Saturday, 31 March 2012

Love everything....

{fabulous photo from here}


.......in this fabulous room, especially the gorgeous chandelier.

Bon week-end a tous, Leeann x 

Earth Hour Tonight...


Dont forget...Earth Day...tonight starting at 20h20 and finishing at 21h30.

We will turn off all the lights in every room and light candles for at least an hour.

Will you join us for a better enviroment? 

Leeann x

Friday, 30 March 2012

French Food Friday...7 hour lamb


{photo and recipe from here}

Today I thought that I would share with you, the recipe that I am going to be using over the Easter weekend which is not far away now.

Of course, as a Kiwi I will be using NZ Lamb and I am always surprised and happy when I see the supermarket freezers full of NZ lamb here in France.

Ingredients
  • 1 large leg of   lamb, about 3kg/6lb 8oz
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 8  cloves garlic, peeled but left whole                                                
  • 4 carrots , leave whole if small or quarter lengthways
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml stock , use what you have
  • 2 tbsp Armagnac or Madeira, optional, to finish
  • thyme sprigs, to finish

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 120C/fan 100C/gas ½. Put your largest lidded casserole on the hob and brown the seasoned leg of lamb on all sides - do this very thoroughly until it is a good dark brown as it will not brown during the cooking. (If you don't do it now, it will end up beige.) If the lamb sticks, add a drizzle of oil - legs of lamb differ. Allow 10 mins on a high heat and put on the cooker fan to remove the smoke. Pour away any fat that has collected in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Throw in the vegetables, followed by the wine and stock. Season and bring to the boil, then clap on the lid and put in the oven. Bake for 7 hrs, turning twice. After 5 hrs the meat will be cooked and offer no resistance to the knife.
  3. There is no need to rest the meat when cooked in this way, but to finish the sauce, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving dish. Strain the sauce into a jug and pour or blot away the fat with kitchen paper. Pour the sauce into a pan then boil the liquid hard to reduce by a quarter, by which time it will be rich and flavoursome. Adjust seasoning, add the Armagnac if you wish, and serve alongside the lamb, which should be served with a spoon, a la cuillère as the French call it.
Bon appetit a tous.......Leeann x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Secret door....


{photos from here}

When I saw this photo I thought wow I love the colour of the room and the mix of items in the room. The cabinets housing lots of items on both the left and the right hand side of the canape are fabulous...


And then when I saw this photo,  I thought I want one like this, hence I have saved it to my ideas folder. I love the idea of a secret door, don't you?

A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fabulously British.....



Right Now, I am loving these new cushions that have just arrived at Fabulously French.

I have one in Apt Un, which I love combined with the colours of the couch ......



and have some displayed in my wee boutique.....


Love the colours, they photograph well as they are bright and pop out at you.....


Not sure if it is the same where you are, but there anything with the union jack on, is fashionable as as they say in France "tendance" and we are seeing it on chairs, cushions, wall hangings etc.

I am sure that France along with the rest of the world will be celebrating the queen's jubilee come June time.

This is it for me, it is sunny again here today so I am off to clean windows....

Bon mercredi a tous......Leeann x 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Fresh coat of paint...



I could not resist sharing a photo of our local bar who has had a a bit of a "relook".

Gone is the drab brown colour, replaced by white and grey with the words "Cafe de Paris" freshly painted on her facade.

She looks fabulous and oh so French.......

Amicalement from a still sunny SW France, Leeann x

Monday, 26 March 2012

Inspiration for Monday morning...


{photo from here}

Bonjour from a sunny SW France,

I hope that you had a nice weekend. For us, it passed quickly and there were not a lot of vide greniers taking place so we enjoyed a wee rest from searching for treasure.

We even managed 2 bike rides in the countryside so I am bursting with fresh air or at least I like to think that I am......

I thought that this photo is exactly the inspiration that I need as it has the paint effect that I adore along with some toile de jouy and a louis style chair - my idea of heaven.
And on that note, I must leave you. Je vous souhaite une semaine fabuleux.....Leeann x

Saturday, 24 March 2012

just arrived....

I have just finished photographing these fabulous vintage appliques.

They are by far the most unusual that I have found. Love the combination of the flowers and leaves. The unusual thing is that they have one branch which holds a light bulb and three other branches for candles.

They really do make a statement and I personally think they would look great in a hall, lounge or dining area or perhaps even a bathroom......the list is endless.

