Yet Another France Update: Goal Achieved!

Yet Another France Update: Goal Achieved!

I don’t tend to have many goals in my life, but one which has been on my list for many years now is to purchase a house. For the last 20 years or so I have lived in rented property in the UK and more recently France.

Well… as of today, Tuesday 4th August 2015, I am now the very proud owner of my own home… and this is what it looks like!

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When I moved to France in 2011, I honestly thought it would be a long while before I managed to buy my own property, but with business going very well, the cheap house prices and the huge help from Hero at Immobilier Maison Rurales, it’s only taken me just shy of 4 years! It’s been hard work, my own bank turned me down twice for a mortgage as they see self employed people as high risk… and trying to build my business up from nothing has been an up hill struggle occasionally.

But now that my one and only big goal has been achieved, what next?

Well I’ve not really thought about it to be honest, I’ve had other things on my mind, like getting the Internet up and running in my new house so I can continue to work… and building a fence to keep the dog from escaping. But I think once I am nicely settled, I’ll be coming up with some new life goals and see what I can achieve in the next 4 years.

I do have some business news (hopefully) in October, about my impending name change and some new packages I will let loose on the world… so keep dropping by, and if you’d like more regular updates, then do sign up to my newsletter.

And while we’re talking about goals, what are your big life goals and have you achieved them yet?

Living in France: An Update

Living in France: An Update

3 years ago this coming week, I left my life in the UK and moved to rural France. It’s been an uphill struggle most of the time, and now I think I have been here long enough to be able to appreciate that it was quite a brave move for me to make.

One of the lovely streets in my nearest town

One of the lovely streets in my nearest town

At that time, I did everything in a mad rush, I visited in the August for a holiday and then decided to move over pretty much as soon as I got home. I then moved lock, stock and barrel in the October. I packed up, saw all my friends before I left, as well as starting my own business… all in about 6 weeks!!

One of the hardest things about living in France is learning the language. I’m not a child anymore when learning things is a lot easier, it’s taken me 3 years to feel confident that I can get by going into shops, making appointments and communicating reasonably well with my French friends. If I had known how frustrated I would feel about the French language, I may not have moved over here. If I was ever to move back to the UK, this would be the reason why, my failure at being able to communicate properly in French.

I am one of the lucky ones though, I run an English speaking business. All my clients are English, and the only French client I have uses me for my English. I don’t think I would be able to run a business where I needed to speak French on a daily basis – I would certainly be a very stressed out person if I did!

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post about my life here in France, so I thought it would be an ideal time for an update.

I now live in a different village, I moved here back in December, in the middle of winter. It was a very stressful time, and to be perfectly honest, the worst decision I have made since I’ve been here. I pretty much jumped from the frying pan (my leaking apartment where I started) into the fire (a house with numerous problems one after the other). My main issue in this new place is the Internet, you may have read my post about not having Internet for days. Well the Internet is still not perfect, but it hasn’t gone off for that length of time again.

Stocking up with wood for the winter

Stocking up with wood for the winter

But, not dwelling on the doom and gloom of housing problems, my business has grown very well over the last 3 years and I now have a full complement of clients. I can’t say it’s been easy, I work at home all week alone and don’t really get to speak to anyone, but all the hard work I put in at the start has really paid off.

Lunch with Les Dames de FER coordinators

Lunch with Les Dames de FER coordinators

Joining the association Les Dames de FER was another high point in the last few years. It’s great to be able to socialise with other women in business, and mostly in English, which is a relief. As I’m the group coordinator for this area, I have been busy over the last few weeks organising events for 2015 – it’s not something I have ever done before, but I am really enjoying it.

The lake in my small French village

The lake in my small French village

I still get out once a day with Hatchi, my dog, who keeps me on my toes. If it wasn’t for him I would be sat at my desk 24/7 and not getting out in the French country air. My aim for next year is to spend a lot more time outside and doing all the things I planned to do when I moved here and also buying my first house (watch this space). Now my business is growing steadily I can afford to take some much needed time off.

A Different Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant

Way back when I first started my blog I wrote a post called A Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant. I didn’t think it would be a popular post; who wants to know about what I get up to all day? But it turned out to be one of the most clicked on posts I’ve written about virtual assistants, and many of the visits have come through searches on Google.

Since writing this post back in January things haven’t really changed too much, but I wanted to write an update today because it’s a little bit different, and hopefully today will be the first of many.

I am writing this blog post from my partner’s farm, in France of course. While he is off getting the wood in the tractor I am sat outside at the rear of the farmhouse in the sun, the temperature is around 21 degrees and directly in the sun it’s over 30!! We’re still in March, it’s unbelievable.

There is no Internet, I barely have a 3G signal on my iPhone and the sun is causing some screen issues but who cares, I’m not stuck at my desk in the office which is probably colder than outside right now.

All around me I can hear various animals, a couple of lambs were born last night so they are safely in the barn and their Mum is bleeting away. The cows are rather quiet today, they’re not out in the beautiful weather, I asked my partner why and apparently it’s because the grass isn’t ready for them to eat yet. The ducks and geese are happily swimming in the large pond I am sitting next to. One of the ducks seems to be billy no mates and he’s lost a lot of his feathers, not seen anything like it before – it appears that the other ducks are picking on him. There’s also the odd lizard running up the side of the farmhouse, or basking in the sun, certainly something you don’t see in the UK.

As well as having no Internet, there’s also no toilet… this is a major problem for me, so until the fosse septique is installed I doubt whether I’d be able to spend a whole day here. Although as I mentioned in my last post, my partner comes home for lunch, so it’s quite possible if I didn’t have much Internet work to do.

Most of my clients recently have been authors who need their books formatted for eBook, so this is the perfect task to be getting along with on the farm. I don’t need the Internet, I just need my trusty netbook and a seat and I can get along with the formatting in the peace and quiet of the French farm life.

I just wish Google worked out here, it’s handy to be able to look up random things…

I could get used to this though, although I’m not sure how much work I’d get done around watching the antics of the various animals, it’s quite addictive, I used to people watch a lot, now I animal watch.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, a bit different from normal but I hope my new calm working environment might spark some creative ideas for new blog posts, so watch this space.

I recently set-up a board on Pinterest called The Farm, I have some more images to add to this from my recent visit.