jeudi 29 janvier 2009

I am the type of lady who...

° is camera shy but doesn't mind sharing photos
of herself as a child...
(however awful they be..!)
Kumasi, Ghana, early 1970s
- I'm the one on the L looking rather like "the village idiot"..!
.° believes in you,
even when you don't believe in yourself...

° reads poetry in Spanish, translates it to French
then to English and
back once again to Spanish...
(needless to say, the resulting poem is never the same as the original..!)

° is never properly dressed when the storm hits...
° adores ballgowns, fancy party frocks and really high heels,
but would look, and feel, ridiculous
if she were ever to wear them..!

° is extremely aware of her surrounding environment
and does all she can to preserve it...
(through recycling, organic gardening...etc)

° loves a big hug...
° is the same size and shape
(flat chested, straight up and down - rather like a lamp post)
as she was at about fifteen..!
° can be counted on to get the job done
° eases the tension with a joke...
not always understood, here in France, I might add,
as she has a British sense of humour..!
° will never, ever understand cricket rules...

° gives people multiple chances to redeem themselves
- she does this for better or worse...

° is a free spirit;
apparently hard to define by other's definitions...

° believes that she has a whole host of Guardian Angels,
right by her side...
° would happily spend her life barefoot if she could...
° has difficulty sitting still to watch a movie
- never watches TV and when at the movies only stays if the film
is really really good..!
° would not know how to take herself seriously
but does know how and when to take others seriously..!
° gets distracted whilst cooking and burns something...
° enjoys the finer things in life, but is equally happy
to "live like the locals" when travelling afar
- it's the only way to get a real feel for a country and its' people
° answers your mail faster than she returns your phonecall
(unless it's urgent..!)

° has great faith in humanity...
° keeps her word, whatever...
Tell me,
What type of lady/gentleman are you..?

mercredi 28 janvier 2009

Food of the Gods...

Mangoes are considered in some cultures to be a food of the gods,
and in my opinion one of the best fruits in the world.
Smooth, juicy, and utterly delicious,
eating a ripe mango is an experience to relish...
IImages: flickr
No other fruit evokes the tropics quite like the mango...
I prefer them fresh off the tree, however,
I do know many many people who adore both
mango jam and mango sorbet
- both easy to make and delicious to eat...
Mango jam recipe here
Mango sorbet recipe here
Do let me know how you get on, if you try out these recipes
- they can both be made with fresh, tinned or frozen mangoes.

dimanche 25 janvier 2009

Weekend en Refuge...

Un week-end simple et tranquil
comme il en faudrait plus souvent...
Image: flickr

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing,
wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather"
John Ruskin

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend..!

jeudi 22 janvier 2009

Pour le Plaisir des Yeux...

"We should consider every day lost
on which we have not danced at least once"
Friedrich Nietzsche

mercredi 21 janvier 2009

Contemporary African Folk Art..

“The productions of all arts are kinds of poetry
and their craftsmen are all poets”
Ancient Greek Philosopher

Did you know
in Africa a "barbershop" or "hair salon" quite often entails
nothing more elaborate than a barber or hair-braider with a chair
set up in the open and a signboard hanging from a tree
or market stall..?

The signs may be painted by the barbers or hairdressers themselves,
or by paid sign artists...

They are intended both to identify the businesses
and to advertise the services offered, depicting a catalogue
of intricate women's hairbraiding patterns
or the latest in men's hair styles...

Barbers' signs can often be dated by the hairstyles depicted
- today inspired as often as not by events, styles
and personalities in the USA...

You can find find "Mike Tyson", "Mr. Tee", "House Party",
and "Cocaine Cut" offered alongside such old favorites
as "Nelson Mandela", "Back Bush",
"Sportin' Waves"
and even "Boeing 707".

Brightly painted,
these signs are a colourful, humorous,
and sometimes outrageous *contemporary African folk art.
They reflect both the ancient African tradition of hairbraiding

and hair-cutting and the cultural clash of imported
(usually American) influences...
All the above signboards are from barber shops and hair-dressers in
Ghana, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo.

*Several important museum shows have featured African Hair-dresser’s signs,
including, in the US
Crowning Achievements: African Arts of Dressing the Hair
at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA in 1995 and
Hair in African Art and Culture
at the Museum of African Art in New York in 2000.
African hair signs were also featured in a January 6, 2002 Style article in the
New York Times magazine.

Barber signs from the Indigo Arts Gallery were featured
in an article in Lucky magazine (January 2002).
One of their signs was included in Sharne Algotsson's book,
African Style: Down to the Details.

Photos of barber shops by:
Qaid, dede sahem, porkflamingo, danny.hammontree
Barber shop signs:

Indigo Arts Gallery

lundi 19 janvier 2009

Why Am I So Happy..?

