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Understanding yourself: Me

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I have shared on this blog that the year before we came out here I stood on the precipice of having a full breakdown, and I did have a mini one. I have written about how I can be driven, which in some ways is a good thing and essential, (more of that in another post) and yes, being that type of person is a blessing. But it can also be a curse, when insecurity creeps in through the crack in the open door.

Without my strong personality my book would not be out there, and my Blog would not have been so successful, but more than that so many people would not have found something to give them hope in their hour of need.

But despite that I also remember my counsellors words well when she told me I was a ‘doer’, and that if I didn’t learn to utilise, but control, that part of my personality it could actually destroy me.

Living here has been hard in that I now have arthritis and work is limited for me; because I cannot do the things I used to do; and you see for someone like me to not be able to have something to focus on means that I feel as if I have lost myself. I have always needed something to define me: in the UK it was my career, which virtually destroyed me, but coming here and trying to find something else proved difficult.

But last year life shook me up and showed me the way: I started the Other blog and it took off. I always knew that sharing our story would help others, and now I know it has. As I have written in previous posts it jolted me back to being me, it gave me impetus, and all the things I have worked on: H’s website for the business, the Facebook page, and the business itself, which is doing better than it ever has, was as a result of me finding my impetus again; or as I have said: being driven. The blog reached 96,000 views in a year and I was in control of what I was doing: which is something I love.

But once the book was published the control was taken away from me to a degree. Yes I could promote it, increase my media presence, but I would never actually know any stats for how well the book was doing until the royalty cheque fell on the mat; and that for me was a problem. It was what was keeping me awake at the beginning of the week; I had to relinquish some of the control, and I had to trust the fact that someone else was now doing the driving. I knew it, I knew it was going to be the case but my brain remained active and kept me awake because I couldn’t control it.

I still keep a journal, as I have written on the other blog my journal was at one point the book that saved my life, but I don’t write in it often now, the two blogs tend to work for me. But as I have said they are still not the same as keeping a journal, which is a place where you don’t worry about your audience, because your audience is you, and so you have to be honest.

After my last post I knew that I had to write my journal, that was the key to sleeping. So I did: I had a frank conversation with myself: that the blog had and still is, doing so well why would the book fail? I reminded myself of all the comments I have received from all over the world:

‘Thanks for your amazing insight it helps me to understand how to stay strong through all of this.’

‘This! I need to read this today!’

‘When I am having a hard day sometimes I go back to Rosie’s blog, and it helps me get my demon under control.’

I told myself that I need to have a little more belief in myself, and I was honest with myself that at times I doubt myself and I questioned why. I wrote about the power of belief, but despite that when things are out of our control our belief begins to falter, and the strength is in pulling ourselves back up, and holding on.

On Wednesday night I slept soundly. I have always wanted to be able to meditate, but have struggled. So when I recently read a post from the Fabulous Biscuit factory blog I realised that writing my journal is a form of meditation for me. I put my pen to paper and I just write, and then I read what I have written and my mind is clear.

So in knowing that life shows us the way yesterday I found my book for sale in Waterstones, and stocked in Gardners. I knew that meant that the book was doing well, and it helped me a great deal, I also knew that life was telling me to hold on to my belief which was confirmed when we met a new client with the business last night: they work in the book world and when I said that the book is stocked in Gardners they advised that before that could have happened Gardners would have done their homework: they only stock books that they think will sell!

So I will do all the hard work I need to and support and promote my book, (of course I will) but I will give myself a timeframe every day, and some days I will step back from it. After all someone else is doing the driving! I know that!

Rosie

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Understanding yourself

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‘The great and fierce mystic Willliam Blake said : “There is no greater act than putting another before you.”

This speaks to a selfless giving that seems to be at the base of meaningful love. Yet having struggled for a lifetime with letting the needs of others define me, I’ve come to understand that without the healthiest form of self-love – without honouring the essence of life this thing called ‘self’ carries , the way a pod carries a seed – putting another before you can result in damaging self-sacrifice and endless co-dependence. ‘

From the Book of Awakening Mark Nepo

I always say on my other blog how I believe that it is essential for people to find themselves and not let others define them. I need to listen to my own words. I am going to do my best to post on this blog at least every other day to share my journey over the past few weeks with you; including the messages that life has sent me along the way.

