79 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Hi Helena,

    Just wanted to say I love this blog!

    I so enjoyed 2 lipsticks and I think you were spot on, it has been an inspiration for me to sort out looking after and caring about myself but at the same time was so refreshing to hear they’re not these perfect goddesses!

    Will look forward to reading the follow up book and just wanted to wish you best of luck with your arduous research!

    Helen (UK)

  2. Dear Helena,

    I have just finished Two Lipsticks and enjoyed it tremendously and also feel I learnt such a lot. HOWEVER, what I would like to ask is what with expensive underwear, creams and lotions for this and that, fantastic hairstyles, wonderful clothes, expensive shoes and bags, etc, etc, how does your ordinary French girl manage all this ? Surely, like the average British girl she isn’t rich enough to indulge in all the above? Is your advice, then, only for the wealthy ? It can’t be for the “girl in the street” – she just couldn’t afford it !!


  3. Hello Kathy
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. The average French girl will use cheaper but still excellent cosmetics and crerams like the Avene range (available in the UK), go to outlet stores and designer sales (for expensive bags and shoes), as well as places like Monoprix (a downmarket department store) and look for trendy bargains. In England I would say the charity shops are an excellent hunting ground, especially in posh towns and areas (they don’t have them here and I miss them) and also shops like Top Shop, Zara, Hennes etc.
    Hope that helps!

  4. Helena – do you watch Les Maternelles on France 5? I am becoming increasingly fascinated by its macabre nature – propaganda peddled by a pretty girl in a gruesome Soviet . If you felt like (co?) authoring an article about it, let me know. Kind regards, Anna Perry

  5. Dear Helena,

    I realised that I must have been French in a past life when I read two lipsticks. It certainly made me chuckle and I am now obsessed applying anticellulite lotion on a twice daily basis since reading your book. I have always been dismayed at women not wearing matching underwear (how CAN they wear grey faded knickers?!). I am equally dismayed by the (dare I say it) Chavvy fake everything (dark lipstick liner with light lipstick applied, tide mark, scraped back hair – basically Vicky Pollard making an effort) that seems to have been influenced by American “style”. Or am I just a terrible snob?

    On the subject of anti-aging – nothing beats yoga – and I don’t mean the stretchy sort taught by Margot at a church hall (no offence to Margot but it’s hardly what the old Yogis and Pantajali’s yoga sutras have in mind) – I mean the pranayama breathing and meditation. Deepak Chopra is perhaps the best known exponent of meditation/yoga as a means of anti-aging – but all you need to do is to look at someone who practised yoga for many years. Botox is not needed.

    Yvette (real name!)

  6. I am in the middle of 2 lipsticks and am very interested in learning more about what little exercise the French do do.
    I’ve been an avid gym goer since high school but find that it consumes way too much of my time not to mention, I am getting too buffed.
    The thought of being thin and lean is far more appealing. Can you recommend any books, dvd’s etc..that may outline the exercise/stretch class you took in France? Believe it or not, when you google French and exercise, the results are pretty bleak.
    Thanks ahead of time for any advice you can offer. BTW, I live in the states.

  7. Hello Carina
    I think the closest thing to Prune’s class is pilates which I love doing, I have also bought one of those exercise balls which I find very effective, especially for sit-ups and press-ups. I think a good way is to do stuff in front of the TV or first thing in the morning; just set aside 15 minutes for sit-ups. press-ups, lunges and a couple of stretches, much less time-consuming than the gym and hold your tummy in at all times! Also the plank pose in yoga is a great all-over body workout, you’ll find it online easily.
    I don’t have any DVD ideas I’m afraid but if I come across any I’ll let you know.
    All best

  8. I’m so glad my comment made you happy 🙂 it’s an honor to be mentioned in your blog,
    i just found out that i will be going to france next fall. i cant wait to visit all the places you mentioned in your book, i will soon be purchasing Ciao Bella. My mother is itailan and i have always felt conflicted between the american culture and the italian one. i’m so excited to read it!

