I have always had a fascination with France, French antiques and the French language. I still don't know where it came from. When my grandparents moved to the Aquitaine region of France some 10 years ago I had a reason to travel to France and even more so when my mum moved out there in 2007. I have spent 4 summers and a Christmas in beautiful France and each time I visit I fall more in love.

My mum moved back to England in 2010 and since then, much to my dismay, I just haven't been back. Until this year that is. I finally went back to France earlier this month and had the most wonderful time.

This time I stayed in my Granny's beautiful home, which is the house of my dreams with it's pastel shutters and French farmhouse charm.

The weather was disappointing but I had the most amazing time with the best company. My Granny and I are quite similar in our tastes and she is possibly one of my most favourite people, she's a real delight to spend time with and not only because she loves brocante shops and bootsales as much as I do.

I had a relaxing week spending time with family, of the human and animal variety, shopping and visiting my favourite French towns and I couldn't think of anywhere I wanted to be more. The French lifestyle is so appealing, the surroundings are beautiful and I feel so at home over there.

Of course I took a lot of pictures along the way:

My favourite French town - Segur Le Chateau

As is always the way, the holiday was over too quickly. But the thing about visiting a place that you adore is that when you leave you can't wait to go back. Although I have been lucky enough to visit some lovely new places this year, I could go back to France every year for the rest of my life. So, roll on France 2014.

Of course I came home with a few (a lot) of French treasures both new and antique. Perhaps I'll share them in another post.

Thanks for reading about my French adventure today.

With love,


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My Charcoal Challenge - Money Super Market

Earlier this month I stumbled upon Money Super Market's Charcoal Challenge and I was offered the chance to take part.

I had £50 to throw a BBQ and so...I did.

I picked a weekend right in the middle of the heatwave and so the weather was beyond glorious and perfect for a BBQ.

My garden was looking lovely (thankfully) I hardly had to do anything to it to prepare but it did give me an excuse to have a tidy up, something which I had been putting off for a while.

And once that was done I only had to add a few touches here and there including, of course, bunting. I chose this spotty party bunting from Dot Com Gift Shop specifically.

I knew this bunting would be perfect because I used to have some hanging in my house (before I donated it to a friend). The flags are large sized with durable material making them great for use in the garden, and the length was just right. I love the bright colours, perfect for a summer party.

Then came time to set everything up ready for my guests, there was to be five of us. I kept it small mostly because most of my friends and family aren't local and also this was my first time hosting a BBQ and I decided less people would mean less pressure.

I started with a drinks station which featured homemade peach iced tea. I tried to make use of as many things that I had around the house so that I could save my budget for the food. All my jars and stripey straws came in handy.

 From drinks station to dessert station. I bought some delicious cakes for my guests and piled up some of my china collection ready for people to help themselves to.

And here it was ready for my lovely guests.

My guests arrived in the afternoon and bought more treats for us to enjoy including some yummy Fentimans drinks.

They didn't last long!

And soon enough it was time to light the BBQ. I left most of the cooking to my housemate as I am a BBQ novice but I did choose all the food.

I tried to keep it simple and headed for M&S. They have a deal on for the summer where you can choose three BBQ treats for £10 so I stocked up on Chorizo burgers and all the trimmings, some summer vegetable kebabs and sausages.

Plenty of sausages.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, me included. The summer vegetables and halloumi were even better with the M&S pesto mayonnaise that I picked up and the burgers included my favourite chedder - Black bomber, which I bought especially.

Then of course it was pudding time.

And as the warm sun started to set I turned the peach iced tea into something a little stronger and bought out my surprise addition. Tea cup alcoholic jelly. Thankfully I only made two, just as well as they were pretty disgusting. Although they looked very pretty...

And then it got silly..

Really silly..

So, how do I think my Charcoal Challenge went? I think it was successful. By being resourceful and gathering together as much of my own bits and pieces as I could I was able to keep to budget and by keeping my menu simple (but sumptuous) and my guest list small I was able to make sure everyone had a good time, including me.

A big thank you to Money Super Market for letting me take part in this challenge.

