Easter in lockdown- the lockdown series

This week’s vlog was a bit late due to our little Easter break, so here’s how I spent it. Not in Vienna or Budapest or Bratislava as I originally planned but it wasn’t as bad as I thought I’d be I guess.

Catch ups with friends, lots of chocolate, pancakes, Netflix, reading, blogging, so all in all it wasn’t too bad.

Hope you enjoy it! 




The Routine- the lockdown diaries

One of the things that help me with coping under lockdown is having a routine, a rough schedule for the day, as I mentioned on my last post and video, so life feels a bit normal and also to make it easier to adjust when back in ‘normal’ life however that might be.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of routines and I don’t always stick to it, but it helps a lot when under lockdown, when there’s no clear structure and I can waste a whole day doing nothing if I let my overthinking brain take over. So here it goes, hope you enjoy it, and please share your thoughts and what you are doing to keep you going every day!



How I cope in lockdown- the lockdown diaries

For those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know I struggle with anxiety (severe at times) and bouts of depression, so when hell broke loose a few weeks ago, I was extremely stressed to the point I couldn’t think clearly.

Luckily over the years I’ve developed a bit of resilience and a set of coping mechanisms to help me manage my anxiety and quickly get back in control when my stress levels reach dangerous highs.

So, after the initial shock and panic my survival instincts kicked in and I thought I’d put together a video with what’s been helping me stay sane under lockdown (can’t believe it’s been three weeks already!).

These are the the 10 activities I do most frequently to help me and a few links of books, Ted talks, TV programs etc I mention in the video (more details on each in the video):

  1. Exercise. I’ve been doing my daily yoga with my favourite gal (https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/playlists), she posts a monthly playlist with videos for each day. I need more exercise though since I’ve been sitting a lot, so any recommendations please comment below!
  2. Music. I somehow stopped listening as much, I don’t really know why, but now I listen and sing every day. Music, food, remedy for the soul, I keep reminding myself that. Thank God for music. In the video I hum a song by my favourite Cypriot musician Mr Costas Kakoyiannis (Αν κοντα σου μεγαλωσω- If I grow up with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2x3CqSIaJ8) and I try to play and sing I’ll be your mirror, the Velvet Underground cover, on my guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMeZCPbM6bA)
  3. Going out. Of course we are not allowed and shouldn’t go out all the time but I try to go out once or twice a week, pop to the shop, just to feel I can be outside.
  4. Reading. I love reading, in the winter with a blanket and a cuppa, in the summer, at the beach, on a plane, on a train. Since I started my first EFL teaching job I had very little free time to read but I’m so happy now I have time. I recommend a couple of books in the video (e.g. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis and the Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances White, check out her podcast too, she is brilliant).
  5. Diet. It’s so difficult to stop snacking when living a sedentary life, but I stopped buying too many and/or too unhealthy snacks so I don’t end up binge-eating all day.
  6. Catching up with friends. Keeping in touch with friends and family is vital, we are social animals after all, we need human interaction but I sometimes find it too overwhelming with all the messages I get, so I have regular breaks so I can cope, plus it helps reduce screen time.
  7. Netflix. I’m a huge Netflix fan and there’s a great selection of TV series, films and documentaries to watch. I try not to watch too much, though tempting, as I spend too much time in front of a screen since I teach online, but thank God we have Netflix. I recently watched a documentary, my Beautiful Broken Brain, which was amazing). I’d love to start a new series though, so any suggestions, please do comment! PS I of course still watch friends every day.
  8. Routine. Being at home all day, it’s easy for someone with a hyperactive brain like me to lose concentration, get lost into my own thoughts and waste time deciding when to do what, I find it too chaotic, so keeping up with a routine helps, a lot. I’ll make another video about this.
  9. Expressing your emotions. This is HUGE. Society taught us one of the unhealthiest narratives of all time, that expressing our emotions is a weakness. It’s the opposite actually, being vulnerable and open about how we feel it’s the bravest thing one can do, especially in these difficult times we live under right now. I highly recommend Bene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, definitely worth a watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en
  10. Playing an instrument. I’ve been playing the guitar on and off for years, but now I have time to learn how to read music properly and improve my playing. A great way to stay away from screens!

If you’ve been doing something that has been helping you, please share, it may help someone else, that’s the reason I’m doing it.

I’m also trying to put together a video with hopeful/funny/inspiring messages of friends, family and strangers to spread some joy and positivity, so if you like to be part of me, just email me a short 10-15 sec video with your message (elenizenonos@gmail.com). It can be in any language, just provide me with the transcript and I’ll translate and put subtitles in English 🙂

Hope you are all well and safe.



