Happy New Year!…2016

Happy New Year everyone, I hope it’s a beautiful one for you all!

Can you believe it’s that time already? I’m not really one to make resolutions at the New Year, but one thing I have resolved to do more of is drawing and painting, which I have neglected, and I took the chance on the first day of 2016 to play around with colouring pencils, pens, felt tips and water colours – here is one of my results below. I love the different media and colours I can mix and it’s always fun feeling like a child colouring in again (I think I need one of those grown up colouring books!)

So although I say it every year, I’ve come again full circle to make the most of my free time and see what I can come out with! What do you want to do differently this year?

noo year

 

That Moment When…

…you’re at a wedding and you still managed to get distracted by nearby gardens and take a quick snap. My sisters and I went to a family wedding this weekend, and inevitably the self-described photographers (me and she of everyphototunity) escaped for a few minutes to do shaadi-dot-com poses (me) and look for flowers (her).

Here’s one I took of her while she wasn’t looking – she was all decked out in a gorgeous outfit, crouched under a flower bush to get the right angle!

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A Ladybird and Chillies

Spotted this today while buying chillies in housewife mode – is it just me who just delicately picks up every and each piece of vegetable to examine before putting it in my bag? Meanwhile a woman in front of me strode up, dove her hand into the pile and grabbed a huge bunch without looking and stuffed them all into her bag (all while looking at me suspiciously, and probably wondering why I’m looking at each individual chilli pepper).

Luckily she didn’t pick up this ladybird (which was still tottering out oblivious to the earthquare happening three inches away) – after I whipped out my camera to take a snap, I left it in peace in the big green jungle : )

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #7: G is for Garden

I wanted to post about something in my garden, but unfortunately, it’s a pretty boring, plain lawn and we don’t have any flowers, just grass that we’ve been trimming and waiting for more green-ness.

My mum’s garden, however, is a different story, it’s a veritable Wonderland – there’s hundreds of colours, shapes and sizes when it comes to the different flowers, vegetables, fruit and trees planted by my mum – making it a mini Kew Garden in our family!

We’ve had temperamental weather over the last few days so I only managed to capture these while it rained a little, but it actually made my pictures come out a lot more intense. Now that it’s getting sunnier again, I’ll trying capturing more pictures to see the difference but in the mean time, here’s some bright colours for today’s post!

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Harlequin Travels in Santorini – DAY 3: Akrotiri and the Red Beach

Santorini Day 3: Akrotiri and the Red Beach

Our first view of Akrotiri
Our first view of Akrotiri

We decided on a change of scenery for this day, and decided to visit the southern part of Santorini to explore the beaches and archeological sites there. Since we didn’t want to take any taxis, we opted for public transport again to travel.

Ironically, we had to travel to Fira by bus in order to take another, shorter bus journey back South again to an area called Akrotiri, which had been recommended to us. We had looked at the idea of hiring quad bikes to get around (they cost about €20 at the local vendor we asked at), especially as we’d seen lots of people using them to get around. In the end we didn’t go with the quad bikes because it was a bit risky to drive long distances with these, and it would have added up after a few days plus petrol!

The picture on the left is our first view of area Akrotiri itself, there was a small archeological site and exhibition before this which we had a quick look at and saw a few ruins at (but we didn’t have time to go in, which I regret!), before we walked down to the strip of shops, restaurants and alleys at the pier.

We ate at a pretty place which was hidden away on the side of a turning called the Cave of Nikolas, which was an unpretentious place with quirky decor in the shape of a hollow, which reminded me a lot of Bilbo Baggin’s home! I went for battered codfish with a mash-and-garlic side, and my husband went for calamari with something called ‘tomato balls’, which is batter and tomato and seasoning (which reminded us very much of a dish we have called pakoray!)

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After eating, we decided to stretch our legs and make our way down to the famous Red Beach. We stopped at a few shops and restaurants along the short strip on the way, and took the scenic route to the main clearing towards the Beach. As with other parts of the island, the water was ubelievably clear, there were a few boats anchored nearby, and there was ample relaxing space, although again, the sand was quite pebbly so we didn’t take our shoes off for long!

