Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Gyro, Snowmageddon and being brave

Sunday early afternoon…

I’m sitting at one of my favourite little cafes in Southampton, The Docks Coffee house with a hot cup of Americano and a delish fruit loaf served in cute, vintage cutlery.

I enjoy writing in random places, other than home but I don’t get much free time to do it. Last time it was way back in July, when I ventured to Mettricks on a warm, summery Sunday afternoon to write about Awakenings, one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.

Back then I was terrified to go sit at a cafe on my own, I was still struggling with depression and I found it a little bit overwhelming, maybe because it was busy and loud, normal, everyday situations that could cause a panic attack when you are dealing with depression and anxiety.

But today I feel better than ever, I love sitting on this cosy comfy armchair writing and people watching.

Sunday blogs…

I don’t normally post on specific days, it all depends when I get the time and if I feel like it, but over the last couple of weeks I love reflecting back on each week, especially since the last month or so has been really busy I don’t get time to stop, wait a minute (terrible UpTown funk pun) and think of what happened every day. I try to break habits because I hate routine but I grew to love my Sunday posts and I hope to keep up with it.

Last week of February

On Sunday, after posting my last blog on Life, Death and Everything Between I made a delicious, healthy dinner to help me kick off the week on the right foot. Et voila (my new obsession: Courgette spaghetti).

Sunday dinner

Monday, not fun day

But the next morning I was just not feeling it. I felt drained emotionally and physically. Sad news and tiredness took its toll. One of those Mondays as I phrased it on the day

Monday feeling

My momma Donna was already on the case, she knew how to cheer me up. She got me a cute little Happinness Journal so I can write what made me smile every day and remind myself to enjoy the little things and that life it’s still beautiful no matter what. Thank you Donna.


Tuesday- the first Snow

Tuesday was so busy I didn’t get to have my first cup of coffee until 10:30am, I was late for singing and the whole day felt like a blur. One of the very few things I remember was all the hugs, from Dan, Helen, Emma and other lovely humans and the snow blizzard which unfortunately only lasted for 10 minutes (who would have thought the University would be closed a few days later due to snowstorm). In the evening some colleagues (I loved all the food convos with Denise, Fraser and Chris, I had to mention it) and I went for a drink to say goodbye to our lovely colleague Peter who left Solent to go travelling. I love our kitchen chats, talking about travelling and photography. Peter if you are reading this, I hope you have an amazing time in Cape Verde and see you soon!

Snow Tuesday

Wednesday- Glorious food and glorious show

Wednesday was a long long, busy day again but it turned into the most amazing evening I had in a while, A finger-licking three course meal at Soleto (including the most delicious Wild Mushroom Ravioli I’ve ever tasted, no exaggeration) a gorgeous little Italian opposite the Mayflower followed by Miss Saigon, one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Mayflower so far. More on that including lots of snaps here. (But here’s the dinner we had).


Thursday- Snow is falling… and some Gyros

On Thursday, Snowmageddon struck. I woke up to a white blanket covering everything. But our lunch plans with Jamie were to go ahead. We’ve been meaning to go for lunch for a long time and we were to try the Greek restaurant Lemoni, we wouldn’t let the snow ruin our plans.

I missed Greek food and I was seriously craving it for a while so I enjoyed my Gyro in Cypriot pitta to the point I’ve actually finished it. I rarely manage to but the cold and my cravings had something to do with it… We also shared a scrummy feta baked in Filo pastry sprinkled with honey and sesame seeds, Jamie loved it so much he wants to learn how to make it.


After lunch we were told we could go home. I could not believe it! I’ve been to Southampton for almost 8 years now, we were never sent home because of snow. It felt I was living somewhere in Siberia. It took me 20 minutes to walk back home because of inappropriate footwear, it’s a miracle how I didn’t fall on my face, but I weirdly enjoyed it. It felt like being in a fairytale.

I spent the rest of my afternoon catching up with my friends back home and I loved every minute.


What I didn’t expect was:

Friday Snowday… and being brave

Yes, the University was closed! So it was not safe to walk outside, it was freezing and I was to spend the day at home. Under other circumstances I wouldn’t mind at all. But because I couldn’t go out, I got cabin fever by the end of the day. The mind works in mysterious ways always wanting what it can’t have and undervaluing what it already has…

So what to do? I facetimed my little sis, I booked my ticket home in May (yeay) and then inspired by Donna’s gift I booked ticket and a gorgeous AirBnb in Bordeaux, MY FIRST EVER SOLO TRIP (double yeay!). I’m incredibly excited and a little scared but I cannot wait!

