Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarn Along & A Birthday

Sock and mittens on the go at the moment.  The socks were a Christmas knit for a friends daughter but Tino saw them and declared them his, think they would have been to big for her anyhow!  I've got a funny feeling that I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish them...which means a wee trip back to Italy where I bought it.  Would probably to cheaper just to order it on-line but I've got a hankering for panetone and some good Italian coffee!!!

I whipped up these mittens for Tino to wear to school in the mornings from some pure wool that a guy gave me at a medieval festival this summer (I bough two other skeins and he threw this one in for free).
Tino thinks they smell like sheep!
We've gone from a ridiculously hot November here to snow and -10° in the space of a few days.  Tino and I are both down with colds and even the car didn't appreciate the change in weather conditions  - the back window shattered yesterday morning from the cold!

Currently reading about the different techniques of mediation.  I'm experimenting with the easiest one which involves counting repeatedly from 1-4 for 15 minutes and not thinking about anything else....Don't think I've even finished one repeat of 4 without my mind wandering off someplace!!! 

Today Rémi celebrates his 11th birthday, and has invited his two best friends over for tea.  We celebrated with family at the weekend with pumpkin pie and chocolate and orange cake.

So as ever I seem light years behind everyone in the world of technology,  having only just discovered Instagram!!! What fun!!!  Rémi introduced it to me and even told me about a thing called Facebook, and another called Twitter....but I don't think I'm quite ready for all that just yet.  The only Twittering I want for the moment is from my feathered friends!!!

What are you knitting, twitting, pinning, or just plain ol' reading this week?
Linking up with Ginny


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Art & Artists

The boys had great fun yesterday morning making these.  
As you can see it's a wonderfully simple technique, and when the tape comes off at the end it's a real
'Ta-Da' moment!!
I hung them up whilst they were out playing.  When they 'finally' came inside and saw them, Rémi remarked that they look like 'real' art by 'real' artists.

"Well," I answered, it is REAL ART by REAL ARTISTS!"

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our Halloween Crafts

I know, I know, Halloween was last month, but it's been a busy week, I kept forgetting to charge my camera battery and when I did get around to it my camera and computer became temporarily 'incompatable'!

It was my turn to host the Halloween shenanigans this year, and as we were having American guests I though I'd better make an effort with the decor.  France however, is not big in the creepy home accessories department, so we had to get a little bit creative with what we had around the house:

Ghostly gifts for trick or treaters

The boys painted a spooky table runner and made a few mummy candle holders.  I found the table confetti on a recent trip to Italy.

We greeted our guests with a Frankenstein inspired front door, I even suggested painting it green for maximum effect but Richard Boohooed that idea!

This ghostly apparition appeared in the front window!!

Back by popular demand (from Tino) was the vomiting pumpkin that Richard carved - his very first one!

We had so much fun, I'm already 'pinning' ideas for next year.
Do you have any to share?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trail Running - Italia

No, we're not still on holiday, as you can see it's back to the nitty gritty!   
What better way to start the week than a spot of trail running in the beautiful Val Ferret, Italy.  
Richard considers this to be the most beautiful running trail in the 'whole world' , so as the kids went back to school on Monday, I decided to blow off all my chores for the morning and take him up on his offer of a guided trail run.

Chores, chores go away, come back another day!

Le Val Ferret is only a short drive from Chamonix, through the famous Mont Blanc tunnel which links the two countries so handily! I've skied lower down in this valley and biked here with the boys, but this is the first time I've gone up onto the 'balcon'.

The Mont Blanc from the Italian side
My neighbor and running pal Jane came along too!
The terrain varied between grassy paths, snow and iced over streams which afforded a nice bit of scrambling here and there.  Kept it very interesting indeed!
The trail is part of the Tour du Mont Blanc, a fantastic 7-10 day, 170km, hike which starts and finishes in Chamonix, going through Italy and Switzerland on the way.  Although, some crazy people have been known to do it much quicker, in 21 hours to be exact - yes 170km in 21 hours, as part of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.

