Signs of Spring – Daffodils tells us so!

015Hello everybody! What’s new going on around yours in the thought of Spring? I’ve been busy with my crafting works doing quilting which will be posted a bit later in the month.   I am always on the go with my sewing as I am making some beautiful pairs of curtains that will be going to the other side of the pond in the Seychelles islands.  I wish I was in the place of these curtains, you know what I mean?  Well, but for the time being, some daffodils will do.                                                                                                                                                006When I was out two days ago, I picked up a few tulips from my favourite flower shop. I am sure they are at the right time or if not the right season, it is ringing in my ears that spring has almost arrived.  I hope the pictures are beautiful since I tried to arrange them a bit. 044Speaking of working with fabric and doing curtains and quilting at the same time,  but not have I only been rolling the sewing machine, I have gain for everything that my hands did not touch for the whole of 2016, and yet they have been taken down to the charity shop. Trust me, it wasn’t easy to carry some heavy bags down to the shop, but alas they have been done. I made a difference for those in need!                                                                                   005Oh well, yes, it is spring! Here we go with the wonderful season we have all been waiting for.   Trust me, my holiday books are out once again.  When I was a teenager, I could imagine it was like I married libraries, and there were times I would sit in the bathroom to read my book to escape mum from doing chores she asked me to do – “laugh.”   This was long before the arrival of the Kindle. I have never had a kindle, for me it is like I am not reading a book since I love holding my book in my hands to read, I find it more exciting and I am aware that I am reading a “book” and it is more traditional.  It’s alright of me thinking about the kindle, but I may never know, I could try it one day in the future, who knows – for now it is just an imagination!  When I became a mum, I kind of got busy and my life changed forever, I let go of reading because motherhood and my profession both caught up with me at the same time and I would read a book when I found that I really felt like reading.  And it’s been a couple of years since I bounced back into the world of books again, I don’t read constantly, but I still do.                                                                                             062Well, if you’ve had a yearning to drink some fruit punch this summer, stay tuned to my blog since I have some delicious recipes that I am going to make in the next couple of posts that I am going to write in the months coming.  Sometime last year I made a stop at one of my favourite stores, where I fell for these beauties – crystal glasses.  They have a beautiful cut pattern finish and let’s just say, they called out to me to take them home.  And my daughter was the first to try them after we got home that day since I had already made some summer fruit punch.

As I started arranging my flowers, the petals began to fall from some of the blooms.  I often find that when I just let things unfold naturally, my photos seem to turn out more beautiful than I thought it would. Do you find that to be the case for you too when you make a flower arrangement for photography?   DSC_0021Well, since I spend a lot of time focusing on photography, I knew these cups would be perfect for some photos. I collected them mismatch as a set and since they have fruit designs, I matched them with my “fruit harvest tea-pot,” hey it is not harvest time yet, but since they have fruits designs, everything goes together, what do you think.  I am loving my tea-set like crazy!  Would love to have you round for tea and home-made cookies.    057I have also arranged some of my favourite fruits.  I collected some large green leaves to make my arrangements since I have been thinking about this idea for some time.    050Please let me just say thank you to everyone who left their LIKES at my blog post “Farm Fun” and “Bleak Flow of Existence” some weeks ago.  Your kind and thoughtful “Likes” mean so much to me.  I know you all have busy schedules, and I hope you will keep visiting me, since I am trying my hardest to blog more often this year.           038Well, I have to run to the post office before it gets too late as I have some bills to pay.  “Bills?” – it isn’t something that I like, one of the most annoying aspects in my life, what about you? – are you thinking the same?   Well, I hope you’re all having a good weekend and let’s hope that spring is smiling since its arrival is definitely eminent.  Well it has been a very warm beautiful day yesterday and hoping for some more colorful days.              064I think this is all I have to cheer you up today and hopefully I will come back soon with some more vibes of?? – Spring!  Happy Weekend to you all and make the best of the weather wherever in the world you are!

Welcome Spring!                                                                                                                                               035(Please note that pictures and writings are my original properties)

This year is already running too fast!

002I have so many things that I think I would like to share with everyone I love and know.  I have thoughts, consideration, reflections, observations and many things that create happiness or make us admire, surprised and amazed.  

(picture above and below is the “Richmond Bridge” in the “Richmond Borough Upon Thames” in “West End of London)                                                                                                               003-done-at-the-blog-thisyear-is-already-running-to-fastIt is something that I do whenever I write a post for my blog.  I never forget to share a panorama I have captured through the lens of my camera with all my careful windings, when I was “breathing” that brief period of time.  Some thoughts will echo with you and some will not, just as it should happen, it is what aggrandize the way of life that we all drift unalike.  

(picture below is in “Richmond Hill” in the “Richmond Borough Upon Thames”)                    done-this-year-is-already-running-too-fastI did not prepare to write a blog today, It seems I am not being in my normal mind, and since writing keeps me thinking, I made myself a cup of coffee, and an uncheerful message caught my phone, my friend in the south of England is to be operated on Monday and she has not been feeling too well lately that she just needed to be in touch with me for some comfort.  I was just taking a bit of time off from everything around me before I close my lights off this night.  And my prayers, thoughts are going her way.  I am deeply thinking of her.                                                                                                                                                    dsc_0036This weekend and following next week, I will get methodise since I have some other type of work that needs doing around the house.  I just want to achieve this lot of works and I cannot afford to lose any minute of doing something else. There are some works I need to finish for my customers and trying at the same time to keeping the home twinkling. I need to make some new cushions for my Spring/summer season photography shootings.  Do I need to shop for them?  I think I would do the fillings myself and get moving before even the Summer Sun enters through my window before I would even know it.  

