Top 5 vineyards who do Christmas right!

how many people have asked you what you / your kids/ your whoever want for xmas? I mean seriously guys. I’m still not over the fact summer is over and now what? Christmas. can we PAUSE for a second??? I don’t want to do xmas shopping at all right now. Because Im not sure what I want actually in this crazy COVID WORLD. Anytime I am dreaming about a place, an adventure, someone is shutting a freakin’ border. no you’re right. I did not really plan anything. but of all places, we did want to go surfing in Morocco and now we can’t. also because we need to save a little more. France really pays way less than USA. exactly how they describe it in this unbelievable TV show featuring our old life with literally all of our best friends from Portland.

ANYWHO

this was my venting minute, thank you for listening. I always like to complain a bit so then when I am happy shiny again it seems so unexpected. so focusing on local, close, easy and safe, here is a tour of the best of vineyards offering magical experiences for xmas! GO please go! they do need you before someone shut them off again! now more than ever there is no time to be lazy my friend. you got to enjoy every damn piece of this weird, weird life.

FIRST (because I am dragging my whole fam + friends / meaning two families total :)…

1- NOEL AU PEY BLANC! starting at 11am

so fun! they offer kids workshop, so parents (and normal life people) can enjoy a wine tasting, catered food and music.

2- WEEK END FEERIQUES AU DOMAINE DE MANVILLE

Every week end in December, le Domaine is exploring Christmas through art (4-5th of December), Music (11-12 of December) and horse-riding sleight (18-19). All of which can be accompanied by hot cocoa and delicatessen.

3- Marché de Noël au Domaine Château Henri Bonnaud!

if you havent found all your gifts yet, you will probably find some hidden local gems there! I’ve never been but heard it’s gorgeous!

4- Noël a Beaupré

We stumble upon this insanely stunning property (from 1739!?!?!) with my mother last Sunday and discovered that they were planning a ton of fun events for the month to come. All around food & wine pairings, to finish with a local gift market to promote their talented neighbors! By the way I love their little delicatessen store, they have such a good choice of food and wine. a must!

5- Noël au Domaine de Fontainebleau (En Provence! not the one near Paris)

literally everything will happen within a few hours there. visit, kids workshops, market, wine tasting… you NAME it. this used to be in my family for many years so I cannot wait to go back and show it to my kids all beautiful for xmas!

voila!! Noël is officially in 23 days. TIME TO PANIC PEOPLE! Im not good for the things you have to do, the gift you have to shop. I am not too bad at picking the experiences you have to live as a family though 🙂

Happy things so far this week

Well first and foremost i went twice for a run, including Monday with a friend. It kicked off the week so nicely. Yay sport. So i can eat toast +butter

Booking my first ever singing class. LOL 😂

Going to the library by myself and spending so much time in the kids section. My favorite. So much goodness. I brought back like 20 books.

This songhttps://youtu.be/RCckn1H5DIE

Listening to my son playing drum with his dad

Eating a delicious pink squeeshy mochi

Going back to the cinema with my love, room filled with people. And Understanding the movie!!! (Dune)

Cheese filled gnocchi. Yes!!!!!!!

Buying a bird feeder 💞

Spending some time thinking through decorating my home. I don’t like the process of it but i get excited about the potential result…

Giving and receiving hugs

Listening to adult podcast on stuff like surviving in the wild, how to boost memory or other adult things. 😂 I feel like i finally start to belong to podcast community.

Full moon

Finalising kids vacation calendar while trying to please all grandparents, kids, and most importantly myself. Eheh

What is making you happy this week so far???

Why is June the best time to come to Provence?

We had the honour to host a very dear friend of mine who came from USA over the last few weeks. There is nothing better for the soul than to have an amazing friend like her, booking tickets to come see you as soon as she know you feel a little lonely. I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who can, and who would do those kind of things for me. I hope you are too surrounded by lots of love and kindness. It’s pretty much all that matters in life to feel fulfilled and complete.

What was special is to rediscover where we live through her eyes. It’s so easy to get spoiled here in Provence, with all the castles, villages, wineries, sea, mountains… it’s non stop wonder. non stop light and elevating. So much at times you don’t even realise it anymore. my days sometimes are very small, my brain shrinks because of complaints, moods, lack of curiosity. but through special friends, with big eyes and appetite for life, things become so bright and colourful. Like this exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki I heard about recently.

I would like to share a few pictures here of beautiful images I would like to stick to my brain, and inspire you to travel again. My friend Sonja is trying to empower people to travel again as many place are opening back. My mum just did this amazing trek in Greece, and said it was insanely gorgeous and empty.

