out our lives….. In my case, I have multiple reasons from my early life to be grateful. If you’ve read my family story you will understand why I say this.



At the end of last year, after a scary moment which ended well in my family I felt drawn to a particular program on line … a  20 minutes a day, 40 consecutive days yoga program. I decided then - as an offering to the divine, as a way of expressing my gratitude - to sign up to this program and, more importantly, to commit to the program. I can tell you now that for me the word gratitude  is not a label, not a sequence of letters for how I feel for signing up. … I can feel it at the cellular level. And this was 130 days ago …. I am still doing the program, now repeating the 40 days sequence again and again and again. It is now, part of my daily routine.  if you think that I and each day in a complete bliss and can't wait to hit the yoga mat, ... think twice ... it is very hard, very, very hard and I did skip 3 days .... and ... it does not matter because ... I came back to the program after a break and kept going. The most important thing is ... not to judge ourselves, to take breaks if we need them and ... to come back to .. the mat and the journal. 



A few years ago I was lucky enough to take part in a few live kirtan evenings organised by a very talented singer and yoga teacher  Diana Sampson from Luna Rhythms Yoga. It was an instantaneous connection for me with the sacred sounds and, believe it or not, I now find myself chanting when I am driving - or walking by the beach - or while I am deeply engrossed with my painting.



What I have noticed while doing my daily yoga program is that different moves trigger a different emotion in me … sometimes I feel joy, sometimes I feel empowered, sometimes wobbly …. sometimes I loved the routines, sometimes I really didn’t. Along the way it became clear to me that my experience of yoga programs was deepening and broadening….and I knew then that I had to find a way, for the future, to record my individual feelings so that I could look back and retrieve in my mind those special moments. I had to write it down somewhere.


Writing by hand is something that fewer and fewer people do these days. I’m lucky, many years ago I started the habit and ever since I have loved creating my future memories. Somehow people have forgotten that there is something really soothing and even magical about picking up that special pen and start adding…. letter after letter, word after word. The whole body relaxes, the breathing becomes smoother, and believe it or not you enter into a meditative state … you really do become more mindful. 


So, I decided to put all of the above together and to encourage those who love yoga to record their journeys and in so doing to become mindful about what they have experienced along the way…..

This is why and how "108 YOGA GRATITUDE JOURNAL" came to life. I hope you will find it useful and enjoy it as much as I did creating it and using it.

108 YOGA GRATITUDE JOURNAL is available from Amazon worldwide.  

Seeded bread healthy wheat free sugar free recipe

As promised in my previous blog ... here it is ... the recipe of a seeded bread which reminded me of times long gone .... 


300 g mixed seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy seeds ... )

100 g ground almond 

50g chia seeds 

50 g walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts (grind them all in a blender)

1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper 

3 large eggs beaten 

200 ml water

Step 1

Now that you have all the ingredients in front of you ... simply mix them all together (I placed the seeds and nuts in a blender and blitzed them together), added the eggs, stirred them until the composition looked smooth and started to add, gradually, water while continuing to stir. What you will end up with is a thick mixture. 

Almost there

Transfer the batter to a loaf tin (grease it first) and bake it in the oven for about 1 hour at 200 degrees celsius. Remove from the oven. allow it to cool fully and ... serve. Keep it in an airtight container and ... slice it and start munching... oooooh, lovely.

Well done


Beatrice Wood a free spirit, an inspiring ceramicist


“Educate your eye, go to wonderful museums, absorb the magnificent culture that has been built up through the ages. Spend times in libraries, look at art books. Culture is the meeting of minds; when a spark is born, one man adds a pearl to the chain of another. Do not imitate but listen to the small voice which is your own and true.” - Beatrice Wood

If this quote is not enough to make you order this book now, I really don’t quite know what would. I came across Beatrice Wood by accident, one of those moments when your hand is guided on a particular shelve, in a particular bookshop and you simply know that this is going to be an inspiring book, written by an inspiring woman, an artist about her own life.  

An adventurous woman, a bohemian, a free spirit, born in 1893 in San Francisco, Beatrice Wood’s life became associated with some of the most prestigious thinkers, sages and artists of her era like Duchamps, Roche, Constantin Brincusi, Isidora Duncan, Anais Din, Krishnamurti, Annie Besant and many more. 

Aged 40, she discovered her vocation, her passion, her gift  … pottery and in the following years she created unique, powerful pieces, becoming one of the major ceramicists of the 20th century. 

Yep … go now, go and order her book …go and order “I shock myself“ by Beatrice Wood ........ you won’t regret it! 



The militant muse stories about art, friendship, camaraderie



The Militant Muse - Love, War and the Women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick

“Being an artist” over the past centuries conveys an image of a field dominated by men. “Why was that”?  One could assume  that either women were not attracted by this field and instead preferred to embrace only the role of muses OR they were not good enough for the history of art to remember them. The truth of course is very far from either of these statements.  


