Cote Sud

A subscription to a magazine is a great present – my brother-in-law and his wife gave me a year's supply of House & Garden for Christmas a few years ago and I used to love it every month when it came in the post.

It really was the gift that kept on giving, especially when the next year they rolled it over for another year...and then another.

Anyway, we've now changed the way we do Christmas and I find myself having to buy my own magazines.

Fashion magazines are fine if you want to buy a £7,000 dress or you want to see how your body stacks up against an 18-year-old model, but I prefer to look at houses I can't afford instead.

(And while it's unlikely that my home will ever look like those that grace the pages of these magazines, it's slightly more likely than my owning a Chanel dress or the body to do it justice.)

I love House & Garden and Living Etc., but my favourite interiors magazine at the moment is one in which I can't understand a single word.

In fact, I don't even know what the title – Cote Sud - means, but you don't have to be able to speak a word of French to appreciate the beautiful pictures of the beautiful interiors of the most beautiful houses France has to offer.

I know the credit crunch means I should be cutting down on unnecessary purchases, but my excuse is that I bought a subscription back in August when I was blissfully unaware of the imminent collapse of the world economy.

And when my first magazine arrived last week, it was like receiving a present. I waited all day to open it - kids in bed, husband out playing football and me on the sofa, with my pjs and uggs and a big fat issue of Cote Sud to flick through.

The perfect night in.