samedi 27 décembre 2008

Birthday Giveaway...

.
It's my birthday today and what better way to celebrate than by
holding a giveaway..?
.
Everyone who leaves a comment in my absence
(during the Christmas/New Year holiday break)
will be included in the draw...
.

.
I'm not revealing what goodies I'll be offering but I'm sure you'll
just love them..!
.
photo: stone chalet

.Meanwhile, I'm celebrating my special day on the ski slopes before heading
to Provence for the New Year festivities...

"And in the end,

it's not the years in your life that count

but the life in your years"

unknown

I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas
I most definately did...
- thank you all for your warm wishes,
I'll be catching up with your blogs as soon as I get back...

samedi 20 décembre 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

.


Listening to: White Christmas
Otis Redding


Hope you all enjoy a

Happy and Fun Christmas..!

~~~

Je Vous Souhaite à Tous et Toutes de Très
.
Joyeuses Fêtes de Fin D'Année..!
.*
Top photo: Dave Worrell

vendredi 19 décembre 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

.; ~Let’s Help Africa~
.
.
Don’t offer me,
Luxury suites with
Queenly beds to lay my head,
‘Else I will show you mud huts
In Africa with bamboo beds.

Don’t tell me,
‘Bout the latest fashion,
You think are pretty sweet,
I care more, for children in Africa,
With no shoes on their little feet.

Don’t show me Breaking news on Television,
And make me cry,
Just give your hand,
Let’s help Africa,
Then you can watch me smile..

Sita Madu Wynn

mercredi 17 décembre 2008

A seasonal favourite...

..
Cinnamon and ginger Crisps
Ideal for hanging on the tree
like ornaments...they look good, taste wonderful and their aroma
is so Christmassy...

* My photo: the first, and, so far, only, Christmas decoration on our tree..!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup light corn syrup
4 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
Beat in molasses and corn syrup
until well combined.
Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until a smooth dough forms.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out thinly on a lightly floured.
Cut with floured cutters.
Bake on greased cookie sheet for 8 minutes
.
ENJOY !
.
* Both my girls have somehow managed to catch tonsilitis, laryngitis and
a dreadful cold all at the same time - so, instead of being out and about, I'm grounded..!
In between visits to the Doctor's surgery and the health shop for natural
remedies, I've been writing out Christmas cards, gift wrapping, decorating and baking..!
Quite a blessing in disguise actually - hopefully by stopping work earlier for the holiday break,
there won't be the usual last minute rush that we've all become
accustomed to...

lundi 8 décembre 2008

Down Memory Lane...

.
"La fortune tient moins aux possessions accumulées
qu'à la capacité de vivre avec peu"
Mike Horn,
Objectif : pôle nord de nuit, 2007

Images: Baileys Home and Garden

.
"Fortune is less about accumulated possesions
than the capacity to live with little"
Mike Horn,
Objective : north pole by night, 2007
.
Most days I feel like I'm still in my 20's, if not my late teens,
so, being reminded that I am now more than 20 years past my 21st birthday
somehow comes as a bit of a shock - plus, by the end of the month
I'll be another year older..!
Anyway, what I'm leading to, is, that
it doesn't seem that long ago that I was an undergraduate,
house-sharing in London with a group of great friends from around the world.
It was seeing the storage boxes and baskets above, the other day on the
website that brought back vivid memories of the rather "original"
interior decoration we created.
Made up, mostly, of a collection of hand-me-down bric à brac and zillions of
wine boxes, trunks and wicker baskets of all sizes and shapes
for storage - none of which we paid much for as we were impercunious, to say the least,
and much preferred to spend the little money we had on books, travel and
entertainment..!

dimanche 7 décembre 2008

Elsewhere...

.
"Soyez le changement
que vous voulez voir dans le monde"
Gandhi
.
.
"Be the change
that you want to see in the world"
Gandhi
.
See below for info. on our ONG set up following
the 2004 Tsunami in SE Asia:
.
et ici
.

vendredi 5 décembre 2008

Believe me...

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,
and the dreams that you dare to dream
really do come true”
Lyman Frank Baum
.
Image: Dreyer & Hensley

Enjoy your weekend..!

What I've be listening to today...

jeudi 4 décembre 2008

Idées Cadeaux...

.
This time last week, late evening,
