Nothing stays the same and nothing changes… (part 2)

Thursday afternoon…

I’m ready. I put my Spotify on and After all comes up first… ‘tou tou tou tou tou tou...After all I really love you‘.  I smile. I loved this song since  the first moment I heard it, when a friend sent it to me a while ago. It never fails to cheer me up.

I packed all I need and waiting for the little one to pick me up. First stop, her Italian oral exam. Somehow half an hour later I find myself sitting with her and her course mate in the classroom. Stefano invited me in, I smiled and nodded. What a lovely man. Funky yellow trousers, cool glasses, a sweet, polite voice.

I’m surprised how much Italian I remember. I’m so proud of my little sis and her classmate. They did brilliantly.

I chat to a couple of her classmates afterwards, nervously waiting outside. I wish I could tell them that none of this really matters… Enjoy your life little ones and don’t worry about exams. But would have I listened if I was told that ten years ago when I was in their shoes?

Now… what should I have for dinner on Tuesday when I arrive back in Southampton late and exhausted? What about moving? What if I don’t find a place and have nowhere to stay, what if the agency messes up me and I have to stay another two months? (Cold sweat…) Stop it! Focus!

Now the exam is over it’s time to head to the theatre for a final rehearsal and the show.

There’s no signal in the theatre and I can’t use my phone. That’s for the best. It can be my worst distraction sometimes…

A few hours later…

Tickets sorted, all ready, it’s showtime!

It all went well minus a couple of hiccups. I feel bad I didn’t recognise the Vice Chancellor straight away. I’ve only seen a photo of him the day before and there was a mess up with the tickets… I didn’t instantly figure it out. But all well.

I’m so proud for my little sister and everyone involved in the musical. None of them is a professional singer or an actor but they put together a brilliant show. Now, let’s help pack, tidy up and go home…



I can’t unlock the car, why can’t I unlock the car?

I knew it! The long beep I’ve heard earlier when we were rushing out of the car was the lights. I told her. She thought it was the door…

Now it’s half past midnight and other than one more person, who didn’t have any equipment to help us start jump the car anyway there’s no one else left at the car park.

After about an hour, we are finally home. A friend came to the rescue and it all ended well. God I’m exhausted…

Friday noon…

I finally got some sleep. I still feel drained but there’s no rest for the wicked.

The little sis and I pop to the shops for some essentials. The guy at the newsagents starts a conversation… Surprised, I stare for a second and then I remember where I am and how people are different here. I smile and make a joke. I’ve adapted again, a couple of days before I’m about to leave…

Friday afternoon…

I’m meeting two of my oldest best friends. We’ve known each other since high school. We haven’t changed much, other than carrying our bruises and scars of the last 18 years, hopeful but more realistic and scared to dream as big…

And… a lovely surprise! A friend I haven’t seen for ten years, a friend I spent endless evenings just driving around town with, nights out and days at the beach as a naive and careless 20 year old. So happy to see him. He looks exactly the same. He talks exactly the same, strikingly honest as always but he as well more mature and pragmatic about life.

Saturday morning…

This is the only time during my short visit the five of us are all together and it’s hilariously chaotic as always. We go for a walk at the beach, still a bit too cold for a swim but perfect for a Saturday stroll and lunch. I can’t stop humming ‘tell me how to be in this world, tell me how to breathe in and feel no hurt’…

I cherish these rare moments, that’s what they are nowadays, rare and they will get rarer the older we get.

It’s funny how as a teen, even a young 20 year old, we dread family time with our parents and our siblings but the older we get, the more we realise the fragility of life and how thing may change at any minute, the more we appreciate the sacrifices they made and still make for us, their selfless love and the only thing they want in return is for us to be happy and spend time with them…


Saturday afternoon…

I finally get to see the only best friend I couldn’t see at Christmas. We sit at a cafe for hours chatting, with a coffee in hand, like we used to back at uni.

