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Posts Tagged ‘life in France’

So the results are… IT WORKS!

Just two days after starting my natural weed killer experiment, the weeds had started to die after being attacked by my white vinegar spray. The solution which was 100% vinegar worked better than the 50% diluted solution, but that did also work a little bit but would be better reserved for small and young weeds.

First area - 50% vinegar / 50% water

First area – 50% vinegar / 50% water

Area 2 - 50% water / 50% vinegar

Area 2 – 50% water / 50% vinegar

area 3

It’s going to be a task to keep on top of this though as it rained on the third day and then it was sunny again but I was busy with other things and didn’t keep on top of weeding so they all came back!

We’ve now invested in a better weed sprayer and Mr Piglet is talking about buying something to burn them once they are dead so we can achieve the clean, patio look I am looking for.

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The crazy, wet, warm and then cold weather we have been having over the past few months has been a real treat for the garden with many plants flourishing. Unfortunately, this also applies to the weeds and the wet weather has meant that we haven’t really got round to treating them (what with being fair weather gardeners and having a toddler)…

We have a large gravel entrance/parking area, more gravel to the side and a large gravel terrace at the back of the house. Not my taste but to replace would cost a fortune and to be honest I am still seeking what my ideal outdoor space would be.

Last year we managed to get the local farmer to kill all the weeds but with a toddler and a cat, I am not keen on using dangerous pesticides and have searched the internet for something more natural. I found vinegar as a solution.

In the past I have tried vinegar for many things including cleaning the bathroom, the toilets and also as a way of getting rid of deodorant marks on clothes. I can’t say I have been more than happy with any of the results and the smell of it just gives me a headache.

I have chosen to treat three different areas, the first two areas with a 50% vinegar / 50% water solution and the third area with a 100% vinegar solution:

First and Second Areas – 50% vinegar / 50% water

First area - moss and mixed weeds

First area – moss and mixed weeds

20130630_152604_resized

Third area – 100% vinegar

Side of the house weeds

Side of the house weeds

The weather is warm and sunny, no rain forecast so hopefully the vinegar will work it’s magic and I can report back with the results in a few days time.

Meanwhile, a couple of questions for you:
1) do you have any natural gardening tips to share? Please comment with your tip or link to blog post!
2) any other alternative use for vinegar? Again, please comment with tip or link.
3) have you entered our giveaway? Closing date is 3rd July so just a few days left and it is easy (and free!) to enter (no location restriction either). Simply comment here.

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Tonight Mr Piglet and I are off to watch the trials at the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a work do so we’re not paying for anything (and hence why we’re going!) and I’m really looking forward to it.

We’ll be leaving Little Piglet for the first time ever with her French grandparents and she’ll even be going to a French nursery with my Mother In Law tomorrow. I’ve never left her overnight before and am already feeling nervous…

… but not as nervous as about what to wear to the Monaco Grand Prix!!

A little search on line led me to this page on Pinterest:

whattowearmonacograndprix

I certainly don’t have anything remotely like these clothes and definitely don’t have the figure to pull them off.

I had imagined myself dressed casually but elegantly, probably a bit like this:

next directory

However, a quick look through my wardrobe reveals
– NO clothes that fit me and that even faintly look like anything shown here
– NO time to order anything online (I leave tonight)
– NO shoes that fit which could be worn with such an outfit anyway. Since pregnancy my feet have never gone back to their size 41 (yup big feet) and I am now a size 42 which rules out shoe shopping for me in France.

So I’ll probably go in my black kit; black trousers, black top, black throw-over, black sandals and black sunglasses. Nothing quite like that depressing feeling you get when you realise that you are a frump and only have frump clothes left in your wardrobe.

If you’ve had a baby, gained weight and have ever felt frumpy, please share any tips that you may have to help add a bit of glamour to my outfit!

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In my last post I mentioned I was worrying about school and that I was learning that a parent never stops worrying.

Now I am worrying what English I am teaching Little Piglet. For the moment she only says the odd word in English and French and thankfully she hasn’t said any swear words yet.

But today I realised my English is so rusty that I say some pretty weird stuff and I really need to work on my vocabulary.

Since my husband launched his estate agency last, I have been helping out where I can and quite enjoying myself especially as I used to work in property.

