16 Jun 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: Nesting Instincts

The At Home Diaries: Nesting on vickiarcher.com

I am still very much “at-home” in London.
Life is opening up ever so slowly but still, our emphasis is at home. As we have all been aware, the home has suddenly become even more meaningful than ever before and how we use our spaces never more important.

Staying at home for such a long period has shifted my eye and how we live and what we use are in front of mind. Living in a big city, before the lockdown life, meant I was often out and about or working long hours; I didn’t cook or entertain very much so the kitchen and what was in it didn’t register all that much to me. Dressing the dining tables and making pretty settings was something I did quickly, without much thought and using the same plain white dishes I have had for twenty years. They are perfectly acceptable as are the all-white linen napkins or the raffia placemats – which change it up a little.

Fast forward to 3 months of breakfasts, lunches and dinners and I am bored.

I don’t like this word as I have always thought it is for us to find solutions to our boredom but in this case, I am and I need to change this. My feeling is I want a vibrant table, a mix of shades and textures – it doesn’t have to match – and it needs to have zing. I want to open the drawers and be excited about the table laying, not simply plonk the same plates and glasses down day after day. Flowers never seem to fail me, or potted plants but when it comes to the tables I have become, “boring”.

In France, I was never like this and always dreamt up new table combinations but since spending more time in London I have become lazy. When you live in an area like Notting Hill it is far too tempting to walk down the hill to many of the adorable restaurants and cafes. Not having access to them has caught me short.

Last week we visited the countryside (the first day out in three months and it was heaven) and the beauty of it blew me away. In England, when it’s right, it can be very, very right. The worn patina, the mix of textures and materials of the buildings made me think about my “all white” obsession. The gardens are in full bloom and the roses, hollyhocks, foxgloves and peonies saturated my senses and reinforced my love of every shade of pink.

I can’t move to the countryside right now but I can swap a small part of my every day to replicate the feelings I had.

This fabulous tablecloth is going outside and these placemats can sit on top. Farewell, white napkins for the time being and what about these in petal to mix it up. I’ll add pink (of course) scented candles in various sizes, like these and posies of roses and herbs to finish.

I forgot the pink china, which will work with the all-white and a few odds and bobs as side plates.

I’ll show you when I’m all set up. xv


My Idea Of Nesting

lisa corti tablecloths  ||  leona placemats  ||  titania plates  ||  mon cheri basket ||  veru dinner set  ||  large unicorn candle  ||  roses candle

radish dish towels  ||  nifty napkins  ||  sferra napkins in petal  ||  dusen dusen geometrics (mix with the plains)

image taken at reddish house in wiltshire

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Linda B

This post is inspiring to me! I am in the throes of packing up to move, perhaps sooner than we had planned–everything is so up in the air! So I am not buying at this very moment, because I am trying to pare down what I have to move; but you make me think that as soon as I am settled, it will be time to get some beautiful new table trimmings. I particularly love that table cloth!


So many great choices💗💚💓 More online shopping fun. Thanks 😊 much for pepping up hope our homes!


My pleasure, Robin… it is fun to change things up .. and I have forgotten to do that… but no more… :)


I know how you feel Vicki, I’ve been a little bit more unsettled this last week. What I have loved though is thinking about meals and enjoying the cooking and baking, and sorting the table which has given so much enjoyment. It’s the simple things that seem to work like the white plates I have as well. I’ve also got two beautiful bud vases which I popped garden flowers in which make a difference. It’s nice finding different ways of showing flowers off too and that will keep you busy!! I had intended this year whilst in Provence to search for some vintage linen either pillow cases, tablecloths and napkins but this will have to wait. It’s raining here so no dining outside!


The variety in vases changes everything and I love the idea of small bud vases… scattered here and there is always a beautiful way to set a table… We just ate outside and it was lovely… but it will be prettier with my new cloth!!


