LA VIE ADORABLE
LA VIE ADORABLE
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French women are experts on how to look effortless and chic. To them, it seems almost second nature. Today, I’ll dive into how you can create a simple, yet elegant makeup look. And: the best thing about it is that if you use makeup already, you will probably have all the items it takes to make a French makeup look.
Less is more
In almost all instances you can “frenchify” your life by thinking “less is more”. What I mean by this is that French women have tuned in on what is important to them and removed everything that’s unimportant.
French women use makeup to enhance their features, not hide them away or alter them in any big way. That’s why you will rarely see a woman with full contour and smokey eyes on the streets of Paris. It’s all about looking like the best version of yourself, not turning into someone else.
So let’s dive into what makes French makeup so effortless and “I woke up like this” chic.
8 steps to create a French makeup look
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It all starts with skincare
To make the most out of your canvas, you should always prep it. French women prep their skin by taking care of it. If you need some tips on how to best take care of your skin, you can read my article on French skincare.
And if you just want to jump right in: always let a moisturizer be the first step in your makeup routine.
Skip the foundation
Remember, less is more. French makeup is all about discretion. So you won’t see French women wear a ton of foundation. What they’ll do is dab a little concealer on, or maybe use a BB-cream. A BB-cream is perfect for a French makeup look as it is a three-in-one product. A BB-cream will moisturize, give you light coverage and, most importantly, has SPF.
French makeup is basically there to enhance. The idea is that no one should notice the makeup before they notice the woman.
A hint of blush
French women love to glow and accentuate their healthy skin. In order to get this look, you need a good blush. However, it should never be too bright.
You can brighten up the face by applying a touch of rose or pink coloured blush to the apples of your cheeks.
Cream blushes are more popular because they are easier to blend to get a natural look.
Tip: to make your look even fresher and more sunkissed, you can throw a little bit of bronzer into the mix. Just be careful to not use too much.
Keep your brows full
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You’ll find no perfectly sculpted brows in a French makeup look. Rather, the brows will be kept full, and never overly filled in. The French look is all about looking clean and groomed, but not overly polished. Stay away from eyebrow pencils and pomades. Keep it simple with some eyebrow mascara.
For a natural brow, apply the mascara in short upward strokes. Make sure to follow the natural curve of your eyebrows.
Just a touch of mascara
If you want a French makeup look, you should keep your eye makeup simple. Give your lashes a good curl, treat them with a good lash conditioner and add just a hint of mascara.
Skip the eyeliner and focus your attention on a good mascara that will give your eyes dimension.
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Most French women will not wear a lot of eye shadow on an everyday basis, but if you want to add some colour to your eyes, go for neutral tones. To achieve a French makeup look you should dab on a minimal amount. It does not have to look perfect, but it should be well blended with no sharp edges.
The signature red lip
To go with the very simple eye makeup you can add the staple of any French makeup look “la pièce de résistance” if you wish: the bold red lip. The red lip can be worn with any outfit, whether it is a t-shirt and jeans or an evening gown. The red lip will add drama where you need it.
Just remember that the french will most often wear this bold colour with the rest of the makeup being very minimal.
When you wear a red lip, nothing should steal attention away from it.
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Focus on one feature
If you want one simple piece of advice you can take away from this, it is to keep it simple. Focus on one feature at the time. If you wear a red lipstick, make everything else discrete. If you wear a bold eye makeup look, keep the lips natural.
Focusing on one feature at the time will make your face look brighter and fresher.
Keep it relaxed
Casual makeup application has become a popular trend which emphasizes French women’s relaxed approach to makeup. The point of this type of application is to make it less perfect and more lived in.
Do a smokey eye by blending out your eyeliner with your finger or use your fingertip to apply lipstick by dabbing it on (only with clean hands of course!)
This helps you achieve a more natural less polished look. Just like French women!
Did you like this article? Then you might also like my article on French skincare.
I'd love to hear from you, so if you want to leave a comment below, I'll be thrilled! Also feel free to share this article with anyone else who might be interested in it.
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Every year I hear many people complain about how stressed out they feel before Christmas. Even though most people enjoy the holiday itself, many of us seem to stress around to get everything prepared in time. So, today I want to talk to you about how you can make your December stress free.
1. PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
I know we’re only in November, but time flies, and December is just around the corner. I know there are always lots of things we want to do, and feel like we have to do before Christmas arrives, and I think the best way we can tackle this is by planning.
That’s all well and good, but what should you plan?
I suggest sitting down with a nice hot beverage, and make a list. What is it that you need to get done? I have some suggestions for common things, so let’s look at the categories together:
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Cleaning your house or apartment
If you live in an apartment you’re kind of lucky – there are fewer spaces for you to clean. But if you have a house, there is more to do. I know my ex mother in law would clean the walls and ceilings for Christmas, but unless you feel it is really necessary to do this, I suggest you skip it!
However, there are a few cleaning tasks you probably want to do: cleaning the windows, vacuuming and washing the floors, washing the bathroom and dusting.
You might feel stressed out about all the cleaning you need to do before Christmas, but realize this: you most likely have a regular schedule for most of these tasks. The only extra activity is cleaning the windows, which you probably do a little less often. And maybe washing the floors, which you might do less frequently than vacuuming.
To make it easy for you to plan your cleaning, get my FREE downloadable list!
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So, sit down and check your calendar: When is Christmas this year? I mean: What day does it fall on? If you have a regular cleaning schedule where you vacuum, do the dusting and wash your bathroom on a Friday and Christmas falls on a Thursday, you simply follow your normal routine up until the week of Christmas. So you’ll do your regular cleaning the Friday before, then again on Wednesday, right before Christmas.
Then you wash your floors on that same Wednesday. As for the windows, I suggest washing them one or two weeks before Christmas.
Plan your baking & cooking
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The next point of planning I want to talk about is baking and cooking. Do you have a habit of making cookies for Christmas? Or do you have any special meals you like to cook? Well, plan it ahead of time.
I've made it easy for you by creating this FREE downloadable and printable Christmas baking plan.
In Norway we have a tradition that says you should bake 7 different sorts of Christmas cookies. And that’s a lot of baking if you’re going to follow tradition. With our modern lives it may be hard to fit this in between everything else that’s going on.
So, before December knocks on our door, I like to plan when I’m going to bake my cookies. Sometimes I like to make several types of cookies in one day, to reduce the number of baking days. But then I always make sure that if one cookie is particularly laborious to make, the other ones are easy to make.
On Christmas we also like to serve traditional food for our lunch and dinners. These meals often take a lot of time to prepare, and there may be several operations happening in the kitchen at the same time. To reduce the amount of stress, I like to see if there is anything I can make ahead of time and just reheat it when the day arrives.
With a lot of dishes, they even taste better when they’re reheated!
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One thing that comes to mind is gravy, but many desserts can also be made ahead of time and frozen.
Plan your Gifts
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We all love gifts, don’t we? But at Christmas, you often have so many people you need to think of that it becomes stressful to find a gift for everyone. So, start now, and make a list of everyone you plan to give a gift. This takes away the stress of being afraid you’ve forgotten someone. You're more than welcome to use my FREE downloadable list if you want to.
When you’ve made your list, start looking for gifts. Some people are easy to give gifts to, but if you’re uncertain of what to give, ask people what they want (or need)! And, for people who have everything they need and then some, you can give edible gifts. Some chocolate or a bottle of wine (if they drink alcohol) is always appreciated, as it is a gift they can use.
I know this next idea is a little late to do it this year, but I know people who start buying gifts in January! Talk about being ahead of the game! But I guess it’s because a lot of things are on sale in January, so you could save a lot of money if you buy most of your Christmas presents then. However, I would only do this if I absolutely KNOW that this is a gift that the person will like a year from now.
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If you want ALL my FREE downloadable Christmas planners, you can get them in one bundle here.
2. REDUCE WHAT YOU'RE COMMITTING TO DO
As always with intentional living, I should mention that to make your December stress free, you might want to reduce the amount of things you’re doing.
Don’t overdo the cleaning
For some reason we have this feeling that we have to clean in excessive amounts before Christmas, even though most of us have regular cleaning schedules we follow throughout the year that are more than enough to keep our homes clean and tidy. But for some odd reason a lot of us feel a need to clean in bizarre places before Christmas, like the bottom of the drawers in our dressers... I mean ... come on! It doesn’t hurt if people understand that we actually sit, breathe and live in our houses! There’s no need to exaggerate!
