Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013; you've been turbulent


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*Long post alert*

The last day of 2013 has arrived. The previous 364 days of 2013 have literally passed at lightening speed and I am now sitting here, on a freezing cold, stormy Tuesday in Nicosia wondering how to sum up this year in words. I have achieved a lot, on this blog and in terms of my personal development (is this starting to sound like a CV?), but along the way there have been tears, goodbyes and sacrifices which have all compounded my original sentiments from the early days of 2013; don't worry because life is too short. 

I'm not superstitious at all but part of me feels that the pesky 13 at the end of the 2000 has been playing it's tricks all year. 

Life has continued at a speedy pace and it is only when I make my self stop and think, that I realise I have been an expat for yet another year. Everyday life in Cyprus has become just that; everyday. But living alone for more than half a year has brought into perspective, once again, some of the challenges of living in a foreign country, not to mention being alone, and far away from the trusty support system of family and friends back in London. If it wasn't for the boyfriends family and the amazing little bunch of girls I get to call friends here, I would have packed up and gone back to England a long time ago. 

The single biggest thing that living alone taught me though, is that I can do it. I can be independent and I can be on my own, handle the everyday things like changing a lightbulb, fixing the bed frame and killing cockroaches, all without the boyfriend. But it would sure be a lot easier with him.

Long distance relationships are always an uphill struggle to the finish line and I am not pretending they are easy. Being apart is one of the hardest things and there are many tear filled days when all you want is a hug from the one person who can't give it to you. And try doing long distance friendships alongside! Sometimes I think I have the patience of a saint (and I must be a little bit crazy). 

Aside from the challenges and inevitable tantrums that 2013 brought, I learnt a lot although it wasn't my language skills because my Greek is still far from perfect. I kicked it up a notch on the blog and I am super proud of my efforts, I entered some great expat writing competitions and was a guest writer for blogs and expat communities alike. Not to mention we had an amazing summer here! 

I don't know if I can tick all of my goals off of last years list.....  I definitely shopped less, sent more mail and became a better blogger. As for the worrying less, well that was intermittent and I absolutely did not see more. But you have to have some leftovers to drag into the new year with you. So for 2014, it's traveling, send even more mail and worry even less. 

Tonight we will be celebrating together. The only way I want to end 2013 and start 2014. 

*If you got this far I applaud you. And thank you*

from high above


I'm a tall girl, but life from my height never looks like this.


Aerial photography fascinates me. It blows my mind that you can achieve such a detailed and intensive image from that high in the sky. I love detailed photographs that depict the patterns of the natural environment; the patchwork effect that the green fields make and the contrast between the orange rock of the mountains and the blue sky demonstrate the power of nature.

But it is not just the natural. Shooting photographs from above gives you eyes on the man made world we live within.




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Monday, 30 December 2013

home post: christmas decor

I know christmas is now technically over, however that doesn't mean the decorations are coming down just yet. Well it's not called the festive season for no reason. I'm rather traditional when it comes to decorations. You know big green tree, sparkly lights, red and white baubles, green wreaths, stockings hanging from the fire place etc. But I can live vicariously through pinterest can't I!

In my dream house, christmas is actually the most wonderful time of the year. It is white and silver, with cute "merry christmas" and "noel" signs. It has green and woven wooden wreaths, dotted with lights. It has white pillar candles and stars in silver and white, perched upon a open fireplace. And there is a huge tree, with bright white lights, white and red decorations and a huge star on top.


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Sunday, 29 December 2013

A lazy blogger, Christmas and an earthquake

Things I learnt this week; December makes me a lazy blogger, Christmas in Cyprus is not all that bad and I don't take much notice of earth quakes apparently.

I have been really slack since the boyfriend crash landed in Cyprus. I had planned to have blog posts scheduled for the duration of his visit, but that never really happened. What with the buzz of the boyfriend arriving and the excitement of Christmas, my mind has since been elsewhere and silence has fallen upon the blog. 

I was totally spoilt for christmas this year with the boyfriend surprising me with an a.m.a.z.i.n.g present,  while family showered me with some much needed beauty favourites from England, ASOS vouchers for my fashion fix and the boyfriends mum sent me a necklace I talked about on this blog a few months ago, but more on that later.  She really is one clever and observant women. 

The weeks festivities were intertwined with a few crazy hectic work days. But Christmas Day was one big fat Cypriot feast. Uncles hovered around the souvla, aunties prepared side dishes and salads, cousins were reunited and great grandchildren drove everyone crazy with their screaming and new toys which meant the whole day was playtime.









And to end the week a little earthquake hitting 6 on the Richter scale. Which by the way, I didn't feel at all and I'm rather pleased I didn't because I was in the shower at the time and I don't think that's the safest place to be! 


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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Was your Christmas merry?