They are 100 euros each + postage. You will find more details here.
I am now off for a bike ride, a tres bientot from a still sunny and very warm SW France,
Leeann x

Bon week-end a tous....

Bonjour from a very sunny SW France,

The forecast is for a week of soleil.......so we are planning on making the best of the fine weather and are having our first picnic today.

I could not resist sharing a photo of the very yummy dessert that we enjoyed "chez nous" last night.


It is called "Mini Charlotte - Fruit de la Passion" and the centre was rasberry mousse which melted in your mouth...the French adore their dessertes and they always taste as good if not better, than they look. Just one of the many things that I adore about living in France....
Je vous souhaitez un week-end fabuleux, Leeann x

Friday, 23 March 2012

French Food Friday...Chocolate and coffee meringue dacquoise

{recipe and photo from here}

Chocolate and Coffee Meringue Dacquoise



SERVES 6-8

MERINGUE
75g/3oz dark chocolate minimum 65 per cent
cocoa
4 medium egg whites
125g/4½ oz golden caster sugar
110g/4oz golden icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornflour

TO ASSEMBLE
1 tsp white wine vinegar
100g/3½ oz dark chocolate
1 x 284ml pot double cream
2 tbsp cooled made-up strong coffee (instant
is fine)
2 tsp coffee essence or coffee
liqueur


METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
2. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Melt the dark chocolate for the meringues in a pan set over a little simmering water, and allow to cool slightly.
3. Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites with the caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until firm, then add the icing sugar, vanilla extract, cornflour and vinegar, and beat for another 3-4 minutes until very firm and glossy.

4. Pour the melted chocolate over the meringue mix, turning through once only to streak the mixture.
5. Divide the meringue mixture in two and swirl or pipe a 20cm/8in circle on to each baking sheet.
6. Reduce the oven to 140C/120C/gas 1.
7. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the meringues for about 50 minutes,swapping the lower sheet with the upper one halfway through to ensure even cooking.
8. Turn off the oven, open the door, leave it ajar and leave the meringues to gently cool for about 30 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
10. Assemble the dacquoise just before serving. Melt the chocolate and keep warm. Whip the cream with the instant coffee and the coffee essence or liqueur until it forms soft peaks, then scoop it on top of one of the meringues. Place the other meringue on top, then pour
over the melted chocolate, allowing it to drizzle prettily, and serve straight away.


.......bon appetit a tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 22 March 2012

fabulous sculpture...

{photo from here}

When I saw this photo, I thought wow. Love the sculpture and think that she is perfectly placed in the "Brocante de Charme".


A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fab French Boutique Photos....

Bonjour from a grey SW France,
I thought that I would share some photos of my wee boutique with you today. I have a things about pierrot doll's heads as you can see from the photo above.
I have used to them to decorate the chiminey and have a couple of vintage dolls on the way...

I adore this faux fenetre mirror and have displayed an antique candelabra and some vintage appliques in front of it.

Lavender from Provence displayed in a basket complete with hand made fairy who I think is fabulous. We have two of these available and I have the other sitting in a vintage champagne bucket. They are for sale but I have yet to update the shop with their details.....

Ligne sacks handmade in France by a local couple and a Mathilde M fronton which look great displayed above a doorway or even used above a bed as a client of one has done with her's...

I love these french charm bracelets which are all hand made, each is different.....these are one of our best sellers and we have 5 in stock at present.

I have displayed a few on a mirror, so lovely and girly.....

A glimpse of my Easter window where I have a banner with lots of lovely bunnies along with Monsieur et Madame Lapin..........

Nice to see some colour again after a very cold winter in SW France.

Wishing you all a fabulous week/Je vous souhaite une semaine fabuleux....Leeann x

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

For sale....Vintage French letter slot



I am supposed to be working so this is a another quick post.
There is something about a French front door that makes for a fabulous photo - lots of character springs to mind along with the patine that time brings.
French boyfriend bought this fabulous lettres slot for his front door but forgot to measure the existing slot hence it is now looking for a new home.


You will find more details here. I wish that I could stay and chat but work beckons.....

Au revoir from a sunny SW France.....Leeann x

Monday, 19 March 2012

weekend tresors...

As you know we went hunting for tresors yesterday morning. We had luck on our side as we managed to find a few items before a storm arrived and all the vendors packed away their things.