A few hours later we are having beers right next to the Faneromeni church with her fiance, his brother and my sister. It feels like a scene from Boyhood… but a few years later, now some 30 year olds who’ve known each other for years, sitting at a bar, just outside one of the oldest churches in Nicosia, having a beer, still troubled and  desperate seeking the meaning of life whilst reminiscing… What a beautiful, surreal way to end the day.

2018-05-13 13.28.53.jpg

Sunday noon…

No matter what you have planned for the day, there is always time for a cup of coffee and almost always the company grows at the last minute.

Sunday afternoon…

After some shopping and… a coffee with friends and sisters it’s time for my godson’s belated birthday. I’m so happy I’ve been to his first birthday last year and now his second. He’s grown so much and every time I see him our bond is getting stronger and stronger…

Pappou Costa and my aunties are here, my cousin’s little angels and her husband and relatives are here. I enjoy every moment, despite the mayhem and the noise, it actually somehow makes it better…

Monday noon…

I’m sitting at the Uni’s cafe with my mum. I’m on my laptop writing a post, the first part of this blog and she is knitting rosaries. It’s quiet, peaceful…It has just rained but the sun is out again. It never stays away for long on this island…


Monday afternoon…

I take the little sister on an educational trip down old Nicosia. I’m surprised how little she knows about the island’s history but I’m glad I’m teaching her what I’ve known for years… Up the Siakolas tower for a panoramic view of the city, one of the few spots you can see over ‘the other side’ without having to show your passport to cross the green line, the only divided capital in the world, down the old town, the Archbishop’s place that was half burned during the coup in 1974, the house of the dragoman  Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios who, although working with the Turks, secretly helped his fellow Greek Cypriots in the 1800’s, when the country where under the Ottoman empire…


Tuesday morning…

My throat feels sore… typical. I’m getting a cold just as I’m about to leave. I try not to think about it.

I say goodbye to the family and this little man…



and my sister drops me off at the airport. I think I prefer it to just get dropped off rather than saying goodbye to my sisters and my mum to the gate. Still emotional but makes it easier to leave.

Time to go back, but I feel I needed a few more days… to tackle my overthinking… Remember, one day at a time…


Remember… nothing stays the same and nothing changes…

Remember… you got this…




Hanging… and reset

A dirty plate on the dressing table stool, an empty mug on the bedside table…

It’s almost 2pm, Saturday afternoon, I just had some toast and coffee and I’m back in bed.

What a bittersweet but wonderful day Friday was.

Lunch saying goodbye to Charlotte, one of the craziest, funniest, sweet, adorable ladies I’ve ever met (who introduced me to Yoga with Adriene, without a question the best thing that happened to me in 2017), followed by a big group of us at Tapas taking over two of their central tables, chatting, laughing, on a sunny Friday afternoon after work. I missed all of us going for drinks after work… It felt like a reunion, I loved looking around seeing everyone having a good time.

Sad to see friends and colleagues leaving but happy I got to know new people I’ve haven’t had the chance before, and end the evening with a cider and heart to heart conversations with my brother. I miss seeing him every day, having a laugh in the office, walking home together after work…


Today I’m struggling though.

I didn’t drink much but a busy week at work, lack of sleep and not sticking to the same drink last night took its toll on me. I feel exhausted.

I can’t get out of bed, my body aches, my back is killing me. That’s what happens when I don’t do my yoga for a couple of days. My mind and body complain.

And the emotional hangover: at its worst. Scientists still cannot fully explain why anxiety and depression symptoms hit you in the face after drinking, imbalance of chemicals and nutrients in your body apparently. “At the cellular level, your brain is mad, agitated. And you just feel bad.” Susan Scholl, a health and wellness professor once stated. No shitting.

The thoughts were there I guess, the alcohol then decides to bring them up, exaggerate, go crazy and f**k you up.

