Living France - - Lifestyle -

to all the ameni­ties and tourist sites for guests. Mont St-Michel is close by and the coast is an hour’s drive, but it’s a beau­ti­ful jour­ney through the coun­try­side so peo­ple en­joy do­ing it.”

This lovely way of life is cer­tainly one Rosie and her hus­band Si­mon, along with their two boys Tom and Ben, have en­joyed since they moved and Rosie talks en­thu­si­as­ti­cally about the boys’ “lovely child­hood, run­ning through fields”. The care­free ex­is­tence is a lux­ury that many young fam­i­lies hope to find at the gîtes and Rosie and Si­mon are more than happy to share it with them, em­brac­ing the op­por­tu­nity to make cos­mopoli­tan con­nec­tions with their guests that come from all over the world.

“Some peo­ple ar­rive and are very quiet and oth­ers are more chatty, and we’ll quite hap­pily sit and en­joy a glass of wine with them. We’ve made some great friends, one fam­ily in par­tic­u­lar who we see ev­ery time we go back to the UK,” says Rosie.

But per­haps the real star of the show is the fam­ily’s pet boar, named Boris John­son. “He’s a gen­tle gi­ant,” laughs Rosie. “He’s a lovely at­trac­tion and the kids es­pe­cially al­ways seem to re­mem­ber him.”

But be­yond mak­ing mem­o­ries, Rosie and Si­mon are keen that stay­ing at the gîtes will pro­mote a more en­vi­ron­men­tal life­style, and whether that’s through pro­vid­ing guests with re-us­able shop­ping bags, en­cour­ag­ing them to use the on­site re­cy­cling and com­post­ing fa­cil­i­ties or show­ing the kids around the wildlife hold­ing, there’s a hope that guests will re­mem­ber their time in Nor­mandy when they go back home.

“I would love to think that they take some­thing like that away with them,” says Rosie. “I just try to set that idea, that lit­tle spark. If you tell peo­ple all the things they should do to make the world per­fect, they’re not go­ing to do it. But if they make lit­tle changes, like walk­ing to school one day a week or buy­ing one pack of or­ganic meat a month, then you grad­u­ally have a greater in­flu­ence,” she says. But for those who need more mo­ti­va­tion to go green, it would surely be Rosie’s rea­son­ing as she pops those sea­sonal greens in the pan: “It’s just all about hav­ing a lovely life.” • In­su­late to keep the house warmer in win­ter and cooler in sum­mer. Thick cur­tains are also great at keep­ing out the cold and don’t for­get to lag the wa­ter tank and pipes. • Buy re­claimed and sec­ond-hand. Look at sec­ond-hand sites online, keep an eye on the small ads and visit car boot sales. En­joy giv­ing some­thing old a new lease of life. • Re­fur­bish what you al­ready have – get old chairs re­uphol­stered and mend bro­ken items. • Be cre­ative. We made a cof­fee ta­ble for the gîte by cut­ting down the legs of an old school desk. • If buy­ing new, choose eco-friendly goods such as wooden prod­ucts from sus­tain­able forestry projects. • Do­nate or sell things you don’t want rather than send­ing them to land­fill. • Use en­ergy-ef­fi­cient light­ing and in­crease nat­u­ral light lev­els with sky­lights and light tubes. • Plant a wildlife-friendly gar­den and grow some of your own veg­eta­bles – you can even do this in pots if you have lim­ited space.

Read Rosie’s next gar­den­ing col­umn in our Oc­to­ber is­sue

Rosie and Si­mon love the ru­ral life­style Nor­mandy has af­forded them and their sons Tom and Ben; the fam­ily en­joy din­ing on fresh, sea­sonal pro­duce from the gar­den’s veg­etable patch

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