What I learned from my Macmillan Jurassic Coast Mighty hike experience

Wow. I realised I haven’t written for 20 days. I can’t believe it.

It’s been busy and stressful, trying to sort everything out before I leave Southampton and it took me about a week to fully recover from the Macmillan Jurassic Coast Mighty Hike challenge, mainly mentally.

Although I’ve done my best I still feel terrible for only reaching mile 20 and not finishing it and I’d love to go back and try again.

I won’t get into details on what happened on the day, you can get a taste below (the whole story in the description) but I thought I’d share what I learnt to help future hikers who decide to take the challenge.

I wish I prepared better. Physically I was OK, the first half was tough but I managed, I’m not too unfit, I could have finished it but I wish I had done a walk as long as the hike just to test my shoes. Had I known my hiking boots would burn my feet when I hit the road and I’d been in pain for over two hours I would have either worn another pair or brought an extra pair of comfy trainers for the second half. I’ve changed socks once but didn’t seem to help.

I wish I’d had a look of the route beforehand. No need to explain much, but I had no idea how scary the first half would be with those steep hills.

I could have taken fewer snacks with me to reduce the weight of my backpack. It feels heavier and heavier the longer you walk.

I should have put blister pads on from the beginning and not wait until half way when me feet were already sore.

I wouldn’t have made it to 20 miles without my waterproof and walking poles. Especially the walking poles. I’d still be on the top of those hills, paralysed in fear.

Maybe if I stuck with others I would have gone further. Staying on my own, alone with my thoughts and in pain was probably the wrong decision. The only thought in my mind for those two hours I was in unbearable pain was how disappointed I was in myself I couldn’t take up this pain, when thousands of people suffering or who died from cancer, like my aunt, experience pain ten times worse every single day for months or years. How lame, you are so weak, you can’t even walk 26 miles. You are quitting??Pathetic.’

As I’m writing this a lady going through chemo wearing a cold cap to save her hair comes up on the ITV news. She looks tired but so positive. I remember reading about this infamous cap and how horrible it is, giving you headaches, as if the chemo side effects are not bad enough and half of the time it doesn’t even work. My shame for not finishing it’s still there.

Finally I wish was prepared for the mental, emotional challenge, which was at times more overwhelming than the physical. I had no idea that everything would trigger me crying for three days after the hike.

Two days later on the Monday, my feet were still a bit sore and I got my period three days early, which didn’t help with the pain but I could have gone to work. I would have been sore but I could have gone. Mentally though, I wouldn’t manage.

Partially, it is a natural reaction, your body is not used to such a physical challenge and although self induced, you are exposing your self to trauma. You are in pain but is self-inflicted. The brain does not know how to handle it.

If you are struggling with anxiety and depression and you can feel everything more intense than the average person, after such a challenge, the intensity reaches new heights.

I wish I was honest about it, I wish I’d admitted the main reason I couldn’t go to work was that I couldn’t control my feelings. Instead I let people tease me I couldn’t handle the soreness. I’m ashamed I did not ticked ‘mental health’ when I filled in my sickness absence form.

So be prepared and take a day or two off afterwards.

But what it’s done, it’s done. I can’t change what happened. All I can do is learn from it and as Mark who is fighting cancer for the second time and did the hike said:

“…don’t feel ashamed, take it from me, this happens to us all the time, you hit a barrier and you fall down. You get back up and crack on, that’s what you must do.” 

Despite my disappointment, it’s been an amazing experience I shared with lovely friends, I met incredible humans and I feel blessed I was part of the Jurassic Coast Mighty Hike 2019 raising money for such an incredible cause, Macmillan Cancer Support, a day I’ll never forget.

If I’m around next September, I’ll definitely give it another go.



Food and mood: Baking healthy snacks

I wasn’t going to post anything until after my highly anticipated, much needed, life changing break but I had to tell you about the Food and Mood: Baking Healthy Snacks session I went to last week because a) I’m annoyed with myself I didn’t make time to write about it sooner, b) it was fun and c) we made delicious, healthy and health-ier than average snacks.

Though I LOVE food and cooking I don’t spend too much time in the kitchen. But having a balanced diet, eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is high up on my life priorities so any opportunities for inspiration and ideas for healthy, easy and quick to make snacks I take.

