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Blame It on The Spring Equinox

Hi again! I am writing this post one day before my early bedtime to be published early morning tomorrow Sweden time. Today have been quite intense both emotionally and physically to the point where I got confused if it's a bad or a good thing. I blame it on the moon and the Spring Equinox Effect. I feel emotionally drained and I need to retreat and take a break from everything. My horoscope said "Something's gotten into you today, Hind. An iconoclastic imp inside you is determined to tear down every convention existing." which is quite true. 

On the other hand, I broke my white month on Tuesday. I felt I needed a little happy hour in the afternoon to relax and not take life too seriously, live the day as I will die tomorrow, in a positive way. It's funny how certain people have a weird effect on me that brings up a childlike behavior and innocence no matter how mature and wise I thought I became through the years. I remember this quote from Orange is the new black series " The smart girl who likes to play the clown". That literally describes me, as the joker and the fool I am sometimes. But I can not get too hard on myself, this is simply who I am. And I love myself the way it is. 

I will be working on finding balance and calm my life by just simply reading and meditating, staying hydrated and fresh. All I can focus on now to manifest is to feel safe and secure. I don't want to be isolated and gotta keep an open door to some sweetness and gentleness. My inner goddess voice inside me tells me to not worry too much and that everything will go smoothly and I’ll be able to benefit from this dynamic and prosperous situation. It's the universe plan. Sure, I am not at the helm, but the boat is moving forward!

Today Julia's dad has booked us an ala-cart dinner at a Lebanese restaurant which just newly opened here. He is doing his best now to make me feel better and wants me to consider family therapy. Gratitude!

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Portfolio Sneak Peek

Hello blog buddies! Here is a quick update. Today is the 3rd day after the hike. My body is sore and I can not left up my legs, so I spent time at home only relaxing, reading and meditating yesterday, processing some of the recent events. Tomorrow Julia´s Aunt family are leaving back to Sweden so I will be able to get back to my daily routine again.

Now as I listen to John Mayer I am working on updating my portfolio. I haven't made a portfolio since 2013 when I was at the art academy. It was a simple portfolio made of a summary of my artwork at the academy back then. I published it in issuu profile.  Then just for fun while I was working with UI design I made a portfolio draft while testing different styles WordPress portfolio. It's not made professionally because I was already working and did not have a motive to improve it.

The reason why I am taking some time now to make some mockups, posters and creative graphics samples to display. I am also trying to display the freelance work I did during the past few months. So as soon as I am done with the new portfolio I will publish it for you guys to take a look. Stay around!

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Grocery Shopping In Martinique

Here is another post about Martiniuqe island, just as I promised you guys that I will try to write as much as I can about our 4 months experience. You can also follow my Martinique stories on Instagram where I post about our day to day living in here. Before we come here I had high expectations when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, I thought I will be eating healthy organic fresh food all the time. Well! nope.. everything did not meet our expectations when it comes to food, of course comparing with Sweden's food quality. One of the reason why you guys do not see any new food recipes in my blog anymore. 

The food prices compering to the quality are very bad. Carrefour supermarket is the best place you can buy grocery at, but the quality is terrible to what we know. Especially everything that comes caned. At the local market you can find fruits and vegetables but for ridicules prices. Not to mention imported ones like tomato, bell pepper and so on.. all things that doesn't grow here. Its almost impossible to make international dishes since lots of ingredients are missing. I really miss my food :-P 

We all keep wondering how doest the standard local Martinique people afford to eat well. Here I collected some of the local fruits and vegetables names and info. I took this photo below at the local market. I hope you enjoy these info and insperation.  

Fruit and Vegetable in Martinique:

Ackee (or Quenette)
A small fruit with a smooth green rind, it grows in bunches and is sold around September/October time at stalls and at the market. The opaque pale orange flesh is sweet and covers a fairly large inner stone that can be eaten when grilled.

Apricot (Mamey Apple)
Totally different in looks to the European Apricot, the local apricot or Mamey apple (Mammea americana) is generally not eaten 'as is', the flesh can be hard with an astringent, bitter taste. It is better prepared as jam or stewed and sweetened.

These green pear shaped fruit have thinner smoother skins compared to those normally found in Europe. Avocadoes can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and are a common ingredient in Creole cuisine. Although not naturally sweet, avocadoes have a rich, creamy and subtle flavour which is perfect for sweet treats such as milkshakes or smoothies as well as savoury dishes such as salads or a local specialty, Feroce d’avocat, made with avocado, cassava flour, cod, garlic and piment.

