Finding Time for Oneself

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One of the many things we love about France is the slightly slower pace of life. However, at the same time our life seems more hectic than ever; it’s a total contradiction I know, but true. We have never been busier, but we also find more time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life!

All I seem to see these days are articles about “me-time” and the importance of finding time for oneself. I am not the type of person who can really take myself off and spend an entire morning at a salon; even at the hairdressers I get fidgety,  I’m  too impatient, and I’m always thinking of the other things I could be doing!

The Collins Dictionary defines “me-time” as follows: “……the time a person has to himself or herself, in which to do something for his or her own enjoyment.”

In my case I suppose when I’ve finished everything on my list that requires complete concentration, then my special time is always enjoyed while I’m doing something else. I know this is cheating but if I can kill two birds with one stone then it must be fated! Most of my special time comes while I’m doing one of two things; either I’m mowing the lawn, or I’m at tennis.

I do a great deal of thinking when pottering along on my little red tractor, with that wonderful scent of freshly mown grass; it’s a smell that I find quite intoxicating, and to me it epitomises summer. Of course, I can’t cut the lawn in the rain, so this means I am always mowing in good weather, when the sun will invariably be shining and no one can talk to me for I simply can’t hear a word they say. I become totally immersed in my own world and sometimes I’ll think of nothing but the garden as I see what needs to be weeded or cut back whilst I ride past, deep in thought, the spinning  blades underneath me cutting through their work. Sometimes I’ll think about future goals and I’ll wish I could get the job done a little faster as I’m keen to get on with my plans, but that’s the beauty of my red tractor and my mowing –  I can’t go any faster and I ‘m forced to take my time.

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As for tennis, I seem to sit for hours virtually uninterrupted at the girls’ matches, or when I’m watching one of their lessons. On Tuesday evening I was a very happy spectator. Millie was playing in a tournament an incredibly pretty club some twenty minutes away. The intense heat of the day had cooled a little and there was just the merest hint of a light breeze; Plenty of people were watching  and the atmosphere was happy and relaxed. I couldn’t help but think what a perfect way it was to spend an evening, watching one of our daughter’s play a game I love. The benches were extremely hard and apart from the odd glance at my phone I didn’t do much thinking as I was too busy keeping track of the score. That is the nearest I get to time alone, and to be honest I wouldn’t want it any other way and with five children it never will be any other way. So can I still call this ‘me-time’? Or do I need to be thinking about myself while meditating in silence? Can ‘me time’ be simply time spent alone while involved in something else?

Most of us know that looking after ourselves is essential for happiness. But do we take the time to think about what looking after ourselves actually means for each of us? Exercise, sure. Eating well, yes. Drinking plenty of water and sleeping sufficiently of course. But there’s more. Enjoying time with friends and loved ones is also an essential part of living a healthy, happy life. Which brings me back to the French lifestyle I talk about so often. The French take time to enjoy a long meal; they take time to talk and spend time with each other and we did just this on Sunday with a few friends over for a barbecue. It happened to coincide with both Izzi and Roddy’s birthdays and what better way to celebrate than in the garden, cooking with friends.

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When I am super busy I’ll wonder why on earth I invited twenty people for dinner, and my inner voice will be screaming “I don’t have time for this”; but the fact is I need to make the time and by inviting friends over I have to do just that. We are very fortunate that all the children help, without them it would be utter chaos, but they pick flowers, they lay the table, they help to cook, they run down the road to the boulangerie and come back laden with baguettes. It’s a real family affair.

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With the arrival of the weekend the weather took a turn for the better; it began to really feel warm and the skies finally turned blue again. There was that distinct scent of summer in the air; I hoped it would last. We’ve escaped very lightly. The floods in Paris and the north of France have been awful. We didn’t get the rain, just the rather grey skies and the sun went temporarily into hiding. The Charente Maritime is meant to be the second sunniest place in France after Provence and the Langeudoc-Roussillon. One French friend who lives about thirty minutes inland from us arrived for the barbecue and looked at the sky and said “We’ll get a storm,”.

“No, it’ll go around us,” I said. “it always does; it builds in the north and heads east,” and sure enough it did just that with the blue skies immediately overhead remaining resolutely in situ all evening. This is the real Charente Maritime microclimate that is much talked about.

