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10 Things: Monica of The Travel Hack

Planning a trip to anywhere in the world? Monica at The Travel Hack is your girl!  Travelling is one of my all time greatest passions and Monica's stories, tips and insights get me feeling the bug like nothing else.  I'm a bit of an adventurer at heart so I love her stories on diving with manta rays in Indonesia or watching turtles lay eggs in Borneo.

Whisk us away, Monica! Here are 10 things she loves about herself...

1.   I’m determined as hell and I will do absolutely everything I can to get what I want.

2.   I might be determined but I’m not overly competitive. If someone is better than me at something then that’s OK. I don’t mind loosing; it just makes me try harder next time.

3.   I’m a busy gal but I’ll always make time for my best friends and my family because they’re the most important people in the world.

4.   I can eat more chocolate than anyone else I know.

5.   I’m a total scardy cat but I always try to overcome my fears. I’m really scared of fish but I still gave fishing a go to try and get over it. I was really scared to go snowboarding but I went anyway and had the best time ever so it’s always worth pushing yourself to experience something new.

6.   I’m terrible at cooking but I make the best sandwiches ever. I worked in a sandwich deli while I was in college and I even got to create my own special sandwich every week. 

7.   I’m really good at saving money. Even as a kid I would save up my pocket money and keep it for something good. 

And then I got stuck and couldn’t think of anything else so I asked my friends and this is what they came up with:

8.    I’m a good listener.

9.    I have a good collection of shoes that they can borrow.

10.  I know a lot about travel so if they’re thinking about going on holiday I can give some good advice.


Thanks so much for taking part Monica!

You can follow Monica on Bloglovin and Twitter 

10 Things: Megan of Charade

Her positivity is infectious and she is one of the few British bloggers I follow.  Charade is an awesome blog full of passion, style and the belief that life has no boundaries.  I took part in Megan's recent Make Your Life Amazing series in which she posted an uplifting, enlightening, inspirational post every single day of January.  I recommend it wholeheartedly -  you can even get in on the action today !

Hooray for Megan and the 10 things she loves about herself...

I have found that it is very easy to love yourself when somebody else loves you; it is when we are set down and rejected by such a person that our ability to be on our own side takes a knock. That’s a dark space – a hard, cold space – but it is also beautiful. Because it is in that space that we meet ourselves again. The self without the other person. The self that is still gasping for support – yet we find that we are the only ones there to give it. And that is a priceless introduction. 

After a year of being single beyond a four year relationship I have come to know self-support and self-lovin’ in a profound and powerful way. And, what I now realise, is that it would have been the far more heartbreaking thing never to have found that source of love in myself than it was to lose a romantic love. 

So here are ten things I don’t need anybody else to say to me, to believe them. Ten things that are vividly, reverberatingly true for me. Ten things that came to sustain me in that dark space I mentioned above. Ten things I love about myself: 

1. I love that, sometimes, my heart momentarily swells with appreciation and pure joy at being here at all. 

2. I love that I can smile at every person I meet, all day long, most days. 

3. I love that I can go easy on myself when it matters. 

4. I love that I can give myself a kick in the arse when it matters. 

5. I love that I am open to having my mind changed, always. 

6. I love that I take risks and book plane tickets. 

7. I love that I can write poetry, and never have to show it to anyone, and be healed by it. 

8. I love that I have learnt to be alone, not lonely. 

9. I love that I am the eternal advocate for relentless optimism. 

10. I love that I have a platform through which I can encourage other young women to feel as excited about their lives as I do, and that sometimes it actually works. 


Thanks so much for taking part Megan!

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10 Things: Julie of Olivine's Charm School

Pleasure creation. Lush celebration. Self adoration.  You get what it says on the tin by the bucket load at Olivine's Charm School.   Julie is a truly admirable lady: business woman, mother and a complete style inspiration.  She's constantly blogging about new business ventures and even runs her own e-course on how to create your own small business.  Her blog is super-stylish with constant nuggets of inspiration on fashion, interior design and photography.

Here are Julie's charming 10 thing she loves about herself....

