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
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!!