ordre et beauté, Luxe, calme et volupté.
Arriving on Substack in January 2023 feels like moving to the big city from the small town where you grew up, and joining a smart new school mid-year. I look around the classroom and see all the other kids confidently writing and chatting and podcasting away when I am still groping around in the digital murk, hoping I can start here without anyone seeing too much until it all looks and reads okay!
After so many fun, creative years, and friendships made, I’m still huffing about Twitter breaking bad and Instagram betraying us food people with TackyTok split-second edited, ASMR recipe videos. But hey! Here I am. I love new experiences, and I guess this new girl doesn’t come without some references and credentials, so I’m diving in, and seeing where it takes us.
I do hope you will tag along with me. I shall be adding as many recipe archives as I can, and post each week (I hope?) about what I’m cooking for myself, for friends and for my upcoming projects. I also have lots of exciting writing and food news for 2023 I can soon share with you, but for now, from a little serviced rental overlooking Bellême golf course, and without a proper kitchen, I’m focusing on fixing up my new house in the Normandy village of Igé, in Le Perche natural park, and the new lifestyle I’m hoping to create for myself here.
This is my sitting room, with an enormous (unusable, it seems, though I’m seeking second opinions) fireplace and the three metre second-hand Flamant sofa found on the excellent and highly addictive, antique and vintage furniture site, Selency. The house is attached to an abandoned (definitely haunted) Prieuré (Priory) and used to be its kitchens! Both sit right under the splendid church and handsome black wood bell tower. There’s a marble sink in one of the sitting room cupboards, and a potager - a brick cavity which would be heated with coals to keep the soup, potage, warm, and a little hatch leading from the kitchen to pass the soup bowls through.
Inside, the rest is mostly super charming, but the exterior and garden need a lot of work. I’ll post more photos every week, and I am more than excited to be simplifying and countrifying my life in this gorgeous, unspoilt part of France. (Lots more about le Perche coming up!). My house’s good old bones will provide a perfect blank canvas for more mindful and minimalist living, I think, and I’m feeling deeply inspired by L’Arrangeuse’s “interior ecology” mantra, especially as, for the first time in my life, I have only myself, my dog Jack, and my house to look after. Are immaculately tidied bookshelves, cupboards and drawers, quirkily labelled jars of irreproachably produced quinoa and orzo, non-evil detergents in transparent dispensers, and rows of summer flowers in my Avril vase (Christmas present!) finally within my grasp? Will I ever get there?
So please, do subscribe, and join me as I pare back my life, home and cooking to allow and enjoy what still counts most for me day to day: in Baudelaire’s words - “…ordre et beauté, Luxe, calme et volupté.” Tx