I wonder...

° Maybe it’s the excellent tea i’m drinking...

° Maybe it’s this stunning blog i was just viewing when i should
have been working.

° Maybe it’s the great music i’m listening to...

° Maybe it’s the relaxation i'm feeling as a result of my visit
to the osteopath early this morning.

° Maybe it’s the project i’m working on that will probably mean a trip to
West Africa in the near future...

° Maybe it’s what my friend in Washinton i just spoke to on the phone
told me about the incredible "ambiance"
in the run-up to the Obama inauguration tomorrow...

° Maybe it’s the other friend whose e-mail i await.

° Maybe it’s this post at Dolce Chic that helped me
put a few things into perspective...

° Maybe it's just something in the air...
Tell me,
why are you happy today..?

mercredi 14 janvier 2009

Stamps of Approval...

You don't have to be a Stamp collector
to be interested in stamps;
particularly, ones as beautiful as those below (my favourites)...
just take a look at the
featuring classics of British design - pieces as iconic as the Mini,
Penguin Books and Routemaster buses...
Famous for Battersea Power Station and Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral,
Giles Gilbert Scott followed architectural cues in his submission
to the GPO's competition to design a telephone kiosk.


.The first Mini rolled off production lines 50 years ago.
Sir Alec Issigonis's revolutionary car became an icon of the 60s
and remains one of the most striking and
familiar pieces of British design...

In the world of publishing, cover designs have rarely been so immediately iconic
as Allen Lane's Penguin classics series,
designed by Edward Young, perfected by Jan Tschichold
and featuring Eric Gill's immortal Gill Sans typeface

The K2 was an instant design classic
Increasingly rare in the 21st century, London Transport's Routemaster bus
still symbolises London across the world...
I don't know about you,
but I adore the old mini and double decker buses,
and, unlike most people
I know, I'm not at all keen on the newer versions of either...

*The Design Classics series was issued yesterday
and will be on sale for a year.

By the way,
thanks a million for all your help on my last post
- I'm not quite as dumb as I might appear.
Asking for your help, was my way of solliciting more info. plus your
opinions on the subject
- kinda a little "tongue in cheek" (typically British..?),
I guess...

mardi 13 janvier 2009

Can You Help..?

"The position of a foreigner with complete command
of the same language has great advantages".
George Bernard Shaw
Daughter, 2000, with what she called her African hairstyle..!

(who is, to all intents and purposes, bi-lingual)
regularly comes home from school with new (American) English words
and expressions to enrich our predominantly (English) English vocabulary...
it would appear, to get the entire class speaking American English
by the end of the school year
(Nothing like being passionate about your subject, Good Luck to her, I say!)
Unfortunately, I can't always answer the many,
many questions Daughter has with regards to these new words
and expressions, and I would imagine, her teacher
is more than tired of her constant

Here are just a few examples,
maybe you can help out...

If "feeling sick" means felling ill, what is the word for
feeling sick..?
Why is a main course meal called an "entrée"..?
If "cookie" means biscuit, what if you want a cookie and not
just any other type of biscuit..?

If "cream" means milk, what do you ask for if you want
milk and not cream..?

If "pocket book" is a purse what is a small
(pocket) book called..?

If a toilet is a bathroom, what do you ask for if you
want the bathroom to have a bath..?

If "pants" are trousers what do you call
your underwear..?

If petrol is called gas, what's the word for gas..?

What is a bumbag or fanny pack..?

Why is is thought rude to host your own
birthday party..?
Apparently somebody else does this for you, this can't be true,
can it..?
Thanking you all, in advance,
on behalf of aforementioned Daughter..!

lundi 12 janvier 2009

Africa on my mind...

The colder it gets here
(-7 as I write),
the further afield my thoughts wander,
to much, much hotter climes...
Not bad for a first attempt at Polyvore, n'est-ce pas..?

This post is inspired by the BBC series
(on their website way back in 2005)
Here are a few of the many, many things
I love about Africa:
I love the beauty of the vast starry sky and the stillness
of the night;
And I love the noise and colour of vibrant local markets,
where meeting friends and sharing in the life of the community
are more important than simply making profit.
I love sleeping outside, gazing up at God's handiwork
as I drop off to sleep;
And I love sitting inside with the door open when the rains
finally come,
watching silently with friends the pounding of water on the earth.
I love the sense of awe when a sandstorm
blows up;
And I love the joy and relief when the harvest is safely in.
I love that there is always time to talk, that people are more important
than the day's programme;
I love the generosity, that when you arrive at meal time,
you are invited to sit round the bowl and share whatever food there is;
And I love the hospitality, that when you arrive in the evening
you are invited to stay the night,
and a mat is laid out for you.
I love the sense of community - that when you go into a neighbour's yard,
you have no idea how many of the dozens of laughing children
there actually belong to that set of parents;
And I love it that family is important, and that the elderly are respected
and taken care of.
I love it that when you arrive somewhere, you don't do anything
until you have properly greeted everyone;
And I love it that when you leave, you are always sent on your way
with the blessing of God.
What about you,
have you ever been to Africa..?
And what did you love
about it..?

jeudi 8 janvier 2009

What a difference a week makes...

