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The truth about Chocolate ;-)

A love story...

Dan and Nancy are American's and are having their wedding on Santorini, and a party back in the U.S.A with family and friends. It will be just the two of us they say, and they wondered if our son would like to be the ring bearer?

Our six year old thought it would be wonderful, and had the important role of looking after the rings. 
I never tire of seeing couples in love, it is what the world needs more of. Beaming smiles, promises with emotion and heartfelt that even after 27 years of  photographing,  I still feel that excitement. 
Well Oscar our son was like an angel, and as soon as the wedding was over I gave him a camera.
I was ten when I photographed my first wedding with my dad, and Oscar well he has now started at 6! 
While Dan and Nancy are dancing, laughing, and posing, they are just loving the mum and son photographers. Oscar is diligently photographing like a pro!
As the sun was setting we were capturing photographs of this unforgettable, joyful and special marriage. 
"You are welcome to stay and join us for dinner!" was their kind invite.
Now normally we don't stay as it is just normally one of us at the wedding, but my husband had photographed Dan and Nancy's engagement photos earlier, and as he had finished his wedding he had popped in to congratulate Dan and Nancy. 
Yes we would love to join you! With delight we enjoyed the Santorinian evening. With stars twinkling, we ate delicious cuisine, and got to celebrate their wedding day.
We were chatting and Dan and Nancy were talking about needing lots of gifts for all the people back home. Realising the time frame they had there was not much time to shop - there was only the one morning before catching a plane. I was mentioning a location where they could achieve a lot considering the types of gifts needed. 
On Santorini we do not have malls as such. There is also limited signage, lots of alleyways, which I love, but if you are trying to achieve a lot firstly you have no idea how long these unknown alley ways will take to navigate and find your way back to where you started. Signage even for road sign names are not that common, you are just supposed to know!
Judy to the rescue! I was up for this important task! People back in the U.S.A who made the dress gave all sorts of special input for this marriage, and needed a momento from this very grateful couple, and also some treats for Dan and Nancy. Treasures were purchased, along with a replica of ancient Greek pottery as a decor piece.
  I suggested: "Why not have their names and wedding date painted into their own Santorian pottery piece made by a local potter." My mother in law was a potter and she made each of the children a special piece with names and wedding date on, I always thought it was a beautiful and unique gift.  Dan and Nancy loved the idea so a piece was chosen to be made and  freighted to the U.S.A. when it was done.

Armed with a list of all the people and knowing there was little in the way of weight allowance for the onward flight we were on a mission. What fun we had, amidst happy tourists. There is a vast array of shops with some showcasing local and Greek artisans. Dan and Nancy both commented they would never have found the places I had taken them, and yes this is why I started helping people as I have done the research to allow them time to shop instead of the overwhelm, which is pretty easy to happen here on a limited time.

Well these two Americans who are so in love, were so taken with the new addition to the photographic team Oscar, that out of the blue many months later arrived on Oscar's birthday a huge box of Lego for one very happy boy. Oscar's photographs and being the ring bearer had meant so much.


We felt  very privileged to be a part Dan and Nancy's wedding, and to see the start of a possible photography career for Oscar. For me life is about people, and we wish our new friends Dan and Nancy a joyful marriage full of blessing and fun, maybe for an anniversary they will return to Santorini?

I adore shopping...

I absolutely adore shopping on Santorini. I love boutique shopping, with the ambience of scenic beauty, architectural style and talented artisans with shops brimming with exquisite and unique finds.

For me I find it a sense of adventure to shop. Ever curious, I love to ask questions and know what and where items are made. I was thrilled to find out the olive wood products are actually made on Santorini. The wood is not grown here, as I assumed, as we only have a few pockets of olive groves, so that is why I asked about where it is made. 
We have our own workshop here on Santorini. I find out that it is illegal in Greece to chop down an olive tree or even a part of the tree. It is as serious as manslaughter the shop owner told me, leaning towards me with a serious stern look.  Even with your own olive tree someone from the council has to come and oversee the pruning. Crickey!  Back in New Zealand I had planted about 30 trees - just as well I have not planted them in Greece! The owner goes on to explain the importance of the Greek olive trees, as they filter the air, they are wind breakers. You can only get permission to cut the tree if it is bothering something. If you are building a house you cannot cut an olive tree you must build around it. Even shopping is educational!
I have travelled through a lot of Greece and I love olive wood to use in the kitchen, so I am always keen to see what designs and how much items are.
I purchased something I haven't seen any where else a fish olive wood ladle. I have the honey spool and I adore the flat palette knives. A must-have travel item for me. No metal blade, so o.k for hand luggage on planes, and oh so handy and I feel they are quicker to use than just a knife for spreads.
I have chopping boards, ladles, stirrers and of course an olive stabber, I don't know what else to call it, but every one who likes olives needs at least one! Perfect little gifts too.
Well even hand bags and wallets are made here on Santorini. Good prices and in an array of colours in soft leathers. I got my sister one of these I liked them so much. I bought her a really small one so she could have it on hand in her gym bag.
If you like jewellery, then Santorini excels. From six euros to the sky is the limit. A lovely momento that when wearing brings back the Santorini experience. There are available volcanic lava creations, modern fashion jewellery and gold and silver hand made pieces. My father had a large company wholesaling jewellery so I have seen and owned more than my fair share of jewellery. You can find really special creations on Santorini.
Clothing, yes indeed - from stylish to casual light linens. Being on a Mediterranean  island basking in sunshine and warmth with white huddled homes and shops this is really an environment for celebrating with light-weight clothing. Santorini - it's ambience of idyllic-ness with people floating by in layers of white cottons and bright colours. For me I see it as a moving painting with people in holiday mode, smiling, in love with the whole experience. It truly is worthy of the praise I give it. 
So much choice, where does one shop? Well there is a range of options and prices. I have found an exquisite range of Greek-designed clothing for those of you wanting something fun and unique, girls clothing too.  Bought a selection for myself I was so impressed, and as a traveller wanting clothes that are easy care no ironing, throw in the wash. Well this range has excelled, so much so it brings smiles to people I pass when I am wearing it! I am constantly asked where I bought my dresses, or did I make it?!
My husband even wants me to buy more!!!! Now that's a winner.

