Archives for posts with tag: TRAVEL

In September, I took my first trip to the glorious city of Naples. My beautiful friend Carla Coulson, photographer and creative coach encouraged me to sign up to a photography workshop she was hosting there. The thought of visiting Naples for the first time and taking beautiful photographs excited me.

Photography has been something I’ve been involved in for years. I started at the early age of 18 as a junior art director and later I moved on to become a creative director and then began taking photos and filming for various clients, magazines and for my own personal projects. I loved photographing my second book My Greek Island Home, a documentation of life on the Greek Island of Lesvos.

I have never been very interested in the technical side of photography, working by instinct seems to suit me best which is probably why I waited until the digital age to throw myself into using a camera. My partner Matthew’s encouragement came in the form of my first grown up Cannon camera, the best birthday present ever and one that started me on my photographic journey.

I love to capture beautiful, simple, intimate images and I hope that if I can capture a moment that moves me that image may also be appreciated by someone else.

When I arrived in Naples I fell completely in love with the city. There was a grittiness to this historic city of many layers. The local people I met through the lens of my camera were open and friendly and didn’t mind having their photos taken, they honestly seemed to enjoy it.

Carla’s course was to be an education to me in shutters speeds and f stops, two things that I quite honestly found scary. On the first day, we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves, giving a bit of our personal history. Standing up in front of people and speaking about myself I find completely challenging. It makes me feel like I’m a child again, I become self-conscious, I feel shaky, my stomach churns and I hear my words ringing back at me. I’m a perfectionist and with that comes a whole load of insecurities. By day two I realised that this wonderful course I’d signed myself up for was pushing me into an emotional meltdown. It was nothing to do with Carla or the way she taught it was my past, the uncomfortable years I spent at school where I found it difficult to learn in a conventional way, where I was made to feel stupid and inadequate on many occasions. While I was great at sport and at art when put me in a classroom situation where I was asked questions or given lots of information to remember I floundered. Now every cell in my body was being reminded of primary school.

This was a great realisation and as painful as it was, was what I needed for me to start to try and break these old patterns. Breaking old patterns cannot be done overnight but just by being aware I was taking first step. It took me a few days to find my equilibrium. I learnt new things not just about f stops and shutter speeds but about me. I discovered that only by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations do you grow and learn.

It was a different week to what I had imagined but it was a wonderful week. I am truly grateful to Carla for encouraging me to come along for the ride, she is a great teacher and a great inspiration.

I would like to share with you some of the images from my week in Naples. I would also like to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone in 2017 try something new, be creative, love and never forget to remain true to your unique self. Happy New Year!

A big thank you to the people of Naples.

fabric

carlas book

police

crowd scene in church

nun

hey you

red beret

local man

boy

local dog

local naples

chapel Procida nun

serious

proud of Naples

friendly local naples

 

easy riders

kids

fish

bird

waiter

smiling nun

window shopping

boy

wet

produce

bakery girl

fish shop

street life

man on a mission

 

In the spring our village priest very proudly presided over the wedding service of his only daughter, Ismini. Everyone in the village, young and old were invited to this splendid event. Our Papa was not the only clergyman in attendance, there were several more, differing in age and draped in finery according to their importance. It was a spectacular service, a visual feast.

One of the things I love about living in a Greek village is the way the community all come together for these special occasions. Everyone dresses in their Sunday best even if it is a Saturday, and there is a real sense of community love.

Our village church is something to be proud of.  Although the outside is somewhat austere the inside shines with its ornate fixtures and fittings, glitzy chandeliers and wealth of icons. The locals flooded into the church, every square inch was occupied. In the middle of it all was the bride, Ismini who shone like a jewel.

Although these occasions are full of pomp there is still a sense of Greek fun which make them all the more enjoyable.

ismini-1435 The beautiful bride

two girls Anticipation

ismini-1354 The ceremony

chandeliers, and gold and red ornamentation inside church The church

guests seated at church watching wedding

The bride and groom Bride and groom

detail of icon pendant worn by priest

Father of the bride

Bride and groom Bride and groom

Mother of the bride Mother of the bride

portrait of priest

Brother of the bride Brother of the bride

Happiness Happiness

ismini-1464 Off they go

In October I received an email from Mikela, founder of Yoga Satya and the words that jumped off the page and captured my immediate attention were ‘paradise awaits’.

These words accompanied by some enticing images and Mikela, of course, were all it took for me to change my already confirmed travel plans. This in itself was no mean feat but one I considered worthwhile. My trusty assistant Amy and Penny, my new travel co-ordinator were wonderful rearranging and booking everything.

I first attended Mikela’s classes some years ago when she taught at the Boy Charlton in Sydney. Her classes combined traditional philosophy with great instruction. Those two things along with Mikela’s knowledge and genuine care for her pupils made her classes a stand out.

Mikela held the retreat on the island of Koh Tao, a magical island in the Gulf of Thailand, a two hour boat trip from the island of Koh Samui. When I stepped off the crowded boat on to the noisy pier I was immediately surrounded by confusion but was quickly scooped up by our calm teacher and a trusty driver and transported up into the hills and beyond to Baan Talay, a blissful hideaway retreat.

