Will we ever go back to ‘normal’? And what can we learn from people with autism?

Sunday, Easter Day.

Day 35 of lockdown.

Happy Easter. I was supposed to be in Vienna today with my little sister, but I spent most of the day with Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre. I was so enchanted by it, I could barely let the book down. I’m not happy about this turn of events, but I’m not miserable either. I guess I’m now more used to spending endless time by myself.

I’ve been pondering for a while about the situation we are in and how our brain copes with it.

We humans have two fundamental characteristics that are perhaps in conflict in some aspects right now. We are creatures of habit, apparently it takes 30 days to form a habit and we are also social creatures.

The lockdown put us into social isolation, yes we face time and text but we don’t hug each other, touch each other, walk together, comfort one another, so at the moment we form habits that perhaps are not healthy to have when this is all over. We socialise and interact differently don’t we?

So my question is, when this is all over, how easy will it be to go back to our previous life? Will we ever go back to whatever ‘normal’ was? Can these new habits be useful in the new normal or will this experience leave us with issues we won’t necessarily know how to deal with or fears we can’t shake off or will our innate social ‘insticts’ kick in?

I posed the very same question to my friends. Some seem to think that as soon as we are let out (which I’m sure it will happen gradually, no country will risk another wave of infections) we’ll be back to our old selves straight away.

Others think that will not be the case, which I tend to agree with. I personally believe we’ll never go back to ‘normal’ the way it was. We will initially be scared of human interaction, shopping, being outside, we might not even crave going outside, since we are now used to keeping ourselves entertained indoors, but at some point our social nature will prevail, and though initially we’ll appreciate every moment we’ll then get used to our new reality again and get close to what ‘normal’ was.

But I don’t think we’ll ever go back to how we used to live. Fear never really goes away. We’ve all been traumatised but also formed new habits, learned to live with less of everything and by we I mean the whole world, how incredible it is that the whole planet is going through the same situation all at once, so we’ll all deep inside have this experience affecting our lives for ever and we hopefully learned a few things about ourselves and our future.

But this experience is not the same for all of us, for some it’s not as challenging or even difficult.

I had a chat with my friend Claire about this, who’s been diagnosed with autism a couple of years ago and I found it incredibly fascinating how her amazing brain which is wired differently to most is coping with this. I asked her if I could send her a few questions and here it’s what she said. I’ve learned a lot from reading it and I think you will too.

1. For those who might know enough if anything about autism and it’s different aspects how would you describe it and how is it for you?

Autism is hard to explain because it is vast and complex (as is everything brain related.) Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference in the way the brain functions. You can’t see my brain functioning, but it affects nearly everything about me. My personality, my sensory experience of the world, my memory, my development, the way I communicate, how I think, how I move.

There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with autism but, because we are the minority our condition is classed as a disability. But that’s just because the social world doesn’t accommodate us yet.

2. How are you coping with lockdown?

Adapting suddenly (well, inventing from scratch) a new routine – making it intricate enough to curb the anxiety of ‘empty’ minutes – was challenging beyond words. But now I am coping very well. The social world, and it’s uncertainty and misunderstanding, is overwhelming for someone like me, and therefore I am a regular self-isolator!

It takes a lot of conscious energy to be around other people. This is partly because I have to ‘mask’ a social and communication disorder, and partly because the worry about what other people think about my ways and responses to our shared world, is draining. People people people. This is not the same as being antisocial though. I love my friends and I value people very much indeed. I’d want to be the one to help someone in a crisis and I’d be the first one to support their projects and celebrate their victories. But the rules of conversations and spontaneous social times are far from natural to me.

3. How is it different for you?

In order to socialise and communicate with a person I need there to be a very clear purpose and for the words spoken to be clear and direct. Even then, I process information and conversation much more slowly than other people because I can’t filter out environmental distractions and because I need to physically see things to understand them. I’m often tired by this (and the subsequent shame) so I need to isolate to get my energy back. This means I very often feel lonely and separated from the rest of society.

