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The Pumpkin That Never Was...

Frances, the Pumpkin

If you're an avid blog reader like myself, you will know that we are constantly encouraged to write gratitude lists. The thing I am grateful for this Wednesday is the pumpkin we failed to carve for Halloween.  Admittedly, it's sad that Frances has failed to live out her potential as a scary carving but I have so many more plans for her.

Pumpkins are NOT easy to find here in Greece.  And I've been hankering for one ever since the beginning of October.  I finally tracked one down in the hope that hubby and I would carve it together.  Work got in the way and we never got round to it.  But the real reason I've wanted a pumpkin for so long is because I've wanted to make yummy foodie things with it.  

And that's just what I'm going to do with this beauty!

Dear Mrs. Pumpkin, why would you want to turn into a scary carving when you could turn into a pumpkin risotto?!

P.S. - I've been having LOTS of fun with picmonkey.com this Halloween....

Do you have any pumpkin recipes to recommend? Please share!

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Shabby Apple Maternity Wear

Since becoming pregnant  I've been looking forward to buying all manner of cutsie things for our tiny little boy - from bumblebee onesies, to teeny tiny bathrobes, to super duper small socks.  What I wasn't expecting was how excited I'd be to start building a whole new maternity wardrobe!  Admittedly, I'm not that big (yet!).  But gosh darn, I recently bought two pairs of maternity jeans and I want to live in them forever.  Maternity wear really IS that comfortable.

I have to be honest.  The fashionable options in Greece are fairly limited.  But thanks to the wonders of the internet I have access to a whole host of super-stylish maternity wear brands; brands I never even considered would have maternity wear.  Turns out moms are cool too!

I recently came across the Shabby Apple Maternity line and I've instantly fallen in love.  The pieces are more grown up than others I've come across - great for the office or grown up family get togethers and holiday occasions.  And if you don't want to go all-out maternity they've got a great selection of their regular line which is Maternity Friendly.

These are some of my favourite picks...

Maternity Friendly Cockeyed Optimist Dress. NOW ON SALE!

Finding Out Maternity Dress

Maternity Friendly Harbor Tee

Wonderland Maternity Dress

Do you have any recommendations for stylish maternity wear?

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A Beautiful Storm


While East Coast USA-ers are battening down their hatches, we're sitting here in 28 degree celsius Greece praying for some wintery weather.  I've had enough of the heat and have already started dreaming of a winter wonderland.

However, aside from Frankenstorm-watch, this past weekend was an additional reminder to us Mediterraneans of how helpless we too are to the powers of the weather.  While we make plans, the weatherman laughs. 

Hubby and I were all packed and ready to go spend a nice, sunny day on the island of Aegina when the weather suddenly became disapproving of our intentions.  The ferries were banned from running and we were stuck on the mainland. I'm not going to complain too much because this gave us every excuse to stay indoors and start painting the nursery (yes, that perfect shade of blue).

Whilst storms can be dangerous, destructive and downright scary they're also a great excuse to not go into work, stay indoors and catch-up on all the fun/practical things you've been meaning to do at home.  Never seen Casablanca? Now's your chance! Putting off organising your sock drawer? No excuses now!  Or you can choose to stay safe indoors with friends and eat pancakes all day long (this is what I'd be doing).

Not to be too morbid, but you can watch a live webcam of Sandy making contact with the East Coast through any one of these cams.

Whatever you're doing, whatever the weather, I hope you're staying safe (and having fun)!


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LIFE OF PI and CLOUD ATLAS

I just have to share with you two trailers of movies based on books that I'm DYING to see.

I read both books in the same year and they instantly made it to my 'Favourite Books of All Time' list.




LIFE OF PI.  Directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
 This version features Coldplay's Paradise which I believe is one of the best uses of music in a trailer (alongside Arcade Fire's Wake Up for Where The Wild Things Are).



CLOUD ATLAS. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix)
This is the extended version which features M83's Outro and which I think works so much better than the more recent shorter trailer.  At 5min42 secs this trailer can be considered a short film!

Any trailers setting your hearts a-flutter?

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Sunday Funday!


Good old trusty Pinterest! I can always rely on it to help me out with wise words, inspirational images or seasonal shenanigans on my days off.

Hubby and I are off to the island of Aegina today to visit my dad.  We will return suitably refreshed and toting plenty o' pistachios - the island's biggest export.

Hope you're having ghoulishly garish Halloween weekends!


