Wednesday, 27 June 2012

the kindness of strangers

I have talked about the kindness of strangers before (here) and in the past few weeks I have received not one but two gifts from people I don't know. Both gifts happen to come in the form of food, so they must know me a little! The most recent gift was a salt mix from the the mum of one of my boyfriends friends and oh my god its amazing. She gifted me with one last year and it was probably the best thing I had in my cupboards as it just adapts to anything and everything and tastes great on chicken, pork, pasta, salad and potatoes. Or pretty much anything else you want to throw it on.

Its such a great idea to have a mix like this thats salt, seasoning, spice and herb all mixed into one. And there are loads of recipes out there to try yourself and lets face it, combining seasonings in a jar is probably the worlds easiest "cooking" so anyone can do it!

photographs: my own

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

all things neutral

I love neutral. I like the classic styles an simple colour palettes of nudes, grey, white, black and soft caramels and apricot tones. This is a love that crosses between fashion and design. While I enjoy colour and pattern [and im learning to embrace it more and more since cohabiting with my graffiti loving, adidas visual merchandiser boy who just cant get enough of colour] I like the simplistic feeling of neutral tones. 

Living in Cyprus where the weather varies somewhere between warm, hot and sweaty, wearing simple and neutral pieces makes me feel cooler and having a minimalist home filled with white has a calming affect in the summer months. However previously mentioned boy has had is wicked way with our home and splashes of colour have crept in here and there. 

With my skin showing he signs of summer and a golden glow edging in, I can feel the beckoning call of summery prints and palettes. But since my brain is still hanging on to all things neutral here are my favourite finds.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

the love of an older brother....

is unconditional and continually changing. I remember when I was little [maybe 4/5] there was a significant period of time when I thought my brother hated me. Having a little sister who wanted to play and follow you around was obviously not cool. I am sure it's the same for other siblings, depending on the age gap. I guess because me and my brother had 5 years between us, he was already maturing while I was still toddling and he certainly did not want to entertain me. 

But then again I look through my baby photo album that contains all sorts of photos of me in horrific baby attire and see pictures of him and I together where he looks almost happy to have a baby sister. 

There was a time I did not like my brother so much either. Having a sibling who has such specific goals and who taps into his abilities to produce real achievements, leaves the younger sibling in the wake of celebration; a little unsure of what to do or how to follow in the footsteps of the one who has come before. I certainly went through a phase of disliking my brother, for not many reasons other than the fact that he was first and he seemed to do so darn well at everything that it set the bar kinda high for me. 

But funnily enough it seems we both got over our dislike for each other and grew up. Life changing events probably had something to do with our relationship growing and while my brother has never been the heavy-weight-punch-anyone-who-hurts-my-sister kind of guy, I knew he was always there for me. I recall him leaving for university and I think I was more upset than anyone. In fact I slept in his room for a while after that because I missed him so much. 

And now our relationship is long distance. We skype, we text, we email. But I miss him. He popped over to Cyprus for whirlwind trip last weekend and I think it is the first time since we moved that I have been able to spend some quality time with my big brother. 

Our numerous trips to England always seem to fly by and the perpetual dilemma is weather we see a couple of people for the whole time, or many people for a short time [a question I believe will always remain unanswered].

So to have my big brother squeeze his long limbs into a BA economy seat just to visit me was wonderful. We talked, we sunbathed, we walked and we ate [of course]. 

And as soon as he left I wanted him back. Oh how things change when you become an adult and your perspective towards your siblings becomes more rational. 

We even managed to get some nice sibling snaps while he was here; about time too! 

a summer style sunday sound

This remix of the great Florence and Machine song, say my name, is infusing me with energy and making me feel upbeat and in the mood for summer as the sun beats down on yet another scorching hot Sunday here in Cyprus. Turn up loud and enjoy!

[oh and I just love the super cute video and quirky typography!!]

Saturday, 23 June 2012

a week comes and goes

Here I sit on the balcony on a sunny saturday morning drinking cold coffee watching the ice cubes melt before i've even taken a sip. While we had a random thunderstorm yesterday that saw a monsoon fall from the sky, thunder like drums beating in the sky and  winds which brought a sense of cool to the city....the sun is back today and its HOT. Hence why ice cubes dont last very long. 

This we has been a busy one which I think attributed to that fact that its already the weekend. The big brother arrived last Saturday for a few days of fun in the sun and it was so refreshing and warming to see him. While I only went home to London about a month ago for a short weekend, I never got a chance to spend any "proper and meaningful" time with him. But him coming here meant he was totally free to be my big brother again. More on this later. 

I think my body is adjusting more to the sweaty heat of Cyprus and I am feeling a positive summer vibe recently, mainly because more visitors will be arriving over the coming months, more beach trips will be occuring, more wonderful fresh fruits will come into my life, like fresh apricots and watermelon and more heat means more opportunity to consume ice cream! Well it would be rude not to really. 

And going back to my theory that sunshine makes the world a better place, well it certainly seems to be working for my attitude and mood. And my eye is picking up on everything fresh, clean and summer infused. 





Saturday, 16 June 2012

first visitor of the season

Today is not any ordinary Saturday. Today is the day my big brother arrives on the sunshine island all the way from London. Now a little insight into my brother for you; since moving to Cyprus nearly two years ago, we have attempted to plan a proper trip many times but never succeeded. My brother can be notoriously difficult to pin down! So you will therefore understand my excitement when two weeks ago, he not only proposed a weekend trip, but even gave me secured dates and booked his flights! 

