My little guide to Mykonos: beaches, bars and restaurants

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Little Venice

 

My first gem belonging to my “travel collection abroad”, is Mykonos: here you go!

I have been to Greece a few times already, and every time I was experiencing a different moment of my life: after finishing high school, college and now in my early thirties. All I must say, those were totally different moments and therefore there were different ways to approach the vacation.

Personally, I am a chilled woman, who sometimes likes a bit of fun, and what could be better than an island, having your best friends there and the glorious summer sun?

You must have heard that Mykonos is a party island and, as much as I love having fun, that doesn`t  necessarily mean I enjoy all night parties any more, so at first I wasn`t too sure. However, as soon as I arrived I almost instantly fell in love with the little harbour nearby our hotel, the beautiful white alleyways of the Old Town and the amazing sunset. The architecture of the buildings are all in cubist styles: small and white squared with bright painted windows and doors. Apparently the owners of the buildings are only allowed to choose amongst 5 different tones. My favourite so far is the blue variant.

 

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The Paraportiani

 

I must admit that this Greek Island is truly charming; in terms of dimensions is a pretty small island. You can drive across the whole island in an hour or so via scooter. The Old Town is close to the main Ports and is where you`d go after the beach to have dinner or stroll around the various little bars and clubs. We stayed in Mykonos Town which made it easy at night as we avoided any kind of driving.

 

Daylife and beaches

White sand and crystal water,  choosing the beach is not a difficult task! We used to choose a nice quiet beach for the day and a livelier one for the afternoon.

Elia beach, a very long and a favourite celebrity spot,  the bohemian Ftelia Beach with its pricey restaurant on top, the Paradise and Super Paradise with their peculiar sunset aperitfs with music. All worth a try!

 

Ftelia Beach
Ftelia Beach

 

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Restaurants and dining

While you can find cheap gyros and fast food pizza, the rest of eating out is quite expensive. I`d recommend to try local fish taverns at least once. Kounelas fish tavern is my absolute favourite!

 

Bars and Nightlife

Sipping a cocktail while overlooking the sea at sunset is a must in Mykonos/ Places I`d recommend to go: Skorpios beach, Little Venice and the Old Town nearby the Port. There`s a great view on the windmills too.

 

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Sunset in the Old Town

 

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Sunset at the Port
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Windmills

 

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Windy days!

 

A picture of Rome

Every now and then it happens that I feel a little bit nostalgic about the city where I come from, especially when back after a trip abroad (Just came back from Greece).

Today is one of these days.. reason why I’m sharing this video with you which I’ve found on facebook (by Oliver Astrologo) that represents some of the aspects that I like most about the city where I come from:

 

 

 

R O M A from Oliver Astrologo on Vimeo.

Home made roast Chicken Salad

Being sunday I thought that this would be an appropriate recipe to share, because who doesn’t love a roast on a sunday?

Whilst looking for some inspiration online I set a challenge to myself: to find a quick and easy recipe that it’ll use (possibly) as many ingredients as I already have in my fridge. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but thanks to Jamie Oliver I found what I needed.

This salad is also healthy (which is a major bonus) and really really tasty. Please note: my version is slightly different from the original one.

Here is a list of what you are going to need:

 

For the Roast Chicken

Olive oil

1 Free Range chicken

salt

Pepper

fresh thyme

juice of a lemon

500 gr of cherry tomatoes

1 bulb of garlic

For the salad

200 gr of green beans

Extra virgin olive oil

parsley

6 spring onions

bread (I’ve used 2 slices of toasted bread)

So, first up pre-heat your oven and marinate your chicken with oil, salt and pepper. I’ve used leftover chicken strips instead, but the original recipe says that “it’s fully worth cooking the whole chicken to perfection”, so why not trying?

Once you’ve mixed these flavors you can put the chicken into the roasting tray and leave it cooking for an hour (if you have used chicken strips instead, as I did, half of the time will be enough).

Whilst the chicken is cooking you can start with the preparation of the salad. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and mix them with the garlic cloves. After 30 minutes throw them into the roasting tray with the chicken.

Once the the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove it from the tray and leave it to cool down. Put the bread into the tray and leave it into the oven for 20 mins until crispy and slightly brown.

