Carnival is Back and Busier than Ever!

So another month has flown by and time is moving too fast for me to fit everything in that I want to do!  Something is going to have to give…

Kalyves Carnival

Kalyves Carnival

The Carnival in Kalyves was so packed with people that we hardly got a chance to meet up with other friends.  It was extremely windy, which actually spoilt the experience.  There was so much going on.. with food and drink stalls dotted everywhere and tables and chairs all over the pavements.  The music, blasting out of huge speakers everywhere, was cool and funky but way too loud and I wasn’t impressed with any of the floats, although the covid one was amusing.

Debbie, Lisa & me at Kalyves Carnival

Debbie, Lisa & me at Kalyves Carnival

Many locals dressed up and it was a great day for ‘people watching’.  I don’t think the town of Kalyves has ever seen so many people thronging its streets, as the Greeks were determined to party after being denied their carnival for the past 3 years.  Despite the negatives, we enjoyed the spectacles and the atmosphere, which was difficult to capture in photos, due to the sheer volume of people.

Agios Apostoli Crete

Walking from one beach to the next at Agios Apostoli

The prevailing clement weather this March has been great for beachcombing and walking days.  Lisa, Debbie and I have visited Agios Apostoli – an area of several beautiful sandy beaches situated not far from Chania town.  Once we’d parked up it was easy to walk from beach to beach.  One stretch took us over the top of some rugged coastline, where we came across a shack and small cave that someone called home.  It was so hot and sunny that it felt like May or June – not March!  There were many local Greeks spending the day on the beach, swimming in the sea and drinking at the beach tavernas. The whole area had a real holiday atmosphere!  To be honest I knew we would find very little in the way of seashells or sea treasures in Agios Apostoli, but we had talked of visiting the area in winter many times and finally decided to visit.

Shack on te beach at Agios Apostoli

Home to someone – the shack near one of the beaches at Agios Apostoli

We also visited Frangokastello and explored at least 3 beaches along that coastline.  Sadly I have noticed a change over the years and did not find many of the shells I use for my ‘turtle flippers’.  Over 10 years ago I would fill my bag with this particular seashell but for some reason the sea is just not giving them up at Frangokastello anymore.  Or maybe we just haven’t been there on the right days.  Luckily I can find my ‘turtle flippers’ along other coastlines and this is just as well because the ‘Baby Turtles Race for Life’ Seashell Mosaic Collage is still my best seller year on year.

One of the beaches we explored on the coast of Frangkastello

One of the beaches we explored on the coast of Frangkastello and where we enjoyed our picnic.

Yet it was another gorgeous day with a lovely picnic on one of the beaches, lots of healthy sea air and wonderful exercise.  These are all the reasons and more – why I love my beachcombing days, whether we find lots or not.

However a recent trip to Falassarna made up for the lack of shell finds at Frangokastello.  I love Falassarna’s beautiful sandy beaches and they never disappoint when it comes to finding a huge variety of the beautiful tiny seashells, so many of which I use in my Seashell Mosaic Collages.

Beautiful unspoilt Falassarna

Beautiful unspoilt Falassarna

This past month I have enjoyed many more walks including a strenuous climb up a gorge in the Drapanos area with the Happy Wanderers.

Climbing the gorge at Drapanos

Climbing the gorge at Drapanos

Always amazed when I come across another area of coastline I’ve never seen before, this walk started out from Drapanos village on a long road winding all the way down to the sea.  From there we clambered up this rocky gorge, frequently reduced to all fours.  Niall kindly offered me his spare hiking pole and this turned out to be a great help!

Walking the gorge at Drapanos

Taking a quick break and a much needed drink!

The lunch at the main taverna in Drapanos afterwards was superb!  And I can’t remember the name of it!  We were treated to such a variety of local fish and meat dishes as well as local wine aplenty… and all for just 15 Euros.  I didn’t have to eat another thing for the rest of the day, as is usual after a Sunday walk.

Another walk with the Happy Wanderers started in the pretty little village of Douliana and covered the villages of Gavalochori, Almyrida and Aspro via donkey tracks and quiet roads, with some steep uphill climbs.  We walked for around 5 hours before ending back in Douliana for another lovely lunch in Heliostasi taverna, where coincidentally I’d had dinner the night before!  I had been out with a friend for the evening to listen to the ‘Mellow Vibes’ who were playing there that night.

Pink Flamingos in Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting - 30 x 50cms available to purchase from Etsy

Replacing the Pink Flamingos in Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting – 30 x 50cms. Sold from my Etsy shop.

