FIRST OF ALL A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF MY AMERICAN READERS AND FRIENDS – keep reading because as a huge Thank You I am giving away both of these signed original paintings


What a journey; I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that a year ago when I started writing this blog that it would still be going from strength to strength today. It all began as a way of staying in touch with friends; showing a few photos and telling them about our life in France and now I can still remember how nervous I was when I hit the ‘publish’ button for the very first time, my finger hovering over the keyboard; did I dare do it? Then, within a couple of months, I had one or two complete strangers following along, for I realised I had never made the blog private! I also just never imagined it would go SO public either!

Yet here we are, one year later with 63 blog posts, thousands of photos and over one hundred thousand views (I still am in shock over that number) down the line and I’m loving it! So many of you have become virtual friends; I look forward to your comments and I so enjoy chatting with you. I love sharing our life here in France, the antics of Bentley, Evie, and the chickens. The ducks are quite another story, but I’ll share that one with you in the New Year.

So now it’s time for me to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone around the globe; thank you for taking the time to read my posts, and thank you for taking the time to comment, like and share our experiences and stories. This blog is far more about you and my family than me. I have the easy part, I just write the stories and take some photos, but you all listen, and my darling children have got so used to me stopping and taking photos, one after another. When we go somewhere, anywhere, they used to ask WHY; now they just assume “this is for the blog!”. Of course Roddy also takes photos with me, and he listens to my ideas, so it’s really a family affair for without them, and you, there would be no blog! But I have enjoyed every second of this. It has been far more time consuming than I ever imagined, but I have, as a result, a far greater appreciation of everything around us; there is so much I want to share and thanks to you all I have an audience to share it with. Thank you also to many other bloggers. When I started this, I had no idea how blogging really worked. I read blogs, I followed blogs, but I had never ventured into writing my own. I asked advice from several people and I was quite overwhelmed by how friendly people were; everyone was willing to help, point me in the right direction and teach me things I certainly did not know. I still have much to learn, but I’m getting there and I always welcome your ideas.

Anyway, to say ‘thank you’ I would like to give away, not one, but TWO original pieces of art. These are original pastels by my late mother-in-law, Margot Rampton.  She studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and exhibited in London, Paris and Provence. Later in life she settled in the Channel Islands where she held many local exhibitions and supported many local charities. Very rarely does her work come up for sale nowadays, but occasionally it does and an original is sold from £300 ($450) upwards. Many local Channel Island shops sell limited edition prints for £25 to £50. But my giveaways are NOT limited editions –  they are ORIGINAL signed and dated pieces of art. She lived for many years in Provence, she adored France and spent a lot of time in the Charente Maritime. The two pieces are from her portfolio of French scenes, many of which hang on our walls, one measures 22″ x 16″ (56cms x 41cms)  and the other 17.5″ x 14″ (45cms x 36cms).

All you have to do to win one here on the blog is (1) subscribe and follow (if you do not already), and (2) leave a comment telling me that you’re either already following, or you are a new follower. If you would like more chances to enter then you can invite a friend to follow; if they subscribe and leave a comment telling me they have done so and also telling me who invited them, then you will get a second entry and they will also get an entry themselves of course…..I hope this is fairly simple.  You can also enter on Facebook and Instagram and I have details on both of my pages, so hop on over there and enter again if you want to and double, treble or quadruple your chances!

You  have until next Wednesday morning, the 2nd December to enter.  We will then do this the old fashioned way and the children and I will write down everyone’s name (for in France there is no school on Wednesday afternoons), we will put those names in a hat and draw out two lucky winners and I will announce the winners later in the day, a week from today, so I can get these wrapped and mailed out to the two winners to arrive in plenty of time before Christmas. They are a thank you present, a Holiday present, or a Christmas present from me to you and it’s open to absolutely everyone, everywhere.

Finally whilst you ponder which one you would like to win, I once again hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving has a wonderfully happy day. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving in either France or England, but I am still extremely thankful to my wonderful family, my husband and best friend of 20 years and our incredible five children who make me laugh and smile every day. And again a huge, heartfelt thank you to you, for your support and following and I look forward to another fabulous year sharing our French lifestyle.  Susan xxx