Can a Staycation Really Work?

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It’s July and August; everyone it seems goes on holiday! But where would WE go that could possibly be better than right here? Our little slice of France is where those in the know flock to in their droves, and it’s a place that is also perhaps a little bit of a secret to those not lucky enough to have heard of this little corner of one of Europe’s most romantic destinations, tucked away on the Atlantic coast and nestled in its own unique micro climate.

Summer is our busiest time of year and we are never really able to go away on holiday due to other constraints. Occasionally the children will gaze longingly at a friend’s photo, where someone might be having the time of their lives in a new and exciting destination; they’ve gone away on vacation and our children sigh a little in envy. After that I always  do my best to reassure them that staying right here is the best holiday we could ever have, and invariably it works out just fine.

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However, it is easy to get sucked into daily life, and even if we have made a conscious effort to have a week off, the floor still seems to need washing, the laundry piles up and the emails keep coming in. Mobile phones never stop and the mail comes each day, we might in our minds be on holiday but to everyone else we are still here and still at work!

In the past I always thought a ‘staycation’ would be easy, surely it just took a little organisation, way less than if one was actually going away. But I’ve never managed to fully succeed in holidaying at home and whilst everyone around me seems to do just fine I juggle the usual day to day routine with the added pressure of holiday activities and just end up with even more on my plate.

This year we had friends coming to stay for ten days and we did our best to clear the decks so that we could do as much with them as possible. As I have previously mentioned, July and the start of August were manic months and I needed a break from deadlines and pressure, I was determined this year would work and I mentally made myself a few homemade rules.

Try to only do what work is absolutely necessary

Let the housework slide for a week

Cook as if you are on holiday

Dress as if you are on holiday

Enjoy that extra glass of wine or bubbly

Turn up the music and dance

And sleep in late in the mornings

Forget the garden and the weeding, I told myself, nothing is growing at this time of year anyway, it’s too hot and too dry.

What transpired was perhaps the best summer holiday ever, thus proclaimed by all of the children and the adults too. It started off slowly and gathered pace. Somehow we slipped into an easy holiday routine. I can’t deny it helped that the weather played ball.

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We shared every meal for ten nights and ten was the minimum number around our table, frequently it swelled to 14 or more as friends arrived.

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Evenings that stretched late into the night

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and on into the small hours of the morning. The warm night air seemed to take all our cares away. Our terrace became an al fresco dance floor, the wine flowed and the conversation grew ever more lively.

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The barbecue was in constant use.

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I gathered roses from the garden

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and between the two families we created some mouth watering delicacies with tomatoes and figs and grapes, salad and vegetables all straight from our own garden.

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Without giving it too much thought I gallantly offered to make pancakes one morning, a favourite with our children and I thought the boys staying with us would enjoy them. I hadn’t quite imagined that it would mean an hour-long session as I poured, flipped and served one crêpe after another. But you know what, I loved it; they were eating just outside on the terrace and wafts of conversation drifted in through the open doors and windows; I had a cup of coffee in one hand, a wooden spatula in the other, and the air was filled with animated chatter and laughter. I could not imagine or wish for a more perfect atmosphere.

Our ‘staycation’ turned out to be the best of both worlds, and as there is so much to do in this area, it has to be a vacationers’ paradise. So many suggestions were made of things to do and in the end we only made a tiny dent in the list. For starters and to get us in the holiday mood we cycled 42kms on the Île de Ré as you know!

The beach was of course high up on the agenda; some were full day affairs, but there were also some evenings in the waves, a picnic at sunset, and a few games of riotous frisbee or football when it was so dark one could hardly see the ball.

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One evening we enjoyed apéros in Mornac sur Seudre

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and wandered down to the harbour

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and through the old streets.

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and of course we played that game that so many of us enjoy. We found a house in desperate need of some TLC and we imagined what lay behind those closed shutters, what we would do and how we would lovingly restore it.

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We visited the Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes

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and kayaked and paddle boarded along the Charente. And we all dreamt of owning this house in the background too!

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and this one! Let’s be honest who wouldn’t?IMG_0697

We thought about a restaurant for lunch, but on this day it was closed anyway

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and so we opted for plan b, salads and sandwiches from the perfectly situated snack bar.

