This is not what it seems

At the weekend I discovered a most beautiful place. You drive towards Sospel, turn off at an unmarked road and continue up, up, up until there’s nowhere left to go. From here, the view - of the undulating valley and hilltop terracotta villages perched above the sea - momentarily stands you still.Read more

Olive oil: the elixir of (good) life

Everytime I visit my friend's villa it is a serene reminder of what drew me to Provence.Read more

Above and beyond the boundries of bureaucracy

Recently, I’ve had a few run-ins with French bureaucracy. Now, I know it’s easy to find fault with most bureaucratic systems (don’t even get me started on the DVLA) however, the French seem to go above and beyond when it comes to making official procedure as complicated as humanly possible… not to mention painfully frustrating, humiliating and rude.Read more

Love language through culture

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Are you wanting to enjoy local music, theatre, food and wine, whilst living or visiting the French Riviera? Wish you could communicate in native French, or even sing out proclamations in the original language of love?" Starting in July 2010, The Action Language Training Centre CeFoLiAc will be holding French language and culture courses for adults.Read more

Good Mood Food

I am an emotional eater. In fact I am, in general, a very emotional person. I'm the girl with “one step at a time” and “remember to breathe” scrawled all over her notebooks. When I am in a real panic my internal dialogue goes something like this: "Did I shut the front door?" munch. "I’ll be thirty soon" munch munch. "Why don't I own a home?” munch. “Should I just move to India and be done with it?" munch. "Where did this moustache come from?" munch munch.Read more

The jetset Cannes still go glam

OK, so they may not be everyone's idea of a good time. However, for a lot of mere mortals the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival hold a special allure and embody many modern day aspirations - fame, beauty, glamour, luxury...Read more

How to make French friends and alienate them

Finding French friends in France is surprisingly hard. Believe me, I've been trying to collect them for a while now to no avail. Alongside my lack of language proficiency I count this as my greatest failure as an ex pat. Obviously, I'm aware that if I had more friends I would speak better French and if I spoke more French I'd have more friends. Honestly, I'm trapped in a vicious cycle.Read more

No exceptions please, I only speak English

This month I have been throwing myself fully into the spirit of spring. It may be a cliché but, still, you can’t deny that there is something about how the air feels on your skin at this time of year, how it smells, that awakens you from wintery slumber and encourages you to seek out the world with new eyes. With this in mind, I have decided to get out there and learn French.Read more

A guilt-free guide to a bikini-fit body

I blushed as the champagne bubbles bit at my foie gras coated tongue: it felt intensely private and far too good to be happening in front of other people. It was Sunday and I had managed to invite myself to lunch with a Niçois restaurateur and his family. As his 6-year-old daughter matched me mouthful for mouthful with the duck liver, I couldn't help but think that, at her age, the idea of munching on a vital organ would have repulsed me.Read more

Kandinsky and Guests

“You do know that most of the people at this thing will have been born after 1990?” Miranda said, as she threw another discarded vest top on the floor. “Yep,” I nodded, indicating that I liked the present ensemble. “Really?” she put her hands on her hips. In black and white stripy tights, platform shoes, hotpants, an oversized tee-shirt and a blazer covered in school badges, I had to give her credit: she got kiddie fashion, perhaps even better than the kids did themselves.Read more