Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Postcard Wednesday - Chateau of the Loire Valley, France

Welcome to Postcard Wednesday, Part Two , Chateau of the Loire Valley, France.
History, architecture and gardens are of great interest to me , so needless to say they are always included in any travel itinerary. I was certainly in my element exploring the magnificent Chateau in the Loire Valley. Probably,my only regret was that we were not able to enjoy more of those wonderful places in the time we had but that is a reason to hopefully return one day.

Chateau de Chambord is the largest and grandest and not surprisingly most visited chateau in the Loire Valley, with 440 rooms , 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. Begun in 1519 by Francis1 as a hunting lodge, it quickly grew into something much grander.
Viewed from afar its many chimneys and turrets have the look of of a city skyline.

I was fascinated by the various shapes and details of the Renaissance towers and turrets with their nod to Italian architecture.

The double helix staircase , thought to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci, but this has not been confirmed, is the centerpiece of the chateau. The two spirals ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated by a sort of light house at the highest point of the chateau.

A view of the formal garden, looking toward the woodland park and game reserve.

The Chateau de Cheverney was built in the early 17th.century by the Hurault family to a design inspired by the Palais de Luxemborg in Paris. It has remained in the Harault family for six decades.

 We were welcomed by this rather clever picture of the chateau depicted in miniature pumpkins.
Through out the grounds were displays of seasonal produce from the kitchen garden.

The sumptuous dining room was playing host to a WW1 dinner re-enactment to celebrate the 100th . anniversary of Armistice Day

The armoury is the largest room of the castle and has many original decorations from the 17th. century.The ceiling is made with painted beams and the wood panels are painted with floral decorations and Latin inscriptions. The room of course also contains a large collection of arms and armour.

This pretty room is the nursery. At the time of our visit there was a Lego exhibition with many characters in various rooms. I must admit I wasn't so sure they fitted with the history all around but the children visiting when we were there just loved them.

The Chateau of Chemonceau was built in 1514-1522 on the site of an old mill dating back to the11th.,  century and was later extended to span the River Cher. The bridge over the river was built in 1556-1559.
I was very interested in the role women played in the history of Chemonceau. The first of these women was Katherine Briconnet , wife of Thomas Bohier , (who was built the new chateau). The work on the new chateau was overseen by Katherine,  who delighted in hosting French Nobility.
In 1535 the chateau was seized from Bohier's son by King Francis 1 for unpaid debts to the crown , after Francis 'death Henry 11 offered the chateau as a gift to his mistress , Diane de Poitiers , who became very attached to the chateau. Diane commissioned the building of the arched bridge and oversaw the planting of extensive  flower and vegetable gardens,
After Henry 11 died in 1559 his widow and regent Catherine de Medici forced Diane to exchange Chenonceau for Chateau Chaumont. Queen Catherine then made Chemenceau her own favourite residence adding a new series of gardens. As Regent of France Catherine spent a fortune on the chateau adding the grand gallery , rooms between the chapel and library and a service wing.
On Catherine's death in 1589 the chateau went to her daughter-in-law Louise de Lorraine Vaudemont, wife of King Henry 11. Sadly it was here Louise was told of her husband's assassination and fell in a deep state of depression , spending her days in mourning clothes amidst black tapestries stitched with skulls and cross bones.
Henry iv obtained the chateau for his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrees by paying the debts of Catherine de Medici which had been inherited by Louise and threatened to ruin her. In return she passed it to her niece , Francoise de Lorraine , only six but already betrothed to Cesar de Bourbon, duc de Vendome.
The chateau belonged to the Duc de Vendome and his descendents for the next hundred years.
In 1733 the estate was sold to a wealthy squire named Claude Dupin and his wife Louise. Louise was a highly cultivated woman with theatre in her blood who established a literary salon attracting many writers, playwrights and philosophers.
In 1864 Marguerite Pelouze , a rich heiress, acquired the chateau, restoring it in 1875.
Madame Pelouze sold the chateau to Cuban millionaire Jose-Emilio Terry in 1891, who in turn sold it to a family member .
In 1913 the chateau was acquired by Henri Menier, a member of the Menier family, famous for chocolates, who still own it today.