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Brocantes are another sure sign that the summer is here. Roddy and I spent a rare couple of hours together visiting a local one at the weekend that is one of my annual favourites in a really pretty little village.

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It was just past midday when we left, that all important lunch hour. All around the field people were sitting at their stalls with a smaller table laid out behind them, tablecloths in place and all sorts of delicious foods were being unpacked. We heard several corks being pulled, and while things were still for sale, lunch was also being eaten. Customers still wandered and chatted to vendors whilst they ate, but nothing could prevent the pleasures of a proper meal, even at a brocante.

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We came away with a few treasures, old knives and vintage linen which I couldn’t wait to get on the line, so it could be washed and ready for use!

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I read recently that “solitary time can help us have a better understanding of ourselves, our thoughts and our emotions”. The weekend was far from solitary, but it was a time to relax and kick back and have fun, to appreciate life, our family and our friends. I wonder what my old headmistress from school would think of all this. My reports very often read “thoughtful of the needs of others” a phrase I was extremely proud of, even if the rest of the report was a little  less favourable, “chatters too much”and “could try harder” seemed to feature far too often. But at school we were taught to not think of ourselves and to always put other people first. It’s hard to change something that was drummed into me for the first 18 years of my life!

Tell me – do you think “me time” is vital for our wellbeing and if so, what you do; do you manage to find time for yourself?

75 thoughts on “Finding Time for Oneself

  • I love me-time but I don’t time-manage it well. I consider it me-time if I am painting a door or wall, paper-stripping, mowing, weeding, etc. Basically, any time at all! V jealous that I am stuck in UK right now and unable to get to brocantes!

    • Hi Pauline, I don’t manage it well either, but I’m happy just the way it is! It’s amazing how enjoyable weeding can be! Hope you get out to France soon, it’s such a lovely time of year, not yet too busy, but still warm enough to swim and enjoy outdoor living. Susan x

  • Like you I’m always thinking what I could be dong while I sit waiting for my hairdresser to finish off the previous client, nowhere near as the long time I had to wait in the UK. But I do try & find time to do some water colour painting. I’m always telling my busy daughter to find some ‘me time’. But life in France is much slower & meals take so long, that’s relaxing, & no one minds if it’s not on time.. Enjoyed reading your article ‘ Avec les enfants’ in the Living magazine.

    • Hi Barbara, this exactly what I mean, there is so little time and yet life here is so much slower that it seems to create time and you are so right, no one mind’s if things are not on time, there is no pressure, no one clock watches, things happen when they happen. It’s a mindset that takes some getting used to but I love it! So glad you enjoyed the article, thank you, many more to come I hope! Susan x

  • Finally, someone who understands the pleasure of mowing grass! Our land is hilly, so riding on my little orange tractor is a slow and steady pace…time to enjoy the flowers and see the weeds (ugh!). Long gone are the youthful days of mowing in a bikini, now it’s sunblock, long sleeves, an enormous hat, and earplugs! But it truly is my alone time, and I love it.

    • Hi Roxanne, the lady who owned the house before us used to mow in a bikini, so I am told! So I must be quite a let down for the neighbours! Like you it’s long sleeved shirt and sun hat. But yes, I love mowing, the children offer to do it, but it’s one job I don’t particularly want to relinquish, it’s such fun seeing the flowers and the weeds, oh the weeds, why do they have to grow so fast! Susan x

  • I think “me-time” is very important… but always feel a bit selfish… especially since work takes so much of my time away from the family… I feel like I must avoid “me time” so I can have “family time”… lately I have been inviting the family to an activity that I want to do (a “me-activity”)…sometimes the kids complain… but… this feels like a good balance… On the other hand my wife never takes time for herself and she really needs it… just can’t talk her into it… (always too much to do… or kids need her… etc.) Any ideas on how to help her find “me-time”? (other than move back to France… not that I would mind)

    • I have no ideas really I’m afraid, I never do anything for myself other than mow either, can I count that as time for myself, not really, it’s just another job that needs doing, but one I love. I can totally relate to you wife, there is always too much to do and always someone needs help with something, but would we have it any other way? I don’t think so. I think so long as we enjoy our children then that is a very special time in itself. They grow up so incredibly fast and then they’ll have flown the nest and we’ll be wishing they were still at home! Susan x

        • Thank you, perhaps that’s another thing I do for myself, go around endlessly taking photos! The children have got so used to me stopping the car at a moment’s notice to take a photo and our friends now think it quite normal that just as they are about to sit down to dinner I start clicking away! Tell your wife, I think being busy is good, I’d far rather that than sit twiddling my thumbs, it keeps us youthful is what I tell myself!!! Susan x

    • How wonderful of you to think not of you. I dare say, many mothers are like your wife, putting others first. But, as a mother and a wife, it never fails to make me happy when my husband, just as tired as myself, offers to give me a foot rub. It’s just a little thing and sometimes I don’t even have the energy or time to accept, but just the fact that he has wanted to do this is enough. I guess what I am saying is that your wife may not need to do something or be on her own. The way you are together might be enough.

  • There’s nothing better than a long table with lots of flowers and wine and friends around it during the summertime is there? We do a similar thing every few weekends here, one of my favorite types of evening. I think that time for oneself doesn’t necessarily need to be in solitude if you prefer to spend time doing things or with other people, I think it is more the notion of finding time to do things that make you happy!

    • Hi Lily, a very good point you have made, finding time to do something that makes us happy, it doesn’t have to be solitary at all. Dinner with friends outside in the garden, with lots of flowers and excellent food, is there anything better in the summer? Hope the weather continues to be warm in England. Susan x

  • You know what, ‘my time’ is what Im doing right now! I’m in the middle of cleaning the whole house in preparation for our visitors from Australia paying us a visit at the weekend. Mid-hanging-washing-out, my daughter drops by in her lunch hour so she can sit out in the sun in my garden to each her lunch, so we stop and have a chat, over a cup of tea, then off she goes back to work. Me? I open my emails and relish reading your blog which has just arrived. So I’ve poured myself a glass of wine (afternoon so feel very naughty) and really relaxed looking at your lovely photos and feeling at one with the world!

    • Hi Elaine, this makes me so happy to read this, who cares if it’s still the afternoon, the French have a glass of wine every day with their lunch! Feeling at one with the world is a great feeling, having a daughter who loves to pop in for lunch, I can imagine, would make me very happy. It sounds perfect, even cleaning is fun, especially when you are getting things ready for friends. We have friends coming to visit from Florida on SAturday for a week, so it will be a cleaning frenzy tomorrow, but so worthwhile; time with friends and family is what makes life so special. Susan X

  • It really is the French interpretation of a car boot sale but with the off chance of finding something very precious, isn’t it? Glad you had a wonderful weekend and found some time to relax!

    • Hi Helen, yes it is, some are grander than others, technically a car boot sale is more of a Vide Grenier, but most people just term them Brocantes around here and it is everything from old junk that has sat in a garage for years to old children’s clothing. Every now and then we can find something special. I remember reading in the UK several years ago about a Fabergé egg found at a car boot sale there, I guess we can all hope to find that rare gem! Susan x

  • Such an individual need/want. When my three children were all at home and I was a full time homemaker, many (most!) days I would declare that I was off duty as of 8pm. They knew to go to my husband for homework help, a last minute dash to the store for a school supply needed the next day and only just remembered– or anything else. That “me time” was essential to my keeping my sense of perspective and joy amidst those very hectic days. Now that the children are all grown, we often invite friends to spend time with us at our house at the beach. There, after a full and wonderful day spent together, I will often need to go to bed early, not to go to sleep but just for some quiet time by myself. For me, just a bit of solitude every day is necessary. During that solitude, I do not have to be indulging myself at all. It is often a very productive part of my day. That is my definition of “me time.” Thanks for the interesting question.

    • Hi Anne, I can totally relate to what you are saying. I don’t need “me-time” as such either, but a little time on one’s own, now that I do need, to collect my thoughts. Often that time will be driving to school to collect or take children. Often I will turn the radio off, just so that I can think in silence. They are hectic days indeed, but they are also so special, would we, as mothers, have it any other way, I don’t think so! Friends at a beach house sounds like my idea of heaven, enjoy every second of it! Susan x

  • Happy belated birthday to Roddy and Izzy🎉💐.
    My me time is when I cook and test and develop new recipes. But, I prefer us-time, the time Stuart and I spend together eating, drinking, chatting. Now, that is a the perfect time.

    • Hi Nadia, Izzi is sitting beside me, I’m about to take her to La Rochelle to the airport, she says thank you! I have to give you the most amazing recipe Izzi discovered and has altered a little and perfected, little chocolate truffles, only there is no sugar, only fruits and cocoa powder, they are the most amazing thing I have ever tasted, we are addicted! I can totally relate to your time with Stuart, Roddy and I had such fun at the brocante together, we never go anywhere alone, it was a real treat! Susan x

  • Now that all four of my children are grown and have families of their own, it is surprising just how quiet life/house has become–other than when the grandchildren are present:). But since I am still working and driving a 100 mile RT commute which means I am away from home almost 12 hours a day, I would say that ‘me time’ these days mostly consists of listening to audiobooks on said commute (life saver) or reading in the evenings (when I can stay awake).

    • Hi Mary, gosh that’s a long commute. I know many people who swear by audio books. When the children were a little younger before they all had their own various electronic devices for car journeys we used to play audio books for them to listen to, their firm favourite was always Fantastic Mr Fox!
      I try and read every night, but often it’s just a page and then my eyes are so heavy I give up! Enjoy your grandchildren and have a lovely end to the week. Susan x

  • I define me-time as time spent doing what I want to do, not what I’m obliged to do. That can be work–I’m lucky to have a job I love and that I mostly get to do on my own schedule, so it’s pretty low-stress–or working out or reading or playing piano. Some of those are things I have to do, like work or exercise, but since I enjoy them I don’t consider them a burden. It’s that absence of burden that makes it me-time.

    • I agree, I think doing anything for enjoyment rather than because they simply have to be done is special. But I find there are also jobs which I have to do, that I may not actually enjoy that much but that I do in silence also can be turned into extremely positive times, a time to think and collect ones thoughts. Susan X

    • I absolutely agree with francetaste: the ‘want’ versus ‘obliged’. My days are spent in solitude (my family go off to work and their studies while I work from a studio in my home) and this could easily be considered as ‘Me time’. But not so. It means that, because I am at home, the day requires activities that are necessary to keep things running properly and comfortable for everybody who lives here. ‘Me time’ is when nothing else requires my immediate attention and I am free to work in my studio, doing the work I love to do. Sometimes I am also free to play the piano. And on the rare occasion when I drive anywhere in my car and it is not on an errand, it is very much ‘Me time’ and if you happened to pass me, you would see that I am smiling!

      • I have to add that I totally agree; just because we are alone does not make it special time for us, like you, I spend many hours just to keep everything running. But I too tend to be smiling a lot in my car, even when I am just driving to the supermarket or to collect the children from school, I absolutely love driving, so every journey I take, errand or not, is fun. Life is what you make it!

    • If I need real me-time, I take the dogs for a walk! Just me and them and off we go, they’re great listeners and it’s amazing what the combination of exercise and fresh air do for the soul. Susan x

  • So many of us in the US struggle with “work-life-family” balance. I learned a long time ago that there is no such thing, that you just have to find a balance that works for you and know that it will be ever changing. I appreciate the slower pace of life in France and other countries, and I am longing for a future with part of the year spent in Provence. In the meantime, just try to be more “present” in the moment, whether it’s taking a walk, eating, or mowing the grass. Thanks for your blog and this post!

    • Hi Suzette, I totally agree, each person has to find their own balance that works for them. Because meal times are so important here and because nearly everything stops for lunch there is automatically more time for pleasure. But as you already plan to spend several months each year in Provence you already appreciate this. Susan X

  • I am also a mom of 5 but they are grown up and independent busy with work on their careers and family some of them. So my “me time” just appeared when they left home and I left my part time job. Can you figure it out how I feel as all our children live far away ?, 2 of them live abroad, 4 grand children far away? Me- time gives me energy and motivation for new activities. I like photography, walking, cross stitching and from time to time I attend to workshops. I also exercise at home. I enjoy sharing time with hubby too but me – time is my import time… ☺ love your blog! By the way our daughter lives north east in France. I loved it there from north to south .

    • Hi Cecilia, I can imagine exactly how you feel with your children so far away, I can imagine it’s really difficult and I know at some stage I will have to face this too, I know my children all want to continue travelling, I know I’ll hate it, but I also know they must lead their own lives, thank goodness nowadays for modern communications rather than relying on old fashioned snail mail! You do sound as if you have a lovely life, full of lots of things you love. I hope you will get to France to visit your daughter again and come by and say hello. Susan x

      • Would love to go by and say hello. Going to a brocante is my passion and get some “findings” as I love decoration too. Greetings from Argentina xx

        • Please do if you are in France and try and come during the warmer months when there are Brocantes everywhere, they are so much fun! I have never visited Argentina, although it is country I have read much about, it sounds absolutely beautiful. enjoy your weekend, Susan x

  • Oh, I spy a smaller lidded basket. Oh, I wish is lived in France to shop the brocantes. That would certainly be my me time!

    • Hi Kim, Now I feel such an idiot! I wanted a lidded basket just like this to sit on top of the armoire in the guest house. I didn’t even see it and what’s more I took the photo and still had not noticed it and it was right there, before my eyes, I could have bought it! I focused on the old vintage parasol, it was so pretty, I picked it up and opened it and then wondered where on earth I would put it. Susan x

  • Life ANYWHERE away from the American lifestyle instantly has my attention! Here I am, one week off from school for vacation, but I had to go in today for a training session on technology. I am already “worrying” about how I’ll implement this into my classroom. All I want this summer is to have that time to meet myself again! Well done, out there in France!

    • Hi Anita, I think you need to take an entire summer out and come to France. I know what a teacher’s life is like in the States, I was good friends with several and I know how much incredible hard work goes into it and how much of their free time they gave up, unpaid, for their students. I really really hope you have a good summer, you deserve a holiday as well as your pupils. Susan xx

  • “Me time” changes – when the children were at home it started with just a few moments to have a sip of tea before it got cold, evolved to long periods sitting n the car doing mending or knitting whilst waiting for school to end, an extra activity to finish or between orthodontist/ Drs appointments. Then they left home and full time instead of after hours work started to see us through the university years and ‘me time’ became the time I was preparing the evening meal. Now we are retired, ‘me time’ is what I make it, when I make it but I have never in my life set aside a specific time. It has been sorely lacking in the last few weeks but tomorrow the container arrives at the end of our drive, all the packed and wrapped items will be loaded and a few days of hectic farewells will begin. Hopefully next weekend we will have time for a brocante or two and both of us will have time for a little ‘me time’!!! Just hope the weather is reasonable.
    I must admit sitting around a small round wire garden table in our dining room with a most gorgeous smelling red rose from a friend’s garden in a glass between us, a proper meal from the deepfreeze prepared for this time and a glass of decent wine has provided ‘our time’ ( just as important as ‘me time’)!

    • Hi Gill, so now I am very intrigued. Are you moving to France? If so which part? It sounds as if this is a big move, I can imagine how busy you have been packing up a house, for some reason when that lock goes on the container and I watch it being driven away it always makes me rather tearful. Please do let me know where you are moving to and the very very best of luck, Susan x

  • If we are happy with our life then I don’t think we need to seek special time to ourselves, why change something if it isn’t broken? It sounds as if you work hard and play hard in France, a great fun lifestyle.

    • Hi Lisa, You are so right, we do work hard and we do play hard, for me it’s the perfect balance and that makes for a very happy life. I wouldn’t change a thing! Susan x

  • I agree that time to yourself is important, but it sounds like you’ve already found ways to make that happen. When you have kids, you make compromises and that time goes really fast. I would say it’s important to find time alone with your husband.

    • Hi Paulita, time with my husband is always valued, but as we work together both from home we do spend a lot of time together, we have lunch together every day! Friday, today, my favourite day, we always go to the market together and we always buy fish for lunch! I love 100% of every single compromise I make for the children, would never change a thing! Have a fabulous weekend, Susan x

  • Me time….anything garden related….weeding…planning changes….listening to the bird….and yes dreaming of France.

