I love this idea of sharing photos and the emotions they conjure up.  Great one.  All thanks to Osyth from Half Baked in Paradise where I found Claudette from To Search and to Find

So here’s mine.



Cal & Luke

This is a photo of my son and his cousins feet in a very cold stream in the Pyrenees.



OK so I don’t usually blog about fashion, well rarely anyway.  However, I have something on my mind at the moment.  You could say I’m like a dog with a bone, ever since we were in Bordeaux at the beginning of half term.  We were there for a mooch and although I don’t make a beeline for clothes shops, we happened to be passing Mango.  OK so I could go into Mango at home.  There is one  in the Trinity shopping center in Leeds.  Anyway I decided to have a look in the Bordeaux Mango.  Not much caught my eye……….. but then I saw it, the perfect style leather jacket.  Black, red, maroon, etc, etc, you get the picture.  I tried on the medium, well I assumed that’s the size I would be.  Silly me, too tight.  So tried on the large.  Perfect.  How much? 119Eruos.  Not cheap but well when that is converted to £s, not that bad! £85.  And it looked like there was a promotion, 20% off.  Even better.  But they didn’t have the colour that I wanted.  Drat!!! Never mind, maybe it was not meant to be.

On returning home, to our house in France, I popped into to see our lovely neighbour Michele, for a chat.  The chat got around to our day in Bordeaux and then to the leather jacket that I had seen in Mango.  Shame, she said but there is a store in Bergerac.  Great, we were headed to Bergerac the next day.  I’ll have a look in Bergerac.  With any luck they will have one in my size and I can then do my usual thing of thinking long and hard about whether I really need another leather biker jacket and then put it back on the rack having satisfied my desire of having been given the opportunity to purchase what I wanted… but ultimately talk my self out of buying it quite easily.  Yes I know, how sad!

So in Bergerac the next day we made a detour to Mango which was situated down one of the lovely old side streets.  Anyway no luck, they didn’t have any of the jackets that I had seen in the Bordeaux shop.  Sad face.  So the hunt was still on.  But this would have to now be transferred to the UK as we were heading back to Blightly very early the next morning.

No worries, I thought to myself, I’ll check online when I get home and if it is indeed what I really, really, want I can zig a zig arrh and purchase one via the net.

But wait a blooming moment!!!  When I checked the UK website, to my dismay, nay! horror! it was now 119 Great British pounds and not 119 Euros.  So I checked for the price of other items on both the UK and French Mango websites.  The same thing.  Prices quoted in Euros on the French website were exactly the same figures but quoted in  pounds on the UK website.  Quele dommage!!!  So I text my lovely French neighbour, who must think I am bonkers by now, and she gives me her French Mango online account details, so I can order via the French website and pay in Euros.  But would you Adam and Eve it, when I put in my UK address, lo and behold the 119 Euros turns immediately to £119.

So I say, hey Mango! what’s going on?  Why I am I being charged 28% more for items just because I live in the UK?

Anyone know the answer?

Joli-laide ou Mignon-moche

What is pretty-ugly or cute-ugly or even oddly beautiful?

I recently came across this wonderful French expression “joli laide” or mignon-moche. Translated joli laide means pretty ugly and mignon moche means cute ugly. It appears that the French derive pleasure in what we English refer to as character.  I love it and the sentiment that you really need to look again at either a person or an object to recognise its true beauty.  Perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be and who doesn’t like things a bit rough around the edges – OK – only me then?

In the UK at the moment everything is vintage this and vintage that. The word vintage is used a lot these days to try to infuse character and charm into an object . If it isn’t vintage, it’s retro and if not retro it’s shabby chic. For me there has always been something special about odd beauty.  My love of tut as my gran would have called it (tut – meaning nonsense or rubbish) was in truth born from necessity due to lack of funds. Purchasing second-hand clothes goes back to my teens when I had no money. Second hand was cheap but it was also unusual, it was unique, it was cool. It set you apart from the mainstream. My friends and I would scour the second-hand clothes shops in Leeds.  These shops had interesting names like Skythrop and Boodlam, goodness knows where they got them from. I remember purchasing an unusual fur skin coat from a shop called The Find in Knaresborough, the idea makes me cringe now and I would never purchase real fur now.  But I wore this coat every day until someone told me what it actually was, how naive was I.  Vintage clothes and vintage jewellery didn’t really have much monetary value in those days and so it was more the emotional value of finding something really unique that no one else had that was important.  It was about a style that no one else could copy.  I mean I was the only one with a black and white stripped original Pac-a-Mac at the time and my friend was the only one wearing her dads 1940s demob suit.  Fotor061464330Pac-a-Mac was a brand from the late 1950s,image it became really popular in the 1960s and was taken up by the style icon of the day Mary Quant in bright colours and stripes as part of the style of the swinging sixties.

