Portobello Road Market in London

portobelloOne of my favourite places in London! ❤

It was about a year ago when I visited the city, but I still remember my experience very vividly! ❤ When, I will go back, I will definitely pay my respects to the market, again! :p

If you are travelling to London – first, I am very jealous and second, you have to visit the place! Let me just explain…

It was Saturday morning, when me and my friends decided to go to the Portobello Road Market!

We used to the Tube to get there! I am pretty sure, we started from Lancaster Gate and we stopped at the Notting Hill Gate – which is the closest you can get to the market using the Tube; it’s a 10 minute-walk or so from the station to the market!

The day was not very good, as you can tell from the only picture I have… It was raining, as per uze!!! London, baby! :p

The market….

From the moment, I arrived I could really get the nice vibes – the vibrant, the colourful and the joy was all over the place! This was what really attracted me!

It was like a nicely-done puzzle, where everything was falling into the right place, everything was located at the correct corner and spot!

You could find all sorts of things there… antique shops, fashion markets, second hand corners, fruits and vegetables spots, food stations-for a quick snack, restaurants – for the hungry ones and coffee shops!

For the record, I ended up buying two posters from there… the Chat Noir poster (you know, the one with the black cat) and a poster saying “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!”

12737003_10208698585211733_1434440748_oAfter visiting each and every corner, I was very hungry, so does my friends!Hence, we decided to go for lunch! We went to this Italian restaurant at the end of the street, cause it was the best option!

I am clearly very excited to be there… and to eat! I am waiting for my nocchi! xixixi :p

Hugs, Mariana xx

 

P.S. Unfortunately, I do not have any more pictures… so now you have to visit the market to understand what I am talking about!!

 

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Cozy Living Room | Christmas Decoration

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One day before Christmas, I decided it is about time to show you how we decorated our living room for the holidays.

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img_20161217_1930441. First things first, “The Tree”! I decorated the tree with a lot of white and red ornaments! I went overboard this year, but that is fine! I am in love with the fabric ornaments and the baking – themed ornaments! I also have candy cane and my DIY cookie cutter ornaments, hanging from the tree!

 

 

 

2. Sofa and couch decorations! I bought a red drape for the medium couch – is it called medium?! – and pillows for the sofa and the largest couch!

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3. The coffee table! I decided to put this white wreath and candle in the middle of the coffee table! On the side, I have the Christmas-themed coffee mats and a candle plate, for my candle obsession! I did not take the picture, doou! 😛

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4. Shelves! On the shelves above and around the TV, I have the candy Snowman container for the chocolates, lots of candle holders and the golden-red tree with the wreath!

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I hope you liked! I know it is simple, but is cozy and I love it! 🙂

Hugs, Mariana xx

That Girl at Starbucks Made my Day

starbucks14I am back in Nicosia, and it is 8 o’clock!

I woke up at 5 today to come here, and I do not have my car. So I am not very happy! But I need to do my Christmas shopping! It is more convenient to just stay in the city center and wait until the shops open! Yes, I know, it is very last minute! But, I am Mediterranean, I am always late! Especially, when it comes to shopping!

Every coffee shop is closed in the city center! FYI, 8 o’clock is very early for the Cypriot standards!

Only Starbucks is open! So, I am like, “I will go get one of their holiday drinks!”

Bear in mind, that I am the only customer in the shop!

The girl in the shop asks me: How I am today and if I am working today! — I am like, “No, I just arrived to Nicosia and I am waiting for the shops to open!”. She was very smiley and polite, even though she is working the day before Christmas! She asked me what I would like to have… and I am like… I would like something special and warm! So I asked for a Hot Chocolate! She asked me my name and I went to sit, until my drink is ready!

Then, I see her coming! She brought my drink! I thanked her and I wished her happy holidays! 🙂

She made my day! I really appreciate nice people!

Take home Christmas message:

You do not have to do much to make someone’s day, just smile and then magic happens! 

Hugs, Mariana xx

Window View

window-view I am working today at the school… I am an English teacher!

It is around 4:30, I have a break!

I open the class window and all I see is blue!

As I stare at the sea and listen to the waves crashing on the rocks! I feel very peaceful!

I am thinking to myself, “For many I am considered very lucky… But I am very used to it! I mean, I live in an island in the Mediterranean…. All I see is sea!” :p

Nonetheless, it is beautiful! I take the picture!

