The London Diaries – Please, Don’t Rain On My Parade

To be honest… Big Ben wasn’t as big as I expected. How do they make it look so impressive in movies – there it looks practically huge!? Or as I said to my friend D. who was walking with me, “it must have been a man who called Big Ben ‘big'”.

Somewhere in Portobello Road. We went there on a Saturday morning and there was a chaotic yet truly sweet flea market going on. Portobello Road and Notting Hill in general has to be one of my favorite areas in London. No wonder why Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant found love there – note to self: watch the movie asap!

The sun shines, Londoners smile.

We found love, no ultimate happiness in the form of chocolate candy in the M&M’s House somewhere near Soho. Apart from M&M’s in every color you can possibly imagine, one can also personalize his/her candy by printing something (name, wish, declaration of love) on them.

The Market at Covent Market. If you ask me, no photo can do this place justice, you simply have to be there!

Let your inner denim-aholic run free in Camden’s open market! Because I have friends who will definitely appreciate this photo.

Posing in front of my dream home in Portobello Road. A cherry tree and a pink door? I want it now!

At Le Pain Quotidien. #nomnomnom

Time for tea and scones! The gentleman accompanying me had scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, which were as addictively delicious as we were warned. I, on the other hand, ignored the wise advice we were given and went for the banana toffee tart pictured above that proved to be equally rewarding.

Flat whites. Expanding our knowledge about coffee.

50% of the photos I took in London could be considered porn. Food porn, to be exact. This photo was taken in Portobello Road open market, as well.

If you ever come across a Hummingbird Bakery in London, don’t hesitate, go straight in and try the red velvet cupcake. You can thank me later.

My list of all the things I wanted to do/ see/ eat in London. Don’t let this shot fool you, it was about three pages long.

Le me pretending that I’m not aware of the camera.

Yes, more street food. 

Aww, the pretty colorful houses in Notting Hill.

The occasional stylish passer-by.


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The London Diaries – Birthday Edition

My last birthdays hadn’t been exactly what one may call a success. That’s why I decided to spend my 21st birthday in London, after my friend D. kindly invited me to visit him there! Exciting, right? Before sharing all the beautiful photos I took in London I’ll attempt a short recap of my birthday, Tuesday 18. February.

It all started on Monday 17 around 11.30, when I got the first birthday message (and definitely one of the sweetest I’ve ever gotten); in Germany you see it was already Tuesday. 😀
At that point I was in Sushi Samba with my wonderful hosts (see below) sipping delicious pink fruity cocktails. It is located on the38th floor of a skyscraper and has a magnificent view of the Thames and generally the city skyline in the night. Sitting next to the exterior glass wall is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Same morning, definitely not enough sleeping hours later, we went out for breakfast. During my stay in London, the boys had lots of questions about dating – they are professional daters you see – so at some point I confessed that my dream date would be going out with someone for brunch. So on my birthday I decided to take not one, but two men out to brunch to celebrate my becoming an adult worldwide at The Breakfast Club, which I simply can’t recommend enough. The food was insanely delicious, the place was cozy with a vintage-y touch and the stuff incredibly polite. The guys had eggs benedict; you can have them with either salmon or ham. I tried both and I think I liked the ones with the salmon better even though the flavor was quite strong, so beware. On the other hand, I stayed true to my sweet tooth and went for the pancakes with marple syrup, vanilla cream and fresh berries, washed down with hot, strong coffee. 

Then it was time for a little exploration – and a slow paced stroll to digest all this yummy food – so we headed towards Camden.

I love this kind of walls but unfortunately it was empty and there was no piece of chalk in sight!

Then I was left alone to loiter in the city since the boys had classes to attent, so I grasped the opportunity to visit a couple exhibitions. Firstly, I headed to the Somerset House, where I saw an exhibition dedicated to Isabella Blow, a genious British fashion editor and stylist. I wasn’t familiar with her work before but she was actually the person who discovered and promoted Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy – he’s the milliner of Lady Gaga as well as  of the royalty that attended Prince William and Kate’s wedding. This exhibition confrims that there’s nothing new under the sun; Lady Gaga’s peculiar fashion choices had already been made by Isabella Blow ten years earlier. Apart from the fashion editor’s fierce idionsyncrasy the exhibition showcases some of the early works of these two designers.