Well I hope this gives you a small idea of some of the items that make for a selection of possible ideas for you or gifts for loved ones. Judy


When we travel we just love checking out supermarkets! I think all foodies will understand the sheer delight of gazing wondrously at unknown bottles of preserves, imaging the flavours and selecting unknown items with gourmet fervor. Often the labels being in foreign countries are unreadable, yet like a guessing game looking at any drawings of said item enclosed.

We have enjoyed the crammed versions of one-trolley-wide aisles on the Island of Gozo. We have experienced the minimalistic choices in Albania, to Italian and French mega supermarkets where isles of cheeses pose so much choice one would have to take up residency in the aisle for a year to do justice to the artisans' crafted produce.
Supermarket shopping is always fascinating, even comparing prices is an eye opener. We were so enamoured with the selection of well stocked and fair priced items on offer in the supermarket chain Hofer we thought we should relocate to Slovenia. A friend shopping with us thought we were hilarious at the excitement we derived from the supermarket. 
There is nothing quite like the food of a country, that you are eating once you are home in your own country to rekindle and relive the holiday experience.
Like a return visit to New Zealand has us in search of pies! The best we have found - a venison pie in Te Anau, chicken and leek or lamb shank pie in Christchurch, or our new found supreme Lamb pie at Riverstone kitchen near Oamaru. A meat lovers pie of perfection!
So you may ask, what is it like on Santorini in the supermarkets? Well we are blessed with quite a number of supermarkets thanks to having tourists and because the Greek people love to eat. This suits me just fine. Noticeably there are quirks that tend to make shopping an experience.
It can range from simple things like a donkey tied up outside, next to a quad bike then a scooter, motorbike, lots of small cars randomly parked. Now every supermarket is different. There is the one with really reasonable pricing, and a phamphlet in ones post box ensures most of the items will only be available on that day, not the whole week.
At this supermarket i have come to understand not to expect logic in the fruit and vegetable department. Let me explain, as unless you live in a foreign (can't read the language) country, you may have missed this exciting element for shopping.
It goes like this, oh yes I think I will get some red peppers, now I wonder how much they are? The trays of produce run three high, as does the prices on the top of the third row of produce. Now one may like to assume that perhaps the produce would have the prices correlating top to bottom to match the order of the produce. Oh no, why would any one do that? So begins my long time in this section getting to meet random shoppers I engage in questions of." do you know how much the peppers are?" It takes them time too, as they look up and down the prices and along the aisle. I kid you not, the price for the peppers can be five items along.
Not to be beaten I write down the spelling of items as I learn on my supermarket escapades. I do find it amusing though when and this does regularly happen, no price is on any of the boards for the fruit on the shelf! Yes this takes extra long for my random helpers I have pulled aside to assist me on my Greek shopping.
Now you may say, 'can you not get it weighed by someone or by yourself and punch in the item and get a price from a machine?' No you cannot. You can weigh it on some hanging scales, but the only way to get the price is at the check out, once you have got in the queue.
Oh the joys of shopping. Because I enjoy discovering what is in supermarkets I have visited all of them on Santorini. I do find one has to shop in two frequently to achieve what one sets out for. I notice that this seems to be a pattern, as I see the same shoppers from one with me in another! Anyway, that's how it is. 
So one supermarket had stairs leading downward and items on them. Being curious I start heading down. No I am told nothing down there, just on the steps at the top. O.k. Now I am in another supermarket and it is fairly well stocked, yet I thought it a bit odd I could not find olive oil, so I ask. It is downstairs I am told. Of course it is! I am thinking. So the steps in this supermarket are for using, and the lift too! Not one sign or arrow would indicate it was a two levelled shopping experience. Well it was a treasure trove of hidden items I never knew they stocked! They even have an organic section.
Now I have shopped in many countries and never had a two levelled supermarket. But wait there is more. Yes a separate chain of supermarket they have two levels as well, and again not a sign in site, and you would have to be wandering around a corner near items you would not be looking at to find the stairs. And if you don't feel like taking the lift, just abandon your cart at the top and off you go!
Nothing is dull on Santorini, even the simple things have their unique circus-like ambience. Such fun!