Remove the skin from the chicken and mix the meat with the resting juices. Cook your green beans for up to 6 minutes and add them to the meat, then add extra virgin olive oil, parsley and spring onions. Finally put the chicken back into the oven until crispy. Serve everything together in a tray (as I did) or a nice platter.

And .. Bon Appetit! Hope you ‘ll enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

Weekend trip to Norwich

Country side , Norwich

 

 

For a short getaway weekend my boyfriend and I decided to venture eastwards in Uk to the charming city of Norwich. Norwich It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk and back to the 11th Century was second only to London of importance.

As soon as I arrived it didn’t take me long to notice how different the pace to London was. People seemed to prefer long walks over public transport and cars and also seemed to be more relaxed overall.

 

Sightseeing

 

The top tourist attraction is the Norwich Cathedral . This 900-year old Norman cathedral, originally Catholic, is definitely worth a visit. The church is now a Church of England, and is one of 12 Norwich heritage sites.

The cathedral had also once been voted Norfolk’s favourite building, this is probably due to the unique feeling that the mix of Gothic and Roman architecture give to the viewer. Not everyone knows  that the most eye-catching feature of the cathedral is the shiny copper vat in the nave. This is the Rowntree Font, once used in the company’s chocolate factory.

Another must see landmark, also one of the 12 heritage sites, is the Norwich Castle. The Castle was founded by William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1075, and then rebuilt over the time. Nowadays, you’ll find a museum and a gallery inside of it.

And I could go ahead with a long list of cathedrals as Norwich has more than 32  medieval churches. During the middle ages, though, there were actually 57 churches within the city wall.

Interesting facts about Norwich

 

Apparently the City is launching a bid to be recognised as a Unesco City of literature, which means that if successful it will become the world’s fourth City of Literature (joining Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa). Also, Sixteen Revelations Of Divine Love by Dame Julian of Norwich, written around the 1393, is thought to have been the first book in English written by a woman.

Things to eat in Norwich

 

Being in Norfolk, Norwich is the home of the Cromer Crab: a fresh brown crab which you can find in salads, sandwiches, dressed or in their shells. These crabs are known to slowly grow on the chalk reef just off the coast, this is why they’re very sweet and tender.

 

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Very tempting. However, we decided to go for a steak instead (can’t lose) and we ended up finding a hidden gem in the middle of the boho side of town: The Bycicle Shop Café.

As odd as it may sounds  I didn’t go in there to buy a bike (which I just have and am super excited about! Just FYI.), but they offered a delicious selection of food and wine instead.

 

 

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The decor is quirky and vintage and the food is really good and at a decent price. Another win for the Norwich experience!

At the end I must admit that Norwich has definitely passed my getaway weekend test!

 

 

 

When in Rome…

… Do as Romans do!

It’s that time of the year when I finally manage to book myself into one of these cheap flights and travel to my beloved hometown: Rome.

But before doing so, I thought I should give you a heads up of what Romans, usually do (or go) when visiting their hometown. Even if only for a few days…

First things first: let me eat! And my taste buds will be eternally grateful.

Eating out in Rome is not a secondary activity, something that you leave in between other things. eating out is the Core activity! It is one of the main thing we’ll end up doing most of our time during the vacation.

Whether it’d be with my family, friends or by myself you’ll see me spending most of my time seating on a table and happily tasting all variety of delicious food. And I promise that I will be enjoying it every time as much as Julia Roberts did on her Italian vacation in the movie “Eat, Pray and Love”!

 

 

Recently, I have been to La Zanzara, Ristorante il Fico and Porto Fish and Chips.  Nice places in the centre of Rome where you can eat fresh seafood and drink good wines.

Sightseeing is not difficult when  free art and architecture is everywhere around you  in historic and ancient Rome. In fact, you’ ll easily find yourself stumbling upon few “hidden” gems such as beautiful Churches (Santa Maria del Popolo, Santa Maria della Vittoria), and ancient ruins (I Fori Imperiali or the Palatine Hill). You can pass by ruins, gardens, and fountains. Rome is a “compact” city and easily walk able

 

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Taking a day trip with my friends or alone to the nearest beach. Ostia, Fregene or Maccarese are the ones I usually end up going when visiting for a short period of time.

