French Essence News

September 15, 2014

Paris, French Essence, Vicki Archer

I spy with my little eye

Yes… that’s me in the background.

Always snapping somewhere.

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit Paris, or anywhere for that matter,  I always see something new.

I think enquiring eyes make us eager for change… and that’s what I love, change.

I am excited to tell you that my French Essence email delivery will be changing from today.

The emails will look a little different, not greatly.

I am hoping that they will slide into your inbox without issue and be super easy to navigate.

As a regular subscriber you will receive all the blog content plus an extra little something from me.

It could be my latest shopping find, it might be an article of interest or just a few extra words.

The email has been designed for flexibility, for your convenience… to click where you are interested.

If we are talking fashion, there will be a daily edit… so you can get right to it.

Weekly, I will be sending a personal note with a round up… Play catch up if need be.

Little by little, I will be able to offer much more content and in a way that isn’t overwhelming to the inbox.

That’s my main game to create a bespoke service for you,

I want to tailor make your French Essence experience, make it personal and relevant for you.

This is only stage one of much, much more to come.

I have so many ideas I am working on… I can’t wait to show you.

And a surprise… but if I told you all about that now…  it wouldn’t be… a surprise… xv

If you haven’t signed up and would like to… it’s easy… just fill in your details.

P.S don’t miss the altuzarra for target collection from joseph altuzzara… it’s FANTASTIC

available at net-a-porter

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

When In Doubt, My Top Three… #itstheweekend

September 14, 2014

Saint Laurent, Heidi Slimlane, French Vogue, French Essence, Vicki Archer

It’s London, it’s Fashion Week and I am in the mood to dress up.

When I don’t know what to wear I bring out my top three.

A tuxedo jacket, slim black pants and a great pair of heels.

Like a uniform, they take the stress out of being fashionable.

Yesterday I bought the black Dannie pants with the leather trim from J. Crew.

They are seriously fabulous.

Flattering, comfortable and super cute with their small embellishment of soft, buttery leather around the waist and pockets.

The back zip and slight give in the fabric makes the Dannie sit beautifully.

Run don’t walk for a pair.

Saint Laurent, Heidi Slimlane, French Vogue, French Essence, Vicki Archer

My tuxedo is going over the pants.

I admit to a little secret, I’m a jacket junkie.

Especially when it comes to a tux… I like to think it’s a signature look.

The truth is, the tuxedo jacket is very kind to most bodies and can be worn everywhere.

Number three has to be the heels.

They will send me on my way with that extra bit of flair.

I like to dress simply when it comes to clothing… with accessories… I think we can push the limits.

Why not? Elegance and flair have always been a dynamic duo.

The rest is easy… a simple tee or blouse underneath and a dash of colour on the lips.

Or be brave and wear a bow tie.

My top three… They never let me down… xv

Saint Laurent, Heidi Slimane, French Vogue, French Essence, Vicki Archer

The Top Three

j. crew dannie leather trim pant

**after six stretch wool tuxedo jacket  //  rag & bone leather trim tuxedo jacket  //  saint laurent silk satin trimmed

and for the heels

nina melizza pleated satin sandal ** beautiful, elegant and reasonable

sjp carrie tee-strap pump **that tee bar is always a winner peeping out from the slim pants

aquazzura belgravia cutouts ** last weekend i wore the belgavia’s for ten hours straight… and survived… the most comfortable heels, ever

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Do Vitamins And Supplements Work For A More Youthful Skin?

September 12, 2014

eat your way to more youthful skin, vicki archer, provence, french essence


Our discussions yesterday lead me to think about vitamins and supplements in the quest for a more youthful skin.

Knowing what to eat to improve our skin and understanding what vitamins and supplements to add to our daily diets is a landmine of negotiation.

 Frankly I find it confusing.

I read an article about the benefits of one vitamin or mineral, I buy them and after a time I forget to take them… or even more problematic, I read something else that supercedes the routine I am on.

Perhaps the easy solution is one multi vitamin per day… to cover our bases and leave it be.

I don’t know of anything that is ever that simple.

I like to keep up with current developments, read about new trends… after all nothing in life is stagnant and skincare is no exception.

Our diets are not as rich as they once were so it makes sense that we need to make adjustments and additions.

I have been reading a great deal about CoQ10… some hail it as a wonder for the skin, a must take.

