A Wonderful Holiday in the UK

My summer beach selling season finished on the last day of September. Luckily, September turned out to be almost as good as August and so I really cannot complain about my overall sales figures for this summer. I did reasonably well considering all the economic circumstances.

New Mother & Son - Zoe & Baby Arthur

New Mother & Son – Zoe & Baby Arthur

The very next day I flew to Manchester for my 3 week holiday in the UK, which was especially planned so that I could meet the latest little blessing to arrive in my growing family! Baby Arthur was born to Zoe and Rich on 9th September and so was just over 3 weeks old when I first held him! He is just adorable and the absolute image of his proud Dad. I spent the first six days of my visit with Zoe and Rich and loved every minute of my time with little Arthur. At the weekend we visited Hebden Bridge and Slaithwaite – two charming Yorkshire villages set amidst beautiful surrounding countryside. Both days we ate lunch there and browsed the shops and the weather was fine but cold!

Zoe & Me at Hebden Bridge

Zoe & Me at Hebden Bridge

I was not expecting it to be so cold in the UK yet. I have memories of past Octobers being like Indian summers. I packed all the wrong things to wear, thinking Christmas was surely the time to pack all my woollies. I was wrong! I had to borrow Jackets, scarves and woolly jumpers from Zoe, Emma and Karen!

Bedtime story with Ralph & Neve

Bedtime story with Ralph & Neve

After almost a week with Zoe, Rich and little Arthur, I took 3 trains from Huddersfield to Bury St Edmunds, where Emma picked me up from the station with my other two Grandchildren, Ralph and Neve. Ash was away training for a promotion. I had just 3 days at Emma’s but I had an amazing time with Ralph and Neve. One of those days Emma worked while I looked after them. Another day, we visited a large play centre called Curve Motion, and had lunch there. I could watch Ralph and Neve play all day long, but equally enjoy playing with them. Ralph is almost 4 and Neve is 14 months. It is scary how fast time passes and Ralph is a proper little boy now – doing everything for himself and talking non-stop. Neve is a little bull in a china shop, toddling and stumbling and falling and climbing every moment she is awake! An unstoppable force of will in constant motion! How lucky and blessed I am to have 3 such wonderful Grandchildren in my life!

With my gorgeous three Grandchildren, Ralph, Neve and Arthur

With my gorgeous three Grandchildren, Ralph, Neve and Arthur

On the Friday morning, Emma drove me, Ralph and Neve back up to Yorkshire, where she and Ash had booked a lovely old cottage in Holmfirth for the weekend. Our family is getting too large to be accommodated altogether in one place, so this cottage was perfect as our base camp and I would go back with Zoe and Rich to their home a few miles away, in Golcar – only to sleep. So by late Friday afternoon, Ash had joined us, along with Zoe, Rich and baby Arthur. Emma cooked a wonderful lasagne in the large open-plan Kitchen/Diner, replete with Aga and stone floors.

In the farmhouse kitchen at the cottage in Holmfirth.

In the farmhouse kitchen at the cottage in Holmfirth.

On the Saturday morning we met at the cottage again and drove into Holmfirth centre for lunch before taking a long walk through the beautiful countryside and around a large lake. It was a lovely walk even though for the last half hour we all got drenched in the rain. This did not bother us too much as we stopped by a lovely cosy country pub for dinner. Afterwards we all went back to the cottage and spent another lovely evening in the lounge in front of a roaring log fire, chatting and drinking after the kids had gone to bed.

All of us... on our long walk through the Yorkshire countryside

All of us… on our long walk through the Yorkshire countryside

Most of Sunday was spent hanging out at the cottage and Emma cooked another fab dinner for us all. We all had such an amazing weekend together and I am so proud of my wonderful family. All too soon, I said my goodbyes to Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve and returned to Zoe and Rich’s for a further 5 days. We had a couple of shopping days but otherwise – just chilled at home, where I spent lots more quality time holding and helping to look after cute baby Arthur. He doesn’t cry much at all… but then he doesn’t sleep much either! This, of course is quite normal for a newborn and although Zoe is very sleep-deprived, she is coping so well.  Rich, who is back at work, just seems to sleep through it all!

The lovely scenery we saw on our walk

The lovely scenery we saw on our walk

My sister, Karen had not yet seen Arthur and so she drove to Zoe and Rich’s to collect me, which saved me from having to take a couple of trains back to Stockport. I spent the last few days of my UK holiday in Bramhall at Karen and Mike’s. Caroline and Tony were supposed to be joining us that night, but Caroline was poorly and so they had to cancel, which was a real shame. But I’m sure that I will see them sometime over Christmas. I did manage to catch up with my friend Ange the following day, when we went for a walk in Bramhall Park and had lunch at the cafe there. On Sunday I went to the Trafford Centre with Mike. We did quite a lot of shopping and had lunch there too. That evening I had a lovely meal with my dear friends Gill and Rick in Bramhall at the new Asian Fusion restaurant.

Love this photo! Proud Dad, Rich just couldn't resist dressing Arthur up in cute mini cloth cap & matching braces!

Love this photo! Proud Dad, Rich just couldn’t resist dressing Arthur up in cute mini cloth cap & matching braces!

Me with cute Grandson Arthur!

Me with cute Grandson Arthur!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, my three weeks in the UK was packed, sharing wonderful occasions with family and friends. It was a real holiday for me after my busy summer of beach selling. I have mentioned many times before, how I love to relive these precious memories through writing them up in this Blog. I am back home in Crete now, where it is so much warmer and sunnier and I have swapped my winter woollies for shorts and t-shirt again! Although I am really missing my Daughters and Grandchildren, I know it’s not long until I will see them all again around Christmastime.

At the cottage - Zoe, Rich, Ash & Emma with Arthur

At the cottage – Zoe, Rich, Ash & Emma with Arthur

So now, amongst other things, I am busy ordering canvases and seashells for my unique Seashell Mosaic Collages. Also, I’ve only been back a few days but have already thoroughly enjoyed a recent night out in Almyrida. I joined about ten other friends at the new Asian Fusion restaurant where Ernest Berry, one of my favourite musicians was doing a solo gig. The food comprised of 5 separate delicious courses spread out over the whole evening, with Ernest playing throughout the night. We danced a little, talked loads, ate loads and drank loads and my new friend Charlie put the icing on the cake by insisting on picking up my tab!

There are many other events to look forward to over the next few days too! A Halloween Party at McGinty’s in Georgioupoli and a house party at Carl Axon’s – another talented musician who many years ago, used to play with Doctor and the Medics and who now spends a lot of his time doing gigs in our area of Crete.

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! Continue reading

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

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