city break sofia

City Break Sofia

City Break Sofia

City Break Sofia

Would you believe me if I told you that Sofia has one of the most interesting cuisines in the South East of Europe? I would say that it’s a magical combination of Slavic, Greek and Turkish recipes. Banitsa, shopska salad, tarator soup, mekitsi, and the list goes on! Let me take you on a 4 days journey in the capital of Bulgaria where you will not only have the possibility to try the local food, but you will also find out some amazing facts about Sofia’s rich history, as it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe.

Day 1

Presuming that you arrive in the morning, you will need to grab a coffee and eat something. I know exactly the place where you need to go: Fabrika Daga, the best place in town for breakfast and brunch. They have a lot of interesting things in the menu but I recommend the “traditional Bulgarian breakfast”, mekitsa. It is usually served together with Bulgarian white cheese and jam.

You can also check the Romanian version of mekitsa made by my grandma here.

If you want to learn something about Sofia’s history without making your own research, join the Free Sofia guided tour. The tour takes place 3 times/day during April-October and twice a day in the rest of the year. The duration of the tour is approx. two hours, so you have enough time to cover the main attractions and get some local insights from the guides. You can find out more here: Free Sofia Tour. The tour starts in front of the Palace of Justice and ends near two of most famous churches in Sofia: Sveta Sofia and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. If you still have energy, you can visit both of them or postpone the visit for after lunch.

The church of Saint Sophia (God’s Wisdom) is one of the oldest in Sofia (built in the 6th century). Nowadays, the red bricks construction is very close to its original form. During the Middle Ages the church of Saint Sophia was the first thing that people would notice from far away and they would say: “Look, there it is! Sofia!” And this is how the city got its name.

Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in honor of the Russian Emperor Alexander the 2nd, also known as the Tsar – Liberator, whose army liberated Bulgaria of the five-century long Ottoman Dominion in 1878. You can read more here. The Alexander Nevsky Square is also a popular fair and flea market hub during the weekend. We’ve witnessed a cool meeting of the car enthusiasts. So keep a close eye on the weekly events.

After the long walk you need to have something to eat (lunch or dinner, depending on the hour). You have two options: Lavanda or The Little Things. Both of the locations function in old houses. Also similar is the fact that they share the space with other locations. Lavanda shares it with One More Bar, which is considered one of the best cocktail bars in town, while The Little Things shares the garden with Mamma Mia restaurant.

Like many restaurants in Sofia, The Little Things has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, that makes you feel like you are having lunch/dinner in your friend’s house. Each room has a different theme that comes along perfectly. The small garden is equally charming, especially when the wisteria that covers the house is in full blossom. The Little things is opposite St. Sedmochislenitsi church, a hidden gem is Sofia situated in a beautiful park. The church was created in 1902 on base of an abandoned Ottoman mosque. Before the mosque, at the same place existed a nunnery of the Rila Monastery and an Early Christian temple from the 4th-5th century. You can visit it if you still have time.

Lavanda also has thematic rooms, even one that transforms into a cinema so that you can watch a movie with your friends while enjoying a glass of Bulgarian wine. The menu changes according to the seasonal ingredients. I recommend the tarator soup for starter and the lime cheesecake for dessert. Book a table on the balcony if you want to enjoy a romantic atmosphere that will remind you of old Vienna or Paris.

Day 2

Now that we are familiar with mekitsa we just can’t get enough of it so we head to Mekitsa & Coffee to have breakfast and find out in how many ways one can serve the traditional dish (jams, chocolate and nuts, ice cream, caramel and fruits, honey and walnuts, ham and even peanut butter or avocado). For those of you who like to eat healthy food – there are mekitsas with wholemeal flour with no added eggs and milk. You can also order buhti, smaller versions of mekitsa. If you’re there early you can sit at the long table near the window and watch people passing by.

City Break Sofia

If you’re craving for more coffee, head to Chucky’s Coffee House for one of the best coffees in Sofia. Now we are ready to dive into history by visiting two of the most representative museums: National Archaeological Museum and the Regional History Museum.

The National Archaeological Museum is situated in the centre of Sofia in a building that was once the largest and oldest Ottoman mosque in the city, completed in 1494. The museum stores a large number of items, divided in four sections: Prehistory Hall, Treasury, Main Hall and Medieval Section; some of them are threatened by damage due to the design of the building, which is characterised by high moisture levels during the summer season so hurry up before it’s not too late.

Next to the Museum you will see the Presidency building, where you might witness the changing of the guard. Step into the courtyard between the Presidency building and the Sheraton Hotel to see the Saint George Rotunda, which is considered the oldest preserved building in Sofia. The Rotunda is a part of a large complex of ancient buildings from the late 3rd and early 4th century. You can read more about its amazing history here.

Now we are really hungry so we go to Shtastlivetsa Vitosha Boulevard for a Bulgarian lunch:

City Break Sofia

or to Pastorant, the best Italian restaurant in Sofia (according to me):

If your energy level is good, then we are heading to the second museum on our list, the Sofia History Museum. The Museum is located in The Central Mineral Baths building, a landmark for the city known for the mineral springs in the area. It was built in the early 20th century near the former Turkish bath (then destroyed) and was used as the city’s public baths until 1986. My favourite part of the exhibition was the Royal Carriage.

Head back to the hotel to relax and get ready for dinner. You will need to make a reservation as both restaurants are popular with tourists. Ashurbanipal or L’etranger? The restaurants are very different but the food is sooo delicious.

Ashurbanipal looks like it’s closed from the outside and when you enter you might ask yourself if you are in the right place. The owner is also the chef and the waiter. You won’t have any menus, he will let you know what dishes are available but rest assured that there will also be vegetarian and vegan options. The salad and bread are complimentary and everything we tasted was delicious!

