Friday, December 20, 2013

Summer days ...

Cicadas in background, humidity high. Cricket on the tv. 

And if it's rained off or 'gone to tea' then the match resumes in our yard. 

Just another summer's day!

Jennifer x

Friday, December 13, 2013

Brocante Tour Planning: Would you like to stay here?

The planning for next year's tours continue and are coming together so well.

I've found a lovely little chateau for our accommodation - what do you think?  Would you like to retire here each night after we have walked for hours through Antique stores, Brocantes, fairs or markets?

Set on six hectares of parkland, it sleeps 5-6 guests and so will be just our little home away from home to re-group and swap stories about our finds throughout the day!

And each of the bedrooms are so pretty and tastefully decorated.  A dream to rest weary legs after all the kilometres we'll cover throughout the day!

Although it's intended for children - what do you think of this cute little tree house?

This is on the grounds of the chateau, and is extra accommodation for children.  It reminds me of something from 'The Hobbit' ... a little house in the Shire ... with Bilbo Baggins about to walk through the door!  Do you think?

If you like to register interest, please send me an email, and as the tour comes together I will send you more information.

All the best,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not creature is stirring....

As the moon rises .... all through the house not a creature was stirring ... the children are nestled all snug in their beds...  So it's time for me to do some Christmas wrapping!

Hope your Christmas preparations are coming together for you!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Tree Delivery {L'arbre de Noël}

We have had our Christmas tree delivered and it feels like the real beginnings of Christmas.  The scent of new pine needles wafting throughout the house.  Although I did have a few palpitations as it arrived!!

I had decided to splash out and ordered the "size XL" instead of our usual "large".

Greeting the installer at the door I had a sudden thought, "Perhaps I should have measured this at some stage in the last few months before it arrived?  Just to check it fits!"

Thankfully it does!  And I think is just the right size for the space.  Somewhat fills the void of the high ceilings in the old home.  Whew!

As the trees come tightly wrapped in a mesh to protect them, they need a few days to 'relax' and let the branches fall back to their normal shape before you dress it.  So I'll update you over coming days once it is 'dressed to kill'!

In our house I do let the kids take over the Christmas tree decoration, once I had done the basics: the lights and the beads.  And of course once we are all finished, and everyone is in bed, I do go back for a little edit later on!

There seems to be growing acceptance on Instagram of having a main tree that is dressed to perfection, and another elsewhere for the children to decorate themselves.  What do you think of that?

Even though I readily admit to giving ours a few tweaks, I must say I do love that WE dress OUR family Christmas tree.

So how about you ... do you have one main tree beautifully decorated?  And another for the kids?  Or do you 'share' like us (ha ha)?


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Adieu Woolloongabba et bonjour Brocante Tours!

Yesterday, and with considerable mixed emotions, I closed my little shop at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre for the summer.

I am planning to re-open in February after the summer school holidays - and all of the chaos that brings to my life!  We are just going to enjoy the next two months - without me regularly sourcing product and visiting the shop.

Some dear friends have rung straight away to ask - so how do I feel now that it is closed?

I think it will only be next Monday when I don't go in to tidy after the weekend's trade, and don't add some new finds and some fresh flowers - that it will really hit home.  Once the routine is broken - then I will know that I have really taken a step in a different direction!

But for now my head is spinning with plans for next year: finalising the online store, also a very fun project doing some pop-up stores around Brisbane in conjunction with other dealers, and yet another project organising a 'Brocante Tour' of Paris and France.

Yes, you have read correctly - after many requests for trips ideas, and asking to come with me - I am going to make it happen in 2014.  I am starting now to organise a little tour of the Paris markets, of some of my favourite stores, of some country brocantes and a few antiques fairs - with lots of delicious french food and wine along the way!

I will also be able to organise shipping for everyone who comes - to make sure all those treasures you would normally not fit in your luggage do arrive back home safe and sound!

In the planning phase now, and so exciting to be sharing a passion of mine, so please email me (click the email button at the top of the blog) if you would like to register interest at this early stage.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

{all images Vintage Finds}

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Le Dîner en Blanc

Have you heard of the world-wide francophile phenomenon Le Dîner en Blanc?

{image via}
The premise is actually quite simple.  A gorgeous meal shared with good friends.  A stunning vista in a public location.  Invitation to friends and by "word of mouth" only.  Good food ... good wine.  Everyone dressed in white.  Magic!

{image via}
{image via}
Everything is brought by the guests: chairs, tables, glasses, everything for the feast.  And the public space is left as it was found, everything taken when they leave, as if they were never there.

{image via}
{image via}
As much care is taken with the all white table setting as with the all white outfits.  Diners bring candelabras, china plates and their epicurean feast.

{image via}
{image via}
So the story goes, 25 years ago on returning to Paris after years abroad, François Pasquier asked his friends meet for a large reunion dinner in a public space - and to dress all in white so they could find each other easily.

{image via premierwed blogspot}
It was such an enjoyable night that it started a 'word of mouth only' annual catch up between friends, and from there it grew.  So large in Paris now that it is staged in two sites simultaneously!

And has graced many iconic venues around the city from the Louvre to Notre Dame, from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées to name a few.

{image via}
Although it started in Paris 25 years ago, Le Dîner en Blanc is now a world-wide phenomenon.  When his son moved to Montreal, Canada in 2009 the traditional annual white epicurean feast was exported with him, and from there to New York and then around the world within a few years!

