Giveaway – Win a Signed and Dated Piece of Original Art


Thank you to all of you who have given me so much encouragement this year, and helped me take pride and a passionate pleasure in the country where we live. You have been so kind and so welcoming – and it’s now time for me to give something back to you. This is your chance to win an original piece of signed and dated artwork,  a large Provençal scene

It’s time for me to say a very big heartfelt thank you to everyone, for your loyal following, for taking the time to read my ramblings and for commenting so often and regularly. I have read every single comment; they have made me laugh, they have made me think, they have brought tears to my eyes and I hope I have answered them all. It has been fabulous to chat and to get to ‘know’ so many of you, and ultimately this is why I write.

The first year of the blog went by quickly but this second one seems to have passed in an even speedier blur. The blog has gone from strength to strength, and the children have become more involved. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other bloggers for the first time,  during lunch together we’ve laughed at the mistakes we’ve made, happy to have connected through the simple shared interest of the written word. I’ve also met several of my readers who have visited the Charente Maritime, several of whom have stayed in our gîte. To say it’s been an excellent year would be an understatement!

Whether you are one of my loyal friends who have been here since the beginning or whether you are relatively new to the blog, it makes no difference; this giveaway is open to everyone, and it’s  your chance to win a signed and dated original pastel of a scene in Provence by Margot Rampton, my late mother-in-law. Margot studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and exhibited in London, Paris and Provence where she lived for many years. Later in life she settled in the Channel Islands where she held many local exhibitions and supported numerous local charities. Very rarely does her work come up for sale nowadays, but occasionally it does and an original is sold from £300 ($450) upwards. Many local Channel Island shops sell limited edition prints for £25 to £50. But my giveaway is NOT a limited edition – this is an ORIGINAL piece of art.  This piece is from her portfolio of french scenes, many of which hang on our walls, and this work measures 24″ x 18″ (61cms x 46cms).


All you have to do if you want to win is leave a comment below and subscribe to the blog (if you are not already subscribed). Please feel free to share this post with friends and invite them to come over and follow the blog, too.

For a second or even a third chance to win, share my giveaway on your social media and come back here to tell me. Each time you share you get another entry, but be sure to let me know.



We will draw the lucky winner on the evening of Wednesday 9th November and announce the winner on the blog next Thursday 10th November. But most of all, win or lose, a big heartfelt THANK YOU from me and I hope  you continue to enjoy the blog for a long time to come.

Susan xxx

293 thoughts on “Giveaway – Win a Signed and Dated Piece of Original Art

      1. And share you do, Susan. We both love your blog as well and a little taste of France would never go amiss in the city of smog!

    1. I am a fairly recent subscriber and have been tempted before to comment. I especially have enjoyed learning about a previously unknown to me area of France. It feels like I know it through reading your posts. I love hearing about the dream life you have there with your darling family. My favorite post was the one when your daughter found the camera. You are very kind to share our life with your readers . You are a very good writer and photographer. Thank you so much.

      1. Hi Mary Ellen, I am so glad you are following and welcome to the blog, I hope you will find lots of posts that interest you over the coming months and please don’t be shy in commenting, it is really lovely to hear from you and to get to know everyone, this is what makes it all so worthwhile. Have a lovely weekend xx

    2. Good Morning, must make your doggie cookies.. I get your blog and follow you on insagram.. enjoy so much would love to be entered into your drawing..
      thank you and have a blessed week.
      hugs Rosemary

  1. I love your blog and your writing, looking forward to many more years. This is a beautiful pastel! How wonderful that you are giving someone the opportunity to win. I already subscribe and will share this post.

  2. I love your blog. When I need a moment of quiet beauty I go to your blog and revisit all your beautiful photos and long to be there. I hope maybe next year. lol

  3. I must say, I love the artwork. I read and enjoy the blog immensely. I probably will never be able to actually travel to France. The descriptive language and pictures have made me an armchair traveler though.

  4. What a beautiful painting! You are a wonderful writer and make me feel as if I am there with you. I have enjoyed following your dream.

  5. Thank you for your sharing your life and family(including the furry ones)adventures in France.
    We always enjoy visiting all the markets, dining where the locals go and of course, the distinct beauty and history of each region. We have always had a very soft spot for France and have never had anything but a positive experience, which keeps us coming back again and again.
    Your blog keeps us in the French frame of mind even when we are not able to be there in person.
    Looking forward to our next visit, this Christmas and New Years.

    1. Hi Susan, so glad that you always have such a great time when you visit France, where are you visiting at the end of the year? Wherever it is, hope you have a wonderful holiday xx

  6. Your blog is by far my favorite and your family and furry and feathered friends are a delight to follow, here’s to many more years of reading you.

  7. Good morning Susan, what a special gift. Since finding your blog I look forward to reading everyone, sometimes more than once, and envision being there with you and your family. You make every post so vivid and interesting. One of my greatest wishes is to come to France one day, But for now you are my arm chair traveler. I would be so honored and excited if I should win such a painting. Please keep the blog going and God Bless you and your family.

  8. What a talented artist your mother in law was, it’s a beautiful picture, the blue colour is glorious! Here’s to another year of your blog, & maybe 2017 will be the year you start your book!!