City Break Sofia

L’etranger is the typical French restaurant, fancy and romantic. If you are not the adventurer type, then the safe option is L’etranger. I loved the cosy atmosphere and the design of the location. The desserts here are some of the best in town, heads up for the lavender cheesecake and brandy flambated strawberries. Yum!

City Break Sofia

Day 3

This will be a long day as we are going to discover Serdica, a Thracian settlement that developed into modern Sofia. Breakfast calling! Our destination today is Hlebar, located in one of the nicest neighbourhoods, Oborishte. Before we get there, let’s have a walk on Oborishte street, one of the most pleasant streets in central Sofia, flanked by the large neo-classical residences of various foreign missions.

Hlebar has the best banitsa in town (a traditional Bulgarian pastry derived from an Anatolian recipe). You can also choose something else from their daily menu as they also serve omelettes, soups or salads made from fresh local products. Their bread is delicious, as in many other places in Sofia. You can try to combine the banitsa with boza, a malt drink made from maize (corn) and wheat or millet. The fermented beverage is popular in many countries from the Balkan Peninsula and the Caucasian region.

City Break Sofia

Close to Hlebar is one of the nicest parks in Sofia, Doctor’s Garden. We can have a walk in the park before stopping at the beautiful flower-shop nearby.

Don’t forget about the best specialty coffee shop in town: Dabov. They provide roasted coffee to a number of coffee places in Sofia (the list is short as the trend is just starting to become popular in Bulgaria) and if you head to their shop you can also drink perfectly brewed coffee on the spot (no snacks though).

Next destination: Serdica. Short historical summary (thanks Wiki): Serdica was possessed by Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great and later by the roman emperors Trajan and Diocletian. Constantine the Great called the city “my Rome” and was seriously thinking of moving the imperial capital to Serdica but Byzantium (Istanbul) subsequently won. During the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I the city was surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today.

The starting point for Ancient Serdica is the Nezavisimost (Independence) Square, which is surrounded by the Largo, an architectural ensemble of three Socialist Classicism edifices in central Sofia: the former Party House in the centre, and two side edifices. The Largo also once featured a statue of Vladimir Lenin, which was later removed and replaced by the one of St. Sophia in 2000.

City Break Sofia

A few years ago, a glass lid on the floor emerged in the centre of the Independence square, so that the ruins of the ancient Thracian and Roman city of Serdica could be exposed in an impressive way.

The two underpasses, the one in front of the former Party House and the one with the medieval Church of St Petka, contain the traces of the fortified walls of ancient Serdica and an original roman street. The paved main streets were leading to the city forum, which was situated under the present square Sveta Nedelya. Luxurious villas with sewerage, water-mains and paved streets were located in the region of Serdica subway station.

While you’re there, you can also visit the Square of Tolerance called after the four churches within few minutes walk of each other: a mosque, a catholic cathedral, an orthodox church and a synagogue. The temples of the 4 major religions in this part of the world are all functioning in the same square.

For lunch we have two options: Made in Blue or Soul Kitchen. Made in Blue is one of the most “instagrammable” places in Sofia which makes it a very popular place. You will need to book a table in advance if you don’t want to miss it out. If you book a table in the garden, don’t forget to also check the house before you leave. The menu contains an interesting worldwide selection.

Soul Kitchen is a great place for vegetarians and vegans. Everything is prepared and served with great care for details. It also has one of the nicest gardens in Sofia!

City Break Sofia

If you’re still up for walking you should head to Arena Di Serdica Hotel to see the remains of the Amphitheatre of Serdica. The Amphitheatre of Serdica hosted fights between gladiators and beasts and was considered the biggest in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and Bulgaria. You can read more here.

For a fancy night out you can choose between Sense Rooftop Bar and Jasmine Gastro Bar. The terrace at Sense Rooftop Bar offers you a 180-degree view on Sofia and some of its most emblematic buildings. The restaurant is on top of one of the most expensive hotels in Sofia, Sense, and it certainly lives up to its reputation.

Jasmine’s summer garden is perfect for a quiet dinner and the interior is equally inviting. The fact that it’s located on Rakovski Street, one of the main party streets in Sofia, makes Jasmine look like an oasis in the middle of the desert/noisy street. Their cocktail selection is amazing.

The night is young so you can sip a cocktail at Sputnik Bar, situated next to one of the best Bulgarian restaurants Rakia Raketa Bar. Their cocktail menu contains their own recipes but they also do “classics”.

Day 4

We cannot be productive on an empty stomach so we are going to have breakfast at Daro, a cosy place in the centre of Sofia where the Chef is one of the winners of Masterchef Bulgaria. It is also a good place for a quick brunch.

On our way to the most famous pedestrian street in Sofia we stop at Drekka for a matcha latte/coffee.

Vitosha Boulevard is the perfect place to relax on a Sunday afternoon while walking, listening to live music, admiring the Vitosha mountain (click here for Vitosha Mountain guide), watching people and why not, shopping?

If you feel like eating something sweet, there is a really nice place nearby where you can find the best sweets in town. It’s called Vila Rosiche, a beautiful house with a green garden in the middle of the town. You can also enjoy a cup of tea next to your cake and if you feel like you ate too much, you can take a walk in the National Palace of Culture Park nearby.

For lunch we have two options: the best burger place in town, Skaptobara, or the farm to table restaurant, Bagri. If you choose Skaptobara don’t forget to order the cheesy potatoes. They are delicious! Both locations offer a wide selection of Bulgarian craft beers + wines.

At Bagri, like in many places in Sofia, the menu is seasonal and changes accordingly. They have a sustainable approach as they want to offer the best taste by using healthy cooking techniques and supporting local, organic producers.

