Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things I learned this weekend

Pizza in Italy looks nothing like pizza in other countries. This can be both good and bad.

A hot chocolate and small diet coke at St Mark's Square in Venice will set you back 30 euros, service not included (that's 27 GBP or 45 USD).

Italian ice-cream is THE BEST.

Milan is one huge shopping centre - even people with no intention to shop (and no money) will be tempted.

Greetings from Italy xxx

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's a month of birthdays!

You know how in theory your friends' & family's birthdays should be spread throughout the year? Well, mine aren't. They either happen in October/November, or March/April. It's really weird. There are practically no birthdays to celebrate in the summer, or at the beginning of the year. October is particularly busy, first around 12th-17th (for the Libras) then around 23rd-29th (for the Scorpios).

This year I've been really bad about sending birthday cards, as our post office has been on strike on and off since the beginning of the month. I've been sending emails and Facebook messages instead, which is not the same, so I thought I'd do a post specially for my friends who celebrated/are celebrating/are about to celebrate a birthday this month.



Hope you have/had a fab birthday and wishing you all the very best for the next 12 months and beyond!

Tinsie xxx

Now, how strange is it that I wrote this post two years ago and it's still as current today as it was then? Even down to the postal strike? Only difference is that Royal Mail have been on strike for well over a month this time round.

I really should have done a similar post for those with September birthdays too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Festive Fairies

Back in the UK, I found the Hotel Chocolat Christmas catalogue waiting for me. I'm still not ready for Christmas, but at least it's not August any more, and what's more, the weather's so gloomy at the moment, it feels almost like Christmas time anyway.

So I'm leafing through the catalogue, dreaming of all the chocolate I'll enjoy come December, when I come across The Festive Foursome: four boxes of chocolates in festive shapes. There are Chilli Penguins, Minty Mistletoe, Baublicious Baubles and ...Festive Fairies; fairies, I might note, that look remarkably like angels. Praying angels to be exact.

The product description reads: Two layers of heavenly caramel and creamy white [sic] chocolate nymphs for a fairytale Christmas.

Nymphs? Nymphs? So OK, perhaps we can't eat angels, so we have to call them fairies on the box, but since when is there a connection between nymphs and Christmas? Whatever next? Christmas Mermaids? Christmas Centaurs? Or maybe Christmas Sirens?

Santa, baubles, penguins, snowmen, reindeer... it's all getting a bit repetitive. We could use some new characters. Can you imagine?


I wonder how many business meetings they had over at Hotel Chocolat when they realised that someone had approved the wrong design and they now had a load of perfectly formed chocolate angels to market. I bet it took them a while to agree to call them "fairies" and describe them as "nymphs". Bless.

They don't appear to be made from white chocolate either. Oops.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The food diaries: part 6 - Chinese

The other day we went out for a meal at a Chinese restaurant in Athens. This is some of what we had: Peking duck, sweet and sour pork and beef in oyster sauce.

We also had wontons, spring rolls and stuffed dragon wings (I swear that's what they were called on the menu) but my friends were too hungry to let me take photos of our starters.

All in all, the food wasn't that different from what hubby and I had last time we had Chinese in London.

Spring rolls, sesame prawn toast and fried squid for starters.

Beef in black bean sauce and sweet and sour prawns for our mains.

Perhaps it's not such a good idea to relaunch the food diaries. Looking at all these photos is making me hungry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beware of dog

This is a comic strip by Arkas, my favourite Greek cartoonist. The dialogue goes like this:

The man: Come on, let's go for a walk.
The dog: I told you, I'm bored. You go.

The man: OK, I'll go alone. You stay here and guard the house.
The dog: Fine. Put a sign on the door: Beware of Dog.

The dog: That way, if anyone comes in they won't trip over me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cooking blues

I was inspired to do this post by Betty C. who photographed seven blue objects in her kitchen and did a little show and tell.

I must admit I'm not a huge fan of blue in the kitchen, as I find it doesn't compliment the reasons why you'd go into the kitchen, i.e. to cook or eat. Have you thought how few edible blue fruits and plants there are in nature? Personally I can think of some red grapes, blueberries and not much else!

Blue being hubby's favourite colour, we have some blue items in our kitchen in London, but as I'm currently in Athens, my collection of blue objects numbers just two cups, one of which is more purple than blue.

This floral cup is my favourite. I used to have two of them, but one broke, so now I have just the one cup and two saucers. It's quite a small cup but it's the perfect size for my coffee, as I can never drink the amount in a regular sized mug without half the liquid going cold.

Luckily I had dinner with my brother and his wife the other day, and got to photograph the remaining five blue items for this post in their kitchen. Look at the kitchen table set for us: blue crockery, cutlery with blue handles and even blue paper napkins. It's a blue photographer's paradise!

On the kitchen counter, I snapped my sister-in-law's cup of coffee.

Then they turned their kettle and toaster on for me, and guess what, both of them light blue! Project complete.

In case you're wondering what we had for dinner, we ordered chef's salad, spagetti and a massive pizza from the local takeaway.

And no, we didn't manage to finish it all. At least half the pizza ended up in the freezer for another day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Greek elections

Yesterday there were general elections in Greece. Elections generally involve a fair amount of travelling as a large percentage of the population vote far from where they live (out of choice, in order to maintain their ties to their hometowns).

Election days are always Sundays and those who vote more than 200 kms away from where they work usually have the Monday off. This means that friends and families have an opportunity (and an excuse) to get together, something that in these days of fast-pace living only ever happens at Christmas, Easter, weddings and christenings.

As there is no school on election day, polling stations are set up within local primary school classrooms, making school yards a hub of activity, only with more adults than kids.

The first two photos were taken by my friend Katerina Nomikou. Katerina is a professional photographer, who also took the fab Folegandros shots I showed you here.

I took the last photo at the school where I and my family voted.

In case you've not heard, the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won a landslide victory. Reportedly US President Obama was one of the first foreign leaders to ring new PM George Papandreou to congratulate him, much to the delight of the local media.

Friday, October 02, 2009

After London... Rio de Janeiro!

In case you've not heard, Brazil will become the first South American country to host the Olympics after Rio de Janeiro was chosen to stage the 2016 Games. Parabéns Brazil!

I was kind of rooting for Chicago, but I have to admit, I like it that the Olympics are moving to a new continent. After all, Europe and the US have had their turn several times already.

What do you guys think?