Friday, 29 November 2013

Google office; a little different to my office

What is it about offices that either make your day or break your day? If your an office worker and spend 8 hours a day in a little cubicle or an open plan space, you will know the importance of your surroundings. It can really affect your productivity, your thought processes and your personality. 

Google has a reputation for having cool, employee friendly offices. And this one in Tel Aviv definitely ticks those boxes. *not jealous at all* 

Ok so my office isn't that bad; it has lots of natural light and has a open plan feel which is important because feeling stifled and claustrophobic is one sure fire way to make me fidgety. My only qualm is the stupid piece of wood that separates my desk from the one opposite me, which prevents me from stretching my legs. And being a tall girl, stretching ones legs is kinda important! Oh and it looks nothing like Google's but thats another issue. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

where's christmas?

I think I found it. In Marks and Spencer's in the home section. Outside there was sunshine, inside there was christmas cards and christmas cake. You can see why I am a bit confused. 

After three years in Cyprus, I have lost a lot of the excitement I used to have for christmas. Mainly because it's not cold enough, there's not enough twinkly little christmas lights and I am not bombarded with christmas adverts every time I turn on the TV. You know what's funny, I always complained about freezing my toes off at the bus stop and getting rained on during winter months in London. Ok so I will pass on the rain, but I would kill for one of those super cold, crisp, sunny winter days that make you love winter in London. 

Anyway, what I have realised (thanks to the boyfriends mum) is that a little effort goes a long way so I am throwing myself into the christmas spirit starting with cards. I know it is still November, but the Cyprus postal system means that if I want anyone to get their cards before 7th January, I need to post them now! I also have plans to get the christmas tree up at the weekend because nothing makes you feel like christmas is coming than christmas lights and red glittery baubles. And a traditional English roast dinner is being planned for when the boyfriend arrives, because nothing says christmas like roast chicken, stuffing and yorkshire puddings, smothered in gravy!  

Now if we could just arrange for some snow and it would really feel like christmas. 

midweek mix 27/11/2013







Tuesday, 26 November 2013

you cant separate and English girl from her tea!

For a time, the coffee loving land of Cyprus took me to the dark side. The dark side being one filled with filter coffee, iced coffee and Cypriot coffee (although that is something I will never get on board with). 

But I am back. My day starts with a PG Tips and ends with a Green and Peppermint Tea (a great sleep aid by the way). But sometimes you need something more fancy and when I say fancy I mean a loose tea and infuser or a tea pot. There is something about a tea pot that instantly screams proper English tea time. When I was little and my mum would make tea, it was always in a tea pot, whether it was for herself or the whole family, the teapot was a constant feature in our kitchen. 

It's probably good I dont live in England right now, because otherwise I would spend a small fortune on beauty products and teas. But thanks to my Lebanese friend, I have a new tea place to check out next time i'm in London.

Yumchaa has a gorgeous website, beautiful packaging and a tasty tea selection. The midnight grey was super fragrant, fresh and tasty. On my list of teas to purchase next time i'm in London, Soho Spice, which sounds like a feistier version of a chai tea and Wanderlust which sounds perfect for more wintery days, with its apple, almond and cinnamon flavours. 

You can order online here but I am not sure where they ship to, fingers crossed for international shipping!

Monday, 25 November 2013

home post: white on white

In an ideal world, I would live in a white house. Not THE white house. A white house. 

I have a thing about those super shiny, simplistic, modern houses you see in the magazines. You know the ones that look like no one, especially no kids nor dogs, live in. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am organised, minimal and a bit of a perfectionist. 


My dream house would be all shades of white, cream and grey with bright pops of colour in the form of candles, graphic prints and cushions. There is something about the blank canvas that white and grey offer, which means re-designing wont be such a hassle. A small thing like adding a blanket or different cushions to a grey sofa, makes all the difference. 





Obviously, I am living in the dream world, where the dog doesn't leave little doggy foot prints everywhere, the boyfriend doesn't leave a trail of trainers everywhere he goes and there is no dust, ever!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saturday, 23 November 2013

i'm a food kinda girl

If you ever need a companion for brunch, lunch or dinner, i'm your girl. I have absolutely no problem with consuming vast amounts of food, all in the name of friendship. That being said, my eating routine kinda goes out the window as soon as Saturday arrives. 

