Christmas is only just around the corner and I have a list of good intentions that I wanted to share with you. The past few months have been way too busy finishing the writing on my next book updating the website and of course preparing the launch of my subscription boxes (so excited about that!). I have had less time for myself and for my home.
But now we’re at the 1st December the countdown is real. The book is out of my hands now as it goes into production and I have more time to prepare for christmas and prepare myself a little before the party season starts.
As we lead up to Christmas I asked my French girlfriend Marie-Paule Faure how she will be decorating this year, and whether she does a little detox before the holidays. Marie-Paule has worked for many years as a stylist for prominent French home decor magazines and she has a great eye, and shares my love of country living. I thought you may like to hear what she had to answer. All the pictures are hers.
Bonjour Marie Paule, thank you for coming over today. Can you tell us a little about how you prepare your house for Christmas?
Bonjour Sharon, thank you so much for inviting me on your lovely blog. As for the Christmas decorations, I never plan things much in advance. Perhaps because of my job as a decoration stylist, I have been used of finding ideas sometimes at the last minute and I always enjoyed this challenge. I like the idea of managing with what I have at home and just a few purchases.
How do you like to lay your Christmas table?
I always start from a color. It’s really one of my favorite sources of inspiration. I am found of pastel colours, white, grey, light green, and they are lovely for Christmas tables. I also love to use touches of gold and silver, which immediately bring the feeling of something both elegant and luxurious. Last year I chose a very Nordic blue/grey, this year I think it will be a mix of light green and silver. I think!!..
Do you change your decorations each year, or do you love to re-use old traditional ornaments?
Both. I still have ornaments from my childhood and my daughter’s, but every year, I buy a few new ones, according to the colour, the style I chose.
Do you prefer the evening of the 24th or the day of the 25th December?
The 24th is more formal, it’s for the décor, the dinner, I tend to want everything to be perfect (though I have improved with the years!! I am much more relaxed today!!). But the 25th in the morning, I let it go!! It’s the children’s and grandchildren’s day, and I love the mess of wrapping papers everywhere, toys, chocolate stains on children’s pyjamas. And a messy buffet lunch with all the leftovers of the evening before, with everyone picking what they want, any way, until four o’clock in the afternoon. And small children falling asleep, exhausted, with their new soft toys on the living room couch.
Do you decorate the whole house or simply around your table?
Mostly the table, since entertaining has always been my favorite topic. In my work and in « real life ». But I like to decorate a few spots in the house, the top of the fireplace, the stair, mostly with candles and greenery. Again, it’s very simple, very spontaneous.
And of course a Christmas tree, I like them as simple as possible. Sometimes, I try to overcome my taste for perfection, by letting my grandchildren do it. The result is sometimes… let’s say ‘strange’, but I love it, and never change anything.
You are a very attractive, very French looking lady, can you tell us in a few words how you look after yourself, and whether you do anything in particular leading up to the festive season?
Thank you Sharon!!! I usually have a healthy-mainly veggie, organic way of eating, like most French women I know. Without any efforts since I love this kind of Food. But I sometimes indulge myself with « forbidden food », mostly cheese, which can drive me crazy and ‘gâteaux’. I love to bake, I love sugar.
When I feel I overstepped the limits -or when my weighing scale calls me to order- I stop eating anything with cream, cheese or sugar and only have a bowl of soup for dinner for a few days. It usually re-establishes the balance. I try never to look at diets as a pressure, a punishment. Food is really something very cheerful to me. So is cooking.
And finally, I understand that you hold small ateliers at your home, can you tell us what kind of thing you teach?
Rather than « teaching », I like the idea of sharing with my guests what 25 years of work for decoration magazines, clients or brands taught me. The theme of ‘Mes petits ateliers’ is entertaining. I take them to the flower market to buy flowers, then we go back home, make flower arrangements, decorate the table and finally have brunch together.
The theme is always the main aspect of my work, how to make the everyday life a little more beautiful with, whenever possible, what I have to hand plus a few affordable purchases.
A big MERCI to Marie Paule….. hope you found her words and pictures inspiring
for more of her photos click here
Photos by JB Pellerin, white cake photo by Louis Gaillard