Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2 more days left.....

{image from here}

First of all, merci beaucoup for telling me about all your plans for 2010, sounds like we are going to be a very busy bunch.

I cannot believe that we only have 2 more days until 2010. Mind you it make take me that long deciding what to wear.

We together with some lovely friends, are seeing the new year in at a new restaurant that has recently opened in the village, the food is great there and the decor very chic - think chocolatey walls with menus on blackboards and a mixture of modern leather and wicker chairs with a huge open fireplace as the main feature of the room....deliciously chic but more importantly at this time of the year -lovely and warm.

It maybe a little bit busy to take photos tomorrow night but I will return on a quieter day to get some photos with my new camera that Santa kindly gave me.

The mayor is putting on a wee party and will be offering all a crepe and free aperitif. The old chateau will be lit with lasers and this will be the place where most of the locals see the new year in.....cannot wait, it should be a fabulous and very fun night.

I have been lucky enough to spend new years eve in some fabulous cities; Sydney (the atmosphere is electric), London (many of which were unfortunately wet including 1999), Dubai, Istanbul, Mumbai, Santiago and so the list goes on.

This year I am looking forward to a more sedate affair without the crowds and bright city lights.This may have something to do with the fact that I am now in my 40's and prefer candle light to neon.

Today I am loving this photo that I found in Canadian house and home magazine.

I adore the mix of the dark table with the light coloured louis style chairs - fabulous. And that chandelier is fabulous.....

Work beckons so I had better go, wishing you all a very fabulous new years eve, where ever you maybe. I will be back on Saturday where we will be discussing planned projects for 2010 as part of this weeks Pink Saturday post.


L x

Sunday, 27 December 2009

4 days and counting....

{image from here} a new start. It is almost like wiping the slate clean and starting again.

I am so looking forward to 2010 as Mr FF and I have many things on our "to do list" including a new kitchen which we are planing on using as the kitchen/dining room for serving breakfast/ dinner to guests and also for hosting cooking lessons which will be taught by a local french lady.

I am looking forward to choosing appliances and having a kitchen big enough to hold all my kitchen wares which are currently housed in two places 18kms apart. As most of you already know I have a thing about Farrow and Ball's "Elephants breath" which is the most beautiful shade of grey so will be using this colour in the new kitchen.

We are also planning on finishing the last apartment, which is situated on the ground floor of Maison No. 20, this will be used as owners accommodation which makes sense as it is on the same level as the kitchen and the office come showroom for fabulously french.

We are also planning on offering a range of activity holidays which include patine paint effect lessons, cooking, painting and sculpture along with a few other subjects, so I will be busy working on details for these during early 2010.

We have arranged a top to toe beauty package with a local beautician whose prices are very reasonable and the products that she uses are some of the best in France.

And I plan to spend my spare time scouring vide greniers/brocantes looking for any items that are fabulous and french...

Enough about our plans, what are your plans for 2010?

L x

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Joyeuses fêtes

{Chanel window display December 2009/

Vitrines Chanel- Paris décembre 2009}

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and fabulous 2010/

Nous vous souhaitons un joyeux Noël et fabuleux 2010

Leeann & Mr FF


ps Thank you to all who have visited "Fabulously French", I have appreciated you so very much. Take care and enjoy this holiday season wherever you may be.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Fabulous Christmas lights......

{all images - moi}

Yesterday was one of those days, you know the sort of day that I am talking about - lots of things that need to be done and time seems to slip away.

I was hoping to spend the day delivering gifts but spent 1/2 the day making them and the other half on chores that took more time than I thought they would.

We were also hoping to go into Bergerac, which is the closest biggest town and is 1/2 an hours drive away but took a lot longer as it was raining. I do not mind the snow as it is pretty to look at but the rain is not pretty and gets in the way when trying to take photos of pretty Christmas lights.

Hence most of my photos were taken from inside the car....

I adore these lights, simple yet oh so effective.....

These tree shaped lights are very pretty and were in one of the carparks.

Christmas is nothing without a few stars....

But this is my favourite photo which I took while sheltering from the rain. I was hoping to take some photos of the marche de noel but they were packing up as it was pouring with rain by this stage.