Today I was showing some English speaking clients around and was keen to point out a properties features. Arriving in a room, I pointed to the corner and stated “that’s the nooky cupboard”. My clients burst in to laughter and I was the none the wiser, I thought they weren’t keen on the decoration but couldn’t see anything wrong with it myself other than maybe the colour which honestly wasn’t that bad.

Outside the room, the lady pulled me to a side and quietly told me what “nooky” meant and that maybe I meant “nook and cranny”? She was still in stitches and I was too as soon as I realised the error I had made!

Thankfully these people told me what I had said wrong, but what about all the people in French and in English who have a laugh at my expense and I’m none the wiser?

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Now we just need some sun and warm weather (and maybe a natural solution to ward off the slugs)…

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On the 28th April she blew out two candles. I still can’t believe she is two and am somewhat on denial.

Somehow we’ve progressed from me worrying about her not drinking enough milk to where she’s going to be going to school. Yes. School.

In our part of rural France we don’t have any International schools or Montessori schools and I’m somewhat dubious about the French eduction system and their uncanny ability to break a childs spirit, churning out thousands of carbon copy mini adults all aspiring to be French civil servants.

When I watch my daughters creativity, her talent as an actrice and her ability to get her own way, I see a talented individual where others may see an unruly child.

Maybe I’m looking through rose tinted glasses or maybe not but either way I had fobbed off the school question for sometime as there was no way that she could go if she wasnt potty trained. But here’s the thing: she trained herself one week before her first birthday and is now clean all day long. So the school question is back on and I’ve learned that you need to enroll really early to get a good one which I’m way behind on.

I’m not bothered about her being in the besf school, I’m more bothered about her being allowed to grow and develop naturally but now I’m beginning to get stressed.

They say as a parent you never stop worrying and boy is that true.

How did you cope with the school situation and at what age did your little one (s) start?

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Last Saturday we were invited to a neighourbood get together La Fête des Voisins
which literally means neighbourhood party. This is a traditional get together which takes place all across France albeit later in May generally.

When living in Lyon, this was the type of get together that I’d watch on the television but never see or even hear about in real life, so when we got a note through the letter box some weeks ago I was delighted.

Since moving to the French countryside I’ve not really met that many people and have remained in close contact with my Lyon based friends. It can be quite a lonely existence but the friends I have made more than make up for quantity in quality.

It’s said here that people are wary of foreigners and when I say foreigners, I don’t mean people from other countries but people from other parts of France! So I guess I am a super dooper foreigner for people in these parts!

Anyway, back to La Fête des Voisins. We’d been invited to Chez Gael which was one of our neighbours although I didn’t have a clue which one or where they lived. Our neighbourhood is quite extensive and to walk round it takes me 35 minutes and there aren’t that many houses.

I managed to locate the house quite easily last Saturday by walking down the lane whilst pushing Little Piglet (yes, I’ve decided on a name). I couldn’t but notice the huge marquees outside a house at the top of the hill, so I was guessing that either the party was there or I’d be gate crashing someone’s wedding reception… Thankfully upon arrival my destination was confirmed as being the correct place! Ouf!

I’d been told to bring along something for the aperitif or for dessert and in Mr Piglet’s absence (he was working) I took a long a bottle of white and some crisps. Good job I had Little Piglet in her pushchair as I was confronted with lots of home made specialties from the other guests making my offering look very basic. Little Piglet’s presence more than made up my lack of food however as everyone cooed over her, saying how gracious she is.

Eventually Mr Piglet turned up and it was great meeting all the people who live nearby. It was frequently commented how people were glad that the previous owners had gone and how they were very cold and snubbed people. We chatted and met so many people, I can only remember their faces not their names or where they live so it’s going to be fun over the next few months working out where everyone lives and checking out their names on their letter boxes.

I even met a lady who grew up in our house, it belonged to her great grandmother and her bedroom was Little Piglet’s room! She is very fond of the house and hopefully she’ll accept my invitation to drop in for coffee one day and tell me more about the house and how it was before it was renovated.

After a while the heavens opened and as Mr Piglet had returned to work and I hadn’t the foresight to bring an umbrella or rain cover I was kind of stuck, baby in tow and wondering when the rain would stop so I could run home. General debate amongst the neighbours decided that it wasn’t wise for me to run home in the wet so a car was arranged and a kind soul (the retired village Doctor!) drove us home.

We were made to feel truly welcome and it felt great to finally meet up with our neighbours and it feels even better to be able to greet them when I’m out on a stroll or working in the garden.

Vive La Fête des voisins !

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