    Ali xx

    • Oh Ali, I so agree, any garden time is fantastic, as you know it’s my little sanctuary, although sadly, again this year, the weeds are winning the war! Writing this with the kitchen door wide open listening to the birds, they always have so much to say! Susan x

  • ‘Me-time’ – must be a girly thing, never heard of it so much but I can relate to it, Susan. I like to sit and ponder the future and revisit the past in the late afternoon, myself. Preferably when there is nothing to do, kids away or out with friends, the BBQ is lit, and me and the missus can enjoy a quiet chat and a hug in the last of the sun with a glass of wine. The evenings that develop from that are just perfect; watch the sun go down and have more wine, and giggle through to midnight. No need to do anything but throw a log on the BBQ and look at stars. Mighty plans are made at times like this. Good luck with your me-time, I won’t look at mowers in quite the same light now…….

    • Hi Phil, let’s call it time alone or with loved ones, a time to think a little and a time to have fun. It sounds as if you have it worked out perfectly, your evenings sound absolutely idyllic. There is something quite magical about sitting outside in the still of the night under the stars. Have a lovely weekend and hope the weather is fine so you can do just that, light the BBQ and stare at the night sky with your wife. Susan X

  • As much as I enjoyed the content of your entry today, I am also very intrigued by the picture of the delightful looking cake at the beginning of your article. The filling pouring out from between the layers reminds me of a lemon meringue kind of icing that my mother used to make for her lemon cake. Do you have the recipe for the cake in your photo? I would love to present a cake like that at my next gathering!

    • Hi Ruby, thank you, it is such a simple cake, it is Roddy’s favourite though which is why I made it. A simple Victoria sponge which I make quite often with my own utterly foolproof recipe! 6 ozs butter, 4ozs sugar, 6ozs flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 4 eggs. Mix well together, I beat hard for 30 seconds or so to get the air into the mixture and then spoon into two cake tins and bake at 350F/180C for 20 minutes. After that it is super simple I spooned over some raspberry jam, but you can use anything you like and then I whipped some cream and spooned that over the jam and then I placed the second sponge on top. I sprinkled the top with some icing sugar. Then I cut some roses from the garden (we use no sprays or chemicals so they are fine to use with cooking) and I placed these on top. It really was very simple but it is quite delicious, maybe because it is so simple and not overly sweet. Let me know how you get on. Susan xx

  • Loved this delightful Me Time journey. The sale items displayed were so nice, thoughts of lunch time mid afternoon sounds so good to. Yes, I take me time but I also mow and love the smell, looking upward into the trees and day dreaming about what I’ll next ad to my little garden. Love your sharing! Mary McFarren

  • Me time??? For this me it is doing the things I enjoy: gardening , baking, sketching and cooking even the grocery shopping… It may not be glamorous but it is enjoyable. Have a great weekend love to you all.

    • Hi Heather, most of the time I hate shopping, but once in a while, when I am not in a rush, I’ll take my time and browse through all thoughts of unusual items, I’ll start by picking out a couple of magazines and then go on from there; yes I agree, sometimes even grocery shopping can be great fun! Hope you have a lovely weekend too, Susan xx

  • My ‘me time’ is similar to yourself, trundling around on my ‘little red tractor’. It usually takes at least an hour or so to complete so plenty of time to contemplate life and also what areas need more urgent attention! I think one of my favourite areas now is what we like to call ‘la prairie’ or meadow where there is a youngish oak tree that had nearly died when we moved here but is now flourishing. I like to think of what it will be like in say 50 years time and who will be sitting under it then. Loved today’s blog & photos – really lovely. Bon week-end to you all.

    • Hi Petrina, our time sounds so similar, and indeed deciding which areas really do need weeding rather drastically and rather quickly! It’s been so hot here and then with the rain today, I fear by tomorrow everything will have grown another few inches and I will once again be waging a war I always lose on the weeds! I love the sound of your meadow and well done for rescuing the oak. Someone in many decades to come will be really appreciating it I hope and wondering about the people who lived there before them. Hope the sun shines in Brittany this weekend and a very happy weekend to you too, Susan x

  • I have always felt the same about mowing! Mmm and the fragrance, that is summer! Thank you for a few minutes of me time when I read your posts and drift away…; )
    I have a question for you Susan. Is there a way I could privately message you?
    Thank you, Rachel

  • If I m feeling cranky and overwhelmed, I know it is time to get into my kitchen and cook or bake. It always keeps me calm if if the results aren’t the best.

