Monday, October 26, 2015

C'est la Vie ....Life is Beautiful

Summer has finally arrived in Cape Town and I am so happy! I am a summer girl and a real "beach bum"! We went for a beautiful walk on my favourite beach - Kommetjie which is a few minutes drive from us. I have been walking here for 16 years now - since we moved to Cape Town from my home town Durban.  This is my second weimaraner - Troy. He will be 3 years old next week and he absolutley loves his runs with us on this beautiful beach.  BEACH - Best Escape Anyone Can Have! :) Its defintely my place of escape ! 

I am blessed to have my niece living in Cape Town too. Her and her husband live about 45 minutes away from us in Camps Bay - near Cape Town city centre, Waterfront and Table Mountain. We often visit her and I love spending time chatting and catching up with her. This is the beautiful view from her apartment of Lions Head. You also have a gorgeous view of the Camps Bay  beaches and out the back of her apartment there is a magnificent view of Table Mountain! 

We enjoy having a coffee and almond croissants at her local  coffee shop  - Baked! Best coffee and croissants ( almost  as good as Paris) 

This is the view from my running route. My run takes me along the Fish Hoek coastline and at this time of year you are almost certain to spot whales in this bay. 

 This little chap is a friends tortoise who happily lives in his garden. He has become so tame that he follows our friend into his house and he hand feeds him slices of apple and lettuce. He is just so cute! 

My granny blanket is finished! Just in time for - Summer! It is sitting proudly in my lounge waiting  for - Winter!! I am so happy with it and already have plans to start a new one but different design and colours.

I  have also started a hexagon blanket in these simple colours - white, grey and charcoal. It is a special baby blanket for my niece who is expecting her first baby early next year! So exciting! 

After many months of not cross stitching i am feeling inspired! I want to finish this cute little Country Cottage Needlework chart - "The Cafe". It reminds me so much of the lovely little cafes in Paris.

 I love Country Cottage Needlework charts and this one is special to me. I was trying to order this chart and it was not available as it was out of print!. I was reading blogs as I always do and somehow stumbled upon this very chart on a cross stitch blog! I emailed the lady asking if I could buy it from her? She immediately responded and said she loved the chart and did not want to sell it but amazingly found me a link to an online shop that had this chart. Carol and I have now become friends through our blogs and love of cross stitch! Her blog is absolutely beautiful and my source of inspiration - please take time to follow her and read her blog. My goal for next year is to stitch small charts as I really don't have the time to stitch large work. Her small charts are beautifully stitched and sewn with pretty fabric and lace/ribbon. I love her Christmas ones! Thank you Carol for all your comments, emails and support as I start on my blog journey! 

 I couldnt resist this beautiful chart of Paris! I am getting the thread and fabric ready to start it this week. I think I might make it into a pillow with pretty fabric and lace?  

Have a wonderful week of crafting, art and stitching! C'est la Vie!

Shirley xx 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Back to reality ...

It was so wonderful to come back home to my two girls and the comfort of my home. It has taken me a few weeks to get my head around the daily routine of Homeschooling the girls and so with Paris and our amazing holiday still very much in my head I chose 12 of my favourite pictures from out trip. I chose a simple white frame and cut all the pictures into perfect little squares and arranged them in a grid pattern. I am loving how it turned out and it is above my desk so I glance at it often! 

We were so blessed to be invited to Gordons Bay for a weekend away. Gordons Bay is an easy hour drive away from Cape Town and is a beautiful little seaside town with a lovely little harbour. This was the sunset view from our apartment. We had such a lovely weekend with family and exploring this little town.
Before we headed home we went to Waterkloof Wine estate which is just 15 minutes away from Gordons Bay. We enjoyed the wine tasting and the beautiful panoramic views from this beautiful wine farm. I especially love the very modern and interesting  building and the fynbos which covers the mountains. 


I love this sculpture tree in the garden of the wine farm and again the most beautiful views down to Gordon's Bay and the ocean. 

I have been very busy over the last week and weekend planning and organising my "baby" daughters 12 birthday and party! I cant believe she is 12 and so tall! She had a wonderful birthday and fun time with all her friends! 

 Here are all the hundreds of flowers that were sent in from all over the world for Yarndale 2015 project. The project was put together by Sheila Metcalfe who is the most amazing women. Her vision was to raise money for the Alzeihmers society which is such a worthy cause! 

 All the flowers were then pinned onto these large panels in colours and displayed at Yarndale. 

 Such a magnificent display! 

I just love this picture of Sheila pinning the flowers on! Amazing and so beautiful! Sheila emailed me to thank me for the flowers I sent and tell me they raised £1862 for the Alzeihmers society! Wonderful!

Here are my little flowers I sent. This week I have my crochet hook out at last and have started a new blanket project! I also took out my cross stitch and will post pics this weekend of my projects and progress!

Happy crafting! 

Shirley xx 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Countryside and the coast... Provence to St Tropez!

We arrived in Avignon which is a beautiful picturesque french country town and hired a car! My husband had to navigate his way around driving on the opposite side of the road and opposite side of car! 

 We drove to a gorgeous little town called Gourdes. 

Crepes and cafe au lait are a must when in France!     

These ancient buildings with their blue shutters are so beautiful.

 We stopped off in the town of Arles which dates back to 800 B.C! The magnificent Amphitheartre was but in 90 A.D. and was capable of seating over 20 0000 spectators. It was built to provide entertainment  in the form of chariot  races and hand to hand battles. Today it draws large crowds for bullfighting and plays and concerts in summer! 

