Select Page

A special present for a very special little girl


Good morning dear friends!

Today Nicosia has blue skies again after a few weeks of clouds and rain and I feel invigorated! I don’t mind cold weather (I love it actually), and I like rain too, but I need the light of the sun and blue skies to be truly happy. Maybe that’s because skies in Cordoba, my home city, are always deep blue and, looking at blue skies makes me feel  a sense of connection with my own home.

These past weeks have been really hectic. As I mentioned before, my children, Luka and Zoe, started nursery school one month ago…and as it very often occurs, two weeks into their new schooling experience, they got a ear infection! There seems to be a really strong bug going around, because all children and even the teachers got it. The first round of antibiotics didn’t do the trick, so we had to  try with a second one, and it took them 10 days to be ready to go back to school. What was even worse was that my husband and I also got a really bad cold (we are guessing the same bug), so there was a concert of coughs going on in our house all night long. But now we are all recovered and very appreciative of our good health! We are also giving the children vitamins and probiotics to reinforce their immune system, and we are keeping our fingers crossed  that they won’t get anything new (in the short run, at least).

But today’s post is not about me, or my immediate family. It is about a very special little girl, whom I love very, very much and whom I consider my “niece of the heart”. Olivia Valentina (Oli, as we call her), is the daugther of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Mariana. No, scratch that, Mariana is not really my friend, she is more like the sister I never had, a “sister of the soul”. Mariana is the person I shared dreams and hopes with since we were 16 years old, the one person that was as passionate about books and history and literature as I was, the one with whom I buried a time capsule in the backyard of our country-side home when we were 17 , the one with whom I wrote a little book that maybe one day our children will read, the person that had a penpal and liked studying, just like me. Mariana is  the magical being that showed me the meaning of true friendship and someone I have missed deeply during these 7 years that I have lived abroad. The thing with being an expat is that we are bound to miss those we love, and we carry the burden of knowing that, many times, we are not present during our loved ones special and important moments. Argentinian author Hernan Casciari uses a metaphor from football (soccer) to explain it and says that ” pain and party, tragedy, triumph are the same when you’re away. Not being able to cry with your loved ones when something horrible happens, not being able to celebrate with your people when something wonderful happens puts you immediately in offside“. He is right.

Fortunately, last year it was different. Last year, our trip to Argentina coincided with Mariana’s pregnancy and that made us both so very happy.  I could not stay until Oli was born and I have only seen her cute, adorable face through pictures, but  having had the chance to hug my friend during such a life-changing time, and to talk to Oli through the belly is something that I am deeply thankful for.

The original idea was to take advantage of this trip to organize Oli’s baby shower, so I started planning it pretty much as soon as the pregnancy was announced. But once we arrived in Argentina, we learnt that Mariana’s pregnancy was experiencing some complications and, during our second week in the country she was put on full bed rest. The baby shower no longer being a possibility, I decided to prepare Oli and her mummies a special present to celebrate her life: a “party in a box” which they could use either for a “sip and see” after Oli’s birth, or maybe even for Oli’s 1st birthday.

The “party in a box” used the same theme as the baby shower I had  originally planned: The tree of life. Mariana and I always liked ancient mythology and literature, and  used to write listening to  Loreena McKennit’s  CD The Mask and the Mirror, which contains a song called The Two Trees, based on the homonimous poem by WB Yeats, which reads as follows:

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,

The holy tree is growing there;

From joy the holy branches start,

And all the trembling flowers they bear.

The changing colours of its fruit

Have dowered the stars with merry light;

The surety of its hidden root

Has planted quiet in the night;

The shaking of its leafy head

Has given the waves their melody,

And made my lips and music wed,

Murmuring a wizard song for thee.

There the Loves a circle go,

The flaming circle of our days,

Gyring, spiring to and fro

In those great ignorant leafy ways;

Remembering all that shaken hair

And how the wingèd sandals dart,

Thine eyes grow full of tender care:

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.”

When I listened to this song, I also remembered the myth of Yggdrasil, and how the idea of a Tree of life is shared by different mythologies and the baby shower’s theme was born. I contacted my dear Laura ( from Delicious Tea) and commissioned her to design the party printables, and she did the most beautiful work I could have imagined. Laura designed a lovely, blooming tree, with leaves in different colours to represent the diverse ways in which Oli is loved, and this tree was included  in all items. She also designed a banner with the baby’s name, which instead of the traditional triangular shape uses leaves in the same colour palette as Oli’s tree of life.







The tree above was made from a branch of a tree from my mother’s garden, so that it would grow together with Oli, accompanying her. The little tag cards are for guests to leave  good wishes for Oli’s life and to hang them on Oli’s wishing tree, so that she would be able to know, when growing up, that she is, and has always been, deeply loved.

The box also included some decorations, such as two little wooden trees and a rose paper pompom, as well as some of the items necessary for a dessert table, with food labels that played with the party’s theme.





