Monday, 16 December 2013

Fashion Monday #5

 Today was my last holiday before we close for Christmas. It has been a nightmare so this is not a chatty post but it is nevertheless a bit festive.
A lovely velvet dress ideal for Christmas parties


And the back! 
Gold boots from TKmaxx. This is my latest find!


Kora's Christmas sparkly pants!
A bit of sparkle can take you a long way and it doesn't have to be just for Christmas! Dress it down for everyday use and enjoy your clothes!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Fashion Monday #4

Hi there,
It feels like a lifetime since last Monday and loads of things have happened. My lovely friend Kora has announced that she is leaving us but she promised to mail me more of her photos from now on. So this is not the end of Kora at least not in this space!
Today at work we had a Yule log bake off so there was a lot of brown puddings about. So inspired by the festive pudding and in preparation of tonight's post I have collected photos in brown! These were some of the most interesting combinations.

Moi, in a tan leather skirt, a black top and a vest my grandma made when i was a kid!
Nice things keep forever! I love this little vest! I do have it since primary school so it is at least 25 years old but still going stronger!
Kora in her new charity shop treasure! 
I have posted this before but Zoe is lovely in another all brown combo tied together with black!
A more military black brown combo!

And lovely Elaine with a fab brown shimmery skirt.
It doesn't really matter how you tone a brown combination. All different shades of brown seems to go well as long as there is one neutral colour to bind them together. I don't know what it is with brown that makes it so interesting. It is the colour of chocolate i think!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Fashion Monday #3

Hello again!

this week we had a lot of meetings so there were a few dresses around. Here are the best!
Here is Kay in a lovely green dress and really fab boots. I like how green and brown go so well together. 

This is moi, in a two-colour outfit. It does help if you stick to two colours as it keeps the outfit looking smart without too much effort. The challenge is of course getting the colours right. But if one sticks to a few colours in their wardrobe they can get some pretty good results.
The easier way of doing "the two colour outfit" is using same colour tights. These are mine in navy blue.
Kora is doing the two-colour outfit here with a jumper and tights in exactly the same colour!

Kora in a "two-colour outfit"
Zoe is really proud of this lovely necklace.  
Zoe is wearing a fab dress here in teal!
Like i said before a treasure is a treasure whether it costs £1000 or £10. It all depends how durable, wearable and likable an item is! 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Fashion Monday #2

Hi there,

this is week 2 and i am happy to say that my friends at work have given my blog a warm welcome! So this week we have more people than before wanting to share their treasures with me. The idea of this blog is not to show "cheap" clothes but treasures purchased, found or made that don't break the bank! 

So week 2 here it goes! 
This is Kora's lovely necklace found in her fave charity shop.  
 Pieces like this make an outfit interesting! Make sure you don't get colours clashing too much! Kora has done a brilliant job there with  her black cardi and blue top. 
Zoe- chocolate delight!
 Zoe has nicely combined all different shades of brown keeping it all coordinated with the black skirt and tights!
Kora's "Christmas" Pants from River Island!

Me with my black dress and new cardi courtesy of TK Maxx 
 The dress i am wearing here is the same dress i was wearing when i was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop. Stretchy dresses are a brilliant investment. So if you are pregnant go for stretchy fabrics that you can wear after you give birth! The cardi is my recent treasure! There was a very similar one i found last year at Free People but i just couldn't afford it! This year TK Maxx brought it for half the price!

Here's the posh version!

Kora making a black outfit interesting with plum lace tights

Aimee's Vivienne-Westwood-esque George skirt! What a gem! 

