My Life – The First ChapterTo Know Your Past is to Know Your Future
It takes just as much time to be plain, boring and unexciting so why not go the extra mile and spice your life up and enjoy excitement every day ?
The definition of ‘Joie de Vivre’ (Joy of Life) is a ‘feeling of happiness and excitement about life, delight in being alive, enjoyment of living, exultation of spirit.’
How can we ever experience that, if that part of our life, that takes up so much time cooking, eating and day to day living at home) is mundane, uninteresting or just a dull boring routine?
My earlier and formative years were rich and varied with a family heritage in delicious food, travel, entertaining, décor and a lifestyle that has evolved from the experiences and knowledge passed down from my parents. Throughout many exciting adventures in my child and teenage years as we lived in Cape Town, South Africa, Australia and in Hampshire in England complemented by extensive travel through Europe and in particular France.
My Family Heritage
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. My parents met and were married in Australia, lived on a beautiful farm at Taggerty, Victoria. They had 2 children Julia and Jamie. They decided to sail to Africa for a holiday and ended up staying there for 13 years! Unbeknown to my dad, his mother in law (my amazing Grand Mother) was also on the boat! My love of cooking and entertaining really stemmed from her. She was a caterer and produced the most delicious dishes. She was still cooking delicious food right up into her late nineties. She passed away at 99 and a half after a very happy life and an intense interest in food and entertaining. She had lots of health and longevity secrets that I will write about another time.
They all just fell in LOVE with Cape Town and Africa as a whole. We all loved the black Africans too, such a gorgeous people.
The incredible FUN lifestyle, the wonderful produce Africa had to offer coupled with the Malay spice influence. Three more children were born there, myself, Amanda and Wyndham. I am the middle child of 5 children.
When I was 7 they purchased purchased 5 acres of land on a creek in Valley Road, Hout Bay. Although young at the time, I remember well the whitewashed Dutch Cape house my Parents built. Hout Bay is 20 minutes drive from Cape Town, a coastal town with a picturesque harbour that supports the crayfish industry for Capetown, We all had our own horses and used to ride nearly every day. I remember once when a Gymkhana was held on the property. Lots of parties, fun times, great cooking was had by all who lived and visited there. The nannies were just gorgeous and mum used to really spoil them. They had their own self contained flat on the property. As babies we were carried on their backs while they worked. Edna had a gorgeous black baby while living with us.
My father was an amazing gardener and grew all the vegetables, fig and guava trees etc. etc. All of us were encouraged to enjoy gardening and top quality organic food. I remember being walked along on his shoulder through the corn area and it was about 3 metres high. He had a whole system running for naturally fertilising all the gardens. We had turkeys, chickens and sheep. Collecting the eggs was fun and I had my own poddy calf that used to run to me when I had the red bucket with the milk in it for him…he used to suck my finger while drinking the warm milk.
I remember Petini, the gardener, after he had killed a lamb, being totally amazed as a 7 year old, seeing it opened up with all its parts on the inside. Petini used to cut the lamb into all the portions. Then soon after roast lamb was served laden with garlic and fresh herbs.
Mum used to ask Edna, one of the nannies to please prepare pumpkin, potatoes and other veges for dinner, then a marinated garlic lamb would be served too. Also Queen Pudding was a favorite, made from the milk, butter and eggs off the property. There was always plenty for all the nannies and gardener to share in a meal afterwards.
In each place we lived, we all had our own patch of garden that we could choose what we would like to grow
I have very fond memories of all of the kids and my father riding our horses down to Hout Bay Beach. Mum would drive down in the car down with a fantastic picnic.
We would all play hide and seek on our horses in the tall sand dunes and then we would collect a huge pot of fresh muscles off the rocks, make a fire and cook them to eat and enjoy with lots of fresh lemons and mustard and delicious bread. We would ride the horses into the water and they would swim too.
When I was nine years old they sold the Hout Bay house and the next adventure started. We all moved into the country in Natal, about 20 minutes drive from Escourt. The plan was to live there for just one year and then move to Australia..
At Escourt we lived in a very isolated farmhouse, 3 kilometres off the main road. There was NO electricity OR hot water, but it was a huge big farmhouse we could enjoy together!! There was a river and a beautiful but dangerous waterfall closeby.
As soon as we moved in, the Africans used to visit us asking about any jobs. My parents employed them to help with all the work to be done. The men would help with many things outside the house and grounds, including gardening, digging and planting and tending to the animals etc. etc. and we always had black nannies who helped prepare the food and did all the inside work. Mum would always take them to town before they started to work for us to have them fitted for lovely uniforms including hats and shoes etc.