The routine of the working day interchanges with my daily eating routine, but at the weekend, with no routine, I either find myself not eating enough, or snacking too much simply because i'm within easy reach of my kitchen cupboards. So in a conscious effort to have better eating Saturday, I decided a proper lunch was a must. 

And some of my favourite flavours make a nice, comforting lunch; hot Greek pitta bread, avocado, rocket, onion and roasted chicken. Well it's not Saturday without a carb overload right. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

a little bit about customs (no not the ones at the airport)

I can always find an excuse to post pictures of food! These are traditional Cypriot treats prepared at Christmas

Hands up you expats who got a bit of a kick in the face when it came to understanding the customs in your new country? 

Every day I live in Cyprus, I become more accustomed to the customs! Differences between cultures which were glaring at me everyday have faded into the background and now I have the hang of the basics, customs and traditions here in Cyprus aren't that scary. 

When I first arrived it was a whole different story. Sure I was coming from London, a highly eclectic city with so many nationalities all thrown together in one melting pot. But being brought up in London somewhat desensitizes you to these things, and I never saw them as any but normal. The excitement of being in a new country and the abundance of sunshine kinda clouded my judgement. But the excitement was also thrown together with fear as I struggled to get to grips with this new culture and all the associated customs. But I got there in the end. 

If you want to read more about Cyprus customs (and yes you do because they are interesting), then check out my article for, a global community bringing expats together. 

midweek mix 20/11/2013







Tuesday, 19 November 2013

food fascination: oats

Recently, oats have been making an appearance in my diet. In the form of porridge and yummy cranberry and pomegranate oat bars which tick the sweet box for that mid-afternoon craving that usually hits us office workers. 

I can't explain the sudden influx of oats in my diet except that they bring me comfort. When I was younger, I always remember those cold, crisp afternoons in winter that my granny would come to collect me from school. We would walk back to my house, with frozen fingers and toes and upon arrival, the first thing my granny would do is get busy in the kitchen. The result; a little warming bowl of porridge topped with brown sugar and cinnamon. It was comforting, creamy, nutritious and filled a whole in my 6 year old, post-school hungry stomach. 

Maybe it has something to do with the "colder" weather starting to make an appearance in Cyprus, or maybe it is just my brain craving something that brings back happy memories of my childhood. But starting my morning with a little warm bowl of oats really has made a difference to my day. And my hunger levels. Maybe it has something to do with the zinc and B vitamins in oats that are known to be mood enhancers. And if you need some oat inspiration look no further than here and here

Monday, 18 November 2013

emotion in advertising, hello christmas adverts

The christmas season is nearly upon us. I say that because for me, christmas starts when December arrives. But the christmas adverts have already started. And the christmas adverts are a prime example of how emotion has become a vital part of advertising campaigns. 

A whole host of factors like the sheer choice of products available and worldwide economic challenges mean in order to sell your product or service, you need to really tap into the fundamental emotions of consumers. And you need to make it memorable. 

Everyday we are bombarded with images that are trying to sell us something, but how many of them do you actually remember. Advertising campaigns are fighting for the prized place inside your brain and enticing an emotional response out of you, secures that spot in your memory.

Because everyone remembers the company or product, whose advert brought them to tears, right? Which brings us to the John Lewis christmas adverts which bring that feel good feeling with them. I talked before about the power of the John Lewis advert here. But the christmas ads really do pull it out of the bag. 

And then there is the Coco Cola advert. When me and my brother were little, we would super excited when we spotted the Coco Cola christmas advert. Because it meant christmas was near. And that emotional attachment remains today. Especially since most christmas's for the past few years have been expat style.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Saturday, 16 November 2013

no cares in the 90's


In the 90's I was a child. A care-free, super shy style kid, with bad hair and those really quaint style dresses for little girls that came from the ladybird collection (an UK readers will know what I mean). My biggest worry was which barbie to ask Santa for, deciding on my favourite colour and working out how to persuade my mum to put chocolate biscuits in my lunchbox everyday for school, instead of a banana. 

Fast forward to 2013 where the biggest worries of my adult self are somewhat different. Saturday morning has just been spent walking the dog, changing sheets and mopping the kitchen floor. There will be coffee and writing and skype sessions this afternoon. I will be making a feasible budget for christmas gifts but certainly no barbies will be bought. The only thing that stayed the same is trying to decide on my favourite colour. I never could narrow it down. 