What I learned the last couple of weeks is that life is too short and I want to do more of the things I really want to but I’m scared of. And going on my first trip alone is the first step.

Saturday- Finally out

On Saturday I got up early for a change. I was desperate to get out of the house so I woke up at 9, did all the boring chores one must do to remain a semi-responsible adult and got out! I did my essentials shopping and I finally ordered new glasses, wait until you see ‘Smart looking Eleni’ with my fancy new reading glasses.

In the evening I did what I’ve been doing when I get some free time, binge watching Parks and Recreation, one of the best, funniest shows I’ve ever watched. Thank you to Jamie for recommending it and Sarah and Pat for all the fun we have talking about it.

Leslie Knope

Looking back, it’s been an incredible week.

Here’s to March, it’s looking good already…



PS. Happy birthday CHRIS!!!! Thank you for being an incredible friend and all round good egg x



Italy- sisters on tour part 4- Italian Cuisine!

This post is purely dedicated to our Italian cuisine experience, good and bad. I can’t believe it took me three days to prepare this post!

It’s worth mentioning that our food budget was around 10 to 15 euros per meal but to be fair most places we checked out were within that range. I tried to take a picture of all of our meals but unfortunately sometimes we were too hungry we just dug in.

Before we start a couple of useful tips.

Most places have different prices for sitting down compared to takeaway. If you are not desperate to sit down and just fancy a snack, then don’t.

Also, most restaurants in Rome and Florence, I think all of the ones we’ve been, include service charge in the bill (for some of them it was unbelievably high e.g. 22%), so no need to tip.

Thank you to my lovely sisters for some of the photos on this post and helping me remember the names of the places we ate at. Love you.

Just to warn you, I got really hungry reading this and looking at the photos we took, so get a snack and a drink and enjoy.

Let’s start shall we?


We had our first meal in Florence at this cute little restaurant, L’Imperatore on one of the picturesque streets near San Lorenzo market. Stella (sister two) and I were not too hungry so we opted for a starter, grilled vegetables with melted mozzarella on top, and a ‘primo’ (first course) which is hot food heavier than a starter but lighter than a ‘secondo’ (second course) (check out Wiki for more on Italian meal structure). I had the beef cannelloni and Stella the ricotta cheese and spinach one, and our little duckling Anna was very hungry so she had pasta al pomodoro (spaghetti with tomato sauce, which was ‘very tasty, it doesn’t even need cheese’ in her own words) for a first course and grilled chicken with roast potatoes for second. All in all we enjoyed our meal so if you want decent and some of the cheapest food in Florence, give it a go!

After lunch we bumped into Mercato Centrale, this amazing indoors food court, which included a fancy cooking school we had a peak through the glass doors. We wished we hadn’t just had lunch so we could try some of the delicious food on display. I won’t say more about it, just look at the photos.

In the afternoon we sat at this pretty patisserie, Scudieri,  just opposite the Florence Cathedral, which looked awesome but the counter lady was rude. And the tiramisu brought to me the first time was too runny so the lovely waiter didn’t want to give it to me and took it back. The second one he brought me was really nice and the chocolate cupcake the little one had was great but Stella found hers too sweet. We paid around 25 euros for three puddings and a bottle of still water (it cost 5 euros!!), which I think was too much considering the relatively poor service. We found water overpriced in most places in Florence and Rome so get water from a shop for a euro or two instead.

On our second day in Florence we had breakfast at Smalzi cafe. We had freshly prepared paninis and OK coffee. Friendly service, reasonable prices and AMAZING location. I could sit there admiring the views for hours.

We had lunch at Fiorino D’Oro on Piazza Della Repubblica. Decent food, brilliant location overlooking the square and good prices but the service was slow. It was busy but still.

In the evening we got to try the infamous Bistecca alla Fiorentina, delicious, juicy T-bone steak. It’s expensive in most restaurants, but is a very large dish and perfect for sharing. It took three of us to finish it. We had ours plus a delicious margherita at Le Cappelle Medicee. This was one of my favourite meals. Friendly staff who also offered us limoncello shots on the house, good prices and another great location near the Cathedral.


