I've moved!

New Blog

Hello lovelies, I thought I'd update this blog one last time to let you all know that my blog has moved a little while back. From now on all my posts can now be found here:

Why not hop over and join me there, I look forward to seeing you there.

A bientôt and lots of love

Spring lantern garland...

Lantern Garland Lantern Garland Lantern Garland Lantern Garland

Good morning lovelies! How are you all? I hope you've had a good long weekend, a wonderful Easter break and far too much chocolate? Has it been as cold where you are as it was here? Brrr...

Still, the clocks have gone forward, it's April and no matter what the weather is doing, I've decided to bring a bit of Spring into our home and pretend it's warm and sunny outside. There are many things I associate with the warm months of the year and one of them is little paper lanterns. In my head it looks a little bit like this: colourful little paper lanterns hanging from meters and meters of string which has been tied between trees, gently moving in the warm breeze at sunset, lending a soft light to an al fresco dinner with friends....

Ok, back to reality, because my little lanterns are currently hanging on a wall and will remain there until the thermometer reaches the dizzying heights of at least 20C. I've hung up 15 of those little handmade lanterns and have to say that it really does cheer me up and lends a welcome pop of soft colours. I know you really would like to know how these are made! So, hop over here and check out my little tutorial.

Now for something different: I am nearly (fingers crossed) done with my new blog/site but still need to tweak some parts. I will try and catch up with you as much as possible, but might be quieter here as I'm concentrating on putting some posts up on the new site. I hope you understand and really look forward to revealing it soon!

A bientôt and lots of love

Happy Easter...

Baked Easter Lamb Baked Easter Lamb Baked Easter Lamb Baked Easter Lamb Baked Easter Lamb

It's the Easter weekend and this year it's time to wrap up warm, put on the kettle and cosy up with some tea (mulled wine optional), cake, friends and family. As it's colder now than it was at Christmas, there will be no picnic here and the Easter egg hunt will take place indoors because I'm a terrible wimp when it comes to the cold.

But that's not to say that we will let the weather get in the way of some fun. It means time to chill and chat, cook and bake, listen to music and read. We have a meal with friends planned for tonight, I'm cooking a roast dinner for the family on Sunday, and we'll be visiting Hampton Court Palace on Monday...

And of course I've already baked this little Easter cake. My sister sent me the cake tin and I couldn't wait to use it. Despite the fact that I'm keeping most decorations very simple, I couldn't resist adding a little bow and some (ok, lots) pastel-coloured mini eggs. Sweet, non?

Wishing you all a happy Easter, lovely long weekend, and a relaxed time with friends and family.

A bientôt and lots of love

Chez moi at Easter...

Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi Easter Decorations chez moi

This year I'm keeping things simple and pared down for Easter - at least where the actual Easter decorations are concerned. You probably already have an idea of how this looks after seeing my little decorations here. Now, I know pastels are everywhere at the moment, but since I have some other decorations adding a bit of a spring feel to my home, I decided to keep these here quite non-coloured - make sense? However, one thing I always love and try to sneak into any decorating scheme - no matter what season - is a beautifully scented candle. The smell always fits, no matter what the colour choices, non?

A bientôt and lots of love

Tea for two...

Tea for Two Tea for Two Tea for Two Tea for Two Tea for Two

Last weekend wasn't - by my own admission - the most cheerful one. I felt a little low for personal reasons and the mega-cold weather and snow just felt like another dampener. I had originally planned to go out to some exhibitions and events, but simply didn't want to face the outside world in the end.

So, I did what I always do when I feel like this, I go to therapy bake. I have no idea why, but baking relaxes me and cheers me up. Music in the kitchen, the smell of fresh cakes coming from the oven, and the very fine layer of flour covering the worktops - pure bliss! Being able to sit down afterwards with Monsieur to enjoy a quiet cup of tea and some freshly baked teacakes makes baking even more of a worthwhile activity. Just as I put the work into the baking, I always try to put a bit of thought into my table setting too. Table cloth, a cake stand, and pretty mugs (sometimes I don't feel like getting my vintage china cups out) make an otherwise ordinary afternoon a little more special and are just as important to me as the baking itself. I thought these mugs from Joules were perfect as they are delicate enough to go with my little teacakes and the pattern makes me think of a sunny (and warm!!!) afternoon somewhere in the countryside...

If you feel like giving these little cakes a go, then here my recipe. You will get 30 mini teacakes out of this.

