Romanzo. A family-run Greek restaurant in Bournemouth

‘Kalispera!’ means ‘good evening’ in Greek, and what a great and delicious evening we had with our friends at Romanzo last month. It is a genuine, independent place, awarded with a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor. It’s been run by a very hospitable family from Cyprus since 1986 and, believe me, they will make you feel as if they are welcoming you in their own home. It’s located in Westbourne (address here) and you’d better reserve your table in advance, as they are always packed!

Cosy light and homely decorations are very inviting…

Romanzo is a cosy and fairly small restaurant where the tables are placed very close to each other. While some may think that sitting so close to other people is an attack on privacy, I personally love it, because it feels as if you are part of a big family attending a Greek feast. And don’t worry, other people’s conversations are gently muted by Greek music.

What deserves mentioning is Romanzo’s attention to detail and its decorations. Greek music and tablecloths patterned in white and blue squares will transfer you to a Greek Taverna. The menu’s picture, presenting the elderly man looking down nostalgically alongside two donkeys, is so original and captivating. Once we opened the menu, it was difficult to make a choice as all the descriptions of the dishes looked so appealing and appetizing. Here’s what we eventually decided to order.

Happy people who can’t wait to start eating…
One of the starters, Calamari Fritti (fried Calamari), with some fresh salad and yoghurt. Refreshing and crispy.
We were gifted a big plate of fried potatoes. Who would say no to some extra fried potatoes?
I probably don’t have to introduce this Greek classic, called Moussaka, which consists of layers of potatoes, minced meat and aubergine topped with cheese. My friend ordered Moussaka and I was truly envious, despite my dish being delicious as well.
Souvlaki – which is simply a skewer of meat (pork, chicken or lamb) with rice, salad and tzatziki.
Roast dinner? No, it’s Arni Tava, which is a knuckle of lamb slow cooked in the oven with tomatoes, onions and cumin.
I ordered a seafood platter with grilled sardines, prawns and calamari. It tasted delightful and refreshing, especially with a splash of lemon.
Afelia pork fillet cooked with mushrooms in wine and coriander seeds, served with rice & Greek salad. The price of starters is approximately 5 pounds and main dishes are between 12 and 15 pounds.
A good dinner accompanied by wine must be followed by a decadent dessert, and as you can see on the board there’s plenty to choose from.
Mama’s orange, caramel and banana dessert. Delightful sweetness!
Homemade cheesecake. I know it’s not very Greek, but who doesn’t like cheesecake?

We fell in love with Greek food while travelling in Crete last year. Eating at Romanza reminded us of this fantastic sunny time in Crete and all the culinary pleasures we experienced there. Highly recommended!

A photo of me at Chania’s harbour in Crete. If only the weather in Bournemouth was the same.

A walk from Old Harry Rocks to Swanage beach and back

English weather is known for being moody and changeable. Going for a walk when it’s grey and cloudy can make you feel nostalgic or melancholic, but not when you’re walking with your friends. Even on a cloudy day, walking from Old Harry Rocks to Swanage Beach and back can be an exciting and pleasant stroll. Admiring beautiful scenery from the cliffs, eating Cornish pasties during a break in Swanage and finishing a 13 km (8 mile) walk with some comforting food at a cosy pub sounds like a good plan for a Saturday afternoon, doesn’t it?


We drove from Bournemouth to Studland and parked our car next to the Bankes Arms pub. You can get there by ferry from Sandbanks or via Wareham, which seems like a longer drive but it actually takes the same time (approximately 50 minutes) and it does not include the time waiting for a ferry.

The breathtaking rocks are part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and managed by the National Trust.
‘The chalk formations are popularly know as Old Harry Rocks, but the name actually refers to the single stack of chalk standing furthest out to sea. Until 1896 there was another stack known as Old Harry’s Wife, but erosion caused her to tumble into the sea, leaving just a stump.’ Source: visit-dorset.com

Poor Harry has been widowed for over 100 years!

Coming close to the edge to take a picture is both scary and thrilling. You won’t see the beautiful view if you don’t get closer, but I think it’s better to crawl. There have been incidents of people and dogs falling from the cliffs – some of them miraculously survived. You can read some articles about it here and here.