We reared our own pigs, cows, sheep, chickens and turkeys. One cow was for milking for the family. I remember the milk being poured in the separator and milk would come out one side and lovely thick cream on the other side.
We had plenty of lovely produce off the land to work with. I remember many, many awesome lunches, dinners and parties and wonderful picnics.
Also, the round African huts with thatched roofs used to be all around the area.
Mum and Dad gave many of them jobs and they loved working for us.
I remember the Nannies with the babies on their backs all going into Escort to do their shopping. They would get dropped of by the bus on the highway, we would often invite them to jump on our ute and drive them all the way up to where they lived to save them walking as they had baby on back and shopping on their heads.
One time, when mum and dad went away to Durban for a weekend and came back with a whole truck full up to the ceiling of reject clothing. The Africans were all invited to come over and help themselves to whatever they would like to wear. It was lovely to see them so excited about new clothes in lots of bright colours, some shirts would have one short arm and one long or no arms at all, but they just LOVED it.
They would often come over to the house and start playing their band with their own home made instruments. They loved our family. Mum often gave nice food to the children.
We were all encouraged to taste and cook delicious food from a very young age. Mum used to make really amazing meals on the wood stove and invite friends over to enjoy. We would light all the kerosene lambs and candles and a lovely fire would be going.
The wood stove also had 3 big irons on it which the ironing nanny used to rotate on the wood stove while doing all the ironing. I remember sitting up to breakfast with our own cured bacon, free range eggs, home made bread etc. etc.
Although I was younger I always remember the amazing food and fresh produce we ate while living in South Africa which is noted for flavourful cuisine. Some of the most loved dishes that my family request now are Bobotie and a South African chicken curry with peaches and condiments. Also a favorite dessert, Tipsy Tarte.
Now that we are married with our own children, every now and then we have an “African Night”. I cook all the African curries with the delicious condiments. We invite friends and encourage them to wear African, like leopard or tiger print. Light a log fire, put on some great music and enjoy the evening.
When I was 10 years old we sailed from Durban to Australia, but some of my fondest memories come from our time in South Africa.
After only 4 years in Australia, living near Bowral firstly and then in Port Maquarie where my parents build another gorgeous whitewashed villa on acreage.
When I was 14 they sold the Port Macquarie house and sold absolutely EVERTHING. All we had was one suitcase each! I remember the auction where EVERYTHING just went!
The next Adventure was underway. My parents bought 7 one way tickets to Rome Italy. It was March when we arrived and we stayed in this lovely hotel in Rome. We were all taken out to buy new clothes. We went to the via Veneto and bought boots, coats and other lovely warm clothes. We went to the Picolo Mondo one day for lunch and the Italian people were amazed at my sisters (Julia and Amandas’) hair as it was a lovely light golden red colour. They couldn’t stop looking and touching it.
After spending time in Italy, we caught the train to Paris. I remember coming into Paris in the snow. Just so pretty! Totally amazing food awaited us wherever we went in Paris. The cakes and shopping were truly amazing.
They bought 2 cars in France and we travelled around and enjoyed the beautiful countryside and villages. I vividly remember the French countryside dotted with quaint villages and breathtaking landscapes. This is where my love of French food and lifestyle started. We have visited many times since.
We then moved to an ancestral home in Hampshire England (Hill Place) My earliest memories of life at Hill Place between the age of 14 and 18 are of sumptuous food, fun parties, afternoon tea each day in the drawing room. We often had friends to stay for weekends. We spent 5 years in this beautiful house.
Hill Place is a Georgian country villa built in the 1700’s and situated near the village of Swanmore in Hampshire. It was surrounded by a 20 acre Parkland with beautiful Oak trees etc. I remember exploring and playing with my brothers and sisters in this vast estate of more than 1000 acres in all.
The estate had beautiful orchards full of endless varieties of fruit including pear, old english apple varieties including Blenheim Orange, Coxes orange pippin and a brown russet perfect with cheeses) Also a cherry orchard, and a variety of pears etc. etc The massive old country house was surrounded by a moat (called a ha-ha).
It has a very rare “Adam Staircase” that seemed to hang on nothing as we ascended to the upstairs bedrooms at night.
