A house is not a home….



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Sealsea- (2)


Three years ago yesterday i moved out of my beautiful house, by the sea, to start this adventure. I loved this house, have always said it was the most beautiful house I would ever have the privilege  to live in. Edwardian, with so many original features….



I had put my heart and soul into it, worked so hard on it renovating and decorating and making it into our home.

We were so rushed when it came to moving day I do not even remember closing the door for the last time, but I do remember sitting in the pub that night with tears rolling down my face. When my book comes out you will understand why the house,  for Rich (and now, as time has gone by I realise  for me also),  had become contaminated; it could never be the home we thought it would be; and as three years have passed I have come to realise that.

So then we found our house on the pinnacle of the rolling hills that are Ambrieres les Vallees, and we fell in love. For me it was bittersweet, it was not the house I had left, it was not the house that had taken part of my soul. But over the three years, despite the well running dry, the crappy cesspit (literally, all over the cellar floor sometimes!!) and the mold on the walls; it has shown me this …….


I sit in my bedrom and I look out at this my favorite tree and I feel at peace


And over the years I have realised that a home is about love, companionship, laughter, and tears; it is not the house, it is the people in it. I look at my husband, and he is happier here. I know neither of us could go back to a house where you could reach out and touch your neighbour, surrounded by people and noise. We are too used to the peacefulness that surrounds us; and I have finally come to realise that I do not miss my old home, it was ONE of the most beautiful houses I lived in; but this is the most beautiful home. It has not taken my soul it has replenished it.


A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight


The late great Luther Vandross..


Have a good Sunday folks.












The day of mixed culture, and what a mix it was! Part one: Les Anglaise, madness, British eccentricity, Karaoke and, of course, wonderful friends…..


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So at the start of our adventure on Saturday off we went, chicken parmejano, garlic bread, and two naughty Welshies in hand to our friends house.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and you could not have had a better day for a garden party to celebrate a royal wedding. The table of food was huge, and typically English, with sausage rolls, Cornish pasties, Sandwiches, scones, Indian Samosas and my Italian dish, like I said, a mix of different cultures, and typically English!

The tables had been set up in the garden, the gazebo was fluttering in the wind (despite being chewed by the hosts puppy!) and the karaoke machine was ready to go.

Add to the mix nine dogs, two of which were our naughty Welshies, and chaos ensued, with Wiglet not only managing to slip her harness but break her lead as well!

The atmosphere was brilliant and we realised how life has led us on this path, sending us hard messages about some people we encounter to make us realise who the good ones were; and they are the good ones, and we are blessed.

So for all my readers from across the world, and I know there are many, and for which I am truly grateful, here is how us Brits have a garden party……,

It was a shame we had to leave early, but as you know from our previous post we were off to a different party, with les Francaise this time, and I am still recovering now! Look out for the next post……


What a day…..of mixed culture and happiness…..


Hubby returned last night after being away for four nights, to sit in our garden in our newly designated seating area in the evening sun with my darling husband, and a glass of wine, was worth more than anything materialistic, it was something that could not be bought!

Now, today, we have and and mixed culture day (Harry and Megan would be proud) we are off to a garden party to celebrate the wedding of Harry and Megan during the day. I will be wearing (we all love a bit of fashion) blue cropped trousers, a white cotton blouse, and a red sparkly bracelet! I am going to be patriotic today!

Our wedding albums are ready ( yes we have two, we have had two weddings! Look out for the third one next year!) I have a hat, and my contribution of chicken Parmejano and garlic bread are made and…

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What a day…..of mixed culture and happiness…..


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Hubby returned last night after being away for four nights, to sit in our garden in our newly designated seating area in the evening sun with my darling husband, and a glass of wine, was worth more than anything materialistic, it was something that could not be bought!

Now, today, we have and and mixed culture day (Harry and Megan would be proud) we are off to a garden party to celebrate the wedding of Harry and Megan during the day. I will be wearing (we all love a bit of fashion) blue cropped trousers, a white cotton blouse, and a red sparkly bracelet! I am going to be patriotic today!

Our wedding albums are ready ( yes we have two, we have had two weddings! Look out for the third one next year!) I have a hat, and my contribution of chicken Parmejano and garlic bread are made and ready to go.

Then tonight we have been invited to a party in a restaurant to celebrate our lovely French friends and neighbours birthdays, God knows what the etiquette is, I just hope we get it right and look out for my next blog!

A busy day, but the biggest thing that took me by surprise was the when tears came to my eyes when I was watching T.V. and listening to the cheers from all the people lining the streets for the Royal wedding. I suddenly felt, for the first time, a longing for England and very patriotic…..Where did that come from?!

So let’s raise a toast to Harry and Megan, and say sante to our French friends, what a mixed day we are going to have! Have a good day folks.


Growing up too fast!


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Growing up too fast!