The workshop was ran by Lucy Glen (Human Nutrition & Food Science Associate Lecturer) and Melanie Toulson (Sodexo Executive Chef). This was the second session of the day and as most went for the first one it was only two of us for this, me and a graduate intern, which was awesome. We had plenty of time to bake, have a laugh and chat about everything and anything, from musicals to holidays to favourite restaurants.

The recipe were super easy to follow and Melanie had her sous chefs prepare and measure the ingredients for us, so it was even easier to do.

And behold our creations:

Banana Muffins (recipe here). Soft, moist (sorry) and not overly sweet. Perfect with a cup of tea.

Courgette Blueberry Yogurt muffins (recipe here) : Rich, dense, delicious. Probably my favourite of the three snacks we made.

Healthy Fruit and Nut Granola Bars (recipe here, at the bottom of the page). Ridiculously easy and quick to make and in all honesty, I could not believe a healthy granola bar with zero sugar could taste that good and give me such an energy boost.

I’d recommend all three as none of them disappoint.

Thank you again to the awesome ladies who ran the session.

Now, time to get to the airport and pick up the little sister!


Blogmas day 4- the Healthy Lunch

I follow a relatively healthy diet when I don’t eat out, but I always struggle around the Christmas period. 

The amount of temptation is doubled and tripled as soon as December kicks in and I’m not good at resisting. Chocolate, cakes, mince pies, not the biggest fan of mince pies but it’s really tough saying no to chocolate and I’m out most of the time catching up with friends over lunch, dinner, festive drink etc before I go home for Christmas where I don’t even think about trying to be good.

And of course there’s Christmas dinner, the Christmas party, Christmas drinks. 

Which is lovely. But it can become expensive and overwhelming It already is for me. My anxiety is over the roof and I find that the less healthy I eat, the worse I feel. And I haven’t practised my yoga for days, which has made it even worse.

So I’m trying hard to resist to temptations until at least the 14th of December, the Christmas party day,- who doesn’t want to look good in their fancy dress?- and then completely surrender.  

And what a perfect opportunity to stick to healthy eating with a free make-your-own-healthy-lunch workshop by the lovely Dr Ali Hill, our BSc (Hons) Applied Human Nutrition course leader. 

I loved the previous two workshops, the healthy breakfast banana pancakes and the courgette and carrot chocolate muffins, both finger-licking (though the fire-alarm in the midst of baking the muffins caused them to deflate, what were the chances!, but they still tasted amazing), so when Sarah informed me there was a another workshop, this time making a healthy pot noodle, I didn’t think twice to sign up.

It’s not just about learning new skills and coming up with new breakfast and lunch ideas, which is a big deal for me as I get bored if I keep having the same food all the time, but it’s also fun and I get to meet and have a laugh with colleagues across the University.

And that’s exactly what happened yesterday. I’ve learned some new knife skills, I laughed a lot and I had a delicious, easy to make healthy lunch.

Working at Solent does have its perks!

Thank you again to Dr Ali for another fun, creative, educational session.


An afternoon of songs and stories

I came back from Cyprus on a sunny Friday afternoon.  An eventful return, delay after delay, twelve hours on the go with a heavy heart and my mind buzzing, thinking of what I can do to get out of the routine I was about to get back into, already missing the sun and exploring my home island, already missing the sea, the love and the people.

I didn’t get into my little ‘under construction’ home until late at night and Saturday went too fast. But I had something to look forward to on Sunday.

The next Touch event. I’m so lucky to volunteer for such a great charity. Every time I leave inspired, motivated, touched.

This one was even more special. A collaboration between the amazing Love Soul Choir run by Dan, one of my favourite humans and Touch, songs and stories at probably my favourite venue in Southampton, Harbour Lights.

Music, soul’s medicine and real life, every day, inspiring stories. I knew before I got there it would be a great one.

After a short glorious walk on a sunny, unexpectedly warm afternoon I arrived there a bit early to help out. I loved being down at the reception directing guests upstairs. I was more than once mistaken for Harbour Lights staff and I loved directing people to the till, to the screens, to the bar. The little every day surprises I find amusing.

Many familiar faces in the crowd, Bev, Lucy, Svetlana.

2pm and we are about to start. After a short intro Love Soul is up, warming up the audience with their incredible vocals and then Vie, the first speaker, takes the mic.

She is wearing a black coat the other way around, and lets her hair down, covering her face. That’s who she was for the first thirty years of her life. She was told since the tender age of six that she was ‘fat and ugly’ by her own family. She was bullied to believe she would never become anything special.  How sad to be made to feel like that by your loved ones.