When I’m not beachcombing or walking, I am working on my art and still there are not enough hours to replace all the artworks I sold last summer.  Each artwork takes many hours to create and I enjoy every one of them!  But something has to give and for the sake of maintaining more balance in my life…I can only produce so much… and that has to be enough.  I have about another month to concentrate on building my stock before I start selling again in May.  Also I have booked to go back to the UK at the end of May for 2 weeks.  With Easter looming and many social events planned.. it’s looking like April is going to be a busy month too.


Putting All the Hours into Creating my Art

We were so lucky with the weather in January.  It was sunny and mild for the whole month but in the first week of February it turned cold and stormy with lots of heavy rain – even hailstones!  And suddenly the mountains were full of snow!  This lasted for about two weeks and now, for the past week the warm sunny weather has returned.


On one of my power walks in Almyrida

The weather did affect the walks.  A couple of David’s walks were dotted with showers, some of them heavy and I was glad of my rainproof jacket, even though the zip broke!  Nevertheless we also enjoyed warm and dry conditions on our walks to Stylos and Nippos.  What is so lovely about David’s walks is that I always learn something about the local flora and fauna and David is also very knowledgeable about climate change.


Never too far from the white mountains.. a rest stop at the Kefelas monuments during the Happy Wanderers walk.

I’ve actually only been on one of the Happy Wanderers walks since New Year and this is down to various reasons.  If a walk is postponed due to bad weather, it is moved to the following week.  As they are always held on Sundays, it’s not a good idea to have a late and boozy night on the Saturday before and this is the reason I missed one of the walks.  There was a Saturday Night in Vangeli’s when two different bands were playing and I knew it was going to be a late one (and there have been quite a few of those lately).  I think it was around 4am before I hit the sack!  What a dirty stop-out I am… and at my age too!!  An early start and a long strenuous walk were never going to happen!

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting 40x50cms

One of the larger designs I took off Etsy to sell from Almyrida beach last summer – 40x50cms Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting

Yet I did make last Sunday’s walk around Selia and Kefelas, followed by a lovely long lunch at a taverna in Kalamitsi Alexandrou.   It was good to see some familiar faces again and to catch up as we trekked along the way and over lunch.  It’s always so nice walking in the winter sunshine.

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting 40x50cms

Another design I took off Etsy to sell from Almyrida beach last summer – 40x50cms Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting

I have been putting all the hours I can muster into my art business.  A busy winter always follows a successful summer season and I have too many designs to replicate in time for next season.  I especially need to replace some larger designs I took off Etsy in order to sell last year.  These I can only create in the winter months because in the summer I am too busy with selling and producing the smaller designs that always sell well.  Hey but I have made a great start.

Although I do nothing to increase traffic to my Etsy Shop, I have some really good customers and amazing reviews.  I recently completed a custom order for one such client.  I know I could do a lot more marketing on social media in order to try and attract more sales but…  I really don’t have the time or the inclination to do this.  Etsy isn’t the marketplace it once was and all my efforts would probably make no difference anyway, from what I can gather on the Etsy Community and forums.  I could easily write a whole blog post telling you how bad Etsy has become, but I don’t have the time!  Otherwise I would spend that time uploading all my work onto another marketplace.. and we are talking about a lot of work involved in doing that.

Beautiful cove on the outskirts of Stavros

The beautiful little cove on the outskirts of Stavros, where Lisa, Debbie & I were beachcombing

All I want to do is to create!  When I am not creating I want to beach comb, explore, walk, socialize…  I make sure now that I maintain some balance in my life because it just can’t be all about my work, all of the time.  Life is too short and there are never enough hours in it for me!

Every winter I look forward to my beachcombing trips.  Whole days of exploring the awesome empty-of-tourists beaches.  Ross was over for a couple of weeks and offered to drive Debbie and me to Georgioupoli beach for the day, making a nice change for me not doing the driving.  Ross has been beachcombing with us many times before and he enjoys exploring the different areas we visit and in the summer he also loves swimming and snorkeling from whichever beach we are on.  We had a lovely day out and decided to end it with an early dinner at The Loft in Plaka.

Overlooking one of Bali's many beaches

On the way down to one of Bali’s stunning beaches, where Debbie & I were beachcombing

Last week, Lisa, Debbie and I visited Stavros again.  We always stop now at the little cove we recently discovered, which is just on the outskirts of Stavros and where there are always teeny tiny seashells to find.  The weather was simply gorgeous and we collected lots of ocean treasures.  Yesterday, Debbie and I spent the day at Bali and although there wasn’t that much to find along any of the tidelines, we still enjoyed walking the 3 beaches there and soaking up the winter sunshine.  We also found another small sandy cove which we stopped to explore on the way back.

