How the French ‘La Poste’ celebrates Valentines Day

St Valentines day is a great excuse to show someone you love them and this can only be a good thing.  The more LOVE in the world the better and this collective giving of love must produce some great positive energy in the world.

chanelThe French post office, La Poste, publishes a series of heart shaped stamps every year to coinside with Valentines Day with a design from a renowned designer. Imagine the joy in receiving a letter with a stunning heart shaped stamp designed by Chanel.  They also have had Hermes, YSL & many other couture names gracing their stamps.  It does make the envelope look pretty inviting.

 

 

Yves Saint Laurent used to create a new LOVE image every year, in collage form,and send it to his friends and clients.  Below are some examples from the Gallery at the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco.

ysl 1

 

ysl 2And a few close up details as they are so great and I cannot resit it.  Yves Saint Laurent was a truely creative genius.

 

Treat someone to a colourful hearts Lavender Bag.  They will always cherish this.  See our collection here

 

I hope you have a special Valentines Day, enjoy giving LOVE

Fur: the ecological and fashionable choice. Stay warm in the cold.

Baby it’s cold outside. And what better way to warm up than with the natural warmth of fur.

alberta-ferretti-fall-winter-2012

Alberta Ferretti Fall Winter 2012

Fur has been all over the catwalks this season. It’s the ultimate way to add a luxurious note to your outfit. Designers such as Fendi and McQueen went all out with their use of fur, while designers such as Alberta Ferretti were subtler in their use. Louis Vuitton brought out this wonderful handbag.

mulberry

The Mulberry A/W 12 ‘Where the Wild Things are’ campaign

At Mulberry, they took their inspiration from the book Where The Wild Things Are, and embraced the fur trend. At their AW12 show, Claridges’ ballroom was kitted out with long-haired fur seats, referencing a key textile from the show – Mongolian fur. Mulberry sent some beautiful looks down the catwalk, including lots of shorn fur jackets, layered over chunky knits, and pulled together with gorgeous belts.

fur2

Maggie Smith as as Countess Grantham

So fur accessories are back in a big way. We’ve also noticed it a lot in TV shows Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge and Parade’s End, where the lead characters are often seen wearing beautiful furs.

 

The Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) is often regal and impressive under a mountain of fur shawls.

louis

Louis Vuitton’s fur handbag

 

Fur gets some bad press, but here at Celia Lindsell, we use ecological possum fur from New Zealand. The possum was introduced into New Zealand from Australia in 1837. The possums settled in very quickly, but unfortunately they are very aggressive predators, and soon were destroying much of the country’s natural flora and fauna. The current possum population in New Zealand is estimated at 60-90 million.

The possum is recognised by The World Conversation Unions (IUCN), the New Zealand Government and many other ecological groups as a serious threat to New Zealand’s biodiversity and a major ecological catastrophe; it features in the world’s 100 invasive species lists. As a prolific vector for spreading bovine tuberculosis it is also a major threat to agriculture.

Faced with massive destruction of its huge forested areas, New Zealand is providing a sustainable solution; the humane reduction of the Australian Possum is the only way to resolve this urgent ecological crisis.

The fur we use is wonderfully soft, and perfect for this freezing weather. It’s the ecological and humane fur choice, perfect for eco-conscious fashionistas.

If anyone needs more convincing, have a look at Hannah Betts’ article on the Guardian, where she says that:

 “In an age of “slow”, eco, sustainable fashion, in which heritage has become the watchword, fur can boast an ancestry of 100,000 years. It is a natural, renewable, biodegradable resource. In contrast, most fake furs are made from petroleum-based products derived from non-renewable resources. There is a tradition of fur being handed down and restyled through generations, rather less so with fast fashion substitutes.”

Fur is the ecological choice, and the fashionable choice. So wrap up warm and keep out the cold.

Click here to discover our range of Fur Accessories or click a product image below

Fur Trimmed Mitts

Fur Trimmed Mitts

 

Fur Hat

Fur Hat

 

Fur Evening Bag

Fur Evening Bag

 

 

 

 

 

Fur Trimmed Shawls

Fur Trimmed Shawls

Fur Lavender Pillows

Fur Lavender Pillows

Fur & Silk Collars

Fur & Silk Collars

 

Duchess of Cambridge uses Lavender to help with morning sickness

Poor Kate. Her pregnancy was always going to be the subject of intense focus, but now she’s mid throw of morning sickness.

It must be awful having to attend public occasions feeling sick, and having to put on a brave face.

This exceptional Lavender Honey comes from the southern slopes of Mont Ventoux, Provence.

 

However, I was very happy to hear that the Duchess of Cambridge has discovered the wonderful effects of lavender for treating nausea.

Nausea is a pretty miserable condition. The name actually comes from the Latin nausia, meaning ship. It can be caused by a variety of things: motion, pregnancy, stomach flu, inner ear disorders, emotional stress, chemotherapy and intestinal problems.

