The Best Ideas for Valentine’s Day

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Well, my how the time flies. It would seem another Valentine’s Day has crept around the corner to grace us with its presence. Despite me being single yet again on this joyous  occasion, I’ve decided to do a post on more meaningful things you could do as opposed to your run-of-the-mill restaurant affair.

I was thinking that if this is the day to celebrate love, then surely it should be the day that one should go above and beyond their normal date night. I’m not talking about shelling out big bucks on materialistic affection. No, I’m talking about taking time out of your busy schedule to create a magical night. I think couples, especially the one’s who’ve been together for a while, look at Valentine’s day as another date night. Dinner and a little present that you probably picked up at the last minute. I mean, if we have to celebrate this holiday then shouldn’t we go all out to show our affection towards the people that we love? And I’d like to point out, it’s the thought that counts. If it were me and I came home to a fort made with comfy pillows, fairy lights, dinner and a movie care box that would be a really sweet gesture. I would feel like my partner has really taken the time out to think of something intimate, cosy, and from the heart. But maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, I better get on with it or I will start down the road of why we should be celebrating Love 365 days a year instead of just the one.

Have an Indoor Picnic for Two or Create a Cosy Fort…

Even though this is a simple gesture, it’s still a meaningful gesture nonetheless. It shows that you took the time to make the evening special.

Make it a Special Movie Night Affair…

Grab a couple of movies that you will both enjoy (doesn’t need to be rom-coms btw), get some snacks and a cute card that you’ve made yourself with maybe a little letter to show why you love them and you’re good to go.

Make Breakfast Special…

Creating heart-shaped, lovey dovey breakfast treats for the one you love will go down really well. Surprise them even further by bringing it to them in bed.

Open When… Little gifts/letters to open at certain times

You can create a whole heap of little letters or presents for your significant other. Some could be open when:

  • You’re feeling sad
  • You’re missing me
  • You’re stressed
  • You’re made at me

And so on.

52 Reasons Why I Love You…

OK so maybe 52 reasons may be a lot for some of you. But who knows, you just might surprise yourself. Not only will this be an exercise for you to really look at why you love the other person, but again it will be a great gift to receive because you’ve made it from scratch.

Great Food/Drink/Dessert Ideas

This one is pretty self-explanatory!

Create a Care Package of Love…

You can fill these bad boys up with anything you like. Sweets, flowers, letters, pressies, or whatever else you can think of! Showing your partner that you made this care box yourself will go down a treat.

Create a Unique Card…

Insert a little poem that you’ve found (or write one yourself), or write a sentimental letter of when you knew the first time you fell in love with them was, or maybe even a little inside joke that only you two share. Just do something more than writing Dear… and Love always…

Create Love Vouchers/Coupons

On top of your other treats, give these out so they can redeem them throughout the year. This will not only aid to your date nights but also spice up your relationship a little.

DIY Boxes and Decorations

You can put paper hearts on the floor for them to follow to their real surprise. Or create DIY boxes to hold your presents in or simply decorate your place with different make-shift trinkets of love.

Have a Painting Session for Two…

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This could be a great way to spend some quality time with someone. Turn off your phones, sip some wine, eat some dessert and laugh at your horrible masterpieces.

Or you could recreate the scene from ‘Ghost’

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Okay maybe you can skip the latter and just watch the movie instead.

Create a Happy Jar…

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Another cute sentimental gift that you can create to make your partner happy throughout the year.

Create Your Very Own Scratch Cards…

This is just the cutest idea! You can’t not do it now!

Leave a Huge Post-It Collage Somewhere…

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You could write what you love about them, or little love quotes or whatever tickles your fancy.

❤ ❤ ❤

All in all, whatever you decide to do, just make it a heartfelt gesture. We have gotten so caught up with quickly buying generic cards and presents that somewhere along the line we forgot to celebrate the person that we’re with. We’ve forgotten to really take a moment and spend good quality time with our significant others. So go all out and be creative. Don’t be lazy bastards and settle for quick fixes. And just remember… if you’re going to do a big shebang on the day, turn off your phones for even a couple of hours and really connect with the person that you love.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day pandas!

*If you want details on all the photos used please check my Pinterest board here…

Weekend Photo Journal: Mmm, Minty Green

Minty Green

There’s something about certain colours isn’t there? For me… mint green is one of those colours. Just like royal blue and emerald green. They are delicious. I chose mint this weekend because it’s still summer, in most countries. It’s supposed to be summer in the UK but I don’t think bouts of sun here and there counts as summer.

