Friday, 25 June 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Wow, what a wonderful surprise!

Yesterday one of my readers who has the most amaizing float cabin in British Colombia, where she resides and writes her own blog voted my blog in the Versatile Blogger Award.

So as per the rules I have to thank the person who voted me

Thank You Very Much Margy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tell you 7 things about myself........mmmm lets see........

1 In 2003 I woke up and said no more. I gave up 60 cigarettes a day,OVERNIGHT!

2 I love laughing so much it makes you cry

3 For me The Cry Of The Fish Eagle is one of the most haunting sounds of Africa.

4 I am a nomad at heart and should probably have been born a Masai.

5 Following in the footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger and camping in the Empty Quarte near Liwa oasis was a humbling and awsome experience.

6 I would like to write a book.

7 Marrying TBH at Hatta Forte Hotel in the Hajar mountains is the best thing I ever did.

And now I am supposed to pass the award on to 15 other bloggs that I think are fantastic...........

The problem is that I am very new to blogging,so I don't yet have that many to vote for, but here are the ones that I would definately vote for. this is one of the most wonderful places to spend a romatic vacation.

Hope you enjoy reading their blogs as much as I do.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Salute To The Sun

Wherever we are in the world we absoloutely adore watching sunset. I suppose at this time of day I take time to marvell at Mother Nature and The Universe, and as many creatures and critters are scurrying away to bed, others, like my cats are just waking up and scouring the street at dusk. There is something magical about the light at this time of day and a stillness that lets you breath deap and slow which is what TBH ( The Better Half) did when he just made it home on time yesterday to grab the photo bag, and a beer of course to drink a Salute To the Sun on it's longest day of the year!

Because we are lucky enough to have pretty much uninteruppted views here it has been really facinating to see just how much the sun has moved over the last 6 months.

These pictures are taken from our back garden, and yet in January when we arrived, there was no sun to be seen at all over the back of the house, and we watched the sunset from the front garden almost opposite from where it went down yesterday.

Sunflower Sunday

Sunday was another wondreful day, we arose early, enjoyed breakfast on the patio and then took a leisurely drive along the coast road towards Zygi, and found ourselves a place to have a splash in The Med. We have been on this side of the island for 6 months now and this was the first time that actually went to the sea. The water was chilly compared to the pool but it was just glourious. Swimming around like little fishes,our skin soaking up all the goodness of the salty water and re energising with the glow of the early moring sun.

I stopped for a moment and looked back towards the shore..... I really wanted to appreciate how lucky we are to be living here? Some people never get this opportunity, and others get it only for 2 weeks out of a year, but this..... this is where we live, this is our home, and the aqua blue mediterranean sea is at our doorstep. We have alot to be thankful for.

We decided to take a different route home, up the gorge, beside the dry riverbed, past the orange groves, through the village of Agios Theodoros.

Here we stopped at a picnic spot over looking the quaint little village and had a break with a slice of homebaked chocolate cake and a rasin,cinnamon scone, both of which were cooked on the BBQ the day before,washed down with you guessed it, a nice refreshing cup of Rooibos tea.

We sat for a while,memorised by all the comings and goings as people in the village below went about their weekend chores,cleaning their patios, servicing their tractors,hanging out their washing and tending to their gardens.Then we spotted the most beautiful sunflowers, they are one of my favorite flowers so full of happiness and sunshine, so went down into the village and had a closer look. They were giants and towered above us,like something out of Jack and the Bean Stalk.

They were utterly wonderful and obviously grown with tender loving care, as were these flowers that surrounded this stunning colonial style house.

Back at our house and we enjoyed a simple Roast Turkey Salad Sandwhich for lunch and soaked up the sunshine on a stunning Sunflower Sunday.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Super Saturday

It is amaizing what happens when your mind settles and you accept who you are and where you are at both physically and emotionally. I guess we haven't given ourselves credit for what an upheaval we have gone thorough over the past year. Packing up 18 years of life in 3 weeks, shipping cats and furniture to Cyprus, trying to find jobs, and moving again 6 months later, constantly having something to do at weekends, pack boxes, unpack boxes,put up pictures, take down pictures, re arrange furniture, find new supermarkets, work out where the vets is, all these things take up a huge amount of time and energy when you come to a new place. For so long we have been so tied up with this, that as with the last post we even questioned whether we had come to the right place after all because within all the mayhem we had actually forgotten to stop and enjoy Cyprus for the stunning Island that it is. It really is beautiful with citrus and olive groves, grapevines and corn fileds dotting the ancient landscape, beautiful beaches and high mountains give it such diversity. Earlier in the week TBH ( the better half) had actually discoverd a resivor not far from where we are and so he decided that we were not shopping on Saturday, he very kindly did that for me on Thursday eveing saving us time and money, as there is a big supermarket on his work run so we did not have to use more fuel for shopping. Instead we used that to fuel a few trips this weekend. TBH had me up at the crack of dawn so excited to show me this new place he had found and determined to get to it early enough for there to be good light for the photos. He packed a picnic breakfast and we were off up the highway for 10 minutes before we meandered off road ( yes our little 2 wheel drive car does off roading very well) down alongside the old riverbed , then up the windy dust track to a ridge that bought us out to these beautiful views. Wow!