These lavender pillows can help alleviate morning sickness.

 

 

There is not a specific cure for it, but the good news is that lavender can help alleviate waves of nausea.The Duchess of Cambridge is an international style icon, and presumably is now an icon for many mothers and mothers to be. It’s been revealed that the Duchess has been eating lavender biscuits to help relieve her morning sickness. And very wise she is to do so.

Lavender is perfect for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, as the smell can help alleviate the condition.

Did you know the scent of Lavender can help relieve car sickness?

Keeping a lavender bag nearby is a good way of dealing with morning sickness on the go. A few drops of lavender oil in a bath, if you have more time, will not only relax, but will also help reduce nausea.

And lavender honey is great for energy when you are on the go.

We have a selection of lavender bags, perfect for anyone who suffers from nausea, even one especially designed for the car. If Kate’s doing it, you can bet this is the latest pregnancy trend.

Say goodbye to horrible nausea with lavender.  Discover the many and varied benefits of Lavender here

Where we make our Lavender Bags

My mother taught me to sew so I was well prepared to create my first lavender bag, and a great many to follow.  However there was always going to be a time when I needed to outsource the manufacturing of my Lavender Collection.

I was apprehensive about creating rising costs, having to commission very large quantities and finding greedy factory bosses.

By chance I was introduced to Jesus Mereno, the managing director of IPSIS, a state aided scheme to help handicapped people into work.  I have to say his name gave me hope.  Part of the IPSIS group is a sewing factory run by Chantal.   I instantly liked her.  She is a ‘yes we can’ lady which is rare to find in France and was happy to start off with relatively small quantities with the belief that these would grow.  The factory employs 40 people with various mental or physical handicaps.  Due to their conditions they are unable to hold down jobs in conventional factories.

 

Chantal is one of the finest people I have worked with.  She is highly efficient, frank and always enthusiastic.  Such a pleasure.  Nora runs the factory floor, has a divine smile and is a stickler for detail and precision.

Their sister factory fill all my lavender bags.  They are 2 kms apart with frequent deliveries between the two.  Elisa 30 is also an IPSIS organization and Noelle is the boss of the factory floor.  She has 14 employees who meticulously weight my lavender, fill the bags and tie the pretty bows.  Elisa 30 has 4 separate divisions in total:  a commercial cleaning service, a motorbike garage, a restaurant and the assembly factory.  In total they employ over 100 handicapped people.

Noelle has worked hard to perfect my collection and nothing leaves the factory before passing before her beady eye.  Once it has left her factory I know it will be perfect.

These factories give opportunities to handicapped people, I for one, take for granted.  They provide the pleasure of job satisfaction, the rewards of being part of team and a very important salary.

Being so close to where I live I am able regularly to visit the factories.  I adore seeing neat rows of my lavender bags all ready to go.  I can tell you it beats getting on a plane to China!

Lavender Locks Rock

Has anyone else noticed the trend for lavender-coloured hair?  No longer the preserve of the ‘purple rinse’, lavender is this season’s most beautiful beauty trend. Chanel embraced the trend at the 2013 Resort wear show. And where Chanel goes, others will follow.

Plenty of the big fashion houses sent models down the runway with pretty purple hair, while celebrities such as Katy Perry and Kelly Osbourne have  both opted for lavender locks this season. It’s a much easier colour to carry off than some of the more ‘outrageous’ colours out there, and it goes with most complexions.

If you’re getting bored of your current colour, then lavender could be perfect for you. It’s flattering, and what’s more, is a great way to inject some more lavender into your life.

In order to dye your hair lavender, you first off have to bleach your hair. Bleaching your hair is the most difficult part of this process, because it can severely damage your hair if it’s done wrong. If you’re feeling at all uncertain, enlist the help of a professional. Paying for the style up-front could cost a lot less than having it fixed later.

But if you can’t quite bring yourself to go the whole way, lavender eyes are a good nod to the trend, as seen at Versace. Although we have been conditioned to think that blue/lavender tones are a mistake (and should be left in the 80s), lavender around the eyes can actually look very pretty.

There are a few tips you might want to follow though to make sure you choose the right shade of lavender for you.

Cool colours like deep purples and lilacs make green eyes look beautiful, while navy or indigo can make blue eyes pop. Lilac and purples look best on brown eyes and bronze-skinned, olive-skinned and black-skinned women.