Right now EVERYONE is in isolation, and for many active, extroverted, sociable autistics, and especially the non-autistic community, they maybe feeling this type of uncertainty and separateness for the first time. People are inventing ways to stay in touch although they’re not together (like online quizzes and things) and these online social events are accessible for autistics too!

I hope these continue forever, because, it means those who struggle socially can still participate in the fun activity and not worry about the social element – therefore being less lonely.

4. What advice would you give to others? Any tips from your experience?

Generally speaking, non autistic people prioritise communicating and socialising with others, whereas, autistic people prioritise the environment, detail and solitary hobbies and projects. Non-autistic people are sort of being forced to experience the world from the perspective of an autistic person for the first time (they’re just avoiding a virus instead of the social/communication etc.) So, with that in mind, I would advise the following.

Yes… socialising and communicating are valuable to most people, I completely empathise, but when doing those things you miss so much. Now is a chance to focus in on the environment, the detail in rooms and objects, and intricate, time-consuming, all-encompassing hobbies, interests, projects, learning. Not for the purpose of working, or competing or recording, but just for pleasure.

If you think you can’t do it because you have children, let it be your project to encourage THEM to investigate the environment, the detail, the comfort of a new special interest. If you find a nice flower, look at it closer. If you see something interesting, look at it for longer than you normally would, and from all different perspectives. If you smell something lovely, savour and memorise it. If you read an interesting article, research more around it, that kind of thing.

People are starting to do it… they’re posting things about the beautiful places they live near, the weird things they’ve got in their house and they are sharing nature, art and ideas. This should become a habit beyond isolation. Look at things more intricately than you thought possible and awaken a quest for knowledge about those tiny details… then you will begin to experience an autistic-like joy. There is so much joy in the ‘little’ things – and you know … you’ve all got each other again when it’s all over.

Thank you Claire for such an informative and insightful interview!



You are very much on time

Today I’m not reflecting back on last week.

I weirdly can’t remember much of it. It’s all a blur.  I remember walking home after my hairdresser’s appointment on Monday evening, only to find out the next day that a girl was raped at the very same park I walked through, roughly at the same time I passed by.

I didn’t hear a thing. It was only 6:30pm in the evening. It shouldn’t be dangerous walking through a park with so many people around early in the evening.

I no longer walk through the park at night, most days. Some days I’m angry that women in this day and age are advised not to walk through a park in the afternoon, just to be on the safe side, so I walk through it and I’m ready to fight whoever tries to even touch me.

I remember Mike’s birthday lunch and the fire at Waterstone’s whilst we were at Turtle Bay. How sad to see all the books, all the beautiful books with amazing stories on their pages, all the philosophy, science, literature, fiction books that open up our minds and teach us valuable lessons burnt.


And I remember having delicious pies for lunch on Thursday. This is it. The rest is nonsensical in my brain.

What I vividly remember is waking up one day during the week in tears. I was terrified, panicking. Panicking this year is going so fast, too fast. I cannot believe it’s already March.

I went through a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts. I’ve been contemplating about life a lot this week.

‘Am I good enough?’

‘What should I do next?’

‘What do I really want to do next?’

‘What if I die right now?’

‘What have I achieved in my life so far?’

‘I am running out of time. I’m almost 32, what should I do?’

Excruciatingly painful questions with no simple answers.

And then I remembered. I remembered a video my lovely Lou sent me.

A simple, minute and a half long video going through examples on how people achieve different things at different times. One might have become a CEO when they were 22 and then died a year later whereas someone else became a CEO when they were 50 and lived until their 90. Just an example to show that we all work on our own time zones, some might seem ahead and some might seem behind you, we shouldn’t mock them or envy them. Because we are all running our own race, in our own time, our own time zone.

So simple, yet so powerful. I’m in my own time zone, as you are in yours.

It’s incredibly tough to not compare yourself to others. Society norms dictate and often measure your success on others. But that’s not the case.

I recently finished reading one of the best books I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman.

I’ve learned a lot from this one book, from the neuroscience behind it to what Emotional Intelligence is to how developing it can benefit yourself, others, the society, the world, but I won’t go into much detail, one must read it to get the full picture.