  9. Aren’t you lovely! I need no thanks for visiting your blog – it has been an absolute pleasure to find you – like rummaging through mounds of clothes at a friperie and finding a sparkling bangle beckoning at the bottom of the pile. I wear the bangle and look at it often and it always makes me smile. Your MiLs picture is beautiful – my first husband studied at the Slade and his parents lived in Provence, near Arles …. I’m not at all her pictures are converted. So happy 2nd Birthday and many Happy returns please because I would be rather bereft if you evaporated now! Xx

    1. You are far far too kind. What a small world, before the Slade she went to High school in Connecticut during the war. I believe it was here that she developed her love of art! Not my intention to evaporate, at least not yet!!! Xx

  10. I have been following you for what seems to be quite awhile but how did I miss that you have a gite? Could you tell me about it?

  11. Though I live on the other side of the BIG POND, and have been to France four times, I dream of actually LIVING in Charente. While I am “waiting” for my life to fall into place to that end; to satisfy my Love of France, I “live” in France, if only vicariously, by owning a store that specializes in a Country French style. Your blog is an inspiration to me while I “wait” and “dream” of the day when I can step outside my own door into the beautiful life that you write about . As a incentive to really pursue my dream, I would love to win this exceptional artwork to grace my home. To inspire others with my discovery of your French Oasis , I will share your beautiful blog on both my personal and business pages.

    1. Hi Susanna, keep dreaming your dream, the Charente is beautiful, when you come over I shall show you around. In the meantime thank you for sharing and thank you for following. It means so much to me. Xx

      1. I saw in another comment that your husband grew up in Greece. I spent 7 years of my life there, going to college in Athens and then staying after for a few years. . I love both Greece and France, though they are so different. The only problem is , though I studied French in grade-high school, the Greek is so ingrained in my adult life, that when I try to speak French again, my sentences are half and half. Oh how I wish I learned these languages as a child. As an adult , our brains tend to muddle it all together. 😦
        The perfect life for me would be, to live in France and then vacation in Greece !

        1. He did indeed, he left when he was six. He spoke Greek quite fluently as a child, but has forgotten most of it now. However, he speaks fluent Portuguese and is known to occasionally mix up Portuguese and French, much to the children’s delight, it never fails to cause much hilarity! It is indeed so much easier to learn any language as a child, I look at our children, how they have become totally fluent in two years, they speak without a hint of an accent, to everyone here who doesn’t know otherwise they are French, but to an Englishmen they speak English without an accent and are English – Lucky things! xx

  12. Presently recovering from a knee replacement so armchair travelling is it for now. Still, planning for next year will help get me through a Canadian winter – as would looking at your MIL’s beautiful artwork.

    1. Firstly I hope the knee replacement was a big success and I hope you are back up and walking again very soon. I am sure in the long run it will be fabulous. Stay warm in your cold Canadian winter, but what a beautiful country you live in. Have a wonderful end to the week xx

  13. Beautiful painting and your blog is a favorite of mine. Your writing takes us all along on your adventures. Thank You.

  14. What a lovely way to say thank you, please enter me in your draw for that wonderful picture of Provence. Not sure whether I saw that one when we visited last month, but I loved them all. I look forward to seeing all your posts on your blog, Facebook & can’t wait for the Living magazine to see what comes next for Christmas. Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

    1. Thanks so much Barbara, this one was tucked away in a folder, lots of unfinished works and unframed works, I’ll show you when you are here, she was so talented. Living Magazine article is very Christmassy so hope I don’t disappoint! Stay warm, it’s meant to get very cold next week, about 6 or 7 here is forecast but I see you might get snow! Time to move to the coast!!! Xx

  15. Of course I shared your wonderful giveaway on FB. Didn’t realize Roddy’s mom was an artist, so that’s another gift passed onto your girls (not sure if Jack has shown any interest yet). Tell Bentley Happy Birthday from all of us!
    As always, your stories and pictures always brighten my day. Love to you all.

    1. Hi Debra, Jack is actually a really good artist, they all are, although Gigi is more sporty than arty! And we all know they didn’t get a single artistic gene from me!! Thanks for reminding me I forgot it was Bentley’s birthday – OOOOPS! Big hugs and lots of love xxx

  16. A beautiful post as always, I love to read your blog, you take me back to France, I feel I eat and stroll the lanes and markets with you ! As you know my part of Spain are similar in many ways my french friend follows you also now (she is in Pons) so near by, so we both love and enjoy your blog. Have a lovely day

    1. Thanks so much, as you know I love Spain too, the little bit I know of it, it’s interesting that so many of the places are so similar. So glad you friends are enjoying the blog too, we have good friends who live just outside Pons, such a gorgeous little town. xx

        1. It is fantastic and has been fabulous for the whole of the autumn school holidays. We have rain forecast from tomorrow afternoon, our first really since June, which is almost unheard of, I am still having to water! However, I understand it is meant to get really cold next week for a few days, I doubt the cold will get as far south as Spain, lucky you! xx

  17. I love reading you wonderful posts. I look forward to seeing them in my mailbox. You are a very talented writer, and I have never been to France, but dream of going there. Your writing takes me there, which is the next best thing. I hope that you have a happy and blessed day!!!

