vendredi 30 décembre 2011

Three(eight really) French Hens

While in London, we found and bought a  lovely book(signed too) for MK for Christmas titled The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Jane Ray.  The illustrations are just beautiful and the girls were inspired to paint their own hens
 Here's a crazy hen

And even a picasso hen
There are more to finish and after I think they'll look fun in the kitchen

jeudi 29 décembre 2011

Christmas Present for us..Hang On It Coat Rack

 We had a late Christmas present delivered this morning here at the crack of dawn, something just for Alain and I, something useful but so lovely and it's pink.

I just needed a drill and a screwdriver (note for Alain...tidy up your tools please)
 And put it between the stairs and bannister, just enough place for it.  It's by the designers at Normann Copenhagen and comes in several colours, and for some crazy reason pink just appealed and I'm so glad it did

 Only room for five or six coats, I have three I wear a lot and Alain just two, one of which he's wearing today and the other one is with all the mess in the mud room....arghhh

Off to the DIY shop this morning to get sand paper and wood for mud room. Yes I'm motivated.

And Alain has been to the town hall and will now be able to vote in the next election here in France....we even have appointments for the children to get all their vaccinations up to date...

mercredi 28 décembre 2011

To do list

Sometimes (most times) we put things off doing things, and of late this is becoming problematic. So I thought, maybe if we write what we want or need to get done down (or type in this case), and tick them off as or when we get things done, it might just force us to actually do it.
Here goes with our list of things to do before the 1st of January

write to or phone loved ones( that I haven't had time to do..shame on me)  DONE and happy

buy knobs for Alexis' chest of drawers (poor boy has a hard life opening these drawersDone took ages too

read at least one book 

run 5km in less that 25 minutes (not on the far got it down to 27minutes)

Finish mud room ( highly improbable) started again but need more sand paper etc so stopped

buy frames from Ikea

Put up Charlotte's remaining present on wall  10.35 going to find hammer, but Charlotte is still sleeping....DONE and she's awake

phone bank and cancel direct debit (we've finished paying..yippeee)

Get Alain to get out of bed and go back to work after a longish Christmas break Done and missing him already

Read my emails and text messages  Done phew, that took some time

Change beds on top floor (gaby, alexis, mk) Done

London: Somerset House and Covent Garden

After spending our first day in London shopping, the next two days were to be spent doing the usual tourist thing.
All seven of us walked from the hotel till Somerset House. It took twenty minutes and a quick stop at Boots on the way (one of Charlotte's favourite shops London they're dotted all over the place)

Somerset House was beautiful, sitting on Thames, with a lovely open air skating ring there over the festive period...that was fully booked when we tried to reserve via internet.
The children found the visit boring, and we too, were disappointed, but
we did get a nice view upon leaving of The London Eye, and later on, after Covent Garden, that's where we were going to go.

 Despite the fairly mild weather, Covent garden had a very Christmassy feel.

Just because the weather wasn't freezing cold, it doesn't mean that you'd want to strip down to your underwear like this street entertainer. We left him to it, with his funny Father Christmas boxers and his knife juggling, and we went to eat round the corner and Wahaca (Mexican Restaurant) that we'd been to a couple of years ago and liked it, only this time it just got better and better.

mardi 27 décembre 2011

Belated Merry Christmas

Wow, things have been crazy around here and I've got a couple of minutes before I have to dash out.
 We were lucky enough to spend a couple of days in London before Christmas.
 This tree was built using Lego bricks, it was awesome. You'll have to get yourself off to St Pancras if you want to see it, before it's dismantled...I wonder how they do that?
 First mince pie, photo isn't great, but the mince pie was yummy...New favourite place for cakes " Peyton & Byrne...
MK preparing for two more crazy days in London.  The Ridgemount Hotel just gets better and better and really reasonably priced too.

jeudi 15 décembre 2011

Charlotte au Chocolat blanc avec Monsieur biscuits

 Remember I talked about the magazine, Papillote? Well here's that Charlotte I planned on making, it's a little late, but I did it, moreover Alexis and I did, because he had no school today as his teacher was on strike  (many teachers aren't happy with measures that will allow heads to assess them, giving them less or more in terms of pay rises).
 First we melted some white chocolate and then incorporated a juice of an orange, whipped up so cream and added some chocolate marbles (that incidentally melted...wasn't supposed to happen)...Oh yes, I forgot that we added some gelatin.
 We put some Monsieur biscuits around a mold, then some shortbread biscuits for the base.

Poured the white chocolate mixture into the mold and left it to set for several hours.

 And then these poor little men didn't last for long, especially this one,which fell into the hands of Charlotte

ànd here's Charlotte sporting a new hair colour (nothing to do with me) I'll talk about this another time.

And it between making this Charlotte and eating it, guess what? The older ones played Cluedo with the younger ones....This happens only once in a blue moon.

