In recent months, with no weddings this year, I have been thinking about how to use this blog in different ways to inspire and uplift. The name of my business is Celebrations for All because of my deep desire to CELEBRATE the special milestones life in all forms whether through a wedding, a naming, an adoption, a commitment, coming of age or passing through my work as a celebrant. That said, lately I’ve been inspired by the stories of countless people who choose to celebrate life in lots of different ways. Storytelling has been an integral part of my life.
So while our world is still in some sort of a ‘hiatus’ and my celebrant duties are on hold, from time to time you’ll find me sharing stories that celebrate life right here in my blog. If the last few months in of the pandemic have taught me anything, it is to make the most of this adventure through life. I’ve been inspired by lots of stories of people doing magical things in their own way which uplift and inspire others to do something fabulous. And there are the stories of those who have overcome adversity or chosen a different path, those who have fought for a better world and those who have helped others through the darkest of times.
Perhaps you have a story that celebrates life? I’d love to hear from you and share it here. The stories could be in a written, audio or visual form. Just get in touch me – I’m looking forward to hearing more about what makes you tick and how you celebrate life!
Now, to start us off – here’s the story of a brilliant visionary woman, her family, friends and a beautiful chateau in the heart of France.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a love affair with France – an affair shared by most of my family. We own property in France – a story for another time. And just like us there are many Brits who have followed their dreams to France. Even in early childhood Stephanie Jarvis knew that she was destined to live in a chateau. And so she did! At 29 years old, together with her friends, she bought Chateau de Lalande – a large chateau in central France. Over the last 15 years Stephanie, her family, friends and many volunteers have lovingly been bringing this beauty back to life. It’s taken blood, sweat and tears – coupled with lots of love and laughter!
Their many escapades are joyously captured in the You Tube hit The Chateau Diaries as well as on Escape to the Chateau DIY on Channel 4 in the UK. At a time when the world is in so much turmoil, Stephanie creatively offers us a little joy, escapism and the opportunity to dream. I’m in awe of her creativity and sheer hard work – researching, filming and editing 3-4 vlogs a week is a full time job on top of everything else!
Rather than getting dragged down by the state of the world, The Chateau Diaries show us that there is so much to celebrate! These positive stories have uplifted thousands around the world and frankly these days I seem to watch ‘reality’ tv on YouTube where many people give us a window into their lives whether sailing around the world or driving from the UK to Australia! I’m feeling the spirit of adventure once again!!
And by generously giving us a window into their lives, the people of Lalande are benefitting too as they have been able to monetise the ad revenue from YouTube and more recently Patreon all of which has enabled them to accelerate some of the work on the building and bring this beauty back to life!
Meanwhile my obsession with all things French went up a notch last weekend when we actually visited Chateau de Lalande for a couple of nights. Stephanie and her merry bunch are just as genuine and warm in person as they are on screen and we had a fabulous and relaxing couple of days in the company of great people! We even ended up in one of the vlogs!
Most of all we discovered a sense of community that is rare these days – honestly we didn’t want to leave. I could have sat there and listened to the stories of each and every Lalander that weekend. It was simply marvellous!
Life at the chateau isn’t always easy – it’s bloody hard work in fact – but the point is that Stephanie is living her dream and celebrating life, love and laughter in the process!
I highly recommend checking out Stephanie and her friends on The Chateau Diaries – it’s addictive. And if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate the milestones in your life – Lalande is a great place for a wedding too!
Stay tuned for more – next time I’ll be sharing a little about the fabulous woman behind Florals with Marie!
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