Local Heart, Global Soul

August 20, 2014

And The Winners ARE……!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s time to announce the winners of my soap competition / give-away.

It’s a give-away of course because you don’t actually have to “compete”  for the prize in any other way than to have entered your comment on to one of my posts about the fabulous organic soaps made by Nikos in the village of Platania on the Pelion peninsular in Greece and hope that your name has been drawn out of a baking bowl as one of the two lucky winners.

I left the word “compete in there because a) people like the idea of entering a competition and b) the word “competition” was already in my categories list and the word “give-away” wasn’t and adding it as extra was a step too far from my laziness and current level of lack of concentration.

For some reason, although several hundred people log into my blog each day, only three of you wanted to enter my competition to get something nice … for free!  (Come ON, How hard is it to give something away???)

I’ve therefore decided to forgo the backing bowl draw and reward all three of my entrants, and they will be hearing from me soonest about addresses so that I can (send Himself to) get these into the post pronto…

Sooo….  In alphabetical order….

BIG Congratulations to:  

Carrie, a long time foodie friend from across the water in the USA.

Elaine, a fellow blogger from  “I used to be indecisive”   http://elainemcnulty.wordpress.com/

smilecalm,  a fellow blogger from “Together we are one”  http://smilecalm.wordpress.com/

Comments welcome both here and on their blogs to congratulate them!

p.s. If you are seeing my winners names in different sizes, it’s NOT any personal preference or anything like that… WordPress is having some sort of glitch/ small meltdown and I see a screen saying “beep beep boop” … the original texts ARE all the same size in the text editer, but the “view post” option shows the texts in all different sizes. If you are seeing it like that, apologies, I hope the WP glitch resolves itself soonest.

August 13, 2014

Time For Another Competition: Don’t Get Yourself In A Lather (Or Maybe Do!)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s time for another Kiwidutch Competition/Give-away…

After all if I have been spending days raving on about the natural ingredients of Nikos’s organic soap from Platania on the Pelion peninsula in Greece, then surely it’s only fair that I share a little of it with my readers too?

All you have to do is to write a comment on one of my recent posts about soap and you could win some of this beautiful soap for yourself !

So…. To the important bits…

What to do:  To be in with a chance to win you need to make a comment on one of Soap blog posts of the last few days.

When to do it: Comments should be made between the time of reading of this post and latest before the end of Monday 18th August 2014.

When will you know who has won?  I will be announcing the lucky winners on Wednesday 20th August 2014.

Did I hear you say “winners” ? Yes, I will be drawing two names from a hat  baking bowl at random, so who knows, My lucky winner could be You!!!

 

 

 

 

August 12, 2014

The Results are a Result! … But A Kid Hears “Cake” And Has Other Ideas…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The final photographs from my first and only “photo-shoot” (payment being a small gift of soap) came out rather well, at least Nikos was delighted with them and that’s what matters.

He’s used them on his website too and slotted in some of the photographs of the soap making process into the gallery of  photos about the hotel and things to do too.

There are not just the bars soaps on offer though, Nikos also has some novelty soaps that he makes in the shapes of flowers, hearts , little figures and cakes.

Actually this last item caused a stir in the Kiwidutch  family: You will all no doubt be familiar with the situation where several adults are talking and children are in the background, both playing and selectively eavesdropping at the same time. Himself had collected me from Nikos’s hotel in the car and bought me back to our in-law’s place. I was sitting sorting and showing them photographs on the laptop, and the adults in the group were chatting about how it all went, asking questions about the demonstration (surprisingly my in-laws had never seen the soap making demonstration before) and how the first photographs in this post had been made.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then we came across the photographs of  the soaps in the form of cakes, not just “cakes of soap” in the regular sense of the word but like actual “slices” of cake.

My darling Kiwi Daughter has a finely turned alert button in her brain that appears to activate in nanoseconds when certain words in either the Dutch or English language enter any conversation, of hers, or of others.

Experience concludes that these words include “sweets, chips, ice-cream, biscuits (cookies), popcorn…” you’ll quickly be getting the idea of a general theme that runs through these “alert words”.

Therefore it was no surprise that upon the mention of the word “cake” the kid who appeared to be doing her own thing with the other kids, gave a start like she had been hit by a bolt of lightening and exclaimed excitedly:  “Cake?, Mama ! You didn’t tell me that you have cake???!” Needless to say that she was rather miffed that it wasn’t the cake she had been hoping for and she bore the brunt of some rather merciless teasing for a little while after that.

