All Posts · Cheese tales · Travels in Europe

Sunday Cheese Tour

Sometimes I indulge in a piece of cheese mid afternoon. Sometimes brie, sometimes cheddar, sometimes whatever my tastebuds feel the need to be consoled with…salty, acidic or smokey. A few years back I did a quick European tour and explored cheeses. I used to work for HT Webb, a cheese importer back in UK, Kent… Continue reading Sunday Cheese Tour

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · The Factory

Eau de Nil

I love to have Brocante finds and personal objects I love on my desk. I worked from home since 2001 and making a home office that felt comfortable and workable was important. We recently completed my accounts office and a studio above at the factory. Both have desks. One is a nod at my love… Continue reading Eau de Nil

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The Factory

Woodworm

Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm

All Posts · Animal tales · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

The art of birds

On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Inspired by comments

I am so behind with blogging I should pay a fine! I have also to catch up on everyone else’s wonderful blog posts and apologise for being so sloth in adding my comments. But tonight I managed to read a few and this prompted me to manage an update. The Anxious Gardener is busy. I… Continue reading Inspired by comments

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The farm

The mundane and the magnificent

A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.  A homesteader is a lifestyle of self sufficiency. A year ago we would not have called ourselves homesteaders, but by the close of this year, we actually feel we are heading in… Continue reading The mundane and the magnificent

All Posts · Making and crafting · Renovation work

Putty in my hands

Autumn seems to have arrived with earnest. From a blistering sahara 42 degrees we are down to a fishfinger chilly 18 degrees in less than two weeks. This signals not only rummidging in cupboards to find lost winter jumpers, but realizing we must get to the Farmhouse to decorate our bedroom. We need it to… Continue reading Putty in my hands

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · The Factory

Contrasts

Today was a day of contrasts. First thing this morning we headed off to Boussac, a lovely French provincial town just north of us with a chateau high up on a stony outcrop, to collect a painting by a local artist Pascale Lauwers. She hails from Belgium and had an exhibition of Chinoiserie inspired paintings… Continue reading Contrasts

All Posts · Making and crafting · The Factory

Sew we are sewing.

Is it the height of vanity to take a selfie or is it because the rain clouds have gone at last and Mr Sunshine has crept into every nook and crany and made us sun drunk and wanting to share my sunny feeling? I packed up all the winter woolies into boxes and took them… Continue reading Sew we are sewing.

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · Making and crafting

The foraged home

I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to… Continue reading The foraged home

All Posts · Mountain house · Premo From London · Transylvanian travels

Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

What a long day today. We finally completed our property purchases by signing for our rear barn and mountain house. I hadn’t slept well. Over did work at the farmhouse and my back was angry. On the second signing I was drifting off. I can understand French ok. Can’t speak it but it’s tiring when… Continue reading Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Links I Love · My Company Projects

Funky Chicken Rescue

Sometimes we do slightly zany things in life. Coming to France seemed a little zany at first, but now I am settling and the benefits of being in this wonderful countryside surrounded by cow’s and mountain pines and oaks, well it seems the most sensible of decisions in reality.I have always tried to support charities.… Continue reading Funky Chicken Rescue

All Posts · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Renovation work · The Factory

Mezzanines

This week the mezzanines arrived from Spain. The French delivery guys had no idea about health and safety and appeared to have no safety boots or understanding about using truck hi-abs without the risk of loosing their pallet truck in the process. I couldn’t watch. After a lot of groaning and levering, the three very… Continue reading Mezzanines

All Posts · French Life · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design! Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves! In Paris I… Continue reading Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Bon Noel from France

My first Christmas in France and we finally got our tiny little tree up. Having only just finished the bedroom in the barn, the tree is perched on top of my yellow chest of drawers as the floor is still full of boxes to be unpacked. But it’s full of Christmas bling, bells and flashing… Continue reading Bon Noel from France

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · Tony Costin

Team soul mate – notes and plans

I often refer to Tony in my posts. He is my rock, soul mate, breakfast and tea maker, solid sharer of life’s stresses and calming problem solver in a crisis. I haven’t met anyone who works as hard as he does nor with such enthusiasm. I am more tetchy and vulnerable to doubt. Hard labour… Continue reading Team soul mate – notes and plans

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

Happy hedgehog

I am stuck in Barts hospital in London. Mum got dehydrated so drip in place..yes I have a 4 hour wait. I was due to meet a friend to celebrate diagnosis of her medical condition. A landmark after many years of frustration. I spotted hedggie on my arrival. Badly sewn eye. As soon as mum… Continue reading Happy hedgehog

All Posts · Travels in Europe

Whilst away

Technology has never been my bag. I lag behind generally, then burst into the latest product with a momentary glimmer of being informed. Then I lag again. So to the point. I do not have access yet to my blog email, so all your lovely posts that I follow may not get comments until: I… Continue reading Whilst away

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Links I Love · My Company Projects · Recipes and allotment · The farm · Writing and Illustrating

