16 December 2015

Some decorating and easy mince-pies.

Some outside decorating.
Using fresh greenery and berries I've collected
and things I've dried over the year.

The first wreath I made,
 now hangs on the door at my daughters house.

Some outdoor decorating with lanterns.

Peeping in the window.

Every year at Christmas time I make mince-pies.
 For those of you who are not familiar with these spicy little tart-lets
 this is what they look like.

I don't make my own mince-meat I cheat a little and use a bought jar of good quality mince meat and add a slug of brandy, along with a few other extras
like grated orange peel a few cranberries & some chopped nuts. 
 .... but if you do want to make your own, take a look here
 Daphne always makes her own.

But this way is quick & easy.

This year I'm going to try something totally different.
It's a Jamie Oliver recipe, he used bought mince meat in a jar
along with ready made puff pastry and filo pastry sheets, 
so even chefs cheat,

Perfect mince pies

Jamie's Mince-pies  they look so different.

Just to finish off
 I wanted to show you this lovely vintage enamel plaque
 I found it at a Christmas market.
It's been made into a coat hook-hanger.

I think I'm all organised now, 
what needs to be ordered has been ordered.
Cards and gifts to be sent have been posted.
Always some last minute presents to wrap.

So now I can do all the extra little touches to make
my home extra special for family and friends.
I plan to make Winter Spiced Pot-Pourri

It's an easy gift, smells wonderful
When all the spices and dried fruit are mixed together
 put the pourri in a pretty jar or a see through bag & tie with ribbon.  
Last year it was a great success, so I'll definitely make some more this week

I followed Stone Gable blog recipe, if you want to know how
to make it why don't you pop over to her  blog.

How is all your preparation coming along ?
Hope you are enjoying the build up to the festive season.
I'll try and get another post done, 
so that I can show you all the house decorating I've done

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

06 December 2015

Inspriration for Christmas decorating.

I'm thinking of a new header for my blog.
 more in keeping with the festive season, how about this one ?
Maybe with some snow falling, that's if I can ever figure out
how to get the widget or what ever it's called to work on my blog.

I still haven't got myself into the spirit of Christmas décor yet.
Perhaps if I take a look at photos from previous years.
and show them to you, I might get some inspiration.

Although I've lived in France for 26 yrs.
 I still keep a lot of my English family traditions.
It's a must to bring into the house lots of greenery.
Living in la campagne/countryside that's easy.

 Usually I start with a wreath made with pine branches, not unlike this one,
which was shown in  ESPRIT d'ici December 2014.

but I would hang it on the front door.
Like this one I made in 2012

Or this one on the front door of La Petite Maison

This was also Christmas 2012.

I can't show you my wreath as I haven't made it yet.
 I might even do something totally different this year.
Maybe like this one, shown in an English magazine
called Country Living.
I keep my magazines for years, especially the Christmas issues .

Here's a nice idea from the recipe pages,
 dried apples dipped in chocolate.

I'll also fill some empty flowerpots.
and put them on the window ledges, inside and out.

Now for the tree.
I might surprise you with this info,
I use an artificial tree, that I've had for years.

This was my country cottage style,

Then in 2012
 I used silver/gold and white, to decorate the tree.

This tree was at our daughters house a few years ago,
I love the chic way she used a vintage terracotta urn.
Our grandsons always decorate their tree,
 but I'm not so sure now they are young men.
however they do still love the magic of Christmas,
so perhaps they might surprise me. I hope so.

Lighting the candles in Denmark
Christmas 2005.

Always a real tree for my son and his family .
They even go to the growers, choose and cut their chosen tree.

When we are there, the job of decorating the tree is given to me.
 The boys  like to help, but usually give up before it's finished.

Maybe you might like a rustic tree.

with a rustic angel.

In our daughters home maybe their snowmen family, 
will be brought out for their table decoration again.
I hope Winnie-the-Pooh will be brought out and
 dressed again for Christmas, to give Eeyore the donkey
a hug, at our Danish grandsons home.

I hope you've enjoyed joining me on my search
looking for Christmas decorating inspiration.

Now all I need is to ask Mr France to reach up onto the top shelf
in our store cupboard, and bring down the box of decorations.
Then I can begin.

and for you to keep following my posts
to see how I decide to decorate.