(pictures below taken at “Paray-le-Monial” in Burgundy “Bourgogne” – France)                     burgundyYou may agree with me should I say that this year is running way too fast.  And I will be traveling end of March or early April.  I’ve got to be on another side of the world, and it is very important that I do this traveling.  I have to remind myself to write a list of things I need to do when I am there.  Whether I will accomplish the entirety on my list is another episode.  (Picture below – clock on the outside of a church on the River Thames)                      001-clock-on-the-churchMany of you who constantly stopped by to have a read at my blog may well know by now that I love to fuss about with flowers, fabrics, ribbons and anything to do with interior decorations. I love spending my time this way making creations for the home.                         dsc_0033Have you gotten anything coming up to do?  What is on your “to do” list this spring?  I would love to know about it.  (Table-cloth above and below is home-crafted by myself)        dsc_0021(Please note that pictures & writings are my properties – Thank you)

Bleak Flow of Existence

Bleak stretch of time comes crawl in, always unannounced, and overlooked. They grab you by a bombshell, and when you look for the bullets you cannot even find a trigger to confront with them.  All you can manage to survive with is some old songs of faded times that made you felt better once.   

You are just there, breathing, and just knowing you are alive and not even wanting to pull through, you stay paralyzed, letting yourself be deluge and swamp by the waves, trying to be comforted in allowing the water over your head, enfolding you in a tight nuzzle, with a ghostly mysterious bond that this agony, this suffering, and this distress is yours and yours alone.   And will it ever let you go? When will it end?

You are in a journey full of masquerades and dark tunnels, thinking if there will ever be light at the end of it, which all still seems hopeless.

When words are all you can confide to, because your caste and country will never understand.  You have attempted to communicate, to legitimize, to unfold, to beseech, and to cry – The world can be such a pitiless wicked place. Irregularly, misadventure cannot be made better.  They are those barbarian beasts which feed on you, devouring away at every bits of ambitions and dreams you had.                                                                                                      

They have deluded you, rejected you, well read all your anxiety and fragility, concocted and framed behind your back.  You believed they were amiable persona.  But in time of darkness they exhibit their rightly faces, they strike out continuously, never-ending until you have been impelled to your knees.  A dejected, blue woeful slug of a being, a good-for-nothing, a snake, some non-being, that they will crumbly crush under their feet.

Then you mislay your stability. You no longer know the meaning of argumentation, of what is ethical or inexact, of who is precisely right, or who is inaptly wrong.

Your feelings forge to the salvage as best they possibly can, and all you freely want to do is cry, release them all out, allow the pain to retrieve from the dark times of your sufferings, and throbs and screams, feel the fresh inhales of air. 

I am still living, I survived – The only gadget that heals pain is patience and time. (Je suis toujours vivant, j’ai survécu – Le seul gadget qui guérit la douleur est la patience et le temps).  

(Please note that writings are my original properties!)

Turenne – A French medieval village

img_0372Every holiday is a reminder of sharing the world that you have seen to your followers, friends and families.img_0373Region of  Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the Department of Correze.  Situated in the arrondissement of Brive-la-Gaillarde in the Canton of Saint-Pantaleon-de-Larcheimg_0432Turenne, is classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France in a setting of greenery, nature and medieval heritage. The streets lined with mansions descend cascading from the top of the village. At the top of its promontory, the dismantled castle bears two towers of the XIIIth century which escaped the destruction demanded by the King of France in 1738.

(On top of the right of the picture above the houses are the ruin castle that is the famously interesting scene of Turenne)img_0427(The fortified ruined castle is well seen on top in the picture as mentioned in the paragraph below)img_0394Interestingly, this region was not part of the kingdom of France but an independent fiefdom until the 18th Century. In 1738 the feudal lord of the manor sold the viscounty to the French king to pay off his gambling debts. Louis XV demanded that the fortified castle be destroyed but the “Marechal du Tourain” insisted on retaining the two towers that we see today. From then onwards Turenne had to pay taxes to the French state.  (in both pictures below the ruined castle is seen from a residential view)

 

A truly stunning medieval village perched on a hill with a with a ruined castle.   If you enjoy walking, visiting the chateau will be well worth your visit.  The whole Town is worth the visit.img_0425

 

img_0424All very well preserved jewels in the French accessories of Limousin. And rolling along the village with its steep narrow paths to get to anywhere is a well worth visit of all the old pastures that Turenne offers and of many views of the amazing scenery all around.  I am a fan of old stone walls and when I am visiting places in France I never miss the opportunity to photograph them and their green foliage dominating its natural beauty.img_0395

img_0405The house of Chanoines and its majestic restaurant accommodated in this superb old stone house as testifies “La Maison des Chanoines” is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of the prestigious site of Turenne, is a 16th century residence with all this implies entrance door carved in gothic flamboyant style, mullioned window, spiral staircase, gargoyle …).  This restaurant and charming hotel 3 stars of Corrèze, was created 31 years ago by Chantal and Claude Cheyroux which a house of their grandparents, a very old family of Turenne.  You will never miss that warm Frenchie welcome that will guarantees  you the most memorable stay of most probably you will return again one day. (pics of hotel below)img_0418

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img_0419Always on the way this house that shows the traces of passing time. This beautiful soul caught my attention so much.  I fell in love with its metal design balcony and veranda.  I only wondered what stories did it had or still have behind the beautiful French shutters.  But all it remained a mystery to me.img_0407Turenne is built in a spiral around the castle perched on the hill. The village lived ten centuries under the authority of the Viscounts of Turenne. In addition to the many beautiful old mansions, the village retains two religious monuments: the 16th century collegiate church and the 17th century Capuchin chapel.  (Below – Picture of Collégiale Notre Dame et St Pantaléon de Turenne)img_0370Collégiale Notre Dame et St Pantaléon de Turenne – Its construction was decided only in 1593, after the conversion to Catholicism of Henry IV in order to appease the spirits but it was not consecrated until 1668.  The church stands on a high level of green land overlooking Toulouse in the distance. (picture of Collégiale Notre Dame et St Pantaléon de Turenne – on the side of the church overlooking Touslouse  which you will see in another picture soon)