The Awesoms Lefka Ori Mountains in Crete

The Awesome Lefka Ori Mountains.. a zoomed in, early morning image taken from my balcony

Tomorrow Carnival is back at Kalyves!  It has been a few years since they held carnivals all over Greece, mainly due to Covid.  I don’t think I have been to one for many years… but I’m going this year.  It’s going to be 20 degrees and sunny again tomorrow, so another perfect winter’s day for being out and about, socialising and having some fun!

A Wonderful Family Christmas in Wales

I spent my first night in the UK at my dear friends’ Gill and Rick’s home in Bramhall.  Gill picked me up from the airport at around 6pm and Rick cooked up a wonderful steak dinner.  They spoilt me rotten as they always do, and it was the best and only time I had to catch up properly with them during this year’s Christmas in the UK.  We literally talked for hours…. Great food, great wine and great company.. so what more could I ask for to kick off my 2022 Christmas stay in the UK? Continue reading

How Easy it is to be Happy When You Live on Crete

The weather here on Crete for the whole of November has been absolutely fabulous!  We’ve had day after day of warm sunny weather, perfect for beachcombing and walking.  I’ve also spent countless hours on my art.. as I start to build up my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings for next summer.  I sold so well this year that I have a full and busy winter ahead.  Such is my life here that I pack it to the rafters with things I love to do both in my work and leisure time. Continue reading

Enjoying Wonderful Warm Sunny Weather This October

These past few weeks we have been enjoying some wonderful weather, especially for October and it is such a contrast to this time last year.  We had a really bad rainstorm in mid October which caused severe flooding on parts of Crete, but luckily not near me!  For the rest of the time it’s been lovely and warm with sunshine all day long! Continue reading

Making More Memories with Family & Friends This Summer

As predicted, August has been mega busy sales-wise and I sold 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings from my beach stall and 3 more from the Gavalochori Gift Shop.  This is over double the sales I had for this period last year.  Demand has been so high for certain designs that I have not had the time to make more. Continue reading

Having Lots of Fun Playing with the Grandchildren!

Emma, Ralph and Neve returned to the UK almost 2 weeks ago and I have been so busy with my art business that this is the first opportunity I have had to write a post about their stay with me.  We had a rather worrying start to the holiday with Neve being poorly and Emma unsure whether she was well enough to travel. Continue reading

Tourists Return to Almyrida and My Art is Selling Like Hot Cakes Again!

It’s been a busy month especially for selling my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings. I have still only been setting up my stall 2 days a week – usually on Mondays and Thursdays, yet I am already struggling to keep up with demand for several popular designs this year. I’ve spent all the free hours I have at home, creating more Mosaics to replace the ones I’ve sold. Continue reading

Extra Quality Time with my Family in the UK

I almost couldn’t believe that my return journey to Crete, after 16 lovely days with my family in the UK, was totally stress-free and absent of any delays. After the awful trip from Chania to Manchester and having seen and heard all the horror stories – I was quite prepared for another rotten travel experience and had decided I would just go with the flow and not let it get to me.  My outbound flight had been delayed by over two hours in Chania and when it finally arrived in Manchester, there was no staff to bring steps so we couldn’t get off the plane! Much later in the baggage hall, there was nobody to take the suitcases off the planes and onto the conveyor belts.  More and more flights were arriving but there was not a bag or suitcase to be seen! I was worried about my daughter who had to leave the car park because it was getting too expensive to stay. When I eventually got my bag (and I was one of the lucky ones!) I had to walk way beyond the airport to find Emma waiting by her car. How ironic that I was actually looking forward to travelling again – post pandemic. Yet it was far worse because the travel industry was so totally unprepared for the sheer volume of people wanting to finally get away. What a fiasco!

Needless to say – however bad the travel experiences – it is always worth it to spend such quality time with my family and grandchildren. It is a real holiday for me and I enjoyed and loved every minute of it. I stayed with Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve for the first 9 days, happily looking after Ralph and Neve for the two days Emma was working. Luckily the weather, although not as good as I’d hoped – was dry and quite sunny at times so we were able to visit the park and go exploring in the woods where we found a treehouse!



The military base where they live, gave out free tickets to Flamingo Land and so we all went there for the day and the weather was really nice. As it was half term it was very busy and queues for the rides were taking an hour or more. We decided on only a few choice rides, Ash taking Ralph on the steepest rollercoaster in the world – no less – whilst Emma and I queued for a couple of rides with Neve.

