Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lost in France ... and a Giveaway

We had a wonderful time in France.  The weather was beautiful and the house we stayed at was way beyond our expectations. 

The day we got to France we went to Mont St Michel.  This place is amazing.  The last time I went there was when I was about 11 or 12 - so about 20 (ahem 32/33) years ago. 


You climb up winding streets to the Abbey at the top and just look out across the beach surrounding it and the countryside beyond.  Tiny little streets and narrow lanes.  Mont St Michel was every bit as exciting as I remembered and my kids loved it.


After that we went on to stay at our hotel at Saint Malo on the northern coast.  The hotel was right on a little side street amongst beautiful old houses and backed right onto the sea front.

The next day we drove further south to 'our house'.


The house and grounds looked very similar to my house back home - I wish!



The owners called our house 'the cottage'

If this is a cottage I live in a garden shed!

Their manor house was built for King Louis XIV's mistress, Catherine de la Valliere and the nearby area was named after her - how cool is that?!


What a house. 

The pool was ours and we spent most days here other than a few day trips.
It was just lovely to get up, have a lazy breakfast then walk across the lawn to our pool.  My children spent so much time in the water they are still shrivelled!

The manor house and the cottage had 320 acres of grounds which included a cherry orchard behind our cottage and woods where 15 or so deer lived.  My husband saw deer a couple of times but I was still in bed when he did (around lunchtime I think!).  One deer did stumble through some bushes while we were eating al fresco one evening but scarpered as soon as he saw us so I did see a deer but really it was just a large shape moving fast out of the corner of my eye!

We went to an amazing zoo which had grizzly bears and polar bears and it was so amazing to see them.  The enclosures for the animals were really big and we all, especially the children, really had a great time there.  I won't bore you with animal pics you'll be glad to know!



The River Loire at Tours - at first glance driving into this city it looked quite nice but it wasn't anything special really and considering how fantastic the river looked there was rubbish everywhere plus a ton of drunks - nice!  I won't hurry there again.  Who needs the rough guide when you've got me?!

To get anywhere we avoided motorways as much as possible and took the country roads.  We drove through the most gorgeous little towns and villages - some so small that you drove straight in and out and weren't even mentioned on the map.  France really is beautiful and crumbling, falling down houses, which would look so grotty anywhere else, just manage to look so gorgeous here.

I was in my element - shutters everywhere and loads of them in the most gorgeous shades of greeny blue.




I rarely get a photo with both my children smiling or laughing at the same time.  This just goes to show how much they enjoyed themselves.



My niece in a bush - probably looking for something to eat as this child never stops eating!

AND NOW...

for the GIVEAWAY


I was thinking of you all and bought a few things which I really liked - hopefully you will like them too..

YOU HAVE THREE CHANCES TO WIN:

1.  Leave a comment - one entry

2.  Become a follower (leave a comment letting me know you've become or already are a follower) - one entry

3.  Blog about this giveaway or mention it on your sidebar (another comment) - one entry

GIVEAWAY OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT (UK TIME) ON SUNDAY 11th JULY

Breakdown of prizes:

(all greyish as this is very in in France)


twig heart
set of 6 pegs with little blackboards - lots of uses
little zinc magnet
lovely small footed bowl

single hook
and lastly a silly little bit of frou frou - a bling Eiffel Tower mobile phone charm

Winners will be drawn at random on Sunday 11th

Good luck all
xoxox

77 comments :

  1. Terrific loot! Please count me in!!! Would love to have these pretty things!

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  2. What a gorgeous giveaway! Your photo with the gray and blue shed doors in wonderful.

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  3. I am already a happy follower.

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  4. Oh wow Sam! What an amazing giveaway - I'd love to win any of those gorgeous little pieces you bought on your travels. So glad you enjoyed your time away - France is such a beautiful, character filled place. The cottage you stayed in looks amazing!! x

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  5. I'm already a follower of your wonderful blog x

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  6. I have always wanted to go to Mont St Michael! So pretty in pictures.