On Day one at Roma we had the worst meal ever. We were exhausted and starving so we sat at the first cafe we saw, Bar Cottini. It wasn’t very clean, service was slow and we had the most horrible, greasy pizzas. We didn’t even finish them despite our hunger and we didn’t take any pictures! If you ever come across it, avoid it!

On the contrary, our next meal, dinner at Ristorazione Alimentare Romana, I think, (I remember the street, I actually found it on Google maps but there are a couple of restaurants there, is the first one you find on this cute, quiet side street, but it might not be because the food was good but the TripAdvisor reviews are horrible) was really nice. They used fresh pasta for their carbonara, which makes a huge difference to the palete and their capricciosa pizza was decent, although I still can’t understand why the ingredients were clearly divided in two halves.

From day two to our very last day, breakfast was delivered to our room by our lovely hotel owner, Helena. Fresh croissants, coffee and orange juice.

Hotel breakfast, Cialdini, Rome
Hotel breakfast, Cialdini, Rome

We then had a quick lunch at this small, cute, quirky cafe near the Colosseum, Cafe Cafe. Loved the decoration and our freshly prepared sandwiches. Good prices and service and the music in the toilet activated as soon as you sit on the toilet seat made me laugh.

We grabbed some ice-cream at Gelateria ai Cerchi on our way back from Tiber island. Their lemon flavour was not the best but their pistacchio was super scrummy.

Gelateria ai Cerchi

For dinner we visited a bakery close to our hotel, Bakery Roscioli Pietro, which I found out about online as it had great reviews. We had pizza by the meter, a white one/’bianca’ (no tomato sauce) with thinly cut potatoes and a prosciutto with cheese one. They were very tasty but I think we were overcharged! We paid 35 euros just for the pizza and for that amount of money we could have had  a nice pizza at a proper restaurant. We bought desserts from there as well, which were alright but not to our like. They did have a great selection though!

Day three kicked off with a very average snack at a cafe in the train station. I can’t remember the name but it was the last one on the top floor. I wouldn’t recommend it.

We had great dinner though at Osteria La Mucca Biricchina, which was one of our favourite meals of the whole trip. Reasonable prices and delicious food! Little sister had a Carbonara Calzone (it was massive!), I had Bucatini all’amatriciana (pasta with smokey tomato sauce, bacon and parmesan) and Stella had Spaghetti Bolognese.  I loved the traditional, cosy decoration as well. I highly recommend this restaurant!

On our way back we got delicious pudding from Mercato Centrale, the food court next to Roma Termini train and metro station. If you are ever at the train station or near it and you fancy a snack or a meal avoid the cafes/restaurants at the station and go here instead. You won’t regret it!

On our penultimate day, we had lunch at the Vatican museums canteen. Avoid like the plague if you are not that hungry. Very slow service due to the crazy amount of people, horrible food, at least what we had, an army of pigeons was ready to attack our plates at any point, they fly VERY close to your head and grab bread as soon as it drops to the floor or left unattended on the table, and we were served by a very rude waiter.

We had a drink at a little cafe/restaurant near Ottaviano metro station, Tavola Calda Pizzeria Caffetteria. That’s where I had the worst cup of tea (the tea bag must have been really old, at least that’s how it tasted)! And the decoration was horrendous! Definitely avoid if you can.

We had nice dinner back at Mercato Centrale. At that point we wanted a break from all the pizza and pasta so I had a juicy beef burger in a tasty bun, Stella had the Italian version of Greek souvlaki/skewers with a variety of different meats (chicken, pork and italian sausage) and delicious roast potatoes and our duckling had roastbeef which was nice but not what she expected as it was thin layers of cold beef with salad.

Italian skewers
Italian skewers

On our final day we had the best pizza to all the ones we tried in Rome, at Ai Tre Tartufi on Piazza Navona. Delicious pizzas (margherita and bacon bianca) with the best crust compared to the rest of the pizzas we had, but crazily expensive bottle of water, the most expensive in Rome and Florence, at least at the restaurants we’ve been, 6.50 euros!!!!

Ai Tre Tartufi

On our way back we bumped into one of our now favourite places in Rome, Venchi Ice Cream and Chocolate shop. When you visit Fontana di Trevi and Pantheon, you must pop into Venchi for the tastier, most delicious ice cream! You can smell the chocolate from the outside luring you in, their feature chocolate wall made us crave chocolate even more and they have a chocolate tap (YES, they do!!) they use to pour chocolate on top of ice cream or cornet. My photos don’t do it justice.