Anyway, without further ado….Here’s some mint green inspiration.

For all the details/credits please see my pinterest board Minty Green.

 

 

 

 

When Your Love Affair With Food Has Come To An End…

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‘Food glorious foooooood!’…. is what I want to sing from the top of my lungs whenever I discuss such a scrumptious topic. I’m not going to lie, I love food. It brings you together with friends, you feel the love that was made with it while sitting around the dinner table with family, and let’s not forget the feelings of euphoria that run wild after you’ve finally satiated your haaanger. I mean, what’s not to love about food! Well, after so many years of having the best love affair of my life, it would seem it has come to an end. At least for the time being. My lover, has betrayed me, and my stomach and gut are now paying the price.

Yesterday was a very lazy Sunday for me and I decided to watch the movie “Chocolat”. However, it wasn’t the best of choices with what I’m going through. While watching it I started drooling at all the mouth-watering deliciousness that was on display. You see my fluffy pandas I was torturing myself. It was a cruel and unusual way to go but I did it nonetheless. I sat there wishing I could have every magical morsel that presented itself on my screen. The funny thing is, I’m not a sweets person. Savoury is my thing. Like lasagna, pesto sauce with penne pasta, Greek dips, roast chicken with all the trimmings, pizza, a Patty & Bun Chicken Burger,  Chilli cheese fries, warm fat pretzels, this Rosemary & potato sourdough bread from Gail’s. I mean I could carry on but I will spare you. Anyway, while watching the movie I seemed to be serenading the TV forcefully, almost as if I were pleading with a long lost ex to take me back. And then I screeched “Why have you cursed me?!” towards the heavens. “WHYYYYYYYY?!!” As I looked back at my screen it was just in time to see Dame Judi Dench seductively sip the silky thick  hot chocolate. Her expression after that was of pure euphoria. The kind you would get after a great orgasm. (Yeah, I went there). There she was, stupid Judi and her stupid happy expression. All I could do was yell “CURSE YOU BAD JOO JOOS! Curse….. you!”  as I raised my fists in the air.

Ok..ok….my melodrama is over. I swear. Oh one last thing… I also watched Julie & Julia. I know, I know! Food movies back to back.

You see, as some of you know, for the past 10 weeks I have not been feeling well. The doctors ran tests and nothing really came up. They said that it could be IBS but they didn’t want to say for sure. The first 4 weeks were the most miserable of my life. I had to take an Uber to and from work just so I wouldn’t have an anxiety attack in an underground tin-can as I shit on myself profusely. There were days where my internal pep talks consisted of… “You can do this. You will not shit your pants. You own your poop, not the other way round! Just go out the front door. Good. Now walk down the stairs. You’re doing it. You see, everything will be fine. Start walking to the bus. You got this Ali! You are one tough cookie. You…. oh shit. RUN! RUN BACK HOME! RUN FOR YOUR FUCKING LIFE! CLENCH CLENCH CLENCH!” And then I would slam the door to my apartment, start sobbing and ultimately feel really sorry for myself. This was the cycle. My life… for weeks.

The doctors were not that helpful. They said most of the time they don’t usually refer patients unless the symptoms persist for at least 6 months. A big HELL NO to that one. The only suggestion that they made was for me to go on a Low-FODMAP diet for the next two weeks. And with a shitty little leaflet, that didn’t explain what I should or shouldn’t eat, I left. My heart grew heavy and I decided after my umpteenth visit to the docs to walk into this posh pharmacy and plead with them to give me a miracle. And guess what? They actually did! Their suggestion was a probiotic liquid called Symprove. Within 2 days I felt almost back to normal. At the same time however, I did switch to the Low-FODMAP diet. So both have helped tremendously. But I really think the Symprove was the key. There was one slip up with a spelt grain pasta (which I thought I could have) and had to call in sick the next day. But apart from that I have been feeling at 90%. Which is a drastic improvement. But alas, even despite my positive outcome, with every passing day I start to loath food at little bit more. And that’s because of the diet I’ve been put on.

Here’s what I can have….