This is it for this week! See you again soon! 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Fashion Monday #1

A few weeks ago whilst discussing with friends we decided to start posts for fashion choices for people that don't earn much! A cause, as noble as Zoolander's school for kids that don't read good! :-)
My rationale is that it is easy to have fab fashion sense if you are loaded, the challenge is in being presentable when skint.
So from now there will be a post every Monday dedicated on fashion. Here it goes.
 Here is lovely Kora with a lovely orange top! It is a brilliant find from a charity shop she loves. The colour of the top is a perfect match to her hair! A beautiful autumnal look!
Here is poor me not knowing when the click would happen! Right, i am wearing a new aubergine dress from H&M. I find these dresses really comfy and versatile because they just take your shape as you get bigger or smaller. I needed a dress that will "shrink" with me as i keep on loosing baby weight. I am wearing my favourite black cardi i bought last year in Greece and a silk scarf mum gave me a million years ago. It was hers but she gave it to me anyway as i loved that colour!

So here it goes! Tell us what you think!! What do you wear at work? Did you find it hard after having babies to fit into your old wardrobe? 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Summertime

It s been too long since i was last here. Loads have happened this summer and most of them haven't been too pleasant. The most important one was Alexi being ill for pretty much all July.
This happened at the same time as me starting work which didn't help matters much. 

Basically the second week Alexi was in the nursery he started having a temperature. That continued for another day before i took him to the gp who casually said it might be "just" a virus and gave us a urine test. The one that is the bag for those of you out there who had them. So we waited all weekend and the temperature didn't seem to go away and conjunctivitis also appeared. On Monday i stayed home to look after Alexi and went to the gp again who also said "just" a virus. Tuesday we got the results from the urine test which showed an infection so got antibiotics which didn't work. And then at the end of the week he had a rash so i took him to the hospital after following my friends advice who is a pediatrician but in a different city.  

There we did another urine test only to be told that the first one is not accurate and quite predictably the second test didn't show an infection. The doctor that saw my son said he had tonsillitis and i insisted we saw a pediatrician to get a second opinion as his tonsils didn't explain the rash. The pediatrician said the same gave us another bottle of antibiotics and sent us home. I was told by my friend to have a blood test but nobody want to know. So after many hours of me insisting and then denying we went home. 

Sunday comes and the temperature was higher than ever at which stage i called the hospital and insisted we went. My friend said it is likely to be glandular fever syndrome and after all this the last doctor that saw him in the hospital said the same thing. So after they did a blood test (which i almost had to fight for) they kept him for a week. 

They did all sorts of tests that week to check for pneumonia and the virus that is causing glandular fever to which he tested negative and then they told us that if they didn't find the virus they would do a bone marrow test to check for leukemia.  It was so sad. I was in the hospital by myself and Alexi and Chris was stuck at home with sore throat and being sick and cried and cried. At that stage mum decided to come to Greece for support. 

That Friday they found the virus from a nose swab they did and let us go. It was adenovirus. But Alexi wasn't well for another 2 weeks really. In the mean time i got it and was ill with sore throat and ear infection. 
Aexi wasn't well for a month pretty much and had lost so much weight. 

I was angry with that nobody spotted it and everybody were talking about it as "just" a virus for weeks. I had to spent 3 weeks giving Alexi medication every 2 to 3 hours and worrying sick cos in the end he had apnea and he couldn't open his eyes from the conjunctivitis.  One of the gps even said that i had to book a separate appointment to have him checked for his conjuctivitis when i mentioned it during a consultation. 

My boy is now well but i am still angry.... Has anybody else got a similar experience? 


Friday, 12 July 2013

το δέντρο - η επιστροφή του τεμπέλη δράκου

The other day i was trying to find new tunes for Alexi and i found a really great song that i keep listening! It is a kids song but it is for everyone really who want to feel like a kid. It will make more sense to greek speakers but Google might translate it anyway. To all Greek speakers out there enjoy! For everyone else, the music is brilliant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inPi10W6AQQ
The cd 

Listen to the song here.

and the lyrics for those that do Greek.... If you want to buy it this, click the link

Το δέντρο που φυτέψαμε
στου κήπου τη γωνιά
μεγάλωσε κι απάνω του
φωλιάζουνε πουλιά

Παπαρούνες, κρίνα, πανσέδες, γιασεμιά
μαργαρίτες, ρόδα, ανθίζουν στα κλαριά...

