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Showing posts from 2013

The land of Do-As-You-Please

I hadn’t imagined a cat purring in my lap as I kicked back 8 metres up an oak tree in the French natural park of Le Perche. With our 6-year old tucked up in bed humming ‘wisha wisha wisha’ to herself, my husband and I had sneaked onto the terrace to road-test the local cider. Out of the darkness sprung the domaine’s resident tomcat vaulting over our balcony. He’d brought us a beheaded moving-in present.
It’s fair to say that as a family we all have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to technology. Our parenting skills are easily distracted by ‘what’s happening on Twitter’ while our kid is addicted to all things Toca Boca. Was it possible to holiday somewhere without electricity and enjoy it? It was time to hide our beloved gadgets and go ‘back-to-nature’.
Cabanes de la Grande Noë has six treehouses of varying heights and design, each carefully spaced out over a private estate, which has been in the same family for six centuries. It’s a real family affair; Agnès takes care of the treehouses,…

L'épicerie du Pape

It’s a rare treat to feel completely at home in a B&B. We knew we’d hit on a gem when we arrived at L'épicerie du Pape; 5 minutes into arrival our inimitable host François had cracked open a bottle of the local cider and had a map out marking all the local hotspots. Before we knew it, Alethea was taking a dip in the vintage bathtub, and we were kicking back in the deck chairs outside our ‘Kabane du Pape', with our new companion Ernestine, the attentive black labrador.


Located in a small, picturesque village Vascoeuil, in the Haute-Normandie region of France, L'épicerie du Pape is a beautiful former grocer’s shop/café that has been lovingly converted into a guesthouse, full of eclectic junkshop and fleamarket finds; in every nook you find a well-curated selection of antiques and curios; there’s a subtle mixing of styles, patterns and colours, that emphasises the beauty of objects that have seen a bit of life.
Our accommodation for 2 nights was in a cosy wooden ‘kabane’ in…

A garden for Emma Athanasia

I can’t believe a year has passed since my sister died and I have written so little. In many ways it still feels raw, like only yesterday that I said goodbye but having had so much to sort out regarding my sister’s estate has also helped the time to pass and I’m healing slowly. I’ve joined a creative writing group, The Real Mildred, and although I’m finding it hard to dig deep, I’m finding the writing process to be strangely cathartic. 

I was pleased when Emma’s friend, David Sarton of Weald Designgot in touch to say that he has been commissioned to design a Summer Garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in Emma’s memory. The woodland retreat garden felt like a fitting tribute reflecting Emma’s talent as a horticultural photographer and as founding member of the Professional Garden Photographers Association. Throughout the show, the garden became an informal meeting place for Emma’s friends, garden photographers and family; a place for reflection, rest and a celebration of nature. I ha…