Thé feuille de figue

So this is my take on how to make your own fig leaf tea.

Stage 1. You need to find the ideal tea pot. I found mine at the local vide grenier today. Usually I’m not a tea pot person, favouring the quick bish bash bosh of the tea bag in the mug, but I felt that for fig leaf tea it had to be a tea pot. And not just any tea pot, I wanted a delicate small one, something perhaps a little Oriental. So this little tea pot found me on an animal charity stall. 2. You need to find a fig tree. If you don’t have one, then I would recommend growing your own. There are many varieties and the fruit is delicious. I have planted 8 in our French garden. There are 4 Brown Turkey, an Israeli variety, a Rouge de Bordeau, Panache and an unknown one which has grown from a cutting that I plucked from the local road side and it has really tasty bright green figs.3. Gently pull away several leaves.

4. Give them a rinse in cold water.

5. Hang them on the washing line to dry.

6. Very gently dry them out, either in a very low oven or in the sun.

7. Chop them up ready for infusion.

8. Pop them in the tea pot and pour on the boiling water, leave to infuse.

9. Pour into a tea cup. 

10. Sip and enjoy the flavour and all the health benefits of fig leaf tea. See my previous re: blog, Fig Leaf Tea. 

Enjoy😄

Summer 2016 phlog part 1

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OK, a phlog’s a bit of a cop out. More pictures, less words.

Visit to Taillecavat vide grenier this morning and then a walk through the grape vines with Bella and grandma.

Gorgeous vintage wicker bag, a necklace and some gentleman’s cuff links were my finds at today’s vide. Was looking for some wooden dining chairs but these were trop cher, at soixante euros😳

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Eclectic stand at vide today, followed by antique French confit pots, a Western horse saddle and a little black vintage car.  And our lovely village moulin à vent from our walk today.

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Woo hoo, C’est l’été and it’s vide time again

 

So there was another storm the night before last!

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Then yesterday morning it was not as hot as it had been but we have our friends, Karen and Keith staying and there are vide greniers to go to and a possible wine tasting at St Émilion so it was up early and out for the morning croissants and then into the car, leaving my teenage son in bed.

First stop was Saint Avit Saint Nazaire and just as Karen said “I wonder if we’ll see any demijohns”, we did, and it was only 3€.  What a bargain.  I’ve never seen any that cheap before.  No way she’ll get it back on the plane so it will have to stay in France until we can get it back in the car.  Karen has a spot in her Gloucester cottage for this one.  Looking forward to seeing it in situ.

Then it was onto Pujols.  A gorgeous little French town, that is not far from us, although we’ve never been before.

 

I found all this lovely Bakelite.

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We’ll definitely go back to Pujols, it was a lovely French town.  Had a quick rendezvous with Barbara, a friend of ours and then it was on to St Emilion to have lunch and check out the wine tasting venues.

And finally this evening there was just time for a game of Pétanque.  The guests won.

 

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Cinquième Pâques

So here we are and it’s our fifth Easter in France. It’s four years ago that we acquired Le Petit Coquelicot and we’ve spent every Easter here in France since 2012. There is a part of me that misses being at home at Easter.  The last Easter egg hunt we had when the weather was gorgeous and all our friends were round for a barbecue and the children racing around the garden looking for the eggs. But most of the children are now in their teens and struggle to get out of bed before midday; and I’m sure an Easter egg hunt would no longer inspire them.

So after Breakfast Club at St Peter’s we set off at 11am on Good Friday morning and drove for 18 hours to get here to France. I’m still recovering from an awful virus that I’ve had for the past 4 weeks now. So it was great to get to the French house where I can really relax. Even though the building work is still way off being finished. We do have two sides of a tiled roof😀image
So what have we been up to, well the weather has been up and down. Yesterday it just rained and rained. We were in the garden on Saturday and Sunday and the weather was lovely then. There was much investigation into the roof space of the extension and the boys mowed the grass. I took some more fig cuttings from the fig tree on our boundary and decided to try putting them straight into the ground as every other set of cuttings that I’ve taken have failed and gone mouldy. Fig trees are apparently very easy to propagate but not this variety.
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I also purchased three little Bay trees and planted them to break up the grassed area and to hopefully provide a bit of a wind break eventually, as the wind just whips across and tends to blow plants over.
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Monday we went to a vide grenier at St Sernin just down the road. I was initially disappointed as I saw someone walking away with a bottle dryer which is just what I am looking for, so I immediately thought I should have been up and out earlier. But then I purchased a lovely set of Bakelite bangles for a euro each and was actually given the maroon one on top by a stall holder.  When I asked how much it was he said je vous donne. How nice is that?
I also bought a lovely little old green glass bottle but it was not to be, as my son accidentally smashed it before the end of the day.
We also met my friend Barbara at the vide grenier and then went over to hers after for coffee and a chat. I ended up helping her put a gîte that she has on Airbnb. This seems to be the go to place if you are looking for accommodation theses days.  And then later on we all went through to Bordeaux to the cinema.
Well today it’s Vendredi and the sun is beginning to shine, hopefully the sign of a good day to come😯

From veg to velos and beyond!

It’s cold, damp and dreary here at home in the UK and with all sorts of horror taking place around the world, I felt like cheering myself up today with a blog.  We’ve just had Blue Monday (18th Jan) and I just about came away unscathed because I’ve been off work all week with a flu bug.  Do I need the jab? Anyway that’s another question!

