Tuesday, 30 April 2013

e is for emotion

The past few days I have been experiencing a pretty good variety of emotions and some semi serious bridget jones moments of loneliness. The boyfriend has packed up and headed to Germany to start his new job and I am continuing (or at least trying) normal life in Cyprus, including dog walking, food shopping and apartment cleaning.

But my emotions are playing some sort of dance inside my brain. Don't you hate that when you want to get on with it, be strong and embrace the situation you find yourself in, and your emotions keep bullying your brain into thinking about said situation. 

Now if I could just work out how to disable my emotions temporarily we would do just fine. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

want to know more about expat life?

psssstttt.... I'm todays interview blogger over on Expats Blog

Head over here to read more about my expat life. Or follow that new shiny badge in my sidebar (the featured expat one). 

And while your there, check out the other fantastic bloggers from around the world. There are hundreds, listed by country, so I am sure you will find a few you like! 

eat: Limoncello revisted

I can't keep away from this place. The food is THAT good. 

I talked about Limoncello before in this post [here] and with every subsequent visit I have fallen more and more in love with this cute little restaurant. 

The homely feeling this place has makes it a really nice place to go relax with friends and share great food and wine. And the compact menu has regular facelifts so each time I have tried something new, all equally as yummy of course. But the little things like the presentation, cute touches like the medium stick in the boyfriends steak and the fact that the owner, Mr Lordos takes the time to speak to each table are all the things that mean this place is fully booked most nights. If you don't have a reservation, you have a very slim chance of eating lets put it that way. 

This time we savoured a whole host of dishes; steak, the infamous Limoncello burger, the gorgonzola and pear salad and a new addition to the menu Piadina Taco with Chicken and desert, Panacotta with homemade strawberry sauce. 

*note I am salivating as I type, just reliving the tastes in my brain*


Gorgonzola and Pear Salad


Piadina Taco with Chicken


Which was amazing. 

eat: easy chinese chicken

With the boyfriend gone, I automatically have more food leftover after each meal; this is probably due to the fact that I have a it of an issue with portion control. But this does give me the chance to be economically friendly and get to grips with my leftovers. 

So what to do with leftover roasted chicken.....chinese? 

On Sunday afternoon I decided to experiment with some leftover chicken and a whole host of chinese inspired spices and condiments. And if I do say so myself, the results were pretty good. Alright so it didn't quite taste as good as my favourite China town chinese but hey, we can't be picky now can we. 

I used leftover roasted chicken, red onion, courgette and orange pepper. For the chinese bit I used:

2 table spoons soy sauce
2 table spoons of sweet chilli sauce
1/2 table spoon of chinese 5 spice
1/2 cup of water

And it went a little something like this.

Fry the onions and courgette

Add the orange pepper

And then the chicken (because mine was already cooked)

Add the chinese 5 spice, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce and mix together

Add the water and let it simmer down until the sauce becomes a bit thicker/sticky (add more water if required).

And Eat. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

the dogs weekend...

As you can see, she was most helpful when it came to sorting out the apartment and cleaning.

Not a care in the world!

sunday sound #17

I don't really have any words to describe this song. I heard it on radio1 yesterday and was mesmerized.
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

saturday snacking

Saturday meal times seem to blur into one another; at least thats the way it goes in my apartment. Consequently, I pretty much snack all day without a proper meal in sight. Do not judge me just yet. 

I appreciate my food a lot and don't just eat crap thank you very much. My snacks usually vary throughout the day but include all major food groups - walkers sensations crisps are a major food group right? 

Todays mid morning snack was Mediterranean infused; toasted sesame bread, with a teeny tiny drizzle of olive oil, oregano and tahini (kind of like humous but made out of sesame). 

And if you are feeling more adventurous, try topping it with sliced tomato, cucumber or grilled peppers.  