Venchi is a large Italian gourmet chocolate manufacturer and I found out they have a branch in London as well. I don’t usually support big chains but I’d definitely recommend Venchi purely based on the quality of their chocolate and ice cream.

Here’s a Youtube video of the chocolate wall!

We had our last drink at Angelo Cafe near Piazza della Repubblica. Nice cafe, fast service and not lovely views.

Angelo Cafe

We had some food at a couple of places at the airport, which was ridiculously overpriced and mediocre so I’d recommend to take some food from town or eat before you go. You will still unfortunately have to get ridiculously overpriced water after you go through security.

All three of us love Italian Cuisine, pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and desserts and despite some bad food, we thoroughly enjoyed our Italian culinary experience.

I hope you enjoyed our food journey in Florence and Rome. I’m off to have some dinner!

Next post will be on Friendfest, a gorgeous day in London with lovely friends checking out memorabilia and the sets from our favourite TV show Friends 🙂


Italy- Sisters on Tour part 3-Rome continued…

On our third day in Rome (part 1 and part 2 here) the plan was to go on a day trip to either Naples or Tivoli but the skies opened up from the night before and it rained all night through to the next morning. It rained A LOT the whole morning and there was a hailstorm followed by more heavy rain. We went to the train station but some trains were cancelled so we decided it would be wiser to stay in Rome. We were already exhausted by that time and a more relaxed day would be great since we were heading to the Vatican the following day (the museums are closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month when is free to get in!).

None of us had any umbrellas and the illegal sellers outside the station were selling them for a tenner each!! But luckily we found some in a store nearby.

After a quick snack at the station we went to the National Museum of Oriental Art, which had a lot of exhibits considering its size and then to Palazzo delle Espozioni to check out their Hollywood Icons exhibition with photographs from the John Kobal foundation. The building is impressive, to say the least, and the exhibition was great, although sister number two decided to touch one of the photos and alarms went off! Needless to say she was told off (hover on photos for captions).



By that time we were starving so we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant, another delicious meal, and then we stopped by Mercato Centrale, a large food court next to the station, for pudding on our way to the hotel.

On day four, after our breakfast, we went to the Vatican Museums. It’s super easy to get there from Roma Termini, it’s only a 15-20 min tube ride. If you decide to go, use the self-service dispensers, not the counters, you need to get a ticket to join the queue and wait for a long time! You don’t need to know Italian to use the dispensers, you just get a ticket which is valid for 90 minutes or a day.

It was raining again but we didn’t mind much as we were to spend most of the day in the museums. I tried to book tickets online the night before from their official website but they were sold out for that day, so we decided to check how long the queues were and hoped they ‘d be tourist guides around, like at the Colosseum and pay a bit more to skip the queues.

And that’s what happened. We got our vouchers from a tourist guide and after collecting our tickets from the cashier at the museum entrance, about half an hour later, we were in. I was in awe the whole time! The architecture, the exhibits (including a mummy!!), everything! We spent around 3 hours, with a break for a snack at their canteen there (where we met the rudest waiter ever!) and the last thing to see was what I looked forward to since we got there, Capela Sistina, the Sistine Chapel.

I still remember the first time I learned about it at school, many many years ago, staring and admiring at the pictures and I always wanted to see it with my own eyes. And it finally happened. And it did not disappoint. You are not allowed to take any photos once you are in the chapel but I noticed I stood just below the infamous Creation of Adam, so I sneakily took a snap.

The creation of Adam

After we left the museums we headed to St Peter’s basilica. But there were long queues and we didn’t pay extra to get in (it is free to go into the basilica, but if you pay extra when you get your Vatican museums’ tickets you can skip the queues for the basilica too).

It was still amazing to be standing at St Peter’s square and admire the views.


After a short stop for a drink (worst cup of tea I ever had!) we went back to Mercato Centrale for dinner and then headed back to the hotel to rest and pack as we were leaving the following day.

Our last day was one of my favourite of the whole trip! We had no idea what to do. So after we checked out of the hotel we passed by Quattro Fontane, Piazza della Repubblica, went by to see the Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon one last time and we ended up at Piazza Navona where we had our last delicious pizza in Rome.


