Well this is us, myself and my long suffering husband Bill - owners of the beautifully restored, classic stone barn gite, "Maison D'Hibou" and Chez Dauve (the main  house)  in The beautiful  Charente.

We bought our French dream back in 2003 when we fell in  love with a rather grand but sadly neglected 17th century Charentaise farmhouse. We then spent 10 years travelling back and forth to France, restoring the farmhouse to its former glory, whilst both still working full time.

We then set about converting the barn into a wonderfully classic yet modern and charming gite.  The testimonials speak for themselves, with many renters returning year after year, and who we now call friends. The gite is available for a very few weeks in the summer months and I introduced Sewing Retreats in 2020. Other Retreats such as art and wellbeing are planned fore 2022 so find out more about the gite and pricing & availability.

"My husband of 48 years, Bill, is a miracle worker and retired engineer and did all the work himself with help from a close family friend, our two children and our son and son in law, who we can't thank enough. It was a real family affair and we all pitched voila ..... 10 YEARS LATER - Maison D'hibou at Chez Dauve was ready for business.  The only professional tradesman employed during the whole of the renovation was an architect.

Kate Hughes

Come sew with me!


I have a passion for sewing which was nurtured by my mother who came from a family of tailors and seamstresses.  I've been sewing for 60 years.   My mother taught me everything and at the time I was eager just to get a garment finished but she drummed into me the importance of

  1. Checking the layout of your chosen pattern and make sure its all correct BEFORE taking your scissors to it

  2. Choosing the correct fabric suitable for your project

  3. Getting the all important FIT

  4. Press as you go along every seam/every dart, every detail

  5. Apply all those tips and hints throughout the project

  6. Clip those “whiskers” and “tails” as you go (THREAD ENDS)

  7. Neaten all seams


  9. DO not RUN  BEFORE YOU CAN WALK                                                           I must stress that I am not a professional sewist but I do have a wealth of experience to draw upon. I ran local sewing  club in the UK, from 2011 till recently. Then decided I could offer a better sewing experience by moving this operation to our gite in The Charente where we have a wealth of space, peace, calm and a beautiful space to learn and teach in.  Find out more about our Sewing retreat.

Heated Pool

You have your own outdoor, fenced, heated swimming pool. 

Borrow a Bike

Take a family bike ride in the lovely countryside and quiet lanes.

Pamper Yourself

During your stay treat the ladies to a pampering spa treatment.

Pizza Night

We "fire up" the outdoor pizza oven once a week for pizza night.

Free Wifi

In the middle of nowhere you won't be cut off! Free wifi throughout.



I can't thank you enough Kate for giving me the ‘gift of sewing’. I get so much enjoyment from it and would never have taken it up without your lovely classes. Sending hugs and enjoy the sewing bee! 


What can I say - a wonderful holiday as usual. Thank you for look after us all, we really enjoyed it. We now need to go on a diet!!


Thank you for another thoroughly enjoyable & relaxing time. We all look forward to our yearly visit, and upon arriving back home will no doubt look towards next year's visit!