Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So I huffed and I puffed...

And here he is:


The little guy was finally born on Wednesday afternoon after a Tuesday that had many a contraction but sadly no action.

But who cares about the lead up - all that matters is that on Wednesday the mister handed me a crying, crimson, cross-eyed bundle that looked like a Himalayan sherpa garden gnome and I fell deeply in love.

Aw, I'm sorry little man, but you were kinda funny looking.

The French hospital experience had its differences, but nothing too bizarre. Although let me say one thing (look away ladies who haven't yet had children) - stitches without a local anaesthetic beforehand is just not on.

As this baby wasn't my first (by a long shot) I could elect to go home after three days, so it was a quick stay.

The light was particularly lovely in my room:


And I really dug the wallpaper:


And the nice nun who brought me some free chocolates from Puyricard's amazing chocolatier:

I'll be in trouble when the mister sees this as I failed to mention these to him. Nom nom nom.

And I managed to do a bit more sewing on this @#$% thing.

I've just realised it's almost been a year since I started this project. *sob*

But mainly I lay around with a dopey look on my face and marvelled at the fact I had another baby in my arms.


And gave thanks that I will never, ever have to give birth again. Phew.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Seeking Susan. But not Desperately, because that'd be weird.

Today was a great day. I didn't have to push out a baby, plus I got to meet another blogging friend in the flesh. This time it was the wonderful Susan from Australia who blogs at PatchworkNPlay.


Susan and her husband have been enjoying a fantastic trip through Spain and France and I was really chuffed they took time out to meet up with me in Aix-en-Provence this morning.


I arrived in town a little early, both to beat the traffic (summer gets a little crazy in Aix) and to have a little wander around before hand. You know how I love a wander.


The sales (les soldes) are on in Aix at the moment (held in July and January). I took this pic for the mister.


I wandered through a few flower stalls near L'Eglise de la Madeleine:


Took a quiet moment in L'Eglise du Saint-Esprit on the Rue Espariat:


Also wandered by the Hermes store. Check out the handbag collage:


Thread reels!


You can see the Palais de Justice reflected in the upper part of the window.


Susan rang before I did anything stupid (like actually go into the Hermes store) and we met up at the Tourism Office.

I love how the informal, almost confessional style of blogs means you feel you know the blogger as soon as you start talking. Susan and I sure did a lot of that (her hubby was very understanding), and she is just as warm, open and happy as her blog suggests.

I took them to a new café I hadn't tried before purely on the reasoning that any establishment cooling it's rosé in an ancient fountain in their courtyard should be good.


We only had coffee, but it was declared a resounding success. Especially the café crème, always a risky order. You can receive anything from an espresso shot diluted with a finger of cold milk to a bucket of cow juice with a coffee bean waved over it.

Delish café crème, as close to an Australian flat white as I've ever had in France.

After our coffee and a fair bit of chatting I took Susan to my preferred French fabric shop, La Victoire.

We are the ones with heads.

Quite restrained we were, only a metre each. Susan was mindful of her baggage allowance and I'm trying hard not to let my stash overflow the (large) shelf on which it is currently housed.

It was a fantastic morning - it's always wonderful to hear Australian accents again and it was a real treat to meet Susan and P 'for reals'.


I hope you enjoyed your day in Aix and all the best for your trip home!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Week To Go!

Until Baby No 4's due date, that is.

Even after three children I still find this to be a little unbelievable, scary and exciting, all in one.


We took a drive last weekend on the hunt for lavender, as it was pretty much our last opportunity to do so (I'm glad we did it then as I am not interested in going anywhere this weekend).


We ended up at the small town of Simiane-la-Rotonde, one of the many charming medieval hilltop villages in the Luberon Valley. It just so happened that they were having a small medieval festival, so folks were in costume and there was a nice market on.

We bought some lavender honey - absolutely delicious. They also had rosemary honey which I'm kicking myself for not buying.

We walked all the way up to the top of the town, amongst the gorgeous old narrow streets. We had a bite of lunch and felt a bit sorry for the costumed waitresses (it was about 34 degrees and they were in full skirts, corsets, etc). The views from up top weren't too shabby:


We explored a few side streets on our way back down again:

Love the mix of stonework in this one - was it built like this or is the herringbone stonework a repair? Such questions weight heavily on my mind.

Inviting doorways

Lovey dovey window spotted by the daughter

Abandoned but still fascinating

Perhaps a visit for another day - The House of Dolls

On our way out of town we stopped at a few lavender fields where I took the shots in this post. This one looks back on Simiane-la-Rotonde:


It was a two hour drive home which was a bit long for me, but the baby head sitting on my bladder was greatly offset by seeing sights like this:

Another cliffhanging village (can't remember which) in the Luberon Valley; photo by the mister. 

That will probably be our last foray into the Luberon until the start of autumn. The summer season is a little too hot and crazy with tourists when sight-seeing with young kids.

Hope you've all had a great weekend, wishing you the best for the week to come. I plan to post a few times this week on some quilting, but if you don't hear from me, you'll know what's happened!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spring Trip: Switzerland

At last, the final instalment of our Spring trip - hey, it's only July. Our last stop was Switzerland, where we stayed three days near the small town of Twann in the west, French-speaking region of the country.


We visited the nearby small town of La Neuveville.

La Neuveville has been around a while

The streets are pretty.

As are the windows.

Maison des Dragons - built 1757-1758 and named for the gargoyles on the roof corners.

We also strolled through Biel/Bienne which is located right on the border of French and German-speaking Switzerland (hence the double-barrelled name).


The historic town centre was small but delightful, and full of beautiful colours:


And interesting statues:

Nice codpiece in Place du Ring

Lady Justice wearing some funky sandals.

Lovely gilded balcony on the outskirts of the old town.

Our last day in Switzerland was rainy and overcast, so we looked for an indoor activity - what better than heading to a cheese museum/factory?

We visited a fromagerie in Bellelay where they make the well known Tête de Moine (or Monk's Head) cheese - so named due to it being first made by monks (and looking a bit like a monk's shaved head).

Domaine de Bellelay, Switzerland

Tête de Moines is a hard, cow's milk cheese that's been produced for over 800 years.
It has to be eaten in thin slivers to expose maximum surface area to the air and develop the cheese's yummy aromas/flavours.

This used to be done by scraping slices of cheese off the large rounds with a knife, like these two jolly monks below.


Frankly, this was a pain in the ass way of eating cheese, and in 1982 a clever fellow invented the Girolle:

A revolution in cheese eating.

This made it super easy to cut petal-like slivers of cheese (rosettes) and doubled as a storage container when the plastic or glass lid was fitted.


More than 2 million of these suckers have been sold and sales of Tête de Moine have hugely increased, proving the human race really is a bunch of lazy cheese eaters.

At Domaine de Bellelay we watched an interesting film on how the cheese is made and then took a tour of their small (but informative) museum. I learned a lot about cow udders.


The best part was of course the taste test at the end. You can see the pretty rosettes the Girolle produces here:

Tête de Moine, best with a dry white. Yum.

Well, here endeth the Spring Tour of 2011. For those new to the blog looking for the other travel posts from our trip, here they are in one spot:

Hope these help others in their travels! Bon voyage. 


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