I love my freckles  I love that I had a baby at home after 31 hours of labor with no drugs
I love my husband, and I am so proud of myself every day for finding him  I love that I created the perfect businesses where I get to stay home with my family every day and work on my terms  I love my circle of supportive family and friends.  They have all been with me for a long, long time! I love and appreciate my body every day: for being healthy, for being strong, for being alive I love that I am wicked good at pampering myself.  Not a day goes by that I don't at least take a nice, long, hot bath I love my sense of humor I love my ability to talk to anyone, anytime about anything I love my eyes!


Thanks so much for taking part Julie!

You can follow Julie on Bloglovin and Twitter 

10 Things: Janis of My Suitcase Heart

I first fell in love with My Suitcase Heart when I came across Janis and Mike's breathtaking photos from their Hawaiian honeymoon. It took everything in me to keep from booking our own Hawaiian honeymoon then and there.  Her photos will make you swoon!  And pictures of her regular gatherings with friends will make you wish you were her real life friend too.  I also have to mention that this couple had one of the most stunning weddings I've ever seen.

Prepare to fall in love...

Hi, I'm Janis from My Suitcase Heart. My husband Mike and I love taking photos and I love telling stories about them, so that's what my little blog is all about.

Other tidbits: I'm from Canada. I'm very close to becoming a certified teacher (this spring!). I love pizza, roasted vegetables, greek lemon yogurt, garlic, and slurpees.  (Also: I don't think I've ever shown anyone that picture of me, but Maria said she wanted a goofy shot!)

It's was a bit tough to come up with things I love about myself, since we are always told to be humble - but here goes!

1. I'm a good friend, daughter, sister, auntie & wife.

I love spending quality time with my friends, family and Mike. People are the most important thing in my life. I love carving out time in a day to go out for coffee, make a meal together, snuggle up on the couch to watch some Modern Family, do crafts, go for walks etc.

2. I love to travel.
I've managed to squeeze in quite a bit in my 24 years of life and I think I'm a more well-rounded, open-minded person because of it. It's so interesting to encounter new cultures, foods, and ways of life. I have also surrounded myself with people who share this love.

3. I have fun in kitchen.
I love scouring the internet for new recipes, and spending time making things from scratch. I am not a gourmet chef by any means, and there are many types of cuisines I have yet to explore, but I feel good spending time making good food.

4. I can be quite the goofball.
I don't think I display this side to me on my blog very often, but Mike and I can be so silly sometimes. I've been known to dance around the kitchen, wrestle, play dead, speak in accents, make gross (yet sort of funny?) facial expressions. I am definitely goofier with Mike than anyone else.

5. I work hard & am motivated.

I work my butt off in school! If I want something, I will chase after it.

6. I'm organized.
If you saw our bedroom sometimes, you may be inclined to disagree. However, my organizational skills were put to the test when planning our wedding and everything went flawlessly. Lists lists lists!

7. I'm independent.
While I can be a bit shy in new situations, I don't let that hold me back from trying new things. I moved to Qu├ębec for a year to learn French. I took an adult ballet class. I worked a day camp in Turkey one summer.

8. I love to read.
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I lapsed a bit during university since there are so many required texts to read. However, I have recently got back on the bandwagon had have ploughed through numerous books since Christmas.

9. I'm creative.

My dad was a visual artist, and I was always jealous that I didn't recieve any of his drawing talents. However, Mike has made me realize that I'm creative in tons of other ways - be that with wedding crafts, photography, or food presentation.

10. I'm friendly.
If we ran into each other, I think we'd have a good chat!

Thanks so much for having me, Maria!

Thanks so much for taking part Janis!
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10 Things: Hope of Hope in High Heels

Moving from Melbourne to New York City is one big move! Hope in High Heels is almost like a love letter to New York.  Gorgeous and with impeccable style, Hope writes about the move to big city and all the wonderful things she's discovered along the way.  She's just returned to NYC after a short spell back in Australia where it appears she never left home without her camera.  Her photos are absolutely breathtaking and they'll make you wish for the summertime again.

Let's hear it for Hope!

 I could rattle off a list of 10 things I want to change about myself in a matter of seconds. But a list of the 10 things I love about myself… well, that took days. I thought about calling in reinforcements - my mum and husband perhaps? But I quickly discarded that notion as it may would have gone against the spirit of this wonderful exercise that the lovely Maria has set for us. So I started thinking… and thinking… and thinking some more, and here's what I came up with:

A ready smile that lights up my face An insatiable curiosity about the world around me Deep loyalty to the people I love Find happiness in the small things in life Cool under pressure Eager to try new things Believe the best in people Enthusiastically and whole-heartedly throw myself into whatever I'm doing Never sweat the small stuff I make my own fun

Thank you gorgeous Maria for the opportunity to write on your lovely blog! Now payback time… what does your list look like?!

