From industrial Liverpool via international Monaco to the idyllic French countryside

Growing up in the industrial city of Liverpool, I’d had wanderlust from an early age. For me, the languages I relished in school held the key to a whole treasure chest of exciting opportunities, experiences, sights and sounds. So it came as no surprise to anyone when I decided to do a degree in languages complete with one year abroad in Spain, France and Portugal. From that moment on, there was no looking back, I was sold on living abroad, but where exactly? I loved the party atmosphere and laid-back lifestyle I’d experienced in Spain but at the same time I had to admit that I probably felt more at home with the French way of life, particularly after having been welcomed with open arms during my work placement at a tiny tourist office in Provence. Little did I know that I would end up moving to France straight after University to live with my future French husband, sharing my life between the glamorous confines of Nice and the international business world of Monaco. [caption id="attachment_1407" align="alignleft" width="564"]Kelly with her husband and daughter Kelly with her husband and daughter[/caption] I had no qualms whatsoever of moving to the South of France right after my graduation. Not because I was unhappy in England but the lure of adventures and love in a whole new setting was too good to miss. Not a bad decision given that our relationship was sealed by a wedding in 1998 and the birth of “une petite franglaise” in 2007. Fast forward to 2012. I was working in HR as an Executive PA in Monaco, a job I had been doing for the previous 6 years and which I can honestly say I enjoyed. However, there was a rather big cloud hovering on the horizon: my long hours, which frequently spilled into the weekend, left me juggling between my roles of Mum, Wife and PA and feeling like I was on a continual treadmill stuck on “steep incline”. Coming up to my 40th birthday, I started to ask myself a lot of serious questions. What if I could have more time for myself and enjoy life more? Be my own boss doing something I love? Spend more quality time with my family? Buy some land and build the house and guesthouse we’d always wanted? But there were some pretty heavy challenges too: we’d have to sell our house in a difficult market, leave all our friends, move to a place we knew no one; it was a whole new ball game! I’d have to find a new career? Start again. But could I carry on the way I was and forget these questions? So it was finally in April 2013 that we threw caution to the wind and left everything behind, friends, job and the multi-coloured pebbles and blue deckchairs of the Promenade des Anglais to move to the other side of France to a little town called Foix slap bang in the middle of Ariege! Why? Because, in spite of its breathtaking scenery, this beautiful mountainous region near the Spanish border is not yet widely “famous”, it is not crowded, the pace of life is calmer, the locals, fiercely proud of their heritage, welcome people who appreciate its untamed spirit. And, to be perfectly frank, we also hoped we’d finally find a plot of land to fit our dream project and our budget. Strangely enough, I was more excited than worried about the change; I was ready for it. The new opportunities and possibilities ahead were my driving force. And so began our new life. My little girl, 5 at the time, started a new, much smaller, school in a mixed-level class (a class comprising two years of students with teaching time being spread between them). This may sound strange to some but it is often the case in small towns in France and surprisingly it works very well as the older children often support the younger ones who, in turn, are boosted by them. Imagine her surprise when, on her first day, she received a lovely bouquet of lily of the valley from a little boy in her class as a welcome gesture. Fortunately, at that early age, integration wasn’t difficult for her with only the occasional pining for a best friend left behind. The same goes for myself in that the “school run” fortunately provided me/us with an extensive source of social contacts, many of which have now become firm friends. I do think about the big city from time to time but I have to admit that I don’t miss the noise, traffic jams and stress that accompany it. Life is simpler here, people don’t seem to worry so much about appearances and it’s easier to immerse ourselves in nature as it’s literally on our doorstep. [caption id="attachment_1408" align="alignright" width="564"]niceblog2 The view from Kelly’s house in Foix[/caption] What do I do now? Well, upon moving here, I took some time out to “find myself” as I felt I needed space to replenish and reflect on my future. It was the best decision of my life! It was during this time of rejuvenation that I really became interested in personal development and I must have read over 300 books on the subject since then! It’s still my main passion today and it’s this desire to fulfil my purpose and potential that led me to my current career path: life coaching. Funnily enough, I’d already been coaching unconsciously for many years, often being the “go-to person” for numerous friends and colleagues who saw in me a trusted confidant and sounding board for personal or professional matters. I see coaching as a part of me, it’s kind of inbred. To cut a long story short, after undertaking a training course with an American Coaching Institute, I officially became qualified as a Life Coach and Solution-Focused Coach in October 2015. Who do I coach? Although it’s my pleasure to coach anyone who is motivated to work towards a specific goal, I specialize in coaching women who, like myself when I reached the big “4 0”, wake up and realize they either need more balance in their lives, want to retrieve their “sparkle” or reconnect with themselves, find their passion and live a more meaningful life. Who knows, perhaps that could mean a new life abroad! In parallel, I also coach Business English for presentation & public-speaking skills, focusing on female entrepreneurs. This is another fulfilling way to incorporate my coaching techniques with language. And last but not least, what about our dream project? Well, my husband has stopped working and is completely devoted to building our house (and future gîte), which is progressing nicely in a beautiful village 10 mins away from Foix. ***** www.thebestselfstylist.com]]>




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