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Fine furnishing

I've been doing a bit of rearranging at home of late to make space for some new additions. Recently I was lucky enough to acquire some lovely old furniture from my mum (and a second hand furniture store). Bu both pieces were in desperate need of a little brightening up.

The first piece was a beautiful dresser top stained in a very dark colour. It was drab and plain and didn't look quite right in my bathroom. Of course, there's nothing a coat of paint can't fix.

I found the perfect colour, a soft shade of pastel blue with a hint of green known as 'mint macaroon' by Duluxe. Two coats later and all was changed. I am very happy with the result.

I also picked up a shabby white cabinet after seeing it on the pavement outside an old furniture store. After a brief woodworm panic and subsequent woodworm treatment session I finally found its place in my living room.

I am tempted to paint it to freshen it up. But its a beautifully shabby piece and its shabbiness comes from age and is not artificial and I love that about it. The one thing I did know was that it needed something on the door panel.

I initially thought that some wallpaper would be best but then I remembered the old Peony & Sage style fabric that I picked up recently and it all fell into place.

I am so happy with this piece, even without a paint job. There is nothing quite like the feeling of happiness you get when a project turns out exactly as you'd hoped.

With love,


If you're not already following me on Bloglovin please do so. I would hate to think that you are missing out on updates now that Google Reader has bid us farewell. Otherwise, you can still find my updates on your blogger dashboard if you use one.

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Adventures of a homebody

Well would you look at that..it's summertime at long last.

The sun makes me a much happier person. It makes days out more fun, it makes my garden come to life and it makes me want to go on adventures.

So what have I been up to these last few months? Well not a lot really. I've been busy working and visiting my poor neglected family but I have squeezed in a few trips to pastures new (and less new) but I'll save that for later.

I have also been busy being my usual homebody self. I especially love being at home in my current home because it is the kind of home I had always dreamed of living in. This year is likely to be my last year in this flat and typically it's just starting to look the way I want it to so I'm enjoying that while I can.

Don't get me wrong, I also love spending my weekends exploring new places and recently I spent a lovely sunny Saturday surrounded by beautiful Surrey countryside. The best kind of adventure is when you stop in the middle of nowhere and go wandering and that's exactly what I did.

As much as I appreciate London, I'd rather be here any day. Forever a country girl.

While out making the most of the weather I visited the beautiful market town of Dorking which incidentally happens to have a rather large population of antique shops! One such shop is called 'Gorgeous Gertie's' a vintage emporium with strings of bunting on the shop front..how could I resist? It's beautiful inside, an old building bursting with character filled to the brim with charm and treasures. I stopped for afternoon tea in the pretty tea room which was beyond delicious.

Before perusing the upper floors and spending a small fortune on beautiful old things...oops. Do please pay them a visit if you can.

I now have enough china to open several tea rooms..so if that dream ever comes true I will be well prepared. In the meantime if anyone needs to rent a load of vintage china then let me know. (I am only partially serious)

I also recently took part in another swap, this one was an Instagram swap arranged by Lissylou called 'the kindness swap'. The premise was to make or buy 7 gifts, each one beginning with the seven letters that make up the word 'Friends'. I loved making and buying things to suit my lovely swap partner and she seemed happy with her gifts. I was utterly spoilt in return!

Just a few of the gifts I received from Emily for
the Kindness Swap

Sadly, the sun has disappeared today and it feels a bit like April all over again but the good news is I have some much needed holiday time next week and I plan to do absolutely nothing at all except lay around like a cat and perhaps do some blogging about my recent trip up north...perhaps. I wouldn't want to strain myself though.

Until then,



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Book Review: Pretty Pastel Style

These days I do very well at resisting the pull of all the most beautiful interior design books (and you know there are many). They are all so tempting with their exquisite covers hiding perfectly styled photographs of the kind of home that I and many others dream about having. There's a book for every style and preference and I could easily take them all home. I would make furniture out of them if it was justification enough.

But, every now and again a book comes along that needs no justification and Selina Lake's 'Pretty Pastel Style' is one such book.

