In France a rather quirky revolution has been taking place… it isn’t loud and it isn’t even obvious.
Imagine my puzzlement then when she presented me with a book called Jardin Secret by Johanna Basford. Blandine told me that when everything is really kicking off, she just thinks about colouring in, and, as soon as she can steal a little bit of time, that’s what she does.
Anyway, I get pretty stressed myself on occasion so, I nipped to the lovely Librarie in Arras (top photo) which is my favourite bookshop since it has a resident giant sleeping beauty.
Johanna Basford is a British designer and “ink evangelist” and in 2013 her first book Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book outsold the best-selling cookery book in France. I bought Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest her new book, and they are completely and utterly delicious to look at and to colour in.
I suppose it’s almost like doing tapestry or needlework except that anyone can do it, it makes an instant artist out of all of us – and that’s very therapeutic. This is the story of the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought in the French Resistance (the Maquis) primarily in Southern France during WWII, by Pamela Eglinski.
Fontainebleau was the home to royalty for several centuries and as such, was shaped by many of them.
The book cover reads “An elegant collection of over 100 recipes inspired by the City of Light” and I couldn’t agree more with the word elegant – from the content, the pictures and the lovely hard cover with a cut out cocktail glass, it’s a sumptuous book of cocktails. This is the story of how a mother and daughter discovered the world and a whole lot more via Paris… We’ll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn is a brilliant read. Subscribe to our weekly newsletterPacked with great features, stories, expat interviews, information, upcoming events and ideas. There are more than 1000 professional photographers in Paris so finding the right one to capture your special moment, whether that’s your wedding or your dream trip – it can be hard.
Expats in Bordeaux: Justin and Vanessa Parr left Sydney, Australia for work in London and New York but it was France that captured their hearts.
I’ve loved Champagne since I was 18 years old when a boyfriend whose middle name was Rutherford gave me a bottle of Moet et Chandon for my birthday.
Just a few short decades ago, those who moved to France tended to be older people taking retirement. Have you ever wished you could go back to your childhood to enjoy all those childish pleasures? Drawing mostly black and white scenes, Johanna creates intricate pages just waiting to be brought to life with colour - by a grown-up!
Her first book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book, was inspired by Scotland's Brodick Castle Gardens, where she often watched her grandfather work as the head gardener. The second book, Enchanted Forest: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book, saw Johanna drawing inspiration from the woodlands surrounding her grandparents' house on the Isle of Arran. These two books have proven so popular that she is currently working on a third colouring in book. Johanna Basford invites us all to tumble down the rabbit hole and find ourselves in her inky black and white Wonderland. WeekendNotes will notify you of the best free community events, concerts, exhibitions, cinema, festivals, and markets in your town or city.
Ottawa, Ontario-based photographer Daniel Picard uses comic book characters and photographs them in the real world.
I have received another e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith.


I’ve always admired tattoos and the very talented tattoo artists whose work adorns many people skin across the globe.
As Valentine’s Day approaches we here at House of Geekery are taking a look at our personal favorite couples from comic books. Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis aka Daniel Day-Lewis was born in the city of London, England on the 29th of April, 1957. In his short career, he survived being shot down from the sky three times and escaped from the Nazis in occupied France.
Pilots were banned from keeping diaries for security reasons, so Barclay resorted to secretly recording his thoughts in exercise books. His entries display the stiff upper lip that helped our heavily outnumbered pilots win the crucial aerial battle that thwarted Hitlera€™s invasion plans. Of the 12 British planes in his patrol that day, one pilot died and four a€“ including Barclay a€“ were injured. The Battle of Britain was the German air force's attempt to gain air superiority over the RAF from July to September 1940. It was one of the turning points of World War Two and prevented Germany from invading Britain. He received a posthumous salute from England in January 1943, when he was Mentioned in Despatches in New Year Honours.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. An amazing discovery in a municipal library in France has left the book and antique world reeling as one of the world’s rarest books – a 1623 edition of Shakespeare’s first plays has been found on the shelf. You might think this an unusual thought process for a librarian in a little local library in northern France but this isn’t any old library.  Saint Omer is a typical rural French town, with a lovely town square, Saturday morning market, boulangeries and churches, surrounded by picturesque countryside. So we can forgive Remy Cordonnier, the director of the library’s medieval and early modern collection, when he picked up the book and wondered if it could possibly be something special.
232 copies until now that is, since the St Omer library was visited in November 2014 by an American Shakespeare expert who travelled to France to authenticate the volume.
There are some notes scribbled in the book and the name “Neville” is inscribed on the folio’s first surviving page. A real life Antiques Roadshow moment in rural France and it will be on view in the summer 2015 English literature exhibition at the library, Saint Omer.
Lille is like a miniature Paris, it has the same air of grandeur, there’s masses to see and do but it’s easier to get around and discover.
Lens is a former mining town that over the last few decades has been busy reinventing itself.  Some of the most defining characteristics of the city are the enormous slag heaps that are a legacy of its mining days. Every year the little hill top town of Montreuil-sur-Mer in the northern French department of Pas de Calais, holds an annual Painter’s Day and the whole town buzzes with colour as artists arrive to capture its lovely looks on paper for a day! Homer’s Odyssey in 13 Easy Steps If it’s been a while since you’ve read the Greek classics (or if you just never got around to it) no worries! It’s a movement that’s seen people trying a different way to relax and chill – it’s called “art therapie”. There are cows to milk, fields to manage, everything to clean, log in a book, vast food deliveries to arrange, collections to organise. Instead of the usual hurried and curt response I get, I know she can’t help it, there’s too much to do, she was quite relaxed.
I was a bit worried, I mean, therapy is personal right and I had no idea what I was going to see.


