Books & Reviews

CIao BellaCiao Bella
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There was one subject that was never mentioned when Helena Frith Powell was growing up. Her eccentric Italian father. But one day a letter arrived saying that he wanted to meet her. She travelled to Italy with her mother and was mesmerised by him, as well as stunned by his advice on sex and relationships. He introduced her to Rome, Venice and Naples, and they stayed in touch irregularly until she lost contact with him when he stormed out of her wedding, leaving her mother to walk her up the aisle. Several years later, the mother of three children and the author of two successful books, Helena travels to Italy to write about the glamour of Italian women. But walking up the steps of her father’s old Florentine apartment powerful memories come flooding back, and she realises that there’s another story she needs to tell. She desperately wants to understand the peculiarly strong emotional bonds that tie them together despite his unreliable nature. In this moving and entertaining journey to the places she visited with her father, Helena combines descriptions of Italy, its food, fashion, culture and people with a search for the most mysterious man she’s ever met.

Two Lipsticks & A LoverTwo Lipsticks & A Lover
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Click here to purchase it at – where it’s called ‘How To Be Impossibly French’
French women are innately elegant and sexy. How do they do it? Author Helena Frith Powell goes undercover in her new book TWO LIPSTICKS AND A LOVER to transform herself from a Fulham frump to a sensual French woman in just one year.

This edgy and hilarious guide takes Helena on a journey where she unlocks French secrets and learns:

-> The best way to have an affair
-> Style tips from French female icons
-> How a little Flaubert keeps you sexy
-> Exercise tips without breaking a sweat
-> How seduction must be in the forefront of your mind at all times
-> How French women age with elegance and without botox

In her quest for French elegance, Helena interviews iconic women including Inès de la Fressange, ‘It’ girl Hermine de Cleremont-Tonnerre, fashionistas from underwear designer Chantal Thomass to the head of Tifffany’s in Paris, politicians, and the mysterious politician M. B who adds a twist on the male perspective.

Covering all aspects of French Style from literature, food, fashion, sex and exercise and written with Helena’s signature wit and irreverence, Two Lipsticks and a Lover – A Year in Suspenders delivers excellent advice in a hugely entertaining format.

NEW! – You can now get a copy of the French version of Two Lipsticks and a Lover – simply send an email to Jacques Kuhnle for more information.

More France Please, We're BritishMore, More France Please
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Forget about avoir and être! In More, More France Please, the French Mistress of the Sunday Times talks the reader through the pitfalls of life in France in the ultimate French lesson!

When asked where they would most like to live, a good percentage of UK citizens will likely name the south of France. The very name calls up images of blue skies, golden sun and plentiful red wine, making most Englishmen and women pause wistfully before shelving the idea of moving as an impossible dream.

The French dream became reality for Helena Frith Powell when she decided to take the plunge and move from London to the Languedoc with her husband. Discovering a dearth of resources to help those contemplating the southern exodus, she decided to collect her experiences in an account of real-life stories and disasters.

Among the topics discussed are the pros and cons of various regions, choosing and buying a house, running a vineyard, owning a chateau, the elements, becoming friends with the locals, learning French, dealing with the ever-present threat of tax investigation, and, of course, the presence of fellow Brits. She relates amusing tales of triumph and failure, the pitfalls and loopholes of relocation revealed – while never losing sight of the many delights of life in southern France.

Based on her own experiences, those of her friends and of the many readers who write in to her Sunday Times column French Mistress, Powell tells the story of life in La Douce France in a fresh, fast and humorous narrative.

An essential read for all of us rosbifs dreaming of sunny skies and French wine that is bound to become an instant classic.
‘Sparkling’ Sunday Times

69 thoughts on “Books & Reviews

  1. hello Helena
    My name is Alchesay, and I live in New York. I cant tell you exactly why I am so drawn to you work but i read your blog every day and love 2 lipsticks. I have read it so many times its now frayed. there is something in your words that draws me in. I am a poet (unpublished) but thats ok seeing how i am only 14, although i hate to tell you that for i am usually not taken seriously when people know how young i am. I simply cant wait to get your next book! Please keep writing forever.

