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I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide this year, but then so many lovely little...

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR THE LADIES


I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide this year, but then so many lovely little things kept popping up and I thought, how could I not share these? Better late than never, and technically it's not late because it isn't even December yet. Holy moly where has this month gone? I've been a bad girl this year and haven't even begun my Christmas shopping, so if you are as bad as me then hopefully this guide will help you out. 

This is a simple gift guide of little things that I have been loving lately. Most of these were actually given to me as gifts, so I know first hand how amazing they are to receive. So go spoil that lady in your life with some of these coveted items.

BELMTO KNOT CUFF & CLARA DROP NECKLACE

This gorgeous bracelet and necklace from Belmto are my go to jewelry pieces for day to day wear. I am not much of an accessory wearer, but I love how simple these pieces are. When my outfit needs a little more something, something, then I pop these on and instantly feel more polished. 

BELMTO Knot Cuff $15.50 & Clara Drop Necklace $14.80

GAMBETTES BOX 

The Gambettes Box is a monthly subscription box for the chicest tights you ever did see. James has surprised me with a Gambettes box subscription a few times now, and every time they come in the mail I am so happy with the designs. Like most women I have tried countless tights and I can say these are the best quality of any pair I have ever worn. I still have the same pairs from two years ago and there are no runs and look as good as new. I always love to give subscriptions as gifts because the surprises continue even after Christmas. 

You can sign up online for one month €13.90, three month €40.90, or six month €81.00 subscriptions. Only available in France.

ORGANIC SURGE ROSE WHISPER HAND & BODY DUO

It's no secret that I love Organic Surge, so I had to include my new favourite product from them. This Rose Whisper moisturiser and wash are simply divine. The smell of roses is so beautiful and pure I really can't get enough. With 99% natural ingredients and 73% from organic farming, this is the perfect gift if you want to pamper a special lady. 

Organic Surge Rose Whisper Hand & Body Duo €37.53.

JAMIE MAGAZINE

I received my very own Jamie Magazine subscription for my birthday and I look forward to receiving my new magazine every month. It is jam packed with easy and delicious recipes, and really helps keep me motivated to cook every night. This is an amazing gift to give to the lady in your life who loves to cook, but is always searching for new inspiration. Jamie really does it best!

Jamie Magazine annual subscription £38.99 (with promo code jmag).

EMOI EMOI POSTER

I love the French brand Emoi Emoi for their fun graphic tees, mugs, and posters. This framed print was given to me by a dear friend and now it is hanging above my bed, to remind me of how beautiful life is with family. A simple statement piece that any family loving lady would adore. 

Emoi Emoi 'La Vie Est Belle En Famille' (without frame) €10.00, (with frame)  €22.00.

LILY LOLO EYE PALETTE

Since making the switch to natural makeup I have looked far and wide for a beautiful eye shadow palette in neutral colours. This Lily Lolo palette is the perfect blend of natural and drama. It can go from day to night with these high pigmented, long lasting colours. Made with some natural ingredients and vegan friendly, this eye shadow palette is such a lovely gift for a makeup loving girl.



There you have it! So many goodies don't you think? All of these will be well received by your loved one, it might be hard to pick just one or two to give. Happy Holiday shopping!

Get ready for another talented and inspiring woman that I am so thrilled to share with you for a...

THROUGH HER EYES... OLGA PRINKU


Get ready for another talented and inspiring woman that I am so thrilled to share with you for another 'Through her eyes...''. Olga Prinku is a maker through and through. The effortless beauty she crafts and creates daily is always captivating to me. With nature just at her door step she makes her home come alive with gorgeous handmade wreaths and floral arrangements. Her photos are always simple, yet so magical that it's no wonder her following is growing everyday.

Not only is she inspiring through her photos, but this Mum has recently ventured out on her own and became an entrepreneur. She put her knitting talents to great use and opened a handcrafted wool goodies shop online, called Prinku. So if you were like me and wishing you could get your hands on one of her knit blankets, stockings, or Christmas baubles, well now you can! There's nothing I respect and admire more than a Mum who has the courage to create her own worth and support herself and family through her craft. I told you she was inspiring!