Turenne has it all….. its history, beauty and the region. There are fine century buildings, well preserved history of churches, cemeteries, quiet serenity altogether making this village ideal for visiting or staying if you are one who loves everything old, the past, a history and of course a quiet relaxed noiseless pace of life, then are you a lucky winner.  (Pictures depicts in the distance the mountain over the green sceneries is “Toulouse.”) And the view is also from the church of Collégiale Notre Dame et St Pantaléon de Turenne which is behind the cemetery on top of a green terrace.img_0383

img_0382Turenne was once a stopping point on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. It has many houses and buildings from the 13th through to the 17th centuries.  Lots of its structures accommodated the pilgrims who came over from all around the world.  And today all the pilgrimage homes are still standing.  Some of them would have the drawings designed of a shell on the window which tells us the story that this is one of the homes that the pilgrims stopped at to sleep.img_0463

img_0423This village is surrounded with beautiful homes dated from the 13th century.   And many of them are still habited by owners or their children or grandchildren, though many of them have been sold or being run as holiday homes.  (And the home pictured here below is a “Maison Bourgeoise Correziene.” meaning it was a house owned by high personnel who had title in the French society of Turenne in the precedented years).img_0431

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img_0408Turenne is surrounded by restaurants and souvenir boutiques.  A stroll around them is worth a day out in the small village town of Turenne.  img_0428

img_0422Beautiful homes overlooking green pastures with a pace of beautiful sceneries dominated by tranquility.img_0374

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img_0373What amazed me so much, Turenne boasted lots of green terraces with wild fruit trees and the fig trees were right on the edge of the public road.  The fruits was still green in the month of June when I was holidaying, and I am sure in later months, holiday makers as well as residents could have picked as many figs for free.  A crave for jams, right?img_0393

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img_0392History aside, Turenne is a gorgeous place, filled with flowers in summer and surrounded by rich green countryside.img_0421

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img_0375And long ago, most of the homes and chateaus were built with strong hard wooden french doors and still seen today in their pristine dated age.img_0404(Please note that writings and pictures are my original properties – Thank you)

Photos of the past!

003I am bringing back a bit of my past that I have already posted on certain occasions here on my blog.  Like we say, “the past is a good place to visit.” My white and blue jug vase never ceased to accompany some flowers, I love filling this jug with flowers, wouldn’t you if you have some jugs like mine?021-3Well I hope that you have all find a way to let go of January 2017, just happened to be and gone so soon. The days were so far so good around here. It seemed like I was always in the mood of my sewing machine that I am still learning a lot of its function as it does have over 500 types of stitches and different types of functions.  Here, below my photo was to remember some incidence that happened in France and I was keeping in mind the families and friends of those who lost their lives.dsc_0001Although it’s my natural readiness, I’ve noticed that, for whatever reason, I’ve been feeling much more reflective as of late. Often, throughout the day, it seems like there are always certain people and ideas that drift to the surface of my mind and then dawdle there.   Pink and white are some of my favourite colours as they are shown in my vase.016I think of my daughter, wondering and worrying about her success in life, hoping that I’m helping to guide her in the drift that life has the best in store for her. I think of myself and my dreams, praying that I will accomplish all that I have planned before the days quickly elapse. And I think of my father at that grand old age and his health is not doing that good.  I think of my few good friends and all of you who kept my blog going… I am grateful for the valuable gravity and expressions that everyone brings to my world.  I love my copper vase and my metal tray that was given to me by my old friend Marion who passed way last March 2016 at the age of 74 years old.  Rest in  Peace Marion!  I am sharing your love to the world.216Actually that I am no longer into school run and since my daughter is fully a grown up adult and expanding her wings, it feels nice to being able to plan my routines and just let certain things unfold without plans. It is our duties to be mothers and knowing that one day they give us back our days, isn’t that so lovely.  I adore my vintage vase, some small carnations with some vintage books.  I do like table cloth at times on my table.   Not to forget that I sewed myself.012-q-croppedAnyway, now that things have calmed down a bit after the hectic Christmas and New Year Holiday Festivities, I finally have some time doing lots of things that I haven’t even planned but is fun that it is happening and am attending to them. My picture depicts a day in the month of November since I still remember that it was my birthday and I treated myself to some beautiful flowers which I arranged in a teapot.018Therefore I thought I’d do a précis of some past photos I have blogged some years ago by picking a few of my favourites.  I noticed as I started looking through my old posts that I was mostly choosing flowers so I thought I’ll create a theme for this post. Every year I do flower arrangements for my home and post them to my blog.  I am so much in love with my vintage cauldron and since it was empty, I decided to drop the flowers and leaves in a glass jar and then arranged it in the cauldron which looked absolutely pretty.dsc_0067-2This was a day I thought that my lampshade is too neutral and I wanted the light a bit darker, I wrapped one of my winter scarves around the shade and it turned out beautiful like a design and one wouldn’t even knew that it was a scarf if it wasn’t told so.  And I love the shabby chic look of it.dscn3305I tried to detail the photos after every paragraph but since I have even forgotten for what topic they were, I am only remembering some points about them.019On the shelf was just some arrangement of white and green of some money plants with a vintage design candle house.dscn4262-copyNow that January is gone it is time about time for the cold weather to calm down a bit and we are all thinking of Spring season when all the trees will start budding, what do you think?010In the post above I showed my genre of re-arranging my cookery books and I loved how it turned out and that I had lots of room to pouring a cup of tea too.  I love carnations.  Do you love them too?031

dsc_0034Well, lastly this is my everyday room where I relax after a hard day of work where my daughter and myself catch up for some mother and daughter conversations.  You may have realised that I love old suitcases, yes I do, since it does a good job at decorating with them if only you know what you want to do and how you want to decorate your own corner of your home. 007The picture reminded me that I was trying to grow tropical plants in my house – bless me, eventually I wasn’t successful!027With this post, I just want to thank you for your time out of your busy schedule for visiting my blog in the past year.001

018-2Please note that writings and pictures are my original properties – Thank you.

Mademoiselle Coco Chanel

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You may have heard her story but if not, this is how her story unfolded after all: After Coco Chanels mother’s passed away, Coco Chanel’s father took Coco  and her two sisters off at the orphanage at the abbey of Aubazine in Corrèze, France, and abandoned them right there at the convent of Aubazine.  She was only eleven years old

Chanel spent six years at the orphanage, until the age of 18, where leading a simple life where the future designer learned to sew. Much of Coco Chanel’s design lexicon is rooted in her time at the orphanage at Aubazine.

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The secret life of Coco Chanel

Those on whom legends are built are their legends,’ declared Coco Chanel to her friend Paul Morand, one of several writers to whom she tried, and failed, to tell the story of her life. ‘People’s lives are an enigma,’ she said to another friend, Claude Delay, not long before her death.