While living here, my parents woke up one morning and announced that we were going to move over to Ireland for 6 months to travel around. Ireland was just gorgeous! The Irish cottages were so pretty and the peat moss fires etc. etc. We lived in a house right near Bunratty Castle for 6 months. We loved Ireland and made lots of friends there and of course the parties begun again. I remember a very memorable lunch where about 20 friends came over. My sister Julia made a huge Garlic Chicken Parmesan and a huge potato dish and salad. Desserts were big in Ireland and afterwards we would serve the famous Irish Coffee where my dad would go around adding a nip of Irish Whisky to each mug.
After the six months living in beautiful Ireland, we returned to live back at Hill Place.
It is now a popular wedding venue . Just go to https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g1096799-d2238037-Reviews-Hill_Place-Swanmore_Hampshire_England.html
and you will get the picture.
We said good bye to this idyllic lifestyle when I was nearly 18 and we moved to Australia near Byron Bay. Soon after returning I met the man of my dreams and married 2 years later.
My Next Life Chapter
So hopefully you can see from my background why I have always had this subconscious yearning for travel, fun, adventure, excitement, beautiful surroundings and amazing food. It was instilled into us all since I was very young!
Things changed when I was married in my early 20’s . I was no longer came from under the safety net of my parents and as a young newly married couple we had to ‘start from scratch’ with little in the way of financial resources behind us.
I had to readjust my expectations regarding the lifestyle I had been used to.
I remember for the first six months of our marriage we lived in a two room verandah cottage and then rented a small flat under a friends house for a few years while we were living in Sydney.
As I reflect on those times and although they were simple surroundings my passion for decorating and creating tasty food always kicked in and I always managed to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere with what I had to work with. We had dinner parties nearly every weekend. We would go to the Sydney markets and choose the best and freshest and then invite friends to come over.
After being married for 4 years we decided as a couple to move to Hobart in Tasmania for one year. My sister, Julia and Amanda were living and loving it there, my parents moved there too and my younger brother, Wyndham. My older brother Jamie stayed in Byron Bay but visited now and then. We ended up staying in Hobart for 10 years! The first seven years we lived in a gorgeous marine cottage right in Salamanca Place. We decorated it in the traditional cottage style and spent many years together restoring and painting furniture antique together. We collected amazing and pretty pieces to decorate our cottage.
We also ran a small café at Salamanca Markets on Saturdays called “Just Delicious”. We had queues of people every Saturday and had very healthy but delicious varied menu. That’s where we started our famous Strawberry Chilli Sauce which we served with sour cream on our fresh cut spicy chips. We still make them today, very popular with family and friends. We sold the Café after 2 years.
After being married for 10 years our son Beaumont arrived. We were just moving into our new house on his arrival.
We built our first house in Hobart with a breathtaking view overlooking the bay. It was white and had a tower and other Mediterranean features. Also a glass box on the front of the house, an atrium gave that ‘cliff effect’.
My husband came from a completely different background to me, but after being exposed to the food my family prepared and that I provided he became a passionate foodie and we have shared many adventures , travelled extensively together and created many amazing times together and with our 2 children, Beaumont and Sophie.
We have been married for nearly 35 years and although we started off with little in the way of resources we have managed to create some amazing memories which has much to do with the drive to duplicate many of the experiences I had while growing up.
After a memorable 3 and a half week honeymoon in Bora Bora, over the years we have travelled throughout Europe (especially England, France and Italy) and throughout Asia and the US. I took Dean, my husband back to Hill Place in England, we were invited there for afternoon tea. He loved the house and thought Hampshire was just so beautiful. It was wonderful travelling to France with him to show him just why I am in love with the French lifestyle and food. We also love Italy very much, particularly Florence and Venice. Travelling together and enjoying Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Croatia, and Turkey have been really amazing.
We both share a love of the French food and the Mediterranean lifestyle which has reinforced my tastes in décor and cooking.
Both my Mother and Father as you can see lived a very colourful life and had a love of travel, fun and variety in life and of course great food.
My dad used to say “we all need FUN and excitement…kids need excitement, we all need FUN things to look forward to”.
My mother always said to buy quality or ‘buy ONLY the best’ when shopping for clothes or things for the house. She would find a way to always buy the best quality in everything.
My big sister, Julia, was a mentor when it came to learning to cook while I was young and although I did attend a cordon bleu cooking school for a short while when we lived in England I am basically self taught. I am also a self taught Interior Designer and have never done any courses. I probably break many of the ‘so called’ rules for interior design, but it works so well and I get many, many positive from visitors who come to our house.
I think it’s the passion to provide lovely things for my husband and children and our friends that inspires me to cook and decorate. Also, it’s the years of cooking and bettering things along the way. It has been a very fulfilling passion for me.