Sea and clouds! Perfect combo! #perfectworkday

Hugs, Mariana xx

Melomakarona or Honey Cakes | Recipe Box

img_20161219_122909Stable recipe of my recipe box… Melomakarona or honey cookies, in English, are the traditional Greek Christmas cookies/cakes!

I apologize, in advance, for the lack of the pictures… I neglected to take the step-by-step pictures, but I still want to share the recipeee…

I cannot wait for the next time, because it will probably be next Christmas! :p

Let’s get to it!

 

 

For the cookies: 

500grams all purpose flour

50grams semolina

40grams sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cognac

180grams sunflower oil

50grams olive oil

220grams orange juice

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 orange

 

For the Syrup:

300ml water

400grams sugar

100grams honey

Orange peel and juice from a 1/2 orange

Lemon peel of a 1/2 lemon

2 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

 

Decorate:

Honey

Crushed almonds or walnuts

 

Instructions: 

1. Combine all the ingredients for the syrup and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for 1-2 minute, on medium heat and set it aside, to cool down completely. It will be a good idea to start with your syrup a few hours before!

2. Now that the syrup is cooled down, start with the dough. Take two bowls. In the first bowl mix all the dry ingredients and the spices, except the baking soda.  In the second bowl add the oils, the orange juice, the cognac, the orange zest and the baking soda!

3. Add the dry mixture into the liquid mixture and fold with your hands, until you see no more flour. As soon as the dry ingredients are incorporated stop mixing. It is ready!

4. Preheat the oven at 185 Celsius!

5. Take the tablespoon measuring spoon and spoon your cookies. Shape them in an oval  and place then on your baking dish, lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake for about 22-26 minutes or until they are crunchy and golden brown.

7. Once you remove them from the oven, deep them in the cooled syrup for about 7 seconds on each side.

8. Drain them and serve them with nuts! Drizzle with some honey!

 

Makes around 45 cookies

 

Enjooyy!! 🙂

Hugs, Mariana xx

DIY Secret Santa Present Idea | Craft

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I absolutely love the secret santa concept!

A very easy, cheap and nice Christmas gift idea for your friends is the mug and socks combo!!

You cannot go wrong with socks and mugs… ❤

What you will need:

  • A mug of your choice… I pick that one up because I often call my friend “star”! Hence, the “You are my star” mug! :p LOL… is that weird?
  • A synthetic red ribbon
  • A lighter, to burn the edges of the ribbon
  • A pair of socks – Christmas-themed, preferably
  • Chocolate bars, of your choice or chocolates that your friend likes
  • Marshmallow
  • Candy cane, cause it is Xmaaaas
  • A small card, so you can write your wishes
  • A small Christmacy paper bag! HOHOHOHO

Instructions:

1. Cut a strip of ribbon, wrap it around your mug and burn the edges of the ribbon so that it does not fall apart!

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2.Fold the socks and place them in the mug, along with the candy and chocolate! Kinder Bueno and Twix… Yaaas!!

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3. Write your wishes on the card and place it in the mug…

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4. Final produuuct… it should look something like that! The design is actually up to you! There is no wrong or right way to do it! The most important thing is to make it look cohesive! 🙂

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5. When you finish, place the mug in the bag.

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That’s it! Easyyy, right?!

Hope you give it a try!! Let me know if you liked it or not!

Hugs, Mariana xx

New Year’s Eve Outfit | Fashionable or Not

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When it comes to clothing, I am very basic… I am not by any means a shopaholic “fashion girl”! Not that there something wrong with that… but I prefer to spend my money travelling … :p

I prefer my yoga pants, hoodies and Timberland over “stylish” – whatever- clothes! Simple and comfy is what I do!

But there are occasions when, even I, prefer to dress up a little bit! I always do black because I think is easy to work with, it can be easily combined and it is all time classic and classy!

I have already wore this outfit at a party, a couple of weeks ago, but I plan to wear it on the New Year’s Eve, as well.

The top is form Peacocks (30EUR), the skirt is from H&M (around 30EUR), and the tights (7EUR) and shoes (around 30EUR) are from Debenhams. You can also have some accessories with it… I had a light make up on, nice stud earrings, a leather jacket and a small black bag.

I should have had a photo of these…. I suck at this, already! LOL… 😛

Let me point out something here…. I did not buy all these to create the outfit! I had already had the skirt and the shoes, so I just bought the tights and the top! This is what I do… :p I have never thrown away clothes because they were out of fashion – anyway, most of my clothes are black, so they are always in fashion –  I only throw away destroyed, torn or discoloured clothes.