They may be not as glamorous but are the closest to Rome. All of them are equipped with some nice private sandy beaches as well as free to the public ones

 

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Shopping. As weird as it may sounds I am talking grocery shopping. My luggage on the way back to London will be full of things I crave to eat and rarely find troughout London (spices, vegetables such as artichokes, sometimes meat and wines).

 

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That’s all for now, but I’ll be updating you soon on what’s on the Roman Agenda.

 

 

My guide to London’s Coolest Car-Boot Sales

Whether you are on the hunt for a car boot sale bargain, or just looking to sell your unwanted items, I know the feeling: there is nothing more satisfying than coming away with things you’ve always wanted to buy but never found elsewhere – or, perhaps, never at the right price. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

If you are into vintage furniture, music, clothing or anything second hand really, here are few recommendation for you…

1) Chiswick’s Southfield Primary School Car Boot

 

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There are lots of bargains in this small, but a friendly sale in West London.

Entry fee: 50p (or £1 before 8.30am). If you want to pitch, it’s £10 for small vans, £8 for cars, and £5 for walk-in sellers. It’s run on the last Sunday of every month from February to November from 8.30am until 12.30 pm.

 2)  Battersea Car boot Sale

 

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This is one of my favourite car boot sales in London and is located in Battersea.

You may spot some branded high-quality items such as Gucci bags, Prada shoes… You name it.

It promises ‘quality goods and a Portobello-like atmosphere’. It runs every Sunday 1.30pm – 5pm. If you want to pitch dealers entry from 11.30am or 12 pm. Pitches starts from £20 up t £35

 

3) Princess May Car Boot Sale

 

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This car boot sale is situated in North London and is open every Saturdays and Sundays of every month, including bank holidays. Very hip: Stoke Newington and Dalston crowd style. Same applies for its vintage clothing and valuables or furniture.

Entry fee 50p (£3 before 9am) Open 9am-3pm Sat; 9am-2pm Sun. If you want to pitch, price start from £10

4) Wimbledon Car Boot Sale

Open three days a week this stadium is filled with stalls selling a wide range of items from clothing to silverware and jewellery at a bargain price.

Entry fee £2  (first hour of the sale), 50p thereafter. Open 10.30am-2pm Weds; 6.30am-1.30pm Sat; 7am-1.30pm Sun (except Easter, Christmas and New Year – please check availability during these times)

Wimbledon Stadium, Plough Lane, London, SW17 0BL

5) Capital Carboot Sale

One of the best London’s bargain, this Pimlico boot sale is open every Sunday inside and out at Pimlico Academy, selling furniture, kitchenware, bikes, books, clothes and all the other random, but awesome, things you usually find at a car boot. Ranging from classic furniture, clothing and collectables to odds and ends brought along by people clearing out their cupboards, the mix is enjoyable to sift through.

Entry fee is £1, unless you want to get first dibs, then you can get early bird entry for £5. (http://www.capitalcarboot.com)

6) Holloway Car Boot Sale

Open 8am-4pm Sat; 10am-2.30pm Sun (except Christmas and New Year). Holloway Road, opposite Odeon Cinema, London, N7 6LJ

Entry fee: free

7) Hounslow West Car Boot Sale

Open 7am-5pm Sat; 7am-3pm Sun (except Christmas and New Year). http://braymarkets.com/

Entry fee: Hounslow West Station Car Park, Bath Road, London, TW3 3DH

House n. 4 | Dalston – East London

            Finally I managed to move into the new flat and spend some time around to explore the area and.. here I am to tell what are my first thoughts about it.

When it comes to changes and transitions I’ve always experienced some sort of excitement, but, sometimes,  this excitement does translate to a  bit of stress. Luckily, and as soon as I finished unpacking, I started to feel a little more at ease in the new “Environment”. It definitely didn’t last long!

At first sight, Dalston,  seems to be just a random and chaotic east London Suburb, with a big daily market, few cheap shops and lots of Turkish restaurants (I would also add “an interesting concept of Clean),but although hard to believe, I have to admit that I can see why it has been defined as one of the coolest and trendiest postcode in London.

“You can walk down the road and see everything from Pam Hogg squeezing a melon in the Ridley Road market to a man wearing a sack preaching to the traffic lights,” as Hanna Hanra, editor of the Pix. “Everything is possible. It’s a fabulous, optimistic place.”

