it’s all about you …..

by Sharon Santoni

autumn flower heads on table top

It’s true you know …. this blog is all about you.

If I didn’t have any readers then I wouldn’t have a blog.  You are the oxygen in my lungs, you are the fuel in my tank … simply put, for this little blog, you my dear readers are the raison d’être.

That is why today, before I announce the winners of the giveaway, I would like to take a couple of minutes of your time and ask you a question.

autumn flower heads on table top

The blog is undergoing a little refreshment, a sort of nip-and-tuck for websites, that will remain discreetly out of sight until the big reveal , I hope, in November.

The look of the blog will change a little, the lay out too and there will be some new features that I am very excited about, including more videos for you to enjoy.

But actually while I am working on the ‘facelift’, I keep asking myself “but what would my readers like best?”

So here is one simple question,

   What are your favourite themes on the blog and what would you like to see more of?

Now, if you have a moment to reply to a couple more questions, then I would love for you to answer a short questonnaire.    If you would like to take part just click HERE!  Merci!

To thank you for your input you will receive a surprise gift by mail.

And now for the winners of the giveaway

Sharon Malan

Lorraine Wafer


Pam Ballard

Ladies, if you’d like to email me with your postal address, then the books will be with you quite soon.

Thank you so much to everyone for spreading the word.  If you are not one of the winners but would still like to purchase or gift the book, just click here

autumn flower heads on table top



Theresa W October 27, 2015 - 3:13 pm

My favorite thing about your website are the stories and pictures of your life in France. I love the pictures of your walks in Normandy, the restaurants you visit in Paris and your holidays in Provence. It is the first blog I check in the morning along with a good cup of coffee.

Jan A. October 27, 2015 - 3:25 pm

For me it’s decor all the way. I love the beautiful antiques grouped together creating warmth and striking settings. It starts my day off with a smile!

Sharon Malan October 27, 2015 - 3:30 pm

Wow! i am so so thrilled to have been chosen as a winner of the give away.. do you need my address ? so so excited

Elaine October 27, 2015 - 3:36 pm

More dog exploits & photos!

Grace October 27, 2015 - 3:39 pm

Your book is beautiful, I really like it.

Cherry Dearie October 27, 2015 - 3:43 pm

I love seeing pics of your home inside and out(of course,with the doggies). And I love meeting the artists,gardeners,shopkeepers and all the wonderful people you so graciously introduce us to. More,more!! Ow,and recipes!

Judy October 27, 2015 - 3:44 pm

Like the others above, I enjoy the blog entries and the photographs. However, as a reader of various blogs, what I enjoy most is the organization, ease of navigation and chronology. I have especially enjoyed the videos since they provide a less static insight into your enviable way of life. Glad to hear that you are considering more of them!

Our French Oasis October 27, 2015 - 3:54 pm

I am intrigued to see how you can do anything better, your blog is perfection x

Botanic Bleu October 27, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Everything you write appeals to me. Seeing a glimpse into a real French home, garden, and lifestyle is inspiring. Honestly, videos are not my thing. I NEVER look at them on a blog site. Part of the allure of your blog is the ease of navigation and lack of intrusions from ads and other clutter. Your style is open and refreshing after seeing other sites filled with way too much in such a tiny space. Your header with real photos of your home appeals to me much more than the logo-styled headers of other sites. Those ‘designed headers’ are less personal and, indeed, some of the bloggers tout their desire for a more professional look. For me, those headers are less, not more.

Another reason I avoid videos is the amount of computer/Internet data space they consume. They slow my computer down and eat up my valuable data quota.

I am linking to answer your survey questions.

Love MFCH and your style,


Beth Williams October 27, 2015 - 4:18 pm

I am all for nipping and tucking, but please don’t loose the beauty of your site that brought most of us in. I’ve been following quite a few blogs for a bit but am starting to loose my enjoyment of them as some have turned into mini malls, promoting their latest online store, etc. I still want to see your flower arrangements, your photography, read your wonderful stories. Sure, we all need to spiffy up a bit at times, but I hope deep down you remain the same.

