Oysters, a wall of chocolate and chandeliers!!!

A mountain of brightly coloured macaroons.

Well, I am now back home, had the parents and my gorgeous sister over for tea and it's time to start revving myself up for a busy week. I wanted to show you some more of my time in France with my good friends Sue and John Culligan.
Sue and John live in an old stone farmhouse in the heart of the Charente-Maritime in the tiny hamlet of Le Verderie, close to Brizambourg. It's all very rural and lovely. A great place to rest and also to have a great time. Sue and I went to college together many moons ago, so we know each other VERY well. Sue and John run a chambre d'hotes and Sue is the owner of Knitting Holidays in France www.knittingholidaysinfrance.com and is the pattern editor of Knitting Magazine. She is also the author of several books. I have such clever friends.

After several days of dog walks and fantastic food (and much lounging about) we all spent the last day in Bordeaux, about two hours South from Le Verderie. We were flying from Bordeaux so it all worked well. Bordeaux is a very beautiful city with far too much to see in just a few hours.

 Six oysters with shallot vinaigrette.
After wandering around for a while we decided on a place for lunch. As it was my last day I had to have oysters as a starter. I LOVE them! I then had a gorgeous seafood paella, and then I just had to try the Cafe Gormandise - coffee with a selection of small puddings - Oh Bliss . . .

Cafe Gormandise.

Beautiful streets of Bordeaux.

The buildings are so beautiful, the main streets are wide and full of fascinating shops and the shoppers are so smart. There were several buskers entertaining the crowds but this 'statue' caught my eye. His costume was brilliant, very textured. How he manages to stand so still for so long is a small miracle.

Very textured decoration on his costume, lots of old lace machine stitched and spray painted.
Gorgeous blue tiles outside a children's shoe store . . . 

. . . and a brilliant blue door further down the street.

Christmas decorations are usually fabulous in any major city across Europe and Bordeaux is no different.

 Stunning decorations can be seen in most shops across the city.

 Of course there is one type of shop that always draws me in - anything to do with chocolate!!! This shop had a wall of chocolate - heaven, they kindly let me in just to take photos - I was very good and didn't buy any - shock, horror!

 Slabs of chocolate - mmmmmmm!

 The slabs have different 'fillings' from all kinds of nuts to all kinds of fruit and any mixture in between. Scrumptious!

 The boxes of chocolates in the window were exquisite - wonderful repeat shapes . . .

 More repeat shapes . . .

 After lunch we had a mooch about and on the way back to the car we passed a rather lovely coffee house and as we had time we ventured in - for a coffee. The place was stunning with huge chandeliers and beautiful mirrors - very Belle Epoque.

 Out came the cameras, Sue and I took shots under, around and to the side of the chandeliers. Goodness knows what the staff thought - we had a great time trying to outdo each other.

A very rare photograph of Sue Culligan - she - like me, hates her photograph being taken.

I was pleased with this image of the reflection of a chandelier in one of the engraved mirrors.

I had a wondeful time with Sue and John, I try to see them at least once a year whether in the U.K. or in France. They are great hosts, nothing is too much trouble.


So it's back to work, as with most of you. I need to create a slide show for my ExTex girls for next weekend. I am looking forward to hearing their ideas for their end of year projects. It will be good to see them all again.

My diary for the next two years is almost up to date, it just needs a few tweaks. I had no idea how complicated it would be or how much admin time would be required when I made the decision to go freelance.

January is the month for making new decisions and developing ideas - how much fun can a girl have?????

Hope your week goes well.

x x x


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