One of the reasons, I decided to post this is to show you that your older clothes are of great value! You can always combine the old with some new pieces and create other elegant outfits. I want to encourage you to wear what you already have and to show that you do not have to spend tones of money to be nicely dressed!

Hugs, Mariana xx

 

Christmas Baking! Done!

img_20161219_122909Monday today… I do not have something special to do, so lets wear my socks-slippers and casual clothes, and spend all day at home!

I am thinking… a few days before Christmas and I did not make anything traditional for the holidays!

Then, I am like… let’s make something good and get the kitchen dirty!!

Melomakarona it is, which translates into honey cookies! They are the traditional greek Christmas cookies.

I have already started making my syrup and now I am checking the rest of the recipe… I realize I do not have all the ingredients! I need oil! As much as I do not want to live from home today, I have to go get the oil, otherwise no cookies! I dress up very quickly and go to the market, within 15 minutes I am back and ready to finish this recipe! 🙂

An hour later, I have my yummy cookies!

Hugs, Mariana xx

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Ruun Forrest, RUUN… | Movie

If you did not watch the move, go ahead and watch it because this post will spoil it!!!

Plus, for those who did not watch the movie… where have you been!? You are missing out! One of the best, most inspiring movies, I have ever watched! I hiiiighlyyyy, highly, suggest it!! ❤ I have watched it like 4 times…

I will start with one of my favourite quotes…

Jenny: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you’re gonna be?

Forrest: Who I’m gonna be?

Jenny: Yeah.

Forrest: Aren’t-aren’t I going to be me?

The first reason I absolutely adore this movie is because it perfectly depicts what life is… or how life is! The film is closer to reality than your average american happy-ending movies. “Forrest Gump” presents life realistically – with its ups and downs, the drama and the comedy, death and life, the failure and the success… Happy ending does not exist… happiness is part of life – not the end of life – just like sadness. When a movie finishes with a happy ending, I always wonder “And then what?”. “Are they still together? What happened?”.

I believe that life is an emotional roller coaster and death is the the ending, and sure is not happy! But is part of life, whether want it or not… I do not believe that somebody wants death, fyi! :p

The second reason, I love the movie is the character, of course: Forrest Gump.

Forrest was always thought to be a stupid guy because he was not doing things the conventional way! For many it will almost seem that he did not put any thought in what he was doing, when essentially he just did not overthink or overcomplicate things. And that was the main reason he was so successful! He was doing what he thought would be good and right for him! He failed, he was afraid and intimidated by people and situations, but he did not give up!

The way he speaks about life is very simple, wise and to- the -point! Think about it… Life is simple, we overcomplicating it!

Lieutenant Daniel Taylor: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?
Forrest: I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir. 

Forrest: I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both. 

And now…. How many times we are told that what we do is stupid? Or what we are planning to do is too risky? Thousands of times… We have all been warned by our friends and family, when we are about to start something new is our life! Right? I know, they are concerned and they do that because they love us! Buut, the problem is how we perceive these warnings? Do we stop and abort the plan or are we determined to reach our goal?

I know is just a movie, and I am… too influenced.. but it really makes you think…

I am not saying that you have to be reckless, by any means! I am just saying that you do not have to let fear control you because fear is part of life and part of any fresh start! The unknown is intimidating, by definition! The important thing is what you think is right! Do you think that it will work, then go for it! You might fail, but then you know you tried! You might as well succeed and get what you want… and then all  these initial concerns will disappear!

Forrest: My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

Hugs, Mariana xx

Banana & Orange Smoothie | Recipe Box

img_20161217_115116Smoothie Time… you know what i’m sayin’ 😉

Yeah, I know… it’s winter, it’s cold and all… but I really wanted a smoothie! Well, it is not that cold, anyway…
So… here we go!

My smoothie today had two nanas, one orange, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 cup milk…. and a teaspoon of coconut sugar!! okay, I know I am not supposed to add any sugar but my nanas were not ripe…. booo… so I had to add some sweetness or I wouldn’t enjoy my smoothie!

I do not think that you need directions for a smoothie… throw your fruit and liquid in the blender and Bleeeeend out, until smooth!

The smoothie should be smooth… you know!

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Hugs, Mariana xx