But to start with I am going out in the garden today. I am not posting my other blog to various Facebook sites, or promoting it at all. I am taking a ‘time out’ from Social Media today and over the next few days I will explain why.

But for now I will say that I have not slept well over the past few nights, with no particular thing on my mind. The book is selling, wonderful people are contacting me to say they have it; H has work, best it’s been for a long time; but I know it is my mind that is keeping me awake! And I know why.

So without further ado this is currently what our chemin looks like:

 

Seriously if we don’t work on it we will not be able to walk up it! So on this damp and cloudy autumn afternoon I am going out in the garden with H (he has a week off before more work) to help him; because he cannot do any particular heavy lifting and because I need to get out in the fresh air and away from my book. I need to practice what I preach for a day: and let life show me the way!!

More to come

Rosie

 

Belief – Just have faith and believe

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I am now reading, we are now reading, ‘The Book of Awakening’ by Mark Nepo. There are many passages that have been highlighted for reference not least ‘The Spoked Wheel’; in fact that made me cry; but that is for another post. Today I want to say about belief, in fact will probably post a few posts about belief in the future.

From the book of awakening by Mark Nepo…

‘January 11

Ted Shawn

Underneath all we are taught, there is a voice that calls to us beyond what is reasonable, and in listening to that flicker of spirit, we often find deep healing. This is the voice of embodiment calling us to live our lives like sheet music played…’

For me this whole passage was about belief. If we had not moved to France, and I had not had the time and the solitude to research and interact with others, I would not have written this book. I would have had the n’er do wells surrounding me and I would have struggled to have got off that wheel and hold on to my belief.

I had another post lined up for this week, but life as always has taken over and showed me the way and on Monday I was called and told my book had gone to publication. On Thursday this arrived.

After nearly four years of hard work, writing and re-writing my book, to hold it in my hand is something I cannot describe and it made me cry.

Within an hour people were messaging asking where they could buy it. I was about to reply and say that it was not available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble yet, but just thought I would check; and there it was! I cried again.

I cannot believe it. But why can’t I. At the end of the day I wrote my book in the belief that it would help others, and my blog (93,000 views and counting) and the comments and messages I receive proved that my belief was right.

I have experienced so often the ‘oh you’re writing a book (in the tone that implies that they should follow it up with ‘ of course you are’), or been asked why, or told you won’t earn any money from that, and so on. But I never gave up.

Our’s is a story that helps others in what often is the most traumatic time of their life. So it was never just about earning money, it was about helping others, it was about perseverance, and it was about not following the crowd. Ultimately it was all about ‘Belief’: it’s all about belief and never giving up.

So now it’s out there and I hope some of you will enjoy reading it.

Thanks for reading, this is part of my French adventure after all. I couldn’t have done it without living here.

Rosie

Making This Better is available internationally on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris in both paperback & ebook.

Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

Autumn: Swallows

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When we moved here our house had not been lived in for over three years, and our old barn had become a residence of choice for the swallows every spring; with it’s lack of the likelihood of interference from humans, and the abundance of tall trees, and thereby insects our barn was the perfect choice. And then the English came along!

But life was looking out for our swallows because these English have not blocked up the barn (we’d have a job with half the roof missing) we have welcomed the swallows.

So every spring the babies can be heard chirping in the eves, and now they have come to realise that we will not hurt them the swallows no-longer dive bomb us when we go to the barn to move something back into the house (which has been moved to the barn and back, barn and back so many times!)

This winter the barn roof will finally be replaced by H, we hope to save that beautiful old building if possible. But we will ensure that the swallows still have somewhere to stay, they are part of the fabric of this home and all that it entails.

Every summer as we sit in the garden in the early evening we are treated to an aerial display as the swallows teach their young to catch the numerous insects milling about in the air in the late evening sunshine. In fact we get two displays because as the swallows take their young to bed the bats then come out as twilight arrives and take over the second sitting for the insect banquet.

