Christmas, Free time

The beginning of a new year…

Hey! It is already 2016!

It seems so odd that only 3 months after starting my PhD, holidays were already on the corner. For me, it was only 2 months and a half, but still… it was odd.

Nonetheless, I can not complain too much. It was so good being back home. For instance, I had the chance to travel a little bit. I went to the south of Portugal, Algarve, which is awesome during Winter time. You should go there during December! No people around, beautiful scenery and… the most important… 20-celsius degrees! So, I stood in a very nice bungalow in a camping site and it was almost empty. I had a relaxed time, but I also managed to get to see one really book-like geological feature… a beautiful unconformity, meaning the bottom rocks are much older and deformed than the top rocks.


southwesternmost part of Europe… Sagres


These are the skies I tend to miss…



It’s a visible geological structure in the bottom, we call it fold, overlain by quite horizontal layers of red sandstone

It was a scary trip towards the outcrops because it is an hour walking or so through the rocks and you have to pay attention to the tides or else you would be trapped on that particular beach, having to wait around 10hours to go away again. It was rough coming back, with water topping my belly, but we succeeded! (or I might not have been writing this!)

There was a considerable amount of food! And after being a couple months away, I didn’t stop myself. Now, I have to deal with extra weight for the beginning of the year… I believe it was worth it, though. Sometimes eating can be comforting.


After Christmas with family, it was time to plan another trip. It is in the top destinations in the World and it is the second largest city of Portugal: Oporto (or Porto in Portuguese). It is almost a decadent city, with lots of old buildings. But the architecture and the ambiance bring good vibes. The city itself breathes culture and you can feel the history of the place touching your skin as you go. Plus, you have lots of entertainment. You can do boat trips, very good wine tastings, dining listening to typical Fado music… I have been there on several occasions, but this particular one I wanted to do some trekking in the coastal area and some geocaching, and enjoy the New Year’s Eve. It was great though the weather was not that great. We managed to have a nice evening listening to Pedro Abrunhosa, a Portuguese producer, musician, and songwriter, who is originally from that city.


The last day of 2015 and yet, so much to see


Looking at invaders! Whoever they might be. This one was taken from a small castle, named as “Cheese Castle” – nope, no cheese over there, just one surname of the person who had it done


Proper acknowledgment to a famous writer


‘Winter has come’, some say


Live Concert in the Aliados Avenue – more than 150k people

I’ve been back for more than 1 week now and I’m back on track. After 3 weeks off, I was struggling a bit with schedules and the routine. These are hard times, having to adjust all over again. I’ve been back to demonstrating as well. These previous weeks students had to identify hand samples of magmatic origin. It has been a great experience, one that I was hoping to enjoy and it is paying off. I would most certainly like to help more, but sometimes not only communicating is hard but also the amount of information that they can hold on to is not that big. They are just freshers and it is quite demanding! I try to do my best to keep them on track and to highlight what it is important to know. But in the end, it is up to them!


How was your coming back? Did you have a good Season back at home?




Christmas, Portsmouth, Uncategorized

Hello 2016!

Happy New Year’s everyone!

The New Year has finally entered as well as the second semester at the University. I personally had a great time at Christmas time and at New Years’ Eve, spending lots of time with family and friends. Unfortunately I was travelling from Cyprus to Gatwick on New Year’s as there either weren’t any tickets available on other days or they were ridiculously expensive 😦 However, I still managed to get back to Portsmouth safely by train!

So the semester has also officially started from this Monday (4th of January) and everyone as slowly getting back into their classes and daily studying routine, which I have to admit, can be difficult after coming back from a holiday break! Some people are already back but some students, from what I’ve heard, are still in their perspective countries. I personally wanted to make sure that I was back in time for my lectures and seminars as I already have to prepare a project about promoting an app as well as having an assignment that was due today. (7th of January). So busy times wait for me ahead!

Nonetheless, I truly have missed being in Portsmouth, around my friends, classmates and going to all the cool places around Portsmouth that aren’t available back in Cyprus., such as Primark or H&M (a girl’s gotta shop right ? 🙂 ).