when the girls were settled for the night,
I went on a shopping spree for Christmas gifts late into the night...

.*Here are just a few of my purchases:
.Necklace crafted from recycled glass
from
Viva Terra

Slate Cheese Board Set
from
Viva Terra

Kitchen herb plantabox

Vintage Baking Trays
by RE

Vintage Welsh Blankets
by RE

Assorted French Christmas Postcards
by RE
.

Why these are a few of my favourite places to shop online:
- RE
sells the sort of things that I love, and know my family and friends will

appreciate - the quirky, often old, little things that give a house
some character and distinction...
-
Not On The High Street
supports small businesses and offers gorgeous gifts
with a conscience...

-
Viva Terra
sells a wide variety of eco-friendly artisan products
from around the world...

* never easy when those you're buying for, already have everything...
I can only show these (and not all the other things I bought)
as the recipients of these gifts do not visit my blog..!

lundi 1 décembre 2008

Weekend Sportif et Gourmand...

.
It was sunny, extremely cold and windy
Snow conditions were just great
Traffic conditions were not
I can still hear the wind whistling in my ears...
.

.It was the last weekend of November
We enjoyed an excellent "après-ski" evening with family
and friends
.
Fondue Savoyarde
.
Our first fondue of the season was a success
The great food, wine,open fire and music
really warmed
us all up...
Weekends really are far too short
- as I write this, reliving the weekend,
I can hear the crackling sound of logs burning
in the open fireplace, the laughter...
.
Fondue Recipe

Ingredients :
.
12 oz Emmental cheese, grated
12 oz Beaufort cheese, grated
12 oz Gruyere cheese grated
6 glasses dry white wine (from Savoy if possible)
1/2 glass kirsch liqueur
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
white pepper
1 or 2 loaves French bread
1 egg (optional)
.
On the day before or the morning of the meal, cube the bread,
and leave it out to let it dry a little.
Rub the bottom and sides of an earthenware pot or
cast iron saucepan with the garlic.
Pour wine into pot and place on stove over medium-high heat.
Bring wine to boil, add cheese and stir slowly with a wooden spoon.
Before cheese is fully melted, take pot off the stove and place
on a lighted fondue burner.
Season with pepper and add kirsch while stirring.
Once cheese has entirely melted, serve with bread on fondue forks,
stirring occasionally.
If cheese bubbles rapidly, turn down heat.
(the next stage is optional...)
When cheese is almost gone (maybe 3/4 cup left), break a raw egg
into the pot and stir rapidly with the cheese.
After a minute, add remaining bread into pot and stir together
with cheese and egg.
Then turn off the burner and enjoy what's left
.
BON APPETIT !
.

jeudi 27 novembre 2008

*A timely reminder..?


Don't write...



Don't write.
It's too powerful.
It might tell someone how
you feel.
How you hurt.
What you don't understand.

Don't write.
It's too powerful.
It will show who you are
on the inside to the outside.
It'll blow your cover,
your nice reputation.

Don't write.
It's too powerful.
You might hurt someone's feelings.
People may not like your words.
They may attack you,
or abandon you.

Don't write.
It's too powerful.
It might give others hope.
Let them know
they're not alone.
It might change minds.
Change directions.
Change the world.
.
So, whatever you do,
don't write.
.
.
* This poem is not only a timely reminder given current events
in France and around the world but
also, at least, to my mind,
it raises the issue of how and why bloggers decide
to censure themselves...or not.
I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have on the
issues raised...

lundi 17 novembre 2008

Mon Copain d'Enfance : Anansi the Spider...

.
Pendant des siècles, dans le monde entier,
les contes ont été une des meilleures
façons de rassembler les gens.
.
Ils sont un excellent moyen d'apprendre davantage
sur les coutumes,
et les croyances des autres cultures...


Illustration: R. Hübner

Je me revois enfant, au Ghana, en afrique occidentale,
assise par terre, entourée d'amies,
de couleurs et origine diverses,
écoutant avec plaisir
les "Contes d'Anansi" racontés par notre tante à tous:
.
* aunty Peggy

ses histoires de


. *Kweku est le "nom du jour" d'anansi l'arraignée..!


Le "nom du jour" ghanéen (Ghanaian day name) est le nom attribué
à tous les enfants, filles et garçons,
nés le même jour de la semaine
L'enfant garde ce nom tout au long de sa vie...
(il peut rajouter ou non plusieurs autres prénoms...)

.
(les noms de garçons sont sur la gauche et ceux des filles sur la droite)
