Fashionable Friday: Vicki Archer/French Essence Illustrated Gift Guide

ink & watercolour illustration by Shell-Sherree - curation by Vicki Archer/French Essence
~ see below for links to individual items ~

One of my minor weaknesses leading into the festive season is fruit mince pies.  Not a concept I grasped at all when I was a child ~ I pictured a combination of beef mince, gravy and glacé cherries and couldn't possibly imagine what anyone would find fetching about it.  But at some point the penny dropped, and now I'm quite partial.  Today, I ate my first fruit mince pie to officially cut the ribbon on my Christmas planning ~ which leads us to today's post.  I was doodling around last week and illustrated one of the J.Crew guest gift guides for the fun of it ~ and it led me to thinking it would be fun to do a little teensy mini-series of illustrated gift guides, curated by a few of my favourite style bloggers.  And with grace and aplomb, they agreed to play along.  Hooray!

Given the fondness for French influence around these parts, our first gift guide is contributed by Vicki Archer, author of the sumptuous books My French Life and French Essence {stories of her life} and dreamy blog of the same name.  Vicki created her blog 'for those, like me, who are mad for fashion, interiors, and all things French.'  I like to think we're related through our Australian DNA {if you're a genetic scientist, I don't want to know...}  She is one of the most romantic souls I've 'met' and she has a way of writing her posts to you and you alone ~ even though you know they are there for all to see.

I asked Vicki if she could choose anyone to dress up as Santa, who would it be and why.  To which she replied, "As for Santa… I don't want it to be anyone but Santa because if I knew him… he wouldn't be Santa…. 'Those who don't believe don't receive'… That's what I said to my children when they were small and that's what they say to me…."  Thank you, dear Vicki!  And on that magical note...

Happy Fashionable Friday to you!

French Essence Gift Guide Sources [left to right, top to bottom]: (1) Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion Eau de Parfum; (2) ‘Vogue: The Covers’; (3) Annick Goutal Noel 08 Scented Candle; (4) Parisian Pagoda Parasol; (5) Red Wellington Boots; (6) ‘One Hundred Flowers’ by Harold Feinstein; (7) Casio Men’s XL Red G-Shock Watch; (8) The Sunrise Collection Picnic Basket; (9) Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Hi Tops


  1. Shell! This is amazing! I can't believe all the work that went into this. Why am I surprised? Your work is always so detailed. And your handwriting is divine.

    Vicki's blog is marvelous. (And your illo of her is spot on.) Think I might have found it because of you. Seriously, all Australian women must have romantic souls cause you certainly possess one.

    'Those who don't believe don't receive' just might be my new motto!

  2. Oh, this is so fun! Love your illo; you do such good work! And Vicki's blog is wonderful.

  3. I am absolutely charmed! And red wellies! I must!

  4. Shell... you are a darling... I love this... Your illustrations are so beautiful and I feel so honoured to be included... xv
    P.S We must be related... I cannot be left alone with the fruit mince pies... they are my absolute faves!!

  5. Thank you, dear Cali! I wanted to surprise you all, much as it's been hard not to spill the beans. I've been doing a happy dance over collaborating with Vicki {and our other upcoming mystery guests}.

    Ms M ~ Vicki's blog is a sensory feast, isn't it?

    Petrea ~ I can see you in red wellies. {Can Boz wear matching ones?}

    Dear Vicki ~ I'm touched and chuffed to work with you. Thank you! And fancy that, we're related by pie as well as our Australian heritage. How lovely!

  6. You have captured Vicki and her style so well..........just had to click over and tell you. XO

  7. Hi Shell - I came to you through Vicki Archer's blog. Your drawings are delightful! I've always wished I could draw well, but I think it's best I stick to playing the harp!

    I will try to illustrate my Christmas wish list this weekend, however, because the list you drew for Vicki was so inspiring and delightful!

  8. Shell - he can and he would, if I asked him to, therefore I don't. It's all I need to know.

  9. Absolutely wonderful, Shell, you have created a charming ensemble that perfectly suits Vicki's chic grace. I hope she will get everything she'd like this year, after this very auspicious start of a bespoke illustration of yours.

  10. Oh dear, another Francophile blog to love. Shell, this is so wonderful. You've put me in the mood for a French Christmas. I hope Petrea won't mind if I get a pair of those red wellies too. (And I LOVE the FB wall photo. What a treat to get a glimpse into your creative process.)

  11. A Gift Wrapped Life ~ thanks, Sande! It's lovely of you to drop in ~ much appreciated.

    Hi, Amy ~ great to meet you! Well, you play one of my favourite instruments ~ how beautiful. Enjoy drawing your wish list ~ I'm happy to have inspired you to get out the pens.

    Petrea ~ that's love. You're such a wonderful mother.

    Mise ~ perhaps illustrating it will make some of it come to life ~ wouldn't that be fun ~ especially for those with said lists. :)

    You're welcome, Susan ~ I'm sure you have plenty of time for more blog reading in amongst caring for all your young ones. ;) {And I'll do my best to share more glimpses here and there...}

  12. What a great collaboration! I'll definitely start following Vicki's blog. I don't really need anything for Christmas, but I'll happily accept this wonderful gift of your fabulous treats in illustrated form.

  13. Katie ~ I'm guessing Santa will still be dropping in on you for milk and home-baked cookies.

  14. What a fabulous guide! Have a lovely week ahead, Kellie xx

  15. Thanks, Kellie! I hope the weather warms up for you shortly so the girls can get to the beach.

  16. Oh my, Shell—what a treat! I love everything on this chic list and I'm with Petrea: those red Wellies are perfect for la pluie à Paris or aqua alta a Venezia (or even puddle-jumping here in Brooklyn). And thanks for introducing us to Vicki's wonderful blog!

  17. Shell you are so talented. I saw this illustration at Vicki's and just loved it!


    Art by Karena

  18. Your illustration is so lovely, I love it, always a beautiful drawing !
    Baci my Shelley

  19. Alexa ~ you'd put those red Wellies to very fine use! {Especially during the aqua alta.}

    Karena ~ thanks so much for popping over to say Hi ~ lovely to see you!

    Merci, VenetiaMicio ~ bisous, ma chère Danielle... x

  20. Thanks, hiker ~ I'm happy to know that.

  21. Put the wellies on my list also. My Fabulous neighbour has lent me Vicki Archer's books but I think I'll be buying my own to keep. Love her blog.

    Have you thought of bringing out a calendar or diary? For all your wonderful fans to have near their computers? Heck I may even replace Eric's calendar.......

  22. Oh i"m thrilled your and Vicki have met. Her books and blog are my favorites too! And Carla Coulson's gorgeous photographs have inspired me as well.

    I think this gift guide thing is a marvy idea Shell. You're on a roll Honey!

  23. Debs ~ Vicki's books are beautiful ones to re-visit over and over. Perhaps they'd be good for your own Christmas wish list. ;) {Thank you for letting me know of your interest in a calendar ~ I'll be sure to tell you if I do make one available!}

    Thanks, dear V! I love Carla's photography, too. They make a sensational team...

  24. How fabulous! Enjoy the lovely day, Kellie xx


Merci, grazie, thank you for joining our conversation lounge. Your smile lights up the room. Even more beautifully than our crystal chandelier. x

© Shell Sherree • Theme by Maira G.