28 Jul 2020

The “At- Home” Diaries: Finding Authenticity

Authenticity on vickiarcher.com

Authenticity: An “away from home” entry today.
This photograph sums authenticity up in so many ways.

Authenticity is such a broad term, touted about and fairly difficult to pigeonhole.

Here in the centre of Lisbon, I stumbled upon this beautiful and original building now home to a boutique. I didn’t really notice what was being sold; I was so drawn to the decor. The originality had been preserved with a modern approach to their retail overlaid. Yes, I would have preferred to see the original counters and not the advertorial showcases jarring the view but that is life in 2020. I’ll take the win – they could have whitewashed the original paintwork or taken away the panelling completely.

Finding and being our authentic selves is often about adaption, layers and adjustments. It is very rarely black and white. Authentic does not have to mean original – we can’t all be original – and it doesn’t mean we aren’t true to us. I equate authenticity with honesty; first and most importantly to myself. If I truly believe in me, my thoughts and actions then it stands to reason my approach to life will be the same. It’s tough to stay firm on this path but it really is the only way. It doesn’t mean we cannot change or adapt, adding to our own authenticity, but it does mean truth 100% of the time.

Now more than ever here at VA, I want to follow my instinct in the quest to retain authenticity. It may not be the most clever business decision on my part but it feels right. I’m writing when I have something to say not because my editorial calendar or partners schedule content. I trust my feelings to mirror yours and if I am experiencing a change of heart and mind on a daily basis, then I’m suspecting you are too. Life has and will change after such a monumental year and with this, our actions must shift.

All I know is staying true to myself, trusting my inner compass has allowed me to retain authenticity; a slower path to success but an enduring one.

I can’t say otherwise.

There is a seduction in the online world and the channels of social media making it very easy to lose or sidetrack authenticity. In the past brands have made it very difficult with their ‘rules and regulations’ for influencers to stay true to themselves. They are finally waking up. For me, it has meant lucrative offers have gone by the wayside because that game has never been one I wanted to play. I love being a free agent and now more than ever this means everything.

The number of ‘followers’, ‘likes’ or comments should not measure authenticity.

Does authenticity come from popularity? Unlikely. Popularity is a glorious feeling and when something we do or say resonates with our outside world, it is the best feeling. Should it drive what we say and do? Absolutely not. Take the win, embrace it and bask in the glory but it’s important to pay attention. Saying what others want to hear is not authentic.

How do we find the authentic?

Do we even know our authentic self? Who is she?

Confusion is baffling and who hasn’t had that? We think we know who we are and what we want only to find it isn’t the case. Maturity helps find authenticity if for no other reason than knowing us better. I feel braver to follow my own lead; years ago I would probably have done the expected. I challenged less because my self-confidence wasn’t as developed. Patience and trust – these also improve with age and make an authentic self easier to understand and manage.

I ask myself certain questions when I write and share here – a checklist of sorts to keep my authentic self all intact.

Is this truly my mood? Does my writing really say what I am feeling?

When it comes to fashion and beauty my self-scrutiny is very simple.

Do I want it? Would I wear it? Do I use it? Is it worth sharing? The answers must be overwhelmingly 100% positive.

The same type of questions work in our day-to-day quest to retain authenticity and following those will ensure any red flags are duly noted and dealt with.

Our authenticity is unique; it is ours alone to follow and make what we want. xv

VA In Your Inbox

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In This Post:




Good morning Vicki!

First of all, what a glorious building. I have always read as well that Portugal has some of the most beautiful gardens to explore, so I hope you have a chance during your travels to find some sensational green spaces!

Your words here ring VERY authentic and I truly believe that with age, we find more of our beautiful self. The day and age we live in with social media is extremely troubling. For one, this space gives those of us (I speak for myself) who have dreamed of creating something for others to read and see so many options to choose from. Literally, one can create and recreate themselves with the touch of a keypad and some experience. However, that is not where I want to be. I want to be me. Yet, I’ve struggled with “me” in this sea of highly polished, highly sponsored beauties that have a brand or a product. These are the days when going through the proper channels of experienced editors and scrutinous eyes are rare. Now everybody can be anybody yet, there is something lacking: authenticity.

I will not give up. I am now retired from my teaching job and I will now have the time to grow even more and allow my true self to expressive herself in the most authentic way – and one can take it or leave it. I am just grateful that now, I have the time to try.


Great read dear Vicki. . . . . . . and that last sentence hit the nail on the head for sure.
Such different days now – and I find it is getting somewhat depressing. Will life ever be the same? Many are saying it won’t and I tend to think that same way. Not being able to travel is hard. We are older and don’t have a lot of time to spare – wasting it here at home seems such a shame when there is so much world out there waiting for us. Not saying I don’t like being at home, I actually love it, however the wanderlust is creeping in now, and I definitely want to get home to England to see family and friends.

