Hello everyone

I’m back and busily working my way through piles of washing and loads of emails. We had a wonderful time catching up with friends who live in France; one for 30 years and the others 15 years. We flew to Toulouse and stayed with Chris who, 45 years ago, was our best man at our wedding. Here he is with me walking through Capitole in Toulouse. Gosh, look behind me!  That’s C&A! More about the hat in a minute.

And yes, that’s us 45 years ago at my wedding reception, held, btw, in our rented flat. The amount of money some people spend on weddings. There. Is. No. Need. But I won’t say another word or I’ll start sounding like a grumpy old woman, which I am, of course! Actually I always thought Chris looked a little like Mick Jagger.

The expression on Mr F’s face!  And as for my father (on the extreme right) I expect he’s thinking who are these long-haired types!

Back to 2019. We stayed over for one night in Toulouse, picked up a hired car the next day and drove to Harry and Jane in the Lot valley. Sadly I don’t have any pics of them but Harry and me were nurses at the Maudsley so that makes our friendship go back 50 years and also means that I’ve known Harry longer than Mr F!  They have a lovely house just outside the village of Lugagnac and have just renovated their little barn.

That’s our massive rented car!  The little house had a magical tree, the one on the right, which I gazed at often.

It’s a variety of maple and although the main source of heat is from wood-burning stoves the air quality around Lugagnac is wonderfully clean proven by the quantities of lichen and moss on the trunks of the many trees in the area.

And here I am taking a short walk on our first day wearing a wool jacket, hat and gloves.

That first day was the worst weather of the holiday, but thereafter, it was hot, hot, hot.  The thing is, though, in this area in March the temperatures ranged from 0C (32F) first thing in the morning to 22C (71.6F) by mid-afternoon, which is just one amazing variation. And that meant wearing layers and peeling them off as the day progressed. However, one day we decided to chill and stay around the ‘little house’ and gosh, was it hot! We chased the shade and I realised that the long-sleeved tops I’d brought, which were so necessary in the morning, were far too hot for the afternoon. And did I have anything short-sleeved?  No, I did not!

Note the jacket.  The nearby town of Limogne has a brocante shop which was basically full of nick-nacks and 2nd-hand clothes at charity shop prices.  I’d bought a jacket last time I was there and deliberately did not bring a jacket with me because I just knew there would be something I could buy there.  And yay! I found a tweed jacket made in France from 100% wool. I can’t find the label on google – it’s Pier Be so guess it’s what could be considered vintage. I also bought an amazing necklace there, which I’ll feature in another post.  It’s very much like the necklaces worn by the judge in The Great British Sewing Bee – so think big, brash and very bold. Do you watch this prog? If you haven’t do give it a try as it’s a twinkling gem, and btw, Mr F loves it too.

And those crumpled jeans? They were bought at Galerie Lafayette in Toulouse two years ago and on our last two days of the holiday back in Toulouse I went there again and got another pair.

But before that we spent a wonderful 6 days exploring markets and the local countryside. Here’s just one pic of Cahors where I bought a really great pair of mustard jeans that you’ll see another time.

See that sun, we had blue skies and sun every day!

Back in Toulouse for our last couple of days and wifi!  Yes, we were without wifi AND a phone signal which was an interesting experience and I guess, good for us, but I have such a need to know what’s going on (you know why!) that it was a big relief to get the BBC and Guardian news, plus everything else like Instagram of course!

And double yay, not only did I get a pair of jeans at Galarie Lafayette I got this hat – which I think is a winner.

Another view of the outfit plus hat.

The top, btw, was bought in the brocante shop and very French I was told.

That’s taken in our friend Chris’s flat. I love Toulouse and would live there in a flash.  How about living here?

That’ll do me!  But here below was our last day at breakfast, with doors open, early in the morning.

Ah France, I do love you so!

That’s all for now, but just one thing I shall be sharing this post with Judith Boyd of Style Crone fame and her April #hatattack – do have a look at her blog and, if you can, put up a pic of your hat.  There seem to be fewer of us doing so, but I say, wear a hat and share a hat, it makes the world a jollier place I think!