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‘I don’t like the family,’ she also told Delay. ‘You’re born in it, not of it. I don’t know anything more terrifying than the family.’ And so she circled around and about it, telling and retelling the narrative of her youth, remaking history just as she remade the sleeves of a jacket, unfastening its seams and cutting its threads, and then sewing it back together again.

The official record shows that her mother, Eugénie, gave birth to Gabrielle on 19 August 1883 in the poorhouse in Saumur, a market town on the river Loire. Eugénie (known as Jeanne) was 20, Chanel’s father Henri-Albert (known as Albert) was 28, and listed as a marchland , or merchant, on Gabrielle’s birth certificate. They were not yet married but already had one daughter, Julia, born less than a year previously.

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Gabrielle Bonheur, a nun in the hospice where Chanel was born, was made her godmother, and so, according to Chanel, ‘I was baptised Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’. Gabrielle she stayed throughout her childhood – Coco was a creation that came later – although she invented a story that is revealing in its untruths: ‘My father used to call me “Little Coco” until something better should come along,’ she told Marcel Haedrich (editor-in-chief of Marie-Claire). ‘He didn’t like [the name] “Gabrielle” at all; it hadn’t been his choice.’ At times Gabrielle declared Coco to be an ‘awful’ name; and yet she was proud of its recognition throughout the world, evidence of her indisputable presence.

Her mother figures only as a shadowy invalid in Gabrielle’s memories. Chanel was to claim that her mother died of tuberculosis, which was not necessarily an accurate diagnosis of what killed Jeanne; poverty, pregnancy and pneumonia were as likely to blame. In Chanel’s account to Delay, the family lived in a large enough house for the children – two boys and three girls – to be kept in isolation from their sick mother. In fact, they were crowded with her into one room in the railway town of Brive-la-Gaillarde, on the main line from Paris to Toulouse.

After their mother’s death Albert took the children to Aubazine, and there he abandoned them. Her brothers were left with a peasant family and the three girls were handed over to the nuns who ran an orphanage within the abbey walls.

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Chanel lived here until she was 18, as did her sisters. One of them, Julia, fell pregnant here in mysterious circumstances; a nominal father was found to give the baby boy a name – on his birth certificate he was registered as André Palasse – but when Julia died the boy was left an orphan.

Chanel seldom referred to her elder sister; on the occasions she did, her remarks were contradictory. ‘She only loved the convent,’ she told Delay, yet also claimed that Julia had loved her husband, that she killed herself by slitting her wrists when she discovered that he had a mistress. Whatever the true circumstances of André’s birth, Chanel took on her six-year-old nephew and brought him up as her own (she chose not to keep him in Paris with her, but sent him to be educated at an English boarding school).

People used to speculate about André’s origins, as they still do. Even now, if you talk to the elderly lady who lives in a house across the road from the abbey, you might hear another story, that the baby was Gabrielle’s, not Julia’s. ‘That’s what I heard,’ she says, ‘but who knows if it is true?’

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When Gabrielle turned 18 she left the nuns at Aubazine, who kept on only those girls with a religious vocation to join the order’s novitiate. She was sent to the Notre Dame school in Moulins, a religious institution run by canonesses where her aunt Adrienne – only a year older than her – was already being educated. At the school she was given further instruction in how to sew, which had already formed a substantial part of her education at Aubazine.

The Mother Superior at Notre Dame found employment for Adrienne and Gabrielle as shop assistants and seamstresses in a draper’s store on the rue de l’Horloge, which sold trousseaux and mourning clothes to the local gentry, as well as layettes for newborn babies. The girls shared an attic bedroom above the shop, and also worked at the weekends for a nearby tailor, altering breeches for cavalry officers. It was there that Gabrielle and Adrienne were spotted by half a dozen men, who started taking them out to La Rotonde, a pavilion in a park in Moulins, where concerts were held for audiences from the local barracks.

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They were rowdy affairs – a combination of music hall and soldiers’ saloon – but Gabrielle was determined to start singing on stage, and eventually found a regular slot. She had only two songs in her repertoire: ‘Ko Ko Ri Ko’ (its refrain was the French version of ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’) and ‘Qui qu’a vu Coco? ‘, a ditty about a girl who had lost her dog. Soon the audience greeted her with barnyard cockerel calls, and christened her with the name of the lost dog. Thus Gabrielle became Coco.

Chanel never talked about this episode of her life, other than to deny it to Paul Morand, dismissing it as foolish legend, along with the other stories in circulation: ‘that I have come up from goodness knows where; from the music hall, the opera or the brothel; I’m sorry, for that would have been more amusing.’ She did, however, mention the name of a cavalry officer, Etienne Balsan, who around this time was to become her lover.

There are many mysteries in the myth of Coco Chanel, but few more perplexing than her years with Etienne Balsan at Royallieu, a former abbey in Compiègne where he kept a racing stable. Balsan never gave away her secrets, however often he was questioned in later life, when Chanel was far more famous than him. In the drama of Chanel’s life, Balsan has been cast as a rich playboy, the roué who introduced the little orphaned seamstress into the decadent world of the Belle Époque, deflowering her in an unsentimental education. While there may be some truth in this portrait, Chanel also used Balsan as a stepping stone from Moulins to Paris.

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The two of them continued to be friends until his death in 1953, and if their initial sexual relationship had been characterised by his infidelities, Balsan nevertheless displayed a lifelong loyalty to Chanel. He remained unmarried, apparently unrepentant and unfailingly discreet.

It was while at Royallieu that Chanel met Boy Capel. His name was Arthur Capel, but his friends called him Boy. Boy’s origins were swathed in romance, and he came to Paris amid murmured speculation that he was connected in some mysterious way to the British aristocracy through the Capell family; or that he was the illegitimate son of a rich French father, possibly a Jewish financier. The more prosaic version is that he was exactly who he said he was: the son of Arthur and Bertha Capel, raised with two sisters in a prosperous Catholic family whose money came from coalminers in the north of England. Capel was also an accomplished playboy and polo player, sharing an enthusiasm for fast horses and pretty women with his friend Etienne Balsan.