Emotional Intelligence, recognising your own emotions and managing them effectively, motivating yourself, recognising emotions in others and handling relationships is what can make or break you. Emotional Intelligence in contrast to the highly regarded by many IQ can be cultivated and improved at any age. And it should. It’s vital and essential. It all starts from a very young age. The way your parents raise you up even since you are a toddler affects your whole life but you have the power to change it. It should be taught at school, it should be taught from a young age.

Why? Because when we finally become adults we can cope better in life. We learned how to be good, loving caring humans. We are aware when and why we are happy, upset, angry.  We recognise how others behaviours affect us and how to change that, we know how to treat people truly respectfully without letting prejudices affect us. We are more resilient to social pressure and all of the social rules dictating our lives. We won’t feel the need to measure our success by comparing our lives to others, because we have the emotional intelligence to recognise that’s just emotions and feelings imposed by others. 

What is success anyway? Money, fame, reaching the top of your career ladder?

No, not really. Many have done that and if you ask them years later they all say the same thing. They’d rather have spent more time doing things they love, with the people they love, making memories.

Of course it’s important to love what you do. And I respect people who love their work. But work is not everything and it shouldn’t define us. And not all of us are lucky to be doing what we love for a living.

In one of the first Derren Brown books I read, Derren whilst explaining how he memorises and recalls people’s names, mentions that when he meets people he never asks them what most would ask, what they do for a living, because some might hate their job and what they do doesn’t define who they are, but he instead asks them what they do in their spare time, what their hobbies are, what they love doing, and then associates their name with some of their favourite things. What a great way to remember people’s names!

I’ve met many ‘successful’ people in my life. Most could only talk about their job and their career, understandably because they love it but they couldn’t discuss about anything else. They rarely read any book, they rarely had time, or made time, to go on a holiday or explore another culture, they haven’t listened to music or went to the theatre for months. They couldn’t remember the last time they’ve seen a film, they had no knowledge or experience in anything else other than their work.

If that’s success, then I do not want it.

What I loved about my lunch with Charlie yesterday is that we could chat about films, life, society, Higher Education, music to travelling and life. Because we both love learning, trying new things and our life doesn’t revolve around work. What we do for a living does not define us and it shouldn’t.

What the world needs is more well-rounded people like Charlie. Well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, loving, caring humans.  People who have what the Japanese called Ikigai, ‘a reason for being’.

Some of them might have reached success in the conventional sense, some might not. But it doesn’t matter.

I don’t know if anyone in years to come would even remember who I was, I don’t know if I leave a big mark on this crazy world, but we all leave our mark, big or small.

What I’ll leave for others is what I learned from my life through my blog, I’ll leave thousands of photos of delicious food and beautiful places and stories of amazing humans.

The feature image I used for this post today is an example of what I’ll leave for others. A gorgeous moment I captured whilst walking to work. I stopped walking for a second because I wanted to take in the beauty of this world. The sun coming out of the clouds, shining gloriously, brightening the beautiful park. Every time I stare at the sun I think of all my friends and family who live far away but at that moment standing there, the same sun is shining where they are. At that moment they don’t feel that far.

We are on our own time zones, literally and metaphorically but we are part of each other’s life, we are part of each other’s time line, in the most beautiful way. Because we love and care about each other. And I smile. 

It’s all about the little things, it’s all about enjoying every single moment, trying new things and for me right now, doing more things I want to but I’m scared of. And everything will fall into place. Just like that.

There is no better way to end this post with a poignant quote by my favourite lady, Leslie Knope.




#lessonlearnt #JUSTBEYOURSELF

It’s getting late and I have to wake up VERY early tomorrow but I can’t sleep so it’s time to share…I lost count of how much I learnt over the last month or so but here is the most important lesson…

We live in a world that we are expected to be happy and positive and optimistic all the time…  but if you are laughing and chat a lot, because you try to find joy in little things and you know that if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry you are seen as silly or stupid…

A world in which if you don’t like what most people do then you are “weird”…

A world in which being sad or emotional is considered weakness, a world in which being intelligent and knowledgeable makes you a “geek”, a world in which if you are aware of what is actually happening on the rest of the planet and you have views and opinions based on solid, intelligent, intuitive arguments, knowledge and your own life experiences and theories you are “too serious”…

A world in which if you are single it means you are sad or lonely or somehow gives the right to others to be extra “friendly” or if you are in a relationship you are happy or if you are married you are boring…

A world in which if you don’t go out all the time or do something crazy or post cool photos having fun, you are then “less interesting” or “important” than others.

