Monday, 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Santa was very good to me this year and I got a new camera, I still have to refine the detail, but here are some photos from today, Boxing Day 2011.

Walking, hands in pockets, just like dad.

Ruins in Guesnes Park, France.

Mistletoe balls, very abundant here.

Spiderwebs, glistening in the sun.  It was about 10* here today.

One of the many wood carvings in the park.


A lone ladybird, out on a mission, this was the second one we had seen today.

Processionary caterpillars, to be avoided by animals and people - can cause severe reactions.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Nourish - Sarah Dawn Bergs.

Sarah came to stay with us under the helpX scheme. She arrived full of energy and enthusiasm and became the inspirational team leader to the other 3 helpers who were staying with us. Sarah was 18 at the time and shared her stories of her (in my opinion) amazing life in Africa.

Sarah has stayed on my facebook contacts and now she is the driving body behind 'Nourish' please have a look at this fantastic project and share it with everyone you know, far and wide., 'like' on facebook and within your community.

The web page is here

If we all can make just a little difference to someone elses life, then the world will be a better place.

Thank you.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Just a little corny

Todays gathering in celebration of autum in all her fine colours.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Adding beads and feathers to your beard or hair

Buy your bead kit from


Basic application
Place a crimp bead onto the hook tool or folded thread.

Slide the bead up and pull the hairs through.

Holding the bead on the hairs slide a feather into the bead.

With flat pliers crimp the bead hard, make sure it is hanging vertical and down (not out or up)

If you have chosen to put feathers on both sides, repeat the process at the other side.

Slide bead onto hair

Pull through hairs

Slide feather into bead

Check direction of feather and crimp.

If you are adding coloured beads or skull beads fold a piece of thread, push it through the bead, then slide the bead off the thread and onto the hair / beard. Then add the crimp bead and your feather. The skull bead sits above the feather.  Alternatively you can slide the skull bead onto the feather first.

To remove feathers and beads -
Crimp the bead again to open it up
remove feather and bead.

Crimp widest edges


This will work on short hair and beards. You use the same method to add to long hair.

I am working on fashion accessories for men with no hair on their heads. 
Watch this space.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Belgium, Binche, Carnival and Belly dance

Our nearest town Monts-sur-Guesnes, France is twinned with Momignies, Belgium.  10 years ago a twinning was set up between the two towns and ever since visits have been exchanged. One year France, the next Belgium.

This year I went on the trip with my son and 35 other people. We travelled on thursday, arriving about 5pm at Momignies, to a welcome of Belgian beer and Belgian cheese.  All the French were introduced to their host families who they were staying with for the next 3 days.

Gilbert was our host, he lives with his dog, Charlie and was so happy to meet us and show us his town.

Friday morning the whole group travelled to Binche which is famous for its carnival musee du masque is devoted to the history of the carnival which goes back hundreds of years.  The people of Binche live for this 3 day carnival. Preparation for the next years carnival starts immediately after the finishing day this year. The costumes are hired now, before they were hand made and all slightly different, have a look at the video.

The carnival is for the men only, all identically dressed and they go from house to house chasing away winter and welcoming spring.  Brilliant.  The museum has masks and costumes from all round the world. I wish we had had a little longer to look at all the exhibits, but there is always next time.

Friday night we had our first group dinner. As teacher of the bellydance group, Dance a Guesnes (pronounced dance again) we were invited to dance during the meal.

6 of our group of 15 came on the trip and we performed 8 dances which we have learned over the past 5 years together.  At the end of the meal we invited all the diners to join in - it was great.

Friday, 17 June 2011


I read, everywhere, the best way to sell on the internet is take really good photographs.  Now if you can do that yourself that's really fantastic.  If you can't you have to learn or if you are able - hire a professional photographer, like Scott Johnson.

I have known Scott Johnson's wife for 6 years now, but only recently got to know Scott. They both run a beautiful B&B just south of the Loire valley, France. La Guertiere.

Scott took some amazing photos of me on Easter Sunday this year and when I saw them I was absolutely amazed by the clarity.  The difference between my photography and a professionals is just unbelievable.  The photo shoot was easy - I just told Scott what I wanted and he did exactly that!

Here is Scott's photoshoot

I had these taken for the opening of my new shop HeadsUpHigh.   This is the kit for adding feathers to brown and dark hair.

I wore my feathers for 5 weeks, washing and drying my hair as per usual. I didn't notice them and would add them again for any special occasion.

I have booked another session with Scott for later this month, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Grain harvesting in France

France has such a rich history. There are still 'grain harvesting' celebrations and re-enactments of how it was done in the olden days. It was called the 'battage' and a group of men would go to the first house, or small holding on their list. The machines were set up early to avoid the heat of the day. On the hour a bell would ring and everyone would set to their tasks, some loading the wheat complete with stalks into the machine, others filling the sacks with the grain, others loading the grain into the attic of the house.

video link

At 5 minutes to the hour a bell would ring and all would sit in the shade and have a cool drink - wine usually and get ready for the next round which started with the bell ringing on the hour again.  This continued all day until the task was done. The machine was dismantled and moved to the next on the list - which could have been next door or a mile down the road - then re-assembled ready for tomorrow. Then all the workers went back to the current days house.

A huge table would have been set up by the householders and all the workers were fed. Then slept (where? I don't know) The next day it started over again and continued until all the area harvest was indoors.

Many French houses had, and still have, an attic for storing the crop, it kept it dry and also served to insulate the house. Over the years I have been in many French attics and found maize cobs, walnuts, no grain though - the small rodents got it a long time ago.

I was told this story by Monsieur Cottillon. I worked as his home help in 2010. He was 97 and his wife is 94. Sadly he passed away last summer, but on one of my visits he explained this story to me. He was a fascinating person, he was still working his garden at age 97. I was there to help his wife who was ill with Alzheimers.

Here are some photos of the grain sacks similar to those Monsieur Cottilon would have used.
I have a lot of these to sort out still and I would really like to keep them all.

I am photographing them with a long term view to cataloguing. (One day)
All are for sale on my etsy shop DorsBien

Monday, 13 June 2011

Byrrh Bistro

Sandra lives very close to me. In 2005 she and her husband bought a rural French cottage and have transformed it into the most beautiful home.  I wanted to share some of this tranquil space with you.

The courtyard with olive trees and fragrant lavender plants.

The kitchen window with motif curtains and objects from the local vide-grenier.

In the garden.

The Byrrh Bistro.

The log burner, fabulous metalwork which heats the space very efficiently. This was reclaimed and restored lovingly.

The dining room gives the impression of a high class restaurant with its menus, cutlery drawer, gingham tablecloths, and fine wines from the region.

The terrace sits in a cool corner, it is really the way into the cellar which reaches under the house, plenty of room to store wines.
There is a vine in the corner which grows through the walls of the Bistro to give green inside and outside.

All this is in one family home, created with Sandra's fine attention to detail. The Byrrh Bistro was originally a simple woodstore with a tin roof, now it boasts a log burner, water feature, dining space for 12, terrace in the shade for drinking cool Rose wine and beautiful decor I want for my own!