Then I walked along Waterloo Bridge and found myself on the other side of the river, at Southbank Center, where I saw the exhibition “What’s the point of it?” by Martin Creed and I came to two conclusions:
  1. I’m not ready for 21st century modern art. For the most part of the exhibition I felt like the artist was mocking me; without the brochure/guide I was given I wouldn’t have been able to grasp any of the meaning the works of art conveyed.
  2. Sometimes people’s reactions to modern art is more interesting that modern art itself.
In the evening, we opted for watching Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” – it has been running for more than 60 years which means more than 25.000 shows! –and then relaxing at home with cheesecake, white wine and silly talks. What a day! #21_feels_awesome


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PS2: Best e-
card I’ve ever gotten! #hilarious

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The One About Turning 21

Dear 20-year-old self,

It’s me, your 21-year-old version. Do you want to know something? You still don’t have a driver’s license – yet you changed your mind about it and decided that it might not be as pointless as you thought, since you want to go road-tripping in Italy. The year that passed had been a seriously bumpy ride, an emotional roller-coaster. You’ve doubted yourself many times, you’ve done things that when you realize them, you’ll be proud of yourself, you’ve tested your limits many times, you’ve missed a couple deadlines along the way and you also started to realize what you want to do with your life – not because you didn’t know before, but because you decided to be a little more honest with yourself and others.

Here’s a list of things you learned along the way and moments you’ll probably never forget:

1.       Pesto and eggs go so effin’ good together. Who’d have known?
2.        The power of “no”. Because being honest and respecting your needs/wishes is more important that being polite.
3.       The reaction of the old lady standing in front of you at the checkout line when she spots the box of condoms between shampoo and hand cream in your shopping basket.
4.       Breath in, breath out… Now repeat. #keep_calm
5.       Saying “another round” instead of second or third because you’ve lost count.

6.       When your mum stops saying “don’t worry, we’ll fix it” and says “don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll make it. I believe in you” instead.
7.       Longing after the wrong things. Guys, low -cut dresses, you get the idea.
8.       Trying to tell apart irony from compliments. Now you know you’re pretty, look out for the person who will appreciate your humor more than your long legs.
9.       Now you’re used to living alone – roommates don’t count, going back home in Athens means one thing: Lots of fights. And make up hugs afterwards. And make up Chinese food.
10.   You’re a ‘90s bitch. Of course you love Britney. Never, ever be ashamed about it.

11.   There’s no “THE talk”. Instead, there are endless talks, again and again. With your boyfriend, your friends, you mom, your gynecologist, the bikini wax lady (beware, if bikini waxing was a kind of sex it would probably be S&M. Ouch!)
12.   Your mother was right about white, crisp shirts. Shirts in general. You’re going to love them this year, find a way to incorporate it into you style without losing your sassiness.
13.   There’s no manual when it comes to relationships between men and women; the only way is by trial and error. You’re going to make endless mistakes, but you’ll gain in experience and funny stories to tell your girlfriends afterwards.
14.   Nobody pulls off a bold lipstick like the French. Follow their lead.
15.   Nobody answers a “what’s wrong?” question honestly. Nobody believes the “I’m fine” line, as well. Tell/demand the truth.

16.   There are no stupid questions; only stupid people who don’t ask! Don’t be one of them.
17.   You’ve given up Facebook about 365 times. Do you ever think you’ll be able to limit the time you spend on it?
18.   You’re young only once. If you’re into wearing something totally ridiculous – yes, like the mini skirt with the hearts – do it now. Same rule applies for short dresses. As you always say to your dad, “would you prefer me to repress my longing for super short hemlines now and wear them in my forties instead?”
19.   Curiosity is a great thing. Now you’ve a) participated in a self-defense workshop (don’t you dare mess with me now, strangers!), b) smoked [enter three/four letter word in here] (it tasted worse than antibiotics, right?), c) asked all the stupid questions I mentioned in point 16, and d) dived from a 5-meter-high diving board (dad, mom, bro I love you), you know trying new things is the way to go. Keep it up!
20.   People come and go. Sometimes you’re the one who goes away; sometimes you’re the one that stays. No matter what you do, never let yourself feel left behind. 


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The Roommate Diaries: The Good, the Bad and Who’s Taking the Trash Out?

I used to think that having a roommate – let alone two – sets boundaries to your freedom. Guess what? It doesn’t. Apart from not being able to run around naked, you can keep doing everything you want as long as you keep it decent and civilized.

The official roommates.
Chapter One: Inviting friends over for coffee and cake – very ladylike, I know – or drinks – this one can get loud and rowdy sometimes always? There’s nothing easier than including your roommate(s) in your guest list. After the first time one of my roommates joined our usual drinking games pre-party session, all my friends had to say about her was how nice and sweet she was. (Hint: Feelings were mutual.)