This is how walking on the cliffs makes you feel 😉
A view over the Swanage beach and some beautiful yellow flowers called gorse.
Swanage beach is different to Bournemouth beach. It has a wilder character, is less touristic, and is beautifully peaceful and quiet. It has won many Blue Flag Awards.
Beach huts are one of my favs to photograph. They are colourful and reflect an English seasidey atmosphere. Which of the outfits these ladies are wearing do you prefer?
Seeing colourful huts on a cloudy day was like a breath of fresh air and brightened up our walk. These colours are so typically marine!
My friend noticed the reflection of red beach huts in the water so we had to capture it on camera.
I can’t help myself but to take photos of dogs running happily on the beach. I always ask their owners if I can which is a bit embarrassing! This is Josh – wet but pleased with a beach run – who proudly posed in front of my camera.
Red seaweed?
After the walk from Old Harry Rocks, we stopped to recharge our batteries and ate traditional Cornish pasties, and drank some tea and coffee.
Traditional Cornish Pasties with beef, swede, potatoes and onions gave us energy to climb the hill leading to Old Harry Rocks.
Fruit scones. This time we just admired them through the window display.

Our way back to Old Harry Rocks. It was obviously much harder to climb the hill than walking down to Swanage, but believe me, the feeling of satisfaction after a climb is worth the effort. I took this picture of my walking team when I was left far behind. Ah well, it was my fault as I took pictures of everything I encountered – the tough life of a blogger!

The climb from Swanage beach back to Old Harry Rocks was rewarding but quite challenging and it left me in pain for all of Sunday and Monday! It was windy, foggy and it was slowly becoming darker, but I loved it.

We made a friend – a black raven which we fed with some pasty. We named him Harry.

At 7 o’ clock in the evening, Old Harry Rocks were covered in a mysterious mist and you could hardly see a living soul. Legend says that the Rock was named Harry after a devil with the same name slept on it.

At this point we had almost reached the Bankes Arms where we started our journey. I looked up and saw how creepy this tree looked. We also heard an owl in the background. I did not want to be part of a horror story or have a close encounter with Harry the Devil, so I was extremely happy to be approaching the pub and was looking forward to some comfort food.

Walking 13 kilometres feels like a good excuse to eat whatever you want and however much you want! The Bankes Arms Inn welcomed us with very tasty food and generous portions of my favourite classsic fish & chips, hot dog with chorizo and a game casserole with pheasant, rabbit and venison.

A walk from Old Harry Rocks to Swanage and back was a great adventure and I would definitely recommend it if you would like to make some more physical effort and challenge yourself. So what are your favourite places to take more demanding walks?

A very green post.

If I were forced to choose only one colour of clothes to wear for the rest of my life it would probably be green – in particular khaki. I think it’s elegant and it also intensifies the colour of my eyes. I probably have too many khaki clothes! Green is obviously the predominant colour of nature, and while looking through the pictures of Bournemouth and the surrounding area I have taken over the last 3 months, I noticed that I’d captured beautiful shades of my favourite khaki on stones, pine trees, boats and others. In this blog post you’ll see those photos containing shades of green and read about the symbolism of this colour.

Seaweed covering big stones. Mudeford in Christchurch.

I know it’s a sweeping generalisation to say that certain colours evoke characteristic emotions in people, but according to the psychology of colours, our favourite shades may say a lot about our personalities. (Check your favourite colour here).

Mudeford in Christchurch. Swans and the edge of the water covered in seaweed
Pine trees in Poole.

The colours we choose for our bedrooms and living rooms can significantly influence our mood. Colours are also extremely important in marketing campaigns (see here). Green evokes a feeling of health, peace, calm and stability. Marketers use green in branding to emphasize that they are trustworthy and reliable.

Stones covered in seaweed at Sandbanks are a beautiful backdrop for photos. Green is the colour of stability and safety. I can describe myself as someone who does not like changes and is not so keen on getting out of her comfort zone. Is that why I love green so much?
The sunset hiding behind monstrous green stones. Mudeford, Christchurch.
Green juice at Wagamama. Mine was made from kale, apple and celery – which is considered to be a super food due to its healthy properties.
Seaweed covering an abandoned boat in Poole Harbour.
A pine tree and a cloudless blue sky. Poole.
Green is also the symbol of money, greed, ambition and jealousy. I tend to be overambitious and competitive, and my perfectionism drives me crazy. I also admit to being jealous at times (my look in this picture says it all)…but I prefer to say I am ‘passionate’ 😉
A view from our living room. I consider myself lucky to be waking up to this view of green pine trees and Meyrick Park.
Finally, a picture of the book Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth, which changed my everyday life and nasty habits into better, more environmentally friendly ones. It shows easy ways of living ‘green’ and feeling good about your everyday choices, from shopping to cleaning. My blog post about buying local and loose produce in Bournemouth greengrocers was written after reading this book. You can find it here.