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  7. I loved reading your post Sam! Our house is gearing up for a month of the Tour de France. My hubby is a cyclist and our whole house stops for 4 weeks whilst the race is on, we love it! I love the cycling, but I love looking at the french countryside and villages more!! Your holiday 'cottage' looks amazing!!!! It is so great to hear you all had such a lovely time. I hope you will share some more of your holiday with us, pretty please! I would love to enter your gorgeous French giveaway, thank you!! ~ Tina xx

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  8. I am a very happy follower as you know:) ~ Tina xx

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  9. Me again, I have popped your giveaway on my sidebar and will also mention it in my next post. Hope you have a fabulous weekend Sam ~ Tina xx

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  10. Sam, what an amazing time you had! The "cottage" you stayed in and everywhere you went was just amazing! Except for the place with the drunks...yikes!

    And thank you for the opportunity to win such beautiful treasures!!

    Kat :)

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  11. I am a happy follower and I will put your giveaway on my Facebook page!

    Kat :)

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  12. Would love to be included in the giveaway! Great blog...this post brought back a few memories...thanks!

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  13. ...and now I have shared it on my Facebook page...http://www.facebook.com/mermaidcreek

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  14. Fabulous goodies (not to mention the holiday!!!). Please count me in!

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  15. What a great holiday & a beautiful "cottage" that you stayed in, very nice!!! Im a new follower & love your blog!
    Cheers

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  16. Sounds like you had an amazing time. It looks so beautiful and I hope I can make it there someday!

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  17. Hi Sam. Well that looks and sounds like that was the most wonderful time, and what a very generous and beautiful giveaway.

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  18. I'm already a follower, of course.

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  19. And your giveaway is now happily on my sidebar where it looks pretty spesh!

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  20. Sounds like you had the most amazing time..I would love to enter your giveaway. I am a new follower and am also having a giveaway so come on over. Have a lovely weekend Kym

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  21. Love the tour of your trip to France! Also love the pictures of your own home....

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  22. I just became a follower ... looking forward to your future posts :)

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  23. Yoo Hoo -- I figured out how to post this on my FB!!! Yea! Now I'm crossing my fingers to win one of these charming French gifts ....

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  24. What a fun trip, we are dying to get to France, particularly the Normandy/Omaha Beach area. Guess I should get in shape for a climb to Mont St Michel, huh? Count me in for the giveaway please.

    Janet@Housepeepers

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  25. oh such beautiful photos and beautiful treasures! i'm glad you had a good time! would love to win to have a touch of france at home : )

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  26. If you took the turning for the A20 you'd eventually end up my old home in France. I found you through A Tranquil Townhouse and would love to be included in your giveaways because we've had to leave all our lovely French treasures over there. Fabulous blog too.

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  27. I have been a follower for about two months or so now...really enjoy your blog. One of the loveliest trips my husband and I took was a drive from the south of France up to Paris. Lyon was one of our favorite stops...beautiful city and beautiful hotel. Welcome back.

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  28. love the photos you took while in france!
    i have been to paris once but want to go
    back and visit! there is so much to see there : )

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  29. i'm now a follower
    and would LOVE that bowl
    thats part of your giveaway!!

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  30. Hi Samantha,
    Wow this is such a generous giveaway that you are hosting. I would love to be included in it.
    thankyou,
    Donnaxx

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  31. Hi again Samantha,
    This is a separate comment to confirm that I am a follower of your lovely blog.
    Donnaxx

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  32. Love the photos and 'the cottage'! Wow.

    What a sweet giveaway ...count me in!

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  33. I am following you on GFC. Thanks!

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  34. Hi Sam, just found your lovely blog via Tina at Rubies Place and really enjoyed your holiday post. Please count me in for your lovely give away!

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  35. Now your newest follower! ;-)

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  36. Mont St. Michel is fabulous....we were there about ten years ago and we would love to go back and stay right on the property for a night or two...your children are adorable...and your home looks wonderful...I have to go back and see all your pictures....Sue @ Rue-Mouffetard

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  37. Oh and I did become a follower!!

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  38. What a lovely way to meet. I've been introduced to your lovely site by Tina @ Rubies Place. Your badge is now firmly placed on my sidebar and I'm looking forward to following all that you share in this lovely space.
    Au Revoir,
    X Felicity

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  39. PS So just to clarify, I've mentioned you gorgeous site and giveaway in a post, the giveaway is in the sidebar and your button is there too and I'm now a very happy follower....too much? I don't care I L.O.V.E this giveaway!
    F

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  40. Hi Sam, I am a new follower and loving every read.