So, are you excited or nervous about this new semester? Tell me what you did during your Christmas and New Year ’s Eve as well!

Here are some pics from my own Christmas break 🙂

XOXO Ntina

Christmas, Free time, Travels

…so this is Christmas!

Oh Oh Oh…

It is already Christmas time! All the mince pies and warm mulled wine around. Yet, I would expect to be colder in December. Not yet, though! But still, no one can deny that Christmas spirit is now set up.

All around the UK, I’m finding lots of Christmas Markets. They are just lovely! I know that originally they are a German custom, but it feels like it is part of the UK now. I loved the Winchester one. It suited the town so well, it almost seemed that it was part of it all along. And it has an ice rink!!! No doubt that Winchester is a beautiful place to visit and hang out, better if you have lots of wood sheds with Christmas lights and sweet smells floating around. It is amazing the creativity these guys have. You can find lovely things in these markets. Just beware of your finances and don’t get crazy!


we had some pizza and cider for lunch


A nice place for those of you who would like to try the >60 varieties they have


The Winchester Cathedral 


Just right beside the Cathedral, people gathering in the Christmas Market

After Winchester, I had a small trip to Southampton. I really liked it there. And again, there was this massive Christmas Market, with loads of food and handy craft sheds. Lovely! I met a french woman selling family owls, made by her with tissue, and personalised for each customer. They were so, so cute!  But Southampton sure deserves the hour trip. With about £11 you buy a return train ticket from Portsmouth and then you can discover all the wonders the city has to offer, including the SeaCity Museum with an exhibition dedicated to Titanic’s story. It is a walled city and you can find several “bits” of it all the way through, if you allow yourself a good stroll until the sea front. There are, as well, excellent shops and even an Ikea! Handy for those of you who still need some pimping up their bedrooms/flat.


The original gate to Southampton


During the World Wars, much of the city was destroyed


parts of the wall that you can still see


Santa’s sleigh making the wonders in another Christmas Market

I’m off now, heading to Portugal again, to meet my family, friends and boyfriend. It seems forever now that I had them just in front of me, and I’m missing them being around. I guess, even for those who don’t believe in the Christmas tradition, that it is kind of inevitable not to be filled with love feelings during this season. So I hope you have the opportunity to be with your loved ones. If not, try to be surrounded by friends, and allow yourself extra time to do some skyping with family.

Now that classes are over, it seems a long time until examinations and assessments during January. But beware! Time flies away when you are enjoying yourself, and sooner than later you will be returning to your routine, with the extra need to refocus quickly. This is dangerous and it is not a good feeling to be rushed back to study after a long pause. While I was an undergrad I always tried to study a couple days just before and after Christmas, so I wouldn’t leave everything to do after New Year’s Eve. It is complicated, yes! It doesn’t feel like it, yes! There are a bunch of better things to do, yes! But no one else is going to make you succeed in your upcoming tasks and it would be a bummer if you failed after so much effort. I advise you to keep up with your studies and don’t be amazed by the free time you have during this season.


Enjoy your sweets and your holidays, and see you soon,




Christmas, Portsmouth, Uncategorized

End of a Semester!

Hello from Cyprus!

So, my last project submission was on Friday (11th Dec.) and I have just arrived back to Cyprus to start my Christmas holidays, which I really can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends!

However, that means that this is the end of the first semester of my university studies which makes it bittersweet. I had the pleasure of meeting so many people from different cultures and formed friendships with classmates, people from my accommodation floor, or just random students at cafes 🙂

Additionally, I have learned and grasped so much from my classes this semester and it has truly been an educational and worthwhile experience. Even though it took a lot of work and many hours of studying, everything was well-worth it at the end.

The overall experience of these first 3 months was so unforgettable and rewarding in every aspect. I cannot wait to see what the next semester will bring, hopefully even better things 😉

Happy Holidays everyone! Don’t forget to tell me what you’re planning for Christmas !