So: If you feel stressed out about cleaning, reduce what you clean. As I mentioned, I don’t see the point in washing my walls and ceiling, so I don’t do that. And no one dies if there’s a little dust in a corner. Really, I promise it will be fine!
Keeping to your normal cleaning routine can help make your December stress free.
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Keep the baking to what you will actually eat
Another thing you can reduce is the amount of cooking and baking you’re doing.
Is there a cookie you make every Christmas that no one really eats? Or is it simply too many cookies to manage eating them all before they go stale?
Well, reduce the amount!
As I mentioned, there is a tradition of baking 7 different types of cookies for Christmas in Norway. But for the most of us, it’ll be too many to consume (and to have time to bake them all).
I know that even though I like baking, some years it’s only achievable to bake maybe 2 or 3 types of Christmas cookies. And that’s fine! Christmas will come anyways. And when I understand that I will only have time to bake a certain amount, I prioritize what I bake. So I only bake our favorites.
If you absolutely want a certain kind of cookie but don’t have the time to bake, there are a few options:
One option is to buy the cookies you want. Most stores sell the classics, so you can get your hands on them without baking.
Another alternative is to arrange a cookie-swap with friends and family. If you only have time to bake 1 type of cookie but have 4 friends or family members who are also baking, you can arrange for everyone to bake something different and swap. So, you’ll have 5 types of cookies from the effort of making 1!
Another tip (as mentioned above) is to reduce the recipe, so you have a more manageable amount to eat.
Gifts and advent calendars
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As much as we all love gifts, we also appreciate good food and good company. And we could all do well to focus more on that.
Not only do most people have what they need, it’s also better for the environment to reduce the amount of stuff we give each other.
So rather than stressing about finding physical gifts for people, gift them time. This time could be something you do for them (like cleaning, baking or helping them with something) or an activity they can do (or that you can do together).
I also know that a lot of parents (myself included) love making advent calendars for their children. However, a lot of the time these calendars are filled with trinkets that are fun right there and then but are soon forgotten about or broken. It can also be a bit stressful to go around finding 24 (or 25) little gifts and wrap them all.
I prefer filling the advent calendar with a combination of things they need (like socks, notebooks etc), some candy (but not every day!), and then things like face masks, nail polish and other beauty products (for my girl), Christmas decorations for their room, snack bars, small candles, etc.
You're welcome to use this downloadable FREE Advent Calendar Gift Plan if you want to!
Alternative advent calendars:
-A Christmas book: find a book with 24 (or 25) chapters, so that they can read a chapter a day (or you can read to them before bed). This shifts the focus towards spending more time together.
-Reversed advent calendar: with this one, your child gets a packet of 24 (or 25) bows or ribbons at the first day of December. The bows will be used to mark a toy or a piece of clothing they no longer use, and can part with. Mark one item every day. Collect the toys and clothes and donate them so they can go to someone in need.
For younger children you can tell them that the toys are taken to the North pole so Santa can “fix them up” and give them to other children. In return, Santa will bring some new toys for them for Christmas (make sure to not promise that Santa will replace everything they give away, though!)
For older children it’s nice to explain that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. It’s nice for them to learn about the joy of giving, and most children who are old enough to understand will be happy to be able to help someone else.
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-Activity calendar: instead of getting things in their calendar every day, you can give them an activity each day. This may sound like a lot of effort, but this can be activities you’ve already planned for, and activities that don’t take too long to do. For example: you can wrap a cookie cutter for the day when you’ve planned baking cookies. Another gift can be hot chocolate after dinner, a round of cards or staying up 15 minutes longer to read an extra story at bedtime. Your imagination is the limit!
3. MAKE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS
I find that stress is often caused by things we’ve committed to do, but don’t really want to do. In order to make December stress free, I want to suggest to you that you make your own traditions.
You might think this is counterproductive, adding more things to what you do, but hear me out.
What I mean, is that sometimes we follow traditions simply because they’re traditions and because that’s how we’ve always done things.
I’m here to tell you that if there are traditions that you have, that you are committed to only because they’re traditions, it’s okay to cut them out.
For example: If you don’t enjoy participating in the "Secret Santa" tradition at work because you find it stressful to try and find a gift for a colleague that you might not even know very well, it’s okay to opt out of it.
You can make your own traditions
Instead of following old traditions that don’t suit your lifestyle and don’t mean much to you, create your own. Maybe instead of exchanging gifts with your friends you want to arrange an informal lunch at your house? (You could even order the food!)
Or maybe there are things that you want to add to your routine to slow down? Some activities can release stress even if they’re an addition to what you usually do. Spending time with your loved ones is one of such activities.
Or maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to do before Christmas that you never got around to? Maybe there's a certain Christmas movie you want to watch, or maybe you want to go to the ballet to see the Nutcracker performed.
Or maybe you just want to do something simple to add more “hygge”, like lighting a candle every night while you drink a cup of tea, or get up 15 minutes earlier each morning to take a little extra time with your breakfast.
These are all things you can do to make December stress free for yourself.
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I hope this article has inspired you to really think about what you spend your time and money on this December, and hope the things I’ve covered are things that are really meaningful to YOU. If not, it’s okay to cut something out and add something else in order to make YOUR December stress free.
And remember: My FREE downloadable and printable Christmas planners can make it even easier for you, so I suggest you get them right now!
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French women always seem to have great skin, don’t they? Well, there’s a reason for that: they do skincare … well … the French way. French skincare is different to skincare in America, or even in different European countries. So, if you want great skin, try simplifying your skincare routine by adopting French skincare.
HOW IS FRENCH SKINCARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER
TYPE OF SKIN CARE?
Well, for a start: French skincare is more relaxed and intentional. It’s also quite minimal. Typically, a French skincare routine will have 3 steps. The key factors are a mild cleanser, a toner and a good moisturizer.
You can compare that to an average skincare routine in other countries (where you’ll often find recommendations for doing an elaborate routine both in the morning AND evening).
A typical skincare routine in other countries may look something like this:
Do not mistake the relaxed attitude
In a French skincare routine you know what each step does. And a French woman will certainly not freak out over a pimple. She’ll simply let it run it’s course, because there are more important things in life. I think we can all learn something from French women here. It’s our imperfections that make us who we are, and honestly, we should all learn to love those imperfections!
However, this relaxed attitude must not be mistaken for not caring for their skin. It’s just that the focus is different. A simple, yet effective routine leaves time to enjoy other aspects of life. Like a good cup of coffee in the morning.
French skincare is just as much about prevention and having good skin in the future as it is about having good skin right now.
Additional steps to the basic routine
In addition to the 3 key steps, a French woman will use a gentle exfoliant once or twice a week. There is no need to use it more often, and your skin needs to rest. If you exfoliate too often, your skin will be stripped of it’s natural barrier and you might end up with dry skin that breaks out.
In addition to a simple routine, French women tend to start getting facials at quite a young age. Typically, they’ll get a facial maybe once a month.
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
How can I replicate a French skincare routine
1. Reduce the number of products.
First, go through your products. Most likely you’ll do well to reduce the amount of products you use. You especially need to get rid of any harsh cleansers or exfoliants.
Any soapy cleansers are no use in a French skincare routine, as soap can disturb your skin’s pH balance and strips away natural bacteria (that are good for your skin). Instead, opt for mild cleansers that remove makeup gently.
2. Stick to your products
Another thing French women do, is they stick to the same products. They find some products that work for their skin, whether that’s oily, dry or normal skin. And you should too!
When you buy products, buy with intention. And when you find something that works for you, stick with it! You may change between a lighter and heavier moisturizer depending on the season, but other than that, your skin will thank you for not overloading it with new products all the time. That way you save your money and you save your skin.
3. Buy few, but high-quality skin products
As I touched upon just now, you want to buy only a few products. But the products you buy should be high quality. So stay away from the superstore value pack moisturizer and do like French women: go to the pharmacy.
French women don’t buy their skincare products just anywhere. They prefer buying them at the pharmacy, where they can also get expert help to find the best products for their skin.
When you’re shopping for new products, you should never be afraid to ask for help.
How you can benefit from a French
If you struggle with your skin, I think you could definitely benefit from simplifying your routine and adopt French skincare!