.
Lundi Kwodwo Adwoa

Mardi Kobena Abena

Mercredi Kweku Ekua

Jeudi Yaw Yaa

Vendredi Kofi Efua

Samedi Kwame Ama

Dimanche Kwesi Esi
.

Moi, je m'appelle EKUA...
et vous..?
.
*Peggy Appiah est celle qui a inspiré le film "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner"
(1967)

lundi 10 novembre 2008

Wherever I lay my hat...


is my home...

.
Far from the madding crowd
.
Located at the foot of the French Alps in eastern France,
the town of Annecy is on the shores of Lake Annecy
which only adds to its beauty...
.

.
I'm off elsewhere, but I'll be
back soon...
Thanks for popping by, there are plenty of previous posts for you
to consult in my absence...
.
A BIENTOT..!

P.S: This is a re-edit of my very first post..!

vendredi 7 novembre 2008

L'ambiance du jour...

.
.
Next time you need an excuse for a messy area
of your house,
one of these might come in handy...
.
I don't do windows because...
I love birds and don't want one to run into a clean
window and get hurt
.
I don't wax floors because...
I am terrified a guest will slip and get hurt then
I'll feel terrible
.
I don't mind the dust bunnies because...
They are very good company, I have named most of
them, and they agree with
everything I say
.
I don't disturb cobwebs because...
I want every creature to have a home
.
I don't Spring Clean because...
I love all the seasons and don't want the others
to get jealous
.
I don't pull weeds in the garden because...
I wouldn't want to mess with God's design
.
I don't put things away because ...
My husband will never be able to find them again
.
I don't do gourmet meals when I entertain because...
I don't want my guests to stress out
over what to make
when they invite me over for dinner
.
I don't iron because ...
I choose to believe them when they say
"Permanent Press"
.
Thanks L for sharing this...
I can't remember if I've already posted this way back or not..?
Hope not..!

jeudi 6 novembre 2008

Au Coeur de la Provence...

.
Coup de Ceour pour ce lieu sublime:
Chambre d'Hôte de Charme
à *Beaumes de Venise
.


Au coeur de la Provence, au pied du Mont Ventoux,
et au milieu des vignes du fameux Muscat...
Cette bâtisse du XVIIIè construite à même la roche
est un lieu unique...

.D'autres photos et détails
.
.
*Beaumes de Venise est sur "La Route des Vins"de la Vallée du Rhône...
Les villages ainsi que les paysages environnants
sont absolument magnifiques..!
.
Check here for more photos and info. on this unique
place where we had planned to spend
the past week...
Why is it, just when you really need a break the most
- sunshine, quality time together as a family -
last minute, unexpected professional commitments and dramatic weather conditions
in central and southern France (torrential rain and flooding...)
conspire to keep you stuck at home..?
On the positive side, being "grounded" meant we were able to follow the last leg of the
American elections and witness history in the making - "live" on TV/Internet -
now that really was exhilarating..!

mercredi 5 novembre 2008

Now For Something Completely Different...

.
Things I will never know...
.
.
1. Why I never feel a foreigner - Here, There or Elsewhere,
yet always look like one, or so I'm told...
(everywhere except in Scandinavia, that is..!)
.
2. How it feels to live in a new house.
I love to live in old homes - I don't think I could ever live in a new one;
it needs to have a history...
.
3. Why I need absolute darkness and silence to sleep...
.
4. How it feels to be short -
at 1M75 (5'9) I tower above most ladies my age;
particularly here in France...
.
5. Why, unlike everyone else I know, given the choice between a big,
gooey slice of chocolate cake or a glass of the best red wine
and a slice of local goat's cheese, I'd choose
the latter every time...
.
6. How it feels to be competitive -
I just don't do competition.
Even as an athlete, I only ever ran to improve
my own times;
never, to be the winner...
.
7. Why it's so difficult sometimes to know where to draw the line.
Even the line between what I should, or should not,
write on this blog...
.
8. How to whistle - I can blow air - that's about
it, I'm afraid...
.
9. Why no matter how much you care, some people
just don't care back.
Why can't we all just get along..?
.
10. How it feels to drink to excess purely to get drunk
- I like my liver the way it is,
i.e. not in a jar...
.
What will you never know?
.

lundi 3 novembre 2008

Pause Déjeuner en Alpage...

.
après une bonne marche tonique sur les sentiers
du Plateau des Glières...
.
.
.Les Beignets de Pomme de Terre
accompagnés de salade,
.
Ingrédients
(4 personnes)