Here is a list places that I’ve been to over the last couple of weeks and which I have absolutely loved:

 1) Viva Tapas Bar, Mexican Restaurant

 

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Small, informal and intimate. Decorated with a nice vintage touch,  exposed bricks and low lightings. The big painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe does not intimidates me as soon as I enter the restaurant and I can truly enjoy a fresh tequila based cocktail.

To complete the Mexican atmosphere, I had Nachos with guacamole and a Quesadilla with pork. Delicious!

2) Walk by the Canal 

 

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Walking down the river can definitely help you in changing the pace of the day. From the busy Kingsland Road to the calmest atmosphere.. it’s, in fact, just a matter of few minutes walk.

I’d recommend heading straight down to the canal and walking in either direction – either to Angel or Victoria Park.

3) Farmers Market – Broadway Market

 

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Given the fact that I’m a food lover, I couldn’t really miss the opportunity to go first thing after moving to a new areas in search of the best market, grocery shops that it has to offer.

The Broadway Market is open on saturdays in a ittle East End street between the Regent’s Canal and London Fields.

It offers a variety of different tastes and cultures: stalls, shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Top 5 London Parks

Whilst doing a bit of research before writing this piece, I found out – to my greatest surprise – that London is one of the world’s greenest capitals… In fact as the Indipendent has mentioned in one of its articles: “if you include the 3.8million gardens in the capital, plus all the parks, nature reserves, graveyards and playing fields, 47 per cent of London is green, while 60 per cent is classified as “open space”. Interesting.

True fact is that London parks are a perfect place for relaxing, playing sports, make the kids play and also host a bunch of open air concerts and festivals and there’s plenty of them.

Here are the Top 5 and biggest London Parks:

1) Hyde Park


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If you are going to visit London,  even if only for a day or two, you might end up wandering in the middle of Hyde Park to rest from the craziness of the City.

Central and huge: about 1.5 miles long and about a mile wide. One of the largest of Royal Parks and oldest boating lake. The Serpentine is home to ducks, coots, swans and grebes, and is also a place of historic interest.

Close to Marble Arch there’s the Speaker’s Corner, a place where public speaking, debate and discussion are allowed, back in the 19th Century was a spot where mass and public demonstrations took place and so it is today.

2) The Regent’s Park

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The Regent’s Park covers 395 acres and includes Queen Mary’s Gardens. It’s also the home of the London Zoo. Nice thing to do it’d be taking a Canal Boat from Camden to Little Venice

3) Richmond Park

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Beautiful Park and the largest amongst the Royal’s. Also the home of free roaming red and fallow deer, as you can see from the image above. This park is distant only 30 mins from Central London and it is exactly how you’ll imagine the English Countryside. It covers almost 2500 acres, and  if you head towards the edge you’ll be astonished by the fantastic panoramas of the capital.

4) St. James’s Park

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Surrounded by three Royal Palaces and one of the prettiest for me.It’s within walking distance from Trafalgar Square and home of some nice pelicans.

5) Victoria Park

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Locally known as “Vicky Park”, was London first Public Park has opened in the East end in 1845. Apparently the Victorians saw parks as instruments to improve the body. Home of some of the biggest festivals such as Lovebox and Field Day.

Other events that are hosted in Victoria Park are:

– Citadel Festival

– London Flower Show

During Easter break, in one of my strolls around the City, I ended up at the Mudchute Countryside Farm

I was pleased to acknowledge the fact that, very close from where I live at the moment, you can have the feel of being at the Countryside.

It’s very easy to walk around and the park offer an amazing view of Canary Wharf as well as some animals along the way!

 

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London Parks are definite a good way to escape the bustle of the City and now that the warm months are about to come you might have a clearer idea of what London has to offer on the green side!

 

 

Moving to London… which is the best area?

Moving to London? If you are trying to figure out which area could possibly be the best to live in… well… I might have some info for you based on my personal experience.

Having relocated few times already, I had the feel of the various vibes that certain areas of London could give you.

