Inside A French Country Cottage

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I think we probably all have general ideas of what the interior of any dwelling will look like based on the exterior. We imagine inside a chateau to be one thing and inside a country cottage to be another. But things aren’t always quite so black and white and a few surprises are a treat.  Today I want to take you inside what would appear to be a classic low slung French cottage. I can imagine you’re already thinking, greys and neutrals and very little colour, right? Well come and have a look around with me, you might be in for a bit of a surprise! Read more

Summers In France

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Summer this close to the coast is a time to chase the shade. The gentle warmth of May and June has transcended into a season of heat, when days are warm at each end but a glare to bare eyes at midday, burning unwary shoulders. Time passes slowly as insects drone among thirsty plants, and any traces of life are a shuffle of noise behind shutters ajar to block the sun. Lunches last a long time… Read more

Five Go To The Market

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Sundays are slow here. In a super fast paced world, being able to walk to our Sunday morning village market is a real treat. And when our teenage children also appreciate how special this is I just know something is right. Read more

The Brunch Bunch

img_2416Brunch is just as popular in France as it is throughout the rest of the world. For me it is one of those fabulous meals associated with the weekend and free time. A simple mention of the word and I am dreaming of hot languid summer days and holidays. Staycations work just fine right now! It’s a meal that evokes contentment and friends and family. Brunch for me is always informal and relaxed. It is also always in my mind very much a warm weather affair on the terrace under the shade of the linden trees. A time when the internet and phones are forgotten. It’s a time of simplicity in pretty surroundings. Read more

Turning the Dream into Reality – Paul & Louise

IMG_0218_1593274002426Today I am really happy to be starting a new series here on the blog, introducing you to people from around the world who have made France their permanent home. I’ll be talking to individuals, couples and families. People from all walks of life, people who have come here to retire and those who need to still earn a living. Having started our property search service I have come to realise that people love hearing how others have coped with life in a foreign country.
So this is going to be ongoing for a long time. When people move here they frequently don’t speak French, they often have no idea quite how things will work out or what the future holds for them but they all have one thing in common: A passion for France and a determination to make it work.

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French Village Life

IMG_0931The village has a new bakery. Well, almost. We heard the news back in February, when it was scheduled to open three months later. But Coronavirus put a stop to that, and it’s only in the past month that we’ve seen the trucks of the maçons outside the property again, and the local carpenters working hard, giving the old building a facelift. Like so many in the village, I’m excited that we will be able to walk and buy fresh croissants and a baguette just down the road again. It’s been closed for two years and its reopening is scheduled to be quite a celebration!IMG_0920

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Our French Lifestyle

What is it that gives a home character? What makes it a place where we feel at ease and want to linger, a space that defines the character of the people who live there?

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When I think back to my childhood on a farm in England, I can close my eyes and remember certain things; the ticking of the grandfather clock, a vase of fresh flowers, well-worn rugs on the stone floor, solid furniture and unique ornaments. Woodsmoke in winter and open windows in summer, the scent of the countryside, good and bad. An orphaned lamb in a box by the Aga in the spring, and milk straight from our ‘house cow’ being poured from the heavy metal pail through a muslin cloth into a jug, ready to go into the kitchen. It wasn’t perfect, nor staged in any way, it was just an old farmhouse, that was an integral part of our farm life. Read more

The Return of The Great Picnic

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With social gathering restrictions in place around the world, there has never been a better time to have a picnic. But forget the days of old with a packet of chips and soggy sandwiches wrapped in plastic. Picnics have grown up and we should put as much thought and effort into them as we do when entertaining around the dining table. I think this might be the new norm for meals with friends this summer. Read more

Guest Post: A New Found Love of Gardening During Lockdown

image0Many of you either know or will remember reading posts from our second daughter Millie in the past. During lockdown she’s kept herself really busy and I am proud of how she has spent so many hours with no work and no friends to visit. Not for her the binge watching of Netflix, instead she went back to basics and started gardening. I asked her to write this guest post as I find it fascinating hearing about how she started everything on her own. She has just turned 20 and is taking a couple of years out from Uni, to really discover what she wants to do. I admire her for that. At the beginning of the year she was in Vietnam, a huge adventure, this trip was cut short by corona virus fears. At the beginning of march she went back to the little Island of Alderney, very much my husband’s home. Within days of her returning everything changed, everything shut down. This is her lockdown story. Read more

The Ins and Outs of Deconfinement

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It’s a bit of a tricky one this deconfinement. In fact in many ways I think I am finding it harder to navigate than when we were in ‘lockdown’. So much is now left to personal choice and the actions of other people, parameters which we cannot to a large extent control. We are no longer in control. France it seems is divided in two – on one side we have those who have little intention of changing anything, who are staying put (we’re in this camp) and I call us the ‘ins’ and on the other we have those who now believe we are free and back to normal; I call these the ‘outs’. For them, life is once again awash with parties (maximum ten people, though), socialising, shopping, and visiting friends.  Read more