The weather doesn’t help either. It feels like the longest winter of my time on earth… I miss the sun, the warmth, summer dresses and sandals, the feel of hot sand on my feet whilst running into the crystal clear cool water, red, sunburn face, beers and a cig at the beach at night, I miss summer…

I just got a voice message from Sheba, telling me about her day, chatting about everything and anything as we do every day. I love listening to her messages.

Today she is emotional. I’m emotional.

A lot to think about, a lot to do, but not today. Today I just want to stay in bed and not see anyone. The people I really want to see today and hug and have a laugh with are miles away.

That’s what I did, most of the day. A nice long shower, clean bedsheet and back to bed.

In the afternoon I message Artemis. She is coming to London in May, a mini break with one of my favourite people, at my birthday weekend. So, very excited. It’s been years since we did this. A holiday, just the two of us, wandering in London.

A couple of hours later… the little sister wants to Skype me. It’s almost time. It’s Easter weekend back home. The family is at the midnight Easter Service, they’ve just lit their candles with the Holy Light and the priest is about to sing the The Paschal troparion or Christos anesti, the Easter hymn every single person born and raised in Greece and Cyprus knows by heart. I just remembered, I posted a blog on Greek Orthodox Easter two years ago.

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life.

I hum along. I wish them Christos Anesti (Jesus has risen) and we hang up. I’m emotional again. I can’t put in words how much I love them. I was telling Sheba about it on my message earlier. But I know if I start crying in front of them, they will. So I hold it in. For a moment I feel proud of myself for learning to control my feelings.

11pm. I just finished watching the Crown. I’ve learned a lot from this show, although today I didn’t pay attention, it was more of a background noise.

I want this day to end. I know I’ll be OK tomorrow, the emotional hangover will be over. Bedtime. I’ll finish this post tomorrow, I wonder how… I don’t even have a title. Inspiration has abandoned me today.


I wake up and go back to sleep, wake up and go back to sleep.

Is my bedroom door open? Terrified. No, it can’t be. Is it? I turn the light on, it’s closed. It was a dream, a really bad dream, I get them a lot lately. Brain overloaded.

9:30am. I’m awake and can’t fall asleep again. I check my phone. Easter messages from friends and my family and a voice message from Shebs. Then my phone rings. Is my star sister, Stella. She usually calls without warning when she had an accident. But today she just wanted to wish me Happy Easter. We have a laugh, I can’t wait to see her in a couple of weeks.

Today I feel better. I’m not as emotional.

I put my Spotify on, Hunny is This What Adults Do, Lauran Hibberd…

I don’t want a stroll on a Sunday and I’m a sucker for unhappy Birthday… But all my darling friends, I don’t feel OK, ’cause they are all having bunnies or babies and I don’t want the same… (or I think that’s what she sings)…

I giggle.

I message Shebs back, I book a hotel for Artemis and myself and after I finish this post, it’s me time. How much I need it I can’t say.

I loved my week off, three amazing days in Bordeaux and a lovely weekend in London. I loved being on the go, packing, unpacking, exploring, wandering, catching up with loved ones.

I find it hard to adjust to ‘normal’ life but I need to. I need to reset, that’s exactly what I’ll do. I need Yoga with Adriene, hours on my guitar, read a book, catch up with friends, write more, I missed writing, I already feel better writing this. What a cathartic, therapeutic experience it is for me.

But I also need adrenaline… make new friends, sing at the top of my lungs, run until I can’t breathe, dance until my feet hurt, try new things…

I think I may have come up with a title…

I’m ready. Whatever this week brings.

Χριστός Ανέστη to all my Cypriot friends and family.



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


Not waving but drowning…

Last Friday I attended an inspiring, thought provoking talk on mental health by Hugh Clarke, the Former Head of Counselling services at London Met and counselling Psychologist, as part of the CPD series of workshops run by the Southampton Learning and Teaching Institute at the Uni.