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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41 thoughts on “Back from my short break in France with some great memories and a couple of great buys!

  • 28th March 2019 at 10:08 am

    How lovely that you had such a wonderful time! What you have with France, I have with the UK. That barn looks very cozy, just what you would expect from a holiday in France. That wedding reception photo, are you the lady in purple?

    • 28th March 2019 at 10:56 am

      Hello Nancy! Yes, that’s me in purple – we’ve all got funny expressions I think! Hair looking a bit darker than it really was.

      It was lovely being in France (same love!) but it is nice to be back as well – makes you appreciate your own bed 🙂

      Will be on your site tomorrow – back to normal with wifi!

    • 28th March 2019 at 10:57 am

      P.S. I’ve still got the dress and can get into it as well!!!!

  • 28th March 2019 at 11:13 am

    Love the hat – I’m a great hat wearer as you know- and the jacket. I’ve got several jackets, including a lovely dark teal suede one ( Precis Petite) which I bought on e-bay like new, but I don’t seem to wear them very much. Need to find out why or pass on.
    It looked wonderful in France and you obviously had a great time but do you really think you’d like to live there?? I value conversation so much and I don’t think I’d be able to turn my passable French into the fluency I’d need in the time available! I really like Italy for it’s indefinable atmosphere as well as physical beauty and climate but I can’t imagine actually living there permanently, even if I was allowed to.
    Your reception photo really takes me back and the ‘man in white’ (Chris?) is gorgeous. I suppose the way men looked when you first became aware of them can fix in your mind, in my case the lean floppy-haired type, as the personification of sexual attraction.
    This series of the Sewing Bee is the most adventurous yet and as I began making clothes over 50 years ago I’m very impressed with the skills shown. Of course many of the fabrics and techniques were not invented when I started. The use of weights to hold down the pattern is fairly new as is the rotary cutter. I tried one but could not get on with it – it probably wasn’t good enough quality! I just do alterations theses days but I’m going to have a last go to make an unlined spring coat. If I can’t make a success of it (physical rather than technical difficulties) I’m going to have to seriously think about getting rid of may patterns and fabric, some of it 30 years old!

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:36 am

      I always think there’s a window of opportunity to wear jackets because if they’re short nipped-in-to-the-waist type jackets, even if they’re all wool, they’re too cold for the winter/early Spring. Well, they are for me as I stand at bus-stops and need a proper coat to keep the cold out. But then all of a sudden it’s too hot to wear them!

      And it’s simply a fantasy to actually live in France. I lived and worked in Switzerland for nearly 2 years in the early 70s and it is so very different to be somewhere permanently – I know I’ve experienced it. My friends though, they speak fluent French and are completely integrated and will probably go for citizenship – one has already got his carte de sejour and the others are just about to. But I could go there more often – and will!

      I used to make all my children’s clothes and many of mine – no longer do anything like that. But The Great British Sewing Bee is such a gem. We started watching when there was a British army colonel taking part. We were amazed and then realised what a technical challenge sewing is – both me and Mr F watch and enjoy the programme.

  • 28th March 2019 at 11:16 am

    I love seeing photos from the past and comparing fashion style then with the now pictures , haircuts or lack of and even the pipe so rarely seen nowadays . Thank you for sharing from a fellow Francophile

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:41 am

      My dad and his pipe – sadly Yok he got Ca of the oesophagus which was definitely related to that pipe and his whisky drinking! But through his lifetime it gave him a lot of pleasure.

      Yes, that dress! And all our hairstyles!

      I aim to go to that area of France every other year now or maybe every year.

  • 28th March 2019 at 11:34 am

    Great post! And is that a Biba poster on the wall behind you?

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:45 am

      It is a Biba – Mr F had a great eye then (and now) and this was his flat and his way of arranging things. I caught up very quickly though and we always had/have a set of shelves like that in every place we’ve lived. We kept the Golden Shred sign for decades but the Biba poster that’s long gone. Nice to remember it though 🙂

  • 28th March 2019 at 11:52 am

    Glad you had a great time. And good to see the wedding. Love the hat and scarf colour contrast.