Christmas Wreath...homemade and fast

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, my wreath isn't quite symmetric, but I wanted something fast to dress the front door, until perhaps I find something better.  Lets hope it doesn't get blown away tonight as apparently a big storm is on its way.

mardi 13 décembre 2011

Rainy day

Despite what people might think, especially friends in the South of France, it doesn't rain here much, well not since we moved up here last year. However, during the night and this morning, we have had quite a downpour along with gusty winds of up to 100km per hour.
You can tell I'm English, because I love it, I love rain (not everyday of course) but just sometimes, especially when I am safe and snug at home.  
The photo was taken about 9.30 am, it was so dark outside.  You can just make out our neighbours house opposite, she has an enormous house with an attached barn too.  Next year the barn is going to be converted into a micro creche, she'll have the right to take care of up to ten babies (along with help).  She already has a similar set-up not far away, but for fifty babies!  Thankfully, it's only for up to ten here!

La classe de 5.4 Gaby's school report

I don't normally write about school results and all that, but as I did for MK this year, I thought I'd have to do the same for my four other sweeties, even if one or two didn't do as well as they'd hoped (or we had hoped).
Today the turn of Gabrielle. She's 11, and she's in her second year at college (year 8 in the UK).
She is in the elite class (terrible to say that but so true), why? Because she chose options this year and last that group children together, those who aren't scared of a little extra work.  She's in a section called bi-langue which means she does English and German in tandem (mostly, from year 7, children learn just English and from year 9 they choose a second foreign language, usually Spanish. 
I can't remember if she has three hours or four of English per week and the same for German this year, but that was the case for last year anyway.
This year she took the option Latin.  She wasn't over keen, but we kind of pushed up a little, and she knew if she didn't like it, after one year, she had the right to stop.  Amazingly, she loves it, and for now at least, doesn't want to stop...yippee.
Ok in her class they are twenty eight children and twenty one of these are in the "bi-langue" class. Most of them either do Latin or Theatre as an option. 
On Saturday we met her form tutor in order to get her long awaited first school report for this year. And we learnt the following that out of twenty eight pupils

10 had felicitations, which like the highest honor you while in college
3 had compliments which is basically very good
3 had encouragements which means you are trying hard and we've noticed, and carry on it's good.
2 had been sanctioned for lack of effort.

The average of the class was a fairly high 13,70 (in comparison with what we've seen in the South of France, which was mostly between 10 and 11)
And eight pupils got an average more that 15, this is really good, the competition is at a maximum.
And guess what, Gaby, who is the youngest in the class (she skipped a class ages ago) was first of the class and first of her school year for that matter...big headed? no! Proud? Yes, proud as punch.
Sixty one tests since the beginning of the year, she managed to fight her way through them all and get averages over 19 in Math, English, Latin and Art and as for the rest, still amazing. Just under 18 of average is just awesome.

lundi 12 décembre 2011

L'arbre Roux...class book and Marie-Kate's first term report

 Marie-Kate bought home a book that her class had put together, after watching a play called L'arbre Roux in the village hall.  

She has really worked well this year (as usual) still a little too shy but so was I, and so are her sisters.
Her school report opens up to show at least 7 pages of marks and 1 with teachers comments (as seen above  a little snippet) 
She got all A's, apart from for participation where is got a B and another B for sentence construction, which are apparently too long.
Very happy for my little girl who loves her school and to do the very best she can all the time, except when it comes to playing chess with me, because there, she's a sore loser.

dimanche 11 décembre 2011

Sunday afternoon walk down by the River Seine

Our house in the middle of a small village not far from Paris. If you walk down the hill, you will find the River Seine.

 Today, we walked down with Marie-Kate.  It was spitting a little, but still nice to get out, and great to spend some time with MK.
 There are some lovely houses that border onto the river, but  we ruled out buying one here because of the flood risk.
 Alain reckons that these geese are destined for someone's  Christmas table..
 A grey day but still nice reflections and some autumn colours lingering on

 Time to climb the hill and head off home.

New additions to our bedroom..Bookworm and Sapiens book tower

 For a very long time we've been longing for a bookworm(especially Alain), the idea  was to get a long one, but we changed our minds , when we came across a ptolomeo book tower while surfing on the Conran site. Far too expensive, but we still put the bookworm  on hold for a while.  Then while visiting one of my favourite blogs door sixteen I saw a sapiens bookcase, a lot like a ptolomeo but a hell of a lot forward till last week.  I found out that you could buy a Sapiens at Habitat here at La Défense.  So we could get the two, a bookworm for Alain and a Sapiens for me, and all for less than a 5m20 bookworm.  
 A sapiens ready to be taken out of it's box

Christmas has come early and my book tower is full, whereas Alain needs a dozen or so books, mangas or graphic novels to fill up his bookworm

Rarebit and Speculoos biscuits

 We baked some speculoos biscuits fpr the first time on Friday and they were yummy.
 Gaby is a big fan of icing sugar, even in the morning for breakfast, she'll whip up a little bit of icing to go on biscuits, cookies or even with fruit...

 Charlotte adores nutella and if you leave her with a 750g jar, she'll finish it within 24 hours.
I bought yet another cookbook, this time, Hugh fearnley's Vegetable book, and I love it.  I'd never made a rarebit before, but for lunch on Friday, Alexis and I had some tomato ones for the first time and they were really good.  The bechamel sauce was amazing.