Vivez Bien * Live Well

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Autumn is in the Air

I'm so pleased that Autumn is here. I find that the older I get the less I can tolerate the heat of summer. Autumn suits me so much better. I love the cooler, still days and look forward to the slight chill of the evening air. This morning I gathered a whole bunch of fallen leaves from my plain tree and displayed them under a cloche.

 This combined with an Autumn-coloured beagle on a chair - Autumn decorating done and dusted,  Although I am lusting after the oak leaf bowl from NetDecor.

I came across a picture of this patio above ("stoep" if you're South African), and it reminded me of Autumn. I love the introduction of the terracotta shades mixed with the grey and stone, the weathered wood and wicker, and the succulents which add a little injection of colour. 

On further investigation, I discover that it is the handiwork of Charlottte Daneel (above) of whom I have long been an admirer. I first met her many years ago when I went on an outing with some girlfriends to Le Grange in Franschhoek which she then owned. There was a talk by Gary Searle of St Leger and Viney fame, on caring for linen, which included a lucky draw, the prize being a set of exquisite linen, and I won. Yay! We had lunch on the stoep of the shop which was hosted by Charlotte and I was so impressed by her effortless style. I decided that when I grow up I want to be just like her. 

Since leaving Franschhoek, she has obtained a number of properties in the Karoo which is apparently very close to her heart. Having grown up in the Karoo myself, I feel the same way. Maybe Charlotte and I are soul sisters. This particular property is called Langhuis (Longhouse in English) and it is in the quaint Karoo town of Graaff-Reinett. It is available to rent through Perfect Hideaways.

I love everything about Charlotte's design style. Rustic and casual, with little touches of refinement, and mostly neutrals with lots of texture. 

How could you not feel relaxed, spending a holiday in these environs?

The bedrooms are dressed in calming neutrals and layers of cozy texture. 

Succulents feature in almost every room and are the perfect touch in this semi-desert Karoo environment. 

The lush lawn contrasts with the Karoo landscape in the background. 

I could very happily spend a weekend in these beautiful surroundings. Husband, are you listening?

That's all folks!

Till next time

Sharon x

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Good Getaway

I have been somewhat absent from cyberspace for a while. It often happens during the holidays - I have more time but get less done! Which is not a bad thing really. We did celebrate a wedding anniversary and the twins had a birthday. It's hard to believe my babies are now 15! And when you share your home with 4 teenage boys, you need and deserve a night off every now and then so my husband and I skipped town and went to Franschhoek to celebrate our anniversary - 22 years. Newly weds compared to my parents' 63 years! 

Our first stop was Babylonstoren for lunch. I absolutely love this place. The lunch was delicious and healthy which was just as well because we pigged out at dinner! More about that later....

Quite a few of our friends are at a similar life stage to us, nearing an empty nest and wondering, when their children leave home, if they will still find common ground with their spouses. One thing my husband and I will always have in common is wine, so wine tasting seemed to be a good way to spend the afternoon. The first stop was Rickety Bridge, then Dieu Donne where the views were beautiful and we met group of Belgian tourists and a very entertaining young Finnish doctor who was travelling around South Africa. I didn't take any pictures sadly - too busy tasting wine with our new friends! 

We then checked in at our guest house, Les Chambres which I can definitely recommend. This was our bedroom and bathroom...

The other bedrooms looked just as pretty...

Furnished in a way that is more homely than "hotelly"....

Breakfast was served out here next to the beautiful fountain. 

The dinner venue where we over-indulged was Bon Vivant. The food was really excellent and we had some more delicious wine. The name of the restaurant means "good living" and we felt compelled to live up to the name. 

The next morning we wandered around the market that takes place every Saturday, stopped for a coffee and, of course, no trip  to Franschhoek would be complete without a visit to Masquerade, my favourite shop. It could well become yours too, even if you don't go to Franschhoek because you can shop online!  You're welcome!.

So, all in all, a good getaway and some happy memories to get us through the winter.

Till next time

Sharon xx