Eat Like A French Girl, Exercise Like An Aussie
25 January 2010 | VA Notes Lifestyle

Eat Like A French Girl, Exercise Like An Aussie

This is going to be my new mantra…she says with fingers crossed. A new year and particularly a new decade automatically means a little quiet time reflecting on the battle of the bulge. I generally shy away from over loaded promises and impossible goals because past experience would suggest that I am only setting myself

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What Makes a Room Memorable?
24 November 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

What Makes a Room Memorable?

  I have come to realise that the rooms that grab my attention have a similarity about them. Decoratively they may not be of the same style or the same period yet the key elements will have something in common. These certain features that I gravitate towards are what I consider to be the foundations

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Do these jeans make me look fat?
14 November 2009 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Do these jeans make me look fat?

  How many times have I asked myself that question? I have just made the calculation and I figure it must be just under 2000 times. If I have been wearing jeans since my teenage years and I am still wearing them and I am still asking this question about once a week then that

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The French Doctor
10 November 2009 | VA Notes Provence

The French Doctor

The fact that my French doctor is charming does not bias me in any way; I must disclose this before I start. I find him cute I will admit but I have never made an emergency visit without a reason and I have certainly never demanded a house call without just cause. I promise.  The

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The Guest Bedroom
4 November 2009 | VA Notes Provence

The Guest Bedroom

I often think that the guest bedroom is the most important room in the home because more often than not it is occupied by nearest and dearest.

It is a room that does not have to be entirely practical but should be supremely comfortable. It is a room that must be friendly but private and above all it should be a room that expresses the host’s taste and style.

I believe that staying in a person’s home is the ultimate compliment and it is for that reason the guest room should be as welcoming as possible.

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The Joys of Travel with Easy Jet
23 October 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

The Joys of Travel with Easy Jet

Other than reaching your destination safely I am not sure what the joys of airline travel are anymore. Flying is a means to an end, a way to get from A to B; it is no longer something to look forward to nor is it something to be prolonged. Flying requires courage and strength of

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Fashion… Think French
13 October 2009 | VA Notes Fashion

Fashion… Think French

 Can I wear that? Is this too young for me? Would I look like a fashion victim rather than the fashion stylist-a I want to be? How do we women indulge our passion for fashion without crossing the ‘OMG-would-you-look-at-her’ line? How do we stay stylish and modern? ~ ~ ~ These are questions that so

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Normandy Interlude
17 September 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

Normandy Interlude

  It is ‘raining , pouring the old man is snoring’ kind of weather this week in St Remy. The chill is well and truly in the air and the mist is hanging low and heavy over the house this morning. There are no complaints because I have had many sun filled and scorching days

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The French Hotel
14 September 2009 | VA Notes Paris

The French Hotel

  There is something so particular, individual and enchanting about a Parisian hotel that is unlike anywhere else. Walking through the revolving doors into a large Parisian hotel is like entering another world; the crystal chandeliers, the paneled and gilt embellished walls, the antique furniture and the formally suited employees is the formula for a

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Charlotte Rampling, Under the Sand… Sous le Sable
8 September 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

Charlotte Rampling, Under the Sand… Sous le Sable

  Can love vanish without a trace? This is the subject of this haunting film directed by Francois Ozon and released in 2000. ‘Charlotte Rampling gives one of the best performances of her career as Marie, a college lecturer who has been happily married to Jean for over 25 years. Whilst on holiday, they visit

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Joel Durand… Ma Cuisine Au Chocolat
4 September 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Joel Durand… Ma Cuisine Au Chocolat

Joel Durand is my favourite chocolatier not only in the village of Saint Remy de Provence but pretty much anywhere. His alphabet confections are a dream come true for chocolate lovers. He says, ‘Chocolate making is my passion. The fascinating complexity, range of flavours and different stages of tasting give me pleasure every day. I

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Tomato Tart
3 September 2009 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Tomato Tart

  As summer draws to a close I want to say thank you to the humble tomato. La tomate never lets me down; she is simple, non-moody with emotions that run on an even keel and so very easy to understand. She is equally happy to make a splash on her own or sit on

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The French Driver
1 September 2009 | VA Notes Provence

The French Driver

Can someone please explain to me why the French turn into devil drivers when they get behind the wheel of a car? As fast as the click of a lock and the turn of a key the French undergo a change in character; they become the Alain Prost Formula One speedsters of the motorway. These

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Le Grand Magasin
24 August 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Le Grand Magasin

   Le Grand Magasin is an unexpected surprise in the village. Walking into this shop is how I imagine it would be if I could click my fingers and enter Aladdin’s cave – this boutique is overflowing with every accessory and object that I would love to take home. The finest cashmere scarves, the coolest

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‘All Stars No Chorus Line’
18 August 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

‘All Stars No Chorus Line’

Something a very talented and wise designer told me. She elaborated by saying that a truly great room was a mix of the important and the less important; a room where the ‘chorus’ complimented and enhanced the ‘stars’ of the room. She felt that a room overloaded with pedigree art and priceless furnishings would never

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