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Failure be and to do.

Image sourced from the blog of Miss C

Well, I guess my first attempt at achieving something this year hasn't gone all that well.  I started off so very committed to completing Fat Mum Slim's January Photo a Day Challenge.  I took some lovely pictures along the way.  But my interest petered out at around day 13.

I'm not going to accept this as a failure though.  I've achieved so much else this month that I really can't be too hard on my self.  We moved out of one house and into another.  I started a Book Club.  I finally made that meatloaf I've been hankering to make for so long AND that red wine chocolate cake (seriously, divine!).  I met up with great friends, old and new, and welcomed my family over for dinner and a long night of card-playing.

All in all, I'm quite pleased at how my January's turned out.  Nevertheless, I'm still set on completing a photo a day challenge so I'll be starting afresh this February with Fat Mum Slim.  And if life gets in the way and I don't complete it, that's ok too.

Follow me along on instagram to see what I'm up to!

In other news, did it take anyone else completely by surprise that January has 31 days?!


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Movie Musings: Romeo & Juliet (again)

Do we really need another movie adaptation of Romeo and Juliet?

It looks like another movie version of The Bard's most famous play is in the making.  It's been confirmed that Paul Giamatti has joined the cast to play confidante to the doomed couple, Friar Lawrence.  Douglas Booth will be stepping into the shoes of lovestruck Romeo while the hugely talented Hailee Steinfeld will play his Juliet.

Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfield look their parts

While I don't think that modern adaptations of Shakespeare's plays performed in Shakespearean verse really work (O, Hamlet etc) Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet was an absolute feast for all the senses.  And while it wasn't in Shakespearean verse 10 Things I Hate About You based on Taming of The Shrew was also really fun!

Up next in Shakespearean verse is Ralph Fiennes'* directorial debut, the epic Coriolanus.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting in Franco Zeffirelli's 'Romeo and Juliet'

Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes will be writing the script and the film will be shot on location in Mantua, Italy.  All things considered, this version looks like it actually might be quite good!

What's your favourite Shakespearean film adaptation?


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Pink Literature

Pink Friday's a day late!

The ladies and I have finally managed to get our act together and set up a book club. Hoorah!  

Our first meeting will take place this Sunday where we'll be discussing the finer details like how often we'll meet, how we'll choose the titles and all that jazz.  The founding members and I have decided which book we're going to read first just to get the ol' ball rolling.

It may not be the most obvious choice for a book club (or the cheeriest read!) but it's a classic and it's the book most of us already own.  Are you sitting at the edge of your seat yet?  

We'll be reading Ernest Hemingway's 'A Farewell To Arms'.

In honour of this momentous occasion I've chosen some pretty cute pink books for Pink Friday.  Click through their captions to find out how you can buy these gorgeous editions.

Have you read 'A Farewell to Arms'?  What did you think?? 


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Maria Loves...Coke Cake and Disney

I'm super proud of hubby and I as we spent this week moving into our new home in a swift and practical way.  We still have a bit of personalising to do but we'll get there!

While hubby hung lighting fixtures, I came across some pretty awesome stuff on the interwebs...

Never be bored in the backseat of a looong road trip again with this!  

You can make cake out of anything.  Fact!  Don't believe me?  Check out this super awesome Coke Cake.

I want this so that I can hide my secret stash of chocolate and tea cakes. Stylish.

Absolutely charming art depicting the US States as the foods they look like.

Homemade Snickers Bars. Drool. And drool

Prince Charming, literally, on the cover of GQ Magazine! 

And their Princesses on Vogue.....

Disney Cover Stars

I want to look like Ariel now please!


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Dear Diary

Nice to see you again!

It's this shabby old thing that I was given as a gift by my sister when I was 13.  I covered it with all of my favourite pictures from magazines which I thought represented me at that age.  I even have a lock of hair taped inside.  Well, it's more than just that.  It's actually the rat tail I grew to be more like my favourite Hanson brother, Taylor.

Diary Cover

I started writing in it religiously and it charts all of my experiences from success at school to applying to university to getting my first job offer, but a subject matter that persists more than anything else, and from which you would expect nothing less from the diary of a teenage girl: boys.  I am amazed at how thoroughly I have documented my first loves and experiences.  From whole text message conversations recorded onto paper to explicitly detailed physical encounters.  I love reading back through passages - it's almost like reconnecting with an old friend.  I know I've lived these experiences - it is me writing! - but it's a version of me that no longer exists.  It reminds me of how much me and my priorities have changed.  Now I'd be more likely to write about job woes and redecorating the house!