Less is more, and with an effortless routine you can enjoy the rest of your day with less stress.
If you choose to adopt a French skincare routine, I also think you’ll find that you slowly will get a more relaxed relationship to your skin.
I hope this blog post has been of value to you. If you liked it, you might also be interested in my article about 12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat.
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and also share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
I am all for counting blessings instead of just taking things for granted. In this blog post I simply want to share with you some of life's blessings that I enjoy, and which all start with the letter P.
I hereby challenge you to come up with your own. It will be an exercise in finding things to be grateful for.
Pleasure # 1) PEONIES
I just love peonies! It was one of the flowers in our garden when I grew up, and it brings back good memories from a happy and carefree childhood in a small town on the west coast of Norway.
Peonies come in several variations, from the pure white via soft pink to a dark red. The buds have a beautiful round shape, and when the flower is in full bloom, it's bold and lush with big petals, and it smells good.
I just had to grow peonies when I married and got a house and garden of my own. If there's anything I miss right now, it's having a garden, but I will have one again soon, for sure, and then I'll plant peonies again - lots of them! I'll have white, pink and red ones.
For now, I'll just have to settle for the occasional bouquet from the florist's, like the one in the picture above. But that's nice, too. They're only in season for a few weeks every summer, from June and onward, but I make sure I enjoy them whenever I can.
Pleasure # 2) PEUGEOT
This is the car I drive at the moment.
I changed from Mercedes to Peugeot not very long ago, and I'm very pleased with it! The Mercedes-Benz that I had was a very elegant car, but after having driven it for a while, I found it "heavy", too noisy and not a very good car for winter conditions (which I absolutely need here in Norway).
Peugeot has always been one of my favorite car brands, ever since I got my driving lisence. Just after I got my lisence, I worked as a secretary for the bosses at a ship-yard and had to go on many errands into town for them. Since I didn't have my own car at the time, I got to use whatever car was available, and after having driven one of my bosses' Peugeot 505, it immediately became my absolute favorite. If that car was available, there was no doubt: That would be the one I used.
No wonder, then, that when I finally got around to buying a car of my own, Peugeot was my choice. I got myself a Peugeot 305, and it served me well for quite a few years. I probably wouldn't have swapped it in for another car until it was absolutely no chance of driving it anymore, had it not been for the fact that I got married and expected my first child, and a bigger "family car" was needed. But I've always loved Peugeot ever since that first car. Not only because I'm a Francophile and Peugeot is a French brand, but I think it's a really good brand.
Pleasure # 3) PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels
I've always enjoyed photography and filming.
I'm constantly trying to improve my technique and shoot good pictures.
I always try to compose a picture in the best possible way on the spot, rather than editing it afterwards, and I enjoy shooting close-ups of beautiful flowers and other nature elements, as you can see from the pictures in my Picfair shop.
I also love to travel the world and shoot pictures of what I see there,
whether it's landscapes, culture related pictures, buildings,
animals, nature or people.
I decided a while back to make my photography into something more than just a hobby. That's why I started uploading some of my photos to Twenty20, which is a stock photo website, and I hope you'll take a look at my profile there and perhaps "like" some of my photos. I would really appreciate that!
I'll be building more categories on Twenty20 soon,
but my main focus from now on when it comes to photography, will be on my Picfair photo business, so that's where you'll find my best photos from now on.
I would love it if you would take a look through my store there, and of course I'll be thrilled if you find that you like one or several of my photos well enough to buy from me!
Some of my pictures are taken as souvenirs and in a hurry, and are therefor not planned or "composed". Most of them never find the way to my online photo store, but are for private use only. Others are taken with a purpose and therefor more "staged".
No matter what: I shoot pictures because it gives me great pleasure. I can only hope that you take some pleasure in them, too. Please feel free to give me your feedback. Constructive critisism or advise on how I can become a better photographer will be appreciated and taken very seriously.
A lot of photos have been taken on my travels, and can be seen on my travel blog,The Passionate Globetrotter.
Many of my pictures are from my own country, Norway.
To see more pictures from my travels and read more about
my journeys, you can also visit my travel blog The Passionate Globetrotter.
Now, let's move on to
Pleasure #4) PARIS
L'Arc de Triomphe on a cloudy day in July 2010
Sous les ciels de Paris ...
I fell in love with Paris even before I had ever visited the city. In fact, I fell in love with everything French as far back as in my early childhood, when I first heard the language (probably on TV) and watched French movies and travel documentaries about France. It was an instant crush.
For the record: I have always had a passion for languages, - even different accents of my own language have always fascinated me, - and foreign languages are like music to my ears. The French language more than any other.
I first visited Paris in 1984, and it was everything I had dreamed of, and more. Le Tour Eiffel... L'Arc de Triomphe... Les Champs-Elysées...Pont Alexandre...Le Louvre... Montmartre... all the famous places, of course.
But most of all it was the sounds, the smell of fresh baguettes from the bakery, the restaurants, the elegance of the French women, in all its simplicity... the green areas ... Jardin des Tuileries... La Seine... les bateaux mouche... Notre Dame... le Sacre Caeur... le Quartier Latin...
And I was lucky enough to be visiting my French friend, who lived with her newly wed husband in a Paris apartment close to La Place d'Etoile, and thus I was able to experience first-hand what it was like to live in one of those wonderful old buildings. The solid wooden door... the concierge downstairs... the spiral staircase... the high ceilings of the apartment and the large windows, opened up to let the summer breeze play with the light curtains...
And the kitchen, facing the backyard, with a large window where the sounds from the neighbours came in and tickled my ears, with their laughing, the sounds of their pots and pans as they were making their dinner in the neighbouring flat.. the smell of food... a dog barking... all familiar sounds, but yet so different there... Because the backdrop was different from what I was used to.
And I loved the Paris shops, all the specialized shops: boulangerie, pattisserie, charcutterie ... even going to the local supermarket and buy food was an adventure! What a selection! The Bon Maman jams ... the cheese... the sausages... the wine ... oh-la-la!
But even going to the big malls, like Galerie Lafayette and Printemps, was a more pleasant experience than visiting many other malls I've been to. And the Paris life ... starting the day with a bowl of café au lait and some croissants with confiture de laframboise... perhaps not the healthiest alternative in the long run, but my God, what a joy!
Lunching out at a restaurant, watching the people walking by and having a nice conversation with friends ... flaner sur les quais... listening to someone playing the accordion in the French way ... the sound of Edith Piaf on the radio, or some more modern music on Radio Énergie ... In 1984 they played "Red, red wine" with UB40 and "Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons.." - and my friend recorded the radio-program for me and I played it again and again when I came back home, and longed back to Paris.
I will always long back to Paris. I've been there twice since that first time, but hardly often enough. As much as I love the rest of the world and want to see it all... Paris will always have a special place in my heart.
Paris, je t'aime.
Pleasure #5) PROVENCE
Aix-en-Provence, August 2014
Provence is a place I've always dreamed of, and in August 2014 my dream came true: I went on a road-trip in Provence, all by myself. I'd been to France before, but never to Provence, so it was with great anticipation that I finally went there.
The Norwegian Airline took me to Nice, which was really the ideal starting point for me. I rented a car there, and started exploring the area. At the time, I hadn't started a blog and therefor focused on living the dream there and then without writing about it. But I have written an article (divided in 2 parts) about How I accidentally fell in love with Cavaillon and 8 reasons why you might, too over at my travel blog, The Passionate Globetrotter.com. I have also written a few articles here on this blog that you're reading now, about authors from Provence, which I hope you'll find interesting.
There will be more articles about Provence from my hand, for sure, both on this blog and on The Passionate Globetrotter blog, because I don't think I'll ever get enough of this lovely part of France. My desire is to buy a house there, and one day I will, but until the current pandemic situation is over and the world is back to normal, that plan will have to be on the back-burner. For now, I keep dreaming about Provence and doing research for my next trip there.
Pleasure #6) PIZZA
Picture from Pixabay
I just LOVE pizza! I don't think I'll ever get tired of it! I especially love Italian pizza, but the American type is also good.
So what kind of topping do I prefer? Honestly: There are such a lot of delicious variations to pizza that I won't even begin to mention any favorites. What I can say, though, is that I tend to not like variations with seafood on them (schrimps, tuna, etc.). Apart from that, I'm open to most suggestions! Do YOU like pizza? Feel free to leave a comment about it!