But after she discovered burlesque dancing her life completely changed. She became a qualified trainer, a motivational speaker, a bright example dressed in pretty 50s vintage clothes with flowers on her gorgeous hair, for young people to follow.

After Vie, Love Soul entertained us with a few more songs before the break and then Andy, our second speaker got up. What a life he and his wife already had despite their young age.  Seizures, miscarriage, a devastating brain tumour diagnosis and radiotherapy for his wife… But they never lost hope, they kept going and through their faith and support from their family and friends they made it through and they are both and their two lovely boys well and happy.

Andy writes beautiful poems and he read a couple to us. He even brought copies of his book Uplifted and gave them out for free. This one is the last he read, which sums up his life attitude:


There it is, suddenly

Something so much bigger than me

Feeling that significance is my life’s


Revelation is my remedy

It’s not who I am

It’s who has my destiny

Got no strength; I am weak

Yet the great I AM is the conqueror

Where all I see defeat

No broken promises

Just incomplete

All things to good, I believe

My only hope

My remedy

Love Soul was up next singing two more songs and then it was time for our final speaker Abby.

Another in-cre-di-ble story, another amazing human. Abby was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when she was 25, after years of minimal sleep, pain, lows and highs. Solent Mind supported her throughout her journey and after becoming a motivational speaker and a mental health advocate she is now running her own project, Heads Up, delivering workshops to young people of all ages in schools, colleges, anywhere there are young people, raising awareness for mental health so she can help others from as early as possible.

What an astonishingly immaculate difference it will make to a person’s life to get diagnosed and get help as soon as they can feel that something is wrong, to know that it is OK not to be OK and not suffer in silence for years.

After Abby’s speech Love Soul closed the event with a final song. What a beautiful ending to an already marvellous afternoon.

I can’t wait for our next event. Still, after five months of volunteering for Touch it surprises me how everyone has a story to tell, how I can relate to all in some way, how many amazing humans are out there and how inspired I get from each one of them. I truly hope that one day we live in a world that accommodates openness and honesty,  where feeling vulnerable is not a weakness and everyone feels comfortable to share their story and learn from each other .



The sweet smell of memories

I put the bread in the toaster, put the saucepan on the hob and whilst stirring I was instantly distracted… thinking of the day I had, the great people I met, friends I’m seeing this week after a long time, worrying about things, how fast time goes, life and then suddenly, the smell of the forgotten, almost burnt toast…

And just like that I was back, back in my great grandma Annou’s home. I must have been around 6 or 7 years old, I had just started school and I loved it. I loved my teacher, who had the same name as me, Mrs Eleni Iakovou, my uniform, my new friends, I loved learning, I loved everything about it. But what I loved most was my afternoons with my favourite cousins Georgia and Andreas and my dear dear grandma Stella who never hid the fact that I was her favourite grandchild.

Every day, before going to giagia Stella we’d pop to giagia Annou first who permanently lived on the first floor of her house. She was, in her nineties, too old for those old creaking stairs to be going up and down, so she stayed in this big room, full of her favourite things. She had a little old toaster right next to her and what I remember most of her was offering us toast every time we went to see her. And the toast, almost always slightly burnt, but not quite. That’s how I like my toast to the day.

My mind then wandered to my grandma Stella. I spent most of my time with her until she died when I was 9. I remember her making me chunky, delicious, greasy fries when I didn’t want to have the healthier lunch my parents prepared for me.

I remember the smell of roses. The smell of the rose water she often asked me to sprinkle her hair and face with on those hot, summer days, back when air conditioning was not common in every house. I remember how I loved to smell my hands afterwards, the delicious, sweet smell of roses, that I love so much I can’t use any other smell for my perfume, because it will always remind me my time with my grandma.

I only have an old, half-ruined from a flood picture of us together, still in my school uniform, happily, proudly kneeling next to her, smiling.

Giagia Stella

I smiled. And then I cried. I cried tears of nostalgia but also joy, gratefulness, love.

Blessed I was so dearly, unconditionally loved by my great grandma, my grandma, my cousins. Blessed I had an amazingly, crazy childhood full of smells, food, love, adventures, bruised knees, dirty clothes from playing outside, people, beautiful, pure, kind-hearted people.