The chateau continues the tradition of magnificent floral arrangements composed of flowers and produce from the on site picking garden. Below is a small section of the dahlia garden.

I do hope you enjoyed a peek at a few of the magnificent chateau of The Loire Valley.


Monday, 14 January 2019

Grey In The Garden

Today's post is a short one as the one I had planned just didn't happen so a few quick shots in my dry Summer garden before work was the only solution.
We are having a bit of a heatwave here at present so cool and comfortable was the only way to go , so my grey Paula Ryan dress fitted the bill. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this dress. I love its shape and asymmetrical  hemline but as much as I like grey on others not so much on me.

The dress was purchased several Summers ago on sale at a shop where I was working at the time, sadly the store no longer exists, so maybe it will go later this year to a charity shop and hopefully be purchased by someone that truly loves it.
I added some colour with the multi-toned beads , red ear-rings, black and white Preen sunnies and silver sandals.

The dress works really well with white as an accent and Raffy kindly obliged.

Joining Patti for Visible Monday ( a little late), Jess for Turning Heads Tuesday and Nancy for Fancy Friday Linkup.

Part Two of my travels in the Loire Valley in France will be posted on Wednesday. If you share my love of history , gardens and architecture this will be right up your street.


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Postcard Wednesday - Loire Valley, France Part 1

Welcome to Postcard Wednesday , I hope you enjoy a peek at some of my favourite places from my recent trip. The first in this series is the Loire Valley. I have done this in two parts as to be honest I had too many favourites to share in just one post.
The medieval town of Chinon was our base for exploring. We stayed at a delightful B & B in a beautifully restored and decorated house. Our genial host Maurice made us feel right at home , to say nothing of the most delicious breakfasts complete with freshly made crepes and apple compote.
If you ever find yourself in this region I would highly recommend Au Relais Saint Maurice.

Our room was spacious and comfortable and as you can see by the ceiling, we were nestled in the attic. The bathroom had a view of the castle as you sat on the loo.

This is the breakfast room - I loved the beautifully set table with its fine china, glassware and silver.

I have always been a fan of Citroen's 2 CV's , particularly this one which is a Charleston , so when it was parked in our street in Chinon I just couldn't resist a shot. Behind the blue doors is a wonderful restaurant , the name of which escapes me, where we enjoyed the best dinner. I am vegetarian and nothing on the set menu was for me so the chef made me the best plate of various vegetables I had ever had. It truly was a work of art, I only wish I had taken a photo.

This is the medieval quarter of Chinon with its narrow , winding streets and white tufa house with their slate roofs.
The town sits on the Vienne River , with many vineyards stretching along its banks.

Fortresse Royale de Chinon overlooks the town and dates from the 11th. century, founded by Theobald1, Count of Blois. In 1156 Henry 11 of England , took over the castle from his brother Geoffrey, Count of Nantes. Henry favoured the chateau as his residence. Most of the standing structure can be attributed to his reign and he died there in 1189. After a siege in 1205 lasting several months the castle returned to French control.Used by Charles VII in the 15th century, the chateau became a prison in the second part of the 16th. century but then fell out of use was left to decay.
It was recognised as a historical monument in 1840 . The castle underwent a restoration and is now a major tourist attraction.

Visiting Villandry had been on my wish list for some years and it certainly exceded my expectations.
Villandry was built around 1536 and is the last of the great chateaux built along the banks of the Loire during the Renaissance. For the construction , Jean Le Breton, razed an old 12th. century fortress of which nothing remains today but the foundations and the keep.
The descendants of Jean Le Breton owned Villandry until 1754, when it became the property of the Marquis de Castellane. He built the classic style outbuildings and redesigned the interiors
In 1906 the castle was bought by Joachim Carvalloborn, a Spanish scientist. He restored the castle and re-instated the Renaissance gardens.

