how we came to find our house

gibson and ghetto, golden retriever and terrier dogs standing in the garden

This is the strange tale of the house that waited two years for our family.

 My husband and I have had many different addresses.  In several different countries.  When I was expecting our first baby we were in a lovely sunny flat in Paris.  Great,  I hear you say, and it was, but we wanted trees, we wanted countryside, we wanted more… So by the time our second child was on the way we found ourselves renting a beautiful orangery in Normandy.  This was lovely too, in the middle of an oak forest, loads of space for entertaining,  but when I was expecting our third baby (have you noticed how easy it is to remember dates via children?!)  we were ready to buy, and things got serious.
The French real estate agent is a breed apart.  I have good friends in the business, and I’ve talked about it with them, but what can I say, they play by their own rules.
the house lit up for a party
They think it indiscreet to give you details on properties for sale!  Not the best selling technique!   When I was looking for a place to buy we weren’t using internet yet, so fax messages (remember those?!)   were sent to  ALL the local estate agents and notarial offices explaining very clearly  what we were looking for….. there followed a long silence as nobody replied!
 Finally,  like after a couple of months,  an agent called and I was invited to his office.  He sat me down in front of a pile of folders containing the details of only horrible ugly houses, not  at all what we had in mind.   I was perplexed, he had my fax in front of him, but somehow the notion that I wanted an old house, with a good sized garden, in a pretty village etc … it simply wasn’t getting through.   I could see that he had other files of property on a table beside him, but he didn’t want to share those with me.

Luckily,  he was called away for a long phone call and I was left with his pile of forbidden property files!  Obviously I jumped out of my chair and started going through and, lo and behold, found a picture I liked.  “Voilà!”  I exclaimed to the harassed agent when he came back into the office.  He looked worried, left the office and returned with Monsieur le Directeur.   They explained that it was not possible for me to see the house because it belonged to a big local family, and because my husband wasn’t with me that day, and because and because…..

I persuaded them that I was capable of visiting a house without my husband being present,  so against their better judgement off we went.

What can I say? that evening I told my husband I had found the place we needed to raise our children, and that night was filled with sweet dreams.

view of the house with lawn chairs in the garden

The estate agent hadn’t finished surprising us;   he wouldn’t take our calls, let alone inform the owners of our offer!

Weeks passed, and by chance a friend introduced us directly to the owner of the house.  A large and complicated family, who wanted to sell one day, but not necessarily the next.  My husband handled everything brilliantly, but it took a long long time, and our fourth baby en route.  Yes, a very long time – two whole years with nobody else interested!

Some things are just meant to be.  We may now be here forever  and see our children married in the garden, or we may pick up sticks and live another adventure in a far off land.  We will always be glad that the family has grown up here.  It may sound foolish but I believe that this house has loved looking after us as much as we’ve loved looking after it.

the generosity of bloggers and a podcast



When I first started blogging I was amazed by the generosity of the blogging world.   The no-nonsense approach of helping each other out and aiding with mutual promotion of blogs and ideas is, I think,  a very feminine way to function.

Lunch with bloggers is always fun too, not only do we have such geeky, not-of-our-age techy conversations that always make me smile, but there is also a genuine interest in knowing how each other is doing, what she’s up to, and where possible how we can help.

Blogging is quite a solitary task, generally alone in front of a screen, typing out the words, taking the photos,  finding the ideas,  but in reality it is a community, because one blog all alone would never function.  Each one of our blogs work because the others already exist, and we simply find our spot where we are comfortable to sit and create.

And it’s because of this generous blogging spirit that I was interviewed last week by the delightful Karen and Zandra of Little Yellow Couch.   These two young women write a blog about home design, and podcast an interview every Monday – such energy!

little yellow couch logo

The podcast series is called Style Matters,  and you can check out their podcast page to see the long list of interviewees.

If you’d like to listen to the podcast you can find it HERE.

Thank you Zandra and Karen, it was great fun to be interviewed by you, hope to meet you one day for real!






the rapid bouquet – a recipe for you

roses and garden flowers in white jugs

So we all know how to follow a recipe for a quick lunch:  slice two tomatoes … prepare a vinaigrette … etc etc

But how about a recipe for a rapid bouquet? because that is what I did this week, when I had guests arriving and only five minutes to pull together some flowers.

roses and garden flowers in white jugs

To make this delicious bouquet for four you will need:

3 white jugs, of various sizes

half a dozen sprigs of old-variety  roses

three branches of black elderflower

a couple of foxgloves

and a few annual poppies.

Fill your jugs with water, and cut the flowers to suitable lengths for the height of your pitchers.  Be sure to leave some branches about five inches longer than others to create interest.

roses and garden flowers in white jugs

This is a casual country bouquet, so don’t cut the leaves of the stems, you need bulk and movement.

Line the jugs up side by side and pop the stems inside, alternating as you go and keeping an eye on the overall shape and spread of your bouquet.

Decide where to display your arrangement, turn the jugs in the right direction and if you wish, you can lay a stem on the table or console beside the jugs … it makes the whole thing look effortless, which of course it is!

roses and garden flowers in white jugs

Hope that you are enjoying flowers too this weekend, whether you are at the height of summer or heading into winter.

Thank you for reading me.