Goodbye 2016…

This was a full year for us… A very good one, but a very full one. I know that most people view 2016 as a bad year because of all the atrocities that happened all around the world and all the amazing people we lost, but I honestly think that it is more a matter of how we view everything surrounding us. Bad things happen all the time, people kill other people for the most ridiculous reasons all the time and this is happening ever since we have decided that we are the supreme species on this planet. The only difference right now is that fact that it is way easier to come into contact with news, information on what is happening in the world than it was before. Also, unfortunately, death is a natural thing and people should understand that is part of the cycle of life. We all lost loved ones throughout the years, and yes, a lot of great people passed this year, but maybe that is only due to the fact that we all knew those great people tanks to the fact that information started circulating easier from one point in history onward, and, honestly, we should be grateful that we all got to know and admire those great people that passed in 2016. People, famous people, died in 2015 as well, but maybe they were not as famous as the ones that passed in 2016. Do not get me wrong, I was saddened by each and every obituary that I read this year, but I was just as saddened by the innocent unknown people that died this year due to politics or religion just as I was also heartbroken about the close people that I lost this year. Again, death is a natural part of life and we should all accept it and stop blaming 2016 for all the people that we lost. I just needed to get this out there as I am so sick and tired of everyone just whining about 2016.

Moving along… 2016 was a good year for us. Most of last years resolutions were achieved and the ones that we did not achieve will probably be on the 2017 list and there is nothing wrong with that. At the beginning of every year, there is one thing that I always wish for just as the clock strikes midnight: that no matter what, everything will be ok in the end! This is my one constant wish for the new year ever since I can remember and by the time the year finishes it always is because you know what, this is what evolving is all about: learning from every experience and making sure that we do not make the same mistakes again! Eventually everything turns out to be ok in the end.

That said, I am not going to be a hypocrite and not acknowledge that this year was a very good one for the two of us despite what happened throughout the world. We got to safely travel (London, Madrid, Milano, Paris) quite a lot, we got to finally start this blog and most important of it all we managed to have a bundle of joy on the way. All of these things were on our list last year and we managed to tick all of them thus making us very happy. We also managed to evolve as a couple and right now I feel closer to D than ever and happier and I finally understood what evolving in a relationship means. This, on the long term means the most to me as I feel that we will be a very good team in raising our daughter which gives me a sense of peace and calm inside that I so need right now, this close to the delivery date.

Like I said, this was an amazing year for us and I am sure that 2017 will be a great one as well. The featured image of this post is a collage of the best 9 pics (most liked) on my Instagram, but it does not depict my favourite moments of 2016 therefore I felt the need to show a few of my favourite moments from this year at the end of the post. As you have probably guessed it, the next post will be about our 2017 resolutions!

L.

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we started evenlymatched.eu on the 19th of March 2016

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London

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Madrid – where our bundle of joy was conceived

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my new ink

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D turned 32

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28th of May – the day we found out about our bundle of joy

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31st of May – our Wedding Anniversary

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Milan

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13th of July – Celebrating 7 years together and 3 years of marriage

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Paris

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First Pic

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UNTOLD Festival

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Her little angel face at 22 weeks

D‘s new finished half sleeve

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32 weeks pregnant – Baby Shower – 27th of November

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the nursery

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Enchanted Forest Christmas Tree

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Our 2016 Christmas Family Card!

Last day of summer…

Yesterday was the last day of summer…yes, I know we are in mid September, but yesterday was the last day of 30 degrees C and we took advantage of it to snap a few photos of our current (pregnant) situation. Do not get me wrong, these past few weeks the heat has been killing me, but that, by no means gives autumn the right to strike full force as it did today (currently 18 degrees C and pouring rain since 9 o’clock)! I would’ve loved this season to come a bit slower but at least now I know I will be sleeping ok until January, at least when it comes to bedroom temperature.

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For some reason, we both chose to wear black and taupe yesterday and I am more than happy that I managed to squeeze in a few photos of these lovely Rachel Zoe Monica sandals that I think I got last year or two years ago (yes, this is another pair of long lost sandals that I just found in our dressing-room). Honestly, I’ve loved them ever since I saw them, but yesterday was the first time I actually wore them. Despite the 11 cm heel and my growing weight, they are very comfortable and, had autumn not come so early, I probably would’ve worn them some more this year. I just have to remember all about them next year, I suppose, as there is no way I am going back to sandals this year, stilettos, certainly, but not sandals!