Chapter Two: Bonding over pizza. I don’t know anyone who is incapable of bonding over a) carbs in the form of luscious Italian food, b) coffee, c) cocktails, or d) all of the above.

Chapter Three: Organize, organize, organize. As soon as you move into the new house make a plan: who cleans/ pays/ buys what and when. Who takes the trash out? Put some money aside and create a joint budget for the things everything uses in da house. Do that and you’ll never run out of toilet paper again.

Chapter Four: Talking of toilet paper, I’m the kind of person who buys stuff at the last minute, just before they run out. My roommate, on the other hand, tends to take notice of such stuff earlier and take action quickly (aka. go grocery shopping).

Chapter Five: Mi coffee machine es su coffee machine. A fellow coffee addict brought a beautiful coffee machine with her when moving in, which is actually a dream come true. Note to self (and to dear readers): Always ask for permission if you want to use some of you roommate’s stuff – don’t you ever dare forget about it!!! , be super gentle when using it and return it in its initial condition. Easy as 1, 2 ,3! #squeaky_clean

Chapter Six: Treat the others the way you want them to treat you. Long story short: I literally HATE doing the dishes. I rarely ever use this word, so beware. But I also can’t stand seeing them all piled up in the sink. Even when the kitchen’s super clean and tidied up, stacks of dirty dishes in the sink will definitely make it look messy. So I put all my procrastination issues and laziness aside and do mine as soon as possible, trying to set an example, no hoping that the others will do the same.


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The One About Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day again! 

And somehow I managed to be single(ish) again!

But this year is different.

I’m not bitter; I don’t feel like Avada Kedavra-ing every single pair that crosses my path. Strangely enough I’m excited, I’m pining for it like it was my birthday – which also happens to be around the corner.

All I long for is seeing my coupled up friends – nearly 97% of my friends altogether – going on beautiful, romantic dates. The same I do wish for my readers. *wink-wink*

I want to bake red-velvet pastries, look for frilly lingerie online, buy chocolate, wear red lipstick, walk around as carefree as the protagonist in ads for sanitary pads, listen to Frank Sinatra and have long talks about sex and relationships.

The chances to celebrate are very rare. Why deprive ourselves of a special day?

In the previous years, my main strategy was to sit at home so as to avoid merry couples walking in the streets and concentrate on my homework in order to distract myself. Now I’ve reflected upon it, it’s no wonder why I used to hate Valentine’s Day. 

The cherry on top of my Valentine’s Day routinr was the extensive research focusing on my ex’s and other cute people’s I’ve dated online profiles (aka. stalking on facebook) to ensure that my love life was the only one spiralling downwards. As a result, I ended up feeling miserable and lonely. And no amount of cream ‘n’ cookies ice-cream can mend this – trust me, I’ve tried. 🙂

This year I’m setting myself free to take pleasure in everything considered materialistic, superficial, pink and ridiculously romantic. Being in London definitely adds to the celebrative mood!

Lots of (juicy, red-lipstick) kisses,


PS: Or as a friend noted, I have a pretty good reason to want to celebrate; the last year has seen many successes in the bloodstained field of love, flirt and relationships.
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Yummy Traditions 101: Vasilopita

What? It’s the 13th January already? It feels like it was yesterday when I got to open my Christmas presents (about 285 books) –in Greece we open them on the first day of the year, which is also Saint Basil’s day. Saint Basil is the Greek equivalent of Santa Claus. Despite the presents the best part of January 1 is the vasilopita, literally St. Basil’s pie, a cake which contains a hidden coin. Whoever finds the coin is supposed to have good luck for the rest of the year –which is pretty much, erm, another 364 days? Good one.

Since I can never had enough of this cake, I decided to bake one for my friends in Germany, as well. Watching adults acting like little children in the search of the coin is simply adorable!

Recipe varies from family to family and sometimes I don’t even use the same recipe twice. However, the following one seems to be a total success, so apart from using it repeatedly I felt like sharing with you on the blog. It’s from one of my favorite food blogs, Food Junkie. Apart from beautiful photos and outrageously delicious dishes, this blogger writes not only in Greek but also in English which is perfect for international readers. 

Shall we begin?

