the gentle bucolic ramblings of an English rose, blooming in rural Normandy

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Being inspired.

Blogger friends have been inspiring me this week, providing nest fluffing opportunities.
Lorrie @ Fabric Paper Thread is hosting a magazine swap next month.
In readiness I've bought some of my favourite English and French decorating magazines to send but couldn't resist the opportunity of checking them out myself first and noting the new trends and ideas for Spring d├ęcor.


The March issue of Country Homes & Interiors is full of inspiration and this little display caught my eye.
I utilised 2 plain clear glass bottles, a vase, a whisky tumbler, a conserve pot
and faux flowers
This is my copycat version, reflected in the antique French country mirror found at auction in Bayeux many years ago, it really brightens up the hallway. 


A few days ago I learned from Lorrie that she will be one of the two partners allocated to me in the swap. Mary @ A Breath of Fresh Air is my swapee, Stateside.
Lucky me will be the receiver of magazines from both the US and Canada.
I "met" Lorrie and Mary through blogging several years ago and I think I've come to know them both quite well despite never ever having met either of them IRL!
Mary recently blogged about the joys of changing loose/slip covers on chairs and sofas, a challenge which I can so relate to. What caught my eye in the post, however, was the stylish “vignette”, for want of a better word, that she has created on the coffee table in front of the couch.
Click here to see my inspiration.
I have been scouring Pinterest for weeks for inspiration on how to add a touch of class to the table that sits between our two squishy sofas in the sitting room, whilst still being able to use it for the occasional fireside petit dejeuner a deux.


The solution of displaying items on a large tray that can be moved to another location, as and when needed, is perfect.

The best part about being inspired by both the Country Homes vignette and Mary's table top was that creating my versions didn't cost a sou because I shopped in my own home.
You know what I mean, looking around the house and picking up pieces from various rooms to see if they display well together in ways you'd not thought of before.


For the table top I began with a vintage French decoupage tray purchased for a few euros at a brocante fair, added a Rene Lalique vase paired with creamy silk roses and other faux greenery; a cute Lladro/Nao puppy serves as a paperweight on top of those decorating magazines I mentioned before and a couple of stoneware drinks coasters, always useful when steaming mugs of tea are to hand.
I'm very happy with the end result, pretty and practical.


Where do you look for your inspiration, I'd love to hear your ideas?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

O is for Opportunity

At the start of 2015 I chose “opportunity” as my word for the year.


Opportunity – “a time or set of circumstances that make it possible to do something”.



When a small, unexpected, windfall came our way in January we booked a last minute holiday to Cyprus for some much needed winter sunshine.

Our suite, top floor right hand side
How could we not take the opportunity of seeing such amazing places as Petra tou Romiou, the birthplace of Aphrodite - the Greek Goddess of love, beauty and pleasure?


According to Greek Mythology Aphrodite rose from the sea off the coast of Cyprus, legend has it that the rock in the middle of the three is Aphrodite's Rock.


On a different note ...
Earlier this week a routine check-up with Mr. Daniel, my heart specialist, showed that although my heart is still beating fine, thank you very much, my blood pressure is way higher than is good for me. Dietary changes will need to be made, a more extensive exercise regime begun, tests and monitors were mentioned. 
Hard to see at the time what sort of opportunity this situation presented but after a couple of  nights of tossing and turning I've decided that this is my chance to take charge of my health once and for all, before it’s too late. 

One of the delicious tasting desserts which we enjoyed at the Columbia Beach Resort's Apollo Taverna, could this be the reason my BP is elevated?

I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

Linking to Mrs Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, where this week we're discussing the letter O.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

greco-roman style....................................

Despite stormy weather on our arrival in Cyprus, 
the day of our guided tour of the island dawned bright and clear, perfect sightseeing weather.


Driving east from Paphos to Kourion our first stop 
was the sanctuary and temple of Apollo Hylates. 
Apollo was the Olympian God of the Sun and of Music.


Worship of Apollo also known as the woodland God, Hylates 
began at this site around the 8th century B.C.


It was awe inspiring to wander through the ruins of this sacred place,
 listening to our guides as they recounted it's history 


Weary travelers who sought sanctuary here often made sacrifices or left offerings, 
to the Greek God, Apollo, on the Circular Altar.


As the only visitors that morning we relished the peaceful atmosphere and soaked it up.