I finished dinner and sat on my guitar for hours. Playing the same song, again and again.

Let these fools be loud, let alarms ring out, ’cause you cut through all the noise…Bring me some hope, by wandering into my mind, something to hold on to, morning, noon, day or night. You are the light that is blinding me, you’re the anchor that I tie to my brain, ’cause when it feels, like I’m lost at sea, you’re the song I sing again and again, all the time, all the time, I think of you all the time…

And that’s how I put all the worrying, stressful, painful thoughts aside for a night.

Whatever the future holds for me, I’ll always have the memories and I’ll always have my loved ones, the light blinding me, the anchor that I tie to my brain.



Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen

Three weeks ago on this day…

Shebz was packing her last things before she were to leave for home the following day and then travel the world.

She came over, sat next to me and gave me a gift bundle, a ‘care package’. She did the same a year ago just before she left for her three month Asia adventure.

But this time I was given instructions. I could open one of the gifts there and then but for the rest I should open them throughout January.

After she left, I decided I’d open one every Sunday until the end of January. I thought it would be a nice surprise at the end of every week (of course I’d never expected January to be full of many other surprises).

Don’t get me wrong I love surprises more than anyone else, but maybe there were one too many I could handle… and anxiety kicked in…

After almost three weeks of living with someone else, I miss my own little home more than ever. A post coming soon on this.

But weirdly, Sheba’s gifts reminded me without a failure every week, why I’m doing this.

The first present she wanted me to open when we were together on her last night in Southampton was a vintage painting of Florence (Firenze). From the first moment my sisters and I stepped into this small, gorgeous city last September, we instantly fell in love and it’s one of the places I’d love to go back one day. My girl knows me too well!


It reminded me of one of the most amazing feelings in the world, falling in love with places, the magic of travelling. And it’s something I want to do more after I repay my loan and land my dream job.

The first gift I opened a week later, on the first Sunday I moved in my new place and I felt lost and out of place, was a little helping hand to start saving for more adventures. Already on it!

Adventure fund

The following Sunday, after a long, busy week and weekend catching up with friends, I was finally at home, time for some me-time. Although it’s not the same anymore. I really felt I lost my focus. The next gift couldn’t be more appropriate. The Little Book of Ikigai, the Essential Japanese Way To Find Your Purpose in Life. I cannot wait to read it.


The final gift I opened last Sunday. And I cried. Why would someone cry over a notebook?

Shebz and I love notebooks, we spent many of our lunch breaks in Paperchase browsing notebooks. It’s one of our things. One of our favourite little activities we love doing together. And God she picked the perfect one.


Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

This is my mantra for February.

My old soul destroying habit of overthinking came back stronger than ever this week and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for days but I’m back on track, with a little help from my bestie and my family and loved ones.

So here’s to February! May be full of love, surprises and amazing adventures.




My 2018 New Year Wish

And always, always be kind. That’s how we can change the world. Love and kindness. OK, that’s a cliche. But it’s true. So very true.

Happy New Year! My first post of 2018 and the first ever post of Eleni’s world.

I thought long and hard about my New Year wish.

Until I came across Neil Gaiman’s (who I recently discovered and his books are on my waiting list) post below (which I just found out I shared two years ago but completely forgot about it, how bizarre is that?) and journal entry from 6 years ago and suddenly all became clear and inspiration struck again.

Neil Gaiman New Year wish

I decided I’ll post a New Year wish from now on. A new Eleni tradition, like getting a new Christmas jumper and a unique handmade tree ornament every year for the last 3 years or Pizza and Friends Friday for the last 4 years.

I tried to avoid the more generic, cliche ‘Health, Love, Happiness’ quotes and went a bit deeper and hopefully more meaningful.

So here’s my New Year wish for 2018.

Go crazy. Remember to be proud of who you are and wear your flaws on your sleeve. Embrace your inner child and your own, little world you love and live in. 

Take care of yourself.  Your health, mental and physical is important. There’s only one you after all.

Dance until your feet hurt, sing your favourite songs at the top of your lungs. Do whatever makes you happy.

Don’t work too hard. Money is not everything. Precious moments, making memories with your loved ones, doing things you love, and being happy, that’s what it’s all about. That’s what you’ll remember if you are lucky to live until you are old and wrinkly.

Don’t let anyone or anything get you down and if you go down it’s OK. It’s always OK not to be OK. Wipe your tears, lick your wounds and get up stronger than ever and if you can’t, ask for help.