The range of bananas available in Martinique is quite astounding, a great variety of colours, sizes and even shapes! However the tiny sweet finger bananas and bananas that need cooking (plantain/bananes legume) are always found in markets alongside the 'traditional' banana that can be found in every European supermarket. Although visitors can find it hard to differentiate between a banana and plantain (vegetable banana), there are certain differences; the plantain has an extended 'knobbly' end to it, is harder in texture and has more pronounced 'sides'. Plantains are not eaten raw; they can be fried, boiled, roasted or stewed.

Think of big green footballs with dimples, growing in enormous trees, and you will know a breadfruit when you see it! Roasted, fried, boiled or even prepared as a souffle...
Breadfruit is cooked in similar ways to potatoes, but the fibrous inner core should be removed!

The cacao pod is yellow when ripe, the white flesh from around the seeds is sweet and tender and can be eaten 'as is'. It is this flesh and the seeds (or beans) that are roasted to make the main ingredient for chocolate. Sticks made from the roasted cacao can be purchased in the local markets, grate it and add to milk with a dash of nutmeg to make 'real' hot chocolate; the ladies in the markets selling cacao sticks will be happy to give you full instructions.

Carambola (starfruit)
Not originally native to Martinique, this originally came from the Asiatic countries but is grown locally now and widely available throughout Martinique. Although the entire fruit can be eaten 'as is' it is often used to decorate drinks and desserts due to the star shape of the cut fruit, it can also be cooked and is used to make jams and relishes.

Cashew Nuts
It would actually be more correct to call them cashew seeds as they grow at the end of a rather peculiar 'apple'. This apple can be used to make a drink but is rarely for sale in Martinique. Like cassava, the preparation (hulling and roasting) of cashew nuts is best left to experienced people as incorrect handling can lead to health problems due to certain toxins. This is why cashews available for sale are always shelled and roasted, never raw and unshelled.

Cassava (Manioc)
The granular Cassava or Manioc flour extracted from the root is used to prepare a variety of dishes in the Caribbean including Martinique. In Europe this is better known as tapioca. The root itself can be eaten boiled and is then sometimes fried with other ingredients. There are two varieties of Cassava, sweet and bitter. Cassava (or Manioc) is something we recommend you do not prepare yourself! Incorrect preparation, particularly of the bitter variety, can result in residual cyanide causing severe health problems.

The Christophine (elsewhere known as Chayote) is a bumpy pale green/white 'fruit' vegetable in the form of an avocado and around 15 cm long that is used to prepare the delicious dish 'Christophine au Gratin' amongst other dishes. In its raw form Christophine is quite tough and unpalatable. The shiny skin and the core should be removed prior to cooking. Although only the fruit is seen on markets in Martinique, the root, stem, seeds and leaves of this sprawling plant are also edible.

In the Caribbean people don’t eat the 'dry' brown coconuts, they eat them straight off the tree, when they are green or yellow. The milk and jelly inside is delicious fresh from the coconut but is also also used to flavour many Creole dishes, both sweet and savoury. A local dish that uses the coconut milk is ‘Blanc-manger’, a delicate light and creamy dessert. A word of advice, coconut palms may provide lovely shade on beaches but you should never sit underneath them, falling coconuts are a serious health hazard!

Coffee beans are grown in Martinique but less so than before when it was a major crop. Ground local coffee is occasionally found for sale, the flavoured varieties, such as vanilla, are particularly appreciated. Look out for the small trees bearing red berries when driving around the island, especially in the north.

Corossol (Soursop)
Also called Soursop, Corossol is the fruit of the evergreen tree Annona muricata which is native to this part of the world. The taste of the white pulpy flesh can best be likened to creamy strawberry with a touch of citrus. Corossol can be enjoyed ‘as is’ but is often made into juice, sorbet, and ice cream. The black seeds are not eaten.

Golden Apple (Prune de Cythère)
This green skinned fruit grows in bunches on large fast growing trees. The skin ripens to a golden yellow and the flesh has a tart acidic taste which is very refreshing in the form of juice. The fruits are generally around 7 to 8 cm long and contain a fibrous pit.

Guava (Goyave)
This yellow green fruit is grown on fairly small bushy trees. Around 5 cm in size the round or oval fruit is deliciously sweet and contains vitamins A, B and C and calcium too which is unusual for a fruit. The entire fruit can be eaten except for the seeds. Guava jam and juice are both very popular. Guava ‘cheese’ can be found in many shops and on the markets, this is made using the flesh of the guava that has been pressed and mixed with sugar and spices, it is delicious and can keep for a few weeks!