Things are getting back to normal slowly but June in Provence is my favorite. It’s not too crowded yet, beaches in Porquerolles were not too busy, this insane exhibition was nearly empty, restaurants do not require all reservations, and there are many events popping back up on the calendar. It’s lovely to feel like people are blooming again like cherry blossom in spring. Life is coming back, act of kindness seem inevitable, and most people need fun right now. good times my friends. let’s get back into it 🙂 we deserve this!!!

new paths

i really craved something new last week-end. new hike, new views, new adventures.

when we lived in Oregon, life constantly felt like an adventure. choosing food at the supermarket was an adventure, going to the pacific ocean to surf while crossing giant sequoia was an adventure, looking at teenagers playing “lacrosse” game was an adventure. now bizzarely everything feels way more settle, more definite, more proper. we are doing things right, because it took us so long to figure it out. and its really lovely! at times yet i do want to find those shots of fresh adventures that makes life feel bigger and thrilling.

so I asked my dad to take us to places he knows. i don’t remember those places from when I was a kid actually, because i have very little memories back then, but was spent such a fun day exploring new places, not looking at the clock, and taking in all the sunshine and views we could.

Le Guide Parfait pour Parents de Sanary-sur-Mer

Nous avons deja eu la chance de recevoir de nombreux visiteurs depuis que nous avons déménagé dans le sud (dont cinq familles des USA!). Nous vivons à Aix mais étant originaire de Sanary Sur Mer, il était important pour moi de leur faire découvrir ce coin magique, à seulement 1h d’Aix. De plus, il fait plus frais en bord de mer pendant l’été (parfois 10 degrés de difference!!)

Alors voilà le parcours que nous avons peaufiné au fil du temps avec mon mari afin de leur montrer le “best of” guide de Sanary-sur-Mer spécial famille. Ce sont mes adresses de locale, certaines sont plus touristiques que d’autres, mais c’est toujours un plaisir d’y retourner. J’aime aussi discuter avec les commerçants et leur demander conseils!

MATINEE

-> Petit dej sur le port, au Nautique. Mini confitures Bonne maman, croissants frais, cappuccino les amis ont adoré. On prend le temps de planifier la journée tout en regardant les touristes passer et le soleil se lever, c’est parfait

-> Shopping dans les ruelles de Sanary sur mer.

– Les essentiels: pain/ fougasse aux olives (Maison Avy), fleurs (devant la Mairie), pharmacie (du Port), magazines (devant la mairie).

– Laisser maman trouver des trésors déco à l’Echoppe, ou faire son shopping fringues(Kenteo, LTA, Lulli ou Rando) sur la Rue Marcelin Siat et Rue Félix Pijeaud.

– Laisser papa aller faire le marché (tous les matin, voté le meilleur marché de France!!)

APRES MIDI

-> temps calme a la médiathèque ou au cinema ABC

-> ou loue un bateau / on prend la navette du port et on fuit la foule vers les Iles des Embiez (on peut faire un tour en train de l’Ile) ou le Rouveau (monter jusqu’au fare pour une vue imprenable)

SOIREE

-> En amoureux on dine au Bard’O ou O Petit Monde. Pour trouver une babysitter j’utilise l’app BABYSITTOR ou je demande aux mamans blogueuse que je suis sur Instagram!

-> en famille on choppe des pizza a la Pitchouline et on pic-nic a la Plage Dorée. Ou on mange une crêpe au Roy D’ys sur le port

-> On mange une glace “rose” Amorino sur le port en regardant le marche des artisans (jusqu’au 1er Septembre). Les enfants adorent faire un tour de mini Kart, et s’arrêter pour voir le peintre a la bombe ou les chanteurs sur le port!

Pour plus d’info sur les événements (tous les jours il se passe quelque chose!!) n’hésitez pas à regarder l’agenda de la mairie, ou repérer les événements géolocalisés sur Facebook.

ENJOY SANARY SUR MER!! Le plus joli village de France! Mon grand père italien a bien choisi quand il a decide de s’y installer dans les années 50!! Je poste aussi régulièrement des photos et videos de nos trouvailles en amoureux ou en famille sur Sanary sur Instagram n’hésitez pas à jeter un oeil!

10 idées qui me font rêver ce week-end // 2-4 Août

// VENDREDI//

Yoga dans la lavande 18.30 chez TERREUGO

Ciné en plein air au Chateau Gassier (le biopic d’Elton John!!) ou au Château La Coste (Thelma & Louise)

Clara Luciani joue au Mucem

// SAMEDI//

Yoga dans les vignes au Chateau Lacoste Suivi d’une balade au domaine pour découvrir les œuvres d’art et installations des artistes et architectes contemporains invités.