Baan Talay consists of several Thai style bungalows set in natural tropical landscape and is perched above the crystal clear waters of Ao Leuk Bay. It’s a magical spot.

I just fell in love with the view from my simple room. I kept the doors that led on to my small balcony open so that the sound of the ocean was first thing I heard when I woke and last thing I heard before my eyes closed at night. The sea is one of my favourite sounds. There were other sounds too, sounds of the cicadas’ and geckos, birdsong and the rustling of local creatures in the surrounding bush.

Dev the owner and his staff were all lovely and attentive and provided us with fresh delicious meals each day and there was also transport available for trips around the island.

The Sharla, where we practiced our daily yoga was a large open hut nestled in the natural tropical landscape with magnificent sweeping views over the sea. It was the perfect place to witness the beginning and the end of each day.

We practiced for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. The classes were calm but for me they came with some challenges. At times it was tough and I have to admit to having the urge during one morning class of running from the Sharla screaming. However, thankfully, I pulled myself together and breathed through it. The result was worth it.

For me my time was to short, I would have been happy to retreat from the outside world for much longer but I know from experience it’s better to leave wanting more.

Mikela generously shared with us pearls of wisdom for which I will be forever grateful and I think it’s fair to say we all as her students benefitted from her big heart.

Once again I am grateful for another beautiful life experience and the chance to have shared it with new like minded souls.

I hope you enjoy some of the snaps below of my time at Baan Yalay and if you ever feel like retreating with Mikela just click on the link HERE

koh tao

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koh tao5

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koh tao20

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koh tao11

My first trip to Istanbul was in 1983, I had travelled from Australia and was on my way to start a new life in London via the Greek Islands and Turkey. In the short time I was thereI found it to be both exotic and very foreign. I returned to Istanbul again in 1994 this time visiting many of the usual tourist spots. I found the city to be inspiring.

Since the publication of my book My Greek Island Home I have met many new people and some of them have become good friends. Two of these friends are Turkish and live in Istanbul, they love Lesvos, the Greek Island I call home. They visit the island regularly and we have developed a lovely friendship, one I cherish. They have invited us to their city many times and in May, after 21 years Matthew and I headed back to Istanbul.

Istanbul is a city of many layers. It’s a sophisticated city, a rich city, a poor city, a city of history, of culture, of tradition of modernity. A city with high energy. We loved staying at Soho House with its fabulous combination of old and new architecture. Our friends showed us their city and there is nothing better than being shown a city by a local. A boat trip on the Bosphorus revealed architecture on the waters edge I could not have imagined. Baroque style palaces sat closely beside charming wooden chalet styled houses. East certainly meets west in this city.

Here are a few images from my trip. I really hope we will be returning again soon to wander the streets and spend more time with our dear friends. Thank you dear friends you know who you are xx

istanbul may 2015

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istanbul may 201511

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-7993-6 Landscape by Matthew Usmar Lauder

 

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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.

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IMG_7208-2 Emma photo Claire Lloyd

 

Usually the images I post of  My Greek Island Home (check out my book) are in colour but Greek village life is just as beautiful in black and white. Enjoy my wandering around the village.

IMG_8650_1a Delicious handmade mazipan flowers by the woman in the village co-operative

IMG_3401a A villager eturnig at dusk along the track laden with hay

IMG_5953a A handfull of newly picked fresh wild asparagus

IMG_2325a Panayiota and Stratos  sitting happily together in their kafenio

IMG_0803a Fresh bread being made in the local bakery

IMG_1247a Wash day

_MG_7786a A quite moment for the late Charalambos

20091011_RALITSA LAN`D_4528a A plate of  grapes just picked from a neighbours vine

_MG_4355a Preparation for the olive picking

_MG_1688a Crocheting lace, the village women are always busy

_MG_5671a Bagging up the olives

_MG_4209a Home baking means hands on work

_MG_8180a Watching the world go by

_MG_1705_1a Things turn up in the most unlikely places

DSC00124a The original kitchen in our house

Vasso's mums handa Freshly picked vine leaves which will be used for making dolmades

 

 

 

I photographed a little peak of Matthew and my life here on the island of Lesvos for You Magazine a couple of months ago and here it is. Thank you  Clare Nolan for loving our lifestyle and Fiona McCarthy for  your kind words. Greece is the word 1

Greece is the word 2

Greece is the word 3

What a great article on our village life in the August issue of  UK House & Garden  magazine. Beautifully written by Ros Byam Shaw and fabulous photos taken by Paul Massey. Thanks for coming to My Greek Island Home and sharing some of  our favourite things. My Greek Island Home published in the UK by Clearview Books.

HOUSE AND GARDEN JPEG

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HOUSE AND GARDEN JPEG 2

HOUSE AND GARDEN JPEG 3

GRACE SPREAD A

GRACE SPREAD B

My beautiful god-daughter and muse, Grace Bagot.

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