Tag Archives: blogging

Five Years of Blogging

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I missed my 5th anniversary of blogging! My first post was published on 11th October 2011 just before my son went to live in Australia. He helped me set it up and regularly comes to the rescue when I have a problem. He also hosts me. I started my second blog, Blois Daily Photo (now Loire Daily Photo) in July 2013 in anticipation of moving to Blois. When I first started blogging, I posted nearly every day. I had a lot to say!


I then started posting every second day with regular features such as Monday’s Photo of the Week and Wednesday’s Blogger Round-Up where I featured 3 posts I had read during the week that I wanted to share. These days I don’t seem to have time to read many other blogs at all.

In fact, since we moved to Blois two years ago, I seem to have little time and energy to do much blogging apart from Loire Daily Photo. I still occasionally write a Friday’s French post (two this month!) and am currently trying to write a series on Secret Blois (two so far – it seems to be my magic number). During our cycling holidays, however, I have more inspiration and time and usually manage to give a fairly full  report.

Two contrasting skyscrapers - the new One World Trade Center and one of the "wedding cake" skyscrapers from the 1930s
Two contrasting skyscrapers – the new One World Trade Center and one of the “wedding cake” skyscrapers from the 1930s

I would like to write more about our trip to New York and to Boston in September to see my son and daughter but after a full day’s translation I don’t seem to have much energy left!

My basic interests remain the same but have taken on different dimensions. Reading is still my favourite activity but not something I blog about very often. I like to read ALL the works of a given author plus a couple of biographies and my Kindle usually makes that possible. I am currently working my way through the Victorian novels and am now onto the lessor known writers such as Wilkie Collins and Elisabeth Gaskell.

The iconic photo in front of the Taj Mahal
The iconic photo in front of the Taj Mahal

Travelling is at the top of the list too and we’ve certainly done a lot this year – a total of twelve weeks in Australia, the Golden Triangle in India including the Taj Mahal, cycling in Italy and Germany, especially along the Romantic Road, and New York & Boston, not to mention a few short trips. And, believe it or not, I have nothing else in the pipeline at the moment, for the first time that I can remember! I need a break from holidays. And we are up to 13 home exchanges in 4 years which isn’t bad going.

Next comes cycling but unfortunately it stops from about mid-October until March. Mushroom picking usually takes over but there has been so little rain this year but there are no mushrooms. We’re hoping that next week’s expected Indian summer will have them popping up all over the place.

Wisteria on our house in Blois
Wisteria on our house in Blois

I love gardening but I have discovered it is almost as humbling as being a parent – so much to learn and those plants have a mind of their own! One year the petunias run riot and the next year they get leggy. The clematis that bloomed beautifully one summer sulk the next. Fortunately we seem to have mastered the wisteria, the roses, the hollyhocks and the raspberries which is more than we can say for the bignomias and the lettuces!

We still enjoy wine-tasting but have a tendency to stick to our favourites, particularly the local Loire Valley wines and our favourite chianti, especially in front of the fireplace!

Homemade foie gras and vouvray to see the New Year in before the fire
Homemade foie gras and vouvray to see the New Year in before the fire

I love taking photographs with my iPhone 5S because it’s a great way to remember places and people and makes me look at things in a different way. I wouldn’t call it a hobby though because I know nothing about lenses and photographic techniques and I usually just take photos because something catches my eye. My iPhone isn’t very good at night or when there isn’t much light but the rest of the time, it’s perfect for my purposes.

But back to blogging. My most popular post remains “The Best Area to Stay in Paris” with about 3,000 clicks a month. Next, a long way behind, are “Friday’s French – biche, chevreuil & deer“, “Ten Top Châteaux in the Loire“, “The Oldest House in Paris” and “Visit the Loire without a Car Based in Blois“.

Chenonceau, undoubtedly the most beautiful of all the châteaux
Chenonceau, undoubtedly the most beautiful of all the châteaux

Over one quarter of my readers live in Australia, followed by France and the US, each about 1/5, then the UK, Canada, Singapore, Germany, India, Italy and Malaysia. The last 1/5 is made of up a surprising 90 countries which means that people from about 100 countries read Aussie in France.

The thing I like best about blogging are the wonderful friends I’ve made among my readers, people whom I would never have been in contact with otherwise. Some comment regularly, others from time to time, while some write to me personally. Others have become close friends. I love to feel connected in such a unique way. So I think I shall keep blogging for a few more years yet …

Happy New Year 2016 – Bonne année à tous !