Colleen Taylor October 27, 2015 - 4:20 pm

I filled out the survey comments Sharon. I can’t even imagine how this blog could be improved more than the fabulous read it is. Other blogs don’t even come near to touch this one. In my opinion, there isn’t even a close second. X

Pam Ballard October 27, 2015 - 4:25 pm

What a great way to start the day! Thanks so much for my book win. I sent you an email. I too did your survey. It is hard to see how your blog could be improved. I enjoy your beautiful photos so much. Although I think the idea of videos sounds nice too. Thanks again. Blessed by you!

Amy K. October 27, 2015 - 4:31 pm

A refresh is nice. But I agree with most if the previous comments. Some blogs do look like mini malls. Too much stuff takes away from your intended message. Especially since your blog is quite visual… And quite lovely to look at. Thank you for all the loveliness you bring into our lives.

LA CONTESSA October 27, 2015 - 4:37 pm

THE DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The dogs MUST have a section of the BLOG!
Everything YOU do is scrumptious !

Botanic Bleu October 27, 2015 - 4:38 pm

I completed the survey, but want to add another comment. An old saying, “Remember to dance with the one who brought you,” seems to fit into today’s conversation with you. Don’t change too much or you may lose some of your style that made your blog what it is today and that created your following. I concur with Beth Williams. I have begun to lose some of my enjoyment in some other blogs that have lost their original voices and styles by pursuing ‘a business approach’.


Catherine D October 27, 2015 - 4:58 pm

J’aime tout ! Pourquoi choisir ?

Susan K October 27, 2015 - 4:59 pm

I would not change a thing! You have a perfect balance. I receive a warm welcome every time I enter your world. Lovely!

Sandra T. October 27, 2015 - 5:01 pm

I love everything about this blog, but the stories are my favorites! You write beautifully and your fiction pieces are always uplifting. Kudos!

Mary Johnston October 27, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Hi Sharon, How did you decide on the cover picture of your lovely book?
Curious in San Diego, CA

Sharon Santoni October 29, 2015 - 11:38 am

Hi Mary

The cover picture was actually one of the most tricky decisions! With my editor we looked at various possibilities, including a collage of all the girlfriends, but at the end of the day, one strong image was the most powerful choice. And the bedroom? … well surely it is the most feminine and personal room in a girl’s house 🙂

thank you for asking


Kathy Smith October 27, 2015 - 5:16 pm

Your wonderful blog is “practically perfect in every way”. I love the fiction and the flower photography. The landscape and garden photos are great too. Your posts bring beauty into my life. I forward most of them to my 82-year-old mother. She loves your floral arrangements. Videos sound like fun.

Karen LeMay October 27, 2015 - 5:33 pm

I love all of it, I’m a dog antique France and garden lover.
I’m at home sick and found your blog after I stopped working in 2012.
I guess what I love best is that it transports me to a place that induces contentment and relaxation. I believe it helps lower my blood pressure!
Thank you, Sharon for taking the time. You have made my life a little brighter!

Sheryl Kirk October 27, 2015 - 5:36 pm

One of my most favorite blogs was your short story. Please keep that in mind. Merci.

Mary Alvarez October 27, 2015 - 5:37 pm

What Judy said!

Mickie Ayer October 27, 2015 - 5:40 pm

Change can be good, with that said, your blog is beautiful the way it is now. I agree with others about the commercialism of some of today’s blogs. I want to read, see and ENJOY what you have done not what someone is selling to me. I haven’t viewed any of your videos, but I do peek into your lovely Etsy shop…but these are my choices to make. Some sites slow my computer down to a crawl and it’s so frustrating. Anymore I just click back out and save my time, I’m also on a shared data plan.

Carolyn Watson October 27, 2015 - 5:47 pm

I love your beautiful photos. I like learning about living in France. I like the antiques, and the stories behind them. Your blog is a breath of fresh air each time it comes up on my e-mail. Thank you for all the work that I know goes into it.

Marta C. Mardini October 27, 2015 - 6:02 pm

The blog is part of my morning rituals specially on weekends. It is something I look forward to do when the weekend approaches after a long and busy week.
I enjoy very much looking at all those beautiful pictures, the landscapes of France, he gardens, the houses, tables, your dogs! the horses, everything! The way you combine art and Nature with elegance and style.
May I suggest to have a section about your pets they are simply adorable!, also about organic orchards, maybe a brief list of suggested places to visit.
I appreciate so much that you share your travel experiences with us!, thats so amazing, I sort of travel with you! It would be so nice if one day we could all gather!
Thank you!

