Monday, 30 April 2012

1er Mai.....



May Day (La Fête du Muguet, La Fête du Travail) in France is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers rights. It is also an occasion to present lily-of-the-valley flowers to loved ones.

What do people do?

People in many areas give bouquets of lily-of-the-valley  flowers to loved ones. This custom is particularly common in the area around Paris known as Île-de-France. Families with children in country areas get up early in the morning and go into the woods to pick the flowers. Individuals and labour organizations in urban areas sell bouquets of lily of the valley on the street on May 1. There are special regulations that allow people and some organizations to sell these flowers on May 1 without paying tax or complying with retail regulations.
Trade unions and other organizations organize parades and demonstrations to campaign for workers rights on May 1. People may also use these events to campaign for human rights in general, to demonstrate against racism or highlight current social issues.

Public life

May 1 is a public holiday. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed. However, some stores in Paris, as well as at airports and railway stations and along major highways, may be open. Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel. Parades and demonstrations may cause disruption to traffic in the centers of large cities, particularly Paris.

Background

King Charles IX of France was presented with lily of the valley flowers on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present lily of the valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to present a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers to women to express their affection. The flowers are a more general token of appreciation between close friends and family members these days.

The eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France on April 23, 1919, and May 1 became a public holiday. May Day was not observed during World War II. However, May 1 became a public holiday again in 1947. May 1 officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on April 29, 1948. Since then, it has been an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers' rights. The day is also known as Labor Day in other parts of the world.

Symbols

The lily of the valley and dog rose flowers are symbols of May Day in France.

......très bonne semaine à tous ! Leeann x

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Love this idea...


{photo from here}

A collection of mirrors makes a change from displaying paintings......and the chandelier is stunning!

bon dimanche à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 27 April 2012

French Food Friday...Herb-and-Lemon-Roasted Chicken


Today I am sharing with you, one of my all time favourite recipes. Nothing nicer than roast chicken and the smell of it cooking, wafting through the house.....

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 garlic cloves, 1 minced
1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary plus 2 rosemary sprigs
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme plus 2 thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 4-pound chicken, at room temperature
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 lemon, cut crosswise into 8 rounds
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a bowl, mix the butter with the minced garlic, minced herbs and the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pat the chicken dry. Rub half of the herb butter under the skin and the rest over the chicken; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Set the chicken breast-side-up on a rack in a roasting pan. Scatter the onion, lemon, garlic cloves and herb sprigs and add 1/2 cup of water. Roast for 30 minutes, until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down and roast for 20 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned.
  4. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up. Add another 1/2 cup of water. Roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 175° to 180°.
  5. Tilt the chicken to drain the cavity juices into the pan; transfer the bird to a cutting board. Remove the rack from the pan and spoon off the fat. Set the pan over high heat. Add the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Press the lemon to release the juices. Carve the chicken and pass the chunky jus at the table.

Bon appetit et bon vendredi a tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ciel de lit idea...

{photo from here}

Love this "ciel de lit" idea. The colours are gorgeous - very calming and the touch of toile de jouy is enough without being over the top.

Tres bonne journée à vous tous, Leeann x 


p.s. it is still raining here, need to buy an ark I think!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Newly arrived...



It is one of those days.....rainy and nothing is going to plan.

It started with photographing a couple of fabulous wall lights that have just arrived, but need to be mounted on the wall in order to take a decent photo.....hence the above photo is the best that I can do today as French Boyfriend has the camera and is in the process of photographing stock.

Next thing that did not go to plan was the plan to "mange" toasted sandwiches for lunch as the machine is on the blink so FBF has carried it off to his house so that he can try and work out why.....me I would buy a new one but enough said on this matter.

Third thing, company where I always buy my linen for maison no. 20 rang to say that the bathrobes that I had ordered were out of stock and I would need to wait 4 weeks...hence there was a lengthy silence at my end until I was infortmed that they had the top of the range in stock and could offer these at the same price as the others that I had originally ordered..