800 g de pommes de terre
1 gousse d’ail
2 cuillères à soupe de farine
4 œufs entiers
Crème, persil, sel et poivre

Râpez les pommes de terre et égouttez les biens.
Mélangez ensuite l’ensemble des ingrédients
et fabriquez de petits beignets.
Il ne reste plus qu’à les cuire à la friture.

Accompagnés de salade,
les beignets sont un met simple et facile à cuisiner...
.
BON APPETIT..!
.
Please do not hesitate to ask if you'd like a translation...

jeudi 30 octobre 2008

The Wisdom Project...

.
Inspired by *ubuntu...
.
Wisdom:

.I'm not going to spoil the surprise,
and your pleasure,
by saying a word more...
So, please, just
ENJOY..!
.

. For those of you, who like me,
love nothing more than going behind the scenes:

WISDOM:
How It Was Made
.
WISDOM:
In Order Of Appearance + Behind the Scenes
.
I simply can’t stop watching these excerpts
as I await delivery of my copies (for all my family and friends)
ordered from Amazon...
.
Do let me know your opinions on the
project...
I'm saving what I have to say until you've all
had the time to watch, read and listen to, slowly but surely,
the excerpts from the book & documentary film.
.
N'oubliez pas de me dire ce que vous en pensez...
Chez nous, en tout cas, toute la famille adore
- on garde, tous, encore en nous toutes les images magnifiques
et, surtout, les paroles si belles de tous
ces "ainés" qui ont chacun, dans leur domaine,
marqués le cours de l'histoire...

..
*
Inspired by the ancient African concept of ubuntu,
which emphasizes human connectedness
- I am what I am because of who we all are -
Zuckerman set out to gather and communicate the lessons his extraordinary
subjects have learned about love, work, the environment,
and conflict resolution.

Well worth checking out:
Super Forest
where there's an extremely informative and well-
written article about the project.

mercredi 29 octobre 2008

Caravan: Shopping in Style...

.
I don't know about you, but, personally, shopping is
not my idea of fun...that is
unless, it's shopping of a particular kind:
outdoor farmers' markets, thrift shops, etsy, "brocantes" and
independent stores
– online and on the high street -


Caravan in east London is one such store

.

.Browsing in these places is not like the usual shopping experience;
shopping here feels like an adventure
.
I always find something to please family and friends...
.
I love the whole concept created by Emily Chalmers,
who started out as an interiors stylist.
Do checkout their site, it's a real treat..!
.
*photos from their site

lundi 27 octobre 2008

Here Today...

.
i believe...
.
My favourite *weathercock overlooking the orchard...

i believe in dreaming BIG but still being content
to live small...
.
i believe that knowledge is an end in itself;
not just a step in the pursuit of the almighty
dollar/euro/pound...

i believe that if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well...

i believe that actions speak louder than words...

i believe that my love of food, (sourcing, cooking, experimenting, eating...)
most certainly stems from my African childhood...
.
i believe that every ending is simply
a new beginning...

i believe the opposite of religious belief is not atheism or secularism
or even humanism.
It is not an ‘ism’ - it is independence of mind, that’s all...
.
i believe discretion is the better part of valor...

i believe men are like wine: some turn to vinegar,
but the best improve with age..!


I'd love to know what you believe..?
* I just love quirky weathercocks - this one is placed on my roof terrace...

jeudi 16 octobre 2008

World Food Day...

..
Did you know..?
There are 250,000 known plant species in the world,
but only 20 of them provide 90% of our food...
The Eden Foundation believe that the key to prosperity for the poor
lies in underexploited, edible trees and bushes...

.

.
Esther Garvi is the lady on the right of the above photo.
As an unpaid volunteer with the Sweden-based non–profit organisation
Eden Foundation
she lives and works in the Zinder zone of the Niger
- one of the poorest countries in the world -
and I really wanted to draw attention, particularly today,
World Food Day
to what she and other volunteers are doing around the world to help
relieve suffering from hunger and malnutrition...

Do checkout
Esther's blog; it's extremely interesting and this
amazing lady manages to regularly update it with news, views,
recipes and, of course, her stunning photos...

Esther Garvi

mercredi 15 octobre 2008

Someday, Somewhere...

.
we'll meet again...
.
Lake Annecy, very early Monday morning
.
.Algún día en cualquier parte,
en cualquier lugar indefectiblemente