  18. Hi, haven’t been following you for long, but await each appearance in my inbox with pleasurable expectation, Jacky

  19. I have just found your blog and am really enjoying it. I have never been to France so it is all very interesting to me. Beautiful painting!

  20. Truly enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing a little bit of France. I too am an artist, so the painting would be awesome. to win.

    1. Thank you Maude, I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. I have immense respect for artists as sadly I am terrible, the children though have all inherited their grandmother’s genes! xx

  21. I love your blog and since it looks like I will never have a chance to visit France, your blog gives me a chance to view some of the country. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so very much and good luck! I hope rekindling a life overseas is a good thing and not something you are going to hate me for! Keep dreaming and hopefully it will happen xx

  22. Thank you, Susan for sharing such a beautiful painting. I have so enjoyed your blog about your life in France. My first experience in reading your blog included your short story of Audrey. I was so impressed and thought “Why isn’t she writing books?” You are a talented writer and I so enjoy your shared experiences of life in France. Hopefully, someday I may be able to live out my dream to visit that beautiful country my ancestors came from. In the meantime I will hope to win this painting for our new retired home. Thank you once again.

    1. Thank you so much Julia, I am so happy you are enjoying the blog. I loved writing Audrey, I have started planning the sequel! I really enjoy writing fiction too! I hope one day you can visit, keep dreaming and it will happen, do you know where your ancestors are from in France? xx

  23. Like everyone else….would love to own one of your motherinlaw’s originals. I wonder which village this portrays….

    Ali x

  24. Susan
    We all ‘Thank You’ for sharing your family and adventures with all of us who love to read your blog. I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to visit France again but when I read your lovely blog I feel like I’m there with you and your family. I share your posts with my sister and I know how much she also enjoy the blog to.o We both feel like we are reading the adventures of a dear friend. Lovely really lovely Thank you!

    1. Hi Freda, thank you so much, I cannot tell you how much I love reading everyones comments and just knowing that what I am writing and what I am sharing is so appreciated. Armchair travel is fantastic, so enjoy it! If you ever do get the chance to visit France let me know, I would gladly show you around. xx

  25. Love your blog and follow you on instagram, love the painting, it’s so beautiful. At my age I’ll never get to France but I can dream about this lovely place.

  26. What a beautiful pastel and what a wonderful way to say’ thank you’ to your friends. I think those of us who read your blog will be reading as long as you are writing. It’s a wonderful way to start my morning and I look forward to each post Again, thank you

  27. You have a great blog! I enjoy reading about your adventures and the photos you include are spectacular. I would say you are an ambassador for your hometown. Also, love that you take the time to respond to your posts -that takes time and planning – thank you!

    1. Thank you Judy, I think we are very lucky to be able to live here and raise our family here so it is a pleasure to be able to share so much with everyone. I love chatting with you all and reading the comments and getting to know everyone. Yes, the replies take forever and I have certainly missed out on some sleep because of them but I wouldn’t change a thing!! xx

  28. I “found” your blog this year and I look forward to your every post. I want to move to France more with every one.
    thank you.

  29. t news about your most generous offer but missed the chickens/kids/walks/dogs stories and photos this week. I so look forward to the end of the week when the notification comes in with all my emails. Yours is always the first one I check out. I can’t get about any more so I ‘travel’ through you and my cousin from Canada who just told me recently she’s travelling to Paris in February with her daughter. More beautiful French Photos to come. Her last trip was through Provence and she LOVED it.

    1. Hi Joan, thank you so much, don’t worry, Sunday will be back to normal, lots of photos and a regular post, that’s a promise! I hope you cousin and her daughter have a wonderful trip to Paris in February, what lucky girls they are. xx

  30. I really enjoy each and every post you publish. Your family is just wonderful and since I have sons I especially follow your daughters with wonder. And as a dog lover Bentley and Evie just make me laugh when I see them. I only wish I were younger as I have always desired to live in France. I was fortunate enough to live in England for 3 years and hold that time as so precious to me. Your mother-in-law I now find was so talented as the rest of your family. What a lovely painting! Thank you for giving me many wonderful mornings as I read your entertaining posts.

    1. Thank you so much Margi, where did you live in England? Sons and Daughters are certainly different! I am so lucky to have at least one son amounts our brood of five, he’s a great balancing act and of course I am always able to say to him (being the only one) “you are my favourite son”!!! xx

  31. My dreams of France are lived out through your blog. The beauty of your area overwhelms me and I look forward to each post about the area and how your beautiful family makes the most of living there. I was at the Y after your post about the chestnuts and as I shared your pics, your story was the talk of the table! It would be exciting to have that “piece” of France hanging in my home❤️

    1. Thank you so much Carol, so happy to hear I was the talk of the table at the Y, Oscar Wilde said “there is only one thing worse than being talked about, not being talked about!” We are so lucky to be able to live here and raise our family here and that is why I love sharing it all so much. xx

  32. Bonjour!
    What a lovely piece of art. I have been trying to paint my original landscape of a French
    Countryside, but my attempts are lacking because I am not very good at oil painting. Alas, I try! I would definitely cherish this magnificent piece of art, if chosen. You are very generous to offer this give away! Merci Boucoup!
    My best to you & your family & all your beloved animals, Patty

    1. Hi Patty, thanks so much. I am quite sure your attempts at painting are a great deal better than mine, I often wish I could paint, but alas I am not at all artistic, I leave that to my children! Have a lovely end to the week xx

  33. Love this blog! You’ve opened up an area of France to me that I wasn’t especially aware of before. And a way of life that overflows with contentment. Lovely.