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:52 am

      It was a great holiday and good to see more of our old friends – the hat is a winner!

  • 28th March 2019 at 1:11 pm

    We’re back to France next week! It seems ages since we were there but I can’t complain as we’ve just come back from an amazing three weeks in Cape Town and surrounding area – lots of blog posts on the way. Yes, I do love Toulouse and our sons and their friends love it, too.
    Glad to know you had a great break and I’m looking forward to seeing the new necklace. I am the world’s worst seamstress but I love the sewing bee. I also spotted the Biba poster and I think the red hat has a ‘Biba-ish’ feel about it. Lovely post!

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:56 am

      France was really great, but for us, although I did say I’d like to live in Toulouse that is a fantasy but I could go more often. We think next time we might get a train pass and get to France that way as the hanging around airports is just the pits. Btw, we wouldn’t drive down to Toulouse – we did that so many times in the early days of our friends’ move but really it’s too far now for both of us, Mr F as well as me. Have you tried the train?

      Will look at your blog now I’ve got the wifi back 🙂 Gosh I admit, did I miss that!!!!

  • 28th March 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Oh how idyllic – look at that blue sky! And lovely to be reunited with the best man from your wedding. You are rocking the French je ne sais quoi with the Brocante shop top and red hat. You wear hats so well. Thanks for joining #WowOnWednesday!

    • 30th March 2019 at 9:58 am

      No, thank you for hosting #WowOnWednesday

      And that brocante shop in Limogne is just lovely and has so many good clothes – will always visit it 🙂

  • 28th March 2019 at 7:14 pm

    You holiday looks perfect I love Toulouse did you take a trip on the canal? I have found some great stuff in C&A but check the labels lots of viscose. I would miss WiFi too, and the Guardian, but please don’t follow the BBC for unbiased coverage of news they are all Brexiteers.

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:06 am

      I didn’t take a trip on the canal! Instead it was on to the metro (our friend lives near Jolimont) and straight to Galerie Lafayette!!!! Then a coffee and just drinking in the atmosphere and then out to a local brasserie in the evening. The next day was lots of walking through Toulouse, lunch, an exhibition, and again drinking in the atmosphere.

      And no wifi or phone signal – phew! Not to worry about the BBC I know its bias – #facepalm Actually I was so desperate for news I bought a Telegraph just to see their analysis. Was interested – but so disappointed in it – very weak writing I thought.

      I wrote this on Thursday https://myotherblog.bn9.co.uk/the-event-horizon-is-now-and-then-again-maybe-not/

  • 28th March 2019 at 7:57 pm

    I love that red hat. Does it pack / travel well?

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:09 am

      I wouldn’t think so as it’s not floppy so I wore it all the way home even on the plane! And fortunately the grey homburg I brought with me was packable 🙂

  • 28th March 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Love the red hat Penny and the groovy top. France is so lovely. I love the photo of your wedding. I remember having that Biba poster at the time. I used to love the Biba catalogue but could rarely find anything that I could afford in it. I used to make all my own clothes in those days, sometimes buying things from C and A and adapting them. And yes, for that reason I love the Great British Sewing Bee. Xx

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:11 am

      Hello Ellie
      Gosh yes, I did a lot of sewing and making clothes especially using ClothKits, but not any more – but isn’t the Great British Sewing Bee lovely – we so enjoy it!


  • 29th March 2019 at 3:26 am

    Friends in France makes the adventure even better. Buying clothes while on holiday is so satisfying. Well done! Judy @fancified.ca

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:13 am

      It is great to buy clothes abroad – I do love to buy a hat when abroad and look at it and say – you came from Estonia!!! It’s especially nice when you go back to a favourite shop.

      Can you get The Great British Sewing Bee where you are Judy. It’s now in its 7th season! I think you’d love it.