Make mistakes.  That’s how you learn. Don’t be scared to push yourself. Try new things. Read books, listen to music, educate yourself. Our brain never stops developing as long as we exercise it and nurture it with beautiful, new things.

Chase your dreams.

Love and be loved. Even if it hurts. Forget about all the ‘must’ and ‘should’. Love should always be easy (this is not actually mine, my favourite Psychology Professor Dr Marios Adonis once told me this and I often share his words of wisdom with others).

And always, always be kind. That’s how we can change the world. Love and kindness. OK, that’s a cliche. But it’s true. So very true.

Happy New Year gorgeous people!



PS The cover photo is of the Greek traditional New Year Cake ‘Vasilopita’. I haven’t baked one for years but this year I made this one with my dad. It’s not perfect but is made with love and a bit of creativity, exactly how I like it. Who’s gonna get the lucky coin?




My first In Balance Hot Yoga experience

About a month ago at the Networking and Breakfast event organised by Women Who Do  I met Benedita, who recently moved to Southampton and gave up her career in hotel management to start In Balance Hot Yoga.

Since I discovered and fell in love with Yoga, I can’t stop talking about it so I was instantly drawn to Bene and we started chatting.

A couple of weeks ago I met Bene and her partner Ian for a coffee to learn more about them and what they do and I absolutely loved them.

Bene is originally from Portugal and she worked in London for years. She fell in love with yoga after going to a hot yoga class and she loved it so much she trained, as well as her partner Ian, under Dylan Ayaloo, the Founder of Hot Power Yoga in London,  who I really want to meet after everything Bene and Ian told me about him.  Yoga and her teacher training guided Bene through self-discovery and reaching a higher level of self-awareness, exactly what she needed at that point in her life. It seems that’s how most people fall in love with yoga, it comes in their life when they need it the most.

She started teaching yoga part-time alongside her full-time job and she realised that’s what she wanted to do for a living. After she moved to Southampton to work as a general manager at a local hotel, she decided it was time to chase her dream. She quit her job and herself and Ian started In Balance Hot Yoga. They run classes every day and regular workshops at the top floor of one of my favourite places in Southampton, Harbour Lights, overlooking the marina.

Harbour Lights
Harbour Lights

My bestie, Sheba went to a session a while ago and she messaged me afterwards saying ‘Just finished the hot yoga class, it was incredible!’, so after meeting Bene and Ian, who asked me to try it and blog about it in exchange for free classes, of course I said yes. I really wanted to try it anyway and I would have blogged about it even if they hadn’t offer me free classes.

I only blog about things I’m passionate about and I really want to and yoga is now part of my life and one of the very few things I do daily.

So last Saturday Sheba and I booked ourselves at the 11am beginners class. We decided to walk there as the route to Harbour Lights is beautiful, through the city centre parks, Oxford street and Ocean Village. I forgot how beautiful, charming and peaceful this part of the town is.

As soon I walked in the room, I felt the heat in every part of my body and memories flooded in. It reminded me of home on a hot summer day, during a power cut, sitting in the living room sweating, waiting for the power to come back on so we can turn the air-con on but in the meantime using whatever we can as a fan.

I just loved the heat. I’ve been living in the UK for 9 years now and I still miss the sun and the heat.

It also smelled amazing thanks to the burning incense sticks, which makes a huge difference, if like me, scents make you fall in love with a place and enhance your experiences.

The actual class was amazing. Bene is a hands-on instructor, helping you correct the poses if you don’t get them right and her voice is calming and smooth. For me the yoga instructor is the most important, essential element of a yoga practice, they are the ones guiding the session and to enjoy and fully embrace yoga, you need to find a teacher who inspires you and Bene is a truly inspirational human.

We started and ended the session with three oms which I found deeply spiritual and beautiful and we went through most of the main yoga poses through a vinyasa flow, fast-paced and empowering.

I smiled when Bene mentioned how our balance on the mat reflects what’s going in our lives. It is 100% absolutely true. When my balance is off is because my mind is troubled and I worry or I’m sad about things. Give it a go. Stand on one foot and check your balance and take a minute to look inwards and acknowledge your feelings in that moment.