  34. My dreams of France are lived out through your blog. The beauty of your country overwhelms me and I look forward to each post about your area and how your beautiful family makes the most of living there. I was at the Y after your post about the chestnuts and as I shared your pics, your story was the talk of the table! It would be exciting to have that “piece of France” hanging in my home❤️

    1. Thanks. Roddy is not an artist as such no, but the children are, they have certainly inherited her genes, the four eldest are all passionate about art, our youngest is passionate about Tennis! xx

  35. Your blog is so refreshing. I have lovely memories of visiting France. While there I felt very much at home. My husband
    is English and I am America so we split our time between the two countries. So there are three countries I feel connected with.
    Please keep writing as you do. There is only so much decorating and reading about antiques being purchased that one can take. You, however, take us on trips, introduce your children, and give us a real in depth accounting of French living and culture.
    Please keep writing for a very long time.

    1. Thank you so much Phyllis, I think you have the best of both worlds, splitting your time between the UK and the USA, whereabouts in the UK? We are very lucky to be able to raise our children here, there is so much to living in France and I think that’s why I love sharing it, the more one gets involved, the more there is to appreciate. Have a lovely end to the week xx

      1. Our home in the UK is in The Walton on the Naze, Frinton, and Clacton area. I have been so blessed to have the opportunities I have received. So many will never get that privilege due to health, money or lack of interest until they learn more. I have enjoyed my travels while in The UK. I have been to France, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of White and many other wonderful places. My eyes have been opened. If only there was a limitless pot of money and free time we would be all over the map. Your blog keeps me refreshed on one of the places I relate to so much. Thanks always for sharing.

        1. Lucky you Phyllis, it is fabulous to be able to travel, not just to see different places but also to experience different cultures, I think it makes us appreciate things so much more. I grew up on the Isle of Wight and I love going back and taking the children ‘home’. xx

  36. I am so glad that I came across your blog last year and am Happy to share this. Following you transports me back to my favorite place on earth…France!

  37. I so ENJOY your blog. My family is from France but I have never had the chance to visit. I love all things French and this artwork is so lovely. Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us.

  38. I just found your blog and am hooked! I love anything about France – looking for my daily blog fix with you — Laura

  39. What a fabulous, fantastical picture. Goodness, what an offer! Here I am enjoying your lovely blogs and now you come up with this. Here’s to many more years of blogging and fun!

  40. It’s been a real joy to read your posts about living in France. I like connecting with someone who lives in another part of the world. It’s good for me to see what your life is like and how I can relate to it. Your late mother-in-law’s pastel artwork is absolutely beautiful! She was a very talented woman~

    1. Thanks so much Susan, I love reading about people living in other countries too, it’s always fascinating to me to hear how people cope and I love learning about new cultures. Have a lovely end to the week. xx

  41. Well Susan this is a lovely gesture to give something so personal away. You deserve all the success your blog has had because you have made such a huge effort to connect personally with your visitors and provided us with fantastic content. I always look forward to your posts love Amanda xxx

    1. Thanks so much Amanda, and to anyone reading this comment pop over to Amanda’s blog and follow her recipes, they have provided me with lots of fabulous inspiration. Fabulous weather we have had for the holidays, but it looks like it is going to get cold next week, I see flocons of snow are forecast inland! Stay warm!! xx

        1. The dogs always seem to get the best position, it’s funny in the evening to watch ours start right in front and slowly they move backwards until they are the furthest away! Hope you are having a lovely weekend too. Not cold here at all, yet! It’s been 13C all day today and sunny xx

  42. You are living my dream (in France)! I enjoy your blog and photos. What a beautiful pastel of a beautiful area!

  43. You are living my dream! Thank you so much for sharing your life; your wonderful blogs transport me to a place within myself that is so comfortable and content…I am furiously saving here in New Zealand to come visit and experience the joy myself xx

    1. Thanks so much Susan, I am not sure if you know but our youngest daughter was born in Auckland, our little Kiwi! We lived up in the Bay of Islands for a couple of years. Such a stunningly beautiful country, where are you? north or south Island? Keep saving and let me know when you visit. xx

  44. I so enjoying your sharing your heart, soul & family, I love how you are guiding your children to such a sustainable & respectful way of living in your beautiful country! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much Donna, I really feel we are so lucky to be able to raise the children here and we love that they are so interested in all that is around them. Have a lovely end to the week xx

  45. Wow! Are you sure you’re willing to part with such a lovely piece of work? I could spend lots and lots of time looking at it. I always enjoy your blog!

  46. Hi Susan – I love reading your blog – it is so beautifully written and photographed with such fun and often thought-provoking content. As I read this post, I was afraid that your ending your blog…so glad you’re not(!) And what a lovely gesture and gift of a painting that is near and dear to your heart.