Today I am spending the day delivering cards and presents, I was thinking of dressing Mr FF up as an elf, but I have a feeling that he would be like a naughty child and would not keep the costume on for very long.

Have a fabulous Wednesday/Je vous souhaite un mercredi fabuleux,

L x

Monday, 21 December 2009

Let it snow...

{image from here}

As you have no doubt heard, weather conditions in Northern Europe have disrupted a lot of travellers, including our guests, who were scheduled to arrive at 9pm tonight and will not arrive until the early hours of the morning, but the snow does not seem to have affected these beautiful creatures......

L x

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Joyeux Solstice d’hiver

As most of you already know, the 2009 winter officially begins tomorrow, Monday, December 21. The date will mark the winter solstice/solstice d’hiver, the astronomical point in time when the shortest day of the year will take place. From that point on, winter is ongoing, even though this year it came a little bit earlier in Europe. According to official scientific data, the solstice will take place at precisely 12:47 pm EST (1747 GMT), on Monday, LiveScience reports.

In astronomy, the winter solstice occurs when the axial tilt of our planet is the farthest away from the Sun possible within a year. The maximum tilt is about 23 degrees 26 seconds, which means that the star shines on our hemisphere for just a few hours. In addition, the Sun will also be visible at the lowest position in the sky it occupies all year. Generally, in the Northern Hemisphere, it appears high in the sky, such as during summer, and lingers there for many hours before finally setting, about two to three hours before midnight. During the solstice, the star will only rise a little bit in the northern skies, and will then plunge over the line of the horizon, just a few hours after sunrise.

The bright side, so to speak, is that the days will be getting longer come Tuesday. As the Earth's tilt gradually returns to its position over the months, the length of days will increase considerably, until they reach their maximum at the summer solstice, which in 2010 will fall on June 21. At that time, the daytime will reach a length of about 15 hours, as opposed to the 9 hours that the Sun will shine during Monday. Astronomers also say that the cold accompanying winter is entirely caused by the axial tilt. Surprisingly, the planet as a whole is actually closer to the star during Northern Hemisphere winter, but the tilt pushes the northern parts of the planet away from the warming sunlight.

Historically speaking, the solstices and equinoxes have been celebrated since Neolithic times, as evidenced by the large number of observatories that were constructed out of raw materials and with limited technology, but always pointed at the place of the sky the Sun would find itself in during one of these astronomical events. Additionally, many people began celebrating the solstice on account of the meaning they attached to it. The winter solstice, for example, was seen as a sign of rebirth, the time when the planet began to slowly return to life, after the length of days had decreased from summer through fall and well into winter.

Wishing you as very happy winter solstice/Joyeux Solstice d’hiver

L x

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Here's wishing you a very fabulous weekend......

{image from here}

Wishing you a fabulous weekend, happy shopping. It is cold and snowy here, perfect for our Marche de Noel tomorrow.
L x

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Paris sous la neige

Place des Vosges. Paris sous la neige

It is snowing in Paris and the forecast is for snow for us tomorrow, hope that we wake up in the morning to snow everywhere.

L x

What is it about a Christmas fairy...

......that makes you smile every time that you see it. I bought our fairy on Saturday at a local marche de noel and I adore her.

Mr FF has suggested that I should have made one of my own, maybe next year.

He bought me a gift last night, I will tell you about tomorrow but in the meantime I will give you a small clue, it involves many kisses or as they say here, "mille baisers".

A demain,

L x

ps no snow as yet, maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The word hyacinth.....

I adore Hyacinths, I think it is the way that you can watch them grow.

I never knew where the name came from until a few days ago, merci beaucoup Philip.

An ancient Greek legend describes the origin of the Hyacinth. Two of the gods, Apollo and Zephyr, adored a handsome young Greek called Hyakinthos. Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the art of throwing a discus.

Zephyr, who was the god of the west wind, was overcome with jealousy and he blew the discus back. It struck Hyakinthos on the head and killed him. From his blood grew a flower, which the sun god Apollo named after him.

What a fabulous story, its makes hyacinths seem a little bit more special.

It is really cold here in SW France, -6 degrees but as yet we have had no snow.

