August is Still the Busiest Time of Year

Even though I wrote in my last post that I was having a more relaxing summer.. August has ended up being surprisingly busy for me!  I say this because – like all the other businesses in Almyrida this summer – customers have been few and far between.  August has always been my busiest month for sales and I am pleased to say that this year was no exception!  In the current circumstances, I count myself extremely fortunate to have sold 54 Artworks in August, including a couple of sales on my Etsy shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeashellBeautyinArt

Seashell Mosaic Collage of a Bougainvillea and Large Greek Urn - 20x30cms

A popular choice this summer – my Seashell Mosaic Collage of a Bougainvillea and Large Greek Urn – 20x30cms

More sales have meant more work at home though, creating more of the designs that I have run out of.  My new beach design of the quote, ‘Always believe…’ – which is written in real sand – has flown off my display board every time I’ve made a new one!

Popular new design for this Summer - Inspirational quote written in real sand - 20x30cms

Popular new design for this Summer – Inspirational quote written in real sand – 20x30cms

Then my Sister Karen and Niece Sophie booked a late flight to Chania and came to stay with me for a week on the 20th August.  This was a lovely surprise because for the four days I wasn’t selling, I felt like I was on holiday too!  We spent those days together, doing all the things you love doing on holiday, such as lunches at the beachside tavernas and cocktails on the Almyrida Residence Roof Garden.  We ate Sushi at Unami – the new Asian Fusion restaurant that’s just opened in Almyrida.  The food there was divine and so reasonably priced.  I love that there is now such a variety of restaurants to choose from in Almyrida.  On my selling days, we just ate straight from the beach, instead of going home to shower and change first.

 enjoying early evening cocktails on the Almyrida Residence Roof Terrace

With Karen & Sophie, enjoying early evening cocktails on the Almyrida Residence Roof Terrace

We also went on Yorgos’ Adventure Boat Trip again.  I say ‘again’ because Karen has been on this trip before and I have done it many times over the years, with other family and friends.  Sophie, however had yet to experience it and this is why we decided to go.  It’s always such good fun!  However, for me there were disappointments.  Firstly I couldn’t show Sophie the cave where the Greek guy lived for many years before he met and fell in love with an English woman!  Yorgos was not happy about us climbing up there when goats were constantly dislodging the rocks on the cliff sides.  Fair play to him – our safety comes first.  I am just glad that I was able to explore this cave at least a couple of times in previous years.  But secondly, the sea was so choppy and every time Yorgos’ large speedboat hit the waves it was like landing on concrete!  My stomach felt so queezy for most of the trip and I couldn’t wait to get off the boat when we all went snorkelling on the way back, which I think was the best part of the trip for me.  Amazingly, Karen and Sophie had no such problem!

Relaxing with a glass of wine on my wonderful balcony as the sun sets

Relaxing with a glass of wine on my wonderful balcony as the sun sets, before we walk into Plaka square for the music festival.

There was a charity music festival in Plaka Square too, so we booked a table at Vangeli’s and had a right laugh that night!  The week flew by so quickly, as holidays always do, but I was pleased that Karen and Sophie enjoyed a restful visit at mine and that I also managed to get 4 totally relaxing days in August, that I otherwise wouldn’t have taken.  We were so relaxed that we barely took any photos either, which I regret now because I don’t have many to post up on here.   I took Karen and Sophie back to Chania airport, came straight back home and started to work on my Seashell Mosaic Collages again – I still have much to do!

At the Gavalochori Music Festival

At the Gavalochori Music Festival

Talking of charity music festivals, On Saturday night I went to a really fab one held annually in the village of Gavalochori.  It was a fantastic night with some really good bands playing – Change House, Carl Axon & the Rocking Rebels and U4oria to name a few.  Really the music was exceptional and proves just how much talent is evident in both established and emerging musicians in the Apokoronas  area of Crete.  Lisa and I were up on the packed dance floor for most of the evening and I enjoyed every minute of it!  It was also really good to see some old friends I’d not seen for a while.  Live music gigs are the norm and are happening all the time here during the summer months, which is a good thing as you can’t beat them for a buzzing atmosphere and a chance to dance your socks off!

Lisa & I at the Gavalochori Music Festival last week

Lisa & I at the Gavalochori Music Festival last week

Meanwhile… I am eagerly awaiting news of the birth of my 3rd Grandchild!  Zoe is already overdue by a week!  I have booked my flight back to the UK for 1st October and I will stay for 3 weeks – mostly with Zoe and Rich but I will also have a few days with Emma, Ash, Ralph & Neve.  At some point we will all get together for a weekend.  I am really looking forward to it and cannot wait to meet the newest addition to my growing family!

 

Enjoying More Free Time This Summer.

The summer months from May through to September are normally so busy and hectic for me!  Looking back over the last ten years – I really have spent long and crazy hours producing and selling my unique Seashell Mosaic Paintings and Collages.  It has been all about supply and demand!  My Art Business has totally consumed my time and energies but don’t get me wrong because I have loved every moment of it!

Seashell Mosaic Collage of Baby Turtles race to the sea - 10 x 30cms Still my most popular design!

Seashell Mosaic Collage of Baby Turtles race to the sea – 10 x 30cms Still my most popular design!