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It’s New Year’s Eve and there are just the two of us, in front of our fireplace. We’re not having anything complicated to celebrate the New Year. I once spent all day making a special dish that took forever and I didn’t think it was worth the trouble so we’re mainly having Christmas leftovers (unfortunately, we’ve finished our homemade foie gras). We’re having champagne though.

Christmas leftovers in front of the fire
Christmas leftovers in front of the fire

I ask Jean Michel if he remembers his resolutions for 2015 and he just looks at me. “I have the bits of paper I wrote them on”, I say. So we have a look. Out of Jean Michel’s six resolutions, only one has come to fruition, but it’s the most important: “finding a better balance after retirement”. The last is also taking shape at the moment, namely improving his English. As we’re off to Australia for a month in mid-February, it’s more than important – it’s essential.

I then take a look at my five and burst out laughing. My score is even worse.

The first was to average 10,000 steps a day. I check it out on my iPhone app – 5,500. I try and console myself that for someone who spends a lot of the day in front of a computer, it isn’t too bad.

The second was to make a video for each Friday’s French post. Well, that’s a laugh! I don’t even write a Friday’s French post every week. I’m lucky if I write one a month though I wrote two recently in the same week J.

Number 3 was to sign up for Italian lessons. Yes, well, that didn’t get very far! January didn’t seem the ideal time to start because the class was already well underway and in September we went away for a month’s holiday. I might wait until I retire!

My fourth resolution was to help Jean Michel improve his English but he was far too busy all summer to be learning another language. However, now that he’s started listening to Michel Thomas again, I’m being very supportive.

Number 5 was to stop complaining and look on the positive side of life. I’m not sure about this one so I ask Jean Michel and Black Cat. They seem to think that I am positive on the whole and don’t complain most of the time so I guess that I can see it’s been mostly achieved.

Spring in our little wood - one of the bright sides of life
Spring in our little wood – one of the bright sides of life

So now I’m wondering what resolutions I can put on the agenda this year and, do you know, I can’t think of any so I thought I might make a quick review of the year instead.

The most important thing is Jean Michel’s adjustment to retirement. I’d love to join him but I still have another 3 years and 4 months to go unless I suddenly strike it rich which doesn’t seem likely.

Bird watching from our wonderful window
Bird watching from our wonderful window

After all Jean Michel’s hard work, we now have a wonderful kitchen window that looks out onto our little wood and gives us endless pleasure, especially bird watching now that we have outwitted the neighbour’s cat.

I don’t miss my life in Paris even remotely though I do miss my friends. I have been there only four times since we moved at the end of October 2014.

View from the window of thecrêperie during our most recent visit to Chambord on boxing day
View from the window of thecrêperie during our most recent visit to Chambord on boxing day

We try to make the most of living (almost) in the country and among some of the most beautiful châteaux in the world. Chambord remains our favourite because you can go there any time for a walk, a bike ride, an ice-cream or a crêpe. We have taken full advantage of all the cycling possibilities offered to us.

I don’t blog a lot any more as you may realise. My readership went from 12,000 views a month in December 2014 up to 18,000 in May 2016 then down to 10,000 in December 2015. I lost a few subscribers in December but I quite understand that my reflections on bird feeding and walking in Blois are not nearly as exciting to most people as living in the Palais Royal! My “star” post is still “The Best Area to Stay in Paris”.


My other blog, Loire Daily Photo, dropped from 1200 in December 2014 to 1,100  in December 2015 after climbing to 1,600 in May. I wonder what was going on in May last year? However, despite the small audience, having a daily photo blog makes me much more aware of my surroundings and more interested in local history.

I don’t feel I have quite found my rhythm yet, but I can feel it coming.

Our New Year mistletoe
Our New Year mistletoe

In any case, I’d like to wish all my readers a wonderful 2016 and thank you for stopping by.

Blogging in 2014

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Yesterday’s five New Year resolutions didn’t mention Aussie in France despite the fact that it is now an integral part of my life.


After more than two years of blogging I’m still enjoying it as much as ever and never have writers’ block . However, there is no denying that it’s time-consuming even though I’ve become more proficient with regards to the technical side of things.

From my original seven posts a week, I cut down to five then to four. I gradually introduced regular features : Sunday’s then Monday’s Photo of the Week/Travel Photos, Wednesday’s Blogger Round-Up, now the Weekly Blogger Round-Up and Friday’s French.

I’ve been invited to guest post on several sites : My French Life, Home Exchange, Holidays to Europe, Frugal First Class Travel, Expat Blogs, The Good Life France and Contented Traveller (though the last two are still in the making).