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Processed with Snapseed.

On me:

Dress – Bershka; Cardigan – Bershka; Sandals – Rachel Zoe; Bag – DKNY; Bling – Swarovski (pendant and ring); Sunglasses – Dior; Watch – Longines

Taupe is one of my favourite neutral colours for early autumn and early spring simply because if you mix it with black, brown,oxblood or navy you get a perfect outfit for autumn and if you decide to mix it with pastels you have the perfect transition-combo for spring. This time we both mixed it with black – maybe because we sensed the weather will turn – and I love the result. Ever since my belly rounded nicely, I can look at myself in a skintight dress again and feel great, so I wore this rib dress from Bershka. Make no mistake, most of my skintight outfits will have some sort of layer on top and this time I chose this cardigan that you can also find at Bershka, or at least you can find an alternative as you know me right now – not a lot of clothes shopping as long as my oldies still fit.

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Processed with Snapseed.

On D:

Pants – Replay; T-shirt – H&M; Shoes – Converse x John Varvatos; Bling – Fossil and Constantin Nautics (bracelet and pedant); Watch – Longines

I paired the lovely sandals with a perfectly matching quilted bucket bag from DKNY. I love bucket bags so much despite not having many in my closet, simply because you can fit everything in them – sometimes by using sheer force. To accessorise everything, I decided on two pieces form Swarovski, the Elvis pendant, that you can’t currently find anywhere (BOHOOOO Swarovski for discontinuing such a fun line!) and a lovely taupe cocktail ring that I ‘stole’ from my mother. I also wore my lovely Dior sunglasses for the last sunny day of the year!

D wore his lovely black wool blend pants from Replay, that he got a few months ago in Milan – it seems like ages have passed since out Milan trip. I can’t wait to travel again and discover new cities! I hate the fact that we have no travel plans whatsoever! He also wore his H&M taupe t-shirt that feels so lovely to the touch and has this fun uneven edge. Luckily for us, D is the one that still shops for clothes and makes my job easier when it comes to linking similar items. He wore his Converse x John Varvatos shoes and at this point I am seriously asking myself if he wears them because I love them so much and he doesn’t want to annoy me, or he loves them just as much as I do… He accessorised his look with his Fossil bracelet alongside his Constantin Nautics pendant and bracelet, and we both wore our Longines watches.

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I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun with my belly right now, there also has been a lot of movement in there lately and I am so glad that I have been feeling great these past 22 weeks! We hope to have some news regarding gender as soon as possible, but until then, we have to focus on getting our home in tip-top condition!

L.

 

 

 

Integra

Despite the fact that our seaside season is over thanks to all of the rearrangements we have to do in our house to make sure it is ready to welcome our little bundle of joy, we haven’t left there without having a great lunch at one of the first places we tried out in Constanta: Integra. This place was recommended to us by one of my best friends and the thing I loved about it even before arriving there is the fact that they have a raw-vegan menu packed full of delicious dishes. Naturally throughout the years I have tried most of the raw menu and I have to say, that thanks to this place my mind was changed when it came to the raw-vegan cuisine.

I do not think we ever went to the seaside once without having a meal at this lovely place. True, it does have the location advantage, meaning that it is at about a 10 minute walk away from our place there. At first glance, the place looks very nice and the interior design is a nice combo of fresh plants and lovely marble which immediately make you want to take a seat. The menu has about everything you could ever crave, somewhat of an international cuisine with a little turkish mix of dishes. And then, of course, there is the raw-vegan menu, where you literally can find everything from appetisers, soups, pasta, pizza, desserts and even a few amazing fresh cocktails.

