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Eight things to know before embarking on a yoga teacher training course

yoga-practice
Daily self-practice is an important part of teacher training

Since completing my yoga teacher training, a few friends have said they would like to take the plunge too. They always admit this with some trepidation, as if it might be an unachievable goal, which of course it isn’t. This makes me smile because I know that if their heart is in it, they will have an incredible, positive experience and no regrets. So, for any prospective teacher trainees, here is my honest take on what it is like to commit to the mat and learn to teach yoga.

Continue reading “Eight things to know before embarking on a yoga teacher training course”

The best wild swimming in the South of France

I’ve always had a thing for water parks. Ever since I was first introduced to the gargantuan slides at Aqualand Ste Maxime (well, they seemed larger than life to a skinny seven year old girl) I’ve sought out aquatic adrenaline-kicks. True to form, one of the highlights of my recent yoga retreat was jumping off the top of a waterfall and swimming in the fresh water below.

And so this summer, I made it my mission to seek out the best spots in the South of France for fresh water fixes. My most prized discovery was the Bain du Sémitea bathing spot, near Saorge in the Alpes-Maritimes. This natural waterpark had the clearest, freshest water I’ve ever had the pleasure of submersing myself in and a series of magnificent waterfalls (or cascades, in French) to explore.

Noticing the inscription, 1892, I pondered on the bathers who might have enjoyed its qualities over years gone by. On doing some research, I found that some mischievous soldiers had added the inscription “Le Bain du Sémite, 1892” themselves just before the First World War. It is said that they named the spot after a friend of theirs; a Jewish soldier, who apparently had a penchant for riding his horse naked into the waters, even in the icy depths of winter. There were no naked soldiers on my watch but the experience was made extra special by the presence of clusters of yellow butterflies gathering  at the ravine that day.

Natural water playground near Saorge
My favourite natural water playground: Bain du Semite near Saorge

Continue reading “The best wild swimming in the South of France”

Sketchy days: Beating the winter blues

Biking through the vineyards of Provence
Fond memories of biking through the vineyards of Provence

We’re now starting to understand why the locals in our village look at us with some concern when we tell them we are here for the whole year and are not just sun seekers on a jolly holiday. It gets pretty quiet here in January. The plane trees, which give such an iconic look to the whole village, are raising up their bare branches, as if they’re asking themselves where the sun has gone. Most of the restaurants have closed their doors for the season. And the villagers have retreated behind their shutters seemingly to hibernate for the winter. I’m sort of doing the same, staying in most evenings, watching old episodes of Twin Peaks and soaking up some bleak vibes. So, yes, it appears that even in sunny south of France you can catch the winter blues.

Continue reading “Sketchy days: Beating the winter blues”

A quest to find the monoliths of Plateau Lambert

Here's the story of our trek into the hills near Collobriere, Provence , to find the mythical Lambert monoliths...
Here’s the story of our trek into the hills near Collobriere, Provence , to find the mythical Lambert monoliths…

Continue reading “A quest to find the monoliths of Plateau Lambert”

Plan de la Tour market: The best olives in Provence?

Since moving to Provence, the Plan de la Tour market has become a weekly ritual. It isn’t the biggest market in the area and while it is busy and bustling in the middle of summer, it can feel a little ghostly out of season. But it is an important part of village life, with everyone stocking up on their provisions for the week from local vendors and producers.

The olives here are prepared and sold by a lady who my Grandma remembers running the same stand over twenty years ago. And they truly are the best olives I’ve tried, (particularly the garlic flavoured green ones).

The Plan de la Tour olive supplier's spread is bounteous and beautiful
The Plan de la Tour olive supply: bounteous and beautiful

Continue reading “Plan de la Tour market: The best olives in Provence?”

Lives less ordinary

Are more people in their mid twenties to late thirties making big lifestyle changes ?
Are more people in their mid twenties to late thirties making big lifestyle changes ?

I’ve read a lot recently about different people making inspirational life changes, whether that’s leaving a top job in New York to scoop ice cream in the Caribbean, becoming a wilderness therapist or cycling round the world with a dog.

And I’ve heard of friends taking their lives in different directions (geographically and metaphorically), perhaps learning to kite surf in Sri Lanka, moving to Cornwall and retraining in carpentry or spending a few months on a xen retreat to figure a few things out.

My own move is perhaps not very physically intrepid but definitely involved a lifestyle change, going from buzzy London to a sleepy Provençal village. Why did I make such a drastic move? Continue reading “Lives less ordinary”

The mother of car boot sales

The best antique fair in Provence: Jas des Roberts
Possibly the most stylish car boot fair in Provence: Jas des Roberts

One thing France does very well is antiques. If you know where to look you can get some amazing bits and pieces to kit out your very own château (or fantasise about kitting out your imaginary château).

Continue reading “The mother of car boot sales”

Run to the hills

'Jumping Jim' spotted on top of the Alpes-Maritimes
‘Jumping Jim’ spotted on top of the Alpes-Maritimes

The sandy beaches of the Côte d’Azur are all well and good but with temperatures now in the mid 30s we’ve been heading for higher ground to enjoy the fresh mountain breeze and some stunning alpine scenery.

Continue reading “Run to the hills”

Plan de La Tour celebrates le Quatorze Juillet

Young and old enjoy the patriotic 14th July celebrations
Young and old enjoy the patriotic 14th July celebrations

A ‘snow party’ in the middle of July? Not something you’d typically associate with celebrating the anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution but who am I to question it?

Continue reading “Plan de La Tour celebrates le Quatorze Juillet”

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