From New York, with love xox 

Thanks so much for taking part Hope!

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10 Things: Sarah of Yes and Yes

As soon as you lay eyes on the Yes and Yes blog, you know exactly what you're getting.  Sarah is a 100% grab-the-bull-by-the-horns kinda gal and there's no stopping her positive attitude rubbing off on you the more you read.  She's got one killer bucket list to get through before her next birthday and her self-designed re-purposeable calendar will get you planning a list of your very own.  In fact, today is 'Buy a Ridiculous Pair of Slippers' Day.  I'm off to get mine now.

Get ready to start saying Yes...

After burning out on her jobs in marketing, advertising and event planning, Sarah Von Bargen sold her worldly belongs and moved to Taiwan to teach English.  And then she moved to New Zealand.  And then she traveled for ten months by herself.  Somewhere along the way she earned an M.A. and started a blog that's now read by 10,000+ people every day and supports her and her traveling ways.  And yes, she's just as amazed by the whole thing as you are.

10 things I love about myself
Though I certainly have many a personal flaw (bad eyesight! impatient! epic powers of procrastination!) there are lots of awesome things about me as well.  Here are ten things I love about myself.

1.  My ability to choose awesome friends and maintain friendships across time and space
I met my closest friend in fifth grade and we've maintained our ridiculously close friendship for twenty years, across time zones and international date lines.  Half of my closest friends don't even live in the same country as me - but we keep up to date via email, Facebook and Skype.  I know that I can land in Vancouver/Sydney/Belfast and pick right up with my ladies where we left off a few years ago.

2.  My thick strawberry blond hair

At least once a month, someone asks me if it's real.  And it is!  Thanks, DNA!  Thanks, Grandpa Von Bargen!

3.  My ability to make things happen
My drive and tenacity are verging on robot-like and sometimes I wish I could turn them off.  What self-employed person gets up at 6:00 am without an alarm clock to start working?!  I can't change it, so I might as well embrace it.  And that work ethic has gotten me through 28 countries, a Master's Degree and self-employment, so I guess it's working out alright.

4. My neat, tiny hands 
They're oddly androgynous and really, really tiny.  But they look capable and sweet and they totally get things done.

5.  My gift-giving abilities
I will give you the thing you didn't know you wanted.  Or that you mentioned once, in passing, two years ago.  Or that pertains to our awesome inside joke.  Watch out, birthday.  It's gonna be great.

6. My memory It's a steel trap, almost awkwardly so.  I'll meet you once, have a five-minute conversation with you and then remember all of that information when I see you again, three months later.  You, on the other hand, probably won't recognize me when I'm all "Karen!  How's the personal training business going?  And how was your trip to Seattle?"  But even if it makes me seem like an over-interested weirdo, I'm glad that I can remember just about anything.

7. My lips
They're big and they're real.

8. My intuition
99% of the time it's right.  If I get the feeling you're lying to me, I'm probably right.  If I think you're into me, I'm probably right.  If I think there is, in fact, a left over slice of pizza in the fridge, I'm probably right.

9. My butt
It's big and round enough to be cute, but not so big and round that it's hard to find pants.  It's just right!

10.  My dancing skills
I have an extensive repertoire of moves and I will use them right here, right now, dead sober, in the middle of this living room if you turn on some DJ 


Thanks so much for taking part Sarah!

You can follow Sarah on Bloglovin and Twitter

10 Things: Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy

To start off the series of '10 Things I Love About Myself', I got in touch with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share her lovely list.   I first came across her blog because I am in love with all things Austen.  Anne writes beautifully and intelligently about good books, family life and what it means to be an accomplished woman today.

Take it away Anne!

