when seclusion rhymes with creation

by Sharon Santoni

In these wild times, there is one thing that is keeping me smiling and that is all the amazing stuff that is happening on internet and in particular Instagram.  So much creativity, so much sharing, so much beauty being posted and appreciated.


I wanted to tell you about some of my favourites at this time, and I’d love for you to do the same.


1   Jamie Beck @annstreetstudio

jamie beck sitting with her daughter

Jamie is a true artist.  I know few people as creative as her on Instagram.  With her husband Kevin they are photography royalty, and were the original creators of the Cinemagraph, you know, those amazing photos with just one element that moves.   She lives in the south of France and as well as taking care of her  gorgeous toddler Elise, she is making the time to create every single day.

She was due to have a show of her work in New York right now, but that is obviously cancelled.  With the help and initiative of her IG friend Behida  she is going to stage an online show, with her photos for sale.

She also shares other peoples creations everyday, just tag your picture with #isolationcreation and maybe she’ll share yours too!

And today she is sharing which pieces she are for sale in her online show!  YAY!


2.  Elise Dumas  @thepineapplechef

Elise is a French photographer who spends most of her time in Paris.  Right now she is confined in the countryside with her family, but still creating everyday.   Somehow floral art made only with foraged flowers and greenery is even more beautiful than fancy florists blooms.   And she can even make an improvised plate of spaghetti look stunning!

I love her style, full of deep strong colour and drama.

3.   Molly Wilkinson @mollyjwilk

Those of you who have been on one of our tours, will recognise Molly’s name.  Yep, she is part of our MFCH team, and when she isn’t coordinating tours, or answering your mails, she is a passionate pastry chef.

During confinement, she is staging live bake-alongs on Instagram.   You can either just watch, or gather the ingredients beforehand and make the cake at the same time as Molly.   Really creative food sharing, and so much fun.

4.  Charlotte Reiss @vivietmargot

charlotte reiss with her daughter

Charlotte is a fellow Brit, living in the States and in France with her husband and two gorgeous little girls.  She runs her online business Vivietmargot, and like so many other small businesses is really feeling the effects of the confinement and the virus.

Rather than sit around moping, Charlotte had the brilliant idea this week of staging a series of live Insta stories, each time with a different guest.  She chose guests with stories to tell and with a fellow entrepreneurial spirit (including yours truly).

Her interviews are fun and lively and a very generous way to share news of other woman’s businesses and how they are coping right now.  Check out her story to see who the next guest will be.

5.  Carla Coulson @carlacoulson

carla coulson standing on rocks beside the sea

Another photographer for you, author of several books,  who specialises in fantastic portraits.   During confinement last weekend she offered a free live portrait photography class.  No worries if you missed it because it is still available here, ready to download and enjoy.

As well as her photography, Carla also works as a life coach, and helps women find their next steps in life, reconnecting them to their passion and creativity.


6.  Serena Crawford @serenacrawford

Serena’s IG posts catch my eye nearly every day of the year.  A talented interior architect she shares her life between South Africa and London.   What I love most about Serena is how engaged she is with the world around her.  As she says in her IG bio “I LOVE LIFE!”.   Always curious, always interested and always on the lookout for something to share.

During confinement she is sharing her pick of films to watch, including a wonderful list of international museums offering virtual visits of their collections … and we can all agree that anything is better than queuing to get into the Louvre!

7.  Marie Christine @chateaumoissacbellevue

My friends Marie Christine and Louis at the Chateau de Moissac Bellevue are posting a picture for each day of confinement, taken somewhere in their chateau.  I’m loving this series, and its randomness.  Highlighting the importance of seizing the moment, and taking pleasure in good light, or a pretty view, or a familiar room.


8. Sarah Nightingale – @sarahnightingale

Sarah is a talented artist and is offering free watercolour classes, such a lovely idea!   She tells you what materials you will need to paint alongside her, and you can join the live class or watch the class later on her highlight here

Sarah creates beautiful artwork, and I’m particularly fond of her watercolour landscapes!


9. Erin  Benzakein @Floret Flower

erin of floret flower admiring her beautiful bouquet

Oh my goodness, who doesn’t love this girl and all that she gets up to?!   She has put flower-growing and farming back on the map, and has the whole world dreaming with her photos of fields of dahlias, or sweet peas or tulips.

She is super generous with her free downloadables offering advice on growing specific flowers (my favourite is the dahlia course), and right now she is offering 25 giant giveaway hampers of goodies!   Erin says: “If you have a person in your life that could use some extra sunshine right now, please tag them and write what you love about them. We’d love to hear about what makes them special and why we should send them a box.”

How kind is that?!