 

 

How to survive a Summer Heatwave

Having lived in the South of France for over 15 years and am at last getting the hang of how to survive when a heatwave (fr canicule) comes along and you have no pool.  It has been over 40 degrees for the past week and prior to that it has been in the late 30’s for a month.  The challenge to remain sane is strong.  I am working this summer without a break, however even on holiday one needs help.  Below are some tips as to how to cope:

Early mornings:  This is the only time of day it is cool.  I rise at about 6.30am and for the next couple of hours I remain outside in the garden enjoying the sensation of the cool morning air on my skin.  If it is market day I leap on my scooter and head off to town for supplies.  Oh the joy of feeling the cool air rushing past me as I bolt into town.  Need to be home by 9.30am though.

Next up is to close the shutters and windows on the east side of the house as the sun starts to push it’s heat into my kitchen.  It’s bizarre plunging the kitchen into total darkness but this really helps.  With both shutters and windows closed NO heat gets into the kitchen.  Eating is tricky, the appetite goes and the stove and oven are out of the question. I have just discovered the best ready made cold Gazpacho soup imaginable by Alvalle.  I practically drink it straight from the carton all day long.

The same procedure is done with the windows on the other side of the house once the sun starts beating in.  Thank goodness for a very old giant Murier tree I have in the garden which shades much of the house.  Frequent cold showers are a must, wet hair and all.  I have noticed that, before the cold water has cooled me down, by the time it reaches my feet it is hot!  I don’t dry off and redress damp in the lightest cotton flimsy dress I can find.   For the rest of the day outside is out of bounds. If I get desperate for the lack of air inside I head off to the supermaket for blissful couple of hours in full air conditioning – heaven, taking particular time in the freezer department.  The other alternative is a siesta, which by this time I feel I thoroughly deserve.  I take this in the guest room so I dont have to think about the tossing and turning of the night before and the bed is peacefully undisturbed.

It is not until 8pm that I can begin to open up the doors and windows.  It’s still a furnace outside but I now know it will only going to get cooler.  At about 1am I feel the first tinge of coolness on my skin.  What a relief – I feel normal for a while.  I water the pot plants while it is cool, I would give them a heart attack if I did it during the day.  I then decide to face bed. This is where linen sheets really make a difference.  I dont know why but they just feel cooler.  I toss and turn, bash my head with my lavender pillow and eventually pass out to the sounds of cat fights on the roof tops in my hamlet.  You see even the heat is gets to the them.

P.S.  I hope you have noticed how the ice images cool you down, it really works!  Any tips from you welcome.  Thanks

 

 

Drinking Coffee in France

Having been based in France for almost 20 years, and being an avid coffee drinker, I hope I can bring a bit of clarity to this confusing subject.

In France there is not the culture of fresh milk like in the UK and Italy for example.  Fresh milk is always on a tiny shelf in the supermarket and most small shops don’t stock it at all.  A UTH equivalent is sold in great quantities across the country and by English standards of fresh milk is pretty disgusting.  So this is where drinking coffee in France can go terribly wrong.

If a short black coffee is what you are after you are in luck.   Just ask for a café and to the left is what you will get.  This is usually delicious and will give you the caffeine rush one expects.  It is the same as an expresso but many French bar owners have not been to Italy and therefore don’t necessarily understand when you ask for an expresso.  So its a Café, as simple as that.    Or of course a double café for a serious kick of caffeine.

However if you prefer a milky coffee there a various choices.  First if you ask for a cappuccino you are likely to get something that looks like this.  It will have powered milk in it and then topped with fake cream that has come out of a spray can.  For me, being such a milk lover, I find this disgusting.  It does not resemble the original Italian cappuchino at all and is best avoided.  It is sweet and sickly and entirely void of fresh milk or cream.

Or you can ask for a Café au Lait or un Grande Crème (basically the same thing).  Now again 90% of the time in France this is made with powered milk.  There will be no foam on the top and it is sweet without adding sugar.  Such a shame, as again, it invariably is quite revolting and leaves a nasty furry sensation on your tongue.  As with all coffee drinking in France it is totally acceptable to dunk your croissant or toast into the coffee, an acquired sensation and is practiced everywhere.

 

My favourite coffee is called La Noisette.  This is a café with a very small amount of hot milk added which, for me, takes away the bitter taste of a café.  Due to the small quantity of milk it is usually fresh.  La Noisette is the same as the Macchiato you would find in Italy.  I find this perfect after lunch to give a boost to the afternoon.

It is one of my great regrets that, despite all the wonderful street Cafés, France cannot produce a better milky coffee.  I would go as far to say they make the worst milky coffee in Europe all down to the fact that fresh milk is just not part of their culture.  I am 4 hours from the Italian boarder and I cannot tell you the pleasure I get when I stop at the first service station on the Italian side to divulge in what the Italians do best – the great Cappuccino.

 

 

Lavender for the Car

I so loved creating this lavender bag. I loathe the smell of dogs in cars! Some are worse than others of course.  But at some stage or another dog owners have smelly cars.