Ballade a cheval et concert de Jazz au Château de Fontainebleau

// DIMANCHE//

Brunch Maison Nosh + bronzette piscine au Relais de Saint Ser

Soiree Blanche dans les vignes à l’Abbaye de la Celle

Enjoy!!!

Raphaëlle

How did my sister change our lives in 6 hours?

ON TALENT

I love to change my mind. I decided recently during a conversation that I did not believe in talent. Not sure why but I thought the idea of talent was depressing because you cannot really work towards it, you either have it or not and it’s a little unfair. innit?

However. Since we moved back to France (6 months ago now??!!!) I have been able to see my family more, which feels great, including one of my little sisters, Oceane. We went dancing, we went shopping, we just chatted for hours in the garden. Suddenly we did not have anymore this pressure of time we used to feel when we only came back for vacation. I could be more present.

My sister has done many different things, many amazing things, but I did not know that it included a love for decoration. Very kindly she offered to help many times with organising our house. I was not prioritising this time because first I thought I did an ok job, and second I kept on forgetting because life.

Let me tell you guys. This lady is one freakin’ talented magic creature. Her kindness, her listening, her understanding, and the way she literally shaked the WHOLE entire house in just a few hours still moves me when I think about it. She was so full of love for what she was doing, so generous, and excited, that it made me realise what a passion truly is, and what life should all be about. Doing the things you love the most, with the people you love and respect, while having fun, rose, and breaks in the sunshine.

FEW GEMS SHE BROUGHT WITH HER….

She told me “I have a few ideas I took some stuff with me, I think I know what I want to do” When she sent me this pix I did not get it. I kind of thought where are we going to put it all?? I could not see how it would fit with the other colors… that’s because I have zero vision when it comes to decoration!!!

BEFORE…

It was slowly but surely becoming chaos and hard to move in the house, especially bedrooms.

Nothing felt in harmony, there was no soul for some reason, or mood in any room. The charm was the same in the toilet or in our bedroom… same nothing special

all i did was making sure I made as much space as possible, showed her my pinterest, and explained what was my priorities in the room (we had 8 spots in the list, I said if we can do 3 it will be a miracle, we did 9…!!)

Basically we went across each room, and she started to move things out completely, I cleaned, then we would move back a few things in completely new spots that made COMPLETE sense. Suddenly the room felt balanced, and symetric??? none of my room and arrangements felt this way before.

She gave me lots of tips on hanging frames, how to make a sofa for the garden, where to buy cheap things, and how critical is a mat, or matching the right colors with each other. She explained to me a whole new world.

She was even able to create a whole entire guest bedroom from a crappy messy kids room, and a playroom out of nothing….

See the result below:

AFTER

As soon as the kids and my husband came home they fell in love with everything. Everyone relaxed immediately. We were happier. Things were where they were supposed to be, we had pictures on our wall with smiles and love, stories, souvenirs. Suddenly we felt home. It took us 6 months to feel home, and it might have never happened if my sister didn’t help us the way she did.

Talent exists. It is not something your parents necessarily pushes you to do, or that you are forced to. It comes from your heart, your sensitivity to the world, your aptitudes. It is within you like a treasure, some can find it themselves quickly, for other it may take more time. but it is real, I saw it and it was powerful.

MERCI OCEANE!!!! you are magic and we love you xxx

HIGHLIGHTS

The entrance

LIVING ROOM

KIDS ARTSY CORNER

DINING ROOM

KIDS ROOM

MASTER BEDROOM

DETAILS

Seule, en amoureux ou en famille: le meilleurs plans du week-end en Provence

Le soleil arrive pour de bon avec des températures proche de 30 (un max pour nous qui avons vécu 16 ans dans des pays pluvieux !!)

Nous avons la chance de pouvoir en profiter grâce à un long week-end férié, du coup voilà quelques idées au cas ou vous manquez d’inspiration !

EN AMOUREUX

– on tente le surf!! 😲Le meilleur prof c’est Pitou, il a fait découvrir le surf dans notre région a tous les âges. Plus simple de commencer en couple pour apprendre les bases et ensuite tester avec les enfants. Nous avons mis notre fils sur une planche dès qu’il savait marcher!

– on va danser 🙌🏻. On doit encore tester le Hot Brass qui propose des apéros en bord de piscine tous les mardi, et on a adoré la Cocina Negra soirée old school du jeudi. Le plus simple est de s’abonner à leurs comptes facebook pour recevoir des alertes événements.

– on va marcher!! Callanques, Sainte-Victoire, Sainte Baume … il faut profiter avant qu’il ne fasse vraiment trop chaud pour se faire des ballades un peu sport.