We popped in the Angelica Library, which I wanted to from day one but we didn’t get the chance earlier


we had the best ice cream we ever tasted in our whole life (details on the food blog coming next!), we loved the Pinocchio dedicated store, Bartolucci


we bumped into Cremonini Area Archeologica, an underground archaeological site near the Trevi hidden on a quiet side street where we met the friendliest sales assistant

Cremonini Area Archeologica
Cremonini Area Archeologica

and after picking our bags from the hotel (you can leave them at the station too but it costs a tenner for the whole day, if you google it you can find others for cheaper) we headed to the airport.

My flight had three and a half hour delay due to the French air strike so after I waved my sisters goodbye, sad and exhausted I caught the plane back to the UK.

And that was the end of our amazing week in Florence and Rome.


It’s been five days since I’ve been back in the UK and it already feels like a dream. I’m sad is over but so happy for the amazing memories, places and experiences shared with my best friends, my sisters. I already started planning my next adventure!

Next blog on our Italian food experience.


Italy- sisters on tour part 2- Rome

On Friday around noon we left beautiful Florence (part 1) and we took the long three and a half hour train to Rome. It was warm and sunny and got a little bit hot on the train. And there was this guy sitting opposite us. He was on the phone for most of the journey and when he was not, he sang or he put music on his phone out loud.

We were exhausted and especially towards the end we wanted to tell him to shut up but we were all too polite!

We arrived in Rome around 3:30pm, knackered, hot, hungry and in desperate need of the loo. The hotel we were to stay was five minutes away from the Roma Termini train station but we just couldn’t find it as there was no sign. After about 20 minutes of wandering and asking around to no avail, we finally bumped into the owner who let us in.

We stayed at Cialdini Rome, which was much better than the one we stayed in Florence, cleaner and newer and it included breakfast (fresh coffee, croissants and orange juice delivered to our room every day) and other than the toilet flush that got stuck a couple of times (but I figured out how to fix it after a day or two!) it was lovely. Friendly owners, daily cleaning and breakfast.

The area around the station is not the best, is quite poor and we were told they were a lot of pickpockets so we had to be very careful with our bags. The streets around that square smelled of wee, I have no idea why.  We joked we knew we were getting close to the hotel when we could smell the wee. But after a 10 minute walk you are transported into a completely different Rome. Bright, luxurious, beautiful.

Would I’ve known Rome better I’d probably stay more central, closer to the center and some of the landmarks, which is a much nicer area but I’m happy with our accommodation considering how much we paid.

After we checked in and got our map from the landowner’s husband, who was the chattiest and funniest Italian we met, it was time for lunch. We sat at the first place we saw, and it was the worst food we had in Rome (details on the food blog coming after the Rome blogs). We then headed towards some of the main attractions.

Our map
Our worn out map

We passed by the Santa Maria Maggiore church and the Quirinale palace, heading towards the infamous Fontana di Trevi. Hover over photos for captions.

After wandering in the charming cobble streets, you turn a corner, and there it was! Fontana di Trevi. What a beautiful gem in the middle of the city.

After throwing our coins into the fountain, and sister number two being told off by the guard there who whistles every time someone sits on the edge of the fountain, we made our way to the Pantheon.

What an incredible building, what an amazing piece of history, standing there in front of our eyes.

After a delicious dinner at a small restaurant in a picturesque cobble street near Pantheon, we headed back to the hotel, admiring the views. On our way back we went into a beautiful church and passed by the Italian Madame Tussauds (museo delle cere), which other than Einstein, the rest of the statues on the entrance didn’t look anything like the famous people they were supposed to resemble (and I was told off for touching Einstein’s face!). And that was the end of our first (half) day in Rome.

The following morning we headed to the Colosseum, which was actually very close to the hotel. Again, I’ve done no research and nobody told me that I had to pre-book tickets or get them from near the Colosseum if we didn’t want to wait for hours in the queue. So we opted for one of the guided tours offered by tens, hundreds even of guides outside who pick up what language you speak just by overhearing you talking.

That happened in Florence as well, but it happened much more in Rome. I was impressed they could do that, considering the Cypriot dialect, although Greek, is quite different to the official Greek language. But I guess they get used to it, with the millions of tourists they visit their city every year.

The Colosseum was breathtaking! We absolutely loved it. Our guide, Aldo was great and we learned a lot about the history of it, but he talked. A LOT. We were supposed to have a break after the Colosseum and re-join the group to enter the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. But we were tired and starving by that time. We went for lunch in a cute nearby cafe instead and we then decided to head towards the river to enjoy the views from there.