I’ve made new friends among other bloggers and have had the great pleasure of meeting some of my readers. I’ve now published nearly 600 posts which has attracted over 8600 comments.

Blogging not only satisfies my creative urge, it also makes me appreciate my surroundings more and get more out of everything I do because I know I’ll be able to share my photos and stories.

Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder whether it’s worth it. Inevitably I receive a comment or an email from someone I don’t know telling me how much they enjoy my posts and my batteries are recharged.

I would like to ask you, my readers, which posts you enjoy most: travel photos, photos of Paris or the Loire, the blogger round-up, Friday’s French, posts on visits to châteaux and exhibitions, stories about life in France, our renovations, cooking, dieting, cycling, more personal posts, more factual posts …

Would you like to see posts on other subjects in particular?

Also, how many posts do you have the time or inclination to read each week?

Another question that interests me is how you came upon Aussie in France and what made you keep reading it.

After a discussion with Leonardo, I have a new feature in the making that I hope will be ready very soon.

Thank you for your answers and stay tuned!

Aussie in France celebrates its first birthday

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Thursday 11th October 2012 was my first blog anniversary. It was also the last day of my holidays in Australia and there was no time to write a post. I can’t believe the year has gone so fast. The idea of having a blog came from my son Leonardo just before he left France a year ago to live and work in Australia. We were talking about his motivations for going there and I told him that I, too, needed something new to challenge me. So he asked me what I wanted to do.

“Well, you know I’ve always wanted to write a book about my life in Australia and my interest in wine, mushrooms and cycling”. “Then write a blog!” “Ah yes, but you can’t make money blogging.” “Yes, you can, I’ll give you some of the files from an on-line marketing course I’ve been doing”. And he proceeded to set up the blog for me. We chose WordPress as a template because it seemed to correspond to what I was looking for.

Then I had to decide on a name. We brainstormed a bit and came up with Aussie in Paris, but I thought it might be too restrictive, particularly after Relationnel retires, so we checked the availability of www.aussieinfrance.com and then registered the domain name. Leonardo showed me a few of the basics (he’s an IT man) and then I was on my own ! But I knew I could call on him if I needed help.

I started reading the training documents and defined my readership – Australians interested in an insider’s view of France and advice on visiting France and other European countries. I decided to use pseudonyms for the family to protect their privacy and mine, particularly as I was still lecturing part-time at the university. “Fraussie”, of course, is a contraction of French and Aussie and Grouet is the neighbourhood in Blois where we had just bought a house. Had I known then that it was called Closerie Falaiseau, I would have chosen Fraussie Falaiseau!


Blogging opened up a whole new world that I wasn’t expecting. Not only was I able to use my creative energy at last (writing original pieces rather than translating other people’s documents) , but it introduced me to other bloggers and their blogs. One of the first bloggers, whom I met at a tweet-up, was another Aussie in France whom I discovered when googling my own blog. Andrea, from Western Australia, had written an earlier blog with the same name, followed by the extension blogspot but had moved onto Destination Europe and now Rearview Mirror, so didn’t mind my having the same name. “Great minds think alike” was her generous response!

I met Carina from Carams at the same tweet-up and we discovered that she and my father come from the same tiny corner of northern New South Wales. Kathy from Femmes Francophiles who lives in Adelaide started corresponding with me and My French Life asked if I’d do a monthly post. That led to meeting Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris and Abby from Paris Weekender. To get to know them all better, I organised my first bloggers’ breakfast. The first, but not the last.

Friends ask me how much time I spend on the blog. A post usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how many photos there are or how much research is required. Promotion on twitter and facebook doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes. I do of course spend time reading and what other bloggers have to say and writing comments. That inspired me to take excerpts from three other blogs once a week to give readers other insights into life in France and information on other places they want to visit. I have about twenty regulars on my list and I really appreciate the fact that they let me quote their blogs.

I’m now writing 5 posts a week (when I’m not in Australia!), including Wednesday’s bloggers’ round-up and Monday’s Photos. Readership is steadily increasing with over 17,000 visits during the year for a total of 11,500 people. The most popular posts are Five Places to have Lunch near the Louvre and 3 Iphone Apps for Paris and Wifi.

I already talked about another spinoff in a recent post and that is you, my readers. I love reading your comments and interacting with you. Thank you for taking an interest in my blog! And I still have the hope that one day, I’ll be able to turn it into a book.

Photos: All the above photos, used as headers during the year, were taken from my balcony in the Palais Royal

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