Sunday, July 14, 2024

Spring and summer


It has been a while, so I thought posting a summary of the last few months would be a nice way to catch up. Hope you have all been happy and well xxx

Spring started with a trip to the nursery. It is always lovely and fun to welcome the new season with flowers and plants.


Outdoor meals are one of the greatest joys of summer and I love to watch the sky going from light to dark blue just before the stars come out. The picture below was taken at 9 pm, it takes quite a while to get dark at the moment!

The newest addition to the MaiTai Collection bag insert family is "Trellis" by Designers Guild. It comes in two CWs: Bleu Royal/Emerald and Framboise/Petit Pois. Available here

In May, I went to England for London Craft Week. I booked a room at Charlotte Street Hotel (also by Kit Kemp) instead of my usual favourite, Number Sixteen, as it was closer to the venues I had bookmarked to visit. My room had raspberry-red fabric-lined walls and beautiful, patterned fabrics throughout. I loved the red/pink and turquoise/teal color scheme—so soft, warm,  happy and welcoming.

Charlotte Street Hotel drawing room

I met up with Melissa White, and we had such a great time exploring various venues together. (I wrote about Melissa in quite a few previous posts, as she taught the frame-painting workshop a few years back, which subsequently unleashed my wall art creations. She also created the artwork for many of my  beloved cushions, fabrics, and wallpapers by Kit Kemp, Andrew Martin, and GP&J Baker.)

My favorite craft demonstration was at Chelsea Textiles . They brought in one of their master embroiderers from India to give a demonstration on punch needle embroidery. I've never seen this technique in person, but I have often tried to figure out how the embroidery was done on the Chelsea Textile cushions I have (the first one is from 25 years back, but I've added quite a few since)!

In the evening, we met at the John Smedley flagship store, where Melissa gave a talk about the floor-to-ceiling mural she created for the knitwear maker's 240th anniversary. Sections of the artwork were displayed in the windows and also featured on sweaters and a silk scarf. You can read more about the collaboration here.  

Spring and early summer were a peony feast; I only wish the season lasted longer.

For May, I stitched a Lily of the Valley onto a natural linen napkin. I love how well it works with my dinner plate. Incidentally, the plate is one of Melissa's designs (Tall Trees for Kit Kemp)!

A couple of weeks ago, when walking the dogs, we had an amazing encounter: a tame wild boar mingling peacefully amongst white Camargue horses. I was later told that his mother had been killed by hunters and that he had adopted the horses as his family.

He came to say bonjour to Wiener and Roley

In early May, we went to the lovely Fontenille Hotel and Vineyard in the Luberon for my birthday. I discovered it when searching for a dog-friendly place not too far from us. It was a last-minute decision, as the weather forecast couldn't decide if it was going to rain or not. As it happens, it was a gorgeous day. The food was beautifully presented, and the grounds and views were just perfect!

While visiting a Tesla showroom, the boys took the opportunity to ride a cyberquad. Wiener looks as if he's getting impatient and trying to honk the horn to get me out of the way!

Last year, we had a couple of Wi-Fi outages, so we decided to go with Starlink because it provides direct internet from its own satellites. The dish arrived within days of ordering, and the set-up was incredibly quick and easy. The video below shows a test we did after unboxing; it was so cute to watch how the dish connects to its satellites. It is now mounted on the roof, and we've had perfect internet since. If you live in a remote or rural area, or if you don't have a strong cable or fibre connection, it is definitely worth checking out Starlink.

Morning light on my new Agapanthe border

The heads are absolutely enourmous!

Another lovely encounter on a walk ... a newborn foal with his mother. I posted this on Instagram on Mother's Day.

By now, the summer heat has arrived, and so we are having mostly salads or gazpachos in the evenings.

This year's lavender workshop was just as fun as the olive-themed one last year. I still have places available for both workshops in the autumn here

I may not have mentioned it before, but I've been doing yoga for almost two years. I practise daily by myself and once a week with a teacher. I can't recommend it enough; it benefits your body and mind tremendously.

