I'm a happily married mum of two boys, aged 17 and 19, and as a family we moved to France eleven years ago. My husband works for a French company, I teach English to French people aged 6 - 60, and English reading and writing to the English-speaking children of the area. We are part of an English speaking church in Lyon. I love to shop for French vintage lace, fabric and household items, and to combine them with my British and global treasures in interesting ways.
Thanks for coming over to my British-meets-French Vintage blog! Please leave a comment - I love to hear from anyone who takes the time to read my posts, and I try to pop back and visit your blogs whenever I can.
If you'd like to know what my blog's name means, click here for the explanation!
I am not a perfect mother or housewife. There is dog hair under the sofa and the boys eat with their elbows on the table, however much they're nagged. I just assume you'd rather see the pretty stuff!
I've just realised it's been a month since my last blogging break - and it feels like time for another (in the nicest possible sense).I'll be off for a week, not looking at my blog or yours, but I will be planning my London trip and answering emails, so I'm not completely out of touch! Have a great week, my friends...
These are old nests we found while trimming our hedges this year. I'm happy to tell you that the current nests are still very active and the sparrows which nest in our roof and our hedges are thriving on the food I'm putting out for them - this is the first year we've followed the RSPB's advice and kept on feeding them into the spring. I also watched a nightingale picking up worms from our lawn this evening - they sing all around us, but never, it seems, actually in our garden. I'm not complaining - they're loud and their songs carry through the night!These nests are also making me think about just how much I'm enjoying spending time with Ben building up our own home, garden and home life. We're both pretty busy with work but I'm only part time and I'm blessed to be able to keep house and enjoy feathering our nest while spending time with the boys too. It's possible to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks but it's also possible to stop and smell the roses, both literally and figuratively! Hope you're able to feel that way too, friends.
For weeks now I've been taking photos of the shelves below our front windows - usually in the hazy sunshine of the late afternoon. The shelves themselves aren't vintage, it's the contents that qualify!
Two beautiful books...
... a hand-made wooden horse... and a (fledgling) collection of vintage Lourdes souvenirs. I'm collecting the pictures of the church, not of Our Lady, as I'm not Catholic myself and I find the scenes more to my taste. Lourdes is not far from us - and I love those sheep!
Of course, it's rare to find our shelves without a few little additions of the adolescent boy variety...And over on the left, in fact all around the not-vintage speaker, is the pride of my current collection!
A 1920s tin with Basque dancers on it - aren't they great? They have some Breton cousins... (Elizabethd can correct me if I'm wrong)...
and some Normand ones too, if I'm right.Finally, here are some stylish dancers from a region of France I don't recognise. Are they Provençal, perhaps? I bet some clever reader can enlighten me.
I bought these tins over the winter at the all-year Flea Market. The seller wasn't a dealer - I'd never have afforded them if she'd charged their market value. But I did pay her a good price for them.
The hazy sunshine on my shelves seems to be telling me I was right to splash out for once!
And perhaps a quilt, more than any other. In the 1980s a young mother lived with her family on the beautiful French island of Réunion.
Life was busy, looking after her daughter,
and her son.
The tropical nature of the island
influenced her choice of colourful clothes and fabrics.
But she was culturally French as well, and the most traditional fabrics of France,were available to her, on her tropical island on the other side of the world.
Along with some more modern fabrics printed in French too!The patterns and colours of her ancestral Africa appealed to herand looked great on her,but she also had some fabricsjust like the ones I wore, or craved, in England, at that time.Throughout the 80s she saved the family's old clothes and furnishing fabrics,And in the '90s, when her family was growing up and life was a bit less hectic,she started putting everything together into a quilt.She didn't buy any fabric,having so much in her stash after years of saving,and the happy memories triggered while cutting and stitchingwere as satisfying as the crafting itself.When her handsome young son had finished his education on the island,he left for France, where he did well at university, met and maried a beautiful French woman, and was given the quilt by his proud mother.I met him, his wife, and their little daughter, on Sunday, at the local school Vide Grenier. The sight of these two charming people, folding up the quilt in the strong French sunlight, will stay with me as I begin the enjoyable task of mending it and learning still more about the woman who made it.
Happy Saint Honoratus ' Day! If that sounds like a mouthful, it's easier saying it the French way: 'Bonne fête Honoré'! Saint Honoré is the patron saint of bakers (and florists) and our baker's was offering a gateau Saint Honoré for the very good price of 9€50 yesterday, if you booked in advance. The baker's shop was full of chattering people queuing up for their Sunday bread and their gateaux, and all his daughters were out the front, along with their mum and other staff - it was great fun to go and buy a cake instead of making Sunday pudding à la anglaise yesterday!
... turns out to be a great place to shop! I bought the bits and bobs above while the grey clouds gathered this morning - an English royal memorabilia jam pot, a reproduction tin, a mirror for the growing collection, a frame, a jug and a job-lot of vintage-ish tea towels all for 50c or 1€ each.
Then the clouds opened and the real bargains began! By the time I left the cozy hall full of craft stalls, the household stallholders were packing up or covering their wares with plastic, and most of the serious dealers were also packing up, fairly phlegmatically. One chap sold me this for 4€ after a bit of bargaining- it would usually have cost me quite a bit more, despite the damage...
it's HUGE!Then a rather disgruntled Moroccan dealer sold me this for under his (alleged) buying price - 5€!
OK, it's a bit beat-up, but it's a great example of decorated enamel. And the 'somehow not quite right' display of pitchers, candles etc that I'd put in the corner on Monday now seems to have simply been waiting for this pitcher to come and complete it!I keep taking peeps at it - can you spot it in this photo?
It's here, to the left of the fireplace.Here's the grand haul - I bought four fleece jumpers for the boys (50c each), a big basket for throws and blankets and some lace and linen too!The rain really did me a lot of good this morning - and thank goodness it has lasted long enough to refill our garden cistern too!
Thanks for all your comments - if you haven't already seen my post about my London trip (from which Blogger has eaten all the comments), please do have a look and see if you might be able to join us for some trips around exhibitions and maybe a boat ride, too! More details will follow.