From the bottom of the entrance to the Red Beach to the actual beach itself, is a bit of climb, and a little scary. It’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of the scenery, and it really is beautiful seeing the red cliffs and blue water stretched out, but you also need to be really careful when walking to the beach because it’s pretty rocky.

TIPS

  • Wear appropriate footwear! This is really important, because there’s no proper staircase or steps, you have to have good grips over the rocks (although there is a beaten pathway where other hikers will have gone so that helps!)
  • Same goes for clothing – not that you’d expect to wear hiking gear, but it helps if you wear comfortable clothes that are easy to move around in and that you don’t mind a bit of dust on.
  • Don’t try to be adventurous! There isn’t much in terms of safety and rails, so it’s better to follow everyone’s lead and go along the same tracks.
  • Take food or water down with you if you want to relax in the main beach area of the Red Beach – we didn’t see any shops or food places at the bottom, and we noticed people brought their own towels to relax in after they went swimming in the sea.

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It was a scary climb to get to the bottom of the beach but from the very outset, it’s easy to see why it is named the Red Beach – the sand and soil were a unique beautiful reddish-brown colour, and it as easy to see why this volcanic-sand beach is one of Santorini’s iconic landscapes.

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We we reached the bottom, we could see the White Beach, another iconic landmark in Santorini, in the distance. The only way to get to this beach is to take a ferry there, but there weren’t any scheduled for the time we arrived at the beach so we didn’t wait for the next one, rather choosing to relax, admire our surroundings, take pictures and dip our feet in the (really cold!) water.

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After  a couple of hours at this beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the view, we got a little restless after a while and climbed back up the rocks again to the top of the beach (where we found another bridal shoot happening!) and we rested at the top for a while. We  had a look at the Agios Nikolaos or St. Nickolas Church (below) which is built into the mountain at the Red Beach, and also some of the souvenir stalls nearby.

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We then made our way back to the bus-stop, although we took another route back from the way we came, spotting a home-made preservative shop, some sea-food restaurants and plenty of flowers everywhere we went.

This was a really interesting view of Santorini, compared to the hustle and bustle we’d seen in Fira the day before. While it was just as beautiful as the views we’d seen before, it had a much wilder look to it, maybe because it didn’t feel as man-made as the city had, and not as touristy as Perissa had. Climbing up and down the reddish mountains was quite tiring, and by the time we got back to our hotel we were ready to relax and have a good night sleep!

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Orange Petals

We’ve been getting sunny spells lately, and it’s nice to be able to walk around in the warm afternoons where the sun is setting later and later, and the flowers, trees and plant-pots are all blossoming. I’m making the most of it while I can (I still half-expect a random heavy shower in the middle of the day), enjoying cool breezes with blue skies.

Here’s something my mum bought for her garden recently, she also bought a few other colours but I love the vividness of this one, it’s sharp and eye-catching and a perfect symbol for summer.

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A Day Out at Willen Lake

We decided to have a day out this weekend, making the most of the Bank Holiday and not having to go work the next day (yaay!) by taking a picnic and surprising my sister with a day out at Willen Lake.

So we took the kids, made some snacks and nibbles, took some badminton rackets, balls and a cricket bat, and headed up to the park and hid. Meanwhile, my sister’s husband dragged her to to the park with their little daughter and went around in circles in the same part of the park, to her bafflement, while we all hid (I came late so didn’t hide) behind bushes and shushed the kids.

Finally she spotted us and the look of disbelief on her face was something to see – although it was less of a surprise after the toddlers ran towards her instead of hiding!

We had a great day though, and managed to take in the sights (and the kids managed to hijack the children’s play area which made their day). My husband and I wanted to try some boating, but it as too cold and windy so we promised to come back in the summer when it’s hotter to give it a try (that way he won’t mind when I push him in the water!)

Here’s a few snaps of the day, I didn’t take many photos as we were too busy playing games and eating, or chasing little toddlers around – but I do love these shots. The ones of the swans are one of my favourite, there’s something dreamy about them all gathering together : )

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