A world in which you are not “allowed” to worry or admit you struggle because life is not always easy.

Isn’t it ironic?? Isn’t it sad that a lot of people live their lives trying to be “cool”? Trying to impress others and end up being miserable because that’s not what they really want from life? Desperately trying to follow all these “social rules”?

Well I’m not. I can’t. Yeah, it’s been a difficult month for me. I’m not going to get into details, not because I care what others think but because I don’t want to share all my mishappenings and troubles with EVERYONE.

And I reached a point I just wonder how much one can take. But then I remember my aunt. She comes into my thoughts a lot lately, I guess it’s because it’ll soon be a year since that day I flew back home, since the last time I’ve seen her. I won’t write much about it on this post because I’m already emotional just thinking about it, but I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by but also still feels it was only yesterday. That night scarred all of us for life. But also changed all of us for ever. I’ll write a special post on the day, 17th of October, I’ll never forget this date…

But that was made me not take life too seriously. That’s what made me every time something bad happens to remind myself that is nothing compared to what she went through so selflessly and that life is too short.

So I cry. Or get angry. And then I laugh it off. I find little things to make me laugh, I make up silly jokes. I spend time doing things I love with people I love or spend hours on my own because I don’t always want to be around others, playing the guitar, or singing or reading or writing. Anything to remind me that life can be fun and enjoyable even when you struggle.

Life can get difficult, it’s hard as it is, don’t pretend to be someone else or hide your real feelings just because you feel you have to. You don’t. It’s OK to be shy or loud, or open or closed or sensitive or quirky or intelligent or (add whatever you can think of). It’s OK to cry, laugh, be happy, sad, depressed… It’s OK to be you. And it’s OK to be human…

So the biggest lesson I learnt: Just be yourself. That what makes you cool and special, to me anyway. I love how honest and open Donna is, I love how flaky and loveable and awesome Sheba is, I love how fun and quirky Helena is, I love Linda’s collection of memorabilia from her trips, I love how Suzanne knows so much about DIY and painting… how Matt and Sati love their adorable children so much… how kind Sarah is so much she drove to the vets to rescue a seagull… I love how much Claire loves her little ones at school and puts her heart and soul into her teaching… I love how Chris always loses his credit cards (but also how kind and considerate is, boss you are the best)… I love how Jon always offers me his food when I’m hungry, I love how Jaba always gives hugs to everyone…, how Dan arranges and teaches us a song and is passionate about his work, … how amazingly organised Lucy is… I love Claire Rayner’s voice, I’m glad she is back on Lunchtime Glee, love Helen and Sally’s adventures, I adore the O’Donoghue sisters, so loving and caring and fun… I love Andy, his special good morning and goodbye fistbumps and his tattoo (N-dog!)…I Iove Steve’s dry sense of humour (Chandler from Friends!), I love how Fraser always brings me treats when he comes back from holiday, I love Lorna’s laugh, every time she laughs we all laugh!

I love Jack’s stories, even when I know he spiced them up, Lesley’s dancing around, Ellie’s jokes, Mike’s hilarious snaps, Pat’s funny posts…

I love how beautifully Elena plays the piano, how Polia always gets into trouble, I love Andri’s cooking, how Artemis always comes up with clever ideas, how Maria ALWAYS gets me and understands exactly what I’m saying,  how my sister and dad make any dish, even simple ones taste so special, I love how my mum is so sensitive and genuine, I love how my little sister can play the flute and annoy us all for hours… I love how Georgia always finds the most beautiful things to buy for her and her children and how much she loves her 7 angels… I love Athena’s cakes and crafts, I love chatting to Alkistis about Marvel… I can go on and on but you get the point…

Be yourself. Express your feelings. Just be you. If others don’t get it or don’t get you, well they don’t have to. If they don’t like you and love you for who you are, then it’s not worth it…

Until next time…

Love you all xx

What I learned over the last month (#worldgonemad#Brexit#timefornewhome?#homeiswheretheheartis#ilovecyprus)

Wow, my last post was about a month ago… so much has happened since! But I won’t bore you with all of it!