My early years as just described are probably why I crave excitement and fun and am passionate about food, entertaining and creating a lifestyle for my family that makes us all feel good to live in each day.
I feel like a ‘caged lion’ right now and am dying to do another project. The next one will also be Mediterannean and will incorporate a totally separate self contained flat for each of our children, and if they aren’t using it then AIR BNB bed and breakfast is another idea we have.
There is also a dream I really want to fulfil, and that is to go to Cape Town with my husband and children and also to Kruger National Park.
The Way to Create a ‘Feel Good and Exciting’ Home Environment Through Décor, Ambience and Amazingly Tasty and Healthy Food with Money or on a Shoestring Budget.
You may be looking for a way to be a ‘domesic goddess’ or you may be a young married couple and were not trained on what to do or how to do the many things involved in home making or you may just be looking for new ideas or a different point of view?
I have seen many people with more money that they could ever need but they seem to have no idea how to create an inviting ambience and an interesting décor in their home and settle for bland and uninteresting food. While it is each to their own, I personally feel that it is lack of knowledge and skill rather than lack of desire to do these things.
I discovered that although having money as a funding tool is important it is primarily your passion, desire and ‘know how’ that creates the environment and lifestyle you want.
When we walk into our home from the outside world we feel instantly transported into a whole different environment. Each day we walk around our home and feel so good being there. The family are in anticipation of every meal that is an exciting treat and a flavor bursting sensation. It is a haven and a pleasure to live in.
It has been said that the secret to making money is to apply a system that has a predictable outcome.
I believe it is the same to creating surroundings and the feel in your home along with the meals you prepare every day.
As I look back over all the entertaining, all the meals I have prepared and provided and all the places I have shared in designing, decorating and furnishing I can see common threads that amount to a system that if applied will have a predictable outcome.
It is this system that is provided through the information at brigitteshouse.com .
We have always strived to create an environment of peace and tranquillity along with an interesting and exciting times to create lifelong memories. I am passionate about the food I prepare through healthy and delicious everyday cuisine, through entertaining and parties and sharing fun times with valued friends.
Feeling good every day through your surroundings affects your physical, emotional and mental health, your relationships, productivity and general enjoyment of life. We love great music, a combination of chill, upbeat lounge music going through the house every day from wake up time till bed time.
I hope that by sharing the many years of accumulated experience and applied knowledge that I have it can be of some benefit to you as it has been to me and my family.
Four Simple Steps to Creating a Resort Ambience and Lifestyle at Home, Cook and Entertain like a Domestic Goddess and Pursue a Youthful Healthy Lifestyle!
Step 1 – Creating Interesting and Exciting Décor and Surroundings
Feel like you are living in a 5 star resort every day. Make your house an exciting place to be and come home to, at all times of day.
Step 2 – Prepare Food that is simple, healthy (most of the time) and Bursting with Flavour.
Have your family and dinner guests reaching for their cameras when you serve your culinary masterpieces and gasping in pleasure induced disbelief after they take their first bite.
Step 3 – Create a Daily Routine that Promotes Youthful Health
Apply the simple to follow Brigitte’s House’ Youthful Health Program to ‘live life to the youngest’
Step 4 – Become a Lifestyle Connoisseur
Skillfully combine Steps 1- 3 and experience more ‘Joie de Vivre’ in your life
Follow the step by step instructional videos provided in our Brigitte’s House Secret Vault and you will see how easy it is to achieve these goals once you know how.
Like many things in life, when you watch someone who has mastered a sport, hobby or pastime it looks so easy once they reveal their secrets. The problem is that most people never truly reveal all their secrets unless there is a strong reason why they should.
I have always closely guarded the many recipes and strategies I have developed over years of trial and error and experience. This is the first time I have ever lifted the lid on all these things. You can access this previously closely guarded information at this link :
Take a lot of time and expense out of the learning process. Shortcut years of putting the pieces together in the right order in terms of how to create the environment at home through cooking and decorating that you always wanted but didn’t know who to ask.
The information unique to me. it is not plaguerised or written by a ghost writer from elance, you cannot find it anywhere else and it workd because I have tried and tested the cooking and decorating over 30 years in various locations with people from all over the world and the same results happen – see www.brigitteshouse.com/testimonials . I will reveal in full ALL my knowledge and skills developed and tested over 30 years – you will get access to videos and written instructions , step by step guides and ‘how to’ information that will transform your domestic home life.
You can access this previously closely guarded information at this link :