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Unfortunately, I had to say ‘see ya later’ to my two favourite ingredients, garlic and onions. How the hell does one cook without these two things?! My breads and pastas, unless they were gluten-free, were out of the question. Avocados and asparagus which I both adore, I can’t have. The list above says I can have 1/4 avocado but others say I shouldn’t. Hence, I leave it out. So, I was stuck with rice and rice cakes. Who the hell likes rice cakes by the way? It’s what I imagine eating cardboard would taste like. Every time I eat one I have to lather it with almond butter but, guess what?! N0w I can’t lather. Therefore, I’m officially screwed. Luckily I can eat plain meat, fish, and chicken so that’s something I guess.

All in all this diet has forced me to rethink how I eat. It’s forced me to look at my meals with a shoulder shrug of whatever. I have no desire anymore when I sit down to eat and that’s the part that’s killing me. I used to love going home after work and making something fun. But the thing that has nudge the dagger in a little deeper is the fact that I can’t bake anymore. I will have to work with Rice/corn flour and buy gluten free baking soda. I mean, woe is me right?!

Don’t worry, I’m not that depressed. But I am disappointed. When it comes to my health I take things very seriously therefore I’m following the Low-Fodmap diet to a tee! I know how important your health is and to always make sure it comes first. But in the process I have lost my love. And my love, has ripped open my heart and filled it with emptiness. I’m onto my third week now and food has never looked so dissatisfying. Yet, I know that I must grin and bear it. I’m not listening to the doctors suggestion of two weeks because everyone else is saying I have to be on this for at least a couple of months. And I like to be thorough. However the thing that’s really driving me? Is not repeating the shits any time soon. I will soldier on even though my permanent expression nowadays is the stank face of misery. I will endure, I will conquer! I sound like I’m going to war don’t I?! Lord I’ve got mental issues. By the way I would like to add that I would prefer coddling myself with two bottles of wine. But you guessed it…. I CAN’T!! Wooooooossssaaaaaahhhhh!

And so with all that being said…. my love affair has ended. The comfort has gone. The desire and passion has disintegrated. And slowly its embrace will be a very distant memory.

This was my ode, my lament to food. Oh how I’ll miss you. You never judged me. You were a soothing reassurance that everything was going to be alright.

Oh woe is me….

❤ ❤ ❤

PS- I will do a dedicated post on the Low-FODMAP diet along with two great books you should buy. Don’t worry, I won’t be complaining in that one! 🙂

Weekend Photo Journal: Fantabulous Flamingos

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Since it’s summer and I’m not back home in Cyprus (booo!) I decided that this weekend’s photo journal will be dedicated to the bird that visits my country… FLAMINGOS! I mean, why not! They’re funny, funky and majestic all in one go. And let’s face it, having flamingos around with their coral-y pink hues really does make for happier times.

So without further ado, my montage of everything that has to do with flamingos…

 

If you want to know the details/credits of these photos, I’ve created a pinterest board, so click through to Flamingo Fabulousness now.

Why It’s Okay to Indulge in Scrumptious Food…

foodie, foodporn, food quotes, lifestyle, food, yumminess, julia childs

I was going to do a weekend photo Journal post but then I made some brownies and  I thought to myself, man, food makes you feel all kinds of awesome. So… why not write about it.

We are in the age of constantly watching what you eat. Diet and exercise, exercise and smoothies, smoothies and juicing, juicing and lots of water. It stems from trying to attain the best body out there in order to compete with the beautiful people over in La La Land. They grace our magazine covers, have been objectified in a sexy movie sequence and have even showed their healthy lifestyle through their social media page. Just once I would love to see the likes of Jennifer Lopez sharing an Instagram photo of her scarfing her face with a big stuff crust pizza as she cries about the man who has messed with her emotions. Just to be clear, she can do no wrong in my eyes, however it would be nice to know that us mere mortals are not alone. I mean who hasn’t been there with a big ol’ pizza all to yourself?! We are human after all, with a whole range of emotions. Yet our social media feeds show only happy occasions filled with lots of exercise and healthy eating. Sometimes, it would be nice to know that the celebrities we look up to, fly off the rails from time to time.

Food, great food, is everything at times. It gives you comfort in times of sorrow. It gives you joy when you are surrounded by your friends and family. It brings people together when they are on dates. It helps you out when life throws a curve ball. I mean, there is a reason why soul food is call SOUL food peeps. It truly does feed your soul. It’s almost as good as sex. I said almost okay?! Nothing beats orgasms. Can I get an amen to that!

