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Showing posts from February, 2013

staying tidy...

Bonjour mes belles,

For some reason I seem to find it hard staying tidy and end up with wee piles of things everywhere. 

We have just finished serving breakfast to our guests hence this is the perfect time to take a photo as our kitchen/dining area is looking realatively tidy. 

The problem is that our kitchen serves many purposes, office come atelier plus I use it to take photos of stock so am envious when I see lovely photos in magazines of clean, bare looking spaces......what about you? Do you manage to live in an organised space or do you find that it tends to get on top of you when you least expect it? I am hoping that there are others of you out there like me!

My mission for 2013 is to try and live in a tidier environment, that or put everything in the garage.....

trés bonne journée à tous, Leeann x

un balcon sur la mer...

Bonjour from a sunny but chilly SW France,

Last night we watched a French film called "Un balcon sur la mer", which we both really enjoyed and I was particularly taken with the beautiful  locations most of which set in the South of France. My favourite of which, was a fabulous apartment which I really could see myself living in......

 "Un balcon sur la mer" is  both an entertaining and intelligent movie, with brillant acting from one of my favourite French actors;  Jean Dujardin and  Marie-Josée Croze.

Happily married with a daughter, Marc is a successful real estate agent in Aix-en-Provence. One day, he has an appointment with a woman to view a traditional country house. A few hours later, Marc finally puts a name to her face. It's Cathy, the girl he was in love with growing up in Oran, Algeria, in the last days of the French colonial regime. Marc hurries to her hotel. They spend the night together. Then she's gone again. And Marc's mother tells him…

fabulous idea...

photo from pinterest
I think that this is a great idea for jazzing up a plain doorway. Note it is fashionable in France at present for the young to use the fronton from an armoire and pose above the doorway and the older French often put a curtain over the front door to keep out the cold so this idea marries the two nicely.

We have just received quite a few antique frontons so over the next day or so I will be adding these to the online shop.

Note they are unpainted so you can paint them any colour that you like.

à demain, Leeann x

Sunday treasure with a bit of history....

Bonjour mes belles,

As promised I am back to tell you about the last treasure that we found and why it has an interesting history.

We left the lovely warm hall and stepped outside and  it stated to snow. Hence the poor vendors of the bread and pastries were offering special prices so that they would return to their warm house.

Directly in front of us was the religious wall hanging that you see in the photo above and in the photo below.

I commented to French Boyfriend that there was something familiar about it, despite it having camels which are not local to France but I saw quite a few when I loved in Dubai.

French Boyfriend asks the couple that are selling the wall hanging if they know the history surrounding Charles de Foulcauld and the connection with this area. They are intrigued but say they do not know anything about him.....the story goes something like this.....  

Few people outside the Roman Catholic church will have heard of Charles de Foucauld, who was the inspiration for the re…

Sunday treasures..

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you are having a trés bon week-end.   

The weather forecast was for snow flakes this morning hence I was not very motivated when the alarm went off this morning and was tempted to stay in bed.

French Boyfriend delivers cup of much needed coffee and bowl of organic muesli and then says on y va...let's go.

Off we set with no snow in sight. We arrived at the vide-grenier and although there were was a scattering of stands outside, we decided to head for the hall which housed the majority of the sellers. There were quite a few stands but not many customers which is better than a hall full of people making it impossible to regards the items on sale.

For us not only is it great to see what is on offer, it is also a time to catch up with other dealers and chat about business in general and who has found what and where they found it.

It is like show and tell and for me, the part I like the most as there is so much to learn about antiques and the history that accom…

French Food Friday....Cinnamon pain perdu with vanilla poached plums

Recipe and photo from here
What could be nicer than eggy French toast and poached can prepare the plums the day before and then store them in the fridge and when ready to use, bring to room temperature before serving.The perfect brunch dish.......

Cinnamon pain perdu with vanilla poached plums
Serves: 4Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time: 15 minutes
You will need
200ml pomegranate juice
1 vanilla pod, split
50g unrefined caster sugar
6 ripe plums
50ml double cream
2 brown eggs
8 thick slices day-old brioche
50g unsalted butter
75g unrefined caster sugar, mixed with 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Greek yoghurt to serve
1. Place the pomegranate juice, vanilla pod and 50g of the sugar in a medium pan and slowly bring to simmering point, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Add the plums and bring back up to a simmer and gently poach for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the plums to cool and stand, preferably overnight.

