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

Thursday, 19 March 2015

latest from the lowcountry


After the rain came blue skies and sunshine, perfect weather for the St Patrick's Day parade last Sunday.

We enjoyed seeing all the participants, especially the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Wildlife sightings continue.
In the early mornings wild deer make their way along the shore line, crossing through the sand dunes beneath our balcony into the sea pines forest behind.

I even spotted an alligator sunning itself next to a creek close to the golf course yesterday afternoon, no time to take a photograph I'm afraid though.

Today the rain has returned with a vengeance but thanks to my very kind and generous friend, Mary who was my partner during Lorrie's recent Spring edition magazine swap I have the perfect way to spend  the day.

Mary sent me three wonderful magazines, House Beautiful; Country Living and Traditional Home each brimming over with ideas and inspiration to revamp, refresh and makeover a home.

The pretty note card with its shell design inspired me to look around our condo for props to complete my magazine photo shoot, I have the homeowner to thank for the pretty starfish and seashells. Mary also included a lovely tag with a bird motif which I'm sure will appear in one of my scrapbook layouts in the very near future.
Enjoy your day, everyone, wherever you are.
Me? I'll be here on the squishy couch sipping a mug of my latest coffee crush - Charleston Coffee Roasters "Organic Sumatra" bold roast watching the rain pour down and planning a room makeover.

Sunset over Calibogue Sound, St. Patrick's Day 2015
P.S. I can't seem to figure out how to include links to Mary and Lorrie's blogs in this post from my Kindle but there are links on my sidebar that will take you straight to Lorrie's Fabric Paper Thread blog and  A Breath of Fresh Air where Mary has already blogged about the magazine's which she received from me.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Back in the Lowcountry once more............

We arrived on Hilton Head Thursday afternoon to find it looking  just as good as we hoped it would be.
We are easing our way into Island life, our rented condo is on the beach!
The view simply amazing.

Sipping coffee, staring through the rain on Friday
I watched pelicans flying by and a dolphin swimming.

Yesterday morning we went down to the deserted beach.
The dolphin was there again he kept us company as we walked,
 swimming close to the shore of Calibogue Sound.

Sitting on our balcony enjoying cocktails in the evening watching the sun go down.

Sunset on Hilton Head at the end of another wonderful day. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

P is for packing

To paraphrase Robert Browning, this week I've been having 
"abroad thoughts from home".
It's time to go travelling again, methinks.
Next week the Senior Partner and I are heading to the States, 
Hilton Head Island, SC. to be exact.
Now, I know I don't need to tell those of you who live there
that many areas of the US have been experiencing shall we say "challenging" weather recently. 
The long range forecast for HHI during our almost 3 week stay calls for
 rain, T storms, a few sunny days, possibly followed by more showers and rain!
My dilemma therefore is what to pack for all eventualities.

I can hear you all shouting, even as I type, "layers".
T shirts; tank tops; long sleeved tunics.
A cosy, knitted sweater; fleece lined gilet; polartec jacket; scarves. Check.
Chinos; sweat pants; jeans. 
Maybe I should include a pair of cropped pants too for those hopefully warmer days 
and a dressier pair for when we go out to dinner?

Add some comfortable shoes, (I recently discovered TOMS, what a find - love them!) 
and Converse All Star dainty zebra sneakers for travelling in.

Along with all the other more mundane items such as underwear, pj's, makeup & toiletries
 I'll be packing everything in this suitcase.

Well, you know how confusing it gets 
when all those black bags come around together 
on the luggage carousel at the airport!

I hope to be able to continue blogging whilst we're away, though it does depend on whether I can figure out how to use the Picasa app on my Kindle Fire HDX!

Joining Mrs Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday
where the letter P is in the spotlight this week.

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