February 2016 In Review


Another month of 2016 is out of the way with – is it just me or is this year rushing by? I’m writing this to you from my adorable little flat in Berlin; I’m so excited to finally be here that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself today, my first day in the city. As I have fallen behind on some work due to travelling, I decided to catch up on it all so that I can enjoy tomorrow and the weekend. Time to explore!

I can’t wait to start sharing my experiences with you from Berlin (yes, there’s already so much to tell) but first, it’s time for the monthly review…

February was another quiet month in anticipation of my trip here. As I knew I’d be leaving home for at least six weeks, I spent my time with the family as well as working on all my projects.

As my departure date neared I started to stress out, as my Airbnb host turned from super responsive to super elusive. With just five days to go, I had no idea where I’d be picking up the keys to the apartment from, which made me break out in a bit of sweat. Sure, I now realise I was overreacting (I’m Cypriot – it’s in the genes), but at the time, I was extremely nervous. I was arriving in the city late at night, so, of course, my imagination was working in overdrive mode (I’m happy to report that I wasn’t kidnapped or mugged upon arrival) My fears were unfounded and my arrival was seamless. I’ll be writing more on this in the near future, but for now all I will say is that I’m extremely happy to be here and it already feels like ‘home.’

Most popular new post

9 Things I’ve Learnt From Four Years Of Working As A Freelance Writer

This post was overwhelmingly popular, which made me extremely happy. I talk about all the lessons I’ve learnt over the last four years of working as a freelance writer, as well as the downsides to the profession – good reading for any of you who are interested in a freelancing career.

Other posts in January

My Berlin Bucket List

The Greatest Piece Of Advice My Mum Ever Gave Me

The Results Of The 2016 Reader Survey

16 Instagram Shots From Prenzlauer Berg That Got Me All Excited About Living There

Most popular Instagram photo

Seems like you guys loved this shot of a street in Salzburg’s old town. I can’t blame you – it was so ridiculously pretty there. Follow me on Instagram for more like this!

This month I’ve been:


Of Marriageable Age by Susan Das

This was one of those books that I enjoyed at the beginning but it became infuriatingly annoying as it went along. It tells the stories of three separate characters – Savitri, who grows up among the servants of a pre-war English household in the Raj and whose love for the privileged son of the house is threatened by the customs of her Brahmin family; Nataraj, who is raised as the son of a doctor in South India and enjoys his life in London until he’s summoned home to face a raw reality; and Saroj, a girl who comes of age in Guyana in South America and who rebels against her strict Hindu father. The stories are all intertwined and start to really come together in the final third of the book.

It’s a story of forbidden love, arranged marriage, loyalty and culture. I really enjoyed it until certain characters seemed to go against everything they’d been built up to be. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say I didn’t really buy it. It turned into an unconvincing love story by the end of the book (yawn!), but it’s still worth a read if you’re interested in aspects of Indian culture.

Berlin: Imagine A City by Rory MacLean

Continuing on from January’s theme of reading Berlin-related books, I sunk my teeth into this beauty by Rory MacLean. He builds up a picture of the city by telling the story of people who have shaped Berlin’s history in various ways. Each chapter focuses on one person, and some of the characters he explores include the genius Jewish chemist who invented poison gas for First World War battlefields and was then subsequently used in the death camps, as well as iconic mythmakers like Christopher Isherwood, and, of course, David Bowie who famously lived here back in the 70s.

In short, I LOVED this book. Writing about the lives of key residents is such an interesting way of depicting a place and I love how MacLean combined storytelling along with factual information on his characters. It really helped me to get a sense of the history that shaped this city and made me incredibly excited about my arrival. I’d read this one again!

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

I love Haruki Murakami – I find his books to be weirdly wonderful. I love to get lost in the crazy and surreal worlds that he creates, which is why I was looking forward to reading After Dark once I’d downloaded it onto my Kindle. The book is well-known for painting a vivid picture of a seedy entertainment district in Tokyo, and tells the story of two sisters – Eri and Mari – over the course of one night. The ‘night characters’ we encounter in the book are all haunted by secrets that draw them together.

My only complaint about this book is that it’s very short – just as you feel you’re starting to get into it, it ends. Saying that, I still enjoyed it. Murakami’s work isn’t for passive readers – if you’re just interested in plot, this book will be unsatisfying. However, if you’re prepared to dig a little deeper and simply enjoy the emotions his writing evokes, this is good read.