Have you tried this one?

Or what about Glutathione, the antioxidant wonder?

Glutathione is one of the strongest antioxidants produced by the body and it reduces free radicals and helps eliminate heavy metals from the bloodstream.

Apparently low glutathione levels have been linked with the ageing process.

As we age, production reduces as we are exposed to toxins and stress.

I thought I would like to throw open the discussion, to ask you about your supplement routines.

I am not an expert in this area and I am permanently in a quandry over this subject yet at the same time I find it fascinating.

What works, what doesn’t? Have you the answers?

I want to try these but would love your opinion first.

Let’s chat… xv

remember to check with your doctor before starting any new supplements… always a good idea

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Eat Your Way To More Youthful Skin

September 10, 2014

eat your way to more youthful skin, vicki archer, provence, french essence

We all know that what we eat ultimately is reflected in how we look.

There are so many articles and broadcasts proclaiming “wonder foods” that sometimes I find all the information too complicated to negotiate.

I am a great believer in making lifestyle choices easy.

Easy means we can maintain the regimes and see the results.

At the beginning of the year I decided to eliminate sugar from my diet… as much as I could without becoming evangelical and bad company.

I ate certain fruits in the morning but I left behind my love of sweets, processed foods and wine in the quest for weight loss and health.

The result was not only did I shed pounds, but also my skin looked so much better and brighter.

Like the addition of sleep, the lack of sugar really, really paid off.

My skin feels less dry and softer in texture… the “happy” lines are still with me of course but overall I noticed a great difference.

I have not been as religious over the summer and can see that my skin is not as good.

Naturally, sugar is banished again… and as much as I miss the bubbles, the delicacy of a soft rosé or a glass of good red, a little vodka with fresh lime now and then does the trick.

What are the natural ingredients to promote healthy skin? What should we be eating on a regular basis?

eat your way to more youthful skin, vicki archer, provence, french essence

Eat And Drink More


Green vegetable juice, the more vegetables the better.

Hot water and fresh lemon, particularly in the morning, but excellent all day long.

Green tea for the anti-oxidants and to alleviate problem skin.

Ginger… lots of fresh ginger… drink it with tea, mix it in with salads… add ginger to juices.

Eat vegetables with colour… go green, go violet, go rouge… don’t skimp, be generous.

Tomatoes, in particular for improved skin… this does not suit those with any form of arthritis.

Agave syrup or honey instead of maple syrup… so much better.

Onions and beetroots for internal balance and gut health.

Berries, lots and lots of berries.

Brazil nuts for selenium, a powerful anti oxident.

Yogurt for good bacteria and balance.

Fish… the right ones with plentiful Omega 3’s.

Changing our diets takes time and patience. Glowing skin does not come without dedication.

What else should we be eating to benefiit our skin?

Beauty… Isn’t she is a complicated subject… xv

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

The Best Kept Beauty Secret… #6

September 9, 2014

count raniero gnoli, italy, architectural digest,  french essence, vicki archer

Can you guess?

Sometimes I think this one should have been the #1.

One of the best kept beauty secrets is sleep.

So obvious but not so simple to achieve.

As we age sleep does not seem so easy to come by… or at least not that deep contented, non tossing, nil turning slumber that is the greatest re-juvenator of all.

Sleep refreshes the body, the mind and as a delicious side effect relaxes and brightens the face.

A therapeutic sleep makes me feel and look years younger.

My face is smoother, my eyes brighter and the shadows underneath lighter.

Enthusiasm and energy levels are elevated…  the day starts with a spring not a drag.

I envy those who can drop off to sleep within seconds of hitting the pillow or those who can down an espresso at midnight and be fast asleep at 12:30.

That is nothing short of miraculous to me.

Good sleeping is an art and an exercise for some.

It’s not a given and for many of us a good sleep requires routine.

I understand that to sleep well there are essential ingredients.

Morning exercise is key… it energises the day and calms the evening.

Drinking and eating play their part… too much of either and sleep becomes troubled.

Managing stress… we can’t eradicate stress altogether but we can wrestle it under control.

Then there are the practicalities.

Bathing before bed quietens the mind and body.

A tranquil bedroom… soft lamps, drawn curtains and a scented candle. Quiet ambience induces un-troubled sleep.