My plan is to stay inside today and make some gingerbread biscuits.

What are you doing today?/Que faites-vous aujourd'hui?

A demain mes amis

L x

Monday, 14 December 2009

Only in France.....

{image from here}

can you get a foie gras burger! I am lost for words........

L x

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Dear Santa.....

{image from here}

I have been a good girl this year and worked hard renovating our house with Mr FF.

We have moved houses this year and our chimney is "tres petite". So I think to save you the trip of trying to squeeze yourself down the chimney with a large presnt you could lower my Nikon D3000 camera down the chimney and I will ensure that it has a safe landing.

I know that you will be very hungry so will leave food and drink for you and your reindeer by the front door. I will also leave you a little something from fabulously french, for your lovely wife to save you the hassle of last minute shopping.

Merci beaucoup et a tres bientot,

Leeann x

Friday, 11 December 2009

Wreath making class...

Yesterday I attended, along with 20 others, a wreath making class which I really enjoyed.

It was a great afternoon as not only did I learn how to make a wreath but I also met some really interesting and very talented people in the process.

So today I thought that I would share the steps with you in case you would like to make one of your own.

You'll need: Anything you like that you think will make good wreath material! We used leaves, twigs and berries from local hedgerows, as well as Christmas tree branches, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and oranges which had been scored and dried out for a few days.

You'll also need wire rings from a florist's, twine and wire to attach things to the rings, and some gold and silver spray paint for decoration. The base of the wreath will be spongy moss - we did not have any so used straw which is just as good.

Step 1 - Creating the masterpiece
Once you have got your materials, the first step is to attach everything to the wire rings. Start with damp moss or dried straw, which will act as an oasis and keep all your foliage moist. Use plenty of it, attaching it to the ring by stuffing it between the inner and outer ring, then wrapping it with twine or florists wire.

This is what it should look like after you have finished attaching the straw/moss to the ring.

If you want to skip this step, pre-mossed rings/ready made straw wreaths are available from most garden centres.

Step 2 - Layering
To make your wreaths look really, really full, you want to layer everything as much as you can.

Make little bunches, or bouquets, of foliage to add one at a time. Once you are happy with your first bunch, use a loop of wire to pin it securely to your base. The top of the next bunch goes towards the bottom of the previous bunch and you turn each one out to keep increasing the size of the wreath.

To complete the wreath, just keep pinning the little bouquets on until all the moss/straw is covered.

Step 3 - The fun bit
Add splashes of colour to break up the evergreens - maybe some sprigs of holly and the odd pine cone - and once you’re almost satisfied, hanging it up will help you decide if you need any extra flourishes, like berries or bows. We used dried orranges and bundles of cinnamon which we wired together and then covered the wire with a piece of red ribbon.

The final touch was a lovely bow which we made out of wide red ribbon.

Step 4 - Voila the finished product
In order to hang your wreath you will need to attach a piece of wire or ribbon so that you can attach it to your door.

And here it is hanging on the front door of Maison No. 20......

I would like to thanks Julie and Joel from Arts Cool, for organising the workshop and Jenny Moss - a very talented florist, who taught us how to make the wreath.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend (it is getting colder so we may get some snow next week)
L x

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My birdcage project...

As many of you Ange, my very lovely kiwi friend in Toulouse, gave me a gorgeous antique birdcage as a gift.

I was not sure what to do with it and asked you all for suggestions. Some of you suggested painting it and some suggested leaving it in it's original state.

I decided to wax it with some antique wax and what a difference it made to the very old and very dry wood.

I then lined the cage with very old manuscript pages and then put some dried decorations in the bottom of the cage. I then hang a small canvas in the back of the cage.

The brocantess suggested that as it was going to the entrance way of Apartment deux I should include a number 2 on the birdcage.

I already had some petite enamel numbers, so used one that I had.

The finishing touch was a pieces of white ribbon which I used to hang the birdcage from the ceiling with.

Many thanks to all of you for your wonderful suggestions, I would be lost without you.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am off to my wreath making class and will be reporting back on Friday.

Hope that you are all enjoying the fextive season where ever you are in this big blogging world of ours.