So, having seriously neglected the blogging scene, something of which I still don’t really understand, and being still on my poorly sick bed, I began looking through some of the photos from our past 4 summers in France.  We have certainly done many things, been here and there, met with friends and family and had some fabulous times.  However, there is something, that although not dominant, has taken up a good deal of my time and that is the good old vide grenier. The title says it all “From veg to velos and beyond”, it’s all there.

I’ve always been into old “TUT” and so a trip anywhere can quite often involve a trip to a charity shop, junk shop, car boot sale, fleamarket, you get the gist.  For example, many moons ago (back in the 20th Century) when we passed through Paris briefly on the way home from our holiday in Bonnieux, South of France, I dragged hubby, not quite kicking and screaming, to have a look around it’s famous flea-market.  Clignancourt (“Clee-nyahn-cour”), also known as Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, is just outside the 18th arrondissement.  I do recall how amazed I was at all the different stalls and range of different things for sale.  At the time we had no money to spend having just had our holiday in the South, so we were just window shopping.

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I love this French phrase, “licking the windows”.  And what a great passtime, it’s free!!!!!

 As we now have our little house in France, I decided, at the beginning of this year to try and be more focused with my visits to vide greniers and I decided to make a list of the things that I would be looking for.  Items for the house and garden.  Vintage decorative items that can be purchased from the likes of Maison du Monde but at a very inflated prices but that you can find local vides.

On my list is the vintage armoir and large mirror, together with a large sideboard.  I’m up for doing some painting and have already had a go with some Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Very easy to use and a little goes a long way if you’re looking for that distressed finish.  The bamboo mirror and demijohns were purchased last summer.

I also want a bottle dryer.  Don’t ask why?  I’ve seen one in a magazine covered head to toe in vintage glass bottles and it looked gorgeous, so I’m out to recreate something along those lines.  Loved the 1930’s head but didn’t much like the €250 price tag.

The enamel water/milk pitcher I purchased a couple of years ago for €8 and the three wooden coat peg rack was €2 (Deux Euro) this is my favourite price.

This was a lovely friendly shop that I visited in Castlejaloux last summer.

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 imageI only came across this little yellow book last year towards the end of the summer but I could have done with it at Easter.  I spent several wasted journeys looking for vide greniers that had obviously been cancelled.  I wasn’t the only one either.  I met others, who like me,  were wandering around small French villages/towns looking for the vide that never was!

VOCAB

Brocante – junk/antique shop/fair – Marché aux Puces – flea market.
Vide Grenier – Sale of all sorts that take place in a village or town.  Meaning “to empty the attic”.  You can buy anything and everything, from veg to velos and beyond.   Foire à tout – This is another term for a Vide Grenier.

 

 

 

Un petit séjour

So this is our petit sejour to ourlittlehouseinfrance.  Set off Friday evening after work and arrived Saturday at about noon.  Sunday was our first full day in France. I woke early to sunlight peeping around the edge of our bedroom shutters and to increasing whimpers from Bella, who doesn’t like waking up in a cage. We put her in a cage at night in France as she would be able to get to our bedroom doors and would wake us up in the night scratching to get in otherwise. Paul and I had already decided we would head to a large vide grenier that was being held in the beautiful Bastide town of Eymet. Although we have been to Eymet before, we’ve never been to a vide grenier there. My friend, Barbara called, she would meet us there.  Eymet is about 19 kilometres from our house. I was prepared with my 2015 vide grenier hit list in my head.

Click the link below to see my pin board vide grenier hit list 2015.

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Barbara has flaming red hair, usually, and so would be, or so we thought, easy to spot in a crowd.  However, what a crowd.  This was no ordinary vide grenier, it was humongous.  Stalls all up the main street (main drag, as Barbara calls it) and then many, many more stalls up side roads and the back of the town.  So with all these people bargain hunting, we didn’t spot Barbara that easily but eventually did see her wandering towards us down one of the side roads once we had already been back to the car with our initial finds.

Aren’t vide greniers a wonderful thing?  Where else could you find people lugging home second hand plastic kids toys, a look of glee on their faces, alongside others carrying huge ancient pieces from old French chateaux. It was a sight to behold.

So here’s what I found at Eymet.  Small vintage bamboo frame mirror, to go with the one I purchased last year.  A small green/clear glass demijohn, again to go with the others I purchased earlier this year.  This one was only three Euros but was very dirty inside and out.  I should have photographed it in its dirty state really.  I soaked it in warm water and washing up liquid and then put rice inside and swirled it around.  This got rid of most of the grime, I then used a bottle brush to finish it off and et voila! all clean.  I also found a lovely green Victorian glass vase and some jewellery.

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So it’s been a short break but it has been a break.  So tea with Barbara at her house.  Walks around her garden and a short chat with her daughter in the States.  Catching up with our lovely English neighbour and her two sons.  She is in the middle of writing a book that she is very kindly letting me read.  I feel honoured.

Callum has been out and about with Nathan and Matt.  Bike rides through the grape vines and woods.  Exciting stuff.  Hubby has been mowing the lawn, I have been sneezing with hay fever.  We’ve had extension plans spread out in front of us deciding where to put TV points, light switches and windows.  Today we’ve taken Bella to the vets for her wormer, filled up with petrol for the long journey back to the UK and purchased a permanent marker to write on Panneau de Chantier which is the sign that we apparently should have displayed outside the house once we gained the planning permission for our extension.  Better late than never!

More photos of the beginnings of the extension and our village in my next blog.  Must dash actually going out tonight to eat and listen to jazz.😋