Oh, For The Love of Pink!

Never fear, the pink is here!

 Pictures sourced from We Heart It.  If any of these are yours please let me know so that I can credit them properly.

The lack of post yesterday was on account of my spending much of the day picking out just the right shade of blue for the nursery.  All my life, I always thought that at this point in my pregnancy I'd be picking between shades of the cotton candy and princess rose variety, which is to say, I always thought I'd have girls.  Maybe because I'm one of two sisters; I always believed girls were calmer, more studious and hence, less trouble for hubby and I.

Now that the reality of my becoming a mom is starting to (SERIOUSLY! WTF!) hit home,  I couldn't care less about the sex of our baby.  It turns out that the make up of his chromosomes has little effect on how much I friggin' love this little boy already.  This little man is going to be so sweet, innocent and pure - it makes me feel like a bad momma that all that time I ago I was hoping for a girl.

I may just have to turn Pink Fridays into Blue Fridays... 

  Hope you're having lovely weekends!

Maria Loves...Donut Trees & PicMonkey

Things I Love Thursday - Hello!


It sure is! via the lovely peeps at Daily Secret

This is adorable and absolutely gorgeous! * These amazing creature cups! * Donut trees! * switching sides of the bed with hubby cos baby's coming! * Lunch with family and friends which turns to afternoon coffee which turns to late night drinks at the pub * Elsie's from A Beautiful Mess' homemade fonts (available for free)! * crispy, rainy mornings * my work colleague curled up next to me * picmonkey * Starbucks work days

What are you loving this Thursday? 

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Going For The Chop

In this post I talk about how my name is such a big part of my identity and that because of this I haven't taken on my husband's name.  It's funny how different things affect our feeling of ownership and identity.  I've had my name my whole life.  I've known nothing else. So it makes sense.  In a very similar way I've almost always had long, brown, curly hair.  I've experimented with highlights and various subtle tints of allover red but it's more or less always been the same.  My hair has always been an important identifier for me as I've often been complimented on it and I do take a lot of pride in it.

In the last 2 years my identity has shifted considerably.  From being a daughter, sister and best friend, most recently I've had to adjust to wife and now soon-to-be mom.  With this shift, I've also chopped my locks off.  Whenever I'd done this in the past I'd always gone through a serious emotional withdrawal.  I'd get angry at myself for going through with it and then sad.  

Well - I'm a grown up now and I'll soon have the responsibility to show a small child the ways of the world. So why does the simple chopping of my hair elicit such strong emotions? Isn't that just plain weird?  Imagine if I reacted the same way every time I painted my nails a different colour or tried a different style of jeans.  The style of my hair is temporary and can be changed with the greatest of ease.  Granted it may take time to grow it out but it is in no way permanent. 

I try to rationalise the reaction in my head but the truth of the matter is that the cutting of one's hair is almost like the loss of a body part (ok, not quite, but you know what I mean, right?!) .  The use of scissors is quite an aggressive act.  It's almost violent. 

It's a lot for a long haired girl to take in.  But, it's ok, I'll live.

Here are some pretty ladies totally rocking the look...

 Clockwise from top left: Mandy Moore, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, Sandra Bullock

Do you feel the same way about getting your hair cut or am I just being weird?!

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The Gift of Mustard




The fall time somehow always makes me think of mustard.  It must have something to do with the autumnal colour of it.

I've always thought fancy mustards, jams or chutneys make great gifts and I think I may be giving them out this holiday season.

Do you have any yummy holiday gift suggestions?

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An Autumnal 3 Course Meal: Ready to Go!

It was hubby's birthday last week and I thought I would treat him to a nice homemade romantic meal at home.  In London, I would often return from work to a gorgeous 3 course meal he'd planned throughout the day (he's a sweetie like that!) and he's been going on at me for a while now about me doing the same for him (see, I'm not as romantic as he is).  So what better occasion than the day of his 33rd birthday?  

I often struggle to find all the recipes in one place for a 3 course meal.  Luckily, this time, I was completely inspired by Autumn.  I found a couple of gorgeous pumpkins and decided to plan my meal around those.  Behold below the results of my 6-hour day's hard work! Click through the titles to get to the actual recipes.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to take any pictures, so all the pictures are from the sites where the recipe was found except for the soup which is credited to its source.



Click here for how to roast pumpkin seeds.
You can even serve this dish in a bread bowl but I was too chicken to try it!


Click here for how to make the Potatoes au Gratin.