This is where we sat breathing in the fresh morning air and soaking up the scenery sipping Redbush tea. What a way to start one's day. After breakfast we drove back down and along the shores of the dam spotting Heron and Rollersbirds on the morning breeze. The peace and tranquility cleared the soul, allowing us to really enjoy that moment.

Eventually the summer sun's rays got too hot so we left the lake and headed to Skarioun a village closer to home, where on a previous occassion I had spotted an Olive Oil Museum. I was interested to see the history of Olive Oil, and this place tells the story to lots of international tourist and local school children, who come from across the Island to learn and understand about the art of making Olive Oil.

I have been on the look out for a locally produced extra virgin olive oil, to use for cooking, and am so excited that we have found this place. I shall use the EVOO with Lemon extract pictured above,as salad dressings and to coat chicken and pork, it has a beautiful taste and the citrus from the Lemon is really tangy. They also sell one with basil which I shall pick up next time I am there.
However, this little beauty leads me another step closer to simple living. I have decided to refrain from using commercial skin care products in my daily routine, replacing it simply with EVOO. It can be used to remove make up and as a moisturiser for your face and body, Yeah saves you buying all the different lotions for different parts of your anatomy. Your skin is the biggest organ you have and something like 60 percent of what you put on it seeps in, I figured it is worth looking after and avoiding the chemicals that are added to commercial skin care products. So before I slipped under the sheets after a Super Saturday I treated my skin to the delights of the golden liquid and smiled contentedly knowing I was treating myself better and at the same time supporting local olive production.

If you want more information about the Skarinou Olive Oil Museum visit,

Thursday, 17 June 2010


It has been a strange one this week, a time for looking inside and mirroring myself and TBH, with both of us asking some interesting questions. Who are we? What are we really about? What do we really believe in and where do we really belong? I suppose it came about after an unexpected but delightful meeting of a friend's new wife,she is from Zimbabwe and oozes Africa and all the good it can be. We shared our plans for the future, and returning to Zimbabwe is one of hers as she is very optimistic that Zimbabwe can and will get back on it's feet in due course. This discussion sent a ripple of uneasiness through what had been a a fairly still mill pond.

Having only made the change from Dubai to Cyprus a year ago,TBH and I suddenly found ourselves yearning for Africa once again. I mean really yearning for it, as if it were calling us from the very heart of the Rift Valley echoing it's cry across the plains of the Masai Mara. For some reason Africa does that to you, once it is in your blood and pumps through your veins, it seems to draw you in like some mystical drug, and there's a constant nagging in the back of our heads that says,

' come home come home, this is where you belong, come back, come back you've been gone too long'

Perhaps it is also part of being an Expat. As it opens up ones minds to different countries cultures and experiences, it drives one to constantly wonder what is around the next corner.

There was a brief interlude from the questioning when we were given a free concert beneath the stars, as we sipped our wine on the rock at Impi ridge over looking the valley and a villa below, where a wedding party was being held and a live Cypriot band sung love songs into the balmy summer night breeze.

A few days at a crossroads of deep reflection by me,

and my cloggy husband

concluded that whatever has been was and what ever will be, will be, but what is most important is here and now.

So we have peace again at last, happy with our decisions and content that for now this is where we belong.
And as another summers day draws to a close and I wonder who on the other side of the world is watching the sun arise as I watch it fall, I wonder how many of you are happy with the here and now, and how often do you reflect on the could Be's or could have been. How many of us really live the moment?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Taking Back The Tap

Ok, so it has taken a while for the penny to drop with this one. I am not a big water drinker at the best of times, just don't like the taste of the stuff, where ever it comes from, but I hadn't really really thought about it until today.

For me to drink water it either needs to have had Lemons soaking in it for a while or I get it down me with a nice refreshing Rooibos or mint tea. Even then though in certain parts of the world you can still taste the chlorine or whatever chemicals it is that they put in it, especially when it is desalinated water out of a tap.

However, for many years I have pondered..... over my tea or water.....

as to how it was that I lived in the dessert and yet ' Natural Spring Water' from the near by Majestic Hajar Mountains, was bottled in plastic bottles and placed on the shelves of supermarkets. I gaily bought it but 20 years later, during which time we had less and less rainfall to refill the spring water in the Hajar Mountains in the desert???????????? Are you with me on this.......

