A Taste of Garlic

The Au Pair Project - Rhône-Alpes

rhone alpes  The Au Pair Project   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Au Pair Project was the sort of blog that was immediately attractive to me.

I think that it might have been the words.. Au Pair that first raised my interest?

The Au Pair Project is Laurens blog and Lauren is… “an Italian girl with a pinch of Cajun, and a love affair with France.  She can’t sing but she refuses to give up car karaoke. She believe being able to make a good pasta sauce is a gift,  enjoys cooking but can appreciate a frozen yogurt lunch! She plans to live with endless passion, wild dedication, and boundless love!”

Lauren is an Au Pair living in Lyon!

Well, that’s all very nice but… what about the important stuff – the bits about Au Pairs!

The bits about Au Pairs…

Now, I’m going to try to to be adult and sensible about this review; and not let any of my silly childish fantasies get in the way.

Thus, I’m going to start off with The Au Pair Reference Guide.

This handy document tells you pretty much everything you need to know apart from two things…

1).  How to avoid the advances of lecherous Au Pair Fanciers (I believe that they have clubs and associations and even internet sites – not that I’ve ever looked at those sorts of internet sites!) and

2).  It is, and not a lot of people know this, actually only a minor offence to feed your charges to the lions at the local zoo if (and you need to make sure you have documentary evidence of this; it saves a lot of time and reduces the legal fees somewhat), they have consistently disobeyed you and have repeatedly refused to eat cauliflower!

Lauren does come up with the handy hint that… “Run, race, hopscotch, jump. Just get them out of breath and exhausted and you’ll have a quiet evening to yourself!”

My mum used to bulk feed us Valium but I suppose that’s frowned upon, these days?

Even Au Pairs go on holiday….

Yes, they do, really!  And normally they go to those countries recently frequented by Nice Uncle Herod.

Lauren chose to go to Corsica.  Now, I’m not sure if children have actually been banned from Corsica but, it would appear to be the case as Lauren seems to have had a nice time.

The post, Travel Partners, is worth reading if  you’re interested in how relationships survive holidays, and also (and possibly more importantly) because it contains the phrase… “secretly hoping they’ll step in dog merde (abundantly spread throughout the sidewalks of France!)”

Au Pairs are people too…..

They are, you know!

And they are allowed to do weird things just like the rest of us.

Things like writing Dear John Letters to boys called Tom! (I have to admit that, although I’ve done lots of weird things in my life, I’ve not actually done that one yet!)

Or, publicly telling lies about your boob size!  (I almost ashamed to admit that, although I’ve done lots of weird things in my life, I’ve not actually done that one yet!)

Or even, Making Raspberry Jam Bars with a six year old!  (I’m actually proud to admit that, although I’ve done lots of weird things in my life, I’ve not done that one yet!  Never have and never will – you know what they say about incest and morris dancing!)

Adjusting to life as an Au Pair….

Sometimes it take time to adjust to a new life.

However, one gets the feeling that Lauren has got a tough job with one of her first charges in France.

In A Spoonful of somethin’ we are told of this young girl… She is not the norm: snacks don’t work, punishment doesn’t work, modeled behavior doesn’t work, being nice absolutely doesn’t work, being stern doesn’t work, games don’t work, and positivity sure doesn’t work either. She seems (and acts) miserable so much of the time that I suggested to her to consider taking an anti-depressant…Granted, I told her in English so she couldn’t understand!”

I wonder if Lauren had considered burying the little girl in the compost heap for a month; all those maggots, all those worms?

Most of my brothers and sisters were subjected to this remedy and it did wonders for them; those that survived, that is!

In Le Conditionnel Passé we find Lauren hoping that… “Cecile gets laryngitis and loses her ability to whine!”

And in Not to be fooled we read those words which suggest the compost heap treatment wasn’t far away… “Well, I did it. I quit. I resigned. I surrendered. I gave notice and gave up. I threw in the towel. Bowed out and checked out.”

Well, good for you, Lauren.  Children aren’t normal, you know.

But what’s this?  Bugger me, two days later she’s moving in with an American family to be Au Pair to their kids!

I tell you girl, if God had intended children to have Au Pairs, he wouldn’t have invented Public Schools!