    Alchesay Rinaldi Castro

  2. 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!

  3. helena, have just finished two lipsticks and a lover (twice as loved so much) and think you may have changed me. not wearing the matching underwear yet but somehow inspired me to take better care of myself. loved ciao bella too, especially as know italy so well myself, you described it perfectly. about to start more france please and cant wait. write another one quickly please!

  4. Dear Kelly
    What a lovely comment, you made my day!
    Am working on the next book; To Hell in High Heels, it comes out Spring next year and is all about how not to age….

  5. I’m trying to find where to buy Ciao Bella. Also I came across another book called How to be Incredibly Sexy or something like that. Both by you but one 2006 and the other 2007.
    Are they the same? Is Ciao Bella available outside the UK?

  6. Love your blog. Regarding your upcoming book on aging, have you looked into Bioidentical Hormone Therapy? Suzanne Somers wrote a few books about them, The Sexy Years and Ageless. Both books are very informative regarding slowing the aging process.

  7. Hello Jacqueline
    Ciao Bella is available outside the UK, but really only through amazon at the moment. As for the incredibly sexy books…. this is my equivalent of the nude pics taken as a naive teenager! They paid me quite a bit of money at a time when to get any book published seemed like a miracle. Not compulsive reading but quite fun.

  8. Dear Helena,
    Both me and my friend enjoyed your “Two Lipstick…” a lot. Actually we believe that the best way to get the feel of a city/country especially the one as enchanting and mesmerizing as Paris is to read something written not by a native. I live in Russia, Moscow, which is as enchanting as Paris but bizarre, spontaneous and crazy. Actually we all believe that Moscow is slowly becoming the capital of fasion not in terms of introducing new styles but for the quantity of trendy/fashionable and very expensively dressed people. Apart from desiring to have your books translated into Russian (incidentally I haven’t found any mention of any Russian translations/publishers either in your website or elsewhere), I strongly believe that you could write about Moscow better than anyone else with your sense of humor, style and tact.

  9. Hello Galina
    I am so pleased you liked Two Lipsticks. It has been sold to Russia so do look out for it there. And the idea of a book about Russia is fascinating, thank you. I used to travel there a lot for work and loved it.

  10. Dear Helena,
    hi my name is Debbie and i have just finished my x-thousandth round of ‘two lipsticks…’! I must say that out of the many books regarding the french female population, ‘two lipsticks..’is really the most interesting and engaging one. Your book truely inspired me in a lot of sense such as, due to the fact that i’m from Taiwan, that flirting, seduction is not a sin or such a terrible thing to do even if you’re married. This is a huge step to realize to most Asian women and when I used your book as additional reading for this women’s liberation group the other taiwanese women felt the same way. you really inspired us in so many levels and i can’t wait for your other books to come out! OH yes and we were wondering if you would ever be interested to write a book about taiwanese women because we’re one of the oriental countries that people’d heard of but not know much about!

  11. Hello Debbie
    Thank you for your lovely comment. I have thought about writing a book about Asian women, Taiwanwese might be a little too specific. I’ll keep you posted.

  12. i actually found two lipstick and a lover book by accident, in town reading through magazines in WHSmith, so i only buy the cheapest one or none at all. i never been up stairs before so since im not doing anything, i spend an hour up stairs looking all books, never ever look through the selp help section, afraid that would make me look sad, but i accidently walk there and there it is, your book, two lipstick and a lover, think someone didnt put it back in the right section, i hate that
    ok anyway i so love love love your books, im reading more more france please really really slow, so i dont finish too soon like two lipstick and a lover.
    since that book, i throw out my cheap daily facial products and buy products that i usualy even scared to look at on internet, because of the price per small little bottle of facial scrub, but all that change now. i go through my wardrobe and give lots away to charity and start everything new, including new matching underwear. im so much happier now, thank you so much for writing this book. i think you help lots of clueless girls like me out there even tho my bf hate all the money spend on new things, at least he likes the underwear.
    do you think you can like write a book for every month, i dont think i cant wait forever for the next one, plezzzz
    if not then dont ever stop writing, i rather wait years for your next book then no Helena Frith Powell at all.
    your one little book help me more then hundreds of pounds spend on magazines in a year, looking at celebrity pics and tips from useless stlyists.

    ok love you lots

  13. Hello Jude
    What a lovely message to wake up to on a Monday morning. Keep up the good work and I am working hard on the next book, To Hell in High Heels, which will be out Spring 2008!

