Blogmas Day 25- A very Merry Christmas- Χρόνια Πολλά!

Merry Christmas, Χρόνια Πολλά everyone.

Nothing beats Christmas with my family, my parents, my three sisters and our dog Oscar.

After breakfast all together, parents started cooking (dad cooking, mum assisting), the three of us sat on the sofa watching Christmas films wearing our new Christmas socks, an annual sisterly tradition and Oscar is now sitting next to me, begging for cuddles.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones and may all your Christmas wishes come true. I truly hope mine will!


Blogmas Day 24- Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Happy Christmas Eve!

I’m still suffering but I’m so happy I spent the day with my sisters, doing some last minute Christmas shopping.

I love that my sisters are my best friends and how we laugh with the silliest things.

That’s happiness for me. Special little moments with loved ones. Just by being with each other.

Now time to attempt for the six of us (parents, sisters and Oscar the great) to watch a film together, it rarely goes smoothly.

Last Blogmas tomorrow. I can’t believe I made it!


Blogmas Day 23- Family time and Home Alone

I can’t remember the last time I had such a bad cold. But I’m at home so I can’t let it affect me much.

Yesterday was family time. Lunch with the sisters and afternoon with my cousin and her children, including my Little Prince, my godson.

In the evening it was Christmas films time and co-incidentally Home Alone was on TV, just perfect. We snuggled on the sofas and enjoyed a ridiculous amount of chocolate and melomakarona (Greek Christmas soft honey biscuits).

That’s what Christmas is all about. Family, laughter and lots of treats.


Blogmas Day 20 and Day 21- Christmas was almost cancelled

There was no Blogmas yesterday because this time yesterday I was devastated.

Gatwick airport was closed all day and after all the bad luck of the last couple of days I felt defeated. I didn’t think I’d make it home for Christmas. All I wanted to do was go home and cry. Although I already had a few invites in case I were to spend Christmas in Southampton, if I hadn’t made it I would have stayed in my pjs stuffing my face with pizza and chocolate for a week and not speak to anyone. That was my Plan B.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and colleagues that kept me going. Wonderful lunch with the old Compliance gang and drinks with the rest of my favourites made all the difference. I was overwhelmed with all the love, hugs and wishes.

Today was a long, long day and until my plane actually took off I didn’t really believe it was going to happen. The only one who believed was my little sister, Anna.

I genuinely think the only reason I made it was because of all the prayers and positive thoughts.

Christmas was almost cancelled but I was lucky for once. Shortly after my flight took off the airport closed down again. Phew.

Whoever is doing this, disrupting travel for people who save for months either to have Christmas with loved ones or somewhere special, and force pregnant women, children and thousands of other people to sleep on the airport floor, I hope you realise how mean and inhumane what you are doing is.

I hope everyone makes it home for Christmas. Sending you all my positive thoughts.


Blogmas Day 19- Packing home for Christmas in the Upside Down

It’s been a weird day. I think I was in the upside down, not the real world. Maybe I’m still there? Am I?

My Royal Mail re-delivery saga continued (48 minutes waiting on the line to speak to an advisor, the classical music playing repeatedly traumatised me) and there is a chance I won’t have my mum’s gift in time, I may have a tooth infection (or my anxiety is causing the pain, Ι really can’t tell), so the first thing I’ll do when I go home is visit the dentist, that’s not how I wanted to spend my first morning back home, there was a guy kissing everyone, even people who just met in the office who I desperately avoided (there is friendly and there is too friendly), people are leaving Solent, others leaving the country and it feels like time suddenly slowed down today.

I’m tired, stressed, emotional, worried about a million things that can go wrong from now until Christmas, I started packing for Friday though, which got me all excited. It looks so pretty and festive.

That’s life. Ups and downs. There are days I can control my feelings and my thoughts and other days like today when it feels my bad luck will never end, I can’t.

And it’s OK.

Last day at work tomorrow before I fly home for Christmas and I’m spending it with lovely friends and colleagues. So here’s to tomorrow.