  • 29th March 2019 at 12:52 pm

    I saw your pics on IG. Looks such a pretty area. oh and that pic, straight out of Abigail’s party, almost:) Thanks for linking to Muttonstyle Monday

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:18 am

      Almost Abigail’s party!!!!!! A great time was had by all in our flat I believe, although on one’s wedding day you are somewhat removed from everything. I mean it’s so far back I can just about remember that feeling of slight terror mixed with excitement and love – phew – I shall go off and have a cup of tea to calm down!

      And thank you for hosting!

  • 29th March 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Now that’s a smart thing to not take a jacket because you know you’ll buy one. Why didn’t I ever think of that? LOL!!
    I do love the hat. I actually have one almost like it, and it’s a great color on you Penny. I always worry about packing them, or did you just wear it on the trip home?

    • 29th March 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Packing/not packing hats reminds me of when I went to a wedding in Italy. I did not take a hat because of the packing issue, just a small fascinator. At the airport I saw a couple wearing their wedding hats – his was a topper! Wish I’d thought of that as the Italian guests were disappointed thinking that all English ladies would wear a hat to a wedding & I’d have loved something with a brim to keep the sun out of my eyes!

      • 30th March 2019 at 10:25 am

        Yes, next time, wear your hat on the plane! I wore the grey homburg on the plane to France and coming back packed it and wore the red hat.

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:22 am

      Thank you Jody – gosh I pounced when I saw it! It’s a lovely hat and a great find as is the jacket 🙂

      Btw, tomorrow (as I simply must get out to the shops now for food not clothes!) I shall email you about the thing we spoke about 🙂

  • 29th March 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Oh I love France too! This sounds marvellous and lovely to see your old and new photos! Do add to the #chicandstylish #linkup Penny. Have a super weekend. x Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • 30th March 2019 at 10:23 am

      I shall go on to it right now Jacqui. Do you have an icon for this share I can put on my sidebar? Will look when I put my pic up.

      Have a lovely w/e


  • 31st March 2019 at 6:54 am

    Good to hear you had a great time. I am a bit of a Francophile too, pity it is so far away. I finally got to spend a couple of days in Toulouse last November and really enjoyed the city.I do like the red hat on you , the wide brim really suits you. Also your two other purchases were quite the find. Good to see your wedding photos and I agree about the over the top weddings.
    Popping over to your other blog to read your Brexit views.

    • 2nd April 2019 at 7:57 am

      Thank you Jill and yes, isn’t Toulouse great.

      Re: the Brexit saga – this week is yet another critical week. It’s just such a cluster…k

  • 31st March 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Welcome back Penny!

    You look like you had a marvellous time in France – look at those blue skies…how nice it is to meet up with old friends.

    I love your new tweed jacket and hat. I think you should wear colour more often it really suits you.You are looking very funky in your outfit photos. I have been looking for a nice tweedy jacket forever so am hoping to get lucky in Ireland. I am in love with Esme of the GBSB’s necklaces so can’t wait to see yours.

    I loved your wedding photos – your dress is beyond fabulous.

    Have a lovely week.

    • 2nd April 2019 at 7:59 am

      Thank you. We had great time with old friends. But no phone signal or wifi – phew! That was good for us but not for ever. I couldn’t live without connections and engagement with news and more importantly people – so important.

      I’ve still got that dress! And Esme’s necklaces are just wonderful. I swoon when I see them!

  • 4th April 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Fantastic fedora!

    • 6th April 2019 at 7:58 am

      Thank you! As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it!!!

  • 5th April 2019 at 10:05 pm

    What a lovely read, thank you. 40 years ago I spent a year abroad in Toulouse as part of my French degree. My 3 best friends and I from university have just booked a long weekend there in October. It will be the first time any of us has been back there since. I expect it will have changed a bit – as have all of us!

    • 6th April 2019 at 8:00 am

      Oh you’ll love it! Yes, it’s probably changed but even if that’s the case Toulouse has so much going for it – and it’s easy to get around on the metro which is very cheap as well.

      The first time we were there we took the tourist bus – that was a good introduction to the layout of the place. Enjoy!

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