The French Garden
20 May 2011 | VA Notes Provence

The French Garden

Plenty of rain earlier this year has meant that not only have the roses been abundant and prettier than ever, but also the other parts of the garden. The most important element for a garden planted from scratch, apart from constant care and attention, is time. Time is the garden’s best friend. This year our

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Scenes From A French Garden
9 May 2011 | VA Notes Provence

Scenes From A French Garden

May is the magical month for roses in southern France. It is the gentle month before the scorching temperatures of summer dry the landscape and burn away any hint of softness. May is the reward for a gardener’s hard labour and the tangible proof that the rose must be the symbol of love. Ours climb,

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French Farmer Logic
14 April 2011 | VA Notes Provence

French Farmer Logic

Sometimes life in rural France can be perplexing. The approach to tasks, that I take for granted and presume require no explanation, can so easily be misconstrued here. I am not talking about language and vocabulary but about a mentality that is so totally foreign to my own. This is not a good or a

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French Life
6 April 2011 | VA Notes Provence

French Life

  “Madame, Madame…. Madame” came the words out of nowhere. I had driven into St Rémy early this morning to take a few snaps and do some shopping at the market. The day was blue as blue can be and as flawless as you imagine. I parked the car and remembered that there was a

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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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Do French Women Wear Python?
28 March 2011 | VA Notes Fashion

Do French Women Wear Python?

Alber Elbaz has given a very large nod of approval to the python this year and an obvious round of applause to the lightening leopard. This window display grabbed my attention…not because I could or would wear all printed pieces together….but because I would never. Appreciating fashion and wearing fashion are two different things….The first

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A Feast At The Beach
16 March 2011 | VA Notes French Reads

A Feast At The Beach

Childhood memories are all the sweeter with time so perhaps that is why William Widmaier’s, A Feast at the Beach is such a delicious read. His recollection of summers spent in St Tropez, with his grandparents, paints a picture of a Provence that I wish I had known. In ten bite size chapters, accompanied with

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Mc Queen For A Future Queen
7 March 2011 | VA Notes Fashion

Mc Queen For A Future Queen

Rumour has it that Catherine Middleton has chosen to wear a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed wedding dress when she marries Prince William on the 29th April this year.   I think it is an inspired choice of British designer…Burton who was by McQueen’s side for fourteen years has remained true to his creative

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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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Valentine’s Day
14 February 2011 | VA Notes Lifestyle

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day was never a momentous day in my life. Growing up and spending my adolescence in Australia meant that as a celebratory day it wasn’t really a big deal, it wasn’t marketed or observed in the same way that it is today. Like all teenage girls, with a fascination for teenage boys, I pondered

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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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