Photo by Manu Redcheex on Flickr

Photo by Manu Redcheex on Flickr

I drive back with the sun in my rear view mirrors. My daughter has finally gone to sleep.

After hours of her non-stop chattering, my mind can quietly wander over the walnut orchards, the hills, cattle and sleepy villages in the declining light.

Suddenly, the tallest mountain range emerges in front of us, rosy from its first dusting of snow.

By twilight, we reach the city. Tomorrow work and worries will resume, but just for a little while longer, I am still on holiday.

I park and open the door quietly, my house is lit and smells of dinner.

Mr Xmas’ arms close around me.

I am home.

Ok, I know, this song is of the sickening-marshmallow-feast variety, but what can you do, it just reminds me of Mr Xmas!


imageIt has been a quiet sort of week.

The kind I had not known in a long, long time.

I stayed at my family’s holiday home near Montpellier, on the Mediterranean edge of France.

Time slowed to a gentle pace, punctuated by mealtimes with the children, who inevitably bemoaned the unfairness of having to eat courgettes, or pumpkin soup…

Before vanishing again in a flock of my cousins’ children, to cook elaborate mud, gravel and mint-based delicacies for the five-year old, or to hotly dispute table tennis tournaments, and occasionally give me pre-teen attitude about the unfairness of having to go to bed before everyone else, or not owning a smartphone like everyone else for the 11-year-old.

Most afternoons involved sitting on the beach, chatting and baking in the sun, while children splashed about in the sea… A million miles away from the notion that back home in the Alps, Winter is on its way, and that I really need to find my next job in a pretty crappy job market.

Evenings saw assembled relatives -clutching mugs of the garden’s lemon verbena infusion, discuss grandchildren and weather forecasts.

I did not let the sum of my preoccupations go beyond menus for the next day, and how much resistance to vegetables I was prepared to put up with from my offspring. I let myself forget.

It’s been a kind of week when recent trauma recedes, and every breath yields peace.

This song has been my soundtrack:

Archive – Controlling crowds

What is love ?

Mountain lake by Lady E

Mountain lake by Lady E

Well, apart from the über cheesy 90s cover by someone called Haddaway (naah, I’m not even posting the link – makes my ears shrivel in horror).

So erm yes, ’tis the season for half-term break with my two brats delightful children, days out at the lake or at the beach, and profound questioning.

The thing is that I left Mr Xmas approximately 36 hours ago, in a state of uncertainty about my ability to ever feel passionate about him.

Yet, it is official, I miss him. I miss the comfort of his deep, soothing voice, the way his arms wrap all the way around me, and his face lights up when he smiles.

I am also officially tired of attracting, and falling for broken men : They can be so devastatingly nice, and crave so much the stability and security I am able to offer, that I got blinded. I failed to fully register the danger, the darker side of their personality, lurking underneath the surface of their good looks and sincere attachment.

Take Mr Nice who is torn by a perpetual inner conflict between a need for stability and freedom, between the desire to be like his dad – a selfish, rich, unhappy man, and the desire to not be like him. I watched him wrestle his demons, and for a while, my presence  anchored him into stability, and a more peaceful version of his own life… Before suddenly, it no longer did.

I do not feel as viscerally attracted to Mr Xmas as I did to Mr Nice, or even T, but then again, what good did that do me ? In some ways, Mr Xmas is the anti-Mr Nice : He is not scared by commitment or children, responsibilities do not overwhelm him, and he knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that he loves me.

Will my attachment to him grow into something I can recognise as love ?….

And hey, what on earth is love anyway ?


Overnight, the-30°C-blue-sky weather has turned to rain, mountains all but vanished into the clouds. Exactly the kind of overnight change, which seems to be all the rage in my Summer-Autumn 2014 life collection…

Three months ago, my two children and step-son all feverishly bickered over Panini stickers for their football world cup albums, while Mr Nice mourned France’s demise in the quarter finals (which was obviously solely due to undeserved bad luck – nothing to do with skill). The school year was in its dying days, and everyone looked forward to a fairly predictable Summer of family fun at the beach, catching up with relatives, and general winding down.

But then, the weather refused to acknowledge that Summer had arrived, and remained sullen, cool and wet.

Mr Nice flipped. In the space of weeks, what had once been us, became an empty shell.

Two months ago, on a beautiful sunny day, we called it a day, turning both ours and the children’s lives upside down.

Overnight, Mr Nice became a peculiar stranger. I struggled for breath.

A month ago, as Summer refused to give way to Autumn, a steady pair of arms caught me for what must have been the hundredth time as I fell apart.

And I decided to stay there for a while…

To Mister Xmas

Fauve – Lettre à Zoé

The unexpected conversation

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine came round one evening, and we ended up talking about organic chemistry (as you do)…

And since it has been a while since I last subjected you to my rather awful sketching :





PS. This post was inspired by xkcd, one of my fave webcomics.

Christine and the Queens – Saint Claude :


I wrote this post exactly two years ago : Mister Nice and I were on a break, but on the verge of giving things another go.

This is when I met a certain Mr Xmas.

September 2012

(Slight nod, raised eyebrows, big sigh: )

Yup, here we go again: Men.

Preamble :

Lady E has succumbed to the latest episode of her very own, personal soap opera, starring Mr Nice, and Mr Xmas, who like the proverbial busses could not come one after the other at the appointed time, because that just would not be fun, would it?

Act one:
Lady E (forlorn and pouting): So here I am, trying to see through a fog of baggage, and fear what may be the reality of two potential relationships (I am spoilt, really).
Enter Mr Nice, my stomach somersaults all the way through my skull, before crashing back into place, leaving me drooling and lobotomised. Sounds attractive, doesn’t it ? Let’s say that it doesn’t quite capture how attracted I feel to Mr Nice…

But – what did you think, of course there is a but – Mr Nice still has commitment issues – now, that’s a f***ing surprise !!

Act two:

Enter, Mr Xmas, who is lovely, has no commitment issues, and whose heart is wide open for me. I haven’t known him for that long, but long enough to know that we get along, and are on the path to becoming great friends. However, for as long as Mr Nice is around, there is no room for more as it were…

Voice of reason: Ok, so easy, then. Mr Nice must go. Give Mr Xmas a chance.

Lady E (bangs head on nearest wall): Ow, it actually hurts. Bastard.

September 2014

Of course, I ignored the voice of reason… And of course you know the end of this particular story…

(Slight nod, raised eyebrows, eye roll)

Tove Lo – Habits (to be blasted really, really loud and danced to, preferably in a kitchen, with a dear friend)