Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Promise of Summer

This morning I woke up and it was beautiful, warm enough to wander round my freshly mowed garden in my robe and set the table for an alfresco breakfast, the first French strawberries have started to appear in the markets a sure sign that the salad days have arrived.

My blogging life is very sporadic at the moment, I have a few projects that I am working on, hopefully the fruits of my labours will be revealed soon.  In the meantime I have become hooked on Instagram, for the moment I am finding it to be a fast, easy, fun and totally addictive way to keep in touch, you can catch up with my Instagram feed here

I hope the weather is good wherever you are.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Something for the Weekend

Crusoe, the greeter. If you are a friend or a stranger with a kindly face and disposition  he will push that door open and greet you with great enthusiasm and a wagging tail, if you mean us ill he will growl and stand his ground and if you are a postman he will rush out, bark and chase your van up the lane.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winter's Last Stand?

Well at least I hope so, but the French say you can never be sure until after the 15th May. I knew as soon as I declared spring was under way in my recent post on Saint-Jean-de-Luz  I may be tempting fate, and sure enough...

 We woke up this morning to a white world, the snow which has been causing chaos in Southern Britain and Northern France has now made it here, deepest South West France, snowfall is forecast until Friday, so lets hope for a thaw at the weekend and perhaps spring can resume next week.


Despite the snow trees and shrubs continue to bud.

One small creature, loving the snow!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Off the Beaten Track

I love Paris, the Cote d'Azur the Italian Riviera et al, the history the stories, but isn't it nice to discover new places, destinations that may not be well known internationally, the kind of place that warrants a secret nose tap, the kind of place that the locals want to keep under wraps, lest it gets too popular and the kind of place that once stumbled upon is never forgotten...

l'Amuse bouche, stuffed olives, served from a Bonsai olive tree, Mr French Sampler is about to dig into something, I cannot recall what it was but it was delicious, washed down with Mimosas.

Followed by something to refresh the palate, the most delicious smoked salmon and citrus salad served in a large pebble from the local river...

I know exactly where this river pebble comes from, I may have to copy this idea!

A surprise that looked odd, wrapped in a silk cocoon but again, delicious.

I forgot to take photos of the main course...but it was delicious...skips to dessert...

Afterwards a stroll round the village...


On the way back a dip in the local pool...

Remember the river pebble?  I collected a few pure white stones from here for my local stonemason to slice in half and voila, perfect salad bowls.

The way back...

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Basque ing in the Sunshine

Can you spot Crusoe, frolicking in the shimmering Atlantic with his new friend

The first weekend in March and the forecast looked good, we decided to head for the Basque region our first stop was lunch in the coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz one of the chicest destinations in France.  The town was choc full of beautifully dressed Parisians all taking their first vacation of the season at their secondary residences.  Just like them I was caught out, the sun was shining but I thought it might be a bit chilly so I was wrapped up in jeans, a light cashmere cardi with a thermal vest underneath, a wool trench coat and suede ankle boots, I was boiling and found myself stripping off, should have worn a T shirt instead of the thermal vest!  After all, this is the season of layering.

We sat outside in the towns main square and had aperitifs followed by a slap up lunch washed down with loads of wine, afterwards we walked it off along the beach front...

Lovely though it is, nobody wanted to sit on the shady side

The Basque region is another country, it has it's own language literally and poetically, it's people are warm and hospitable and examples of  flair and imagination can be seen everywhere from interior and exterior design to world renowned cuisine and everything in between.

The unique architecture of the Basque region, white timber framed buildings and houses, painted distinctive shades of red, green or blue.

These two pictures were taken last September before the leaves had started to turn.

Whilst some remained wrapped up.

Others decided to get a head start on the tan.

Glorious warm sunshine, al fresco dining, walks along the beach and for the brave (including Crusoe) a dip in the sea.  Yes I think we can safely say spring is here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Audrey Hepburn, Posthumous Saleswoman

I don't normally have adverts on my blog but I will make an exception in this case.  A well known British chocolate brand with the help of CGI has remastered footage of Audrey Hepburn and turned it into a television advert, the advert has been beautifully done.  Quite what Audrey Hepburn would have made of  posthumously promoting chocolate I really don't know especially bearing in mind she was a good will ambassador for UNICEF an organisation that was close to her heart, Hepburn herself was helped by the organisation receiving food and medical help after World War II.

The Independent has an interesting piece on this advertisement and the subject of posthumous advertising here.

So what do you think, Is it ethical to use departed icons in this way?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'll take one in every colour!

Once again my blogging life has become sporadic, I seem to be very busy at the moment mainly catching up with jobs I have been putting off for far too long.  Outside my windows the sky has been grey for days, I am not a fan of this time of year but I know Spring which is my favourite season is waiting just round the corner.  To brighten things up  I bought some Anemones from the local Sunday market,  Anemones are one of my favourite flowers and here they sell them in mixed bunches of vibrant colours, their jewel like presence in the house is a tonic for my soul...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

His Masters Voice. The End?

Sadly it does not really come as much of a surprise that HMV is the latest casualty of the British high street to fall, they missed a few tricks and succumbed to the might of i tunes, Amazon and Netflix and the rise and rise of the slightly out of town supermarkets.  The former giants of the British high street and town centres have failed or are flailing, I ask myself what is the future? A flagship store presence in the capitol city and the rest, well, internet. That is of course assuming they can find buyers and not go under completely.

Is there an opportunity here?

I would love to see a future of local, independent boutiques, places to discover, with internet savvy, so you can continue to buy from them no matter where you live,  florists, restaurants and cafes etc. Reclaiming Britain's town centres and high streets, a renaissance if you like but I doubt they could afford the exorbitant rates unless the local councils take a long term view and put substance over quick return in the way the South Devon town of Totnes has.  So what will we be left with? Big name bar chains, nightclubs, McDonalds and KFC a very gloomy outlook indeed for some of the wonderful town centres of Britain and indeed the world, alas they will all end up looking the same, as I write this I realise it's already happened.