Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ame Câline and other French tunes

I don't know where my love of music comes from but if I were to guess I'd say from my mother.  During my childhood she often played her classical LPs at the weekend while cooking the Sunday roast and during the week the radio (or wireless as it was back then) was always on in the background, Mum singing along to it.  So when my clock radio woke me at 0400 recently, playing this tune I instantly recognized it even though I'd not heard it for decades.

I had no idea who recorded it so googled it and was surprised to discover that although this cover is by Raymond LeFevre it was written and originally recorded (as Ame Câline) by Michel Polnareff, a huge star in France but unknown here in the UK.

 When I'm at home during the day the radio is usually on, it's the same when I'm at my holiday home in France, as soon as I arrive I tune in to my favourite station... Nostalgie.  This has led me to discover French music and made me wonder why it's not played more in the UK.  You're probably thinking that it's obvious, most of us cannot understand it!  But in France, the radio stations play music from plenty of Anglophone countries, do the françaises understand all English lyrics...of course not! And let's be honest here, who understands all lyrics anyway... even if they are in your own language?  I'm certainly guilty of singing my own 'alternative' versions.

Most of us of a certain age will remember French singers of the sixties and seventies... back then they were played on UK radio stations, probably because they also recorded in English.

Sacha Distel was so dreamy!

Maurice Chevalier thanked heaven for little girls

Aznavour's ballad She is one of my favourite tunes.

Monsieur Bécaud gave us all Love and Understanding

while pogoing Plastic Bertrand told us it was OK for him, although actually he's Belgian...but he sang in French.

In the eighties it was Joe Le Taxi that we heard about in Vanessa Paradis' breathy voice

But recently, I can only recall one French artist being played on UK radio...Christine & The Queens. 
Perhaps you know different?

As I cross the channel several times a year now I'm getting more and more familiar with the big names in music.  Two French music legends, Johnny Hallyday and France Gall passed away recently after being stalwarts of the French charts for decades.

Early in her career, France Gall represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest.

  Shortly after her performance she was dumped by her boyfriend Claude François, another massive star of the time but then bravely returned to the stage to perform her winning song once more.   Claude François wrote Comme D'Habitude about his relationship with Gall which was later recorded as My Way by Frank Sinatra.

  A favourite of mine are Indochine, their sound very redolent of the era, the eighties.
I like to turn up the volume and prance around the van to this one, with a glass in my hand naturellement!

Do you listen to music in another language?  I'd love to know.




Thursday, 24 May 2018

Scavenger Hunt - May

Another post cobbled together at the eleventh hour this month.  Sound familiar?
There were some tricky prompts for May so it will be interesting to see the other interpretations. These are mine.


After checking the departures board constantly and waiting for my gate number to appear last week on my trip back from Vendée, I suddenly heard an annoucement in French for 'spiddy budding à Londres Gatwick' indicating that boarding for my flight had commenced and the screen I was watching was obviously not updating! At this point, I hurtled from the departure lounge, past the mile long queue for passport control, muttering 'excusez-moi messieurs,dames' whilst pushing in at the head of the queue, where I encountered other passengers who'd experienced the same problem. I arrived at the gate in the nick of time.  Phew, disaster averted this time....I was due at work just fifteen hours later.


A dreadful, out of focus pistache ice cream taken on my mobile in France last week is the best I can do this month.

Another one taken in France last year at Maché's Fête de la Caille.  (Quail Festival)
The adorable little boy was the bandmaster's son and only five years old.  The MC announced him at the end of the routine, he'd truly mastered the maracas and kept in perfect rhythm with the rest of the band.


 The lock at Shoreham harbour, West Sussex



My own choice

 I recently went to visit my friend in Brighton and as I passed this house a few doors down from her, I did a double take!  I  can't understand why it's never attracted my attention before!  My personal favourite is the colander-wearing ape clutching a tambourineI wonder what the neighbours think?