Yet this summer things have been quite different.  For the first time since I started my Art Business, I have lots more free time on my hands in which to pursue other interests and relax more.  This is because beach sales are down quite considerably and Etsy sales too – are very disappointing, but I will talk more about Etsy in a future post.  I know this is due to global economics and circumstances as I see and hear clear evidence of this through talking to customers from all over the world.  Many would love to buy my Seashell Mosaics but cannot afford to.  These are difficult times for anyone selling anything!

Consequently, although I still sell for three days of the week, the other four days are now not taken up with producing. My weekends are free and I only need one day a week in which to prep up canvases to work on during those beach selling days.  This still leaves me with three free days!  The pace of my summer life has suddenly become much slower and about time too!  It’s almost as though a drop in my sales was meant to be!  I have mentioned in previous posts how I want to strive for more balance in my life… well now I have the opportunities to do this, because now I have the time to do other things.

The far beach in Almyrida, so pretty and much quieter!

The far beach in Almyrida, so pretty and much quieter!

For the past month I have been going down to the beach on these free days, just for a few hours at around 4pm.  This is a lovely period of the day to be on the beach and it’s only a two minute drive or a ten minute walk down to Almyrida, so how lucky am I?  I have a choice of three beaches – all different, but I prefer the far beach which is much quieter.  Sometimes I meet Lisa at the Cantina beach, which is much busier.  I love to take long languorous swims in the sea, where the temperature is just perfect for cooling off and where I feel both emotionally and physically energised.  It’s so good for me!  I relax on a lounger in the shade, with a good book and Sudoku, taking refreshing swims in between.  These few hours are so relaxing and remind me of 2009 and the first summer I had here on Crete – before my artworks became so popular.  I am really enjoying again – all the marvellous amenities this wonderful Island and climate has to offer in the summer months.  I already feel that I have more balance in my daily life.

On the Island of Gavhdos and before I head to the shoreline to look for seashells!

On the Island of Gavhdos and before I head to the shoreline to look for seashells!

I’ve also been on a day trip to the Island of Gavhdos recently.  This entailed a coach trip to the south coast of Plakias and from there – an hour and a half ferry ride to the Island.  We were a group of about 50 or 60 people, many of which I knew and so it was good fun all round and interesting to meet new people too.  A coach at the small port of Gavhdos took us to a nearby beach where we could chill for a couple of hours.  There were no refreshments on the boat and so we had drinks and nibbles at one of the beach tavernas there.  Of course me being me – afterwards I headed straight for the shoreline in search of any interesting or different shells.  Sadly I did not find any but I enjoyed a refreshing swim and couldn’t help noticing how many nudists were on the beach.  No surprise I suppose, for this natural Island of Gavhdos.

On Gavhdos - the Taverna at the edge of the beach where we all had lunch.

On Gavhdos – the Taverna at the edge of the beach where we all had lunch.

After this we all boarded the coach again for a tour of the whole Island – so small it is only 10 km long and 5 km wide and is triangular-shaped.  We hoped the coach would be able to take us to Cape Trypiti – the southernmost tip of Europe, but unfortunately the road only reached so far and the rest was a long and steep trek down – which we didn’t have time for, disappointingly!  Otherwise, with the exception of a few scattered old ruins, there wasn’t much else to see on this tiny Island at Europe’s most southern tip.  We were dropped back off at the beach where we all went to another taverna for a big late lunch and some music.  It was a lovely setting at the edge of the beach and the atmosphere was relaxed and lively!  I enjoyed the boat trips and it was a great day out.  In fact it was a very long day and I didn’t arrive back home until 10pm.

Dr Albert Flipout and his One CAN Band - playing at Hasomeri in Vamos.

Dr Albert Flipout and his One CAN Band – A truly funny guy, playing at Hasomeri in Vamos.

I have enjoyed more going out in the evenings too.  To mention a few – a summer festival in Stilos Park and U4ouria Gigs on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden and in Kalyves Square.  Needless to say.. lots of dancing on these nights!  I went to see Dr Albert Flipout’s One CAN Band at Hasomeri in Vamos.  Marianne booked a table so we ate there too.  What a hilarious guy he was!  Apart from being a genuinely talented musician, this half Greek, half Danish musician entertained us with such funny stories!  The lyrics to most of his songs were so ‘off the wall’ and Marianne and I thought – so funny!  His blend of music was brilliant and so full of rhythm. He was a really different kind of entertainer and we loved him so we bought his CD!

Debbie and I on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden at the U4ouria Gig

Only a few weeks ago – Debbie and I on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden at the U4ouria Gig, where we danced for most of the evening!

So as you can tell… I’ve been having lots of fun and enjoying my new ‘free time’.  But as so often happens… something comes along to knock you off your feet and of course this is all part of ‘Life’s Balance’.  On a more serious note, Lisa and I have recently had shocking news about our friend Debbie.  She has been rushed to a specialist hospital in Athens for an emergency operation.  She has bleeding on the brain.  Her family and friends are all in shock and deeply worried about her.  We are all praying that Debbie will make a full and speedy recovery.  Apparently she is in the hands of Greece’s top Brain Surgeon and we take comfort from this.

 

 

Celebrating 10 Wonderful Years on Crete!

Yes, I cannot believe that I have lived on this wonderful Island of Crete for ten years! Those ten years have seen me living out my dreams because I have always wanted to live like this… by the sea and so close to nature and all her awesome glory. The lifestyle I’ve enjoyed has been so perfect for me and is everything I could have hoped for and more! How far removed it is from the life I led in the UK because here I have lived a simple, busy but contented, peaceful and happy life from the moment I stepped onto Cretan soil. Continue reading

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