One acre and a dream

I am following Leigh Tate’ s great blog and just purchased her self published book “5 Acres and a dream- The book” as I am starting a new journey in France when I return. Homestead has a wide conitation of ideals and already we have our list that is priority to us: Simplification of life… Continue reading One acre and a dream

All Posts · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Paris Hotel

Quick post as on my way to London. Tired of dodgy French hotels..say good bed but the bathroom looks liked they knocked a hole in the wall to access the dirty hotels one next door! Or visa versa. Tiled bathrooms but probably hiding critters behind the grout, but suspect bed. Or view of the air… Continue reading Paris Hotel

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Gruyere French

I evidentally have holes in my brain. Lots of them.  The French tester politely explained that I knew words that were advanced, but fundamental parts of the French language were missing.  God knows what I had been replying to his questions, but sometimes he looked confused and at other times plain shocked.  My neighbours back… Continue reading Gruyere French

All Posts · Tony Costin · Writing and Illustrating

In the news – Tony Costin

With Brexit, President Macron and Trump all making the news so often, my other half was inspired to go political for a change.  Our French Euro having a spat with the English pound and Trump, well probably thinking about his next Tweet. Find many more characters at Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes.

All Posts · Cheese tales · French Life · Photography thoughts · Recipes and allotment · Writing and Illustrating

La Nourrice affinage

Our tiny little commune is known as La Nourrice, meaning wet-nurse. It is a strange name and I have yet to delve into its history, but in essence a wet-nurse breast feeds another woman’s baby. It was common practice in days gone by, but I am not so sure today, well not in this neck… Continue reading La Nourrice affinage

All Posts · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Change and hope – past and present

This post. It is a little long, but the thoughts had to come out. I have been away for a month. Summer heat stroke and a visit to the hospital, along with some physically hard work pointing up the barns exterior walls had impinged on my health and being slightly presupposed to depressive moments, I… Continue reading Change and hope – past and present

All Posts · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Paris – Material Girl

An abbreviated article appears in this seasons The Good Life Magazine. On a cold, crisp April morning, with numb fingers, two seemingly mad English, with an almost feverish determination, searched for buttons; muscling locals aside to pounce on another matching set, or to accumulate a whole euro bag worth of those lovely cute orange ones.… Continue reading Paris – Material Girl

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Pygmalion

Pygmalian fell in love with a sculpture and Aphrodite granted his wish of companionship and made this sculpture human. The famous Eliza Doolittle, of GB Shaws famous play, changed too, from Cockney street girl to refined Fair Lady. Changes manifest in many ways and forgive me for this strangulation of mythology to fit my prose,… Continue reading Pygmalion

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Photography thoughts · Writing and Illustrating

Cheese please

A while ago, longer than I dare to remember, I worked in a cheese factory. It was a yearlong contract to unfortunately close down a large specialized cheese importer – HT Webbs and transfer the most profitable cheese to the Danish dairy company Arla Foods. The job was fascinating mainly from the point that to… Continue reading Cheese please

All Posts · French Life · Travels in Europe · Writing and Illustrating

Paris – Good Life France

Spending a day in Paris: boats, books and baking Written by Judi Castille in Guest Blogs The anticipation of warm, thick, hot chocolate in little expresso sized cups was alluring. Indulgent pastries and a huge array of chocolate and candy to choose, persuaded me to rise from my slumberous bed and cross the river Seine… Continue reading Paris – Good Life France

All Posts · French Life · Recipes and allotment · Writing and Illustrating

Which direction?

When I finally came here to France in March I came with a baggage of old business ventures, ideas, some creative like writing – eight stories in draft and a huge A4 file packed with notes and ideas to complete them – and illustrating the stories too – I hadn’t picked up a paint brush… Continue reading Which direction?

Writing and Illustrating

Chateau Du Rivau

  This articled appeared in The Good Life France website this Autumn. But here with photos I took on the day. Over twenty years ago I visited the Chateau du Rivau.  In its first stages of renovation by owner Patricia Laigneau, a Versailles trained garden designer with a passion to restore the chateau to its… Continue reading Chateau Du Rivau

All Posts · Commercial Photography · Floral Photography · Photography thoughts · Writing and Illustrating

Picture papers

A few weeks ago I grabbed handfuls of saffron from very wet grass, took them home to dry, but ended with sogginess and to the compost they went. A lucky accident, the saffron dyed the papers they were draining on and after drying, they turned out to be great background papers for the herb photos.… Continue reading Picture papers

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Ion Syrup · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Recipes and allotment · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Foraging Future

From 2013 to early this year I had invested a huge amount of time and finances on bringing to commerciality a conifer syrup that originated from a recipe my husband’s father made from the pine cones and fir tips he collected whilst walking the local mountains. He was a mountain man – both in his… Continue reading Foraging Future

All Posts · French Life · Making and crafting

Saffron in the sun

From a wet start, and a trip into our almost local town of Boussac, north of us, the sun shone and lit up a gloriously Autumnal day.  The road back home has a sign right pointing to Toulx Sainte Croix, a high point, almost a mountain, where a few weeks ago we found a wonderful… Continue reading Saffron in the sun

