20 July 2012

A living Saint - Grandpa Dobri

Charity as a PR stunt, Tax relief or a genuine good deed? - You tell the difference....

This is a story that will hopefully change your perspective on charity and where true wealth, success and happiness lies.

This is the story of the 98 year old beggar Dobri of Bailovo village in Bulgaria who's become the most generous benefactor of the largest Cathedral in Eastern Europe...

Dressed in his home-spun clothes and ancient leather shoes worn in winter and summer he could often be seen standing outside the church St. Alexander Nevsky in Sofia somewhat detached and silently clutching his tin-box for coins. My last memory of him is from 2000 just before I moved to London.

Grandpa Dobri holds the key to people's hearts. Softened at his very appearance, we all rush to put a coin in the hands of the elderly man.

Nevsky is the largest Christian cathedral in Eastern Europe

Apparently he gets up early every day and walks the 10 kilometre route from his village Bailovo to Sofia. He enjoys speaking to the busy passers-by and kisses the hand of everyone who stops for a chat.

To people in Sofia he's been known for many years simply as Grandpa Dobri - the beggar.

In 2010 during filming a documentary about the Nevsky Cathedral a journalist working for the Bulgarian national TV found in the church's archives a shocking discovery -  the most generous  private donation that the church ever received was by no other than the old beggar - Granpa Dobri. It was an astounding EUR 40,000. 
The 98-year-old Bailovo saint has not touched even a single penny from the money we all thought he lived off. He apparently lives only off his 100 Euro a month retirement and what people kindly leave him - mainly fruit and bread...
Needless to say, the whole nation has been moved by his deed. Numerous films have been made about him ever since and as a result he has been proclaimed a living saint.

Many have asked why he'd chosen such a way of life. The old man usually replies that he had sinned once and this is his way of repentance.  Now, having chosen a life of a hermit, he tours the churches on public holidays, raising money for temples and monasteries. 10 years ago, when he was "still young"...he says,  he used to walk the distance from Sofia to Bailovo and other places - now he travels around the city by bus...

"Has the world changed, Grandpa Dobri?"
His concern is that few people nowadays try to seek God and pay attention to the spiritual side of things...
"Do not despair, because despair is not a good thing" he adds, immediately capturing the course of our thoughts..

People like Grandpa Dobri live by God's grace literally, every day, and are satisfied with the smallest good deed they can perform, happily wandering the paths they've chosen..

 People like him see the world in its primordial beauty and take delight in small things, with gratitude to God and the entire world.

Most likely Dobri's good deeds will remain a secret. Rumour has it he's also helped numerous needy people living in shelters. Yet, he doesn't want to talk about it..
"I've given some money to churches and monasteries, yes" - Dobri says when asked, "but I do not brag, as bragging is a devil's deed"......

He has saved a whole monastery from starvation one winter. Just as the sisters of the monastery learnt there was no money left to pay the electricity bill, the door opened and the old man offered coins without saying much.

He has managed to help the restoration of many temples, yet it has never occurred to him he could live in a different way. "God always helps us, a lot!" he says...

London Spa Girl x

18 July 2012

Spirito of Sofina Cafe

This has to be the cutest little cafe/shop I’ve come across in recent times.
It's called Spirito of Sofina and is located in Kensington's Victoria Grove (just off Gloucester road).
It offers great Italian coffee, fresh juice and good selection of tea and salads.
It also sells jewellery and beauty products.

My favourite hideaway..
Have a look for yourself

15 Victoria Grove Kensington London W8 5RW

London Spa Girl x

17 July 2012

Declutter your home today

The Flow of Energy  - How important is it?

Good energy flow brings wealth, good health and everything that people consider part of the formula for success. If energy can’t flow through our homes or apartments, major parts of our lives will suffer.

What Meaning Does Your Clutter Have?
For people with a hoarding problem, which is classified as a psychological disorder, their clutter in their lives, become a part of their identity. They hold on to “stuff” until it becomes a part of them.

Watching as hoarders disconnect themselves from their stuff makes for captivating television. It’s dramatic. It’s life-changing....

Guess what? Getting rid of clutter can be life-changing for you, too.... if it hasn’t yet destroyed your life. While letting go of clutter and the memories and feelings it holds may be emotionally draining, once you release the meaning of that clutter in your life, it doesn’t have to be painful.

