Last week, amidst the current upheaval of countries and people, and sandwiched in between the world’s political circus, melting icebergs and the demands of my media-savvy clutch of children, I paused for thought. In my somewhat chaotic lifestyle two things happened to make me stop and wonder at the meaning of friendship. First, as can often happen, two people we had not seen for nearly a year came to dinner with their infectious smiles – it was as if we had seen each other every week and as is the way with best friends, the intervening months melted away within moments. Read more

What is the Fascination with France ?

IMG_9873I’m starting to think about visitors and spring and holidaymakers and travel, everywhere we go there are little signs that the tourist season will soon be well underway and I have this nagging question that I cannot ignore but I cannot answer it alone and so I thought who better to ask than all of you. Read more

Winter Greens, Snow and Blue Eggs

P7340830The weather gods have thrown everything at us this winter and this week we had the tiniest sprinkling of snow. On Tuesday morning the garden and the rooftops looked as if someone had dusted them with icing sugar, and just for an hour everywhere appeared to be picture-postcard perfect. Unlike much of France which is blanketed in snow our little flurry of charm didn’t last long and has become but a fleeting memory captured on camera. In the meantime the cold has continued, our lemon trees are wrapped in thermal blankets, and the fire is burning constantly. Read more

Seasoning Vintage Furniture

P7340782I have a little obsession at the moment that involves wood, velvet, deep dark gunmetal grey and a very specific shade of pink and it all started with a thrift shop and a piece of secondhand furniture. Read more

In Need of Some Winter Cheer ?

P7340238Before we go any further today, I made you a cup of coffee. I am not sure how you like yours, so I just made two the same. I have to admit, no matter how hard I try and no matter how many years I have lived in France I simply cannot give up my milky  cappuccino style coffee. I don’t usually go the whole way and sprinkle cocoa powder on the top, but I thought as you were joining me we would push the boat out and do it properly! Read more

How 2018 is Shaping Up


As the New Year gets underway, motivation tends to be strong, and our goals are often set to the highest levels. Hand in hand with this time of year are New Year resolutions, whether they’re meaningful and well thought out, or overly ambitious ideas dreamt up whilst enjoying the fizz of champagne bubbles. Perhaps you don’t make any resolutions at all but simply embrace la nouvelle année with positive thoughts and a renewed energy?

Whatever your plans for this year, I thought I’d take a look at the things that are often at the top of everyone’s list, and then, somewhat lightheartedly, ponder on the year ahead. 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