Pleasure #7) PAGNOL
By Studio Harcourt - RMN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76212655
Marcel Pagnol (28 February 1895 – 18 April 1974) was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. Regarded as an auteur, in 1946, he became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française. I love his books, and the film adaptions of them are pure delight! I highly reccommend that you check them out!
Pleasure #8) PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels
I simply LOVE "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, and in particular the 1995 TV-series version of it, starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy! If you haven't watched it already (something that would be absolutely unbelievable if you're a lover of British period dramas...) - you really should! I won't give away the story, because that would ruin the experience for you. Just take my word for it: It's totally watch-worthy! :) And of course reading the book is a pleasure, too, if you like to read.
Pleasure # 9) POLDARK
Another British period drama that I love and adore! I'm waiting for the last season - season #5 - to be broadcasted on Norwegian television, and I definitly must buy it on DVD so I can complete my collection of all the seasons. Again: Highly reccommendable, especially if you love period dramas.
Poldark season 5 - Screenshot of Ross and Demelza: "You have no idea how glad I am to be home"
Well, these were 9 of my "guilty pleasures" starting with the letter "P". I hope you've enjoyed this article and have found something that has inspired you to come up with your own list of pleasures. I would love to know what those are, or if you share any of mine!
Please feel free to leave a comment, and also share this article with someone you think might find it enjoyable!
By Studio Harcourt - RMN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76212655
Ever since I first discovered some of Marcel Pagnol's books in the shelves of the local library, I have absolutely adored his work and wanted to know as much about him as possible. I have yet not visited his birthplace or walked in his footsteps in Provence, but I will definitly do that the next time I visit.
Here and now, I just want to share with you a little bit of what I've learned about him, and introduce you to some of his wonderful novels, which have also been adapted for cinema. If you follow the links, you'll be able to enjoy some of the newest adaptions to film, and once you've watched those, I'm quite sure you'll want to see more, especially if you love everything French and Provence in particular.
So let me tell you about ...
Marcel Pagnol (28 February 1895 – 18 April 1974):
He was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. In 1946, he became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française. Although his work is less fashionable than it once was, Pagnol is still generally regarded as one of France's greatest 20th-century writers and is notable for the fact that he excelled in almost every medium, - memoir, novel, drama and film.
Marcel Pagnol was born on 28 February 1895 in Aubagne, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, which is situated in the south of France, near Marseille. He was the eldest son of Joseph Pagnol, who was a school teacher, and Augustine Lansot, who was a seamstress. Marcel grew up in Marseille with his younger brothers Paul and René, and his younger sister Germaine.
According to Wikipedia, the family rented a house in the sleepy Provençal village of La Treille in July 1904. The house was called the Bastide Neuve, and was situated in the hilly countryside between Aubagne and Marseille. The family spent many summers there, and it was a very happy time for Marcel.
But about the same time, his mother's health, which had never been robust, began to noticeably decline. Sadly, on 16 June 1910 she died of a chest infection ("mal de poitrine") at the age of only 36. Marcel's father remarried in 1912.
In 1913, at the age of 18, Marcel passed his baccalaureate in philosophy and started studying literature at the University in Aix-en-Provence. When World War I broke out, he was called up into the infantry at Nice, but he was discharged in January 1915 because of his poor constitution ("faiblesse de constitution'').
On 2 March 1916, he married Simone Colin in Marseille, and in November the same year, he graduated in English. He became an English teacher, teaching in various local colleges and at a lycée in Marseille.
Career in Paris
In 1922, he moved to Paris, where he taught English until 1927. He then decided to devote his life to playwriting instead. He belonged to a group of young writers during this time, and wrote a play, Merchants of Glory, in collaboration with one of them, a young man called Paul Nivoix. The play was produced in 1924, and was followed by Topaze in 1928, a satire based on ambition.
Feeling exiled in Paris, he eventually returned nostalgically to his Provençal roots, and made this his setting for the play Marius. This play later became the first of his works to be adapted into a film in 1931.
He separated from Simone Collin in 1926 and formed a relationship with the young English dancer Kitty Murphy, even though he was not divorced from Simone until 1941. His and Kitty's son Jacques Pagnol was born on 24 September, 1930. (Jacques later became his father's assistant and subsequently a cameraman for France 3 Marseille.)
In 1929, on a visit to London, Pagnol attended a screening of one of the first talking films. He was so impressed that he decided to devote his efforts to cinema. He contacted Paramount Picture studios and suggested adapting his play Marius for cinema. This was directed by Alexander Korda and released on 10 October 1931. It became one of the first successful French-language talking films.
In 1932 Pagnol founded his own film production studios in the countryside near Marseille. Over the next decade Pagnol produced his own films, taking many different roles in the production – financier, director, script writer, studio head, and foreign-language script translator – and employing the greatest French actors of the period. On 4 April 1946, Pagnol was elected to the Académie française, taking his seat in March 1947, the first filmmaker to receive this honour.
Themes of Pagnol's films
In his films, Pagnol transfers his playwriting talents onto the big screen. His editing style is somberly reserved, placing emphasis on the content of an image. Pagnol relied on film as an art to convey a deeper meaning, rather than just as a tool to tell a story. Pagnol also took great care in the type of actors he employed, hiring local actors to appear in his films to highlight their unique accents and culture.
Like his plays, Pagnol's films emphasize dialogue and musicality. The themes of many of Pagnol's films revolve around the acute observation of social rituals. Using interchangeable symbols and recurring character roles, such as proud fathers and rebellious children, Pagnol illuminates the provincial life of the lower class. Notably, Pagnol also frequently compares women and land, showing that both can be barren or fertile. Above all, Pagnol uses all this to illustrate the importance of human bonds and their renewal.
Pagnol as a novelist
In 1945, Pagnol remarried, to actress Jacqueline Pagnol. They had two children together, Frédéric (born 1946) and Estelle (born 1949). Estelle died at the age of two. Pagnol was so devastated that he fled the south and returned to live in Paris. He went back to writing plays, but after his next piece was badly received, he decided to change his job once more and began writing a series of autobiographical novels – Souvenirs d'enfance – based on his childhood experiences.
In 1957, the first two novels in the series, La Gloire de mon père and Le château de ma mère were published to instant acclaim. On a personal note, I must say that I simply adore the film adaption of these novels! I first borrowed them at the library, but decided that these were films I just had to have my own copy of so I could watch them again and again. So far, I've bought La Gloire de mon père, and as soon as I can get hold of Le chateau de ma mère, I will buy that, too.
My DVD of La Gloire de mon père (top picture: Norwegian title).
The third, Le Temps des secrets, was published in 1959, and the fourth, Le Temps des Amours, was to remain unfinished and was not published until 1977, after his death.
In the meantime, Pagnol turned to a second series, L'Eau des Collines – Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, which focused on the machinations of Provençal peasant life at the beginning of the twentieth century, and were published in 1962.
Pagnol adapted his own film Manon des Sources, with his wife Jacqueline in the title role, into two novels, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources,
collectively titled L'Eau des Collines.
Marcel Pagnol died in Paris on 18 April 1974. He is buried in Marseille at the cemetery La Treille, along with his mother, father, brothers, and wife. His boyhood friend, David Magnan (Lili des Bellons in the autobiographies), died at the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918, and is buried nearby.
Pagnol was also known for his translations of Shakespeare (from English) and Virgil (from Latin).
For a complete list of all of Marcel Pagnol's work, go here.
(Main sources for this article: Wikipedia and YouTube.)
Find out more
If this made you want to find out more about Marcel Pagnol and his work, you can find lots and lots of film clips and documentaries on YouTube, but as a start, I suggest you listen to this French documentary. Not only will you learn more about Marcel Pagnol, but it's also a great opportunity to practice your French! :)
I hope this article was of interest to you. Please share it with someone you think might like it, and of course you're more than welcome to follow my blog for more articles, including the French lifestyle and La Vie Adorable in general!
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Taking care of yourself is essential to living the best life possible. And it's not just about the physical body, but also your inner being, or your soul, if you like. How you feel mentally has a huge impact on how you feel physically. And that's not just something I'm saying. It's been scientifically proven.
Stress in all forms and shapes affects our body. That's something I've experienced personally. I've been fighting a silent battle with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) for almost 20 years (you can read all about that in an article I've written). Stress is something I should avoid at all cost, but I haven't always managed to keep it away from my life.
