Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I've been thinking about whether I have actually put into my life what I love to read about. Have I been walking the walk? I'm sure there are women living in Paris who would laugh at the 'French girl' descriptions, or perhaps they really are all like the books say.
I love reading, thinking and writing about the idealistic French girl. Whether it's actually true or not really makes no difference to me. I am inspired to be a better (and better-groomed) person and that's the important thing. So here are ways I have incorporated some French-inspired ideals into my life.
Walking. I sometimes walk purely for exercise, where I put on my running shoes, a t-shirt and a pair of knit pants and walk for an hour, briskly. Lately though I have been blending my exercise walk with errands. Previously, I would walk for an hour, get back and then drive to the supermarket, bank, post office etc.
Now I often have gone out for a walk in my normal clothing, just adding a pair of comfortable walking shoes (not running shoes) and carrying a tote bag that slings over my shoulder. I can then walk to the bank, post office, shops. As long as I'm not buying too much I'm OK. Obviously for a big supermarket shop I take the car.
Natural hair and makeup. I have always worn makeup, however now I wear less. I want a subtle glow, and long, dark lashes. I use a sheer, water-based foundation and use a very light hand with powder, blush, lipstick, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara. Often on a day at home when I wear just tinted moisturiser and even smaller amounts of the above I think how pretty the effect is. So as time goes on I can see myself wearing less and less - but always some.
With my hair, I had it my natural colour for many years (medium blonde), but now with greys creeping in it has started looking a little... drab. Bearing in mind advice not to stray too far from your natural colour, I have been having blonde highlights and my own colour lowlights together. I have read that French women embrace natural hair colours rather than anything too extreme.
Clothing. What I have taken from the French woman is to wear what I like and what suits me, regardless of what's in fashion. I still try new things, but have come to get a better idea of whether it will suit me or not.
I also know now that I don't like floaty boho pieces, but feel altogether more polished in simple, fitting shapes in soft or bright colours paired with neutrals and not too much black. The process of thinning out my wardrobe is ongoing, distilling the pieces down into ones I love and wear and which look great on me.
Using my good things. I light expensive gift candles, eat off our good plates, and enjoy one of the few bottles of good wine we have stored away for a special occasion. My husband has said this to me more than once that he loves that I use my good things.
We have four gorgeous small glasses rimmed in 24 carat gold that have to be hand washed (I learned that after putting two in the dishwasher - it used to be a set of six). I never used them because... they had to be handwashed. A few months ago, I got them out of the cupboard, hand washed them and used them that night. It felt like such a treat! They really are beautiful glasses and I don't mind looking after them.
Same with some wine glasses which were a gift. When I broke one and had to replace it, one glass cost $30. It put me off using them for a while, but now I do again. I put these ones in the dishwasher. If they break, they break. Better to enjoy them than keep them for, what? The day that never comes?
My Nana died last year, and she was famous for keeping her good clothing in the wardrobe and wearing old clothing around the house. She bought beautiful, expensive clothing but didn't want to wear it (it was 'too good'). Now her daughters and grand-daughters are walking around in her lovely tops and scarves.
She also had boxes of scented body lotions and perfumes stored under her bed, with cheap supermarket body lotion in the bathroom. Perhaps that comes from growing up during the Depression. I'm just sad that she didn't get to enjoy it.
So now when I look into the bathroom cupboard after my shower in the morning, I use my most expensive body lotion first. It doesn't last forever you know. Even if all I'm doing is going to work or staying home. I don't have that many big nights out to save it for.
One such day last week when I had moisturised top-to-toe in rose-scented Crabtree & Evelyn my husband commented how nice I smelt when we hugged. And even if he's not there I enjoy it too.
What French-inspired things are you doing with your day?
Image from Studio Nate on www.flickr.com