 Crepes for lunch! My favourite lunch  with cafe au lait!


We stayed in Avignon. Beautiful boutiques and old buildings and lots of art and museums. I loved  stumbling  upon a puppeteer in the street! 

The Palais des Papes is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe! This building was the papal residence for Christianity in the 14 th century. Today it is a tourist attraction. It was so interesting walking around this ancient building and discovering old frescoes and reading fascinating facts about its history and the many Popes.

I was so excited when I found this beautiful "French Weimaraner! He was so similar to my weimaraner back home! 

Le Pont du Gard was my husbands highlight. This magnificent Roman aqueduct is in a town nearby Avignon. It spans the Gardon river valley and is 275 metres long, 49 metres high, 6 metres wide at the base and 3 metres wide at the top. It has a total of 53 arches. It was built around 50- 60 A.D. It is now a Unesco World Heritage site - truly amazing experience to walk around this structure. 

Creme brulee of course! French food is - magnificent!

 There was always time to stop and relax, chat and have a cafe au lait! 

 We then drove down to the coast of France and stopped at St Tropez! It was so busy and the weather was beautiful so everyone was out in their luxurious boats on the Mediterranean! 


We were told by friends to carry on along the coast to a beautiful seaside town called Cassis. Here we spent the afternoon in our costumes soaking up the warm sun. This was my favourite spot on the Med! The water was a little cold - similar to Cape Town water! 


 We then headed back to our hotel to meet our friend James who had also joined us for a few days in Avignon. This was the sunset from the  terrace of his room looking over the rooftops of Avignon. So beautiful! 

 My favourite place in the french countryside - Roussillon! There are many shades of ochre on the houses of the village, taken from the palette of the old ochre quarry in the valley nearby. It is on a ridge of steep red cliff and at the top as you make your way up the narrow winding streets you get a wonderful panoramic view across the valley to the Grand Luberon, the slopes of Mount Ventoux and the picturesque town of Vaucluse.


These colours are just beautiful. 

Chatting with James and trying to find a creperie and cafe au lait! Or maybe a glass or two of wine!! 

 We took the fast train back to Paris for one last night and day before flying home! After supper we headed to explore Centre Pompidou.It is an amazing art museum with a beautiful restaurant on the roof with a look out deck. Here we watched the sunset and the Eiffel Tower  light up in all her gold glory!  
"La vie est belle." ( Life is beautiful) 

Our last day in Paris we walked along the Seine and over the Love Lock bridges and did our last shopping and sipped our cafe au lait. How blessed we are and to have such a wonderful holiday together. Forever grateful for Paris and France and all her beauty and charm!  


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Paris is always a good idea!

Leaving Cape Town for Paris! I was so excited - my dream becomes a reality! "Travel broadens our perspectives.Suddenly, the palette with which we paint the story of our lives has more colours." - Rick Stevens 

Dubai airport at 3 a.m. ready to board plane to Paris! 

Catching a taxi to our hotel and trying to speak French to the driver! At last I spot the Arc de Triomphe in the distance! 

Our lovely hotel is just a few steps away from the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe and shops! " 

Electric cars! 

Having our first French meal  and a view of Paris streets and life! 

Walking and taking the Metro's became our daily life. Such fun and so many adventures. 

Walking through the tunnel to get up close and personal with the magnificent - Arc de Triomphe! 

Shopping, boutiques and the most incredible stores I have ever seen! 

" There is no cure for Paris" !!

                                   Our very little lift in out hotel in Paris! Only space for the two of us!

Navigating our way around the Metro's! Everyday Paris life!

Gallery Lafayette is a huge department store with so much to look at! The glass dome is so beautiful and you can have a "cafe au lait"( coffee with milk) at the top restaurant which has a glorious view over Paris! 

Daily Metro life! Such fun! 

" Respirer paris, cela conserve l'ame. " - Victor Hugo ( Breathe Paris in , it nourishes the soul.)

Just one of my favourite buildings and patisseries/ restaurants! 

 The magestic Eiffel Tower!! 

 Taking the lift to the TOP! 


Half way - spectacular Paris views!

Taking it all in - having a baguette and cafe au lait for lunch next to the Seine! 

One of my favourite things we did in Paris was take a boat cruise on the river Seine! Magical!! 


Just the two of us and the Eiffel Tower - of course!! 

 Sightseeing with lots of other tourists! Sacre Couer and the town of Montmartre. 

Always time for a cafe au lait and the french pronounce my name as - "Julie" - I love it! 

The Louvre showing off on the most beautiful Paris day! 

 Getting lost in the Louvre and eventually finding the Mona Lisa! 

 " There is but one Paris, the French air clears up the brain and does good... a world of good." 
- Vincent Van Gough 

One of the highlights for me was  meeting up with my nieces French friend  Noelie! She took us to my favourite spot now - Le Marais. We expereinced unique French shopping,beautiful  boutiques and food. 

" La vie est belle ." - Life is beautiful! 

Love lock bridges over the Seine! Yes we put our lock on! 

 My favourite artist and one of my favourite paintings of his - Monet's Water Lillies!! Absolutely beautiful!! 

 We could never get enough of the Eiffel Tower! 


My favourite building - Saint Chapelle! Absolutely spectacular! 


 My husband ate snails  - of course! 

Leaving Paris for Provence and the french countryside for a few days. My first time on a fast train! So  exciting! 

"We'll always have Paris." - Casablanca