It was 1909, and Chanel was 26, just under two years younger than Capel; though she told Claude Delay that Boy called her ‘my dear child’ when she declared that she was leaving Balsan for him. She held out the letter she had written to Balsan to explain her decision – ‘My dear Etienne, I shall never be able to repay the kindness and comfort you’ve given me while I’ve been with you.’ Boy wouldn’t listen to her, wouldn’t allow her to leave, but she followed him, and dashed on to the train with her suitcase. Three days later Balsan arrived in Paris; jealousy had made him realise that he loved her after all.

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Many years later, confiding in Marcel Haedrich, Chanel said that she went on seeing Etienne Balsan after she left Royallieu, and he continued to declare his love for her. ‘We lunched and dined together, Etienne, Boy and I. Occasionally Etienne talked about killing himself, and I wept. I wept so! “You aren’t going to let Etienne kill himself,” I said to myself. “You’ll set them both free. Go throw yourself into the Seine!”‘ Other, less torrid versions give more emphasis to Etienne and Boy’s financial discussions about who should pay what to keep Chanel.

Eventually, after protracted negotiations, Balsan and Capel agreed to share the cost of setting her up in business to sell the hats that she was already making for herself, and for her friends (and their girlfriends). Capel covered the running costs; Balsan provided the Paris premises.

Coco dressed like a young convent girl or a schoolboy, and made hats that were stripped of embellishments, of the frills and furbelows that she dismissed as weighing a woman down, and being too cumbersome to let her think straight. They weren’t entirely original – at first, she bought simple straw boaters from the Galeries Lafayette department store, and then trimmed them with ribbon – but they were chic. ‘Nothing makes a woman look older than obvious expensiveness, ornateness, complication,’ she said to Claude Delay in old age, still wearing the little straw hats of her youth. ‘I still dress as I always did, like a schoolgirl.’ And in doing so, Coco began to edge her way to the centre of attention, elbowing past her rivals and competitors, whether the society ladies or the cocottes or couturiers. (Paul Poiret, whose fame at the time was such that he dubbed himself the King of Fashion, said of Chanel’s early days as a milliner, ‘We ought to have been on guard against that boyish head. It was going to give us every kind of shock, and produce, out of its little conjuror’s hat, gowns and coiffures and jewels and boutiques.’)

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Chanel’s business was growing, and she began to sell clothes, as well as hats. But for all the outward success of her designs – and the impeccable surface that she presented to the outside world – inside something was troubling her. ‘I often fainted,’ she told Haedrich. ‘I had too much emotion, too much excitement, I lived too intensely. My nerves couldn’t stand it.’ When she worked, she said, her health recovered; and although she never admitted it, the House of Chanel seemed to give her more stability – a sense of where she stood in the world – than she gained from Boy Capel.

Hence the story she often told of her distress at discovering that Capel had deposited bank securities as a guarantee for her business and overdrafts, and that the money she believed she was making had not yet repaid her debt.

On the evening he told her this, they had been on their way to dinner in Saint-Germain; she immediately insisted that they return to the apartment they now shared in Paris. ‘I felt sick,’ she told Morand. ‘Impossible to eat … I began to hate this well-brought-up man who was paying for me. I threw my handbag straight at his face and I fled.’ The following morning, she told Morand, she went back to rue Cambon at dawn. ‘”Angle,” I said to my head seamstress, “I am not here to have fun, or to spend money like water. I am here to make a fortune.”‘

A year later Chanel was earning sufficient money to have no more need of Capel’s financial support, and she rejoiced in her independence. Her clothes looked simple – sleek and fluid, designed to be worn without corsets and with insouciance – and she sometimes gave the impression that her success as a designer had come as easily as slipping on a cardigan.

The rewards were considerable, for her work, like her clothes, liberated Chanel from other constrictions. ‘I was my own master, and I depended on myself alone,’ she told Morand. ‘Boy Capel was well aware that he didn’t control me: “I thought I’d given you a plaything, I gave you freedom,” he once said to me in a melancholy voice.’

Even so, the House of Chanel still linked them together; for in some unspoken way they had set it up as partners. There was no business contract to bind them together, just as there was no marriage certificate, but it nevertheless joined them, as the double C logo seems to suggest; Chanel and Capel; overlapping, but also facing away from each other.

A few months before the end of the war in July 1918, an aristocratic beauty named Diana Wyndham wrote a letter to her friend Duff Cooper, from Beaufort Castle in Scotland. ‘Dearest Duff,’ she wrote, ‘Lots of things have happened since I saw you – I’ve been ill, we’ve nearly lost the war, and I think I’m going to marry Capel after all – so next time I see you, you’ll be staying with me in my luxurious apartment in the avenue du Bois.’ If Diana was not yet pregnant with Capel’s child when she wrote to Duff Cooper, she would have been soon afterwards, given the birth of her first baby the following April.

In later life Chanel did not discuss her lover’s marriage to Diana; in fact, she barely acknowledged that it had taken place. She already knew that he had other women, other mistresses, and perhaps she understood that nothing would come of his earlier promises that she would be his wife.

While Arthur Capel had been searching for an aristocratic wife, Chanel made herself look like a boy: breastless and hipless and shorn of the conventions of womanhood. ‘In 1917 I slashed my thick hair,’ she said to Morand; ‘to begin with I trimmed it bit by bit. Finally, I wore it short.’ When people asked her why, she answered, ‘Because it annoys me. And everyone went into raptures, saying I looked like “a young boy, a little shepherd”. (That was beginning to become a compliment, for a woman.)’

Chanel gave a different, and more detailed version of that radical haircut to Claude Delay. Her story started with a trip to the opera with friends. She was dressing for the evening. ‘I’d never been to the Opera before. I had a white dress made by my own modistes. My hair, which came down below my waist, was done up round my head in three braids – all that mass set straight upon that thin body.’ She had so much hair, she said, that it was ‘crushing me to death’; but fate intervened, and gave her freedom. ‘There was a gas burner in the bathroom. I turned on the hot tap to wash my hands again, the water wasn’t hot, so I fiddled with the pilot-light and the whole thing exploded. My white dress was covered in soot, my hair – the less said, the better. I only had to wash my face again – I didn’t use make-up. In those days only the cocottes used make-up and were elegant. The women of the bourgeoisie weren’t groomed – and they wore hats that flopped all over the place, with birds’ nests and butterflies.’