Blogmas day 18- the Last 2018 SSU staff choir performance

One of the best decisions I ever made, at an unknowingly *pivotal moment in my life was to join the Lunchtime Glee club, a group of colleagues coming together once a week for an hour of laughter and singing, the best remedy to uplift us, especially after a long, busy day at work.

Five year later and since then Lunchtime Glee has grown and became Singforce, and our SSU choir is part of a huge staff choir network all around Hampshire, I’ve made wonderful friends and though we are only doing this for fun we got to perform not only at events across the University including the Staff Awards and the Graduation flashmob but also at events all over Southampton, at the Mayflower Gala, the Annual One Sound choir collab shows (Turner Sims was probably my favourite) and John Lewis to name a few.

Our last 2018 performance was today, at the VC Christmas reception at the Spark. We couldn’t hear the music well so it wasn’t our best, but it was the perfect end to a wonderful year for our SSU staff choir. Thank you to my lovely Helen for the snap.

Thank you Dan for all you do for us, I love our choir family.


*(Pivotal moment in my life: Lunchtime Glee through Dan led me to Sing Now, a community choir I was part for almost two years, which brought my bestie, Sheba in my life and many many other amazing friends and memories and helped me realise and get out of a dead end relationship, that’s the short story version)

Blogmas Day 17- A night at the Ivy

Everyone who knows me, knows I love my food. I love good food and I love trying different restaurants.

I’ve known about the new Ivy at Winchester for a while but didn’t get the chance to visit. I don’t often go to fancy restaurants, I don’t think that expensive food necessarily guarantees quality, there was always something about the Ivy though that intrigued me ever since I first bumped into it in London years ago, so when my lovely friend Suki suggested having a final Christmas catch-up dinner there, I thought that would be a perfect time.

It was very pretty decorated on the outside…

and the interior was equally beautiful.

I haven’t suddenly became rich or was secretly employed by Jay Raynor (I wish), I’m actually very broke, so I went for the set menu (served until 6:30pm) and the £16 two course meals (plus service charge) which was great value for money.

I fancied some fish, since I usually avoid seafood in the UK, but I thought at a place like this it would hopefully be fresh.

And it did not disappoint.

I had delicious crab cakes served in a tasty tomato salsa for a starter and the baked salmon fillet on a bed of lemony, herb sauce, a sweet Asian glaze, jasmine rice and Pak Choi (Chinese cabbage). The combination of flavours was exquisite, the sweetness and smokiness of the salmon, complimented by the light acidity of the lemon and the smoothness of the vegetables and the rice. Simply stunning.

Although it was busy, the service was quick, all the waiters were friendly and checked on us a couple of times, especially our lovely table waiter Bethan and Neil, who brought us the bill and whilst chatting told us he has worked 60 hours since Thursday, hero! I feel for everyone working in retail or hospitality these days, their busiest time of the year, please be considerate and remember whilst you enjoy a delicious meal or doing some shopping, they are there, working long shifts to keep you happy, instead of spending Christmas with their families.

All in all it was a great evening and I’d love to go to Ivy again to taste more dishes and try their wine, after payday! 



Blogmas Day 16- Christmas films

I love a good film. Except when it comes to Christmas films. I love them all, not just the good ones, unless the acting is so bad it’s unwatchable e.g. the 12 Dog Days to Christmas (oh yes, that’s a real film and it was so cringey despite the cute dogs in it I had to switch the TV off).

I have plenty of favourites, old and new (thank you Netflix and Hallmark) and there’s nothing I love more than snuggling on the sofa on a rainy day, watching a Christmas film, especially after a crazy night out. 

These are my top 5 I always watch, most of them twice during the Christmas period. So in no particular order.

Love Actually

I might have mentioned it before but this is one of my favourite films ever. Stunning cast, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson especially, wonderful love stories, it’s funny, it’s touching, some of Richard Curtis best work. Every time I’m at an airport I always remember the first and last scenes at the airport, people re-uniting, hugging their loved ones.  That’s what I watched last night. I usually watch it once before I fly home and then watch it again with my sisters and Oscar sitting in between us, keeping us warm.

