Monday, 29 December 2014

I believe...

quote from here
Bonjour from a freezing SW France,

Firstly can I ask all of my friends living in Australia and New Zealand to stop posting photos of the beach and refrain from saying how hot it is as it is freezing here and set to stay like this for most of the week.

I was planning on doing some painting this week but it is simply too cold so may start a new upholstery project instead.

Stumbled across this quote this morning on pinterest and think that it is perfect as it applies to everything including warmer weather...the best is yet to come!

Wishing you a très bonne semaine where ever you are in the world,

Leeann x

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Monday, 22 December 2014

dernière minute...

Bonjour from a very chilly SW France,

I am loving chilly as it means that I have an excuse to make some mulled wine.

Can you believe that we have two days until Christmas day. I am normally very organised when it comes to Christmas but this has gone out the window this year but I am confident that it will all come together at the dernière minute.

In between batches of biscuits and muffins, I managed to pop out and get French Boyfriend a nice bottle of Armagnac to go in his Christmas stocking.

We went to a couple of marche de noels at the weekend but did not find anything suitable for FB.

I found these apple decorated branches which I love and had never seen before I came to live in France.

We have guests staying over the Christmas and New Year period and I am playing Santa hence I still need one or two items to finish the stockings off but I am hoping that I will find something at our weekly market which due to Christmas day falling on a Thursday, is being held on Wednesday. Fingers crossed...

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 19 December 2014

French Food Friday...Vin Chaud

photo from here
Bonjour from a very mild SW France,
I am not sure what has happened to the weather but the cold has been replaced by mild but drizzly weather.
It is our village's marche de noel this Sunday and to get in the mood I am making mulled wine or as it is called in French vin chaud which translates to hot wine.
Vin Chaud


Heat gently 1 bottle of red wine + a glass of water add 20 g of spices for mulled wine (1 / 2 box) and 60 g sugar complete the mixture with a few slices of oranges.

Note: Infuse spices at least 10 minutes (the mixture should not boil)

Préparation :
Chauffer doucement 75 cl de vin + un verre d’eau
ajouter 20 g d’épices pour vin chaud (1/2 boîte) ainsi que 60 g de sucre
compléter le mélange par quelques rondelles d’oranges.

Remarque :
Laisser infuser les épices au minimum 10 minutes (Le mélange ne doit pas bouillir)

You can replace the bottle of wine with a good bottle of apple juice, we tasted this recently at the marche de noel in Bergerac and it really is delicious.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Cher Pere Noel...

photo from here
I cannot believe that it is 9 days to Christmas. Thought that I should start making a list and this 17th century portrait is at the top of my list...
merci en avance Pere Noel, Leeann x


Friday, 12 December 2014

French Food Friday...Chocolate madeleines with mascarpone and marmalade

recipe and photo from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Time to dust off your madeleine mould and make some very yummy chocolate madeleines...
3 eggs
140 gm caster sugar 
75 gm (½ cup) plain flour 
 25 gm Dutch-process cocoa 
 50 gm unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
 To serve: mascarpone and marmalade


  • Preheat oven to 220C. Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer on high speed until mixture doubles in volume (6-7 minutes). Sift in flour and cocoa, gently fold to combine, then fold in melted butter. Spoon tablespoonfuls of batter into buttered and floured madeleine moulds, then bake until puffed and they spring back when lightly pressed (7-8 minutes). Remove madeleines from moulds and cool on a wire rack. 
  • Split cooled madeleines in half. Spread one half of each with mascarpone and the other with marmalade, then sandwich together and serve immediately.

Note These chocolate versions of the classic madeleine are split and filled with a dollop of mascarpone and a smear of marmalade. It's best to finish them as needed - they won't hold up in transport quite so neatly.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

lampshade fever...


Bonjour mes belles,
This morning I attended a lampshade making workshop with the lovely Debra who as you know is also our upholstery teacher. Debra makes learning fun as she is patient and so fabulously positive.
I am very happy with my efforts and I am looking forward to making some more. I am now gripped by lampshade fever.... 


It was a lovely surprise when I turned them on as when lit, the monogramme  really comes alive.

Just wish that I had some more antique napkins like these but I am sure that I will find some more during the course of our travels around the various antique markets.

à demain, Leeann x

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

walked out of my front door...

...and this is what I saw! It is starting to feel a lot like Christmas!
à demain,

Monday, 8 December 2014

I finally found one...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you had a fabulous weekend. 

Ours was a nice slow one and as it was very cold yesterday morning I was not in the mood to hunt for antiques at 5am in the morning.

Instead I sent French Boyfriend off, who did not return with a lot.

After lunch it had warmed up a little so off we set, bound for a local Brocante, about half an hours drive away.

I have been hunting for a desk for a while now and all of the ones that I have seen, have been small and I wanting something large and solid looking.

Yesterday I visited 250 stands and it was at the last stand that I found the perfect desk. Ironically it turned out to be a good friend of French Boyfriend's so I left it to him to haggle over the price.

That means one less item to find...each piece has it's own story and it is nice to use a mixture of old and new items.

I get into the habit of searching for vintage or antique items and now and then, when I buy something new, I cannot believe how quick the process is. You select the item you want, take it to the counter and pay. 

Where as with an antique item, you have an idea of what you want and you start searching. You search everywhere that you can think of, this often involves driving long distances often to find that the item is nothing like you imagined, you finally find it but it needs work and the list goes on.

That said, I love antique items and feel that the thrill is definitely in the hunting whereas buying something out of a normal shop does not give you the same amount of satisfaction.

Remind me of this when it is dark and cold and 5am in the morning...

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 5 December 2014

French Food Friday...Cauliflower-and-Gruyère Soufflé

photo and recipe from here

Bonjour mes belles,

I adore Soufflés and this one is very yummy.... 

 Cauliflower-and-Gruyère Soufflé

1/2 pound cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Kosher salt
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 lightly packed cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
6 large eggs

  1. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower until very tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well and pat dry. In a medium bowl, puree the cauliflower with a potato masher or fork. Transfer the cauliflower to a colander and let drain until cooled completely. 

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 6-cup soufflé dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set it on a rimmed baking sheet. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 7 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat until bubbling, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, whisking, until thickened and no floury taste remains, about 7 minutes. Season the béchamel with salt and pepper. Scrape into a large bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally. 

  3. Stir the cauliflower puree into the béchamel, then fold in the cheese and chives. In 
a medium bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, then gently fold them into the cauliflower béchamel. Scrape the soufflé base into the prepared dish and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until puffed and browned; serve right away.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 4 December 2014

calendrier de l'avent...

Bonjour from a chilly SW France,

When I was a child I loved my advent calendar and could not wait until I reached the magical 24 box which always had the biggest and best picture.

Not a lot has changed as this year for the first time since I was a small child I have my own advent calendar or as it is known in France, calendrier de l'avent.

No.4 which I am just about to open...

The only difference between then and now is that the one that I currently have, contains a small chocolate for each day but no glitter on the outside.

I think that the chocolate makes up for the lack of glitter....

à demain, Leeann x 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Monday morning inspiration..

photos from here

Bonjour mes belles,

Stumbled across the photo a few minutes ago and  it reminded me just why I love white interiors.

We are going to be using a lot of white on our current project with a couple of other colours to break it up a bit and taupe will be one of the colours. No surprise there as you know that I love taupe and have a new Farrow and Ball colour in mind which I am planning on using in the kitchen and bathroom.

I love neutral interiors and find them soothing. I am tempted to have one dark wall in the lounge but will play it by ear..back to work I must go.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x

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