Flowers from my Garden

The humble old marigold, Tagetes erecta grows easily around our garden, seeding itself and popping up with bright little displays all over the place. I love the pungent smell from the flowers and leaves, it makes a great infused monoi, that I like to use in my oil blends, soaps and concoctions.


Family Photo

Thanks Eliane for this lovely family photo


Our morning ritual

Matotea's school truck passes by just at the end of our front garden, so we usually spend five or ten minutes out at the top of the beach waiting for the bus (when I'm not being hopelessly late!). It's turned into a nice little ritual for us, Heimana likes to come too, in the vain hope that she too will be allowed to get on the bus!


Flowers from my Garden

Gardenia tahitensis or 'tiare tahiti' is our national flower. The blooms have a delicate perfume and almost every household has at least one bush in the garden. The flowers are used for making leis, the flowers are also dried for making monoi. I like to use the flowers to make a tiare-motoi syrup, it's rather good on crepes.....


A place of rest

A month has gone by since Viriamu's father left us, we went to visit his grave over the weekend. It's in a beautiful little cemetry perched above the village of Avera, overlooking the ocean, and in turn overlooked by Matotea's cliff and Manureva (the central ridge and highest points of Rurutu) to the north, a truly peaceful little spot.


Flowers from my Garden

What could be more uplifting on a cold, miserable, wet day in may (read november for those in the northern hemisphere), than this cheerful little daisy smiling out of the beds, positively relishing the downpours.
OK, this one is technically a weed here in Rurutu! It's a daisy of some kind, it grows rampant in grassland, the air-strip is literally lit up by these things when they're in full bloom.


Adventures in soap-making

It's a pretty quiet period for us at the guesthouse, from now until the whale-season, so I'm not letting the opportunity slip by, I've been avidly soap-making and really seriously getting interested in my essential oils and lotions. And though I say it myself, I'm definitely getting better. I have a tried and true recipe for a lovely shiny monoi soap, and I've been playing around with essential oils, fragrances and colors this past while.......it's a little bit addictive dreaming up tropical scent combinations......I try to limit myself to two batches a day! I'm also, very cautiously branching out into fancier facial soaps and even a shampoo, using the hibiscus from the garden,.........as well as re-batching a fair few of my earlier trials (it's too great, you can even re-use your messed up batches, try repairing them to make new and different soap), which actually turns out to be pretty good fun too, though the results are surprisingly different in appearance and texture from the originals.
(The nine perfumes of my homemade monoi soap that I have in stock now, 
top, from left: vanilla, plumeria, sandalwood, geranium-rose-vanilla, lemongrass-tahitian basil,
bottom : coconut-tahitian gardenia, citrus, Rurutu coffee, cinnamon-orange- patchouli)


Wintry May

It's been an eventful enough start to May. The weather has suddenly become quite cold and wintry, with lots of gusty winds and heavy rain, generally making me want to hibernate. We've also been having car troubles, Viriamu got the car stuck in the mountains in the middle of the bad weather, the engine was overheating and leaking water, and subsequently it's been quite a challenge to get it towed back down! Fortunately my brother in law works for the local energy company and has access to heavy duty four-wheel drives with winch!!! But it still took four days to get the heavy machinery in and we've had to beg and borrow cars to be able to look after our guests! Between that and the 'fun' we've had trying to install our new hybrid solar freezer (we somewhat foolishly bought it off a salesman who was staying at our guesthouse), the whole thing seems to be more than a little bit cobbled together, we had to wire up the system ourselves, using the slightly dog-eared cables provided, and either the solar panel or the battery still doesn't seem to be working quite right....hey-ho.... and there was me thinking it might be quite a good idea to try to go solar!
Now that the car's fixed I ventured out around town, and picked up the stack of mail awaiting us, in there were a couple of birthday cards, almost a month late, plus a 2010 Christmas card that had made the journey via Guyana (a French territory, albeit on the other side of the world!!!!), I think this tops the parcel sent via the Falklands!!!!