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Back to our last experience there…unfortunately, we couldn’t take as many inside pictures as we would’ve liked as the place was quite full at the time we were there and there’s always that uncomfortable feeling when you take pics of total strangers, but you can find quite a lot of photos on their site. Normally, this is the place we choose for our before the road lunch or brunch, depending on how early we wake up. This time it was definitely lunch time and because we knew we had next to nothing in our fridge at home, we decided on a full lunch: soup, main dish and a shared a raw dessert. As usual when we eat there, we start off with one of their amazing fresh raw juices, this time choosing Green energy and Fountain of Youth. These two cocktails are amazing and very healthy especially after a busy night at the seaside. Like I said, we both ate a soup, I went for my usual tomato soup which is a must-try and D chose the lentil soup which turned out to be better that I expected. As main courses I needed something savoury and light so I went for the oven cooked feta cheese with tomatoes and onion that was absolutely delicious. D chose the beef Iskender that besides looking amazing it tasted like heaven, and that, coming from me during this period where meat is the last thing that I crave, is something! As for dessert we chose to share the Rainbow Tart from the raw-vegan menu. As with all their raw-vegan dishes, this was delicious!

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Despite the restaurant being full, the food came decently quick and the staff was very friendly and professional. This place is not among the cheapest nor among the most expensive, our three-course lunch cost us about 40 E tip included which is really good for Constanta, especially since the food is so amazing. We will definitely come back here as often as we will come to Constanta!

L.

 

Seaside season is officially over…for us…

…But that is not the topic of today’s post! No, today we are going to talk a bit about the new and very popular hashtag: #mermaidthigs as opposed to the former #thighgap. Now I am not going to talk about body shaming or anything, but rather about my experience going from one # to the other in the course of a few months. This is somewhat natural and beautiful, especially if the making of a new life is involved. While last year I was happily sporting a thigh gap thanks to healthy eating and almost daily gym sessions, the past few months have thought me that pregnancy is not easy on the said thighs therefore I find myself at the point where I can barely see a thigh gap and am slowly but surely coveting to the new mermaid thighs trend. No, this is not due to unhealthy eating, this is my body’s natural response to the hormonal battle that takes place inside me and to the fact that I am eating a bit more nowadays (about 300-400 kcals more a day).

The first batch of photos is from last summer, roughly about the same period as the second and third batches of photos. After I will give birth, I will use these photos and this post to motivate myself into getting back in shape until the summer of 2017. No, that does not mean that I will diet like a crazy person, but it does mean that I will try and go to the gym as often as a newborn baby will allow me.

The second batch of photos is from almost a month ago, when I was 14-15 weeks pregnant. This is the period where I think I felt the worst about my body image, as, honestly, I felt like a whale, but that was mostly due to the transition period from the first trimester to the second.

This third batch of photos was taken this week, during my 18th week of pregnancy, and even though I look bigger that I used to a few weeks ago, I must confess that I feel a lot better about myself and I think that is due to the fact that my hormones are at a better stage now, in the second trimester. This is the point where I noticed the lack of thigh gap and the transition to mermaid thighs. During this time I chose to wear one-piece swimsuits as that seemed to work best with my not yet fully rounded belly.

All in all, I can’t really say that I do not feel good in my skin, true, I felt a lot better last year, but I am well aware that I have to come to terms with the way my body carries a pregnancy as there is nothing I can do about it and stressing over it will not help. The swimsuit season is officially over for us, not necessarily because of the weather, but rather because in a week we will start redecorating our house. We will keep you updated on that as well.

L.

The first three months in pictures…

As promised, we have put together a post with some photos we took from our first trimester of pregnancy. Also, the beautiful personalised mason jar in the featured photo is from a gift from our lovely friends at Atelier Funky Fresh. Check them out! They can do basically anything you like in terms of decorative personalised pieces!

First Month

Second Month

Third Month

L. & D.

The first three months…

As you’ve probably noticed our posts tend to be in sets of threes lately and that is purely coincidental with the fact that soon there will be three of us posting here. No, in fact it has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the fact that we have been gone a lot lately, our house is a mess as we are doing a bit of redecorating/ baby-proofing and my constant tiredness. Taking each of these into consideration you’ll have to excuse my lack of daily posts and I promise that as soon as I can I will be back on track.

Back on the topic of today’s post subject: the first trimester of pregnancy. This is solely my experience and so far I have come to the conclusion that everyone experiments this time totally different, but here it goes… For the first five weeks we were’t even been aware of the miracle that started to form inside me, no sickness, not much actually, except for a feeling of constant lack of energy which, beside a few painful episodes and my period being late, have convinced us that it was time for a medical check -up. You’ve read all about the very emotional news we got at the doctors’ in this post here, so I will just skip the first five weeks altogether as I feel that most women do not really acknowledge the pregnancy until later on.