But nothing was going to stop her from going out that night, not even her burned hair. ‘I took a pair of scissors and cut one braid off. The hair sprang out at once all round my face. In those days I had hair like sable.’ Undaunted, she cut off the second braid, and then told her maid to cut off the third; the girl began to cry, but Chanel didn’t care – or, at least, she said she didn’t care about the loss of her hair, or of the soot-stained white dress. ‘I slipped on a black dress I had, crossed over in front – what a marvellous thing, youth – and caught in at the waist, with a sort of minaret on top.’ With bobbed hair and little black dress Chanel was neither slave girl nor wife, but something of her own making. Everyone at the opera was looking at her, she told Delay.

‘When I got back that evening the maid had washed my hair and my braids were waiting for me in the bathroom like three dead bodies.’ Thereafter, whenever designing a new fashion collection, she cut off her own hair.

On the wild western edge of Scotland, not far from Cape Wrath, a river runs through heather-covered hillsides, towards the dark waters of Loch Stack. It is as remote a place as any in Europe.

Comprising over 100,000 acres, the Reay Forest estate was leased by the 1st Duke of Westminster in 1866 from his father-in-law, the Duke of Sutherland, and bought outright in 1920 by his heir, the 2nd Duke of Westminster (known as Bendor, after his grandfather’s Derby-winning stallion).

On a summer’s afternoon, the pale-grey sky reflected in the quiet pools of the River Laxford, it seems unassailably distant from Paris. But in the fishing records of the Reay estate office, there are leather-bound volumes containing pages that mark the visits of Mademoiselle Chanel to the river, and her considerable success as a fisherwoman. The first date her name appears is 27 May 1925; according to the records, she caught a 9lb salmon in the Duke’s pool. A few days later, on 1 June, Mademoiselle Chanel had landed a bigger fish – over 12lb, and half a pound heavier than the salmon caught that day by her host. As the summer progressed, so did Mademoiselle’s fishing skills; she was on the River Laxford and Loch Stack throughout June, July and August, reeling in salmon and sea trout.

Two years later, in 1927, after Chanel had enjoyed a third summer of fishing with the Duke of Westminster on the Laxford, Winston Churchill joined them for a week at the end of September. Churchill’s friendship with Bendor (whom he called Bennie) was long-standing, and they had remained close throughout the Duke’s two marriages (to Shelagh Cornwallis-West, from whom he had separated in 1913, and Violet Nelson, his wife from 1920 to 1924). Indeed, Churchill and the Duke were related through marriage, for after the death of Winston’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, his mother had married Bendor’s brother-in-law, George Cornwallis-West, in 1900.

Thus Churchill had been a frequent visitor to Bendor’s houses on the Sutherland estate – Stack Lodge, beside the River Laxford, and Lochmore, a granite mansion overlooking the loch – and it was from Stack that he wrote to his wife, Clemmie, in early October 1927: ‘Coco is here in place of Violet. She fishes from morn till night, & in 2 months has killed 50 salmon. She is vy agreeable – really a gt & strong being fit to rule a man or an Empire. Bennie vy well & I think extremely happy to be mated with an equal – her ability balancing his power.’

Coco Chanel had first met the Duke in Monte Carlo at the end of 1923. Over 6ft tall, heavily set, and weather-beaten from sailing and shooting, but still handsome at 44, Bendor was hugely attractive to women, without being particularly sophisticated. He was the richest man in Britain, with an income reputed to be a guinea a minute.

Chanel’s lover at the time was the Grand Duke Dmitri, who was dependent on her financial support. But as was clear from her very first dinner with Westminster, her substantial wealth was entirely eclipsed by his. For here was a man, like Boy Capel before him, who could provide her with absolute financial security, even if she chose not to accept it, yet whose fidelity could never be guaranteed.

Chanel’s hesitation, for several months, before embarking upon an affair with the Duke is suggestive, among other things, of her uncertainty when faced with this complex equation of loss and gain, or the unanswerable question of whether love, like money, could be counted upon. In the end, she told Claude Delay, she favoured Westminster over Dmitri – ‘I chose the one who protected me best’ – but she could never fully trust either. There were good reasons not to do so – both men were incorrigible womanisers – and yet perhaps there was something in their lack of commitment that was familiar to her.

By the spring of 1924, Coco and Bendor were an item: he was seen at rehearsals for Le Train blue, the Ballets Russes production for which she had designed the costumes; and she joined him for cruises aboard his yacht, the Flying Cloud.

At Eaton, his estate in Cheshire, she slipped into the role of chatelaine with the same ease as she wore her silk fringed evening gowns, in sapphire blue or black, designed so as not to crease when they were packed for travelling. She rode and hunted at Eaton and accompanied Bendor to the races; and after he bought another Scottish mansion, Rosehall, in 1926, she decorated it with her usual style.

As it happened, Chanel was also incorporating something of Scotland into her new designs. At Lochmore, she borrowed Bendor’s clothes, making his tweeds her own, and wearing them with a panache not usually associated with traditional sporting garb. Having adopted the Duke’s wardrobe, she then started sourcing fabrics from a Scottish tweed mill, and turning them into her characteristically soft little jackets and suits. Something of the same process occurred during her stays in Eaton, where she was inspired by the striped waistcoats of Bendor’s liveried footmen and butlers, transforming them into what became known to readers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as ‘Chanel’s English Look’, which also included the loose woollen cardigans that she herself wore with the yards of real pearls that the Duke gave to her, a new rope for every birthday, and many others besides.

If the Duke of Westminster reigned over Eaton and Lochmore, and set the course of journeys aboard his yachts, there was one place that Chanel could call her own, where he would be her guest. La Pausa was entirely her creation, a graceful villa on the French Riviera.

Chanel was by no means the first to arrive in the Riviera colony of bohemian Americans and Europeans, nor did she invent its associated fashions. But as was often the case in her career as a designer, she was quick to distil its essence, absorbing it into her own style, and selling it to customers eager for her clothes.