She and Little Mr.  accompanied me when I went back to Nikos’s hotel the next day to drop off the memory stick of sorted photographs and they were each allowed to choose some of these novelty soaps to bring home. Kiwi Daughter opted for the little pink figures so that she could give some to her friends and Little Mr. chose a blue and white coloured soap in a flower form.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Both sets of soaps had been freshly made so we had to let them dry for a month before using them, but the last laugh was on Little Mr. when he was finally able to use his soap.

Laughter and a lot of squealing brought me to the bathroom where stood a skinny little Little Mr. was standing up in the tub, doing an excellent  impression of a Smurf  because every part of him that was soaped was the colour blue.

All the colour from the soap was coming off on his skin, Himself helped him soap up all the bits Little Mr. couldn’t reach so that he was totally blue and I took a photograph for the private family album. Naturally you will understand that that photo can not be posted here.

After scrubbing the kid back to his normal colour (actually his normal colour usually includes shades of dirt, so I mean his temporarily clean colour) the bath water and tub also took on a violent blue hue and it took ages for Himself to scrub off. I have very sensitive skin so I knew as soon as I saw the colours in these that these soaps weren’t for me, we will warn Nikos about the unexpected side effects of this novelty soap.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mint and Rosemary Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Myrrh Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Goat’s Milk Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Poppyseed Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lavender Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Rose Soap, (various compositions, I liked them all)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

August 11, 2014

Reminders Of The Dutch Masters Bring Inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a post that if  I’m brutally honest is more for me than you, I adore the paintings of the old Dutch masters and so when I saw these quinces on a table under the verandah at Hotel Des Roses it sparked off inspiration for the next “project” that Nikos asked me if I might be able to help him with.

He has a brochure for his soaps and still has to use up the old printed supply, but doesn’t really like the starkness of the photographs that were made then they started out.

The soaps were photographed on a plain white background and Nikos now feels that he wants to somehow enhance the photographs so that they better portray the heart and soul of the eco businesses they are trying to build up here, but he’s not sure how to achieve that.

Upon spying the quinces on the table I have an idea about how to convey the feeling of the natural ingredients that are in the soaps so ask Nikos if I may raid his stash of drying herbs, fresh roses from his garden and soaps … and I also need a large flat dinner plate please. He looks puzzled but agrees and soon I am busy on the first arrangement. After the first one he is hooked and excitedly brings me ingredients for the “shoot” faster than I can keep up photographing them.

My idea is to showcase the soaps as much as possible with their own main ingredients, (and ok for the donkey and goats milk soaps I didn’t go so far as a ask him to catch a local goat) but to emphasise the natural organic ingredients that make these soaps special. Today’s post is all about the inspiration, tomorrows post is all about the results…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

August 10, 2014

Patterns Woven Into Soap And Threads…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During my visit to Hotel Des Roses in Platania, Greece, I not only get to see a soap making demonstration, I also get a look behind the scenes, or more accurately a smell behind the scenes with the ingredients.

Nikos grows his own organic ingredients and inside the workshop part of his soap making area are jars and jars of lavender, myrrh, poppyseed, bay-leaves etc.

The poppy seeds are a natural scrub agent and even shavings from the soap bars are kept and used for their infused perfume in little bags as wardrobe and drawer fresheners.

I also like the patterns that the clean lines and shadows made from the cut, stacked bars of soap that are waiting out their month drying time before they can be used. I find them to be rather photogenic and like the shapes.

These however are not the only eco-friendly activity on offer at the hotel, Nikos and his wife Yianna also offer their visitors the opportunity to try out their weaving skills on their loom. (Yes Lulu, I know you will love these photographs). I didn’t try it out myself but judging by the work in progress, someone else has been.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

August 9, 2014

Ouch ! Only A Day Old And Here Comes The Knife!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s where back in October of 2012 I was busy taking photographs of the soap making process as practices by Nikos of  Hotel Des Roses in Platania, on the Pelion peninsular in Greece.

Nikos uses olive oil as the base of his soaps and infuses organically grown herbs and flowers to perfume them.

Following on from the last photographs in yesterday’s post we find Nikos pouring the fresh, liquid soap into the prepared trays which will later be cut into bars of soap.

Once all of the  (in this case lavender)  infused mixture has been poured into the tray, Nikos  runs around the edges of the tray to release any bubbles that might be trapped down the sides.

He then sprinkles dry lavender flowers over the top. The smell during the entire process is wonderful.