One of the ingredients of Ti Punch, the local smooth skinned round limes are commonly used in Creole cuisine, for basting, marinating, flavouring or as a central ingredient in many dishes. Fresh limes will be found in every Martinican kitchen. The young leaves can be used to make a refreshing infusion or tisane.

Sweet, juicy and delicious, this fruit is popular throughout the world and although often enjoyed ‘as is’ it can be used for juice, sorbets, desserts, chutneys and even curries as well as many other dishes. Although unripe mangoes can be used in cooking they should not be eaten raw. Mangoes vary in size and colour depending on the variety. Mango trees grow wild in Martinique. The flesh is firmly attached to a fibrous, sometimes hairy hard pit.

Deliciously juicy and sweet, the ripe yellow papaya is eaten 'as is'. It is often used in fruit salads. Green papaya is added to savoury dishes during cooking to help tenderise the meat. The seeds are edible and can be used as a substitute for pepper when ground. The leaves are also edible when cooked but rarely used in Creole cuisine. The papaya plant or ‘tree’ is very distinctive; the leaves fall off as the plant grows upwards and the fruit grows around the ‘trunk’ nestled among the leaf stems.

Passion fruit (Maracudja)
Most people have seen passion fruit for sale in supermarkets. This round yellow or purple fruit is filled with many seeds, each enrobed with a yellow pulpy flesh, varying in taste from sweet to fairly acidic depending on the variety. Passion fruit is rich in vitamins A and C. Often eaten ‘as is’ it can also be used for sorbets, juice and desserts.

Peanuts (or cacahuetes)
Although technically not a nut, peanuts are widely available throughout Martinique and often sold dry roasted in the shell in grey or brown conical packets on many street stalls. Also used in Creole cuisine and made into ice cream, the peanut is very popular here; if you are allergic then you should check the ingredients of local products and dishes carefully.

Piment (Scotch Bonnet peppers, Bonda Man Jacques)
One of the hotter piment or peppers, the Bonda Man Jacque is used extensively in Creole cuisine. If you try your hand at some Creole recipes then be careful with the dosage as this piment can be very 'hot'. If you are looking for spicy rather than hot then try the local Colombo spice mix.

This fruit is grown a lot in Martinique, for canning and for export. Like the banana, there is a wide variety of pineapples available in different sizes, colours and even look and taste. If you drive around Martinique you will come across many pineapple fields which look like fields of cacti at first glance.

Sugar Cane
Occasionally you will come across a vendor selling freshly crushed sugar cane juice; don’t hesitate, buy a goblet, the green brown brackish juice may look a little unappetising but the taste is delicious! If you find sugar cane available on the market stalls then buy a piece to chew on, both tasty and fibrous it was used as a toothbrush by the slaves.

Surelle (local gooseberry)
This small yellow fruit is quite acidic in taste so is generally not eat generally not eaten raw. The surelle fruit is normally candied or pickled in chutney or relish. Surelle is also used to make syrup and punch and can also be drunk as a sweetened fruit juice. The fruit, seeds, root and leaves have various medicinal properties.

Sweet apple (or custard apple)
From the same family as the Corossol, the custard apple or sweet apple also looks similar to the Soursop when broken into pieces; tender white flesh around black seeds, delicious eaten 'as is'.

Sweet Potato
A frequent side dish and ingredient of various savoury dishes in Creole cuisine, the sweet potato is a delicious vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways. It can also be used to make desserts. If you want to try preparing it yourself but without using complicated recipes then cook it any way you can cook a potato; boiled, baked, fried, pureed, roasted, sautéed, as chips...

An unusual fruit, the tamarind is both sweet and sour with a slightly acidic taste. Rich in tartaric acid and vitamin B the ripe tamarind fruit also contains calcium. The fruit is also used for medicinal purposes, the wood can be used for carpentry. It can be eaten raw and used to make juice and jam but is also an ingredient of Creole cooking and can be made into pickles, relishes and curries. It is one of the ingredients of Worcestershire sauce.

Source: 1,

Julia sitting on my legs and shaking me as I am writing this post XD

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Almond Biscotti Recipe

This is another classic delight to treat loved ones and family during coffee or tea break, we call it Fika. I make this biscotti often but the last year I have been busy with Julia so I didn't make them. I like to have a full jar of biscotti or cookies  in the kitchen even if I don't often eat sweets. This way I always have something to serve when someone comes by unexpectedly.