For me, the first three months have been bliss, especially if I compare my experience with some other women’s first trimester. I did not get any sickness at all, morning or otherwise so that helped me function a bit better throughout the whole period. I did however experience episodes of extreme sleepiness to the point that I wasn’t able to drive anywhere. As a matter of fact, this has only changed well into my forth month, but it did get better in time. Nor did I experience any weird cravings, but I did feel the need to eat a bit more (bout 300-400 kcals extra), but luckily, I mostly craved vegetables and fruits. I’ve noticed that meat, in any form makes me sick, and I do not mean sick as in throw up, but sick as in it did not feel right for my digestive system (but I suffer from this for a few years now – so no surprise there). Therefore, if you ask me, my weight gain has been constant and I have gained 1 kg per month and it still goes at that rate right now.

I was very aware of the fact that the first trimester is full of risks so I did try and not overdo it, but despite that, sometime in my 9th week I experienced a bit of bleeding and this is where I think that all future moms should be very careful! When I looked it up online, dr. Google kept telling me that it was normal, but when I called my doctor he immediately gave me hormones and it’s good that he did as a week later, at the ultrasound we discovered a small hematoma near the baby that healed nicely thanks to the hormones, but if not treated properly, it could’ve cause us to loose the pregnancy! So there you have it: my relationship with dr. Google is finished forever! All future moms should stay clear of looking for medical stuff online! I took the nasty hormones for almost two weeks and I have to say that that was the period when I actually felt the worst, not physically, but emotionally. Those hormones made me feel horrible, either having a rage attack (luckily most of the times I was by myself) or being emotional af (which really sucked BIG!). Once I was done with them, my old self started to resurface and I was yet again being the happiest person alive!

Another annoying first trimester symptom was the constant bloating and feeling full. This is super uncomfortable because you feel and look like you are in your fifth month when in fact you barely past your second, and you have this constant feeling that it is because of all the food you are eating, when, in fact, there is not much extra food you are actually eating during this time. Also, because of the horrible bloat, not many clothes fit or look right and that tends to be a big blow to the morale of a pregnant woman that already is hormonal and emotional most of the time. I was very lucky because of my entire work arrangement. I have no idea if I’ve told you by now, but I work with and for my parents which left room to a big advantage right when I needed it most: I got to stay at home from the second month because of the fact that I was longer able to drive to work thanks to the constant sleepiness. This was a great gift especially during the bloated days, and no, I did not get bored at home, I loved every minute of sleeping during the day! Hey, I’m an only child, I never get bored of myself!

Despite me feeling amazing on the inside, my exterior looks had take an beating! I mean, maybe there is such a thing as a pregnancy glow, but all I got were greasy patches on my face, quite a few pimples that made me change my beauty routine and my thighs have become the paradise of cellulite. These are all symptoms of the hormonal changes happening in my body and can be reversed for the most part once I am ok after giving birth. I call all these changes the living proof that something amazing is happening inside my belly and I try as much as I can to either ignore them (I have become rather good at it) or embrace them. My beauty routine has switched from SEPHORA to the Pharmacy (more details in a Pregnancy Beauty post) and as for my cellulite, I try as good as I can to hide it either with clothes, a big SMILE (it takes everyone’s attention off it) or with the perfect non-toxic self tan from Vita Liberata (review here). To be honest, the best recipe is the self tanner!

The thing that most definitely contributed to my cellulite reserves, besides the hormones, is the fact that my doctor forbade me to go to the gym for the entire period of the pregnancy. He did allow me to go swimming, but since I am afraid of the water, all I am really doing, exercise wise, is to take a few long walks per week and right now to go through all my clothes and shoes in order to re-arrange the dressing room – the first steps to overhauling our house. This was a blow at the beginning, but since it is for my own good, I embraced it and I will use this as motivation for my post-baby body. All in all, I do understand where my doctor is coming from and I will never take any chances where my pregnancy is concerned. Aside from that, there is nothing that he forbade me to do, so I guess I am very lucky so far.