  9. Cara Helena,( o dovrei scrivere Elena?)
    as I said in another comment somewhere in your blog, I too loved your book “Ciao Bella”. Being Italian I recognise myself and my culture a lot in your pages. Beautifully written but, most of all, written with your heart.
    I also have lots of French women friends and you made me laugh a lot with your descriptions! I really love them but find les filles really difficult “to handle”! Here in UK they tend to speak a terrible English…even worst than mine!!! ( their accent is so strong that I find hard to understand if they’re speaking French or English), they’re really obsessed with their weight and complain about the British ALL THE TIME!!!!!!> A part from that ,however, I must admit they have “quel non so che'” that make them unique(…maybe thank God!ehehehe…).
    I think that you should still carry on your original project of a book about Italian women. I’m sure you’ll find a lot to say!
    Chiara Borghesi

  10. Tried to email to you at address above but it doesn’t work so here’s my general feedback to having just read your book.

    As a Francomaniac (I long surpassed being a francophile), I devoured your book. It was terrific and I also enjoyed your witty style and sense of humor. I do have a request for perhaps your next inquiry in this journey. How about older women? You are only 38. It’s much easier to keep weight down, skin radiant etc. I am 62 although everyone is shocked when I tell them my age and my role models include a French woman (une femme du 16ieme bien sur) who is in her 80s and looks like she is in her 60s and still thin and chic. while I know what I have been doing will help me to get there and still look good (I hope), I wondered if there are not more secrets or how tos for those of us of a certain age.
    Also so many of my Parisian friends don’t cook. They buy from the traiteur or they buy frozen stuff. Isn’t Picard a huge frozen food store in Paris? How many Parisian women come home and cook. I know that the French are getting fatter because they are copying the Americans. Since you wrote your book, have you gone back and looked at the changes since then? In other words, are women still doing these things? I note that the people you interviewed for the most part were people of considerable means. I find the middle class French woman just as chic and I wonder how she does it without the financial means of Sego or Ines ?
    Hoping to read more of you, Jacqueline

  11. Dear Jacqueline
    I tried to email you a response but it bounced back. Of course in France age is no barrier to beauty or attractiveness. I guess my only tip would be elegance at all times and everything in moderation. My next book is about ageing so look out for that.
    It is also true that American culture is changing the way French women cook and eat but I would still say the majority of them cook good homemade meals. Picard is great by the way, but as a back-up.
    All best

  12. Following on from that, do you think that Mireille Guiliano’s “French Women Don’t Get Fat”and sequel perhaps used to be true and no longer speaks for the present? Assuming you have read them, what do you think of them? I am sorry if you have already commented on this book. Feel free to ignore it if you already have!

  13. hi helene was wondering if you had watched a good year with russell crowe? do you know the village where he meets the girl from the restaurant? looks beautiful. know a bit of a long shot as you dont live in provence! hope you can help. love your books by the way, just finished more france please. love the way you write hope another one on the way soon! thanks kelly.

  14. Hi Kelly
    Sorry, I don’t know I’m afraid, have you tried googling? The man it was based on was called Ryman so you could try that name and wine and Provence.
    Glad you liked More France Please.

  15. What is the book you are working on and when can we expect it to be published?
    Also recently I got a notice that you wrote a book called How to be Sexy. Is that an earlier book or is this the book you’ve been talking about?
    I’m still hoping you are going to go back to the theme of How to Be Impossibly French and in part 2 focus on normal people (as opposed to the Rich and Famous).
    Have you ever done an article comparing Italian woman with French woman? In a French magazine (Avantages I think), they interviewed several young (30s and 40s) Italian women on how much they spend on beauty, clothes etc and what they do. Fascinating. Thought this would be something you would be interested in writing about.
    Having Helena Frith Powell withdrawal and looking for more reading, Jacqueline

  16. Hello Jacqueline
    The next book is called To Hell in High Heels and is all about how not to age or rather how to age well. It will be published by Arrow in Spring 2008, I just finsihed it.
    The How to be Sexy is not really as exciting as it sounds. I was paid a fee to write it years ago when the thought of having anything at all published was thrillling (it still is come to think of it) and it’s not a subject I am too fascinated by. It is a guide book, nothing like my others.
    No plans for part 2 yet but that’s not a bad idea. If you remember though I begin the book with a ‘normal’ person, my daughter’s primary school teacher. I was actually going to write a book about Italian women but ended up writing Ciao Bella instead. But I may go back to it.