Man’s Search For Meaning: The Classic Tribute To Hope From The Holocaust by Viktor E. Frankl

Over the last year or so, I’ve been drawn to stories of people who have overcome some form of adversity, as I’m very interested in how strong the human spirit is, and how we can rise from adversity stronger and wiser. This book is written by a famous Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps. During his time there, he noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest. These men also offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.

In short, Frankl describes how we can overcome any adversity as long as we apply some form of meaning to our lives. I highlighted so many passages in the book; one that illustrates Frankl’s point is: “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.”

Great read, I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in the meaning of life and the human condition.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I’ve stopped myself from reading The Alchemist for so long, as I wasn’t too sure if I’d enjoy it or not. I read Veronika Decides To Die in my early twenties and I remember liking it, but I wasn’t convinced that I’d still enjoy his books now. However, I was looking for something uplifting, so I decided to take the plunge and finally read it.

In short? I enjoyed it. It’s the kind of book that I imagine you can read again and again, and always find new meaning in it. It tells the story of a shepherd boy called Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried near the pyramids. Along the way he meets people who point him in the direction of his quest. On his journey, he learns invaluable lessons, the biggest lesson of all being how the real tresure is to be found within us.


Monsoon Wedding

Last month I continued my quest to watch great movies from world cinema. I’ve been meaning to see Monsoon Wedding for years but never got around to it, so I finally did in February. The movie tells the story of the arranged marriage of Aditi and the preparation that goes into the big day. There are, of course, hitches – Aditi has been having an affair with a married man, she’s never met her husband-to-be, and the wedding is worsened by her dad’s hidden financial difficulties. There’s also another sub-plot that shows how every family harbors its own dark secrets. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I just love how her dad deals with this part – it made me tear up, big style.

I loved this movie. I love anything that gives me an insight into another culture, and this, I think, demonstrates elements of Punjabi culture beautifully.

All About My Mother

A close friend of mine told me I *must* see this movie after finding out I’d never seen any films by the director Almodovar (I had to hang my head in shame when I told him I’d never even heard of this guy, who’s apparently really big in Spanish cinema).

After her son is killed in an accident, Manuela leaves Madrid for her old haunts in Barcelona and to find her son’s father, who is now a transvesite. She reconnects with an old friend, a pre-op transsexual prostitute named La Agrado who introduces her to Rosa, a young nun who turns out to be pregnant.

The movie is funny, sad and emotionally generous; it also deals with issues such as love, parenthood, friendship and loyalty. It’s very unlike anything I’ve seen before, which is just proof that Hollywood churns out the same crap over and over again. Penelope Cruz is amazing in her role as the nun, and it really shows how limited she is American cinema.

Listening To:

Justin Currie

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 10.59.44

I had never heard of this guy until I came across one of his songs on Spotify. Since then I’ve been listening to his album What Is Love For? It’s really mellow and perfect to work to!


Cypriot spring

Our horrible winter was short-lived; just before I left, the temperature was hitting 26C plus!



They don’t get any easier. In fact, they seem to be harder than ever.

My suitcase

I ditched my backpack in favour of a suitcase for this trip, as I wanted to carry my yoga mat with me. It was so bulky and heavy. I miss my lightweight backpack – I’m definitely a light packer these days!

Spring in Cyprus

Spring in Cyprus 

Monthly memos

I’ll be in Berlin for the next month and I have a whole bucket list of things to get through. I’m particularly interested in all the historical sights; I’ve read so much about the history of this city and it amazes me how much has happened here, and how Berliners have time and time again rebuilt.

Expect loads of posts on food, random finds and navigating the city alone. It’s the first time that I’m on my own for a long period after my breakup, so I was looking forward to this and dreading it in equal measure. Now that I’m actually here what I can tell you thus far is that I feel great – I’ve always loved my own company and I’m happy to see that that hasn’t changed in the slightest.

I also plan on attending ITB Berlin, which is the world’s leading travel trade show. They have loads of things organised for bloggers, so I definitely think it’s worth checking out!

Other than that, I’m going to work on my book and roam around aimlessly, letting my feet lead the way.

I have a feeling March is going to be a great month!

What was your highlight of February?