Active Leisure vs Passive Leisure

Leisure is a key component of the quaintrelle lifestyle, but did you know that there are two different types of leisure – active and passive?

Passive leisure is easy to indulge in but might not leave you feeling too good once it’s over and done with – think watching reality television, flipping through a celebrity gossip magazine, or playing games on your smartphone. Carry out these sorts of mindless activities often, and you may notice that your mood isn’t any better afterward.

Active leisure, on the other hand, is engaging and interactive. Activities such as puzzles, gardening and reading are not only pleasurable but rewarding, too. If you carry out these sorts of activities on a regular basis, then you might find that you feel refreshed, fulfilled, and ready for the next part of your day.

That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t indulge in a bit of passive leisure from time to time. We all have our guilty pleasures – the television show that we look forward to every week, the chick flick that we love to watch while lounging around in our pyjamas, or the fun, light hearted game that we play on our phone when we have a few minutes spare. As with everything in life, leisure is all about balance – knowing when to switch off and experience passive leisure, and when to expend a little more energy and partake in active leisure.


Bonjour Tristesse (1958)


I recently watched Bonjour Tristesse, a 1958 film directed by Otto Preminger. Filmed in glorious technicolour in the Côte d’Azur, the tale sees spoiled teenager Cecile (played by pixie-haired new wave favourite Jean Seberg) enjoying a summer with her playboy father Raymond – until an old family friend pays a visit to their villa and Cecile’s indulgent life takes a turn for the worse. With opening titles by Saul Bass, gowns by Givency and a cameo by left bank darling Juliette Greco, the film is a fantastic watch from start to finish. See some screenshots (and a style round-up!) here.

Pick of the Week 001

Sheridan Smith for Vogue
Sheridan Smith for Vogue

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” – John Keats

Hello and welcome to Sunday. Here’s a round up of things that have caught my eye online in recent weeks:

Stylist introduces us to three women who are happy to be child-free by choice.

I’m pleased to hear that the Design Museum is getting a new home.

Women apparently need more sleep than men.

Liz Kendall has suggested that there should be an “Auntie’s Day” for childfree women.

The Guardian has the secret to spring cleaning – don’t just organise your stuff, get rid of it.

For anyone else kick-starting a new healthy regime this spring, four tips from nutrition experts. I agree with them all!

The Independent has a list of the five most exciting feminist books in 2016.

A study has found that people who like spending time alone are more intelligent.

I really enjoyed this piece by Sarah Kasbeer: How I Learned Being Childfree Was a Part of my Identity. Spot on.

Finally, this week’s video from the School of Life is titled In Praise of the Quiet Life.

Getting ready for Spring

Spring is here! The clocks went back last weekend and I for one couldn’t be happier for the longer days and lighter nights. Are you ready to come out of hibernation and spring into spring? Here are some of my top tips:

1. Take some time to review the goals you set at the beginning of 2016 – are you making progress as planned? If not, don’t get discouraged – health and fitness goals in particular are notoriously difficult to keep to during the cold, dark winter months. But with the sun now peeping out from behind the clouds and the mercury beginning to rise ever so slightly, you’re much more likely to keep to a new health and fitness regime. Lace up those running trainers and hop to it!

2. Overhaul your make up products and routine. Some products, such as liquid foundation, are more suited to our skin when the weather is cold and windy. Spring, however, signals a need for lighter coverage, and of course that all-important SPF. Now is also a great time to add a bit of colour – a peach coloured lipstick, perhaps, or a lick of coral nail polish on your toes before you slip them into your favourite pair of sandals for the first time this year.

3. Do a bit of traditional spring cleaning. Clear out the clutter, donate unwanted items to charity or sell them on eBay. And with a new month right around the corner, why not try the 30 day minimalism game?

4. Take a tour of a gallery. As much as I love galleries or museums, it struck me that I had never – not once – taken a guided tour around one. But why not? They’re usually free, and can offer fresh insight to even the most visited of collections. So, take a trip to your local art gallery, even if you’ve been numerous times, and you might just learn something new.

5. Buy fresh flowers. If your garden is still looking dry and desolate, simply bring the outside in by buying a beautiful bunch of flowers. It doesn’t have to be an expensive bouquet – a simple bunch of daffodils can add a cheerful pop of colour to any room, and they’re certainly appropriate for the season!