However, even I (who firmly believes that children don’t become human until they reach eighteen), have to admit that the new family’s children seem OK – especially the eight year old girl who likes capturing beetles, touching worms and dissecting spiders.

Which in my humble opinion are far more practical fields of study than stamp collecting or sailing model boats, for example!

The bit where I don’t talk about those monsters that generally, if they’re beaten enough, grow up to be adults….

There are some bits on this blog that don’t involve children (or monsters as they are know in my family.)

One of which tries to explain all about what happens on a Girls Night.

Now, I’ve read that particular post 64 times and I’m still as confused as hell!  It sounds something like a cross between a Masonic Lodge meeting and Saturday Night at the Wimpey.

Apparently it has something to do with a film called  Sex and the City.   Well, I’ve watched that film 42 times and I still don’t have a clue!  They’re confusing animals, women, aren’t they?  Or, is it just Au Pairs?

Which ties in nicely with the post entitled Cote D’Azur which is basically an episode of Sex and the City filmed in the South of France in the Steadicam style made famous by The Blair Witch Project and best summed up with the uttered phrase.. “because you can take the girl out of the Catholic church but you can’t take the Catholic guilt out of the girl!”

I’ll leave you to find out what Lauren was feeling guilty about!

And then there are Confessions which is much of the same but this time filmed in Barcelona!

They’re a wild, wild bunch – those Au Pairs, aren’t they?

Must be to do with looking after all those wild animals?

Finally…  in Eat, Pray, Love and then some, Lauren and Rachel (who is not an Au Pair) go to Paris and Provence and would probably be best described as…. Lauren and Rachel Do Paris and Provence!

It seems to end when…. “we woke up from a morning nap in our Peugot (looking sleep deprived, in desperate need of a shower and hair that hadn’t been washed in three days) to a note on the windshield that read:

“Bonjour Sleeping Beauties—If you’d like a café or a drink later, call me.”

We wiped our smeared mascara, looked around and were a bit flattered until we anxiously realized upon departure, wait, what kind of weirdo watches people while they sleep?! “

So, summing up….

The Au Pair Project is a great blog to read if you want to learn all about being an Au Pair in France.

Then again, if you are thinking about becoming an Au Pair in France, it might be better if you don’t read The Au Pair Project until you’ve got the job!

I enjoyed almost every inch of this incredible blog and, even though I’ve got absolutely no interest in children (you remember that scene in The Omen when Damien vomits when his father tries to get him into a church – well, that’s me and primary schools!  Just walking past one brings me out in hives!), I can’t help but recommend The Au Pair Project to you.

Please visit and enjoy (and you might want to encourage Lauren to use the Compost Heap remedy should she become an Au Pair again!)

And me?  Well, This Little Piggie is going to the market and I’m going to buy anything and everything that looks edible and then I’m going to go oui oui oui all the way home!

All the best

rhone alpes  The Au Pair Project   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By lauren, September 9, 2010 @ 7:06 am


    Thank you for the blog review and thank you for your honesty.. I suppose I should incorporate more of the positives into the blog about being an au pair and now that i’ve switched families once again and am enjoying it, I think the writing will come.

    Thank you again.. I will take your advice and incorporate some necessary changes 🙂


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 9, 2010 @ 8:48 am

    Hi Lauren

    I hope you realise that the review was slightly tongue in cheek?

    I love reading your blog and I loved reviewing it!

    The fact that I’m not overly keen on children doesn’t distract from my admiration for Au Pairs!

    I think the problem mught be that when I was growing up, the family guide to raising children was Stuwwelpeter!

    This fascinating book tells any parent all they need to know – it should be compulsory reading for all adults (and come the revolution, I’ll make sure it is!)

    All the best


    P.S. Don’t forget about the Compost Heap stuff! Just the threat of it can work wonders for any child who does eat their cauliflower!

  • By Lauren, September 9, 2010 @ 9:56 am

    Hi again
    I didn’t realize until just now that your review continued after the first paragraph bc I read on Itouch but now after reading the whole review, I must say thank you. You mad me laugh with your insights and the time you took to write about it, and more so, read all the posts touched me. So thanks!!!!


  • By nancy schindler, September 10, 2010 @ 5:31 am

    loved your feedback also on lauren’s blog-i am a little prejudiced being her mom and all-but her writing is amazing! sad that it took leaving the USA for that to blossom.

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