But what has inspired me to write this post is what happened last night. The Indian summer continues and the past few days we have reached temperatures into the late twenties early thirties. After my shower I stood at the bedroom window and watched as the swallows began to gather. We have a collection of phone wires for our community and swallows love phone wires; add to that our trees and the corn in the field and the swallows found their ideal spot to swoop (a collective noun for swallows). It was amazing to watch as they swooped past our window over to the field opposite.

More and more arrived swooping high and low, sitting on the phone wires, just looking at me, as I stood like a mad woman in my pyjamas videoing them. My photos do not do the spectacle justice : they were preparing to say goodbye.

Autumn is here, despite the hot weather, and the Swallows know it is time to start their preparation to leave.

I realised that although they will be back next year it may not be the same swallows, many will die on the arduous journey to Africa and the Sahara; and it again highlighted to me how (to quote George Benson) everything must change, nothing stays the same. It cannot.

I am truly blessed.

Rosie

Simple things, simple things.

if you want to listen to the fabulous George B singing about change here it is.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oqtHo0pU-1M

Giving thanks: Autumn Fares

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Throughout France there are vide greniers from spring until the end of summer. Taken literally vide grenier means empty attic, and it is a time when people try to sell anything they don’t need. Being an avid vintage fan I have found some beautiful pieces that the French no-longer treasure, but I love them; as do many others, and many pieces have found their way all over the world, courtesy of my Etsy shop.

I have said before how I love it when these beautiful items start life anew, treasured again; but some never make it, some stay with me, because I love them too much to let them go.

As Autumn draws in the vide greniers are paired up with the fares to celebrate the summer and all it gave, and as September moves forward celebrating autumn and all it brings. Every season is necessary, every season has it’s role, and therefore in such a rural community every season is celebrated.

Our local town has a fete to celebrate the summer, with it’s large vide grenier, fayre and fireworks. (They love a firework in France.) And it took place in our local town this weekend.

After mooching about with the puppies, and acting as referee with the numerous dogs we encountered, we stopped in the sun soaked courtyard of our local tabac for a coffee, it was the perfect end to a lovely afternoon.

Although it is clear that Autumn is here, she is seeping in slowly and the weather is still warm, and when we arrived home we were determined to enjoy the sunny weather even though the temperature had started to drop. We sat in our garden chairs, under our tree of Tao, with a glass of wine in hand, and just looked out across the view (me with two cardigans on by now!)

It was a simple Sunday, and although we are open to change where life is concerned perhaps that is helping us to cherish the moment. (Not least our nineteen year old cat who you can see in the last picture.)

It’s Monday tomorrow, try and treasure it.

Rosie

Life

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As Autumn rolls in, with the first day of September marking her arrival the day has been warmer than promised. We have had a totally lazy day and at five in the evening I have just got out of my jymbies! H looked at me this afternoon as we sat watching old episodes of ‘Four in a Bed’ and uttered the words we always use ‘I should get on really.’ Only this time I looked at him and said ‘Why?’

You see the French try and keep their Sunday’s sacred, that is why it is frowned upon to mow your lawn, or use loud tools after noon on a Sunday (in some areas that applies to all day); but it is not a bad thing because you do not have a constant hum of strimmers, and lawn mowers, and drills and banging whilst people frantically try and fit in all their jobs before they return to the daily grind of more often than not, ten hour or more days, like we used to do in England.

Since living here I have come to understand: it is not the noise it is the fact that not being able to make that noise makes you stop! And then perhaps smell the roses?

But coming from England that is still a hard thing for us to do: just stop. Have a day when you don’t do anything or give yourself a list of jobs to do. Yes I will be cooking a roast dinner today but that is all, no hardship. Yes I am writing this blog, but I love writing; and yes I have done some social media work, but again I don’t find that a hardship and I do try and manage it.