The sweets and sugar decorations included “Flowers of Joy” (sugar flowers to decorate cupcakes with), with their corresponding cupcake cases…

IMG_4140 IMG_4148


…”Enchanted dew” (little meringue cookies)…


…”Prosperity leaves” (bamboo skewers, to insert chopped fruits in)


… “Love seeds” (chocolate coated almonds)…


“Branches of Life” (Branch chocolate)


…as well as all of my favourite recipes in a little hand-written notebook, that could serve as Oli’s first.





It also included drink tags for different kinds of Lemonade, with coordinating twine,  as well as personalized paper cups with matching paper straws, paper plates and bamboo spoons…








The box also had the tags for souvenirs, but not the souvenirs themselves  (mixed flower seeds, to celebrate life by giving back life to the Earth)  because I didn’t know when the party was going to take place.


I also  punched lots and lots of  flowers in different shades of green and pink , which could be used to craft garlands, piñatas or other decorations.


As a special present, we created a series of postcards for guests to write love notes for Oli. These postcards, when put together, formed a A3 sized poster (which could be hanged in the baby’s bedroom) with the inscription: ” Your existence makes us very happy”.


Finally, I added three bibs, just because one can never have enough of them with a young baby!


I placed all items in a box, and travelled with it, the tree and the pompom to my friend’s house, to deliver the party and have a quiet afternoon of mate and long talks, like in the old times.

 Queridas Mariana, Pao y Oli: las quiero con el alma! Que esta nueva vida juntas, que recien empieza, las llene de felicidad hoy y todos los días de su vida.


Have a lovely weekend, dear friends!


















Today my babies turned 3 years old. They are not babies any more.

I cannot  believe it is already three years since the day they were born, tiny, at 34.5 weeks gestation, on a hot  Cypriot summer afternoon, by emergency c-section. I cannot believe three full years have passed since the first time I saw their faces. I almost cannot believe that they no longer sleep in the same crib like they used to, that they no longer look like this:

On the day they were born, I went to the gynecologist for a scheduled checkup. I was having them twice a week by then,  and I had been on full bed rest for fifteen days already. We were two weeks away from the date of a scheduled c-section, but the doctor decided to leave me hospitalized that day, in order to monitor me closely. That afternoon, during a regular fetal monitoring, I started having contractions, and, after checking, the doctor realized I was already dilated. 30 minutes after that, I entered the operation room. 10 minutes after that, Zoe was born and Luka followed her 3 minutes after.

I remember their crying , their faces, their little hands, as if it had just happened, and I suppose I always will. Zoe came out screaming her lungs out and kept kicking the paediatrician with all the strength of her 2.180 grs. She was so full of force that at some point the doctor looked at me and said: “Well, I guess she doesn’t need breathing assistance” and everybody started laughing. Luka came out with a frown, as if he had been disturbed in the quietness of the womb by all the fuzz.

The doctors checked them, wrapped them in the same paper protector they had checked them on, and brought them to me for a quick kiss before taking them to the neonatology unit. I remember thinking that I had woken up that day as a pregnant woman for the last time, and that I was going to bed as a mother.

Luka and Zoe grew under our eyes fast and beautifully: One day they were barely moving, the next one they were crawling and little after that they were walking, even running.One day they were breastfed, the next one they were eating solids with their own fork and spoon (we are still working on choosing fork over finger, but I know that will come). One day they were in their cribs and the next one we were turning those same cribs into beds.

Ok, it was not that fast. But it feels like that today.

Two years ago, they looked like this:


Today, they are lively toddlers who sing, run, play, dance,  and have started speaking.

Feliz cumpleaños, amores de mi vida. Happy birthday, loves of my life.

May your life be always full of  love,  laughter, joy, and happy memories. Thank you for making my life happier than I ever thought it would be.

My birthday’s aqua and lavender dessert table


Last weekend I celebrated my 35th birthday with a small gathering of friends. I do not normally celebrate but this time it was special: it was half a decade: time to thank for the good things in my life and to reflect on where I want to be five years from now. So I prepared a small dessert table, because the celebration was to take place in the afternoon (it was easy for all of us with children, as there was no need to hire baby sitters!).

I wanted the table to have a girlie feeling, but not to be too girlie-hence no pink! I kept the color palette simple, with my two favorite colors: aqua and lavender, and I kept the details simple as well. Since my birthday takes place in the Spring, I thought I could include flowers in the design of the sweets, and so I did.  All sweets were prepared by myself and I also made the food labels and the cake-pops’ flags.

Sweets included white chocolate dipped oreos (store-bought), decorated with royal icing (by myself)…


Chocolate cake pops, dipped in white chocolate and covered in sprinkles…


Meringue cookies…


Mini alfajores de maizena/ cornstarch cookies, filled with lemon curd (the aqua ones) and vanilla buttercream (the lavender ones)…


Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream…


And the birthday cake…


It consisted of four layers of lemon cake, colored in different shades of lavender,   filled  with two layers of lemon curd, and one layer of vanilla buttercream, and  frosted with vanilla buttercream.

Do you like to celebrate your birthdays?

I had an Amy Atlas moment! 

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.