Je vous souhaite un mercredi merveilleux

L x

Monday, 7 December 2009

Vintage grain sacks......

I cannot believe that it is Monday already, why does the weekend always go so quickly?

We had a list of things that we wanted to do and managed to get 1/2 of them done.

On the top of my list was to go and get a Christmas tree for apartment deux which was not as painful as Mr FF thought that it would be. Last year it was a very slow exercise as I needed a very large Christmas tree for the dining room at Maison de Poitiers and it took a long time to find something that was the right height and bushy yet not too sticky out. Not that I am fussy or anything!

This year it was straight forward as I wanted something smaller and Mr FF was tres content when I selected the tree within all of 5 minutes and it was small enough to fit in the back of our car.

I have decorated the tree with some home made decorations that I made from modelling clay using cookie cutters and some red baubles but needed something to cover the container that the tree is growing in.

Mr FF suggested that I use a grain sack and voila the tree was complete.

Whilst we are on the subject of grain sacks, the vintage grain sack stork cushions have arrived and look fabulous.

The whole of the sack has been used, and I adore the printing on the back complete with original stamped monogramme.

Note as no two sacks are the same, this means that each cushion made will be totally unique in design. The cuhions are all finished by hand locally in SW France.

They are a good size (60 x 60 cms/23 x 23")and look equally as fabulous on a couch or on a floor. The cost of each is 110 euros/160 USD.

As these are custom made, we are able to provide you with a smaller or larger cushion if you require a different size to the one shown.

Note we only have 4 vintage grain sacks in this design and it is not likely that we will get anymore as sacks in this condition are becoming harder and harder to find now days so please email me if you would like one in a different size.

Tomorrow I will be back with some photos of my antique birdcage in its completed state and later in the week will be reporting back on the wreath making class that I am attending on Thursday.

A demain,

L x

Saturday, 5 December 2009

The perfect christmas tree decoration

{image from here}

I think that I have finally found a use for all those chandelier crystal drops that I have lying around the house.

So simple yet oh so chic.....

Have a happy weekend

L x

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Vendredi fleurs/Friday flowers

Je vous souhaite à vendredi un très fabuleux/

Wishing you a very fabulous Friday

L x

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas in France

{Bûche de Noël, image from here}

I thought that I would share some facts about Christmas in France......

Nearly every French home at Christmas time displays a Nativity scene or creche, which serves as the focus for the Christmas celebration. The creche is often peopled with little clay figures called santons or "little saints." An extensive tradition has evolved around these little figures which are made by craftsmen in the south of France throughout the year. In addition to the usual Holy Family, shepherds, and Magi, the craftsmen also produce figures in the form of local dignitaries and characters.

{Santons in Avignon}

The craftsmanship involved in creating the gaily colored santons is quite astounding and the molds have been passed from generation to generation since the seventeenth century. Throughout December the figures are sold at annual Christmas fairs in Marseille and Aix.

The Christmas tree has never been particularly popular in France, and though the use of the Yule log has faded, the French make a traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the Bûche de Noël, which means "Christmas Log." The cake, among other food in great abundance is served at the grand feast of the season, which is called le rveillon.

Le rveillon is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The menu for the meal varies according to regional culinary tradition. In Alsace, goose is the main course, in Burgundy it is turkey with chestnuts, and the Parisians feast upon oysters and pat de foie gras.

Here in SW France, the locals feast on foie gras, canard, oysters which is all washed down with a glass of local wine - we have many to choose from as the area is reknown for its wine.

French children receive gifts from Pere Noel who travels with his stern disciplinarian companion Pre Fouettard. Pre Fouettard reminds Pere Noel of just how each child has behaved during the past year.

In some parts of France Pere Noel brings small gifts on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas. In other places it is le petit Jesus who brings the gifts. Generally adults wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts.

The count down has begun, only 23 days to go.....

L x

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

And the winner is.......

{Image from here}

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for the lovely comments that you left.

Unfortunately there can only be one winner and the winner of the fabulously french cotton lingerie bag is comment No. 21 which was written by...


Caren - can you please email me your address details so I can pop the prize in the mail to you.

I will be back tomorrow to share some French Christmas facts with you.

A demain,

L x

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