Have you found your tribe?  Do you have a group of friends with whom you share the ups and downs of your life, as soon as they occur; women with whom you can laugh or cry, dance the night away or talk for hours without ever getting bored?

A few years ago I attended a breast cancer charity ball, with a group of women. At a certain point in the evening, and (I should probably add), after several bottles of fizz had been drunk at our table, there was a charity auction, with the usual “prizes” such as signed footballs and celebrity photos, spa days and dining experiences.  ‘Just for fun’ we joined in the procedure, sticking our hands up in the early stages before quickly dropping out. Then a villa holiday in the Cevennes, in the south of France, came up.  One person on our table stuck her hand up and, with her back to the auctioneer, mouthed: “If we ‘win’ we can go on holiday together!” Before we knew it, the hammer went down. We’d “bought” a holiday!

A few weeks later we were at Gatwick Airport with another bottle of fizz in front of us, (you might find a pattern here,) awaiting a flight to Montpelier.  At this early stage, roles quickly emerged. One person had immediately taken upon herself to organize flights and car hire.  On arrival in France, another, who had lived in the US and was therefore more experienced driving on the right, championed herself as driver. Another became map-reader and tour guide.  A couple of hours later we arrived at our (remote) destination in a tiny village with no shop, café or bar. Not even a bakery.  I’d had the foresight to pack enough ingredients to make a pasta dish for dinner so became head chef, as well as finding the villa owner’s wine stash under the stairs…and the other member of the group proved to be the perfect ‘fire-starter’. (It was mid-April and freezing at night in the hills.)

Over the following few days we found easy agreement to a daily schedule with trips around the area and beyond, supermarket visits to buy provisions, (fizz and wine being a priority,) and evenings spent telling stories around the dining table, playing loud music and dancing like no one was watching, (they weren’t really.)

We are actually, all quite different people, doing very different jobs with different characters and in different stages of our lives, but we found a common ground – an ability to feel free and laugh together; that has remained over the ensuing years.  That first Spring-time trip away has been on repeat over the last 7 years, usually in slightly warmer places than the Cevennes, but always with the same sense of closeness and appreciation.

Early on in our group friendship we called ourselves “Goddesses”, partly as a joke, but also as an ‘homage’ to one of the group who had recovered from breast cancer.  Now each December we have a “Goddess Night” to celebrate ourselves as women. We glam up, exchange small gifts, drink fizz and embrace the importance of having found our special tribe.  One year, one of the group bought us all “Goddess” mugs, and every time I drink from mine, I feel thankful and lucky to have found my little tribe.


15 years ago today, we moved into our house in Cornwall. That makes this home the longest I have lived anywhere and considering how unsure I have been about living here, it’s remarkable I’ve stuck it out. Over the years people who’ve followed me on social media have seen a ‘perfect existence’, sailing through blue seas, walking along empty beaches, sitting outside quaint pubs and eating in fine restaurants, all interspersed with holidays and short breaks away and mid-week days in London. The truth is, I’ve often been filled with self-doubt. A new existence can be lonely, especially if you don’t quite fit in.

Enter my home & you’ll always be welcome

So many people reach a time in their lives when they want to jump off their track and go on a tangent. I truly jumped in feet first. I didn’t know the area. I had no contacts in my new destination and the decision was based on the choice of a school for my daughter and a desire (not strictly mine) to own a boat.

The AGA is the soul of my house. My morning view eases in the day. 

At first I didn’t see the beauty of my new surroundings. I just felt a long way from anywhere. (It is!)

I had to learn it wasn’t all bad! 

It’s not all bad! I love the ruggedness of the north coast beaches, the wild countryside and the pretty fishing villages of the south coast. I feel privileged to buy fish landed that morning and vegetables, eggs and meat straight from the local farms. I love taking the boat and mooring off a tiny beach you can only reach from the sea. I feel surrounded by art and artists and a general quirkiness I’ve never experienced anywhere, that’s both endearing and fascinating. And I do have friends who are supportive and special. Yet completely cutting my strings with my old life hangs over me still. I love the opportunity London offers. And even if I do nothing with my time there, I can be inspired just sitting on the 19 bus as it goes down the Kings Road, swings round Sloane Square and onward to Knightsbridge.

I’m telling you this for several reasons. Firstly, if you have a desire to ‘up sticks and move’, think carefully. What are you leaving behind, what are you gaining? That thatched cottage, barn conversion, villa in the Med, or house on stilts in the Far East, might be your vision, but as they say, ‘a house is not a home’. You have to inject the energy and the love. Secondly, it’s not that easy to stay in touch with your ‘old friends’. Despite an open-invitation to everyone we know, not that many have made the journey to Cornwall. Thirdly, you have to really make an effort. I didn’t and suffered. Lastly, change of any kind is rarely easy or straight- forward. So, before having a mid-life (or later) crisis and making a major life-change, ask yourself why you’re doing it, and if it goes wrong, can you go back? And don’t come running to me to say you’ve made a terrible mistake because I’ve warned you!

midlife crisis  / my life  / my home / friends /family / life your life