I am constantly asked how we are being effected living in Greece in this crisis.

The fact is for us life goes on as normal and we have the option of leaving at any time.

The sun is shining the birds are singing and at the end of the day the sunsets are stunning. Whilst I write this I hear children playing in the streets and vendors touting their wares over loud speakers as they make their way through the village, it’s just like normal.

The people here are living day to day, some hand to mouth but they are still as generous and as warm hearted as ever. We are still finding bags filled with fresh cucumbers and courgettes hung on our gate from our village friends.

The Greek people are strong, proud, independent people and their tenacity has to be admired.

Each day brings with it more challenges and more hardships, it’s never ending and demoralising and there is no quick fix.

This week I had an email from my best Greek girlfriend she writes from her heart. She shares her deep concerns along with an article written by John Humphry for the Sunday Times on June 28, ‘Let me slay the big fat Greek myth’, an article worth reading.

I have asked my friend Elpida if I could share her letter. I thank Elpida for her love and friendship and for being in my life.

And for everyone out there who asks if there is anything we need, we need you to come to Greece to enjoy all Greece has to offer from the beautiful crystal waters to the generosity of its people.

Support and love Greece.

elpida and yiannis

A LETTER FROM ELPIDA

My dearest friends, mentors, soul mates and guardian angels,

I don’t usually write in this way because I love communicating separately with all of you however this is an article a British friend sent me and given the circumstances I decided to sent it to all of you to read. 

You all know me pretty well I think after all this time and you know how hard I’ve worked and how much I appreciate life, a good laugh, love and friendship. For the first time in my life I’m lost for words, I feel terrified and I don’t know what to expect. I know that within the euro we’ll go through unbelievable austerity and difficulties and that no would be the a proud voice of Greece towards our creditors but on the other hand loosing the sense of security this hard currency affords us is quite a step.

Personally, I don’t have a bank account, a credit card or bonds that can be cut or taken away from me. I spend the money I earn and it might not be much but it has allowed me to offer my son and myself some kind of normal existence and safety. Tomorrow I’m asked to vote if I want more austerity measures or not and it’s this or not I would like to know what it means. But nobody can explain and I’m scared! I have a small business I’ve created with lots of hardship and work with no loans and in these austere times it’s been slowly and gradually growing. I don’t make much but I make enough to sustain myself. The same goes for my husband and a dozen more people who run small businesses in the area. We all depend on stability and tourism. The minute we go out of the euro nobody can guarantee anything. We will have austerity and recession and our currency will have no value at all. How many years will this last one two three four? How many?

 I’m 43 and getting older and I know some of you might smile thinking that this is nothing in comparison to older age but I’m tired overworked and disappointed. Furthermore, I live in a very sensitive area and in times of turmoil predators are always around looking out to grab the best piece. Thus if my country leaves the false protection of Europe who can guarantee the safety of my business, my land, my family, my life for that matter? I fret the moment we’ll be left alone, isolated trying to find allies who will give us credit to buy petrol, medicine and food. Unfortunately Greece produces very little on its own and we import almost everything so it will take time to find our way into survival. Cuba, Sudan, Argentina and many more countries are there as examples of what I don’t want my life to look like. I don’t mind hardship within reason I mind unreasonable hardship that will drive me to do everything manually because there won’t be enough petrol to support the National electricity company and appliances will be completely useless for example. I mind being forced to live in conditions that my grand parents and their parents lived in. I remember what it was not to have many things to go about and unlike other people I praise technology because it has made my life so much easier. I mind the black market that will thrive and  the fact I might have to live in conditions that Bulgaria and other Balkan countries lived in until some time ago. I mind the fact that I’ll have to stand in queues to get some bread and that I’ll have to buy things that matter with dollars or Euros that I’ll be happy to own if I can.

No government and no politician can guarantee me anything right now. Most of them have money abroad and the minute our currency changes they will become unbelievably rich while me and people like me will have lost everything overnight. Last summer we were all hoping that things had started to change and life had started to seem a little bit lighter. Now there’s a black cloud over me that I pray every single night to go away. Tomorrow I’ll go to vote with this cloud over my head hoping for the best. But don’t ask me what that is because I have absolutely no idea anymore.

What I want you to know is that I love you all so much, beyond words. You’ve made my life so much richer, fuller, interesting and bearable with your love, guidance, wisdom, laughter and more love all this time that despite the situation I feel blessed and hopeful because you’re there.

