Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Gite Bit

*Warning: photo heavy!*
Thank you for the lovely welcome home comments on part 1 - Toulouse is great! And lovely Floss (who lives there) has offered to get the bear! How ace is that?
So, after Toulouse we tootled Northwards a little. Our gite was in the Tarn-et-Garonne region, kind of in between Bordeaux and Toulouse.
The house is part of a tiny Hamlet called Le Pouch and had tons of space inside and out - perfect for boisterous boys.
The owners Zena and Ian lived there for 2 years whilst renovating it and only started renting it out commercially last summer.  
The red cupboard houses the old prune oven in the lounge!
The nearest town is Montaigu de Quercy
Look at that little cottage - so pretty. And with the keys in the door!
We spent our time...
I managed 9 books - a  most random list!!

I didn't let him beat me. He thinks he's smarter than me and every now and then I need to remind him he isn't. YET
view from the pool!
Bonaguil Castle
 and lots and lots of
 The local markets didn't disappoint. Full of colour:
 and wonderful food:
We planned to do very little but the little Bastide towns in the area were so gorgeous we had to visit.
 [a 'Bastide' is a fortified town built during the 13th and 14th century, largely in the SW France. They typically have a central square surrounded by arcades and a grid layout]

Monflanquin is frequently listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France:
 and Penne d'Agenais was also charming
and very artsy with galleries galore
but my favourite was Lauzerte (another of 'most beautiful village')
The town square was perfect and all the shop signs were metal pieces of art
the animal one is for the local vet!
In one corner of the square the floor had been pulled up like the page in a book 
- with coloured tiles underneath!
I love how in France even the dullest town is made 
colourful with bunting!
...and every other door is a photo opportunity...
The Granny joined us for the last few days - bravely hiring a car from the airport and driving herself to our gite AT NIGHT! 
We were initially excited, then worried, then full of respect that she did it!
You rock Granny!
It wasn't ALL sunshine and light. Whilst we were away a little friend of ours died from cancer. Beautiful Lydia was only 7. Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that we are more aware than most that this could very easily have been us.
Her family have been amazingly strong and an inspiration to everyone who knows them. We had a little pause in our holiday antics whilst her funeral was taking place but they will all be in our thoughts over the next few months as they come to terms with all they have been through.

Coincidentally we share the same Oncologist as Lydia and had an appointment to see her today. Yesterday it was cancelled - and we were just as pleased. We're hoping to be given the final all clear for Kenzie, -and nervously excited as we are, it just felt wrong to celebrate that this week.
BUT because we know how very lucky we are we make sure we treasure our precious time with our boys. Even when they're hard work!
fee x
ps here are the details for the gite. Zena was most accommodating and I'd highly recommend their labour of love!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The City Bit

We're back from our hols and fighting le blues as usual!       

Why does it always seem so long ago within a matter of days?

We spent 5 days in Toulouse before travelling to our gite - and absolutely loved it. 

It's a fairly big city but the old historical bit is quite small so you can pretty much walk everywhere - which we did, despite it being incredibly HOT!

(I found this little heart painted on a wall down a tiny back street - with the sunlight shining on it!)

The architecture was enchanting, and the colours inviting...
lots of warm ochre and yellow

 alongside beautiful blues

 and with it being France - LOTS of lovely doors!
Our apartment was very central and typical of the city - built around a central courtyard and with tall ceilings 
and shuttered windows.
just arrived!  

I'm not actually sure what we did for 5 days - but I know I'd go back. Preferably sans enfant and so I could peruse the wonderful shops! (especially stationary)
We ate out more than we normally would 
(for the simple pleasure of air conditioning!!!)
Our favourite place was above the market at Place Victor Hugo where there is a selection of very basic cafes serving food made using the produce from the market below. 
Wonderful Cassoulet and a great atmosphere.
We walked for miles - me loving the mooching more than anyone else!!!
We had fun at this museum playing with our shadows...
Alfie tormenting GB in shadow - just like in life!!!

We passed this little shop (closed) selling vintage wares - and I have wondered why I didn't go back to buy this bear ever since:
All in all a great place to visit and I'm glad we spent some time there rather than just flying in and out as we've done before.
Hols part 2 - the gite - to follow, before normal life resumes!
fee x

Monday, 6 August 2012

Jolly Hols

One last quick post before we go off on our hols. 

We'll be staying in Toulouse (South West France) for a few days then heading to a gite in the middle of NOWHERE (le nowhere!)

(pool+sunshine = 4 x happy boys)+bread+cheese+wine+book=happy Fee 

I picked this particular gite because of it's remote location - and was really thrilled it had no phone signal, Internet or TV. Obviously, now I'm completely and utterly addicted to the Olympics I'm feeling a little less pleased with myself. I can't even wean myself off - it's Olympic cold turkey!

We have some of our Scottish rellies staying in our house while we're away, so there's been major cleaning going on this week. There will be lots of 'getting togethers' going on while we're not here - I'll be sorry to miss them!

I won a 'carry it forward' from the lovely Mrs Bobo Bun recently and my treats arrived this week. 

Lisa had made me a wonderful crocheted cherry brooch (so very me) and also generously sent 2 vintage ladybird books, some vintage cards and the most kitsch pony buttons I think I've ever seen. 

In the spirit of carry it forward  I will be using the books to make blocks to carry it forward. I was hoping to get my little blog badge and pinky promise done before leaving but had seriously underestimated both the state of my house and the lure of the gymnastics!!

Thank you Lisa!
Coincidentally, this week Cleggy bought a wonderful book by Sania Pell called 'the handmade home for children' and this particular image already caught my eye: when my package of goodies included a pack of vintage vehicle cards I was cock-a-hoop!

I think I mentioned a few posts back that the paint for the lounge has sat behind the door for nigh on 8 months.
 This week I dusted the tin, like it was a permanent fixture. It was while dusting that I decided not to wait until the room was decorated - but got myself a hammer and some nails and whacked up the big clock and the pictures we'd had earmarked for that wall. 
Now it doesn't need painting quite so badly the tin can sit there for another 8 months!!
Here is is in reflection...
 Here are my last commissions for the summer. 
I haven't made any big wedding blocks for ages - they are always a pleasure to make - and these ones were no exception. 

The first set was for a wedding last weekend. It had a tea party theme - so bunting was a must:
Here's the back view:
And a set for this weekend -  a black and white theme
and lastly some wonderfully simple anniversary blocks:
Also this week we've been working on an exciting resources project for Cleggy's business. I'll share the details later in the year but I've really enjoyed photographing some of the products for the catalogue. 
I found myself on my tummy in the drizzle making fairy houses with sticks and moss, then setting the table for dinner and hanging out fairy clothes to dry....what a treat of a job!
A little snail joined in the fun:
Right - one sleep to go! better go and get me some.
fee x