25 May 2012

My store-cupboard.

It's that time of year again, it's when we move out of our home for the summer. It might sound strange but we rent our property for 2 months as a holiday home during the summer months and we stay at our daughters. I move all my personal things into our store cupboard. Sometimes things stay in there & are forgotten about, these are what I call unimportant items.
Yesterday I was looking for something which I thought maybe I'd put away in my 'Store cupboard'. I must have been in there for a good hour, doing what my other half calls 'taking a trip down memory lane'. as I usually end up  look through old photo albums or boxes of bits I'd brought with me to France.  I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find so many lovely things I'd put there and had forgotten all about.
When I first moved to France I visited 'Flea markets' and Brocantes most weekends, locally and around the area, buying bits and pieces that took my fancy, then when I saw the same things again I bought more and so my collections grew from the various items which at that period of my life I'd taken a liking to collect. Later after we had moved house, most of these had been put into my store cupboard. 
 Now that I am following other like minded bloggers & share their passions of vintage collectibles,  I've seen similar items on their blogs,which I loved, so it made me think about my own hidden treasures. Which now I have brought out of the store cupboard and I'm  going to find a new place to show them off, then I can enjoy looking at them again.
So if you would like to stay around for a while I'll share some of my lovely treasures with you, which have been hiding in my store cupboard for quite a long time. I hope you will enjoy seeing them as much as I have.

Some of my collection of glass ware, which have come up shining beautifully after a dip in hot water & vinegar.


A biscuit or sweet basket.

An old hand mirror with my initial on.

A bientot
Barbara - Lilian

17 May 2012

My garden in France.

 I have a love for France and in the short time since I created my blog, I can see that so many of you share the same feelings. Maybe it's a holiday you've spent somewhere in France  where ever it might be and you have  wonderful memories, which you've taken back home. So I felt I wanted to share a selection of pictures I have taken of my garden from summers here at our home in France.

The arbour with roses & honeysuckle.

So French
Colourful Geraniums in pots.

A colourful mixture of herbs & annual flowers.

This is our well. After my man gave it some TLC
Which we can now use to water the flowers.

One of my many hanging baskets.

I can't wait for this summers flowers to be in full bloom. I'll show the results in a few weeks time.

Hope you'll come back to me to see the results.

Enjoy your gardening where ever you are even if it's only a window box.

a bientot
Barbara Lilian

13 May 2012

Country style - French wedding.

I can't believe our little girl is celebrating her 17yrs wedding anniversary today.
At that time she was living in Canada, and working there together with her French boyfriend. The day she phoned to tell us she was coming back to France to get married, we couldn't have been more excited. Then she asked me to make her wedding dress. The Atlantic Ocean between us, did she realise what a task she was giving me, the answer to that is No. She just said, 'don't worry I'll send you my measurements & just choose something simple, you know what would suite me.' She had always been a come day go day sort of girl, never wanting anything girly or frilly. So the ball was in my court ! What a responsibility for me.
I chose a raw silk material in ivory. The style was a fitted jacket with lots of covered buttons for a simple detail, & a large bow on the back at waist level, I knew she wouldn't mind a bow. The sleeves had puffed shoulders & were tight at the wrists. The skirt was gathered and full length. She was in contact with me weekly, saying she was losing weight every day. As she was only arriving back home to our floral village just a week before the big day, my heart was in my mouth hoping and praying it would fit. I was so glad I had chosen a separate top & skirt it made it easy to make the last minute adjustments. The dress was perfect.  and she said she knew I would do just the perfect dress for her.

My husband & me with our lovely daughter.
Ready to leave the house.

What a wonderful experience for our family to have a French country style wedding for our daughter.The tradition of having the groom arriving at the house to find his bride waiting for him. All the guests tooting the horns of their cars in file behind the bride, with the groom at the tail end, driving to the Mairie, which is the town hall for the civil ceremony. What a wonderful experience which we would never have known about if we hadn't made our move to live in France.

Some antique bloomers I found.
for part of the English traditon of something old

Our lovely daughter.

A selection of photos.
Unfortunatly before digital, so not very clear.
But an idea of a wonderful wedding day.

11 May 2012

Country style - hanging baskets. at my home in France.

I'm a bit later than usual preparing my hanging baskets this year, as the weather was more than just April showers ! We had so much rain & it was cold for the time of the year, I knew the flowers wouldn't profit with the temp. being so low. so hence the delay. Now the sun is shining and the temperature is looking good, so I've made a start and completed 5. Only another 12 more to do! Then there's the troughs & window box's, better get a move on. Last year I changed the theme & chose cane woven baskets, lined with plastic. They looked pretty & country style, but I wasn't happy with the results after a long hot summer, I've now gone back to the good old reliable ones which  I've had for years. Time will tell, I hope 'my man' who waters them, will be happy. he doesn't like change.