The day I flew home to Cyprus was the day the EU referendum results were out…

I don’t usually get involved in politics as I believe that all politicians are pretty much the same, but this was an issue close to my heart, so I registered to vote.

I’ve heard and read a lot about all the possible scenarios. I understand that being a member of the EU is not always beneficial, we all know what happened to countries like Greece and Spain and Angela Merkel and her friends have not been the best advocates of the EU ideals.

But I voted to remain because I love being a part of a larger community, being able to travel freely across Europe and most importantly not have to worry about being an expat living in the UK… I thought the world was moving forward… I thought we are all now citizens of the world…

I was confident that the UK would have voted to remain. 99.9% of my friends and people I know strongly supported the Remain campaign. When I read the news that morning I was shocked and upset and angry…

I am sure I was not the only immigrant/foreigner/EU citizen living in the UK who was upset with the results. And I cried, I cried from the moment I heard the news until the plane landed in Cyprus…

I fully understand I shouldn’t take it personally and that not all Brits are racists and xenophobic. And I understand that a lot of people who voted to leave the EU were not fully aware of the implications or fell for the arguments of the Leave campaign.

But I felt unwanted at my own home. I’ve lived here for the last 8 years, and it was not an easy ride but I love and contribute to my community, I pay my taxes, I absolutely adore my friends and colleagues, I actually enjoy my job most of the time, I am happy with my life right now.

A life that can change any minute. The new Prime Minister (who is a strong supporter of surveillance and monitoring personal data amongst others!) can’t guarantee that EU citizens who already live here are safe… does that mean if I lose my job I’ll get deported?? Does that mean that when I retire I will need to leave my home???

So now what? I have no idea…

I had the most amazing time back home with family and friends. I am now a godmother to my little prince, I thoroughly enjoyed the sun, the sea, the culture, the Cypriot hospitality (best way to describe it is “a giant hug”) and truly felt the love… I was sad to leave, I found it very hard to say goodbye to everyone and I’d have loved to stay  for more than a couple of weeks. I can’t even describe how much I love Cyprus and everything that represents for me. But I am used to a different life now and I do not think I can move back home permanently, at least not now, but should I consider moving to another country??

I am very  confused about what my next move should be but I’ll stay for now. This is after all my home. A friend once told me “Running away from your problems is not the solution”. And he is absolutely right. He reminded me of a greek poem by Kavafy, “Η Πόλις/The city”.http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=58&cat=1  Blaming the city/place/the situation won’t change anything. Wherever you go, “the city” will follow you.

So first Brexit, then this week there was another terrorist attack in France and a military coup attempt in Turkey. And don’t forget what’s happening in countries like Syria. My heart aches for all the innocent people who lost their lives for nothing really. The world has truly gone mad.

Amidst all this madness though there is always hope. As long as there is still love and amazing human beings in the world, who make life worthwhile then there is still hope.

I recently watched Eat, Pray, Love, which reminded me of my own life and also inspired me and reignited my desire to travel and see more of this amazing world. It reminded me how important it is to never stop chasing my dreams, to want more in life, try everything and not compromise or give in to mediocrity or do anything which doesn’t make me happy. So I’ll leave you with this!

Love you all! xx

PS. I’d like to thank EVERYONE for all their lovely messages, hugs, love and support over the last month. Especially my close friends, you know who you are. And Sheba above all! I truly feel blessed and so lucky to have you all in my life xx


Thank you :)

Thank you all for my birthday wishes, cards, messages, gifts.

I am all about people and love and I definitely felt the love, even from people I didn’t expect! My little heart melted, especially with some of the messages I received.