End result a happy girl in rainy old France.

Below is a photo of an antique applique that has just arrived, note it is very clean hence the brightness,normally when we come across these, they are a lot dirtier......this one comes from an immaculate home. 



Will be updating the online shop a bit later in the day.


Amicalement from a still rainy SW France, Leeann x

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Taking the time...


{entrance hall @ Maison 20}
......to make a few changes around the house.  It is a luxury that we take for granted....this thing that we call "time".

This week I have some allocated "me time" as it hasd been a while and we have been busy of late, with the various projects that we have on the go.

New changes @ maison 20 include the new wall light that you see above along with the black board which is updated weekly with details of activities taking place in our village and nearby.

I also ordered copies of old postcards of Eymet which I have hung in the entrance way.....here is one of them.


Other ideas include making a "ciel de lit" for the bedroom in our apartment on the 2nd floor along with changing the bed for a larger one. I am also  going to replace the light fitting with something a little bit more romantic, you can be sure that there will be some crystals.

What fun, I adore making changes. Are you the same, or are you happy to leave things as they are?

Dites-moi, J'aimerais savoir ce que vous pensez....

Leeann x 

p.s. will try and photograph some of my new tresors today, light permitting as it is raining here again today.

Monday, 23 April 2012

New in at Fab French...


Today we have some more "liquid sunshine" and the forecast is for more to come.  It is the perfect weather for me as I have a lot of work to do indoors.

Last week was a busy week for us and unfortunately I have not had time to update the shop with some of our latest finds but you will find a couple of new "vintage style" items such as this wire heart shaped photo holder which I have displayed in my wee boutique.

I had lots of fun choosing items to put on it.......


The perfect place to put photos, love letters, jewellery....the list is endless.
You will find more details here.

Also new in are these fabulous vintage style flower and leaf hooks.


I am planning on using a couple in my bathroom as they are perfect for hanging bathrobes on.



Well as normal work beckons, I will be back tomorrow with some of the antique tresors that have arrived recently and lets just say they sparkle and are too big to fit on your hand.....

As one of our customers likes to say "jewellery for the house"......
a demain, Leeann x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Earth day....

{photo from here}


Today is Earth Day, just incase you had forgotten and I think that it is great idea to spend some time thinking about protecting our beautiful but at times, oh so fragile planet....

Leeann x

Friday, 20 April 2012

French Food Friday...Chocolate & Pear Clafoutis


For some reason I have lots of pears/poires hence this week's recette uses pears.....et un petit peu de chocolat!


Chocolate & Pear Clafoutis
- 100g buckwheat flour/ farine de sarrasin
- 2 eggs
- 70g brown sugar
- 1tbsp cornstarch, sifted
- 1tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 25cl milk (1cup)
- 70g dark chocolate melted
- 60g unsalted butter melted
- 2-3 pears, cored and sliced
- A pinch of salt
- 1tbsp of rum
- Lemon juice to sprinkle pears

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 175°C.
2. In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, cornstarch and cocoa.
3. In an other bowl whip eggs and sugar for a minute.
4. Add the flour mix step by step and keep on whisking.
5.Add melted butter mix well and then add melted chocolate and rum.
6. Pour batter in a well greased cast iron skillet or individual ramekins.
7. Top with pears slices or wedges.
8. Bake for 45 minutes or 35 minutes if small portions.

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

 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Merci Monsieur Fleurs....


{photo dining room apt deux, maison No. 20}

As many of you know, by reading my blog, I am lucky enough to have  the man I call "my flower man" aka Monsieur Fleurs, live not far from my house.

Monsieur Fleurs brings a whole new meaning to the expression "fresh cut flowers" as you go to his gardens, you choose and he cuts them.

It is things like this that I have come to appreciate whilst living in France, from the man that sells the goat's cheese, another that sells the honey, it makes shopping that much nicer......   


I must go and start work, Bonne journée à tous!!! .....Leeann x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wish I was...



.......doing this today.