I love today’s post Vicki – Yes I know what you mean, I’ve had enough staying at home where the world revolves around mealtimes and covid news. Your table suggestions are a delight and I especially like the “nature” dessert/side plates and will probably buy them. I would be lost during this time without my on-line Zoom classes where I give my Pilates sessions. They happen at the same day and time as in the real world so as to keep up the momentum and habit. So far most of the clients turn up and we have developed a lovely rapport between us which develops into a chat about coping and doing during this difficult time. In Paris the shops are starting to open and last week I had my hair cut at JLD. It was so hygenically carried out with masks on us all and chair spraying between clients sittings. But yes, I’ve had enough.
Thank you for your colourful and beautiful postings,
Keep well and safe,


Routine is everything right now, I find that it helps Anne. I do my classes most morning… I am lucky my son has a movement studio and has been fantastic with his online offerings… I miss the camaraderie at the studio, but it is the next best thing. I’m still waiting for beauty in London to open .. but soon or I will be cutting my hair myself! It’s awful!!


What a gorgeous selection of homewares to decorate your table for a sun filled luncheon on the terrace. Such a happy palette of colours! Do post a photo of the end product!!


Hi Vicki:)
There is nothing like changing it up a bit and I like using pink too. My mom gave me her pink depression glass collection as well as some green pieces. I gave them to my daughter and added white linen napkins with embroidered flamingos. We decided to have an informal tea with her friends ..don’t know when but that is the plan. As always I like your ideas Vicki xx


Good afternoon Vicki!

Are you ever going back to your amazing home in Provence? England, as I think I mentioned to you, is a possible destination for us in retirement. If not to live, for sure to visit and stay for an extended period of time when we are BOTH retired. Our dream is to settle there for a time so we can experience spring in all it’s stages. I agree with you; I have always been an “all white” table setting person and my adopted French sensibilities still gnaw within me to keep a sense of simplicity when setting the table so the food can be the main work of art on the white canvas of a plate. But thanks to Instagram and following such lush IG accounts from the UK, I have fallen in love with the fuzzy, fussy, fury cottage gardens that I once avoided and opted for a more tidy, formal garden. My Simple Home and Just Belle (mum and daughter) know how to “get it right” out there in England. Flowers, pink, vintage vases, wild garden sunsets, I’ll pocket that!


France has such a special place in my heart and we will always go. We love our properties, La Maison du Village and le Petit Bijou, there but for now, it’s difficult… there is a 2 weeks quarantine period either side and 4 weeks to be locked up is a bit daunting. I am not sure where we will be long term.. all our children are in London so that is such a blessing and we want to be near them. We talk about it all the time and this pandemic has changed my feelings about travel and how much I want to be moving about. Great question and I have no answer :)


sometimes you can overlook the food when you have a great table setting. What counts more? I have no answer yet…prefer the white china which as a white blouse you can never go wrong with. Embellish it with colorful napkins ,matching flowers and voila. But in summer or in particular after a holiday i am tempted to set my table in a very bold colour scheme like these beautiful Titania from Natalie Lete which I unfortunately not have.

Michelle à Détroit

What a lovely combination, Vicki. The combination of pink and turquoise is a delight. Pink has always comforted me. I used it in my dressing room and my little study ( I call it a boudoir) in our new place. I wonder why pink can make some of us so happy.


It works for me, always… pink has such a happy feel to it and some kind of comforting notion I think.

Moira Leech

You have been so inspiring in this Lockdown or as I call it knockdown. I can relate to the “bored” as you can only clean and rearrange the home so many times. Adding colour with flowers has been my inspiration and books lots of them. We were due to travel to the UK and New York this year as hubby and I wanted to see the countries that our ancestors came from, Oxfordshire, Lanark and County Cork but not to be but we can dream and hope that will happen in the future. your blog has kept me going with joyous conversation throughout this period and look forward to your return to France and the beautiful countryside there, thank you Vicki, its been wonderful having you visit .


Thank you so much Moira, you made my day with this beautiful comment. I am so lucky to have had you all during this lockdown… it has been a life-saver to talk openly about our joint experience. xx

GL Gardener

I am very fortunate to live in the country and have woodland trails to walk in and also tend my flower garden. However, I am very ready to get out and see friends and have a good gab fest! Love your table ideas. I love setting a pretty table. Now you have given me some beautiful ideas. Salons are opening up again….about time!


Hi Vicki, go to http://www.daphneverley.com for a peek at glorious designs in ceramic ware. She’s lovely and her collection of colorful pots will add pizzazz to any table. I agree with you – in summertime with longer days and different light, table settings with more color and pattern and fresh cut stems from the garden is the way to go. It celebrates life!

Eulalia Isabel

Hola Vicki.

Es gratificante, estar al dia con tus paginas, me entretiene entrar y compartir tus experiencias, ideas, fabuloso.



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