Hugh started the session by guiding us into a three minute mindfulness exercise. I’ll describe how I felt after the instructions below, in case you want to try it, I don’t want to influence you. Read all the steps first as after you close your eyes, you won’t be able to see the rest.

  1. Sit comfortably with your whole feet touching the floor and let your hands gently rest on your thighs.
  2. Close your eyes. What  can you see? Now focus your attention on your breath. Then move to the sounds inside the room. What can you hear? What can you smell?
  3. Now focus on the sounds outside the room, what else can you hear?
  4. Now move back into the room and pay attention to your body. How do your hands feel on your legs?
  5. Now shift your attention to your internal body. What did you notice? Your heartbeat?Can you feel your blood flooding through your veins at every corner of your body?
  6. Now gently open your eyes.

How did that feel?

I felt relaxed, calm and fully concentrated, ready for the talk.

Hugh continued with a question, how we thought someone who is about to take their own life may feel.

My first thought was relief. Relief and calmness, as they can now put an end to their suffering. Others said a sense of control, as this is something they have control of. It made us all think.

He then played us a clip of Stevie Smith, reciting ‘Not waving but drowning’, the poem that inspired the title of his talk.

and then showed us a picture of the infamous Landscape with the Fall of Icarus painting.

Landscape with the fall of Icarus
Landscape with the fall of Icarus

Icarus, based on my beloved Greek Mythology, fulfilled his dream of flying with wings out of feathers and secured with bee wax his father Daedalus made. His father warned him not to fly near the sun, but he ignored him, so his wings started melting and Icarus tragically fell and drown into the sea.

Can you see him in the painting? Maybe not at first. Everything seems normal, everyone getting on with their day and Icarus actually looks like waving, but he is drowning.

And that’s what happens in every day life. Signs of struggling and mental illness are not obvious most of the time.

Hugh went through staggering statistics on student and general population mental health in the UK. Some of the ones I noted down:

-There are over 250 labels used to stigmatise people with mental illnesses. Unbelievably sad.

Labels used to stigmatise people with mental illnesses
Labels used to stigmatise people with mental illnesses

-27% of students reported they struggled with mental health issues.

-77% of students who reported they dealt with mental health issues were suffering from depression and 74% struggled with anxiety.

-The number of students and the severity of mental illnesses they struggle with it’s been increasing year after year, now at its highest.

-A survey of a major UK university revealed that 40% of their students were ‘detached solos’, students alone and isolated.

The stats for the UK general population are equally sad:

-There’s been a 43% increase of use of anti-depressants.

-75% of people who commit suicide have never asked for help.

-For men under 35, the most common cause of death is suicide.

What’s causing mental illnesses? That’s of course a complex question, is not just one thing, and it’s different for each individual.

But some of the main reasons (other than the immediate family environment and upbringing): society, local economics, fragmentation, helpless resentment, the ‘Buffoon effect’ (e.g. Donald Trump), social media (comparison with others which can reduce self-esteem), tyranny of perfectionism, tyranny of the ‘should’ (we all suffer from this to some degree!)

Causes of mental illness
Causes of mental illness

So how can we help each other?

Develop supportive climates through empathy, spontaneity and equality. Be compassionate and encouraging. The sense of belonging, feeling valued and self esteem are vital. And of course emotional intelligence.

At that point Hugh ran out of time as we bombarded him with questions but emotional intelligence, contrary to general intelligence, can be increased throughout our life. Self-awareness, your relationship with yourself and others, recognising and controlling your feelings can all improve with practice. And that can benefit one’s life in so many different ways, I need a whole post for that.

Hugh intended to finish his session the way he started it. Practising mindfulness.

A 3 minute mindfulness exercise has been scientifically proven, not surprisingly, to significantly reduce stress (which confuses us and doesn’t let us concentrate, it makes everything blurry) as it focuses our attention to ourselves, to the present and our nervous system comes back to a calm, neutral state and we can think more clearly.