Salvador Dalí and his wife were frequent visitors, as was Churchill, although he holidayed at the villa more often after its sale to Emery Reeves, his literary agent, in 1953.

But the angry sound of arguments between the Duke and Chanel began to disturb the peace of La Pausa, waking up the other guests in the night; and when she joined him on the Flying Cloud the rows continued, always about his infidelities and her humiliation. Once, when Bendor tried to make amends for an affair that Chanel had discovered by giving her a large emerald, she accepted it from him, and then, without a word, let it slip from her hands overboard into the sea.

By the end of 1929 it was clear that Bendor was determined to find a new wife who could bear him a son. At 46, Chanel still looked remarkably youthful – it is likely that the Duke believed her to be younger than she was – and their affair was not yet over. But Bendor took little time in proposing to a young Englishwoman, Loelia Ponsonby. They were engaged just before Christmas, and married in February 1930; not that this got in the way of his seasonal visit to the Riviera.

Lobelia’s subsequent memoir, Grace and Favour, described how he set off for France the morning after their engagement, to spend Christmas in Monte Carlo: ‘I had a dreadful suspicion that a particularly elegant French lady would be meeting him there.’ The following month Loelia was given no choice but to be presented by the Duke to Chanel in Paris, as if by way of inspection. On their way to her apartment, Bendor stopped to buy a present at Van Cleef & Arpels: ‘when he came out he patted his pocket and said, “Not for you.”

‘At that time Mademoiselle Chanel was at the height of her fame, her quiet, neat, uncomplicated clothes being considered the epitome of all that was most chic. She was wearing a dark blue suit and a white blouse with very light stockings (light stockings were one of her credos). Described in this way she sounds as if she looked like a high-school girl, but the effect was of extreme sophistication.’

More than 30 years after this alarming introduction, Loelia still recalled the dazzle of Chanel’s jewels. ‘When I saw her she was hung with every kind of necklace and bracelet, which rattled as she moved. Her sitting-room was luxurious and lavish and she sat in a large armchair, a pair of tall Coromandel screens … making an effective backcloth. I perched, rather at a disadvantage, on a stool at her feet feeling that I was being looked over to see whether I was a suitable bride for her old admirer – and I very much doubted whether I, or my tweed suit, passed the test … Frantically searching around for something to say, I mentioned that Mrs George Keppel had given me a Chanel necklace as a Christmas present. At once I was made to describe it. No, said Mademoiselle Chanel. It had certainly not come from her. She would never dream of having anything like that on sale. And the conversation dropped with a bang.’

Poor Loelia, whose marriage was doomed from the start, and whose honeymoon on the Flying Cloud was as miserable as her meeting with Chanel. ‘I think I can claim to be the worst sailor in the world,’ confessed Loelia.

As for Chanel, she kept as hard and lovely a look on her face as a Scott Fitzgerald heroine, displaying a brittle fortitude while she lost her beloved Bendor to another woman. But two days after the Duke’s wedding to Loelia, he came to see Coco in Paris, and then, at last, she cried.

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Written by Justine Picardie from her book of – “Coco Chanel : The Legend and the Life “

Farm Fun

dsc_0190Hello everyone, I hope you are doing good at blogging or reading your favourite blog.dsc_0177I have tried to think that I will blog fairly of every two days or so, but my last blog was 4 days ago.  Sorry, I’ve been kind of late and as I am already having a lot going on lately, especially my sewing days keeps me very busy.   Well, I am sorry to let you know that I am late in sharing my photos of my last visit to a family farm in France, but eventually I am doing so.  dsc_0176

dsc_0181I wish I would’ve been able to get more pictures for you of that day, but sadly my camera battery died after I had been able to shot those few pictures I am sharing with you today.  I missed the chance to shot another beautiful farmhouse family home with its beautiful garden, but never mind, as I managed to get you what I have, we will go with the flow, won’t we?

The first thing I love about this farm, is that it’s located from all on the edge of  a small village out in the deep countryside of Correze on top of a hill, off the motorway  and nestled amongst trees  ..  in a pretty setting.   It was a day that I unplugged  myself  from the urban craze and I enjoyed the very best of the countryside ?dsc_0178It was such an interesting place to visit since it was a working farm from centuries ago and  actually the farm consists of a few animals and with lots of different kinds of fruit trees.

Of all the animals there, I loved the dogs and they were cute and I wish I could take them home with me. But what I enjoyed the most was picking the fruits to take them home with us.dsc_0320What amazes me the most the farm still consists of its centuries old  stone out-buildings still standing plus the farm house where the family lived many years ago.  It is actually under renovations since the families wants to spend weekends or holidays there every now and then.dsc_0192Well that is all I had to share with you about my day out on the French farm.dsc_0179Happy Weekend!dsc_0188(Please note that pictures and words are my original properties)

My French Holiday 2016 – Chateau Pompadour

dsc_0316Last year in June 2016 I holidayed in the “Farming province of Limousin,” the greenest province of France.   I had all the marvelous time a holiday could be.   I did not get the chance to visit Chateau Pompadour as it wasn’t listed at all on the list of venues I wanted to see while there.dsc_0314

dsc_0317On my way home at the end of my holiday, we drove past the Chateau Pompadour  and I had the chance to stop and took some beautiful random pictures of the Chateau. I am so sorry that I couldn’t make it to visit the interior and around to bring some pictures for you, and  I’ll be seeing some friends there soon and will make sure it will be my dream come true to visit the whole of the chateau.dsc_0315

dsc_0318Thank you for stopping by and having a read!