It takes roughly twenty-four hours for the soup to turn solid, the process takes a little longer in the hotter Greek summer months and just a day in winter.

I’m lucky to be able to see the process with a tray of  Rose infused soap that had been made the day before, Nikos takes a long guillotine blade that has a handle at each end and slots it into grooves in the tray so that when he makes the cuts, each bar of soap is of a uniform size.

He wears gloves to protect his hands at this stage of the process  because until the soap “cures”  fully the mixture would burn your skin.

The curing process involves the bars being carefully spaced apart and being air-dried for a month, after that the soap can be used and will not burn in any way at all. In fact it will be so soft and neutral that this sort of soap is ideal for people with eczema and sensitive skin.

I can vouch for this because Nikos insisted on gifting me some soap for my photography efforts. I have asthma and sensitive skin and soaps with perfume or colour are guaranteed to leave me with a patchy sunburn-like rash. Since we visited Greece in 2012 I have now had the opportunity to have tried all of Nikos’s soaps,  without the slightest problem of skin irritation and thanks to a constant supply via my in-laws it is the only soap I have used since our visit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I also gave some of these as a “Thank-you” gift to a colleague because she looked after the plants in my office whilst I was on holiday.

She has serious problems with eczema, but also has no problems with any of these soaps.

Nikos also makes soaps using donkey and goat’s  milk and both are wonderful on your skin, which feels smooth and moisturised afterwards.

She has in turn converted several of her friends to the quality of Nikos’s soap and I enjoy helping a little family business by ordering soap regularly from Nicos via my in-laws to pass on to them.

I love knowing all about the “process” of how things are made,  I especially love that everything in these is organic and natural, there are no weird chemicals, preservatives or colourants, and I love to support a small family business who care about the environment and how their product is made instead of a large multi-national who are generally only concerned with the fee being paid to their shareholders or the amount of profit they can make. After taking these photographs Nikos has another photographic project for me, but first some tea is provided with a smile, using their own organic camomile  flowers, refreshing and delicious!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 8, 2014

Diversification Comes Naturally…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are having a quiet rest day in Platania  when my sister-in-law asks me if I would maybe mind to do a favour for one of their friends in the village.

Like many Greeks, the locals here have had a difficult time in the economic crisis and we have heard many of stories of  hard times and forced diversification.

For instance after government cut-backs meant withdrawal of subsidies for physiotherapy treatments, many patients faced with the full tariff simply cancelled their treatments because they could no longer afford them.

In turn the physiotherapist has become the local odd-job man, turning his hand at various D.I.Y. needs in the local region to make his own ends meet.

He is not alone, some people in the village apparently have several part time jobs, some seasonal, some year round and many former professionals in the district now survive by the same method.

Unlike in the big cities, people here have the advantage of  having their own garden plots and chickens as an important way to keep within budget.

The tourist trade, partly because of bad press about Greece and unrest in cities like Athens at the time contributed to a roughly thirty percent downturn in tourist trade (at least this was so in 2012) and local businesses across the board were feeling the pinch.

Nikos, The owner of  Des Roses Hotel in Platania has been interested in ecologically friendly tourism for a long time now a some years back began hosting local eco-tours and then int0 making his own soap products with local organically grown herbs, flowers and spices and fresh local olive oil.

The favour that is being asked is that Nikos’s website needs updating and could I maybe help out by taking some photographs for him to use please?

I was delighted to be of help and immediately got a demonstration from Nikos on how to make natural, organic and amazing soap. The process begins with his own crops of organically grown thyme, lavender, myrrh, bay-leaves, roses, camomile, rosemary, mint and geraniums. Each of these is harvested and put into large jars, which are then filled with pure olive oil. This is then closed and left to infuse for at least two months.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The colours in the jars are like jewels. the smell when the lid comes off is amazing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Let the soap making process begin…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The infused oil (in this case it’s lavender)  is strained though a sieve into a large pan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You need to get every drop of oil but sieve out the lavender bits (they have done their job).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

More olive oil is added…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now starts the stirring process… the liquid at this stage is very yellow in colour and thin in consistency…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The stirring process thickens it very slowly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the colour slowly but surely changes to a soft creamy yellow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now it’s noticeably thicker…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Time to add a little bit of Vitamin E oil…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And stir well until it’s well mixed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tray for the bars has been lined and prepared…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the mixture is now poured into the tray…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are too many photographs for one post so I will continue with Nikos’s demonstration tomorrow…

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.