Sunday, 28 May 2017

Renovation project - Bonne Fête des Mères (Mothers day in France)

Renovation project - Bonne Fête des Mères (Mothers day in France)
Picture courtesy of http://mumuland.centerblog.net/rub-Bonne-fete-maman.html
Today is the last day in May and as such it is mother’s day here in France or Fête des Mères. As far as we can see it is so much less commercialised than it is in the UK. Each patisserie has a selection of specially baked cakes. (The most popular seems to be the strawberry tart).
The actual history of mother’s day in France was more to do with the alarm at the low birth rate in France so mothers of large families were celebrated.
During World War 1, American soldiers sent so much mail back for mother’s day that a postal card was created.
In 1920 the French government made the day official for mothers of large families, but by 1941 all mothers were honoured, still a case of the bigger the family the better, but we won’t leave you other mothers out any more because France is nice like that.
In 1950 the last Sunday in May became "Fête des Mères” and all were required to pay homage to French mothers on this day. During the 50’s the celebration became far more commercialised. But as I said that may not be the case all over France, in our little bit of Brittany all we have seen is the fabulous cakes in the patisserie and the signs in the shops wishing a "Bonne Fête des Mères"
But remember it is moved to the first Sunday of June if it falls on the same day as pentecost
So for all you mums out there put your feet up and enjoy your day, even if you are not with your children
Bonne Fête des Mères
And for all you grandmothers here is a great quote

Une maman formidable donne toujours une grand-mere exceptionnelle.-A great mother always makes an exceptional grandmother.-Jean Gastaldi, French writer.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Renovation project - Shopping in France

Renovation project - Shopping in France
This is a slightly different post today, I have just been shopping and am still amazed at times at the cost and variety of things in France and the complete difference in attitude to shops from what we are used to in the UK.
The first example is the wine; always a fabulous bargain in France but this is unbelievable, 6 bottles of very drinkable Rose wine for 9.95 Euros.
Renovation project. jennyandjohninfrance. Wine
And when the mussels were available you could get 2 kilos of fresh mussels for 5.99 Euros.
Fabulous prices and there are so many other things that are just amazing, but then we go to the other extreme.
An example is the chocolate Christmas advent calendars have now been reduced to 70% discount, we are almost in June!!!!!!
Renovation project. jennyandjohninfrance.

Renovation project. jennyandjohninfrance.
This is the earliest I have seen the Easter range reduced (after all Easter was only a couple of months ago!)
Renovation project. jennyandjohninfrance.
This is something that I will always love about my little bit of France, the Christmas items are not reduced after Christmas never mind before Christmas and it is considered perfectly normal.

The staff in the shops also have quite a different attitude, they will not think twice about leaving the till to tend to another matter or chatting to the person in the queue, this is just the friendliness that is here, but don’t be fully fooled, if its busy and another till is opened, there will be a stampede!
Is there any thing that you love about shopping in France or would like to see?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Renovation project - Carnac Stones, France

Renovation project - Carnac Stones, France

We have actually had a day out sightseeing and went to visit Carnac.

This is somewhere I Have wanted to visit for some time, it is famous for its standing stones and when you see them they really are amazing.

I was expecting just a few like Stonehenge but these are in rows covering a massive area.

The most amazing bit is that there are actually a couple of old houses built amongst them. Why anybody would actually decide to build a house in the middle of this site I have no idea, but as they say, “there’s nowt as strange as folk”

There is also a beach at Carnac and as we were leaving we saw a village centre with some shops and bars.

I could now pretend to be very knowledgeable about the area but I’m not, so here is some of the real info from the Brittany Tourism site:

The standing stones of Carnac are one of Brittany’s greatest attractions. Three fields – Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan – contain around 3,000 aligned megaliths, which date from 4000BC. The granite stones were erected on the spot where they were dug, hence the differing sizes, although it is not known why they were put up; it is thought they had a religious or cultural significance.