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  41. New follower from Canada. Sounds like a lovely holiday.

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  42. What a lovely 'cottage'! How did you find it? It is so nice to read about a family that takes their children on 'adventures'! Ours loved going to castles and churches and now as adults are happy little travelers.

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  43. Oh Sam I am so jealous! IT looks like you had a fabulous time and that cottage is amazing. I have read so many novels based on Louis XIV and I would love to see the places in real life! Please count me in for your lovely giveaway! xx

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  44. I am already a follower of your lovely blog. xx

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  45. I have posted a link to your giveaway in my sidebar! xx

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  46. love to enter your giveaway...the holiday looks amazing...can only wish!!

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  47. Sounds like a great holiday! I'd love to participate in your giveaway!
    Jana

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  48. I'm a follower of your wonderful blog!
    xo,
    Jana

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  49. What a beautiful home you have and I just love your blog! I found you through Twig:). Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!!

    ~Julia

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  50. I am also your newest follower!

    ~Julia

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  51. What wonderful, fabulous finds! I've just become a follower and would love to enter your giveaway - regardless I shall be reading avidly from now on!
    Mrs. Sutton

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  52. Love the give away and love your blog. I'll be following you@!

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  53. I just found your blog and am home sick with a cold so am planning on spending the day catching up!

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  54. ps thank you for your gorgeous giveaway!

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  55. Just today I have discovered Blogs and I am so excited. I love interiors and through one Aussie blog The Hiuse that AM built I have discovered your beautiful one.......truly wonderful!

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  56. Count me in, that footed bowl is lovely. Thanks for the chance!

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  57. Dzień Dobry

    Wpisuje się Ada,która z e-mailem
    tutaj wpada.

    wara@poczta.forward.pl
    ADA

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  58. Hi Samantha, I'm a new following and I found your gorgeous blog via the lovely Nellie at McCarthy Designs. Your trip to France looks amazing! We are hoping to go next year for our 15th Wedding anniversary and my husband's 40th. In the meantime I am getting my fix watching the Tour de France!! Please count me in for your very generous giveaway and I will definitely mention you at my blog also! Have a lovely day :)
    Christine x

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  59. I've just started following your blog it is "DIVINE"..France---You lucky girl!!!

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  60. Hi Samantha, Your trip sounds fantastic and the buildings are beautiful... I have been watching Le Tour on TV and the scenery is amazing!
    I love all your giveaway goodies, thanks for the chance to win!
    Flick :)

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  61. I am also a follower!
    Flick :)

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  62. Hi, I'm Lara and so glad to have found your blog via Tina's blog. :) I am enjoying your France photos and can't wait to check out more of your place!
    Lara

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  63. Just signed up to follow you! :)
    Lara

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  64. And... I just added this to my sidebar to help spread the word! This is an incredible giveaway.. my fingers are crossed! :)
    Lara

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  65. Happy to be a new follower!

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  66. I'm a new follower myself and love love love all the beauty in your giveaway stash.

    :) Laura

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  67. Inspiring blog !I enjoyed.Now I am so glad as well to b a follower.Enjoy the weekend!! Fun Finds 2 U...Chickie from chickievintagechic.blogspot

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  68. I was in France at Christmas (my mother-in-law lives down south), so this was lovely to see and bring back memories. For some reason I have only been in France in winter (I live in Australia) so this was a nice change for me. Thank you for your memories and for stirring mine.

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  69. Sounds like an awesome holiday!!!! Just have to enter the giveaway..I love those twig hearts yet I am yet to see them in any shops around here!

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  70. Fabulous blog.

    Just became a follower too!

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  71. I just love reading your blog! Thank you for sharing all of the beautiful inspirations with me.

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  72. Oh just found your blog & missed your giveaway dead line! Say la vee!!!
    :))) Your trip to France looked fabulous I wish I lived closer to Europe sometimes!! Enjoy finding your winner!! :))

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