Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Sea of Lavender - The Valensole Plateau, Alpes-des-Hauts-Provence, France.




Situated in the Alpes-des-Hauts-Provence the Valensole Plateau is rich in wheat, olive trees and almonds but above all lavender. We visited the lavender fields today the 3rd of July 2016,  if you want to see the lavender in full bloom, now is the time to plan your visit.  The colour of the fields and the views towards the Alps are  spectacular - if you drive through Valensole on the D8 in the direction of  Dignes-les-Bain you will leave the tourist buses behind.  This photo was taken just before the road descends in one direction to Estoublon and in the other towards  Riez - a sleepy little town on the edge of the Gorges du Verdon. 

I have never seen so many bees, their hives are  grouped round the fields so that the beekeepers  can make lavender honey.  The lavender is harvested mechanically towards the end of July, and it is then that the air is filled with the perfume of the plant. The majority of the lavender is distilled locally and the essence is used for scenting detergents and soap.

Most of the lavender in this area actually comes from the plant  Lavendula x intermedia, a hybrid plant whose common name is lavandin, it grows at lower altitudes than true lavender, and is a more productive crop.

On another note, Rebecca's Aix offers Walking and Market Tours of Aix-en-Provence - please visit http://shoppingaix.com for more information and to make a booking.


Saturday, 2 January 2016

Repost of the The Provencal Creche in Bonnieux


Provencal Village
Opening hours for 2016 - the creche is open each Saturday and Sunday from 28/11/2015 until 18/01/2016 from 2.30pm to 5pm and every afternoon during the school holidays. 

Last week, I was fortunate to stumble upon the spectacular Provencal creche in the church at the top of Bonnieux - my favourite perched village in the Luberon, France.  This particular creche is created every Christmas by Vincent Gils, it takes him over 3 weeks to construct using natural materials and vegetation to set the scene and to build the terraces and stone walls.

The figures used in the creche are called santons, they became popular in the 18th century and are made from local clay which is then hand painted - the larger ones are dressed in 18th century clothes.  They not only depict the usual nativity characters  but also people from every walk of life in Provence and their animals.   Families often have their own  creche which they display in their home every Christmas - gradually adding a figure or two every year purchased from the popular santon fairs held locally.


Feeding the Chickens


Tending the Crops


Water Wheel


Chatting in a Sheltered Spot

Daily Life

You can buy santons at  local fairs from the end of November to the end of December - there is an annual fair in the Place Jeanne d'Arc (near La Rotonde) in Aix en Provence, France.

Santons Cavasse, Venelles (These are the santons that I'm collecting for our rather more modest family creche).

Santons Fouque , Aix en Provence

Santons Jouve, Luynes.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Little Christmas Fair at the Barn December 2015

The Little Christmas Fair in the Barn

The Little Christmas Fair will be opening again in December.  Come and finish off your Christmas shopping away from the crowds on the High Street in our beautifully decorated barn.

A Christmas country fair of decorative antiques, antique and vintage linens and textiles, clothing, accessories, handmade gifts and festive decorations.

When:  Friday 11th and Saturday 12th December 2015 from 10 am to 2pm.
             Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 2015 from 10 am to 2pm.

Where:  The barn at Lark Rise, Lambdens Hill, Beenham, Reading. Berks. RG7 5LG

Tea, coffee and delicious home-made cake served all day.

Admission is free.  

Visit the website for more information https://fairinthebarn.wordpress.com

Stallholders:
Lois Kirsten, Rebecca's Aix and Kate Johnson.  

This is our fourth Christmas fair at the Barn, and we are looking forward to welcoming old customers and friends as well as new ones.




Lois Kirsten Antiques

Lois Kirsten Antiques

Lois Kirsten Antiques

Hungarian Rugs by Rebecca's Aix Home
Vintage Kantha Throws by Rebecca's Aix Home
Kate Johnson




Thursday, 25 June 2015

Maison Empereur - Hardware Shop - Marseille




Installed in the same building since 1857 this hardware shop (known as a 'quincaillerie' in French) stocks everything you need to run your home efficiently. From galvanised buckets to modern cleaning products it has various departments stocking everything you'll ever need. 

Even more exciting is the range of traditional products stocked that are still made in France - light fittings, soap dishes, coffee pots and even shopping trolleys.  There are endless baskets and brushes available in every shape and size.  



For serious cooks, there is a comprehensive kitchen section with beautiful cooking pots - copper and cast iron as well as a huge knife department.