Carolyn October 27, 2015 - 6:05 pm

Sharon, it is your eye for beauty and your graciousness that draws me in. Over here in the States, it is the lure of the real thing – authentic French homes with the patina of age (often centuries worth), charming European antiques and handcrafts that we don’t see at our local flea markets or antique shops, the gorgeous countryside and gardens that you photograph so beautifully, and your gift with flowers – oh my. Love the dogs, too, of course. It is also your warmth and love of family that comes across. I’m still amazed by all that you do, and do so well. (And I love following you on Instagram as hillonthehouse.)

Heather in Arles October 27, 2015 - 6:11 pm

Hmmm…working on the flowers on the white background again, I see? 😉 (yes, I am pushy. Nice but pushy)

Agreed with those who love everything and can’t possibly begin to imagine what you could do to make MFCH better.

I love it here.

Gloria October 27, 2015 - 6:15 pm

I like the beautiful antiques that has patina, I rather buy an antique piece, than a new piece of junk. I love your home, I love the pictures of France . Thank you for you beautiful blog. Patricia

Rebecca Prillaman October 27, 2015 - 8:00 pm

Please don’t change too much. I love the randomness, charm, beauty, and humor of your blog…… where you take us with relaxed ease. It is so much fun to follow along….I always leave on an upbeat, cheerful note. I love your diversity of topics, not totally concentrated in one area. A little spark of surprise is always fun.
Best, Rebecca

Vicky from Athens October 27, 2015 - 8:05 pm

Sharon – I don’t see how you possibly improve your blog! I love it just the way it is . . . but I do know that change is often good.
I am thrilled when you publish one of your recipes accompanied by pictures. I always have to race out and get the ingredients right away and give it a try! All of the dishes I’ve tried have met with much approval from family and friends!
Keep up the great work!

Jane Boyd Broce October 27, 2015 - 8:20 pm

Sharon: your blog is almost as wonderful as your book which just took too long to get to me!!!

Jen October 27, 2015 - 9:20 pm

Looking forward to seeing the new look- I believe you can both, change & stay the same. It is much like our homes & home decor… as we live with looks for a while we tweek them a bit now & then to fit our lifestyle- to stay current & to keep things interesting! Bravo for the blog changes, I know they will only enhance our experience as readers! xo jen

Darcy October 27, 2015 - 9:11 pm

I love your photography; I feel I’m right there through your beautiful images. I also enjoyed your wonderful story this summer. I looked forward to reading the installments and enjoying the fantastic illustrations each week.

suzana borlovan October 27, 2015 - 9:17 pm

Hi Sharon, I adore renovations, décor, gardens and dogs. But wait….that is exactly why I love your blog. Keep up the fabulous work and inspiration that you give to me. Suzana x

Tracey Thornhill October 27, 2015 - 9:19 pm

I love the interiors, the beautiful antiques and vintage pieces. I’d love to see more property for sale too!

Frances October 27, 2015 - 9:56 pm

I love everything about your wonderful blog, and look forward to reading it every day. I find you to be very motivational. I`m sure your changes will be as lovely as it is right now.

April October 27, 2015 - 10:16 pm

Lovely blog. Wonderful balance. Perfect as far as I’m concerned.

Lorraine Wafer October 27, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Merci, Merci…how exciting to wake here in Australia to see my name in today’s blog as a winner. I feel very touched. Your beautiful book will be well loved and shared especially with my daughters and girlfriends. I love everything about the blog. I am passionate about France and French culture, so for me it is your natural lifestyle, countryside and home, garden, trips to Paris, rustic floral arranging, rustic cooking, etc. above all I love the way you relate to us, your readers…it’s a two way relationship….we feel valued and we know you value us. I will do the little survey next. Thank you so much, you have made my day. Lorraine xx

Darla J October 27, 2015 - 11:19 pm

Everything you post touches my soul. I love the pictures of the French château’s and it surprised me that you go to Pismo Beach, my favorite vacation spot. Everything is very classy and the pictures make you want to be there! Keep on doing what YOU’RE doing. We like it!!!

Leslie in Oregon October 27, 2015 - 11:35 pm

What are your favourite themes on the blog and what would you like to see more of? I found your blog because I am a Francophile, and I particularly love your posts about your life in France (including your adventures with Gibson and Ghetto and your horse). But truly, I enjoy all your posts, and the writing and photographs in them, because of your artistry, energy and vibrant, generous personality.