te encontrarás a ti mismo,
y ésa, sólo ésa,
puede ser la más feliz o
la más amarga de tus horas...
Pablo Neruda
.
Someday, somewhere -
anywhere, unfailingly,
you'll find yourself,
and that, and only that,
can be the happiest or
bitterest hour of your life...
.
Un jour, quelque part -
toujours partout,
vous vous trouverez,
et cela, et seulement cela,
peut être le plus heureux ou
le plus amer heure de votre vie ...
.

lundi 13 octobre 2008

Soul Brother...

.
I've been listening to James Hunter all weekend...
I didn't realize that so few people knew
(at least here in France)
about him and his music
I just had to share...
.
.
British singer-songwriter James Hunter talks to CNN
.
The New York Times described James Hunter as
"Studiously recreating the delicate and comforting soul sound of Cooke,
Jackie Wilson and lesser-known figures like Roy Hamilton and Little Willie John,
Mr. Hunter has mastered a territory of American music
beloved by fans and collectors worldwide.
And with touches of Chuck Berry guitar and some falsetto shouts
from the playbook of James Brown, his style is too eclectic
to be easily pigeonholed..."

.
checkout his personal site here
.
I'd love to know what you think...
.

jeudi 9 octobre 2008

Expressions From The Heart...

.
"J'ai les goûts les plus simples du monde.
Je me contente du meilleur."
Oscar Wilde
.
Check out the Ladurée online boutique here
.
.
Just a couple of the little treats I brought back from Paris for

some good friends of mine who, like myself, appreciate the finer things in life...
I just love all that pretty packaging and,
I have it on good authority, both the *macaroons and *chocolate
are to to die for..!
.
* I wouldn't know as I never eat chocolates and enjoy very few patisseries -
It's just another of my idiosyncrasies - I've simply not got a sweet tooth..!

vendredi 3 octobre 2008

Moments in Time...

.
"Love is the answer.
Now, what is your question?"
Author Unknown
.


Prends le temps d'aimer...
C'est le secret de l'éternelle jeunesse !
Prends le temps de lire...
C'est la source du savoir !
Prends le temps d'écouter...
C'est la force de l'intelligence !
Prends le temps de penser...
C'est la clé de la réussite !
Prends le temps de jouer....
C'est la fraîcheur de l'enfance !
Prends le temps de rêver...
C'est un souffle de bonheur !
Prends le temps de rire...
C'est la musique de l'âme !
Prends le temps de pleurer...
C'est l'émotion d'un grand coeur !
Prends le temps de vivre...
Car le temps passe vite
Et ne revient jamais
.

mercredi 1 octobre 2008

Beauté d'ailleurs...

.
I've always loved Saris (or Sarees)
- comfortable to wear, so elegant, such a wide variety
of fabrics and designs...
- sadly, I don't get to wear mine as often as I'd like
(it's only October and we've just had a hailstorm..!)
but as I also love admiring them on others, whenever I've time
I take a wander in the direction of:
Saree Dreams :
a beautiful blog about the latest sari designs
and sari blouse designs...
.
Photo: Saree Dreams
.
An old sari ad from the past...
probably around 1950-60,
as that was the time when most cities in India
had 4 digit phone numbers ...


Photo: O. Föllmi
.
My favourites are when there are
no catwalks, no glamorous models, glossy magazines
just regular beautiful people in saris...
. .

Photo: Saree Dreams
.
I find these pictures more touching and more beautiful than
any of bollywood stars;.
.
Photo: IndiaDailyLife
..
the saris are just as beautiful, if not more so, than any sari
that a designer ever created...
.

Photo: Saree Dreams

mardi 30 septembre 2008

Confession time...

.
Who's been eating my croissant..?
said Daddy Bear..?!
.
.
I have a confession to make...
I ADORE croissants -
the real thing, you know, the pure butter, light, flaky, melt in the mouth variety;
I'd easily go half way round the world to find the best
(luckily I don't have to)
HOWEVER
- and this is the bizarre part -
I only really LOVE the croissant "legs"..!
.

I think I can honestly say I've never eaten a whole croissant -
(I can almost hear words like obsessional behaviour, phobia, diet...etc flying around out there.
Honestly, you're way off the mark if that's what you're thinking...)
I just prefer to eat (any number of them of them if I'm really hungry..!)
"les pattes" (as they say in French)
and, quite frankly, as Husband and both Daughters
prefer the (bigger) middle part...
Well, tell me, do I need to analyze the issue further or even
follow some kind of analysis..?
I don't think so - nobody in the family does either...
(haha, wonder why..?!!)
.
Your turn now folks...
.
What's your oddest/quirkiest/most bizarre habit..?
.