Welcome to the stunning and whimsical world through Olga's eyes...


Through your photos you look like such an incredible homemaker, you love to craft, knit, cook, and design, among a long list of other things I'm sure. Were you always such a maker & where did your passion come from?

Thank you so much for such kind words dear Jules. I think we are all creative deep down, we just have to discover it. I remember as a child making little Christmas wreaths and always shifting furniture in my mum’s home to make it look cosy and find the perfect fit. My mum used to knit and sew and I’ve grown up always being exposed to it. I’m originally from Moldova and I was a child in the last few days of the Soviet Union, when there wasn’t much to be found in shops so you had to create your own beauty. Later I did a degree in graphic design and worked as a graphic designer for an interiors magazine, which exposed me to so many amazing homes and creative ideas. 


Your new knitting shop Prinku is gorgeous, I really love everything you have created. Where did your love for knitting come from & what urged you to sell your goods?

When we started a family I decided to take a career break, and while I was pregnant I took up knitting again. I started with little bear hats, and my friends kept saying I should try to sell them. I thought maybe it could become a little business that I could fit in alongside being a full-time mum. 


Similar to Elizabeth Dalton @blowyinthewind we don't see much of you in your photos, so I would love to know more. What are some things about you that we wouldn't know from your Instagram?

I am an extremely shy person and always love to be behind the camera rather than in front! English is my third language, after Russian and Romanian. I moved to the UK after I met my husband, and at first we travelled around a lot with his work. After we had our little boy we bought a house in north-east England, to be close to my husband's family. We live in a little village and there’s plenty of land around to forage for my plant-based Instagram props!


What in your daily life inspires you to take photos and get creative?

My boy and all his changing funny faces as he grows older and more conscious of the camera. Watching the changing of the seasons and how it affects the various corners of our home and garden and the rest of the village. Discovering what grows where around us, and deciding what to plant in our garden. Going out for walks in the nearby hills and moors and seaside, when I can persuade my son and husband to get away from their screens!  


What are some photos you love to take that are on your camera roll, but you would never post on Instagram?

It’s mostly family photos, and also recently lots of photos of my son’s Lego creations. He understands now that I make things and photograph them, so he insists that I photograph the things he makes too!


I love your photography style - direct, to the point, simple and unadorned, with a strong undercurrent of subtle magic. Your feed really is a gallery of constant beauty and inspiration for me and I know for many others. Do you have any secrets or tips on how to stay consistent & how to take a beautiful photo every time?

Thank you so much! I try to keep things simple, but only because I’ve learned that I can’t seem to do elaborate - every time I try, I think it looks contrived and unnatural. So I like simple backgrounds and very few things in the photo, and I look out for things to photograph that will fit a minimal colour palette. I always try to use natural light and a lot of my photos are taken near a south-west facing window in our house. But I’m also always now observing how light falls elsewhere in the house at different times of the day and year. I find the pictures I’m happiest with are the ones that happen naturally. I’m definitely much more observant since I started with Instagram! 


What are three Instagram accounts that we must all be following?

That’s a very difficult one to answer! All the people I follow are amazing and creative and inspire me everyday. Can I cheat and pick out some favourites in three categories of accounts? I love to follow mums who have a beautiful eye for detail and are great homemakers, like @anna.cor @wunderblumen @bykiddycut @hierwohntdasglueck @thislittlehouse_ @gatheredthreads. Also I love beautiful floral accounts, like @niki.at.the.cottage @thewelshhouse @jannelford @botanical_tales. Needless to say I get a lot of inspiration from the gorgeous feeds of fellow makers, like @hand_made_by_olga @notary_ceramics @posyandpetal @fox_and_weave. But I could carry on listing accounts all day!

What a treat that was! It is so nice to get to know the lovely Olga a little more. She is so incredibly inspiring to me I hope she sparks something in you as well. Thank you so much Olga for opening up to us! Keep those gorgeous images flooding my feed everyday please. I cannot wait to see all of the beauty you create this Christmas.

Happy Friday friends! Technicall y  it's  not midweek, but this week flew by for me and to...

MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 25





Happy Friday friends! Technicallit's not midweek, but this week flew by for me and today is a holiday in France, so for me that is a good enough reason to post a new playlist. With the winter weather making an abrupt appearance in the French Riviera, all I feel like listening to is a slow mix of songs to get cosy with. Every year around this time I instantly want to spend my evenings inside, warm, with a good book, possibly in the bath, with some relaxing music. I'm not one to throw on classical music to relax to, instead I prefer a playlist exactly like this. Now go pour yourself a glass of wine (preferably red), get some comfy pyjamas on, put those tired feet up, and push play....

Have a relaxing weekend!

A few months ago I binge watched the Netflix show 'Chelsea does...' in ...

TIME FOR US



















A few months ago I binge watched the Netflix show 'Chelsea does...' in which the always hilarious Chelsea Handler learns and investigates more on the subjects of drugs, technology, love, and race. I loved all of the episodes, but the one that left me wondering much more about my own life, was the love episode. In one of the scenes that stood out the most, Chelsea is interviewing four couples who have been married for 40 years or more. She asks them what the secret to a long and happy marriage is and how they kept the romance alive. Then each couple recounted the tricks that helped them stay magical in each other's eyes.

One of the couples who had been married for 50 years or so, said the one thing that helped them stay romantic is they had dinner just the two of them every night. The husband would be at work and the wife would get the kids fed and off to bed before he returned at the end of the day. Then they would share a private and romantic meal, just the two of them. The husband also made a point to say he never saw his wife without her makeup or hair done. Chelsea was shocked by this, but the wife said she found it important to always look her best for her husband. For me that's not a realistic daily goal, James has seen me countless times in my pyjamas with no makeup on in the daytime, but I can get on board with the private dinners, just the two of us.

James and I have been married for just over two years now so it is early days. But since having Oslo I can see how quickly the focus (especially a Mother's) can switch away from her partner and onto the baby. It's a normal reaction I think, but if the focus is left too long on the baby I know it can affect the marriage long term. In the first few months of having Oslo I can admit my attention was mostly on him. It is all so much to take in and adjust to, so James was put on the back burner a little bit. Now that I feel I have my daily life with Oslo a little more under control, I have consciously made the adjustment to focus on not just being a mother, but also a wife.

So after watching this love episode and ensuring Oslo had a good bedtime routine, we decided to make dinner time about us, like before when it was just us. James works late on weekdays and usually comes home past 8pm, which is usually too late for Oslo to stay up anyway. So while James is finishing up at work I do Oslo's normal bedtime routine. He's fed, bathed, read to, and off to bed all before James walks through the door. On a very good day, which happens a few times a week, I already have dinner ready for us to enjoy when he gets home. On those not so good days when my schedule has been thrown out the window, James will come home and we will make dinner together, or I will sit on the sofa with a glass of wine while he cooks me his incredible pizza. We take that time to talk about our days, goals, plans, or often just about Oslo. It doesn't matter really what we talk about, what matters is that we have time for us.

Yes I have to admit there is the frequent night where we are so exhausted that all we want to do is put a show on and cuddle on the couch, but I still count this as time for us. There is no need to force conversation when there really is nothing to discuss other than how our days have been. The point is, it is so important to hold onto those moments just the two of you because babies have the ability to change everything, and this is why relationships can be so affected. I have also found I prefer to have these moments every day instead of waiting for those never going to happen date nights, that seem impossible to plan. Just knowing we are connecting and having those special moments day to day gives me so much confidence in our bond. 

Take it from me, a child who grew up with parents who never spent any time together and with a Mother who's sole focus was on her children. I was surrounded by constant attention and love, but what was happening around me was a marriage crumbling because there was lack of focus and daily communication. As sad as my parents divorce was, I learned and am still learning a great deal from their marriage. The days, the months, and the years pass by too quickly and I know if you hold back on communicating and sharing with your partner, and taking that special time for just the two of you, it will become even harder to get that magic back that you had in those early days. 