No sonner had the vendor hung the vintage tole chandelier up, when I said I would take it.
She said that I had bought the plus belle objet on her stand and a couple of the vendors from the neighbouring stands muttered that they wished they had got their hands on it before me.

Second up was the lovely Tete de Biche, which I know is not everyone's cup of tea but I have clients that are looking for one and I really like the one that I picked up yesterday.


Note we have two as when I met up with French Boyfriend after doing the rounds he said you wll never guess what I found and I said mon dieu as I had bought one identical to his......

Next was this fabulous Sarreguemines 1900's vase and bowl in immaculate condition.


My last find, just before the horizontal rain arrived, was this hand coloured map, which I am planning on framing and hanging in my wee boutique.

Well mes amies, that is pretty much it for now and it is back to work that I go...a demain, Leeann x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

It almost makes me wish...


.......that I had a bird!

A little OTT but it brightens what has turned out to be a grey and rainy day in SW France.

We got very wet this morning whilst tresaure hunting but we managed to find a couple of treasures.

I promise to show you what we found, tomorrow...

Bon dimanche a tous, Leeann x

Friday, 16 March 2012

L'Odyssée de Cartier.....love this film!



L'Odyssée de Cartier

Discover the new Cartier film, a journey between dream and reality.For the very first time, Cartier has decided to create a cinema epic focusing on its history, its values and inspiration, its artistic and universal scope. Click here to view.

Wow, it really is fabulous......bon week-end a tous, Leeann x

French Food Friday....Irish Coffe à la menthe

{recipe and photo from here}


I thought that since it is Saint Patricks day on Saturday, a recipe with a touch of Irish is required.....

Irish Coffe à la menthe

Ingredients
500 ml coffee
6 sugar cubes
150 ml Irish Whiskey
100 ml liquid whipping cream very cold
2 sprigs mint

Reheat coffee with sugar cubes. Wash, dry, thin and chop the mint.
Whip the cream.
Divide the coffee into six tall glasses and add a tablespoon of whiskey.
Top with the whipped cream. Sprinkle with mint.
Serve immediately.

***************************************

Ingrédients
50 cl de cafe
6 sucres en morceaux
15 cl de whisky irlandais
10 cl de crème liquide entière très froide
2 brins de menthe

Faites réchauffer le café avec les morceaux de sucre.
Lavez, séchez, effeuillez et ciselez la menthe.
Montez la crème liquide en chantilly.
Répartissez le café dans six verres hauts, puis ajoutez une cuillère à soupe de whisky.
Montez la chantilly sur l’irish coffe. Parsemez de menthe.
Servez immédiatement.

......À votre santé, Leeann

Thursday, 15 March 2012

All one need's...


{photo from here}

.......is a fabulous mirror. Trouble is that in France they are becoming hard to find as everyone wants one.

A demain mes amies, Leeann

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Inspiring...


{photo from here}
That is the word that came to mind when I saw this photo a few minutes ago.

Bonne journée à tout le monde......Leeann x

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Love, love bistro chairs...



There is something about bistro chaises.....to me they are just so French and I adore them.

And guess what......I found a fabulous table and two chairs that are painted almost the same colour as the shutters at Maison No. 20......that it what I call a lucky find! I promise to post a photo just as soon as I get a chance.

This is a quick post as I am supposed to be preparing dinner....pad thai.....not very French but I am in the mood to cook thai.....

Bon appetit et a demain mes amies, Leeann x

Monday, 12 March 2012

A normal work day...



Yesterday afternoon we went to a local chateau to pick up an armoire.

A few years ago I went to the same chateau to attend a concert in the large and gorgeous garden. Although it was supposed to be a serious and formal affair.

But thanks to the fabulous and very gorgeous male that you see pictured above, there was a touch of humor. Everytime that the music stopped, the peacocks started crying.....

Hence I smiled when I saw the peacocks yesterday and in typical French Male fashion he was not afraid of me trying to get close enough to take a photo, he strolled or should I sat strutted past slowly as if to say I dare you to take my photo....just another normal work day in SW France.


Je vous souhaite une tres bonne semaine mes amies, Leeann x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Entire contents of a Chateau for Sale....View Catalogue


I hope that you are all having a fabulous weekend, we are spending ours sorting through old dusty cartons that may include a tresor or two.