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Port D’Envaux, which sits on the banks of the Charente River really is a photographer’s paradise, it’s about twenty five minutes inland from us and whenever we visit we always say we could live there quite happily. But then it would mean being much further from the coast and actually I am happy to visit and have the best of both worlds exactly where we are!

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At some stage during our ‘staycation’ tents appeared in the garden and the children decamped, preferring to spend a few nights under canvas. They did their best to persuade me to join them, but I wimped out. I mean I have nothing against camping as such, I’ve spent many many nights under the stars, but the problem is I do like really nice bathrooms and although I struggle with the communal ones on offer at campsites, I know our family will go down this holiday route some time in the future. Our friends who were staying with us are like-minded, and although they too have the same reservations as I they banished the demons and tried it for the first time earlier in the summer for just a weekend, and a very carefully chosen one at that. All was fine, sort of, I think it still took some getting used to, wearing flip-flops in the shower and driving to the loos in a rainstorm! But they were not too scarred and they will be doing it again.

Still, I happily opted out of sleeping on a one inch mattress in my own garden in a hot stuffy tent, when I could have a perfect eight hours in my own bed, still in holiday mode, but with my own bathroom, my own mattress and complete comfort!

So, I asked myself again “why would we leave here to go on holiday during the summer months?”  “What would we want to swap it for and where would we rather go?” And this summer we all found the answer, right here under our noses, the proof of the pudding was in the eating (in more ways than one). We wouldn’t swap this summer holiday for anything and as school looms and we make the most of the last few days of holidays we very sadly said goodbye to our friends, keeping a tight hold of Evie for fear that they would sneak her out with them and tuck her away in their car.

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We live in a very troubled world for sure, the daily news is horrific, but there is goodness everywhere too. This weekend at our last beach evening we will raise a toast to Dave, Sarah, Jaden and Levi, and thank you for making our summer so special xxx

The children have definitely voted ‘STAYCATION ROCKS’!

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111 thoughts on “Can a Staycation Really Work?

    • It was one of our criteria when we were looking for houses, that the coast had to be within twenty minutes, and it really has paid off. It is wonderful to be able to go for just an hour or two and we sat on the beach, just chatting, none of us love sand that much, but one has to just put up with it, it has to be one of the best places ever, there is so much to do for all age groups and everyone is always happy! Hope you have had a lovely summer too xx

      • I grew up living in a flat right on the beach in Sea Point, Cape Town and do love the ocean. Do not care for sand either😃

      • No sand is nothing but annoying! But we simply have to put up with it. Our house is covered in sand at the moment, it seems nowhere manages to escape, towels shaken out, shoes emptied, you name it, sand gets everywhere! But the beach is just the best place to be. Lucky you to have grown up right on the ocean. I think you need to take a trip to the coast here, i.e. this coast and come and say hello!! xx

      • I remember those days. When one went on holiday or away, one was completely out of touch. Now it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing, we are always available and learning to switch off can be difficult. Now of course, we cannot imagine a world without computers, instant communication and phones. It really did all change so incredibly quickly! xx

    • Yes I agree with that one whole heartedly, comfort over canvas any day!! But I am happy to let the children have lots and lots of fun, they don’t care, so we are all happy and that’s what it is all about! xx

  • Ahh – wonderful! Glad you had such a great time. Can’t believe it’s going to be September tomorrow. Bonne rentrée. xx

    • No I can’t either, in fact I don’t want to think about it! Yesterday Millie saw some leaves turning very gently red and commented on it, hopefully we will have a wonderful long Indian summer. The school holidays seemed to fly past at an alarming rate! xx

  • I am so envious Susan, no wonder you don’t want to go away when you live in such a beautiful area. I had a ‘staycation’ too, but sadly, the weather here in Edinburgh was terrible! The Festivals were in full swing, so the other tourists seemed to spend a lot of time in the pubs & watching the thousands of shows, enjoying it all despite the rain. The excitement is catching, so I enjoyed a few shows & meals out too! It does feel very Autumnal here, & some of the charity shops have their Xmas cards on display already, too soon for me! xxx

    • Oh No, Christmas cards already! It’s still August, just! The weather has been most strange this summer here too, nowhere near as bad as the UK and we have had our fair share of fabulous days, and to be honest even a bad day is really a good day for an English summer, but still it has been very up and down! So glad you were able to enjoy the festivals despite the rain, I always think it is something we British do rather well! xx

    • It was wonderful sharing that little part with you Alison, being able to take the time to eat together and not be in a rush. Hope the final part of your holiday is proving to be good.xx

  • Sounds like you got it all just right. I really liked your “rules”. You look to be in a lovely part of France – one I’m not familiar with so perhaps my next holiday might be down your way. thanks as ever for the beautiful photos.

