Sunday, January 06, 2013

Signing Out...

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year and to wish you all the best for 2013...  and to tell you, for better or for worse, I've decided to end this blog.

For those of you who are friends and family, you'll know that I've been keeping this blog for over 8 years and its obviously dearly precious to me. However, for a number of not very important reasons, I feel like this is a good moment to close up shop and move on.

We're all doing good - the kids are growing well and we're comfortably settled in our new home. Indeed, we are so much more settled now that we ever have been before... which has made me think that those of you who'd like to catch up with how we are can contact me by mail. Trust me, if you were once my friend you will always be my friend... no matter how many years pass. So, feel free to contact me anytime and know that you are probably more often in my thoughts than you think.

Love n hugs n peace to all, where ever you are in the world!

Thursday, September 20, 2012



I just wanted to share with you that we've moved into our new home.

I have always felt 'at home' where ever I have lived, but this time it feels different. Genuinely, I feel I'm home and where I should be when I'm there... which is an odd feeling given we only have electricity in some rooms, only live in half the space, are constantly covered in dust and dirt, and can feel in our bones how much work we have left to do.

I think I know why, though, the children have space to run without being shouted at, we can see stars from the windows at night, need very little lighting so much light comes in the windows, and we're making different spaces for reading, working, watching telly, doing art stuff with the kids.

Our house is a project but, darn, its a good project!

love n hugs to you and your projects,
ps/no photos as we don't yet have Internet at home and so I'm writing from work :-)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Ian Ridenhour

Please, take 5 minutes out of our your time and listen to 'Who Said?' by written and sung by Ian Ridenhour.

He's the 11 year old son of a dear friend, but he's also an incredible musician... He composes his own music (classical and rock). He's the drummer for Hex Radio, and has conducted an orchestra playing his creation: After the Storm...

As I said, why not take 5 minutes out of your day to enjoy his talents!
love n hugs,

Moving closer

Hello there,

I just wanted to let you know that things are moving forward with the house... and the rooms are really beginning to look like the rooms that we would like to live in and to have you come and visit :-)

Oh, and that I think Benoit is a god!

Sincerely... we have loads of workers in the house, but Ben is still doing the lion's share of the work. Below is his first attempt at tiling! He had one weekend to tile the bathroom and the toilet and so to be ready for the plumbers to finish fitting the taps and so on... and so he checked out 'how to' videos on Youtube and then got on with it. Simply incredible.

My jobs are more simple but I'm still incredibly pleased because, once Ben and the plasterers had plastered Jack's room, I sanded the walls and then put down the first layer of primer. The end result isn't perfect.. but Jack's bedroom at least now looks like a bedroom.

Now the more faint-hearted among you might not want to read the next lines.... as we are moving into our 'worksite-come-house' in 2 weeks time to stop paying rent on our apartment and, heck, to start enjoying being in our 'Big House.' In real terms that means we're going to be living in dust and dirt for many a month to come, but we REALLY do not care as we are so ready to be living in our new home!

I'll let you know how it all goes when the time comes.
love n hugs to you where ever you are in the world!

The kids' bathroom.. being tiled

The spare room... in progress

Our bedroom, from the shower

Our bedroom, from the window

Jack's bedroom without paint
Jack's bedroom, with first coat of paint/primer

Jack's bedoom, looking towards door

La Rentrée

I'm happy to report that Emma enjoyed her first day at école maternelle (preschool) and Jack enjoyed his first day at primary school... even though for both of them that day was in German! What? Yes, in Alsace kids have the chance to follow an bilingual education with the week divided equally between days entirely in German and French. Jack's used to it now but it did feel a little strange to leave Emma in a new school and in a new language!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Turn a Bathroom into a Kitchen!

Okay, the 10 key steps for turning a bathroom into a kitchen!