Thanks for popping by, you can see other entrants over at I live, I love, I craft.
Big thanks as ever to Kate for hosting the challenge and for those in the UK, have a great Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Scavenger Hunt - April

Ooops!  The last few days in April ran away with me and so I'm fashionably late for the Scavenger Hunt.  It seems that I'm only popping into blogland for this challenge at present but as I've said before, it's been dullsville hereabouts. That's my fault as I'm all too aware, but I'm hoping now that spring has sprung I'll be tempted to get out and about.


I noticed this rotting tree stump along the Worth Way, once upon a time the Crawley to East Grinstead railway line, now a local track popular with dog walkers and cyclists.


Here I am at quite possibly the most famous rock in the world. This snap was taken during my four month solo backpacking adventure around Australia in 1991. 


 No prizes for guessing which fashion store window this letter was adorning.


 Boring as hell, right?  Not to me....this is the current balance of my mortgage.  Woop woop!


This scavenger hunt malarkey is proving hazardous to my waistline.
 I spied this Swiss roll in the Co-op and having failed to come up with anything else for this prompt, shoved it in my basket.

Own Choice

Meet Simon, my current foster cat.  Not only is he beautiful, he is also the sweetest natured moggy.... can you tell that I'm quite smitten with him?    He's rather a big boy, in fact he was a massive 9.5kgs when he first came into care but with a restricted diet he's now down to 7.9 although there's still a way to go.  He's getting more active by the day...and as you can see, has fully checked out all the facilities at his latest lodgings.

Thanks for bearing with me during this blogger's block.... I'm aiming to be back soon, meanwhile I'm off to look at other Scavenger participants, you can find them HERE.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Scavenger Hunt - March

I haven't posted for a while, life hasn't been terribly interesting and the weather's been crap, which limits one's activities somewhat.  I don't know about you but I will be so glad to see the back of this winter...yeah, I know it's spring now but this week we had rain, sleet, snow and hail all in one day!  I was hoping to get out in the garden ...but no chance.

However I don't like to miss the Scavenger Hunt hosted by Hawthorn so have cobbled together a few shots for this month's prompts.  Check out other participants HERE.

The mint with the Hole


You must be fed up with seeing these knitted/crocheted cat blankets, knocked up from stash oddments for Cats Protection.  The feline recipient of this latest project will need Foster Grants!

Reading now

 I recently started this book as part of my French studies....oh la la, I think my tutor over- estimated my abilities.  The story's two central characters are Renée 54 and Paloma 12.  Renée, concierge of a beautiful hotel for the last twenty seven years is widowed, petite, podgy and ugly.  She has bunions and 'mammoth' breath.  She did not study, has always been poor, discreet and insignificant, she lives alone with a big lazy cat.  Mmm, I see some parallels between us!  I haven't got to the part about Paloma yet and I imagine the book's title is a metaphor referring to the main character. (hèrisson - hedgehog) 
I reckon I'll still be struggling with this at Christmas.

I've also been tittering over Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman. 

Black and white

 Pickle, my most recent foster cat who left me yesterday for her new forever home.

Starts with an ... H

Hellebores from the garden.

My own choice

 This family shot circa 1967 always makes me smile.
As usual my brother was grizzling and I had pinched mum's jumper...nothing's changed I'm still a cold mortal, but nowadays I sport a better haircut!  I can still remember the taste of those ambrosial Cornish ice cream blocks, can't recall where the beach was, but judging by all those pebbles it was probably local in Sussex. 

Sorry for being a slack blogger lately, winter always gets me down and this one seems to have been particularly long, I'm looking forward to lighter days and (hopefully) sunshine soon.

For those of you lucky enough not to be working this weekend, I wish you a happy Easter.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Crochet, Cards and Keyrings - Handmade Monday

It's a quick post from me today to share some mini makes of mine.
First up I've churned out another cat blanket...this time worked in double crochet with trebles for the frilly border.

