Tag Archives: vacation

Healthy Chai Tea: One of My Biggest Joys in Life

Chai is a great coffee substitute. From the moment I had my first chai at the young age of around 9, I was smitten.

Unlike coffee, chai has many inherently beneficial properties. The black tea in chai is rich in antioxidants and the spices in chai have been used for thousands of years to promote general health and well-being, as well as to treat various ailments.

According to Ayurvedic (Ancient Indian) philosophy and medicine, these spices are considered to be “sattvic,” or calming, vitalizing and mentally clarifying – The perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life!

Here is why:

Cinnamon is thought to increase circulation and open breathing, increase awareness and vitality, and reduce fatigue. It is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac! (Hubba hubba!)

Cardamom
A popular spice in both the Indian and Chinese preparations, cardamom is said to benefit the lungs, kidneys, and heart. It is also a mood elevator.

Clove
Native to the spice islands of Indonesia, cloves have been used by the Chinese since 300 BC, and came to Europe in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD. Cloves have pain-relieving and antiseptic attributes. Like pepper and ginger, clove is also used to synergistically increase the potency of other herbal blends.

Black Pepper
Widely used to support circulation and metabolism, black pepper can help to alleviate chronic coldness. (We can use more of that here in Paris, in the winter!)

Nutmeg
Nutmeg has been used for centuries to ease sciatica and promote the digestion of heavy foods. It was also used by ancient Arab physicians to treat kidney and lymph problems.

Chinese Star Anise
Traditional Asian herbalists credit star anise with a variety of properties. It’s used frequently as a cough remedy and to freshen the breath.

Ginger
Long valued as a stimulant for the circulatory and the immune systems, ginger has been used to treat such disparate conditions as impotence and motion sickness. I’m mad about ginger. Read my post here.

Fennel
An important medicinal plant in the royal herb gardens of medieval France and Germany, fennel is still widely used to treat both kidney and ocular problems, as well as laryngitis.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You want a chai latté? Please do not, for the love of the human race, go drink them at Starbucks. Not only are they expensive, but the milk is genetically modified, and it isn’t real chai. It’s concentrated sugar with favour added. This is not chai. What you need is a saucepan, good organic fresh milk (unlike what is easily found here in France) and a good chai mix. You boil everything up together in the milk and strain it after a few minutes of simmering.

I will soon post my own chai recipe. I hope you love and it gets you through the winter time. I certainly need it!

I am also going to attempt chai shortbread. Om nom nom.

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1 Year Anniversary of our PACS love in France

One year ago J and I signed a piece of French paper to declare us a couple under French law. We had an afternoon tea and champagne gathering to celebrate. Check out these absolutely gorgeous cakes, what a spread!

When we tie the knot one day it will be even bigger and better. I’m thinking in a garden somewhere in Australia. With lots of flowers. Yes I’m a dreamer.

J sporting his moustache. He is so dapper.

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Oh La La Livia’s Weekend

J’s best friend got hitched on Saturday. It was a lovely day, and everybody had a good dance and laugh. After all that champagne I’m excited to get back into my healthy routine with kale this week and lots of Supergreens.

Winter is nearly here so I am starting to adjust our diet. It’s important to have warming slow-cooked foods that are easy to digest and soups, avoiding too many raw vegetables especially at night time.

I’ve been enjoying lots of salmon and avocado lately. Must be craving my Omega 3′s!

How do you get ready for Winter?

I wish you all a beautiful Monday and a lovely week! xx

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How Do You Do Your Cheese Platter?

Living in France, cheese does play a big role in everyday life. I go through phases where I love it and hate it. At the moment I’m going through a stage where I still am crazy about the stuff,  but not at night time. I like a bit of fruit with it to break it up, and I always make sure I have a soft goat’s cheese.

How do you do yours?

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Fairydust and Dark Chocolate Cupcakes to Celebrate a Birthday

My homegirl Em got a year older yesterday so I made special cupcakes to make her feel special.

What do you think? Pretty cute, huh.

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Central Market Hall (Nagy Vasarcsarnok) in Budapest

As I found out later, this market was designed by Monsieur Gustav Eiffel himself. It almost felt like a train station inside. J and I were getting a tad sick of the pork sausages (cringe) and desided to embark on a vegetable hunt. This is what we found:
(please note the lack of vegetables)

Chilli is one of the national foods in Hungary, and I just found these strings of chilli stunning.

Even though they don’t give me the slightest desire to eat them, they are very photogenic those little pork sausages.

What is your favourite cuisine?

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The Beginnings of Cleopatra’s Bling.

I am thrilled to announce the birth of Cleopatra’s Bling.  For a while now I have been thinking about bringing together the best of all my traveling and the beauties of the places I visit in starting a small online e-boutique.

I can now offer you the best of these worlds; jewelry inspired by the gorgeous women in Turkey and India.

All my pieces come from the local artisans. I have met the families that craft these pieces, they are all unique, thought up by the locals. I have seen them make the pieces, and there are no underpaid workers involved, they are families.

Here are a few examples of what I sourced on my last trip to Istanbul.

For all details and the whole collection, click here and here and here.

Oh, and to help me get started feel free to share my links with your friends and loved ones ♥

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Day 7: My Adventures in Istanbul

Day 7 was the last day for sunshine and beach before coming back to Paris. Our friends took us to a beach and we watched the interesting people, quaint boats and striking colours.

It’s so great to catch some last minute sun before coming back to the routine of work. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to be back now!

This Turkish pop song was played everywhere when I was in Istanbul.

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Day 6: My Adventures in Istanbul

Day 6 was a lazy day of wandering and observing. Below you can see the Turkish evil eye set in concrete. It is designed to protect you. Like Ganesha in India I am guessing.

What I would do for a plate of this right now…

In Istanbul there are cats everywhere. They keep the rat problem under wraps, and give the city a friendly atmosphere.

A Gypsy busker family.

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Day 5: My Adventures in Istanbul

The architecture of Istanbul makes for most of its charm. The architecture in this magnificent city depicts a large mixture of structures which reflect the many influences that have made an indelible mark in all districts of the city. The ancient part of the city (the historic peninsula) is still partially surrounded by the Walls of Constantinople, erected in 5th century (just a little bit old!) AD by the Emperor Theodosius II to protect the city from invasion. The architecture inside the city proper contains buildings, statues, and functional constructions which came from Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Turkish sources. The city has many architecturally significant entities. Throughout its long history, Istanbul has acquired a reputation for being a cultural and ethnic melting pot. It really feels like the point where the East meets the West. Such a gorgeous combination. As a result, there are many historical mosques, churches, synagogues, palaces, castles and towers to visit in the city.

I just love the mosaïques, the gold arabic script, and the stone.

Day 5 was a day of exploring the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar and the surrounding areas. Bear with me, I got very camera happy and took lots of photos.

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