Growing up too fast!
— Read on dylanswelshieworld.com/2018/05/17/growing-up-too-fast/

A poignant post about Dylan, the Welshie puppy. These dogs, all dogs, they change your life.

And we are back… in the broom cupboard!

Dylan the Welshie pup, back causing chaos at puppy class. Her mummy? Back in the broom cupboard.

Dylan's Welshie World

And so after six long weeks we were back. The return to puppy class… and the irony wasn’t lost on me that it also happened to be Dylan Thomas day – the writer that Dyls is named after.

It might have been Mr Thomas’s day – but the night belonged to Dylan.

So we arrived, the reunion of the girlband Dyls, Molly and Boo was quite emotional, – and probably a lot more friendly than when Scary, Sporty, Posh, Baby and Ginger got back together!

It was a fur blur of jumping, shoving and general excitement all round, but a member was missing…. where was Dotty the Spaniel? It seems in the weeks we have been away – and turns out Molly and Boo have missed a few weeks because like Dylan they had their first season – Dotty without the influence of the three founder members, had been moved…

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“Where there is life there is death, and where there is death there is life”.

You have probably guessed that for me everything has a counter balance. Last nightI had a difficult night. Another of our girlies has taken a turn for the worse, and Wiglet, a hunter born and bred, knows it, she smells weakness. Don’t let this butter wouldn’t melt look fool you, she knew that chicken is ill and is weak and so she was driven into a frenzy trying to get in to their enclosure to kill it.

As dusk drew in I called her and gave her the command, and she ignored me, no surprises there! So I went over to get her and shushed her into the house; but as I did so I noticed her rubbing her face. On initial investigation all I could see was blood, and what looked like a split from her mouth to her nose. I panicked and ran round a kitchen looking for something to wash her face, then I got a grip and bathed her face with clean kitchen roll and could see that there was no split, but she could not close her mouth and her teeth appeared to be out of alignment. I checked all her teeth and her tongue and could see nothing and I thought ‘Oh my God she has broken her jaw. At this point she could close her mouth because I had manipulated her jaw but she was still rubbing her face and whining, and she kept going to the water bowl to drink and then walking away. It was clear she could not lap up the water.

I grabbed a syringe and squirted water into her mouth, but most came back out, whilst I frantically searched broken or dislocated jaws in dogs; simultaneously videoing her and sending it to my friend. That was it we were both searching the internet then for anything we could find whilst she ate a chew, the cat food, and chicken and rice! But still she could not drink.

The plan was to take her to the vet first thing, and I took the syringe to bed with me and her and Harley pup, in the hope that I could get some water down her throat. It was pitiful to see when she walked up to the water bowl and stuck her paw in, and walked away.

So I searched a different search and asked ‘why won’t my dog drink?’ Up came various reasons, one of which was that dogs have very deep roofs on their mouths and things can get stuck, thereby preventing the tongue from working as it should and making it impossible to drink. That was it, she sat so quietly whilst I ran my finger along the roof of her mouth and found this embedded in the roof of her mouth width ways right at the edge of her throat.

I promised her I would make it right and I did, I pulled that bastard right out, and Wiglet promptly drank half a bowl of water. We went the the vet today for safekeeping, and her mouth has already healed and the vet confirmed she is one tough little bugger.

So as I sit here this evening, in a slight breeze, and warm evening sunshine, and glass of wine in hand I count my blessings, for all that surrounds me and with the thought that if I had left it through the night she could have choked to death, thank God I listened to that voice in my head, that said ‘Check again.’

And I count my blessings for this

Sadly we think we will have to Re-home the chickens we have, it is driving our princess too mad, I don’t think the sick chicken will make it meaning there will be only two girlies and Claude, but we have to know that they will not go in the pot, we could not just send them away to be killed. I do think our chicken keeping days are numbered.

Where there is good there is bad and where there is bad there is good…

Bonne Soirée


It’s time


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I have a lot of things to blog about, not least an update on our garden and the tons of wood that we have moved, and still have to move, and a story of a wonderful conversation that I had with my husband this week.  But I am letting life show me the way and I thought I would share with you a little bit about our history, or my history, and the sudden burst to make change that I have had.

Over ten years ago Rich and I had a life changing thing happen to us and as a result, to keep myself sane, I got on a stepper and worked out like a maniac. Due to circumstances I was also losing weight without any effort, but the stepper gave me back some control over my life.

I am a qualified aerobics instructor and many moons (19 years to be precise) ago, I stopped teaching aerobics and keep fit because I had met this man, Rich, and wanted to spend more time with him. I got fat, we got fat, fat and happy; and then our life changing event happened and we got thin again!! Only this time I got fit again. This thing was one of my life savers….