It is many many years since I visited a leisure park like Flamingo Land and I must say I was impressed. There was also a zoo set among the beautiful grounds of what once must have been a huge estate and manor house. We spent the whole day there and enjoyed a wide variety of options for lunch, which we ate outside in the sunshine. It was a lovely day out and shortly after we arrived home, Emma and Ash left to go to York for the evening and an overnight hotel stay. As it was their wedding anniversary and they don’t often get the chance to go out, I urged them to take advantage of my being there to babysit.

At the Platinum Jubilee barbeque

At the Platinum Jubilee barbeque held on the Military base

The next day, on the Saturday there was a big party and barbeque in the grounds of the Military base, held to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Again we were so lucky to have good weather as the sun shone for most of the time.  Zoe, Rich and Arthur had travelled from the other side of Yorkshire to join us in the celebrations, which turned it into a real family affair. Aside from the free barbeque, there was a large bouncy castle for the kids, a brilliant play list of music and tunes that many got up to dance to and we brought along our own beer and wine to drink. It was a wonderful day and we stayed until well after 7pm. Zoe, Rich and Arthur were staying over so after we had put all the kids to bed – we continued the party, drinking and sitting around a fire pit in Emma and Ash’s garden, playing music and chatting all evening.

Ralph, Neve & Arthur waving their union jack flags at the Jubilee party

Ralph, Neve & Arthur waving their union jack flags at the Jubilee party

Platinum Julbilee Barbeque

Enjoying the Platinum Jubilee Party & Barbeque

A couple of days later Emma drove us to a shopping centre in Leeds, where we met Zoe. Because the children were back at school and nursery, we had a totally free day of shopping which included a tasty lunch, enjoyed in the sunshine in the garden of Gino de Campo’s restaurant. Then I went back with Zoe to their house in Golcar. It was a shame because the weather was not as good in their part of Yorkshire. In fact I found it rather cold because it was so windy. However this did not stop us from enjoying some quality time together. Zoe had the whole week off work, which was great for me. We spent time shopping and actually did some gardening which I really enjoyed, having only pots to tend in Crete. I also got to play with Arthur lots and I babysat a couple of times so that Zoe and Rich could go out. Like Emma and Ash – they rarely have the chance to go out without the children.

At Ilkley Food and drink festival

At Ilkley Food and drink festival

On the Sunday there was a food and drink festival being held in Ilkley. Zoe and Rich had been to this festival many times before and this year Emma, Ash and the kids came along too and met us there. It was wonderful as I wasn’t expecting another opportunity where we were all together again. Live music from different bands played all day, giving a real festival atmosphere and there were more rides for the kids. Dozens of food and drink stalls of every variety were dotted all over this huge field including many more stalls and marquees selling all kinds of edible treats and crafts. But – in typically British style – the weather this time did put a dampner on things as it was so windy and there was no shelter on that open field! Strong gusts meant that food flew off our plates and drinks were whisked out of our hands, with the children getting all upset at one point. But hey – we all had a great time really and it did brighten up later on in the afternoon.

I really enjoyed my extra holiday in the UK and I intend to make this visit in May/June a more regular thing. I can’t and don’t expect my girls and their families to visit Crete every summer and if they can’t come, then I am only seeing my grandchildren at Christmas time. As it happens I have been really fortunate that Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve all came for holidays here in 2020 and 2021. Zoe and Rich visited in 2020 but were unable to come in 2021. However this summer I am spoilt as Emma , Ralph and Neve are arriving for a week’s holiday on 21st July and are staying with me this time. Also Zoe, Rich and Arthur are coming over in September for two weeks, four days of which will be spent in Cyprus where Zoe’s best friend gets married. I will be looking after Arthur whilst they are there. So I have much to look forward to this summer.

I was back selling by Almyrida beach again two days after I arrived home and am pleased that I sold 5 Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings that day. Among them was the hugely popular design – “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen”. In only 5 separate days of selling this season – I have sold two of these already! And you know what? I truly believe that something really wonderful is going to happen this summer…..

Ange & I Enjoy Walking The Imbros Gorge

I have had three good selling days so far this month but the weather was not good enough for a couple of days last week and disappointingly I only managed to sell on the Monday. Tomorrow will be my last day in May before I fly back to the UK for 16 days. The weather otherwise has been sunny and hot and for the first time in two years there are plenty of tourists – including British – around and about Almyrida and Plaka.
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