Freshly Laid Eggs - Keeping Chickens

No matter how many times I make the trip up to the garden I'm still thrilled everytime I open up the hatch on the chicken house and find freshly laid eggs. Our chickens are well into the swing of things now. After a slow start last year we are now regularly getting three eggs a day and it's been a while since I've had to buy any from the shops. I think all of them are laying. I've been told to look at their crests and if they are all bright red then they are producing.

We had major problems with our last batch of chickens and I'm pleased to report that this lot seem happier. There was a bit of feather pecking going on towards the end of last summer so we let them have run of the garden over winter. They are now back in the run as we have started to plant veg and don't want the chickens eating it all up before we've had a chance to pick it!

Vide Greniers (Car Boot Sales)

Vide Greniers are fast becoming our favourite weekend family outing. The arrival of Spring also marks the arrival of vide greniers, and one can easily be found every weekend till late in the year. Some are bigger and better than others and at the bigger ones there is usually food so you can easily spend the whole day there. Though the longer you stay the more you usually come home with!

We each have our own things that we look out for. Reuben is a keen collector of 'fèves', the little ceramic figuerines you find in the Galette des Rois. We always manage to find someone with boxes of their own collections. He is very particular about which ones he collects and has already amassed quite a few. They're a great thing to collect as they're cheap, as little as 20 cents for each one. Jacob, who is also starting to collect fèves thanks to his big bro, likes cars. We don't often leave a vide grenier without a few new (old!) cars, but again they're usually really cheap. 

Andrew can often be found browsing record boxes. He's on the lookout for that one collector record that he can sell for a fortune on Ebay! The only thing is most record collectors know the value of their records and they are usually priced accordingly. But he'll keep looking and you never day. I like pretty things! And there are always pretty things to be found, from scarves and bits of fabric, to trinket boxes and jewellery. At the last vide grenier I came away with this fabric sample (1€) and these two decorative boxes (4€).

The only thing about vide greniers is that it really makes you realise how much stuff people have and how much we could probably live without. It's making me take a good look at what we have in our house and trying to make sure we really want, love, and use all the things we have.

What do you look out for at car boot sales?

Lou Messugo

Book A Month - January/February

I've been reading. That may not seem like a revelation to you but believe me, after reading nothing but magazines since my boys were born it feels good to finally have the time to pick up a real book and read it from start to finish. I've given myself the challenge of a book a month this year and so far, bar one blip, I'm doing well. I'm interested to see where my reading takes me over the year, I don't have a list to take me through the year, I simply finish one and then decide what to read next. I thoroughly miss browsing the big bookstores in London, though when we were last there in February I must admit that the choice available in just the children's section overwhelmed me! Please do comment if you have read any of the books, or if you have any recommendations. I'm no great book reviewer but here is what I thought of my choices for January and February...

The Room by Emma Donoghue
I read this basically because I wanted to see the film but felt like I should read the book first. I shouldn't have. I didn't like the film at all. They changed too much and I didn't think the relationships were as in depth as they were in the book. It was all wrong and it annoys me when you spend an entire film going 'wait a minute, that didn't happen in the book.' The book however I did enjoy. As a mother I liked reading about the relationship between the mother and boy, especially as their relationship is confined in such a small space, it was interesting to see their everyday routines. I also enjoyed reading from the point of view of the boy as well as the adults. Although the subject matter was pretty dark you become engrossed in wanting to know if they ever eventually manage to escape the room. Towards the end I would have liked a bit more from the mother's perspective but understand that overall it was coming from a different angle. Have you read the book or seen the film? What did you think?

Our Islands Story by H.E. Marshall
I was on a roll. Having finished my first book before the end of January I quickly started my second book of the year...Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall. I did like this book but I got stuck and have yet to finish it. As you can see from the cover the book is about the history of Britain. Each slice of history is broken down into very small readable chunks (it is aimed at kids after all.) I think I got stuck at the beginning because it's pretty repetative. So many battles, so many invaders, so many people wanting to rule. Reading the early history of Britain did make me think a little about the world today and all the conflicts that are going on. So many nations were built on battles between people wanting to rule, ordinary people fighting and dying for a country they believed in, and I guess for many that idea of violence hasn't changed. I will get round to finishing this book before the end of the year and will do a full book review when I do!

What have you been reading recently?

Narbonne - The Alphabet Adventures

I'm back! I's been a while, but hey that's life. I'm not going to make any excuses. I'm just going to carry on as if January (when I posted my last post) was yesterday! So here we are with another instalment of The Alphabet Adventures. Our Adventures are not in alphabetical order so here we find ourselves at N for Narbonne. This time last year we were camping in Bordeaux. We thought if we headed South this year it might be warmer, and it was, but it was also a whole lot windier. Take-the-kids-breath-away kind of wind that was pretty relentless all day. We found this campsite just on the edge of Narbonne and having been pre-warned about the wind we decided to rent a mobile home instead of pitch up our tent, which was the best thing we could have done.

We couldn't visit Narbonne without heading to the beach. If it wasn't for the wind it would have been glorious. The kids didn't seem to mind and were soon running in and out of the water as we sat huddled together, backs to the sand storm that was whipping up around us.

The following day at the campsite we wrapped up warm for a game of mini golf and with a dip in the wind in the afternoon we headed into Narbonne to explore the city. We're not a family to turn down train rides and having arrived just in time we climbed aboard for a little tour of the city. Narbonne is not a huge place but it is pretty, and compared to the country life we are now accustomed to it was a welcome city visit. The train took us along the canal, past the cathedral, Les Halles (big indoor market hall) and birthplace of Charles Trénet (a famous French singer. I had no idea who this was when we went past his house but thanks to Google I realise I do actually know some of his songs!)

Whilst driving around we kept passing billboards for Réserve Africaine de Sigean. With a day left of our holiday and the weather not good enough for the beach we decided to go. The entrance price was pretty steep and we could only hope it was worth it...luckily it was. We started off in our car and were quickly stopping to get a better look at zebras, springboks, animals with the most gigantic horns, and for ostriches crossing the road. We tried to not get too worried about the cars that had stopped in the lion and bear enclosures when we had specifically been told to keep the car moving AT ALL TIMES! On foot we were feet away from elephants, giraffes, flamingos and so many peacocks including the most beautiful all white ones. The boys loved it and we recommended a visit if you're in the area.

On our last morning we shopped at Les Halles in Narbonne for local olive oil, honey, and wine, before hitting the road. Our route took us past Carcassonne where we stopped for lunch and had a quick walk around the old city about before heading home. Carcassonne is an amazing place and I can't wait to head back there soon to explore properly.

Have you been on any adventures recently?

Lou Messugo
Seychelles Mama
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