Thankmas Day Ten: Thank you Phoebe Waller-Bridge

‘Are you really dedicating a post to an actress/producer/writer you never met?‘ you might ask.

And the answer is yes, of course.

Have you ever watched a film or a TV show you loved so much it sort of changed your life? That’s Fleabag for me, a fictional character I actually, genuinely love.

I love a good TV show, a show so brilliantly written, with dialogues that can easily be turned into a book about your own life because they somehow capture your deepest, most intimate thoughts, worries, troubles, with incredible characters you cannot but only love and feel like they could be your friends.

That’s what Fleabag is for me. Definitely one of my highlights of 2019.

A TV show, a play, a book, any form of art when masterly, skilfully crafted can truly feed creativity and touch your soul in a way nothing else can. That’s why art is essential part of everyone’s life. How else can we try and make sense of this world whilst also documenting our culture for future generations? Art is the food of the soul, and when that food is cooked to perfection, you can’t but enjoy every single bite.

So thank you Phoebe for bringing Fleabag into our lives, the best comedy drama show ever made (and for Killing Eve). You are a genius!


New beginnings Chapter 2: A week of surprises.

I’m staring at my screen for the last half an hour. I know what I want to write about. But I can’t put it into a series of words that make sense.

My mind wanders and the internal monologue begins.

‘-Maybe that’s how Broca’s aphasia patients feel like? They can understand but they can’t speak.’

‘-I know what I want to write about but I can’t get it out. Maybe my brain is temporarily damaged’.

‘-Don’t be silly. You are just anxious. All these changes lately…’

Back in the room. What did I want to write about?

The “non-typical January” trend continues. And a week full of surprises.

I’m now involved with two brand new projects within Academic Services, which for me is like taking a long breath when you finally reach the surface, after struggling to swim to the top. I made it over the water but I still need to swim to the shore. It will do. For now. I still have to do the important but repetitive and boring tasks, but every now and then I get to work on something I really enjoy.

Surprise no1: The City Nuffield Theatre tour

On Monday I was unexpectedly offered an exclusive tour of the new Nuffield Theatre right in the city centre and of course I couldn’t say No. It looks amazing. It was so much fun to walk backstage, have a sneaky peak at the dressing rooms, the theatre, the new restaurant and admire the beautiful views of Guildhall Square from the top floor. I didn’t take any photos as I didn’t know if I was allowed to, but trust me when I say it’s pretty impressive. I can’t wait until it officially opens.

Surprise No2: New colleagues, new team, new project

Last Wednesday, after a long day working on one of the new projects with another team for the first time, which I didn’t expect, I thought I was going to start much later in the year, I went home mentally and physically exhausted. The excitement worn me out.

Surprise No3: Home spa evening

So it was the perfect opportunity to try the bath bombs sent to me by Nisha, the lovely owner of a new local business, Sabão. My evening was transformed into a home spa magical night, just what I needed and after talking to Nisha, I found out that’s exactly what her vision for her little business is.

I’m so happy Nisha loved my post. It really means a lot for an amateur blogger who only does this because they love writing, like myself.

“Omg Eleni, I absolutely loved your review and your blog! Honestly i cannot thank you enough for your kind words! With two girls under 5yrs old I guess I didn’t see the potential of creating a mini spa at home and the way you displayed everything really brought home the reason why I started Sabao. Would you mind if I share the link to your blog on my fb and Insta too?

Honestly I am so touch and over the moon you love the products! Xxx

This is exactly what I wanted affordable, high quality products which you can really treat yourself with that actually helps pamper your skin. I could never be as big as Lush because Essential Oils are so expensive on a mass scale. I’m just happy to help to get products into the right hands 😊 xx”

Surprise No4: Back into fitness

On Thursday I had my first PT session after Christmas. I was absolutely dreading it. And when my lovely student Personal Trainer messaged me to say we can start our sessions the following day, I was not mentally prepared. But it had to be done. With all the changes happening lately I let stress take over and the lack of sleep and appetite was taking it’s toll. I’m glad I went for it in the end. PT is not easy, but I love the adrenaline kick and I weirdly enjoy the pain afterwards, it makes me feel alive. PS I love my new leggings.


Surprise No5: In Sync even when miles apart

On Thursday after I came home from my PT session I voice messaged Shebz for a catch up. That’s our new thing. Voice messages. To hear her voice makes such a difference, it’s hard not to get emotional every time. But I absolutely love it. And on Thursday we messaged each other at EXACTLY the same time and it also turned out we had our PT sessions at the same time, mine in cold, rainy Southampton and hers in sunny and warm Guatemala. Isn’t it amazing how in sync we still are, even living thousand of miles apart? True love that is.