  14. Cara Helena,

    I live in Italy and find your book ‘Ciao Bella..’ a very interesing read.

    However, my friends are asking is this book also available in Italian and if not, then is there any hope that it will be available in Italian?

    Thank you,


  15. Allo allo!

    Just wanted to say hello again (wrote to you after reading the ever-so-brilliant T.L.A.A.L – remember? The permanently breastfeeding Australian? Non? Ah well. Your French counterparts will be glad to know that my son has finally given up le boobies at the ripe old age of 20 months. I am currently reading M.F.P.W.B -( yes, lots of acronyms – sounds like a dysfunctional Government Department.), and once again, I love love love your work. As a fully addicted francophile, with a little help from you, Madame, I am also trying to teach myself French at night. I probably sound like the French version of an East-ender, but I am having fun. Still trying to get hubby to let me come to France – even told him I had a friend in Languedoc (heheh). I am determined to get my Hermes scarf and little Eiffel Tower paperweight in person. One day. Until then, Helena – you are in charge of sating my curiosity. Thank you for bringing sunshine and candour into my little world. Thank you also for replying to my last email. No-one could believe that a published author/columnist would personally reply, that is really special. As always, a dedicated fan – I promise to buy all of your books so you can keep renovating!!! Cheers, Helena. Have a wonderful day and hope you are feeling better soon, two hats and all.

  16. Dear Helena,

    I am from the Philippines. I have roamed bookstores around Manila trying to find your books but unfortunately they are not in stock. One of the bookstores might be able to get me a copy of “All You Really Need To Be Impossibly French”. I placed an order but it may take 1-2 months. I’ve tried to make an order for “Two Lipsticks and a Lover” but the book title is not showing in their database. I really want a copy of the book but I prefer buying it here than ordering online.
    Anyway, I can’t wait to get my hands on “All You Really Need..” tho it would be a challenge bringing french style to the tropics 🙂

  17. oh.. okay i’m sorry! so “two lipsticks..” and “all you really need..” are one and the same… :0

  18. Salut Helena!

    Just a quick note to say that I got your books and I think they’re fantastic. “Two Lipsticks” is such a fascinating book – especially for someone half-French like moi! And I loved Ciao Bella and More France.

    Keep up the good work!

    Michelle-Louise X

  19. I was drawn to the French style from watching dvd movies .. I’m an admirer of their overall health as well as beauty when comparing to the American lifestyle and I must admire that French women are healthier and reflext a natural beauty that I would like to adopt .. Powell’s books provide the information and a refreshing change

  20. Hi Helena

    During my Christmas holidays i got Two Lipsticks and a Lover and i finished it in two days, it was really a wonderful book and the first thing i did when i finished it was get two clensing creams one for makeup removal and the other for the morning cleasing i also got night and day creams i guess my next move will be maching underwear. Anyway now that i finished that book i went and bought More France Please i have not finished it but i can tell that its a great book allredy. So i really want to thank you for writting such wonderful books for they made a huge change in me and when school starts again on monday i will tell all my friends about your books most of them are really intrested in reading about beauty and style (we are all 17 years old) i know they will love it….

    Thankyou you again for sharing your French beauty knowledge with everyone, and i cant wait for your next book


  21. Hello Angelika
    Many thanks for your lovely comment, I am thrilled you enjoyed the book so much and it is great to hear I am being read by such a young and enthusiastic audience.
    Thanks again.