Love xxx and warm hugs,

Elpida

Wherever you are in the world spring is always an exciting time. Here on Lesvos the 1st of May is a holiday. Our village friends always celebrate leaving the cold winter months behind and who can blame them. Family and friends gather together and share delicious food and mark the start of a new season. To acknowledge the beginning of the season there is a tradition of hanging wreaths or bunches of spring flowers on the front gates and doors of the village houses. Bunches of wildflowers are also tied to the front of cars. It really is very charming. This year one of our neighbours, Mary had gathered with a couple of friends, Despina and Yanoula in her front garden and together they made beautiful wreaths. Matthew and I went along with part of our family, 4 dogs to watch the women as they worked. One of the local men arrived laden with rosemary, this was used as a base and decorated with thistles, roses and hydrangers. The result was stunning. A few hours later we got a big surprise when we found a wreath had been hung on our gate. This stunning piece had been made especially for us. We were overwhelmed. There is so much generosity here in our village and on our Greek Island home.

Untitled-1I just love the colour of these thistles

Untitled-17The arrival of the rosemary and Yanoula gets to work

Untitled-16Trixie watches on as Mary weaves in the flowers

Untitled-18The combination of the hydrangeas and the rosemary looks stunning

Untitled-19Despina proudly shows off her wreath which is crowned with bulb of garlic

Untitled-12Roses are added into the mix and Yanoula is taking instructions from her sister Despina

Untitled-13The smile says it all, pure enjoyment

Untitled-15Needless to say the smell of these wreaths are divine

Untitled-14This is the divine gift which was left hanging on our front gate made by Yanoula

 

It’s spring here in Lesvos and a great time to hop on a boat and visit our nearest neighbour, Turkey. Three boats leave from the port at Mytilene at 9am for Ayvalik. The journey takes 1.5 hours unless you take the fast boat which gets you there in 30 minutes. You need to book the fast boat as it fills up quickly. The boats return at 6pm leaving you enough time to shop, eat and explore. Last Thursday we took some friends who were staying with us in Lesvos. We love showing friends around a place that is so dear to us. Thursday is market day and is our favourite day to visit. Market day is always lively and delicious produce is in abundance.  The Turkish people are gentle and warm. This week I was draw to the women. I’d like to thank the ones I photographed they were so open to me and the lens of my camera. Here I share with you their beauty. I also want to share some delicious produce and fantastic colours and patterns.Enjoy!

Untitled-1

I love the combinations of pattern and colour worn by this Turkish beauty. She is so relaxed in front of my lens and has such a beautiful open face. 

Untitled-12

The local produce is so fresh and  displayed  creatively, the bright colours of the fruit are reflected in the fabrics worn by  local women.

Untitled-14

Umbrellas and sheeting cover the fruit and vegetables protecting them from the strong sunlight. Sometimes this casts a hue that accentuates the colours of the fresh produce. I love the dappled light that falls randomly.

Untitled-16

Everyone has something to sell and there is something for everyone. Beautiful smiling faces are commonplace.

Untitled-17

Children are adored by friends, family and relatives. This little girl has the most amazing green eyes. Simple brushes are placed perfectly.

Untitled-13

Such beauty in this face that stares straight at me.  I love her style the way she has wrapped her head and neck in fabric and the wilting herbs tucked in the folds of the fabric.

Untitled-19

More beautiful carnations and this sweet little face.

Untitled-18

There are patterns everywhere I look. They even cover the tables in the cafes.

Untitled-15

Delicious warm freshly baked biscuits covered in sesame seeds must be eaten, yum.

 

Spring has been far to long coming this year. The only hint is the blossom decorating the fruit trees. Stealing from trees that are just awakening from the long harsh winter months seems almost cruel although placing these pretty budding stems into found glass bottles brings the house to life. I love the way they fit so beautifully in front of the dynamic landscape painted by Matthew Usmar Lauder you can go here to purchase this landscape, a taste of our Greek Island Home.

untitled shoot-7993-6Landscape by Matthew Usmar Lauder

 

untitled shoot-7988-4-2

 

 

Yesterday I went for a walk through the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. At the harbours edge I was lucky enough to meet Emma who asked me to take her photo. Emma has such lovely face and beautiful smile and  I would like to thank her so much for sharing it with me. Emma gave me her email address but unfortunately the email bounced back so if anyone recognises Emma please let me know. Through the lens of my camera I can capture intimate moments which give me great joy. This to me was a lovely, lovely moment in time, thank you Emma.

