Its the second full week in January and the press are referring to something called ‘blue Monday’. Apparently its the most depressing day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. By all accounts there is an algorithm to identify the specific date using information about weather, sleep, stress and proximity of the next holiday.

There is nothing blue about my Monday! Half a pint of hot chocolate anyone? 🙂

This week has been fantastic and not at all blue in any way, unless of course you are referring to the sky? In which case its very blue as the snow continues to elude us!

Our week is extra special for 2 reasons. And again..its all relative!

I remember learning about a very clever fella called Maslow while studying for a professional qualification. He has a theory about peoples needs. Its a hierarchy, working on the principle that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

In this theory, higher needs in the hierarchy begin to emerge when people feel they have sufficiently satisfied the previous need.

This week we secured a little tick in the boxes of Physiological and safety (see above – Physiological is things like air/ water/ food/ sleep. Safety is things like security/ resource and employment).

Dan and I both received an unexpected pay rise! I have mentioned previously that the seasonaire life wont make you rich in monetary terms. It has its own unique non financial perks. Having said that a pay rise is a very good thing! We are currently resisting the urge to immediately spend it on shiny things for playing in the snow…A few more pennies in our pocket at the end of the month gives us a little extra security and allows the savings to last a bit longer.

Next up, and potentially as significant as the payrise is that we both got an extra day off work this week! Not only that but it meant that we got two whole days back to back.

This occasionally happens over the course of the season when we have quieter weeks and its an added perk! We made the most of the extra day off by taking to the mountain. As standard, we get Mondays and Thursdays off work which works well but we loved the additional day and managed to fit in a few extra hours of sleep to recharge the batteries!

A payrise and an extra day off! A very welcome week of good fortune!

That Maslow chap is onto something and the ‘extras’ we got this week have done wonders for our overall morale! I even found time to play with a Christmas gift from my mum! A jigsaw puzzle! Not any old jigsaw though! A sunflower puzzle which is my all time favourite flower. We have such a rock and roll life! 😛

Some light hearted evening entertainment! The impossible puzzle! This image is one of the strongest reasons why I love France as much as I do. The sunflowers in full bloom are a sight to behold and are rather magical.

The extra day off was in part helped by us not having as many guests as normal this week. After the Christmas and new years rush the remainder of January is typically a little quieter. A welcome break before the February school holidays arrive.

A quieter week also proved to be super useful in allowing us to get our newest team member up to speed. We now have a full compliment of staff once more and I have been promoted back to Chalet Manager again!

Having a full compliment of staff again has made such a difference to the overall work load. It was also really interesting to see how they integrated into a very well established and close team. Not an easy task for anyone in reality but it all seems to be settling down nicely.

This environment can be taxing, the team live, work and socialise together. Add into the mix that Dan is the only guy it has the potential to be a hormone centred vortex of emotions and stress. A bit of a proverbial pressure cooker!

Its one of the reasons why its so important out here to make time for your mental health and wellbeing. Sure its a stunning place to live and work but I am learning very quickly that the emotional roller coaster is not a fleeting experience. Its here to stay and therefore its necessary to find a release.

This is my release. A cold afternoon walk along one of the winter footpaths was just what I needed. Some quiet time to reflect. Perspective is a prized commodity!

The extra time this week also gave me enough head space to reflect on my own personal journey. I came to an interesting conclusion; I am learning more about myself then I thought possible. Some of the same business traits I have come to rely on over the years are apparent regardless of the environment or industry.

I am also learning that my age and experience has softened me (in a good way I think). In years gone by I would have struggled with some of the more pressurised guest interactions but now I can go with the flow with a little more ease.

This season in the mountains is also huge eye opener regarding guests and the spectrum of personalities. Diverse and not always expected! The knowledge we are getting working in the French tourist industry is invaluable and I am confident the payback for our own business venture will be 10 fold.

Sure, there are some bits that we would love to avoid in the future if at all possible but its almost reassuring that we get to experience the lows, mistakes and faults while someone else is steering the ‘ship’.

Once such lesson this week was regarding the French plumbing standard…look away now if you are easily grossed out or eating!

A hard lesson to learn when trying to wash up after 8 guests have finished a 5 course dinner. No functioning sink due to food waste blocking the pipes. French pipes seem to be much smaller than the UK equivalent but I am not convinced a UK sink could have done a much better job with this much detritus!

Avert your eyes!!! This grim looking bowl of gunk just happens to be the reason why the team had to bring all their washing up home with them! The sink got blocked! Super Dan to the rescue. Its not all glamorous!

On a much brighter note our week ended with a little trip over the valley in search of the Mother In Law…not the actual mother…just a piste with her name on it! She was quite chuffed to get the photo!

We took a little trip to Val Thoren to find the Mother In Law!

Your can find out what we got up to last week here