One of those ‘whoa’ moments

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Food & recipes, Bulgarian life | 6 comments

You may not expect this of me, sweary, dungaree-devotee that I am, but I’m surprisingly into visualisation and manifestation. No, really. Woo woo me up, baby. I draw the line at crystals and horoscopes (with apologies to crystal- and astrology-lovers – you do you), but I firmly believe in the law of attraction.

It’s not that I think the law of attraction will make me wildly rich (although, universe, I’m happy to be proven wrong). Rather, I believe that where I focus my energy and thoughts matters.

Seems like common sense to me. Far better to focus my energy and thoughts on the things I do want to happen, instead of the things I don’t want to happen. And that, in a nutshell, is what visualisation, manifesting and the law of attraction is all about. (Well, that and making people wildly rich. Apparently.)

Which is why, when we first decided to move to Bulgaria, I focused hard on how great it was going to be – as opposed to how scary a move it was, how difficult it would be to learn the language and integrate, the fact that we didn’t know anyone, that we didn’t yet know how we were going to make money, that we didn’t have any DIY or gardening skills…

I had my eyes open. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I knew it would be worth it. And to make sure I stayed focused on that rather than the hard stuff, I visualised our life here. I visualised the shit out of it.

I had a very specific picture that I would play over and over again in my head. A daydream, basically. In it, I’m stood in a rustic country kitchen with a back door that opens onto our cottage garden. There’s a loaf of bread baking in the oven and it smells incredible. I wander out into the back garden and pick a bunch of flowers. It’s a beautiful garden, abundant with vegetables and flowers and insects. I come back into the kitchen, put the flowers in a jug and take the loaf of bread out of the oven.

That’s it. A 30-second daydream that I would play on repeat in my brain. This was before we bought our house, so the kitchen in my head looked more like my nan’s kitchen than the kitchen we ended up with in real life. But that doesn’t matter. For me, the daydream symbolised everything we wanted from life in Bulgaria: time and freedom. Time and freedom to be in nature, cook from scratch, grow our own food, and enjoy a slower pace of life.

This mental picture brought me confidence and peace when everything about our future life was still up in the air.

Then we bought our house, made the move, and I stopped visualising that specific scenario because, well, we were here, in Bulgaria, up to our eyeballs in lime plaster and quickly accumulating cats. I moved on and began visualising other goals.

And THEN, I was stood in the garden the other day, out in the summer kitchen, soaking up the sunshine and gazing across the garden as I waited for the loaf that was baking in our outdoor woodburning stove … and it hit me: holy shit, this is that moment I visualised. Well, sort of. I hadn’t picked any flowers and I was baking bread outside, not in the kitchen, but it felt exactly as it did in my daydream. I was looking out over our beautiful garden, towards a neighbouring barn, smelling delicious bread and feeling pretty darn smug about life.

Of course, I’ve lived moments like this hundreds of times. I’m always baking bread, soaking up the garden, lazing in the hammock and generally relishing where we live. But I never linked a specific moment back to that daydream from 13 years ago. Not sure why. I guess I mostly prefer looking forwards.

But talk about a ‘whoa’ moment. I just stood there, mouth open, while my brain adopted a surfer-dude accent and went ‘whoooooaaaa’. My brain basically became Keanu Reeves for a full minute.

I guess the moral of the story is visualise the shit out of the things you want to happen, but also take a moment to give thanks when they, you know, actually happen.

In other news

Speaking of whoa moments, last week I went to the Guild of Food Writers annual awards in London, where I was shortlisted for the Newcomer award. It’s an award for amateur food writers and bloggers who are working to become professional food writers. I was shortlisted for a piece I wrote on here back in February: Two packets of Bourbons and a packet of Hobnobs: The food journey of a Brit in Bulgaria.

After clambering over my crushing social anxiety and imposter syndrome, I ended up having a right old jolly time at the awards. Delia Smith was sat in the row in front of me. Mary Berry was there. I got to meet Ukrainian food writer Olia Hercules, who is one of my food idols (her books are beautiful, beautiful things – buy them).

And to top it all, I won!

If I’m lucky, the award will provide a springboard for me to channel my freelance writing work in more of a food and gardening direction. But you won’t be seeing a lot of changes here. Auntie Bulgaria isn’t going to morph into a full-on food blog. (I don’t actually like food blogs that much if I’m honest. They’re full of ads and you have to scroll past so much SEO content until you get to the recipe in question. I mean, I get it, bloggers have to pay the bills and we, the readers, are benefitting from free recipes. I just don’t want to do that on here.)

Anyway, I plan to keep prattling on about the garden and cats and neighbours, as well as a bit of food chat. And I do enjoy sharing occasional recipes when I have something I think you’ll really like.

Is that alright with you, friends? Or would you like to see more foody stuff? Do tell.


  1. Simon

    Congrats on winning the award! Richly deserved and long overdue.

  2. Rod Jones

    What an absolutely great piece of writing. Love the visualisation.

    Congratulations on the win (but no surprise)…

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Ah, thanks, Rod. Hope you’re both doing well x

  3. Katt



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