Last walk of the day will be towards the Ivan Vazov National Theatre and the beautiful City Garden, where many locals like to hang out. Ivan Vazov was a great personality of Bulgaria, often called the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Literature. You cannot miss the imposing Sofia Balkan Hotel, situated next to the park.

If you want to find out more about his life and legacy you can visit the Ivan Vazov House Museum that can be found in the vicinity of the theatre.

Now we need to get ready for dinner, as we have a reservation at Made in Home or Aubergine (it’s up to you, again). Made in Home is the elder brother of Made in Blue so you will enjoy it as much, if not even more. This might be the perfect place to relax on a Sunday evening and forget about all the worries in the world.

Aubergine offers an impressive selection of interesting dishes paired with local craft beer. As you might think, the main ingredient in their kitchen is the eggplant. The relaxed atmosphere sets the mood for a perfect romantic dinner.

Honorable mentions: Cosmos, Zoya & Sun Moon (Healthy Food), Moma Bulgarian Food & Wine

Bulgarian Street Art

Walks and Parks: Sofia’s main attractions are located in the city centre so everywhere you want to go you can arrive by foot. While walking around you can stop in the many small parks and admire the surroundings.

I hope that you have enjoyed my selection.

 

Later!


Ready, Steady, Summer!

Pomegranate: Hi Juice! What's up? Are you ready for Summer?

Juice: Hi Pom! I sure am! I've got my belly full with cherries, strawberries and raspberries and now I am waiting for the grapes to ripen!

Pomegranate: Haha, you're funny! I was not talking about food, I meant the other word that starts with F, Fashion!

Juice: Ah, ok! Kind of... I have switched to lighter fabrics and shorter versions but I am not sure that I have the right accessories. You know that the accessories are the most important items! They can make the outfit look better...or worse!

Pomegranate: You got that one right! I am crazy about this summer's accessories, so I might have some suggestions.

Pomegranate: First and foremost I am totally in love with the Jacquemus ginormous hat! And I am not the only one. A lot of insta-famous bloggers have already added it to their summer attire! The oversized hat trend though is in total contradiction with the mini bag also depicted in Simon Porte's SS'18 collection.

Pomegranate: In case you don't have a tiny pair of sunglasses in your collection, please add one asap. But do not invest too much in such a pair, as I am afraid that this trend will soon end its moment of glory.

Pomegranate: The materials used for this year's accessories are trying to bring us closer to nature through rattan, bamboo, raffia, jutta, net bags, belts or earrings. The bag in earthy shades of brown and nude is also a favourite for most designers (check out the versions from Loewe, Staud, Chloe, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney).

Pomegranate: The star bag of this season is the round shaped one. I find it very practical and easy to adapt to any look. I am also a fan of the other geometric sculptured bags: square, pentagon or triangle. Also trending are the net bags, beaded bags, see through bags, logo bags, shopping bags and basket bags. I am ending the bag list with one of my favourite, the colour block, cartoon-esque, embellished bags inspired by the ones seen at D&G, Gucci and Prada.

Pomegranate: In terms of shoes I have at least two interesting suggestions. The transparent PVC shoes and the ugly sneakers. I am into the sneakers seen at Prada and Louis Vuitton. You can find budget friendly versions at Adidas or Nike Airmax. As for the transparent trend, you can either opt for a long version, but only on chilly summer evenings, or a short one a la Balmain. I am also digging the transparent heels from Prabal Gurung or Mango and the mules from Aquazuarra, Jimmy Choo, Prada and Manolo Blahnik.

Pomegranate: Earrings News-Flash: the oversized trend is going strong. I am obsessed with the pearl spiral version seen at Y/Project. I am also a fan of some other versions: golden earrings seen at Versace, the tropical vibes at Dolce and Gabbana, the mismatched earrings (see YSL), transparent earrings (see Chanel), geometrical shaped (see Roksanda, Isabel Marant, Missoni) & all time favourite hanging chandeliers (see YSL, D&G).

Pomegranate: Last but not least, don't forget to cover your head! Trending are not only straw hats and pastel caps (see Versace), but also turbans, casques (see Prada, Chanel), cowboy & fisherman hats (see Versace), and berets (see Dior). My personal favourite is the visor hat! J'adior the visor!

Pomegranate: Enjoy your Summer!

Juice: Right on!


traditional romanian flat donuts

Turtișoare - Traditional Romanian Flat Donuts & More

Traditional Romanian Flat Donuts

While I was discovering the city of Sofia and the Bulgarian cuisine, I was surprised to find out that one of my childhood favourite breakfast was considered a local treat. Its name is “mekitsa” and according to Wikipedia, it’s a “traditional Bulgarian dish made of kneaded dough made with yogurt that is deep fried. In Serbia they are called mekike. They are similar to Hungarian lángos and British Yorkshire pudding.”

All this time I thought that this was a Romanian breakfast, typical for the region where my grandma was born and raised. But the fact that the border with Bulgaria is only 50 km away makes me believe that the recipe might have been spread along the Danube by our ancestors. Maybe that is why it is similar in Bulgaria, Serbia and the Romanian Plain.

The small difference in the recipe is that my Grandmother does not use yoghurt, but milk, yeast and bread soda, and when she wants to make them extra fluffy she dips them in pork fat. I have a lot of beautiful childhood memories related to this morning treat so I could not leave things as they were after I read online that it’s a Bulgarian recipe. I said to myself that when I come back, I will ask my Grandma to cook them for us and I will share the event online. So I did, but as they were feasting she used the “light” recipe which includes yeast, flour, water and salt, and dipped them in sunflower oil. They were equally tasty as she uses flour and sunflower oil from their yearly production. My favourite thing when I was a little girl was to have one as soon as my Grandma got it out of the pan and eat it before everyone had the chance to taste them. In my opinion, that was the tastiest donut from the bunch! Later, we would all sit around the table and serve them with cheese. When they were cold, I loved adding plum marmalade on top.

