Gluten-free doesn’t mean missing out

One diet I often get asked to cater for at Melanya Mountain Retreat is gluten free. It is becoming widely known that our bodies find it hard to process certain foods and the glue that holds them together is often the culprit. Gluten is a protein that helps our favourite breads and pastries stay in…

2017 yearly roundup

A dramatic 2017 was the year of a very long hot summer after a dry winter, with very little rain for over 4 months and I was very aware of the forest fires that raged in Portugal and caused a lot of suffering. So when our mayor phoned me to tell me there was a…

Mountain Rescue Part 2

You never really think something is going to happen until it does and we have had lots of surprises in our remote village in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. Living here we had become accustomed to the extreme environment and thought we had learnt from the last time someone got lost in these mountains but somehow…

Melanya Online Facelift

After many years of success with our original website, time has come for our rustic retreat to upgrade it’s digital space. A fully responsive experience that works well on all devices, together with mobile friendly forms, will ensure our visitors enjoy a quality online experience, similar to the quality experience found at our mountain retreat….

If only they could talk

and listen and understand… I’m talking about my farm animals of course. They all have their own languages to talk to each other but I wish they could speak mine. It would make life so much easier.  Like telling me when they’re ill and what the problem is… Chickens are the most vocal of my…

Super Soup

A very basic dish that I find one of the most rewarding because its so easy-to-make and packed full of healthy nutrition without the preservatives added in processing. Also a great way to use up surplus organic vegetables, wild mushrooms and the remains of roast meat. Soup can be enjoyed fresh throughout the year but also easily freezes…

Variety is the Spice of Life

In Bulgaria the four seasons are very different.  There is a vast difference between the hot and dry Mediterranean summers and the snow covered -20°C winters. Whilst we relished the chance to experience ‘proper’ seasons in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, we had become used to the all-year-round availability of fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets. Large…

2016 yearly roundup

After an easy winter and a dry start to 2016, the weather turned wet, with a rain shower almost every day until mid June. What followed though was the driest summer we’ve seen and our 13,000 litres of backup water storage wasn’t enough to keep us and our guest house low maintenance! Even now at…

Marrying the Old with the New

We feel incredibly lucky to have found our little piece of heaven in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, a small but strong community village, frozen in a bygone era, and have embraced the old ways of living for health and happiness. Living a more rural way of life has many benefits but we’re glad we could bring…

Redressing the balance

At first glance, the view from our back garden is breathtaking. At second glance it’s still amazing but the heavy snowfall over 2 years ago caused lots of damage and is continuing to have an effect on this untouched area of outstanding natural beauty. The large patches of brown are not the Autumn colours of…

Responsible Forestry

The lack of human interference in these mountains is a charming quality. Wild animals make tracks us humans can use to explore the undisturbed scenery. The flora and fauna is rich in this biodiverse area, with many wild flowers, butterflies, birds, mushrooms, reptiles and animals. Before the car age, these mountains were inhabited by lots…

Breeding like rabbits

It was after reading John Seymour’s, ‘The new complete book of Self Sufficiency’, that the idea of farming rabbits was born. I had enjoyed the taste of wild rabbit meat and disagreed with the way shop bought rabbits live in the same, or worse, conditions as battery hens. With a large garden full of organic…