As for being an ‘authentic’ person, I feel I am that – maturity being a factor as you mention.
There’s no reason not to be at this point in life – after all I’m far too old to be anything but! (Yes, the silver hair is still growing, thanks to encouraging people such as you dear – not pretty, but doing my best!).
Stay well – be safe.
Mary x


Loved this post. I echo your thoughts on wantingto remain “authentic” or on-brand as they say in the “influencer” world. Sometimes it is difficult, but it always feels right. Maybe it is age, or crankyism? People read you because you are a gifted writer and you are comfortable with who you are, and empower other women because of that. Just keep doing what you are doing.


Thank you for this. It is important to me as a reader.

A bit off topic we rented Le Petite Bijou several years ago. It was lovely.
I wondered do you still have the olive farm in St Remy and how is Christine and her family?
I have such wonderful memories of that area.


I’m so glad and Le Petit Bijou is still there as lovely as ever.
We have a new property in the village, a boutique hotel called La Maison du Village, not the farm anymore and Christiane manages both properties for us.


Bravo, Vicki, for this post! So well said! But I’m very sad, if I’ve read correctly? – that you may have given up Mas Berard and the farm. Such beauty! That you gave so much time and love to and where you created such a magical place. Is it true!? I can’t believe it. Best wishes, Pamela

Nancy McKay

Vicki-This is why I have followed you for years and have taken your links to my closet and bathroom cupboards. You are The Definition of authentic to me. Thank you.


As always, your wise words ring so true. As an influencer, I’ve often felt like the tail being waged by the dog.
There is such freedom in being our authentic selves. Recognizing that we can be everyone’s cup of tea makes our cup so much more enjoyable.
Thank you for starting this conversation.

Sarah Lawrance

A really lovely post Vicki it resonated loudly with me. Being our authentic selves comes with knowing ourselves I think you have expressed this beautifully.
I visited Portugal in my early 20s what a joy – have fun and stay safe xx

Angela Muller

Hi Vicki,
Maturity does indeed lead to expressed authenticity. It also enables me to be softer when the need arises to share my thoughts and feelings. Diplomacy and authenticity for the win. Enjoyed this post, Vicki. And, if you are so inclined, please give us your impressions of Portugal and it’s citizens. Thank you


I will Angela… once I have seen a little more… I am really infatuated with this city so far…

Pauline MacPherson

I loved reading your piece on being true to yourself. I certainty understood and have felt the same about certain times in my life and thought twice about agreeing you could say to the crowd and only just very recently also. Thank you for saying be true.


If we lose sight of our authenticity then we have lost sight of ourselves. I have passed on so many collaborations and “free stuff” because it didn’t reflect who I am or what I want to share with my readers. There are so many bloggers who are pushing their “favorite” face cream this week, only to have a new favorite next week. It’s great to monetize a popular site but when we do that, I think we lose credibility with those we have developed a relationship with. Sad and frustrating. xoxox, B


It’s a hard balance, Brenda… because as you know it is expensive to run websites, tech needs and email delivery services… but it’s finding the right mix and staying true… Our words, our expertise and taste do have real value .. but in the “influencer sphere”, it’s hard to reconcile oftentimes. I am wondering whether a subscription-style of delivery will become popular? I see some are starting to offer this..


Hope you enjoy your time in Lisboa! One of my favorite cities. There are still many older merchants with original architecture throughout the city. One of my favorites sells old fashioned linens made in Portugal. It is in the Chiado district and I believe called Paris em Lisboa. Across from it is also an old bookseller that is worth visiting, I have purchased several antique azulejos there.

Enjoy exploring the city, be prepared to climb a lot of hills!

Kate Granado

Such a good post, thank you. It brought my mother, Annabelle to mind. I think all our mothers had their special saying to us daughters. Annabelle’s favorite was “if I only knew then, what I know now!” What we know now, as we mature and age, is to trust our ‘gut.’ Embrace our expanded confidence, which brings forth our authenticity. When I review my 73 years the journey to who I am today brings me to a glorious destination from the self-searching young woman of yesterday. Thanks so much, Vicki

Giselle Marine

Wonderful post. While I haven’t been following you for too long, it has been very clear to me that you are extremely authentic and it is something I greatly admire and appreciate! Thank you


Many blogers lost their authenticity or never had. It’s not their own opinion and the reality many of them show/write and when you comment seriously they feel misjudged. But it needs grit and a certain lifexperience to attain this wisdom of authenticity for what I respect you.

Mary O'Ruanai

Mary O
It’s not that long ago that I realized I am not being my authentic self and never was. Now I’m trying. The trouble is I’m 73 and it’s difficult knowing where to start.
This Covid virus is robbing us of time, there’s not a lot of it left !
From childhood, self confidence was missing. When you come to this realization you can’t go back but going fwd is difficult. A problematic no man’s land. Can anyone recommend reading material ?


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