and then came blogging …..

by Sharon Santoni

In ten days time this little blog will celebrate its fourth birthday!  Can you believe it?!

I must be starting to look my age because I keep receiving emails about blogging!   As if I knew what I was doing!  Hah!  I don’t think so, but reading the emails has reminded me of how I felt when I first started blogging.  That initial nervousness, the excitement,  wondering where blogging would lead me, wondering if anyone would ever read me ….

One of the most amazing and effective elements of blogging is helping each other out.  No blog can succeed without the support and generosity of other blogs; I still remember so well the first time a blogger (thank you Millie!) put me on her blogroll, how I jumped for joy.

 So I have decided that  on the 23rd of this month I want  to celebrate my fourth birthday by highlighting four upcoming blogs.  And that is where you come in.

To celebrate this anniversary  I would love to talk about four new-ish blogs whose style and subject matter touch me; whose pictures I love, whose writing speaks to me.  I know there are a million wonderful blogs out there, but I shall just choose four, to highlight and link back to.

So if you have a blog you would like to recommend, be it your own, your daughter’s , your dad’s  or your best friend’s, please send me an email headed ‘anniversary blogs’ and tell me all about it.    Please don’t leave the names in the comment box below, that way we’ll keep the surprise intact.

I’ll be  looking for lifestyle blogs, food blogs, blogs about France, blogs about family life, about art … you get the picture.   The blog must use mostly original pictures and have been publishing regularly for less than one year, so anybody who started blogging in 2013 qualifies.

I’ll be back tomorrow maybe talking with you about blogging, in the meantime I’d love to hear what you love most about blogging; why you return to your favourite blogs again and again and what you find in blogging that you don’t find elsewhere.


Merci mes amis, à demain!

photos pinterest




florence January 13, 2014 - 2:34 pm

I was in the same mood when I started my blog almost 7 years ago ! It took me a lot of time to find out how to create it ! I was so “blond” about computers ! I also didn’t know at the beginning of what I was, but now I know : blogging changed my life completly, makes me meet, virtually but also really, new people, most of them being now very good friends. It allows me to share everything I like with everybody, and to give help when necessary. it allows me to discover new univers, decoration, arts, books, travels, etc… thanks to all the other bloggers who share also their experiences, like you do ! So let’s go on blogging ! and long live to this wonderfull blog !

Lorraine Kleinwaks January 13, 2014 - 2:41 pm

Hi Sharon,

Congratulations on your 4th anniversary of this beautiful blog that I start my day off with here in the US for the sheer pleasure of seeing your joyful pictures and love of life. Your blog brings joy, your photography is artful.

Thanks for the chance to share a new blog, mine, started March 2013. I hope it qualifies, since the pictures are gorgeous book covers from the books I blog about — only books I love, whose prose moves me. Enchanted Prose is a blog about beautiful fiction: I blog mostly about historical fiction and contemporary fiction. I have found book blogging to be enormously satisfying, take it very seriously, and it has rewarded me in ways I had not expected. I’d love to be able to spread the word about these books and talented authors, some the result of years of impressive research. Two that come immediately to mind are set in Paris’ Belle Epoque: “I Always Loved You” by Robin Oliveria ( and “The Painted Girls” by Cathy Marie Buchanan ( They are about impressionist art and the ballet. I’m drawn to the passions of art and creating, another terrific novel is “The Art Forger” by B.A. Shapiro ( You may be looking only for blogs in France, but I am glad to have had the chance to share these these beautiful novels with you anyway! Looking forward to your posting tomorrow. Thanks for all you create. Lorraine Kleinwaks

Lorraine Kleinwaks January 13, 2014 - 2:49 pm

PS Just re-read to see you want original photos. Believe I’m disqualified! Please don’t feel you need to post them but again glad I could tell you about the novels set in Paris. Lorraine

Karen (Back Road Journal) January 13, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Blogging has giving me a chance to make friends all over the world. Even though we may never have a chance to meet in person, I enjoy learning about their life and the world around them through their posts and comments. I’m looking forward to your posts on blogging and new bloggers as you celebrate your anniversary.