2. In a medium mixing bowl…

addicted to....

....bird cages and these beautiful garlands made from vintage-inspired pink paper roses and soft green leaves.  

The garlands  can be twined around bannisters or doorways to provide a romantic feel, or be laid around a fireplace or mantlepeice to just decorate the room.  They are also perfect for weddings.

I have used them in the shop entwined around candelabras and also on my mantle as they have a lovely soft romantic quality to them.

They also come in handy when wrapping gifts as I snip off one of the flowers and then place it by the bow, which gives a pretty effect.

I have just realised that it is time for lunch so I am off to start lunch as French Boyfriend gets a bit grumpy when he arrives and finds nothing prepared....

trés bonne journée à tous, Leeann x

une belle journée....

Bonjour mes belles,

I am supposed to be working inside today but could not resist the temptation to take a quick walk in the lovely sunshine, it is like a spring day here most unusual for February...

When I saw this bicycle paking outside the hairdressers, I though perfect it as though it was placed there and waiting for me to take the photo.

As you know I am a lover of this vin rouge colour; my shutters and front door are painted in the same colour so I was happy when the new owners of this hair salon painted their  facade the same colour.

For me it is a colour that always looks bright whether it is sunny or not but it really comes into it's own when the sun shines......don't we all, for that matter.

à demain, Leeann x

weekend tresors...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend. Ours was a lovely sunny one so perfect for treasure hunting.....

First of the weekend treasures, is this fabulous set of 4 antique plates, made by Fenal Freres in Pexonne.

No. 1 of 4
Not only are they very decorative, they have a humouristic side to them....

No. 2 of 4
No. 3 of 4

No. 4 of 4

I love how detailed the designs on each of the plates are and the contrast of the black against the pretty sky blue colour.

Photo of the 4 plates together.

The Fenal Freres was founded in Pexonne, France Pexonne, in 1857 and remained in business until 1897. 

The plate is back-stamped as shown with an impressed "FF PEXONNE".

They would look fabulous in any setting. 

You will find details in the fabulously french online shop or by clicking here

Other new items include a vintage eiffel tower statue, more vintage french rosaries, a vintage butterfly collection and some individually framed butterflies and insects which have come from a loc…

bon week-end à tous....

Bonjour mes belles,

We have woken up to lots of gorgeous sunshine so the plan is to profit while it is here.

This morning's photo is of the flowers that French Boyfriend bought me yesterday......a very unexpected surprise to receive roses the day after St Valentin especially when I had already received roses on St Valentin along with this beautiful statue of the Vierge Marie.

She is huge and as with most statues of the vierge marie, over time she has lost her hands, hence it is hard to find a statue with hands. Note I think that this adds to her charm.....

Wishing you a fabulous week-end/ Je vous souhaite un week-end fabuleux.....Leeann x

French food Friday...Breton Prune Flan

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you all had a lovely St Valentin. In case you did not have enough sugar yesterday, here is a nice sweet recipe for you....

Breton Prune Flan
Serves 6

50g unsalted butter125g golden caster sugar2 medium eggs500ml whole creamy milk1 tbsp dark rum1 tsp vanilla extract 125g plain flour125g no-soak prunesTO FINISH
icing sugar for dusting Have ready a 23cm square solid baking tin about 4cm deep, or similar (such as a brownie tin; not a loose-bottom cake tin). Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the tin with baking paper then butter it with a little extra butter and dust with a little extra caster sugar. Melt the 50g butter and whiz in a liquidiser with all the remaining ingredients except the prunes, then scrape down the sides and whiz again. Pour this batter into the tin, and scatter the prunes evenly over the surface (a few may peek out on top). Bake for 35-40 minutes until puffy and golden. Remove and leave to cool, …

Joyeuse Saint-Valentin!

Joyeuse Saint-Valentin!
Leeann x

yes please...

Photo from Ladurée
Valentine's Day with Ladurée......
"The Valentine’s Day Ispahan for two persons presented with a big red bow. A delicious heart to offer as a gift of delicacy.
Rose flavoured soft macaron biscuit, rose petal cream, raspberries and lychees......."

It would be perfect and save me from having to make a dessert......

Leeann x

busy preparing...

