31/05/2016 08:05 BST | Updated 29/05/2017 06:12 BST

La Dolce Vita

One year when I was a baby solicitor in London, I worked on a big transaction. We were acting for the buyer and a glamorous female partner from another big city firm was acting for the seller. She told me that every summer she worked from her holiday home in Italy. That year one of the locals was having a special birthday and she was organising a big party for him. We talked about it a bit during the course of that transaction and I remember thinking that I'd love to spend summers working from Italy, organising parties for the locals. It sounded like all the fun!


I worked really hard at that law firm, along with everybody else, and just scheduling in normal holidays could be challenging enough. Just before I got married and started a family, I left my law firm and moved into the public sector. While working life there was slower and gentler, long periods working from home in Italy definitely weren't on the cards.

As our family life became increasingly hectic - school activities, rugby, ice skating, ice hockey, choir, karate, riding, busy and demanding jobs ... I craved some down time over the summer holidays. Trying to slow things down in London didn't really work and I found our annual summer holiday was the only time when we all slowed down, relaxed and recharged our batteries.


Last year on holiday in Italy I wondered if we dared to try and relocate there for the summer the following year. I couldn't get the thought out of my head and so I decided to try to find a way. OH was up for the idea but he wasn't going to be able to stay with us the whole time. He would come out at the beginning and then join us for the last two weeks. The rest of the time it would just be the boys and me. Lovely.


I decided to try to arrange a trip to Italy for 5 weeks - long enough to be a little relocation, but not so long that it made a conversation with my employer impossible. We wanted to stay at the place we always go to, a special place called Al Gelso Bianco, which is an agriturismo in Tuscany. There is plenty of space for everybody to relax but there are always other families there. The kids make friends and play in the pool, play hide and seek in the olive groves, learn to make pasta and play minecraft (but not too much!). I love the place, the food, the people, the weather and the fact that from this lovely place there are uninterrupted views over the hills to San Gimignano, bathed in a soft Tuscan light. The Italians know how to live. It's very good for the soul.

So we booked Gelso. I arranged for my horse to go and stay with a friend for 5 weeks. The bit I dreaded the most was the conversation with my line manager, a conversation that I'd put off having with any line manager for 16 years! Happily when it came to it, he was incredibly supportive and so we are all set! I can't wait. I just need to find someone who is having a big birthday and needs a party.


Is there something you have always wanted to do? I'd love to know what it is! Here are some top tips for making it happen:

i. Don't wait for someone to ask you if you want to do it. You might be waiting your whole life!

ii. Tell someone what it is you want to do - saying it makes it seem possible and trust yourself, trust that you are the best person to decide what's right for you.

iii. Decide to do it and commit to it - tell lots of people and then it will feel real

iv. Work out a plan for the logistics - are there some things you must do to make it work? Do the things! Just take the first step and you're part way there. Work through the things you need to do step by step.

v. Enjoy!