Listing the things I love about myself isn't easy to do...because most of those things have a corresponding "thing I'd rather avoid" side to go with them! But after 30-something years of living in my skin, I've truly grown fond of some of the deep (and shallow) parts of myself, the things that make me truly "me." Like...

my interest in absolutely everything bare fingernails that get mistaken for a french manicure deep wells of empathy super-long arms to reach the very top shelf well-honed coffee-making skills eagerness to give people the benefit of the doubt geeky reference book love the color of my eyes when I wear blue that I'm getting funnier every year  boundless, goofy enthusiasm about my big ideas (and yours)


Thanks so much for taking part Anne
 You can follow Anne on Bloglovin and Twitter

Taking a Bite...

Out of the Big Apple!

I'm off to New York!

I am SO excited to say that while I'm away gorging on pizza I've invited some of my absolute favourite bloggers to take part in a blog series inspired by this post on Gala Darling's blog. 

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday February 22, I'll be featuring one amazing blogger a day and their list of 10 things they love about themselves.

I'm hoping this series will inspire all of you to come up with your own list of 10 (nay, 100!) things you love about your good old selves....get thinking!

A HUGE thank you needs to go out to these beautiful ladies for helping me out in my time of need.  I can't tell you how honoured I am that these ladies whom I admire so much agreed to take part in the series.  You are all beautiful, amazing and so full of inspiration!  THANK YOU! 


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Movie Musings: The Woman in Black

She'll never forgive you...

It's a perfectly gloomy day in Athens.  A perfectly English day and excellent conditions in which to cuddle up in front of a seriously scary movie.  And I've done just that - more than once in the past week.  After watching The Woman in Black in London I returned home to watch it again the next day in Athens with my mom and sis.  I enjoyed it it so much I couldn't wait to have my socks knocked off a second time in the space of 48 hours.

Daniel Radcliffe in his first leading role after Harry Potter

I'm not sure 'enjoy' is the right word, but something about it made me go in for a second helping.  Which got me thinking: why is it that so many of us willingly subject ourselves to horror films time and time again?

There's nothing I love more than a bit of research.  After reading about the neurological perspective in which the argument is that fear and pleasure stimulate the same part of the brain, without knowing too much about either I am more inclined to go with the more psychological argument.

"Watching scary movies is a way of testing and overcoming our limitations, similar to bungee jumping and other extreme sports."

"Some studies suggest that the real draw to scary movies is the feeling of relief when they are over. Other research, especially a 2007 study conducted by Eduardo Andrade and Joel B. Cohen, argues that the reason people like watching scary movies is that they are a way to experience both positive and negative emotions simultaneously. At the same time negative and sometimes absolutely horrific images play across the screen, the person watching the film is also experiencing positive emotions. This dual emotional state may reinforce the need to continue to watch horror films since it is an instance where it is acceptable to feel in two contrary states. Such an explanation might also account for why some people may enjoy films that are very sad. You may enjoy such a film at the same time you’re crying your eyes out."

"For adults, morbid curiosity may be at play -- the same kind that causes us to stare at crashes on the highway, suggests Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center for Communication Research at University of Wisconsin. Humans may have an innate need to stay aware of dangers in our environment, especially the kind that could do us bodily harm, she says."

Extra creepy alternative poster artwork

For me, the reason why horror is one of my favourite film genres is the gratification of real fear without the real danger.  The feeling of being whisked out of my comfort zone and truly submerging myself in escapism.  I agree, also, that there's the appeal of coming to terms with my own limitations.  I find my jumping at loud noises utterly silly and I enjoy laughing at myself - not to mention at others!

The Woman in Black is a perfectly cliched Victorian gothic horror movie which is what makes it so enjoyable.  You know exactly what you're getting and where it'll jump out at you from.  It has to be said that most of it's scariness comes from talented sound engineers who know how to construct a good "jump".  With a 12A certificate (probably an attempt to cash in on the young Daniel Radcliffe fanbase) surely it can't be THAT scary? Or can it....

In other news, stay tuned for a very exciting blog series starting this coming Wednesday featuring some of my favourite bloggers!


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Lovely Day

I came across this list on We Heart It and I believe that every point is absolutely true!  I'm heading off to the island of Aegina today to see my dad and I plan to do all of the below.

Have a lovely Sunday!


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I'm Back!

For now...

What a week!  I return from an arctic London to an equally arctic Athens.  What is the world coming to?!  I had a fantastic time as always and London has maintained it's place in my heart as one of my most favourite cities.  I am in love.

I also made a few realizations along the way...

