December of 2020

December, normally a month full of baked goods, chocolates and treats at work, beautiful magical lights, Christmas markets, mulled wine, catching up with friends, streets buzzing with people shopping, having a laugh.

Not this December… The streets are empty, the cafes and restaurants are closed, there are no markets, no laughter, just some pretty lights and everyone in masks rushing to get home before curfew time.

I was going to name this post December at Corona times but it’s much more than that for me, it’s impossible for me to find a more appropriate name.

After three years I broke one of my traditions and didn’t do Blogmas. I just couldn’t find the time with my new job, looking for places to rent, getting used to living in Cyprus for now and still adapting to my new reality. Can you believe I haven’t sat down to play my guitar for weeks (minus a day I wanted to prepare something for my sister’s nameday)?

I guess adjusting takes time, even more so during a bloody pandemic and I just have to trust that all my irrational subconscious and conscious fears and worries will die off eventually.

On a happier note, after 12 years, I’m spending December in Cyprus which means, even during these bizarre and horrifying times we live in, that I decorated the Christmas tree with my sisters (we do it online every year) and we baked traditional Cypriot/Greek treats, kourampiedes (almond cookies covered in icing sugar) and my all time favourite melomakarona (honey syrup dipped cookies).

(Video and recipes coming soon on Kopiaste)

So I guess what life taught me once more it’s that it is never black and white, all good or all bad. It’s both all the time. And that of course it’s unpredictable. Who would have thought that I’d be back in Cyprus for the foreseeable future?

All I can do is enjoy whatever life brings me every day. I hope we all manage to have a homely, heart-warming Christmas with our loved ones, that’s what Christmas it’s all about after all.




Flying in Corona times

It’s been a while since my last post and video but I’ve been busy since I came back to Cyprus.

Travelling from Italy to Cyprus was exhausting and complicated. It took about 34 hours, 3 flights (after an Easyjet cancellation they only offered a replacement flight to Athens and I had to pay for another flight from Athens to Larnaca), an overnight stay in Milan and endless time spent at airports, forms to fill, wearing a face mask for two days, tested for Covid-19 at Larnaca airport.

So travelling in Corona times is not easy. There are still cancellations due to various reasons, most countries require to fill in a form and then email you a pass to enter the country (a document was required to travel to other Italian airports and for Cyprus and Athens a pass was emailed to me after I filled in the forms).

Food/drinks were not sold on Easyjet planes and that’s the case for other airlines as far as I’m aware. Wearing masks were mandatory for the airport and for the whole duration of the flight (except for eating/drinking).

There were delays at different points, during check in and boarding especially. Still, I had missed flying and I can’t wait to be able to fly freely again. I sincerely hope that will be possible soon.

Here’s the video of my little adventure.


My tips when booking flights in Corona times

At the moment I’m learning the hard way how incredibly, frustratingly difficult it is to book a flight out of Italy and hopefully back to Cyprus.

So I thought I’d share my top tips from my experience so far to help fellow travellers. I explain in detail on the video below but here are my top three tips:

  1. Check whether any flights you’ve already booked are still available on the airline’s website. If with Easyjet, be aware they mark flights as ‘sold out’ but in reality they are probably cancelled.
  2. Check refund policies. For Ryanair customers it make take up to a year to get their refund, if you manage to claim for refund as even when you do, Ryanair offers you a voucher and if you’d still like a refund, you have to speak to a customer assistant. Good luck with that. All lines and chats are occupied and you have to wait for hours. On the other hand, Easyjet claims they will refund you within 28 days and up to 90 days. Thousands of customers who had flights cancelled since March are still waiting for their money.
  3. Do not trust third-party companies. Check the airline’s page directly. Understandably with all the constant changes, sites such as Skyscanner are finding it difficult to keep up to date at all times and third-party companies e.g. Gogo gate offer flights which have been altered and don’t run anymore.

If you have any tips to add please comment, the more aware we all are, the better. It saves all of us money and trouble!


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 (, 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: and I try to play and sing I’ll be your mirror, the Velvet Underground cover, on my guitar:
  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:
  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 ( 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.



Day 16, A Ray of Hope- the lockdown diaries

Day 16 of lockdown. Today it’s been a good day. I guess we’ll have some bad, terrible ones and some better, funnier, happier ones, and today it was the latter.

I got outside to pop to the school and print the new forms we all required to have if stopped by the police to justify why we are outside where I saw two familiar faces, Marco, the school director and Bryony, a fellow teacher and it felt AMAZING to actually talk to people I know and appreciate face to face.

I then popped to the supermarket for my weekly shopping, an experience I always find stressful under the circumstances, queueing outside, people in close proximity, the only place I might actually catch the virus (you can see footage on today’s vlog below).

Finally some incredible news. The cases of Coronavirus in the local area are now going down, so maybe, just maybe this is the beginning of the end of this horrible situation.

A huge admiration and a thank you to every single person who is out there, from shop assistants to delivery drivers to medical staff, risking their lives every day to keep everyone else safe, healthy and fed.

And to those who think are invincible and don’t care if they catch the virus. I don’t care if I catch it either (though of course scared), but I’m doing this to protect others. So don’t be a ****head and stay home.

Stay home and stay safe



Day 11, just my luck- the lockdown diaries

Week 2 under lockdown started well. I tried to keep with a routine, so life feels as ‘normal’ as possible under the circumstances, I filmed a whole day to show everyone things that help me maintain balance, I filmed going to the supermarket (stressful!), about online teaching and I was gonna start putting together my vlog from Barcelona.

It’s been a busy week workwise as well, lesson planning, reading about online teaching, filming a couple of videos for young learners.

Come Friday morning I finally had some time to finish the vlog I filmed on Monday but disaster struck. My unbelievably bad luck once again hit me in the face.

My memory card with all my vlog material and worst of all, the gorgeous snaps I took over the last year, memories of great moments are now all gone.

I explain in detail on today’s vlog. I’m still sad and I know there’s worse to worry about but I’m gutted. How’s your week been?

Anyway, until next time, keep safe.



Living in Italy in the time of Coronavirus: the lockdown diaries

Wow. Just wow. I will always remember the last couple of weeks in every single detail.

Within 10 days, all schools in Italy closed until the 15th of March and after just 4 days that was extended to the 3rd of April, oh and the whole country was to go under lockdown.

What did that mean? A lot of things. How am I dealing with the situation? So far I’ve just been stressed and worried and baffled (how on earth on my first year after quitting my job to travel the world ended up trapped inside four walls?) but I decided to make the most out of it.

My friends and family, even strangers have been asking me how things are here, so I’ve put together a vlog, the first one of a series, documenting living and teaching under lockdown conditions so here it is:

I will soon post more on teaching online from home, coping mechanisms (healthy and unhealthy) and how my mental health has been affected by it. I hope you find it useful!

Oh and somehow I ended up speaking on the radio about it twice, once to BBC World Service before the lockdown and once after with my friend Pat at BBC Radio Solent! (10:26) and full interview here:

It has been challenging so far but my personal advice is please stay at home, avoid travelling internationally, avoid confined spaces, restaurants, churches, cafes, work from home and help to put a stop on the virus spreading. It will continue to spread if people continue to move about. It’s tough but necessary.

And please follow the WHO guidelines, wash your hands thoroughly and avoid handshakes (that’s how the virus is mainly transmitted, by touching others or contaminated surfaces), cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing, do not wear a mask unless you have symptoms or you have an underlying condition that it requires you to do so, AND STOP PANIC BUYING TOILET ROLL!!

Anyway, until next time, keep safe.