Petit tips: louer un canoë à cassis pour découvrir les callanques par la mer, ou aller camper au refuge de la Sainte-Victoire pour un dépaysement total!

AVEC LES KIDS

Mud Day??!!! Ca à l’air très marrant si on a pas peur de se salir… des 5 ans, à la Crau🤯

Festival des Arts Éphémères à Marseille pour une ballade plus calme 🤗

– On s’aventure aux Baux-de-Provence pour découvrir les Carrières de Lumières , déjeuner au soleil au Mas d’Aigret pour pouvoir faire un saut dans la piscine, et on se ballade dans les ruelles du vieux village…

SEULE!!

– on veut profiter peinarde?? Pas de problème commencez par un cours de yoga magique au milieu des vignes du Château Lacoste. Andrea vous fera partager sa passion pour le yoga et vous passerez un moment hors du temps dans un cadre merveilleux.

– on va boire l’apéro entre copines à Marseille près des Goudes, manger des tapas à Olala café à St Cyr en écoutant du bon son, ou encore tester le festival On Air à la Friche de mai à Marseille.

– on se fait chouchouter dans un spa… je rêve de tester le Nuxe sur le cours mirabeau à Aix, les thermes, les Bords de Mer à Marseille. J’étais allée à l’hôtel Île Rousse à Bandol avec ma mère et on s’était vraiment régalé avec les soins vue mer!! Et la piscine privée accès direct sur la plage de Renecros.

Profitez bien!!! Et comme m’a toujours dit ma copine Fanny le secret c’est pas de forcément tout faire ensemble le plus possible, parfois il vaut mieux se séparer en plus petit groupe pour faire une activité à fond surtout quand les enfants ont une bonne différence d’âge !!

Bisous xx

3 (new & simple) things I want to try this week

I hate habits and I love trying out new things. It makes me feel more alive and happy. I love meeting new people and learning from them, I always get inspired because everyone has a story to tell.

Today we went for a super pretty hike in the countryside, close to Aix-en-Provence where we live, right underneath the mountain Sainte Victoire. We were kindly invited by old friends we met in London (16 years ago!!). They cooked delicious barbecue grilled meat, potatoes with homemade sour sauce and dill, and an amazing salad. To finish we had probably one of the best ice cream I ever had. I tried pistachio, pecan nuts and chocolate that literally tasted like frozen cream + nutella. FREAKIN’ HEAVEN.

Anywho. We went for this hike and they showed us so many new flowers, with their names ( always very impressed when people remember those…) One of them was called “Immortelle” – and our friends explained it was a super precious plant which you can use for skincare.

So this week I want to try three new things:

Make something with the Immortelle flowers I found. Either essential oil, art, or learn more about it. My great grandma used to cultivate them in the south of France in Bandol, and sell them to the UK!

I want to cook something new, so I tried a new zucchini soup which literally took 7 min and was super light and delish. We decided with my husband to plant some this week in our garden… let’s see if it happens!!

Finally Cherry Stem infusion!! We have a cherry tree in the garden, and I always heard that the tails are really good for digestion, arthritis and even cellulite!!

It’s really those type of things you don’t do typically because you don’t have the mindspace, but as I am still looking for a job, i have PLENTY of mindspace so can try those things!

I will let you know how this goes. Those things reminds me of Portland because of the crafty/ hippy vibe, but also are super authentic to Provence, making the most out of simple things you can pick on a hike, or grow in the garden….

Have a nice week!

Raphaelle

Making everyone happy on a week-end

Week-ends are like Netflix. It’s always hard to decide what to do because there are so many options, and so many people to please.

We always start with the weather. Today for example it’s kind of crappy, and we had a late party so we feel tired and not super inspired. However I know that not doing anything in the morning makes the whole day hard.

So that’s my trick. Hot shower with Lemon/ Verveine Petit Marseillais (my happiest smell), coffee (ideally Oat milk latte because it’s the week-end and I have more time) chill music and candle to get in the mood. If the night before was really late then Berocca boost. That’s my little secret.

Then we can start talking. Sometimes there is a soccer game we need to either go to or find a friend to take our son. Usually we want to balance moving around in a pretty spot, and then we can chill, play music, go to a exhibition. Either one parent wants to do something specific that makes them happy, so we split, or we do something for the kids like some kind of zoo. But we don’t try to pick something perfect for everyone because it’s too much pressure.

I HATE ERRANDS. I don’t shop and I don’t cook during the week-end, unless it’s for a party or if we are not up to anything exciting. Week-ends exist for fun. ENJOY!