IMG_7200-2

IMG_7208-2Emma photo Claire Lloyd

 

I am lucky to have met so many wonderful like-minded and creative people on my journey through life, people who inspire me. It’s a real privilege to be the author of two books, Sensual Living published by Conran Octopus and My Greek Island Home by published by Penguin Lantern and Clearview Books. Working on these books has led to my meeting some really fab people.Recently I met author Karen McCartney. Her latest book published by Julie Gibbs at Penguin Lantern is called Superhouse; it showcases houses that have a strong connection with nature. I met with Karen for lunch and she told me about the house her and her husband, David built The Dangar Island House, on the Hawkesbury River. I immediately too a look at the website http://www.thedangarislandhouse.com and could not wait to book in. Matthew and I were in need of a few days away from our hectic Sydney schedule and this was the perfect retreat. The house was stunning, large, simple and light, nestled high up in the trees surrounded by gums, ferns and native plants. It was like living in a tree house. There was no need for music as we were serenaded by continuous birdsong. The views of the water and the sunrise were stunning. We connected with nature immediately. Matthew and I spent our time drawing, painting, reading and exploring this small island, a perfect mini holiday. Thank you Karen and David for the inspiration and for sharing your beautiful retreat with us. We came back with renewed creativity and completely invigorated. I hope you enjoy some details from inside the house that caught my eye. Happy 2015!

Untitled-26

Untitled-27

Untitled-24

Untitled-28

Untitled-22

Untitled-2

Untitled-25

Untitled-23

Have a wonderful Christmas filled with love laughter and a few sherries  with much love, Claire xxxx

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

IMG_4348AMr Matthew Barr

IMG_4351AMrs Jessica Barr

IMG_4362Mr and Mrs Barr

IMG_4607ALove

I am still enjoying the memories from my besautiful niece and her gorgeous husband’s October wedding. As promised…….. introducing Mr Matthew Barr. Matt and Jess are about to embark on their new life together in Darwin, a big change from their familiar Sydney.  I hope it will be great adventure for both of them. Thank you for Matt and Jess for being in my life, I love you both.

 

Last Saturday my beautiful niece, Jessica Lloyd married the man of her dreams. For me it is hard to believe Jess is even old enough to contemplate marriage, but old enough she is and the years since I first held her in my arms have passed far too quickly. Jess and I have always had a strong bond, perhaps it’s because she was the first of my nieces and nephews to arrive or maybe it’s quite simply because we share the same star sign, Virgo. Whatever the reason I love her dearly. From a young age I would take her off on little adventures and she would come for sleepovers when I was home from abroad. I used to phone her to ask if there were crocodiles under her bed, this always made her screech with laughter. Jess has always been determined, independent, caring and fun with a great sense of humor. She was a lovely little girl and now she is a beautiful woman. I captured a few intimate moments before she took my brothers arm and walked across a paddock to stand before the man who will take her on the next big adventure in her life. She looked so beautiful and I was so proud. The man of Jessica’s dreams will be revealed in the next post. Enjoy!

Untitled-1

Untitled-12

Untitled-13

Untitled-14

Untitled-15

Untitled-16

Untitled-17

I love peaking into other people’s homes. I don’t mind if they are old or new, occupied or abandoned. When I lived in London I always found it a pleasure to explore the local area by foot, especially on summer evenings. I delighted in the glimpses I got through open curtains and shutters into peoples lives. I have to admit to getting huge enjoyment from viewing property with estate agents. I  also had lots of fab, opportunities to see beautiful homes when I worked for The World of Interiors magazine, a real treat.  For me the best properties are the most neglected ones. I long to mend them and make them simple and beautiful. This I have done with many properties in London, Sydney and more recently in Greece. You can check some of them out here. Besides taking photos, making light, simple, serene spaces is my passion. Here on the Greek island of Lesvos there are many beautiful houses in need of love attention and I can’t help but want each and every one of them and if I could I would have them all but, I must be realistic. Recently I took a trip with some gorgeous Turkish friends to a nearby village where we checked out some houses. The local barber who I had met a few years ago when photographing for my book My Greek Island Home, see here, kindly showed us around one house. Below are a few details that grabbed me. Enjoy!

IMG_3605The local barber. I’m loving the combination of  geometrical shapes and checks      

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3608A simple bedroom. The houses here all have little shelves usually displaying an icon or three     

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3654Striped cotton fabric is stretched over a window for privacy     

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3615I just LOVE the way this fabric has it’s own natural flow and looks so etherial back lit

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3620Everything here sits in it’s place untouched for I wonder how long

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3617A simple detail 

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3655Signs of life highlighted by back lighting

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3636My favourite detail, delicate fabric lit from behind and tied with a colour co-ordinated ribbon

copyright Claire Lloyd

IMG_3633The green of the window and the duvet work with the soft colour of the hanging curtain

copyright Claire Lloyd

 

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: