Today we continue our interview series with a fabulous story from Alison one of the writers of the family and lifestyle blog Five Little Stars.
She is currently taking a career break (as a Journalist) to live an expat life in the suburbs of Paris with her husband and their little stars. Alison’s favourite activities are family cycle rides along the River Seine, breaking into warm baguettes and meeting new friends.
Five Little Stars is a joint blog she shares with Kate – a fellow expat mum and a Barrister (by trade). They write professional reviews about family related things and places they enjoy and blog about topics that inspire them.
To read more about Alison, her blog and her life as an expat in Paris read our interview with her below.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I used to work as a TV news reporter in the sunny city of Perth, Australia, where I’m from originally. I love to travel and that’s how I met my husband, Alex, while I was visiting London. He’s English so we ended up living in the UK for many more years than I expected when I started my journey! I’ve recently embarked on a whole new adventure – we’ve moved our family of 4 to Paris.
Why did you start your own travel/parenting blog?
I decided to take a career break when we moved to France and I wanted to use this special opportunity to get to know the city and enjoy some precious time with my kids (aged 3 and 5). As a journalist, I’ve always loved writing and photography so this was my chance to write about my adventures and experiences. I started by writing long emails to my family and friends and soon they were asking for more regular updates. So that’s when the idea of a website started to form.
When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?
I had a few ideas floating around but meeting fellow expat Kate was the real push behind the creation of our website, Five Little Stars. Kate is a lawyer mum who shares similar thoughts to me on finding great places to visit and good products to buy for our families. Kate is a barrister by trade, so of course she shares my enthusiasm for writing and research.
We are a hard working professional team and we motivate each other. “Co-blogging” is unusual but it works for us!
What kind of traveller are you?
I love visiting museums and going to places that make me think. We are really spoilt for choice in Paris and I will miss it when we leave. Recently we took our children to a modern art exhibition featuring artists such as Picasso and Matisse. It was a huge risk and it could have gone horribly wrong! But we found ways to make it interesting for them by turning it into a “treasure hunt” where they had to find a few paintings we had shown them online beforehand. These are the kind of things I like to blog about.
Of course, beach holidays are special and my kids are lucky to have grandparents in Australia who we visit regularly. I have lived in three different countries so it’s natural that my children have also caught the travel bug.
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
When I started blogging I tried not to be influenced by others, so that I was able to find my own voice and style and do something different. This was really important in the beginning but now that our website is established and we are building a good following, I’m meeting a fantastic network of bloggers who have been very helpful and supportive. There is a lot more to blogging than just opening a laptop and typing some words. It’s a very time consuming but rewarding occupation!
What is your biggest challenge about being a mom, blogger and writer?
The biggest challenge for me is time management because blogging is an “open all hours” business. I’m often checking emails, jotting down ideas or updating our social media in between stirring spaghetti bolognese or breaking-up fights between my kids. But I’m trying to become more structured with my time by setting aside certain times of the day for blogging work and other times which are strictly family-only.
Are there any bad parts in the world of blogging?
I really want to try to protect my children’s privacy until they are old enough to agree to me writing more detail about them. Once it’s on the internet, it can never be taken down. As a family lifestyle blogger, it’s natural that I would write about my family. But I really try to be mindful that I don’t write or photograph anything too personal that could embarrass my kids one day or stigmatise them in the future.
What do you do in your spare time (if you have any)?
My favourite activity (to do on my own) is to go on organised walking tours of Paris. My favourite so far has been visiting the residence of Napoleon and Josephine which many tourists don’t know about at Rueil-Malmasion (about 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Paris). It had a temporary exhibition of Josephine’s dresses and they were exquisite.
Also, I really enjoyed going to the Conciergerie in central Paris which is where political prisoners were held during the French Revolution. I saw the cell where Marie Antoinette was held just before she was taken to the guillotine. Walking tours are fascinating – especially when you have an experienced and entertaining guide. You can learn so much from them.
What do you think about our Kids’ Travel Guides and would you recommend them to your family, friends and readers?
I would definitely recommend Kids’ Travel Guides. A challenging thing about living in a city is wanting to visit lots of wonderful places but worrying that my children will not have the patience for it. I’ve learned that if we engage the kids early and make them understand a little about the places we are going to, they last a lot longer and we all enjoy it more. The Kids’ Travel Guides are great for this. We do use iPads for our car and plane journeys but it’s nice to have an alternative, like these guides, so the children are not always looking at screens during times of boredom.
Is there a special message you would like to deliver your audience?
I’m a family and lifestyle blogger but I’m a journalist at heart, so it’s really important to me that our recommendations and reviews are honest and accurate and we also want to write content that people find useful and interesting.
Quite a few of our followers contact us, asking for recommendations for things to buy and places to visit. We love this and want to encourage more people to get in touch and interact with us – it makes it more fun! So, we’d really like readers to come and join us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or they can email us any questions.
Thank you so much for the interview, Alison! We truly appreciate you for taking the time to answer our questions.
If you would like to follow Alison and her “Five Lttle Stars” blog please check the links below:
Website URL: https://www.fivelittlestars.com/