    • I think we did get it just right, fabulous friends, perfect weather and we really did switch off. Really hope you do come down this way next year, especially if you don’t know the area, it is fascinating and beautiful. Let me know if you want more information, I’ll gladly help if I can! xx

  • Staycation for us too as plenty of gite guests. We’ve been venturing further south with a view to moving but we’ve yet to find the right house. We have found some lovely villages and restaurants though!

  • You proved that vacation is a state of mind! Of course you have to carry through with doing vacation things but you also don’t come home to a house that needs so much catching up – I hate that part. And it is good training for your mind to have vacation hours any day you need them.

    • You are so right, it is just a state of mind, but not always an easy one to put into practice. We didn’t come home to a house that needed lots of catching up, no, but we did still have to get everything back in some sort of order. It is incredible how quickly everything seems to slide with a house overflowing with people and plenty of coming and going and endless teenagers all over the place! Still trying to get back to some sort of normality now!! But it doesn’t matter, it did us all so much good and that is the main thing xx

  • wonderful post…..Port d’Envaux was where we discovered ‘Menu du Jour’ at 12 euros each because every place was closed when we arrived at lunch time….we will certainly be going back there next year

  • This looks like such a beautiful time for both your families Susan! I agree, we live somewhere near the coast that others come to by droves in summer for vacation too. It does help when we have visitors and spend glorious days with them, and really don’t “do” the regular everyday chores..and see our area with their eyes. So great to see you and your beautiful family enjoying time well spent with those you love. xo Lidy

    • Thanks Lidy, I so agree with everything you say, it helps to see things through the eyes of an outsider, it really does stop us taking things for granted which is so easy to do. I think it certainly helps to be by the coast when there are lots of different ages to entertain, the beach has something for everyone! Hope you have had a lovely summer, I cannot quite believe it is the 1st of September today! xx

  • If I ever wished for a STAYCATION DREAM yours is my first choice; Susan and Family. STAYCATION is your BEST POST Ever, Susan. Why? Because it has it ALL! Family and Friends, meaningful adventures, wonderful mealtimes with candles and wine, and photography that just get’s better and better. And yes the house in the backgound of one of the pictures. 🙃
    I believe what makes your blog unique is that you have the best “ingredients” nothing “artificial” just rich family “living.”
    I know that there is a lot of threads woven into your tapestry of life but I must say it’s beginning to look like something out of a movie. And I am loving it. It’s nice to be able to escape to Our French Oasis and enjoy the purely natural expression of LOVE in the Hays family! ❤️

    • Awww thanks so much Stephanie, sometimes it does feel as if we are living a dream, but then reality creeps in!! What I have learnt over the past few years is that living a relatively simple life really can be the most rewarding, not just for us but for the children too, and learning to appreciate everything that is around us. I think in these troubled times we have to make the most of what we can and also really appreciate our friends and family and loved ones. Hope you have a wonderful end to the week xx

    • Thanks Monika, it was certainly way easier to stay at home and by sticking to my few rules it actually worked, for the first time. I have proof of that, we are still getting the house back to some form of normality now!! xx

  • Susan, I’m so with you on the bathroom thing. That’s why if camping is suggested I opt for a mobile home. ( a pretty gite is so much more pleasurable though) At least most mobile homes these days are modern, clean and you know exactly what you’re getting!( and there is a flushing toilet, and power shower to wash all that sand off!) The thought of waking at 3am to go and find a bathroom, stumbling over ropes and pegs, trying to unzip tents quietly and wandering about in the dark across a campsite to a bathroom block is horrible (though has been done in the past).
    It’s also quite difficult to justify costly far afield holidays when you live somewhere everyone flocks to for their own holiday, however, we did ditch our lovely part of France for your very pretty part of the France and I do feel so refreshed and content for having done so. Bonne rentrée Mx

    • The mobile home route seems like a very smart option, it is just the bathrooms that alarm me on a campsite!! So happy your week away was such a success and so enjoyed meeting you all. Let’s hope we can make it a far more regular occurrence! Bonnes chances pour la rentrée xx

  • We also live in a tourist destination, and I love to be be here in the summer. It’s even fun to watch the tourists as they wander around looking as if they have slipped into some sort of fantasy world. The only problem for the locals is finding a parking spot on market day. However there are a few secret spots know to us….
    There is much entertaining in the summer with sometimes double bookings…but that is to be expected. The weather is glorious here, not quite as hot as yours.