But I've learned a lot over the last decade or so, and I've found techniques that have helped me live a better life in so many ways. Not only with PCS, but I've also gained wisdom that have made me look at life itself in a different way than before.
Like I said at the beginning, health and wellbeing is about more than the physical body, but physical activity does definitly also have an effect on your mental health. They're mutually important. Actually, I don't think you can have one without the other.
One year ago, I often woke up feeling completely exhausted, even after a whole night's sleep. So I tried not to have too many plans for the day, but take things more as they came.
My one determination, though, was to do my Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge routine. I had come across it on the internet, and ordered the program because yoga seemed to be a form of exercise that I would be able to do even though I had some health issues. So I started doing it every second day.
(I wrote an article about this back in May 2019. The article is called Why I Love To Do Yoga As Exercise, Even When I Have Zero Motivation, and is about my experience with The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, a great program created by Zoe Bray-Cotton. Please note that the link to the program is my personal affiliate link, so I may earn a small commission if you sign up for the program through my link, but at no extra cost to you, of course.)
In my first week, I found it invigorating and not too hard to commit to, so I actually believed that this was something I was going to stick with. (Unlike any other work-out or exercise routine that I'd tried in the past.)
The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge is a 12 weeks' program, and I seriously thought I'd be able to see it through. The benefits were obvious: Better over-all physical condition, better health, better ME!
Hopefully, I'd even lose some weight and get a more toned, lean and strong body, which was very high up on my list of short- (and long-) term goals, and still is.
It was something I definitely considered to be a part of my Freedom Journey, because to me, freedom is also feeling free in my body. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. Even though I know my body is quite satisfactory the way it is, I still have a strong desire to lose some weight and get a leaner and stronger body, like the one I used to have before. Simply because the way I am now, doesn't feel like me.
I was always lean and strong in my younger days, even after 2 child-births, - but then 20 years ago I had an accident. I got a head injury which then caused PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. It set me back physically and got me into a downward spiral with less exercise and gain of weight.
When I slowly started to come back to normal, I decided to try and find some kind of exercise that I could do. It wasn't easy, though.
I tried jogging for a while, and I'd always liked running, so I was very motivated when I soon experienced some positive results. But I did my jogging mainly in the streets, on hard surfaces, and this eventually took a toll on my knees, so I had to stop.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Then I tried following a work-out program with Jillian Michaels, the "30 Day Shred" program, and I really enjoyed that and quickly saw results. To this day, I actually do parts of that program now and then, but not on a consistent basis.
Then I tried the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, which I actually followed for quite a long time ... and then I quit that, too. But mind you: That had nothing to do with the program itself, because to this day I truly believe that it's a great program and that anybody who is able to stick with it, will benefit from it!
Problems with following routines
That's just been the story of my life ever since I gained weight. I've had a tendency to fall back into old habits after a few weeks and haven't been able to stick to any program long-term. As much as I enjoy them - and I do, really! - I just can't seem to stick with them.
This has frustrated me immensly and has made me mad at myself more often than I care to think about. Why the heck has it been so hard for me to follow through?
I've been thinking about this a lot, and my conclusion is that I'm just the kind of person who doesn't like to follow routines. I need variation, and I need exercising to not feel like an obligation or some extra task that I have to fit into my schedule. I need it to come naturally.
That's why the solution for me has been to not follow one specific program or routine, but go back to the lifestyle I had when I was in my twenties, which was the French lifestyle.
I've always been a Francophile, and when I was in my teens and early twenties, I was highly influenced by my French friend, whom I met when I was 14 years old. After watching her and her mom and the way they lived, and also visiting France and really get a first-hand experience with the French lifestyle, - I started following the same routines when I came back home. (I've written an article about this before: Why I swear by the French lifestyle.)
Just to recap a little: Back then, I was physically active all the time, without even thinking about it. I had fun with friends. I ate everything I wanted to without putting on weight. I enjoyed food. I walked a lot, played with my young nieces and nephews, played badminton with family and friends in the summer, and I went everywhere on my bike, because I didn't have a car (or even a driving licence) at the time.
I was lean, strong and fit. Life was more or less stress-free. I had no heavy responsibilities in my life. Well, I had my concerns, but they were mostly manageable. I had a good life, most of the time.
But then things started to happen, and everything changed, slowly but surely. I eventually found myself in a situation where keeping up my former lifestyle became more and more difficult. So much so that over the years, I slowly fell into habits that were not at all healthy for me, and it became more and more difficult to turn things around.
I've written at length about that in earlier articles, so I won't repeat any of that here. Let me just say that after a few decades where I've been struggling with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which lead to less physical activity and resulted in me putting on weight and slowly experiencing more and more health issues because of that, - well, it's fair to say that I've learned a lot about the connection between mental and physical health.
Well, I've known for many years now that I had to reverse this situation, and I've tried so many things in order to do just that, - like some of the activities I've mentioned above. But the results have not been significant enough to really change my life for the better. I mean: The results haven't been visible. At least not as visible as I'd like them to be. Mainly because I haven't been able to stick with the routines.
That's why I've returned to the French lifestyle, and now, very slowly, I'm beginning to see results. I've lost a few pounds and a few inches around my waist, and - best of all: I'm feeling less stressed out.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels
So what have I done?
# 1) I've gone back to incorporating exercise into my daily routines, rather than making it an extra task that I have to do, which (as mentioned above) I've never been able to stick to for more than a few weeks at the most.
# 2) I do follow some of the programs I mentioned now and then, because I really love them, and they're perfect for the kind of variation I need in my life to keep things from getting boring, - but I no longer beat myself up about not being able to stick with one program over many weeks.
# 3) I've started to enjoy my meals more, to sit down and eat and not just grab a bite "on the go".
# 4) I eat smaller portions and stop when I'm full, instead of over-eating.
# 5) I try to get enough sleep.
# 6) I drink more water.
# 7) I make sure that I take time to do things that I enjoy, like reading,
watching a movie, spend quality time with family and friends.
# 8) I listen to motivational podcasts, talk nicely to myself and remind myself that I'm good enough just the way I am.
# 9) I take time to think about the things I'm grateful for in my life.
# 10) I try to savor each moment and not constantly rush to some new thing on my "to do" list.
# 11) In fact, I try not to have a long "to do list"! Just a few things each day that I want to get done.
# 12) I have (more or less) stopped being a people-pleaser and have started
making ME a priority.
# 13) I have started to declutter my life, physically and mentally, and make more room for the things I really want.
Less attachement to things.
Less house-work and constant tidying up, which means less on my "to do" list.
More purpose to my days.
Visible (positive) changes to my body (mostly to myself so far, but I know others will notice them, too, in a little while).
The list goes on.
This has been transformational for me in so many ways.
That's why I'm on a mission to share my experiences with the French lifestyle with as many women as possible.
That's why I want to impress on you the importance of taking care of yourself first, before taking care of everyone else.
Taking care of your health is so important. And your mental health is actually the most important thing, because it will have a direct influence on your physical health as well.
So tell yourself that you are enough.
Tell yourself that you are just as important as anybody else in your life, and that you need to put YOU time on your schedule and not just make everybody else's "needs" a priority.
Tell yourself that your dreams are important.
Tell yourself that there is nothing you can't do, be or have.
Tell yourself that there's nothing you have to do. You have a choice, every single minute of every day. Do what's important to you, right there and then.
And do things that make you happy. Every single day.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
Sometimes we rush through our days without noticing the things around us. We do our daily routines, and we take so many things for granted:
The alarm clock that wakes us up at the right time. The coffee machine in our kitchen that makes us delicious coffee every morning, or the toaster that lets us enjoy crispy toast with our favourite jam.
The pleasant music on the radio. The clothes we put on. Our favorite shoes. The nice elderly woman next door who always greets us with a "good morning!" when we pass her.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
There are so many moments in every day of our life that just pass us by and that we never really think about. That's really sad.
Because our life is those moments. The tiny bits and pieces that are unnoticeably woven into what becomes our own unique tapestry. Many of us experience similar things, but for each and every one of us everything is a little bit different than for the next person.
So today I want to remind you of the importance of savoring each moment of your life.
A moment passes by so quickly and will never come back. And if you're mostly living your life on a schedule and feel stressed out and discontent, I think you really need to stop for a minute and think about what you're doing.
