It takes courage for clients to step away from their day-to-day and experience a responsibility-free retreat. To commit to doing nothing but unwinding and looking after themselves is something so challenging in today’s ever ‘switched on’ world. That’s why it’s so important you find the right retreat venue. A venue that’s easy to sell to your clients. A venue they can trust and a destination they will love! Here are our 5 steps to doing just that:Read More
Filtering by Category: Loafing
Make planning easy with this guide to the essentials you’ll need (and details on how French Loaf has got it covered):Read More
Close your laptop. Pack away the iPads. It’s time to fully unwind, be present, and relax -as a family. Set your intentions from day one of your next French getaway with these steps to a blissful family break that will leave you feeling fully rejuvenated and better connected to the ones you love. (Heightened wellbeing with the kids around? I promise, it is possible!)
What parent doesn’t feel the twang of digital guilt every time they check work emails or find themselves carrying out their daily (OK, hourly) social ‘loop’. Escape the norm of both ‘real’ and virtual day-to-day, by setting your devices to airplane mood. A foreign escape is the ideal time to be present with fresh surroundings, and removing the temptation of our screens is crucial to noticing the full beauty of a holiday destination. Not to mention those we’ve brought with us.
It might take some gentle limit setting with children who are used to their swipe-and-click entertainment, but you’ll soon realise they know exactly how to explore new surroundings. What grown-up doesn’t wish they could see things through a child’s eyes!
Get your adrenaline pumping and have a giggle while you’re at it with active session for all the family. Pick up a map (go paper for the real feel of adventure! Google maps takes that element away…) and hike amongst the French hilltops, set up your yoga mats on the patio, or get playful out in the garden of your holiday villa. Rough and tumble, egg and spoon races – a holiday that boosts wellbeing doesn’t need to be a lazy one!
Not forgetting the bliss of having your own swimming pool to enjoy. (A must when we were choosing our luxury French villas.) Grab the armbands, chuck in the lilos, and get splashing. Highly recommended for hilarity: family synchronised swimming.
Keep them entertained
We all know a happy child makes a happy parent, so prioritising our kids’ holiday contentment is a sure-fire way to boost our own happiness. At French Loaf we try to make holidaying as a child as comfortable, and fun, as possible. Expect toys to play with, beautiful bedrooms to make dens in, and a family DVD player for much-loved movie nights. If you start hearing the dreaded ‘I’m bored’ murmurs, don’t panic. With no 9-5 commitments, you’ve got all the time in the world to get playful, be silly, and connect with the minis – you’ll soon remember how great their smiles are for your soul.
Delight in the holiday food
French food! It’s one of the biggest perks of every getaway we make to Dordogne. Explore local eateries, browse the markets, and pick up the freshest ingredients to cook as a family - or get the BBQ on for a late-night, starlit grill. Delicious. It’s not just the food itself, to sit and chat over a family meal is a chance to make memories you’ll remember for a life time.
Reconnect as a couple
Let’s not forget the importance of connecting with your other half on a weekend break or summer getaway. With the kids in bed (and phones still on airplane mode!) it’s time for completely uninterrupted chill time together. Snuggle up with a DVD and a glass of wine or chat out in the garden with nothing but the sound of crickets to distract you. And if you’re feeling daring, a skinny dip under the stars is sure to get the endorphins flowing! After all, laughter is the best medicine.
Thank you to Melissa for the wonderful feedback and the beautiful pictures used in this blog from her holiday at our La Verger property.
It's with a sigh of relief that we start the Summer Holidays. We have survived the flurry of summer term activities which built up to the customary end of term craziness. Summer fayres, parents evenings, sports days, camp outs, and numerous assemblies have left us tired and ready for six weeks of fun and relaxation. My boys are always giddy with excitement about the holidays and I am looking forward (bracing myself) to spending more time with them.
It's a tradition in our house to do a Summer wish list, writing down all the special things we’d like to do. This year there are plans for cycling, den making, swimming, camping, Lego building and much more. I’ll also be making sure we have time to just loaf about and recharge our batteries.
It's the last summer holidays before my youngest starts school in September. I’m conscious of time whizzing by, so I want to make the most of my time with him. To help me do this I’ve pulled together a Summer Holiday Calendar. With space for our wish list, days out, our holiday to France and other planned activities it has pride of place on the kitchen wall. I’m hoping some organisation will also allow us time to kick back and enjoy, knowing we’ve got time to do everything and nothing.
If you’d like a copy of this calendar you can download it here or by clicking on the image below.
One thing is for sure is whatever we do I know there will be fun, adventure, good times and some lovely memories.
Wishing you all a wonderful Summer!
I often get asked why I started French Loaf and my number one motivation was so that I can drop and collect my two boys from school and nursery every day. I realise this is not something everyone can do or wants to do but after a 24/7 job in the city it was what I wanted. You see I can remember only a handful of times when I was collected at the end of the day from school as at the age of eight, I went off to boarding school.
I was always giddy with excitement counting down to the holidays. My trunk would be packed weeks in advance, we’d have our end of term midnight feast and spend the last day of term waiting for the bell to ring.
It was the holidays that gave me some of the best times with my family. We’d have walks to the local shop to buy sweets, den making with my older brother, games of hide and seek. Just the simple pleasures of childhood.
When we actually all went away, now that was an adventure! My dad being a Commander in the Royal Navy meant everything was executed with military precision. We had checklists, route maps, eta's and emergency supplies to last a month. Though our destinations were either Cornwall or France we were prepared should we be shipwrecked or struck with monsoon rains.
Camping in Cornwall was a religious pilgrimage for us. With everything packed into our brown Ford Capri, four children on the back seat, my parents, and Neil Diamond playing loudly on the radio it was always an interesting (note sarcasm) eight-hour journey. Once there though we were in our element. Body boarding until the skin on our stomachs was red raw, making sand ramps, playing in the rock pools and getting lost in that time together.
On our many trips to France I can remember the long drives, past sunflower fields and beautifully evenly spaced trees that lined the side of the roads. The taste of sweet cordial and the smell of Gauloise cigarettes smoked by the locals. We had daily trips to the boulangerie where we'd practice our French then while away the day playing in the swimming pool.
These holidays have given me some of my happiest childhood memories. If I can help other families create anything like the holiday memories I have I'll be very happy.
One of the undisputed glories of France is fresh bread. Bakeries are not permitted to use preservatives so boulangeries must bake fresh bread several times a day! Here’s our recipe for the perfect French Loaf:
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 2 cups water
- 6 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with 2 cups water, 3 cups flour, salt, sugar and vegetable oil; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Divide dough half. Roll each half into a 9 x 12 rectangle and roll up jelly roll style, starting at long edge. Seal edges and place seam side down on a large baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Use a sharp knife to slash each loaf diagonally 3 times. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and allow to rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.