Click on the link for lots more info about Carnac Brittany Tourism

But here are the photos to enjoy

Renovation project. Carnac Stones. jennyandjohninfrance

Renovation project. Carnac Stones. jennyandjohninfrance

Renovation project. Carnac Stones. jennyandjohninfrance

Renovation project. Carnac Stones. jennyandjohninfrance



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Renovation Project - Recycling in France

Renovation Project - Recycling in France
Throughout both renovation projects we have tried to recycle where we can, we have made tables from old walls, doors from old floorboards. Nothing has gone to waste.
But today I am rather proud of myself, I have really taken recycling (or maybe it’s more up cycling?) to a whole new measure.
Here in France something’s can be very expensive, they are totally random items such as coat hangers (yes I know strange item) chicken costing more than salmon and the biggest bug bear for me is wine glasses.
I have no idea why, especially as the wine is so cheap, but then maybe that is the reason.
I have always loved wine glasses and especially matching wine glasses, since moving to France, this is something I have given up on, I have lost count of how many sets of glasses we have had, but in a project they do not last long I know we are no longer in a project, but with a John they do not last long either
Tonight we have friends visiting for dinner; I am unwilling to serve wine from a mug so have no option but to get some new glasses.
At the intermarche I do not find any that I like, but then a brain wave hits me, the mustard here is sold in glasses. I go to the mustard shelf and see the matching glasses to 2 that we already have (yes this is not the first time we have drank from mustard pots!
Once emptied and cleaned they look very nice, our friends can’t believe it when I tell them we are drinking from mustard jars, all except John who is actually drinking from a nutella jar!

But have a look and at only 1.36 Euros each they are an absolute bargain with enough mustard to last the year
mustard pot wine glasses, jennyandjohninfrance,

mustard pot wine glasses, jennyandjohninfrance,

mustard pot wine glasses, jennyandjohninfrance,

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Rural France. You know you're a local when.......

Rural France. You know you're a local when.......


We have now lived in Rural France for over four years and this morning as I went to the town square to buy some bread and was given the fresh bread rather than the bread on the shelf (admittedly the bread on the shelf was only a couple of hours old!)  The realisation hit me,

I am now a local!

I thought about this on the way back to the house and all the other things that make you realise you are a local and no longer a visitor and decided to come up with a check list.

You know you're a local when

1.   At the boulangerie you are given the fresh baguette before they are put on the shelf.

2.   The sun is shining in spring you will still be wearing a sweater and scarf as the tourists         wander around in shorts and t shirts.

3.   At a restaurant you think what a cute dog rather than why is there a dog in the restaurant.

4.   At the market you will think what a big dog rather than why is there a big dog tied up next to the butchers van.

5.   You stop noticing the dog poo on the street.

6.   You no longer practice what you are going to say before you go into the shop.

7.   You know the difference between a boulangerie and a patisserie.

8.   You stop noticing that the street lights get turned off and walking home in the pitch black becomes normal.

9.   You never make the mistake of going to the post office/shop/bank at lunch time.

10.  Everywhere being shut on a Monday becomes normal.

11.  You make sure you know when all the bank holidays are and never run out of milk on those days.

12.  Strangers talking to you and being polite becomes normal and expected and you get upset if a stranger does not say hello as they walk past and think there is something wrong.

13.  In a supermarket, you join the rush to the front of the queue when a new till opens instead of letting the person in front go first.

14.  You know never to shop in a hurry, as the cashier may just get up and go and chat to another person or start a completely different job before returning to you some time later.

15.  You can walk around without photographing everything.

16.  You learn how to drink in a bar. A tiny glass of wine is normal as is almost filling your glass with a spirit then adding a splash of mixer.

17.  You stop marvelling at the price of wine in a supermarket.

18.  You stop marvelling at the variety of cheese in a supermarket.

19. You stop laughing at Easter eggs, advent calendars and any other holiday confectionery still being sold at full price the month after the holiday.

20.  You no longer get angry when driving through a village and the car in front stops to talk to a person walking past.

21.  You are no longer surprised when driving through a village and the car in front stops to talk to a person walking past.

22.  You think nothing of stopping when driving through a village and talking to a person walking past.

23.  When you are driving in the middle of nowhere and can see for miles around, you still stop the car for 3 full seconds at a stop sign.

This is by no means an extensive list, but just a guide, what would you add to this list?

