The Three Daughters of M. Dupont.

When Monsieur Dupont was a Frenchman, he had three daughters , and their names were Anne-Marie, Therese, and La p’tite Georgette. But when he became an American for a change, he called himself Mr. Dewpond, and his daughters were called Anne Mary, Terry and George.

Mrs Dewpond (who still called herself Madame Dupont when nobody was looking) had a linen-cupboard of which she was very proud and it was her one delight to keep it always full of the most beautiful linen. Linen fascinated her, just as kittens fascinate other people and money fascinates my Uncle James. She was never tired of buying it and running her fingers over it, and holding it against her cheek, and then tucking it away lovingly in her cupboard; and whenever she had a birthday, her three daughters would put all their savings together and buy her a table-cloth or a pair of dusters, so that Mrs Dewpond should say,  "My darlings, but how they are ravishing!"  They loved to hear her say this.

One day Mrs Dewpond was not very well: and then there were more days when she was no better; and first a doctor came, and then a nurse came, and then she and the nurse went away to the country together to see if it would do her any good. And all the time Mr Dewpond went about the house saying, "T’chk, t’chck, t’chk" to himself, and looking very miserable; and Anne Mary wrote to her Mother every day to say they were all getting on all right and did want her back so badly; and Terry ended up her prayers every night with, "And may she suddenly come back tomorrow morning, so that I can wake up and there she is;" and George kissed the door of her Mother’s empty bedroom every time she passed it, as a sort of friendly habit; and all the house called to her to come back to it.

And at last there came a day when Mr. Dewpond had a letter saying that Mrs. Dewpond was very nearly well again; and would be home again on Saturday afternoon. This was on the Monday, so they had less than a week to wait, and they were all just as happy as they could be, thinking of it.

"We must celebrate it," said Terry solemnly.

George didn’t know what "celebrate" meant, so Anne Mary explained it to her until she did know, and then they all wondered how they should do it.

"I know," said Terry suddenly.  "Lets send all the linen to the wash, and then it will be lovely and clean and smelling lavendery when she comes back to it.",

Anne Mary wasn’t sure if this was a good thing to do. There was such a lot of it  and it would look so funny on the bill if they suddenly had a hundred and twelve table-cloths and only one white shirt, and-

"Well, anyhow, George thinks it’s a lovely idea," said Terry carelessly, "and you know what fun it will be putting it all back again."

The thought of putting it all back again was too much for Anne Mary.

"Very well, darlings, " she said, "we’ll do it. Come along."

So they counted it out. There were 112 table-cloths, 42 bath-towels, 73 small towels, 26 pairs of white sheets  , 229 pillow-cases, and more dusters than I can possibly put down here. And they all went to the laundry together. On the Saturday morning they all came back (except one duster) and Anne Mary, Terry and George put them in the cupboard neat as neat, George being particularly helpful. And then they waited for their Mother.

She came at last. Anne Mary said that she was prettier than ever, and Mr. Dewpond said she had never looked so well, and Terry and George thought she was even nicer to kiss than she had ever been before. For some time they all talked together about everything, and you could see that Mrs. Dewpond couldn’t help thinking about her linen-cupboard now and then, but she didn’t say anything; and Terry and George kept whispering to each other, "Won’t she be surprised when she see?" -and sometimes George said to Anne Mary, "How surprised do you think she’ll be?" At last she got up, saying, "Well I think I’ll just-" and they knew where she was going , and they all went with her. she threw open the chest, and of course she knew at once what had happened. she just clasped her hands and cried, "My darlings, but how they are ravishing!" And then they all four hugged each other.

Later on, when he saw the bill, Mr Dewpond clasped his hands and cried, too. 

I didn’t think there was anyone in the world as proud of their linen cupboard as me, but this delightful little tale comes courtesy of the most elegant little childrens book ever written: A Gallery of Children by A.A. Milne.

Buy it. Don your most elegant tea dress and spend the afternoon in the company of eleven eloquent little stories of  domestic bliss.


I think you will agree that most E-Cards are gruesome.

Who wants to find a flashing cartoony monstrosity lurking in your mailbox, even if the sentiment is heartfelt?

So, thank goodness for, the only tasteful ecard purveyor on the web. With over 2000 cards in 40 categories, there is a free card for every occasion, and they are all, almost without exception, srumptiously pretty.

Send yourself a vintage greeting, say thank you the old fashioned way, or wish your best friend a Happy January just because you care…

On the Decision to Advertise.

I didn’t wanna do it. I really didn’t wanna do it.

I kinda hate myself for it.

But here’s the thing: this site has changed my little life. I adore it. But oh my Lordy, it is time consuming. All of a sudden I’ve got a full time job!

If BrocanteHome is to become the treasured community that I hope it will be, I have to work hard at it. If I’m working so hard I haven’t got time to stencil the houses of Lancashire, then I have to find a way to make BrocanteHome pay its way.

Hence the horrible Google box.

Now I wander around the world wide web cursing every site that has sold its soul to Google. Too many sites are little more than adverts for adverts sake. I despise the idea of compromising content for a few little pennies, but occasionally in life you have to wake up and smell the Redoute Roses: Finley needs food, the car needs petrol and I need Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion.

