Time out, alone, is a rare commodity for most of us.
Having had a few of life's bigger challenges thrown at me this year, I felt it was time to take my own self into hand. When life gets tough we do let ourselves go...well, I do.
Like most women I go I go I go I go I go and then, I flop! I admit to being totally in awe of the majority of my women friends who seem to cope so well with anything. But that again is a "woman's lot"...we have to continue, there is simply no choice. We might be living in more modern times but let's be honest - who deals with the kids, the washing, the cooking, the daily grind...?
I don't know about you, but there are days where I start my mantra before I even jump on my bike to go home. Yes, that's me you've probably seen whizzing along the Bordeaux quays in a black power-suit, chignon and pearls chanting chardonnay chardonnay chardonnay chardonnay! But frankly life is pretty sad when the only highlight in your day is the first sip of chardonnay before you start cooking, laundrey, etc etc, only to find yourself falling into bed at 11pm with the glass of chardonnay tepid and far from unfinished on the kitchen bench.
Now that alot of us have children who are getting older and more independant it is time to do something for ourselves. By "something for ourselves" I don't mean lunch out and a bikini wax - I am talking about a week out from family and work and ALONE! Turn off your mobiles and get going girls!!
I have taken myself off on a Qi Gong retreat*. A week of daily classes, learning something new. Great food, sun, relaxation, local culture and delightful company. I do feel rather sorry for the Qi Gong teacher having been landed with what could only be called Mrs Bean...picture this Desperate Anglo Housewife on her hands and knees, bum skyward, trying to get up off the ground upwards with one fluid movement. Just lift from your posterior madam, says the poor chap. Honestly, how can he even begin to imagine I can lift upwards from an area which weighs more than my brain.Impossible!
Classes have been punctuated by twice weekly full body deep tissue massage from which you emerge in, what can only be described as, euphoria.
Having refound who I am this week, I just want to shout out to all women out there to go out and do the same thing. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do- the important ingredient is just to go!
Considered as a classic provençale speciality, a " Tian" explodes with summer vitality. Easy to make with all the summer veg, it is a dream teamed up with grilled fish and copious amounts of crisp provençale rosé.
2 yellow and 2 green new season's corgettes, sliced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
2 large red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 small aubegine, sliced
olive oil, salt petter,
lemon zest to finish
Chop up all veg and basically let your artistic kitchen goddess shine through...I start by a bed of chopped onion and olive oil topped with layered vegetables. Lots of salt and pepper, chopped herbs and scattering of lemon zest, a drizzle of oil and into the oven 180° for 20 minutes and then another hour at 160°.