  47. Hi Susan, it’s me Juli. Been looonnng time! Hello to you, your family and your lovely audience. What a wonderful give-away you are doing for your loving fans. Yes I will share yours at my blog – great idea.
    I haven’t been for sometime. I have been late with my move, will inbox you. I had a great read of your give-away painting of your mother-in-law. oh well I now have to go back and read all the posts I have missed. I cannot let them pass me by, been missing your kids, dogs and yourself too much. Sharing your page now at mine. Take care now. kisses to you and your fans.

    1. Hi Juli, It has been a long time, do send me an email, are you still moving back here? I do hope all is well, send me a note when you get some time and thank you so very much for sharing. xxx

  48. Reblogged this on My Country Epoque and commented:
    “Our French Oasis” – You may have missed this blog or have not seen it yet. Your chance has come to get to know them. I won’t tell you about them, I want you to get on their side of their blogging world and tell yourself about them. Plus here you go, they are having a “give away” of a dated painting! I will let you now read and learn what is happening at “Our French Oasis.” Thank you. Juli

  49. Hi Susan,
    I love your blog- one of my favorites and want you to adopt me!! Love to read about your adventures in France.

    1. Well I guess one more mouth to feed wouldn’t make much difference and the noise levels couldn’t get much higher!!! So glad you are enjoying the blog. Have a great end to the week xx

  50. Susan your blog takes me one step further from reading books about renovating old homes in France to actually reading about the adventures and misadventures of someone who has actually had the courage to do so. Unlike me! The painting is yet another reason why I love everything about rural France. Suzana from Australia

    1. Thanks Suzana, I read plenty of books about France before we moved here and I still love reading them! I love comparing people’s experiences. Rural French life is really what one makes of it, personally I love it, but I do also like being close to a good sized town too, the best of both worlds! xx

  51. Susan – Your blog is a great reflection of your time in France. The insights, photos and general descriptions really put us in your village and the many locations you’ve shared. Your photos have given me inspiration and your family is so cute – especially the pups! The give-away art is wonderful. I love blue and that background is so reminiscent of the French blue skies I’d love to visit again. It would be lovely on my wall. 😉
    Thanks for your work on Our French Oasis and sharing your lifestyle and art!

  52. My dream is to live in a hobbit house in France, and the painting looks exactly what I dream of. Each house a little wobbly with lots of nooks and crannies. Dream on🎆

  53. I haven’t been here long, but I always enjoy seeing a new post from you. I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey as well. I’m already subscribed (just on the off chance that I win.)


    1. Good question, but yes, we are quite sure. We are very fortunate to have quite a large portfolio of her art; her earliest paintings are all from Greece and Cyprus, these then move on to the former Yugoslavia, then Provence and France, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland and the Channel Islands. But I have to admit it did bring tears to our eyes opening up the large leather art folders and going through them. xx

  54. I love your blog and this is probably the closest I will get to France. I am an artist wannabe and would love the chance to win an original piece of this quality.

    1. Thanks so much Jeanne, keep practising your art, I am sadly not an artist, I would love nothing more than to be able to paint so much that I see around me but I am quite terrible! So I leave it to my children who have inherited their grandmothers artistic genes! xx

  55. Your blog is a delight to read. Such a lovely glimpse of life in France! Thank you SO much for this lovely giveaway opportunity!!

  56. During the brief time you have brought a smile on my face every time I find one of your posts in my mailbox I am the one who has felt blessed both about learning such a vast amount about contemporary rural France and meeting so many interesting people worldwide and, naturally, meeting you!. Now we have to say ‘thank you’ in more ways for your very generous offer of one of your mother-in-law’s idyllic paintings . . . I have always been an ardent art lover and gallery visitor tho’ my small collection is of modern Australian and aboriginal pieces with a few canvases from my homeland of Estonia. I have been able to visit France a number of times [tho’ unfortunately not the western regions] and have always loved Provence . . . the province of gentle soul . . . what a beautiful representation . . .

    1. Hmmm: en passant clicked on your post again and now wonder whether I have gone somewhat peculiar: does this painting tell two stories? ‘Cause suddenly it seemed that two of the houses R bottom ‘were ‘talking’ to one another and now I seem to see faces everywhere: houses, towers, in-between-and-betwixt areas . . . . is there a wonderful ‘joke ‘going on here 🙂 ?

      1. Ok, so now I am going to look a great deal more closely, I don’t think there is anything else going on, but we can all interpret different things in art, which is why I love it so much. xx

  57. Your blog is already such a huge gift , and I am always so delighted when I see there’s a new post up!
    How lovely this artwork is and how wonderful of you to be sharing it!
    I also feel so completely relaxed, refreshed, and in a great state of mind after reading your blog. It’s so well written and so full of beauty, charm, humor, family ( furry and not) food, culture, adventures…….and takes us all along with …….
    Many thanks!

    1. Thank you so much, I think you know by now that I simply love sharing stories about our life here, I feel very lucky to be able to give the children this opportunity and we are making the most of it! xx

  58. It is so amazing that you’re living my dream. I LOVE every picture and all your stories. It’s wonderful that you’re able to share it with your family. My children are grown but it’s something I wish I’d been able to do when they were young. You’re so lucky to be able to create these precious memories with them. They will never forget these experiences. Thank you for sharing them with us, too! You really brighten all of our days!