“The Militant Muse” takes us to “moments in history”, the 1930’s, ’40’s, 50’s, providing a glimpse of the often-complicated relationships between muses and artists, showing how muses have sometimes “shapeshifted” into ground breaking artists themselves. It talks about feminine relationships, about inspiring and being inspired by each other, about strong human emotions, about the art of writing letters, emotional survival in traumatic times, about art as a way to “document” one’s reality and emotions - and last but not least, the importance of friendship and camaraderie. 


I was familiar of course with Frida Kahlo, Lee Miller, Valentine Penrose and was delighted to start researching the other characters of this book:  Jacqueline Lamba Breton, Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington. 


What I can promise you is that by the end of the book you will have fallen in love with at least one new artist. For me it was Leonor Fini … her work made a huge impression on me. I found myself reflecting on her paintings for hours and hours. Be prepared to be amazed. 

We are many people helps you relax and de stress


From my Baccalaureate and a degree in engineering, to guiding English and Russian speaking tourists and a group of talented Russian dancers; from helping a British company to navigate a licence to operate a new tv channel in a country new to them, to helping clients of Romania's first advertising agency to reach my country's new consumers; from launching my country's first colour magazine for just us women, to launching my own ad agency; from marketing condoms and staging rock concerts at home and in Lesotho and Swaziland to raise awareness in young people of HIV/Aids, to promoting the farming of plants for supply to a new organic perfumery sector as a way of helping our disadvantaged communities; from improving my understanding of the workings of the mind, to becoming a civil servant in London working to influence the attitudes of Britain's young muslims; and from intuitive painting to now illustrating my own books  ...... yes ... I think I can claim to have reinvented myself many, many times. 

It is my strong belief that we all have a mission ... a mission to help and to support each other, a mission to help other people to discover and to connect with their unique voices, to help them to find their path, to cheer their efforts and to support them along their way. 


This is my underlying message ......the message  I want to send through my colouring books and journals ..... to see life as a journey ... totally unpredictable, always imperfect ... yet perfectly imperfect. 

To find out more about my books please follow the link 

To be continued ..... 



This is my underlying message ......the message  I want to send through my colouring books and journals ..... to see life as a journey ... totally unpredictable, always imperfect ... yet perfectly imperfect. 

You can change your mind

Phase 6

A few days ago I had a lovely time painting a few random shapes on an old canvas. It made me feel so good, filled me with so much positive energy that I wanted to create another painting with the same approach. I have started by changing an old intuitive painting but somehow things didn't seem to go in the right direction and suddenly ... while watching a documentary on Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous detective Sherlock Holmes ....  2 shapes arrived on my canvas ....out of the blue ....  and I've started to smile .... years ago my best friend in Romania used to call me Sherlock and I called her Watson .... she is my soul sister and this painting represents our connection .... soul to soul. The idea is .... if your painting doesn't seem right ...........change directions.


I hope that you will enjoy the visual step by step process :) 

Phase 1

Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 5

Phase 4


The sea, creative cooking and a bit of writing


Living by the sea is a privilege. It took me a few years to acknowledge this ... it is only when living in the now started to be a bit more than just a sequence of words  ........ when from time to time i stepped into a different world where time seemed to be infinite ... without a clear past or future .. but a continuation of ... now(s). 

Having a walk reminds me of this (because just like many of us ... i forget and need to re learn again)  .... enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a new book reminds me of this ...... discovering a new recipe reminds me of that .... discovering a singer I connect with in seconds reminds me of this .... aren't we lucky to have all of these unexpected reminders! aren't we lucky! 

IMG_3570I am reading "Writing as a way of healing" by Louise DeSalvo and because if it, i am coming across writers I love and respect .... Alice Walker, Isabel Allende .... how good to be reminded that journalling was and is so much part of their lives. Sometimes words come easy ... sometimes they don't ... one is stuck, frozen ..... when words simply didn't want to come to me, i took to the paints and brushes and found another way of communicating .............. but i will always appreciate the written word .... and will go back to it when the time is right. 

Self expression is key ... through the words, paints, music .... self expression heals and saves ...  lives ... maybe yours as well ..... 


And cooking ... cooking is another way of expressing yourself ... especially cooking new dishes .. ingredients are like different mixed media materials or like different words ... one can combine them in a multitude of ways .... it's still about creativity, process and only as a bonus ... the result. 

The other day I came across "I quit sugar for life" by Sarah Wilson and felt compelled to buy it. I am not sure I want to give up on sugar completely but I like the notion of combining ingredients in such a way that sugar cravings will be a past thought. I am just curious and I will definitely try the recipes .... they look lovely and .. colourful ... Here is a first recipe ... with a personal twist as well as respecting a recipe 100% is just ... not me :)  IMG_3588

Avocado and cottage cheese luxurious lunch 

1 ripe avocado mashed

2 TBsp cottage cheese

1/2 juice of a lemon

1 tsp mixed grains (see photo above)

roasted seeds 

Once you have the ingredients .. just mixed them all together and .... OLE! You are done! Serve them on rice biscuits, oats biscuits, corn biscuits, even bred but hey ... we are healthy now aren't we so just look for a healthier option.