All Posts · French Life · Links I Love · Writing and Illustrating

The Good Life France

I first came to France on my honeymoon – Paris, not very original, but it was the start of a life long love of the country.  I was 23 years old.  Over the years, I am now 50, I travelled to France many, many times and read her history and dreamed of settling down one… Continue reading The Good Life France

All Posts · Links I Love · Tony Costin · Writing and Illustrating

Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

My husband Tony carries a little black notebook wherever he goes, scribbling, jotting.  I think most of it is highly secret, but sometimes a character appears, there is a lot of paper flurries, ink pens on the move and a bit of cursing on photoshop. Dealing with all our company websites, logos and trade marks… Continue reading Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

All Posts · Commercial Photography · Floral Photography · Links I Love · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Monochrome Madness

Leanne is a fine art photographer in Australia. Her niche is architecture, landscapes using long exposure, dramatic contrast and now infrared, a new exploration into the reverse world of light. Every month Leanne runs a post – Monochrome Madness – where we can post our photos based on the theme set. It’s nice to be… Continue reading Monochrome Madness

All Posts · Floral Photography · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting

My garden bench

After many months of cutting down an overgrown wilderness, a garden appeared.  The birch trees flourished with a bit of tlc, shading their roots, mulching and a lot of watering when the heat was extreme in August.  But something was missing.  A garden bench.  I wanted a quiet spot to sit, to write notes for… Continue reading My garden bench

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

At the bottom of our garden

June and July have been solid work, pushing to get our home and gardens clear of overgrown woodland, brambles, piles of unwanted packaging from our moves and painting all our buildings and new fences from a huge array of pots left by my father from his garage.  We are now left with an off assortment… Continue reading At the bottom of our garden

All Posts · French Life · My Company Projects

Woman Pause

I suffered with insomnia for many years and joined the group of people who realise they can learn foreign languages at two in the morning courtesy of the range of obscure television programmes the BBC air for night workers and insomniacs.  I never learnt Spanish, but I did learn that I had to resolve the… Continue reading Woman Pause

All Posts · Transylvanian travels · Travels in Europe

A European Cheese tour

Tony and I decided to take a road trip around Europe, in an attempt to see as many cities as we could over a almost four weeks.  Everyone thought we were mad taking my old car, but it seemed the simplest way to see the countries we passed through.  One of the difficulties of making… Continue reading A European Cheese tour

All Posts · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects

Always have a Plan B

Its what hits you side on that takes you by surprise – they say. The train arrives faster than you had allowed and you thought you had enough engine power to get across the line. But you don’t. You have driven over this route so many times, you know the risks, you have assessed, put… Continue reading Always have a Plan B

All Posts · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

A voice – a journey.

The world is full of a cornucopia of blogs, lifestyle photographers, craft projects, entrepreneurs and travellers.  It is hard on the very best of days to promote your businesses, to show case your work and find a voice to say how great your products are, that you adore what you do and would move heaven… Continue reading A voice – a journey.

Advertising · All Posts · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects · Transylvanian travels

Ion Conifer Syrups at work

Tony has been working diligently over the last few weeks re-working Ion Conifer Syrups website.  He has done a great job bringing the woody shades of the conifers, mountains and land into the site.  We both put a huge amount of work into this business, web work, photography, manufacturing, distribution, costing and account work.  I… Continue reading Ion Conifer Syrups at work

All Posts · Transylvanian travels

My local countryside

I have never been a great fan of having my photo taken, but my husband over the last year has been sneaking a few and actually they are not as bad as I thought.  So in this world of social networking, I wanted to say hello, this is me on location. The bee trucks are… Continue reading My local countryside

All Posts · Commercial Photography · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects

Fun with Food

When the weather is not being nice or the wind is being just a little too boisterous, I turn to food photography to cheer the day.  I am new to this genre and finding my feet.  Food photography is not easy.  There are choices to be made – dark and moody, clinical white with clean… Continue reading Fun with Food

All Posts · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects

Not all syrups are made equally — Ion Syrup Blog

The expectation when you walk into a delicatessen is of unique products, hand-made artisan products, products that have a ethical message behind them. So often though the products on offer are not upon close inspection anything but. It is a shame to often see branded products on both the deli shelves and on the supermarket […]… Continue reading Not all syrups are made equally — Ion Syrup Blog

All Posts · Transylvanian travels

Romanian Romantic

A couple of years ago I married a Transylvanian. He doesn’t bite but he is romantic, loves life, the mountains, good home cooked food and French Pugs. He is also a workaholic like me. So I get to travel to Romania a lot. A beautiful country, heaped in traditions and rural living just outside the… Continue reading Romanian Romantic

All Posts · My Company Projects · O-Dose

O-Dose – Finding a brand

Two years ago we formed a perfume oil business.  I never liked spray perfumes, made me sneeze, the large atomising bottles, refilling the small ones….just too much hassle and digging a big branded perfume bottle out of my tiny handbag just didnt cut the mustard  at a meeting or at the luncheon.  For the intimate… Continue reading O-Dose – Finding a brand