Six years ago I was living in London, working at MTV, living a crazy, busy, city life full of parties, socialising and youthful selfishness. Fast forward to today and I find myself in rural France, in a 300 year old farmhouse with two kids and a flourishing vegetable garden! Much to many peoples surprise, I changed my life completely and I have absolutely no regrets.
It happened quite unexpectedly which was a good thing as it meant I didn’t have too much time to brood over my decision. An opportunity to take voluntary redundancy arose at work and although I had never thought about leaving the job I loved so much, the fates conspired to make me consider it.
My husband and I were leafing through an edition of France Magazine and spotted a property for sale in the classifieds that captured our imagination. A gorgeous old house complete with gites, pigonier and resident barn owl. Somewhat spontaneously we booked flights to see it and our new life became inevitable.
In fact, that house was not the one we chose in the end despite being foolishly bewitched and making a ridiculous offer on the day! Luckily it was not accepted and we were able to take our time and exercise more common sense, finally deciding on our farmhouse in a better location with fabulous views every which way you look.
The somewhat abrupt shift in pace of life was just what I needed and after three years of unsuccessfully trying, I fell pregnant. Countryside, fresh air, early nights and healthy living must have been the tonic my body craved. We had a new home, in a new country, a whole new life and a new person to embrace.
Despite not being anywhere near fluent in French, I found myself navigating my first pregnancy in a foreign language. Actually, it wasn’t at all as difficult or daunting as you might imagine. I soon picked up the important pregnancy jargon and found that despite not understanding every word, the Doctors and I were on the same page so information was somehow understood!
I feel very lucky to have given birth twice in France where it is the norm to have your own room and bathroom in the hospital, 3 course meals everyday, and the average stay after giving birth is between five and seven days! You have the chance to cocoon yourself and your baby in the safety of the hospital until you have mastered all the basics. Very different to some stories I hear from my UK friends who were pushed out into the night just hours after the trauma of childbirth.
The last six years have flown by and now my Daughter goes to the local school (Maternelle) and my Son is due to start in September. We are lucky that my husband works as a web designer, a profession that allows him to do his thing from anywhere in the world, so the office in the garden suits him just fine!
For myself, although at times with young children I have felt a little isolated, I have now found a strong group of friends and have lots of coffees and girls nights out! Most of them are English but there are a few French too, despite my still having a long way to go with the language. I realised I had to put extra effort in to make these relationships stick as making new friends can be hard when you are a full time Mum living in the middle of a field! No-one was going to come knocking down my door so I resigned myself to putting myself out there as much as I could.
Also, I started my blog – Delicieux, where I write about my passion for food. I am blessed to live in a place where the produce all around me is inspirational and the cuisine is exceptional.
All in all, I am living ‘the good life’ and don’t ever regret the decision to change my life. I happily look forward to bringing up my children in this wonderful part of the world that I now call home.
Anneli Faiers is the author of Delicieux, a blog all about food and recipes straight from her farmhouse kitchen in SW France. She is a Mum of 2 and also works as a Private Chef when time allows. You can also find her on Twitter