When you tell people you are going to Symi, you get one of two reactions. Either bafflement – ‘Where?” – or instant recognition and excited retellings of memories from joyous holidays there. Before I went to Symi this year, I would have been firmly in the first camp. After a week there this summer, I’m now in the latter and will be fiercely envious of anyone who announces a trip there. Symi is a tiny Greek island, a two hour ferry ride from Rhodes and worth every bit of the journey.

Arriving in Symi

After first spying it on Rosie Londoner’s blog, my sister and I knew our dream holiday destination had been found. Quiet and scenic, not requiring a car, beautiful beaches, affordable yet unspoilt. It ticks all these boxes and so many more. The island is as postcard perfect as you could imagine. In contrast to the white and blue architecture classically associated with Greek islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, the houses of Symi much more closely resemble the towns dotting the Italian coastline such as Portofino – all apricot and peach toned villas, climbing high up the hills.

Symi townA week in Symi follows a pretty blissful pattern: hop on a morning boat to a gorgeously scenic beach to spend the day basking in sunshine and swimming in warm turquoise sea. In the late afternoon, return to Symi for an evening stroll around the harbour, peeking into the super yachts moored up for the night as you choose which charming taverna to watch the sunset from.View from Symi HarbourWhilst Symi has certainly skyrocketed to the top of my ‘favourite places in the world’ list (joining New York, Venice and Tresco), Nanou Beach could easily hold a spot of its own. After a twenty minute little boat trip from Symi (10 return, on charming small boats run by super friendly locals, leaving on the hour every in the morning and arriving to take you back every hour in the afternoon), you arrive at the jaw dropping destination. 300ft cliffs drop down to the small bay of a pebbly beach and crystal clear waters. There are two rows of sun loungers (a mere 2 a day) but all are spaced well apart, so you don’t feel like you are on top of the next people along. If you get the 10am boat from Symi (the first boat of the day) the hour before the next boat arrives feels like you have the beach to yourself. Even in peak August, I had the sea to myself several times a day. The occasional yacht pulls up and moors alongside the cliffs, providing good people watching whilst leaving your sun lounger view entirely unspoilt.Nanou Beach, SymiBy the last day of my holiday, returning to Nanou for the second time, I was so zen I didn’t even pick up my Kindle the whole day. I was the ultimate example of holiday relaxation: daydreaming on the sun-lounger, breaking this up with long swims in the sea (read: floating about on my noodle) and the occasional snack of freshly baked spanakopita bought from the bakery that morning. It was a wrench to get back on the last boat of the day and head back to Symi.

Welcome to Cook by Degrees!

Hi, I’m Lucy! I am a 19-year old Londoner and currently a History student at Cambridge University. After blogging for six years over at Teen Baker, and graduating from a year at Leiths School of Food and Wine with a Professional Diploma, I have upped and moved to Cambridge to start my degree.
Student life means a uni kitchen. Which means I don’t have an oven, the hob has a health and safety function that makes it automatically shut off every seven minutes, the door automatically locks behind me and the high out of reach window overlooks the car park. There is just about room for two people inside, but it helps if you know each other pretty well. Nevertheless, I am determined to keep cooking! Being without an oven is a struggle for my baking obsessed, unrivalled sweet tooth self, but it is just going to push me to stretch outside my comfort zone. Plus, the lack of an oven means that student staples of pizza and garlic bread are not an option (although pasta is here to stay) so I have no choice but to use my cooking experience to try out new, oven-free recipes. Quite the challenge when my baking mind automatically scans to any recipe that starts ‘Preheat the oven to 180’C’ and those are now out of my repertoire.
Also, whilst I get over excited planning my meals and can read Nigella endlessly,  I get that not all students feel this way. Having recently taught my best friend here how to make cornflake cakes, I know that we need simple, easy but still delicious food. So I am hoping that Cook by Degrees can inspire other kitchen-strapped students to get cooking!

I hope you enjoy reading and find something that makes you hungry!