The type of bed and bedding… sheets or duvets, blankets or quilts. We all have our preferred style of bed-making and as creatures of habit we want what we want.

What kind of pillow to sleep on?  That is almost a discussion in itself.

And what about the rituals to sleeping well, the little habits that ensure our dreamlike hours?

I have a few that follow me wherever I sleep… at home in France, in London or on holiday. I cannot go to sleep without them.

I wear a silk eye mask … it makes all the difference to sleeping well.

Ear plugs… they soften, not silence the sound. I am fanatical about the French brand Quies… these are far better and more effective than the foam varieties. They come everywhere with me.

Reading before bed is a natural calmer and de-stresser… playing on the phone or watching the iPad, not so relaxing… tempting, but not an aid to sleeping.

Sleep should be one of our health and well being  priorities… we might all need different amounts of sleep…  but none of us can live without it.

The beauty benefits… a positive side effect…. no complaints about that.

Any secrets to sleeping well that we should know about? xv

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets

#1  //  #2  //  #3  //  #4  //  #5

for a more practical approach… the french essence beauty edit

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Leopard Fever… It’s Catching

September 7, 2014

Everywhere I look I see leopard spots… leopard fever has struck… and it’s catching.

On the street, in the shops and featured in the fashion magazines.

Leopard has always been “the new black” … a favourite of the French woman and loved by fashionistas the world over.

This year it would seem that the lovely leopard is bigger and brighter than ever.

Leopard, Emmanuelle Alt, Vicki Archer, French Essence PicMonkey Collage 2

Leopard print never dates and it is ageless.

Leopard looks just as fabulous on someone at 20 as it does at 50, 60 and 70.

Think Anne Bancroft in The Graduate.

Leopard print is like a dash of red lipstick… it brightens and livens.

A fashion win/win.

Whether a slither on the foot or the whole way with a dress or jacket, leopard can turn the plain into the striking.

Leopard is an extra but also an essential in the wardrobe.

My only rule… one piece at a time. Why? Because exotics can bite… xv

Leopard, Emmanuelle Alt, Vicki Archer, French Essence

1.  red valentino  jacquard coat  //  2. diane von furstenberg serena pumps  //  3.  ** theia print cocktail dress

4.  roberto cavalli dress  //  5.  nina ricci faux fur coat

6.  jimmy choo flats  //  7.  ** elizabeth and james edina skirt

*sigh* 8.  oscar de la renta evelyn flat

Full Leopard Edit

there is so much leopard to love and i wanted to show all my absolute favourites

some of them in the divine extravagance category, others simply irresistible

dressed to perfection

dolce&gabbana the investment of a lifetime  //**  jean paul gaultier very beautiful and more affordable

wear it with black 

** tamara mellon peasant top  //  red valentino  stretch silk blouse

wear it with white

st john collection skirt  //  lafayette 148 new york midi skirt

on the feet

**moveover pointy toe flat //  **carola pointy toe pump  //  **lina calf hair bootie

wrapped up

st john coat  //  pink tartan trench  //  red valentino skirted coat

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Somewhere New To Discover… Buly In Paris

September 5, 2014

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

I love a new discovery…especially one as heavenly as Buly.

Buly in rue Bonaparte in Paris is an old parfumerie and skin care house re-invented.

Buly opened in April… imagine a French version of Italy’s Santa Maria Novella.

Husband-and-wife team Ramdane Touhami (the former co-owner of Cire Trudon) and Victoire de Taillac-Touhami (the former head of communications for Colette) are the re-inventors.

The French Pharmacy has reached new heights.

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Entering the store is like walking back through time… the presentation of the products is sumptuos and old world.

Timbers and marbles, waxed and shined.

Decorative and luxurious.

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

I wanted to feel and smell everything.

The candles in their marble cups with co-ordinating scented matches… the soaps, the hand and body lotions… even the toothpastes.

Every product was packaged so temptingly… they were irresistable, to the touch.

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

I tested the fragrances… fortunately Buly was not over run with customers and the lovely sales assistant indulged me.

My favourites… Tuberose and  Bergamot, especially Bergamot.

The scents are light and fresh… alcohol free and gentle on the skin.

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Buly is one of those shops that makes you greedy… I could have happily taken one of everything.

It was impossible to leave Buly empty handed.

 I did succumb to the Bergamot fragrance.

