It was New Year’s Eve 2009. I was 50. I had spent the last 20 years raising my four children and loved every second of it, but now they were bigger, and independent. There was no getting around it. I was bored. So at midnight on this new year’s eve, I raised my glass of champagne, and to anyone who was listening, I pronounced “2010 is the year I reinvent myself”. I had no idea what I would do, which direction I would head towards, but I had said it aloud, and it appears that the universe was listening.
Two months later I started my blog, not knowing if anyone would ever read me. The blogging community was very generous towards me and I began to find an audience. The next year I explored social media and enjoyed that, despite the fact that until then I knew nothing about websites or even really about using a computer!
My audience grew and the emails started to arrive. First of all people asking if they could come shopping with me, and this started my tours. A few years later an email from the publisher Gibbs Smith led to a first book in 2015 and a second in 2017. In 2016 I hired my first assistant and we launched our French subscription box. And now we have a magazine too.
This is not me bragging. I am simply demonstrating that it is possible to reinvent ourself at any age, or any time in our lives. Today, despite having no business or IT training, at the age of 60, I have my small company with a great little team of young talented women, and I am having a ball!
On each of my tours I am always, always asked about my reinvention. How long did it take? Was it scary? Is it difficult? Do I have any regrets? I have come to realise that so many people are looking for new directions in their own lives. In today’s world it is so easy to underestimate ourselves, to feel weighed down by a busy daily routine and hold back and our own fulfillment. Sometimes it helps to talk things through with like-minded women.
So this is why I am extremely excited to announce a new tour, or rather my first tour & retreat event, April 22-27, 2020 . It is all about re-invention and creativity. I am teaming up with Sandra Sigman, floral artist and experienced entrepreneur to invite you on a retreat in Provence. We will also be accompanied by Sharmin Wengender, expert yoga instructor and guide in mindfulness …
Based at the stunning Chateau de Moissac in the south of France, the tour will be a week of creativity, reflection, and enjoyment, where good conversation will mingle with healthy living, delicious food and wine.
We have designed a week of calm and reflection for those of you who are wondering about the next step in your life. We all know how it feels. New directions come about for many different reasons, a change in family life; an empty nest; the wish to redirect a career; or simply the realisation that you could be doing more with your life.
Having reinvented myself completely over the past ten years, I have come to understand how universal and important a step it can be in our lives. A moment to reconsider how we see ourselves … today, and tomorrow. A moment to be real about our desires, our expectations and our abilities.
Does any of this ring true for you? If so then take a look at our proposed content below for the retreat in Provence, and of course don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
I am very happy to be offering this new event, and looking forward to exploring new directions in life with my guests, while enjoying the sweet charms of life in Provence
About the Retreat in Provence, 22-27 April 2020
The retreat will last 6 days and 5 nights. Each morning will begin with yoga stretching in the grounds of the chateau. No worries if you are not a yoga expert, Sharmin is here to guide us and help each person achieve what they personally feel comfortable with. It can also just be about breathing in the fresh air of a morning in Provence, enjoying the beautiful views and meditating on the day ahead.
Sharmin will be on hand at other moments during the day to answer your questions and help you find your own routine to go home with.
Each day of the tour will include either a talk and discussion on the theme of reinvention and next steps, or a floral workshop at the chateau, followed by an activity or visit to a local point of interest.
During the week there will be two big floral creations. First of all, you will personally create a large feature piece, using a generous selection of blooms that we provide, and an antique french recipient that is yours to keep. Sandra and I will be on hand to guide if required, and you will learn how to prep your flowers, how to design the bouquet and how to achieve your bouquet.
At the end of the week, we shall take over a whole room at the chateau and together create a floral installation for our final dinner together. This will be a team effort and an opportunity to learn different techniques in decorating with flowers.
Our talks during the week will focus on reinvention of course. There will be time to talk about your creative projects and also, for those who are looking to create a business, about being a female entrepreneur at any stage in life. Women have a particular approach to business projects, small or large. We bring an insight and a humanity that is important to us. Sometimes though we need to take some quiet time to find our own particular path.
Sandra and I will share our experience as entrepreneurs, covering subjects such as finding your way, creating your brand and using social media.
Through our discussions together and a few easy pointers we hope that each of the guests on the retreat will leave with new energy, new creativity and feeling more clear about their next steps in life.
Click here to read more about the Retreat in Provence – April 22-27, 2020 …
or email [email protected] for more information or to reserve your place.
Oh this retreat looks amazing! I’ve been contemplating a career shift but haven’t had the guts to make the move. This might be just what I need- and to learn from two people who know so much about this!
It would be a pleasure to host you Glenda, and help you think through ideas. Neither Sandra or I are saying that we have the answers to all your questions, but we hope that the retreat provides the right creative ambiance for our guests to dig deeper and discover their own individual talents and gifts
Please let us know if you have any other questions
Your retreat sounds fabulous Sharon! You have definitely reinvented yourself to the maximum! I applaud you!
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always thinking of and finding ways to reinvent myself. I’ve done that several times over. In fact, I recently self published a children’s book, titled, “The Cat, The Fiddle and Me” that began with a song. It was a massive collaborative project which took an incredible amount of my time. It was something I thought I could never do but I did it. We’ve already had great success with the book. If anyone is interested they can take a look at my blog and my site for information about it.
Congratulations Colleen, I am very happy for you. Thank you for sharing this. I wish you much success with your book, and with all your other creative ventures 🙂
Is this Chateau pictured here the same one used in the 2009 movie, “A Good Year”, with Russell Crowe???
Sounds fabulous. So wonderful for women who are searching for what to do.
After I sold my large business in 2000 I also looked for something to keep me busy.
Finally I found it with French Vintage Home and now my blog, websites and shopping the flea market keeps me busier than I thought I would ever be.
I commend you for being so generous to share your experience.
You are the best.
Thank you for this Audrey. I have seen you in action, so I know just how full of energy and drive you are. Inspirational!
I’m sure that many people around you feel the same way as I do 🙂
love to you
I love the sound of this Sharon. I’m about to turn 40, and definitely in need of a new direction, but I’m not sure I’m really cut out to be an entrepreneur. Do you think this would be interesting for me ?
Hi Julie, thank you for asking the question! I totally understand that you may want to reinvent yourself but not necessarily as an entrepreneur. This retreat will be very much about the importance of living creatively, in whatever way works for you.
We don’t pretend to have the answers for you, but simply to help you explore possibilities. I anticipate there being ladies on the tour who want to launch a business idea and others who are looking to explore their creativity through art, writing, photography; baking … the possibilities are endless8
Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions
Here’s one of my favorite “French” books….proof that being a female entrepreneur has, actually, gotten a bit easier than it was in 1812. The widow was indefatigable and unstoppable. I find it amusing that her grand=daughter took all the Cliquot money, married the Duke of Uzes, and restored that particular family’s fortunes (while also becoming the first Frenchwoman to get a speeding ticket)……
#lifegoals ?! 🙂
Please share the name of the book!
Perhaps it’s this book: The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It . You can find it on Amazon
What a lovely place. Looks so peaceful, relaxing yet a bit luxe with a hint of rustic. I would love to live in a place like this one.
Sharon your retreat sounds wonderful. What a dreamy, peaceful place to relax, and contemplate life.
What an amazing opportunity for people with money 🙁
Do you plan to host anymore retreats such as this in the future?
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