I suppose the coming of the new season and the slow drop in temperature as the day has wore on has made me think; for new people to this blog you will know that I am inspired by Autumn and all she brings   and represents: death, closure, the end of something, another chapter gone, and the reminder to cherish the moment becauses suddenly summer is over and autumn is here. She has taught me that without all these things life cannot move forward and change is the only thing of which we are guaranteed; so today got me thinking about how we should just sometimes stop and savour the day; stop always trying to achieve and just go with the flow. And today that is exactly what we did.

Earlier in the year I wrote of how we did not know if we would stay here and I said that life would show us the way. So far it has: Rich’s business has taken off, I have got me back, we have met some lovely people (sadly we have met some more arseholes as well, but those bastards are about wherever you go) and we have learnt our worth. My other blog was a main contributing factor to that: in the way it has just took off, and the responses to it. It made me realise that I should not listen to the n’er do wells in life and trust my own gut instinct because so far it has never let me down; things never worked out when I didn’t listen to my gut, but when I do things come good.

On Thursday I was sent the proof for my book and the front and back cover (which are fabulous). Yes I have to proof read it and should have been doing it today but it is good too take a break when you are looking for any editorial mistakes! Once agreed the book should be available to buy by the end of the month, and I already have people from all over the world waiting to buy it. I will keep you posted.

In addition to that Rich has now been contacted via our website by two clients who have a lot of decorating work and they are now pencilled in for the winter months. That is a first!

But we have also stayed true to our word in that we would know our worth and we will not just take work because we need the money. We always need the money but we agreed that we would not do sub-standard work for people who did not want to  pay for prep; and also that we would not work for people who appeared rude, or when alarm bells were ringing about them. We have done that too often since living here and it got us nowhere.

As most of you know I do believe life shows you the way and sends you lessons and in the past two weeks she has sent us a test to see if we were going to be true to our word: life sent us a client who was at times abrupt and rude and who rang all of our alarm bells:

They told us that their regular decorator had been too busy all summer to accomodate them (alarm bell 1, that normally means that the person is difficult to work for and that the decorator turned down the job) then they told us that they would do the prep work prior to painting (alarm bell two because if the prep was not done right then the paint would not adhere properly) then they changed their minds about what they wanted and asked for another price for the job with the work they had originally said they would do included. (Alarm bell three, as they did not seem to know what they wanted so how could we provide it?) Then they asked me for my phone number four times even when it was already on the messages sent, and they had our business card! They said that they did not use the internet even though they messaged me via Messenger and have a Facebook page! They could not understand why the days required to do the job would increase (even though I had to add the additional work that they had said they would do) and on and on and on. Their messages got ruder and more and more blunt and in the end all of my and H’s alarm bells were ringing loudly.

But me (ever the empath) still gave them the benefit of the doubt even when H said he had serious doubts about working for them.  I suggested that ‘life will show us the way.’ It did the very same morning!  After providing six different estimates accomodating their changes of mind I got home to a message querying something that had already been explained four times. It was both rude, demanding and abrupt, and I thought ‘well life sure showed me!’ I was getting the impression that I was having my time wasted (hence the lack of blogging) and I spoke to H and we both agreed that we would let the job go. So we did; and it felt good. Life will send us what we need, it has proved that to me over and over again.

So on this first day of autumn those are my reflections on life, and what we have learnt so far this year.

I learnt long ago that life is driving the the mini-bus  I’m not, and it is only when I don’t listen to what life tells me that things go wrong. I am now listening.

Here are to exciting journey’s ahead.

Rosie

Image result for tree lined avenues

 

Spurred on again

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I have often thought long and hard about writing about social media here in France (not just in France I hear the cry!) but I can only speak of my experiences as part of this adventure.

When I first came here I was shocked at the level of negativity and sometimes venom that has been levelled at people. As I was still not fully me it deterred me from pushing our business forward. But as I have written before, since the beginning of this year I have been brought back to being The person I used to be and our business has been ticking over.

To promote our business I have to use social media, add to that the promotion from my book and Other blog which serialises the book, I have become a dab hand at social media promotion which is here and now, not scrolling back, but here and now.

Over here there are certain Facebook sites that have been set up to help people promote their services and to find services. But over the past few months I have had negative comments on some of my posts: ‘if you’re that good why do you have to keep advertising?’ that sort of thing. On one of the sites I was blocked from posting for ten days.