So why are we such control freaks all the time on how we deal with food? I know that eating healthy is extremely important to sustaining a long and ailment-free life. But, being a control freak all the time is just down right wrong. We should be enjoying life. You already control your work, school, dates, married life, children, single life, how much you drink, how much you spend and so on. Why can’t you just eat what you want and compensate by exercising more?

I’ve tried to restrict myself when it comes to food. And for a time I was very successful at it. But, that was at a time where it was my sole focus. At that time, food was the only thing that I could control. So I put 300% into it. But now that I’m living in London, with a full time job, and all the stresses that I’ve been faced with lately, sometimes I just want to come home and bake a batch of brownies. In fact, I’ve found that there’s something so therapeutic about baking. It’s like all the stresses in the world simply melt away as you concentrate on the ingredients of the masterpiece that you are about to create. It’s soothing, cathartic and once done, sends a whole bunch of happy, feel-good hormones gushing throughout your system.

So… here’s to loving food. Obviously everything in moderation. I’m struggling with the moderation bit. However don’t deny yourself for months at a time. You will be one miserable person to yourself and the people closest to you. Go on, you deserve a little yumminess in your life. And furthermore, stop beating yourself up for not looking like those celebrities. They have a whole team and a crap shoot of money behind how they look. All you need to know is that you are an awesome individual who knows that having a little [insert scrumptious food preference here] is you enjoying life. Personally, I don’t know what could be better than eating the fattest juiciest Greek food while laughing with the people who are dearest to me.

Peace, Love and Enjoy Food

Here’s some Food quotes to make you go… YES! ❤

Confessions of A Girl Who’s Missing Some Apricots… (and no that’s not a euphemism for me going insane)

stole my apricots

Here’s the thing my little fluffy pandas. There seems to be some bug going around where people are forgetting how to act properly. They are doing things that merit a hard baseball bat to the face. It’s appalling I tell ya. Simply appalling.

Yesterday I bought some apricots. Actually I think I should start by saying… I love apricots. They are one of my favs, well, that and peaches. Anyway, it was the start of the season so how could I not get some. I decided to leave them unopened in the netting that was wrapped around the plastic container until the next day; which happens to be today. Reason being, they weren’t ripe enough for my liking. So today I thought, dang! I’m gonna have me some yummy apricots for breakfast.  But no, why should I be so fortunate enough to receive some joy today, seeing as the gods saw fit to fuck with me.

As I walked into the kitchen I noticed something was amiss. Some mother lover thought it would be a good idea to rip open the net and shove his grubby paws all inside my apricot container. And then they took them. Not all of them but enough for me to get pissed. Here’s the thing guys, I am one of those greedy badasses when it comes to food (a bit like the hulk) but if someone asks me “can I have a bit of that (insert said food)?” Then I would always say yes. I always respond kindly to manners. Always!

To top it off this wasn’t the first time someone had taken my shit. There was a roll-gate incident a few months back. And I decided to do something about it. How you might ask? Why  by writing a witty, charming, humorous email to my colleagues of course. Boom!

I know this sounds stupid. But it’s the principle of the matter. I’m not buying food so that others can take some without even asking. I am getting paid in peanuts remember. Money is a rare commodity in my world. So I ask…Who the hell raised these barbarians anyway?! Because I’m pretty sure Satan is down there saying, “This wasn’t my work this time. I’ve got more important things to do on my apocalypse list this week.” So I said dang! I need to take action. My first email was cute, yet to the point. It was funny yet they knew I meant business. Take a look…

Dear cunning and sneaky Bread Bandit,
I bought some gluten free rolls yesterday. As you are well aware Gluten free is more expensive than normal bread and those rolls were to last me for my lunches this week. Last time I checked I did not win the lottery nor suddenly get a huge lump sum from a deceased relative that I have never heard of before. I understand that sharing is caring and I am all for that cause, if one would ask. So please Mr. Bread Bandit next time you get an uncontrollable urge to snatch some rolls that the studio does not buy, simply ask and you shall receive. I am wishing you all the glorious unlimited abundance of carb-topia delights that your tummy can stuff in there.
Kind Regards,
Ali
P.S.- don’t take this too seriously. I am just wanting to get the word out in a funny way.
Yes that is the exact letter, word for word. You see it wasn’t so bad. But then someone had to go and take my precious apricots and so I had to write another email again.

