Category Archives: Blogging

Why 8-weeks isn’t enough – and blogging is back on

Last year, as I wrote in an earlier post, I really struggled with the long 8-week summer holiday. This year? Well there was the four week buffer at the beginning, with DD at the Centre de Loisirs part time and DS at crèche, meaning just four weeks to fill – and also only four weeks where it would be virtually impossible to get things done. My predictions re working being a total write off were pretty accurate but deciding not to beat myself up about it on the basis that everyone else living here is also probably off work in August, really helped me to relax into the swing of it. And it helped that the majority of my clients are also France-based, so either off enjoying a holiday themselves or busy working to provide those holidays to others.

With rentrée just around the corner, I’m actually feeling quite down about it. We’ve been having a lot of fun together. Camping was really lovely; a chance to really slow down and focus on quality time together, free from the distractions of the modern age. And over the last 8 weeks the two smalls, DS now 2.5 and DD now 4.5, having really grown and also become close, I think. Where one was a baby and the other was a slightly disinterested sibling, I now have to children who I think are friends: they play together, laugh together, and show that they care for each other (they fight a bit too, but they also seem to be able to work it out – with a small amount of encouragement – and move on pretty fast). It’s a special thing to see them grow together in this way. I think they will miss each other when life starts to speed up again, so hope we can recreate this ambience at the weekends and in the holidays to come.

For my part I’ve had a bit more time to reflect and it’s been nice to turn my attention back to this blog. We’ve been getting out and about, doing touristy things as a family, exploring the area, and I’ve enjoyed writing about some of the things we’ve done over the summer (most of which is still in draft, but hey, we’ve been too busy doing stuff!) I enjoy writing about tech stuff for my work blog over at Languedoc 121 Tech, but really I moved to France for the life, not the work. After many 40-hour corporate weeks I’m trying to resist the temptation to throw it all in and work-to-live, not the other way around.

While riding this wave of enthusiasm, I’ve signed up to a few blogging networks. Whether they’ll lead to an increase in traffic or not is anybodies guess – but what the heck. But, if you’re new here and came via Bloglovin or any other blogging network, I hope you like what you find and enchante!

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Year Ahead Blogging Plan

This past few months I’ve struggled to make time to keep up with the blog but that’s not for lack of thinking about it. I am constantly distracted, thinking of things to write about and frustrated that I never find the time. As such I always feel “behind” – even though this is a personal project and I’m not accountable to anyone. I also feel like there’s quite a lot of drift and a lack of focus because I write about anything at any time. With that in mind  I’ve decided that a plan would make it easier for me to stay on top of things and also give the blog some much-needed focus. Given my current mission is to improve my French, I’m going to plan to write one post a month focussed on a specific subject that is useful to me right now, thinking about the main areas that I need to work on. That way the blog becomes a tool that enhances my language learning rather than another thing on my to-do list. So here’s the plan:

JANUARY
Illnesses and body parts. This is so necessary because since early December there have been many bugs going around. I need to be able to confidently talk about and understand any conversations at creche or school that relate to DD or DS’s health. That’s why this is top of my list.

FEBRUARY
This is usually a dark and dreary month, even in France (at least it was last year) so I’ll try to brighten my days by thinking about trips and outings for the rest of the year, so the focus for this month will be making plans.

MARCH
Winter in the mountains. This is my favourite time of year to go snowboarding but this year, if finances permit, I’d like to try a few skiing lessons. We also want to ensure the two littles can make the most of the snow while there’s good access to the mountains as the warming sun means the roads will be clear on sunny days. DD loves sledging and it will be DS’s first year, so there’s lots of fun to be had.

APRIL
I always get an urge to start spring cleaning so I may put some vocab together about that. More likely though I’ll talk about all activity that is taking place in the natural world as the flowers start to grow, the trees come into leaf, and we do some work on our vegetable patch, whether that ends up being on our own land or on a small plot we may ask rent from a neighbour.

MAY
French holidays and festivals. It’s not just the UK with bumper public holidays in May; France has more than its’ fair share too. This month I’ll take a look at the various public holidays here in France and try to find out more about their origins and any traditions surrounding them.

JUNE
This is the month of the summer solstice, so I’ll take a look at traditional celebrations that take place in France as well as language related to the moon cycles and any pagan influences in the language.

JULY
It’s the holidays! In July the schools finish and the long holiday, les grandes vacances, starts. Time to drift around, swim in the lakes, spend a day or two at the beach or go camping. (That’s is our kind of holiday, anyway.) And there’s the Tour de France, of course.

AUGUST
It’s hot, hot, hot – and likely to be busy. I’m English so naturally I’ll want to talk about the weather.

SEPTEMBER
La rentrée! It’s the end of the holidays and parents across France breathe a sigh of relief as the 8-week summer holiday comes to an end. This month will be all about going back to or starting school in France.

OCTOBER
This is always a bit of non-month for me but this month there’s a big mountain bike event in the nearby town. I’ve wanted to take part for the last two year so hopefully this year I will get my act together. This month will be all about bike chatter.

NOVEMBER
In the UK it’s bonfire night, but that doesn’t happen in France (no Guy Fawkes, no bonfire night!) so instead of writing about James’s favourite time of year I’ll focus on the other big event in my life this month; birthdays (DD will be five!)

DECEMBER
It’s Christmas, so of course that has to be the theme this month.

In between times I may also try to write other posts about my experiences navigating the different cultural and administrative landscape – as well as any updates on our land-buying/house-building plans (if the status of any of that changes) – but otherwise the focus will be on these 12 themes and language learning. That’s my number one to-do for 2018.