It may be the title, it may be the front cover, it may be the colours or perhaps all of the above. Whatever it was, the book had me from the start. They say you should never judge a book by its cover but I had high expectations for this book and judge it I did.

'Pretty Pastel Style' sets itself up as a book that will show the reader how to use modern pastels in their homes. Simple. In reality, it does this and so much more. Anyone with a fondness for vintage, shabby chic and quirk will find something in the chapters of this book to inspire a home makeover be it big or small. It has plenty to swoon over, plenty to envy and plenty to copy which makes it a book that keeps on giving.

The photos seem new and unique. There was never a feeling that I had already seen the same photo or the same elements before which is rare and nothing felt reproduced. I especially enjoyed the vintage elements in the photographs and I appreciated the time that had been spent styling them.

And that's always the draw with any Selina Lake book. Her styling is impeccable. It's work like Selina's that made me want to be a stylist for so many years and 'Pretty Pastel Style' is no different with pages full of photographs so dreamy that I will return to them again and again.

The advice that accompanies the pictures is sound and practical. I had wondered exactly how much you can write about pastels but this book is not short of tips and explanations, all broken down into a pleasing number of chapters with plenty of variety. This is definitely not just a picture book but the pictures were the biggest draw for me personally.

There are so many wonderful Selina books that you could choose from and If you can, you should own them all but this one is one of my favourites and any collection is not complete without it.

It also passes the coffee table test by being pretty enough to be on display all the time. That's got to be the best kind of book.

Thank you for reading.


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Spring Forward

I won't dwell on the weather, I won't ask if you know where Spring is because I know you don't and neither do I. I won't mention the clocks or the amount of chocolate I have eaten.

Instead I will tell you that my plans for the long Easter weekend did not work out so I have had a blissful amount of time to catch up, to organise, to take stock and to relax. I have also had some time to try and rediscover my love of photography. 

I seem to have lost my mojo, I'm not as creative or as passionate about it as I once was. I think my imagination is running dry. 

So it's not often that I get the photographic urge. But I love it when I do.

Some things are better used as props than their intended purpose don't you think?

Happy Easter everyone.


x x x

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Splashes of colour

Let's gloss over the the shameful gap in postings shall we?

Let's just be forgiving and understanding. 

After all it is almost spring, the season where everything blossoms anew and winter is forgotten. So let's just say that my blog was going through its own winter while its writer conserved energy in a deep deep hibernation . 

The truth is, I struggle with winter. Post Christmas the January blues creep in and I usually fall victim to some plague or another and motivation is always in limited supply. This year it's taken a little longer to get myself out of the January slump, mainly due to aforementioned plague.

But while the days have been grey, sometimes white, I have been doing what I can to bring those splashes of colour into my everyday life. 

Whether it be physical, literal colour..flowers, decorations...teacups..

Or the kind of colour that comes from making something or doing something different, something interesting, something that takes your mind off the grey outside. 

A new craft perhaps? A visit to a new town...

There's nothing like doing something creative to add a bit of colour to the day...and if the result also brings colour to my home then so much the better.

I kept myself busy this winter by making metres of bunting..just because. I hadn't made anything in a very long time and my home needed a lift after the Christmas decoration purge. Such a pretty pattern.

 I also enjoyed working with this little bundle of colours when I decided to make myself a granny square blanket. This meant that I needed to learn how to crochet. Something which I was certain that I never wanted to do. But I'm a determined soul when I want to be. So with the help of many youtube videos, I taught myself and I spent many a dark night turning these little balls of colour into something that I can keep and pass down. Learning something new is fun isn't it?

It's getting there slowly.

Of course what I really wanted to be doing was writing but I seem to be failing in that area. So many ideas and such a lack of confidence. Somewhere along the line in this busy thing called life I feel like I lost my writing talent and I'm sure I had it once. Now, not even I believe myself when I say I'm a writer. Still trying to find a way out of that but for now the blog will have to do. 

How did you make it through the winter this year? Or was the promise of spring enough to keep you going? Well it'll soon be here.

 So until next time, let me welcome you all into March and bid you farewell. Until next time...and there will be a next time I'm sure of it.

With love,


P.S I missed you.

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