And Barbara, a French friend of mine has told me of a lovely expression for that oh so adorable run down dilapidated property that we all would love to own and turn into our dream house.

C’est délabré?

And this one is for sale now in the Lot et Garonne for only 19,000€


So back to these wonderful “French phrases”!!

Joli-laide ou Mignon-moche

 In an article in the Guardian online I found someone who new of a similar term to `jolie laide’.  The phrase “mignon-moche” which translated means cute ugly, they had come across during a translation for French A-levels. Apparently It means something similar to “jolie-laide”.  This person thought that at some point someone had probably heard about the pretty-ugly phrase and tried to translate it back into French, choosing the wrong words. On the other hand I found another reference where someone else said they had used it for decades, yet their French teacher said it did not exist in France.  Anyway whatever its history I love it. And, what’s more France is full of examples.

la voiture Deux Chevaux par exemple.

Seen at Monflanquin spring faire

Seen at Monflanquin spring faire

Monflanquin Spring Faire

Monflanquin Spring Faire

And then there’s the dreamy Citroen DS



Or Gérard Depardieu

I suppose if we break this phrase down the subject is required to be both jolie (pretty) and laide (ugly). I read somewhere that the laide comes from the outward appearance and that the jolie stems from what cannot be seen externally and therefore what is within.  Daphne Merkin in the NY Times 2005 suggests that as an idea it represents a triumph of personality over physiognomy.  Perhaps in some instances there is an intent to the incongruity of the jolie and the laide, perhaps the subject is shouting, “look at me!”.  “I deserve your attention!”.  Perhaps those features that are not conventionally regarded as beautiful can be used to attract attention.  It is not unsurprising that the French though have an expression that attempts to describe what is indescribable that which is intangible and unique to the beholder.

In other words:-

“beauté est dans l’œil du spectateur!”

Anyone know if the French do have an expression for the above?

Huge vide grenier at Villeréal

Wow! the vide grenier at Villeréal on Sunday really overwhelmed me.  Villeréal is a lovely 13th Century bastide town between Monflanquin and Agen in the Lot et Garonne. The first thing I purchased was these lovely bakelite bangles.  But there was so much more than jewellery.  There was lots that I could have picked up and brought home but almost too much to make a rational decision.  So in the end I purchased very little but really enjoyed mooching around in the sunshine.  Cal, hubby and grandma not so enamoured with it.  Also it was very hot.  Phew!!!  Hopefully you can see from some of my pictures what an interesting place Villeréal is, particularly if you like historic architecture.  In the centre of the town is the impressive 14th century market hall, with its original timbers. Saturday morning markets are still held here, as they have been for the last 700 years.  Around the edges of the square are lovely half-timbered buildings.


imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageShe shouldn’t be too sad, the seller wanted 250Euros for her!!!!!

Gestes français – Mon œil

mon oeil 2

I have a close friend who is a real Francophile, having worked in both Brussels and Pau she has a habit of using French colloquialisms and expressions.  One I have often seen her use is this above and the phrase mon œil, which means literally my eye.  It is used to express incredulity or disbelief at something or someone.  Great, as you can use it surreptitiously and know one will know. 🙂

Of course I have had a chance to use it quite a bit over the last 48 hours.  I mean what about the European elections?

Always in good company!

Marylin mon oeil

two-penneth of Lord help us on a workhouse door step

The expression “two-penneth of Lord help us on a workhouse door step” was one of my Gran’s sayings.  Bella just epitomised that expression for me today.  She is still feeling so sorry for herself.  It’s sad to see her not being her usual bouncy, doggy, greedy self.

two-penneth of Lord help us on a workhouse doorstep

two-penneth of Lord help us on a workhouse doorstep

We did manage to get her out on a short walk around the village and saw some  little chèvres and some lovely Wisteria.IMG_3278IMG_3280