This classic recipe is flexible when it comes the type of nut or decoration. I sometimes make them with hazelnut or pistachio and I skip the chocolate but I brush them with egg yolk instead to get the golden color.  

Save or pin the recipe if you don't already have one and get creative with making biscotti this holiday. I hope you guys enjoy the inspiration! 

 Almond Biscotti Recipe, Mandel biscotti recept
 Almond Biscotti Recipe, delights, for coffee, fika, till fika, mandel biscotti,

 Almond Biscotti Recipe, delights, for coffee, fika, till fika, mandel biscotti,

 Almond Biscotti Recipe, delights, for coffee, fika, till fika, mandel biscotti,


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups finely chopped Almond (with a food processor)
1 cup dark cooking chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 F = 170 C degrees . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the almond until just incorporated.

Press the dough into two 13 by 2-inch loaves on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake the loaves until golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking.

Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes, flipping the slices over halfway through baking. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler. Dip the ends or the entire flat side of each biscotti into the melted chocolate. Prop each cookie vertically in the aisles of the cooling rack, so the chocolate faces the ceiling. 

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Still Building Bridges

Hi loyal readers! I couldn't keep up again with the blog timeline posting every other day for the same previous mentioned reasons. Here is a quick update about me regarding the building bridges resolution I made for 2018 in order to restore my cultural balance living abroad for years (Read the building bridges plan post). I have already ticked some of my to-dos while in the USA visiting relatives (See the L.A trip post).

Old picture from Tripoli - Libya with Medusa Face

Now I am longing to visit an Arabic culture country and meet my old best friend whom I haven't seen in 8 years since we last met in Casablanca for only a day. We kept in touch of course with the nowadays social technology but meeting in person has been always on my mind. Now before I go back to the working life routine I need to continue building my last bridges in case it might get difficult arranging vacations later on. I am also so happy that Norwegian airlines extended their flying period from Stockholm until whole April which is an expected chance I shouldn't miss. 

It will be not just meeting my old best friend, a colleague in two jobs, housemate for 4 years and more than a sister when I was in need. On the other hand, it's also visiting a country I didn't visit before and a chance to enjoy our culture which I miss very much. My last trip to an Arabic country was in 2013 when I had to stay in Morocco to sort out my permit in Sweden. Longtime right?  well now its only a matter of time until we leave the Caribbean and soon I will book the trip to spend 6 days there the second week of April.  Right after my usual 48 cruise ship on 8th April to Estonia from Stockholm to visit my dentist for the braces control and back with the same tallink ship.

As I said ... a lot on my to-dos and I am so excited and can not wait :-). Gratitude!!!   

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The 5 Languages Of Love Quiz

Here is an update to the previous post The 5 Languages Of Love, which I published during the valentine day period. It's a great book that helps us understand our partners better and meet on the same page of communication.  In the post, I added a free pdf copy of the book as well as an audiobook link. 

Why I am writing this update? well... my partner and I haven't lived together for a long continued period like this 4 months period in the Caribbean since we got together 6 years ago. And that is due to us living - working in different countries from the start. While living here almost 24/7, we got the chance to know each other a little bit more and see new sides of each other since we are both expats in a strange country/culture to us, not his or my hometown. So with that being said, yesterday just out of curiosity I tried The 5 Languages of Love Quiz and I made my partner do it as well as part of "getting to know" each other more, once again. 

I was really surprised at our results, which were an exact match to how we both behave around each other. And it explained all the misunderstandings we had because I was behaving based on what I've seen as a (loving act or treat) and he didn't get it because his love language is totally different from mine. And it goes the other way around... In fact, the most two important things for me in relationship ranked the lowest in his love language. Yep! But as we all know, finding solutions starts with pointing out the problem source. So in order to be on the same page and maintain harmony in a partnership, one will be considering the differences before the things in common.

If you have a similar experience of some sort, try it yourself, you will be surprised at the results. Here I recommend reading the book if you are someone newly in a relationship, or before you decide to move in with someone or make any big serious jump. Get the book for FREE. It will open your eyes to a new different perspective and ways of communication. Love language is not only related to the married couple. It's for all type of relationships. My love language results from the test are as follow: 

  1.  Act of service 
  2. Words of affirmation 
  3. Quality time
  4. Receiving gifts
  5. Physical touch 

Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an "Acts of Service" person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: "Let me do that for you." Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Words of Affirmation
Actions don't always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, "I love you," are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.

Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you," like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant another feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

Receiving Gifts
Don't mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

Physical Touch
This language isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.

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