Buly Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Buly says this about the correct use of perfumes,

Good perfume adapts – to the person and the personality. It must neither precede nor follow the wearer too intensly; it shouldn’t emanate too imperiously.

Thus, it neither inconveniences but always delights. 

Modest as well as faithful, it imposes nothing. It lingers but never clings – it is politely perceptible.

If you are planning to be in Paris, this boutique is an exquisite destination.


6 rue Bonaparte

75006 Paris

+33 1 43 29 02 50

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Ten Simple Beauty Tricks That Really Work

September 3, 2014

Ten Simple Beauty Tricks That Really Work, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Sometimes beauty becomes complicted.

There are so many products and treatments that are meant to make us more fabulous… and of course, many of them really do… but I still revert to my old fashioned ways when I have time.

My mother gave me many tips and others… I have picked up along the way.

I am sure you have some tried and true beauty tricks that work a treat… here are mine.

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is brilliant to whiten the nail tips.

For shiny hair a lemon juice rinse can make all the difference.

A few drops applied in the sun will enhance the highlights.

2. Ice Cubes

Who doesn’t have the occasssional puffy day?

Ice cubes applied underneath the eyes and over the face are an instant and de-puffing pick me up.

3. Asprin

We all know over a certain age we should be taking aspirin and especially before a long haul flight.

Asprin is also really effective in clearing spots. Grind a couple into a powder, mix with water to make a paste and dab on the spot.

Gone or at least less noticeable.

4. Lipstick

Forgot your blusher?

Apply lipstick as a cream blusher on your cheeks, preferably the same colour as on your lips.

5. Eyelashes

Heat the eyelash curler with the blowdryer  for a few seconds before using… lasts longer and works better.

6. Petroleum Jelly

A light smear across the eyebrows will enhance the shape.

A thin coating of Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline across the back of the heels will help wear in new shoes.

7. Honey

Honey for the face, the body or the hair is always a tonic.

Messy, but as a hair mask, wonderful.


Rubbed over the face and left to sit on the eyes… yes, I think it works.

Apparently cucumbers contain hydrogen which is cooling and helps to sooth and soften the complexion.

9. Silk

Sleep on a silk pillow to avoid lining the face… a silk eye mask helps with that too.

10.  Conditioner

When shaving the legs, use hair conditioner. This moisturises and smoothes the legs

Shall we add to the list? Tell me yours? I’d love to know your beauty tricks… and try them… xv

P.S … has anyone some fabulous remedy for age spots/sun spots? 

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

Dress Like Chanel Without Wearing Chanel

September 1, 2014

Today I’m thinking about the little black dress.

As I mentioned on the weekend, I’m living out of a suitcase and of course it’s full of what I don’t want and missing what I do want.

The little black dress.

How could I forget the little black dress? Elementary… but I did.

Coco Chanel, The Little Black Dress, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Coco Chanel figured out the marvels and practicality of the little black dress, decades ago.

Look at her, still as relevant today (minus the cigarette)… a few pearls, an exquisite jacket… and ready to go.

Anywhere and with such superb style.

I’ve been browsing for myself and I have found some wonderful options… on sale too.

Each of these little black dresses would take me where I need to go this weekend.

Coco Chanel, The Little Black Dress, Vicki Archer, French Essence

from left to right

**halogen leather shift dress  //  halogen belted and capped sleeve dress  //  ***elie tahari elbow sleeve dress

maggy london fit and flare dress  //  **adrianna pappell lace inset dress  // ***cynthia steffe lace panel sheath dress

vince camuto lace inset  //  **vince camuto lace hem  //  ivy & blu ruched jersey dress

These little black dresses are inexpensive additions to the wardrobe… not “designer” or high end, but stylish and workable.

With the right shoes, bag and accessories… these could make you feel and look as if you were dressed by Chanel.

I like that idea… xv

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

A Gypsy Life

August 31, 2014

A Gypsy Life, Vicki Archer, French Essence

For the next little while in London I am going to be living life out of a suitcase… a gypsy life.

It’s a question of timing… moving out… finding a new home… waiting for a renovation to be complete… moving in.

This kind of thing takes synchronisation and somehow the cogs are crunching ever so slightly.

London is as much home for me as is Provence so to find myself with a suitcase and no fixed address is rather unusual.

It’s also kind of fun.

Hotel life… free of responsibility.