If you were to choose only one colour, what would it be? Does the symbolism of your favourite colour match with your personality traits?

Bournemouth Cafés: The Real Eating Company

Independent, cosy and selling deliciously aromatic coffee – what more could you want from a local café? Well, probably some good snacks, sandwiches…or a healthy meal just in case you happen to be on a diet! The Real Eating Company, located in the town centre, has it all. As a bonus, it has recently started a collaboration with Lunch’d – a local company which delivers healthy lunch boxes to Bournemouth office desks.

Last Saturday, I was invited, along with some other Bournemouth bloggers, to the Real Eating Company to hear about the partnership with Lunch’d and to taste one of the healthy boxes that are going to be available in the café on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Oli, the owner of Lunch’d, and Helena, the owner of The Real Eating Company – both charismatic and friendly people.

We were sat around a table decorated with beautiful daffodils and bags of coffee beans, which are actually roasted at a family-run business in the South of England. We were offered some tea, coffee and freshly squeezed apple juice.

We were also given a lesson about organic herbs grown at a local farm – @greenponics – which provides herbs for Lunch’d boxes. We sampled different kinds of herbs such as beetroot, red cabbage and broccoli microgreens. The intense flavour and sharpness of these herbs was remarkable.

Then, we opened the Lunch’d boxes – almost as if it was a Christmas present! The contents of the box, humorously called the Big Phat Greek box, are inspired by the famous Greek classic Moussaka. It had a mix of potatoes, aubergine and minced meat in it (a vegan option is available as well) and some quinoa salad with beetroot hummus. It was fulfilling, healthy and tasty.

The Big Phat Greek box, this time on a plate, exposed for Bournemouth bloggers to take photos.

After sampling the healthy lunch box, we spoke with Helena and Oli about their project and collaboration. What’s worth mentioning is that both Helena and Oli are business owners devoted to working with local producers from the South Coast of England and choosing only good quality ingredients to give their customers the best culinary experience.

The Real Eating Company’s decoration is an expression of their philosophy – good quality food and coffee sourced from local producers. “We want to make the right decisions for the right reasons, not just for profit or to make shareholders happy,” they say on their website.

I strongly recommend visiting The Real Eating Company not only because it is a genuine and honest place selling good food, but also because it has a business philosophy that I value a lot. Don’t forget to try healthy Lunch’d boxes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! The café’s decor will give you a homely and welcoming feeling and I am sure you’ll enjoy visiting and eating at this place.


*The content of this article is my own, honest opinion. This is not a sponsored post

Greengrocers in Bournemouth – produce without plastic.

No, I’m not an environmentalist and no, I don’t want to preach in this blog post about the devastating consequences of omnipresent plastic waste. We all know it’s bad. But I do feel I have a moral responsibility to reduce my personal plastic usage. Buying fruit and veggies without plastic packaging at your local greengrocers is a simple way of cutting down on plastic. In this post, you’ll see photos of nude… fruit & veg 😉 from three greengrocers in Bournemouth: Sunrise Organics in the Triangle, Metro Market in Charminster and Roebridge Farm Shop in Winton.

Which carrots do you think look better – nude or wrapped? For me, nude is best! #chooseloose because you create good consumer habits.

I used to shop only at supermarkets, mainly Lidl and M&S, and each time while unpacking greens at home, I felt as if I was throwing away tons of plastic. I started visualising the bigger scale of the problem when I thought about every single household doing the same thing. According to a major study, “supermarkets are flooding Britain with 59 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year.” You can read the full article here.

Nude organic bananas from Sunrise Organic. Shopping locally has become really important to me.

While some supermarkets are slowly introducing positive changes, you’ll find more fruit and veggies without plastic at your local greengrocer or a market. We, the customers, create the demand, so let’s start shopping at local independent greengrocers and choosing loose!