INGREDIENTS serves about 10 (for a 30cm round cake tin)
§  250 gr butter or margerine at room temperature
§  400 gr sugar
§  240ml milk
§  500gr self raising flour
§  100ml brandy/cognac
§  3 eggs
§  zest of two oranges
§  icing sugar for decorating

1.      With a hand or standing mixer cream together the butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
2.      Add the eggs one by one and keep beating.
3.      Add the milk slowly (your mixure might curdle, but dont worry, it will be fine when you add the flour),  then the brandy and orange zest.
4.      Stop beating and slowly add the flour with the help of a wooden spoon. You should have a nice magma-like batter.
5.      Preheat the oven at 180 C. Pour cake batter into a round 30cm prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. This cake is nice if slightly underbaked, because it keeps its moisture.
6.      To serve: dust with icing sugar.

This is mine. No, the phot doesn’t date back to 2004, even though it was a beautiful era.

Bon appétit !

If there’s any left -highly unlikely, vasilopita is the ideal cake for a quick brunch or tea time!

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The Traveling Diaries

12:00 Alarm clock rings.

12:49 Getting ready and simply tossing stuff into my suitcase (only to realize 10 hours later that I forgot things of great importance such as my beloved burgundy red lipstick. How am I supposed to go through Christmas season without it?) . Listening to that. I know it’s in Russian and cheesy, but it’s awfully catchy. #the_perks_of_living_in_a_multilingual_environment

13:20 Sweetest “Have a nice trip” text from my friend G. –thanks girl!

13:45 Arriving at the train station –we made it! I said we because kindest bf in the world insisted of walking me to the station. One last goodbye kiss before the train doors close!

15:10 I’m the first one waiting in the line to drop off my luggage. I got here so early even the airport desk clerk isn’t here!

16:40 Picking out books for me to read during the flight. In a world where everybody buys perfume and alcohol in Duty Free I choose books. I’m still waiting for my alien parents to pick me up.

17:20 People watching at the gate. Airplane full of Greeks just landed. Is there one –just one- Greek woman that hasn’t dyed her hair blonde? Note to self: Try traveling on high-heels to see if it works and if you feel so fabulous as all these women  look.

18:06 Steve Jobs look-alike is sitting in my seat! Go awaaaaaaay, this window seat is meant for me!

19:23 Forgeting that book and the pile of fashion magazines resting in peace in my bag and opting for a nap instead.

19:45 Only to regret it a little later, my neck hurts!

20:30 Airplane food, airplane food –did I say I hate it?

21:30 Seeing Athens ‘ night lights from above; I’m in love.

22:30 (Local time) Hurray! We’re in Athens! The package has reached its destination.

22:48 Awesome dad waiting for me outside luggage claim. “Did you get taller, honey?” and big hugs.

23:36 Home, sweet home! Brother wearing non-matching pajama top and bottom, cat meowing hello, Christmas decoration everywhere and my mum’s all time classic question “Did you lost weight?” 


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5-Step Intro to International Relationships

Well, now a post I know you were looking forward to: ten ways to start the day off on the right foot and the name of my evil twin sister that goes to my lessons when I don’t have anything to wear (woman language decoder: I can’t put together the stunning outfit Ι had planned because most of it is till in the laundry basket). Just kidding. Even though the first is actually a quite good idea and the second is an even better idea -yet my parents have never mentioned a twin sister, let alone an evil one, today’s topic is a liiitle different. 

What’s up with men in Germany?

Uhh, funny story. Especially if you’re Greek and living in 2013.

And it goes like this:

Step One: People Geography 101
Luckily I’ve never experienced racism here, especially if you consider the strained relationship between the two countries. Maybe it’s because most people think that I’m either Italian or Spanish. I’ve also been asked whether I’m Brazilian but I think it was merely a pick-up line to get my attention -well, it did, because I found it funny and the guy was cute so I stayed and chatted. And I find Brazilian women beautiful in a very exotic and unique way, so it sounded like a compliment. However, the second time I was told “there’s something latin american about my face” I started to dout whether men in this country really know how Brazilian -or Latinas in general- look like.

Step Two: The Erasmus Theory
Many of my fellow students think that just because I’m Greek I’m an Erasmus student. You can’t really blame them because most of the Greeks here are actually Erasmus students that spend only one or two semesters in Germany, hoping to improve their language skills, something that happens as often as Barney Stinson fells in love. 