I did have a lot of medical investigations to make in the first trimester, most of them were blood investigations, and I did manage to pass them nicely. The first morphologic ultrasound was very good, and as a matter of fact the baby is a few days ahead than what we thought, possibly due to the fact that I have been relaxing and taking good care of my diet. We did travel a lot during the first trimester (Madrid – even though we were not aware at the time, Milan, Paris, Cluj, to the seaside a couple of times), and no, there were no problems because of that, as a matter of fact it feels nice to know that our bundle of joy was with us everywhere and that there were no incidents during or after the time. In fact, I think that the baby actually enjoyed all these short trips!

All in all, I can honestly say that this is the best period of my life! Do not get me wrong, 90% of the blame is on D as he has been the most amazing and perfect father-to-be! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better husband and partner during this time. I am convinced that the fact that I have been feeling so great during this time is thanks to him and all his efforts! He understands me like no other, he doesn’t let me do anything in the house, all he lets me lift is a small bottle of water, he is there no matter what I need. This is really important during this period as thanks to him my spirits have been sky high!

We decided not to have one of those growing belly photoshoots that tracks how huge I am getting every month, but we do try and take as many pictures of ourselves throughout this period as I think that both of us will suffer some physical changes for the better. I will soon post a slideshow of photos from the first trimester to let you see how we have evolved during the time.

L.

 

JOBEN

This is the last post from Cluj for this year and it obviously involves food. The fact that this was the last place reviewed by us is intentional as I wanted to eat here last year as well but it was too full to be able to get a table. This year, we managed to get one and we excitedly waited for our Joben food. I want to start off by saying that this is the last reviewed place because it was our least favourite restaurant in Cluj and I honestly think that it is a bit overrated. Or maybe we were expecting too much of it, either way, it did not meet our expectations, especially since all our foodie experiences here were simply amazing. It is, however, extraordinarily decorated and it deserves a visit just for that, and if you are ok with eating ok-ish food.

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It is clear right from the entrance that someone very talented and passionate about steampunk decorated this place with all sorts of very specific paraphernalia. This actually helps a lot when you have to wait for your food for more than an hour, because you have all these amazing little gizmos to look at, and I have to say that we did not get bored one bit. The staff is also very friendly, but the place is a bit understaffed as it only had two waitresses for the entire restaurant area. Both of them were very nice and they struggled to satisfy every single one of the customers, but at some point, they messed up my lemonade simply because the place was full of people and mix-ups are bound to happen.

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On to the food… At first glance, even from last year, I knew there were quite a lot of things I wanted to try and after much pondering I settled for the White Chicks – even the names of the dishes are really funny – which are essentially crispy chicken strips, served with french fries and apple jam. D opted for ribs, naturally, but we both decided to start our lunch with a plate of Spicy Fried Pickles as that got both of our attention early on in the menu. The appetisers were extremely interesting and good which basically made us really anxious for out main dishes.My chicken was very good, but there was absolutely nothing special about it, maybe except for the fact that I had to dip it in jam. The fries were homemade, so that was a big plus but I did feel the need for a more spicy and tasty dip for them. D‘s ribs were ok, and you can see from the photos that there was nothing special about them whatsoever. They were plain oven cooked ribs with no special seasoning or anything. His potato chips were very good though, but again, they seriously needed some sort of dip. We did not want to wait to get dessert as that would’ve meant another hour of waiting as we did not order it from the get-go, so no sweet photos here.

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To be honest, aside from the interior design and the fact that they had a Pokestop, there was nothing special about the place, nothing that will make us come back next year. It was even worst as they did not seem to have any air conditioning, which during the summer makes eating there nearly impossible. I did hear that their coffee is great, but neither of us had any as we were both on our way back for another nap. The check came at about 30E which is ok, but we did leave there feeling very disappointed of the place. Maybe had there not been so many people the food would’ve been better, but that is no excuse as most of the places we ate at during the long weekend we spent in Cluj were full and the food was amazing.

L.

This was UNTOLD

Like I said, we only managed to get our camera at the Untold festival on the first day, during the day, because the security guards were afraid that our lenses might be too big and we just might take some unauthorised photos of the festival. Needless to say that they were a bit too focused on the security part to actually acknowledge that our camera, even though it is big, is by no means a professional camera. So the only photos we have of the second edition of the festival are the ones we managed to take on the first day, hence all the almost empty food venders.