Cabbages at Sunrise Organics.

My nearest greengrocer is called Sunrise Organics. They are a vegan health food store and have a philosophy of selling only organic products and have an environmentally-friendly policy of zero plastic. The staff are very helpful and will guide you through all the products that are available at the shop. You will find only basic fruit and veg at Sunrise Organics, but they are all organic. There are other fantastic products without plastic packaging there such as spices, pasta, nuts, and rice. Photos below.

Ginger, garlic, and turmeric. I didn’t know that turmeric roots looked like that. I only knew it as a yellowish powder, so it was nice to discover something new.
Squash is still in season! If you want to eat a nice sandwich with cashew nut cream cheese and mashed squash, go to the South Coast Roast Cafe 😉
No plastic packaging. Spices in glass jars!
You can put loose nuts in the paper bags provided at the shop, or buy reusable ones on the internet. I bought mine here.
My new discovery – black and brown rice bought at Sunrise Organics.

I might be crazy, but I simply adore looking at boxes filled with loose greens. The abundance of colours and shapes is astounding. The following veg comes from Roebridge Farm Shop in Winton, which sells fresh local produce. When you visit them, you feel as if you were surrounded by a rainbow. I have been there a couple of times, but my colleague shops there regularly and is very complimentary about their produce.

Back to your roots! #chooseloose
You can make a fantastic soup made from swede – recipe here.
A picture of my creamy swede soup – it really tastes fantastic!
Cauliflower is currently in season. #chooseloose
I know, I know – you can see some plastic, but it’s up to you what you select, so #chooseloose fruit & veg! Roebridge Farm Shop in Winton.

I also love shopping for greens at Metro Market in Charminster, especially since they have a variety of olives. Most fruit and veg in the Metro Market comes without plastic packaging. Yes!

Olives sold at Metro Market.
This funny vegetable is called fennel. It’s crunchy and gives nice texture when added to salads. What’s more, it looks a little bit like a human’s heart, doesn’t it? Will you put your heart and soul into making sure you #chooseloose?
Mandarin sunshine from Metro Market in Charminster.

I hope I have encouraged some of you to search for a greengrocer in your area and that I have convinced you to join my #chooseloose campaign. What are favourite greengrocers in Bournemouth? Do you think about choosing loose greens when you have an option?

Never go too long without watching a sunset

Why? Because watching a sunset heals the soul and mind, fills you with sensations of peace and calm, and makes you a more grateful person. I’m not making it up – it’s been proven by psychologists, as you can read here! Sunsets are beautiful no matter the scenery, but you must admit that sunsets over the sea, especially in Bournemouth and the surrounding area, are simply the prettiest!

I took this photo at the beginning of February 2019 at Hengistbury Head. What strikes me about this scene is the peace and tranquility – so desperately needed in our fast-paced lives.

Watching a sunset with someone you love is very romantic, and the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations inspired me to write about sunsets over Bournemouth. In today’s blog post, you’ll see some stunning shots of sunsets by Dorset photographers that I follow on Instagram. They kindly agreed to let me use their photos.

This photo with the caption ‘Surfing Bournemouth at sunset’ was taken by Andy Carr, who runs the @beachpilgrim Instagram account. Simply spectacular.

Appreciating the changing colours of the sky while the sun is slowly sinking below the horizon is one of the most beautiful ways to end your day. Do it whenever you can.


This photo presents the sunset at Sandbanks close to the Yacht Club. Vivid orange is very often the predominant colour of a sunset. The photo above was taken by Marsona Anney (@sonas_photography), who loves taking photos of nature and animals. You can visit her fun page with beautiful photos here

I’m intentionally avoiding sunrises in my post because the prospect of waking up before 6 a.m. to see the dawn is too much for me when it’s so cold outside! However, the idea of rising early is certainly not scary to the creator of the next photo, Daphne Wuenn, who is a professional photographer and takes photos of beautiful scenery around the South Coast of England.

Daphne sent me this photo of the sunset on Studland, Bramble Bush Bay.
She said it’s one of her favourite places for romantic walks and picnics along the seashore. More photos by Daphne can be found here, here and at @daphnewuennphotography

While looking for inspiration for this post, I came across this sentence: Never waste sunsets with people who will be gone by sunrise. But what if you met an interesting stranger while watching the sunset and never saw him again? It would still be meaningful, wouldn’t it?

