4 Jan 2018

The New Year Ahead

The Year Ahead on vickiarcher.com

Happy New Year.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. – T.S. Eliot

Like most years I want to make memorable and effective resolutions but I waiver with the thought of the unattainable and the disappointment that often results. Rather, I tend to make a mental checklist of what I would like to achieve and work to that. It is a practical way of dealing with what can often be forgotten or swept aside.

The other habit I have is to choose a “word” for the year.

A word to describe what I would like to achieve, improve or simply be. It’s challenging to find the right one and it’s a great little reminder, a silent voice, to keep me on track.

This year’s word is “brave”.

I would like to be braver in my choices, not fall rely only on the familiar but also walk forwards into change. I don’t wish to become too comfortable or lose the desire to challenge myself. Change and flexibility have always been qualities I strive for; as we age I believe we need a touch of bravery to maintain them. Fear of the unknown can impede our enjoyment and discovery of life; being brave is the counterbalance.

The idea to be brave started last year.

It was a year of change, a change from country life in Provence to town life.

This is the most exciting change and I need a large dose of bravery to get this one moving. We are now the proud owners of La Maison du Village in Saint Rémy de Provence, a small boutique hotel. It has been one of my most loved houses in the town and one I have long admired – I need to pinch myself that it is ours. Our acquisition is most serendipitous and like much of life, timing is everything.

La Maison du Village is in the centre of Saint Rémy and has 5 suite style bedrooms. I hope as my new part-time home it will be yours also. The feeling I wish to create is one of comfort and familiarity, so while you may be adventuring in a new country or returning to a place you know well, your “home away from home” will be there waiting.

I’m working on making it as comfortable and cosy as I can right now. There is much to do and I need to be “brave” to tackle such a project but I’m not going to let nerves or doubt influence me. My confidence flows when I think less about commercial ideas and put my heart and soul where they belong, in every large and small decision. This was my philosophy when we restored Le Petit Bijou and it has been a wonderful success.

La Maison du Village will be open in the springtime and I am very excited to share it with you.

London has become our home more and more over the years and in February we have another move. It might not be too far up the road but I am excited. For us, Notting Hill is a new area to explore and become acquainted with. More renovation is on the horizon but for now, I want to move in and get the feel for what can be. This is where the brave kicks in – hopefully I will be.

Which brings me to Craigievar Castle in Scotland. What a colossal pink palace?

If a towering musk coloured castle isn’t brave, then I don’t know what is. I’m very hopeful there is some heavenly shade of pink in my future. It’s been a long time coming and either here in Provence or at home in London must be where it will show its face?

What is your word for the year? Do you have one? xv

image, caigievar castle unknown source


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anita rivera

I think the word “brave” is a good one to keep on the forefront of my mind this year. Work often poses the most challenges for me that require that action, and perhaps, it’s the word I’ll need to muster up every time I feel threatened in some way. And with an image as this pink castle (WHERE IS THIS?), I can remember that to be brave is like living in a castle, a stronghold of beauty and wonder. I think that when we do step out in a moment of bravery, we end up surprising ourselves. Hmmmm……I think I shall also take the idea with me this year to “do something that will surprise even you.”

Taste of France

I would like to be brave, but I am above all anxious, the most I’ve been in my life. Not eager, but dreading what out-of-the-blue crisis is going to hit next.
Hoping to be proved wrong!


Hi, Apologies if I am ‘speaking’ out of turn. I am an executive coach, working with people to help them shift to their desired outcomes, personally and professionally, and to be authentic human beings. I saw your comment and wanted to offer a suggestion. Feel free to ignore.
While acknowledging that you feel ‘anxious’, you can choose a word that you would really like to have as the focus of the year. Words I have selected in previous years have been clarity, ease and grace, harmony, growth…this year my word is ‘naughty’ (in the sense of being lighter and more risk-taking, mixed in with a pinch of fun and mischief.) I find that keeping the word front of mind is very useful in guiding my choices, actions and responses. eg yours could be ‘resilience’ or ‘courage’ or ‘trust’, or….??? I wish you a great, anxiety-free 2018.

Angela Muller

Hi Vicki,
Happy New Year! “Brave” is a wonderful choice, whether one is twenty-one or seventy-one. Certainly, this brave new world requires resilience and a clear focus. And, if creeping maturity seems to be our call, resilience and courage should be our new mantra, for, we always need to know we still count! I applaud your new endeavors and look forward to visiting you in your new home, as St. Remy is one of my favorite places in France.


LOve Love LOVE that castle!- And your year unfolding around a word rather than a task. I, too, give thought to this each year. “Listen” is the one that came after time in prayer. I fought it. It’s like “patience”. Slow & disciplined. However, 3 days into the year & already I’ve had revelations.

Felicity Lock

Hello Vicki,
I always used to make resolutions only for me.
This year mine is for the environment.
We are all polluting – we have to care what we are throwing into our trash bins. So me, to use as little plastic as possible and not to waste food. So far so good!!!

Judy Stout

Hi Vicki, What an exciting year you have ahead of you. Along with being “brave” you are very ambitious! Moving and renovating two properties in two countries will be a real accomplishment. Renovating and decorating are two of my favourite things so I hope you can share your progress along the way. I’m sure I am not the only reader who would appreciate that. My word for this year is “kind”. I want to be more aware of the hardships and suffering that so many have and I hope in my own small way to make some effective change. Happy New Year. ps Love the pink castle.


Congrats on your new projects! I would love to see the results of your (pink!) labors. :)

I love your word Brave! I also try and choose a word or phrase for the year. My word is HOPE! My phrase is Resolve To Pursue Hope. I took this idea from Journeyinginfaith.com.

Happy New Year!