We were a little bit late so I did not catch on camera the moment when the ingredients were added and the dough was created, but my Grandma promised to use the classic recipe the next time (eggs, milk and all) and we’ll have an end to end Romanian flat donut guide directly from her. We’ll see if there will be any difference in shape and colour comparing them to these ones.

Our family brunch could not be complete without dessert so we went into the garden and picked sweet and sour cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apricots,  and cherry plums. My Grandma does not have any idea of what a brunch is but I am sure that she was happy to have us there and share the goodies with us.

traditional romanian flat donuts


anse source d'argent

Travel Journal Anse Source D'Argent

One of the most common questions after having visited a high profile tourist attraction is “Did it live up to the expectations?”. The answer should be “It depends on what sort of expectations you have created.”. It is best that when creating expectations about something (place/event/person), to have in mind that there are external factors which cannot be controlled e.g.: the weather, someone’s mood or attitude, the general setting, etc. It should all depend on what type of experience you set your mind upon having and stick to it.

My false fear concerning Anse Source D’Argent was that of the beach not looking like in the photoshopped desktop picture that I had on my PC when I was in high-school. So I tried to erase that image from my mind and think of it as one of the must see beaches in Seychelles.

As you probably know, the beach is located on La Digue, one of the 115 islands belonging to Seychelles. You can reach it by ferry following the route Mahe – Praslin (change the ferry) – La Digue. Ride your way towards L’union Estate Farm, pay the 100 SCR entrance fee and continue your tour through the beautiful park enjoying the coconut and vanilla plantations.

Don’t forget to stop and admire the mountain formed over 75 million years ago by the magma from the active volcano, and the Aldabra giant land tortoises near the granite boulders. Secure your bike at the marked parking spot and start walking along the one km long Source D’Argent shoreline.

So how was it? The walk through the surreal granite boulders, add coconut trees and turquoise water, was unlike any other things that I had experienced. It was that sort of experience that you want to lock in a box and treasure it the rest of your life.

The Fruita Cabana bar in front of the Source D’argent snorkelling place was the cherry on top of this whole experience. We have enjoyed one of the most refreshing and tasty cocktails while watching the beautiful bay.

We went late in the afternoon and caught the high tide, but we managed to catch a glimpse of the sunset.

The view was amazing either way, so we could not stop taking pictures. We really wanted to come back early in the morning the next day, but the access was possible starting 8 am, which was too late for what we had in plan of doing the next day. To be continued in a future post. 🙂

anse source d’argent


nunta regala

12 + 1 Tinute demne de o Nunta Regala inspirate din povestile Disney

After the show it’s the afterparty

 

Cine nu și-ar dori să participe la petrecerea cele mai așteptate nunți a anului 2018? Vestea logodnei prințului Harry al Marii Britanii cu actrița Meghan Markle a înconjurat lumea cu viteza sunetului și a dat speranțe celor mai mari case de modă că îi vor putea crea ținute demne de o prințesă viitoarei mirese.

Nunțile regale fascinează și încântă întreaga populație a globului de secole. Poate că cel mai mult ne încântă asocierea lor cu basmele și poveștile pe care ni le citeau părinții înainte de culcare, sau cea cu desenele animate Disney pe care le vizionăm și acum cu aceeași candoare. Regii, reginele, prinții și prințesele sunt personaje de poveste, pe care le privim cu admirație și entuziasm, și de cele mai mult ori, la care doar putem visa. Pentru că fiecare copil iși dorește ca atunci când va fi mare să își găsească prințul sau prințesa.

Cu ocazia nunții regale iți propun un exercițiu de imaginație. Cum ar fi să te numeri printre norocoșii invitați la petrecerea restrânsă de după ceremonie? Ce ținută ai alege dacă nu ai avea un dress code de respectat? Ai îndrăzni să ieși din zona de confort și ai alege o ținută extravagantă? Sau ai alege mai degrabă branduri recunoscute pentru simplitatea și eleganța modelelor?

P.S. Am descoperit recent că cei de la Disney Paris organizează și nunți. Așa că visul vostru de a avea o nuntă ca în basme se poate transforma în realitate!

Albă ca Zăpada

Simplitatea și frumusețea Albei ca Zăpada se regăsesc în orice creație Chanel.

Jasmine

O salopetă strălucitoare Halpern care să reflecte (la propriu și la figurat) personalitatea efervescentă a prințesei Jasmine.

Cenușăreasa

nunta regala

Cenușăreasa este o luptătoare prin prisma faptului că trebuie să facă față cerințelor absurde și comentariilor răutăcioase ale mamei și surorilor vitrege. Jacheta rock reprezintă armura care o protejează de ele.

Aurora

Eleganța prințesei Aurora nu poate fi transpusă mai bine decât printr-un design semnat Ralph and Russo.

Belle

Rochia purtată de Belle la primul ‘date night’ cu Bestia este considerată una dintre cele mai frumoase rochii din istoria Disney. Creația Maticevski din imagine este omagiul perfect adus acestui moment.

Ariel

Rochia cu umerii goi este reprezentativă pentru Ariel și personalitatea ei. Nuanțele de albastru marin din partea de jos a creației Givenchy fac trecerea dintre spațiul marin și cel terestru, așa cum a ales și Ariel să renunțe la statutul de sirenă în favorea celui de pământean.

Dacă rochia Givenchy este reprezentativă pentru viața marină a lui Ariel, atunci costumul Dolce and Gabbana este mai potrivit etapei de adaptare la viața terestră. Nasturii în formă de stea de mare sunt un reminder al originii oceanice.

Tiana

Culoarea reprezentativă a poveștii Tianei este verde, o culoare care ne teleportează în mijlocul naturii. Creația Dolce and Gabbana este perfectă pentru un ‘garden wedding’.