  17. Helena, The spring of 2008 is so far off! I really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for clearing up the publications for me. The blurb I got on the Sexy book made me think this was the book you were talking about. I think I can only get Ciao Bella from the UK. Is that right? Keep writing your articles. I check your site every day!

  18. I did not listen to the radio show so did not hear your comments. However, if that is the kind of response your views attracted, what do people say to AR on the Weakest Link ?
    I very much enjoy reading your blog. Thank you.

  19. Hi Helena,

    I am a big fan of your blog and all of your books and France would have to be my favourite places in Europe, if not the world! It is so very different from Australia and the culture, language and people are, well, just si francais et si charmant!

    In your post “Chelsea Girl” from 7 May you mentioned that you didn’t know of anywhere apart from Harvey Nichols that does “threading”. This is a technique which hasn’t made it’s way south as yet but it is something that I eagerly watched when in London in December. So I thought you might be pleased to hear that there is somewhere outside Harvey Nichols which provides this service. It is at the Vaishaly Clinic, 51 Paddington Street, London W1U 4HR tel: 020 7224 6088 web: http://www.vaishaly.com. I am not sure how the prices compare (it is ÂŁ70 for an Initial Consultation and Eyebrow Shaping and ÂŁ45 for Eyebrow Shaping) but it might come in handy as a second option in case Harvey Nichols just becomes too dangerous to visit!

    Au revoir
    Alyson l’Australienne

  20. Many thanks Alyson, I may check it out next time, although Harvey Nichols is ÂŁ15 which seems like a bit of a bargain in comparison. Someone else told me of an Indian-run rather shabby place which only charges ÂŁ2!

  21. Hi Helena,
    I recently travelled to Florence whilst keenly reading your book, Ciao Bella. I had an amazing time, made all the better by your fantastic book. I found myself immersing myself in this fabulous city and your book at the same time, both perfectly complementing each other. Thank you for a great read. Keep up the good work.

  22. Dear Ms. Powell,

    As an English major, I have to say that your style is fun, amusing and all around fresh! I have read Two lipsticks…and as soon as I saw to Hell in High Heels in the Duty Free shop i snatched it like a thief! I just wanted to thank you for the topics that you cover; to some it may seem superficial and pointless but they way you move from one subject to another while analyzing cultural differeces in such a “sociological” manner is wonderful! Please keep up the good work!


  23. hi helena, just finished to hell and high heels and loved it! when is the next book out please! you need to write more! kelly.

  24. Hi Kelly
    Thanks for your lovely comment, it made my day! I am working on a novel next, I don’t know yet when it will be out but I’ll keep you posted.

  25. Dear Helena
    We’ve been loving living near Beziers with our small son for the last 8 months and, it’s perhaps a bizarre post, but I’d love to find a good tennis coach. Could I cadge the details for you yours from you? Perhaps it’ll compensate him to have a new customer for the lack of his move to the deserts you’re heading for. Sadly, I’m unhindered by talent or top-spin so let’s hope it’s not too much of a wooden spoon.

  26. Hi Claire
    That was meant to be a joke about my top-spin forehand! My tennis coach is fantastic and I will miss him. His name is Florent and his number is 06 15 50 93 90. Send him my best.

  27. Hi Helena

    I read your article in the Sunday Times today and felt so sad having last read one of your articles when you were all in an idyllic part of France.

    I moved out here, Dubai, 3 years ago with my family, 3 rug rats now 10, 7 and 4 from an equally idyllic part of Yorkshire and can entirely relate to what you’re going through.