Home Alone (1&2)

Every year, on Christmas day I spend the day with the family, just the six of us and then we go to my aunt Sofia’s for dinner. Since I remember and before we all became adults, all the cousins used to gather around the TV after dinner and have dessert whilst watching Home Alone, which was always on TV on Christmas day, right after Mr Bean.  We grew up with Kevin Mccalister. 


Will Ferrell as an Elf spreading the joy to humans, always excited about Santa, whilst getting into the most ridiculous situations. One cannot not love this now classic.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I love Jim Carrey and I love him even more as the Grinch. I used to imagine I lived in Whoville, and to be honest with you, I’d still love to.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Ebenezer Scrooge changing his life after the visits of the Christmas Past, Present and Future is a Charles Dickens classic we all love, and if you happen to be a fan of the Muppets, then you’d definitely enjoy this.  Many have played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in many, many re-adaptations, but Michael Kaine will always be my favourite.

So, what’s your favourite? 


Blogmas day 15- The Christmas Party

The annual SSU staff Christmas party is one of my favourite events of the whole year. Glammed up for an evening of laughs, drinking and dancing-dancing at the Christmas do is the best, most fun dancing I’ve ever experienced-, the night away with wonderful friends and colleagues, old and new, celebrating Christmas and the end of another year. 

Last night was another fun, memorable eve. I can feel the effects today but oh my it was worth it. I thought last year might have been my last SSU staff party and though I know I’ll leave the University soon, no idea how soon, to pursue a more meaningful job, I love these people and the Christmas party will always be one of the highlights. And if this was my last one, it was a great one to end with.

I didn’t take many snaps but thankfully my lovely Helen did, some of the photos I borrowed from. So here’s a little flavour.

The set up at Novotel was beautiful…

I sat between two of my favourite not just friends, but humans, Helen and Chris…

and at the same table with more wonderful friends (one of my top three snaps of the night, hah)

…and laughed and danced with this wonderful lot.

Shoutout to DJ Tracy (not real name, if anyone does know her name please comment!) who we all adored!

Special thanks to Helen, Jamie and Lou for organising another incredible Christmas do.

Now, time for Love Actually and chocolate!


Blogmas day 13- Magical Christmas at Beaulieu

You can’t not believe in magic after experiencing Christmas at Beaulieu. Beautiful lights, Christmas music, the alluring, familiar smell of roasted chestnuts and marshmallows whilst walking through the gorgeous Abbey and Palace House gardens and the Forest.

Two weeks ago my friend Helena sent me this and asked me if I’d like to join her and a couple of friends. I couldn’t say no after I watched the video and last night was the night. Let me give you a little taste. 

I felt festive as soon as I walked into the entrance as the most magnificent Christmas tree stood proudly looking all pretty. The biggest real Christmas tree I’ve ever seen in the flesh.

And off we go to follow the Christmas illuminated trail. The first decorations we came across before we even made it to the beginning was only a tiny sample of what it was about to come. It was freezing cold but we almost forgot about it when we started looking around in awe.

After a short stop to have some delicious roasted chestnuts we stepped through the gorgeous illuminated archway which signalled the beginning of the trail. I haven’t had any for years, the smell and taste instantly took me back to my childhood.

We then walked in the Abbey gardens illuminated by a magnificent fire display accompanied by ‘Silent Night’.

After watching a short Panto and singing Jingle Bells we wandered into the next part, the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’, where twelve signs were illuminated in order following the song. 

We made another stop to enjoy a huge, handmade gourmet marshmallow and since this place is magic, of course there was a fire pit where we could roast it. A little piece of heaven!

Next up, we came across the Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Party gorgeous set and a wishing tree where you can write away your wishes. I didn’t have to write any as some of my favourites were already there.

‘Health and happiness’

‘I wish I was a princess in a castle’

I wish for a dog’.

We then walked through another gorgeous archway to make it to the Palace House, illuminated with more dancing lights.

After a wander through the Forest… where we saw an Elf sitting on the tree…

we reached the end of the trail to see an enormous lit tree…

A truly wonderful magical evening which ended with a scenic drive through the Forest, we even saw a deer!