Let's just say it has been one of those days when nothing has gone to plan.

So I am thinking that sitting on one of these horses as seen at the Louis Vuitton Spring collection, maybe kinda of fun......

anyone want to join me?

Leeann x

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Nothing nicer...



There is nothing that tastes as good as croissants still warm from the oven.

Another of the reasons why I like living in France......

a demain mes amies, Leeann x


Monday, 16 April 2012

weekend tresors....



Bonjour from a very sunny but a little chilly SW France,

We managed to get a little tresor hunting in yesterday and despite a late start, managed to find a couple of tresors including the mirror that you see above and the light that you see below. Although the light is not very old, I think that it would look great in a hall way and I love the detail on it.


For those of you interested, we are offering personal tours, should you wish to hunt for some "tresors" whilst in the region.

Also on offer for 2012, are painting classes where you will learn how to patine objects using the fabulous  Annie Sloan paints.

The classes are held at a fabulous house in the country not far from Maison No. 20 and the intructor is not only an expert in painting furniture, she is also a fabulous artist. Lunch is included and it is a great "girls" day out. 

For details please email me.

On that note, it is back to work I must go.......

je vous souhaite une semaine fabuleux......Leeann x

Saturday, 14 April 2012

One day....

{photo from here}

......I plan to have a lavender garden just like this.

Although I have to say the lavender is fabulous in Provence, I have fond memories of the Lavender gardens in Daylesford, Australia and would like to return one day soon....with Aussie passport in one hand and hand of French boyfriend in the other!

Je vous souhaite un week-end fabuleux......Leeann x


Friday, 13 April 2012

French Food Friday....Tartiflette



A staple of those chalet restaurants that dot the ski slopes of the Savoie.

The traditional accompaniments are charcuterie, gherkins and pickled silver-skin onions. A plain green salad with a mustardy vinaigrette is a good foil.

Ingredients:
1.3kg (3lb) waxy potatoes, skins on
35g (1¼oz) unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
250g (9oz) chunky bacon lardons
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 reblochon, about 350g (12oz)


Method:
1. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them.
2. Heat half the butter and half the oil in a sauté pan and cook the potatoes until they are golden. Season and put in a shallow ovenproof dish.
3. Heat the rest of the butter and oil in the same pan and cook the lardons over a fairly high heat to colour them. Turn down the heat, add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to colour. Throw in the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add this to the potatoes and gently combine.
4. Slice the reblochon, remove the skin, and lay on top of the potato.
5. Bake in an oven, preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5, for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Serve immediately.

Bon appetit a tous.....Leeann x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Creating the French Look...


Bonjour from a sunnier SW France,

In yesterday's post was a book that I recently ordered on the internet.
It is called " Creating the French look" and is written by Annie Sloan, the woman responsible for creating what some call "the greatest paint on earth". The reason that it is called this is that we "girls" can apply the paint direct to surfaces and there is no need to sand, strip before hand. It also has no odour and is environmental friendly and it is a pleasure to use.

I had heard great things about the book and it certainly meets all my expectations.

Not only does it cover the different styles pf decorating and how to put the looks together, it also contains 25 step by step projects.

Projects such as making curtains from old sheets, crackle painting a table, antiquing a garden statue, painting a bureau, make cushions, lampshades and such like.Love this armoire....such a gorgeous creamy colour. 



My favourite project is the antiquing of a statue but I need to find a statue first......same old story but as you all know, I adore searching for old objects! 

For those of you interested in learning how to apply the paint, we are teaming up with a local expert who lives not far from Maison No. 20, to offer guests classes onhow to apply the paint.

The lessons are held in a lovely house in the country and are taught by a local artist, who is an expert in applying the paint.
Lunch is included and you can choose either a 1/2 day or a whole day of lessons.

Details will be released in due course.

But for me mes belles, it is off to work I go..... a demain Leeann x



  

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

mardi matin...


