mardi 10 novembre 2015

Hiit Rowing Day 6

I forced myself to do my 15 minutes of rowing just now. Usually I do it before lunch but just felt incredibly lazy all day.
Did 10m less than yesteday but it is ok, hopefully tomorrow will be better. The photo is of poor quality as it is already dark here.
Still eating good meals but small portions, tonight we have roast chicken.

lundi 9 novembre 2015

Hiit Rowing day 5

No sport yesterday but on Saturday we both took turns doing 1000m each then 800m, 600m et cetera stopping after 200m.
Today I completed my fifth Hiit session, still just for 15 minutes, 20/40. 
I have a new record of 3265m which is 35m more than last time so I am happy.
Back tomorrow for day 6!

vendredi 6 novembre 2015

Shopping Challenge November 2nd shopping

Took a little longer to do the shopping today, around 20 minutes, but it is the weekend.
Spent 115,07€ that included a jar of piment d'espelette which was incidentally the most expensive item on the list at 12,65€!
Here's what we will be cooking and eating this weekend and early next week:

Beef Bourguignon ( made earlier this week for tonight)
Magret de Canard En Saumure, Roti au Miel ( duck breast with honey)
Carrot, Tomato & Feta Soup
Home-made Pizzas
Roast Chicken with vegetables ( going to the market Sunday morning)
Chocolate Creams
Apple & Pear Cake ( to use up the fruit the children have not eaté from last week) 
*bought some artisanale (craft) sausage meat too for a meal to cook and freeze for next week.

jeudi 5 novembre 2015

Hitt Rowing - Day 3 & 4

Yesterday was hard and I did less than on day two (3210 m).
Just 3210 m in 15 minutes. 
Today was better though with 3235 m, which is my new record. More sweaty than the other days too.
Alain has not had time to do much, but he does ride his scooter (trotinette) home every night from the traiin station which is 4,5 km and half up hill!

mardi 3 novembre 2015

Hitt Rowing - Day 2

I had to push myself to beat my score and I just did it. 3330 m in 15 minutes so 20 seconds faster.
Alain has his first go this morning and did 3220 m.

Shopping Challenge November 2015

We have started to make our own bread again after several years of procrastination. We are also trying slowly to cut out as much processed food as possible but we need time... No ready meals thought, this is something we just don't eat.
Today shopping took a record 15 minutes after dropping MK off at college at 9:25. Last time I shopped was Friday. 
We will be eating this week the following meals in no particular order:

Beef Bourguignon (have enough beef to make two meals, so one for the freezer)
Blanquette de Veau à la Vanille ( family favourite " Veal Ragout with Vanilla")
Gratin Dauphinois
Croque Monsieur (children Wednesday lunch)
Chermoula Aubergine (Alexis and MK dislike aubergines so just for three). Aubergines bought on Friday

The shopping cost 73,02 euros which is really good for good quality food (organic, label rouge, aoc...) tortilla crisps and white bread for Croque Monsieur not inluded. 
Here's the receipt so we can keep track of prices now for the future.

lundi 2 novembre 2015

Hiiit Rowing - 1st session

I thought I could do 20 minutes 20 seconds intensive and 40 seconds rest, but no way. I managed 15 minutes at the same rate as above and I am pooped. I grabbed the Ipad to take a photo to show how did for record. The clock was still ticking but I did 3201 m... sure if this is bad or ok.
Tomorrow and all week I will keep to this routine and see how it goes. Alain will have a go tonight and we can compare, he will be fatser though for sure!