 The yarn came from a chazza and that's where it's returning as this will be donated to the Cats Protection charity shop along with a load of stuff that I've turned out this weekend.
I've a mountain of yarn sitting in my front room and I need to get rid so I think another project will soon follow. 

Next are a couple of cards that I made a while ago but don't think I ever got around to posting.
The first for a cricket loving friend... 

and the card below was stamped and paper pieced for another friend who'd recently moved house.

Finally a couple of keyrings that I made for more friends that I regularly meet up with.  We usually make a little gift for each other as we are all into crafts of one sort or another.
These were made with a pair of jumble sale jeans from which the hem was cut to use as the loop for the hardware, the denim pieces were cut into heart shapes on my die cutting machine.  Interfacing was used to stiffen before stitching a smaller decorative heart. 
Judiciously placed bows hid any dodgy needlework. Ahem. 

What have you made recently ?

Friday, 23 February 2018

Scavenger Hunt - February

Hello!  Where has February gone?  We're almost at it's end but I don't seem to have accomplished much during it.  Although I have done quite a bit of spring cleaning and tidying of cupboards which is quite satisfying.  I have however had time to take a few snaps for this month's Scavenger Hunt,  you can check out other bloggers interpretations HERE.


The heavy fragrance of these white (Aldi!) Longi lilies pervades the air of the sitting room currently, while in the conservatory this hyacinth provides an intoxicating scent.  


 The metal behind the paintwork on this vintage Vespa is evident after decades of wear and tear.


There's a frog in there somewhere.

Begins with a...J
Junk Mail

 This sample is what dropped through my letterbox during one day, so imagine how much waste is accumulated over the course of one year!  Honestly, my recycling bin is full of the stuff.... but frustratingly we know that not everybody bothers to recycle. 
 I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't employ one of these businesses because they posted a leaflet through my door, I rely on a personal recommendation before engaging anybody.

 But what really outraged me this week was when I arrived home from work to find a magazine of mobility solutions on my doormat!  How very dare they!  I am only fifty five and a half! 
 Now what would 'make my life easier' is if their magazine and all other junk mail f*cked right off! 


I was rewarded, after walking all around the village hoping to find a camellia for this one!

My own choice

Here's Pickle (my current foster cat) posing for her website photo....it was obviously her best side as someone has shown interest in her and we're hopeful that she'll be moving to a lovely new forever home in the not too distant future.

Big thanks to Kate at I live I love I craft for hosting this monthly link up, I'm looking forward to seeing next month's list soon.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Beauty Buys and January Bargains

As we age it's important I think, not to get stuck in a rut in terms of beauty products.
What suited us at thirty won't necessarily work at fifty, our skin requirements change.  Moreover, beauty companies are constantly improving their products with new technologies, with all this in mind I've recently purchased Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant after hearing good reviews from make up artist Lisa Eldridge.  This product is not cheap, in fact I deliberated for several months before buying it as I'm usually at the budget end of the beauty aisles, but after just one use I could see and feel a difference in my skin.  Dermalogica uses salicylic acid in this product, an effective exfoliant...and it could be too harsh for those with dry skin... but those facial scrubs just weren't doing it for me and neither was a crocheted dishcloth!  After using this exfoliant my complexion looks more refined, less muddy.

I bought this in airport duty free at £39, therefore I use it sparingly.  About twice a week, not daily as recommended.

Much has been said about Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream over the years.
I love it and use it primarily as a lip balm and occasional hand cream. It has a slightly medicated fragrance that I like very much and a fairly thick balmy texture.  Again it's not cheap but I'm lucky enough to get a £25 gift voucher from my employers every Christmas to spend in airport duty free and 100ml of this will last me about two years.

