a few years ago, i noticed the hashtag #aromatherapy popping up on more and more instagram accounts that i love following. they were all raving about the benefits of using the right essential oils at the right time, so i got intrigued and started reading up about it a little bit. as i read about the importance of using first-grade, all-natural essential oils, i discovered belgian brand PHYTOSUN and bought a few of their products at the pharmacy. i dabbled a little with them and instantly fell in love with the effects of eucalyptus in the shower in the morning (hint – it’s like having your private hammam at home), but i never really took the time to get further into it.

fast forward a couple of years to when i crossed paths with phytosun again, in a professional context this time. i helped organise an inspirational evening where a phytosun aromatherapist explained some of the easier ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils in everyday life, and just like that i was really, really hooked this time. since then i’ve experimented with including essential oils in our cooking, but i have most enjoyed diffusing them at various times for various reasons. this summer, i brought along phytosun’s EASYPLUG travel diffuser to mallorca and it worked like a charm to make our rental home smell like lavender (or keep the mosquitoes and flies away with citronella).

this fall, i was introduced to their brand new SILVA diffuser, which was designed to fit into even the most sleek and curated interiors. i sure love that it does not remind of a plastic ufo (like so many weird-looking diffusers out there), and its natural look blends in beautifully in every room i put it in. but of course more importantly, it works really well to diffuse my favorite combinations of essential oils, and it has helped us tremendously in fighting off all the typical autumn colds and viruses.

i personally don’t use the colored light function that was developed to help you create a certain atmosphere, but juliet loves it so much, i keep it on while we diffuse oils in the bathroom during her bath time. she’s always completely fixated by it, and we have started referring to those bathroom moments as our mommy-daughter spa-time. it helps us both unwind after busy days, and i notice she’s a lot more relaxed when she gets out of the tub. i also use the diffuser with a bare minimum of oils to moisten the air in her room before her bedtime, which helps prevent coughing during the night (and i admit, which helps us all sleep better through the night as a family!)

i remember when i first started reading up about essential oils and aromatherapy some of it sounded a little woozy or maybe even a bit scary – because you do have to pay attention to which oils you use and how. but i assure you – i would not want to return to a world pre-aromatherapy, and if you have any questions, i’d be happy to try and answer them (or ask my friends at phytosun to answer them!) so if you’ve been intrigued for a while now and were looking for the right moment to get started with it, this is it! because let’s admit – does anyone ever have enough eucalyptus in their lives?

photos by stephanie duval

if you’ve been following along this year, you’ll remember that in the spring we discovered the gorgeous chateau st. pierre de serjac in the French languedoc area. we spent a wonderful extended weekend there and enjoyed it so much, we immediately started plotting our return.

and so it happened – because a few weeks ago, we were invited back to the beautiful estate and stayed in another beautiful holiday home for a few days of doing nothing but relaxing, eating and drinking, hanging out by the pool and enjoying juliet’s ‘vacation modus’ antics.

what i didn’t know before and learned during our second visit, is that each one of the rental homes is actually owned by a private proprietor, who decorated the house to their own tastes. while in the spring we thoroughly enjoyed the rustic, natural aesthetics of number 28, this time we had fun comparing it to the slightly more exuberant style of number 21. at first we were taken aback by the bright blue velvet couch and abundant touches of silver everywhere, but we quickly fell in love with it, too. i was especially fond of the gorgeous tiles in the bathroom and the spacious, luxurious bedroom.

once again we were able to enjoy a private garden with a pool, even though juliet preferred to hang out in the huge infinity pool that is shared by all the property’s guests. she really loved chilling on the cozy, extra large tanning beds with canopies, where we spent an inordinate amount of time snoozing and enjoying whatever the mixologist at the outdoor bar fancied shaking up for us (expert word of advice: ask him to create a drink with some of their home grown herbs!)

once again i snapped about ten thousand photos during the weekend because beauty is just everywhere you look around here. but this time we also had some fun shooting some good old home video, and we put together a little impression of what it looks like to spend a weekend at the chateau. we had a lot of fun putting it together, so i hope you’ll like it – and i look forward to hearing what you think in the comments!

as for the languedoc area – we really intended to leave the property this time around… but we only half-succeeded to visit sète one morning. the area is gorgeous, of course, but the chateau is just too darn beautiful and peaceful to leave behind for longer than it takes to buy some fresh food at a nearby market or sample some wines from nearby vineyards. and as it happens, i heard there are plans to incorporate a real winery in the chateau – so soon that’s one less reason to need to leave the premises ever again at all!

photos by matthias rabaey and stephanie duval at CHATEAU ST. PIERRE DE SERJAC


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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