Villa Carmen

I love this! Almost all of the houses in our street have these plaques on their outside walls. They all have names. There’s even a La Roseraie! When we moved here, we weren’t aware of a name, but on one garden exploration I found this dirty and broken plaque under a hedge. Villa Carmen. I propped it up in the garden and didn’t imagine I would ever find the missing corner piece but yesterday… as I was digging out some weeds my spade hit something and it was the piece. Filthy dirty and a bit chipped, but it fit! So, … Continue reading Villa Carmen

Deborah Murtaghs Ketogenic Switch – My 30 day Challenge experience.

In mid-January 2020 I has lost around 20kg (44lb, 3 stone) in just 3 months. It hadn’t been hard but I was approaching a danger time. I knew it would get harder…then Deboarh Murtagh appeared on my Facebook timeline and before I knew it, Id joined her 30 Day one dress size challenge. I will do another post on the programme itself, but I wanted to record my 30 day experience for future members and for myself. I’ve done diets before and never felt such a connection to either the progamme or myself so it felt right to share it. … Continue reading Deborah Murtaghs Ketogenic Switch – My 30 day Challenge experience.

Beetroot Mary Anyone?

Happy Easter all! It’s warm and Spring like here and I’m enjoying the sun on the balcony with my new favourite apero drink…. a Beetroot Mary! Beet kvass is on the probiotic list of my diet plan (150ml) and I make it every week. It’s easier than kombucha or kefir and as a bonus we get to eat the beetroot (it’s raw it’s crunchy and full of probiotics… or you can roast it like normal) I buy organic beetroot. Wash and dice, pop into a Kilner jar, sprinkle a tablespoon of good salt over it and then top up with … Continue reading Beetroot Mary Anyone?

Sensational Seventies!

Happy Friday ladies! Since lockdown started, every Friday I put on a frock and do my face. This week … in one of my basement ‘shopping’ trips… I discovered this dress. First purchased 10 years ago for a 70s themed hen night and there I am on that hen night in the second photo! 10 years ago I hadn’t yet fallen pregnant with my son. When I found the dress I thought still needed to lose a lot of weight to be able to wear it again so I was surprised that it fitted so well. Looking at these photos … Continue reading Sensational Seventies!

Halloween and Toussaint

Halloween. William is fast asleep, it’s dark and silent, the shutters are closed and I’m home alone. But it’s France. The chances of someone knocking the door asking for sweets is very slim and the noises from this house that I once thought strange are now quite normal! Here, Halloween is still All Hallows’ Eve. There is a token end of aisle in the Supermarket selling orange and black tat, but not much else and most of the pumpkins in the market are being sold for soup. October 31st is recognised here, as the day before All Saints (or All … Continue reading Halloween and Toussaint

Autumn Falls. A burst of colour.

It feels late to say that Autumn has arrived – but it finally has.  Our Summer days seemed to go on forever, with a beautiful October, and even now the temperatures are warmer than I would expect for November – even here in SW France. The most striking thing about the change in the seasons here is the colour.  In Spring the trees erupt with bright pink blossom, then in the summer those trees are laden with fruit – everything from figs to cherries and walnuts too. Now though, on a daily basis you can see the trees in the … Continue reading Autumn Falls. A burst of colour.

Being Chosen: A family of cats arrive

​​SMLXL SLXLM​​ Over the last few weeks we have noticed a number of kittens invading the garden!  It all started with a skinny little cat who had been in the wars and then one day she bought the family to meet us.  5 kittens, all with different markings but unmistakably hers.  Mum sat and watched as the kittens played and explored the garden – occasionally popping into the veranda for a nose around and to nibble on one of the treats I had started leaving for them.  I hope they decide to stay, although they are quite feral and not … Continue reading Being Chosen: A family of cats arrive

Salad Days: Foolproof Mayo

We are getting ready to welcome some guests for a photography holiday and I always make my own mayonnaise so part of my food prep always involves topping up our supplies.  It’s an easy method and I thought it might be useful to others. The recipe I use is the same as any other. One egg (I have used a whole one or just the yolk – both work fine), some salt, a splash of cider vinegar/lemon juice, half a tsp of mustard and about 400ml oil. I always use light olive oil or avocado oil or even macadamia nut … Continue reading Salad Days: Foolproof Mayo

Champion Bolognese: Happy Home Cooking

The bolognese of champions has just gone into the slow cooker. Full of offal, and hidden veggies it is one of my sons favourite meals (it’s messy though. I must remember to strip him before dinner in future as another school shirt ended up in the bin yesterday) The basic recipe/method follows, but in truth it is so forgiving you could add pretty much anything (some of the veg in this needed to be used)   ​​SMXLL ​ I fried an onion, 3 sticks of celery, and a leek (all finely diced) in beef fat (leftover from a roast, but … Continue reading Champion Bolognese: Happy Home Cooking

Instant Pot – my new obsession!

The Instant Pot was an early birthday gift and I absolutely love it! Today I am going to cook these two lumps of beef that I bought from the bargain bucket at Leclerc and which have been taking up space in my freezer! The Instant Pot is basically an electric pressure cooker, which can also saute and slow cook.  Its been a long time since I used a pressure cooker (think Home Ec classes when I was a teenager!) and I’ve really enjoyed learning about this as a new technique in my kitchen! This beef was sold as being for … Continue reading Instant Pot – my new obsession!