Brave is a wonderful word, Vicki. I haven’t quite settled on my “word” for the year, but being brave might figure into that. For me the brave is often pushing my {business} envelope further than I think I can. Each year I think, just because I’m of a certain age doesn’t mean I can’t learn something new every day, and really push my envelope!

I’m excited for you in your new adventure, congratulations!! Pink, or not, I’m certain that your boutique hotel will be amazing, because you put your heart and soul into everything you do. Here’s to exciting new adventures and surprising even ourselves this year!


Brave is great; I do this as well and it really makes a difference in one’s life. This year the keynote for me is “JOY”. I want to feel the joy of and in my life no matter what life brings. I have enough life experience gathered that I know how important it is to keep equilibrium through the highs and lows. Living moment to moment and breathing rhythmically and plucking joy out of it all. Congratulations on La Maison Du Village! The first school that I attended was named St. Remy. Happy New Year to you and yours!


Wishing you all the very best in your new ‘venture’ – La Maison du Village, Vicki. We live in SW France and hope to make the journey down to St Remy de Provence later in the year. Perhaps we can stay at your lovely Boutique Hotel !

Donna D

Wow, the word “Brave” is an understatement! Well done!! I am yet to visit St Remy but know I will at some stage..and will follow the refurbishment of your boutique hotel with interest. Welcome to Notting Hill, it is where my son lives and fabulous, you will love it!!


I am new to your blog and posts, Vicki, and really enjoying them. Here’s to a wonderful 2018 for you and all!

Vicki Ford

You are so brave already! Look at what you gave achieved in the last 15 years…buying and restoring Mas De Berard and writing My French Life…how wonderful that you shared that journey with us. I am quietly wondering if you are still in possession of the beautiful Mas or whether that chapter has finished in your lives. So many of us came to know and indentify with you in that setting.


Bravo Vicki, (also meaning brave) can’t wait to follow your progress & indeed book in a stay at La Maison du Village in one of my favourite villages too. I have a few words floating around at the moment, Listen, Tolerant & Brave. Happy new beginnings to you


Steadfast – Continuing to simplify my life. I achieved a lot last year but need to continue a little more…


Wow I am reading this new post and the first thought that comes to mind is your country home – are you keeping the Mas or are you moving entirely to the city property? I have so loved your blog with the early years of the Mas, and your books. Every time I am in Eygalieres or St Remy I can see the images of your home in my mine and loved being I the neighborhood. Now I’m looking forward to following the new adventures – brave and exhilarating, bravo!


What exciting news for you now owning La Maison du Village. What an adventure you have ahead in redesigning it to your wonderful taste. I think brave is a perfect word, it also got me thinking what mine would be so thank you for sharing yours. I will look forward to seeing photos of the hotel progress and hopefully one day be able to visit.

Our French Oasis

How incredibly exciting for you, two moves, two new homes, it will of course be hectic and busy, but it will also be so much fun. I am quite sure your boutique style hotel will be utterly fabulous and even more. Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 xx


Such interesting news and what a wonderful project! Many times during visits to Saint Remy we’ve walked past the Maison du Village – and I’ve even been in the parfumerie. Out of interest I just looked up their website and saw that their interiors, as currently posted, definitely need your transformative powers to introduce both comfort and style. Will be so interesting to see the final result when you’re ready to post. I’m wondering if you will follow the lovely style you used with LPB. (We loved it when we stayed there a few years ago – and Christiane’s fabulous food.) Or will you be introducing some of those pinks you’ve been researching, I wonder. I’m guessing that you will always keep Mas de Berard (or at least while you have a wonderful couple like Christiane and her husband to look after it) because it’s your second home and heart’s place to relax as a family – and is what started your new life (well it was new then) in England and France.

My word for 2018 and the next few years, because of our ages, is actually two: carpe diem! Best wishes, Pamela


Félicitations pour votre maison à Saint-Rémy de Provence, sans aucun doute vous avez la capacité d’être “brave”.
Pour moi ce sera ” changement ” , j’aurais réussi si j’arrive jusqu’à votre maison , sans vous déranger, bien sûr, juste jeter un coup d’oeil :)

Linda B

I have been pondering this idea of a word for the year since yesterday. I love your word, brave. Indeed, settling into all those new spaces will take a good deal of fortitude! After mulling this over, I have decided to choose “discernment” as my word–because I really want to discern what is truly needed in each situation I encounter, and not forget in that process to discern how I feel about it myself, and what I really am being asked to do or what I want to ask myself to do.


Vicki, How exciting a year this will be for you. My word I have chosen is “willpower”, this just seems to give me the subtle reminder to remember to follow through on the couple of positive and life changing decisions that I have decided to undertake this year. It is so simple, how one word can just give you that mental click to adhere to decisions made. I am looking forward to another year of more interesting posts from you.


Congratulations! How exciting! I too am wondering if you still have the fabulous farmhouse you renovated in St. Rémy, good luck.

Jan Churcher

The dusky pink is just the perfect colour – it’s the signature colour of a new restaurant in London, Wander , opened recently by a brave young female Australian chef. Be bold…. bold is my word.


Congratulations on the acquisition of your properties! I wish you much success in 2018! Echoing another reader’s comment here, I hope you will share the renovation progress of your properties with us along the way. I realize you have shifted the focus of your blog to fashion and beauty (which are always fun to read about), but I am also smitten with home decorating / interior design and have always loved your posts about these subjects–e.g. Le Petit Bijou. Would love to see more of these types of posts, if they fit into your focus!

Rachel Redlaw

My word for this year is ‘beauty’ and seeing the beauty everywhere. I’ve kind of got ‘magical’ as a secondary word too. ‘Brave’ is a good one – I chose ‘bold’ a couple of years ago and it was a really good intention.


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