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On a more positive note, even though we did not think it was possible, this year, the organisers managed to top last years’ festival. I am not talking about the artists as that was quite obvious from March, I am talking about a way better organised festival area. True, there was a lot more security than last year, but then again, a lot has happened in Europe since last year, and despite that, the access was way easier and quicker than last year. Last year, even though we had VIP tickets, there wasn’t a special queue and we had to wait for more than three hours to get our access bracelets, this was not the case this year and we managed to get inside the park in less than 5 minutes which was great for me. Also, this year, the bracelet looked way more exciting and fun even though the closing mechanism was a lot worse than last year.

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Moving along from all this nonsense and onto the actual festival. Yet again, once you got in, you had the distinct feeling that all your worries are left outside and you are now into a place of tranquility and magic. That is until the night comes and you are constantly accompanied by amazing music but your worries are still not with you. Seriously, this year the line-up was insane, I mean Tomorrowland-insane, and that got me really pissed-up because it was no way in hell that I was able to make it to all the shows I wanted to see, even worst actually, there were some shows that I couldn’t see until the end because our bundle of joy just wouldn’t let us – read: I needed my rest. I really do hope that next year the line-up will be just as good if not better (there still were a few artists missing – Steve Aoki, Deorro, just to name a few).

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This year all the food points and the fun corners seemed to be even more exciting than last year and it was nice to see that some of them we already knew from the first edition of the festival. The fashion corner of the festival was really nicely done, with places where you could try on whatever it was that you heart desired, there were enough drinking spots that you could never get dehydrated, I am telling you, the organisers really deserve a medal. Wait, last year they got the big trophy, the one that actually confirms the fact that this was the greatest festival in Europe. We’ll be definitely cheering for them this year as well.

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Another improvement from last year was the sound system. The Vip area really struggled with the quality of the sound last year, but this year it was impeccable, as well as the toilet maintenance from that said area – this is always really important to me, especially this year. The only downside really of the Vip area is that the food was limited this time (Biutiful terrace) and completely absent last year, so I’m thinking that by next year we will get a few food corners to choose from.

All in all, this still is our favourite festival of the year, this year it will be the only one we will attend as my belly is really starting to grow every day more and more and we need to start redecorating and preparing for our new member of the family.

L.

LIVADA

As you’ve probably noticed, our life at Untold festival revolved around sleeping, eating and enjoying great music. Even though it seems that our only goal in Cluj was to try as many restaurants as possible, I promise that we did other stuff as well, like going to the actual festival. The bummer about pregnancy, especially in the first four months is that between the eating, dancing and sleeping, I did not have any energy left to actually take some fashion photos. So far, the two fashion posts are the only ones you’ll see of us while in Cluj. But fear not, the Untold posts will soon end and trust me when I say that we have not reviewed one restaurant that is not worth visiting while in Cluj.

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The place we are going to talk about today is Livada. This place is just so great no matter if we are referring to the food, the design or the service. Some of the dishes in their new menu are signed by Chef Patrizia Paglieri, you know her from the Romanian Master Chef. That’s not to say that the dishes that are not signed by her are not delicious, on the contrary, actually everything on the menu is amazing and this is one of those places in Cluj where everyone can find something to eat on the menu. No matter if you are a traditional food lover or fan of the more modern cuisine, thanks to this new and exciting collaboration, Livada now has it all for everyone to enjoy.

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All of us eating lunch there had a sort of combo of dishes, therefore you get to see quite the diversity. I had the carrot soup with a hint of ginger and the homemade french fries with garlic and pickled cucumbers. Hey, I’m pregnant and like never before I am craving potatoes in any shape and size. And, I am a sucker for homemade french fries as I am always too lazy to actually make them myself and they are a rarity in Bucharest. Moving along from the french fries and let’s talk a bit about the carrot soup. The secret to the carrot soup is to actually feel the carrot taste skilfully combined with another ingredient. This is definitely what’s going on with this one, the ginger perfectly compliments the carrots. I really see no point in talking about the perfection of the fries as the photo says it all. D had the Gulash which is a traditional Hungarian dish that judging by the fact that he ate in exactly 5 minutes, I’d say was very, very good. Our friends that joined us for lunch had the cheeseburger which according to them was very good. Like I said, you can find everything your heart desires at Livada.