So with an empty spring due to no water how come so many other companies were coing up with ' Natural Spring Water'.
It is the same here in Cyprus, there is a whole isle of bottled water yet, Cyprus hardley has any water so where are the narural springs that it is all produced in?
Then yesterday whilst doing some research on the internet I found a fantastic clip on youtube

The Story Of Bottled Water.
It is part of The Story Of Stuff project that just has to be seen! It is the scariest story of all!

So I have taken the plunge and I am Taking Back The Tap,


Thursday, 10 June 2010

Quirky Quiche

At Hay Bale Happiness we are trying to get back to basic's leaving life in the fast lane behind us and living a more healthy, happy, sustainable lifestyle. I have gone from Artistic Director in International World Wide Hairsalons,to PA to the Sales Director of an International Insurance company, to Senoir Leisure Consultant for a travel agency in the Middle East. Presently I am my own boss as a Domestic Engineer as one friend put it,trying to learn to be frugal, live on one income, produce good wholsome food, look after the home and create a warm and loving enviroment for 4 cats and TBH ( The Better Half)
Thanks to him, I now have the time and energy to explore new ideas for cooking and as we recently bought Billy the Barbie quiche is back on the menu. TBH missed out on high tea yesterday so I figured I had better come up with something just as yummy for his tummy and decided to bake a quirkey quiche. I made a basic short crust pastry mix with butter and the local village flour, I really like it's texture, it is a bit more coarse than other flours and gives a light fluffy taste.

Fetta and Red onion became the bassis of this little number,

Fried the onion in some olive oil in a pan on the gas burner of the BBQ

And then hand whisked 2 eggs and some local Cypriot yoghurt with some oregano and Fetta,

cooked the pastry case blind on the barbie with the lid down for about 7 mins

then mixed the cooled onions with the rest of the filling and placed it in the pastry case on the barbie with the lid down for about 20-25 mins.

I sliced up some tomatoes, for the top, sprinkled some cress from our home grown sprouter over it and shredded some Heromi which is a locally smoked ham. Mixed up a rocca, melon and roasted sesame seed salad and sat down to dinner as the sun set behind an eveing cloud.

Baking On The Barbie

This is not a weekend indulgance, for us, it has become a way of life. Electricity is very expensive in Cyprus, added to that we both prefer gas to cook on, however the place that we are in has an electric cooker, pushing up the electric bills and producing for us, not such good food. So I came up with a brian wave, we love eating outdoors, under the sun or beneath the stars, so why don't we get a gas BBQ. We toyed with the idea but at the time didn't feel that we could justify spending the sort of money that they cost. I mentioned the idea to TBH's parents and they very kindly donated birthday money in advance and hey presto we are in business with the Barbie. Thank you!

So, as the saying goes if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen, and as the summer is fast approaching it is far nicer and much cooler to be cooking outside where at present we still seem to be getting a breeze that keeps the temperature down. We started by doing the usual home made burgers, chicken legs, and jacket potatos and then the chhallenge began, with both of us being keen cooks, it was clear that between us we had to come up with something other than the usual to Bake on the Barbie.
So I did everything else as normal for a sponge cake, whisked my butter, sugar, and eggs together,

Grated and hand juiced my orange,adding the juice to the mixture, before the flour,

added my village flour, baking powder, and orange rind for a final whisk before putting my mixture into a grease proofed loaf tray and onto the Barbie with the lid down for between 20-30 minutes.

Topped with some chocolate butter icing ,

I initially did this for TBH'S birthday after I did some research and figured that the bbq could be used in a similar way to a gas oven, guess what it worked! So as I had some tiny tums to feed yesterday with the Barefoot Mama Clan coming round for an afternoon cuppa I thought I know just the thing that they can get their sticky little mits into, and it went down a treat.

High Tea at Hay Bale Happiness!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Out Of The Fast Lane

In our previouos life, both TBH ( the better half) and I used to spend quite a lot of time driving up and down the main highway of the city getting to and from work. At one time it was classified as the most dangerous highway in the world and some of the many fatal accidents that we saw occur on it would verify that. At the time there was no other alternative, pleased to say that now one could take the train instead.

We are both thankful that now when TBH goes to and from the office he no longer has to take the risk of being run off the road by a 4 wheel drive doing 200 kmp in the fast lane trying to overtake you on the hard shoulderof a 6 lane highway. Instead TBH can meander through the country lanes, passing the succulant vineyards where the grapevines spread their green leaves and the grapes begin their juicey journey into winehood.

We have taken the exit of the fast lane and slowed the pace down giving us time and energy to enjoy what is arround us.

As you can probably tell, TBH is a very good photographer, ( the not so good ones are mine!) and his photo bag goes with him most days so he doesn't miss the opportunity to capture the little things in life like this pretty caper flower dancing in the evening breeze.

We feel increadibly fortunate to live where we do, and there isn't a day that goes by that we aren't grateful for the challenge of change, and glad that we took that exit, as this has given us the opportunity to explore the more creative sides of our charecters, which in turn has given us the inspiration for Hay Bale Happiness.