I had an amazing time celebrating my birthday since early May until my AWESOME birthday weekend (thank you Shebz and Helena for making it so special for me!). I will definitely not forget my 30th birthday celebrations! It was a nice goodbye to my 20s, and now a new era begins! Turning 30 gave me the perfect opportunity for a fresh start!

It’s up to me to make it a good one and I will, no matter what! I remembered recently something my psychology professors used to say: if someone hurt you/upset you/made you cry, it’s your fault! And they are right! Think about it for a minute! It’s totally up to you how you will react to a situation. You choose to be upset or sad or ignore it. I know it’s not easy, I’m the last person to suggest it’s easy, I’m an emotional person, but I guess the older you get the less you bother about situations you don’t enjoy or upset you, so I promise, it gets easier!

I look forward to my first year in my 30s, I have no idea what I will be doing in a year’s time! I might be in Vietnam or Mexico or London, I might be married with a kid. Life is full of surprises and I LOVE surprises, so who knows what it will bring! The only thing I know is that I will do my best not to waste anytime on anything that’s not worth it and just be happy!

The aim of this blog as the name suggests was to share what I’ve learned before I turn 30, but I will continue to share what I learn now that I’m in my 30s! I might need to change the title!!! I will not post as often as I’m keeping myself busy all the time, trying to enjoy life to the full, even if that means being tired 24/7. So I am not sure when I’ll post next/

Thank you all again for all your wonderful messages.

I’ll finish this post with a snippet of one of my favourite messages I received: surround yourself with people that make you smile and always remember to be yourself!

Love you all! xx

Last few days of my 20s….

The last couple of days I’m in my 20s..

The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 30. Some of you might have went through a similar phase. I was talking to a friend today who just turned 30 and he felt the same as I did. Yeah, I know. I don’t look or feel old and I am blessed to have the freedom to do whatever I want because I have no responsibilities or ties anywhere. I don’t feel bad, but I guess I feel a bit nostalgic and the fact I am turning 30, I can’t help but think about my life so far.

Thinking about the last 10 years, oh my. There have been so many amazing moments! Happy and sad, accidents, births, deaths, celebrations,weddings, funerals, parties, relationships, friendships, surprises, lots of surprises… a good mixture of everything!

My uni years were probably the best years of my life so far…

I might not have spent too much time reading books, watching movies or studying (at least I graduated with good grades!) but God we had fun and we did some crazy things! Laughed and cried so much and made friends for life!!

Then I don’t know what happened. My plan was to stay in the UK after I finish my masters and become a successful psychologist (although I had no idea in what field). Plans hey? That’s why I don’t make any long term plans… they never go as you think they’d do.

But then I met my ex boyfriend. I guess love makes you take decisions you wouldn’t normally take… and do things you wouldn’t normally do… I fell in love so hard that all I wanted was to be with him whatever it took. So I spent the last 7 years trying but didn’t really know what I was trying for.  We had amazing time together and I’ll always cherish our relationship and all the nice moments we had and take the lessons I learned from all the bad moments…

But I got lost, he got lost, we both got lost… we lost ourselves and forgot what it really mattered in life… to just be ourselves and enjoy every moment. I don’t know if our paths will ever meet again, but I really hope he is well and happy.

I always found it weird how you can become complete strangers with people you were so close, friends or lovers, from one day to the other …  but with other people no matter what happens, however long you haven’t talked or wherever in the world they are, you are always close and every time you talk or see each other, nothing feels different. I guess that’s true love. It never goes away, does it?

I’ve already talked about my past, I won’t share any more, but two things  I learned over and over and over again:

1. You never know what life will throw at you and you can’t prepare yourself. You learn as you go along… And I’ve learned and grown and I’m finally at a place I’m happy with my life.

2.Life is really too short! Most of us hope that will live until we are 90 and die happy in our sleep, but that’s not what life has in store for all of us. Only a week ago a cyclist lost his life just outside work.  He was ran over by a lorry. And it got me, it really did. Not only because I felt deeply sad this person lost his life and I couldn’t even imagine how his family and the lorry driver were coping, but also because I realised once again how short and fragile life is. Now every time I pass by or happen to look on that very spot, I always remind myself how short life is and that nothing is worth dwelling on.