The beauty of these things is that it is not so much the calories you use but the fact that if you use your arms when on the stepper, and have them above your shoulders when stepping, then your stomach muscles have to hold you on the stepper and you work your core, really hard. I have a problem with my stomach and this was the perfect form of  exercise.

But after stepping for over three years I slowly stopped getting on my stepper, and I got fat again – fat but happy, again.

We do love our food, we do love our wine, who wouldn’t, we live in France! But all of a sudden I have had the urge to get back on the stepper ( I knew I would one day because I brought it all the way over to France with me!)

So last week I bit the bullet  I got the old girl back out……

knowing that the only way to do it was first thing in the morning, before I did anything else in the day. I thought I would start with five minutes. But, do you know what? I loved it and in fact did seven minutes on it.

My knee has been really bad over the past year, and I know that the dreaded form of arthritis that haunts our family has finally hit me, and my hands are now eaten up with osteoarthritis or worse, so I did not want to aggravate the symptoms, even with my knee brace on.

But I also know from years of teaching fitness that exercise can in fact aide the problems with arthritis, so determined I was. I got on the stepper and was amazed at how much fitness I still had, I did not even break a sweat! So the next day I did nine minutes, and the day after ten minutes. Then after a two day break I was back on it today, and this time I increased my workout to fifteen minutes. I loved it! I loved the way it made me feel, I loved being out of breath, I loved the way my body felt afterwards, and more than anything my knee is not hurting me anymore!!

I do my stepping in front of a mirror because there is nothing like seeing the fat jiggling about to make you work harder; or nothing better than seeing the old muscles start to reappear!!

But most importantly I have loud music that inspires me: “I love you baby”, “two can play that game” “Hideway” “Free”…..

Watch this space, the girl is back in love with her exercise!!!


Small steps, can make all the difference – as long as you listen and understand


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A long while ago someone once gave me, at the most difficult time in my life, a good piece of advice; she said “Small steps.” At the time I did not understand her advice, but came to understand it over time, often as I fought against something I could not change, and tried to make things improve quickly, when only time, and small things would make the difference.

It was a lesson that I learnt well, and I am grateful every day for the advice my dear friend Avril gave me.

So fast forward to today, and we said goodbye to the hundred year old door, (see previous post with that title) and a new one has took its place; a set of UPVC French windows (or are they just double windows over here given that we are in France, and, thereby all the windows are French!)

As I said in my previous post we had no choice and had to be practical. We had a new frame built and to tie it in with the rest of the house we painted it blue, but decided to leave the door white to show that the house has stood the test of time and this is its latest addition.

Since having it installed we have had cold and windy rainy days and it has been a joy to stand in front of it and not feel a puff of the wind that was ferociously blowing at our house. The light it allows into my kitchen is fantastic and now when I stand cooking I look out at this…

I love it. But more than anything we finally feel as if we are getting somewhere, achieving and really starting to get our life on track in France. It is a small thing having the door fitted, but it is something that makes us warm and makes us feel empowered.

Another reason for my post was that someone asked me about my recent post, ‘it all depends on how you look at things I suppose’; She asked “how do you know that when bad things happen to you, that it means that life is not telling you to give up.” I asked if by that she meant was life telling us we should go back to England, and she said ‘yes it was.’ My immediate response was to explain that we could not go back even if we considered it (which we are not) because, apart from not particularly liking the way England is now, we would have to rent at our time of life, which would be a nightmare in England with animals, and our money would not last long from our house if we went back.

I have thought about this since then and have surprised myself that I answered her in such a materialistic way. In fact after considering it here is my answer…

When I say life shows you the way, I think it shows you the way and teaches you lessons to enable you to move forward; yes sometimes the lessons are hard but they are ALWAYS about moving forward (although we may not feel that at the time) and never about going backwards, after all what would be the point of that?

I do see life as a journey, my biggest inspiration has been ‘The road less travelled’ by M. Scott Peck, and as you learn things in life those lessons should make you stronger to enable you to keep going, and be able to deal with adversity in the future.

I suppose my friend was saying how do you know life is not telling you to change what you are doing, or where you’re going, and go back to what you know, how do you know life is not telling you that you have made a mistake? Again, what would be the point of that? I believe that if it is, then the lessons will become harder until you listen, but they will always be about moving forward and not back.

Importantly life does not only send you hard lessons, it sends you good things as well, to tell you that you’re on track and need to keep going; and I know from some of the lovely people we have met, and others who are now in our lives that we are on track. I listen to all my lessons not just the hard ones!!

As I said in my previous post it all depends on how you look at things; Do you look at it from a positive angle and ask what can I learn from this to carry on? Or do you look at the negative things to use as an excuse to give up, and go back to what you know? That is not an adventure my friend.

Where there is good there is bad, and where there is bad there is good. Everything goes in a circle, but if you just focus on the bad then that is all you will get because you fail to see the good, or allow it a way in. Negativity begets negative things. If we are being told to give up this adventure then we would not have been able to get the door. I know we will have the roof before the winter, I believe!