For those of you that love chateaux and the contents that they contain, I thought you may enjoy looking through this auction catalogue.
Click here to view.

It is rare that we get to see the entire contents of a 45 bedroom chateau up for auction.

There are many fabulous items, as you will find out but have a feeling that there will be a lot of bidders.....so enjoy looking!

Amicalement, Leeann x

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Bon week-end a tous...

{photo ma cuisine}
Today we have lots of lovely sun, it feels like Spring is here.

The bulbs that I have placed in the kitchen are bursting with blooms, filling the kitchen with their lovely parfum......I adore Spring!

Bon week-end a tous, Leeann x

Friday, 9 March 2012

French Food Friday...Salmon en Croute

{photo and recipe from here}
I made this the other night, it makes an impressive dish for a dinner party but is so easy to put together.


Ingredients
150g mascarpone or cream cheese
1 bag watercress , spinach and rocket, about 120g
500g shortcrust pastry
500g piece salmon fillets , skinless
1 egg , beaten
Method:
1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green purée. Season well.
2.Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (just a bit thinner than a £1 coin) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don't have any thick lumps of pastry as these won't cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress purée as a sauce.
........bon appétit à tous, Leeann

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Fab French Sale - Mathilde M Products


In order to make some space in my petite showroom, we are now selling a lot of the Mathilde M products at reduced prices. Please click here for details of a list of products that are on sale.

Merci et a demain, Leeann x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Last night....

.......we watched the film "Marie-Antoinette".
It is one of my favourite movies and I never get tired of watching it.

Hence today I am thinking a lot about large chandeliers, lots of candelabras, beautiful fabrics and of course lots of lovely cakes.....


Trés bonne journée à tous...... Leeann x

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

She's stolen his heart...

She has the most beautiful blue eyes that you have ever seen, her skin is like porcelain and the most perfect cupid-like lips......and French Boyfriend is obsessed with her.

I admit I am jealous and who thought that a 40 something year old woman would be competing with a beautiful French creature over 100 years old, yes that is right, she is over 100 years old and not a wrinkle in sight. That said, she is showing some signs of age and there is a crack down one side of her face.

She is a "steiner" hence the reason that French Boyfriend is so obsessed with her as she is no ordinary doll.


She is beautiful and is looking for a new home......and a new outfit as she lost all her clothes a long time ago.



She will be listed on ebay.fr later today, that is, if I get my way as there is not room for two blue eyed girls in FB's life hence one has to go.....

Signed the other girl in FB's life x

Monday, 5 March 2012

Dos & don'ts of French manners



I thought that you may all like this.....


Dos & don'ts of French manners
Connexion edition: May 2011

OLD-FASHIONED courtesy is still de rigueur in the best circles, says Geneviève d’Angenstein, of L’Ecole Française de la Courtoisie et du Protocole.

She teaches foreigners how to make the best impression in France, drawing on her own experience as a diplomat’s wife.

How did you get into teaching good manners?

If you want to succeed you need to respond to people’s needs and society has somewhat lost its bearings when it comes to manners, due to globalisation and mixing of different cultures. People come to me to reassure themselves about what one should and should not do.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where good manners were innate and I went to good schools and then studied anthropology and several languages, so I have always been curious about other cultures and their social rites. I have lived the life of a diplomat’s wife, so I learned how to receive important people and discovered customs around the world, in India, Washington and Vienna, but I was always there to show what French culture was.

Do you often work with English-speakers?

Not only, but yes, I often do. My clients are usually quite refined people, such as English people living in France who want to understand the mysteries of French social rites. They have a certain sensitivity; coarse people don’t see the interest.

Are the rules changing a lot, or is it as important as ever to respect tradition?

When you look at society you might think standards are slipping, but at the same time people are looking for an identity and I think good manners are very much part of our French identity. It goes back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

We are talking about manners that came from the royal court essentially, but at the same time, our courtesy also comes from the Rights of Man and the idea of respecting the other person and especially, respecting women, which is an important part of French courtesy.

One thing English-speakers have trouble with sometimes is tu and vous. Is it best to let the other person take the initiative?

It is always the person who is hierarchically the most important to propose calling each other tu, and, in fact, the woman is always considered superior to a man, apart from in working life, where only the professional hierarchy counts.

France is the only country which gives such importance to the woman. It is the woman who takes the initiative on the kind of greeting, for example she holds out her hand or not, and on tutoiement or vouvoiement.