I've just spoken to a friend in Aix en Provence
and they are
snowed under..!
I don't think I've ever seen snow in Provence even though
I've lived there and been a regular year-round visitor
ever since.
I took the majorority of the photos below of Aix, Bonnieux, Goult,
Cucuron and Lourmarin only this time
last week...

Oh, I almost forgot what I was to post about...
I was asked by mail by my dear friend, and follower of my blog,
what my New Year's resolutions for 2009 were; so, as
I don't actually make them anymore
(after years of never keeping them, despite my best intentions..!)
I thought the following would pretty much sum up
my feelings about the year ahead,
so, here goes:

."To live content with small means
To seek elegance
rather than luxury
And refinement rather than fashion
To be worthy, not respectable
And wealthy, not rich
To study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly
To listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages,
with open heart
To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasion, hurry never
In a word,
to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious
grow up through the common
This is to be my symphony"
William Ellery Channing
Does anybody out there still make New Year's resolutions..?
More interestingly, what I'd love to know is,
if you do make them, do you actually keep them..?

mardi 6 janvier 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise...

Or, at least,
it would feel and look pretty much like paradise if
only it wasn't so freezing cold..!

I finally got round to making a list of all those eligible for my
Birthday giveaway

The lake this morning (air temp. -8°C) looking towards Veyrier

So, with the help of my girls, we cut the list into strips, folded them tightly
and popped them all into an old straw hat...
The hat was shaken several times before one folded paper strip
was selected by youngest daughter
(who, incidently, wanted to select a winner plus two runners-up - not just one winner..!)

And the winner is...

Do check out her delightful blog
Oh, and I've decided to list all participants below so you can visit
their fantastic blogs too...


As I post, I'm listening to the soundtrack of the Ballet we enjoyed
(despite having already seen it several times)
at the Covent Garden Opera House just before Christmas,
I'm still under the spell...

My photos of my ticket, the programme...

List of participants in my Birthday giveaway:
aliette of
Béatrix of
Rūta Elzė of
Another magical day

Angry African on the Loose™
Chiara sara of
Autant En Emporte le Vent
My Castle in Spain
A Cuban In London
The Daily Connoisseur
Pamela Terry and Edward
From The House of Edward
Callie of
Grayson: a different shade of grey

High Desert Diva
Claire of
My life in a picture
Amy of
Esti of
Píntame el día
Ragged Roses
Sewing with Moonbeams
Beatriz of

Lynne of

Tea For Joy
Jessica of
Thoughtful Reflections
Elizabeth of
Under Consideration

A big Thank You to you all for participating
- better luck next time..!

dimanche 4 janvier 2009

Feliz Ano Nuevo..!

Happy New Year !
My photo : café sur une terrasse, 1 janvier 2009, Aix en Provence
How nice to go straight from a holiday into the weekend..!

.We're all so exhausted after all the travelling and
Christmas/Birthday/New Year festivities,
today has been spent mostly unpacking and generally settling back home
at a slow pace... plus
baking and then indulging in the Galette des Roi,
accompanied, of course, by a glass of the very best champagne..!

J'aime beaucoup cette célébration synonyme de partage et de convivialité...

La Galette des Rois

this extremely popular French tradition that takes place in January
every year...

(Serves 8)
1 1/4 lb puff pastry
2 eggs
7 oz almond paste

Preheat the oven to 400°F .
Line a baking with baking parchment.
Roll each sheet of pastry into a circle about 12 inches across.

Place one circle on the prepared pan.
Mix the egg with the almond paste until smooth
and spread the mixture evenly on the prepared circle of pastry,
leaving a border 1 1/2 inches wide all around.
If you have a small china figurine, insert it into the almond mixture
(you may also use a dried hardened bean as the fève).
Place the second circle of pastry on top and press it down tightly
around the rim.
Beat the remaining egg lightly and brush it on the top of the cake.
With a long-bladed knife, press lightly but firmly
through the egg glaze marking a crisscross pattern.
Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and puffed.
Do not open the oven for at least 15 minutes,
as the pastry may collapse.
Best served slightly warm


So, after all the indulging and great quality time spent with family and friends
here and there,
my routine should be returning to normal next week
(whatever that means..!?!)
- I'll be dealing with my Birthday giveaway asap, posting regularly
catching up with all your wonderful blogs...