For dessert, D and I shared the traditional dumplings, and what I loved about them was the fact that they came in bite sized pieces which made it really easy and enjoyable to eat. Our friends ordered the signature Tiramisu which turned out to be delicious but way too big for only one person. We all had different types of lemonades, and I am mentioning them because they are really worth a try. Not surprisingly, the check for me and D came at about 35 E, so this one is at the normal price range for a great restaurant in Cluj. Service wise, this was good, but not amazing, we were however thankful that we did not have to wait for an hour for our food. This is a place we’ll definitely have to revisit next time when we are in the area!

L.

ZAMA

This is the one restaurant I was talking about in an earlier post. The one that almost dethroned BARACCA for me. The only thing that really mattered and made a difference between the two is the quality of service, otherwise, for the kid in me ZAMA would’ve been the best place to eat in Cluj. Unfortunately, the service was so slow and at some point we honestly thought that the lady waiting on us did not understand what we were saying. This was the actual deal breaker for us.

Let me tell you a little something about myself and that way you will probably understand better why this traditional restaurant could’ve been more to my taste than the much classier BARACCA. My grandparents on my mother’s side grew up in this area and therefore my entire childhood I’ve been fed everything that you can currently find on the menu at ZAMA and much more. I really wanted to give this place a try mainly because I miss the flavours of my childhood – grandma is a great cook but she is old and I can’t order food like I were in a restaurant – and I could hardly believe someone else could cook quite as good as her. I was skeptical going in, but by the end I was so in love with this place that managed to take me back to my childhood that not even the slow service could’ve annoy me anymore.

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When I say slow service, I mean it took us almost 3 hours to eat lunch, with about one hour of waiting for the first course, which, if you are a festival goer, you know that lunch is actually breakfast and basically you are starving by the time you reach any restaurant. I am well aware that traditional Transylvanian food is why the term ‘slow-cooking’ was invented, but this was on a whole different level. However, all that changed when the food actually came and therefore, if by that time I wasn’t sure that I was going to write about this place, that all changed the second I took my first sip of soup – this was definitely, food wise, my favourite restaurant!

The food… I ordered the lettuce soup which is a soup that you will not find anywhere else and I do admit that at first I was skeptical but when I tasted it, I was surprised to see that it tasted exactly like my grandmother’s. D chose the wild mushroom soup that was also done in true Transylvanian fashion. Again, for both soups, the quality of the ingredients is extremely important and, like I said before, from the first sip we knew this place was really special and needed a good, great actually, review on our blog. Since there were four of us that got annoyed by the long waiting time, the upside was that we got to see and taste double the amount of dishes that if it was just the two of us.

As a main course, our table hosted two types of traditionally made polenta, and I have to say that both of them were actually the best either of us ever tasted. Good polenta is not hard to make at all, but in order to get great polenta specialities, it has to be made in a certain slow cooked way – my grandfather used to take about two hours to achieve polenta perfection. To get a clue about how easy it is to make good polenta, it takes both me and my mother 5 minuted max, but we could never compare it with my grandfather’s. If you’re ever at ZAMA, try both specialities! Also on our table, we had the smoked pig leg with traditional cooked beans that, again was amazing and I had the one thing that I was craving for days, ever since I got to Cluj – the spinach puree with fried eggs! This is actually my favourite food ever since I was a little girl and while you might think that this combo is quite easy to make, well, it isn’t. The spinach has to be done a certain way in order to satisfy my tastebuds otherwise I can’t eat it – I’ve tried it in a lot of places. Needless to say that this one tasted amazing!

Dessert was yet again a roam through my childhood! We ordered boiled cottage cheese dumplings, bird’s milk – a better version of ile flottante, that you can find on the menu under the name of somloi galuska, and a traditional cheesecake that doesn’t taste like a normal cheesecake and that really needs to be tried out at least once. To be honest, as with all the other dishes, the desserts were amazing! Right to the point where my whole childhood meal was completed! I am telling you, the wait was well worth it as the food was one of the best I have ever tasted and everyone at the table loved it. This is not just a place to satisfy one’s childhood memories, this is a place that satisfies all those food lovers out there!

The check for me and D was about 30 E, so this is really a very cheap place if you consider that we both ate three courses each, plus drinks. ZAMA is really a must visit restaurant if you truly want to experience traditional Transylvanian cooking, but I am warning you, you will wait quite a lot for your food, but it will be well worth it!

L.