Art therapy colouring books are clearly big busienss in France and Johanna Basford’s books are the favourites, there was a steady stream of buyers while I was there. I love the thick paper, the gorgeous intricate and delicate drawings, treasure hunts, animals, castles, flowers, fauna, secrets and mystery. I thought I was sophisticated, elegant and oh so posh with my heavy green bottle and its iconic label. These days it is connected to the mainland by a bridge but back in 1979 you got there by catching a ferry from La Pallice.
It’s, perched on a hill so high that when a King and a Prince visited in 1828, they had to get out of their carriage and help push it to the top! We took a sharp detour west and for two delightful weeks we visited the Pays Basque, tucked in the southwest corner of France. He says this is difficult to do “but it takes care of lighting and white balance and all that instead of shooting green screen in my studio and trying to match things hours, days, or even weeks later. But it used to be a very important centre of learning and from the 7th Century onwards, the monks who founded a monastery here collected books. The monastery of St Bertin was largely destroyed during the French Revolution but the ruins remain, testament to its former glory. It is hard to know just how much such a book might be valued at, but certainly the price runs into several million dollars. Lille is a really friendly and fun place that has a great cultural vibe and enormous gastronomic footprint plus more than a dozen renowned art venues. Running a farm is not for the faint hearted and usually Blandine is rushed off her feet, stressed and miserable. You could have knocked me down with a feather because Blandine, lovely woman that she is, isn’t exactly the arty type. A Day at Chateau de Fontainbleau is a beautifully illustrated book about the exceptionally well-preserved Chateau near Paris. St Thomas a Becket sought refuge at the monastery in 1165 and though there is no proof it is almost certain he would have sat and read some of the books that were there at that time. The prized book collection was miraculously saved when it was confiscated during the heady days of the revolution and the books became public property. Omer in the 1650s by Edward Scarisbrick, a member of a prominent English Catholic family who went by that alias and attended the Jesuit college, founded when Catholics were banned from England’s universities. I once asked her to help me with directions to a flea market and she drew me a map, let’s just say it looked like a 3 year old had been let loose with a biro and was feeling particularly hyperactive. This has the most exquisite drawings, complex, pretty, lace-like, sophisticated, elaborate and most beautifully drawn, imaginative illustrations to colour in – for adults. They still are – including a Gutenberg Bible, one of only 48 known to survive; some works in this incredible collection of 50,000 books date back to the 7th Century. Only 800 were printed in 1623, seven years after the great playwright died and as none of the original manuscripts are known, this edition is taken to be the most definitive text for around half of Shakespeare’s plays.



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  1. 11.08.2013 at 20:38:38
    Gold writes:
    Two sons, her pet Boo, and mindfulness meditation.
  2. 11.08.2013 at 21:23:53
    Joe_Black writes:
    Good fortune and to deepen our e-mail, which I used to get.
  3. 11.08.2013 at 22:31:58
    jhn writes:
    We combine sitting and walking studying his books, one after one about beginning to note.
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    Idea, that they need to sacrifice.
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