So today is the big day. I have done an extra special clean of the apartment, you know the sort worthy of visitors, the guest bed is made, fresh towels are ready and at 3pm we will collect my long limbed brother off the flight when he will most probably complain for 5 minutes about the length of his legs and the lack of legroom. Well when your over 6 ft you tend to have these sorts of issues. 

We will spend a weekend of lazy days, sunshine, coffee, beaches, food and much talking. So I wish you a good weekend and kindly inform you that it will be a tad quiet round this way until the big brother departs on Tuesday. Maybe we will get to take an updated picture of us together since the last one was 2 years ago!! [excuse the dodgey expression, intruder in the background and chubby cheeks].

photograph: my own

feelings for a friday


Thursday, 14 June 2012

mail the old fashioned way

I love social media, emails and skype. As an expat living far apart from friends and family, the modern day wonder of the internet and social media mean I have multiple ways to maintain my relationships and keep in constant contact with everyone back home. The fact that I can talk to friends on facebook and they can see what we are doing, I can email my dad daily to keep him in check and now my auntie has entered the world of the internet, I can even skype my Grandma! 

But there is still something enormously heart wrenching about receiving mail from anyone back home. I dont know if its the effort that I know went into it (the wrapping, the writing, the walking and the posting) or if its the old fashioned simple feel of communication that make receiving mail so wonderful. 

But today I received mail. And as soon as I found the post office slip in our letterbox, my heart was warm and mood instantly lifted. It really is a reflection of the amazing friends I have; that even though I abandoned them for the sunnier side of Europe, they still send me little meaningful gifts to ease the pain of separation and home sickness. 

Mid year resolution - send more personalized mail, via the postal service, not my email service. 

love is at the bottom of a jar

It is no secret that I love food. My girlfriends in Cyprus laugh about my obsession with food and my conspiracy theories relating to calories and the nutritionist (more of that another time). But I am not ashamed to say I enjoy food. I also enjoy the kindness of strangers, especially when their kindness comes in a jar and is edible. 

So the granny of my friend at work gifted us with some wonderful jars of home made apricot marmalade which I have to say is one of the most delicious things i've ever spread on a cracker. Although to be honest we could just skip the cracker and just hand me spoon. 

photographs: my own

Marmalades and jams of any sort remind me so much of England and in particular my childhood. I remember my mum taking us to see her friend, who is a mastermind in the kitchen and could out-cook any Cypriot granny (yeah I said it) and her patience in the kitchen always wowed me. The aroma of freshly cooked bread oozing from her kitchen would make my smell senses stand to attention and I always knew there would be a jar of home made jam in her cupboard just waiting to be devoured. 

I love the memories that come flooding back with a smell, a taste or even a sight such as a jam jar. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

at my height

Ok, so we live in the city, meaning the skyline is somewhat cluttered with buildings. But recently I have been mesmerized by the sky.

In the day it's the sort of crisp blue that makes you question its authenticity and in the evening this warm pink and purple colour lights up the sky. And although the view from our 2nd floor apartment is littered with buildings and offices, I have started to witness these changes, which were always there but I never noticed, on an almost daily basis.

And really, I just love finding any excuse to take photographs. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

thank you

Thank you; just two small words which take very little effort to say, but most of us neglect to use. I remember growing up, my mother and father were always instilling the importance of manners in both myself and my brother. And by default, thank you are the first words out of my mouth for a whole multitude of occasions; a trait which I will be eternally grateful of. 

I guess understanding the impact of those two words goes a long way to implementing them into daily life. Now this philosophical approach on a Monday is a bit out of the blue and to be honest, I don't know where it has come from. Maybe the new burst of sunshine Cyprus has been blessed with recently has impacted my mood (although I dont know why I say maybe has because I know for sure it has), the summer feeling has arrived, there is a sense of relaxation in the air, the beach trips are more frequent and I am thankful that I have some wonderful girlfriends here in Cyprus who will always, no matter what, bring a smile to my face. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

summer has ARRIVED

and in full force I may add. In Cyprus we don't seem to have the typical seasonal changes as I was used to in England. Which for the rain hater inside me is very nice because there is more summer to enjoy, but it's a little confusing when you wake up one day to find summer arrived and no one told you.

We have passed the 30 degrees mark. And it's only June. From past experiences the only way is up; which means the temperatures will just keep on climbing. I remember the day last summer when we hit 40 degrees; it was a Friday at 3.30pm, a momentous occasion as this was a heat I had never felt before and everyone told me I should be expecting. 

While I feel like my body is some what getting used to the heat - the way of measuring this is can I still physically put on skinny jeans and endure them for a whole work day - I think the trousers will soon be relegated to the back of the wardrobe and the legs will be free to feel the sunshine. Now to get my legs in a suitable condition for this outing and to purchase a few transitional dresses to take me through the summer.

Its safe to say the days of cloudless skies are well and truly here! 

apologies for the poor quality picture - my phone is useless!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

the issue of the dress

I have never really been a dress person, except for when I was little and I remember my mum adorning me in a number of floral prints with matching bows. But since the weather in Cyprus come the summer months is nothing less than HOT (capitals indicate the level of HOT we face) it seems I need to start addressing my issue with the dress, because trousers are just not an option. 

While my legs are still that sort of pale winter shade upcoming beach trips will soon sort that out so, I feel its time to begin purchasing some shorter hemlines and opt for some cooler garments to get me through the summer months. 

My recent pink Zara purchase for the wedding we attended last weekend was a step in the right direction, although not altogether work appropriate. The dilemma I face therefore is how to maintain comfort, a moderate temperature and a professional work worthy look. I'm torn between prints or plain block colours and I just don't know what styles to go for.....but some online research has revealed a good array of dresses to choose from. I may need a little help when it comes to actually making a decision.....all suggestions are welcome.