Monday, September 1, 2014

GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi Review

This past summer I have read some great books and GI Brides is without a doubt one of them.  I adored the story about a group of women who left England to marry American soldiers.  The story was not all love and romance.  Imagine being a young bride that has left London for a foreign land.  I am sure it was a very intimidating experience for many.

The book provides the story of four women along with a history of the war brides.  Yanks as they were known in England provided the young women, chocolate, stockings and excitement in a time when London was under the bombs of the German.  For some coming to the US was a new adventure and a chance to escape England.

Two of the women had good marriages while two of the women found themselves in a poor situation.  I found myself rooting for all the young women.  They all had their own reason for marrying and American and I wanted all of them to have happiness even it was not to be.  Author Calvi is the granddaughter of one of the women.

I enjoyed the format to the book which gave every women their own chapter as we rotated through the lives of these women from them being single to being courted and eventually coming to the U.S.  The book had some humorous movements as the women adapted to the cultural differences between England and the U.S.  Telling someone you want to be "knocked up" has a different meaning in both countries.

The authors of the book travelled throughout the U.S. to interview 60 women for the book.  They did justice in telling the story of the British brides and the story of these 4 young women.

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this amazing book.  The authors are touring in the U.S. starting tomorrow.  If you could listen to them speak I am sure you would enjoy the evening.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Red Rover Tea Tree Oil


A few months ago a friend of mine got me interested in making home made facial treatments.  I must confess, I love beauty products.  I am a huge believe of cleansing and moisturizing, exfoliating and hydrating.  I have often wondered what is in the products and what I could make at home.  You can make almost any facial mask at home...with good results.

Recently I was given the opportunity to review Red Rover Tree Tree Oil.  With every purchase of the tea tree oil you receive a recipe book detailing all the uses for tea tree oil.

Before reading through the recipe book I never realized there were so many uses for the oil.

The substances found in tea tree oil are useful in the fight against bacteria, fungus and viruses, which is why it is helpful in fighting illness and cleaning germs around the home and office. Some consider tea tree oil a miracle ingredient because it has proven effective for the following modern uses:
  •   Skin care
  •   First Aid
  •   Household cleaning
  •   Hair care
  •   Aromatherapy
  •   Feminine care
  •   Chronic illnesses
  •   Dental care 

    Who knew that tea tree oil could be used for cleaning your oven.  This I am going to try.  For now I have stuck with the more traditional uses.  I made a hand scrub which I loved.  The beauty of the tree tree oil, is that you only need a few drops.  The bottle is going to last me a lifetime as I try the different apothecary recipes.   The other factor I love about the oil is the scent.  It has a strong scent almost like eucalyptus.  I like the fresh scent that it has.  

    Here is a recipe for the scrub.


    What You Need:
    Fortifying Citrus Foot Scrub
    page31image1696
    •   1⁄2 cup medium-coarse sea salt
    •   1⁄4 cup Coconut or jojoba oil
    •   5-10 drops Apothecary Extracts Tea
      Tree Oil
    •   1⁄2 tsp. lime zest
    •   1⁄2 tsp. grapefruit zest
    •   Large clean jar with lid
      Mix It: Combine all ingredients together until perfectly blended. 

    • For anyone looking for a healthy fun alternative to beauty treatments or cleaning around the house, Rover Tea tree oil is your product.  

    • I received my product from Tomoson in exchange for my review.  






I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Port Navalo, France

 On my last visit to Brittany, I returned to Vannes.  The year before I had tried to stay in a bed and breakfast however the one I chose was fully booked.  This time I  was in luck, Maison de la Garenne had space.  The Madame was a lovely lady, very friendly and full of information.  She suggested to me that I take a day trip out to Port Navalo on the Gulf of Morbihan.  I spent my day around the Gulf in little towns.  Unfortunately I did not have the time to take a ferry around the Gulf as I was returning to Paris that evening.
 I must say that I truly enjoyed my day on the Gulf.  One of the reasons was because of a purse I purchased.  The purse is truly gorgeous and really only cost me a little bit of money.  It is one of those finds that everyone comments on and I tell them that I purchased it in a little store somewhere in France.  I love being on the water and my entire day was spent along the Gulf.  In Port Navalo, I strolled through the town and was utterly delighted to find these homes.

 There is something to be said for blue shutters and doors and lace curtains.  I must confess that I spent my time peeking into the various backyards.  There were all sorts of finds behind the gates.
At some point I bought myself a baguette and pastry and sat along the water enjoying my lunch.  Should I ever return to Brittany I would definitely make sure that I had time to take a ferry around the gulf.

This is my contribution to Dreaming of France hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Markets of India


 This past weekend I went and saw The Hundred Foot Journey.  I loved the movie.  For me the movie brought together three of my great loves, France, India and food.  The reason I even knew about the book is due to my love of India and France.  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I had the pleasure of meeting author Richard Morais many years ago and when he discovered my three loves he told me about his book.