Marriage will always have its ups and downs like any relationship does, but when you and your partner take the time to care and nurture that relationship everyday, then the downs don't seem as hard. You know you have a strong connection that will hold up in almost any situation because deep down you know each other, you communicate, and the daily attention will make that love grow stronger as time goes on. 

Each day for James and I is a lesson on how to balance life as husband and wife, and as parents. We haven't discovered the secret formula just yet, but I don't think anyone has. Knowing our relationship needs constant focus and love, and finding a way to respect that seems to be working for us right now. As a new mum and wife I feel I will always struggle with putting too much energy into Oslo, and feeling guilty about not giving James enough attention. This is the main reason why being aware of how quickly a relationship can change is crucial in creating a healthy path for a lasting one. So stay focused, give love, keep present, open up and communicate with your partner, and most importantly make time for just the two of you.

Photo by Wild Eyed Photography.

In an effort to embrace all things Autumn and to show Oslo why this seas...

AN AFTERNOON OF APPLE PICKING


In an effort to embrace all things Autumn and to show Oslo why this season is so amazing, I thought apple picking was the perfect thing to do this Sunday. I mean nothing says Autumn more than apple picking under falling leaves in the warm golden afternoon light, right? We are having an Indian Summer right now, so even though we made it just in time before the apple season was over, we still wore tank tops for most of the day. It felt a lot more like Summer than Fall, but either way we had such a fun time. 

In Canada the apple orchards are usually on farms and are nothing more than a field of apple trees, but in France of course apple picking has to be oh so chic. This particular apple orchard that we visited was on the grounds of a castle, ooh la la! We drove an hour to get to the gorgeous renaissance style Château d'Astros, where I was happy to find out they also make wine. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to indulge ourselves, so we will definitely make more time next year. That's one of the things I love so much about France, there usually is wine served at most family activities. What more could a parent ask for?

With a one year old, especially a whiny one, you never know how much they are going to like something or not. So sometimes a long drive and a new experience can be a recipe for disaster. Lucky for us Oslo is used to being dragged around to different places on long road trips so he was a delight. I think after the 24 hours of driving to and from Normandy he is prepared for everything we throw his way. I was so happy with how much Oslo loved to watch us pick the apples. He loved to inspect them after we picked it from the tree, then ended up taking big bites out of everyone he received. After we collected a full basket's worth we put Oslo in front of it and his eyes went so wide, he couldn't believe they were all for him. Eventually we had to take the basket away because he ended up biting and spitting out every apple he could get his hands on. This mama worked hard at picking them so they were not going to be wasted!

At the end of our afternoon of picking we ended up with 9 kilos of apples! I guess I better get to work in the kitchen and make some cider, pies, and cakes. Good thing we all love to eat them so much, otherwise I wouldn't know what to do.

We are back from the beautiful North West of France after 24 hours of driving all the way from t...

A WEEK IN NORMANDY


We are back from the beautiful North West of France after 24 hours of driving all the way from the South and back. It was a long and tiresome journey especially with a one year old, yet the drive was well worth it as the beauty of France was on full display the whole way. I am always in awe how such a small country can have such a diverse landscape. Normandy felt like it was in a completely different hemisphere compared to Cannes and the South. The North is so rugged, flat, and grey. We were so lucky with gorgeous weather the entire trip, as it is known for its constant rain, especially in Autumn. I loved this part of France so much and am thrilled to share my travel diary. If you have never been to Normandy it definitely needs to be added to your travel list right now. 



Ever since I moved to France almost four years ago, I have been told countless times that I need to go to Normandy. It seems to have a huge fan club among everyone who has been lucky enough to make the trip there. Since the first time I was told to go I have been admiring the region from a distance, hoping one day to make the long trip out there. So when our good friends Anne-Sophie and Loïc invited us to their wedding in her native Normandy, we knew now was our time to check that travel box off. My older sister Alex who I've mentioned a few times now is a wedding and family photographer, was hired by Anne-Sophie and Loïc to capture their wedding. We were so happy she could come all the way from Toronto and join us on our road trip. 