First, evaluate why you are holding on to certain items. Is it because you feel you’re not worthy of something better? Would you feel guilty getting rid of gifts people's given you? Do you hope this clutter (such as unused shoes or pc) will motivate you to make a change, but really all it does is create guilt and add pressure to your life? Does surrounding yourself with objects make you feel wealthy, even though the clutter could be blocking the opportunities that could help you create real wealth?

Let’s have a look at  patterns of clutter people create that block the flow in their life, and why it’s so important to get rid of them immediately.

1: Surrounding yourself with unfinished or incomplete items or projects
What it means: Do you have stacks of photos that you will some day put in frames or picture albums? Unfinished arts and crafts albums? Projects begun in earnest and then abandoned? If these type of items haunt your home or apartment, you might feel stuck in other ways as well.

How to get rid of this clutter: Make a decision to finish the project and set a deadline. If it’s not done by that time, sell it, pass it on to someone else, or get rid of it. As you re-visit the project, you may decide you have no interest in it. Then get rid of it right away.

2: Anything that’s broken
What it means: Broken items can represent your lack of self-worth. You may feel unloved and unworthy of love.

How this clutter hurts you: Low self-esteem is tied to unhappiness, loneliness, and a failure to advance in your career. But you’re not broken — and you deserve better than a home full of broken things!

How to get rid of this clutter: Fix it, give it to someone who wants to fix it, or toss it. (Remember, it’s broken and you deserve better!)

3:  Small things
What this clutter means: If you fill your life with tiny, cheap knick-knacks, clothing accessories and other small items, you might not be leaving room in your life for the bigger things that can help bring you true happiness.

Just like holding on to broken items , filling your home or apartment with small things could indicate you don’t feel you are worth more.

How this clutter hurts you: By spending money on many small things, you’re not permitting yourself to save for the big things that can really enhance your quality of life, such as a nicer home, a vacation or, even more significantly, furthering your education to get a better job or saving for retirement to create better peace of mind.

How to get rid of this clutter: This can be a difficult one, since small items create a lot of clutter but may also make you happy or serve a purpose. Look at your collections and keep the items that you truly enjoy, that blend in with your home’s decor and that bring you happiness. Group them together. Create a space for everything in your home, and get rid of anything that doesn’t have a space.

Take Action To Improve Your Life Today
Look around. What does the clutter in your life say about you? What kind of clutter patterns keep coming up in your life? Some people experience more than one of these patterns. How could you change your life today by clearing the clutter from your home or apartment?

London Spa Girl x

The Algarve Sun

London's weather has been awful in the past 3 months so when J asked where we should go in July, I said “I don’t care, as long as it’s sunny and has a beach.” I love London, I really do, but sometimes the weather can get you down. It rains here a lot (though usually it’s just a light rain), and it’s frequently pretty cloudy as well. Rare is the sunny day, and I needed some sun.....

J did some searching around, and finally settled on the Algarve region of Portugal. The Algarve is the southernmost area of the country, with hundreds of kilometers of beaches.

The hotel we opted for is called Dona Filipa (www.donafilipahotel.com) and is situated in the golf area of Vale do Lobo.

A great place for relaxation, 30 minutes from Faro airport, perfect location overlooking a great beach. A short stroll away is a large promenade which has a variety of restaurants and bars in the evening.

My top recommendations for dinner are:
Pequeno Mundo (where we spotted Luis Figo and his family) - http://www.restaurantepequenomundo.com/Contacto.html

Casa do Campo - http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g262054-d1528546-r117739060-Casa_do_Campo-Almancil_Algarve.html

...and for al fresco lunch on the beach
Maria's -  http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g262054-d2628692-Reviews-Maria_s_Restaurant-Almancil_Algarve.html

If you are looking for some sunshine this week then the Algarve looks like being your best bet with wall to wall sunshine and temperatures into the 30′s predicted for the entire week!

The Algarve is known for having more than 300 days of sunshine each year and the summer months can often see weeks without a cloud in the sky! Sounds like my kind of place.
I most definitely will be going back again

Here are some pics of me... me and me....

Gazpacho. The perfect lunch when the temperatures are in their 30s....

Traditional Algarvian Cataplana. One of my favourite dishes from the area

Sea bream and sea bass are very popular in the Algarve. So is Piri Piri chicken...
Traditional Algarve salad. My favourite

See you soon!

London Spa Girl x


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