1.Find a bathroom you really don't like.
2. Take out the bath, the shower, the sink, the toilet, the tiles, the flooring, the lighting, and that crappy soap holder.
3. Add a wooden floor, which you will later cover with vinyl.
4. Call in an electrician and plumber.
5. Cover the walls with plaster boards.
6. Say yes to good, darn good, friends who offer to sand and paint said walls and to help lay the vinyl.
7. Keep all small kids away at this point!
8. Fidget at home as the kitchen company come in and install a kitchen you ordered months ago.
9. Sigh with relief that everything has worked out just fine and that sometime soon your kitchen really will become your kitchen..... that is, in 2 weeks time when the electricity and water are turned on 'for real'.
10. Get on with the remaining rooms/house as 2 weeks pass....

love n hugs n new kitchens,

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Big House?



  Curious to know how things are going in the Big House?

  Just watch this space in the next few days and weeks!

  Big Changes are Taking Place...

  love n hugs,

Home from Home

On the way back from Provence, we stopped off in Scotland.

Well, not really.

We stopped off to visit some dear friends in Lozère.... which, with it's granite-rich landscapes filled with dry stane dykes, rowan, fir and spruce trees, heather, gorse, wild pansies, bluebells and open farming fields filled with cows and some sheep, felt awfully like some place I know in Aberdeenshire !

Of course, the weather was slightly warmer and so the animals and insects are quite different.. but that just made our walks all the more enjoyable!

So, if you're ever looking to visit the northeast of Scotland with a bit of heat, there's a little patch of France that might just do the trick!

Hoping you're feeling at home where ever you are in the world!




Two butterflies?

A real butterfly!

Le chateau de Baume


Holiday Time

Hill above Les Omergues
 Hello again,

One of the many upsides of being a high school teacher in France is the great holidays. It's true, while we're 'in school,' the hours are long for teachers and students alike: from 8am to 6pm many days of rhe week. However all those hours crammed together in the classroom give us all a darn good excuse to relax once the school year is all done and dusted. As soon as we were 'out,' I took the kids down to Les Omergues in Provence while Ben, bless his cotton socks, stayed and worked on the 'Big House' (more of that later).

What would Provence be without a little lavender?
We had a lovely few weeks as the kids and I were able to enjoy, once again, the dusty walks, the sandy rivers, the baking heat, the generosity and the grandeur of Provence.

How many hours did we spend in  the Jabron?
Such freedom, with a paddling pool, some of the cutest dressing up clothes in the universe, and lots of books and drawing stuff, meant that Jack and Emma were really able to' chill out'.

That's my boy, looking quite young and innocent!
For the annual village fête, there were nights of dancing and fireworks raining down, and also a sports day - with dunking for lemons, races, and square boules !

Competing in local sports day!
The holidays weren't without danger, as Jack discovered on many an occasion. Here, he's just discovered what happens when you surf down a hillside on your tummy ... at least he got some good looking fossils in return :-)

That's what happens if you look to hard for fossils!

Emma, meanwhile, got herself into equal amounts of trouble... but mostly when she was dressed as a bee!

Emma, the bee!
And I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles!

hoping your cookie is crumbling the best way possible!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

How to Build a New Floor in 3 'Easy' Steps

Floor stripped of its covering
Step One: Let 3 men - Ben, his Dad, and a good friend - loose for 2 days. Supply with beer and food as necessary!

Floor as insulation is being laid
 Step Two: Recognise they've done a darn good job when the two rooms are aligned, at the same level!

 Step Three: Let two children loose to check things and generally run wild!

Running ground

Monday, June 25, 2012

Opening Up

One day you might see bookcases on that back wall!

Just a wee update to say that our L-shaped living rooms is beginning to take form. The pillars have been pushed back and reinforced. Now all that's left to be done are the walls, the ceiling, the floors...

All that'll be for a future blog.

For tonight, though, we'll just keep our dreams alive!
ps/Ben's busy putting up the ceiling in the kitchen. Photos soon x

Try to imagine that the second opening at the back right, is the same opening as you see above