My Precious Jewels!

What a wonderful week I’ve just had with my two gorgeous grandchildren, Ralph and Neve! My daughters and my grandchildren are the precious jewels of my life and they illuminate every breath I take through their very existence. So a week with all four of them was just pure bliss for me!

Me with Ralph and Neve on Kalyves beach

Me with Ralph and Neve on Kalyves beach

Zoe is pregnant and expecting my third grandchild in August. My little family which used to be just Zoe, Emma and me, is now growing larger and larger and there will soon be eight of us! I cannot begin to tell you how much they all enrich my life and make me so very happy. How lucky am I that I got to spend this past week’s holiday of happiness and fun with my family at my home on Crete. Ash has been posted to Cyprus for three months and Rich had work commitments, so they were both unable to come, but (and of course I am biased!) my precious jewels were all here!

Cute and gorgeous baby Neve!

Cute and gorgeous baby Neve!

The weather continued to be unsettled but I think we were lucky to have had so many beach and pool days. It was largely sunny and warm, although we had first some very strong south winds which filled the air with red dust and then the last two days there were particularly gusty west winds. Yet we always managed to find somewhere more sheltered, like the lovely large and grassy pool area at the Langden Hotel in Almyrida or the Almyrida Beach Hotel poolside.

Enjoying our dinner by the sea at Dimitri's

Enjoying our dinner by the sea at Dimitri’s

I will never forget waiting at the airport for their arrival and Ralph spotting me from inside the baggage claim hall. He just ran the distance straight towards me, calling “Yia yia! Yia yia!” And he ran into my arms with such gusto that we fell backwards onto the floor, laughing our socks off! It was great that Zoe and Emma booked such an early flight because by about 3pm that first day, we were already on the small beach in Almyrida! It was so sunny, warm and calm that we stayed there for a few hours before going to Dimitri’s for dinner. After that first day, we had dinner at home every night, preferring to eat out for lunch every day instead, apart from two exceptions where we took a packed lunch and the cool box. It was easier and made sense with two small children – Ralph is three years old and Neve is just eight months.

On Kalyves beach

On Kalyves beach

We spent a day on Kalyves beach and although it was windy, we were sheltered by a large wooden taverna. I have so enjoyed playing with Ralph and Neve on the beach. I took Ralph for a walk all along the beach and we were looking for interesting things that had washed up on the sand all the way! We walked right up to the small harbour, where I sat Ralph on the large torpedo and we even went inside the tiny chapel, which was only big enough for one or two people to stand in.

All my precious jewels - infront of the fountain in Georgioupoli square

All my precious jewels – infront of the fountain in Georgioupoli square

Saturday was the only really cloudy day, with a couple of brief showers and when we saw the forecast we decided to visit Georgioupoli for the day because it’s a really nice place to walk around, have coffee, lunch and browse a few shops. We came across a large children’s fun park with a taverna and spent a wonderful couple of hours watching Ralph and Neve while they enjoyed all the facilities. There were two huge bouncy castles, a go-cart racing track, trampolines, a ball park and playhouse to name some of them. Both Ralph and Neve had such a good time – well we all did as they were such a joy to watch!

At the Almyrida Beach Hotel

At the Almyrida Beach Hotel

Some of the days we visited the Almyrida Beach Hotel poolside where there is a play area for small children and we alternated between the harbour end of Almyrida beach and the small beach at the other end of Almyrida. Locally we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches and poolside terraces in which to enjoy our time together as a family.

Ralph playing with Neve

Ralph playing with Neve

I am so grateful to have been able to create these opportunities for all of us, by living on this beautiful Island of Crete! I will have been living here for ten years on 13th May and right from the beginning, I have enjoyed so many memorable family occasions. This most recent holiday is just as special in so many ways and I love being a Yia yia!  I loved talking to Ralph – you can hold whole conversations with him now! It’s such fun playing with him, soaking up his enthusiasm and sense of adventure! I loved watching Neve while she enjoyed playing in the sand, laughing at her reactions to everything! To help during mealtimes, bath times and bedtimes were all such pleasures for me! I loved every single minute of this family holiday and I shall cherish the wonderful memories for always.  And I am so proud of Zoe and Emma.