I really was in my element in the Villandry gardens. I say gardens because there are six different garden spaces. The decorative kitchen garden with its boxwood, roses, arbours and fountains, the ornamental salons with its boxwood shaped into hearts, spirals, crosses and spirals planted with flowers, the sun garden with the roses and perennials, the herb garden and the labyrinth , with the greenhouse and children's garden.

The vegetable garden has two planting schemes, one in Spring , the other in Summer. The garden uses organic methods . I loved all its details, such as this one on one of the arbours.

This is the love garden , comprising four different squares, Tender Love, Passionate Love, Flighty Love and Tragic Love.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of Loire Valley through my eyes.

Joining Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for Share What You Like.


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Black and White Florals to Welcome 2019

Happy New Year everyone, may 2019 be filled with wonder and joy. My first post of 2019 celebrates my love of wearing black and white and visiting local gardens.The garden is at a National Trust property, Franklin House, on the outskirts of Launceston. I visited here  in Autumn a couple of years ago and promised to come back to see the Summer garden.

There are several of these scarecrows around the garden , someone had a lot of fun making and dressing these guys.

I am not sure what joys a new year will bring but I am open and ready to embrace whatever comes my way. One of the challenges I have set for myself is to explore my creative side and see where this leads me. I have always enjoyed photography and plan to expand my skills further.
Another thing I plan to do this year is to write a journal on a daily basis , so far I have bought the journal but not written a thing, time to start.
As far as my blog goes I plan to finally change to Wordpress and update my layout, keep posted this hopefully will happen soon.
Starting this week I will re-introduce Postcard Wednesday , to show some of my favourites from our travels. My first post will be the Loire Valley in France and the magnificent chateau we visited.

The hair colour is slowly growing out and as much as I find this frustrating I plan to continue as I rather like the touches of silver coming through.
On the clothing front I have committed to buy little, either new or recycled, and then only if it is something I truly love and will wear for many years to come.
I came across this quote recently , " Always dress like it's the best day of your life". This resonated with me and I plan to practice on a daily basis.

Joining Patti for Visible Monday
Jess for Turning Heads Tuesday
Judith at Style Crone for Hat Attack
Catherine At Not Dressed as Lamb
Nancy at Fashion Friday Linkup


Sunday, 30 December 2018

Relaxed Summer Holiday Style

 Relaxed Summer holiday style was in order for today . The weather is pleasantly warm and sunny, just perfect in fact to end 2018 and usher in 2019.

I do hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. We certainly enjoyed our small and relaxed family gathering. 

The weather gods were kind this year and we enjoyed Christmas lunch outside in the garden. John and I were joined by our sons Zac and Callum , our daughter-in-law Sarah ,my sister Lyn and of course baby Harry, who slept soundly for a good part of the day.

I had to include this shot I took of Harry and his proud parents under the rose arch on Christmas Day.

Now that Christmas is done and dusted it is time to focus on the coming year, not that I do New Year Resolutions, always a waste of time in my book. Merely a time to reflect on what is important to me and what areas may need a rethink .
One of these areas is to brush up on my easy casual style - not one of my strong suits. I am one to overdress rather than underdress. Summer here in Australia is always a casual affair , mostly shorts , tee shirts and rubber thongs, not me at all. Today's outfit is my version based on items I have had and worn for a few Summers just not together- the top and pants are Moyuru , so light and comfy , a black Paula Ryan tee shirt under the top , beads and bangle stack, charity shop finds and silver Ara sandals, bought retail locally at a bargain price as they have a flaw.

So excited , this book arrived today, the newly released  Advanced Love by Ari Seth  Cohen . So far I have really only had a quick peek but the photographs and stories are just wonderful. This was a Christmas present from John - quite apt as we have been together for 45 years. I never ceased to be amazed at the speed of things , the book was released on Christmas Eve in the U.S. and arrived here today, now that's quicker than I can get a book from elsewhere in Australia.

Wishing all my kind readers a healthy and happy New Year. 

Joining Patti for Visible Monday, Jess for Turning Heads Tuesday and Nancy for Fashion Friday Linkup.