What is a Quaintrelle?

Now that the introductions are out of the way, I’d like to dive a little deeper into the meaning of the world quaintrelle. Let’s take another look at the full definition, and then examine each of the five pieces in turn.

Quaintrelle: A woman who emphasises a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.

A life of passion
What is life without passion? More important than money or status, passion is the driving force for a fulfilling and beautiful life. What are your passions? (Yes, you can have more than one!) Whether it’s literature, film, art, travel or food, the quaintrelle makes pursuing her multiple passions a priority in her daily life. She dedicates her working life to a subject she is passionate about and cultivates relationships with those she feels passionate towards.

Personal style
Ah, style. The grown-up sister of fashion. While fashion is fast, frivolous and (ultimately) futile, style says something about the woman you are. How you present yourself shows creativity, individuality, and self respect. And it’s not just about how you dress, either – style shows up when you pen a handwritten note, decorate your home, and wrap up a gift for a loved one. Every moment in life is a chance to express your personality and creativity through your personal style.

Leisurely pastimes
A leisurely pastime is anything you find both enjoyable and relaxing – reading a good book, sipping a hot cup of herbal tea, taking a scented bubble bath at the end of a tiring day, or going for a brisk half hour walk through the local park. These are just some of my leisurely pastimes. What is it for you? A quaintrelle will always make room for fun in her schedule, whether it’s a tennis match, meeting a friend for coffee, or perusing a new art exhibition.

Everyone can be charming, but it’s a muscle you have to stretch and train. Flirting, actually, is just being charming – but you can do it with anyone! Friends, colleagues, the barista at your local coffee shop – everyone. Smile, compliment, and be charming – others will naturally be drawn to you. Charm isn’t sleazy or false – be honest but kind, be a good listener, and make whoever you’re talking to feel like they’re the most important person in your world – that’s charm.

Cultivation of life’s pleasures
In other words, the little things – watching the sunrise on a dewy spring morning, taking your first sip of red wine on a Friday night, or downloading the latest episode of your favourite podcast. When you practice gratitude and celebrate the little things, life becomes richer and even more fulfilling. I like to keep a small notebook on my bedside table, and each night before going to sleep, I fill a page with a list of things I’m grateful for – big or small.

So there you have it: passion + style + leisure + charm + pleasure = quaintrelle. I’m confident that with these five pillars in place, it’s possible to build a life that’s passionate, fulfilling, and beautiful. I hope to examine each of these five areas in more detail in future – indeed, they will make up the very essence of the blog – but in the meantime, feel free to download this desktop wallpaper to serve as a daily reminder of the five keys to becoming a quaintrelle.

Quaintrelle: Passion, Style, Leisure, Charm, Pleasure Free WallpaperClick here to download the free quaintrelle definition desktop wallpaper


New Beginnings

There’s something in the air – the crisp, fresh, springtime air. The signal of a new season about to begin. The promise of a fresh start. Winter clothes are boxed up, clutter is cleared away, the windows are thrown open and the sunlight let in.  Renewed resolutions are considered, and sights are set on longed-for ambitions and desires.

It was at some point towards the end of last year that I first came across the term quaintrelle. The definition of this wonderful word is: “a woman who emphasises a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.” Doesn’t that sound just perfect?

A little about me. I’m British born and bred, a writer and artist reflecting on lessons learnt over the past ten years, and looking forward with curiosity and excitement to the decade ahead – my thirties.  I’m an introvert, a highly sensitive person, and child-free by choice. I believe in always being curious, questioning the status quo, and creating the life that you want to lead. I love classic style, travel, and tout les choses Français. Am I a quaintrelle? Not just yet, peutêtre – but I certainly aspire to be one.

For years now, I’ve been following the work of like-minded women – browsing their blogs, flicking through their books, or listening to their podcasts during my daily commute. Although enlightened and inspired by these women, I’ve always hesitated to share my own thoughts, opinions, and voice. My plan for this blog is to start sharing, and see where it takes me. I want to explore life, the universe, and everything – all with a quaintrelle twist.

I’m not yet sure how the life of Mademoiselle Quaintrelle will unfold, but I’m grateful that you’ve chosen to join me on this journey. Stay tuned.