Friday Photo Challenge – bloomin’

What a fabulous burst of colour! Please don’t ask me the names of any of these flowers because I will not be able to tell you. This is when I could do with bringing my mother back. She’d be able to tell us everything we wanted to know and more……

This Sunday is Mother’s Day in France. My mother adored flowers and I would often buy her an extravagant  bunch to celebrate Mothering Sunday. I think these would make a fine bunch of blooms. Don’t you?

Thursday doors #19

Last week I featured a magnificent doorway in Aix-en-Provence from the oldest building in its main thoroughfare, Cours Mirabeau. This week I have a selection of handsome wooden doors from the Cours and its surrounding streets.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

The Sunshine Blogger Award IV

If someone is kind enough to nominate you for an award you should respond, it’s only polite. Plus, of course, it’s awesome getting awards particularly at my stage of life, or indeed at any stage.

This time my grateful thanks go to the gorgeous Priyanka Nair who around two years ago started her wonderful blog. And, in that short time she’s achieved much – just check out her “About” page. Her writing is inspirational and brings that veritable ray of sunshine into our lives. You just know that this determined lady will go far! If you don’t already follow her blog, you should. You won’t regret it.

Award Rules

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you √

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you √

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions √

4. List rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post /or on your blog √

5. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts √

Priyanka’s Questions

1. What is your favorite colour and why?

I don’t have a favourite colour. As a child I loved red because my party shoes were red but nowadays I embrace all colours. Though I would say that I’m not overly fond of blue when it comes to decor and don’t like sleeping in predominantly blue bedrooms.

2. Are you eating for survival or are you a gourmand?

I’m most definitely a greedy gourmand as my waist (or lack thereof) will testify. Also check out my recipes on my “The Musette” posts.

3. Black, red or white grapes?

Not a big fan of grapes, though my other half loves them. I prefer grapes once they’ve been turned into wine: one of life’s little miracles.

4. What is your favourite dessert?

This is much easier. It used to be my mother’s home-made lemon meringue pie. However, for health reasons, I’ve had to give up dairy and hence generally give desserts a miss. There are lots of delicious vegan recipes which I’m happy to embrace but they rarely evoke the same memories as my mother’s truly magnificent lemon meringue pie.

5. What is your favorite pasta dish?

My home-made vegan spaghetti bolognaise. On eating it, my two sisters declared that they didn’t realise there was no meat in it – result!

6. Do you eat fresh salads?

I’ve always loved fresh vegetables and salads and eat them daily. I’m not vegan, as I eat fish, but I do now follow a largely plant-based diet and feel so much better for it.

7. Sweet or spicy?

I like a mix of hot, sweet, sour, spicy and salty – umami!

8. If you are a woman: dress or pantsuit? And, if you are a man: suit or casual?

I’m a woman with a wardobe full of trousers, and very few skirts or dresses. Though, when I first started work, it was frowned upon for women to wear trousers – yes, I’m that old!

9. If you are a woman: high heels or flat shoes? And, if you are a man: Oxfords or sneakers?

Give me flat shoes any day! I have some fabulous pairs of heels, and wear them when appropriate, but love the current trend for athleisure with sneakers.

10. Do you like your birthday day?

Again, when you get to my age, birthdays just show that the sands of time are running out. My bithday is three weeks after Christmas, never a great date for a birthday unless, like me, you were a keen sportsperson, since age is always taken on 1 January.

11. And the last one: have you prayed today?

Not yet.

My Nominees

I follow and enjoy a great number of blogs on a very wide range of topics but this time I’ve decided to nominate those that I’ve recently started to follow.


The Lanes

Chef Nikki Meow







Andy and his other half



Here are my Questions to You

1. How do you bring sunshine into people’s lives?

2. Describe your perfect day

3. How would you keep an energetic 3-year old entertained? Asking for a friend!

4. What’s your favourite meal?

5. Use five adjectives to describe your personal style

6. How do you like to relax?

7. What qualities do you look for in your friends?

8. If money were no object, what would you buy and why?

9. Describe the town where you live and explain why you live there?

10. Use one word to describe how you felt when you read you’d received this award?

11. How would you like to be remembered?

There’s no time limit for your reply but, remembering my great age, please try and make it in my lifetime.  I’m looking forward to reading your answers.

A big thanks once again to Priyanka and have a great day.

Sheree x


Friday Photo Challenge – growing

Today is decidedly unspring-like. Indeed it has been overcast all day. Not entirely unexpected at this time of year, but generally towards the end of May temperatures are a couple of degrees warmer.

We all feel better with a bit of sunshine, it lifts our mood. Must be all that Vitamin D!

Of course it’s the mixture of rain and sunshine at this time of year which helps everything to grow so lushly.

Thursday doors #18

Recent trips to towns such as Montpellier and Aix-en-Provence have greatly added to my stock of doors. This handsome example is on the Cours Mirabeau in Aix, a wide thoroughfare and one of the most popular and lively places in the town. The street has pavements planted with double rows of plane trees. It also divides Aix into two portions, the Quartier Mazarin, or “new town”, which extends to the south and west, and the Ville comtale, or “old town”, which lies to the north with its wide but irregular streets and its old mansions dating from 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

This one is the entrance to the l’hôtel Maurel de Pontevès, also known as the hôtel d’Espagne, located on the  Mazarin side of the Cours. The oldest building in the Cours, built in 1648 by Pierre Maurel, a wealthy cloth merchant. It has two muscular sculptures by Jacques Fossé either side of its front door. The building now houses the Commercial Court of Aix-en-Provence.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

What a lovely surprise!

Typically, I don’t like surprises. I’m a bit of a control freak and like to manage everything in my universe, that way I can deal with anything life throws at me. However, there are exceptions and I’m going to tell you about a very recent one.