Ten years ago, I found myself in India.  I adored the country.  I was there on a photography workshop and while the leader of that tour left a lot to be desired, the photography was amazing.  I have never been to a country that was so colourful and diverse.  The people lived life on the street.  When I was in India all of my time was spent in Rajashtan.
The photos in this essay where all shot in Varanasai, home the holiest of the seven sacred cities for Hindus.  Located on the banks of the Ganges River it was very spiritual.  
 The markets of India were beyond fascinating.  They truly offered up a feast for both the eyes and the stomach.  While the markets of France are very orderly, India's markets are chaotic and energizing.  The market just spills onto the street.  Vendors will set up on the road.

 In another life I would love to live in India for a period of my life.   Can you imagine the dishes you could create with these vegetables?
 In addition to the produce I found the people to be absolutely enticing.  While many cultures do not want you taking their photos, Indians loved to have their photos taken.  In almost every photo look at the smiles and the pride in the faces of the people.
 I also liked how they still used the old scales with weights.
 Can you imagine passing the days eating, cooking and practicing yoga.  I cannot think of a more peaceful existence.
This is my contribution to Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads and Saturday Snapshots.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Colour of India

In tribute to The Hundred Foot Journey, this is a shot I took in an alleyway in Varansai, India.

This is my contribution to Orange You Glad it is Friday, hosted at Life's Sweets and Spices.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Wharf of Chartrons Book Review and Giveaway








Book Synopsis

A family linked by wine and old rivalries sets out for new territory, during the turmoil of World War I. David and Gaspard are cousins, bonded by family and their allegiance to their winemaking heritage. Parting with tradition and moving their vineyards near Bordeaux threatens to upset the family peace, but that’s only the beginning of their trouble. Short on funds, they are forced to team with a wealthy but morally corrupt engineer—though perhaps at a cost too high for the cousins.  Despite the odds, David and Gaspard succeed in making a successful wine, Clos-Marzacq.  Along the way, they each fall in love, though not always in the best of circumstances. And now, to cement their successes, the cousins need to secure a stronghold on the Wharf of Chartrons, seen as the gateway to selling in England and America

MY REVIEW

I would never describe myself as an oenophile just a francophile, but I always seem to enjoy books that center around vineyards, winemaking and wine.  Having had spent some time in the Bordeaux region I really enjoyed this book.  I felt that I could identify with the content of the book.  

The book was originally written in French.  I must confess I am not a fan of translated books.  I throughout that the translation was good and while there were a few occasions were the wording was a little odd it did not detract from the story line.  

David and Gaspard are cousins that leave their family homes for Bordeaux to plant their own vineyard.  While they are young and ambitious the two cousins seek their own place in the wine industry.  David is content to work the land and be connected with the soil, while Gaspard is introduced to high society and the world of political connections.  Their love for wine is a result of their grandfather's passion.  

I enjoyed the story of how the young men develop their vineyard  and set out to break into the tightly knit wine society in Bordeaux.  The book also offered insight into France's wine industry and how the war impacted wine growers.  

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely,  Author Jean-Paul Malaval wrote a book that will transpose you back to a different era.  The Wharf of Chartrons is a continuation of The Winegrowers of Chantegrele a book that I am going to seek out.  

Jean-Paul Malaval was a journalist before turning to a career as a writer of local photography books and later fiction.  In 1982, he began what would become a long-term relationship with the publishing house Éditions Milan, in Toulouse.  To date, Jean-Paul Malaval has written ten works of historical fiction, mainly based in the region where he grew up, the Corrèze, which is near the Dordogne. Five of his ten novels have been published by Presses de la Cité.  He is loyal to his home region and has been mayor of the town of Vars-sur-Roseix in Corrèze since 1995.

GIVEAWAY:  

This giveaway is open internationally, one print book for someone in the U.S. and on ebook for someone anywhere else in the world.   Thanks so much to France Book Tours for organizing this great tour.  To enter the giveaway go here.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Parasailing in Chamonix France

 A number of years ago, I spent some time in Chamonix.  Before I arrived I knew that I wanted to parasail in the alps.  You have to understand, I am very cautious.  I would never sky dive-the risk seems too grave.  Who jumps out of planes.  Parasailing, it seemed perfectly sane and reasonable to me.  My husband, hates heights.  He never thought that I would go through with it.
 So of course he agreed to go.  He assumed that one the way up the gondola I would chicken out and he would not have to go through with it.  I am not sure at what point he realized that I was serious and not even considering chickening out.
 The scenery in the French alps is just breathtaking.  The alps are gorgeous.  We were fortunate to have had a lovely summer day.  The skies were clear and blue.
 How did I enjoy parasailing?  I loved it.  Running of the cliff like a lemming was a little strange.  I am not one to run off a cliff.  My husband laughed and said that my guide just shoulder checked me off the cliff.

 When you are in the air with your guide, he gave me a great overview of the land.  He also explained to me that we would find thermal pockets and could continue to stay afloat instead of descending.  For me this was all I needed to hear.  While my husband descended as quickly as possible, I stayed up as long as possible.

My other memory of Chamonix...this amazing strawberry mousse that was as light as air.

This is my contribution to Dreaming of France, hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog.
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