Quick round up of the end of 2016!

The months have just got away from me and blogging has sadly been what has suffered most!

I thought I’d do a quick catch up of the end of the year and then try to carry on in a more regular manner with my posts!

Summer

Mum spent most of the summer with us so it was pretty busy with lots of visitors around. She headed off via the UK mid September and Rémy and I went across with her so we could catch up with the family and see Dad.

I never posted pics of my 40.5th birthday party in early August – was a great weekend with friends and family from all over the world (mum came from Oz, god-mother and her husband from the UK). I really enjoyed the planning and the night! I may make it a yearly thing to have a big summer garden party – so much fun!

Autumn

I love Autumn – the colours just get me! I wanted to take a picture of the amazing colours on the way to Bergerac (we are now picking Josh and another boy up there every afternoon as he has started Lycée (senior high) there) but sadly the night before I was planning on taking my camera and stopping to take photos there was a big wind storm and all the leaves came down! I will make sure I get some this year!

The Hazelnut crop was fantastic after a very poor crop the year before!

Very sadly my lovely Dad passed away in early October. I am eternally grateful that I went over and saw him less than 2 weeks before he went into hospital. RIP Dad xx

2 of my gorgeous boys!

Winter

We finally got Rémy a créche place in November so the weeks flew by as we have had lots of settling in sessions and I have a 10km drive each way so I spend much of my day in the car it feels like! It has been hard going as he isn’t keen on being away from me but we have now settled on a 4 mornings a week routine and we’ll see if we can get a longer day at some point if he can cope with it.

There was one seriously excited little boy this Christmas – he just loved it and has only stopped singing ‘Jingle Bells’ the last week or so!

Louis almost as excited!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a Happy (belated) New Year to all xx

We’ve been adopted!

A few weeks ago we had a lovely black and white cat start hanging about. He was really sweet so after some discussion (read begging from Louis!) we decided if he didn’t have a home that we would keep him. I texted all the neighbours and found out he had shown up earlier in the summer and stayed for a while at one of our friends and that they couldn’t keep him but were sure he was homeless. Off we went to buy some food, a collar and some flea treatment. Louis has been fantastic and is looking after him really well while Remy has been fairly gentle with him so far! He has fitted nicely into the family and we have called him Oscar! How could we have resisted this face:

Medieval costumes and fun!

Wow how has it been a month since I posted – it has just flown by in a flurry of intense activity!

At the end of July our village had a weekend medieval festival in the village with everyone (well not everyone but lots of people!) dressing up for the festivities. I had read about it on the village website months ago and spent quite a lot of time researching all things medieval (so fascinating) and decided I was going to make our costumes, including a 12th century bliaut for myself! Needless to say much of the 2nd half of July was spent madly sewing, I got my hem finished at 6.30 pm the evening of the start of the festival! I would have loved to have added more detailing / trim to mine and even to hubby’s and Josh’s but alas ran out of time and was just happy to have them finished! We managed a quick photo shoot between the hem being sewn and going out, handily the centre part of our house includes a medieval building and staircase. I was pretty pleased with the results!

The shield on Remy’s tunic is the Irish version of our sirname – too cute!

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Louis’ chainmail was kindly knitted by my mother-in-law and looked pretty cool!

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One of the troupe of ‘medieval’ people (they go around festivals all over France all summer!) congratulated me on the correctness of Josh’s costume with the big central slits. Would have loved to have had more time for details like a proper non-modern belt and embroidery or ribbon around the edges.

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My costume was a much researched 12th century bliaut. I’ll do a post later when things calm down a bit detailing how I made it and the resources I used for anyone who is interested!

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Peas!

The peas were my first thing to really grow and produce and they were oh so yummy!

This is how they were looking when they first started producing in early June:

Sadly by last week I had to pull them out as they were covered in powdery mildew and really past it! I have learnt some lessons though – they really do mean it when they tell you to thin them – I’m sure I had them too close which made my powdery mildew worse and harder to treat (I tried the natural milk method and copper but did it too late I think). The very wet spring I don’t think helped either then I think I may not have given them enough water over the last month where we have had nearly no rain. Ahh well we live and learn and I was still really pleased with what we did get.

We had my lovely friend Emily and her family visit from Oz a couple of weeks ago – it was so lovely to see them and Em took the time to get Remy to eat peas from the pod (I’m sure if I’d tried he’d have refused!!). Ever since then at least twice a day he yells ‘peeeeaas’ and either goes and picks some or if he can’t reach any drags one of us down the garden to get him some. It is so cute!

He snaps them in half then somehow picks them out one by one and says ‘mmmmm’ very loudly for each one he eats!