XOXO Ntina


Architecture, Christmas, Course, Free time, Portsmouth

Update: Design Project and Christmas Spirit

Yesterday I had the final review for my first major project of this year. I’m sure I’ve explained what a review is before but basically we have to stand up in front of our studio groups and present our project, in the same way you would to a client. After the review we get feedback from peers and tutors to improve on our work for our final portfolio. As always the build up was STRESSFUL (notice the capitals) and it was in the last week that my housemates and I realised just how much more demanding second year is.  However, its all over now, and finally an opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep – not that we’re given long, with our next project being set tomorrow!

After review on Tuesday, one of my housemates Aimee and I went for a walk; just to clear our heads, get out of ‘work mode’ and a get a bit of fresh air. As the evening set in we took a stroll down Palmerston Road where sparkling Christmas lights greeted us along with market stalls selling cute gifts and delicious looking food, Christmas cupcakes decorated with miniature Christmas trees and Father Christmas’ though of course I gave into the warm mince pies with brandy cream. I was told that on Saturdays there is a much bigger market, so I’m heading down there again this weekend with some friends who are coming to visit from home. Going for a walk really got me into the Christmas/wintery mode, walking along the seafront as the sun was setting really made me appreciate how much I enjoy living in Portsmouth, and what a lovely city it is!

Tonight I’m going out on a social, at the beginning of this year I joined UPEC – University of Portsmouth Equestrian Club – and we’ve got a Harry Potter themed social tonight! As HP is one of my favourite things of all time its safe to say I’m just a little bit excited about it!

Just a short update for today, time for classic pesto pasta and dressing up as Ginny Weasley!


Christmas, Free time, Work experience

Christmas break.

So Christmas is finally here! I was really looking forward to the break, but when I think about how much work I need to be doing over the three suposedly free weeks, it makes me sad…

The last week of term was busy, but I actually had a lot of fun. On Tuesday I did my last shift of the year at the Salisbury hospital. I’m glad I don’t have to wake up so early anymore, but at the same time it has become a routine thing, so it feels weird when I wake up every Tuesday morning and the clock doesn’t say 6.30am…

Wednesday was the day when I had an induction for my new placement, which I am hoping to start as soon as I can in the new year. The placement is at the Kingston prison in Portsmouth, where I will be assisting with art sessions. Because this will involve working with so called “vulnerable population”, I need to undergo a thorough security check, which can take quite a long time (usually around 4-6 weeks). I am very excited about doing this.

Thursday consisted of another trip to Salisbury for a team meeting, which I thought was really worth attending as everyone got to say what they thought of the project, and we found out about the new developments. Later that evening my friends and I had a lovely Christmas dinner which involved very nice food (cooked by Maria and Richard – thank you!), christmas games, colouring in, dragon and A LOT of mulled wine. It felt like real Christmas and at that moment I honestly didn’t want to go back home.

But the real Christmas is now here and it feels equally as good. For my family, Christmas starts on Christmas Eve, so we are starting our feast tonight! This also means I get to open my presents tonight!

While I’m typing this, I can smell all the amazing food that my mum has been cooking over the last couple of days. I guess it’s time to set the table…

I wish you all  Merry Christmas! Make sure you spend quality time with your family!

Christmas, Home

First Term

After a busy first term I can safely say I am relieved to be going home for Christmas, the idea of spending three weeks with a dishwasher and someone to cook for me is delightful, leaving me to relax and see some of my friends who have also come home for the holidays.

Thinking back over my first 12 weeks at University it strangely feels like I have been here for longer and that the day my parents dropped me off was a lifetime ago, but at the same time it has gone so quickly! I can’t believe how much I have managed to fit into these 12 weeks, I spent one of them in Venice on a course trip, which was brilliant and I made some wonderful friends (who I’m coincidently going to be living with next year!) I’ve also completed several projects, proved that I actually CAN make models – something I always thought I was hopeless at in school, been to see Madness in concert and to see War Horse in the west end, on top of all my studies! I also went on a trip to Milton Keyes Ski Slope with Pompey Snow, the ski and snowboard society, which was really good fun!

So far I have thoroughly enjoyed my first weeks of University (almost half way through the year -scary!) I actually really like cooking for myself and having to take a bit more responsibility in my life, though I could do with a dishwasher and someone to sort my washing out for me!

Its good to be home!