The last pose before Shavasana was the fish pose which is becoming one of my favourite. It reminded me of when I was a child lying on the sofa upside down, feet up, my head touching the floor, feeling the blood flow through my head. I still sometimes do it…

Throughout the class random memories kept coming up, the heat reminded me of home so much my mind immediately went there, hot summer days, at home, at the beach, with family, with my friends. I felt relaxed, calm, happy, during and after the session.

I’m definitely going back again. Who knows what will happen next time?

One the reasons I love yoga, other than the physical benefits is how it helps me discover myself in ways I’d never imagine, and I learn something new every time. I’m still on the early days of my self-exploration journey and so far it’s been amazing.

After our yoga class, we passed by No4 cafe and wine bar on Canute Road. Shebz always wanted to try it so we decided to be spontaneous and treat ourselves to brunch. Delicious!

No4 brunch
No4 brunch

We then wandered into town, popping into one of my favourite shops, Rice-up, a local wholefood independent grocery shop in the city centre. I love their choice of tea, herbs, spices and nuts, my favourite isles to browse!

What a beautiful day it was. Thank you Bene for making it incredible. I can’t wait for my next session! If you decide to give it a go, come and say hi, I’d love to meet you 🙂

I’m always fascinated by how others get into yoga, you can read my story here, share yours in the comments below if you want to!




Lazy Sundays

I’m sitting on my sofa in my warm winter jumper, heating on, watching Sunday Brunch (I love Bradley Walsh, he is hilarious!) and browsing the internet for Christmas gifts and new wardrobe/style ideas.

After I was done with house chores yesterday I spent the rest of the day comfort eating, reading and watching Christmas movies on Channel 5.

I’m loving all the Christmas adverts out this week. My favourite is probably the Talk Talk one (it’s all about what matters most, family and watching Christmas movies on Christmas day snacking and cuddling with my sisters, our parents falling asleep on the sofa and Oscar the great lying next to us keeping us warm with his fur and occasionally trying to steal our food), closely followed by M&S (I love Paddington, watching it with the family at Christmas is one of my favourite memories). I actually had a sweet conversation on Twitter with M&S that made my day. The little things!

I feel calm, relaxed, rested. And you know why?

I stopped and took a break from all my week plans and obligations and spent my time dealing with all the thoughts and worries nagging me for weeks and treated myself, something I’d advise everyone to do.

I felt tired and drained all week, so much so that I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. The cold made it even harder. But what was going through my mind was the real culprit.

First I was excited applying for a new job but as soon as I start composing my personal statement anxiety and self-doubt kicked in. Should I apply? Am I good enough?

With the help of a great friend who advised me how to link my skills and experience to the role and had a read of my application before I clicked ‘Apply’ I finally did it. Now it doesn’t matter if I get it or not because I know I did my best and that’s all I can do. First worry dealt with.

Co-incidentally I came across an interview Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn gave a while ago. It’s not hard to see why he is highly regarded and admired by many. At some point he talked about happiness. He only realised how truly happy he could be when he met his now wife. Before it was all work work work. Another example that success and money doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. It reminded me again to stop and appreciate the little things. Of course I want to have a successful career in something I love and I’d be over the moon when that happens but life is much more than that.

For about a month now my teeth have been very sensitive and I could not understand why which led to a train of worrying, terrifying thoughts. Since my NHS dentist was fully booked until January I bit the bullet and decided to visit my private dentist, although I don’t have much money left until the end of the month.

Never have I ever felt so horrified going for a check up. But Tobi was lovely and re-assuring (although I held my breath when she said ‘just checking for any lumps or bumps’, a normal part of a check-up,  but I’ve been watching so many Stand Up to Cancer clips lately my overworking, crazy brain paralysed me with fear). Totally worth the money.

The cause of the problem: grinding my teeth in my sleep and I need one of those fancy mouth guards. At least I now know what is causing it and how to fix it.

I skipped salsa on Wednesday. I was exhausted, it was freezing cold and the week before I didn’t get to practise any of the steps we learned as most of the men in the group unfortunately can’t get the basic steps and I could not cope with explaining the basic steps again 1,2,3 5,6,7 or even simpler quick, quick slow, quick quick slow and that ladies always turn on the right within those steps not whenever and in whatever direction.

I’m usually extremely patient and understanding but with everything else going on in my head I just couldn’t do it. I may return next week.

I re-arranged my first hot power yoga session for next weekend so I could have a lie in and rest.