On our way we  passed by the Arco di Constantino, Arco di Tito and Circo Massimo. After about half an hour we reached the river and we wandered around Tiberina.

After a quick break for ice-cream and a short rest stop at the hotel we got to try pizza by the meter (the food blog will be amazing, I promise!), we passed by the Opera and sat at the steps of Piazza della Repubblica to watch the sunset. And that was the end of our second day in Rome.

I hope you enjoyed our journey this far. Days three to five coming tomorrow or Monday and they are pretty awesome, if I say so myself!


Italy-Sisters on tour part 1- the incredibly beautiful Florence

I’m back from warm and sunny Italy to cold and rainy Southampton. I’ve been back for two days but I’m still adjusting. I’m wrapped up in my blanket, watching the rain from my window as we speak.

It’s impossible to write just one blog about it due to the sheer volume of pictures, places we’ve seen and things we did, so the first part will be about Florence, part two and maybe three will be on Rome and the last one is dedicated to food.

So, let’s start from 9 days ago, Tuesday, 5th of September. I was packed and ready to get to London after work. I looked forward to it for so long and the work day felt super long, even longer than usual. I finished all the things I could before I was ready to go, although I was sad I didn’t get to say goodbye to my bestie, because a colleague had a query a minute before I had to go.

I had no umbrella or waterproof with me and, yes, it started raining as soon as I walked out the door, on my way to the train station and got soaking wet by the time I reached it. I spent a quiet, relaxing night at a hotel near Gatwick airport, although my taxi driver tried hard to persuade me to go out in Brighton.

I was worried whether my sisters will make it to Rome, so I didn’t sleep much. I got up around 4am and by 10:15am I made it to Rome and finally met my sisters, who flew there a bit earlier, although they nearly missed their flight because they went to the wrong gate, typical!

2017-09-14 16.21.24

After a quick bite we went to get our train tickets to Florence. I should have done my research but I didn’t. The cashier at the Trenitalia desk was very rude. He didn’t explain to us that apparently in Italy there are only two main train services: high-speed, which are faster but more expensive and regionale, which have more stops but are cheaper (I only found out about it from a lovely Italian we met on the train later on).

He didn’t even give us the option to choose which train service we wanted to catch. And we had to choose a specific time. So we bought the more expensive but fast one, only because we didn’t know. Although retrospectively, it was the right decision. None of us slept much and we were already very tired. But we were still shocked by the sheer rudeness of the cashier.

On our way to Florence we met Fabio, the lovely Italian I mentioned earlier (we think his name was Fabio, none of us were sure we heard right, if you happen to read it please comment!), an Italian musician, living in London. One of my sisters, Stella fell asleep almost immediately but Fabio, Anna and I chatted the whole way to Florence. We talked about life in the UK, the cultural differences of Italy and Cyprus compared to the UK, music of course, loving what you do for a living vs just having a job and Yoga (he goes to a yoga retreat in India every year for a month, I know right!). He also told us we would love Florence, ‘it is like a walking museum’ he said.

After 2 and a half hours, around 2:30pm we said goodbye to Fabio and reached Firenze Santa Maria Novella, the main train station in Florence.  Our hotel, Ottaviani, was pretty close, and fortunately not as bad as some reviews I read the night before made it to be (it was old, the lift was tiny so we decided not to use it at all, we had a proper laugh about the glass sliding bathroom door and the beds were not the comfiest but it was clean and OK for two nights) after checking in and resting for a bit off we went to explore this gorgeous city!

The lovely hotel owner provided us with a map and circled the main attractions for us. I haven’t used a paper map for ages! But I’m amazed how well we managed to use it (minus a couple of arguments!) and saved me a lot of phone data.

Using a map
No, that’s where the map says to go!

We passed by Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Santa Maria Novella basilica, which was the first great basilica in Florence, and headed towards the San Lorenzo market for dinner.

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

After a delicious meal (more details on the food blog) we wandered around the market. I’ve never seen so many leather bags in my life!

San Lorenzo market
San Lorenzo market

The San Lorenzo indoors market was amazing! The ground floor where the food market is set was closed but the 1st floor gourmet food court was open and oh my we wished we hadn’t just had dinner! Lots of photos to share on my food blog from this market.

After admiring the San Lorenzo church we sat down to Piazza san Marco for a rest.