Is this how you want your life to be? Always running from one thing to the next?
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
I bet you don't.
Do you feel like you're in a rut, and you don't really know how you got here?
So did I.
But I came to a point where I just knew that this couldn't go on any longer. So I decided to do something about it.
By taking the time to really sit down and reflect upon my situation, and by being completely honest with myself, I managed to figure out what worked for me and what didn't, and I found a method for how I could bring more happiness and satisfaction into my life right away.
Because we often seem to think that our happiness lies somewhere in the distant future. "When I find a new job ... get a new house ....earn more money .... manage to save up for that vacation ... THEN I'll be happy!"
But this is a dangerous attitude. Because we have no guarantee of the future. We only know about this moment. Right here. Right now. That's all we have for certain.
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels
Happiness is right here, where you are.
It's in the sound of your favorite pen when it runs across the paper. It's in the touch of the soft fur of a dog. It's in your neighbour's cheerful "Good morning!" In the smell of fresh coffee. The taste of chocholate.
Photo by Svetozar Milashevich from Pexels
It's in all those little moments during the day that you're often so unaware of. You're so busy that you don't notice all the good things right in front of your nose.
So today I suggest that you stop in your track for a moment and look around you. What do you see? What do you smell?
Really take it in. Look for the details.
I'm sure that when you take a few minutes away from your busy schedule and your long to-do list, you'll start noticing more of the things you really appreciate. Decide that you want more of them in your life. Cherish them!
One method you can use to bring more happiness into your life on a daily basis, is to create a Gratitude Journal. Write down 3 things every morning that you're grateful for, and 3 more things every night before you go to bed. I'm sure you can find something to be grateful for!
It could be things like "I'm grateful for my children." "I'm grateful for my comfortable bed." "I'm grateful that I get to have another day." Anything you can think of. Small things. Big things.
If you have an over-all feeling of stress and unhappiness in your life right now, creating a Gratitude Journal for yourself can prove to be life-changing.
It's amazing how those few lines that you write down in the morning can set the athmosphere for the rest of the day, and how the lines at bedtime can give you a peaceful rest during the night. Try it!
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Another way you can bring more happiness into your life is to go through all the letters in the alphabeth and see what things pop up in your mind, things that you enjoy.
For example the letter A: Maybe you like apples? Amaryllis? Alaska? You get the picture. Focus on one letter at a time, and see how many things you can find on that letter that you enjoy. Then move on to B. And so on.
This will help you become more aware of the things that you are truly grateful for, and you will notice that your mood will shift and your whole life will seem brighter.
There are so many things to be grateful for, every single day. Sometimes it sure doesn't seem that way, because we might be so worried or stressed out about something that we forget everything else.
But then it's more important than ever that you stop in your track and ask yourself: What matters most? Are the things I'm worrying about really worthwhile? Am I wasting time on something that doesn't really matter in the long run? Could I just throw it away and enjoy this moment?
More often than not you will probably find that all your worries are really just a waste of time. If you decide to let go of the things that don't really matter to you and the things you can't do anything about anyway, you'll find that your life will be less stressful and more filled with happiness.
Trust me. I know!
This was my tip for today.
I hope that this has inspired you to become more aware of all the small pleasures in life, - the things that are right under your nose, and that you'll decide to start living with more intention from now and bring more happiness into your life.
If this is something you feel you need to learn more about, I want to draw your attention to my FREE 5 day course which will start on 6th July. In other words: It's just around the corner!
You still have time to sign up, and I suggest you do so today!
Hope to see you there!
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Have you ever watched the movie "Runaway Bride" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Well, I have, and I just love that movie!
There are several reasons for why I love it so much: I love Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, I love romantic comedies, and I love that there's always something to learn from the story.
In this particular movie, I learned the importance of knowing what you want. I learned that it's important to do things because you love doing them, and not just because you want to please someone else or avoid hurting their feelings.
Still, that's very often what we end up doing: We do certain things because we don't want to look bad in someone else's eyes, even if we hate doing it or at least don't really enjoy it. Maybe you can relate?
Maybe you agree to go on a hike in the mountains even when you don't feel like it. Maybe you say yes to helping people out every time they ask, even if they never do things for you in return. Maybe you always let your friends choose the movie, even if their taste in films is very different from yours. But you never say anything because you don’t want any drama or conflict.
Being a people-pleaser
If this sounds like you, you should stop that. Seriously. It will make you ill.
"But what if the other person gets offended or hurt if I refuse to oblige them on things that are important to them? Shouldn't I just sacrifice my own needs to make that other person feel good?" you might ask.
Well, I'm not saying that there aren't occasions where we should absolutely do that. If someone is having a difficult time, maybe you can help them by putting your own feelings aside for a little while.
And sometimes we all have to compromise. But what I’m talking about is not that. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t always do that. You can’t always do what everyone else wants you to do.
We're not doing anybody any favor by being totally self-effacing. Not in the long run. We're definitly not doing ourselves any favor by it, and - believe it or not: We're actually just as important as any other person!
You see: I have first-hand experience with this. I used to be like that. More often than not, I felt that I had to say yes to things when I really wanted to say no, and it didn't make me feel happy. In the long run, I will go so far as to claim that it actually made me ill. At least it definitly wasn't healthy.
My point is: you’re not helping anyone by being a people-pleaser.
“I would never end up like this …”
Take Maggie Carpenter in the movie "Runaway Bride": She was so eager to please her boyfriend and "be a good sport", that she was willing to go along with any of his plans, whether it was leisure activities, what they should eat for dinner, - or whatever - even if she didn't really like the things he suggested.
It wasn't until her wedding day that she realized that this wasn't what she really wanted, and ended up leaving the groom at the altar - three times.
Of course, this is the extreme version of people-pleasing. You and I probably wouldn't take it that far before realizing that a relationship or a situation isn't right for us, and that we have to take our own true feelings into consideration .... Or would we??
Let me give you some examples of how I became a people-pleaser, and see if you can relate:
How do we end up as people-pleasers?
I don’t know what your childhood was like, or what you’ve experienced in life. But I grew up in the 1960s and '70s in a small town, in a Christian family. My parents were the best parents you could wish for, but they were very religious and brought me up according to their beliefs.
Because of when and where I grew up, and my family's religious beliefs, there were a lot of activities I felt I couldn’t participate in. It wasn't what was "proper".
Because I didn't want to stir up emotions or create conflict and drama, I ended up just trying to please my parents and my peers and not pursue other interests. I kept it all inside, but I felt bad about it and thought that I was probably not a "good Christian".
I felt that I should try my best to make my parents happy and just do what I thought they'd approve of. So that's what I did. I became a people-pleaser.
In addition, I’ve always hated conflict.
Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a highly developed conscience and I was always in complete agony if I did anything I shouldn't or had even the most innocent argument with my best friend.
If we had words and fell out, I would torment myself for hours with guilt, and could be seen paving the street back and forth outside my friend's house until her father told her to go outside and put me out of my misery and become friends with me again.
She told me this just recently, and I just had to laugh when I heard it, because it was quite typical for how I was back then. I never knew, though, that her father could read me so accuratly and actually told her to go out and talk to me.
Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels
So with me hating conflict and not wanting to disappoint my parents, I did a lot of people pleasing.
Not just as a child, but as an adult too
And I was like this for many, many years, even after becoming an adult.
Even when I was in my late twenties I felt guilty if I did something I thought my parents wouldn't approve of if they had known, like drinking wine or going to the movies. It was crazy!
I understood that I had to change this, because I couldn't go on living my life just to please others, - or be restricted in what I could do or not do because of some misunderstood obligation to my family or religion or someone else.
Because it was misunderstood. Nobody expected or wanted me to behave like that. It was just the little girl in me, the one who didn't want to upset or hurt anyone, that sort of sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ears all the time.
Just like Maggie Carpenter in "Runaway Bride" I had to address each issue and find out what MY opinion was. Did I think that drinking wine was a sin? No! It might not be good for me to consume large amounts of alcohol, but then I never did, so what was the problem? I decided that I liked red wine, and that it was perfectly OK for me to drink some as long as I felt that I was in control.
And did I think that going to a movie theater was a sin? No! I love watching movies, and there are so many good ones out there!
