15 Point French Living Manifesto Update – 2

Published by Donna Coppack on

It has been 3 weeks now since I first wrote my Manifesto for French Living, The comments I have had are so encouraging and have helped me stick at it. I have now lost 4.5kg (9lbs) and I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all, in fact I feel like I’ve had more treats! 

1. Eat more generous meals, but don’t snack.
I’m finding the lack of snacking hard, particularly in the afternoon, I have occasionally had a couple of squares of good chocolate or a cracker with cheese in the late afternoon to see me through to dinner.  In France they usually don’t eat dinner till 8pm but a lot of french people regularly have an afternoon snack about 4pm, usually something sweet from the Patissiere, this is known as a gouter, we call it afternoon tea in England. so I am trying to convince myself that my snack is still very French.

2. Eat real food, no pre-prepared junk, try eat food as close to it’s natural state as possible, go for quality over quantity.
This is really the easiest part of this, I have got to know the deli counters better than before and allow myself to get the more expensive cheeses. Cropwell Bishop Stilton is a particular favourite at the moment.  It is a really creamy blue cheese that I first tasted in The Chester Cheese Shop, and you can get it in Waitrose too.

3. Look after what I have and only buy quality items if I really need them.
I have mended a few of my clothes that have been languishing in my laundry waiting to be brought back to life, and also my husband and I have been doing lots of bits of DIY around the house so we have the house at it’s best ready for Christmas. 

4. No shopping for anything but food or Christmas presents.
Hmmm, not sure if I will ever get good at this, I have bought Pippa Middleton’s Celebrate book, I’m a sucker for lifestyle cookery books ( it’s actually really good) I have also purchased a black fitted tunic top, (looks great with skinny jeans) Essie nail varnish in Mademoiselle , a new L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara (old one had started to dry out) and tights (a bit of a necessity to be honest).

5. Moderate my alcohol intake, keep to 1 glass on weeknights.
Total star at this, not drank much at all, 1 glass on 2 nights this week, and 2 to celebrate the beginning of the weekend last night.

6. Slow down.  Drive slower to save fuel and the car’s paintwork! 
I have tried to take more time and effort choosing parking spaces, and I am a much calmer driver, though still in too much of a rush when there is no need to be, I am one of those people who is always first there, so I should just relax and take my time.

7. Slow down. Eat more slowly and savour each bite, put my fork down between bites.
I have got so good at this, it has completely changed the way I think about food, and also how much I enjoy it. I think this is the best point to master on this list first as the others follow on from achieving this mindset.

8. Walk when/wherever possible.
I was ill for 2 days this week so no walking on those days, but all the other days I walked to school with the girls.  Yesterday we all walked then took the train to the nearest shopping town and then walked back.  This aved us money, and we all got some exercise.  I choose to be chic over comfortable though and wore my black wedge heel knee high boots.  I should have put some insoles in first though as my feet were sore whn I returned home (nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a nice body lotion and a rub but still something to remember.

9. Read the books, wear the clothes,play the games, watch the films I already own. Don’t keep things for best and then rarely use them.
I have started re-reading a book I gave up on a while ago (as it was moving to slowly) rather than buy a new one. I am really enjoying it this time, it’s more a book to savour, rather than a fast moving thriller, it’s also about my favourite historical subject which is Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (it’s Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell btw) I also sorted out my underwear drawers, and reorganised them to make finding my cutest underwear more easy, now that I see the pretty lingerie first instead of the more practical items I am much more likely to wear them.My husband and I have also started watching some of the old box sets we had started watching and then got tempted away by newer shiner tv programmes.

10.Spend time on grooming, paint my nails, deep condition my hair, give myself face masks.
I have used my Clarisonic everyday this week, painted my toe and fingernails once, I have also done the aspirin mask. To be honest, I was pleased to look even partially normal when I was feeling ill so it’s not been as higher priority this week.  Must do better.

11. Dress well everyday, not just special days.  Wear stylish outfits even at home when relaxing, try to look put together.  Aim for a 7/10
I have tried hard with this, I have started wearing my best jeans more, not just for going out. I have also worn my relatively new black wrap coat for the school run instead of my comfy but not as stylish Superdry coat.  When I was ill I also made sure I didn’t look to frightful, just yoga pants, vest top and zip up top. I felt a lot better after a shower and putting fresh clothes on.

12. Lay the table for every meal, use napkins, water glass and jug etc.. don’t sit in front of the computer or TV and zone out.
Generally good, except 2 lunches at the computer, which was not so good.

13. Sing more, dance more, socialise more, get out of the house more.
I really enjoyed last weeks Karaoke with my friends  it was great fun to belt out old cheesy hits, even if I do sound like a drowning cat, we also danced for another 2 hours in the club. I made an effort to socialise on all days but when I was ill to.  I think this is really important for Mum’s at home or you can loose perspective and get too caught up in little insignificant things.

14. Work together with everyone, make all your relationships a partnership not a contest.
Tried to be more understanding and less bossy with my daughters (my eldest is actually my step daughter but we bring her up 100% part of the family) and it worked on the whole. Could probably do more to understand my eldests’ Birth Mother more, we get on well and chat regularly but It will always be difficult for both of us and it really helps my SD to see us as working as a team.

15. Do good, offer help and be there for others.
I helped out with friends kids/dogs etc.. and did some prep work for the school’s impending Christmas Fayre. Unfortunately when I was ill my friends had to help me out with school runs and the like, so I probably only just break even on the good done/good received tally.

Another good week, but still a lot to be done.  Next week I need to focus on;
  • Being there for others more, making their lives easier
  • Trying to understand others point of view more
  • Driving more slowly 
  • Spending less 
  • Spend more time pampering
I have a day out in London with my Husband on Tuesday. He has given me a day pass to his gym (which has a spa) so I can go there in the morning get some time for pampering before we meet for lunch and do some Christmas Shopping.
Has anyone else tried and of the ideas? It would be great to hear if they work for you?

Also I’ve now fixed the email signup button so anyone who tried before to sign up to updates and failed, should now be able to.


Here is last weeks update if you missed it – French Living Resolutions Update

Categories: Lifestyle


Anonymous · November 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Fabulous news regarding your french weight loss to date and your French chic habits generally. You are an inspiration and I look forward to more of your French Living updates.


Relaxed Chic · November 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Thanks Gigi, it makes it much easier when you have to hold yourself accountable on a blog! Good luck with whatever you hope to improve x

Stephanie · November 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I absolutely love these posts because you give a lot of details about exactly what changes you are making. One that has escaped me is #7, slow down while eating. I'm really going to work on this because it's important.

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