Our turn around point was the Bonatti Hut, which was unfortunately closed so no warming 'grappa' for us that day.  Probably for the best as we had another 5ish km back to our starting point - via a different path and all those pesky chores waiting for me at home!

Rifugio Bonatti

Keep up with Richards many mountain adventures on his new facebook page Mont Blanc Loisirs

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yarn Along - Italia

Santa Magherita, Ligurie
You know it's been a good holiday when you've managed to read a whole book (The Great Gatsby) and your knitting is visibly much bigger than it was before you left!  For our 12th wedding anniversary Richard organized a family break to Italy - a fantastic beach front hotel, perfect weather and to top it all off he did all the driving.

My Barn Sweater is coming along nicely.  I like that it is knit almost in one piece, for obvious sewing reasons, but this does make for long repetitive rows.

The sun rise from our hotel room balcony was beautiful...

...and the down town 'shopping district' so 'appetising'!

Santa Magherita
Oh, and I almost forgot.   Twelve or so years ago when we decided to get married we were building our house, and despite many well thought out arguments I couldn't convince Richard that a diamond engagement ring was as, if not more, important than a cement mixer/power tools etc.....
But now it's all finished, (is a house ever really finished), so guess what I got?

A delightful coffee cup! nah just kidding - a beautiful diamond solitaire ring!!! (my wedding band was my mothers).

Joining Ginny for this weeks Yarn Along.  
What are you creating this week?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My kitchen and beyond

Whilst walking to school this morning, Tino commented that summer was his favourite season as he doesn't have to wear so many clothes ( we're not even in winter yet buddy) but for me autumn is number one - I love the cool crisp mornings, the vibrant colours before the long white months ahead, and everything apple - apple sauce, pie, crumble and Matafan.

Such a simple, quick, few ingredients needed dish, it has to be a winner.  It's basically an apple (or pear) omelet!  Full of nourishing ingredients, a Matafan was a traditional 'casse-croute' (snack)  that farmers , in this alpine region known for it's apples and pears, would take out the fields with them.  Mine came out a little soft in the center and the under side was a tad well done but it tasted like a dream.   I finished it off under the grill but next time I think I will flip the whole thing over and cook it on a lower heat to make sure it has ample time to cook all the way through.

6 apples (or pears)
200g flour
100g sugar
75g butter
6 eggs
30cl milk
Mix together the flour, sugar, and eggs.
Peel and cut the apples into thin slices.
Melt butter 
Combine the flour mixure, butter and eggs and cook on the stove top in a heated, greased pan until set (about 20-30 mins)
* flip it over half way through cooking!!

Comprising of quite a few more ingredients than the Matafan, this Lat Mannsbrod (Lazy Man's Bread) is surprisingly quick and easy to make, and it keeps for days.  With a little homemade jam it makes for a delicious hearty breakfast or after school snack.

Last weekend Tino celebrated his 7th birthday and anything remotely healthy and nourishing in his cake was largely over shadowed by all the chocolate and 'bonbons' used to decorate it.  But hey, it's once a year so I say "let them eat cake"! 

We rounded off the 'gourmand' weekend with a visit to a local  sheep/agricultural festival, where I exercised much restraint by not purchasing any animals!!  Instead I spent my euros on delicious "Boungettes" - potato cakes!

30th foire aux mouton, Servoz

I'm working on my own version of the 'boungette' with the addition of a little garlic and perhaps some herbs...
I'll share it (the recipe at least) when I've perfected it to my liking!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkin Harvest

Two of my lovlies had already flow the 'patch' before I had time to do a little family portrait, (another is still thriving in a pile of manure!) but I've heard from a reliable source that they have finished up as soup, which if you ask me is quite a fine ending for a pumpkin!   This year however, as my recolt has been so plentyful I'm going to have myself some fun trying out a few of these delights.

  The question is, with what shall we start?