Friday Fun: Chateau Location Scouting

Some grand old manor houses look good by day or night, and here are some which would make a great backdrop for a film or a book. Any additional suggestions of appropriate films or books would be much appreciated.

Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin.
Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin. Suitable for Netherfield Park in French version of Pride and Prejudice?
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section.
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section. Cyrano de Bergerac might be hiding in one of those bushes.
Chateau near Rouen, from
Chateau near Rouen, from Selectimmovexin.com. I could see the Three Musketeers hiding here and bewitching the lady of the house on their way to new adventures.
Chateau d'Artigny. Wouldn't this be a great location for Gatsby's famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau d’Artigny. Wouldn’t this be a great location for Gatsby’s famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock's chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock’s chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistable. From Wikimedia.com
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistible. From Wikimedia.com

 

Friday Fun: Alpine Babies

Cute baby animals are just what the doctor ordered and part of my self-soothing programme. NB: when I say Alpine, I take it to mean any mountain range in Europe – Carpathians, Jura, Pyrenees etc.

Alpine Marmot sunning itself.
Alpine Marmot sunning itself. From Wikipedia.
Alpine bouquetin goats
Alpine bouquetin goats, from prenond.fr
Romanian bisons, from monitorulcj.ro
Romanian bisons, from monitorulcj.ro

 

Baby goat with a jumper.
Baby goat with a jumper, from modernfarmer.com
Lynx in the Jura, from ConiferousForest website.
Lynx in the Jura, from ConiferousForest website.
Another lynx mother and cubs, because they are my favourites.
Another lynx mother and cubs, because they are my favourites. From jura-tourisme.com
Wolf and cub, from zoo.ro
Wolf and cub, from zoo.ro
Wild boar piglets only a few days old explore their surroundings in the wildlife preserve near Ravensburg, Germany, on April 3, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FELIX KAESTLE GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read Felix Kästle/AFP/Getty Images)
Wild boar piglets, Photo creditLFelix Kästle/AFP/Getty Images
Orphaned bear cub and his rescuer, from ccplus.ro
Orphaned bear cub and his rescuer, from ccplus.ro
Even peregrine falcons, one of the most fearsome hunters in the world, are cute as babies.
Even peregrine falcons, one of the most fearsome hunters in the world, are cute as babies. From Pinterest.

Friday Fun: Hygge or Cosy

It appears that the Danish were not even aware that their concept of ‘hygge’ (comfort) is such a big idea until the British started marketing it. And yet the English have a perfectly good word for it as well ‘cosy’. Whatever we choose to call it, the appeal of curling up with candles, fireplaces, blankets and fleeces, books, a view and perhaps a pet or two… well, it’s undeniable. We need this comfort even more in these uncertain times.

Books, views and a stove appear to be indispensable items, from dezeen.com
Books, views and a stove appear to be indispensable items, from dezeen.com
It doesn't always have to be winter - here is a cosy conservatory in spring/summer. From workdon.com
Wood is a key ingredient. It doesn’t always have to be winter – here is a cosy conservatory in spring/summer. From workdon.com
Bedcovers and pets are the perfect combination, from Pinterest.
Stones and bricks also add to the appeal, while bedcovers and pets perfect the look, from Pinterest.
It didn't originate in Denmark and it's not a recent phenomenon, as Vita Sackville-West's study shows. From National Trust website.
It didn’t originate in Denmark and it’s not a recent phenomenon, as Vita Sackville-West’s study shows. From National Trust website.
Lots of seating for the many friends that you'll have visiting you, from Country Living.
Lots of seating for the many friends that you’ll have visiting you, from Country Living.
Cushions and cakes are always a good idea, from Pinterest.
Cushions, coffee and cakes – the three Cs –  are always a good idea, from Pinterest.
The problem is, with such a cosy home, you might never want to get up until spring has well and truly sprung... From Huffington Post.
The problem is, with such a cosy home, you might never want to get up until spring has well and truly sprung… From Huffington Post.

 

Friday Fun: Snow and Mountain Love

I am a snow bunny, an unashamed snow bunny (imagine this sung to the tune of An Englishman in New York). Admittedly, at times the memory of skiing is much sweeter when you are safely nestled beside a toasty fire, sipping mulled wine and reading a favourite book. I won’t be skiing this year, but I have plenty of wonderful memories…

This is my idea of heavenly powder... from OnTheSnow.com
This is my idea of heavenly powder… from OnTheSnow.com
Nope, I can't jump like that, but I keep on dreaming. From lasrehab.com
Nope, I can’t jump like that, but I keep on dreaming. From lasrehab.com
A corner of the French Alps formerly known as home.
A corner of the French Alps formerly known as home.
If you get bored of using your own legs for locomotion...
If you get bored of using your own legs for locomotion… Plus an indispensable finger over the camera lense!
Personally, I find snowshoeing more challenging than skiing...
Personally, I find snowshoeing more challenging than skiing…
Mont Blanc is a stunner from all angles.
Mont Blanc is a stunner from all angles.

And after the effort and the cold, relax the Savoyard or Swiss way, with a raclette in front of the fireplace.