Bonsoir mes belles,

I have just realised that it is St Valentin this Thursday so I am busy planning a menu for a romantic dîner pour nous.....

I have the card organised, the romantic DVD ordered, which I hope arrives in time, so I figure I am half way there.

The boutique is open Thursday and  we are offering complimentary gift wrapping for those of you who have left your shopping to last minute.

On that note I am off to continue with the menu......

...amicalement, Leeann x

bon week-end à tous...

photo  from one of my favourite blogs

Just stopping by to wish you all a trés bon week-end....
Leeann x

French Food Friday...Alain Ducasse’s Signature Dish - Baba au Rhum

photo and recipe from here
It started like this......I said to French Boyfriend that I needed a recipe for French Food Friday and that it should be something romantic......he said how about boeuf bourguignon? I replied that I did not find that romantic! His reply was that he did and preferred it to anything else. Last night I, the kiwi girl living with a French man that used to own a restaurant, used an Australian recipe to cook Boeuf Bourguignon. Hence stress levels were at an all time high but I should tell you that it was not the first time that I have made it as I used to serve it to guests staying at Maison de Poitiers and it always went down a treat. End result a happy and surprised boyfriend who now wants my "secret" recipe and is also planning on eating it again for dinner ce soir. Back to todays recipe story, I said that for St Valentine I was thinking of making something sweet.....hence when I suggest Baba au rhum, he looked a bit worried........pourquoi you ma…

painting results...

Bonjour mes belles,

It has been a busy day......a bit of spring cleaning followed by some shopping in order to commence cooking dîner; boeuf bourguignon and then take photos of the secretaire which is pretty much finished.

I decided to go with a blue/black colour on the exterior...

and a grey/blue on the interior.....

A close up of the two colours together....

It is bound for our new shop, with we are going to be opening  in a couple of month's time, with a friend our ours; Sue who is reknown for being our local Queen of "patine".

The shop in Eymet will continue to operate as normal stocking a range of gift and smaller vintage/antique items whereas the larger shop in Castillonnes, will permit us to stock a lot of larger items along with lots of antique and vintage curiosities.

As many of you know the shop is part of a house that I co-own and is currently on the market.  It was previously run as a Chambres D'hotes hence is perfect if you are looking to have a business in Fr…

i adore these...

I hope that you all had a nice weekend. Most of mine was spent painting or waiting for paint to dry and today I am starting to apply the wax so hope to have some photos of the finished secretaire tomorrow.

When I opened the door to the kitchen this morning I was greeted by the most gorgeous smell, thanks to these gorgeous hyacinths or as they are called in French; jacinthes.

I love watching these boost into bloom and are particularly fond of the white ones.....when I look at them they remind me that Spring is not that far away or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

Bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Movie Night...Bel Ami

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend. Last night we watched the film; Bel Ami and we both enjoyed it.

It is based on the novel  Bel Ami  written by  French author Guy de Maupassant's which was published in 1885.
The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy's corrupt rise to power from a poor ex-NCO to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses.

The set design was incredible and I could watch it over and over again, just to take it the fabulous rooms full of beautiful furniture and decorative objects...........

The beds are stunning and I feel that this one really made the "love nest".

Loved the attention to detail which I feel, really made the film.

For details and photos from the movie click here.

I am now off to hopefully finish painting, which is taking longer than I thought it would.

à demain, Leeann x

looking for love....

Bonjour mes belles,

Today's arrivals are looking for love. Each one is unique and each has been handmade with love in France.

I love the bright colours and think that they would make for fabulous gifts.

There are three that have movable joints and three that are the non-movable type.

Teddies with movable joints are 15 euros and those that do not move, are 10 euros.

I must admit each has a different personality as  I realised when  it came time to take their photos......

These hearts, hand made by the same creator, were much easier to photograph and again, come in a lovely melange of patterns and are brightly coloured.

I am now off to update the online shop.
Trés bon week-end à tous, Leeann x

French Food Friday...Valentine's Day Macarons

recipe and photo from here

Well it is the first of February which means that you have 13 days to perfect this recipe......

After which time you will be an expert, just try not to eat all of them and save some to give as gifts.

Valentine's Day Macarons Recipe:

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
55 gr almonds
55gr pistachios
pink cherry powdered food coloring (the end color will depend on how much you use)

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds, pistachios and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely grou…