I'm sure  a lot of you will have been busy this weekend
and will have already decorated your homes
I'm looking forward to see what you have done.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

03 December 2015

Arranging a few things before Christmas decorating.

Looking at lots of the blogs I follow,
I see many of you are already decorating your homes for Christmas.
I feel it's still a little too soon, so I've just been re-arranging 
a few items here & there around the house.

In the entrance hall I have a vintage laundry basket
 where I keep the vintage bed linen ( I've never used on my bed )
I had been rooting in the basket & piled some of the linen on top
and liked it there, so much nicer to be seen and not hidden in the basket
 It's a perfect place to show off one of my bouquets of dried roses.

Last week I went to a local charity Christmas market,
there's always what I call a rummage table, to Mr France it's junk,
and found a dirty metal framed mirror desperately in need of some TLC.
I forgot to take a photo before,  you will have to imagine 
how grubby it looked.

 I gave it a wash and then a coat of chalk paint finished off with
a rub of wax polish and liked the way it turned out.
I'm loving how the roses have dried. 

I always have dried  lavender and poppy heads,
I'm thinking I could use some in bunches for an indoor wreath.
I often use these porcelain baubles somewhere in the house
 so they will certainly be part of my Christmas décor.
They were a present from my sons wife .

Our weather forecast is good for the next week so I'll be out and about with my secateurs
gathering all sorts of berries and fir cones, along with lots of greenery for making wreaths.

I hope you'll come back soon,
as I'll be showing you what I've been making.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

20 November 2015

Mont D'or creamy cheese lunch.

Today is one of those grey drizzly days.What should we have for lunch.
During the week I'd seen that Mont d'Or cheese was on the cooler shelves.
It's only in the shops for a short while and was on special offer
so naturally  I put one in my basket.

It's not something we eat very often , but when we do, 
I love it, especially with a glass of nice red wine.
I always have to check, how long to bake it . 
This time I followed David Lebovitz.

ooooh ......  so delicious, especially with home baked bread.

I won't mind having a cold rainy day
 if we're going to have Mont d'Or for lunch.

If you've never tried this,  it's a must.
You can do this with Camembert, but it doesn't have the same taste.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

16 November 2015

Birthday celebration in Denmark.

In my sons home, their family day starts early.
The school bus arrives at precisely 7:16 am
to take our grandsons to school.
This morning was my 75th birthday.
I was woken by my two grandsons, my son and his wife
 singing happy birthday and waving flags.

 The Danish are very proud of their national flag,
so on celebration days, there is a lot of flag waving.

My day started with a beautiful bouquet of flowers
waiting for me on the breakfast table.
Evidently sneaked in the day before.

My son gave his day for me, to be spent how I wanted.
As it was such a lovely sunny day, I chose to go for a walk .
We needed to take a short drive to where he had chosen for us to walk.
On the way we pass this Châteaux. Dronninglund-slot.
 please take a look at this  It's well worth it.
I always love seeing this château,
so different from the ones i see in France.
 We didn't go inside this time, we just drove down the avenue
lined with huge Oak trees and lots of Beach trees.

We were heading to the woods, full of Beach trees
for me to see Autumn at it's best in Denmark.

We walked all around this lake
and were able to take in all the aspects.
Such beautiful rich shades of rusts to red.
then beneath the trees a carpet of leaves.
At the end of the walk, we saw these two lonely timber houses.
Ready for the drive back home.
Early evening we all went to a lovely restaurant.
Such a special time together with our son and his family.

At the weekend another birthday celebration for me, in Danish family style.

Champagne aperitif

I thought those of you who love porcelain 
would enjoy seeing this coffee pot and coffee cup and saucer.
Here is one I found for sale on ebay.
I don't know how long this set has been in her family.
I knew it was a valuable heirloom but didn't realise it was so valuable.
I'll be terrified to wash it next time it's used, in case I break it.

Now for a Sunday walk through the woods .
Always somewhere to picnic, lots of wooden tables with benches.
The Danes love to stop and drink coffee outdoors.

Last days walk through the woods and ending on the beach.

I wonder if this tree will be chosen as some ones tree for Christmas ?

These tiny Pine cones ended up in my pocket,
brought back to France for winter decorating.
During my stay I ordered a special candle tray from
Corfixen for winter or any time decoration.

When it arrives I'll show you how I choose to decorate it.
Until then, keep well and stay safe.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian