We've all been "en vacance" this week so no stitching news to report this post I am afraid. A large proportion of the family headed south to the sun and the took advantage of a glorious spot in Langedoc-Rousillon in which to chill out, chat endlessly about nothing much in particular and just generally relax and eat cheese. Life has been eventful for a whole chunk of the gang, with lengths of time with unemployment worries and general work pressures for them all so we thought it was time for a good break and as parents, the beloved JB and I were delighted to be able to enjoy some special time with our amazing children and their partners. A couple of missing personnel though for the trip which was shame but our star attendee on her first visit to France was grandaughter Zoe, who at 3 has the ability of keeping every adult entertained for hours with her amazing tales and deep and meaningful conversations. Swimming came along leaps and bounds too for her so we expect to see rubber ring and arm bands assigned to the bin very shortly.
Exploring this area of France is a joy, with fields of Lavender scattered between vineyards and orchards. The whole area is indeed a treat for all the senses and a photographer's dream.
The gentle scents from wild herbs and flowers fill the air when you stroll along the lanes and there can be no better way of spending an hour or two than sitting in La place aux Herb in Uzes and watching the world go by on market day.
On a Wednesday morning the small square is packed with numerous fruit and vegetable stalls whose owners vie for your trade along with more sellers of goat's cheese than you can imagine. Emily is sure that she found her ideal man there by way of a cheese selling Silver Fox who offered 50 kinds of Fromage de Chevre . Poor Jonathan - what a suitor to compete with. I am pleased to report though that Emily will be returning to her home in the North with the poor boy but I am sure she will still be dreaming of the charming cheese seller for many a night....
Whilst in Uzes I fell upon the most wonderful little shop proffering a stunning mix of fabrics, haberdasheries, linens and all things beautiful and if you are lucky enough to be in the area you must seek this little piece of heaven out.
Another one of the joys of small town France are these individual shops which we in the UK are very quickly losing, due to faceless chain stores and exorbitant business rates, and with all our membership of the European Union it is a shame we cannot see the benefit of the French style here.
The shop keeper of "Vent Du Sud" was a an elegant small woman who oozed pride in her stylish shop and the quality of its merchandise. Emily and I browsed for nearly an hour whilst our menfolk ate gelate in the near by ice cream parlour, out of the sun . To say we could have blown the whole of the holiday budget here would not be an exaggeration but we did each finally settle on a small but carefully chosen bag of goodies to take back to the UK. I chose a small medley of fat quarters in pale shades of duck egg blue- very french I felt. None of the fabrics were in fact the same brand but had been cleverly chosen by the shop keeper herself and blended wonderfully together. Two of them are Cabbages & Roses Ltd, by Moda and then two unknowns including an amazing moth design. I will search the web and see if I can identify this fabric and then add a link as its well worth finding as it is really stunning- just like specimen plates from a Victorian Natural history Journal. We also found a yard of fabric from the Yuwa Live Life collection which was reduced in the Sale so Emily and I shared this as we both fell in love with its colours. I can see we will be trawling though Etsy trying to find matching elements for this one as it is pretty unusual . Again I will update you how this goes and add pictures at that time.
I have to say though that the part of the shop that sent me into a complete spin was the haberdashery. The rows of ribbons and trims were incredible and better than I have ever seen together in one place. I could not hold back and came away with a large bag of ribbons and bias trim in all sorts of patterns and colours.
I have not seen these wonderful printed bias bindings before and cannot wait to make some small pieces to use them . More web searching will need to follow to see what else I can find. Sadly Vent de Sud does not appear to have a web site so I cannot refer you on to her here, but there again this has to be a good excuse for trying to visit the area just to check out this shop I am sure. I have found mention of it in this blog though so if your french is good you can check out someone else's enthusiasm as well as mine for this wonderful little place.
I had spent the previous day telling Zoe's Mummy about all the ribbons I used to tie in Emily's hair when she was small and had promised to seek out some for Zoe's stunning red curly locks so you can imagine my joy at falling on Madame "Vent de Sud"s emporium
( sorry no personal names were exchanged as my french was poor and I think she thought my enthusiasm a little odd so hung back a little from my enquiries!). Anyway needless to say Zoe should never now go un-coiffed, being the proud owner of a mix of organza, satin and embroidered ribbons to show off in her exquisite hair.
I cannot finish my ramble today without a final mention for The Ceramics of Lussan. Whilst they have a small shop in Uzes, it is worth a visit to the Ceramic workshop out in the country itself ( not least because you will pass field upon fild of wild flowers on the way). At the show room the funny and beautifully exhibited Guinnea Fowl and hens are all on show in quirky " chickeny" type locations. A very clever person has put these together and with our ridiculous love for all things hennish, it was a must for Emily and I to visit whilst JB and Jonathan trailed dutifully behind. Hand baggage is always a challenge for me after a holiday but I did manage to make it all the way back home to Scotland with a large pottery Guinnea Fowl who I have named Albert tucked under my arm.