If you would like to find out what life is like in France we are selling our current house, click on the link for more info House for sale Huelgoat

1.      

Monday, 10 April 2017

Renovation Project - Fun in the sun

Renovation Project - Fun in the sun
We have just had our first perfect weather weekend, the sun was bright, the sky was blue and the air was warm. It really was just perfect.
I spent Saturday with different friends sat in the garden, and I have now realised I really want my friends garden. I don’t actually want to do the work that is required, (well I would happily do the work I would just need someone telling me what to do and what to plant and when to plant it, in fact help every step of the way)  But to be able to sit here and relax is just perfect.
Renovation project - Huelgoat garden

Saturday evening we are going out for dinner at our local favourite restaurant, Le Crepuscule, if you ever visit Huelgoat, this place is a must, it is so easy going and the chef and owners are so friendly and multi lingual. But it is a great place to practise and improve our spoken French. If you ask them to correct you when you get it wrong, you can quickly learn restaurant French, essential for any holiday or the beginning of your language skills.
The food was fantastic and the wine flowed, unfortunately it flowed so well I forgot to take a photo of the main course!
Renovation project - Le Crepuscule Huelgoat, Brittany, France
But the night drew to an end and we all weaved our way home.

The Sunday I woke with such a bad head, I actually missed the sunniest day of our perfect weekend, but a day in bed never does you any harm and now we are not working in the same way, I am hoping to enjoy many more perfect weekends in our little bit of heaven.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Renovation project - Gardening on a budget

Renovation project - Gardening on a budget
The sun is shining and Huelgoat is looking at its best and we are enjoying time with friends. This actually feels quite unusual as normally we never go out, we are usually working on the house but that is not the case at the moment I am actually sitting at friends houses and enjoying the opportunity to socialise.
But today I am going to make my garden look lovely. I am not a gardener in any sense so the fact that we have the terraces and the stone patio is ideal, but we do need some colour in it and I also have my window boxes.
We have bought a selection of plants from Lidl of all places, we have realised that plants tend to be quite expensive here in Brittany, but Lidl had one of their offers on and we bought three trays for only five Euros.
Renovation project - Gardening on a budget
It’s at this point I realise just how many plants you actually get in a try. The 5 boxes are filled with a variety.
The camellia has a ring of daisies and every other pot I can find gets a selection of bedding plants.
Renovation project - Gardening on a budget

Renovation project - Gardening on a budget
It’s just a case now of waiting for my wisteria to grow, it has already started to bud, so I am not in the same panic as last year when I bought it and had been convinced someone had sold me a dead twig!

Let’s just hope the sun stays 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Big Price Reduction - House in Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Big Price Reduction - House in Huelgoat, Brittany, France
The house has been on the market for a couple of months now and we have had a number of viewings but not yet sold. this was not a problem as we were going to just enjoy our time here.

But, now we have found another house so its time to sell, our sitting back enjoying ourselves is over, to be honest John has been raring to get started on another project.
So now is your opportunity to buy at a massively reduced price of offers around 102,000 euros for a house with so many options available,
1.      The chance to live in a large family home in the centre of Huelgoat.
2.       A great holiday home with small manageable garden so no worries about spending your holidays taming wild overgrowth
3.      The opportunity to move to France and start a business straight away, a 2 bed house and a 1 bed house either of which can be let out, in a year round tourist location.
Only 102,000 euros with option to include all the furniture.

AT todays rate (05.04.17) the current exchange rate makes that only 

$108,931 USD

or 

£87,168 GBP

Has there ever been a better time to start your new life?
The property in detail:
Habitable Area: 123m2
Land Surface Area: 161m2
Energy Efficiency: D - 227
Co2 Emissions: A - 5 
Living room with new wood burner set in a large granite fireplace.
Fully fitted kitchen with dining area.
Stairs to:
Main bedroom with door to large private terrace
2nd double bedroom
Family bathroom
All upstairs windows have views over the forest.
From the kitchen:
Enter the dining room with external door to patio garden and full utility room.
Doorway that can be locked to a separate cottage with:
Large living room with small fitted kitchen and large granite fireplace, separate external door to outside
Stairs to large bedroom with vaulted ceiling and exposed beams and wooden floors, door to private terrace with views over the forest.
Fully fitted shower room off the bedroom.
Large garage/workshop. 
Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
House and drive

