Category: Holiday

Books for thought..

So bookcases are now a ‘thing’? Excuse me now whilst I suppress my inner laughter.

Sometimes I think the puppetmasters of materialism actually believe their own hype.  Did they really think we’d give away our books in favour of cloud storage?

‘They get rid of books.  We charge them again for ibooks.  Then we gloss the pintrest pictures and persuade them bookcases are it…it’s a money making winner!’

The truth? People and interiors need the soul of books, holidays need the ease of kindles.  And parents, at home with children need to know that Alexa can read your kindle books aloud.  Whilst I’m writing this, Percy Jackson is entertaining my kids downstairs. Now that’s a win win.

 

Laters, Kate x

Update

There was a fire at Aghii Anargiri yesterday, the place in Spetses where my parents have their holiday home and where we just left last week.

To put the first picture into context, this is the view from the balcony.  The House with the awning is the same house with the awning in the fire picture in the bottom left corner…the fire came down from the hills on the left.  My mother was at the house – my father, sister, niece and three friends were all at another beach -Xylokeriza – they all made it to safety, though some with only the swimming costumes they were standing in.

There was a huge fire in 1990 that many of us remember with horror: Nothing can prepare you for the sound, noise, speed, smell. The difference with this fire was it started in the morning which gave the helicopters and water planes a chance. The downside was the high winds, ready to whip the flames back into action.

 

Today’s media update:

The wildfires on the Argosaronic island of Spetses and at Anavysos, east of Athens, were under control on Wednesday morning after a difficult night with strong winds that threatened to fan them further.

The forest fire on the southwest part of Spetses appeared to be contained by the dozens of firefighters on the island.

The fire broke out on Tuesday at noon at the forest near Aghii Anargyri, near the top of the island’s mountain, and headed west toward the beach before swinging south toward Xylokeriza. This is the same forest area that suffered from the 1990 wildfire. It has undergone extensive reforestation.

The few scattered holiday homes in that area were not damaged, thanks mainly to the rapid response of the local and regional fire service. Six helicopters and at least three airplanes contributed to the battle with the fire on the touristic island up to late in the evening on Tuesday. A helicopter and two aircraft resumed operations on Wednesday morning along with 70 men on the ground plus many volunteers.

The island’s mayor Panayiotis Lyrakis spoke of a possible arson, on which his deputy, Paraskevi Stofyla expressed her certainty.

Swimmers at the popular beach of Aghii Anargyri were evacuated with sea taxis as the flames appeared particularly threatening.

“The blaze passed passed by 10-11 holiday houses but fortunately there was no damage caused,” stated Lyrakis.

My family are now making their heartbroken way back to their house.  This was the stunning bay of Xylokeriza, where most of our group were swimming that fateful day.

This is it now.

Whilst grateful that lives are safe, all who know this place as a heavenly paradise will appreciate the sense of grief and bleakness to see it so ravaged and hurt. We await to see the pictures of our beautiful bay.

 

Laters, Kate x

Oh the joys of packing…

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This an old post, but so apt for today when once again I’m knee deep in suitcases: The children may have changed, but the problems haven’t!

 

When the kids were babies I soon realised that to avoid the crying of souls (mine) I needed to be excruciatingly anal about packing, particularly as it’s not and never will be an art form that comes naturally to my psyche. The truth be told:

1. I hate it.

2. Even the impending thought of it gives me brain-swell.

3. I am a self-proclaimed light-packer. Until I pack.

4. I could just take cut off shorts, a white t-shirt and flip-flops..but why suffer clothes envy if you can avoid it?

5. How DO you take the minimum clothes for the maximum occasions?

6. I’m continually haunted by the idea it’s all wrong anyway.

7. There’s a profound anguish that the weather is undoubtably going to go through an unprecedented solar flux and be the opposite of what I’m reasonably expecting. Even though it never happens.

8. Will it really be hot/cold at the equator/in the mountains because it’s not hot/cold here (delete as appropriate).

9. How can I pack the stuff I’m wearing now?

10. What do people mean when they ‘throw a few things in’?

11. How do I know I won’t be invited to tea with the Queen or Beyonce or Karl Lagerfeld?

12. Why do I always have the most cases? I packed light..

13. And why do they never shut?

Burnt too many times, I learnt to make furtive lists on the computer in the hope that nothing vital in my then sleep-deprived-likely-to-find-hairbrush-in-fridge-state like nappies, nappy sacks, first aid kit, tranquillisers..would be disastrously and time/happiness sappingnly forgotten and there could be hope yet for my marriage.