Inside: An entry from August 2004

My last written entry was January 11 2011 (just over a year ago!) and I write about the sad day I told the company I worked for in London that I was leaving and all the fantastic memories I'd be taking away with me: 

"From Benicio del Toro to Mickey Rourke at that party. 10th Anniversary, Awaydays in Liverpool, Fontaine in Cambridge, Audiard at The May Fair, BAFTA wins, Ponyo fish, red carpets at the LFF, Groucho dinners and late night twinkles, GMTV, set visits, champagne bottles galore, goody bags at BAFTA, star-studded Asprey's and UK PR Team of the Year."

I like to think that this blog has taken over as life-documenter and it is undoubted that it will outlive my "flesh and blood" diary.  And in a way, this makes me sad.  Although, I am grateful for the fact that rather than just have a link to pass on to my children I also have a whole 19 (!) tangible diary years to pass on to them.  Now, whether they'd have the vaguest interest in reading it is another story...

Back Cover

In other news, today is 'Opposite Day' on my Yes and Yes Calendar.  In honour of this holiday, I will be drinking my 8 glasses of water with my left hand!

I'd love to hear if you've been successful in keeping a diary.  
Share your secrets!


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Settled In?

Oh, the light!

Well, we've moved in, and it only took us two days.  We woke up in our old flat on Thursday with no intention of doing the full move that day.  Lo and behold, we were waking up in our new place no sooner than Friday morning! I'm mega proud of ourselves for achieving as much as we did in such a short space of time.

Writing had taken a backseat as we hauled sofas and hung lighting fixtures.  But fear not as my regularly scheduled programming will resume very shortly (and as soon as our internet graces us with its presence once again!).

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!


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Red Carpets and Awards Gold

Everything's gonna be alright.

It's been a bit of a tough start to the week.  I go through phases where I panic slightly (understatement?) about where our life is going and whether we're making the right decisions.  A couple of my wonderful friends and family are getting some great opportunities to work abroad while hubby and I have just rented a really nice flat here in Athens and are in the process of fixing it all up.  The contrast of my friends/family starting new adventures abroad to us building a life in a faltering country is the cause of my panic.  Are we spending our time and money in the right way?

I know my panic doesn't help anyone.  Luckily, I have a very calm and collected husband to say very comforting (and true!) things to make me feel like everything's alright.

It's important to remember all the good we have in our lives!

In other news, the company I've been freelancing as an Awards Consultant for received 16 BAFTA nominations yesterday! (They're like the British Oscars so I am over the moon). 

Speaking of Awards I couldn't help but spend a little ol' while perusing the red carpet pics from the Golden Globes the other day.  Below, a selection of my favourite red carpet outfits:

All pictures are sourced from E! Online. To view the full arrivals gallery, click here.

I have to say Helen Mirren is my favourite.  Doesn't she look STUNNING?


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Jan Photo a Day Challenge: Week 2

Snowcapped mountains and all that jazz.

It's actually quite fun to look back on the pics that have defined my week.  It's so easy to forget the recent past.  Looking back, it was a quite a successful one.  We signed a lease on a new apartment, bought paint samples to try on the walls, went out for burgers and frozen yoghurt with my sis and mom and I took a bike ride with my sister's dog.

I also forgot to take Day 11 of my January Photo a Day Challenge. WOOPS!  Better luck next time.

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Day 9.  I started re-reading The Happiness Project

Day 10.  My sister's dog Poppy at the dinner table

Day 12.  Snow-capped mountains in Athens, Greece

Day 13.  It's Friday and Poppy's in a basket

Day 14. Frozen yoghurt on a cold Saturday afternoon

Day. 15  Happiness is testing out colours on our new rented walls.

Hope you've had a good week!

And if you haven't had your 8 glasses of water yet, I dare you to down 2 glasses right now.  You'll be a quarter of the way there. Woo hoo!


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The Tropics

So many blogs are posting about the Spring and how it's nearly here and what fashions and colours we should be wearing to welcome it in.

But all I can think about is heading off to somewhere that looks remotely like the above to escape this biting cold that's taken over Athens.

