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

#InstaMomentStories #picturing#moment11 #christmas #baking #foodporn#photography #foodphotography#smellslikechristmas #melomakarona#honey #cookies #greek #traditional

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

The moment I felt Christmas is coming… :)

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I went to the Christmas Market here in Nicosia, a couple of days ago… the previous Sunday to be exact! It was small but it was okay! I walked back and forth a couple of times but I did not feel the Christmas spirit cause it was very sunny and warm! It felt more like an Easter market or something, if that exists!

 

15515694_10211787428831290_1444427135_oOn Monday night, I have to go back to the city center of Nicosia because I have work to do! As I walk by the Christmas market, I see the Christmas tree. I have my laptop on one had and my bag on the other hand, so I cannot take the picture! I go closer, I leave my laptop on the ground, and I pick up my camera. I think to myself that this is a beautiful picture with the carousel on the back and the Christmas tree lights on… It is cold outside, as well! I am wrapped like a burrito!The moment I take the picture is the moment I felt Christmas is coming… 🙂

 

#InstaMomentStories#Instamoments #picturing #momenteight#christmastree #xmas #christmasmarket#xmasmarket #Nicosia #Cyprus #carousel#decorations #christmasdecoration #lights#christmaslights #blurry #blurrylights

 

The Coffee Shop in Tallinn

In the Old city square of Tallinn there was this very beautiful underground coffee shop! Unfortunately, I do not remember the name… but I can say that it was in front of Tallinn’s Town Hall, right on the corner, nearby the tunnel. If you go you will definitely find it!

The coffee shop was situated into some sort of rock cave, that’s why it felt like we were back in the medieval times! Besides, the inconsistencies in the decoration make us feel like home… I mean they had all sorts of tables, different chairs, tablecloths and kitchenware! It was the perfect place to chit-chat and relax!

The table that we were sitting had this snowy ground level window view… ❤ #awesomeimg_20161109_110731

Here are some pictures of the place…. so you can understand what I am talking about!

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It was so cute and cozy! I probably said that a thousand times since I came back!

img_20161109_111528What I got from there?

I had an americano with some milk and a piece of cherry pie! It was very good! yum…

The shop had also other yummy pies and pastries like cheese cake, apple pie, brownie and croissants. Savoury options were also available like cheese pie! They might also serve sandwiches, but I cannot say for sure!

I think is the perfect place for breakfast and lunch!

Loved it and highly suggest it!

Hugs, Mariana xx