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
the terraces and rear of the property

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
main kitchen

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
kitchen dining area

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
living room in main house

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
living room in main house

Renovation project house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
dining room and door to little house

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
bedroom in little house and door to terrace

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
bedroom in little house with door to ensuite bathroom

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
kitchen area in little house

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
living area in little house and external door

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
bedroom 2 in main house

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
family bathroom

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
stairs in main house

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
patio garden

Renovation project - house for sale Huelgoat Brittany, France
garage and little house terrace
indoor garden
the front of the little house inside the garage
The house has been completely renovated with new double glazing, new electrics, new plumbing, new fitted kitchen, new bathrooms, new wood burner and flue. 

The property is located approx 200 metres from the town square with a selection of restaurants, cafes, and shops. There is also a doctor and dentist in the town and a supermarket with 24 hour petrol. There are creperies and ice cream shops along the lake and within the forest you will find an internet cafe selling vegan food and organic beers.
There is public transport available with a bus service to Carhaix and Morlaix (Morlaix has a TGV train direct to Paris and further into Europe)
There is a mechanic/vehicle service garage and a taxi service in the town.
Huelgoat has a large leisure lake with cafes and an enchanted forest with many tourist attractions (again only approx 200 metres from the property). 
Although a popular tourist destination the area is never crowded. 
Here are some photos of Huelgoat (approx 200 metres from the house)
Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France

Renovation project -  Huelgoat, Brittany, France
Huelgoat is located approx 45 mins from Roscoff ferry port, 30 mins from Morlaix (with a TGV train to Paris) and approx 35 mins to the nearest beach 
International airport at Brest approx 50 mins away.
If you have any questions or would like further information please contact us either on here or via e-mail on the contact page.

Please share with your friends and family, thank you

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Renovation project - Holiday season

Renovation project - Holiday season
The Easter holidays are approaching and with this comes the return of friends and neighbours who have holiday homes in the area.
It is always great to see people who have holiday homes as they bring the holiday feeling with them.
Huelgoat is so beautiful, but you begin to take things for granted, it is only when people come for a short period of time that we really appreciate how lucky we are.
And obviously there are the really big pluses such as having meals out and visiting friends again. 
Such as our Sunday, we spent a sunny afternoon, well actually a sunny 6 hours, eating and drinking wine. This is how a Sunday should be spent.
We head off for home with John agreeing to go back in the morning to give a hand with a DIY job. It is great to be able to help people, especially when they happily cook you a roast pork dinner!

I head out for my evening walk and take time to look at the amazing sunset and some of the sights that I pass everyday and never really think of anymore, but today I am thinking how nice, today I am thinking how lucky I am, today I am counting my blessings as I look around and realise this is my home. 
I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world. Huelgoat Brittany France

Huelgoat Brittany France

Huelgoat Brittany France

Huelgoat Brittany France

Huelgoat Brittany France

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Renovation project - Indoor gardening in Brittany

Renovation project - Indoor gardening in Brittany
I have just realised I have never shown anyone what the inside of our garage looks like.
If you remember we had initially planned on taking the garage down but decided against this. This then left us with the dilemma of what to do with the steps that were in there, removal was the best option but they were so solid and John decided that actually to build them up and fill them in would give him a great work bench.
Which it did, but now it is not required and we want to make it look good.

Here is a link to the garage in case you have forgotten or have only just joined us GARAGE
We start to research indoor gardens but unless you are veer rich and have multiple degrees in architecture and horticulture the websites were not very helpful.
So we put our heads together and remember how much we liked the fake grass in Spain.
We find some cut it to size, ass a few plants and we now have a fabulous little indoor garden for the little house, whilst still keeping the garage.
I still think a deckchair would look good while John is more inclined to putting a small golf course on it.
indoor garden, Brittany France

indoor garden, Brittany France

indoor garden, Brittany France

indoor garden, Brittany France

indoor garden, Brittany France