Galvanised buckets


French enamel ware and pottery

Just next door at no.8 you will find a new department stocking traditional clothing - blue workmen's outfits, Breton shirts and straw hats as well as outfits for the Camargue cowboys.  I can't believe that I have been coming to Marseille now for 16 years and have only just discovered this treasure - I'll be back there soon.


The shop today - 6 rue des Recolettes, Marseille.




Maison Empereur, 6 - 8 rue des Recolettes, Marseille. 1er.   Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm. Tel:  0033 (0)9 52 86 20 78  www.empereur.fr. 

Other Marseille Recommendations:

For lunch  I recommend Au Falafel at 5 rue Luilli (just behind the opera). A simple and friendly restaurant serving great falafel, salads and grilled meats.

La Droguerie, 42 rue Vacon is pure haberdashery heaven. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Little Summer Fair 5th & 6th June 2015




Join us at The Little Summer Fair in The barn on Friday 5th June and Saturday 6th June 2015 from 10am to 4pm.   The barn at Lark Rise, Lambdens Hill,Beenham, Reading. Berkshire. RG7 5LG.  
The barn and the garden are being prepared for next week's fair and this weekend has been set aside for baking cakes.
We do hope you can join us with your friends and family at our country fair of decorative antiques and finds, antique and vintage textiles, contemporary  home accessories, clothing, jewellery and handmade gifts.
 Admission is free.  www.fairinthebarn.wordpress.com

I will be taking piles of vintage Indian kantha throws and quilts as well as a large selection of antique and vintage French and Hungarian linens and some colourful Hungarian rug runners.   I have been busy sewing and will have grain sack and ticking totes,as well as grain sack pouches and cushions.

White Door Antiques

Spoon

Lois Kirsten

The Tea & Cake Tent

Betty & Violet

Rebecca's Aix Home - Hungarian rugs and runners


Monday, 19 January 2015

The Provencal Creche in Bonnieux


Provencal Village

Last week, I was fortunate to stumble upon the spectacular Provencal creche in the church at the top of Bonnieux - my favourite perched village in the Luberon, France.  This particular creche is created every Christmas by Vincent Gils, it takes him over 3 weeks to construct using natural materials and vegetation to set the scene and to build the terraces and stone walls.

The figures used in the creche are called santons, they became popular in the 18th century and are made from local clay which is then hand painted - the larger ones are dressed in 18th century clothes.  They not only depict the usual nativity characters  but also people from every walk of life in Provence and their animals.   Families often have their own  creche which they display in their home every Christmas - gradually adding a figure or two every year purchased from the popular santon fairs held locally.

This Christmas and New Year period the creche was open every weekend from 29/11/2014 to 11/01/2015 from 2.30pm to 5pm and every afternoon during the school holidays.  Check with the local tourist office in Bonnieux for the opening hours next Christmas.

Feeding the Chickens


Tending the Crops


Water Wheel


Chatting in a Sheltered Spot

Daily Life

You can buy santons at  local fairs from the end of November to the end of December - there is an annual fair in the Place Jeanne d'Arc (near La Rotonde) in Aix en Provence, France.

Santons Cavasse, Venelles (These are the santons that I'm collecting for our rather more modest family creche).

Santons Fouque , Aix en Provence

Santons Jouve, Luynes.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dennis Sever's House, Spitalfields, London



Earlier this week, we stepped back in time to the 18th century and paid a visit to Dennis Sever's House in Spitalfields, London.  Just round the corner from the hustle of the City, this 4 storey townhouse houses the imaginary family of Mr and Mrs Jervis, a family of Huguenot silk weavers.

As you enter the house, you step back in time to a home  lit by candlelight and heated by smoky coal and log fires.  Each room is a still life;  a meal unfinished on the dining room table, tea things in the drawing room on the first floor and unmade beds and washing drying upstairs.  It's as if the family have just this minute left.  The only concession to the 21st century is a sound recording in each room - music, birdsong from caged birds and murmuring voices.

Visitors are asked to  walk around the house in silence.  It makes you look closely at everything and really absorb  the atmosphere of the house - the sounds and the smells.

This unique experience was created by artist Dennis Severs (1948- 1999) who bought the house in 1979 and lived there while he created his 'famous time machine'.  We visited just before Epiphany when the house was decorated for Christmas, but you can visit all year round.


Further reading:  http://www.theguardian.com/news/2000/jan/10/guardianobituaries