What a brilliant talk. I’m sure if we had more time we would have been there for hours.

I hope you enjoyed this. I definitely enjoyed it and learned a lot from it.





Lazy Sundays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Have a lovely week everyone!





Every day is World Mental Health Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My warmest hug and love to all.





One Sound, one year later…

I woke up today feeling incredibly emotional after last night’s show. It was a special one.

Two weeks ago I didn’t even think I could do this year’s One Sound show.

I haven’t been to SingNow for months and I missed many rehearsals of the workplace choir, because last time I went, although I love the people and singing, I couldn’t wait for the session to be over. There were explosions happening in my head, laughter and chat sounds were 10 times louder than usual, I could feel my heart beat faster and faster, I think I might have had my first panic attack, so after that I decided to skip it until I felt better.

A couple of weeks ago, after a stressful morning at work I thought I’d give it another go. A year ago I couldn’t wait for 12pm on  a Tuesday so I can have fun singing with my colleagues, but a year later, I walked in the room, terrified. I was scared I might go through panic mode like last time. But I know I need to try more, otherwise it will only get worse.

And this time it was alright. I could manage my scary thoughts and I actually enjoyed it.

So I thought OK, if I can do this, I might be able to do One Sound.

After my panic attack, returning to SingNow felt scarier and scarier, so at least for One Sound I was only going to sing with Singforce. A year ago I was super excited to be in both choirs, but a year later I became this scared little person who didn’t know if she could even be at the show. I honestly cannot comprehend how I let myself become this person.

The big rehearsal at Romsey was one of my highlights of the whole show. I felt emotional throughout. I could not stop thinking of the rehearsal a year ago. When I was in both choirs, and a SingNow friend and I laughed and had our little dance routines and lyric jokes we referred to whilst rehearsing, and those lovely people sitting opposite me now were my dear friends who I used to see and have a laugh with every week and have so many amazing memories rehearsing, performing, partying.

And now, a year later, I wasn’t sure even on the day of the rehearsal if I could do it.

But when I arrived there, I felt the love and the warmth of my old Singnow pals. They came over for a chat and a hug, I was disappointed with myself because for the last 8 months I allowed my anxiety and fears to take control of my life. And because of that I lost my Singnow family. Which now, a year later, I sat in front of, with a lump in my throat the whole time, watching them rehearse and singing along.

I know that some of my Singnow friends haven’t had the best 12 months and I kept thinking of how we changed and struggled over the last year but how we were all there a year later, trying our best.

The show was the following day, Saturday, 29th of April, yesterday.

Apart from a couple of hours before the show when I thought I couldn’t do it and it might be better to stay at home and a moment in the green room, backstage when I was about to go into panic mode, when I couldn’t hear anything else other than a loud noise in my head, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I didn’t hide in the back as I originally thought it was a good idea.  There was lots of laughter and excitement throughout the evening. And I was emotional from start to finish. I could not stop comparing it with last year. How different it felt.

My highlights of One Sound 2017, the show night:

3. The Adele song, ‘When we were young’.  It will always have a special place in my heart. We started learning it about this time last year, close to my 30th birthday and it means a lot to me. I fought hard to keep my tears when singing that.

2. Rhythm of the night. When the audience stood up, dancing with us, especially this lovely elderly couple sitting in the front. The smile on their faces was priceless.

1.  Fix you. Every single time we sang that, at the rehearsal, at soundcheck and at the end of the show, I teared up.  And I spotted people in the audience tearing up. And when we finished singing it at the show, we got a standing ovation! It was so overwhelmingly beautiful to watch the audience getting up and applauding us.

Here is a video of the end of the show were all choirs got together for Fix you and Jump

One Sound 2016 would always be one of the favourite moments of my life but One Sound 2017 was beautifully brilliant and I’m glad I was a part of it.

Thank you to all my Solent friends, especially Helen and a big big thank you to Dan and Jack for all their hard work.

