So, I thought I would give a little insight into the real people behind Pincardel. Our backstories, what brought us to this part of the world, why this specific house, what it takes to look after it and so on. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and it will give an insight into the workings of a holiday home and if you are thinking about buying in France this will be an interesting one to follow too. I'll do a series of blogs on these as there is just so much to cover. I'll start with a brief synopsis of Will and myself (Amanda), who own Pincardel.
I am in the last year of my thirties and grew up in South London, moving to Kent in my early teens and then to Loughborough Uni, where I studied Sports Science and Rec Man followed by a Business and Marketing Masters. I first met Will at the end of my final year and we dated on and off, becoming serious when I moved into his London flat and then onto Hong Kong 7 months later. We are both super sporty, love socialising (we excel at fancy dress) and travelling. My mum only met Will twice before she died of Cancer. Friends to me are therefore like family and mean the world to me. Find your tribe.
I am known affectionately by my friends as 'Martha (Stewart)' because I can fix and make something out of nothing. I have been known to travel with a sewing kit and glue gun, well... just because we might need them. Inevitably, we always do. I love home interiors and up-cycling furniture and am lucky enough to be able to focus on this as a part-time career. I managed the renovation of our London flat (wall knocked out, open plan, new kitchen and bathroom) and have been updating Pincardel for the past 12 months. Here in Honkers I dabble in kids craft sessions, make giant ruler height charts, paint furniture and work on various signage projects.
I'm grumpy when I don't get my own way, have borderline OCD when it comes to cushions not being straight on a bed/sofa and am addicted to chocolate. I don't sleep very well because my mind is always racing with to-do lists (could also be that sugar consumption). My husband and friends would describe me as thoughtful and kind. I'm all about finding solution not problems, 'Martha can!' I hate pretentiousness, rudeness and inconsiderate drivers (my children may have learnt some colourful language from me, ooops). I can be indecisive at times, especially when it comes to what to eat/drink (the fear of missing out is real).
I have two children, both girls born in HK. Due to covid they have both been fully online learning for over a year (shoot me now) but things seem to slowly be returning to normal with them both at school (for half days only). I have to say we are super lucky in that both girls just get on with it and have barely complained. During lockdown we helped Paws United Charity by fostering pregnant cats, helped raise new litters of kittens and eventually adopted two of our own. One (was called Bear, now called Fatty because he is HUGE) has just started becoming friends with our two dogs....the other cat (Nugget or Boogie), not so much! This year, therefore, has been much quieter work wise since I've had other priorities - pets and children. Don't they advise not to work with both?!
Now, I suppose I should mention the husbeast.....Will. Will was born on the same date Jonny Wilkinson and is obsessed with all things sport. Despite his advancing years he is still pretty nifty with a hockey stick, having played for England juniors in his youth. Will supports the Wolves, but we won't hold that against him. He says their kit is 'old gold and black' in colour...only it's not. It's blatantly orange and black.
Will grew up in the Midlands and has been working for the same company for years. He launched the HK property recruitment office and has grown its presence across Asia. He is now the Head of Asia and before Covid was travelling more frequently. It is a blessing and a curse to have him home so much. Those boxers never quite make it to the washing bin do they?! Will is extremely loyal and passionate about life. He wakes up every morning with a spring in his step and is extremely positive for the day ahead - something I find remarkable, especially in the current climate. He has been known to play Dolly Parton's 9-5 to gee everyone up in the office. Cringe, but we love him for it. Will is not the least bit creative....which is why we make a good team. He is very sensible and can chat to anyone. I have left him in an Uber outside our house before, whilst he stayed chatting to the Uber driver about cricket for a good 20 minutes! Slightly irritating but allowed me a quick trash tv fix. Will refused to watch the Meghan and Harry interview.....I couldn't miss it. Although he is a good talker he has been known to fall asleep whilst reading stories with the kids at bedtime.
Since my girls were newborns (they are nearly 10 and 12 years old now) we have travelled a lot. As such we know what bits and pieces are needed when you visit a holiday home. We understand that when it's raining outside you need options. Children need entertaining. Pincardel has you covered all year round. From table tennis, the tree swing, swimming pool, acres of fields to run around in, the gorgeous horses in the field, garden games, board games, cake equipment, colouring, den making, tent, table tennis, DVDs and books. We also know that when you stay somewhere it's great to have some personal recommendations of places to visit, eat and play that are family friendly. That's why I've created a comprehensive guide book for Pincardel guests.
We have a fantastic house manager called Alexandra. Alex is an Australian mum of two girls who lives in the village. We met by chance as she was selling a travel cot I wanted for our house. She is a kindred spirit with a design flair. Alex is opening up a little art gallery (where she will display some of her own paintings) and is also a professional photographer. Her husband works with wine. A good friend to have!
Alex is just one member of the Pincardel team. She ensures our house is clean and manages any maintenance. Then we have Kevin, gardener extraordinaire, who also looks after our pool. Lastly we have Céline who keeps her horses on our field. Her mare is due to give birth soon so I can't wait to share that news along with some adorable newborn foal pics! Between them all we have someone on site everyday (unless guests are staying, in which case they disappear to ensure privacy).
In my next instalment (I know, I know, you can't wait, I'm so funny and interesting - said no one ever) I'll delve more into why we decided on France and the area South of Toulouse.
I'll leave you with some pics of projects I've worked on, pics of the fam, friends and some random fancy dress pics....because I'm sure you were curious.