A Final Word Before Christmas

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One or two more sleeps? Well that depends, if you are French, then it is one as the festivities commence the evening of the 24th when the big meal with family is traditionally enjoyed and gifts are shared and opened into the early hours of the morning. However, we still follow our British tradition of celebrating on the 25th and  with much mounting excitement our children are counting down the hours. Read more

Getting Festive in France

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The countdown to Christmas has seriously begun, every year it seems to come round quicker and quicker and now here we are with just over a week until the big day. Time to get decorating. I know for many of you this is late, but I guess it is a family tradition, when I was growing up the tree never went up until the 23rd, I’ve brought it forward somewhat. It’s a date that is looked forward to with great anticipation, it’s very much a family affair that takes all weekend and more! Read more

♪ ♫ It’s the Most Wonderful Pie of the Year ♪ ♫

P7830732Seriously, isn’t it really the most wonderful time of the year? We are starting to play plenty of festive songs, music is really the very best way to get one into the spirit of things, I mean when you listen to the words of Andy Williams’ song, can you not just hear yourself telling stories of Christmases past? Even in this hideously mixed up world, spending time with family and friends is where we can all find little peace I hope. France is seriously troubled at the moment as many of you will have seen or read, the riots continue in Paris, Brexit rages in the UK, but whilst we cannot ignore what is happening let’s not get into politics right now, let’s focus instead on good food and good cheer. Read more

The Festive Season has Started

IMG_4928Even in semi rural France, the Christmas season is underway and now we’re into December I can feel myself getting into the festive spirit. Recently the weather’s been mild and really rather lovely; every spare minute I have I’ve hurried into the garden and I’m feeling slightly smug and proud of myself –  you see I’m ahead of the game for once, a true rarity! The potager is dug over, waiting for our occasional and infrequent winter frosts to break down the soil over the coming months, the vines have been cut and I’ve bored every family member who will listen to me with news of how prepared our garden is for winter! Read more

It’s the Little Things That Count

 

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Some people call this part of the year the ‘silly season’, and I am sure I am not the only one amongst us who is guilty of thinking that they can be Superwoman (or Superman!) and do absolutely everything. I know I’ve burnt the candle at both ends many a night, running around making sure that everything is perfect. But the truth is, sometimes everything can still be a little fraught…. Read more

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