Tag Archives: Beach

Happy New Year!

For my first post of 2017, I would like to convey to all my readers the usual good wishes for a healthy, happy and successful new year. More specifically, I hope that the next twelve months will bring you defining moments to take you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

I decided against writing a post about my goals this time. Mainly, I want to build on the ones I have set my heart onto in recent years and our stay in the South of France a the end of December gave me the opportunity to reflect on different, untried angles to achieve them. I also realised that a change of attitude was in order. I may later on share with you on that chain of thoughts!

For now, let’s go back in time… 2016 was a funny year, one when I often felt held back, and this applied to my blog too. Having gone to Italy last July, it took me until November to finally tell you about it. Today, I am indeed taking you to France but it will be all summery and bright. As always, the whole gallery is available on Of Lens And Pen, should you need a higher dose of sun and colours – with a hint of black and white!

I would love to hear about what you got up to during the festive season and your objectives for 2017. Do tell me!


Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen


My Love For The UK

I had planned to write a post about my visit to my lovely friend Sarah at the end of May. And then Brexit happened, so I felt that I had to share some of my thoughts on this too.

I first set foot in the UK twenty-five years ago, when I came as an au pair to learn English. Back then, being Swiss meant that the family I was going to work for had to get a permit for me. The many reasons I fell in love with the country I described in my Manchester – An Anniversary post, if you want to have a read. I spent a year in England and came back, intending to stay, a year later, having in the meantime lived in Vienna to learn German, gone to Australia and worked in Switzerland. I did apply for jobs, but again, my nationality was a real obstacle. My only hope was for the December 1992 Swiss referendum to join the EEE to be accepted. 78,73% of the population voted and it was refused by 50.3%… Sounds familiar? My last hope had been crushed and I went back to Switzerland, both angry and heartbroken.

Of course, in the greater scheme of things, my personal experience is not that important. But now that my two daughters have lost overnight the “European passport” they had thanks to their British father, it makes me really sad that they, like thousands and thousands of other young people, might experience the same disillusion. To encounter difficulties in getting a university spot or a job in the country of their choice, or worse, to see their dream disintegrate should not have happened, in my opinion. And for the moment, I am clinging to the hope that somehow, it will not.

Meanwhile, my love relationship with the UK continues and I am looking forward to making more and more memories. Like the ones created during my recent trip: going to a charity barn dance, walking along the sea on that gorgeous South coast, and eating fish and chips in the pub. Or having cream tea in the gardens of Highcliffe Castle and sharing tapas, wine and laughs with friends in Bournemouth.

Until next time.
Going to a barn dance with our checked shirts and cowgirl boots
Healthy juice for brunch
South Coast of England
Enjoying a walk along the sea in the UK
Arriving at the beach in the UK
HighCliffe Castle UK
Carved wooden bench UK
Pretty courtyard in Lymington UK

Why You Need to Visit France at Least Once in Your Life

France is such an easy holiday destination when you live in the UK. It is so close by that you do not need to allow days of travel to get there. As a result, the travel options are varied and the cost is relatively low. You could drive to France, get the train or travel across the channel by boat. Be prepared to speak a little French when you are over there. They expect you to at least try to communicate in their language! Here are a few areas that you need to visit at least once in your life.


Mont Saint-Michel - France
Photo Source

This is on the coast in the North of France. It is so stunning and there is so much to see. You can discover Mont Saint-Michel and the Abbey built on it. There are of course the beaches, including the ones that bear such significance to the First World War. There are war graves that you can visit too. With many museums and cathedrals, Normandy is your culture stop.

Of course, Paris has to be on the list. It is simply stunning and so worth a visit. Everyone needs to experience the city of love. Of course, everyone knows the most famous sights, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It is lovely to wander the streets in the evening and grab a macaron or three on the Champs-Elysées. A short train journey to the outskirts of Paris will take you to Disneyland. Always a popular idea if you travel with young ones or the not so young too! You would only need a couple of days there, as it is not huge.


If you are looking for a more chilled out stay, then a trip to the French countryside is a must. Dordogne, in the South West of France, is truly stunning. There are gardens and castles to visit and wander around, as well as the breathtaking Dordogne caves. The villages and towns have bustling markets, as well as plenty of cycling routes and vineyards. Perhaps not the best area to take children, but it would make for an amazing getaway as a couple.

The Alps

French Alps
Photo Source

The fantastic thing about France is the wide range of activities to choose from. If you want to visit a beach, you can. If you want history and museums, you have plenty to choose from. Skiing? You guessed it, it is available too! Skiing in the Alps is just fabulous. Visiting out of ski season is a great idea too, as long as you are into walking or hiking. There is great scenery, good food and plenty to do. The weather is often just right too. You will not want it to be scorching hot if you are planning on hiking.
Have you been to France before? Then do share what your favourite places to visit are.
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