Rapunzel

Pentru Rapunzel, pădurea reprezintă nu numai locul care îi amintește de copilărie, ci și spațiul în care se retrage când are nevoie să se încarce cu energie. Richard Quinn este designerul pe care stă cu ochii chiar și regina Elisabeta, așa că alegerea unui design din cea mai recentă colecție a sa ar fi una inspirată.

Elsa

Superputerea prințesei Elsa constă în abilitatea de a controla zăpada și gheața. La început acest dar se dovedește a fi o provocare, însă pe parcurs ea ajunge să își controleze sentimentele și, prin intermediul lor, superputerea. Culoarea rochiei Talbot Runhof este cea a ghețarilor de la Polul Nord, iar volanul stropit cu roz pe margini și căzut delicat pe umeri este ‘Elsa-worthy’.

Pocahontas

Pocahontas este un spirit liber, cu voință puternică. O rochie lejeră, în culori pastel Roksanda Ilincic este cea mai potrivită alegere pentru o astfel de personalitate.

nunta regala

Mulan

Deși se înscrie în lupta cu armata hunilor mânată de instinct, Mulan este o fată sensibilă și grațioasă. Dragostea pentru familie și semeni îi dă curaj și o înzestrează cu puteri nebănuite. În feng shui, galbenul este culoarea soarelui care aduce lumină în viețile oamenilor, așa cum a făcut-o și Mulan.

Merida

Merida este o prințesă războinică dar și o iubitoare a naturii. Rochia verde, cu motive tradiționale, creată de Peter Dundas ar putea fi și alegerea ei.

nunta regala

Photos via Vogue Runway


summer festival season

Dear Summer Festival Season

Dear Summer,

 

This is not one of the thousands of love letters that you receive daily. I was pretty worried in the last few weeks. I thought that you were never going to come back and visit us. I started wondering if I did something wrong last time we talked. Maybe I stayed up too long and lost time listening to my favourite bands. It’s true that I tend to lose track of time when I attend a festival, but can you blame me for trying to make the most and the best of the short time that I have with you?

Perhaps I ate too many of your fruits! I am sorry that I did not share the strawberries and cherries with my other colleagues. It’s just that I cannot stop eating them once I feel their taste in my mouth. You know that nothing compares with the taste of the fresh strawberries from my grandparents’ garden! You’ve also tried them. So this cannot be the reason.

I know! It’s because I had lain too much in the Sun, when you warned me that it’s dangerous. You asked me to go to the beach early in the morning or late in the afternoon and I stayed all day. Sorry but once I get on the beach, I cannot leave until the Sun sets. And no, you cannot blame me for eating too much gelato. I saw you eating all the passion fruit and mango buckets last year.

I even tried to visit you in your residential park back in April but you were so busy with your work that you did not have time to receive me. I must admit that I enjoyed spending time in your residential area but I don’t think that I would be able to live there. So I perfectly understand that you want to travel around the world. I know that you only have time to visit us for 3 months but I really wish that you would stay longer. So please come back soon, so we can have a proper conversation.

Yours truly,

Pomegranate Juice

 

P.S: I love you


matching sets

Game, Set, Matching Sets

Please view this page on a desktop display for the best experience

Pomegranate: Hey Juice! What have you been up to lately? I haven't heard anything from you for a while.

Juice: Howdy Pom! I have taken some time off. It was somehow unexpected so I did not have time to inform anyone around me. How are you?

Pomegranate: Good for you! I love time-offs, especially during spring. It's a fun way to anticipate summer activities. I have been involved in some projects that made me keep a low profile. But now I am looking forward to the summer events, festivals and sports competitions included! I am a huge fan of the Roland Garros tennis tournament. I have always associated it with summer and eating cherries. Do you also enjoy watching tennis?

Juice: Yes, of course! I used to play tennis when I was a kid. My favourite back then was Pete Sampras, but now I think that Rafael Nadal is the master of the clay!

Pomegranate: I could not agree more! I am also thinking of updating my wardrobe with some festival outfits. Good vibes attached. 

Juice: I might have an interesting suggestion! I know that it's usually the other way round but during my recent trip I have developed an affinity for matching sets. I think that they are the perfect holiday must pack items. I mean if you want to travel light when you are on a two weeks holiday you can pack three matching sets in similar colours and you are ready to go!

Pomegranate: Great idea! I actually love matching sets and I have seen some interesting ones in the most recent collections. But don't you think that you might get bored of combining the sets in your holiday?

Juice: Now that you mention it, I think that the risk is high.  You are right, as usual. What do you suggest adding to the light pack if I want to keep the matching sets?

Pomegranate: Keep the matching sets and add some basics like a pair of short jeans, a white/black top and a slip dress that will save you when you want to feel all dressed up. Oh and let's not forget this season's latest obsession, the jumpsuit! You need to add it to your wardrobe asap!

Juice: Thanks for the tips. I will scan the latest collections to see if I can find a suitable jumpsuit . Do you think that jumpsuits look good on all body types?

Pomegranate: It's easier if you choose a simple wide leg jumpsuit. Do not go for prints or slim fits if you are not feeling comfortable or confident wearing them. Remember that nothing is forbidden in fashion, it's all about the right attitude!

Juice’s Choice:


Ce să porți la un interviu?

Un interviu se poate transforma într-o întâlnire solicitantă chiar și pentru cele mai bine pregătite persoane. Cu atât mai mult dacă este pentru acel “dream job”. La fel ca în competițiile sportive, nu trebuie să punctezi doar la proba tehnică ci și la cea artistică, prin carismă și personalitate. Prima impresie este foarte importantă, așa că trebuie să acorzi atenție sporită ținutei.