Although, at the time being, many areas of London are undergoing into the process of gentrification and are in constant change – read change as “getting way more expensive”-  this is how I’ve seen London within the last 3 years:

House n.1 –  Belsize Park – North London

When I first moved to London I had the pleasure to live in the lovely area of Belsize Park, where I shared the flat with Eliza (also a blogger ) and Hanna.

Most of the North London area is very elegant and classy. You can find there some of the most popular residencies (and some celebrities too), but the whole package can come up with a pretty high price.

 

 

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In fact, Belsize Park is quite central, suburban and the average price of a double room can come to up to £1000. Mainly, the reason why I moved somewhere else.

Best areas to live in north london are:

– Camden (North-West).

Very busy, but with the perfect combination of transport links

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– Stoke Newington (North East)

Very close to Islington but the rents are cheaper. Less pleased with the transport links.

– Islington 

Upper – middle class live here. Pretty area.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, you’ve got:

– Kentish Town 
– West Hampstead
– Finsbury Park 

 

House n.2 – Wimbledon – South London

 

I absolutely loved living in Wimbledon! Leafy, pretty (Postcard Pretty) and with that “small, happy villagey” vibe.

The village is my favourite part, especially during the summer months. These pictures were taken at the Cannizaro House, a picturesque hotel/ park/ restaurant close by to the Wimbledon common park,  which I’ve discovered randomly when I got lost in one of my walks.

 

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South London is definitely not only confined to Wimbledon though, but is a very mixed bag of places. Running from the multi milion pound mansions to the poorest and roughest areas.

Streatham and Balham have now improved a lot over the last decade and are getting more pleasant, whilst areas like Nunhead and Peckam are still notorious for being… ehm not the “safest”.

And, if you don’t mind living a bit further out from Central London you can try Croydon. You can get the overground train and in 28 mins ca you are already into Central London, you might just need to remember to catch the last train home or you could be in for a very, very long bus ride!

 

House n.3 – Greenwich – South East London

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Been living nearby Greenwich for almost 6 months now, definitely not one of my longest tenancy.

Very good in terms of safety, less in terms of transportation links (especially if you work nearby east london). In this instance as well, if you miss the last train home there is only one night bus that runs only almost EVERY HOUR, therefore you’d better not.

Accommodation wise is still reasonably priced, and in the future a good amount of businesses will be moving in too.

Greenwich  hosts few antique and food markets and is the set of many London films such as “The Italian Job”.

Neighbourhoods to live in this area would be:

Greenwich
Canary Wharf 

 

Soon to be… House n.4 – Dalston – East London

 

Young, creative? Then Dalston is definitely the place for you. In 2009 Vogue Italia declared Dalston as the trendiest and coolest neighbourhood in London. Will need to update you on this bit once I move in!

Those, in my opinion, are some of the best places to look at.

 

The Lion King Musical at Lyceum Theatre

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Last night, I was a lucky girl. As a present for my birthday, my boyfriend has given me the lovely gift of a ticket for a musical of my choice: no need to say we ended up at the Lyceum Theatre to see the Lion King.

The critically acclaimed musical has been  on stage since the late ’90s – and, only recently, has celebrated its 15th year – and is now acclaimed as the most successful stage show of all time. No wonder why.

The opening scene with the “Circle of life”song  was astonishing, and since the very first vibes (tribal percussion with African rhythms, to be more precise) I felt immersed in the atmosphere. Suddenly, various species of animals appeared into the stage from down the aisle with an elegant cavalcade: gazelles,  giraffes and a gigantic elephant  (in total 26 animals are represented).

 

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The vibrant colours, the music together with the use of an experimental technique that combines African masks, Japanese Kabuki costumes and Malaysian shadow puppetry together have a powerful and energetic impact . The stage adaptation of the American director Julie Taymor has almost certainly proved to be avant-garde.

Although loyal to the original Disney animated movie, I still find it very original.

There are no big dance numbers as such, but the show tunes are impressive: The Circle of life by Elton John, Hakuna Matata and Can you Feel the Love tonight.

I have seen quite a few musicals until now and I must admit that in this instance the entire cast was phenomenal:

 

 

Speaking of the crowd, the Theatre was really packed: my seat was in the first row on the left hand side of the grand circle and this is pretty much how the view was like:

 

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It’s definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I would recommend it as a great night out for theatregoers of all ages.