mercredi 26 février 2014

Some of my favourite things.....

How did that song go in  "The Sound of Music" ?

...."brown paper packages tied up with string......

Well..........this is just how I found this gorgeous parcel - still wrapped in its original brown paper with string.

It even has its original old Paris store label for GRANDS MAGASINS AU LOUVRE  too.......

......and the HUGEST bobble trim I have ever seen.
Simply delicieux!!

I shall start listing some batches later in the week

A la prochaine mes belles


vendredi 21 février 2014


Congratulations to both Leslie Goodell and Rhonda for guessing exactly that the chairs were 200 euros for the pair. ( yes...I do regret leaving them behind!!)

Rhonda let me have your address and a brocante parcel will be on its way!!

Bonne weekend mes belles

mercredi 19 février 2014

Competiton guessing.....

Just a petite competiton mes belles!!!

I turned down this wonderful pair of toile covered chairs at the brocante this morning because I simply could not fit them in at all.

Guess what their asking price was ( in euros, pounds, dollars I will convert it) and the nearest guess will win a simply-chateau brocante parcel.

I shall publish the winners details on Friday evening. I have the same competition details listed on my facebook page too.

Bon Chance mes belles


dimanche 16 février 2014

This hand painted signed frame is so beautiful. I found it early morning with a torch and even in the darkness I knew it was wonderful and refused to take my hands off it until I had haggled with the seller!

Based on an Aubusson design it is signed and dated 1906.

I have it listed in my auctions now and the photographs show just how delicieux it is.

Here is the link for the auction.....

A la prochaine mes belles

jeudi 13 février 2014

Ring me.....

I nipped off to Coutances for a little retail therapy collecting Frou Frou on the way and we got there at 12.30 forgetting after all these years that the shops close from 12 noon until 2pm here in France. It is something I will never get used to and I will always find it frustrating.

It was soooo cold and rather than drive back home we went into a nearby restaurant to have coffee and pass some time.

We made our way to the comfy seats in the café area whilst next to us the dining area was bustling with lunchtime diners mostly office workers all suited and booted.

As I took off my gloves my wedding ring shot through the air almost in slow motion. I watched it go with horror as it landed next to the plate of a very fierce looking monsieur dining alone. He stopped eating and watched it as it spun round on its end for what seemed like a lifetime before coming to rest next to his hand!!

I sent Miss Frou Frou to retrieve it as I was too embarrassed.

"It`s okay monsieur" she told him...."it was not a proposal of marriage!" He didn`t say a word and just glared at her.

Definitely not a proposal of anything monsieur.....not with a face like a squashed croissant!

A la prochaine mes belles

mardi 11 février 2014

Coming up roses.....

At the chateau sale at the weekend I took a chance on a box of the dirtiest curtains and tie backs you have ever seen.

Dating from the 1880s I simply could not leave them behind. As I carried them from the chapel someone looked at me with utter pity!

I put them in a bucket of stain remover and the water was instantly black but hours later when I pulled them out I was over the moon.

They are even better than I ever thought they could be. Although it was lashing rain and quite dark today I managed to photograph them in my boudoir against the wardrobes we have made up of old window shutters.

I shall be listing them later in the week but tonight I have listed a couple of morceaux that were also in the box that would be wonderful for projects.

A la prochaine mes belles

lundi 10 février 2014

Move over Casanova.....

Yesterday morning at 6.30am in a howling gale and lashing rain I had the option of travelling locally to a Couturiers Puce flea market where the world and his auntie would be, or, I could drive forever to the middle of nowhere to a small chapel where a chateau attic had been emptied for a sale that was hardly advertised.

It was only a whisper we had heard and I wouldn`t have been surprised to get there and find nothing at all and then I would have missed the treasures at the other sale!

No competition..... the long drive it was then!! I am so glad I did it and the only other person I told was of course Miss Frou Frou who was making her own way there in the dark.

I am so glad we did it! There were so many treasures and , some amazing old tickings and blue flame.

  This must be my favourite find. Three masked ball wigs for a Marquis and Marquise.


Move over Casanova.........

A la prochaine mes belles

samedi 8 février 2014

Something from my own archive...........

I have had this old wallpaper sample book in my own archives for many years. It gives no indication of any factory or maker and simply reads PARIS and has a date of 1910.

Although it was 15 or so years ago I can remember exactly the morning I found it at a village vide grenier.

The samples inside are all hand blocked and the colours are still so wonderful.


I will eventually frame a few but until then I occasionally take the book and have a quiet hour flipping through the pages. I always seem to find something new that I don`t remember having seen before.