WaterRower 8 Week Hiit Challenge

A little over four years ago, Alain and I started doing sport and changed the way we ate. Doing 12 to 20 minute intense Zuzana workouts over five months then trail running we lost over 20 kilos each! However all was not good as weighing became a bit of an obsession, especially for me and I was frustrated if and when my weight didn't drop each time I stepped on the scales.  Over time my weight dropped to less than 57 kilos (I was taller and lighter than my 16 year old daughter at the time) and my BMI was no longer deemed heathly. With help from my family, I stopped weighing myself, ate more, started a new job, the down side was is that did less exercise because of the job and put on weight again.  Over three years my job slowly consumed me, I worked long days without breaks, to come home at 7 at night to work again when the kids were in bed. Working till after midnight and waking up four or five hours later to start the whole process again. Even at weekends or while on vacation, even during a 80 kilometre hike, I had to connect, answer mails, work.  Without going into all the details now, this September I was diagnoised with an acute Burn-Out was told that I needed complete rest and since then, I have been at home. I will talk about this sometime soon, but not now, as the situation is complicated.  
Anyhow the reason for this post is for me, to challange myself to get fit again and to take care of myself. I know I am heavier than I was a couple of years ago and I not going to become a slave to the scales, however I would like to fit back into my jeans again, so I am starting an eight week Hitt rowing challenge which basicially means I will row most days for 20 minutes using high intensity intervals that will be built up over the weeks...I need to work out the exact program based I my fitness level now..
My goal is (apart from the jeans) is to start trail running again in January!

dimanche 1 novembre 2015

Halloween part 2

Alexis just arrived home weighed down by a a big bag of sweets and very happy.
For the fourth year running he stayed overnight a Jeremy's house and this year they had a special Halloween menu prepared for them.  You would have to have a good imagination to decipher le menu, but what a great idea and such fun, I love it.


When I was a child growing up in the UK, Halloween was a small affair, as the only day to remember before Christmas was of course the 5th November. I just loved Bonfire Night, the fireworks and the communal bonfire just around the corner from our house, but now I am digressing, as this is a post about Halloween this year and last.
Noisy groups start coming early in our little village, mostly young children accompanied by adults, but not all, and last year as we didn't open our door at all and a certain of teenagers did not approve and we got "tricked". Our newly finished rendered facade that cost a fortune to do,  received a couple of unwanted eggs, which proved difficult to clean. We were not the only ones on the street to have suffered, and it could have been worse, so this year, yesterday, we welcomed Halloween like licensed haressment but welcomed it still.
We bought many packets of sweets/candies/chocolates, even carved a small pumpkin and placed on the window ledge and prayed we would be spared the wrath of the egg or whatever throwers, and guess what, it worked! We received the visit from fifty kids, some very greedy but all polite.
MK did Halloween around the village with her best friend Valentine and others (with adult escort) and A stayed overnight at a friends.
MK told us that at one house A called at with his group (small village syndrome, MK was just behind) that they received a very frosty welcome, and scared the kids half to death.
I looked on the street from our bedroom window this morning and I could not see any sign of egg shells on the road, but forgot to look further on to the house where the mean mans lives, so I think that I will go and take a second look now...

lundi 26 octobre 2015

Pumpkin Seed Cod by Nigel Slater

We bought the third Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries last week and it's probably my favorite one of all.
Alain cooked his first recipe from it last night and it was so good. The pumpkin seed crust was a real discovery as I didn't think that I would like them much, but 
How wrong I was. What a delicious moment we shared at home with the four children in their rooms....bliss.

mercredi 21 octobre 2015

Half term

It is half term here, so the children have two whole weeks of holiday. Charlotte came home too, with a car full of laundry and a cat. I am been washing ever since. 
For the first time since I can remember, perhaps it is the first time, the four of them actually played a game till the end, and that without anyone throwing a fit or cheating,  they did however complain when I tried to take a photo, still got one though.

mercredi 14 octobre 2015

Cold day

-The temperature dropped down to 0°c overnight so time to warm up the house a little more. We have a Nest thermostat now and it so good. We can turn up or down the heating from wherever we are and also monitor our consumption.

More later about that because I am cocooning on the sofa, with my two younger children close by and a new book.

Unlike the last one, this one was available on Kindle, so no waiting. " A Brief History of Seven Killings" just won the Man booker Price and if the opinions are tobgo by, it should be amazing.
I'll be back in 700 pages and a few good meals with my family.

mardi 13 octobre 2015

Sick and time for books

MK is off school sick today and It seems that both her and I have the same bug.
This has given me chance to finish the latest Joel Dicker book and what a exceptional read it was.
A just need another book as good as this one to stay on the sofa till the rest of the family come home...

lundi 12 octobre 2015

Hedge problem

We have two hedges at the top pf our garden that separates  us from our two neighbours. 
This one which is thriving with Lilac, Elderflower, Forsythia bushes et cetera and trees

And this one that I hate and is turning brown and dying all of a sudden, hence the gap in the hedge.
I will like to cut the whole thing down, but our privacy would be comprised, this neighbour has hens and the fence behind the hedge is about a metre high. This is a problem too, especially as we are getting some hens from a friend soon...just need to finish the hen coop...