People also say “monsieur” and “madame” a lot more than the English equivalents…

When I was in the US I was a bit surprised at the way everyone used to smile at me all the time, whereas in France there are barriers that broken down very gradually.

At first we remain very formal and it is only when there are affectionate and social barriers that fall, that this changes. This French formality is actually quite practical because it allows people to always act appropriately and to master the situation.

On occasion I may have called someone tu a bit too quickly, or been called it, and afterwards realised I really didn’t have any wish to be on familiar terms with that person, I felt like a prisoner of this commitment.

It is better to start with saying monsieur and vous, remaining nice and polite, and little by little you can pass to first names and tu.

Is it more a natural progression than the very informal American way?

Yes, it’s like smiling straight away at people; we don’t see the need. I know Americans who are almost in tears if they don’t get a big smile at the baker’s or butcher’s; but for us it doesn’t make sense to smile at someone you don’t know. When we start smiling it’s because a rapport has been established. I think in the shops in Anglo-Saxon countries the shopkeepers have more of a sense of trying to market themselves, which the French lack.

You mention trips to the shops; British people seem to say please and thank you more in such situations than the French. Is it seen as a bit superfluous?

No, if you don’t say s’il vous plaît and merci you are just rude; but there are rude people everywhere.

Apart from the rule on tutoiement, are there other important considerations for behaviour between the sexes?

A women never gets up to say hello to a man but a man gets up for a woman. In my lessons I always outline this culture of the woman in France, that used to amaze foreign travellers. It goes back to the Middle Ages and courtly literature and the Cult of the Virgin Mary… which means that the woman has a privileged status. These days in Anglo-Saxon countries there is more of a feeling that women should be treated the same as men.

Are there certain things to think about on a date?

A man who wants to please a woman should not talk about himself too much and always be interested in his companion. If he takes her to a restaurant it is always the man who goes in first, that’s important, and it is him who pays and he should do it very discreetly. He excuses himself for a few moments and pays at the counter in such a way the women doesn’t see what he’s doing. That’s the elegant thing to do. In the world of work, however, if a man insisted on paying when a woman had invited him for a business meal, it would be insulting.

What about table manners?

It’s not polite to put your hands under the table and it is impolite to lay out the forks with the prongs in the air. The points should touch the table. Points in the air gives a feeling of aggression. Families also used to have their coats of arms on the underside of the cutlery, so this is to show it off.

If you are invited to someone’s house how should you behave – should you, for example, bring a gift or a bottle?

What is elegant is to send flowers beforehand or the following day. To come with flowers is not very well thought of, as it obliges the mistress of the house to leave her guests to find a vase.

Coming with wine is only suitable for very close friends and you should ask them what they’d like and say you are going to bring it. Usually, the host has already coordinated the dishes with wines and everything is planned. What is appropriate is to bring a box of macaroons or chocolates, but very good ones, not something from Monoprix; and the hostess must offer them with the coffee, not just keep them, which would be very impolite.

It is interesting, by the way, that, from my research, originally the English were seen as a bit too direct and unpolished and in the 17th and 18th centuries a lot of French manners treatises were imported. Also Huguenot families who left France brought French manners to Britain. It was only afterwards that the British became known for good manners, with for example with Lord
Chesterfield’s Letters to his Son, On the Fine Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, which are very interesting.

What about hand-kissing, is it really still appropriate?

It’s up to you whether it is your thing or not, but yes, it is done in certain social circles; but unlike for example the Germans or Russians who kiss all the women’s hands, in France it is very codified. You do it only for a married woman and always in private, never outside.

Do you have tips on what English-speakers should avoid and that we often get wrong?

I have an American friend who likes to ask people how much they paid for their apartment – which is the kind of thing you shouldn’t do. One doesn’t talk about money like that, there is a taboo about money, even if Parisiens sometimes shock people too by talking a lot about their flat, because it is true that it is hard to find somewhere to live here.

Do you have any advice on how to faire la bise (kiss people on the cheek)?

It seems most natural to me to start on the right hand side. Two kisses are usual, though in rural areas, among countryfolk, it is three. In that case it’s best to be aware of that and not act like a “townie”.

It is always the older person, the most important, the woman rather than the man, who decides to initiate a kiss on the cheeks.

To find out more about courses visit www.la-courtoisie.com

A demain mes amies, Leeann x