San Lorenzo church
San Lorenzo church
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco

We then headed to Piazza Del Duomo, the centre of Florence, home of the Florence Cathedral, Il Duomo di Firenze. We were in awe, to say the least!

Duomo di Firenze
Duomo di Firenze

After a short stop for dessert we walked down towards river Arno, just in time for the sunset. I remembered what Fabio said, Florence is a walking museum! And that’s when I realised I was in love with Florence.

River Arno
Sisters in Florence
sunset at River Arno
sunset at River Arno

And that was the end of day one.

On our second and last day in Florence, we had breakfast in the sunshine at Piazza del Duomo and then headed to get bus 12 as our BnB owner advised us, to get to Piazzale Michelangelo and admire the panoramic views.

Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo

The views from Piazzale Michelangelo were breathtaking!


Before we left we visited the San Salvatore al Monte church, so peaceful and simple but elegant.

We would have explored the area more but we were exhausted so we headed back to the city centre. We missed our stop so the bus took us around the whole city!

We were starving at this point so sat at a restaurant in Piazza della Repubblica, another amazing area in central Florence.

Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica

After lunch we headed to Ponte Vecchio, one of the most famous bridges in Florence.

By this time we were knackered. So we rested for a bit at the hotel before going out for dinner, to try the infamous Bistecca alla Fiorentina. After our scrummy dinner we went back to the hotel.

And that’s how our day and Florence adventure ended. The following day we caught the train to Rome.

The city was full of tourists that made it hard to move at times or take better pictures and there were a lot of illegal ‘painting’ and other street sellers, appearing out of nowhere which I didn’t expect. And there were a couple of rude cashiers and waiters, something I’m not used to. But Florence still impressed me more than any other city I visited.

I loved Rome but I fell in love with Florence. And my sisters did too. What a breathtakingly beautiful, amazing place. I feel blessed and grateful I’m lucky enough I got to see and explore it. It’s probably the only place I’ve been I would like to visit again.

Next blog on Rome!


A different kind of Monday

Happy Monday!

I started this blog last night but I was really tired I couldn’t finish it. So posting it first thing in the morning for a change.

Today is a different kind of Monday. I’m not dreading it. Much. It’s still Monday….

But tomorrow night I’m heading to the airport. And on Wednesday, early morning I’ll reunite with my best friends, my soulmates, my sisters!

We will spend two days in Florence and four days in Rome. First time in Italy, for all of us. I can’t even describe how excited I am!

To explore a new country, a country I wanted to visit for so long, but the circumstances didn’t allow it, and to do that with my sisters, first time we’ll all be on holiday at a country other than home (Cyprus) or… home (UK) is overwhelmingly amazing.

I spent Saturday doing chores, with a break for coffee and catch the last rays of sunshine with my bestie and to get new books to read from Oxfam as I finished Perfume (review coming soon!).

Yesterday I completely lost concentration, I started worrying whether my sisters will make it to Rome, what if I miss my flight and a wave of other irrational thoughts made their way in and I felt lost. I didn’t know what thing to do first on my long to-do list. But after my Yoga practice (which co-incidentally was about mental focus and concentration, what are the chances!) I focused on the session’s mantra- I got this!- and got on with almost everything I needed to do. Only a couple last minute things to do today after work and I’m all set!



I recently started meditating and practising mindfulness when I can’t sleep, which happens often and it definitely made a difference! I’ll write about it when I get the chance.

I’ve once read that more than often people crave a holiday and plan everything to the dot and then are disappointed when the time comes as their expectations don’t match reality. Which makes sense.

But I love doing the opposite. Exploring and see where it leads rather than meticulous planning is my favourite thing to do and it never failed. That’s what Shebz and I did in Berlin last year and we had the best of times.

And I’m sure Italy won’t let me down!

I know it’s only a short break, (which includes FriendsFest in London after Italy!) and it won’t change my life, or maybe it will, you never know, but it’s exactly what I need right now.

It will be incredible if I meet an Italian hunk and we go sailing in the Mediterranean afterwards rather than come back, as I’ve been joking for the last week, but it’s highly unlikely that will happen. A girl can only dream though!

I still have high hopes for September!

I’ll miss blogging but my next one will be a special one! A travel post (which will of course include local cuisine) on bella Italia.

I will be posting snaps on my Insta if you want to follow my Italian ventures.