Este necesar să te simți confortabil în hainele pe care le-ai ales, astfel încât să transmiți în același timp încredere și relaxare.

Hainele trebuie să te reprezinte, mărimea să fie potrivită, iar încălțămintea nu trebuie să te strângă sau să iți fie incomodă (ex.: dacă nu îți place să porți tocuri, nu este momentul să faci experimente). Dar cum reușești să porți ceva care să te distingă de restul candidaților?

Înlocuiește combinația fustă creion/pantaloni țigaretă și cămașă cu o fustă care se prinde în jurul taliei și o bluză cu imprimeu. Îndrăznește să combini imprimeurile!

Dacă preferi varianta fustă creion/pantaloni țigaretă și cămașă, optează pentru un look grafic inspirat din colecția Balenciaga.

Costumul clasic negru/gri poate fi înlocuit de unul cu imprimeu sau unul în culori pastelate. Accesorizează-l cu o geantă care se leagă în jurul șoldului.

Păstrează rochia office pentru ședințele de la birou și alege să porți la interviu o rochie sacou, cea mai recentă obsesie a deignerilor.

În zilele răcoroase, alege să porți obiectul vestimentar preferat al Victoriei Beckham, fusta plisată. Combin-o cu o maletă sau o cămașă simplă și subliniază-ți talia cu ajutorul unei curele.

Dacă ești curajoasă și îți place să îți asumi riscuri, alege sa porți o salopetă împreună cu o maletă sau o cămașă albă.

Vara, optează pentru o pereche de pantaloni culottes și o bluză vaporoasă sau un sacou in stil kimono.

Dacă pantalonii culottes nu sunt în topul preferințelor tale, încearcă aceeași combinație cu o pereche de pantaloni palazzo.

Când interviul nu se desfășoară la birou, și este mai degrabă o întâlnire într-un mediu relaxat, poartă rochia preferată (midi cu imprimeu floral 🙂 ) cu o jachetă bomber din satin.

Atenție următoarea combinație se adresează victimelor modei! 🙂

Așadar, dacă iubești moda și vrei ca cei pentru care vei lucra să știe asta de la prima vedere, combină imprimeurile în carouri având ca sursă de inspirație ultimele colecții Burberry.


sustainable fashion

Sustainable Fashion: Truth or Dare?

Sustainable Fashion – Truth or Dare?

Sustainability in fashion is a pretty difficult subject to handle. For that matter I am still not sure if the terms are compatible. I am not even sure if I am entitled to approach this subject. It is something that I want to read more about and apply it on my personal choices.

Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It is not the first nor the second, but using the resources from the most polluting ones as electricity, heat and agriculture makes it a top offender. Starting with the production of the raw materials, continuing with manufacturing and shipping and ending with the disposal of the clothing item, the fashion’s industry end to end process can have a big impact on the environment.

What the fashion companies need to do: ‘Innovate or die’. This might sound tough but as the climate issue is one of the most hyped subjects of the moment, consumers start to be more aware of the impact that this industry has on the planet. In 2017, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit together with the Boston Consulting Group created The Pulse of the Fashion Industry Report. The highlights of the report, as presented on their website and inside the pages are the below:

As of today, the sustainability ``pulse`` of the industry is weak – scoring only 32 out of 100. Company size, far more than price positioning, correlates with a higher Pulse Score: most large fashion brands show progress, but the great mass of small to midsize firms representing around half of the market—a blind spot in the industry—have done little to 
improve their impact.

Apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63%, to 102 million tons in 2030, increasing 
the need for the fashion industry to address its environmental and social footprint. If the global population rises as expected to 8.5 billion people by 2030, the overall apparel consumption will rise by 63%, an equivalent of more than 500 billion T-shirts.

Today, humankind produces 2.1 billion tons of waste per year. In terms of annual ecological footprint, the world’s population already produces more than 1.6 times what the earth can absorb in the same timeframe. Assuming today’s current solid waste during production and at end-of-use, the industry’s waste will increase by about 60% between 2015 and 2030. The vast majority of clothing waste ends up in landfills or is incinerated; globally, only 20% of clothing is collected for reuse or recycling.

In many Asian nations, the sector’s minimum wages are less than half of what can be considered a living wage. The gaps between minimum wages and living wages are equally staggering in Eastern Europe and Turkey. This issue is heightened with the many factories that fail to comply with their countries’ minimum wage laws.

For example, in major textile manufacturing countries like India, the level of noncompliance reaches 51%. If there is no systematic, concerted push to respond to those realities, more than one-third of workers in the sector globally are projected to be paid less than the minimum wage by 2030.

Did you know that cotton, even organic cotton, is not that environmentally friendly as you might think? The “thirsty, little plant”, consumes more than its share of water, therefore has a great impact on water consumption. What is happening with the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, the 6th cotton producer in the world, is an extreme example of the impact that excessive cotton farming has on the environment.

During the 60’s two of its main rivers, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, were diverted from their main course in order to transform the arid soil into a fertile one for agricultural purposes (cotton farming being one of them). The result was the drying of the Aral Sea, which affected not only the fishing communities from the area, but also the weather by making the region’s winters much colder and summers hotter and drier. Excessive cotton farming is also affecting Pakistan (Indus river), China, India, USA and Australia.

Some companies are interpreting the eco-friendly trend in a wrong way. Due to the fact that the demand for clothing is higher, they are buying unused plastic bottles, which they can recycle into polyester, a ‘greener option’ when compared to nylon or polyester made from petrochemicals. Let’s stick to recycling used plastic, guys. 🙂

Cool websites where I have found useful information concerning the subject: Ecocult, Ecowatch, Copenhagen Fashion Summit

What we can do:

  • Invest in quality garments that have a clean background and that last longer;

  • Try sticking to the shapes and colours that fit you best. Do not order something that you are not sure of. e.g. not sure if the colour suits you, or the shape is good for your body type. I support changes in styling, but it’s best to try the new product in stores;

  • Support the fashion companies that are going eco-friendly, by investing in their pieces, even if they are more expensive.