Bonjour from a rainy SW France,

I hope that you all had a fabulous Easter. I cooked the 7 hour lamb, which apart from a wee glitch - the leg of lamb was bigger than my casserole dish and required French boyfriend at 5h30 in the morning, to find a saw to cut a piece of it, which went down a treat along with the chocolate mousse.

Alas today we are returning to work albeit a sluggish start..let's open that the sun appears later in the day....

Je vous souhaite à tous une semaine fabuleuse avec beaucoup de soleil, Leeann x


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Joyeuses Pâques.....

{oeuf - Pierre Herme}

Je vous souhaite un excellent week-end et Joyeuses Pâques !

Leeann x

Friday, 6 April 2012

French Food Friday...Baguette and Butter Pudding



Ingredients

  • One Large Baguette
  • Butter
  • Sultanas or Dried Cranberries, or Both
  • 4 Large, Free Range Eggs
  • Caster Sugar
  • Double Cream
  • Milk
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Apricot Jam
  • Baileys Adjust Quantities to Taste

Method

Serves: 2
  1. Grease an Oval Dish.
  2. Thinly Slice the Baguette and Butter on both sides. Layer the bread in the dish, sprinkling with the Dried Fruit between Layers.
  3. Make a custard using 2 egg yolks, 2 complete eggs, 150g caster sugar, 300ml Milk, 300ml Double Cream and 4tbsp Baileys (or more to taste!)
  4. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the Custard over the bread and press down lightly with your fingers, so that the bread is submerged. Leave to soak for 15-20mins.
  6. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake in an oven at about 150C for 40-50 minutes.
  7. Heat The apricot jam and brush over the baked dessert. Leave to stand for 15 minutes as the custard will keep cooking as it cools. Yummy! 
Bon appetit et joyeux paques a tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 5 April 2012

rêves de chocolat....


{photo from here}

All I want for Paques is one of these.......a chocolate "it bag".
As if a girl can never have enough handbags.......

A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

My type of entrance...


{photo from here}


When I saw this photo, I thought that is my type of style summed up in a photo.

It is the entrance of Jean-Pierre, a french designer who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Love all the components including the fabulous chandelier, stunning mirror, deer's head, bergere chairs and the pouf is just what I am looking for to put in my dressing area.

I am still mirror hunting and now am also looking for crystal pieces as I have a chandelier in my possession that is missing a few pieces.......

Amicalement, Leeann x

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mirror, mirror on the wall or anywhere....


{photo from here}

Bonjour from a rainy SW France,

Not that we can complain as we have not had any rain in a very long time hence we need the water.

Today I am searching for an antique French mirror for a client which is not as easy as you may think as it has to be big, ornate and not terribly expensive.....

I have found one but it is a few hours drive away so am hoping to find one closer to home but will travel if need be.......stress but very nice stress.

Wish me luck as as the French say bonne chance....

A demain mes amies, Leeann x

Monday, 2 April 2012

weekend tresors...


Bonjour,

Hope that you had a nice weekend. Ours was another busy but productive weekend and we spent yesterday morning hunting for treasure.

Alas there were a lot of stands but not a lot of treasure which unfortunately, is often the case at the start of the treasure hunting season.

But some treasure is better than no treasure at all.

Weekend finds included:



Beautiful antique sheet with lots of detail around the edge, I think that it is one of the nicest that I have found......


lots of lovely flowers and ribbons.....


It is not as wide as some sheets that I have had in the past, but I think that it would make a fabulous curtain or even a gorgeous curtain for a bed crown/ciel de lit.....


Next up is this late 19th century silver plated tray which you could use to put jewellery on and I think that it would look lovely displayed on a dresser or bedside table..... 



Again dating back to the late 19th century, is this silver plated napkin holder with fabulous monogramme....


Last not not least, is a serious of prints depicting hot air balloons from a very long time ago and the reason that I bought these is that I have the same set displayed in one of the apartments and I thought that I would display this set in my wee boutique...

 
I will be updating the online shop later, time permitting. 

Je vous souhaite à tous une semaine fabuleuse........Leeann x