  22. Hi Helena

    Two Lipsticks and a Lover was recommended to my by a friend who said it was not to be missed. I bought it immediately and absolutely loved it and have taken on board some of your tantalising advise.
    I have noticed one of your other books ‘All You Need to be Impossibly French’ but have been told it is the same as ‘Two Lipsticks etc’ but with a different title. Could you please confirm this before I buy it also. If they are one and the same, why is this so.
    In the meantime I have passed on the good news about 2 Lipsticks…. to all my friends here in Australia who are also enjoying their ‘little bit of France’.


  23. Hello Robyn
    Thank you for your lovely comment. All you Need etc is the US edition of Two Lipsticks, for some reason the publisher in the US decided to change the title. But instead you could buy To Hell in High Heels which is just out this week and full of anti-ageing tips! It is available in Australia.

  24. Hi Helena

    I am nearly finished To Hell in High Heels.

    As a 32 year old it’s a bit scary to read that book and realise that in a few years I’ll be a bit more wrinkly and probably start to sag and that men will probably stop looking at me. It’s a terrifying thought and no wonder people or should I rather say women practically kill themselves and their bodies to stay young!

    Since reading this book I have been trying to drink more water, I have examined my face carefully in a mirror and I have spent a fortune on suncreams, moisturisers and have been putting on eye cream.
    I really like Nivea and can afford it, I am using their Aqua and Oxygen products – I love the sound of the Philosophy range but do not get it in Australia. I even tried exercising my face in a mirror but it didn’t look good!

    Thank you for such a well researched book. And thank you for scaring me into taking a little bit of care of myself before I do age rather badly. I am not sure about the Botox and Smart Lipo and injections but I hate the thought of growing old and ugly.
    I work for the and your book/ blog link is going into our upcoming newsletter.

    Thank you! I cannot wait to finish this book and read all your others!

  25. Hi Helena,

    I’m Italian, from Rimini! I know Benedetto very well, since i was a child (now I’m 26..). But since now I didn’t know that he had a daugther..I was on the web searching some reviews on his new, great, book ( ) and I found a site that talked about you, and your book… incredible!

    Now I really want to read it!
    I’m waiting for an italian version…


  26. Ciao Davide
    How amazing that you know my father! Sadly Ciao Bella is not yet translated into Italian but I will let you know if it is.

  27. Hi Helena

    I confess I’ve been reading your blog ever since I read To Hell in High Heels – loved it and loved your quest to conquer anti-ageing although I have to agree – at the end of the day where does it all stop… I’m very interested in your experience with the hair extensions though – am getting married in 3 months and am so tempted…I have shoulder length blonde hair much like yours – fine – the idea of having thick locks for a couple of months appeals so much! Did you use the Great Lengths Method – the Indian virgin hair? And did it damage your hair as that’s my biggest fear..would love to hear your honest opinion. I would hate to do something stupid for the sake of vanity…yet if its as good as the reviews claim it could be a lot of fun!

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  28. Hi Helene
    This is a tricky one…I don’t know the extensions you mention so can’t say whether they would damage your hair or not. Rodolfo’s hair infusions didn’t, but ones I had before that at Harvey Nichols that were fixed with glue and heat did. I was a scraggly mess afterwards.
    It will depend on how they are secured, but also remember that you can’t run your fingers through your hair (not great for romantic honeymoon) and they are a pain to maintain. Maybe you’d be better off with a seriously good shampoo like Real Hair which you can get from Harvey Nicks or Louise Galvin Sacred Locks range?
    Best of luck with the wedding

  29. Ayup from Manchester,

    We have both just read More More France Please and just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for all the helpful advice contained within. We are planning a move to the Hautes Pyrenees within the next couple of years and have a 10 year old son, so the book is just so perfect for preparing the move. Well done to you and the family.

    Wishing you a prosperous future in France,

    Frances, Joshua & Marc

  30. Hi Helena !!!

    Sorry for my english i’m French, so i speak in french for explain what i want .
    Voila j’ai lut la traduction de So chic et j’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé . Je voudrais savoir si vos autres livres vont être traduit ?
    J’espére que oui car j’aime beaucoup ce que vous faites .