There was no apparent reason for this other than we are showing work that has been completed for our clients and their feedback. That’s what you’d share, isn’t it? But people have taken exception and today I received notification from another site to say that people were complaining that I was posting too much. The last time I posted to that site was the 16th of August! I also noticed that my post that I put out today had been removed. So you know me, I asked why, and how often you are expected to post, given that the site is to advertise the service you provide. The answer was: because you’re the only one that does it on a regular basis!😳

I was spitting blood. So because I post regularly, even though I was not breaking any ‘rules’, because some people complained (about what I don’t know, other than what I can inly assume was petty jealousy) my post was taken down. The masses were not questioned as to why they took exception to my posts, it was just taken down. So basically, as is often the case over here, spitefulness prevailed.

Now being back to Good old Rosie (aka Moisy) again I did what I would have always done. I hate bullies, I hate the mentality of bullying, I hate spitefulness and lack of support from others for others, as is often the case from some people over here. I am not prepared to let them lead me.

I thought to myself, as I sat here fuming, ‘Rosie what are you doing? Why are you letting ‘the haters’ affect your life?’

So I set up my own Facebook site for people to advertise their services, there and then. I am recommending they post to it at least twice a week, or more if they have an event to organise, and now I am advertising that site. I set it up at one o’ clock this afternoon and people are advertising already and I have over 18 members and counting.

The introduction on the page is clear, no petty minded people need apply.

And the page rules are also clear this is a supportive group.

From the responses I have had I would say that others are as sick as I am of the pettiness over hear. It will be an interesting few months me-thinks.

Hear is to entrepreneurship. Welcome one and all. Please like my page, and if you know anyone who wants to advertise their wares please them they will be welcome.

Please click here & support our new page

Like I said ‘I’m back!’

Rosie

Laughter and giggles: Tormenting each other”

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My last Laughter & giggles post proved very popular so I have decided to have a section dedicated to the things that make us laugh every day.

Those who read my other Blog will know we have had our trials and tribulations, but even in the throes of them my husband’s piss-taking dry sense of humour has still made me laugh.

Even when I wanted to be really furious with him, he would make me laugh: like the time (just four months after ‘The War’) when we went to Crotoy in France. We rented bikes and rode down little narrow streets and got totally lost; with me in the lead saying ‘Oh look at that babes, I’ve never noticed that before’. When in fact we had ridden down the same road three times and even past a bloody great water tower! H proceeded to call me ‘my wife the Goldfish’.

Then there is his cheekiness, like the time when it was very hot and my visiting friend took her bra off from under her top. As she walked across the garden with drinks in her hand H shouted out ‘careful you don’t trip over them!’ My oblivious friend started to frantically look for what was going to trip her up, until she realised. – He gets used to being called a bastard, albeit through tears of laughter.

So to the current day: H has decided that every time I take a drink of my squash he is going to make loud glugging noises. Each time I start to laugh, and go ‘leave me’ in a pleading voice. But no! Each time I went back to drink my drink he did it again, so much so he could hardly do it for giggling, and I couldn’t drink because I was laughing. He was not content until I had laughed into my drink and spilt it all over me!

But I get my revenge: yesterday as he was obliviously scratching his bottom lip using his teeth I proceeded to do it back to him and he laughed and bit his lip! Revenge is sweet!

You see no matter what we go through, or have been through, we laugh every day, and for that we are blessed.

Rosie

The Indian summer

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As you know this summer was really hot in France, until August came. Then suddenly the temperature dropped to the early twenties, which is cool for this time of year in this region. But out of the cool air came an abundance of flowers. I realised that it had been so hot that the flowers had been burning, and as the air cooled they took their opportunity to bloom again.

We talked about dismantling the pool, and I am back to good old log splitting, because we do have to prepare for winter, and we still have so much wood to prepare and use.

But now the temperatures are rising again and are due to reach the early thirties and late twenties well into next week. The difference is it’s an autumn sun, and whilst hot it is not suffocating and the late evenings get a little chilly. ( All good for sleeping).