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
How always putting everyone else first is self-effacing
Little by little, I started to get out of that destructive pattern of always considering what others would think before I said or did something. I had to work hard on myself to not feel guilty about following my own heart, but I gradually got better and better at it.
But I guess it had been a part of my life for so many years and sort of had become second nature to me, that getting rid of this behavior completely was really, really hard for me. It actually went on for many, many years, - decades, actually. Even after I got married and had kids.
I just didn't feel good about drama and conflict, so I tried to avoid it by being "nice" and put an end to any discussion or bad feelings.
But over the years, it made me feel resentful towards some of the people closest to me, because this pattern of behavior told them that I would accept things if they just stood their ground, so this happened again and again.
I said yes to doing them favors or go along with whatever they wanted to do, even when I'd rather do something else. And they didn't consciously try to manipulate me, either, - they just had more confidence and didn't have any problem with doing what they wanted to do, so that's what they did, and I accepted it.
Over the years, this made me feel more and more bad about myself and my life, and - like I said - it made me feel resentful towards some of the people close to me, because I felt that things mostly went their way and not mine, and that I was somehow being manipulated, even though that was nobody's intention.
I knew that it was really up to me to teach others what I would or would not accept, and that hey couldn't possibly know what I preferred if I never spoke up about it. So of course they did what they thought was best, and never gave it a second thought as long as I never protested. So it was really my own fault.
I knew I couldn't go on like this anymore.
I felt that I had somehow lost myself over the years, and I had felt for so many years that I needed to be someone other than who I really was, in order to be accepted or liked, - even wrongfully so.
This made me feel really bad. I knew something had to change, and as time went by, I became more and more aware of that.
Photo by Ott Maidre from Pexels
A life-altering experience
Then, in 2008, something happened that made me realize this to the fullest. I won't go into details about it, but let me just say that I went on a bus journey, and during that trip I had a travel companion who was 20 years younger than me.
We had so much in common, even the same kind of humour, so we laughed and talked and I felt that I could be completely myself all the time without feeling that I embarrassed anyone with it.
When I came home from that trip, I felt different. I felt that I had become more confident about who I was, and that I was actually completely OK when I was just being ME. There was nothing wrong with me at all.
I was just different from some of the people I had around me, and I needed to let them see it if were to have the good life that I knew I should and could have. I had to start being unapologetically ME. No more excuses for that!
From then on, I started searching for ways to manage this change inside. I searched for tools that could help me navigate new waters, navigate myself into a new future where I could live in alignment with who I was.
The power of saying no
That's when I came across some books about how our thoughts create our reality, and as soon as I started reading, I knew that it was true. It resonated with something deep inside of me, something I'd always known, but kind of had forgotten about. And I realized that to live in alignment with who I truly was, I had to find out what was really important to me.
I had to be honest with myself. Dig deep and find out what it was that gave me joy. What did I truly love? What would I do if I could do anything in the whole world? And I had to learn to say NO to other people when they asked me to do things I didn't really want to do. I had to stop being a people-pleaser. Set some boundaries.
I also had to learn how to silence or shut down the negative chat-box in my head. The voice that was constantly talking myself down and taking away my confidence. Because that was something that was deeply rooted in me: My ability to excuse everybody else and beat myself up whenever there was a situation of conflict in my life.
So I did the work. I started analyzing everything in my life. I got clear on what I truly wanted and what was right for ME. And I learned that to be happy, I actually have to choose it. Happiness is a choice.
What happened after that "awakening" on the trip in 2008 is a long story. It's a process that's been going on for over a decade now, a process that has lead to big changes in my life.
The short version is that I got divorced, moved to a new town, started a new life. And my personal inner journey has continued to this day, and will probably never end.
It hasn't been easy, but I'm feeling happier, more fulfilled and more in alignment with myself than I've ever been. I know what I want. I know who I am.
I haven't managed to stop being a people-pleaser all together, - I guess that went on for so many years that it became almost second nature to me, so getting rid of it completely has been hard, - but at least I've reached a point where I correct myself quickly when I notice that I'm back on that path, and I do it with more and more success every time.
Stop being a people-pleaser and start living the life you want
Being aware of these things is a big step in the right direction, and also knowing that I don't have to please everybody else or be the one to make excuses for my opinions or my behavior all the time.
And you don't have to, either. In fact, you shouldn't. You might end up losing yourself and not knowing who you are anymore. I hope my story has convinced you of that.
You need to teach people how to treat you. Set some boundaries, and be clear about them.
You don't have to become aggressive about it. Just start showing others what you truly want, or what you can or cannot accept, and do it in a gentle way.
Find ways to show them that you're no longer willing to be treated like a door-mat.
You can do this!
If you've been a people-pleaser for a long time, you'll probably find it hard to change, but start training NOW. Little by little, you'll make it.
Learn more about living the good life in my course
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Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels
I originally started on a different article that I had intended to post here on my blog, but that was before the coronavirus affected us all. All of a sudden, the world as we know it completely changed. The freedom that so many of us took for granted, the opportunities that were everywhere, seem to have vanished overnight. Many people are in a panic state of mind, and maybe you're one of them. You worry - about getting seriously ill, about whether or not you'll have enough food to get by, about your job, about your economy ...
There's no doubt about it: These are challenging times. Many industries are seriously affected by this, especially the travel industry, - and businesses might have to shut down permanently as a result of the situation. People may lose their jobs, and thereby their main income, if the quarantine situation has to go on for weeks and months ahead. Of course you're worried!
And of course we must take this seriously. We must all do what we can to reduce the risk of this becoming a long-time situation. We must follow the instructions that the health authorities give us, and stay away from personal contact with other people as much as we can. Home quarantine is necessary in this situation, and we all have to accept that.
If you have a family, staying at home for weeks and maybe even months, can be a real challenge. Kids and parents alike need positive things to do, and at the same time, you all need time and space as individuals. Some alone-time. Depending on your living conditions, this can be a challenge and really take a toll on all of you. There's no question about that. And in this particular situation, which is different from anything we've experienced in times of peace, - FEAR is a big factor that needs to be addressed.
FEAR is something that feels very real for all of us. We all have fears. But if you think of FEAR as "False Evidence Appearing Real", you may have a chance of breaking through them.
Life has always been uncertain
If you think about your life up until now, you might be of the opinion that you've never really been afraid or had any real danger in your life before now. Truth is: You've been surrounded by danger all your life, on a daily basis. Even before the Coronavirus outbreak, the world has always been uncertain.
Just think about it: You've never been able to know for certain what the next minute, hour, day, month or year would bring. At any time in your life, there's been a possibility that you could learn that someone you love has just died, or you could have a car accident, or be diagnosed with a disease, or lose your job.
That's a fact.
Uncertainty has always been there. You just haven't thought about it on a daily basis. Because ... that's life, isn't it? If we were to think about all the potential threats all the time, we wouldn't be able to function. So we create stories about our life that serve us better. We plan for tomorrow, for next week, for our next holiday, like we would live forever. And that's good. That's normal. That's our survival mechanisms, and they usually work very well.
So even if the situation around the Coronavirus is somewhat out of the ordinary, there's really no more uncertainty in this world now than what there's always been and always will be. This, too, shall pass.
I hope this can help you put it all into perspective. FEAR is part of life itself.
Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels
Feed you mind with positive insights and strategies
Even the people who seem most courageous, have fear. You see: Courage is not absence of fear, but mastery of it. This means that we can all learn to master our fear. Because the fear is really all in our mind.
"Fear itself is a creation of your mind. It does not exist independently.
Since it is a fabrication, you don’t have to fight it. Just understand it. Understanding is the key to freedom." - The Ancient Sage
Your brain is wired to keep you safe.
Tony Robbins says that a good way to fight fear, is to read. "Feed your mind with strategies and tools that you can use. You can't hope that good ideas will drop from the sky and come to you. Good ideas must be pursued."
And if you make it a habit to read a little every day, - and especially if you choose to read books that you can learn something from, - you will soon find that you'll gain wisdom and insights that can change your life and help you see things in a more positive light. Knowledge makes you feel less afraid. Fear disappears.
Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels
Also be aware of what your outer environment is feeding you. Reduce the time you spend reading or listening to negative news, or listening to negative thoughts of people around you, however well-meaning they might be. They may have good intentions, like keeping you safe from harm, but they can also limit you and create fear in you. Like Tony Robbins says: "Stand guard at the door of your mind! Because what's getting in there is shaping you."