Dear Apricot stealer,

As I can recall, it all started on one fateful day when one of my rolls magically disappeared. So now on this sombre morning I have realised that you were not satiated that day. Why do you torment me with your grubby little hands? And furthermore I don’t truly understand why you are singling me out? Have I done something to offend thee?

As you are fully aware (from my previous emails) I am all for sharing, therefore all you have to do is ask. I do not make enough money to support your overeating habits. Please seek help in curbing your thievish ways.

Sincerely,

A very concerned human being who knows not to take without asking!

As if these emails weren’t enough, I then proceeded to waddle around asking my colleagues face to face… WHO THE FUCK TOOK MY APRICOTS?! And every single one of them said they did not touch my food stash. So I am none the wiser and a few food rations short.

Is this what society has come down to? Where a girl can’t even hang on to a few apricots before they get stripped away from her. Oh the insanity.

Shit, I mean, it’s looking like I’ve really gone cuckoo after re-reading this. But dang, all I ever wanted was for people to admit that they took it, say sorry and that they didn’t know. Surely that’s not too much to ask for. But to lie and not even have the balls to say oh sorry Ali, it was me? I mean who the fuck am I working with?! There is a wolf amongst the sheep and more cunning tactics will be put into place now. I ain’t taking no prisoners the next time. Oh no sir! I am going to be fucking Rambo.

Wooosssaaaahhhh…. okay, rant over.

Peace, Love and Apricots

Baking It Up… Pumpkin Pie Style.

Baking, Pumpkin Pie, Love, Recipe

So my yummy pandas, today I decided to do some baking. Well actually I decided it on Friday when I went to the grocery store to buy a whole bucket load of ingredients.

I guess I should start by saying that I have been craving a f–king pumpkin pie for the last 5 years. Yup! FIVE YEARS! Prior to living in London, I used to live in Cyprus. And both of these locations do not know or understand the necessity of providing its people with the gloriousness that is pumpkin pie. Luckily now that I’m living in the UK, getting American products is a lot easier. I mean there are dedicated sites over here that supply all that’s good in the world. Every fattening morsel of yumminess. YES! So I made it my mission to make me a good ol’ U.S. of A. pumpkin pie.

First I had to decide which recipe I would use. This was a tough call. But I finally chose Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe. The name ‘Great Pumpkin Pie‘ sold me. I mean just take a look…

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And the pie crust recipe I got from good ol’ Martha Stewart. I decided to attempt the Pate Brisee (Pie Dough) Now looking back at this recipe I think I used way too much butter. I’m now thinking that I read the ingredients wrong. Oh crap!!

Anyway, I’m pretty sure you’re asking yourselves why I couldn’t just wait until Thanksgiving to satiate my cravings. Well, people, May is my new Thanksgiving month. In fact if I want to bake me a pumpkin pie every month for the next year then that’s what I’m going to do. I REALLY need this. OK?! And besides I’m living in London. There are no rules or Thanksgiving Days. So I can celebrate being an American when ever I want. BAM!

I finally set out on my quest like a young giddy, albeit hesitant knight about to slay a dragon. I was prepared, I was knowledgeable, and my stomach was growling. I think now’s the time that I should also say… 1) I have never baked a pie in my life and 2) I had no clue about pastry making. Fear not people, I have yet to kill anyone due to my lack of experience.

All in all guys I think I did a pretty good job. I made the pastry yesterday and put it in the fridge overnight. Today I made the filling and poured it into my beautiful pie crust. I did experience a slight set back if I’m being totally honest. I forgot the heavy cream and the milk. I then had to un-pour my filling out of my beautiful pie crust and mix in the heavy cream and milk. I then poured it all back in again. PHEW! That was a close one. At least I had the chance to rectify my mistake.

I then let it bake in the oven for the allotted time and voilà I completed my first every pumpkin pie. Woop Woop!

Home made pumpkin pie Home made pumpkin pie

Ok so it doesn’t really resemble Sally’s perfectly perfected pumpkin pie masterpiece. And it does have a couple of cracks in it and a thicker crust due to my over zealous use of butter, but, I still made it all by myself.

I’m bringing it in tomorrow for all my work colleagues. They are my chosen guinea pigs. Tonight however, my prayers will be, that I hope I don’t kill them, and most importantly, I hope it doesn’t taste like ass.