So this week when H has got home we have sat in our chairs with a long aperitif (no wine or beer, we have kept to our word) and put the world to right, whilst looking out across this view.

With a Welshie at your feet, (and the Princess snuffling for something small and furry to kill) what more could you want?

We said in January we would let life show us the way with regard to staying here. Perhaps not holding on so tight to that ‘dream’ has given us the ability to just enjoy the here and now. We said that we would see what the winter brings, but I am not afraid of it, I have truly learnt that what is meant to happen is going to happen, and all the worrying in the world will not change it.

So I am going to enjoy this Indian summer, my H, my cats (Sophie the sofa loaf taught me that), my beautiful dogs, my flowers with their new found lease of life

Not least Sophie’s rose.

And this beautiful place that I am blessed to live in. Life is doing the driving, I just have to trust it and enjoy the moment.

Aperitifs anyone? I can have wine tonight!

Rosie

Learning lessons: The holiday

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We will have lived in France four years and four months, lived in our house four years last week. Wow! The time has truly flown.

Those who have been following this blog know that we have had some good times, but boy we have had some tough times; and it has only been this year that I have fully recovered: back to being me

As a result of my full recovery I have taken over the management of our small property management business, set up the website, and promoted the hell out of H: He is good at what he does.

Because of this H (my new abbreviation for Danny/Rich, it’s just easier!) has had more work and last week we realised that it was actually the first ‘holiday’ we have had since living here.

That’s the thing with an adventure like this: you’re setting up a new life when you move to a new country: bank accounts, language, culture, in France in particular finding your way around the mountains of admin. All the things that you just took for granted: like opening a letter and reading it, or being able to pick up the phone to sort something out just goes out of the window.

This was our house when we viewed it, the paper on the walls was damp and mouldy in the living room.

Our kitchen had the unit you can see and nothing else. It had to be taken out and H built us a kitchen on a budget, and over the years we have actually taken the wall between the laundry room and kitchen.

When people embark on this type of adventure they want ‘the land’ but as I have written about before land means work! Add it to having to translate everything, renovating, trying to build a business and oh my! So suffice to say to have an adventure is hard work, unless you don’t have to work, or have enough money to pay others. And you are always doing something, if it’s not work it’s the house, or admin, or in our case starting up two blogs, writing a book, setting up an Etsy shop, and so much more beside. We are always on the go, and we haven’t taken any kind of holiday, until now.

Life intervened to make this a holiday, where we took a break from everything, including admin, and housework, and renovation and gardening: it made me ill.

I am the driving force, H would tell you that. But my failing is that being a ‘doer’ I cram things in to every day. I am always looking to achieve, but this last week I stopped. We did the basic tidying that you have to do on a daily basis, we lay in bed until mid-day (albeit with a cup of tea), and we chilled. H had a window to fix that was smashed in the winds the week before last, and every day he said he was going to fix it, and every day I said it was fine. It’s not freezing, it didn’t have to be done on our week off. Being ill, and still not one hundred per cent even now, made me stop.

Yesterday was our last day of our holiday and with the fuel to drive around we had spent the total of twenty-two euro. It proved to us we didn’t need money, we just needed each other and simple things like sitting in the washer-woman’s wash house watching the rain plop into the river in the beautiful Chailland.

Or just chilling with tea in the morning with the Welshies, who couldn’t be happy seeing this every morning.

As we sat in the garden last night drinking our last bottle of red wine (before our self imposed change to not drink on weekdays) H looked at me and said ‘I have had such a lovely time, and really felt as if I have had a holiday.’ I agreed with him and it made us realise that life has changed for us: being busy has enabled us to appreciate the holiday we have had, and also made us realise that we don’t need money to have a good time.

Here is to more galavanting, time permitting.

But just one other thing: if you don’t have bad times then you won’t know good times, that is the biggest lesson we have learnt from this adventure. If you’re not busy, how do you enjoy relaxing? Or does each day just merge into another? I have also learnt from this break that you can get caught up in the busyness and forget to sometimes just stop, and that there are so many beautiful places just on our doorstep, we just need to take the time out to enjoy them.

Rosie