From Tripadvisor.com
From Tripadvisor.com

Friday Fun: Christmassy Homes

Christmas and I are in a bit of a love-hate relationship. I used to get excited, of course, as a child, and I was lucky enough to live in Vienna, where the Advent period is an art form. But my parents were never big on flamboyant consumerism and hearty Ho-ho-hos, so I soon learnt to manage my expectations. Then, when I grew up and moved abroad, it became that time of year when all of my friends returned to their families and I was left alone with the dreary jingle-jangle of Christmas music on a loop blaring out of all shops. So I made the most of it when I started a family of my own, and learnt to love the season, as seen through my children’s joyous eyes. The past few years, however, it has been the season of cabin fever, constraints and complaints and this year will be the worst of the lot. [I tell myself that, if I expect the worst, it’s bound to surpass expectations and be … okay-ish.]

However, we can all love Christmas decorations, the smell of cinnamon and real fir, the crackle of log fires, the taste of mulled wine. It’s also the season when all kitsch is allowed and even honoured. Here are a few favourites, some more tasteful than others.

You can't beat the red and green colour scheme for seasonal cheer, from Blake-co.com
You can’t beat the red and green colour scheme for seasonal cheer, from Blake-co.com
Victorian nostalgia seems to predominate in most decorating magazines at this time of year, from Blake-co.com
Victorian nostalgia seems to predominate in most decorating magazines at this time of year, from Blake-co.com
Scandinavian-inspired interiors are always a winner, from Pinterest
Scandinavian-inspired interiors are always a winner, from Pinterest
The manor house in its more modern guise, from Country Living.
The manor house in its more modern guise, from Country Living.
Casually cool Scandinavian style again - perhaps too cool? From Interior Design Files.
Casually cool Scandinavian style again – perhaps too cool? From Interior Design Files.
Achingly modern, from Home Designing.
Achingly modern, from Home Designing.
An alternative fireplace, from freshome.com
An alternative fireplace, from freshome.com. But did a pheasant have to die for it?
I'll admit it - at this time of year, it's the cottagey rather than the minimalist style which appeals to me. From About Christmas.
I’ll admit it – at this time of year, it’s the cottagey rather than the minimalist style which appeals to me. From About Christmas.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, whomever you are with, and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you a very joyful and restful holiday season! Here’s to a far, far better 2017 for all of us!

 

 

Friday Fun: Unusual Bookshelves

Nothing can beat an honest old bookshelf with no frills and plenty of storage space (in my opinion). However, for those of you who want to combine form and function, art and storage, here are some suggestions.

Got an old piano hanging about uselessly? Here's an idea how to refurbish it. From Pinterest.
Got an old piano hanging about uselessly? Here’s an idea how to refurbish it. From Pinterest.
Bigger than a tractorwheel, for those giant hamsters amongst you... From Pinterest.
Bigger than a tractorwheel, for those giant hamsters amongst you… From Pinterest.
Same principle, different execution - and with disco lights! From Like Cool.
Same principle, different execution – and with disco lights! From Like Cool.
Keeping things classical and antique, from Colombe Mania.
Keeping things classical and antique, from Colombe Mania.
Something for nightowls, from BoredPanda.com
Something for night owls, from BoredPanda.com
Criss-cross pattern, almost normal... From Shelterness.com
Criss-cross pattern, almost normal… From Shelterness.com
Just a hint of frolicking design, from Foter.com
Just a hint of frolicking design, from Foter.com
Finally, nothing beats boring old plenty of space and high ceilings, from linkjava.com
Finally, nothing beats boring old plenty of space and high ceilings. But, in a bathroom?! From linkjava.com

I have one more post scheduled just before Christmas, with festive houses, but I will not be blogging over the next couple of weeks, so let me wish you all a very restful, joyful and delightful holiday period!

Friday Fun: Window Seats

Last week, the window seat emerged as the clear winner of our ‘chairs for reading books’ competition. So here are a few to whet your appetite. And so that we don’t have to fight over just one! In my cold, draughty English house, the temptation of putting one right next to the radiator instead of next to a cold window is HUGE.

Plenty of cushions to lounge on, from Decorpad.com
Plenty of cushions to lounge on, from Decorpad.com
Now that's what I call storage space! And a view, too! From shelterness.com
Now that’s what I call storage space! And a view, too! From shelterness.com
The classical style, from Impressive Interior Design website.
The classical style, from Impressive Interior Design website.
The informal seaside look, from freshome.com
The informal seaside look, from freshome.com
For those who prefer a streamlined, contemporary style. From Pinterest.
For those who prefer a streamlined, contemporary style. Well, with that view, reading might be difficult… From Pinterest.
Contemporary needn't always mean minimalist. Add a bit more cushioning and this window seat featured on houzz.com has real potential...
Contemporary needn’t always mean minimalist. Add a bit more cushioning and this window seat featured on houzz.com has real potential…
Finally, for some very, very lucky kids, the Window Bed! From House Logic.
Finally, for some very, very lucky kids, the Window Bed! From House Logic.