(Please note that pictures and writings are my own original properties – Thank You)

Some early thoughts of Spring

004Good morning everyone!  Now that the hectic holidays of Christmas and New Year have come and gone, I am sure that we have all gotten back to the usual daily bustles of busy lifestyle.  Back to school and work.  And I hope you’ve all been well too.005Since I’m starting to feel like winter is never going to end, I figured it was time to bring a little bit of a spring feel to my blog with some floral cushions I did sometime last year.  As you may know me by now that I love my vintage floral designs, I surely went vintage with the taste. I am saving them for Spring and Summer seasons since I was thinking what to write about to cheer you up during this dark winter days, I thought some pretty floral crafting will do you all some justice. 003Are you not thinking of Spring and Summer already? Thanks to having your little bloggy friend at My Country Epoque – “laugh.”  I crafted this special pillow cushion last year when my daughter did not feel too well, and mum made her this pretty pillow to cheer her up and made her feel well.  We love “mothers” don’t we?  And I want to dedicate this beautiful picture “above” to all mothers.008I am so happy that January has finally arrived.  A New Year, maybe a new you, but most of all January and February will run so quickly, and this is what we want, since we are all craving for that Spring Season to kick in as quickly as possible. 009I must say I have made a pause and reflect on life a bit at the beginning of this new dawn…holding those I love a little bit closer and trying to look at things with a different stance. To do that, I needed to put on hold a bit of things I suppose.  I took some days off from 15th December to 8th January, I had more than enough time to do the thinking.001Anyway, am still here, I have been taking pictures of all these wonderful cushions and pillow cushions and loving every moment of it. It seems like there is so much to learn about taking pictures and I just can’t make it sink into my head quickly enough!  It is not about holding my camera, but adjusting to it is too big for me – hey you know the secret?  I bought a new camera last year, and if you think I am a photographer, you should listen to my story of photography – you may be rolling on the floor with laughter already – “laugh.”015These photos of cushions are just a few in a series that I took recently. If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen them. I do post there too on a somewhat regular basis – when the time hits my mind that Instagram is calling for some pictures, since it’s much faster than blogging.017Besides everything, I have just been busy with life over the last few months, I’ve been feeling like I lost a bit of time to meet some people more than I should have had, but I’m not really sure why. I suppose that’s just how life is sometimes.019Well, I thought I’d take a few photos to try and get back into the swing of things. I always love flowers and fabrics, so that’s what I went with. Isn’t those lacy ribbons pretty? My old friend who passed away last March gave them to me awhile back. Great lady she was, that “Marion.”  Rest in Peace my Marion, I am sharing your love to the world!  I am your great little friend down here.  I will love you always!dsc_0032I look at those floral cushions and I keep hoping that the wonderful weather is just over the horizon. This winter has already felt so long that I absolutely can’t wait for some warm, sunny days. I’m sure a lot of you are with me on this, are you not?021Well, I suppose, that’s all for today. Will you be surprised if I tell you that I already took photos for another post? …yay me!  Otherwise, I will hopefully see you again here soon!  Won’t be long before I come back!

(Please note that pictures and words are my properties – Thank you).

2017 – No Resolutions

82-seychellesEvery year comes with its own pinnacles and by trying to ascend them brings lessons to us, where as some of us reaches the climbing point of the pinnacles and some of us don’t.001In previous years I have made New Year resolutions, but circumstances changed me.  My life is my book and I am the author and the next thing is for me to know how I want to write my story.

“Each day is a chance to design my own providence”

Like I mentioned in my New Year message, “every year I tend to make a resolution.  But this year of 2017 I have decided to leave it empty and continue to write my story however it will unfold.

As the years pass us by, it is always important to cherish the past, keep our history intact, well written and don’t erase any mistakes. Allow the past to give sense to the “Book of your Life.”

I have decided to go with the flow as they will unfold.  I will scribble them down in my best handwriting.  This year I won’t be meeting with procrastination and it will not catch up with me because making resolutions is a big promise.  Especially New Year’s Resolution, it dies a premature death.

I have decided that be it finance, be it fitted sirens, I will only live my life for the moment and they will edit themselves as the year passes by.  Health – yes of course it is important to me, I will definitely take care of myself.  Relationship, personal goals, holidays, and many more to name, they are not part of any plans in my life this year, but  I will only allow them to happen, if it will or is going to happen. 

When we make a list of things we want to ensue, it creates an elephantine size of unmerited influence on ourselves to rally the targeting goal.  The fact that we put pressure on ourselves it defeats the whole motivation of being pleasant and satisfying and it makes it looks like an errand, a burden which is not adorning and neither uplifting.stream-of-humanityWhatever did not bring me joy, I will leave it behind, whatever made me cried, I will say goodbye because in ten years from now I will be more disappointed by the things that I didn’t do than by the ones I did do.  

Pressure kills Victory – I have convinced myself this year and hopefully many years to come that I will live my life one day at a time and allow what happens on a daily basis, get to know the daily happenings, why it happened, how it happened, and make it part of my story for 2017.  When I turned my lights off at night, I only want to know that I have done my best.

Procrastination adds fuel to the fire – If we realised that as we age there comes plenty to our plates.  We have a family life where we have to care for the children, run treadmills and jump over the fence like everyone else does.  That is why I believe that New Year’s Resolution is best being left out of the way.  Procrastination is responsible for all the mess that people make when they act upon New Year’s Resolution.  For the first or second week, you follow the whole list, from only fruits at breakfast to three times a day in the gym.  Then comes the third week when the resolution is forgotten, the usual “pattern” takes you on board and there comes the loss of control and New Year Resolution becomes the “forgotten dream.”dsc_0022We all make mistakes, we all want to achieve, we all want that happiness to endure forever, and “believe” is all we can do to emerge from the mistakes to reality.  And this is a small paragraph as an example of one of my friend, “Elodie.”

“Elodie is a friend of mine who went to a boarding catholic convent in France after the Second World War. She got pregnant at the age of 17.  The nuns were not happy and she was expelled from the convent.  Elodie did not have a plan but she was determined.  She went on and had a baby girl who today is almost my age.  She went to University of Paris and studied English, French and Journalism while she was a single mum and those days life in a city like Paris was not that easy.  She had a successful career as a journalist in Paris and she wrote for magazines and newspapers. She lived in London for many years until I met her.  (Elodie will be featured in another episode of my writings called “I will buy my flowers and my paintings myself”).

I have an acknowledgement to treasure the people that are in my life, the people who have that special place in my heart and I know they love me too.  They are the people who make a positive difference in my life – I show patience to our friendship.

I wish everyone who is already in the big ride of my sphere happiness, courage and many happy moments together through 2017.  Those who will happen to join my friendship – Welcome to my world!

I want 2016 to Remember Me!img_0438(Please note that pictures and writings are my properties)