Our Greek Cypriot guide Andreas and driver Michael 
shared with us tales of Greek gods, myths and Roman legends
not to mention a delicious lunch of traditional mezes.


Situated high on a cliff overlooking the Eastern Mediterranean 
the archaeological area of Kourion contains excavated ruins
 dating to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.


The Roman agora and baths were constructed in the 3rd century A.D.


The nymphaeum was a sacred place devoted to nymphs and minor divinities 
- protectors of springs and waters -


Following Roman bathing customs the baths were divided into separate areas.
 the tepidarium (warm room) 
caldarium (hot room)
frigidarium (cold room)


Construction of the greco-roman theatre at Kourion began in the 2nd century B.C.
Extended during the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D, it could accommodate 3,500 spectators
who came to watch gladiators in combat.


The theatre has been fully restored and many concerts are held here throughout the year.




Linking to
Judith @ LavenderCottage for Mosaic Monday

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

a traveller returns to Normandy

The traveller is returned from warm, sunny Cyprus 
where we were lulled to sleep by waves breaking on the shore
just metres below our balcony.
I have yet to sort through the many photographs 
which I took on that jewel of a Mediterranean  island
 but promise to share some of them with you soon.
Today we awoke to a very different morning, the garden glistening under a light
shimmering of frost.
After the sun came up and blue skies appeared 
I went outside, with my camera, to record the signs of Spring's early arrival in Normandy.

 pretty primroses
 daffodils in bud


delicate purple crocus with deep orange stamens
Mother Nature really knows how to make an entrance.

towering silver birch trees 
the trunks seem to glow in the sunlight


 the papery bark makes interesting patterns,


I've been playing with picmonkey again
this time using the out of focus bokeh technique
I like the effect but think I need to investigate further just how to use the feature correctly.


Joining Mrs Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday
where the letter N for Normandy is spotlighted this week.


and Karen @ My Little Home and Garden for
Sunlit Sunday



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Leaving for Lemesos

In just a few days I'll be heading to the beautiful, eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
I've got the Lonely Planet Guide to read on the plane.
The SP has found us a beautiful place to stay.


Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri Bay, Cyprus

Paris and Andreas from Discover Cyprus 
have put together a wonderful private tour for us.
We'll visit small private vineyards.
Immerse ourselves in the history of it's ancient kingdoms.
Marvel at Aphrodite's birthplace and the Temple of Apollo.
Dine on meze and other delicious Cypriot dishes.

Breakfast al fresco in February,
Soak up the sun and relax.

Photographs courtesy of the Columbia Beach Resort, 


Joining Mrs Matlock for Alphabe -Thursday to discuss the letter L.

Jenny Matlock

Monday, 2 February 2015

Rubbish Tuesday #37

You never know who you're going to meet at a party, do you?
Last week I was one of Vicki's volunteers when she hosted the Grow Your Blog Party 2015.
Click here if you missed my party post.
One blog visit led to another blog.
I got caught up in the lives and pastimes of hundreds of bloggers new to me.
I signed up to follow about 50% of them.
And discovered some new weekly meme's.
Somewhere along the way I met EGCameraGirl 
who lives in East Gwillimbury, Central Ontario, Canada.
She takes amazing photographs,visit her blog to see a beautiful old house in her town.
Wouldn't it make a wonderful Bed and Breakfast?

Vintage Morris Minor Estate car spotted in Anglesey, North Wales.

She has linked that post to Rubbish Tuesday hosted by Roan @ Rubbish By Roan.
"Anything old and/or deteriorating" 
As an avid brocanteur, 
a lover of antiques;
all things vintage; shabby chic; chippy; preowned and quirky


Carousel in Courselles sur Mer, Normandy.

 Rubbish Tuesday is the perfect place for me to share
 photographs of things and places that have caught my eye "just because".
Here's just a few.

French metal garden furniture and planters @ Chateau des Ravalet, Tourlaville, Normandy, garden show.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Hello February

February - the most romantic month of the year.


some Valentines Day favourites


red velvet cupcakes
a slim volume of garden poetry
fine bone china at tea time
old fashioned french roses
sterling silver sugar shaker and basket
strawberry roulade
cupid's love tokens


love is in the air



linking to 
Amaze Me Monday with Cindy @ Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home
Mosaic Monday with Judith @ Lavender Cottage 
Bernideen's Tea Time
Laurie's Annual Valentines Party @ Bargain Decorating with Laurie