    I think Staycations are the best. You sleep in your own bed and have your own bathroom/WC right next door. Now we can plan to be tourists in other peoples areas in the off season, and wander around taking their parking spaces…

    Ali xxx

    • I think staycations are excellent choices, especially in prime holiday season when everything is at a premium price. Why abandon what everyone else loves just to pay to go somewhere else? My only exception to this rule is of course skiing, when school holiday times mean we join the masses! Your island sounds truly idyllic, I wouldn’t want to leave either, except to come to France during the autumn of course!!! xx

  • Agree 1000000 % with you. That’s what I say to Hero Husband nearly every day (when we are here!!!): Aren’t we just living in a paradise, we have the best beds humanly possible, bathrooms and showers, a full fridge and cellar, we can stay inside when it’s too hot and outside in the evening, we ‘allow’ ourselves some extra wine, invite those who are NOT away (like our UK and Swiss friends) and just be ourselves. YOU have the tremendous extra bonus of living nearby the water for which really there is nothing to campare to. But we also like to visit our friens and we do it diligently because it’s US who left our country on several occasions and if we don’t keep up the friendships, we will lose them in the long run.
    I absolutely LOVE your writing and every post makes me smile and nod my head. The photos are priceless and little Evie will soon take over the screen again (once I will be able to take off Torquay in the evening sun – the sparkling and shiny sea, the Ferris wheel and the sea-smell will wear off a bit in a while…. Off for a joint birthday celebration of husband and wife in our family – they are celebrating 111 years, and why not – although I ‘hate’ that we will drive again some 1500km in a weekend – but see above…. keep family ties and friendships afloat, many of th3eir invitees we won’t see and haven’t seen for years! Wish us luck and safe journeys; we wish you guys luck for taking up school and studies once more. I’m happy you had the bestest summer hols this year and I will forever smile at your daughter’s imaginative ‘beach food table’ 🙂

    • First of all, I think you may be already en route, but I hope you have the safest of journeys. I know what it is like, I would do just the same. We have to, as you say, friendships are so so important and keeping up with old friends takes work on both sides, but when you meet up, when it is as if you have seen each other last week not ten years ago, it is amazing and makes it all so worthwhile. I know you will have the most wonderful weekend. We are trying to make the most of the last weekend. I hate it when they go back to school, but we have a lot planned for this year, it is going to be fantastic! And as I always say, aren’t we the lucky ones, we have all we could ever want, just as you describe. Have a wonderful, happy weekend, full of lots of laughter. xxx

      • Thank you for your warm wishes. We DID have a very good weekend, just tons of miles/km to drive and the weather left somewhat to desire too. BUT being us I had a plan… On Friday morning Hero Husband had to finish some quick work, I prepared everything (I can’t leave with the kitchen in a mess and the rest of the house should at least allow me to close the doors…), then we took off, had a lovely picnic on one of the many pretty glorious French motorway ‘greens’ and arrived before nightfall at our first destination. On Saturday with one of the best beds we ever had in a bnb, but pouring rain, sadly, we took a croisière on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), sat in shine and rain in the 1st class and ate a lovely lunch on board. Then, after some time ‘off’ we proceeded to the gathering of family & friends where I took terrible photos because everybody moved about all the time, the light was horrendous due to the rain and artificial lights and in the evening we met up with some 12 others at one of the friends house for a ‘nightcup’…. On Sunday, us who stayed for the night at the Château, we all had breakfast together, went to church and 6 of us had ‘a last supper (lunch)’ en famille, before they returned to their abodes and we drove back, with half a trillion others, to our little paradise. Thanks to the cruise and all the delicious food, the laughter and talks, it was a very good weekend and we attack the new week with vigour and fresh energy.
        Tomorrow it’s a visit at the Swiss Embassy for passport renewal – so that we can visit England again without worries!!!! Thank you Brexiteers. Not….