I have been living between London and Provence for nearly 15 years… my children are all in London and my husband works here… and yet I am suddenly a tourist in this town.

Truthfully, at first it was very off-putting. A gypsy life is not for me.

I am a homebody… creature comforts and familiarity mean the world to me.

The memorabilia of life gives me great security.

As we all know, things don’t go according to plan.

So it’s a gypsy life for me for the next few weeks… or months.

I am going to embrace it… enjoy the lack of baggage… and carry the excess baggage.

I might be a gypsy, but this gypsy carries her home on her back… snail like.

When I am away from home, there are certain can’t-live-without items that have to accompany me.

Like… my pillow and a cashmere shawl, to lay over the bed or to keep cosy with.

A scented candle… the Cire Trudon Giambatista Valli Positano is my latest crush.

My Neroli bath oil… because scents remind me of home.

A few favourite books and the latest fashion magazines.

Life’s simple luxuries.

And my beauty routines… I can’t be without those.

Have you ever lived a gypsy life?

Am I the only overly sensitive traveller who needs elements of the familiar around her?

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

The Old Fashioned Way… Les Crayeres, Reims

August 29, 2014

Les Crayeres, Reims, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Driving back to London from France is quite a journey.

It’s easy in that the autoroutes are beautifully maintained, but it’s long… 1000 kilometres near enough.

This time we stopped over in Reims at Les Crayeres.

A total indulgence and so, so welcome after 9 hours in the car.

Reims is Champagne territory so the bubbles, the true bubbles were appreciated.

Les Crayeres, Reims, Vicki Archer, French Essence

Les Crayeres is so beautifully old fashioned in our modern world.

Traditional French decor and traditional service go hand in hand.

The art of luxury in an elegant and timeless fashion.

Les Crayeres could not be more different from Chateau de la Motte Fenelon , the hotel where we spent the first night on our drive down to Provence.

Les Crayeres focuses on detail, on presentation… whether it be in the houskeeping or the gastronomique.

We dined in Le Jardin, the more casual restaurant at Les Crayeres.

The roast chicken adorned with summer truffles and accompanied by baby roasted potatoes was a taste sensation.

Perhaps my tiredness, the sparkling bubbles and the delicious comfort made it so memorable.

After a dreamless sleep, tucked up in puffed and primped Eygyptian cotton, breakfast the next morning was served in the formal dining room.

Breakfast was elevated to a new level… convincing me even more so that presentation is 90% of everything when it comes to entertaining.

The china, the glassware, the linen… the way the compotes and jams were served, the fruit sliced… it was all beyond heavenly.

Les Crayeres is an investment in sumptuousness, in indulgence of the most agreable kind.

Not for everyday, but once or twice in a lifetime… xv

Les Crayeres

Domaine Les Crayeres

64 Boulevard Henry Vasnier, 51100 Reims, France
+33 3 26 24 90 00

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook

The Fastest And The Best Facelift

August 28, 2014

Paris Pharmacy, Vicki Archer, French Essence, The Fastest and Best Facelift

Do you want to know how to take years off your face in a photograph?

Do you want to be amazed at how fabulous you can really look… sans surgery?

Creams and potions really, really help and well applied make up can make all the diffence.

But there is one more thing… a little secret I discovered.

Last week in Paris, Carla and I took heaps of portraits and the one thing that became very, very clear was this…

When I smiled or laughed I looked ten years younger… True.

Trust me, ten years helps… a lot.

There was nothing wrong with a pensive face or a contemplative look… but the smiles, well… they made me smile wider.

We all know the beauty advantages of laughter and smiles for inner radiance… but a smile, as a practical tool, is very useful.

It truly is an instamt facelift.

In this day and age of “selfies”… not that I am a massive fan nor have I mastered the art… it does help if we can take a decent photograph.

Family photos, holiday snaps…birthday memories… we want to look as we feel.

Happy, bright, enthusiastic… and full of life.

Here is the tip.

Smile big, smile wide… show teeth or not, depending on your smile… but smile.

The trick is that it lifts the jaw line and puts an instant sparkle and flash of cheekiness in the eyes.

It’s fun, it’s infectious… and trust me, it works.

Try the big wide smile, our mini-facelift when you are next snapped… and tell me what you think… xv

Share This: Follow Me on PinterestFollow Me on TwitterFollow Me on Facebook