Hello again, hello!

Back from four blissful weeks in France....
relaxed, sun-tanned, rested, well-read, well-fed & full of energy....
it's probably the best I feel all year!!

Our holiday was wonderful....
we stayed in two locations over the month, just minutes apart but each slightly different in character....
one a small town & one more of a holiday location.
We rented apartments - the same two as last year - and both worked out brilliantly.
One small & simple & one much more luxurious & spacious - I love both of them.

Even though we return to the same destination each summer, every year it feels different.
We explored new locations, shops, places to eat and to walk.
My children, one year older, do different things & change each year.

(view from our kitchen window)

Every year my summer book selection occupies more & more of my suitcase & this year was no exception. 
I read non-stop for the first three weeks & read everything that I took with me....
it was blissful :)

My favourite book was "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulks....
an enormously moving, evocative and beautifully written book about the First World War. 
The best "war" book I have ever read, this is honestly a book that defines great writing, reading it was an experience. 
There were passages in it that I don't think will ever leave me and
I would recommend it to anyone.

We spend a lot of time on the beach....
& rest of the time we read, walk, explore....just be.

The best part of being there for such a long time is being able to "live" there as opposed to having the feeling of trying to do everything in the space of a week or two weeks.

It's all so familiar to us that it feels as though we adjust within hours of being there....
although I love that there is always something or somewhere new that we discover each year.  

We fall easily into a routine....
some days we explore, take the train somewhere along the coast or walk....
other days, we go to the bakery & then we head for the beach just 2 minutes & stay until the sun sets.

We explored Nice & we revisited Italy and Monaco, all of them were fantastic.

My aim each year is simplicity....

bread & cheese
iced water & ice cream
walking & talking
quiet & relaxation
the beach....playing, swimming, making friends
family time

Perhaps the best thing about our holiday this year was being to totally switch off....
my mind has been particularly busy & distracted this year & I needed to decompress.

I took a new notebook & pencils thinking that I would clear my mind by writing & making a list of plans - as I usually do on holiday, aided by the clarity that being away from home often brings.

What I actually found was that I didn't even open my notebook once & didn't really think about anything relating to life in London.....it was wonderful!!
Very unusual for me, but it worked....
I simply lived in the moment & didn't plan beyond the next day - that itself was totally refreshing and invigorating.

There's really something about the south of France....
and not just the fabulous weather.
Tomorrow I'm going to share some of my favourite places to visit.

For now though, I'm back, my children have returned to school - my daughter to her new school - and I have a full diary for September, some really exciting projects coming up.

And, of course, I'm looking forward to catching up with my blog reading & writing!!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! I missed you!! I was wondering just this morning when you might resurface. This post resonates so much for me and is so similar to how I feel about my holiday time. Ahh the parallels continue!

    So much to catch up on, but for now these images look just glorious. How did the first day of school go? It's a roller coaster down here on the south coast but we are nearly a week in to the new term and it's OK!

    SO so pleased you are back. My days are not the same without some ironing basket perception! Lou x

  2. Oh it all sounds so heavenly Simone...what gorgeous memories your children will have of their yearly family holidays.

    Love the pic's xoxo

  3. Sounds like the perfect holiday to me Simone .... resting, reading, relaxing ..... what could be better ?
    ......now, trust me to spoil it .....it's back to reality !!!! hehe.
    But, reality will look so much better after such a wonderful break .......... AND ..........

    ANDY MURRAY WON !!!!!!!!!!

    What a perfect end to a fabulus Summer. XXXX

  4. Hello from a new follower!:0)

    France is so underrated isn't it! I went to Ile de Re this summer and it was so beautiful and warm there, not to mention easy and cheap to get to! Louise x

  5. Sweet sweet girl ~ I have missed you! How I envy your time away ~ unplugged ~ relaxation ~ reading reading reading. So glad to see you back and cannot wait to see what you have in store for September. xo

  6. Lovely to have you back, Simone...your holiday sounds absolutely wonderful...and you lived in the moment, perfect!
    I have a copy of Birdsong I have been meaning to read for ages...I will now after your comments...passages that you don't think will ever leave you...that's my kind of book.
    Welcome Home!

  7. Wow, looks and sounds so beautiful and the perfect way to just be.
    Welcome back xx

  8. Sounds like the perfect holiday to me too! Welcome back, you have been missed!! We moved my daughter up north for university and it's only been a few days and I am missing her terribly, but thanks to all of our modern technology it makes it a bit more bearable! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store this month! Hugs and love my friend! xxoo

  9. Welcome back! I love your pictures and stories about your time in France. It sounds heavenly! So glad you had a great trip. Good luck as you get settled back down into the school routine, and I'm looking forward to reading what you have in store for us this month.

  10. I love that you read so much. Sounds like a lovely vacation. Welcome back!

  11. So glad you are back...sounds like a slice of heaven here on Earth.

  12. Welcome back!
    Sounds like you had a marvellous holiday.
    Have a lovely evening,

  13. Glad you had such a wonderful time Simone... I can't wait to see and hear more of your holidays...Yours is the perfect definition of holiday by the way... xv

  14. Morning from the beaches of Oz here lovely friend...

    OK I'm now wishing that I leapt on that plane...the words...the images...the simplicity...the divine *nothing-ness* of European summers- I will miss them till the moment I get back...

    Your France is our Italian Greek Island, as you know...

    There is no other holiday quite like leaving weather behind in England and soaking up a European summer...

    I'm slowly sorting four years of photos...and still have a moment of *nooo* that we don't have out London one...esp on those days that I miss our second home land....

    Hugs to that gorgeous O...I'm desp to hear how she's going...I have till after our summer for Sol to head off....already I can feel he's readying himself....

    M xxxxxx

  15. Welcome back! It sounds absolutely heavenly - the perfect holiday, and even better because it's all so familiar to you and stress free - bliss!
    Just wanted to thank you again for featuring my guest post! looking forward to seeing what the Autumn brings us, my son has just started 'big school' as well. He's taking it all in his stride - he's even enjoying the homework - it's as if he's matured several years in the space of one Summer!
    Best wishes,
    Paula xxx

  16. That looks like bliss - welcome back and do hold onto the holiday spirit!

    Helena xx

  17. What a lovely time. You made me smile from ear to ear when you shared the Avett Brothers, I just LOVE those guys. Happy to hear you are back in your nest safe and sound, even though I know it must have been hard to come home from France. Love, Heidi


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