      • Sounds like a truly fabulous weekend, rain or shine, I think you have the same mentality as us British, weather doesn’t stop us, we just have to get on with it, and that’s just what we do and what you did. I love breakfast all together with friends, somehow it always seems like one of the best meals of the day, there is an intimacy of close friendships that is unique to breakfast in my opinion. Now on to another week, children are all back at school today, sigh, why did summer have to go by so fast. xx

    • Thanks so much, it was just the best ten days ever, we all truly felt as if we were away on holiday, it was as if we had rented two houses side by side and we all were away together, quite bizarre, but it proves that staycations really can work!! xx

  • Well I am so glad they didn’t sneak Evie into their car, we would have missed her photos very much, she looks so adorable always. Great post.

    • Me too!! Besides they would have become unstuck at the customs in the UK! Little Evie is most definitely still here, we would miss her too much as well. We have promised we will breed from her and they can have one of her puppies instead, next year! xx

  • For you and your family it was for sure a great time and it was also full of rediscoveries. Why to stare into the distance
    when the sea, little villages, nature and even culture is so close?
    For staycation I think you must be very creative and active and this would be the point for me to disregard. On holiday
    I like to be spoiled and do nothing , what doesn’t mean I am lazy but just not doing the usual daily things.

    • I do agree with you there, holidays for me, when we go away, mean no laundry, no cleaning, no cooking! So yes there were things that still had to be done, much as if we had rented a gite somewhere, but it is impossible for us to go away in the summer and so this was a fabulous solution and it worked! It was really fun to head out and do so much each day, and to really appreciate everything around us as if we were on holiday, without having to rush back and feeling as if we were missing something work wise. Hope you have had a great summer xx

  • Oh my what a vacation, or should I say staycation. That looks like you had the best time, well done you for letting go and pulling it all together.

    • It really was the best time ever, and I am so glad that it worked, thanks to our friends, and we got to enjoy so much around here. Of course it helped that we were able to eat outside every night! xx

  • Thank you for taking us along with you on your staycation, it looks as if so much fun was had by all. I think I would love to be one of your friends joining you!

  • Good for you for managing to get so much enjoyment out of your ‘stay-cation’ — and passing the joy along to your young’uns. I agree that when you live in a place that is already a bit like being on holiday, it’s crazy to go somewhere else! However, after so many years in France, I must admit that I’ve taken on the very French attitude of ‘il faut partir’, at least at some point. We tend to do this either very early in the season or rather late, so as to get the most of the summer in our own backyard while also adding in a bit of distance for a change of perspective.

    • I do agree with you on this one and I think the French have a very good point. It does one good to get away and have a change of scenery, we were in Vichy, for a long weekend in July and of course we go skiing every year, so a staycation was totally in order! Hope you have had a good summer. xx

  • Wow, you all had so much fun! Better to stay home and venture out daily to explore when you are so
    So blessed to live in paradise itself. The hardest part I imagine was keeping the larder stocked with all the children. But great fun at dinner each night. I just wish I had a neighbor or guest to share a glass of wine 🍷 and conversation on a summer night. And then you did not have to find a pet sitter, so your critters were happy Too.

    • Keeping the larder stocked is indeed a daily task!! Teenage boys eat a great deal, especially when their friends come round too, for the first time ever we were outnumbered by boys to girls every evening. It was fabulous to eat outside every night and then every day we headed out, exploring local areas. Just the best. xx

  • Beautiful photos and your vacation sounds wonderful. Sometimes it is just setting your mind to relax and let things go. I admire that you can do it because I make myself crazy when people visit trying to keep things clean and cook. Sound like you are a much more laidback hostess, which guests are sure to enjoy. I must explore this microclimate that you talk about.

    • I used to run around making sure everything was perfect, but this was somewhat easy, our guests were staying in our guest cottage, so I could let the upstairs of our house slide into semi chaos. Laundry lay in piles waiting to be put away, but no one apart from our family saw it. We also all shared the cooking, everyone did various bits and pieces and so much was straight from the garden, with little preparation necessary, just simple and fresh. The microclimate is a real bonus here, the true microclimate takes in an area from La Rochelle down to Royan and up to about 20kms inland. xx

  • I think your list covers a lot of what makes a staycation work (although I tend to do vacate-tions). You have to pretend that you’re away from home, with no chores waiting for you, nothing that has to be done and is just being ignored…and then go with that and enjoy it. Sounds as though you make the most of it and had a marvelous time. Way to go! 🙂

    janet

    • I agree with you, that sounds super sensible too, it is the letting go that is the hardest part, but I can tell you, we truly did, I can attest to that by the fact that I have spent the past couple of days trying to get the house back into some semblance of order once again!! xx

  • This is the stuff happy memories are made of!!!
    We felt like we were there with you,enjoying every minute of fun!
    Thank you for sharing with us(!)– and(!) helping us to remember
    our own wonderful times!
    As Eleanor Roosevelt said “Life is a gift and that’s why it’s calledl the present!!”