I think the last (according to Louis – I’ll have to go and check) were picked yesterday so I’m hoping the beans will soon be ready and he’ll love them as much!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of posts since October – I think I was in the autumnal / early winter funk with the short days and never seemed to find the time or energy to post – I had the Halloween post open on my computer for over a month before closing it and only coming back to finish it today!

New year new beginnings! We are back from our Christmas trip to the UK and all excited about getting stuck in to the house and garden so watch out for lots of posts.

We had a fantastic festive season catching up with all the family in the UK. Sadly my dad was unwell and couldn’t make it to my sisters and we were out of time to go visit him but we can hopefully sort something soon.

I hope you all had wonderful Christmas and New Years and wishing you a happy, healthy and wonderful 2016!

Happy birthday baby boy!

This past year or so has just flown by. The end of November brought our babies 1st birthday – bitter-sweet as he is growing up so fast. He started walking a couple of weeks before the big day so we went and got his first shoes – so cute! He was so proud of his new red shoes!

The end of November saw a cold patch, with frosts and into the minuses over night so the birthday boy was all rugged up to go and get Louis from school on his beg day – bless him! Happy birthday little one xx

Project wreath part II

An update on the wreath project – you may remember this post where I made my vine wreath in the autumn: http://anotheryearinfrance.coolhippy.com/2015/10/home-made-vine-wreath/ I forgot to get a picture of the colourful leaves I added to the first decorations but they weren’t on long and I made a autumnal / Halloweeny / pumpkin wreath (again meant to get another set of photos as the light was very low so the pics aren’t great – sorry, I’ll learn!!):

The next theme was of course Christmas, I went for  a lovely simple red, white and wood scheme:

Now I just need to think of a decoration scheme for the rest of winter (at the moment a bucket of water would be appropriate!!) – any ideas anyone?

Halloween fun!

We had a great Halloween this year (except for the baby – I’ll explain in a moment!). Louis and I carved the pumpkin (a bit boring but we didn’t have any time – next year I want to try something much more elaborate!):

Josh spent the day at his youth club preparing for a big Halloween murder mystery / live Cludo party! We then were to join him, in costume for dinner before the party. Louis and I went to get dressed and our make-up on while the little one was with his daddy. We re-entered the kitchen and he saw Louis and absolutely panicked – full screaming and crying the poor darling (the baby not the hubby!). Needless to say we didn’t let Louis back in the room and decided it would be best if he stayed home.

We all took a plate to the meal which was a bit rushed and then we all headed to the chateau where lots of others from the village were waiting for us. As a big group we went around trick or treating, there were some fantastic decorations in some of the windows (excuse the poor picture quality I’d forgotten the flash for my big camera and my phone didn’t cope too well with the light either!):

After the trick or treating we returned to the Chateau where Josh and his youth group did a life size Cleudo murder mystery through the Chateau. Sadly I missed most of that bit as I had to go home and feed and put Rémy to bed but arrived in time to hear the results of who the murderer was!

It was a fantastic night, very well organised, atmospheric (our very own castle!!) well done by the kids and a real family community evening that we all enjoyed!

 

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Market Mondays!

Our village has a very tiny market every Monday morning, there is always a butcher, a cheese man and some veggie sellers, a lady with her sewing machine to do repairs, a plant lady and usually one or more extra sellers (for example yesterday was a mattress seller). A couple of weeks ago there was a lady selling fantastic organic produce – turns out she’s Australian – small world! My trip yesterday reminded me that I’d taken some photos of my purchases a few weeks ago. During the summer there was more of a turn out of sellers, I had one particularly lovely trip with a big basket full of yumminess!

There was a local guy doing gorgeous artisinal made patés, fois gras and other little jars of delight! He usually has a shop in another town but trys to get to our market during the summer. I got a little pot of paté with fine herbs in it, I still haven’t eaten it, I think I’ll wait for my mother in law to enjoy it with me!

I thought I’d finished my purchases until I spotted a lady with a tiny table covered with some jars of jam and scrummy looking blueberries. They were the last pick of the season so I had to get them and they were just gorgeous! The jam has been opened this week and is amazing too.

Of course there was then the veggies which I try to buy from the market each week instead of the supermarket. I don’t make it every single week but I’m finding the need to go to the supermarket less and less, I get my bread (the bread in this area is incredible!) and often cheese at the local shop and veggies from the market and now that we are trying not to eat much meat it is often all we need!

Aren’t the colours just amazing! The Perigord (the Dordogne’s other name) is very famous for it’s strawberries, and rightly so, they are small and intensely flavoured, really incredible.