In other news, the Golden Globe Awards are on tomorrow.  Will you be watching? I am on tenterhooks!

Hope you're all having a lovely Saturday!  P.S. Have you had your five a day yet? Hop to it!


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Pink Friday: Curtains & Cushions

Cosy up!

We are moving...AGAIN! To a much larger, nicer, brighter place. And I am so giddy with excitement! We'll have a larger kitchen AND a second bedroom.  This will be the first proper flat we've ever called home.

Rather predictably, I've been perusing Pinterest and WeHeartIt for some interior design inspiration.  Seeing as it's Pink Friday, I thought I'd share some pink-infused interior design pictures that have sent my heart a-flutter.  My husband would probably veto 99.9% of these ideas.  But a girl can dream!


1. Peachy Keen  2. Tickled Pink  3. Glossy Hues  4. Blush Pink  5. Moroccan Chic  6. Pink Urban  7. Kiddie Wonderland  8. Lovely Girly  9. Squeeky Pink  10. Shock Block  11. Pink Opulence  12. Rosy Dining

I just discovered Picnik which I used to create the pictures above and I am in love.  It's an easy-to-use fantastic free photo-editing software.  Check it out.

I'll be packing boxes this weekend.  Have you got anything delicious planned?  

Whatever you do, have a good one!


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Maria Loves...Cupcakes and Snow-Capped Mountains

It's oh so cold!

I'm having a bit of a dry week in terms of blogging, lovely readers.  I fear I may be losing my mojo.  I'm going to accept that this is only a phase as I am determined to get through this.

In the meantime, some lovely links I've come across:

Have a burning question?  The Coquette at Dear Coke Talk will set you straight.  Hilarious.

Elsie at A Beautiful Mess has come up with genius suggestions to get the most out of your favourite cupcake recipe.

Magnetic nailpolish?! Well, I'll say!

2012: Day 12.  Snow-capped mountains in Athens

In other news - check out the crazy snow at the top of the mountain across the way!  It is that cold.  Excuse the poor quality.  I had to zoom in on my iPhone and we all know how crap it makes pictures look.

Hope you're all having a fabulous week and that you've got lots of goodies planned for the weekend!


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One of those Weeks...

The Artist. Monopoly. Aegina.

You know when you have one of those weeks that make you grateful for everything that make up your life.  I had one of those last week.  

I watched The Artist with my hubby and best friend (what an absolute delight!) and played Monopoly with my sis and her boyfriend until the early hours.  

The highlight was visiting my Dad on Sunday who lives on the beautiful island of Aegina, a 45min ferry ride from the port of Piraeus.

His home is gorgeous; sitting on top of a mountain overlooking pistachio orchards, olive groves and the vast blue Aegean sea.  The sunsets from that place are absolutely breathtaking.  And what's more, his house is always overrun with cute furry animals.  It seems like every time we go over there he's adopted a new animal to add to their family of three cats and four dogs.  There's nothing better than cosying up to one of them in front of the fire as you watch the sun go down into the sea. 

I'm looking forward to getting back there really soon!

I was killing it at late night Monopoly

Arriving on the island

Sleepy kitty

In other news, I've started drinking caffeinated coffee again.  It was never really my intention to give it up altogether.  I lasted 10 days to see how a caffeine-free life would affect my mood and after failing to notice a difference I'm going to continue enjoying it in moderation. Also! We'll be moving house again!  Watch this space.

Hope you're all having a good week so far!


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My Week with Instagram

Snap. Snap.

As I mentioned in this post, I'm taking part in Bleubird's January Photo a Day challenge, #janphotoaday.  It's been lots of fun keeping my phone at the ready to capture an inspiring moment.  I've felt guilty a lot of the times as I'd often forget until the end of the day to take a picture.  This explains why a lot of my photos are from inside the house.  If this little project has taught me anything so far it's to get out of the house more!

Enjoy the pics. And if you'd like to follow me on instagram that would make me very happy.

You can follow me by clicking here: 

Day 1.  First day of the new year with slippers and a good book.

Day 2.  My teddy which I have officially had now for 20 years.

Day 3.  Waffles and decaf for breakfast.

Day 4.  See if you can spot the kitty sleeping in the sun.

Day 5. Citrus attack at the food market.

Day 6.  Saying goodbye to the fairy lights before they come down for good.

Day 7.  Christmas has left the building.

Day 8. A beautiful day on the island.