    1. Thank you Robin, building memories with our family is fantastic, one day, if nothing else, I hope they will be able to look back at the blog and enjoy so much that we have done here together! xx

  59. I’ve only been following your blog for a few months but have been delighted with each post. You have a real knack for enveloping me in the everyday nuances of life in France . Thank you and your late mother-in-law’s art is lovely.

  60. Thank you for sharing so many of your personal moments with all of us. You have been so generous to share your family,your home,your mealtimes, your gardens your adventures and explorations. Continue to love and grow in your adopted homeland. Merci!

  61. Hi Susan I love your blog and look forward to it each day, I doubt I will win this although I would love to! But of course we all have to give it a go!!! Keep blogging it’s fabulous, Avril in Australia.

  62. What a wonderful picture, Susan. We tried last year to win, so of course we will try again this year. But to be honest, I don’t care – the missus and I have as much fun reading your blog as we do going to France ourselves! Must do more before the Brexiteers have their way and we need a visa to go there. Thank you for your kind gesture…….

    1. Thank you so much Phil, I am so happy that you both love reading the blog, at least you are only a quick hop across the Channel to get your French fix. Have a great weekend, hear it’s going to get super cold in the UK, stay warm! xx

    1. No for me it clicks straight through to your website, I just tested it. Sorry not to have come back to you sooner, Friday afternoons/evenings are manic with after school things and then we were out to dinner with friends. Xx

  63. What a lovely idea, Susan, to give back to your readers and followers … and a giveaway that is so personal as well. It will be a very lucky winner 🙂

    Best wishes on the next year of your blog. I love your photos and your stories. If I can’t live in France, I might as well live vicariously through a friend who is 🙂

  64. What an inspiring painting! Have loved getting to know you and France through your delightful writing. You will be published (beyond the blog!) someday as your gift with words is genuine. I fell in love with France in the fall of 1994 when I made it there from Austria where I was studying abroad. My time was short as we had only a three day weekend which included travel, and we were penniless. Upon arriving, we noticed we had lost all our reservation info and money, and we were stranded late at night in a country which none of the four of us 19 year old American girls spoke the language. One girl in our group, had a high school friend who had nannied in France a few summers before so a few phone calls later and a few hours later we were picked up in the wee hours of the morning by a man we had never met. He took us to his guest house which had bottled drinks and croissants galore. Perfect hospitality beyond what we dingalings ever even deserved. I have been fond of France and the French ever since and am inspired by the thoughtfulness and generosity we were shown. My daughter is in love with France and hopes to live there after college. I would hang this painting above her bed to inspire her dreams if I were to win this gorgeous gift. Regardless, LOVE your posts!

    1. Thanks so much Christina, what a fantastic story, which part of France was this in, I am guessing somewhere on the eastern border. Have you ever been back to the guest house or did you keep in touch with them? What incredible generosity, but it just shows there are so many good people in the world. What did you study in Austria? Hope your daughter does come to live in France after college, if she needs some help let me know. Xx

      1. Paris. And that was all of France we saw in that short weekend. No, we could not keep in touch with them. When we woke, those generous strangers left us a note to use anything we needed and stay as long as we needed but they had left town for a week. We left thank you notes and drawings and said some prayers for them b/c really, we had not a penny and we were so overwhelmed with gratitude. They just sort of have remained ‘angels’ to some lost American girls. Austria: We lived in Gaming in a 14th century Carthusian monastary in the foothills of the Alps. For me, the added price of the Eurail pass and the extra $400 (roughly) in flight costs (I was from WA state but went to college in Ohio), and a little spending money, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

        Interestingly, my parents and older brother had to force me to go b/c I was such a ‘homebody’ and was scared to be too far away as my mother was battling a rare-incurable cancer. They bought my ticket and gave me no choice and promised me I could be home in 24 hours if she needed me to be. I am so grateful…so eternally grateful b/c it was there that I met my husband, it was there that I fell in love with the world and not only my little corner in it, it was there that I fell in love with my faith, and it was there that I fell in love with humanity. But more than anything, I learned that I could go…that I could be on my own and away from my family, that I could survive and thrive and that I would be okay when my mother did pass (14 years ago now). For that “freedom” and courage, I am eternally grateful to my mother.

        1. Wow, she sounds like an incredible lady, how fabulous that she pushed you away when she needed you the most, she knew what was best for you. It sounds as if it really was the trip of a lifetime in more ways than one, and a reminder to us all that a simple act of kindness really can change people’s lives. Franciscan sounds like such an incredible opportunity, thanks for including the link. This is such a fabulous story, thank you so much again for sharing it with me. Have a lovely weekend xx

  65. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us and being so generous to offer something so beautiful. I have traveled in France with my daughter and her family three different times. Each time was a delightfull experience. Would like to be there right now. Thanks again

    1. Thanks so much Kate, so glad you have got to travel through France with you daughter and her family, it is such a varied country with so much history and so much to see, there really is something for everyone. Xx

  66. What a beautiful pastel! Anyone would be fortunate to win. Your blog is like a tonic to help relieve a stress filled life. I love reading about the slower pace of life in your little village. I hope one day to be able to visit that region & experience some of the things that I treasure in your posts. Have a lovely weekend!

  67. Love, love, love hearing about your adventures and living vicariously through your lens! Thank you for such a generous giveaway!