So there it is: the reason why there is a blinking big Google box in the left column of my lovely site. I have tried to make it as pretty as possible, but I have no control over the content so while one day there will adverts for vintage quilts, the next there may be adverts for… well God knows what, but hopefully nothing too horrible! Furthermore, I promise original content will always come before any form of advertising, and I will never succumb to pop-ups, ugly banners, anything that flashes or any other form of intrusive advertising. Help yourself to my lovely collection of crystal sugar bowls if I do.

Please feel free to ignore this almost blatant form of begging, or indeed, keep the site alive by clicking on the occasional ad.

Hopefully I will win the lottery and we will never need to mention this again.

Have a lovely Saturday night.


When my little sister was ten, she started a collection of vintage postcards. On the weekends Mum and Dad would take us antiquing and it wasn’t long before Helen had a box file full of Edwardian postcards, many featuring ladies in frilly dresses and overblown floral ephemera. I thought she was the uncoolest thing on the planet. I had posters of George Micheal, she had an old-fashioned photographs of women she didn’t know. Could she have been any sadder?

How things change.

Helen, if you are reading this, I will swap you anything you want for that collection. Anything at all…

Pretty Things To Do With Vintage Postcards.

Punch holes through the top of a pretty card,  thread ribbon through the holes, tie in a bow and hang from the peg rail in the kitchen.

Clip then into the edges of your mirror frames.

Glue them into your illustrated discovery journal.

Frame them individually in twinkly frames and hang lots together on a dull wall.

Scan them and use them as calling cards on your email messages.

String a collection onto pretty ribbon and use as decorative bunting.

Use one you love as a bookmark.

Photocopy them and use them for decoupaging any flat surface.

Send them to people you love!

British Vogue. Finley’s curly hair. My curly hair. Clarins Beauty Flash. Jude Law. Mum finally recovering from a nightmarish bout of flu. My dishwasher.  Cheese: I love it, I know I shouldn’t but I do.  John Galliano. Clean windows courtesy of the smiliest window cleaner in the area. Maroon 5.  Salt and vinegar crisps. Mark bathing the baby even though he’s on his last legs with the flu. Finley’s new dance. Being penniless, because it has finally freed me creatively. MSN Messenger, because I love chatting to my Dad, while we work. Alexandra Stoddard. Aloe Vera Persil washing Powder. The daffodils poking their heads through the soil in the tiny patch of mud I call a garden. The Beautiful South. Sex and the City repeats, Coronation Street and Most Haunted. The internet. MTV.  Trashy Liverpool wartime romances. An early night. Candles. Lots and lots of candles. This house. My Mark. My babba, and Kenny Rogers.

"I wrote an essay in second grade, entitled "Being Greatful." I mis-spelled grateful and I was reprimanded, but I now believe we become great in proportion to how grateful we are. You receive vitality and comfort every time you are grateful"

                                                                                       Alexandra Stoddard.

I want to be great. But more than that, I want to recognise  all the tiny little moments of contentment I hardly notice. The tiny little moments that make life worth living, dissolve the disappointments, and gently blow away my personal pain.

I go through life moaning. Not because I’ve got a lot to moan about, but mostly because I like the sound of my own voice. To listen to me, you would think I had the world on my shoulders when the truth is that I have been practising the gratitude habit for such a long time now I know there is very little truth in my mournful wail.  So ignore me.

My gratitude journal helps me put my troubles into perspective. I look back and I see that not only have I got through any number of days I have secretly dreaded, but that those days were filled with good things, new ideas, memories made and occasionally,  moments that made me laugh till I cried. Without the journal those tiny things would have been forgotten.

I don’t write in it every day. I know Sarah Ban Breathnach says we should note five things we are grateful for every day, but try as I might, there are days when I have neither the time, energy or motivation to do so. Don’t tell Sarah, but there are even days when I don’t feel  very grateful at all. But no matter. While I might worship at Sarah’s feet, I am a slave to nothing, and life’s to short to beat myself up about forgetting to keep a journal! Megan at Divine Reality agrees:

"I Give Myself a Break & Kudos for a Job Well Done!
I began the Gratitude Journal with fervor, but like most things it has tended to be forgotten. Instead of forcing myself to write every night, I leave it by my bedside and write what I’m grateful for whenever the mood hits me. Simple Abundance has taught me to be good to myself and to not feel bad when I don’t write every day but instead cheer myself on when I do find the motivation to do so."

So about the journal itself: Over the years I have tried various ways, types of notebook, and even bought the Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude, but I have finally come up with a journal that works for me. Namely an A4 , ludicrously pretty notepad, into which I have glued coloured envelopes to hold articles and letters I do not want to stick to the page.

In this book, I have made a master list of things I am grateful for, just because they exist. I have put letters from friends in the coloured envelopes, photographs of my babba, my house, my Mom and Dad,  and even pictures of me on days when I am looking nothing short of fantastic (which doesn’t happen very often!), evidence of my achievements through the years like letters, certificates, and newspaper cuttings, and images cut from magazines of favorite things and people . It is, in short, an illustrated journal of my life: not the life I want (that is in my Discovery journal), but the life I have, a life jam packed with a million and one things to be grateful for, to remind me to feel calm, and contented when all around me is chaos.

It is a haphazard affair. There is no order. I write wherever I feel like, on any page, sometimes in the kind of scrawl only I can decipher. I stick things in willy nilly and never worry what it looks like. No-one is judging me. My journal is just that: mine. There to remind me that I am OK, that my life is as lovely as I am capable of making it and that there is a rhythm to the ups and downs of my life guaranteed to repeat itself into eternity.

And for that I give thanks.

What are you grateful for?      

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