mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life

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Letting Go




It may be another National Holiday here in France and talk of politics is everywhere. Le Penn, la blonde, got well and truly beat.  Macron will be the new President. I live in La Nievre where Le Penn won the first round.  I was holding my breath but over 76% of the local population turned out to vote with Macron winning 59.92% of the votes against 40.8% for Le Penn.

It’s time for all of us to let go of stress whether it’s politics, health worries, not enough money or too much work and not enough time!  It’s the start of another working week for me. Life goes on and that’s great…but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

How about combining learning techniques and gentle exercise to help you de-stress with a holiday in the beautiful Burgundy countryside? You can’t fail to relax when you are surrounded by green hills, forests and  lakes with the freshest air in Europe.  A three day Letting Go workshop is being held by international life coach and therapist Orsolya Rist in July.

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Verre de L’amitié



Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!








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Retour au Travail


Back to work today and no more champagne and Christmas cake for breakfast or chocolates and cheese for tea!

After this year’s extra long festive season packed full of family fun and parties with good friends it is time to get back to routine. It feels good to tidy up and get back to “normal” (whatever normal is). Even clearing up after our crazy Mexican NYE party  and taking the Christmas decorations down felt cathartic.

This Christmas has helped me to learn to let go of things I can’t change and emphasised how grateful I am to have such amazing family and friends.  It made my Christmas that  my family travelled via ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ to celebrate with us here in France.

I am looking forward to the fresh start that a New Year brings and turning the page.  Are you ready for the next chapter?

Happy New Year!

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The Curtain Falls

La nature s’habille de givre.

Le froid est enfin la. The cold is finally here and what perfect timing!  My brother, sister, nieces and nephews celebrated Christmas with us in France and after 10 amazing days of fun, food and partying the final guests left for the airport this morning.  They left just in time. Today’s winter wonderland is heralding the first snow forecast for next week.

Freezing fog has caused a white-out, shutting out the sun and blue skies finally bringing the curtain down on 2016. 

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Love Actually


The downside of living abroad, for me, is the distance away from family and friends. The last time we saw our son and daughter was Christmas so when they said they wanted to spend Easter with us in France we were delighted.  And  suggested that they travelled on the Eurostar and we would meet them in Paris.

That was before the Terrorist attacks in Brussels. I was working in London when the underground and bus was bombed and that terrifying experience began the chain of events that eventually saw me fulfill my dream of living a rural life in France. The escalation of terrorism across the world is frightening. The  extra police and army presence in Paris is slightly reassuring but it was with a feeling of trepidation that I set off via car and metro to the Gare de Nord.

Being Easter Saturday it was extra busy and I was surrounded by a mixture of nationalities, grandparents, children, friends and lovers all waiting expectantly  for their loved ones. The excited chatter soon faded away as the train slowly pulled in.

There was an almost unbearably sweet moment of anticipation broken only by the shriek of a guard’s whistle. And then carriage doors were flung upon spilling passengers and their luggage onto the platform.  I pushed forward standing on tiptoe to grab that first precious glimpse of my son and daughter. 

It seemed like forever but then suddenly there they were! I was hugging and being hugged. Surrounded by other joyful reunions. Together again. And just like in the song ….love was all around. Xxxx

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The Joy of January

A time to hibernate  – January is usually the perfect antidote to a very busy festive season.  After 2,000 miles of driving from France and around the UK to visit family and friends I wasn’t expecting to bring back an unwanted present of flu and a throat infection.

I lost my voice and had to give up on work and retreat to my bed.When I felt a bit better I kept warm in front of the log fire snuggled in my crochet blanket.


Having no energy meant I had to take it easy and rest. On a positive note I had time to appreciate the simple things and be grateful that I could take time out to nurture myself and enjoy my home.

The benefits of our wood fired cooker and home made soup.

I appreciated drinking out of my new mug, wearing my new bed socks and reading books.

I lit candles, tea lights and lanterns to give a cosy glow on the dark evenings.  Dosed myself up with natural remedies and drank honey, lemon and whisky.

So now after three long weeks of cocooning I am finally emerging into 2016 blinking into the sunlight!!


The best remedy

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A Bend in the Road

 I’m usually a glass full kind of person but my positivity has taken a nose dive.

 Life, of course, has plenty of ups and downs but when you are living in another country it can be a lot harder to deal with. 

Missing family and not being there is tough. Yes we have Skype, texting and phone calls but nothing beats a hug.

Realising that not knowing the “rules” makes us vulnerable to costly mistakes.

Not getting to grips with the language, I try hard but my level of understanding is not good enough when the sh**t hits the fan.

Despite all that – the positives still far outweigh the negatives – so I’m looking forward to what is round the next corner.