I will say this though: When you really want something badly and it does not happen then listen, because life is telling you it is not the right thing for you, no matter how hard it seems that you cannot have it. Something else will come along instead if you just believe and keep the door open…..


Can’t take Dylan anywhere!

Another post about Dylan the Welshie puppy

Dylan's Welshie World

img_0444-1At the end of last summer I was in Spain with my friend Sue. The poor woman couldn’t enjoy her evening Sangria round the pool without me whipping out my phone and showing her yet again the videos and photos of this little chubby puppy I was picking up the day after we got back.

Oh I made her look at it so many times. Then I made her go through puppy names with me. Let’s just say Dylan could have been – Nia, Charlie, Winnie, Lucy or my favourite at the time  – Chubster! Goes without saying none of those names suited the little mischievous tomboy monster Dyls turned out to be. Then I made Sue look at the photos again and again and repeat! No wonder she raced to get on that plane back to the U.K.!

And of course, as I was so excited about my new…

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And then life runs away with you…..


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I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since I blogged! Life has just seemed to take over!

My dear friend took all of my stock of ‘handmade with love in our barn in France’ wooden hearts, moons and much more, back to England to promote at an artisan market. I spent two days painting and embellishing this promotional board for her to use, and then sod’s law stepped in and the courier company did not deliver it in time!

But such is life and the stall looked stunning anyway and has generated a lot of visits to our Etsy shop petiteFrenchfancies.We are blessed to have such food friends who help us, and I always count my blessings.

As part of promoting a shop, and raising my media profile, because I WILL get that book published, I have twitter, Instagram, and PinInterest accounts, and spend quite a bit of time posting to these sites, but they do work and so it must be done. It was no surprise to me that the stars of the show at the Artisan Market were the moons because I have a moon board on PinInterest that has just gone berserk averaging up to thirty pins a day!

This has inspired me to develop that particular part of the range and branch out into moons and hares, and I love it…

Also Spring has kicked in and the clematis, and hydrangea needed feeding and rearranging quickly, and our pots needed to be fed and prepped for the summer. I plan to have a blaze of blory in my pots this year.

Adding to that we are still frantically trying to clear our garden of the trees that were felled in February, just so we can mow our grass and stop any ticks getting to our much loved animals, especially these two…

The grass has got so long around the tree branches that they are literally becoming embedded and that will have to be our focus for the next week in between working and the two bank holidays that are in France!

So bank holidays mean vide grenier’s where the French bring out all their old treasures,and often all their old merde! And sell them. This is the time I am in my element, searching for pretty little French things to stock my shop, only last week I found these beautiful and rare finds…..

I want to keep the shelf, vintage from the 1940’s but hubby has put his foot down and said it has to go into the shop. He is right of course, we have been without a kitchen roof for three years, so we have to focus now that life has sent good people our way.

But now they have been added to my long list of things to do, as they have to be put onto the shop, with photos to be taken, and settings to be made!

Sadly we also lost two of the girlies over the past two weeks, despite adding calcium to their diet, and rubbing their bellies because we thought they were egg bound they passed away. We could not kill them or eat them and we have had to have a funeral pyre for them so we raised a glass one evening this week to say goodbye as we sat by the fire bin they were in. Now Claude only has three girls in his life, where this time last year he had six.

Like I always say, the only constant in life is change….

So speaking of change Tilly did not return. Her bed still lies empty, and there is a big hole in our hearts.

Last weekend a strange thing happened, TIlly had a small toy bird, that when touched, or tossed in the air would tweet, it sounded just like a bird. It was up on her bed, and I had forgotten about it, but last Sunday, on a wet afternoon, it started to tweet, as if something was playing with it. For two hours it drove Wiglet the Welsh to distraction; perhaps it was Tilly’s revenge for all the times she had chased her! And then it stopped. There was a strong sense that our beautiful little cat was with us, in spirit. On the Monday it started again, and I looked up at the bed, with tears in my eyes, and said how much I loved her, and thanked her for coming to say goodbye. The bird stopped tweeting, and for me, she was gone. But not for Rich, he still hoped; and so on Monday of this week, as he was in the kitchen making the tea, I heard him say “Oh my God!” He came running in to get his shoes on, saying Tilly was on the windowsill crying to come in. I flew outside, frantically cslling her, but she was not there. Rich swore he had seen her, I believe he had, she had come to say goodbye, to tell him to let her go.

So yesterday as I was working on PinInterest this picture came up on my feed, it was as if to say Tilly is with Snowy our Westie Dude, and he is looking after her

i have to believe what I tell others, who lose their beloved pets, if Tilly could tell me this is what she would say….

And yes I do have tears in my eyes.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone whatever time it is for you in your timezone, treasure every moment…