What has your week looked like?  Feel free to link through in your comments!


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Maria Loves...Edible Glitter and New York

Glitter New York.

I was meant to post this yesterday but life and chocolates got in the way.  Without further ado here are my favourite web finds from this week:

The start of a new year and the start of a whole load of promises to oneself to get and stay fit.  This New York Times Health Blog might just be the thing to keep you motivated.

I've been happily married for about 4 months now and to keep the happiness going I plan to continue implementing these 12 Most Essential Principles for a Long and Happy Marriage.

I'm on my 9th day without coffee (woohoo me!) but for those of you still drinking it, check out this pretty Infographic Print for Tracking Your Coffee Consumption Data.

I am determined to become more crafty and as such may make this handmade ethnic clutch my first project.

Pugly Pixel has been giving out some awesome desktop calendar wallpapers that she's designed herself.

I seriously need to track me down some edible glitter and make this and this with it. post regularly about one subject in such depth that you become an instant expert.  The first subject I read about was chocolate; naturally.  They've only been up and running a few months but already they have a Best of 2011 post.  A great introduction to what should be the start of a truly educating read.

New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009 is a collection of diary entries from people living in the city (including the likes of Andy Warhol) for every day of the year over four centuries. Blast into the past.

I'm truly loving all the cinema coming out of Greece during such a tumultuous time.  Films like Dogtooth and Attenberg last year have paved the way for what is being hailed as the Greek New Wave.  Watch the teaser trailer for Babis Makridis' L which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.

If you're trying to detox why not try the Whole Living 2012 Detox Action Plan.

New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009 (Modern Library)
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!


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A Rose By Any Other Name...

...would still smell as sweet.


This is something I've been wanting to write about for a little while now.  The issue about whether I would change my name or not once we got married arose even before my fiancee had proposed.  I always thought this wouldn't be a problem for me.  Taking my husband's name would be yet another way of showing how devoted I am to him also marking the start of our life together as a family. 

However, it's now crunch time.  We've been married about 4 months now and I haven't changed my name on any official documents.   The closest it go to official was hyphenating my name on Facebook.  The thing is, I really like my name. I know this sounds selfish but I have a very good reason why I want to hold on to it.

You see, I'm of Greek origin, but I've lived most of my life outside of Greece.  And the thing is, it's not one of those typical Greek names that most people don't seem to have the phlegmy-throat or rolling-R ability to pronounce.  It's short and it's sweet and it's only got two syllables.  Anywhere I am in the world, be it New York or London, my name always sounds sweetly exotic (not to toot my own horn or anything - I had nothing to do with choosing my name!) and I am always asked, without fail, where I'm from.  I always take pride in saying I'm from Greece.  Having lived most of my life outside of Greece my origins always made me feel unique.

Now - my husband, who isn't Greek, has a perfectly nice English name.  I would have no problems adopting it had I also had a perfectly nice English name.  But by taking on his name, I lose an aspect of myself that I really love.  I'm not claiming I'd lose my identity or anything like that. I feel I have a very strong sense of identity.  And to be honest, I feel that that partly comes from the fact that I so often have to explain my origins.

I bring the subject up with the hubby every once in a while as I do feel some guilt about this.  The hubby starts off by saying that it would be nice if I changed it and he'd feel that it would show how committed I am to the marriage.  He usually ends the conversation, though, by claiming he doesn't care either way.  But I know that deep down it matters to him.

I don't want him to worry that I'm not committed to him but at the same time I'm still so reluctant to go through the process of changing my name. 

Did you change your name when you got married?  Am I making too much of a big deal out of this? Help please!


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2012: Day 2

First post of 2012!

I hope you've all had a wonderful start to the year.  We spent New Year's Eve with my close and extended family alike.  Had a fantastic dinner at my mom's and then spent the next day on the sofa with a good book dipping in and out of sleep.  I've slept so much these past few days which means I must have needed it...

First day of 2012. PJs and a good book.

Since I started blogging back in May I've been on the lookout for a good photo challenge.  Having also recently downloaded Instagram I am 100% smitten.  I finally found a challenge in the form of Bluebird's January Photo a Day Challenge.  Just tweet a photo a day with the tag #janphotoaday.  I'll be interested to see what your Januarys look like!

I hope the new year brings you everything you hope for.  Above all, I hope it's full of love, laughter and health!


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