You will need:

80g sugar
75g soft butter plus some for brushing
2 eggs
80ml milk
180g flour
1tsp baking powder

For the rum syrup:

100ml dark rum
125ml water
60g sugar

Here is how I've done it:

Preheat your oven to 170C. Using a pastry brush, brush some butter into the little cake moulds and sprinkle with flour to prevent the dough sticking. In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one whilst continuously mixing, then add the flour (with the baking powder) and milk. Using a teaspoon, fill the cake moulds. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Next, put the dark rum, water and sugar into a small pan and slowly bring to the boil over a low heat. Remove from the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Once the cakes are done, take the pan out of the oven and pour about one to one and a half teaspoons of the rum syrup onto each cake immediately. Turn the pan and give it a light shake to release the cakes. Leave to cool down and sprinkle with some icing sugar.

I hope you like the idea of a little afternoon tea, and since the weather forecast remains pretty grim, we might as well try and turn it into something positive ;-)

A bientôt and lots of love

Seasonal choice...

Early Spring salad with leafy greens and protein Early Spring salad with leafy greens and protein

Is it Spring yet? No. Clearly not. It's pretty much the end of March and it's butt-freezing, snowing, and feels like I should be baking Christmas biscuits instead of Easter treats. Admittedly, all this is pretty much enough for me to go and hide under a blanket until somebody tells me that the sun is finally out for more than a couple of minutes...

The weather also plays havoc with my usual food choices for this time of the year. I'm a very seasonal eater and tend to gravitate towards stodgy food during the dark Winter months and look forward to fresh salads, fruit, and other lighter dishes from February onwards. Unfortunately the light choices seem weirdly out of place at the moment and I'm finding myself in a in the position of trying to choose between what my head tells me (it's Spring, it's time for lighter food) and what I actually feel like (it's winterly cold, I need something warm and filling) at the moment.

So, here's one of my happy compromises. A salad that's fresh and at the same time filling with warm ingredients. Curious? Well, hop over here where you can find out more and where I've posted the recipe. I hope you'll like it and if you do, let us know by leaving a "hello" in the comment section :-)

Right then lovelies, I hope you're all keeping warm and wish you a good Monday.

A bientôt and lots of love

White Easter...

White Easter twigs... White Easter twigs... White Easter twigs... White Easter twigs... White Easter twigs... White Easter twigs...

Yes, it still feels winterly cold outside and it's hard to believe that it will be Easter next week. However, that's not quite what I meant by "white Easter". I'm referring to my little Easter twigs. I suddenly had this idea last weekend to paint some twigs white and use them for the simplest Easter-themed little decoration. I cut out some Easter egg shapes from some flowery paper, glued two together with a piece of yarn between them, and hung them on the branches. I've deliberately kept it very simple, understated and pale, and it works nicely on my coffee table without being overwhelming...

I hope you're all well and keeping warm. I know it was (according to the calendar) the first day of Spring yesterday, so surely it just has to be on its way soon, non?

A bientôt and lots of love

Things are changing...

Chez Moi in March... Chez Moi in March... Chez Moi in March... Chez Moi in March...

I've taken a few snapshots in my home again over the weekend. Have I ever mentioned that I like my home? ;-) I like how it changes over the seasons and sometimes on a weekly basis. Change isn't always bad, in fact, it's a good thing.

Yes, things will be changing around here too. They have to because I feel that I need to move on and improve. I feel slightly stuck right here and this blog, which has served me for the past three years, now doesn't feel quite right anymore. So, after searching for the right platform for quite some time (some of you might have read my tweets about it), I am now currently working on my new self-hosted blog.

It will still be Mademoiselle Poirot and the essence will be the same, but I hope that it will look better, have more and better navigation options, and I will be able to share my photos in a more appealing manner. Trying to set it all up is taking time. A lot of time because I'm completely new to the system, I'm not a website designer, and I have to very slowly work my way through all the little options available in order to achieve the look I want. There certainly is an awful lot of trial and error involved.

Something else has been bugging me for a long time and it's time to change that too. I love blogging. I love (and am still surprised about) the fact that people actually read my ramblings and all the wonderful comments. I am extremely grateful for the time you take out of your day to stop here and for every single comment you leave. They make me smile, think, and above all, they make me want to continue blogging and deliver quality content.