{image via fashionista514}
image via Dîner en Blanc Sydney
But it is the ticket that money cannot buy: you have to know someone on the list to be able to join the festivities.  Registration is over three phases for this prestige picnic: first round previous members and "friends of the organisation", second round is "friends of friends" recommended from phase one, and only in phase three can you get a shot at an invite from a first-come-first-served waiting list!

image 2012 via Dîner en Blanc Sydney website
And tonight it will be Sydney's second turn to host the all white spectacle.

And where will it be?  Well, that is always a closely guarded secret right up to the end, with only table organisers to give out details to their table once they themselves have been told - usually only an hour before.  In Sydney, buses are organised from several locations around the city, to bus the guests to their secret location tonight.  It's the ultimate in 'pop-ups'!

Have you been to one in your city?  Or are you on the exclusive Paris list? ... and willing to invite this francophile blogger to next years?

I would fly around the world in a heart beat to join this fabulous event!


Le Dîner en Blanc
Worldwide registration website:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Paris

Celebrating an American holiday in Paris? you say.  Well, those with an American pedigree this strong will be celebrating Thanksgiving and being thankful wherever they are in the world.

Ralph's restaurant in the Ralph Lauren store in Ste Germaine de Pres, gorgeous and elegant at any time of the year, but look how it's been transformed for tomorrow to join in the holiday spirit!

Image via Ralph Lauren on Instagram
The decor is pure Paris, but the theming is perfectly Thanksgiving.  Wouldn't you just love to be at this table?  I would!


173, Boulevard Saint-Germain 94400 Saint-Germain-des-Prés
T: 01 44 77 76 00

12pm to 5pm and 7.30pm to 11pm Weekdays and Saturday
12pm to 3pm and 7.30pm to 11pm Sunday

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh Deer, what a window!

I walked into the foyer today to be welcomed by this!  A Vintage Finds oeil-de-boeuf being used as a frame for a deers head!  Eye-catching!  I have seen them repurposed as frames and mirrors, but never something this fun!

I love the window displays at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre (where I have 'Vintage Finds').  As you know, the antique centre is a mix of dealers who bring their own personal styles of collecting and selecting.  Furniture which ranges from classically designed from Denmark or to mid-century commercial from the USA.  Glass collections, Tiffany jewellery specialists, painted furniture, vintage kitchen wares.  The front displays and in the windows at the antique centre, are an ever changing eclectic juxtaposition of so much of this put together in a vignette!

And before I go on, I can hear you say as you read this - 'an oeil-de-what?'

An oeil-de-boeuf is the french architectural term for the round or oval windows on the top most floors of Parisian roofs (translation: bull's eye).

{images via A+B Kasha, My French Country Home and Wikipedia}
You can seen them elsewhere in France of course, but they are most recognisable as the baroque ornamentation around the little attic windows protruding from the zinc roof as you walk the streets of Paris.

{image Vintage Finds}
{image Vintage Finds}
Asking around, I have managed to find a sheet of lovely original old mirror, in a storage shed at my framers!, and so am able to give you some contacts should you wish to have this beautiful original zinc piece from France, repurposed as a feature mirror.

Come by over the weekend to check it out, it's worth a look!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ma Cocotte: new restaurant in the Paris markets of St-Ouen

This summer in Paris, my best find has been Ma Cocotte, the fantastic restaurant in la puces de Clignancourt et St-Ouen.  This new place to eat makes a pleasant change to the more traditional restaurant fare in this little corner of Paris.  Annually so many people make a pilgrimage to the most famous of Paris' flea markets, that frankly it was about time that a beautiful and modern Paris restaurant has found it way there!

{image vintage finds}
Created from the ground up by French design royalty Philippe Starck, equally well known as an interior designer and for his industrial design and consumer goods, this restaurant could never fail to please visually.  And it also hits the mark wonderfully for a perfect lunch time meal on a sunny Sunday stroll at the markets!

{image unknown source}
Starck has personally sourced items from the flea markets of St-Ouen - thus - far from creating a modern restaurant at odds with it's surroundings - the restaurant sits so comfortably within the markets of Paul Bert and Serpette you could think it is a newly opened vintage store!

Starck in his restaurant
His inspiration was the dealers' own lunch time meal tables laid out to share with their friends, their laughter and chatter.  He wanted a place of his own to eat on his regular trips to the markets, with his own friends to share laughter and chatter.  From this modest plan, comes the transformation of an industrial building to a 'market must-do'!

{image Sarah Lavoine}
And hopefully you won't be as naive as I am, to the video art installation! On the back wall, against the natural bricks are two artworks framed identically, one photographic, or rather I thought both were - until the image of a person leaning on the glass partition appeared different each time I looked away and then looked back!

{image via Ma Cocotte}
The surprise downstairs in this vintage styling utopia, are that the bathrooms are a sea of utilitarian white tile and 'public bathhouse' styling that have been said to resemble something from Kubrick's 2001!

{image The Wall Street Journal}
Last year when I was there this building at the entrance to the Paul-Bert market could have been mistaken for a cement parking garage.  Starck refers to the building as a 'monopoly house' which now houses this two-story hip restaurant with so much Parisian design cred.

From the vintage furniture selection to the wood and steel panel lift garage doors, a contemporary and deliciously simple menu, arranged to share with friends; this is an exciting new addition to the traditional brasserie fare of St-Ouen.

Hope you take the time to enjoy on your next visit!

106, Rue des Rosiers 94400 Saint-Ouen
T: 01 49 51 70 00

12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm Weekdays
8am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday

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