Step Three: Teach Me How To Dougie Things in Greek
Long story short: malákas is the word for a****** and we use it for people who annoy us or are terrible drivers (Note to male readers: Guys -especially young ones that lack proper vocabulary or imagination- use it as a pet name for each other. Tough love or simply self-assessment?),  means both hello and bye, plus we don’t survive on suvláki and úzo alone. I’m not certain if I enjoy or despise it to be honest. Maybe it depends on how interesting/ handsome/ polite/ smart the guy is. Or the kind of words he wants to learn -swear words as well as “you have beautiful eyes” is an instant turnoff. Note to self: At some point try to mess up with someone’s attempt to learn words in Greek- how about banéra (=bathtub) as hello?

Step Four: Houston, We’ve Got A Problem
Lots of people ask me about the economic situation in Greece –aww, we’ve run out of money and owe lots, did you read about it in the newspapers?– and look at me as if they’re expecting me to say that I’ve sold my left kidney or got me a sugar daddy (I get goosebumps on the idea alone!) in order to fund my studies in Germany. Even though it would sound more La Vie en Rose-esque (seen the movie?), that’s not the case. I’d prefer not to analyze my family’s finance online, but I’d have to say that I’ve been very lucky so far and that I’m deeply thankful for that.

Step Five: It’s like my iPod’s stuck on replay, replay-ay-ay-ay
As I mentioned here every now and then the German language is testing my endurance -nerve system as well, so I secretly take great delight when the guys I meet speak clearly (pfälzische dialect anyone?) and erm, just a bit slower than Sheldon Cooper when he talks about physics. However, it ain’t as funny when someone talks to reaaaally slow or keeps on repeating stuff. As far as remember my IQ is still slightly higher than Snooki’s. Show some respect dude!


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The Tinos Diaries

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The Athens Diaries #2

Yes, I’m in love. The last 20 years.

Last week I had the great pleasure to be the guide for my friend A. who visited Athens with her family for the very first time. Of course, when somebody thinks of Athens, the first thought -or should I say picture?- that pops up in their head is Akropolis. I hadn’t been in Akropolis since a school excursion that took place in pre-historical times, so I was very excited, as well. 

Well, after visiting Akropolis, there is only one piece of advice I’d like to share with all the locals as well as the future travelers: In case you visit Athens, make sure not to miss Akropolis! I know, I sound like a bad ad, but this place is simply magical. Its aura; Parthenon (the main temple; still under renovation, but always impressing); the bewitching light. Ahh, the sunny weather the Athenians are enjoying since the middle of March is a pure gift. I’m so going to miss it, when I’ll go back to Germany (checking the temperature there every single day. If it rises at about 11-12 degrees Celcious, I’m probably packing my bikini, because that is considered super warm weather in G-Town.)

Anyway, enough with the blah blah. One phot equals one thousand words, they say.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon from above…
…and a  little more.
The view from the Propylea, the entrace to the Acropolis.
About to enter the Akropolis…
(Spanish guide holding an umbrella is also to be seen.)

Aforementioned guide pointing up, up, up!

Well, you just entered Akropolis!

Erechtheion, the second largest temple on Akropolis after Parthenon.

Karyatides, sculpted female figures serving as columns.
One is missing… I wonder where it is… :/

Ahhh… Parthenon. So imposing and beautiful.

The magical Athenian light I was talking about…
Walk in it and let it take all you worries away.

Olive tree.
According to the myth, goddess Athena gave an olive tree as a gift to the first residents of the area. She became the patron goddess of the city, which was named after her.

What would spring without blooming flowers be?

As I was leaving Akropolis, I noticed a little boy on a wheelchair accompanied by his father. I have to admit that I was definitely impressed, since it is incredibly challenging to walk around the archaelogical site of Akropolis, let alone move along while sitting on a wheelchair -that’s not only mission impossible, but also quite dangerous. Yet I was taken aback,because I realised that no matter how hard the access to Akropolis might be for disabled people, this young boy and its family decided to do it. Because deep down, they realised that this was an experience not to be missed. And it is. Even if you don’t pay attention to the historical facts and the importance of the place, the feeling that takes you over when you stand at the top of the hill is something indescribable, something that can not be expressed through words. From Akropolis the view is not simply captivating, it gives you the chance to understand where the old city ends and the new city begins. 

These photos were taken today, since I decided to wake up extra early and visit Akropolis again, on my own, make photos, gaze at my beloved city and think, feel the same serenity that I experienced last week. 

So, if you have the chance, visit Akropolis. I know many many Athenians (among them my mother who lives in this city more than 25 years) that have never been on Akropolis. Most of them see Akropolis and think “it will always be there, I can visit it anytime.” But they never do. So do it, because you don’t know if tomorrow you’re going to have the chance or the strength. Do it for all those people that can not.

And then write me back to tell me your impressions!


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