I had every intention of doing a particularly festive blog post yesterday but I got caught up in the chaos of the day and actually made the choice not to. Recently I wrote about how consumed we are sometimes, when it comes to social media. Between Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Bloglovin, sometimes I feel like I'm going round on a social media fairground ride; once I am done with them all, it's right back to the beginning. 

Yesterday we had a lazy morning at home, opened some fantastic and thoughtful gifts (more about them another time) and spent a busy afternoon eating, catching up with cousins, aunts and uncles and entertaining 3 year olds. 

I will be honest, sometimes Cypriot family gatherings freak me out; I am used to a Christmas with a maximum of 5 people and one that is spent on the sofa watching shrek and eating Yorkshire puddings. And let me tell you Cypriot family gatherings are nothing  like that. But yesterday that didn't matter. The cultural differences seem to be slowly fading and I feel more and more part of the family and that the way they do things here is part of me. 

I am not going to lie, my step-mum always makes an incredible roast dinner which I would kill for right now and the boyfriends mum is known for her selection of treats come Christmas time. 

But maybe the Cypriot Christmas isn't as bad as I once thought.

Merry Christmas. Καλά Χριστούγεννα


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

christmas eve and little bit of gold!

Christmas eve kind of crept up on us. Bam. The 24th is here and with it came the sunshine. I mean seriously, 2 weeks ago there was a huge snowfall in the mountains and surrounding villages and even in Nicosia and today it was 20 degrees and full sunshine. 



Not really what christmas should feel like especially since christmas 2012 was in London. But we have to take what we are given and I have a tree, presents and a boyfriend in the same country, so it's not all bad. Well I did wish upon many stars this year!

I know christmas gets a little less exciting every year that I get older, but this year I feel a little buzz about the day. Probably also thanks to my little piece of gold I was gifted with earlier this week. I entered the 2013 Expats Blog awards with my little piece, 12 tips for easy expat life in Cyprus. 

Unfortunately I didn't win the big prize but I am proud of the little gold badge I now get to display in my sidebar over there on the right!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

another christmas related post!



It definitely is beginning to look a lot like christmas. 

There is a smell of apple and cinnamon and spice in my apartment, the christmas tree has presents under it, and santa delivered the boyfriend safely and on time. Do you know how many dreams I had that a freak European snowstorm cut off Europe and resulted in me spending christmas alone in Cyprus. I am pleased to say my dream didn't become reality. 

In the next few days work will wind down, many films and series will be watched, cookies and ferrero rocher will be consumed and presents will finally be unveiled. For some reason this christmas feels extra magical and I cannot for the life of me think why. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

home post: colour

Our little apartment is alive with the sound of (no not music) colour. When we moved in it was a blank little beige canvas and needed a serious injection of life and colour. Luckily the boyfriend is a bit of a graffiti master, so it didn't take long before there were colourful, graphic prints on the walls. And once there were, it felt a lot more like home.

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I like white and minimal, but I think all white can be a bit sterile sometimes and I don't want my apartment to resemble a hospital. So a few colour touches are quite essential in my book. Hence why I have a thing about cushions and candles.

Personally (as someone who has never owned, built or bought a home) I think the safest option is a neutral canvas of white or beige or even light grey etc, which can be pumped up with colourful items like sofas, chairs, tables, mirrors, cushions, art and rugs. Even tiles or wallpaper and light fittings and curtains can add the much needed pop to bring any room to life and turn the building into a home.

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Friday, 20 December 2013

excitement

Today I am excited. Today is the day I have waited 6 months for and in a few short hours, the boyfriend will again touch down on Cypriot soil and my wait will be over. Today will feel never-ending, I will be permanently distracted and will do my best to get through the few working hours with as much productivity as possible.

But to be honest, I want to run around the office singing the Pointer Sisters, I'm So Excited! Christmas has come early, not least because along with the boyfriend, comes his suitcases. And after a little trip to London a few weeks ago, I know he has presents from back home for me! Well you know, if I can't go home for christmas, christmas from home is going to come to me.

And in the spirit of christmas, lets take a moment to appreciate the rules of christmas.....I particularly enjoy number 5!

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

sleep patterns



Ok, so she definitely doesn't have a sleep problem. As soon as she gets comfy on the bed, or on a cushion, it is only a matter of time before her eyes are shut and her little nose is shooting out snoring sounds like there is no tomorrow. I also find it weird how loudly she snores but that's a whole other story. 

Me on the other hand, I have a serious sleep issue at the moment. Being that I cannot sleep. Or my sleep is disturbed. Or, like this morning, I just can't wake up. The only reason I actually woke up this morning was down to my guardian angel who came with her spare key, knocking on my door and even walked my dog while I ran around in leopard print pyjamas trying to brush my teeth and straighten my hair and put foundation on, all at the same time. Lovely mental image right. 