Love you all x


The most honest post I’ve ever written…

I’m going home tomorrow. It’s not a holiday. No I didn’t get the chance to have a holiday in many other countries other than Berlin and Edinburgh last year, those were holidays. This is not. It’s home. It’s home for a thousand different reasons. I grew up there, I lived most of my life there, my best friends and family are there. The people I probably need the most right now, but I can’t be around  because of distance live there. Because I refuse to give up, I refuse to do the easy thing, move back home to have my support network, so I can stop trying and free fall into this black hole. Which is the easiest solution when you are struggling.

I need to go home every now and then to stay sane. I need to remind myself that there are people who love me for who I am, people I don’t have to pretend I’m happy in front of them, because they know me too well. People who’ll give me a hug when I need it, because they know when I need it. People who will re-assure me and make me feel good about myself. As much as you can try and re-assure yourself, you still need that from other human beings, no matter what.

For a while now I’m not feeling well. I can’t put my finger on it (it’s not because my best friend went away, although of course I miss her), but I know I’m not happy. I’m not unhappy, but I’m not happy, not most of the time. I feel stuck. I feel trapped. Trapped in this vicious circle. The less I do, the worse I feel and the worse I feel the less I do. And I don’t know how to get unstuck.  And sometimes however hard I try by making jokes, making people laugh, making a fool of myself (if only people knew that some of the things they say to me in jest actually hit home), I can’t hide it. It’s getting harder and harder to hide. I know some of you noticed and you often ask me if I’m OK. Which I find very sweet and touching. Thank you for caring.

And is getting worse. Some of my friends, I haven’t seen for months (I love you and miss you all, I really do) because I find it easier not to get out and not try. I know people give up on you after a while but I find it easier to just be by myself. Things I used to enjoy I find hard to do, like singing with my colleagues and friends or driving.

I feel I lost my magic marbles and I’m not even sure where to look for them.

I still manage to go to work, although I struggle some days. But at least I haven’t given up completely. Work is one of the very few things that actually keep me sane (most of the time). And that’s why when I worried about my job a while ago, I knew I had to be re-assured that I’m not going to lose it, that I’m not going to lose one of my last life jackets. I’m so lucky I work with some amazing people who keep me going.

It’s so difficult, I don’t think people realise how difficult it is to pretend you are OK when you are not. I don’t think people realise how hard it is for me to make any decision, even simple ones like what to have for dinner, how hard it is to get out of the house, to interact with other human beings, how even the smallest thing like losing a tooth can affect me hugely. I don’t think they realise how my confidence has hit rock bottom, because I manage to hide it well most of the time by overcompensating.

But then what to do? I do not want people to worry and feel sorry for me. So I put my fake smile on and get on with it as best as I can.

I can’t self diagnose but I know where all the signs lead to. They all lead to the big black dog.  I know I need to do something about it before is too late. But is bloody hard. Is even harder when you live on your own, and the people who know you the best and can really help you without asking, because asking for help is not easy, are a thousand miles away. And I don’t want to worry them. And I don’t want to move back either.

I’m not giving up, not just yet.  I learned a lot, especially the last couple of years.I’m scared and I worry about myself and about my family, no matter how much I try not to. But when you struggle, you struggle, no matter how aware you are of the irrationality of it all. Acknowledging your thoughts are wrong doesn’t necessarily mean you can fix them in an instant.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. But I know not many will admit they do. Sending you all my love and I hope we all make it to the other side.

So there, is all out in the open now. And I already feel better for sharing.

I’m saddened and a bit scared with the terrorist attack in London, but  I’m happy  I’m going home tomorrow to see my loved ones, be surrounded by my favourite people, enjoy the sunshine and be happy for a week, until reality hits me in the face. I hope this break will give me the push I need. Or not. Only time will show.

I love you all x


PS I want to thank Donna, Suzanne, Sarah, Helen, Louise, Jamie, Chris and Andy, thank you, you know why.