A solution needs to be found soon, perhaps planting a couple of new bushes each year and cutting back the Thuyas as we go. This hedge is quite long though so it could take ages.

Kitchen before, during and after

I have been looking for photos showing how the kitchen looked when we first moved into this house five years ago and I have not had much luck. There are a couple of photos on this blog but I only found this one on my computer.  The kitchen was a green and white, well a dirty white as the last time it was painted was in the 70's. The oven, hob, sink was on one side and on the other some floor to ceiling cupboard, all green....

We did what we could on a limited budget and this is the kitchen in progress, believe me it was better (it isn't finished on this picture), but still what a mess. 

Here's a similar view of the kitchen taken this morning, no more mess, no more green and so clean. Still fillers to add in the corner and one plug to finish next to the butchers block, and other bits and bobs, but we did it all ourselves over months, no summer vacation this year.  Alain even did the electricity as our electrician wanted 5000 Euros for just wiring the kitchen!!!

The kitchen is open now too. One thing we didn't do ourselves was to demolish the wall between the kitchen and our living space. Took him and two others nearly three days to complete and we do not regret our decision one bit.
More photos soon.

samedi 10 octobre 2015

Saturday's here

It's so good to have space in the kitchen and so much storage too. Still finishing touches to do, but hopefully the kitchen will be finished next weekend.
Today we are eating stuffed tomates from from Papilles et Pupilles with its sauce.

We have more time Saturday mornings as MK has her horse-riding lessons in the after now which is so much better for everyone.
Bon Appétit!

jeudi 24 septembre 2015


Bad photo sorry, but we are back. So many things have been happening here...familly stuff, work problems, renovations including our new kitchen as we received the granite work tops today.
The super guys from Easy Plan de Travail came today to fit the granite for the island and other work surfaces today.

I forgot to mention we opened up the kitchen to make a big open space living area beforehand...more to come later.  Changed the floor too.

dimanche 22 février 2015

Back from the mountains

After a three year break we went back to La Grange.  Tons of snow awaited us. O & C didn't come with us for the first time, instead Gaby bought along a friend and MK her rabbit.
A great holiday had by all, good food, lots of skiing, time for books and games of chess. Even managed to watch Lord of the Rings again.

Probably last time staying at this gite as it's up for sale, leaving me quite nostalgic after many holiday's here, first time which Alexis turned 7 and now he's 13!

I think La grange will be snapped up fast, and I love Norman & Gabrielle"s home that is up for sale at the same time as the gite, it's just beautiful.

mardi 17 février 2015

Still talking about 2014

 December 2014, Birmingham UK, best burger and chips for a long time, eaten at  Handmade Burger Co, went with Alexis who still talks about it now.
Best bottle of white wine during 2014, shared at annual team meal at the Shang Palace in Palace.

Summer 2014 in Martinique, super swimming pool, awesome view, but villa a bit of a let-down especially due to the work in progress next door.  Owner did the right thing though and paid us back 500 Euros for the nuisance...

A rabbit called Sweet

2014 wasn't all bad.  Meet Sweet the rabbit who became a part of our family at the end of August.  He was a tiny ball of fur back then, but now he is a giant cheeky rabbit that weighs over 5 kilos!

2014 & 2015

A photo from Summer 2014 in Martinique.  Great holiday but not the best of years. Mum with health problems and one daughter with a broken ankle after getting hit by a car and another with a broken wrist after falling off a sleigh that was being pulled by husky's.

Hard year at work too, and not enough family time.

This year will be different (I hope).  Eldest son in Asia for six months and eldest daughter studying in the South of France which means tidier house and a never empty fridge.

This year we have plenty of renovation work planned and some already done, now we don't have a giant fire place that we can't even use taking up half of our sitting room nor does our house look ugly from the front as we have it re-rendered (cost a fortune and took two weeks to do).
Next week we are having some walls knocked down in the kitchen, sitting room and upstairs in the bathroom.
Soon we will have a new kitchen, parquet floor instead of our horrible tiles and a little later a additional bedroom and a revamped bathroom. Can't wait.