The reason for said poor sleep routine; who knows! Maybe it has something to do with the full moon. Maybe it is because of the freezing cold weather and my body has gone into hibernation. Or maybe I am excited about the imminent arrival of a certain long lost boyfriend and my subconscious is playing tricks on me. 

Whatever the reason, I am simply praying that tomorrow mornings alarm is effective enough to actually wake me up. And on that note. Goodnight. 

P.s. shameless request for support from you fellow bloggers and wonderful readers. Please go here, leave a quick comment, and check your inbox for the verification email to prove your not a nasty spam. Muchos Gracias to all. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Expat Blog Awards 2013

It is that time of year again folks....the expat blog awards are upon us and I would love your support. The blog awards are a little different this year since they have been combined with a writing competition. 

The brief; to write a top list for the country your residing in. After three years in Cyprus, I think I have learnt the tips and tricks for an easy expat life in Cyprus. So please head on over here, for my entry and take two minutes to leave a comment on the official entry page for my blog. 

A quick note and I know it is annoying but thats the rule, comments will require a quick (one time) email verification so please check your inbox after you comment. 

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Hand Cream: protect your lovely hands



Hand cream is my best friend. That and Cadbury's hot chocolate. 

In the past few days the temperatures in Cyprus have severely plummeted and the wind has cranked up several notches. Oh and there is snow in the mountains and the surrounding villages. And a lot of it. Enough for the ski resort in Troodos to open. 

The knock on effect of such weather; dry and unhappy hands. The skin on my hands is pretty dry at the best of times, but when you factor in freezing cold winds, a little TLC is required. And my new product of choice is Protect your Lovely Hands by Yes! Nurse

Not only does it come in very cute packaging and in a lovely sleek white tube, but it is packed with great ingredients to soothe and pamper your hands in one punch. It has active manuka honey, omega 3, 6 and 9 and it is dermatologically tested so it is perfect for sensitive skin. 

Started with the aim of helping nurses tackle the problem of keeping their hands healthy whilst at work, this brand has become a cult beauty favourite with Vogue, Glossybox and Red magazine.

And it is incredibly affordable; buy here for shipping worldwide.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

what living alone has taught me *so far*

I have been living on my own for 7 months now. When the boyfriend first left, I wrote this post which, looking back, clearly outlines my mixed emotions concerning this situation. 7 months later, I am not going to lie, I still have my shaky days. You know the ones where all you want is a hug and someone else on the sofa with you. But I have surprised myself too. 


Yeh that's right, I knew where the tools were and fixed the squeaky bracket on the bed. All by myself. I've changed light bulbs, although that was a little dangerous because I don't have a ladder so had to stand on tip toe on a chair and pray I didn't fall, but sssssh don't tell the boyfriend I did that one. 

And I killed my first cockroach. And let me tell you it was no baby. That was one monster bug just chilling out on my balcony. Of course, we never had a cockroach in the whole three years of living here and as soon as the boyfriend left, one came and paid me a visit. But I overcame that situation too. 

I feel like I should be singing destinys child, independent women. And then this weekend the water mysteriously stopped flowing out of my taps and that was something I could not handle alone. Thank goodness for the boyfriends father, or 118 Chris as we call him. Seriously, he is like the yellow pages of Cyprus. 

The moral of the story however, is that I can live alone and survive. But lets face it, I would much prefer not having to handle the blue jobs as well as the pink!

Monday, 9 December 2013

home post: cushions and candles

Over the past three years we have lived in 2 different apartments and living away from "home" means I have had to give myself a little checklist to ensure my home away from home is, well, a home. 

Mirrors are one thing on my checklist because they make any little apartment feel huge and spacious. But equally essential items in my book are candles and cushions. 

Cushions are practical; I mean who doesn't love curling up on the sofa on a pile of cushions or getting into bed with pillows and cushions surrounding you. They are comfortable and make any sitting or sleeping experience, just that more special. But cushions also add a decorative punch to any plain bed, sofa or armchair. 

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And then there are candles. There is something about candles that make me feel instantly cosy. I love scented candles because they don't just bring warmth to the apartment, they bring a fresh smell. Which, when you live in a small, open-plan apartment, is important because there is a tendency for everything to smell like food when your cooking. 


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Living in a rented apartment, there is a limit to what you can do with decor. A few €5 cushions and colourful scented candles, can make a plain, uniform apartment feel like home. In our case, hiding a horrible sofa and making it blend into the living room, rather than stand out was the challenge while trying to make the open plan space still feel cosy. 

The only solution, aside from throwing out the sofa and buying a new one, was some neutral coloured throws and cushions. Since we have been here I have bought countless cushions and the joy of a €5 cushion is that you wont feel guilty when you want a fresh look. And as soon as I light candles, the smell filters throughout the space and the light instantly applies this cosy mood to the apartment.