    • Life really is a gift, it is making the most of the most wonderfully simple things that makes all the difference and making happy memories, ones we will talk of for months and years to come. Hope you are having a lovely summer xx

  • I loved this so much. I waited until I had a quiet moment to read this post and I wasn’t disappointed, well you never disappoint, but this was fantastic, I loved all your photos, I could just imagine those long dinners and you all dancing. So glad you had a break and so much fun.

    • Thanks so much Peggy, we had such a wonderful time, so many places to enjoy around here, but also the lovely meals, which really did go on until 2am on more than one occasion, this truly was the stuff memories are made of! xx

  • Susan – you never eve fail to put a huge smile on my face on my busy and sometimes nerve-racking early Friday mornings Down Under when I usually open your posts! Yes, have had more than one ‘staycation’ myself but would really have loved to be a birdie on your shoulder for this one !! All of it appeals, but being an ‘evening person’ those wonderful shots of long, long dinners full of good food, more of wine, candlelight and all the laughter which flows here from the pages, give your send special meaning and joy . . . .

    • Hope your day went well in the end! Those evenings were the highlight for me too, of course we had so much fun during the day, and so many things to do and places to visit, but those long warm nights, often not ending until 2am or even later! Simple food, half straight from the garden, local wine, great conversation, good music, plenty of laughter, what more could one ask for, it was perfect. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

    • Yes it certainly helps! Here it makes perfect sense, we have so much to do and so many places to visit and the beach is always wonderful. Plus I cannot deny that the weather and being able to eat outside every night certainly does make a difference. xx

  • Sounds like you had a lovely time. We also did a Staycation back in April. Found it a bit tough to get into at first but once we had established our ground rules we really enjoyed it! Couldn’t do it every time though. I have a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to look? Wishing you an good day! Sam 🙂

    • I do agree with you it does take some getting used to, being on holiday at home, but it is worthwhile. We always go away skiing in the winter and we had a long weekend away in July, so the staycation worked well. I think combining the two throughout the year is the way to go! I will certainly pop over and look at your blog this weekend, thank you. xx

      • Oh I totally agree with that, I hate airports and all that travelling, this took away all of that stress, and because we went somewhere each day we still had a change of scenery all the time! Hope you have a great weekend xx

  • You do live in a gorgeous place but I think what really shines out is that you make the most of life. Your last paragraph really resonates with me. I am delighted that the staycation was such a success … it’s proof that what you need is so often right under your nose if only you will open your heart. And that’s just it – you and Roddy have open hearts and the children have simply absorbed the tendency by osmosis from you both. I loved this post. It made me smile-cry xxx

    • I think one has to make the most of it. We simply cannot go away in the summer and we all accept that and this year the children all agreed that they have had the best summer ever, we had to make quite an effort to start with not to fall into the usual routine, computers, working etc. but the weather helped immensely, once we got into our stride, long lazy nights which often didn’t end until 2am, well one cannot get up at the crack of dawn after that and slowly we slipped into holiday mode! But aren’t we lucky, that’s what I really noticed most of all, we may not have gone to an amazing hotel or a beautiful resort, but we were surrounded by friends and so much laughter, and so many happy happy children, French kids meeting our British friends children for the first time and they all became instant buddies, all getting along so well, unable to communicate in words but still managing just fine. It was magical. xx

      • Yes I hope so, just as they love to hear my memories of my childhood I hope they will find themselves in the same position with their children one day, telling them all of the wonderful times they had as a child and the oh so many laughs! Have a great weekend, hope the sun is shining, much cooler here but clear blue skies xx

      • We went from 35 to 16 overnight and it deluged with rain on Thursday, yesterday was cool, today cooler but the skies are clear. Forecast improves to hot but not AS hot again next week. But we are English girls …. we love weather, non 😉 Really if you distill what I wanted to achieve bringing mine up it was exactly what you have just said … that they will tell stories of their wonderful childhood to their own. If that happens, then I will be content 🙂 xx