Now the boyfriend is away, I am free to get creative in the kitchen with limitation (I am a less fussy eater than he is) so expect some more foodie posts in the near future. *I apologise in advance if you don't share my passion for eating*. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

expat issues: Long distance friendships

Do you ever have those days where your emotions feel like they are right behind your eyeballs, just waiting to jump out in the form of tears? And then you realise that all your friends and family are an ocean away.

Thats expat life for you. 

Everyone thinks expat life is all relaxation, sunshine, cocktails and beach days. So, summer months are something like that here in Cyprus, but when you factor in working, cleaning, shopping, walking the dog and paying the bills, life in a different country is not that different to life in the one you left. 

I know that for the most part, expats make the decision to become expats, but that doesn't mean the trials and tribulations of everyday life don't get you down. But it doesn't mean you don't miss your friends and family. 

I guess that is the major sticking point for most; how to maintain long distance relationships. 

I would go as far as to say that I am a bit of expert when it comes to long distance relationships. Me and the boyfriend have been together for 8 years now and have had multiple periods of separation.

I remember the first time this happened - it's safe to say I was an emotional mess for a fair few months until we found a routine and ways to maintain a strong bond. And in fact, although its a cliche, distance does make the heart grow fonder.

However there has to be some ground rules for it to work *in my opinion*. There needs to be trust. Some sort of timeframe to work with, in terms of a date that you will be reunited and very good communication skills. But it is not impossible to maintain such a relationship and since, we have had many periods of separation, which I actually believe has made our relationship better. 

So when I decided to leave London for another country, I assumed that most of my friendships would be secure and workable. But I never really factored in the sheer amount of commitment, to multiple people, that I would have to make. Communication across borders with one person can be tricky, but when you have several friends and family members to maintain relationships with, tricky is the least of your problems.

I guess with friends it all comes down to the type of relationship you had in the first place; I have many amazing girlfriends (and boy-friends) in London, who I might not speak to for at least a month, but when we speak, its like no time passed at all. 


I think in order to maintain long distance friendships you need to find a balance with each person; something that fits with your existing relationship. And don't get down about being off the communication radar every once in a while.

I had many moments where I felt like I let someone down. Whether it was not being there for a birthday, forgetting to reply to that email or not being free to skype, everyday life easily gets in the way. But, friendships can survive distance with a little bit of effort.

And every time I return to London, I get welcomed back by the amazing faces of friends I love (and miss on a daily basis) and it makes all the effort worthwhile. 

I have never done long distance relationships with both the boyfriends and friends simultaneously, but that situation is about to be thrust upon me. Watch this space for how I handle that one. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

expat adventures: culture shock

Culture shock is an inevitable part of expat life. If you are brought up in one specific culture and decide to transplant yourself to another geographic location, there is no doubt in my mind that at some point, you will experience a WTF culture shock moment.

Head on over to the expats blog website to read my full view on expat culture shock. It can be found here. 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

sunday sound #16

I seriously cannot get enough of this guy and his music. He has been on repeat on my youtube playlist for a few weeks now and I am far from bored of him. Plus his videos are like mini feature films. This is the sort of song that has a beat that ingrains itself in your brain and you cannot help but feel a little uplifted. 

Happy Sunday

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Saturday Style

Usually my Saturdays are consumed by washing, cleaning, dog walking and coffee trips. Hence my Saturday style is somewhat casual, which reads I look like a casual mess of sweatpants, old t shirt and flip flops. 

Basically no where near as stylish as any of these ladies below. If I had to define my style, I would say simple and casual. I tend to pick plain pieces, rarely delve into patterns but do like a splash of colour here and there. Although an overwhelmingly large proportion of my wardrobe contains "neutral" shades.

Like most people I feel like my style often hits a rut. I noticed it usually comes around seasonal changes; the in-between weather is the worst and forces you to question the entire contents of your wardrobe, all because you don't have the perfect outfit for those cold, warm, windy, wet and dry days. Seriously though....who does?!

While sweat pants is probably the best choice for a Saturday cleaning session, future outfit inspiration has to come from somewhere.....and that somewhere is Pinterest. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dove - your more beautiful than you think!