Lunch in Georgioupoli overlooking the Square

Lunch in Georgioupoli overlooking the Square

So naturally… I cried buckets all the way home, after dropping all my precious jewels off at the airport! Then I cried when I arrived home and saw the highchair, the toys, travel cot and Ralph’s camp bed. I moped about for the rest of the day, missing them all so much. It’s a long journey for them to make with Ralph and baby Neve, but the children were angels on both journeys. Thank goodness for Skype, which gives us virtual reality whenever we want and need it! Zoe and Emma Skyped me when they had arrived safely back at Zoe and Rich’s and I talked to Ralph who said he wanted to go back to Crete, bless! Neve was crawling all over the place and full of energy! She had slept well on the plane in Emma’s arms, bless!

On the little beach in Almyrida

On the little beach in Almyrida, Neve was obsessed with taking my sunglasses off and making me put them back on so that she could take them off again!

Now I am busy getting ready for my beach selling season, watching the weather every day, for the best day to start. It’s proving very difficult this year, with this ongoing unsettled weather we’re still having – most unusual! I am not rushing to sell while the winds are so strong and I am so exposed to them whilst I am working. Sitting there at the edge of Almyrida beach, the gusty winds are liable to blow away my whole display! I have already experienced this unfortunate casualty several times over the last 10 years!

I am looking forward to my dear friends, Jill, Rick and all of their family’s visit for two weeks from 24th May. Jill and Rick were the first people to come and stay with me when I moved here in May 2009. Two weeks later and they were here, which helped me to really settle in! Jill and Rick are not staying at mine this time and last June they ended up staying at my house without my being there, as I stayed in the UK when Mum was so poorly. So it is wonderful that I can make up for that and spend some time with them on this holiday instead.

Cheeky Ralph on the little beach in Almyrida

Cheeky Ralph on the little beach in Almyrida

I am also looking forward to meeting up with Paul and Sheila with their family, any day now. They are good customers and I have come to know them well over the years. Sadly I have not been able to see them for the last few times they have been to Crete – due to my family commitments. But this time we will definitely meet for lunch and a long overue catch-up!

Here are some more photos from our wonderful family holiday here on this beautiful Island of Crete!

Beachcombing Bliss at Elafonisi.

For the last few weeks the weather has been ‘iffy’ and unsettled, but at least we’ve not had further storms or even much rain. It’s just been cloudier and cooler than is normal this time of year. Of course…. it’s going to be gorgeous again soon!
Because the weather has been so unpredictable, finding the right day to go to Elafonisi was difficult. We’d already had a day where we drove as far as Kissamos before we realised it would be a bad day for Elafonisi. It is the most unspoilt, wild and beautiful area but its location right on the tip of Southwest Crete, leaves it very exposed to the weather – especially the wind! However, no winter beachcombing season would be complete without a trip to this awesome coastline.  I have written about this wonderful place several times over the years and I love to visit Elafonisi whenever I can.

Just a part of Elafonisi... there's so much more!

Just a part of Elafonisi… there’s so much more!

I am pleased to say that Lisa has returned to Crete and so it was that the three of us – Lisa, Debbie and I, finally got our day on Elafonisi. The weather was fab for the two hour drive down through mountains with gorges far below, which meant stunning scenery all the way! I also love all the little mountain villages we pass through on the way. It was warm and sunny when we arrived and there was only a smattering of tourists as far as we could see.

Lisa and Debbie - just after our picnic lunch!

Lisa and Debbie – just after our picnic lunch!

But we were not surprised to find it was very windy out on the sandbars and going across to the island. Yet there is so much to explore on Elafonisi that one day is just not enough! There is even a shipwreck somewhere near the island, though we ran out of time to investigate it. We need to come back in November when all the tourists have left and maybe go snorkelling too.