Click here for how to make the Cream Cheese Frosting
I added a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and even chilli to the chocolate mixture as I thought it would compliment the pumpkin and it worked a treat!
  
Happy week everyone! If you have any interesting Autumnal recipes to share, please do! 


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Happy Today


A friend of mine recently posted a facebook status update where she asks herself  'What can I do today that will make me happy?'  This is a question I don't often ask myself.  But really - why not? I am completely guilty of not doing more of the things that make me truly happy.

What would make me happy today, you ask?

Baking.  Getting my hands dirty.  There's nothing like it! Flour, icing sugar, butter smeared on my nose.  And the smell of happiness baking away in the oven.  There's nothing quite like working with your hands to get you feeling super duper.

Writing.  When the inspiration strikes it is imperative that you grab it!  The blank page is a very scary thing; but just imagine the delight in filling a whole page. Start typing/writing now. Fill a page. You can do it!
 
Reading. Sitting outside on the balcony with a nice thick book in my hands is one of the best feelings. This way, I also kill two birds with one stone by spending time outdoors.

Exercising.  I seriously need to do more of this.  I can't seem to decide whether I'd do more if I had a gym membership or if I just got into the habit of doing it at home.  I've downloaded a few exercise vids for expecting mommies so we'll see how I get onA good incentive is buying new super cute workout outfits.

Drawing.  There's nothing like buying a fresh set of coloured pencils to get your heart racing. Oh the colours! Oh the possibilities! Same goes for a blank notebook. Go out and buy some now! I like designing dresses and drawing face profiles.

Spending Time Outdoors.  I'm lucky in that I live in Greece where we get sunshine and good weather pretty much most months of the year.  Having breakfast on the balcony, going for a short walk to the grocery store or even strolling along the beach bring me so much joy.

A Clean Kitchen.  Sure, washing dishes is a chore. Wiping down counters is a pain.  But when I see my reflection in the oven and the sparkling white counter tops glistening in the sun, I feel supremely content.

Taking Pictures. There's no excuse anymore.  Apps like Instagram have made it easier than ever to document our daily existence. I so enjoy editing my pictures to make for a much more interesting 'everyday'.

Meaningful Conversation.  When we're not in front of the TV, we're either in front of our laptop screens or engrossed in our respective books.  Rarely do hubby and I ever make the time or happen upon an instance where we engage in long meaningful conversations about life, our future, kids and all things good and wonderful.  I need to make more of these moments happen.

If I can manage to do all of the above in one day I may just explode with happiness!


What would make you happy today?
 
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Sweet Treats Saturday

It's about that time of the week again where I share all that is wonderful and beautiful on the internet.  I may be late in discovering a couple of these but I'm OH so glad I did!

Happy Saturday! 


Rock Star Diaries



They are probably the cutest and most beautiful couple and family you will come across on the internets.  They truly live the rockstar life in NYC and you HAVE to watch this video which just gosh darn proves it!

Say hello!  twitter // bloglovin // pinterest



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Little Chief HoneyBee



She's a tattooed Goddess making a new life in NYC with a little man, husband and 2 fat bulldogs in tow.  Crafty and gorgeous, Kaelah makes everyday life look like a tea party.


Say hello! twitter // bloglovin // facebook



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Rachel Phipps



Rachel's a self-proclaimed foodie and lit-lover so what's not to like! Her blog looks fantastic and as a Brit living in LA I love her British/European perspective on living in the states.


Say hello!  twitter // bloglovin // facebook


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P.S. - If you'd like to be featured in a Sweet Treats Saturday post make sure you follow along and leave comments below so that I know where to find you! x



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Mustard Friday

It's Friday and while I usually share with you all that is wonderful and pink - it's OCTOBER! And what better colour to swoon over than mustard.  I love mustard! It's warm, it's cozy, fun to pair with bright colours and it's got that retro 70s charm to it.

Feast your eyes on all things mustard...


Happy (mustardy) weekend all! xx

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Maria Loves...ASOS and Kitty Belly Rubs

IKEA cheese * Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Modern Family (do I need to go on?) * kitty belly rubs * This link to the history of movie studio logos * microwave popcorn * diaper bags * bump photos * mustard * This list of 100 Greatest Recipes * movie nights with friends * mom's homemade cookies (egad!) * Michael Fassbender (so hot right now) * Stephen King * ASOS maternity wear * crisp mornings

Happy Thursday!

What are you loving today?

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