Lora January 13, 2014 - 3:13 pm

I was recovering from a very painful knee surgery a year and a half ago – on heavy pain medication and A LOT of time spent reclining with my laptop next to me. Eventually I couldn’t face another Netflix. I longed to be able to get up and live life. I started Googling things to just look at, and eventually it occurred to me that I’d enjoy looking at some photos of French country homes. Of course your blog came right up and I was quickly hooked. I spent much of the remainder of my recovery reading, reading, reading your old posts. I was so grateful that there was this wonderful woman in a valley in Normandy sharing her life – sharing things I care about. Thank you Thank you Thank you Sharon. You were a life saver and are still a joy filled part of my life.

Dorka January 13, 2014 - 3:18 pm

Why I return daily to your blog and to the other friends of your blogroll? Frist I needed some refreshment of my english speaking/reading (my german is far better not to mention my knowledge in hungarian my mother tongue) Nowadays I ‘m eagerly waiting your daily posts to enjoy your style and topics as the happenings with you in Normandy are similar to ours in the Plain in Hungary.These are the only opportunities to connect someone in english.Keep going on! with love Dorka

Karena January 13, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Sharon, although I have taken a bit of a break from blogging, this week I am getting back in the swing of things. As Karen mentioned, I also feel that I have made friends all over the world. A special connection with authors ( who have indeed become friends) and their sites has evolved; the opportunity for enrichment in my life has been phenomenal.
The Arts by Karena

Avril January 13, 2014 - 3:59 pm

My blog began with the birth of my first grandchild as I wanted to keep a journal for the family with photographs of her development. I now have 5 grandchildren; the blog has grown to include them all, plus family events, parties, holidays and fun. It is accessible only to family and friends but it allows us all to keep in touch. I am delighted that it has now had more than ten thousand views worldwide as friends travel and keep an eye on life here.
It is one of the delights of life writing it and photographing gardens and children and meals and expeditions…I think of all those journals I started in beautiful note books that dwindled to a halt after a few entries.
Thank goodness for blogs, both creating them and reading others.

Contessa January 13, 2014 - 4:26 pm

Off Topic…….I made the carrot ~ coriander soup!
Delicious………thank you!
Love the few blogs I subscribe too…….yours was the second one I do believe that I signed up for!You do a great job and of course, have a great TOPIC!I have a web-site which I like to think of as a blog as I know longer have a shop and ramble on about what ever strikes me………
They have connected “LIKE SOULS”………….I cannot imagine starting my day without popping into my virtual friends lives!THE PHOTOS DRAW ME IN TOO……..LOVE THE PHOTOS!

Jeanne McKay Hartmann January 13, 2014 - 4:26 pm

What a lovely way to celebrate your blogiversary, Sharon! Hands down the best part of being part of blogworld are the connections to people you would otherwise never meet. And starting each day with blogfriends, getting inspired and soaking up all the beauty and positive energy. Having a creative outlet, too, just makes me a better person, I think. Happier. Noticing more of the world around me.

Congratulations on your four years, and thank you for all the beauty you bring into our lives. I truly look forward to your posts and the point of view you share with your readers.

Have a lovely week! XOXO

Peggy Braswell January 13, 2014 - 4:35 pm

Of course I love your blog + congratulations on 4 glorious years in 10 days!

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon January 13, 2014 - 5:20 pm

What a wonderful and generous way to celebrated.


Roxane January 13, 2014 - 7:39 pm

Congratulation on your upcoming blog birthday!!! Looking forward to discovering new blogs that might become favorites.

Design Chic January 13, 2014 - 8:16 pm

What a wonderful idea, and yes, we too can remember those first comments and visitors. They were so exciting. Congratulations of four years!!

Nib's End January 13, 2014 - 9:33 pm

I blog primarily as a way to record my thoughts and stories for posterity. Both of my parents died last year and there are so many things I wish I had thought to ask them. Writing these memories and moments will, hopefully, give my own children and grandchildren a glimpse into the hidden parts of me. Blogging motivates me to act on those good intentions.