This man is not a stranger to me… Mudeford sunset, by Gary Page.

If you want to do something truly romantic this Valentine’s Day, grab your loved one, tell them, “All I need is you and some sunsets,” (cheesy, I know!) go to the beach and watch the dusk draw in together. If you can’t go to the beach, just look at the spectacular photos in this post and imagine you’re there…

Purplish sunset at Sandbanks by Gary Page. Gary is super-knowledgeable about photography and tried to teach me how to take good photos. I deliberately use the word ‘tried’, because I need more practice with the complicated settings of a professional camera! Here is his website and his Instagram is @garypagez32 I chose this photo to be the last one as its light makes me think of something that is drawing to a close.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Veganuary: seasonal vegetables and vegan restaurants in Bournemouth.

Veganuary seems to be the most-used word on the internet this month. Is becoming vegetarian or vegan just a temporary fashion or a genuine trend? I truly believe it is the latter! I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I could ever be (well, never say never!), but I am one of those people who’s trying to eat less meat. If you have resolved to do the same, you can call yourself a flexitarian or a reducetarian. One of my New Year’s resolutions is also to buy more local, seasonal vegetables.

Some of the British seasonal veggies and fruit I bought: cabbage, beetroots, celery, swede, carrots, brussels sprouts, pears, and apples.
I’m also avoiding greens pre-packed in plastic. It’s difficult to find loose fruit, especially at big supermarkets, but it’s not impossible – if you can, do it!
Choose loose!
I hated brussels sprouts as a child, but now I love them – provided they are not overcooked!

In order to celebrate Veganuary, I decided to explore three vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Bournemouth in search of tasty, local and, ideally, seasonal vegetable dishes. My choices were the Mad Cucumber, the recently opened restaurant Twelve, and the South Coast Roast Café. The latter is not entirely vegetarian but has the ambition to become so and 80% of the menu is vegan.

Apart from a catchy name, the Mad Cucumber has got a truly environmental ethos, which is clear from their website. It says, ‘Everything is made from scratch, by hand, from mainly local, seasonal and organic ingredients.’

Mad Cucumber is entirely vegan. I can somehow imagine being vegetarian, but vegan seems to be mission impossible!
This is a photo of a burger made from lentils, oats and quinoa. The salad that was served with the burger had some seasonal vegetables like red cabbage and carrots in it. Instead of using rocket, the chef could have used kale, which is in season at the moment. Nevertheless, my veggie burger was tasty and kept me full for a couple of hours!

The South Coast Roast Café is a true hit again. I love the staff’s philosophy in creating and running this genuine place. I had the pleasure to speak with the owner, Giles, and listened to him passionately talking about using fresh and local ingredients, as well as encouraging people to change their habits and become more environmentally friendly.

My brunch: local sourdough bread, cashew nut cream cheese, caramelised onions, and smashed – seasonal – butternut squash, accompanied with fresh juice made from spinach, kale and other green things. Sorry, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it was mouthwatering!

While Mad Cucumber and South Coast Roast are more breakfast & brunch cafés, Twelve could be a perfect place for a romantic supper, especially since they serve organic wine and other cocktails – Valentines Day is coming, guys! The name of the restaurant Twelve is truly puzzling and made me wonder what it means. In fact, it’s not a random number, and it comes with an interesting meaning. I’m not going to reveal the secret now, as I will definitely devote one of my future posts to describing this beautiful place in more detail.

Just look at this presentation, it’s art on a plate! The left plate contains salt baked celeriac and avocado puree. The right one contains beetroots with hazelnut pralines, braised shallots, and citrus dressing. You simply discover a new, unexpected flavour with each bite. A big plus for using seasonal vegetables!
*We only ordered starters because we had previously prepared dinner, but we’ll come back for more!

These local restaurants in Bournemouth are offering vegan and vegetarian dishes not only because there is a growing demand for it. They’re selling a more conscious life philosophy to people. Eat local because it’s good for the region and the people who work here. Eat seasonally, because seasonal vegetables are at their best and simply delicious. Eat less meat because it improves your health and reduces damage to the environment.

Even though Veganuary is almost at its end, I hope my article has encouraged some of you to eat seasonal vegetables and maybe to try out Veganofebruary by eating in these restaurants. I think I’ve just coined a new word…