If you'd like to find out more about the people, places and products mentioned in this post, you can follow these links (as usual, they are not affiliated, sponsored or paid for)

in alphabetical order

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Workshop #2 - Lavender theme

 It's been a year since I announced my first workshop. I'm so glad I did the project, as I had the most wonderful and fun times with the ladies who participated. Everyone has been a star, and it was so much fun spending a day creating things together and getting to know each other in person.  I'm particularly proud that everyone got the hang of the embroidery, even those who have never done any before!

I am excited to announce my second workshop today. The theme is lavender, and it includes patisserie, embroidery and scarf-tying.

I hope you like the new theme, and I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting many of you in person!

You can find the details below. To book, please click here.

Dates: April 27 and May 11, 18 and 25, 2024

 (The previous "Autour de l'olives" workshop can still be booked as a private class; details here)


We'll make lavender-flavoured macarons and madeleines, and you'll learn how to embroider a lavender sprig onto a table napkin. The class ends with a scarf-tying session.

The workshop begins at 10 am in the Languedoc (between Nîmes and Montpellier) and finishes at 4h30 pm. 

We start the workshop at 10am by getting together over tea or coffee. We'll then make macarons that we'll have for dessert at lunch. 

Once we've made the macarons you'll learn to embroider a decorative lavender sprig onto a linen or cotton dinner-size napkin. The embroidery stitch is adapted for beginners, and there is no worry about not having enough time to complete your creation because you will take the embroidery hoop and needle with you, as well as the thread required to finish your napkin at home. 

We'll have quiche with salad, fresh baguette, lovely French cheeses, refreshing beverages and local wine for lunch. For dessert, we'll have the macarons we made in the morning. Depending on the weather, the lunch will be alfresco in our tranquil courtyard or the lovely MaiTai Collection showroom.

After lunch, we'll be making lavender-flavoured Madeleines.

The workshop finishes with a scarf-tying tuition. Please bring a couple of your favourite scarves so we can explore various ways to wear them and how to showcase specific parts of their design. You can also ask for how-tos on specific knots. We finish the workshop by tasting our freshly baked Madeleines over coffee or tea.

Workshop kitchen


You'll take home:

• a dinner-size napkin with your embroidery and a kit that contains all necessary items to finish your creation at home (embroidery hoop, needle and floss).

• a sachet with the Macarons and Madeleines you made

• a surprise gift

What is included

• Tuition and all work materials used for the embroidery and cooking class. 

• Lunch and beverages

• Your creations and gifts, as mentioned above

• Aprons will be provided

• You'll receive a PDF with all the recipes

What is not included

• Transport

What to bring

• Please bring  a couple of your own scarves for the scarf-tying class

Group classes

The regular/group classes are limited to 4-5 persons.

Private classes

The workshop can be booked as a group lesson or private class (1-4 people).  The dates for these are flexible, and we'll arrange them via email after the booking is completed. The private classes can be held in English, German or French.


• Group classes: English  

• Private classes: English, German or French (please let me know which language you prefer) 

Travel Infos: 

Location: a small village in the Languedoc (you will receive the details after completing the booking)

By train (45min drive to the nearest train stations): 

• Nîmes, if you are coming from the North or East 

• Montpellier, if you are coming from the West or South 

A high-speed train connects Paris with Nîmes in the South of France; the travel time is 2h50. 

By air: The nearest airport is Montpellier (45min by car from the workshop's location)

Nearby favourite hotel (45 min by car): Plage Palace here

Other hotels (within 10min by car): Château de Pondres click here and L'hôtel Estelou, Sommières here

Nearby Chambre d'Hôte/Gîte (within 10min by car): Orange, Sommières here

Trip suggestions

Why not combine the workshop with a trip to the South of France and visit several places at once? Discover my favourite hotels and restaurants in Aix-en-Provence, the Camargue, Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea ... all within a 45min -1h30 drive from us. Click here or on the image below to find out more! End your trip with a visit to Paris ... whizz there in 2h50 with the TGV from the train station in Nîmes.