After a VERY long thursday at work which started at 8am and finished at 8pm, I was half thinking to pass on the blogging front today. I thought I would be forgiven for missing one day especially after such a chaotic and crazy week. But when I came home and did the usual rounds of the social media sites, something jumped out at me that I couldn't ignore. 

Dove is one of my all time favourite beauty brands for many reasons; the smell of their classic soap bar reminds me of my mother and their moisturisers do wonders to my super irrational skin. 

But aside from that, they are a brand that really care about women [and men]. The invest time and money into campaigns that speak to people. 

They believe that beauty is more than what's on the outside and they go above and beyond when it comes to building up peoples self esteem. They are an advocate for loving your body and your beauty and embracing your best and worst qualities. All of which I feel very strongly about.

And this video made by Dove United States, demonstrates exactly how badly we perceive ourselves! 

When I was younger I was a very insecure; I didn't like my nose, my big forehead or my wide hips. And then I realized that my bone structure cannot be changed and I should start accepting myself a little more. 

Everyone feels insecure at times, but we are all different and those differences should be something to embrace, not be embarrassed about. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Beauty: a few of my favourites

I am by no means a beauty expert. 

But I know what I like and I am always open to to trying new products. So I thought it was about time we try a little beauty post. Forgive me if I ramble about smells and textures; both are a big deal-breaker for me. 

clockwise from top: Burberry Brit. Hugo Boss Deep Red. Soap & Glory Smooch Operator. Apivita Handcare Intensive Moisturizing. Simple Repair Anti Wrinkle Cream. 
I was never a perfume kinda gal. I always wore one smell from the age of about 15 which was Ghost - the one in the blue bottle. But recently I have been craving richer scents and have been snapping back and forth between Burberry Brit and Hugo Boss Deep Red. 

I am yet to decide on a favourite. But the thing I love about perfume is the feeling that comes from the smell. For me the Hugo Boss has a deeper, almost passionate smell that makes it perfect for evenings. Whilst the Burberry Brit, aside from the fact that I am sporting some sort of relation to my motherland, has a rich smell that airs on the side of a day scent for me. 

Anyone who knows me, will know my love of lip balms. I always suffer from dry lips and it is not uncommon to find at least 2 lip balms on my desk at work (with an emergency balm in my bag sssssh). My current favourite was one I picked up on my last trip to England. I love Soap and Glory products for two reasons; the smell of their stuff just makes my nose happy and the luxurious texture of their lotions feels amazing on your skin. And luckily, the Smooth Operator balm has both. Its a rich balm/butter that smells of a rose garden and feels right at home slathered on my lips. 

The Apivita Intensive Moisturising Handcare is a cream I picked up on Saturday. And if I am honest I have the same issue with hand creams as I do lip balms - I can't get enough. (For someone who isn't a beauty expert I sure have a lot of products to be passionate about). With Cocoa Butter and Olive Oil ( an ingredient that here in the Mediterranean world is worshipped) it adds that much need moisture back into your skin, has a subtle smell and more importantly for me, doesn't leave any weird slimy or flaky residue! This is is a winner in my book. 

Last but not least, Simple Repair Anti Wrinkle Cream. This was a last minute airport purchase whilst trying to rid my purse of all sterling coins before my plane departed. And as usual Boots was my saving grace. 

Now I am only 24 and I am not concerned about wrinkles in the slightest, so im not sure why I picked this one up. But I did want to try something from the Simple range so voila, this little jar of goodness ended up in my suitcase. And I am glad. Simple products are just that. Simple. They dont have all the chemicals and smells others do. And at the moment I appear to be having rather unruly skin which may just benefit from some paired down skin care. 

I have only been using this for a week but it definitely feels great on my skin, regardless of its lack of contents. I think a longer review of Simple will come at a later date. 

If you have any go to, fail safe products, do share. I am always looking for an excuse to blow 20 euros on a new lip balm! I guess "it's all in the name of blog research" is a good one. 