I have kept lavender bags in my car for years.  Everyone always comments on the wonderful smell in my car.  They can get pretty musty.  Any as far as I know the only alternative are those things you buy in car washes that swing from the mirror and mainly smell of synthetic strawberries.

So here it is  A Lavender Bag for the Car full of the finest Provencal French Lavender.  I found the fabric in America.  It really makes me laugh, all those dogs of various shapes and sizes against a dogtooth background. So clever.

I reckoned also it was important to be able to wash the bag.   So it is closed with press stud poppers, just open up  and chuck in the washing machine.  Clean as new.

The other great benefit of this lavender bag is it keeps everyone in the car calm and relaxed.  Imagine that, something to relax the kids in the car.  Keep the driver stress free too.  And guess what I have just lean’t, the scent of Lavender will help relieve the symptoms of car sickness.  Now mothers, how useful is that!

You will never want to take it out of the car.

Enjoy £16.95 plus P & P

 


Life with Peacocks

What shall I call them?

Yes I have Peacocks.  I did not mean to.  They belong to my neighbours, however 2 of the offspring have decided to take up residence at my place.

I have to say of all the creatures that could come and visit these are pretty high on the list.  There are some cultures who believe they are evil, thankfully not me.  I see them as good luck.  How could you not.  The blue feathers of the male are so electrifying.  Midnight blue, Mediterranean blue, Jade blue, are just some of the colours I could call them.  Oh yes and of course Peacock blue …..

They come into the house if they can.  I got a real jolt the other morning and woke up virtually face to face with one.  They had wandered into my bedroom while I was asleep!  You don’t want them in the house for long, they are large birds and are not house trained.  However they are quite a site walking around the sitting room.

Yes, they have a large cry.  Only once have I heard this near the house, and it gave me big shock but usually I just hear their parents cry in the distance from a few houses down.  Along with the local donkey they make a great melody at night under the stars.

My peacocks are young so it will be a while before they produce feathers like these but I think its is going to be worth the wait.

There are also dogs in my life here too.  They also do not belong to me either, but that’s another story.  All these animal friends.  I love it.

Herbal Teas, Infusions, Tisanes

Freshly made Herbal Teas

Make the Best of Herbal Tea

It has always amazed me that people tend to reach for the  tea bag rather than make their own fresh version of a herbal drink.  Most of the ingredients you can use you will have in the house anyway and the difference is enormous in both taste and benefits.  Below is a selection of ingredients I use to make my own herbal teas.  I suggest you experiment with what suits you best:

Fresh Mint for Herbal TeaMint can be added to hotwater for a relaxing yet refreshing drink.  Add a spoonful of Lavender Honey if you want to add a bit of sweetness.  You can make a whole jug of this infusion and then pop it in the fridge.  It is delicious cold.

 

Fresh Thyme for Herbal TeaThyme  This is one of my favourite herbs to add to an infusion.  It is very soothing for a sore throat and using fresh thyme just makes all the difference.  Leave the thyme in the hot water for about 3 – 4 minutes.  The tea can be drunk 3 to 4 times a day for the treatment of coughs. Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant.  The tea may be sweetened with Lavender Honey which also acts as a demulcent, thereby increasing the tea’s effectiveness. You can also add a slice of lemon or a glove of garlic.  More on both these ingredients later

Fresh Lemons for Herbal Tea

Lemon  The use of lemons in infusions is very common.  They say a cup of lemon infusion is the kindest way to start the day for your stomach.  It is very beneficial to the digestive system.  I tend to cut a lemon in quarters, squeeze one quater into the mug of hotwater and then toss in the segment for extra flavour.  You can add lemon to any of the ingredients above and below and it will always ensure a zingy flavour to your tissane.

Fresh Garlic in Herbal TeaGarlic  If you drop one clove into a hot infusion it will give a very mild taste of garlic to your drink, rather delicious and very beneficial.  Garlic promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation.  Again you can add a clove of garlic to your infusion with any of the above ingredients.

Fresh Ginger in Herbal TeaGinger  For years I had the habit of having a couple of slices of ginger in hot water every morning.  I loathed to start the day without it.  It is one of the most cleansing drinks I have found.   Ginger can help to decrease nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness, surgery and chemotherapy treatments.  It is believed that the herb helps to increase the production of digestive enzymes and acid, which helps to more quickly break down and empty foods from the stomach. This then decreases feelings of nausea and helps to promote regular bowel function.

Fresh Rosemary in Herbal TeaRosemary whether fresh or dried, is a rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.  Just snap off a couple of springs from the garden and infuse in hot water for 5 minutes.  I find this drink very refreshing

 

So go for it, experiement and see what you like.  Use the freshest, wildest herbs you can get your hands on and make the best of what nature has to offer.  Dont worry about all the bits and bobs floating around in the water, they only add to the flavour and remember that if any of your infusions need sweeting use our very finest Provencal Lavender Honey – its divine!