      • Strange weather, but as you say we’re used to it! Thursday was really nice here, but Friday morning it bucketed, then cleared up and turned into a lovely afternoon. Today gorgeous, but way cooler, 20’s as opposed to 30’s! You see it’s our favourite topic of conversation!! If these stories take place with grandchildren and so on then I too shall be so happy. Making wonderful memories, that’s what a childhood should be all about for me. xx

  • Our family have often tried doing just the same, staying at home, but the same as you I always end up doing more than ever and never seem able to relax and give up. I feel guilty for not doing the housework and then I become annoyed and bad tempered because I am working whilst everyone else is having fun. Hats off to you for pulling it off. Perhaps we will try again and I will stick your rules in large letters on the fridge!

    • Do try again, I know just where you are coming from but believe me it is possible! You have to be prepared just to let go, we had piles and piles of laundry upstairs on the ottoman on the landing, it had been washed, dried and folded but was waiting to be put away, and it got added to each day! Letting little things like that slide made all the difference. We all cooked together, plenty of simple fresh produce straight from the garden, nothing was ever complicated, Roddy or Dave barbecued with a glass of wine in hand. This really did work and proof of that is that I am still trying to get the house back to some normality now!! xx

  • That sounds like perfection! I have tried focusing on a staycation but I always end up using the time to work on things around the house. You seem like you really mastered the staycation concept though! What a beautiful place to live and a lifestyle that most of us envy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful summer with us. And thanks for sharing it at the September Take Me Away party! Reading your blog is like being on vacation!
    Shelley

    • I know that problem, it is easy to use time off to end up doing other jobs that need doing and have been put to one side. I think it helped that we had friends staying and we just got sucked into their mindset of going off and doing things each and every day. Plus the perfect weather and long late nights, we couldn’t get up early each morning if we wanted to!! I love sharing on your blog, thank you Shelley and have a great weekend xx

  • I enjoy having visitors and the chance it offers to discover the delights of our own home area through their eyes. MInd you, in your case, the weather undoubtedly helped. We’ve had a pretty rotten summer on the whole. I’m hoping for an Indian Summer! x

    • I totally agree, having visitors does help us see things through their eyes and we notice so much that we otherwise take for granted and overlook. The weather undoubtedly made it so much easier, there is nothing quite like sitting outside at 1 or 2am without the need for a coat. It’s been an odd summer here too, fingers crossed we all have a long Indian summer xx

  • That sound wonderful! We wait to take our vacation in the cooler months since we live right on a lake and enjoy all the summer fun we want. Your photos are just beautiful.

    • That sounds really sensible, rather like us, we always go away in the winter skiing and make the most of the beach right here in the summer. Hope you have had a lovely summer and have a great weekend xx

  • Another ‘vacation within a vacation’ post. I think all your life in France is like a holiday, Susan – and I say this without any ill intent. You seem to have found such a happy place in your life that everything works, and good on you for so doing! However, I rather think there is plenty of hard work but you tend to do it all in good time, well before, and out of sight. You’re not fooling me!! 🙂

    • Ha ha, I cannot deny it, there is a vast amount of hard work, we don’t get this lifestyle for free! Like sitting now on my computer at nearly midnight. But it is the price we pay for living in such a great place and wanting to enjoy so much during the day. Hope you have a lovely weekend and perhaps the sun will shine! xx

  • That’s what I envy the most, those evening meals under the stars, in England they are few and far between and even when they do take place we often shiver and end up wearing jackets and jumpers!

  • Hey Susan! An absolutely stunning post as usual, you certainly live an area beautiful enough to go on a ‘staycation’ in! Here (Pacific North-West) it’s very beautiful too! The kids all go back to school soon but maybe we can fit in a couple of days of ‘Staycation’! Your family is very beautiful! Xxx

    • Thanks so much Josie, the Pacific North West is one place I would love to visit, I have read and heard so much about it. I hadn’t realised that yours went back to school in September also. Hope you are able to enjoy a couple of extra special staycation days at home with the family, we are certainly making the most of this last weekend xx

    • There is just something about France that makes it so special. I don’t really ever want to leave! This is why I am so happy to take any holidays we have in France now and discover new areas! xx

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