*well that was a longer post than I was expecting to put out, so congrats if you made it this far through my ramblings*

Monday, 15 April 2013

food; the thing about leftovers

The thing about my cooking is this; I have no concept of portion control. 

You would think by now that I would be adept at working out portion sizes since I have been cooking for two people for two and half years. But no. I still end up with enough food to feed six by the time I am done with dinner prep. And while both me and the boyfriend have a hearty appetite, there is no way we could polish off that amount of food in one sitting. 

As such, my fridge ends up looking like a tupperware haven by midweek. Luckily (and I am not sure if it's thanks to my resourceful student days or my sheer creativity) I have a knack of turning anything into a pretty tasty and substantial meal. Which if you have met my boyfriend, you will know, is not easy.

And last week I exceeded even my expectations. I started with leftover pasta in tomato sauce, added leftover grilled lemon and oregano chicken and then I threw in anything that caught my eye; chorizo, broccoli, green beans and sweetcorn. Cover in cheese, bake and eat. 

Hey presto dinner is done with minimal effort and maximum reward. Sometimes, my lack of portion awareness pays off!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

expat adventures: to the mountains

Today we went to the mountains.

Although I can't tell you where we went, except we were somewhere between Nicosia and the top of Troodos mountains. Mainly because I wasn't paying attention and partly because after driving round windy mountain roads and passing through itsy bitsy villages, I lost track of our exact location. 

 photo 20130414_114816_zpsa546977c.jpg

 photo 20130414_115322_zps61d63ac1.jpg

But I can tell you it was green. The air was clean and fresh. And the sunshine was beating down. It felt like spring and it felt good.

Just being out of the city released some sort of pressure I had been feeling and I felt free. There is such a sense of uncertainty in Cyprus (understandably) that I was craving a little escape from the everyday. 

 photo 20130414_114926_zpsa317742a.jpg

Whatever time of year you visit Cyprus, the mountains have something to offer. In the winter they are transformed into a snow lovers paradise and skiing is a real possibility, something I am still struggling to get my head around. In the summer months the mountains offer a break from the stifling heat the rest of the country falls under. In the summer the mountains retain this cool, clean air that is so different from the hot, humidity of the city and even the coast. And in spring, the mountains are at their best; it's warm and cool all at the same time and the air smells fresh and woody. 

If I could, I would live up there.

sunday sound #15

How wonderful is this guys voice. The song instantly ingrained itself in my brain the moment I heard it over at Pencil Stitches. Gotta love another blogger sharing her wonderful music finds!

Friday, 12 April 2013

hello friday

Friday is my favourite day of the week ( I realise it is probably most people's). 
I work a half day on Friday. 
The week quickly becomes a distant memory.
There are two full weekend days ahead of us. 
The stress is lifted from your shoulders. 
The freedom of Saturday and Sunday is staring you in the face like a blank canvas. 


Thursday, 11 April 2013

learning Greek my way

I will be the first to admit I havent exactly thrown myself whole-heartedly into learning a new language. We have been here over 2 years and I can just about string a sentence together when the need arises, although my understanding is pretty on point.

Maybe its the lazy English girl in me, or maybe its because everyone talks English to me, no matter if I try to string that sentence together or not. The majority of my Greek, most of it reading and understanding, has come from 2 main places; reading food labels and the office.

For some reason (and I honestly think it's funny that a girl who loves food) most of my Greek reading abilities have come from food labels. Maybe it has something to go with the familiarity of food and ease of reading labels and deciphering the new alphabet.


But most of my understanding has come from sitting in an office all day with everyone speaking Greek around me. I remember my first few months I would go home with a long list of words and phrases for my boyfriend to translate. And suddenly I started hearing words more often; I began to distinguish certain phrases and their meaning and context combined in my brain to help me achieve a somewhat basic understanding of what was going on around me. A little bit of google translate doesn't hurt either.

While my method of learning is somewhat obscure and obviously actual lessons are highly recommended, im a strong believer that you should use what works for you when it comes to learning. 

And I guess the old saying is pretty fitting now; practice makes perfect.