10.  Sandra Sigman @les fleursandover

sandra sigman of les fleurs andover in her store


My friend Sandra Sigman has a beautiful flower store in Andover.  With this confinement period it was impossible to have her team working side by side and she has had to temporarily shut her door.  But with a fresh delivery of flowers just arrived that she didn’t want to go to waste, she continues to spread the love by making up bouquets and   taking them to people who’d like to receive a little cheer and comfort.  So generous and thoughtful.

So if you know somebody who would like to receive a beautiful little bouquet this week, contact Les Fleurs in Andover MA.

And …. Sandra and I will be doing a live video on Instagram tomorrow at 10am EST.   Tune in to my Instagram around then and join us for a chat !  We’ll both do a small bouquet using foraged flowers and greenery, giving you ideas of things you can create even if you can’t get out to the stores.


Voila , I hope you have enjoyed my round up of just some of the amazing things that are happening on social media right now.   More images on my IG story.

I’d love for you to share what you are doing during your seclusion, and the names of those you love to follow too.

Stay safe and stay inside!  XX


Char March 26, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Thank you Sharon, for including us in your wonderful network of friends. You really do make the world better!

Bonnie Wood March 26, 2020 - 5:52 pm

Hello Sharon!!!,I found the latest issue of your wonderful magazine at our local Barnes and Noble. Love it!!!! Can’t wait for the May issue to see your beautiful garden. It’s been chilly here in Rhode Island, so getting outside has been slow. We are safe and sound here, hope to chat again soon.

Taste of France March 26, 2020 - 5:58 pm

I know Jamie Beck as the photographer for Kelly Framel, who used to have a great blog called The Glamourai. Especially in her early days, Kelly was a real-life Holly Golightly, showing how to be chic on a New York newcomer’s budget. And Jamie created the perfect photos.
I am very much enjoying The Earful Tower podcast, a must for francophiles. The host, Oliver Gee, has been producing extras.
On Instagram, I particularly enjoy the Distant Francophile, by Janelle, with dreamy photos by her husband, Scotty.

Freddie Ann March 26, 2020 - 6:22 pm

Thank you for sharing your friends. I will definitely be following the same. Such interesting lives they have. I work in a law office and I go to Instagram over lunch hours to “get away” from work and enjoy such beautiful posts. Always relaxing.

Jeannine Eitel March 26, 2020 - 6:23 pm

Sharon you are a ray of sunshine! Thank you for sharing these wonderful sites for us to enjoy while we are isolating in our homes.

Cecile March 26, 2020 - 7:33 pm

Sharon thank you for this blog. While housebound it’s good to know that there is still so much beauty in the world when we stop long enough to see it. I don’t know how creative this is but I have been making face masks along with many quilting ladies to give to hospitals and other facilities. A small but apparently important way to help this horrible situation. The sun is out, the garden is coming alive, my husband is home and we are both healthy I can;t ask for anything more – except for MFCH, bien sur!

Martha Vera March 26, 2020 - 8:08 pm

Dear Sharon, thank you for sharing all that beauty! It inspires and takes our breath away! I’ve been working on my garden and planting loads of flowers. Stay safe and healthy!

Sue March 26, 2020 - 9:01 pm

Hi Sharon, what a lovely post. Thankyou for sharing & to all the inspirational people in your post who give there time, talent & love in everything they do. What a gift. Xx♥️

Cindy Gillespie March 26, 2020 - 9:03 pm

Thank you so much for these beautiful suggestions! Stay well!

Colleen Taylor March 27, 2020 - 5:14 am

Thank you Sharon for sharing these inspirational & generous young women.

Cindy March 27, 2020 - 6:14 pm

So much to look at and thankfully so much time to explore all the lovely people who share with the Wirld their talents, including you Miss Sharon.

Emm March 28, 2020 - 11:10 pm

Such a lovely list, and the cover photo you use is spectacular. Thank you.

Deborah McMillan March 30, 2020 - 6:26 am

Thank you for sharing. During this tough time it’s nice to escape by looking at beauty whether its a gorgeous natural landscape or something beautiful someone has created. I am enjoying looking into other people’s homes. We can now see a small section or room of the homes of our favorite news people and those keeping us up to date that are staying home. Now we get to look at the cluttered book shelves, crowded desks and not so tidy corners. Or we see a very tidy room with up to date furnishings. We can now see how others live. We all have different tastes and it’s refreshing to see that most people don’t live in homes that look exactly like the pages of a magazine or if they do they too can have a bit of clutter sometimes.
I do enjoy pics of mansions, huge chateaus because I dream of staying in one on a holiday. I enjoy the series “Escape to the Chateau” as it shows the hard work it takes to restore something so old.
For me though, restoring a “tiny home” would be hard enough.
Keep all the pretty pics coming.


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