Tuesday, 30 June 2015

a hot one...

Bonjour mes belles,

This week many parts of France are preparing for a heat wave which will see temperatures in the early 40's and it is expected to last for a week or so.

France has never experienced temperatures like this in the 100 years that they have been recording weather patterns and some put this down to global warning.

As I write this the locals are busy doing everything they need to do before the temperatures start to rise during the course of the day, reaching a high of 41 today.

A good day to stay somewhere cool, underground caves spring to mind but I have a feeling that many will be thinking the same thing.


Lascaux is famous for its cave painting which are 17,000 years old and were discovered by four teenage boys in 1940. You can read more about the caves here.

It takes an hour and half to drive there from our house and it is one of the top 10 things to do when visiting the Dordogne.

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann x


Saturday, 27 June 2015

bon week-end...

where ever you are, what ever you are doing, I hope you have a fabulous weekend...Leeann x

Friday, 26 June 2015

French food Friday...Madeleines With Almonds and Apricot Glaze

photo and recipe from here
 Bonjour mes belles,

As you know I love making madeleines and am always on the lookout for a new recipe to try hence this one was right up my alley.

Yield:Makes 16 madeleines
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:1 hour 40 minutes
Special equipment:  madeleine tin



  • For the Madeleines:
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3.17 ounces or 90 grams) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon (3.17 ounces or 90 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons shaved almonds
  • For the Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon water


1. For the Madeleines: Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed and preferably light-colored saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until foaming subsides and butter starts to smell nutty and milk solids are a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Pour brown butter into a heatproof container and set aside to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 egg with the sugar until foamy. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining egg until the batter looks smooth. Add milk to the cooled (but still melted) brown butter and drizzle the mixture into the batter, whisking continuously.
Whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts. Set the batter aside for 50 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate for 10 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 390°F and adjust oven rack to middle position. Butter a madeleine pan and pour the batter among the molds, filling them almost to the top. (There’s no need to smooth the batter, as it will even out as it bakes.) Sprinkle the shaved almonds on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 9 to 11 minutes.

4. Remove madeleines from the oven and immediately invert the hot pan over a cool baking sheet or a wire rack, gently rapping the pan to dislodge the madeleines. (Waiting for the madeleines to cool even slightly will make it difficult to remove them from the pan.) Set the madeleines aside to cool slightly.

5. For the Glaze: Combine jam and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the jam loosens and melts into the water. Remove from the heat. Using a pastry brush, brush the shell-side of the madeleines with the glaze.

6.Serve warm or at room temperature. Madeleines taste best on the day they’re made, but you can keep them, stored in an airtight container, for up to 2 days.
très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

our holiday in 18 photos...

This was the first thing that we saw when we arrived, the sea air smelt fabulous...

How could you not fall in love with the stunning ile de re...

Nothing nicer than having lunch overlooking these beauties.....

There were roses everywhere, I think that the sea air agrees with them....

Lots of lovely shops....

There were seas of poppies everywhere, I can see why a lot of artists base themselves here, it is an inspiring place...

Unpoilt beaches, reminds me a bit of New Zealand....

Even the publicity is chic....

I fell head over heels with Chateau Oleron....

So colourful and full of character...

La Rochelle was lovely as always and we enjoyed the cycle tracks along the coast....


Then we stumbled across a magic place where we found that a fellow kiwi had left his mark...

Such a fabulous surprise,  a real secret place....

Loved the detail and the owners of the hotel where we stayed did not know that this fabulous work of art existed...

 It took 4 years to complete and it really is monumental.

Hope you enjoyed our snaps, it really was a fabulous break and I cannot wait to go back later in the year.

Leeann x

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bonjour été..

Summer has officially arrived which sounds a little odd to me, having just coming back from a week's holiday by the coast.

Such a fabulous and very relaxing break, it was exactly what we needed. So for those of you planning a trip to France, you must add La Rochelle and Ile de Re to your list of places to visit.

Loved the laid back attitude of the locals, the fabulous food, miles of cycling tracks and the sea air.

I hope to have time to share some of our holiday snaps with you later in the week....

très bonne semaine à tous, Leeann


Saturday, 20 June 2015

bon week-end...

Here is one  of the photos that I took whilst we were on our break by the sea....
bon week-end à tous, Leeann x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Having a fabulous time...

We are taking a bit of a break before the season starts......back soon!

à trés bientôt mes belles, Leean x

Monday, 8 June 2015

la belle vie...

Bonjour mes belles,

I hope that you have had a fabulous weekend. Ours was spent hunting for treasure and French Boyfriend found a fabulous clock which I will take a photo of later today.

Being a morning person, there is nothing I like better than a walk around the village before the village starts waking up. This morning was no exception and I arrived at the boulangerie just as the cakes were being so beautifully placed, one by one, in the display cabinet.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, but once I had finished my breakfast duties I snapped this photo of our neighbours window box. It is stunning and an example of how much pride the French ladies take in looking after their loved potted gardens.


La belle vie is an expression that springs to mind as the French never seem to be rushed or stressed and calmly go about their busy and refuse to change for the sake of change.

Charming and bewitching are words that spring to mind...France you cast a spell when it is least expected.   

très belle semaine à tous, Leeann x

Friday, 5 June 2015

French Food Friday...Brie with Nuts & Honey

recipe and photo from here
Bonjour mes belles,
We have a lot of cheese chez nous at present and this is a great way of serving brie. Brie is a bit bland on its own but with the addition of fruit and honey it turns into something a bit special...
Brie with Nuts & Honey
You will need:
1 small whole ripe wheel of brie, room temperature
1 small pear
6 sage leaves
6 to 8 walnuts
  1. Place brie on a platter and add pear, sage, and walnuts.
  2. Drizzle with honey and serve with bread and crackers.

très bon vendredi à tous, Leeann x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A favourite of mine...

photo from here

Bonjour from a very sunny and warm Eymet,

Today is going to be the hottest day so far, 36 degrees and tomorrow is also going to be another hot way.The heat wave is a result of very hot temperatures in North Africa which are being pushed in our direction.

As you know I love venetian mirrors and I am a fan of Philippe Starck. He appears to also love venetian mirrors and uses them on a lot of his projects.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to have the chance to purchase a fabulous and very large vintage venetian mirror.

It is bound for the wall of the bedroom in our latest project, Maison No. 26.

Not only is it large, it is also very heavy so it will need something substantial when it comes to fixing it to the wall.

I am off to look for some curtain tieback hooks, why is it that the smallest of items can take the longest time to source...I think it is a "girl" thing. 

à demain, Leeann x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

bonjour juin...

photo from here
Love this photo as it has a certain calmness about it. May was a hectic month for both of us work wise but June should be a more relaxing month for us.  Lazing in a hammock by the beach comes to mind along with a couple of days hunting for antiques.
Nothing wrong with mixing business with a bit of pleasure....or should I say a lot of pleasure with a bit of business...
amicalement, Leeann x
p.s. In case you are wondering I have not finished the painting yet but I hope to spend the rest of the week doing some more! 

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