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Showing posts from 2018

Summer of Love!

I have more to say then I could possibly recount in a simple blog post so this is a tricky one! I shall attempt to keep it brief and to keep my updates more frequent over the winter... I'm not promising anything though!    Wow- what a year. The summer flew past in a sunny whirlwind of activity. Ben and I both feel like we fell on our feet so many times since moving here. In short we took a massive risk, leaving our beloved boat, our amazing community of friends and family, our beautiful jobs and lives in Hampton for a mad, somewhat out of the blue and decidedly risky plan to move to Corfu, start work on a house that we didn't even own and try to integrate our selves in to new work and social lives.   All I can say is that the risks all paid off- a million times over. We bought the house of our dreams and many friends old and new stayed with us this summer. We have met people from all over the world and shared our house with artists, T.V  presenters, healers, actors, so

Spiritual Art of Being a Tourist

I remember as a teenager I went to Florence with my Aunt and Uncle. I loved the architecture and the art, the food and the shops but one thing plagued me as I looked around the beautiful city... We looked like such a bunch of tourists!  I spent my time trailing behind my Uncle as he walked everywhere with a giant folding map. I used to hide guidebooks on my lap if they were left on the table (lest a waiter should see and discover that the non-Italian speaking, mixed race girl was in fact not a local!), and my stupid teenage brain must have missed countless amazing moments worrying about how much I looking like a tourist.   Now that I live here on Corfu (where in high season the national sport among locals is to moan about the tourists)  I have come to a new realisation.   Tourists actually understand a place far better then locals! Locals are busy. Locals have jobs to maintain, families to look after, routines to uphold and houses to clean.  Locals have an infinite t

Doing up Mandala Before and After's :)

We've been here three months now but it feels like sooooo much longer.  We've made friends, we've run retreats, and we've made a huge amount of changes to the house.   We love Villa Mandala so much,we are still working on things everyday but we are very proud of how far we have come in such a short time.   Hope you enjoy the latest little film!   x s

Doing up Mandala Film- Part One

Watch the calamities unfold... have we bitten off more then we can chew?!   

Short Film of Our Drive From Villa Mandala to Corfu :)

It's been a bit mad really.   Ben and I have been working harder then I knew we even could! The long days are taking their toll on me a little. ( For instance I look like a troll right now!)   We are very grateful to have Ben's friend Chris here to help us for the week. The boys have almost completed the wall and ceiling re-vamp of whole of the upstairs rooms- Yayyyyy!   (...Thank you sooo much Chris. )      I have been painting not one, not two, not even three but four wardrobes and thankfully the graft is paying off and this particular phase of work is coming to an end. (Phew!)   But in our downtime we have all the beauty of the island to explore.  Here's a vid of us blowing off a little dust and heading to our local beach to catch a sunset...    Big Love!        :) s

Dealing with the unknown

Ben on the jetty at Arillas beach When we decided to move to Corfu I was envisioning a quiet life of  teaching yoga and meditation, of pottering around the garden, of doing lots of music and spending long lazy days on Arillas beach.    I dreamed of a simpler and more relaxing life (...not that my life was terribly frantic before but there is always room for improvement isn't there?!).      Ben dreamed of having more time in his shed playing with his lathe. Three weeks into life here and the penny has dropped that our dreams are a long way off!   Ben's lathe is still in pieces and I'm covered in paint and dust from morning til night, working and working to  uncover all the beauty in Mandala for our soon to arrive guests. Ben and I steal  glimpses of relaxation everyday in between the DIY marathons and thankfully we almost there with the work now :)     But the uncertainty we face is massive and I am realising that the only real way for me to feel truly secure r

How things work in Corfu- Part 2: The Internet

Ben and I are used to having a strange internet connection. You can't really have a phone line on a cruising boat and all the metal boats are composed of tend to reflect signal. So over the years we've had various different internet devices ranging from dongles, to wifi repeaters, to mobile signal... most of them worked... a bit.... some of the time.  We made it work and got on with things as and when we could.     I was kind of looking forward to being in a house- a real house that could have a real, grown up, reliable internet connection, and as I am teaching singing to many of my students in London via Skype it is essential to my work. However it has not been a straightforward process!   I started looking into it the 2nd day we were here. Thankfully we brought a tablet from the uk that we can tether from and it hasn't been too bad for internet but in order to keep up coaching from the other side of Europe I need a really good internet connection. So I asked Maria

Things we loved about our first week in Corfu

1. The People :)   We had friends popping in from the very first day we arrived. Our neighbours in the village are awesome, people we met on our visits last year popped in to say hello and we got invited to a local perma-culture meetup and met even more amazing folks. Nobody does hospitality like the Greeks (and the expats who choose to stay here). 2. Our House! We can't believe we live here!!!  I keep squealing with joy so loudly that the neighbours must either think Ben is trying to murder me... or is up to 50 shades of something.     We spent the first 24 hours floating around the mansion like a pair of jellyfish doing bizarre things like just touching the walls and just smiling or calling each other over to look at the same view at different times of day :)   By day 2 we had snapped out of our state of useless awe (slightly) and had begun the marathon of DIY.   No-one has ever felt happier chipping off old plaster and painting walls! 3. The Nature   Magou

How things work in Corfu... Part One: Mail

There are a million reasons why Ben and I decided to come to Corfu. There are endless beautiful aspects of living here and positive qualities about this place.   Organisation is not one of them!   How things work in Corfu for someone whose friends describe her as OCD -is quirky to say the least.   One of our first questions was the mail- You know that stuff that in civilised countries just gets posted through your door each morning. Well here it doesn't work like that. There is only one postcode for the whole of Corfu and our unique address is composed simply of the name of the first resident of the villa and the village name.     We asked the previous resident of the house where to get mail sent- she has owned the property  for over 15 years but of course she didn't know where the mail gets collected- that would be too easy wouldn't it? We are learning that  Corfiat villagers apparently see the mail a bit like a sport, you can't just have it delivered it mus

The Journey

Ah the journey! We thought we were so organised. Having lived on a boat for over a decade we pride ourselves on having very few personal belongings. But due to Ben's work (as a builder/ creator of wooden things/ and handyman of just about everything) and my work as a musician we did have a workshop full of tools to transport and to a much lesser extent a fair few musical instruments to cart with us... But it looked good we had packed it all down into boxes and our transport man seemed confident it would all fit and that me, Ben and Shanti (aka Sosage) could accompany him in a long drive all the way through Europe to Corfu in his Van.  Read on below or watch the video....   Then the snow came.  They called it 'The Beast From The East' which we thought was rather dramatic until it was down to -6 and several inches of snow covered everything. Still the roads near us were clear. we had a fantastic leaving party (themed Pirates and Greeks) and danced the night

The Beginning

Our first morning view from Villa Mandala Today is where it all begins.    Ben (my long suffering husband) and I had lived on the river in Hampton together for over a decade. We met when I was on my own boat and he on his and together we lived and worked on three boats before putting our beloved Barge up for sale and flogging any other superfluous belongings in order to start a brave new challenge...    To open a bed and breakfast/ yoga retreat on the gorgeous Greek island of Corfu :)   It started as most of our crazy ideas start- with a casual conversation: "It would be nice to have a garden wouldn't it?"  I said.   "Don't say that!" Ben replied "We have only just got the boat how we want it. Where would we go that we could have a garden?"    "I don't know. You are probably right... but I just have a feeling we might have a garden soon."   Ben sighed, rolled his eyes and mumbled "...Crap."   Within a mo