Journalist, blogger, cooking enthusiast, mother, and free spirit above all. Some time ago I left Athens for London but then I've got homesick and came back. Now I spend my time travelling back and forth until I make up my mind -I hope for good this time- about what I really want to do next. And these are my stories...
It may be nearly the end of February but in Athens the weather is warm and sunny. That means that I was able to spend the day outdoors with my friends having coffee at Palia Agora, a cosy cafe-restaurant in Filothei,
then walk my dog around the quiet suburban streets,
and on my way home buy some fresh flowers for my vases...
I do miss London, it's been more than three months that I'm gone, but this glorious sun helps a lot to deal with the nostalgia. (Still counting days though...)
As I wrote before, baking is one of my favourite things. Whenever I can I take courses, mostly when I'm in London, and I'm thinking about opening an internet store in Athens some day. But for now I just bake in every opportunity and I take photos of the process and then I organize tastings with friends and family so I can have a feedback of what they like and what they don't. Although my most feared and severe critic is my son who, through time has developed a very fine and educated palate. Maybe one day will follow in the footsteps of his father, who is one of the best food and wine critics in Greece.
So, few days ago I decided to try a new recipe that I discovered in Pinterest. I fell in love with the look of the cake, it was pink, and fluffy, and girly and I just had to taste it.
I had to wait for some days until I get my hands on the Whoppers that I ordered from Cybercandy, but then everything went smoothly, even the Swiss meringue that I had never tried before.
(Project in process... Two different cake batters - a pink and a white one- for two layers of vanilla cake made from scratch, and Swiss meringue with vanilla flavour and light pink colour)
I followed the recipe to the letter and the result was stunning.. And although it was a little too sweet for my taste, I'm pretty sure that it will make an amazing birthday cake for anyone who likes or feels pink.
Back in Athens, I try to make up my mind about what I really want to do next. It's not easy, because recession makes things much more difficult in every aspect of our life, but I try to stay focused on what I need and how I can make it happen. In the mean time, I stay home a lot watching my favourite shows or reading books and magazines, I cook and bake, I often invite friends over, and some nights I go out for dinner or just drinks.
(Our house in Athens. This is the living room where I love to lay on the couch, cocooning..)
(The dining table, ready for my friends...)
Although Greece struggles to tame the worst economic, political and social crisis since the end of World War 2, Athens remains a lively city. Maybe it's the sun that does not allow us to stay grumpy for long, maybe it's our very resistant DNA - who knows really?- the thing is that the city and its inhabitants insist to keep their lives rolling. And they succeed.
"Spice and rice on ice"... Cocktail at Hama, one of the best places for sushi in town.
As I expected, within one month the tiny apartment in Chelsea was "transformed" from a simple rental to a cute, small home. My budget was not much, so I had to stay away from all the fancy high street shops and think more creatively. I needed some basic furniture, a second couch and a coffee table for the living room, a desk for my computer, a dinning table and some chairs because we had to eat somewhere, a wall cabinet with a mirror for the bathroom, a caddy for the shower, a wall mirror for my bedroom and a desk for my son. I'm very proud for the result, so instead of writing more about it, I prefer to walk you around room by room, with photos of before and after. Let's go!
That was the living room when I first came in, not bad just...irrelevant.
As I love pink, the moment I laid eyes in this couch from IKEA I knew I'de found exactly what I needed. Although the room was very small, I even found space for a table with two chairs from Tesco Direct.
As for the side table, I was very lucky to find it on express delivery at Made.com, since almost everything you buy from there usually arrives 2-12 weeks after placing the order. (The lamp is from Argos). Finally, the coffee table is from Tesco Direct too but I don't really like it, it was more than an emergency solution until the right one arrives.
The bathroom was the smallest I've ever seen. Really.. 1.96m X 1.52m, felt almost like a big closet, but it had power shower and chrome mixer taps, thing that, if you live in England you know is rare and precious. :P
So I found a nice cabinet with a mirror (which for some reason was much cheaper when I bought it) and a caddy for the shower in Tesco Direct and.... voila!
The kitchen was very well equipped, with washer-dryer, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, four ring gas hob, oven and everything so it just needed some colour..
The bedrooms were very cosy but I needed to make room for our desks and all the personal stuff we brought with us from Athens. So I had to move some furniture around the house... This is my bedroom before....
I arrived in London a sunny September afternoon five years ago, ready to start my new life, full of enthusiasm, hopes and fears. With one small suitcase in hand - the rest of my things would arrive the day after- I took a cab and headed straight home. "Home" been the tiny apartment I've rented two months earlier mostly because I fell in love with the neighbourhood. A stone's throw from Sloane Square Tube, in the heart of Chelsea, it seemed like the perfect, perfect place to be.
The apartment on the other hand was located in an ex council building, maybe the ugliest in the area, if not in entire London. But it was fully refurbished, nicely decorated, it had two bedrooms and a rent that I could afford. And it also had potentials. I knew that with a small effort I could make it feel like real home.