Those days are (almost) gone, but the discipline has proved invaluable and certain rules still stand:

1. Start packing 5 days in advance and wear tea towels if necessary.

2. For a week or more pack 5 sets of underwear plus 3 of each for the rest (t-shirts, shorts etc)

3. Summer holiday for me…just dresses, the ultimate capsule wardrobe…beach dresses..other dresses..end of.

 

Now I just have to learn to take my own advice…

Laters, Kate xxx

Hello Summer!

This Time next week the kids we will be Greece and we will be following shortly after – a seismic shift in the fabric of daily life.

There’s just enough time to search for a few summer treats.  First stop, Freepeople.

These are the dresses to offer ease but also somewhere to hang your cream panama hat with a bit of sultry sun soaked style.

(All pics Freepeople)

Happily dreaming.

Laters, Kate x

Labour of Love x

Looking back to last year, I think my kids have both grown a foot, if not 5.  It means a new summer wardrobe has become a necessity rather than a want, and whilst one of life’s delights is shopping for children’s clothes, it becomes a nightmare once they develop tastes of their own.  You like one thing..they like something else…that is inevitably for someone older..or tackier..

We’re trying a new approach this year.  I’ve set up a Pinterest board where we can select our choices and hopefully come up with the crossover clothes we both like.

So far it’s working..we’ve agreed on all of these. Which has slightly blown my mind.

And I’ve allowed a few exceptions to creep in. Normally this swimsuit would not make the cut..But I know Bella will make it work and she loves it. But I didn’t think she’d go for slides…

Or culotte shorts. How wrong was I? (All pics Pinterest)

My girl is growing up. Little sigh.

Laters, Kate x

Camping x

It’s been half term already and we’ve been camping with friends.

Living the simple life in a field, blowing giant bubbles.

Can you tell we enjoyed it??

We weren’t far from the coast.


And next to the site was a high ropes playground..

Including a terrifying giant swing!

Truly the stuff of nightmares!

As was our departure.  Not a sight you want to see…..we lost the car keys in the long grass on the first day.  But it was OK as we kindly got driven back to London to fetch the spare set.  Except we got hit by a super-storm…Damp got in (She’s 19 years old) and short circuited the electrics so the spare key wouldn’t work…and the manual key? Was part of master key that got lost! At least once we got in we were able to drive away, which was more than the car behind us – they’d lost all their keys, including their house keys and had to be towed away from the campsite!

 

Laters, Kate x

Cornwall x

We’ve blown away the winter cobwebs with a week with family in beautiful Cornwall.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather.  Each day the sky was kingfisher blue, though it was a matter of how hot your blood was whether you braved the cold of the spring sea..

The surf gang preparing to face the waves. Note Grandpa Jack behind in three coats, hat..and eventually gloves!

And in!

Cousin love.

This was the natural rock pool close to where we were staying on Treyarnon Bay, large enough to swim in…

(There was this framed postcard of the very spot at the cottage. Shows it even better.)

Watergate Bay and meeting with friends.

The perfect natural slate plate for the perfect hot dog: Barbie on Constantine Bay.

And then a cheeky seagull actually stole a hot sausage off the barbie!

Impromptu wine chiller.

Bruce heading to the surf.

Sophie-bond-girl-extraordinaire following suit.

Charlie and Lexie.

Finding sea diamonds.

At a diamond place.

Laters, Kate x

Snow Babies..

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I’ve read that personalities can be divided into two camps – cowboys and farmers. The cowboys are the restless ones, always roaming and seeking new pastures whilst the farmers solidly plough the same field over and over again. Our ski holiday embraced everything cowboy: Constantly on the go, incredible scenery, crisp air, the smell of wood smoke, peace (piste…and pissed as well) as well as a true sense of wonder.

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A fusion of manmade and natural – an icicle chandelier.

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We were in La Rosiere on the French side of the Aosta valley, ski-able into Italy. And by all accounts, were lucky to have snow.

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They were using snow cannons when we first arrived, but as the runs were in full sun it still made for great conditions.  And then it snowed.

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I’ve never seen this before – three rainbows, one on top of the other, made by the sun refracting through ice crystals in the air.

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It always amazes me how slopes look flat in pictures!

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We decided Charlie is really a secret snowboarder!

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And what did I wear?? John’s old two-piece from the eighties! Maybe not quite pure vintage swagger, but on a ski slope..the joy is no-one cares!

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And now I suppose it’s time to return to farming…and wrestling with the Einstein quote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The silver lining is our holiday proved that perfectly decent wheels can aways be reinvented..

Laters, Kate x