I read other blogs for the interesting stories people tell about their lives, for the writing, for the natural wit and humor that so many others possess in abundance, for the inspiration that generous, talented souls share with no strings attached, and for the travel to other places I might not otherwise see.

Norma January 13, 2014 - 9:54 pm

Congratulations on your blog birthday! I love that as part of your celebration you’re going to feature new bloggers, that’s very thoughtful and gracious of you. I’m looking forward to seeing them revealed and paying them a visit.

Botanic Bleu January 14, 2014 - 1:35 am

My French Country Home has been on my blog roll since I learned how to create a blog roll. I lost it for a while when you made the move from Google blogspot, but added MFCH back. Alas, I no longer get a thumbnail photo of your latest post on my blog roll.

Why do I return to favorite blogs repeatedly? The writing style, original photos (not used from other sites), and the topics covered are the top reasons I return again and again to favored blogs. I understand why you get email messages about blogging. Your style is appealing and by and large, your photos are your own beautiful work. Reading your blog is like reading a favorite magazine.

Since I am a devoted fan of your blog, I was more than thrilled when I saw that my little blog, botanic bleu, is on your blog roll, even on your new platform’s blog roll. Now, if you think you jumped up and down seeing your blog on a blog roll, you can imagine how I excited I was to see MFCH has my blog on its blog roll. I am so honored and humbled that such a creative writer as you read my blog. One day recently while checking the “now” stats, there it was, sharon santoni, on my site at that very moment! I do not qualify to be one of your upcoming four featured blogs, but you have given me real encouragement at a time when I needed it most. Thank you.


Millie January 14, 2014 - 6:43 am

Gosh mate, those 4 years seem like 44!! A lots happened, more so here than over at The Hedge. MOTH’s Go Slow campaign re the renos has meant my main subject for new posts dried up overnight like the middle of the Nullabor Plain Desert.

Not so here though, you go from strength to strength & what a great big heart you have promoting someone else’s efforts so selflessly. That’s good karma in my books. You’ll still be one of my first daily reads when I’m ‘lounging’ about on my padded chair at The Twilight Home for Terminally Bewildered Bloggers! Love ya work.
Millie xx

The Enchanted Home January 14, 2014 - 1:14 pm

Hi Sharon love this idea…..I will have to think hard about new blogs that I feel are really fabulous and worth talking about. When you say newish, what do you mean? A few months? Under a year?

Blogging has brought me soooo much, the most valued perk of all is getting to connect with people all over the world, like you! People we would otherwise not meet, I so enjoy the creative outlet and having a place to share my voice unedited! The vast amount of inspiration and knowledge is more than any school could possibly teach, it goes on and on and on……so happy to have “met” you!

sharon santoni January 14, 2014 - 3:59 pm

I don’t really mind how old Tina, I said less than one year old, but I’m not really fussed as long as its a blog on the rise, looking for new readership


Gina January 14, 2014 - 1:51 pm

Happy 4th blogging birthday Sharon. Most of all I appreciate the time and energy you take to write a blog that is interesting, beautiful, well written and so varied in subject matter. It gives me such pleasure to know that first thing in the morning I can hop on over to France and see what is growing in your garden, what is cooking in your kitchen, what the children are doing and what the dogs are up to and what beautiful flowers you have arranged. And then there are your brocantes!
I love the blogging community in that we help each other. I have made friends and even met some personally. I have also stayed in some of the recommended chateaus while traveling in Europe. But most of all I love sharing.

Michelle Soasti January 16, 2014 - 4:40 pm

This is so tasteful…exquisite… Thank you for sharing this with people like me who enjoy a blog like this.


May January 16, 2014 - 10:42 pm

The first two blogs I began reading years ago are Hither & Thither (travel plus), and Cup of Jo (fashion, life style etc.)
Hither & Thither’s travelogues (Paris, Bali, New England, California) are world wide, and, very on the ground interesting with personal photographs.
Cup of Jo is evolving from better to even better.


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