I remember being 8 and thinking oh wow I can't wait to grow up and be an adult. And now the time has come, I often about what it was like to be a care-free child. To live in a loving home, to play in the garden all weekend, to have dinner cooked for me every night and to not even know what an electricity bill was.

Is the grass greener on the adult side of life?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

9 is the magic number

9 years ago, my 15 year old self met a 16 year old boy who made my heart skip a beat. Sure we were young but we bonded quickly. And for a 16 year old boy he used his initiative; first date was a home made cinema. 9 years later and my heart still skips a beat, we are living in a different country, have a dog and are doing long distance. My head is the only one going to be hitting these pillows. But aren't they pretty pillows!

Monday, 11 November 2013

a journey

I think one of the biggest challenges of being a blogger is knowing how much to share. 

What parts of your life should be laid out on the pages of your blog and which should stay far away from the publish button. But some times external factors and emotions can unintentionally influence your writing. And then come the times when the emotional pull of something makes it impossible not to write about it. Blog posts may start from a link, a photograph or one word that triggers a whole cascade of words and paragraphs. This post is one of those. 

It all started with a link received in an email. I was at work last wednesday and since I have been playing a mental tug of war; should I write this post, should I not. And if I do, how much am I going to share? Since I am here you know the part of my brain that won. I have quite selfish reasons for writing this post though i'll be honest. I feel that writing is my therapy so to speak and therefor, to put some words out there in front of me on a screen, may help me assemble them in a place in my brain. 

Cancer is a scary word that appears more frequently in our vocabulary than ever before. Whether you have been directly or indirectly affected, most people now-a-days know someone, or know of someone who has been affected by the C word. Which is kind of worrying since in this day and age, with technological advancements and scientific wonders (dont talk to me about conspiracy theories) we have yet to find a way to tackle this disease head on/prevent it/and eliminate it completely. 

This article is the sole reason for this post. Angelo Merendino, a photographer, documented the journey after his wife, Jennifer was diagnosed with cancer. He says about his photographs; 

"They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love.  These photographs do not define us, but they are us."

When I was 9, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I watched the cancer absorb her body, affect her emotions and take over her life. It left her bare; a shell of the women she was. Every year for the past 15, I have had a different idea, understanding, emotion associated with what happened to my mother. And it is only now that I can talk more freely about it. Because I have come to terms with the fact that cancer is like a journey. For the lucky ones, the journey is short and the light comes at the end of the tunnel. For others, it is nothing but problematic and tiresome. Whether you fight it or not, the ending can still be the same. 

Angelo and Jennifer, bravely took a camera along on their journey. They documented the stages of the disease, the process of treatment and the changes that inevitably affect everyday life. Sometimes I feel like cancer is one of the last taboo subjects. People don't know who to talk about it because it brings with it so many fierce emotions. 

The story of Angelo and Jennifer and the photographs, made it to major news outlets around the world. And in the wake of his wife's death, Angelo started The Love You Share, a non-profit organisation to financial assist women receiving treatment for breast cancer. For more information visit his website.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Friday, 8 November 2013

who is addicted to their smartphone?

Last week I wrote this post about how social we have become and how dependent we are on technology and social media, everyday. It is true social media has changed the way we live and technology has allowed people to connect worldwide and business to develop their brand online at the click of a button. There are many positives to social media, but don't you think we are too involved in technology?

I am not preaching because I am one of the worst culprits; my phone is on my desk all day at wok and by my bed at night. I dont remember the last time I actually switched off my phone and as soon as I get home from work, my laptop is on. 

You have probably seen this video already. And while I laughed all the way through, this stuff is real. Now I must say while I am glued to my phone and laptop in terms of proximity, I am not glued to my phone in the presence of friends or family. I think that is actually one of my biggest pet peeves; sure I love taking photographs, actually I will take photographs of everything, but when its coffee, drinks with the girls or dinner with the granny, the phone does not need to be in my hand permanently. The feeling of talking to someone who is glued to their phone and obviously is not listening is so disheartening. 

And then I found this great article, which makes some interesting points about why we are so into our smartphone and offers up a few ways to beat the social media, technology addiction of our generation. 

So, put down the smartphone and step away slowly. Until it buzzes and then come running back!