* Meryl Streep is divine * Things are never as bad as you fear * Always be grateful for things people do for you * M&M World is pointless * Woman in Black is a darn SCARY film * The Artist deserves all of its awards * I love snow * I miss London * Living on top of a pub is awesome * M&S always have PERFECT fruit * Many people can be selfish - Get over it * I don't mind not celebrating Valentine's Day * I love my husband that little bit more when he's engrossed in a good book * Head straight to the gate when you're travelling with Easyjet * The Asprey store is WAY too crowded when they're hosting Nominees' Parties * Being on the red carpet will always be surreal * 

Will my 4th BAFTA be my last? Only time will tell!

Wishing you all warmth and light this weekend!

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So Long. Goodbye...

It's not forever!

I'm going to take a small itty bitty break from blogging as I'm heading off to snowy England for work and to see hubby's friends and family.  I'm only over there for a short while but I know I'll be ridiculously unprepared to brace the coldness.  Pray for a quick thaw!

In the meantime, have a fantastic week.  Take many pictures and smile at everyone you see!


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Moving Musings: Julianne's Palin

How uncanny!

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin

Julianne Moore wows all once again in her new role as Sarah Palin in Game Change.  Based on the book by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann the film chronicles the ups and downs of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

I don't know much about Palin but I do know that there was a lot of hatred directed towards her no thanks to her numerous faux-pas' and the situation with her pregnant daughter.  Watching the trailer it looks like they're setting the scene for us to feel sorry for her.  No doubt, she was ill-prepared to take on the enormous task the men upstairs were asking of her. Politics is a scummy business.

I have to be honest and say that I don't have much of an opinion on her politics.  What I'm most interested in is watching Julianne Moore in another jaw-dropping performance. Big fan. HUGE!

Watch the trailer here.

                                                            Julianne and Sarah separated at birth?                                                                                       
In other news, my 100th post completely passed me by! When did all THIS happen?! You are now reading my 101th post and I am completely and utterly amazed that I've lasted this long.

Thank you for reading and for all of your lovely comments!


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Sweet Treats Saturday

Some wise words to get your Saturday off on the right foot! 

And some lovely new blogs I've come across:


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Maria Loves...


 So yeah, it's COLD.  It's snowed in Central Athens and temperatures have often plunged to minus figures.  Times are tough.  But most of us are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and a nice comfy bed to slip into at night.  It's times like these that really get me thinking about the homeless. 

Where do they go when the weather gets like this?! I can't even begin to fathom what it would be like to sleep outdoors on the street.

I guess this is a call to those of you who happen to see someone living in the streets to urge you to get in touch with your local authorities.  Most councils will have facilities set up to help these people.

On a brighter note, some lovely links that I've been liking and loving...

I'm having a serious coloured jeans moment and these Uniqlo colour skinny tapered jeans are right up my street.

It's the season of the persistent cold and I like nothing more than a natural remedy. This Manuka Honey may just do the trick.  Germ-fighting and delicious!

One of my all-time favourite bloggers, Sarah Von at Yes and Yes has started her Winter Survival Series "30 days of sanity-saving fun, dropped in your inbox every morning".  Won't you join?

In other news, I've been wearing my mango and papaya flavoured Hawaiin Tropic moisturising lipgloss to trick my lips into thinking it's summer.  I dunno, it's something - and it's kinda working.



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Leaps and Bounds

Happy Month!

In Greece, the first greeting of the day on the 1st of every month is HAPPY MONTH (Kalo Mina) wishing all we meet good health and luck for the month ahead. I sense that this month will be good - and different! Big change is in the air and that's always exciting.  It's quite fitting actually that it's a leap month as both my sister and my best friend are taking on new and exciting jobs in new and exciting cities.  I'm so sad to be losing two of the most special people in my life but at the same time I am so proud and excited for both of them.  If anything, I'll have even more excuses to visit London and New York!

This month will also be a big one for me.  With my freelance contract ending in two weeks I'm going to have to leap into my new business project head first.  I'll also be leaping over to London (for work) and New York (to help my sis move).  Lots of leaping to be done including that of faith.  Change is scary but I'm as confident as ever that everything will work out in the best way possible for all of us.

In other news, hubby ordered a gorgeous DSLR camera and it arrived yesterday.  I am SO super mega thrilled! I intend on taking many a pretty picture.

Will any of you lovely readers be taking big leaps this month?


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