I’m never very imaginative when it comes to this blogging lark. I often wonder where people get their inspiration from to write amusing snippets, anecdotes that are going to capture other people’s interests... is anyone out there actually reading my amateurish attempts, lol 
Yes, I've just celebrated my birthday this month... Birthdays are great, a time for celebration and a lovely excuse to get together with family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, anyone in fact who fancies a piece of cake, a bit of a dance and lots and lots of bubbly :o) But you don't need an excuse to celebrate life - life is for living, for enjoying, as well as working. 
I really like banana loaf :o) It is one of my go-to favourite bakes, along with sticky ginger cake, shortbread, lemon drizzle and flapjacks. There's something comforting, yes comforting, about warm, gooey bakes coming out of the oven... it starts with the aroma, teasing your tastebuds... 

Unctuousness of caramelised banana 

and then the anticipation of the sweet, unctuousness of the caramelised banana encased in the light fluffiness of cake, ummmm, what's not to love? Why am I talking about banana loaf I hear you ask? Haha! Well, I was sitting here thinking about what to write in this month's blog, seeing the sun struggling through the haze and looking at the last few bananas in my fruit bowl - they're always the last to get eaten, the bananas. The strawberries, blueberries and raspberries barely last long enough to get from the front door to the fridge - and thinking how I was going to have to put the bananas in the freezer for a bake day. In this house, once bananas start going black, none of us can bear to eat them, although that's when they're at their sweetest! So, instead, I'm firing up the oven and I'm going to bake a humungous banana loaf for myself and hubby to work our way through this week with lashings of melted butter... and then schedule at least 4 extra gym sessions for tomorrow and Wednesday, lol.  
If you want to try my World Famous banana loaf (well, it's famous in my world, haha), come along to our Wellness Retreat 17-21 June - I promise I'll save you a slice ;o) 
(Or if you want my fab foolproof recipe, just let me know :o) 
Don't know about you, but I got all excited back at the end of March when I was in my courtyard sporting a snazzy pair of baggy shorts and a vest top.... 
Le Moulin has always prided itself on being a premier venue - and now we can prove it, yayyy. 
 
We have been featured on the FRONT PAGE of the publication, "Mayenne Info" of the Mayenne Tourism site (click here to see us on the site) with a full article on page 6 - how exciting! Who needs self-promotion... 
 
 

Inspiration 

As I sit at my laptop trying to think about what to write, I'm looking out of the window at the sudden change in weather. This week has seen sunshine and warmth and so many of us heralding the onset of spring, pulling on our shorts and packing picnics and heading to the nearest green areas... today, the clouds have taken over, the angels are crying little tears and the news are full of "there'll be snow in March"!! 
So, where to find the inspiration to get up and get on with our lives? 
 
Well, having said a fond and tearful goodbye to two dear friends this month, I truly believe that we should all count our blessings every day and live our lives to the fullest. It's hard but we should all stop dwelling on the negatives and rejoice in the positives; waking up to a new day, getting a smile from a loved one (or a stranger, as corny as that sounds) and one of my favourites, getting hugs. There's not much that is more comforting that getting - or giving - a big, squishy hug to someone. Go on, try it... and not one of those 2 second hugs either, a minimum 10 second, firm, wrap your arms around, nestle in hug, hmmmm... 
 

Brrrr.... 

NEW BEGINNINGS 

Once the draw of homemade butternut squash and sweet potato soup followed by sticky toffee pudding has warn off, let's think to rewarding our bodies by easing into the new year. Our new beginnings doesn't have to hurt, I'm not saying sign up to all those HIIT, body pump and spin classes at your local gym, no! Why not start by treating yourself to a week's Wellness Retreat here at LMQ; "Our Wellness Retreat is the time for you to come and spend some time on Self. It's a time to recharge your body with relaxing, stimulating yoga sessions, revive with mindfulness sessions aided by our NLP practitioner and our Doterra practitioner. Our Wellness Retreat is the time for you to come and spend some time on Self, time to recharge, revive and refuel with natural juices and wholefoods to complete your journey. 
 
read more below.... 

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES 

After all the excitement of December - the sparkly lights, festive feasting, presents - we are now in the cold crispness of January and all that entails. 

COMFORT FOOD 

While some may be thinking detox and abstenance, some of us are excited at hunkering down in front of an open fire and warming our hands and tummies with lovely comfort food. 
Well, it's not quite how the saying goes but poetic licence and all that.... 
 
Last time I posted here, I mentioned snuggling up in front of my fire and I can honestly say, it's been one of the best things about November in the Kipping household :) along with the festive treats in all the shops in the run up to ... dare I say it?? Dare I mention the season of festive cheer, the season of giving, of egg nog, mulled wine and mince pies??? Yes, CHRISTMAS!!! 
 
I do love Christmas and the fact that we all have an excuse to be jolly, to be silly and to hug random strangers.... well, perhaps not the last bit but you know what I mean! We're starting off our celebrating here at LMQ with our annual Christmas Fayre and it looks like it's going to be a great day (I know I'm biased but bear with me) - we've got over 8 stalls with loads of Christmas gifts to choose from, competition games for the children, refreshments including mulled wine, Christmas cake, mince pies... oh, and did I mention mince pies? yummy in my tummy :p 
 
But anyway, a 'random stranger' could be that guest that has decided to book one of our properties and has turned into a friend; they've invited you to come over and share a glass of wine and some aperos, you've laughed together over the fact that they've 'lost' their children for a few hours (the kids are whooping and hollering as they have an impromptu cinema night, watching the latest blockbuster in the upstairs salon) and/or shared a raclette meal with you. 
 
Lethargy 
 
It's always around this time of year when the lovely anticipation of spring and the heady excitement of summer have passed and we tumble into the crispy crunching of autumn leaves and the thought of hibernation throughout winter! For me, autumn used to be a downward spiral of the dread of that 'crisp morning' turning into the freezing cold of snow, persistent rain, driving wind and lots of coughing and sneezing... 
Silver lining.... 
 
BUT, and it's a big BUT, since running Le Moulin, this time of year has brought me a silver lining. It has meant return visits from some lovely guests, hearing the laughter of the children splashing in the pool and seeing the smiles of the adults in the steaming jacuzzi... 
 
I can look forward to snuggling up in front of the fire, wrapped up in my festive pyjamas. Now, who's up for a glass of mulled wine? 
 
What to do when it's the nearly the end of September and it's nigh on 27 degrees at Le Moulin? Why, put on your bikini and sunbathe of course!! 
 
Sunny thoughts 
 
Lying in the sun outside my gite and I'm still revelling in the success that was our very first Salon du Mariage (click here for the video); it was a great afternoon and I got to meet a few of my neighbours that I hadn't yet had the pleasure of meeting - how cool is that? 
 
We had 3 'brides' who thoroughly enjoyed themselves, strutting their stuff down our red carpet catwalk. Lamberts, our wedding dress supplier, did us proud with a selection of utterly gorgeous gowns and, along with the talents of Sandrine Bancroft, the hair stylist, and the make-up artistry of Belle-Essentielle, the brides brought a tear to the eye of many a spectator in the room, envisioning their own daughters making the transition to wifedom... 
 
We have already received two potential bookings for the beginning of next year so happy days :0) 
 
Now, where's that sun cream... 
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