Barbara October 27, 2015 - 11:49 pm

Hi Sharon, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words”?! Well I’m captivated by your photography and composition…you share so many of your gifts and talents with the reader, we’re certainly Blesssed! Have you considered doing a Live Chat on FB, where we can see and hear you speak and even take questions? I think there fun!! Love your blog, it’s great the way it is!! Best Regards From San Diego

Esther George October 28, 2015 - 12:02 am

Hi Sharon, I honestly could not ask for a more beautiful blog and I can’t imagine how much work goes into it. A video now and then would be nice. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time regards Esther from Sydney. PS they have been watching Raymond Blanc going around France and last night at an ungodly hour (1.15 am) I was in Alsace and the next episode I was in Provence. All I can say is…how beautiful. I’m hoping next week he will be in your part of the country.

Fernanda October 28, 2015 - 12:04 am

Totally agree! I love everything on your blog everything day. Pictures, locations, París, Provence and Normandy.

Nancy McClintock October 28, 2015 - 12:06 am

You have exquisite taste. I love your blog. Since it is your vision I enjoy I trust that the facelift will be just as wonderful as your original. Thank you for always bringing such beauty and joy to my day.

Iris October 28, 2015 - 12:29 am

Your blog is wonderful. I look forward to reading it regularly and have mentioned you in numerous conversations. I’m not sure how you could improve it. Love your pictures and how you incorporate them into your blog. I never find it drags and have used many of your ideas in my day to day life. Thank-you for letting me experience life in France through your blog.

Marilyn October 28, 2015 - 12:46 am

I do love all you share. One thing I don’t like on other blogs and grateful you don’t do it is hide part of the post and then have to click on the post to see the rest. I don’t mind tabs though. Your story this summer really capture my attention. Love flowers, gardens, and home decorating.

Trish October 28, 2015 - 12:51 am

I love your beautiful blog as it is. I particularly love the flowers and garden scenes. It will be exciting to see your new look.

Sherry October 28, 2015 - 12:53 am

I adore your stories. I read them over and over and then forward them to my girlfriends.

Emm October 28, 2015 - 2:29 am

Décor and dogs, life in Normandy. I especially like the occasional pieces about local artisans and craftspeople, as well as those about your personal friends. “Meeting” them through your blog makes the area very special.

Flowers and gardens, as well. You talked at one point about re-doing your kitchen, and now I’m wondering if that ever happened. Because, bien sûr, you have nothing else to keep you busy. 🙂

Pat October 28, 2015 - 2:31 am

Love the loot shoots, and shots of the gardens. Gibs and Ghetto, the horses etc, well really just everything!
Thanks for a beautiful blog read week after week and year after year!
xo Pat

Debrashoppeno5 October 28, 2015 - 3:30 am

I love your photos, dogs and short stories.

Shelly October 28, 2015 - 4:45 am

Loot shoots. Shopping, Decor, and getto who I adore!

Avril October 28, 2015 - 7:12 am

I love the format you already have its seems very personal and friendly some that have updated seem to lose that. The articles on interiors, gardens and of course France I enjoy the most plus photos of your beautiful dogs!

Marian from UK October 28, 2015 - 10:21 am

Sharon, I agree with Botanic Bleu – take care when changing as you have created a blog style that is specifically yours. It’s the whole thing that appeals to me – the lovely photos, the varied subjects you choose to write about, the layout, the fact that there’s not too much writing, but enough to be interesting, the header, the perfect little ‘buttons’ for your guest cottage, Brocante shop etc. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, but MFCH is a brand now, your brand and we all love it! Good luck and looking forward to seeing what you create! Oh – and I forgot one thing in the survey – love Gibson and Ghetto stories!

Aura Ellis October 28, 2015 - 12:11 pm

Please don’t change too much. It really is the perfect blog. It is yummy in all the right ways. The feeling can get lost when updating and changes original draw to the site I’ve seen it too many times. You are so successful as it is. All that you share is such a nice balance and so authentic. I love your flowers, stories about your children, shop talk and I especially love your recipes. Please keep them coming. All that you do is beautiful. Thank you.

Katherine October 28, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Seriously! When I grow up and become a serious blogger, I want to be just like you.
Wonderful articles about life in France, cuteness about the pups, incredible photography, recipes, and consistent writing about things as women we all think about. Thanks for always having a welcoming format for me/us to read.

