A Simple Act of Kindness

P7330361Yesterday was the first day since we moved to the Charente Maritime that temperatures failed to get above 0 celsius all day. The bitterly cold weather was accompanied by freezing fog which –  like the mercury – failed to rise; it silently swirled around us all day long and anyone we saw on the street outside the boulangerie was hurrying along without a sign of dawdling. Bisous on either cheek to say ‘Hello’ and that was it –  definitely not a day for outdoor leisurely conversation.  Read more

Let the Countdown to Christmas Begin (let’s get cooking)

P6800307As much as I love Christmas and believe me I really do love it, I think I love it every bit as much now as a grown-up as I did as a child – but probably in a different way. I know that the shops are a necessity, but they are not where I want to spend my December days; instead I want our Christmas celebrations to be more about the joy of the season and less about the shopping. I want to spend any spare time making foods with those distinctive seasonal spicy aromas; I want to take walks in crisp winter air and decorate the house bit by bit, together as a family, taking our time; this is my remedy to the modern seasonal madness. Read more

Sunday

IMG_5302There’s a time and a place for everything and right now it feels so right just to be out in the open, in the country, enjoying nothing but good clean fresh air and good clean fun. Where little changes except for the seasons and there are no decorations except for natures own way of trimming the trees and embellishing the landscape. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

P6800521I remember once receiving a phone call one late November evening from a friend in America. Izzi was a baby, so it must have been 21 years ago; the friend said it was a tradition, and he always phoned a few friends he particularly wanted to remember each Thanksgiving. We chatted for a while and the conversation drifted onto normal things, the weather, this and that, but the memory of what was essentially a special telephone-call has never left me. Read more

The World Remembers; Never Forget

November 11th…

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You may well have heard of the shortage of butter in France; supermarket shelves are virtually empty and ranks of margarine and other assorted spreading agents have taken their place. Various reasons have led to this set of culinary circumstances but the situation has really made me stop and think about those times of austerity.

We take for granted that our grocery stores will be stocked with provisions, and during a family conversation at supper, I asked the children, “Can you imagine only having half a packet of butter for the week? You take it for granted that when one is finished we take another out of the fridge and we’re not happy if there isn’t a spare to hand.”

I paused to emphasise my next words. “Imagine not having a choice at all” and their eyes bulged at the thought of not having butter, of not having a stocked fridge and being able to eat when they wanted.

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Slow Living French Style

P6790812I’m feeling the pressure of life a little at the moment. Many of us, whether we have high powered careers or are stay-at-home mothers, may feel our lives have become overly frenetic, and I know many of us find ourselves chasing our tails in an attempt to keep up.  Making sure the wheels carry on turning in this merry-go-round of the 21st Century can be difficult, especially when the urge for instant gratification is all the rage. Read more