Where Opposites Attract

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They are a world apart, complete opposites, like chalk and cheese and yet they go together so well, existing side by side in perfect harmony. Where one might add a little glamour, put on her sparkling jewels, high heels and strike a pose, the other will stick to her tweeds, her sensible shoes, twinsets and pearls. Yet they are still the best of friends and neighbours, living contentedly side by side as the days turn into nights, the weeks into months and the years into millenia.  Read more

Brocantes, Treasure Hunting and Your Advice Please.

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Rummaging through someone else’s possessions or scouring makeshift tables for illusive treasure may seem like an odd way to spend a perfect hour, but I’m a bit of an addict. Sometimes I’m on the lookout for something specific, and sometimes I’m merely browsing, looking for items which I can repurpose; searching for relics of the past, for vintage bric-a-brac or genuine antiques. More often than not, I walk away without buying anything. But no matter what reason one has for browsing Brocantes I always feel a tiny frisson of anticipation as we arrive at our destination and see a bubbling crowd thronging around the stalls. Read more

Finding Time for Oneself

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One of the many things we love about France is the slightly slower pace of life. However, at the same time our life seems more hectic than ever; it’s a total contradiction I know, but true. We have never been busier, but we also find more time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life! Read more

The Summer Kitchen Revisited

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This time last year I chatted about our summer kitchen and I asked your advice about what to do with the ugly, falling down, insulated ceiling. You can read the post here if you missed it. You may also remember I promised you an update in a couple of months time.

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Brocante and Chocolate

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These last few days everything has felt slightly different as the sun streams in through the windows, and although the mercury is definitely nudging upwards a little there’s a cold easterly wind which is banishing all thoughts of bare arms and legs. Along with the week’s slow change in temperature, there’s also a subtle change in the light and despite the lingering smell of winter woodsmoke in the air there’s now a welcome new scent, that of freshly mown grass. Read more

Finding brocante in the attic and an ivy update

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Oh my goodness we’ve packed a lot in so far this weekend. It began with one of those early Saturday mornings when you wake up with the sun streaming in through the bedroom windows, and even though you’d dearly love a lie-in, you just know that you have to get up; it would be a criminal offence to waste such a beautiful start to the day. And as the forecast yesterday had promised much warmer weather and plenty of sunshine, there was much to do and no time to waste after months of winter and weak sun. Suddenly everything felt so different! Read more

CREATING THE PERFECT PLACE TO STAY

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Having started my series of articles about renovation with a 12th century château renovated by a truly dedicated Frenchman, I thought it would be fun to go to the other end of the spectrum for my second article and meet an ‘expat’ family who have completely transformed two barns into a pair of fabulously comfortable gîtes. These jewels are nestled in the tiny hamlet of Vergné in the north of the department of the Charente Maritime and an hour east of La Rochelle, they stand alongside a lovely farmhouse which is home to Simon and Sue Paine and their two teenage children. Read more