The good news is that some companies are taking action concerning sustainability: high-end brands such as Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney, fast fashion retailers Zara, H&M – Conscious Division, Mango – Committed Division, or the Jeans Guru – Levi’s. The annual Global Change Award, initiated by the non-profit H&M Foundation, wants to protect the planet and living conditions by helping start-up companies that offer eco friendly textile alternatives. This year the 1 million prize went to five different companies:

  • Crop-A-Porter/Agraloop €300,000 -> Making sustainable bio-textiles by using left-overs from food crop harvests.

  • The Regenerator/Swerea €250,000Separating cotton and polyester blends, turning them into new textile fiber.

  • Algae Apparel/Algalife €150,000 -> Turning algae into bio-fiber and eco-friendly dye that is also good for the skin.

  • Smart Stitch/Resortecs €150,000 -> A dissolvable thread that makes repairing and recycling a breeze.

  • Fungi Fashion/MycoTEX €150,000 -> Custom-made clothes made from decomposable mushroom roots.

What I can do:

More research on eco-friendly materials and fashion companies;

Invest in high quality pieces that can be re-worn in different situations and seasons;

Discover, highlight and invest in companies with environmentally friendly actions and charitable campaigns.

As much as I enjoy discovering seasonal trends in fashion, I do not want to be just a consumer. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, I love nature and appreciate everything that she’s constantly sharing with us. I want to be able to make smart choices. I know that it’s difficult to resist temptations, but step by step we can change the consumer behaviour. The companies will have no choice than to listen to us.

To end with, I want to highlight some brands that are having such initiatives, by sharing their vision, as stated in their about section.

Reformation – Fabric is the magic. We make our pieces from super sustainable materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. As we grow, our goal is to push harder to create more sustainable fabric options.

Re/Done– RE/DONE is a movement – a movement to restore individuality to the luxury fashion space, a movement to keep heritage brands relevant, and a movement to create sustainable fashion. We take the vintage denim apart at the seams, repurposing it as the fabric of our new jeans. We are proud to manufacture our jeans in Downtown Los Angeles using water conserving methods and no harsh chemicals. Quantities will always be limited since each pair is handpicked, hand cut, and distinctly one of a kind.

Amur – A clothing collection created in New York City that was born from the concept that great style does not have to come at the expense of our environment—and that design can strike a balance between beauty and good intentions. It’s an approach that’s woven into our very name: A Mindful Use of Resources.

Edun – Sustainability is the crux of our values; a reason to exist that is both ethical and responsible. The majority of our collections are sourced from mills that minimise their impact on the environment, with organic, recyclable or biodegradable qualities but also with water conservation, usage of solar energy or less pesticides. This aids in having a less harmful impact on the planet. Being a sustainable-forward company means working with new and evolving materials, challenging traditional ideas but also investing in quality.

Bonus: Sezane, for the ‘Demain action’ – The call to action arrived in 2017 with the T-shirt La Femme, which helped us raise over 150 000 euros for UN Women. And then my encounter with Martine Brousse, President of La Voix de L’Enfant. More than ever, I choose to keep Sézane on this path and to carry the commitment personally: with our daily program for children DEMAIN, which aims to raise 1 000 000 euros per year to improve access to culture and education.


vacanta in puglia

Travel in Fashion - Puglia & Cult Gaia

You can check my comprehensive guide to Puglia in my other article!

Travel in fashion – Puglia & Cult Gaia, is the first part of a series that will combine uprising brands with ‘hot’ travel destinations. Before I started writing this series, I was thinking that it would be nice to share with you information about interesting brands from all over the world that I had came across.

But soon afterwards I realised that nowadays it is a pretty difficult task for one to share new information concerning anything, because everything is just one click away, thanks to the internet. So I want to make it more interesting by associating the “newfoundbrand” with a travel destination.

Cult Gaia

I have chosen the L.A. based brand because ever since I found out about it I could not help imagining how all the bags and clothing items would fit in a Puglian landscape, more exactly a Puglian Masseria. Seeing them, I remembered about our holiday in the aforementioned region of Italy, when we were lucky enough to stay for three nights at Masseria Corte Degli Asini (Link). At first I was not sure if I wanted to give up on the comfort provided by a hotel or something similar, but when I started reading more about the italian ‘Masseria’, I regretted that we could not stay there more. FYI, a masseria is a restored farmhouse from Puglia, similar to a “hacienda”. You can find more information here: Link

Tip 1: If you want to spend your holiday in the northern part of Puglia, you should choose an accommodation with a swimming pool, as the shores are pretty rocky and if you are visiting in July-August, the small beaches will be over-crowded like you’ve never seen before.

Tip 2: If you are looking for an over the top accommodation, I recommend a stay at the magnificent Borgo Egnazia: Link

Masseria Corte degli Asini (Link) has the perfect combination for a traditional Puglian experience: amazing architecture and furnishings, a beautiful swimming pool; a delectable green garden; an inside garden where you can organise events like engagement/birthday parties, weddings, special celebrations; free bikes that you can ride through their olive trees plantations, etc.

You can also have access to a typical Puglian culinary feast, if you let them know beforehand that you will serve the meal at the Masseria. Beware that there will be a lot of delicious food involved! Breakfast is served in the refurnished old mill where the assinelli were putting the wheels in motion in order to turn olives into oil. Also, if the sky is clear you can see the Adriatic Sea in the distance.