Aldi's Lacura Caviar Cream has been favourably compared to the pricey La Prairie moisturizer so at  £6.99 it's no wonder it flew off the shelves when it was first introduced.  I've been using this for a couple of years now and like the results. It's quite a thick consistency but my skin's not dry so I use this for day time only in the winter when the harshness of cold weather and heating take their toll.  In summer I make it multi-task and use it at night time.  You can read reviews HERE, although why a 21 year old should be reviewing a product like this, beats me?
I rotate my moisturizers and in addition use Lacura's Multi-Intensive Serum £3.99 and bog standard olive oil.

This Boots Seventeen FALSIFeye HD Mascara has been lauded by many beauty bloggers and make-up artists.  Great for lengthening lashes and giving good definition, it's very well priced at just £6.99  

Seeking a new lipstick in Superdrug not long ago, I stumbled across the Revolution stand.
I didn't know anything about this brand but as I loved the colour of this pinky nude lippy and it was dirt cheap (£3.99 I think) I took a chance with it.  Verdict... it's not a moisturizing lipstick and has a quite chalky texture and appearance, but I remedy this by using a chapstick or gloss over it.  For this price I'll be buying again.

This lovely fresh Narta cologne spray on sale in France was recommended by a friend who used to work there in the 80's. Surely it must be a quality product if it's been on the shelves for over thirty years?  She raved about it so much that I squirted some in the store, instantly evoking memories of my nan's 4711.  More of a body spray than a deodorant though.

I saw this Roger & Gallet body oil spray on the cross channel ferry and went for it as at £16 it was a lot cheaper than the Nuxe body oil that M&S offer.  I'd been using the more budget friendly Palmers Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Oil but fancied a change. 
 This was a great success, as you can see.... it's empty! 
This light, non greasy oil can be used on body and hair, I wasn't over keen on the fig fragrance but it wasn't overpowering, I'd try another fragrance next time.
I paid £16 on the ferry, online it seems to be more pricey.

I'd seen Caudalie products in French pharmacies and had heard rave reviews about their Beauty Elixir online, again I think Lisa Eldridge has mentioned it.  Stupidly I didn't buy it when I was last in France as it's cheaper over there but I really wanted to try it so I requested it for a Christmas present.
Apparently it's based on the youth lotion of Queen Isabelle of Hungary !
It smells absolutely divine (very clean and minty) and is used as a cooling, toning spritz for the face and to set make-up but I'm not sure there are any other benefits.  Priced at £12 in the UK,  I would buy this again, but in France.

I waited for the January sales before purchasing some much needed ankle boots...what a mistake that was!  The best bargains had already gone when I got to Clarks and there was nothing I fancied in my size on the shelves. It seems many good deals are now to be snapped up before Christmas?  I did however, see the boots below, which I rather liked but they were size 8 and I am 5.5.  I went home and ordered them online, always risky when it comes to shoes but it paid off this time... they fit perfectly.  The blue suede shoes were half price at £35, the brown leather distressed ankle boots (now discontinued) were tracked down on Amazon.... not half price and not a bargain, but I really 'needed' them and anyway my last pair were purchased in 2010 and 'tatty' doesn't begin to describe them!

I loved the soft pink and grey trim of this cardi when I saw it before Christmas, but priced at £39 I thought it was a bit steep.... you know I'm a cheapskate!  I asked the sales assistant when the sales would start and took a chance that it would be reduced then.  On this occasion waiting paid off...I returned after Christmas and paid just £16!  How I do love getting a bargain.

I stumbled across my final best buy at Wickes when I popped in to purchase some dowel for my cat toy.  As I was queuing at the till I saw this flatpack storage bench amongst a display of reduced items.  I enquired if it was complete as the box was quite damaged and was told that I could return it, if not.
So I paid and got the nice young men to carry it out to my car.

Deal of the year perhaps?

I'm well pleased with it and my old, rotten, twice repaired wooden bench (seen behind) will be heading off to the tip soon.

Have you managed to get your hands on any bargains this year? 
...Any beauty recommendations you can give me?
I'd love to know.