Memories of France & a new Bistro set

One of my best childhood holiday memories was from when we were staying at a friend’s house in a small French village in the Vendée in France. Each morning around 8am, my Dad would disappear off to the boulangerie down the street and appear not long after with armfuls of croissants, baguettes, pain au chocolat and fresh orange juice.

We’d sit out together – my whole family and my best friend Laura – under the hot morning sun in the old rambling garden, eating our delicious fresh bakes with lashings of confiture de fraise. Once we’d stuffed ourselves to the gills, we’d pack up and head off to the beach, or take ourselves off for a ride on the old clapped out bikes in the shed. It felt magical at the time, and the memories still do. 

Habitat bistro set

Since then, I’ve always felt that there’s something a bit special about eating al fresco, especially on a sunny morning under a cloudless blue sky, just before everyone else has woken up and gone about their business. Until a couple of weeks ago, to eat breakfast under the morning sun here at The Smallest Smallholding meant perching on the crowded kitchen door step, or faffing around with the big table cover and chairs down by the veg plots.

So when I was contacted to review a Habitat bistro set, of course I leapt at the chance. We’d had a spate of hot, sunny Spring days and I was longing to make the most of the morning light streaming onto the back of the house. I wanted to be able to start my day in the fresh air and listen to the bird song whilst I munch on my (now vegan, no croissants as yet) breakfast. (I’m still a huge fan of confiture de fraise and can also be found chomping down on toast or baguette loaded with blackcurrant jam too).

Habitat bistro set

We decided that the Habitat PARC Bistro Set would be perfect for our needs – just two chairs and a bijou table that worked well in the small space we had set aside. The PARC Bistro set is priced at £85.00 and we opted for the slate blue (but I think now the PARC set is available in black, yellow or red for extra zing). We have a little patch of mostly untended gravel outside the conservatory, that has up until now been somewhat of a redundant space, and this is where we decided to set up our new little eating area.

As I was at work, and Rich works from home, he was responsible for setting up the table and chairs, and assures me they all went up together with relative ease. The metal frames are sturdy and solid, and seem fine under Rich’s rugby-like build and 6’3″ frame, and my ever-increasing 7 month-pregnancy weight too! The colour is perfect and really lifts the area, and having a small eating space outside the back door before you get to the garden gate really gives a once sad looking space some real purpose. And with it being outside the kitchen, it makes popping out with a sandwich at lunch time or, in Rich’s case, his 7th cup of tea in the morning, easy. Just being able to get out and take a moment in the fresh area is great.

Even though I am yet to finish planting up this new eating area I’m excited about being able to use a new sizeable space. I’ve got a shelf of lettuces and herbs growing there, but I know now I need to rethink what could be a really productive and pretty space. I’m picturing rows of potted flowering herbs on the sunny side to accompany the bistro set, and on the shady side maybe some majestic hostas with a refreshed and revived gravel area for shade-loving herbs like sweet woodruff, angelica and parsley.

And in winter, when the northerly winds return and the frosts start to bite, we can fold away our little bistro set and store in the shed until Spring comes around again and we’re able to sit out, with our new daughter, and enjoy lashings of fresh bakes and confiture de fraise under the bright morning sun.

Habitat bistro set

 

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