  68. Oh wow… I’m just happy to see that piece of art on your blog much less be able to own it! !!
    I’ve been honored to follow u thru mail for a while and love waking up in the morning with u in my inbox!! Puts smiles on my face each time!!!

  69. What a generous gift Susan. Your blog delights and entertains. I am sure your popularity is due to your genuine and heartfelt posts. Your write so beautifully, and always bring a smile to my face with your reminiscing. Thank you for your generosity in being so prepared to share your life.

    1. Thank you so much Gabrielle, such lovely kind words, they mean so much to me. I truly do only write about what I believe in so I guess that makes it somewhat easier. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  70. Your blog has truly become a favorite place to escape for a little while, to feel as if I am there with you all..and the dogs, lol, love their adventures as well. Visiting the scenic places you’ve taken us, and reading your wonderful stories have all been a pleasure. Thank you for a chance to enjoy such a beautiful painting. It is also fun to read your comments as I visit other blogs you enjoy. It IS a small world.

    1. Thanks so much Karen, blogging is such a small world, I love reading other people’s, there are so many fabulous talented people and some of the photos I see are so inspiring. We are all so lucky. Hope you are having a great weekend xx

  71. I’m relatively new to your blog, but I’m so glad I found it. I have subscribed to it via Feedly. As a French teacher and Francophile, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to enter the draw for your mother-in-law’s wonderful painting. Have a great weekend.

    1. So happy you have found the blog and are following along Lorrie. I find blogging to be such an inspiring world and I am sure you do too. Hopefully one day you will visit this area. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  72. Congratulations on your blogging success! It’s so wonderful seeing your beautiful photography and hearing about your wonderful life – you’re a wonderful amabassador for France!xx

    1. Thanks so very much Andrea, A British French Ambassador!! Xx Hope it doesn’t get too cold with you at the beginning of the week, looks like quite an icy chill heading down from the north! Xx

  73. In addition to your wonderful posts, is knowing that you really do read each and every comment and you respond. It is truly a conversation. Congrats on finding what you love to do and giving your readers joy at the same time.

    1. Thanks so much, it does take a long time to read and reply, to make matters worse I have never been a fast reader, oh how I wish I was, Millie, Izzi and Roddy read at an enormous pace but I am slow! However, I love getting to know everyone and hearing what people have to say, it’s fascinating and yes I am loving it! Xx

  74. A favor of you plz?? Any way you could post a map of exactly where you live in France? I get confused with all the different regions you speak about. Would love to see on actual map just where ur city is!! Tks and happy saturday!

    1. Hi Janey, I was going to do a post in a couple of weeks time about one of our nearby towns, so thank you, I wouldn’t have thought of including a map, but it makes sense and I certainly shall, end of November, beginning of December, keep any eye out, great idea. Xx

  75. What a beautiful painting, magical and mysterious. It would certainly have a place of honor chez moi.
    I’m already subscribed, I think, but will check to be sure.

  76. Hello Susan,
    I was introduced to your blog last year when your lovely home was featured on Southern Hospitality’s blog. I just love the way you write about family life and living in France. So far, I’ve only been there once and that was such a special trip, as I was part of a choral group that performed at La Madeleine in Paris and also in Normandy. So many great memories. I hope to return someday and see more of France but in the meantime, reading your blog helps take me back to a place I want to know more about! I especially enjoy reading your posts (with a cup of tea) when trying to relax! My family has had to deal with some health issues lately and although things are improving, have certainly been stressful. I love to unwind with a good book or a great blog! The painting is truly beautiful, probably more so in person! Like many others, I would treasure it.

    1. Hi Debbie, it sounds as if your trip was fabulous, will they organise another trip do you think and are you still singing? I am so sorry about your family health issues I sincerely hope everyone is on the mend, sending big hugs and kisses from France for a happy and peaceful Sunday xx

  77. I love your blog! Last week I met a very gifted fabric designer from St. Rochelle, so now I know I have to visit your area!

  78. I love your blog! I have such a yearning to visit your part of France, its on my wish list. We’ve been to Paris, staying in Versailles both times. We loved it.
    And thank you for the chance to win this beautiful piece of art, Jane x

    1. Thanks so much Jane and good luck. Do come further afield next time you visit France, there are so many fabulous and varied places to visit, each with their own unique flavour. Xx

  79. I truly LOVE your blog! It is wonderful to read about your family and about your lifestyle, so different from ours here in Miami, Florida.
    My family and I are all lovers of France and we have been able to visit on quite a number of occasions. Our most recent trip to Paris and Provence even included my 18-month old grandson.
    Thank you for this outstanding giveaway. I subscribe to your blog and look forward to each of your posts.