So if you really want to feel happy and fulfilled and overcome fear, feeding your mind with positive insights and strategies is the #1 tool. If you don't really like to read books, you can listen to books instead. There are lots of Apps for this nowadays, and I won't promote any particular app here, but Amazon Kindle, Audible, Goodreads and Storytel are some of them if you need a few names to get you started.
Photo by Vlad Bagacian from Pexels
This is a good time to audit your life
If your life up until this point has been dominated by stress and worries and a feeling of not having the life that you really want, this time of home quarantine can actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for you, because now you've actually got a wonderful opportunity to take stock of where you are in life and create a new beginning for yourself.
Instead of focusing on your fear and worrying about what might happen in this pandemic situation, I suggest that you sit back and take a good look at your life. Find a nice place to sit, light a candle, brew yourself a nice cup of tea ... whatever you need to do to feel good and relaxed, and make sure you're not disturbed for a while. If you're on your own, mute your phone and close down social media and other distractions, and then just sit there quietly for a while and try to calm your mind.
First, if you're struggling, remember these things:
1) You've survived every difficulty you've experienced so far.
2) The best day of your life is still to come - and it will.
3) There are still people you haven't met, places you haven't seen and
things you haven't done, but rest assured: You will experience them all.
This, too, shall pass.
Then ask yourself these questions (and you might want to write this down in a journal or notebook to bring more clarity):
1) Where am I in my life right now? What's my situation?
2) Why am I not happy with the way may life is?
3) How do I want my life to be instead? What do I want it to look like?
What would make me really happy?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Start living with intention by changing one thing at a time
Just reflect upon these few questions for now. A total life audit might take a little more time, and to not get overwhelmed by it, I suggest you just start with getting clarity around these important questions. Because to be able to plan for the future and start living with intention, you first need to know what your starting point is. Sounds reasonable, right?
Then, when you've gained this clarity, I suggest that - as a first step towards living with intention - you make a decision about ONE thing that you're not satisfied with the way it is now, and that you intend to change on a daily basis. ONE thing that you can change right now, while you're in confinement in your home. You can do this! It doesn't have to be hard. Actually, it might even turn out to be FUN!
Changing a habit isn't done from one day to another. Statistics have shown that we need 90 days to do that. That's why you should try not to make too many changes at the same time, but stick to changing ONE before you move on to the next. And make it do-able. Especially if it's a rather BIG change. Then you might need to break it down into smaller steps and do one step at a time until you've managed to change the thing you had in mind.
For example: If you need to change your financial situation, lose weight or work on your marriage, you will of course need to make small changes over a period of time. But once you've gained clarity about what the change need to be, you've already started moving in the right direction and have every possibility of accomplishing what you really want.
I've written several articles earlier about how you should trust your inner GPS, how your thoughts create your reality, why mind control is important, what you should do to start managing your money in a better way, and about goalsetting, just to mention a few. I suggest you click on the links and read them as well. I think you might find them useful. And while you're at it, I suggest you scroll down and read some more articles, now that you have plenty of time on your hands to start filling your mind with things that can help you live with intention.
This is your time. Use it to your benefit! This can be the best day and the best time of the rest of your life.
See you soon, I hope! We're all in this together!
If you liked this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and maybe share it with someone else that you think might enjoy it, too.
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Picture from GoodReads
I don't really know which came first: My love for books or my love for everything French. All I know is that I've been equally passionate about both since my early childhood, and the combination of the two is simply perfect, in my opinion.
When I discovered the local library at the age of 11 or 12 and understood that I could go there and borrow ANY book for free, I felt like a whole new world opened up to me. To walk among the bookshelves, take in the smell of the books, touch them and read their titles in golden print, and enjoy the silence of the place, the serenity ... that was - and still is - one of my favorite activities in this world. I will never get tired of it.
The library is like a treasure chest, full of diamonds just waiting to be discovered. I've found so many gems there over the years, and I've brought them home with so much anticipation and joy, and seldom - if ever - have I been disappointed.
That's how I disovered Pierre Magnan. I was an adult then, and I think it must have been in the early 90's. When I saw those books sitting there on the library shelf, his name immediately caught my attention, since it was unmistakenly French. That alone was enough to catch my interest, and when I took a closer look at the books and found out that they were crime stories, set in Provence, I knew that I just had to read them. I borrowed all of them at once, and could hardly wait to get home and start reading.
Thrilling detective stories from Provence
I wasn't disappointed. The books I read were the ones that were translated into Norwegian at that point, and whose original titles are Le sang des Atrides (1976), Le Commissaire dans la truffière (1978), and Le secret des Andrônes (1982). The main charachter of the books is Commissaire Laviolette, who is a Detective Inspector in Alpes-des-Haute-Provence. The stories are exciting, the charachters quirky and intriguing, and the books describe perfectly the taste, smell and feeling of Provence. I simply loved them from the moment I started reading!
I've later discovered that several of the books have been adpated for cinema and TV, and you can catch a glimpse of some of them on YouTube. My next project will be to seek out and watch all of them!
HPhotos from Goodreads.com
Who was Pierre Magnan?
Pierre Magnan was a bestselling Frenh author of detective novels, born on September 19th 1922 in Manosque, France. He died on April 28th 2012, aged 89. He went to school in Manosque until the age of 12, and from the age of 13 until he was 20, he worked as a typographer. He started writing at the age of 15, and was greatly influenced by another famous writer from Manosque, Jean Giono, to whom he later dedicated a book.
During World War II, he had to go into hiding in Saint-Pierre d'Allevard in Isère, to escape the service du travail obligatoire. He later joined the French resistance for the rest of the war. In Saint-Pierre d'Allevard, he met Thyde Monnier, a well-known female writer, and finally took the courage to show her some of his writing. She persuaded her editor to publish Pierre's first novel, L'aube insolite, in 1946. It wasn't a great success, but he followed up with 3 more novels, which were equally unsuccessful. He kept on writing, though, and to earn a living, he worked for a transport company, where he stayed for 27 years. He wrote a number of novels during those years, but none of them were published.
Finally, in 1976, he got his break-through with the book Le Sang des Atrides, for which he even obtained Le Prix du Quai des Orfèvres in 1978. At the age of 56, his new career opened up in front of him, and a number of books followed. He wrote more than 30 books altogether, and has been translated into 7 languages.
His most famous book is La maison assassinée, which he wrote in 1984, and for which he obtained le Prix RTL grand public. This book has also been made into a movie, like so many others of his novels. The stories about Commissaire Laviolette have also been adapted for television. You may say that Commissaire Laviolette is just as linked to "the land of lavender" - Provence - as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse was to the colleges of Oxford.
Pierre Magnan won several awards for his writing. According to Goodreads.com, he was never afraid to experiment, and shifted easily from fiction to non-fiction. For example, he wrote (among many other publications) a gentle portrait of his great influencer Jean Giono - Pour Saluer Giono (1990), a study of Provençal novels (Les Romans de ma Provence, 1998) and two volumes of memoirs. In The Essence of Provence (1998) he followed L'Occitaine from roadside soap stand to globally known brand, and his editor at Robert Laffont, Marie-Laure Goumet, has said that Provence was present in all of Pierre Magnan's books.
Pierre Magnan lived in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in Fourcalquier, all his life. In his last years, he devoted himself to another police novel, called Chronique d'un château hanté, in which the story takes place in Manosque and Fourcalquier in a period stretching from la peste noire (1349-1350) up to the present time. It was published by Denoël in 2008, and was followed by a last book about Commissaire Laviolette, Élégie pour Laviolette, in 2010.
Photos from Goodreads.com
Novels by Pierre Magnan:
As mentioned above, his novels have been translated into 7 languages, and the English titles are (as far as I know): The Murdered House, Beyond the Grave, The Messengers of Death, and Death in the Truffle Wood. You can find most of his books on amazon.com, including both his fiction and non-fiction works.
For a complete list of all of Pierre Magnan's work, check out this French Wikipedia article. It also contains a filmography of his work, which I myself find very interesting. I simply love a good crime story, whether in a book or on film, and the works of Pierre Magnan is something I take a particular interest in.
I hope you've found this blog post interesting! You're most welcome to leave a comment below, and I also hope you'll share the article with someone else.
Look out for my next article in this series about my favorite authors from Provence, which will be about Marcel Pagnol.
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