My life changed dramatically so many times, especially the last year and it’s still changing as we speak. This month has been crazy so far! I honestly don’t know what to expect any more. Even if I meet an alien I won’t be surprised!

A year ago, even 6 months ago, although I knew my relationship was about to end, I thought what I really wanted to do for my 30th was to spend it in New York with the love of my life (yeah, yeah hopeless romantic). I always wanted to go, it was on the top of the list of the hundreds of places I want to see before I die and I wanted to go with my man.

But not any more. I still want to go and I will one day. It might be with the love of my life, or my best friends, or old friends, or new friends, or  on my own  or I might even get a job there, who knows! But right now it’s not a priority.

My wise friend reminded me yesterday that we will always have responsibilities and there is no point waiting for the right time to do what you really want to do. ‘Cause there is no better time than now! And she is absolutely right! Whatever you want to do, just do it. If you don’t like how your life it is right now, then change it!

For me, it’s not about materialistic things and achieving long term goals, it’s always been about people and experiences. And that’s why my cover photo is not of places I’ve been or things I bought, but it’s all about people and love and having fun… so now the emotional part (yes, I teared up whilst writing this, I am so lucky to have amazing people in my life!).

I am grateful for all the experiences, good and bad, happy and painful, of the last 10 years. I enjoyed my 20s and I have no regrets… I want to say thank you to all my friends and family for everything you have done for me, for loving me for who I am and being there for me no matter what, even when I was a right mess! I love you all to the moon and back and those of you I don’t see often, you know I love you and you are always in my heart… apologies for non-Greek speakers for the next paragraph…

Σας αγαπώ όλους πάρα πολυ, φίλους, οικογένεια, τους γονείς μου, το αρφούι μου, το παπάκι μου, θείους, θείες, ξαδέρφια. Σας ευχαριστώ απο τα βάθη της ψυχής μου για όλες τις υπέροχες στιγμές και αναμνήσεις αλλά και τα δύσκολα που περάσαμε μαζί. Ευχαριστώ που ήσασταν και είστε πάντα δίπλα μου. ( Και ναι αρφουι, εκλαμουριστηκα!)

I don’t feel old… and I wouldn’t like to go back in time. I like the person I’ve become and the life I built so far. I feel a bit sad my 20s are over but I am excited about the new era coming… It’s a fresh start in all aspects of my life. Workwise, personal life, emotionally, spiritually and I can’t wait to find out what the future brings!

I’ll get to spend my 30th birthday with two special peeps wandering around and having fun, getting into all sorts of adventures, my favourite thing to do !!! Next time I’ll post I’ll be officially a 30 year old! Eeek!

Love you all! x


What a week!

Last week has been amazing! I haven’t felt THAT happy for months. I can’t share everything that happened but these are some of the highlights!

I will start with something I’ve been meaning to share for a while… after a selection evening and interviewing, I have now been offered a place on intense training to become a Samaritans listening volunteer and I can’t even describe how happy I am!

I always wanted to volunteer and I could have tried anything, but there is something about the Samaritans and the work they do that always captivated me… being there for someone who needs you at that very moment, just listen to what they have to say, take some of the weight off their shoulders… I hope the training goes well and be able to help others.

In other news, on Saturday I got to perform in front of about 400 people as part of One Sound, which was a collaborative performance with choirs across Southampton, Fareham and Bournemouth ran by the awesome Dan and Jack and it was absolutely amazing! I feel so happy and proud to have been part of this. I’d never imagined last December when I watched LoveSoul choir perform for the first time that in a couple of months I’d get to sing with them!

An evening of singing with a professional choir and some of my favourite people, what a way to spend a Saturday night! I love my choir family! 🙂

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Most of you have already seen many videos and photos from the evening but here is one of the last songs we all got to perform together (thank you to the lovely lady who recorded it and posted it on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrMl1sFSgtA).