Susan Carter October 28, 2015 - 5:42 pm

The flowers and the way you use them – those pictures always brighten my day.

Patricia October 28, 2015 - 7:19 pm

Je suis française, et je suis votre blog depuis longtemps. J’aurai trop peur que si vous changez de blog, ce serait plus difficile à lire.
C’est très beau comme cela,aussi bien les photos que les sujets que vous traitez. Pour moi aussi, vous êtes un moment merveilleux lorsque je vous lit une tasse de café à la main le matin.
Je ne peux pas vous écrire en anglais, je suis trop mauvaise dans cette langue, mais je comprends très bien ce que vous écrivez à l’aide de mon traducteur sur l’ordinateur. Je vous souhaite une très bonne soirée.

Lorrie October 29, 2015 - 5:59 am

Your blog is one of my favorites. As others have said, reading it provides a few moments of beauty in a day. I hope it doesn’t change too much and become filled with all sorts of things. There’s another blogger I used to read who does everything by video and I hate that. Reading is so much more pleasurable. In the evenings is when I read blogs now that I’m teaching again, and I just don’t want added noise. It disturbs others who may be in the room as well. Occasional videos are okay, but not as a regular diet.
Your stories are full of loveliness. Love the flower arrangements and the food posts.

Raewyn October 29, 2015 - 10:42 am

I look forward to your fiction writing. So easy and charming to read.
I love the lack of commercialism with your blog. and the ease of navigation. As many blogs are becoming a mouth piece for one treatment or another hidden under the guise of the Bloggers personal interests I find I have given up looking at them but you have remained true to yourself and what you are to all of us around the globe.
I’d love to see more of your home PLEASE don’t change the header !!
Your photography of truly relaxed rural life so far away and your down to earth recipes and chat are seldom replicated – so would hate to see you being swayed by others.
Just keep the natural ‘you’ showing through – and GO THE ALL BLACKS!! Long live Richie I know you will be watching!!

Susan October 29, 2015 - 12:15 pm

I love everything about your blog! You cover everything I’m interested in and I especially enjoy your Sunday devotionals.

Carla October 29, 2015 - 3:04 pm

I enjoy your blog and think you have a great mix of interesting topics.. I live in the States so opening your posts take me back to time I spent in France a few years ago… Love seeing the pictures. Keep up the great work!

Melissa October 29, 2015 - 6:54 pm

Anything with horses!!
I live in a similar home in Pennsylvania, I have horses and dogs a crazy barn cat and children and job, husband etc.. I love to see your life in france it makes my day, (I lived there once as a younger girl)
I love the stone, the barns the antiques and of coarse Food!I get excited everytime I see you posted a new edition

Denise@magnolia October 30, 2015 - 12:21 pm

I love your blog. I love some many aspects of it. But I would really like to see more food! What do you cook your guests, what and where do you eat when you have your excursions? It’s all about the food, for me.

G, in Northern California October 30, 2015 - 3:04 pm

I love it all—especially your beautiful photography—then when you threw in another continuing love story complete with lovely watercolor illustrations, I was over the moon.

Laura Wilson November 8, 2015 - 2:47 pm

Sharon, I really like your blog the way it is. Of course, I always love to see your pups! On reason I stay with your blog, besides the content, is you don’t have the right side filled with advertising and you are not always trying to sell something. I quit subscribing French Essence because I felt she was getting insincere and also David Lebowitz, although I do go to his website a lot because he is full of info and a great writer. So please do not do that!!!

Nathalie November 13, 2015 - 4:00 pm

Hi Sharon !

Even if I am French, I love and follow your blog. I knew it several years ago thanks to my sister who lives in Los Angeles !
I’m very admirative of all what you do. I love your book, I had bought in pré-sale ! All is nice. I follow your blog regularly even if honestly, I don’t have the time to read all every day.
I love particularly all what is around browsing in the brocantes. I like the fact that your subjects are very different (family, receipe, women, mothers, dinners, your joys and sorrows, your questions about life, etc)
What I really love is your stories ! This last summer, I printed the story of Catherine and you left with me in Italy !!!
I agree with the other readers, but I’m sure you’re going to find the right balance between a blog more attractive, more actual, but still easy and familiar to us.
I wish you a very nice week end !


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