Now the problem. Each comment gets filtered into my email system. A little while ago I had over 1000 items in my inbox and a conscience which was growing worse by the minute. You see, I don't delete any of the comment in my email system until I manage to pop to your blog as a way of "answering" and saying thank you. Unfortunately, as it sometimes happens with even the best intentions, I can't keep up and - to be honest - haven't been able to do so for some time. So I feel constantly guilty because I worry that you might think I don't appreciate your comments.

A very lovely blogging friend once told me the following analogy: Imagine you come round to my house and I'm not in. You then leave a note pinned on my door to say hello and to let me know you've visited.  Now, a normal response to this would be to get back to you by calling you or visiting you at your house, right? You wouldn't expect me to write a message underneath your note, leave it pinned on my front door and wait for you to come back, would you?

This analogy works perfectly for blog comments. I don't leave an answer to your comments on my own blog because I wouldn't expect you to come back here to read it. I always felt that if you made the effort to visit, it's only right and polite that I should do the same. However (mega-big "However"), I can't do it. There! I've said it. I really have no idea how some of you manage to reply to each comment by email. Where do you find the time?!

Don't get me wrong, I visit your blogs (as you know), I try to comment as often as possible, and I am actually really interested in what you have to say. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in every day and taking all my own pictures, editing them and posting them takes time. Craft and food posts take time to make, cook and photograph. I also have my day job and my family...

What am I trying to say? Well, one of the things that will change on my new blog is that I will answer your comments on my blog. I want you to actually know that I've read your comment and that I appreciate it. I think that's really important and I have neglected that part for far too long. Thank you all for being such patient readers. To all of you who have "unfollowed" over time - I don't blame you. I'd get fed up if I thought that my comments weren't appreciated at all. So, I hope all this explains a few things. For now I'll say Thank You all for being here and I hope that you will join me on my new blog once it's all set up which will hopefully be soon.

A bientôt and lots of love

Fab five & pastel cutlery...

Pastel Striped Wood Cutlery

Good morning lovelies, I hope you're all well and any St Patrick's Day celebrations you might have been a part of didn't leave you with too much of a sore head...

Personally I've had a great weekend - thanks for asking - and have therefore decided to put a small "fab five" list together. Why "fab five"? Just because it sounds good and finding 10 positive things every weekend is way too much of a tall order for a grumpy person like me ;-)

1. Trying out a recipe I've "invented" (or at least I think so, though I might find something like it online if I really tried) and getting a thumbs-up from my food critics - aka Monsieur and Dylan.

2. Buying a pair of shoes at (I thought) full price and discovering at the till that they had been reduced by 40%!

3. Impromptu dinner with some of my favourite London people thinking I'd be back home by 11.30pm latest...falling into bed at 3am, happy and just a little merry...

4. A truly lazy Sunday morning, sleeping in, watching Monkey Business with Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe (really silly and feel good), coffee, and banana on toast...

5. Making a little "Easter tree" (pics to follow) decoration which makes me smile when the weather still feels like darkest November.

Now for yet something else: You see the cutlery in the picture? Well, I was inspired by striped paper straws and wanted to create something fun for when Spring and the picnic season finally arrive. So, I thought cutlery would be a good idea. What about you? If you think this is a good idea and would like to make these, why not hop over to the @Home blog where I have posted more pics and the tutorial. I hope you'll find it inspirational.

Wishing you all a good Monday and great start to the new week.

A bientôt and lots of love

Dulux colour fun...

Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London Dulux workshop @ Meet the Blogger London

Happy Friday lovelies! I thought I could mark the occasion of the weekend being upon us with some colour. Some bright, vibrant, happy, uplifting colours to lift moods and make the dull weather more bearable.

This is also my last (promise!) post on Meet the Blogger. I had to put my pictures into different post though because they each had their own subject. So it made complete sense to me - possibly only me...

Anyway, these are pictures I took just before (and the last one afterwards) the Dulux workshop because I just loved all the pots of colour, paintbrushes, painted seats, etc... I didn't take any during the workshop since simultaneously operating a paintbrush and a digital camera are - at least in my hands - a recipe for disaster. We were taught how to achieve the latest "flocking" paint techniques by the very fun, knowledgeable (well, she is Dulux's creative director), and charming Marianne Shillingford and were then let loose on canvases ourselves. The results of our collective efforts are in the last picture - quite nice, don't you think?

Right then lovelies, I have tons to do now and need to get ready for my day. I hope you're all well and wish you all a wonderful weekend. Stay dry, warm, and cheerful!

A bientôt and lots of love