I never like the baskets when they're first planted, I always think they look straggly. I am a bit impatient and I do know the plants need time to grow before they can give a beautiful floral display.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good results. The following photos are from a previous year. I'll show this years display in a few weeks when I'm happier with how they look.

I have a lot of work in front of me, so I'll catch up with you as they progress.

a bientot.
Barbara Lilian

04 May 2012

Frogs / Froggies & Frogs legs.

We all know the French are known as Froggies & also well known for eating frogs legs.
This is just a tale of tadpoles to frogs, from our river.

For the past week or two the frogs down by the river opposite our house have been making their usual croaking sound which we always hear at this time of the year, meaning the river will now be amass with spawn and tadpoles. I'm sure most children who live near to a pond or stream have trotted off to try to catch tadpoles, in a net or a homemade device from a used water bottle, cut and taped to a branch of a fallen tree which is what my other half did for our grand children ( he can always make something out of nothing) we call him MacGyver ! But he's always there to lend a helping hand & loved and known as Pops. Shortly after this photo was taken the youngest bent down too far, need I paint the picture ! I'll always remember this day.

Two of my grandsons catching tadpoles in our stream.
Not sure if they will still want to do it this year, as now they are getting older.

My childhood memories are of going with my two brothers, carrying a jam jar which my mother had tied with a piece of string around the top to make a handle, we'd walk a mile to the local pond to find the frogs spawn; which we brought home to wait anxiously for eggs to turn into tadpoles and then finally frogs. I don't  ever remember seeing them develop into frogs, something usually happened, either it was next doors cat who attacked them or our own dog knocking the bowl over trying to chase the cat away. Lovely times.

AHOY there !!

Thought these pictures were amusing, taken at our swimming pool.

Sitting on top of the world.

I'll be back soon, hope you will to.
Barbara Lilian.

01 May 2012

A posy 'du Muguet.'

One of the many traditions still celebrated in France, on the 1st. May is to give someone a sprig of Lilly of the Valley. This tradition was started in 1561 by King Charles 1X. he decided to offer all the ladies of the court a sprig of Muguet. 'Apporter du bonheur'  (to bring happiness ) to the person you give it to. What a lovely tradition.
My 1st sprig of Muguet was given to me by my old friend Leonard. Sadly his wife had died shortly before we arrived to live in the village. I only wish I could have met her we would have had a lot to share.  I was told she had always loved flowers and had planted them here & there around the village, any where she thought needed brightening up. The village was known by everyone as 'Le Village Fleuris' This was one of the reasons we were attracted to it. We had been searching for some time with an 'Immobilier' for a house to use as a holiday home, at that time not realising how soon it would become our home! On the last day before we were due to return to England he showed us a cottage style house with a barn bigger than the house and much more land than we could ever use. As soon as we entered the village I fell in love with it,  there were flowers everywhere. Which 22 yrs ago at that time was not the No.1 priority. Most of the land around the houses in the village were full of rows of vegetables & fruit trees. Later I did ask an old lady in my poor French, along with sign language why she didn't have any flowers and her reply was, 'if you can't eat it, why grow it'. Yes there was the odd pot of Geraniums at the front door, but rare to see the whole village planted with flowers.
I was in my element & over the time I introduced hanging baskets and a vast variety of flowers they had  never seen before, which I mixed together. I was told by one of the villagers 'that's not how you do it, each type of flower must have it's own pot'. However I plodded along doing my own thing, putting up the odd hanging basket, & filling any old enamel bucket or basket I'd found amongst all the debris which had been left in the barn. Outside was beginning to look quite colourful, even though we were all still sleeping in the one room, while the rest of the house was under renovation. 
One day at the beginning of July I looked out of the window & saw several people wandering around the area at the front of the house, at that time I could hardly call it a terrace; each with a clip board and pencil all taking particular interest in the hanging baskets, which were full of trailing plants, looking OK; but not to my usual standard, however it was the best I was able achieve with the choice I could find in the area. Thankfully I was able to understand more French than I could speak, so I gathered they were judging my floral efforts. I had no idea they were the local commune floral committee !  judging for a competition I had not entered. I was told, 'it didn't matter, they would enter my name for me.' How simple can things be, it could only happen in France. So that was the beginning of the yearly floral competition for me. Never realising how competitive the rest of the villagers would become. I'll continue that story some other time.

My first petite bouquet of 'Muguet' will always bring back happy memories of my time spent in 'Le Village Fleuris'


I hope my posy 'apporte du bonheur'
 will bring happiness to all my readers.