Masseria Corte Degli Asini is a great base for exploring the surrounding attractions such as: Alberobello (Trulli Land), Martina Franca, Cisternino, Locorotondo or Ostuni (the White City from the top of the hill, a real gem for any tourist. If you want to have dinner in any of its beautiful restaurants, you need to make a reservation a few days ahead.). Also, Masseria Corte Degli Asini is situated 8 km from the sea, and the beautiful beach of Rosa Marina.

Let’s talk about Cult Gaia. I think that there is no better way to describe them than what is written at their “About” section: Cult Gaia designs beautiful heirloom items that will live in your closet forever. I look up to the fashion brands that have a clear vision on what they want to create.

Cult Gaia rose to fame in 2016 by creating an item that was instantly hunted by almost everyone in the fashion world, the Ark bag. Priced at 128$, the bag was considered an affordable luxury item, so it became an instant hit. The next year, the bag was reinvented by switching from bamboo to acrylic. Their ready to wear collection is pretty new, dating from spring 2017.

The items that really caught my eye were the most recent ones from spring 2018 and some from the fall 2017. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of something beautiful and that their collections will get better and better each season.

N.B.: I am not sure if the shooting of the most recent Cult Gaia collection took place in Italy, but the background resembles an Italian farmhouse.

Finally, why associate Cult Gaia with a Puglian Masseria?

1. The earthy colours resemble the rich brown and red soil found in the region;

2. The orange and yellow items remind you of the warm rays of sun that embrace the rough shores;

3. The navy pieces are perfect for exploring the sea and its secret coves;

4. The green combinations not only remind you of the magnificent olive trees plantations, but are the perfect outfits for a romantic dinner by the sea.

5. The rattan accessories (bags, bracelets, earrings) set the mood for the beautiful sand and stone painted Masseria setting.

So, if you are thinking of visiting Puglia anytime soon, any of these items will get along harmoniously with the surroundings.


lavender

More Lavender, Please

They say that Scorpios tend to be obsessive. I reckon that it’s true; mostly when it comes to fashion. Each season, based on the current trends, mood-boards and personal intuition I obsess on a colour.

Last summer it was shades of green, this summer will be lavender and shades of purple. I admit that one of lavender’s cousins, lilac, has always been a favourite of mine, as I was growing up in my grandparents garden. They usually sprung around Easter, so I have always associated them with that time of the year.

Another flower, the iris, is also a personal favourite. Too bad that once you cut them, they won’t last. By the way, look at the iris to see what a beautiful combination purple and yellow make.

Speaking of interesting combinations, did you ever try to combine purple and red? You would be surprised of the visual effect that they have, when worn together. Same goes for green and purple. Also, combinations of lavender and pink, purple and fuchsia, or turquoise and purple create a classy attire.

Let’s not forget about fields of  sweet violets or hyacinths in the spring, or endless fields of lavender in the summer. They will not only make the perfect background for your perfect shot, but also seduce you with their scent.

Last but not least, ultra violet has been chosen the colour of the year for 2018 by Pantone, so if you did not have enough reasons to give it a try, maybe this argument will convince you.

My top choices for SS’18 are the silver – lavender reflections slip dress from Ralph Lauren, the lavender top from Reformation, the metallic asymmetrical dress from Alexandre Vauthier, the floral dress from Ulla Johnson, and the oversized dress from Rosie Assoulin.

P.S.: I actually also love all the Reformation dresses, but that goes for all colours and shapes.

More reasons to choose lavender:


Good things are happening in Oradea - Sightseeing

Sightseeing

Note: Check the attached link for further information regarding the mentioned sights and places to visit.

 

Go directly to Restaurants and Cafes: Link

The city center palace: Black Eagle Palace

Located in Unirii Square, the Black Eagle Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Oradea and a proper example of the Oradea architectural Secession style. Besides its beautiful exterior, the palace is known for its stained glass designs, one of them representing the Black Eagle.


The Episcopal Palace and its Church

Also known as the Baroque Palace, the building is a great example of the late Austrian Baroque style. We went there thinking that we were going to visit the Crisul County Museum, but we found out at the entrance that the museum had moved to a different building and that we could not visit the interiors at all. Hopefully the owners of this wonderful construction will take care of it and give us the chance to visit it in the future.


The museum: Crisul County Museum

The “Museum of the Three Rivers Land” had recently moved to a different location (The School for Cadets), so we were not able to see all of its exhibits (available: tapestry, sculpture and paintings). We will probably return during our next visit as the description of the entire collection seems impressive.


The City Hall Tower

This is a must see, if you want to have the best view of the main square and the Crisul Repede river.  There are a few steps to climb, but the view at the top should be worth it.


The Old Fortress

The Oradea Fortress is one of the historically most significant buildings in the whole country. It has been attentively restored and it now holds several events and fairs, one of the most important being the Christmas Fair. Inside its walls you can also find a hotel and a nice Bistro, called BastiOr.


The Moon Church is one of the main attractions in Unirii Square. Its name derives from the moon installed on its facade, that indicates the moon phases. You can read more about this interesting mechanism and the church here.


The Neolog Synagogue ‘Zion’

 

Dating back to 1878, the Zion Synagogue is a beautiful example of a Neolog Temple. It will surely impress you with its colourful ceilings and and walls. The light slips gently through the windows only to reflect elegantly on the walls.


Mushroom Hill/Dealul Ciuperca

 

Also known as “Oradi(e)a’s Hill”, this is the best place to watch the sunrise/sunset, if you are a romantic at heart. The view from the top will emphasise the beauty and tranquility of the town. Bonus: you can also have a romantic dinner at the restaurant from the top of the hill.


Must try local food: Langos

Places worth visiting: Darvas-La Roche House, closed for renovation until 2019.

Noteworthy buildings: Astoria Hotel (Sztarill Palace), Oradea State Theatre, Moskvits Palace

Go directly to Restaurants and Cafes: Link