    Merci de votre réponse si vous avez le temps
    Merci encore
    Mathilde, une française qui grâce à votre livre est fiére de l’être …

  31. Thank you, Helena for the great moment i had, reading “So chic! deux rouges à lèvres…” (yes, I m a french woman living in the Ukraine, i read the french version!! ;-))
    I LOVE IT!
    You are the most frenchy english woman I have ever seen!
    Bye !

  32. Hello Helenaa!!

    I really love the book 2 lipsticks & a lover.
    I was in a bookshop in Friesland -Netherlands so I was looking whithin so many english books, then suddenly I found your book so I just sit and start reading the prologue, which since the beginning was really interesting that even didnt realize the time, I have been reading in the bookshop more than an hour.. I was completely into your book, when I read it seems that I just transport suddenly to a country that I like a lot – France! … so after that when I came back to my real world 😀 i decided to buy it and take it home, You really made a good Job!! …
    Please dont stop writting 🙂 xxx

  33. Helena,

    Hello, from Virginia. I am inquiring whether you will be touring book stores with your next book in the U.S. I would love to be able to meet you in person.
    I have read the introduction of “All You Need To Be Unmistakably French” to several of my friends, who have absolutely loved the book, and are now on my wait list as it will get passed to each friend to read.
    I have had trouble trying to purchase the other books to add to my collection. I even looked at the publisher site to see if it was easier to order from them. As some of the books, I was told are out of print, if there is a better site to order your books it would be greatly appreciated…

    Mary Lou

  34. Cher Helena,

    love ur ‘Two Lipsticks..’ Write more, there is much more to write about, and this time call it:
    ‘TWO LOVERS and a lipstick’- As the most beautiful make up of a woman is PASSION – Yves Saint Laurent..


  35. Hi Helena,

    Looks like you have lots of fans from Saudi Arabia 🙂

    Thank you for an amazing book, I Never read a book before that provides important information with such sense of humor 🙂

    “to hell in high heels” is very informative and opened my eyes to lots of interesting age defying techniques , i never heard about before.
    I even started pilates , and started attending more yoga classes after the book 🙂 Didn’t find any laughter yoga clubs though ,, maybe I should start one here 😛

    Thanks again ,, and looking forward to read the rest of your books 🙂

    Riyadh, Saudi arabia

  36. Dear Helena,
    I am currently hooked on two lipstcks, its your first book I have read… bought it just this morning and find myself already evolving into the woman i always wanted to be, very inspiring stuff, whats the next book??


  37. Hello Virginia
    I am thrilled, thanks. The next book is a novel, called Lost in France at the moment but the title will probably change. All about an Englishwoman in France trying to lose weight, regain a husband and run a vineyard….

  38. Dear Helena

    I am currently re-reading ‘Ciao Bella’ – my sister and I both loved ‘Two Lipsticks and a Lover’ and while I am really enjoying ‘Ciao Bella’, I just wanted to ask if you are ever going to write the book about what makes Italian women glamorous? I have been fascinated with the whole ‘Eurostyle’ since my year abroad in Italy 10 years ago – and although there are several books on French style, I have never found one on Italian style!


  39. Hi Juliet
    Thank you for your lovely post. I am not planning on Italian women at the moment but I would love to one day, it’s a lovely idea. Hx

  40. Dear Helena,

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing such wonderful books. I loved Two Lipsticks so much … I have lent it to all my friends who have also loved it. I have always loved France and your book made me fall in love with her all over again. Do you ever plan on writing another like it?

    Kindest Regards

  41. Helen,

    I love your books. I bought Ciao Bella with the hopes that I would learn as much about Italian female culture as I did with Two Lipsticks. I LOVED the book also but wondered if you have any additional information geared towards Italian beauty and femininity?

    Best regards

  42. Hello Marie and many thanks for your message. I am planning a book on Italian women after my novel is finished where I hope to provide all the insight you are after!

  43. helena –

    was browsing through barnes & noble, and they’ve got a stack of “all you need to be impossibly french” on a table on the main floor of the one i visited… randomly picked it up and was completely charmed! i am totally inspired to take better care of myself, but retain my own sense of humor and style! can’t wait to read your other books!

    new york, ny

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