les etoiles…..
11 August 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

les etoiles…..

Anita from the beautiful blog, Castles Crowns and Cottages is the winner of the Moonshined Design etoile earrings. Thank you all for your comments and emails…you are all stars in my eyes….they were so appreciated and I know that Cate would want me to tell you how thrilled she was at your response to her story

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the grown-up girl’s play room….
10 August 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

the grown-up girl’s play room….

Sometimes the ‘girly girl-ness’ of a space is what we need to warm and cosy up our day. This dressing room, designed as if it were a personal boudoir, just seemed to me to be the perfect space to take five…. There are a couple of days left to comment, follow or subscribe to French Essence (that

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Letters From Corsica #1
6 June 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Letters From Corsica #1

I survived the crossing. Driving to Marseille through one of Provence’s spectacular storms made for a dramatic start to my Corsican journey. The Gods did take pity on me and while the heavens might have been lashing out the seas remained calm and friendly. The Napolean Bonaparte is a means to an end; she is a

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Letters From Corsica
3 June 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Letters From Corsica

Have you ever had trouble sleeping? Anticipation sometimes disrupts my sleep and last night I had one of those kinds of tossy-turny sleeps. I kept dreaming about big boats and passenger ferries and the rocking of the waves and the fear of sea sickness. We are embarking on an adventure tonight; we are driving to Marseille and

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The French Shutter
30 March 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

The French Shutter

Perhaps it is the worn patina, maybe it is the idea of ‘behind closed shades’ or it could be that I am enamoured with that grey-blue and no-colour greige that the French do so beautifully but the truth is I love a french shutter. I find the older ones (top right) prettier simply because the

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Vintage Berlin
3 March 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Vintage Berlin

  Sometimes things just work out.   Like this…I am in Berlin and so is Toma Clark Haines…otherwise known as the Antiques Diva. After a couple of tweets (see tweeting can be very purposeful) we both established that we were in the same city at the same time….not something that is easy to co-ordinate for

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Valerie
10 February 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Valerie

Perhaps you remember that I wrote about my lovely French friend Valerie in my first book, MY FRENCH LIFE. A few weeks back, over lunch, I asked her if I could snap her portrait. As she turned away, laughed and said, “whatever for”. I clicked… xv

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After Reading Comes Writing
1 February 2011 | VA Notes Uncategorized

After Reading Comes Writing

I am an accidental writer…I like that phrase, not original but borrowed from the Anne Tyler book, The Accidental Tourist.   Accidental, because I didn’t plan to write. I never imagined that I would spend many hours of my day writing and if you asked me what it is that I do I would answer

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Heartbreaker
16 December 2010 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Heartbreaker

 I have to tell you about the cutest French film. It has everything to do with breaking hearts and falling in love. The French know all about this. Heartbreaker or L’Arnacoeur, starring the gorgeous Vanessa Paradis and the very handsome Romain Duris. I would be surprised if Heartbreaker  didn’t make you laugh and smile and feel like

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‘Different Links On The Same Chain’
21 November 2010 | VA Notes Uncategorized

‘Different Links On The Same Chain’

  I received this beautiful letter from one of my readers who lives in Bengal. We have shared a correspondence for some time now… but this one particular note touched me and gave me cause to reflect on the serendipitous nature of connection in our lives.  “Vicki, please may I share something with you –

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Apricots, The French Way
27 July 2010 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Apricots, The French Way

. Apricots are at their best in Provence this very moment and I am finding every opportunity I can to enjoy them. Like all fruits – fresh is best – but if you feel like indulging in a little caramelised fantasy of mine… xv Apricots, The French Way wash, split and de-stone the apricots (allow

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