    It’s a challenging part of the world and you have to realise, as you probably have, that nothing is easy and worse normally hugely frustrating. Combined with the heat, ineptitute and time consuming ways it can really test your patience. And if you thought slow pace before wait for Ramadan!!

    Strangely, I am doing some recruitment at the moment for ADMedia and believe that you are working for the National? Many of the people who are beginning to work there are now having to commute from Dubai due to chronic accom shortage so perhaps an option to look at?

    If you haven’t already met Vida, the CMO, then please go and introduce yourself as she’s a great girl and will be a good person to know. I’ve got a couple of other contacts in AD that may be able to help out so please feel free to correspond with me.

    I wish you all the best

    Kind Regards


  28. hello helena
    just wanna say i love you and all your books, i cant get enough of it, can you not like write couple of books in a month, i hate waiting.

  29. Hi Helena,

    I don’t know how you could have swapped a life in France for a life in Dubai!

  30. Hi Helena,

    Having lived for 9 years in Brussels and now a year in Bahrain I have followed your adventures with interest and find your writing enormously entertaining. I hope you don’t mind me making the occasional comment – not sure if your blog is for personal friends only?? Have a great Xmas.

  31. I loved your book Two Lipsticks and a Lover and now subscribe to your blog. But are you aware that the title for your blog when added to a blog reader such as Google Reader shows as (title unknown)?

  32. hi helena,

    it’s again Mathilde the french woman who have read your book ( so chic)
    i like again your blog but “existe t il ” ? in french
    because i’m not really good in english
    thank you

  33. Dear Helena 🙂

    It was around this period of time, last year, that I came across Deux Rouges a LĂšvres et un Amant (I have to admit that my curiosity aroused just by reading the title…) and I have really enjoyed reading it.

    I had been living in Geneva for the past 11 years but as of last summer I had to relocate in Paris. Reading More France provided me some very useful information and prompted me to buy High Heels and of course Two Lipstiks in english version.

    Reading them all was a real pleasure. Thanks a lot for sharing all these with us… sometimes it was sooo funny… I had a great time!!!

    All the best for you and your familly,

  34. Hej Helena,
    SÄ hÀr stÄr det efter din artikel om oss pÄ Hylteberga gÄrd.

    Times Online besöker Hylteberga
    Den engelska Times online har gjort ett reportage om Hylteberga Naturist B & B. En kvinnlig journalist har gÀstat stÀllet och berÀttar om sina upplevelser. Hylteberga kallas Europas första naturist B & B men flera lÀsare som kommenterat artikeln pÄpekar att sÄ Àr det inte. I Europa har sedan mÄnga Är funnits sÄdant naturistboende i Storbritannien, Frankrike, Spanien med flera lÀnder. Hylteberga i södra SkÄne Àr dÀremot det första bed and breakfast med naturiststuk i Skandinavien.

    I kommentarerna sÀgs vidare att jornalisten inte verkar ha förstÄtt finesserna med naturismen. Hon sysselsÀtter sig alldeles för mycket med folks utseende. Vi naturister vet ju att det Àr helheten, inte fysionomiska detaljer som Àr det viktiga.

    Vidare kostar hon pĂ„ sig en helt onödig sarkasm: Det Ă€r ett trĂ„kigt faktum att naturiststĂ€llen sĂ€llan attraherar de som gynnats bĂ€st av naturen (de som Ă€r vackrast). – It is a sad fact that naturist resorts seldom attract those to whom Nature has been kindest.

    Och vid middagsbordet blir det problem, nĂ€r hon ser att de övriga gĂ€sterna som kommer frĂ„n Norge respektive Danmark har klĂ€der pĂ„ överkroppen (dock endast dĂ€r) gĂ„r hon genast och hĂ€mtar en tröja…

    Reportaget slutar med en uppmaning till de pryda engelsmĂ€nnen att boka in en vistelse i Hylteberga — as a nation, all we need is a bit of encouragment.

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    Many thanks


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