The only thing I stuck to all week was my daily yoga and music, my soul medicine. So much good music out there, it’s impossible to mention all the new gems I discovered, but I love Surround me by Leon, Does she Even know by Ider, World Gone Mad by Bastille and new Recording 135 by Leo (one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard), check my Spotify for more.

On Thursday night my sisters sang at a local bar in Nicosia to raise money for a local animal shelter, the one my sister volunteers for and I visited in the summer. I couldn’t be there but my parents (who are not very good with technology) managed to connect us. They didn’t realise everyone could hear them, so I got to listen to their hilarious random conversations, their out of tune singing along, so endearing, I didn’t realise that I could be seen when they accidentally added me as I guest so people tuning in had the chance to see me eating chocolate on camera, I chatted to the people I knew there, my sisters’ friends, and I got to watch almost the entire show live. Thank you mamma and papa!

Facebook live- Southampton and Nicosia
Facebook live- Southampton and Nicosia

If I could, I would have popped to Cyprus for a week to re-charge and recuperate but since I couldn’t, this was the closest I got to. On Thursday I felt I was there, my parents doing their thing, getting into hilarious situations, sisters singing and me cheering them on in the background. Just what I needed!

Finally, on Friday I celebrated the end of the week with lunch and laughs with my bestie and my lovely lady friends from work. Wonderful, warming ramen at Wagamama followed by take away delicious brownies from Coffeelab. Perfect way to end this week.


I’m rested and ready now for a busy week and weekend.

Have a lovely week everyone!





Every day is World Mental Health Day

What a Monday it has been. Emergency dentist appointment, fever, at some point I couldn’t put a sentence together, Monday Blues but also lovely comments and messages for my recent post on how I cope at work.

I started composing this post last night so it could be ready first thing in the morning, but I was still in pain and confused, I still am, apologies if I go off track. I get more sensitive and emotional than usual when I’m not feeling well and the recent death of an amazing colleague from cancer and my godmother being in the hospital for the last week made Monday extremely tough to cope with, it reminded me of what happened two years ago about this time, it’s hard not to worry that it might happen again.

Mental Health is a subject close to my heart and it’ll always be. I studied Psychology, as most of you know, which helped me debunk the stigma and myths around it. But that’s not the reason I’m so passionate about mental health.

Many of my favourite people were diagnosed and still deal with depression, anxiety, autism and other mental illnesses. And I’ve been there myself.

I went through hypochondria 3-4 years ago when my relationship was falling apart and had no support from anyone because I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone about how paranoid I got and how I panicked every time I felt any ache. The only person I talked to about it was my ex-boyfriend who was going through depression. He couldn’t help me, he needed help himself, but I managed to get through it on my own.

And about a year ago, depression knocked on my door. To begin with I didn’t know what it was and how it happened to me. I spent the year before trying to get over a horrible breakup that left me struggling with my confidence, and grief, the first time in my adult life I lost a loved one so close to me in the most horrible way, that night scarred me for life, cancer really sucks.

I was emotional and sensitive bursting into tears for no obvious reason and I went out all the time, avoiding being alone at any cost because I didn’t know how to deal with it, which was lots of fun but it didn’t get me anywhere and it all finally caught up with me last winter.

My most read post to this day is the one I’ve managed to put into words and let out in the open how depression really felt for me, the most honest post I’ve ever written.

Thank you to all my friends and family home and away who helped me get through this. I’m doing much better now, the best I’ve been in years. I know how to recover and drag myself out of that hole, but there are some days that are harder than others. And it’s OK. Depression never really goes away, you just learn how to cope better.

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability across the whole world. Staggering statistic by the World Health Organisation.

But unfortunately, even on this day and age, mental health is not taken as seriously as it should be and so many of us are scared and ashamed to ask for help or tell anyone in case they think we are crazy or weak. There is still stigma around it and not enough support.

I’ve written about it before. Over and over.

If your chest hurts the first thing you do is go to the doctor. Why should it be different when your heart and soul hurt so much you can feel the pain in every inch of your body? Why should it be different when you can’t think clearly and your mind is so messed up to the point you can’t sleep for days?  Why should it be different when you can’t get out of bed in the morning and find it incredibly hard to stop crying and get out of the house?

I can go on and on but my message is: every day is mental health day. We should take care of our mental health the way we take care of our physical health.

Every day is mental health day because we fight our fights daily, whatever they are.

My warmest hug and love to all.