About Harriet @23

Maybe we should introduce ourselves, over to you Hal…

I live in the village of Ceauce in rural Normandy with my family. We arrived in France in March 2014 and moved into our home in March 2015. My family includes my husband Paul, our nine year old twin sons Toby and Nicholas, Paul’s dad Frank, Winnie the greyhound and 6 chickens that are all named and loved as we are a vegetarian household. Well, Paul and Frank are veggie. The boys and I play at it and Winnie is actively against it!

We strive for simplicity. To live minimally, ethically and organic. To be creative and live fulfilled lives.
I am happiest working in the garden, listening to the birds and then sitting back at the end of the day and admiring my efforts with a cold beer.
Paul is a drummer and composer. He loves camper vans, pizza, red wine and having his little family around him.

So how did we get here?
In October 2013 life was ticking along. I was nursing full time and Paul was home educating Toby and Nick. We lived in Brighton in a house we had had built. We had lots of family and friends close by. Life was pretty good, no complaints.
Then Paul went for a holiday to my parents house in Normandy with the boys whilst I worked – the annual leave allowance only goes so far! One day during that week I sat at work at my desk and thought, is this it? A wave of panic came over me as I realised I could sit at this desk doing this job for the next 30 years until I retire. I would have missed so much time with my children, spent too many weeks living for the week-end and for what? To pay the mortgage? I was gripping my desk with frustration, things had to change. I felt like I was going to burst. I had so much more inside. I spoke to Paul and we realised we weren’t as content as we had thought. Paul was feeling the pressure of home educating and I desperately wanted to be more involved. We felt we were living half lives, both keen to take life in a different direction.

That direction was Normandy. We had spent lots of time in Normandy and loved the region. We were excited at the prospect of Toby and Nicholas learning another language, going to school in France and for us all to experience a different culture. We couldn’t stop thinking about it! Time together, a rural life, to be able to observe the seasons, gaze at the stars. Live a life we believed in, Adventure!

5 months later we were here! We had rolled the dice and felt alive – full of excitement and fear!

Now June 2015 a new life is unfolding and we are settling into our new home. Toby and Nick have been at the local school for over a year and have adjusted to life in the French countryside very well. Paul is busy in his music studio, I am happily  learning about life in the garden and Frank enjoys being part of it all as and when he fancies!

Not long after we arrived in France we met Mandy and Christophe through our children. It wasn’t long before we realised we enjoyed the same things in life, shared the same outlook. Mandy took me under her wing as a garden apprentice and with mud under our nails and forks in the ground 23 little trees was born. This is our venture – friendship, dreams, passions and skills combined. Daring to be different! The seeds are all there and about to grow……


4 thoughts on “About Harriet @23

  1. Hey Harriet! Beautiful blog! It’s so nice to read about your adventures! Sorry for all the exclamation marks….I’m sure you have your tough days too but it sounds idyllic. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to he next instalment xxxxx


  2. Hi Harriet, I came across your blog after visiting Saint. Fraimbault fete with my daughter. I’m really enjoying reading about your family’s adventure, particularly as I’m about to be spending more and more time in France (near Lassay les Chateaux). I can really relate to your description of feeling like you’re living a half life and the joy we can experience from the simple, beautiful things in life, like star gazing or tilling the earth. Love your writing style and thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi there
      thanks for getting in touch and your kind words.
      It’s great to know the blog is being read!
      Beautiful Lassay – roses on your doorstep.
      Lets hope the rain allows us to get tilling and star gazing soon. x


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