Since Normandy is so far from Cannes we decided to split our drive to the North and stopped in gorgeous Beaune. Beaune is located in Burgundy which is famous for its wine, so I was one happy mama. I love red wine more than life and any excuse to stop halfway to Normandy to drink it, is fine by me. Since we only had half a day there we wanted to see as much as we could. We walked around the entire fort which was a lot smaller than I thought, so it took us less than an hour. We ended our walk at the Hospices de Beaune where we got to see those gorgeous tiled roofs up close. After our walk we were feeling a little parched and decided to go into a restaurant for an aperitif. There we enjoyed a bottle of local wine and cheese, as you do when in France. I booked us in the Hotel Anthanor which was perfect for one night. It was in the center of all of the action, so we didn't have to drive anywhere in our short stay.






From Beaune we left bright and early and began our 6 hour journey to Courcy, Normandy. Courcy is a tiny farming village with not a whole lot to do, but was so close to the wedding Château so it was perfect. We rented a lovely little house on a large farm property with tons of animals. Oslo was in heaven with the donkey, horse, chickens, and geese running around. At this age he is starting to have a huge interest in animals,  he was so content to spend time just watching and engaging with them. 

We spent our first day just enjoying the beautiful property and relaxed as much as we could after the long drive. It was so nice to just explore the local area on foot and see what life was like in such a small town. 

We had a free day before the wedding so it was a no brainer that we would go to see my dream destination, Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel is the reason I wanted to visit Normandy for so long. For years I have seen photos of it and has it always takenaw my breath away. James had never been before either so even though it was almost a two hour drive, we decided it was well worth the journey. 




These photos can't begin to do any justice for the spectacular beauty of Mont Saint-Michel. As we drove down the rode leading up to the Mont we could see it in the distance, and even though it is miles away it is already completely breathtaking. We arrived when the tide was low and I wished we could have stayed longer into the evening to capture the tide racing in and enveloping the island. October was a great time to go as it was much less touristy, but it is such a huge attraction so there were still many other people. The abbey, which is the castle like building at the top, was the most impressive feature. We climbed what felt like a million stairs leading up to the top of the abbey and were greeted by a gorgeous view of the surrounding land and ocean.

We let Oslo crawl around a little bit inside because the car ride was so long, and he loved it! He frantically crawled to each column and stood up, so proud of himself. He loved to look out at the view as well. I am always impressed with how intrigued he is when we take him to beautoful places. I really think this baby was born to travel.

We left the Mont late afternoon and on the way home we decided to stop in Beuvron-en-Auge, a charming village which is known for being one of France's most beautiful towns. We ate dinner at Colomb'Auge Crêperie which I couldn't recommend enough. Famous for their sweet and savoury crêpes we had one of each and washed it all down with some local apple cider. I would go all the way back to Normandy just for their caramel apple crêpe topped with ice cream again. It was too good!



Saturday was the day we were all waiting for, the wedding! This was my first French wedding and I was thrilled that it was going to held at a traditional Château. The ceremony was at a little village church and after that we all headed to the stunning Château de Canon. In true French fashion we arrived to champagne and incredible hors d'oeuvres. It was warm enough to enjoy cocktail hour outside just as the sun was setting. The dinner was held inside the Château and after our delicious meal we all danced the night away until 5am! I couldn't believe it until I checked the time. We had so much fun and Oslo was a dream, sleeping the night away in a quiet room off of the dining room. 

The wedding was such a special day and it was amazing to be in the presence of so much love. Félicitations Anne-Sophie et Loïc! We are so happy for you!

 

 

 

In France usually the day after the wedding the new bride and groom host a brunch for all of the guests. So on Sunday feeling very tired and a tad hungover we returned back to the Château de Canon to relive the fun of the night before. I was so happy we could go back because this time we had an opportunity to explore the grounds and we discovered a secret garden. This garden was my version of heaven. I was surprised to see there were still flowers blooming in October, each plant and flower was bursting with colour. Of course we had to have an impromptu photoshoot to capture all of the beauty there. 





After that lovely brunch we had to unfortunately leave and head back to the South. We wished we could have stayed even longer, but the memories and moments we had in Normandy were incredible. This is a place I now hold in my heart and I've already told James we need to go back asap. Until next time Normandy!