Μας κοροϊδεύει αυτός,
κι αντί για τα πουλιά
μας αραδιάζει
λουλούδια με φτερά !!

Το δέντρο που φυτέψαμε
στου κήπου τη γωνιά
μεγάλωσε κι απάνω του
φωλιάζουνε πουλιά

Καλαμάρια, μύδια, τσιπούρες και σαργοί
καραβίδες, στρείδια, γαρίδες κι αστακοί...

Μα πού τα βρήκε αυτός,
τόσα θαλασσινά
και μες στον κήπο
θα φτιάξει κακαβιά !!

Το δέντρο που φυτέψαμε
στου κήπου τη γωνιά
μεγάλωσε κι απάνω του
φωλιάζουνε πουλιά

Αλεπούδες, τίγρεις, λιοντάρια τρομερά
αντιλόπες, ζέβρες, αρκούδες κι ερπετά...

Τα άγρια ζώα τα πήρε για πουλιά,
κι έφτιαξε ζούγκλα στου κήπου τη γωνιά !!

Ραταρα ρατατα ρατατα ραραρα

Το δέντρο που φυτέψαμε
στου κήπου τη γωνιά
μεγάλωσε κι απάνω του
φωλιάζουνε πουλιά

Χελιδόνια, αηδόνια, σπουργίτια κι αετοί
πελαργοί, κοτσύφια και τσαλαπετεινοί...

Ναι, τώρα μάλιστα, μας μίλησε σωστά
και κελαϊδούνε στο δέντρο τα πουλιά !!!

Ραταρα ρατατα ρατατα ραραρα

Friday, 5 July 2013

Christening

Last month we were really busy and this is the reason for my online disappearance. I had to organise Alexi's christening in Greece! Everything had to happen at the last minute because Chris's mum was in a really difficult situation and couldn't commit to coming. She didn't make it in the end. Apart from this the bureaucracy both from the English and the Greek side was a complete nightmare. Luckily we got over all these obstacles and the christening took place on the set time and date and was a really happy and lovely event!

Christenings in Greece are a bit like a wedding. They symbolize the naming of a child and the whole ceremony is very pagan. I found the ceremony quite cathartic and i have to admit i did cry a little bit. The ceremony consists of a blessing and then the ceremonial baptism with oil and water. Baptism's original aim was purification. The very word means a rite of washing/purifying with water. This may have been vital for survival once upon a time especially performed after birth as it cleans the baby from the impurities of the womb. This later was used to symbolise rebirth through religion. To us it is a ceremony of welcoming a baby to our culture together with the party that follows are a way of celebrating the birth of a child.

Alexi, me and Chris
Christenings same as weddings also require  organisation, planning and sophistication in the decor and everything else. Most Greek christenings have over 100 guests and in Crete sometimes over 1000! Greeks know how to celebrate the happy events of one's life! We had only 50 but we took good care of them!


The beginning of the ceremony
It is amazing how these events come together nicely in the end if everybody wants to help. We didn't have a venue but the photographer suggested  this lovely place. A proper old fashioned taverna with a garden full of mulberry and lemon trees. Mum negotiated a lovely price and dad threw in a few liters of home made greek raki which sealed the deal. My friends helped with the translations of birth certificates and all the bureaucracy and before you know it we had a fantastic night!
The "dance" around the font

Alexi, M(um) and the bond girls
Me, my sister and godmother, my brother and my sister-in-law
My cousin, dad, me and sis-in-law

Sunday, 26 May 2013

My flapjack recipe

It is the last few loooong unpaid  days of my maternity so now i am going through the cupboards trying to find good healthy food. I am not going to do crisps and rubbish just because i am not very rich at the moment.

My diet is not particularly out there. I am not a vegetarian though i usually eat veggie food at functions, i am certainly no vegan and (even though i tried) I don't do diets anymore. My diet is a good Mediterranean diet with English and travel influences.