 

Vast expanses of pink sand and with gorgeous turquoise sea, Elafonisi has it all!

Vast expanses of pink sand and with gorgeous turquoise sea, Elafonisi has it all!

We had the most awesome and wonderful day collecting seashells, exploring all the different beaches, enjoying our picnic in the sunshine and all three of us feeling so lucky and blessed to be experiencing such a beautiful place here on Crete, knowing that we can visit this special natural landscape whenever we want to! Lisa, Debbie and I had about 7 hours of beachcombing bliss that day and we all had such good fun! We can’t wait to return to Elafonisi again later in the year.

Over on the little island, across the sandbank.

Over on the little island, across the sandbank.

I really really love this island! Since I’ve been back home on Crete… everything has gradually started to get better and things are looking up for me again – in all directions! It’s been good for me to get out and about with my friends Lisa and Debbie and we’ve got some great times planned for this summer! We are going to party and enjoy ourselves and I am excited and grateful for so many things – I cannot begin to list them all! I have had some wonderful news which I hope to write about in a future post. I am well organized for and looking forward to my beach selling season and I am so excited about family and friends visiting soon. Now everything is going right in my world again!

Exploring!

Exploring!

In just a few days time, Zoe, Emma, Ralph and Neve are coming to stay with me for a week and so I am very excited and happy about that! I will be spending these next few days getting everything ready for their visit. I’ve needed to find a travel cot, car seat for baby Neve, booster seat for Ralph and a highchair. But I am lucky enough to be able to borrow all these from good friends.

Yes... Life is Wonderful on the Beach!

Yes… Life is Wonderful on the Beach!

Before my family arrive on Tuesday, it is Greek Orthodox Easter here this weekend. It’s usually a week later than the Western Easter, although approximately every four years it falls on the same date. Lisa, Debbie and I have made some plans and we aim to have lots of fun and celebrate it as best we can!

Remembering My Lovely Mum

Following New Year I had been home for barely two weeks when I received a phone call from my sister Karen, to tell me that Mum’s health had seriously deteriorated and so I immediately flew back to the UK. She had just been moved to St. Ann’s Hospice so that they could better manage her condition and make her more comfortable. Thankfully I was able to spend the last week with her in the hospice, along with many other family and friends who visited regularly up until the end. Continue reading

Christmas is about Celebrating Quality Family Time

This Christmas time I went back to the UK much earlier than I usually do.
This is a good thing because I was able to spend lots of quality time with my Mum – even though she slept so much! Also my brother Mark came to visit for a couple of days with his two children, Honey and Ted and it was so good to see them all again! As always, it is good to catch up with Karen and Mike, while I base myself at their beautiful home. Continue reading

A Beautiful Day in Bali

There’s not much to report since my last post. Working on my Seashell Mosaic Collages is always a given, because whenever there isn’t anything else that takes priority – I am busy creating! This is also the time of year that I do my seashell sourcing and place orders with my regular suppliers. But I wanted to write this final post of 2018 before I return to the UK on Saturday morning. Continue reading

My Big Birthday Bash on Crete!

I am writing up this post on my wonderful balcony, on this cloudy day in November. We’ve just come out of a prolonged period of fine, sunny and warm weather and now we are getting rain and thunderstorms. But right now it is not raining and I can hear the sea and see the waves rolling onto the shoreline all around Almyrida Bay. Vasili’s sheep are in my garden below again and so I hear the tinkling of the ‘main’ sheep’s bell and the odd almost baby-sounding bleats coming from the little ones. They seem to lamb all year round on Crete. It must be our wonderful climate! Continue reading

August Beach Sales Have Been Really Good This Year!

It has been over six weeks since I last wrote and that is because I have been so busy coping with my hectic work schedule.  That month I spent in the UK meant I had lost a month in terms of production.  I was not as fully stocked with my Seashell Mosaic Collages for the summer season as I would normally have been. So August has been mega busy while I’ve been trying to keep up with the designs that are selling well. Continue reading