True love

Surprise No6: The busiest Saturday I had in a while

Last Tuesday I had no plans for the weekend. I hoped the flatmate would have been working and I would get the chance to have some me time. Two days later and it turned into Singing with Singforce, catching up with friends over coffee and a drink and delicious dinner at Bacaro, the Italian tapas place in town I wanted to try for a long time, with a new friend, all in one day.

Bacaro, Southampton

Surprise No7: The End of the F***ing World

On Sunday I was so exhausted it took me the whole day to catch up with the house chores and when I was finally done I just wanted to relax. My lovely friend Sofy recommended a new TV series currently on Netflix, The End of the F***ing World and I thought I’d put it on whilst having dinner. I was hooked from the first minute and ended up watching the whole series. If you love quirky, British, Dark Comedy, it’s a must watch. It was funny, sad, emotional, serious, dark and light, all in one and the brilliant soundtrack just made it even more amazing.

This week I’m hoping to spend more time doing the little things I enjoy, spend hours on my guitar, read a book, get back into my daily yoga routine I neglected, feel like myself again.

I’m still not used to living with another person, although my flatmate is lovely but there are times I wished I was on my own and I’ve been missing it a lot lately. I know it will get easier but there is a lot of going on at the moment and I’d love to spend a day or two just by myself, not having to be social or lock myself in my room. The little things eh?

Anyway, time for yoga with my favourite lady, Adriene.



Friendsfest with great friends

I didn’t watch Friends when it was first shown back in 1994. I got into it years later, in 2008, when I first moved to Southampton and was desperately looking for a job, and as any recent graduate I struggled.

I spent a lot of time at home composing cover letters and filling in countless applications and watching Friends was one of the very few things that made me forget my troubles and have a laugh.

And I’ve been watching it since. I used to watch more TV 3-4 years ago but I now only keep up with a couple of TV series, except Friends which I love to watch every evening with my tea.

I absolutely love this show and even though I’ve seen each episode a hundreds of times, it still helps me unwind and never fails to cheer me up. So going to Friendsfest has been on my bucketlist for a while.

The first time I tried to get tickets it was sold out but last February, as soon as the tickets went on sale I bought some for myself and my lovely colleagues and friends who are also big Friends fans, Andi and Syed. Andi is a walking Friends wiki and we often randomly quiz each other and send memes to make each other laugh.

Fast forward to about a week ago, Friday 15th of September, the Friendsfest day finally arrived!

On the morning  we were about to take the train to London, the Parsons Green explosion took place. I had friends and family messaging me worried about our upcoming London trip and although I was a bit worried too, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. That’s what terrorism is all about isn’t it? To terrify you to the degree that interrupts your plans and your life.

So on that morning, Andi and I caught the London Waterloo train. The sun was shining and we were super excited but also checking the news for updates. We made it to Waterloo and when we got into the tube I was a little unsettled but it was actually a quiet and smooth ride.

We met Londoner Syed who drove us to Clissold park where Friendfest was set, in his impressive car.

And there we were!! Before I continue I’d like to thank Syed who took most of the photos, you are the best photographer (although your awesome phone camera helped a little).

After a quick wander around, we re-created the opening scene and then popped into Central Perk.


Phoebe’s infamous cab was parked just outside Central Perk.


After a short break at the main stage where some of the best Friends scenes were shown

Outdoors Friends cinema

it was time for our greatly anticipated tour to the original set of Chandler and Joey’s and Monica’s apartments.

The first part of the tour was an exhibition of some of the most iconic Friends props, from Monica’s wedding ring and Joey’s London map to Ross’s leather pants!


We then went through into Chandler and Joey’s apartment. It felt pretty amazing to sit on the chairs my favourite characters used to sit and hug Hugsy.


After going through the hallway

The hallway
Where’s the cheesecake?

we were finally in Monica’s apartment. My favourite. If I had my own place that’s how it would look like. Cute and cosy.

How incredible it was to rest on the same chair they did, look out across the window Rachel did when she broke up with Ross and sit in the kitchen they used to hang out for 10 years.


After the tour we popped in the Las Vegas chapel where Ross and Rachel got married and then re-created Monica and Rachel’s prom night!


After a snack, hot choc and Ross and Monica’s dance routine demonstration we got our Friends memorabilia from the shop. I now have my Friends t-shirt and my ‘Joey doesn’t share food’ fridge magnet.

Afterwards, Syed drove us around in central London and we had delicious Persian food, tea and shisha at the Little Persia restaurant on Queensway.


What a great day with lovely Friends!

If you are a Friends fan, I definitely recommend Friendsfest. It takes about 2-3 hours to see and experience everything on offer, so you can enjoy the rest of the day in London.

Thank you to my lovely friends Andi and Syed again for Friendsfest and a great day in the capital.