Since my family is from Crete i have learned to cook following the main Cretan principles ie using loads of olive oil that my dad makes, small quantities of meat, fish and dairy (i have milk intolerance anyway), loads of veggies and fruit (including horta ie wild greens) and loads of carbs and bread and sugar but only the wholemeal and brown version or honey. The English diet has a lot of nice recipes but loads of saturated fat so where possible we replace these with olive oil. 

Anyway, today's venture was making flapjack so here is the recipe i follow: 

100 gr of butter
100 gr of olive oil
350 to 400 gr of oats (depending how soft you want it)
200 gr of golden syrup or honey
200 gr of brown sugar
vanilla

Poppy's flapjack

Enjoy!! 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

May Day

In Greece it is traditional to make a wreath on May Day. Remnant of the pagan days tradition but we still do it and it is still fun! This is our own in Leeds!

May Day wreath
We keep the wreath until St John's day and then the wreath is thrown into a bonfire. Boys used to leap over the fire and stayed out until late. This name day is around the summer solstice period so one can see how Christianity has adapted in Greece.

Does anybody know where else this tradition is being practiced?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Alexander's birthday

Today is a great day! It is my Alexander's first birthday! We had a lovely day with home-made cake and sandwiches and loads of presies and some close friends! (our house is a mess after putting a new floor in the living room, that is another post altogether!!)

Alexander was so happy apart from the time he had to blow the candle where he got scared by the fire or by me taking the dummy off him. 

Happy birthday my lovely boy! I love you!

You can see our house in the back being a building site.

Birthday cake! Bit pink for a boy but May is the beginning of strawberry season!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Life after a baby

As some of you may know about 11 months ago I gave birth to a wonderful boy after a lot of effort, and since then my life has changed in an amazing and unexpected fashion!

Alexi and me outside mum's house in Athens
I absolutely adore being a mum but I had to give up loads ... like my figure for starts (IVF takes a toll on your figure and mental health for that matter), ad hoc luxuries like cappuccinos, various magazines to kill time, the latest fashion garments and a lot of material enjoyment of any sort. Up to now giving up these things came naturally as I was at home taking care of my treasure two to three sizes bigger than usually and no time to kill.

Now that Alexander is here, I want to spend my time showing him the world, nature, cooking nice healthy food for him, teaching him how to be a good man. I wish I were rich and brave enough to try the complete unschooling/ home schooling experience but I will do what I can, one step at a time.

So after careful consideration I decided to go back to work 3 days a week and not full time. Reading a book by Steve Biddulph (Raising boys) was an eye opener (he advocates boys should not be cared for exclusively by a nursery until they are a bit more mature) and though I cannot completely be a  stay at home mum for many reasons (most of them financial), I never believed that putting a one year old in a nursery full time and being a part time mum is a brilliant idea. I also never thought it would be so hard to leave my child even for an hour!

Having said all that, with 2/5s of my not massive salary forever gone providing for baby Alexander and myself is going to be hard. (Of course dad will help but we will all experience my salary cut). So the real challenge will start now as I am going back to work part time. Will I make it without sacrificing the odd trip to Greece to see my parents and without dressing Alexander like Oliver Twist??

Me and Alexander in Monastiraki in Athens
I was never that much materialistic. I mean as a no attachments care free person I liked my cappuccinos and a new dress from time to time but neither my salary was ever big enough (my salary is another blog post altogether) to allow me to get designer this and designer that, nor am I that sort of person. Let's say I was always a bohemian kind of person with some bad habits.

I know some changes will need to take place but I am happy to see where this journey takes me and I want to share it with everyone that might be in the same or similar situation! So this blog is going to be a trip into my daily life, what I do, what I cook, how I spent my days with baby Alexi. Oh! we are also doing the house up because we are trying to make space for one more bedroom now that we lost our guest room (if you have kids and renovating a house you know it's hard work!) You might find new tips, recipes, art, decorating and shopping ideas for an imaginary life with kids. Let's see how it goes!