    • Isn’t it interesting how everyone has their own ways of relaxing. Our eldest daughter cooks when she is stressed, she finds it terribly relaxing, whereas I will either mow the lawn (if it’s summer) or I’ll take the dogs for a walk, rain or shine that always clears my head and puts me in a good mood! Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

  • A bit late with a reply, but I’ve just returned from my son’s wedding! Oh what a wonderful day – full of family and friends, dancing, laughter, love and happiness as we all caught up with each other. Watching my two grown-up children happily dancing with each other and their husbands, was such a joy. They were just having fun and for a moment their daily cares were put aside (other Nanny had the grandchildren!) and they could just be themselves. So that was their ‘me-time’ I guess. It recharged their batteries and gave me huge happiness.
    For me, well these days it’s catching up with my old friends, having a coffee, lunch or tea together and putting the world to rights, with lots of ‘do you remember….?” thrown in! Being newly retired means I suppose that there is more ‘me-time’ as I don’t have to look after young children every day, and I’m not held working to someone else’s schedule, but I don’t like being on my own all the time. Sometimes, yes, but people are important to me so I guess me-time now is being able to choose what I do and when and with whom.
    So, as a Mum of 5, I do think it’s important for you to snatch little moments throughout your busy life – time to just sit for a few minutes with a coffee and a magazine in the garden perhaps – just small pleasures that set you up for the next busy task. But bringing up your lovely family is a privilege and a joy – and when you reach my stage of life, and they are grown and flown free and you watch them happy together, you can breath a sigh and know that you must have done something right! Then you can start to plan your busy ‘me-times’ ahead!!

    • Hi Marian, you are so right it is a huge blessing to raise our children and I can imagine how much happiness your son’s wedding must have given you, it sounds as if it was so much fun. These are such special times and I count them as me time, a time when I am truly enjoying myself. I think even when you are retired you still need special times, but most of all enjoy your retirement! Have a lovely week ahead, Susan x

    • Hi Tyler, you can find anything and everything at the brocante, from old clothes to plastic children’s toys and then at the other end of the spectrum genuine antiques and collectable items. This is what makes them so much fun, we just never know what we will see or find! Susan x

  • Yes – parallel “me-times”……….The lawn mower – I’ve spent years of my life in contemplation on the “unapproachable, uninterruptable” mower! Yes – quiet time while watching loved ones playing sports – without being plugged-in-to, tapping-away-on, or even engrossed-in any other activity. (Excuse the miss and over-use of dashes!)
    And Yes! One must gather friends and family when even the most busy – as this is how we ground and truly experience what is important in life!
    We done you – keep inviting!!!!
    Thank you for sharing these incredible photos – I am breathing deeper already this morning. Thanks also for the peek at the offerings in the brocantes.
    Most grateful, keep writing and sharing!!!! Thank you !!!!!!!!!

    • thank you so much, I agree, we must make time for friends and family, it is of vital importance. The lawn mower is my sanctuary, I am in total peace with nothing but the whirring of the motor, I love it. Have a great week, Susan X

  • I could hardly get past the beautiful lead in photo….but, as usual, so glad I did! “Me time” is different things to different people. I think as long as it is time spent doing something that brings one joy: that’s what’s important. Just such inspiring photos. Thanks for making MY ‘me time’ joyous!

    • Hi Jeanne, thank you so much, lovely words and so very much appreciated. The cake was a joint birthday cake I made for both Roddy and Izzi; terribly simple, a plain Victoria sponge with jam and fresh cream in the middle. Any time that brings us joy and pleasure is special time, I couldn’t agree more. Have a lovely week, Susan x

  • A really lovely post, Susan. I think that in France, you must have a few more hours in each day, as you sound to pack so much in and still have time to relax and blog. Gorgeous photos. That cake looks so tempting. 🙂

    • Oh I wish I did have a few extra hours in the day, I certainly need them! Sadly blogging seems to take up the nighttime hours, after the children are in bed, I frequently sit until 1am or later tapping away at my computer! But I wouldn’t change a thing and I value every second of every day. Life is an adventure to be lived. Susan x

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