    1. Thank you so much Ana Maria, I know Miami quite well, actually quite enjoy it there, so vibrant, but I hate driving in Miami! I can see why you would love the contrast of Paris and France, at least you have had the chance to visit and I hope you do so again. Have a lovely Sunday xx

  80. Thank you for your blog. I somehow feel we are connected. I don’t know why, I speak of you like you are my friend. It must be your superb writing. We have taken trips together, gotten to know your wonderful family, your home and garden, even shared recipes. I so look forward to each new addition. Sending my love from across the pond (Canada), Kathy

    1. Thank you so much Kathy, this is why I find blogging so much fun, it really is like we are all virtual friends and isn’t that just how it should be. There is so much hatred in this world that it is nice to find so much friendship too. Hope you are having a lovely weekend in Canada, which part? I have lots of distant family relations in British Columbia. Xx

  81. A busy week means I’m late reading your blog again! But it’s always with happy anticipation that I open the latest blog and read your story. Your life in words which make pictures and the pictures themselves are a joy. It never ceases to amaze me that you reply to your readers’ comments, it must take such a lot of time, but I can assure you it is truly appreciated. Thank YOU Susan and wishing you many more years of happy blogging! PS. Boo has come out of broodiness and has laid an egg again today!!! Great happiness for my husband when he discovered it!!

    1. Never late and anyway no ones counting so it doesn’t matter at all! Replying does take a lot of time. I always have to juggle whether to do it all in one hit after the children have gone to bed in which case I sit up until 1am or do I do it as they come in but then nothing else gets done, yes it takes hours, but yes it is so very worth it, because I love reading what everyone is doing, and really if you all comment then surely you all want to have a reply! So happy Boo is back to laying again, I told you she would stop being broody and things would return to normal again! Ours are laying only slowly at the moment, time of year as it’s turned so much colder. Xx

  82. I hope it will be a case of ‘better late than never” with my entry. I love reading your perspective on French life – I’m full of admiration for your courage and a touch envious of your lifestyle!

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth, it is a lovely lifestyle, of course nothing is perfect but we are very fortunate to be able to raise our family here. Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  83. What a beautiful painting! You’re mother-in-law was certainly very talented. I’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy your blog since I found it about 6 months or so ago. I get to experience a little bit life in France which I love. Keep up the good work.
    Sue in Florida

  84. Greeting from Arkansas (USA). I recently discovered your blog and I enjoy reading about your everyday life adventures. The artwork is very nice.

  85. I am fairly new to your blog, and can’t say enough good things about it…your children, your home, and the “fur children” are an absolute delight to read about. Your part of the world is truly breathtaking and one day I would hope to have a stay at your gite! I so love walking down those roadways that you are brilliant at photographing. Many thanks for allowing me a peak!

    1. Thank you so much Liane, so glad you are enjoying it. When you plan your trip let me know, it is certainly great fun to be able to wander around with the camera (and a dog and child or too) and click away, so much to photograph, so much history! Have a great week. xx

  86. Susan, I so love your blog and the one thing I really, really envy you for is that you’re so close to the sea – this is what I miss most here, in Ile de France…..
    I love your spirit, I love your kids and pets, I love your photography your writing, your everything and mostly I think I love your kindness. I don’t know anybody else who is replying to every single post of its ‘abonnés’…. and this shows a hugely big and kind heart…..
    Anyway, I didn’t reply before because I think there are far more deserving peeps for your kind giveaway – but it was a good occasion to let you know how I feel about you.
    Was thinking of you when we stayed one night in Orléans and got a fresh green fig for breakfast (among many other extraordinary treats! Like the absolutely best(est!!!) ever croissant of my long life)….. Nothing tastes better than some TLC for which I don’t have to slave myself!!!!

    1. Thanks so much, I must admit when we bought one of our main criteria was to be within 20 minutes of the coast, we all love to walk along the beach, as much in winter as the summer, there is something terribly relaxing and calming about listening to the waves and the sea. I really appreciate your lovely comment, thank you so so much. Xx

  87. Susan, have just today discovered your blog through a magazine article. We live in Jersey, and travel to France often. The island has many connections to France, so it always feels like home to me. Did your Mother in law live in our corner of the Channel Islands?
    I’m looking forward to following your life, especially how the apero’s in the village go! Could be a tradition to start here…

    1. So happy you found the blog, can I ask which magazine? I know Jersey well, two of our daughters were born in Guernsey. My mother in law lived on Alderney and we still have family and many friends in the Islands. Where do you normally go in France? or do you travel all over? I love the idea of aperos at Christmas, in fact we were discussing it at supper this evening. I think it is a great idea, a way to bring villagers together as I am sure many people don’t know one another and I think anything that promotes a festive spirit is to be welcomed, I will certainly let you know all about it! Hope you didn’t get too battered by the gales yesterday, it was pretty windy here today. Great to ‘meet’ you. Susan xx

      1. It was in the Good Life France online magazine.
        We have a small boat during the summer months in the northeast corner of the island, so we go to Carteret for weekends, but try to take another couple of trips over with the car and our two dogs. We love to explore France on foot, the countryside is usually so accessible. We like to explore different parts each time, and this year went to Burgundy for the first time. We like to stay in gites, with maybe a b&b thrown in on our way there and back!
        Had a bit of damage in the garden with fences blown over, and we are expecting 70mph winds again tonight!
        So I’m off to batten down the hatches now…….
        Julie. X

        1. Hope the wind has abated, it certainly has here, totally calm and still this morning! We used to go from Alderney to Dielette in our boat and sometimes round to Cherbourg. We actually looked seriously at buying in Normandy, for proximity to the islands but in the end the weather was the deciding factor in our move much further south, not so much for the winter’s but so that we were at least almost guaranteed a good summer! Next time you are over if you find your way down the west coast come and see us. xx

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