Just one of my passions!!

Aa prochaine mes belles


vendredi 7 février 2014

Mystery at the brocante......

The first English couple we met when we first moved to Normandy nearly 10 years ago were Jill and Tony Collins.

 I had been standing in the queue at the local post office, laden with parcels, and Jill, also in the queue, saw all my parcels and introduced herself with " Are you Simply Chateau?". From that moment on we have remained firm friends!

Her husband, Tony, is now retired but previously worked as an archaeologist - and it was perhaps no surprise, when he decided to take up writing, that his first published novel took the reader back to Roman times.

This week he has had his second novel published and today presented me with a signed copy. Its subject matter is much more up my street! Titled "In the Dark Shadow of Evil - The Countess de Couvegne Letters"  it is apparently a story full of intrigue and mystery, with betrayal, kidnap and murder thrown in, taking the reader from the bustle and excitement of the famous weekly Clingancourt antiques flea market in Paris across the English Channel to London and China - and the murky underworld of organised crime.

With a glint in his eye Tony told me today that he had based one of the characters in his book - an antique textile dealer who happens to be called 'Shirley' - on me!
I am going to start reading it this evening. Please let me turn out to be a tall Parisian beauty married to a Count living in his chateau - and it is me who truffles out something fabulous at the flea market!! [However, I fear it might just be me!]  

The book is now available to buy both on the Amazon website and in some shops.

However if I start getting worried as to how I have been portrayed I may have to purchase every copy!!! ( Also, although I haven`t yet read the book , Tony assures me that I am not "The dark shadow of evil !!".



Published by Black Rose Writing.

Here is a link to the book website

jeudi 6 février 2014

Toile de Jouy c 1790

Last Summer early at a brocante my torch caught a glimpse of a tiny morceau of toile peeping out from an old suitcase on the ground.

I opened the case and saw it was a quilt so passed the torch to Mark to shine it on the textile whilst I opened it out.

My heart sank when I realised how badly timeworn it was and I couldn`t really see it properly. I made the sneaky move of tucking it back into the case so it couldn`t be seen, closed the case up and put the suitcase to the bottom of the pile. I was going to wait until it was light and hope that no one opened that case before then!

As soon as dawn broke I was back in the suitcase pile pulling out the quilt. In the daylight it was even more damaged than I had initially thought but it was an early one with lots and lots of vignettes that could be cut and used, so after some haggling I soon had it tucked in into my bag.

I placed it on a shelf in my studio with the intention of unpicking the vignettes and gently laundering what could be used.  It has stayed there untouched until I re-discovered it last week when I tidied the shelves. I did a little investigation and discovered it was designed for the Jouy factory by Jean Baptiste Huet in the 1790s and is titled LES QUATRE PARTIES DU MONDE.

I have listed it for sale this evening as I will let someone else have the pleasure of saving the vignettes. They would be amazing for cushions, framing or any vintage textile work.

It is a wonderful feeling to re-home a timeworn treasure so that it can go on to a new life!

Here is the link :-

A la prochaine mes belles

mardi 4 février 2014

Sssshhhhhhh................ don`t mention Winter....

We seem to have escaped any real desperate Winter weather so far here at the chateau. We have only had one morning of frost and the ton of coal we had shipped in from Belgium to fire up 'Hercule', our 1930s stove, in the cuisine has hardly been touched. But I suppose in saying all that is really asking for trouble - because it wasn't umtil March last year when the weather really deteriorated and we were snowed in without electricity for 3 days.

As usual the marsh is flooded almost to the bottom of the garden and it is simply beautiful. It is the first thing I see when I open the bathroom shutters in the morning and, usually, there are a couple of swans, a host of Egrets, ducks and the odd Heron wading in the shallows.

I have stopped panicking about the lone swan Charlie Wilson as Frou Frou came with her long lens  camera and we discovered he still has quite a lot of grey feathers. He is the swan on the far right of the above photograph. He must be young and is still with his parents so I have no need to advertise him on a dating site after all!

Frou Frou also took these amazing photographs of a duck just taking flight.

Sometimes I have to drag myself away from that window. I could stand and watch all day.

My cuisine is currently like an old French " blanchisserie" laundry!  I have truffled out a wonderful batch of children`s pinafore dresses  from the late 1800s.  Packed away since the early 1900s they were foxed so I have been soaking them before laundering - and they are coming up beautifully. The postman came in to bring a parcel this morning and I am sure he thinks I am running some kind of an orphanage here with all those little clothes hanging out to drive!

And now I have to press them all!

A demain mes belles