I’ve been following the “paintdigi” blog for some time and much admire the work of its owner Ahmed Alozade who presents amazing digital art, along with some beautiful photographs.

This week Ahmed left me a message on my blog:

You are one of my friends and readers most faithful to my site and my art.
To thank you, I invite you to visit the article reserved for you alone, you will find a surprise: “for my premium readers”
Here is the password to view the article:
Welcome my dear friend

Not unnaturally, I was intrigued and visited Ahmed’s page to see three variations of a digital painting. He asked me to pick my favourite, give it a name and in return he would send me a copy of it.What a lovely surprise!

I called the picture below “Reflective” and I’ll explain why.

I thought maybe the painting was a self-portrait, it’s hard to tell because on his blog the only picture of Ahmed shows him wearing glasses. He’s wearing a loose and flowing blue garment, maybe a djellabah though those tend to be lighter in colour. He’s standing in front of a painting of what look like mountains, maybe the Atlas Mountains which run through Morocco? Behind that looks like a map of the world. There’s lots more going on in the picture. For example, does Ahmed have wings? Are those dark shapes at the bottom of the picture more mountains? Anyway, I decided it was a painting of Ahmed thinking of his home country and hence called it “Reflective.” Perhaps Ahmed can explain below in the comments below.

You’ll note that Ahmed has kindly signed and named the painting (and sent me a certificate of authentication) which I’m going to have printed onto high-quality paper, then I’ll frame it and hang it on my wall. Everytime I pass the painting I’ll think about Ahmed’s kind and thoughtful act.

I can’t claim to have a wide circle of acquaintances from the Magreb but the few I know are all like Ahmed, kind and thoughtful.


May’s afternoon tea party with The Little Mermaid

Who doesn’t love afternoon tea? Exactly! Sadly I have to be rather more careful since most afternoon teas are chock full of dairy which is now strictly verboten. However, I have found that many hotels (pictured above) can pull off a vegan afternoon tea with a bit of notice. Alternatively, I can DIY (do it myself – pictured below).

When I first moved into my current apartment, I used to hold physical tea parties for some of the very elderly residents who’d befriended me. They used to love coming round but it wasn’t for the food, it was for the company and a chance to have a chat. I much enjoyed these as the ladies  – sadly none of whom are still with us – had all lived such interesting lives.

Consequently, I’m (finally) joining in with The Little Mermaid’s eighth monthly tea party on her website. This one unfortunately doesn’t include scones with strawberry jam and cream unless, of course, you provide your own. No, the whole point is to encourage an affable exchange of dialogue among the invitees because blogging is more enjoyable when done interactively.

The Little Mermaid’s tea party is the ideal occasion for socialising and making, as well as maintaining the acquaintance of those in the blogosphere. It’s a chance to truly relax and to take some time to recharge one’s batteries by engaging in light-hearted conversation, to be with friends and simply delight in one another’s company. While the first tea party was open-ended, subsequent ones have been topical and this month’s theme is MUSIC, probably not the best topic for me as you’ll see from my responses below.

Here’s The Little Mermaid’s questions:

1. What is your taste in music?

I like lots of different types of music though my beloved accuses me of having the taste of a 14 year old adolescent boy largely because I enjoy Rap.

2. Can you play a musical instrument? If so, what do you play?

As a child I learned to play the descant recorder which had the added advantage that I learned to read music. I have zero musical talent and have no interest in either learning to play any musical instruments or, indeed “sing.” I’ve put that in inverted commas as I cannot hold a note and have a voice like a fog-horn.

3. What is one of your preferred songs?

This feels a bit like “Desert Island Discs,” a UK radio programme where each week a guest is asked to choose eight recordings (usually, but not always, music), a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island. I have no idea how people manage to whittle their choice down to eight, let alone one! Consequently, I’m going with a track from the first album I ever bought in 1972, which was Tapestry by American singer-songwriter Carole King: “You’ve Got a Friend.”

4. Do you have a favourite band or singer?

No, not really though I tend to favour singer-songwriters.

5. How does music make you feel in general?

Like many people, I generally find music uplifting. When I was younger, much younger, I always listened to music while I was studying. I found it helped to drown out background noise. Now I listen to it while driving my car or riding on my home-trainer (bike). In the same way I prefer sport live, I also like live music and attend a number of concerts every year. Here’s an artist I last saw in Monaco – John Newman.

The May 2019 tea party runs until the end of the month, so why don’t you join in?

But before you do, check out The Little Mermaid’s tea party etiquette:

-Etiquette Number 1- Introduce yourself.

Introduce yourself, your blog or even your latest post to the community in such a way that it encourages others to converse with you. Avoid posting just a link as a comment which looks rude and spammy. Be polite.

-Etiquette Number 2- Mix and mingle.

Tea is a communal experience and there it requires that you meet and greet at least some of the other wonderful people in attendance. Participate by actively reading others’ comments and visiting their links/sites.

-Etiquette Number 3- Share & reblog the most recent tea party.

The purpose of the event is to create a platform where everyone benefits from real diversity of thought; and for that we need to find people who genuinely hold different views and invite them into the conversation. So, please spread the word in the blogosphere through reblogs.

That’s not too difficult is it?

So, drag up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa, help yourself to some cake and introduce yourself. There, what could be nicer?

Friday Photo Challenge – nature

This photograph was taken in January 2016 and shows part of Australia’s largest and most beautiful inland waterways, the Gippsland Lakes. A network of lakes, marshes and lagoons covering over 600 square kilometres, separated from the ocean by coastal dunes known as Ninety Mile Beach. Unsurprisingly, bird and marine life thrives here. It’s a magnificent spot.