And as a treat  ... put your feet up and listen/watch to this mesmerising concert .... 


Creative cooking on a Sunday afternoon


"Our lives are like the course of the sun, 

at the darkest moment

there is promise of daylight." - unknown author 


I don't know about you but sometimes, especially when the weather is heavy with dark clouds and heavy rain, when the wind seems to go on forever, when my head seems to explode because of the stories I tell myself,  I need to do something creative to help me snap out of the self hypnotic trance I put myself into (we are all specialists at this you know that don't you). Today ... cooking was my solution ... cooking something new ..... :) 

Earlier this week, while going through my pile of magazines I came across a recipe for biscotti, a delicious sort of Italian biscuit I just love having while sipping my coffee in Costa Cafe. (I will definitely have a little bag with me next week while having my coffee in one of the coffee shops in Eastbourne)

Before sharing the recipe with you let me tell you that it is very, very easy to prepare and also the result is delicious.

Walnut and cranberry biscotti

What do you nee:

2 eggs plus 1 extra beaten for glazing

150 g caster sugar

250 g plain flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

50 g walnuts chopped

50g dried cranberries or any other berries (you don't need to respect exactly the quantity really)

Whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the chopped berries.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge wrapped in cling film for about 1 hour. (the dough should be a bit soft but also a bit sticky)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C, or gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. 

Once the dough has rested, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectange about 28 cm long and 5 cm wide. I cut this in 2. Put them onto the lined baking tray, brush with beaten egg. 

Bake for 20 min. Check if it is ready with a skewer. Take out from the oven and leave it to cool. 

Reduce the temperature to 180. 

When cool, cut into think slices and lay flat on the lined baking tray, bake for 20 more minutes and don't forget to turn them halfway through cooking .. until a big golden brown. 

Allow to cool and ... start eating and sharing with friends. 

OK so by the time I had my first few slices of biscotti and sipped my coffee I was already feeling better and ... with an episode of NCIS in the background ... (I love watching TV while cooking) ... it was time to try a new recipe ... this time ... sweet potato burger. 


Here is what you need: 

600g sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed

1 tsp ras el hanout (Maroocan spice mix yum yum)

100g breadcrumbs 

50g almonds (like a powder)

a handfull of pumpkin seeds

salt, pepper


Bake or boild the sweet potatoes until soft. When soft, scoop out the flesh and set aside. Meanwhile gently fry the onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Add ras el hanout and continue for a few seconds. 

Combine all ingredients and let the mixture rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Form the mixture into burgers or smal ball size shapes. Coat them in flour and fry them on both sides. 

Enjoy them pipping hot or cold with mustard, sweet chilli, various relishes. 

Bon apetite! 


Enjoy now

"You must live in the present, 

launch yourself on every wave, 

find your eternity in each moment. 

Fools stand on their island of opportunities

and look toward another land." - Henry David Thoreau


I came across these words earlier today while reading a magazine called Flow, a magazine I highly recommend to any creative soul. It was probably no surprise that I came across this message while listening and watching a superb "All star tribute to Joni Mitchell - Lifetime Award Concert" from 2000. 


I came across this artist at the beginning of the year, again by a so called accident ... on a late winter night (thanks to a documentary shown on TV, about her life) when i was recovering from severe back pain ... I was and still am mesmerized.... 

Although i was not part of the flower power revolution/movement I can feel and cheer, the  instrumental role she had in expressing the deep feelings of a generation ...."suffer elegantly" in front of our eyes .....  her willingness to show  vulnerability and help other ... feel listened to and understood........ 

And coming back to the first words, I am surrounded by a feeling of sadness ... thinking that many people from my parent's generation (living in a dictatorial Communist regime) ... stood ... frozen by fear ... on an imaginary land called their lives ... not even daring to look outside the "fishing tank" , too afraid to express their emotions ...... too afraid to LIVE and not only EXIST. 

I do believe that the ones who embrace art as a channel of self expression transcend the reality, bleak as it might be and evolve, connect easier with like minded people, dare to challenge themselves, their fears, have a richer and more meaningful lives. 

So, what are you waiting for? Launch yourselves on every wave .... write, sing, paint, draw, perform, sketch .... it will transform your lives. 



Acts of kindness

After a grey, cold and damp autumn and winter one cannot but be grateful for the oh so many acts of kindness performed by nature .... first of all it brings back a multitude of colours and it brightens our days so so much with

 .... a bit of red ... 


......a bit of white 


.........a bit of yellow 


.........a bit of blue 


 What a beautiful invitation from nature for us all ..... to perform more acts of kindness ...........


"The center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days" - Stephen Jay Gould

And last but not least is a movie I warmly recommend. It will make you think, smile, cry and ... treasure the acts of kindness.