Until then…



Berlin ick lieb dir! #myfirsttravelpost

I wanted to write a travel post since I remember. And what a better opportunity, just before I turn 30! I am planning  more trips from now on so hopefully more posts like this will follow.

I really fancied checking out Berlin for a while, after I met a lovely gal at a boring longitudinal research course my manager tricked me into going (I love longitudinal surveys, one of the most useful and demanding research methods but learning to solve long equations when I can do the same with 2 clicks in SPSS wasn’t that interesting.). She was originally from Berlin and she talked about what a vibrant, artistic, cultural, musical city it is, which sounded just like my cup of tea.

So, my partner in crime, my bestie Shebz and I booked a long weekend close to my birthday. And we couldn’t have chosen better time, we were so lucky! Where shall I start from?

I’ll start from thanking Sheba, I wouldn’t have had as much fun and done as much as we did if I went with anyone else. We make awesome travelling buddies! I can’t wait for our next adventure!

The weather was gorgeous. Sunny and warm. I got my first sunburn, one of many to come as summer holidays are fast approaching.

We rented an AirBnB and stayed with an amazing couple who recommended a lot of cool places to see. AND they lived in a very central location so we could get to places easily. We were so lucky again. Thank you Amelie and Matt for your hospitality and awesome recommendations.

I can’t possibly post all the photos we took and talk about everything we got to do but these are some of the highlights.

There was music everywhere. Musicians busking literally everywhere, music in shops, restaurants. Berlin definitely loves music!

The first day, after wandering around some of the main landmarks (the architecture in this city is breathtaking and there are glorious parks and greenery everywhere) during which we got to see vintage cars as there was an exhibition going on, bikes for 5 people which looked so much fun, horse carriages (we got to pet gorgeous horses)  and many more…

Reichstag- The parliament. Thank you Lucy for the recommendation! x
The Holocaust memorial

we ended up at the riverside, sunbathing with the locals…


and spent the afternoon and evening wandering around a very posh area with expensive hotels and restaurants and tried the German cuisine (yes, a lot of the dishes included sausages).


On the second day whilst trying to find a cafe we discovered online and wanted to go to, we wandered in a Turkish community, so different and interesting and vibrant, we felt like locals again.

Whilst looking for this elusive cafe (which we never found)  we ended up in an abandoned anarchists building, dark, cigarette butts and empty bottles everywhere, ashes of something burned outside… in the middle of a park… One of the scariest but most exciting things I’ve ever done and I don’t think I’d ever done that if I wasn’t with my bestie. Not sure anyone else would have been up for it.

We could not not visit the Berlin wall…



And the day got better and better…

After wandering around the Museum Island and discovering secret yards, enjoying the sunshine at the riverside opposite the glorious Cathedral, we spent our afternoon at Mauerpark. Every Sunday there is live music with amazing local musicians, from reggae to dub-step, an enormous flee and food market… If I lived in Berlin I’d be there every week.



Mauerpark, the place to be on a Sunday!

Whilst having dinner we had a laugh with some Londoners and their Vietnamese friends we bumped into (who totally made us want to visit Vietnam and Myanmar. If you happen to visit Mauerpark, there is a Vietnamese restaurant just across the street (Sukho), I definitely recommend it. Delicious food and the friendliest waiters.

On our last day we had the most amazing breakfast in a different, gorgeous Berlin area (thank you Amelie for the suggestion) and made our way back to the UK.

Mokka bar, one of the best breakfasts I had!

What an amazing time we had. We got to do what we enjoy most, not just be tourists, but mingle with the locals, experience the culture. It’s definitely a place I want to return, as there is an amazing music scene I didn’t have time to enjoy and definitely want to go to an OpenAir (a 5-day secret party you find about the very last minute).

Berlin is definitely a place I recommend visiting. 3 days are not enough though if you want to have the full experience. Also be aware of bike lanes. Sorry lovely Berliners for our lack of attention.

This trip reminded me how much I love travelling and is something I definitely want to do more and more, maybe longer than a weekend or a week or a month… Sometimes what you really need is to get away, change scenery, live somewhere else for a while to help you reset your mindset, your perspective, your life and learn more about the world and yourself. The people who love and care about you will be with you wherever you go and you can find a job anywhere in the world, so I’d say if what you really want is to travel, then do it. Everything else will fall into place.

 So…LESSON OF THE DAY: TRY EVERYTHING. Go for it, even if you are scared to death.

Love you all! x