I’d also like to share a short essay my 11 year old nephew written about my aunt, his grandma last week. I’ve done a quick translation as well for non-Greek speakers…


It’s touching and amazing and beautiful how an 11 year old, smart and brilliant child summarised his grandma with ‘she always put everyone else above herself, even at the end’. It’s extraordinary that her selflessness even until the end reached her 11 year old grandson’s soul and was felt by everyone…. I truly believe she lives in us. I hope when I die I’d have touched even 1% of the souls she touched with her love, kindness and selflessness…

One of the reasons I’ve started this blog is to share what I learned and it’s comforting to know that whenever is my time to go, I’ll leave something behind for others…

A while ago I posted about what was the last message you sent (post). Well, after reading my nephew’s essay, I just want to say to everyone who reads this, whatever my last message to you was, that I hope you are well and happy and enjoy life. And do what you love!

After a long long time, probably years, I am back to being myself, a dreamer, living on my own pretty planet and I love it, even if it gets me into trouble sometimes! I don’t really know what life has in store for me and I don’t make any long term plans but I know what I want now..

What I want is to experience this feeling, not sure if there is a name to it, a mixture of excitement, happiness and a little nervousness… electrical, almost magical… as often as possible…

And it can be anything!

That feeling when you walk into the door of a place you’ve never been before…when you walk onto the stage about to sing in front of 400 people…and you enjoy every second, when you try something new for the first time… when a song you love comes up on the radio/shop/anywhere and you just wanna sing along and dance..when you help a friend or a stranger and you can see the gratitude in their eyes…when you are about to kiss someone special and you softly touch their cheek (I’m a hopeless romantic, will need a whole new post for that!)… when you board a plane waiting to fly into the sky… when you arrive and can’t wait to get out and explore…when you wander in a city with no worries in the world, exploring its beauties and discovering secret gems… when you buy something pretty and unique and you are about to open that box…when you finally nail that song you’ve been learning on the guitar or finish a drawing and can’t wait to share it with your friends, when something  nice you’d never expected happens-I do love surprises and life is full of them…(these are just some of the things that make my heart go crazy, you know what makes yours 🙂 )

…that feeling your heart beats so fast you can feel it or even hear it…

that feeling when you don’t think of anything else but that moment you experience, when the lights around you switch off, the surroundings fade and you can only see and think of what is there in front of you at that very moment and nothing else, that moment you feel truly alive…

I want to feel this every day if possible… the best feeling in the world!

I’ll close the post with what an old friend used to tell me “You are the boss of you. You can do whatever you want” and it’s true, life’s too short, do what makes you happy and don’t forget to smile!


Love you all! x

PS. Thank you to Rob, Helena and Lesley for the photos! xx

Money and happiness

I was never rich. And I’d probably never be (except if I win the Euromillions!).

My family was never rich. My dad had two jobs since he was 20, even before he met my mum and my mum worked occasionally. I haven’t travelled abroad until I was 19.

But we were never poor either. My amazing parents always tried their best to provide for us and they did. And I owe them a LOT.

Does it really matter though? I had an amazing childhood, raised with love and affection, I had the best uni years, going out with friends and just having fun and that for me is much more important.

I think been raised with not having much makes you a better person. You learn to appreciate people and life more, you learn to stick together through difficult times and care no matter what, you learn how to enjoy the little things.

Money and money worries came up in conversations with friends recently and we all agreed that at the end of the day worrying about money is just waste of time.

Yes, of course we all work to make a living, pay our bills, improve our quality of life. And dealing with financial difficulties is not easy.

But we spend 8 hours a day with our colleagues, who of course we get along with (most of the time) to then spend 2 hours a day and the weekends with the people we love or go on holiday 22 days a year.

I might not afford a brand new car, or 10 holidays a year (although I’d love to, who wouldn’t?) but spending time with the people I love, doing things I enjoy, visiting new places when I can afford to is enough for me.

I just had the most amazing time with friends and family and I wouldn’t change that with anything.

Money is important but can’t buy you friends or love or happiness. What if I could afford to buy a mansion if I were to live there on my own? What if I could travel the world but had no one to share this with?

This is happiness! Your grandpa asking you if he looked alright on the selfie you just took!

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I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite children books, the Little Prince. I think adults will benefit if they have a read!

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”