the team


the dog-eared bloggers

Sara Fabre FFS formerly FFF


Welcome to our blog! I am the elder of the team, fast approaching my big 60 in August and actually, I am now really looking forward to it, 'cos well actually, the alternative is not very attractive! I am a mother of two, divorced after 30+ years and I am the eldest of three. Both my parents have now passed. I am a British and a French national and I have lived and been schooled abroad, as well as in the UK. 

am a currently freelancing in digital marketing. I love reading and listening to music although not always at the same time, I love to write, paint and draw and I am very keen on art history and galleries, in fact anything creative and crafty. I am also a travel geek!
I have been blogging for exactly 10 years (great therapy!) and loved everything about it, the freedom, the variety of blogs, the special people I 'met' and the thoughts and words, that sprang forth, most people do say it is a very cathartic experience. I loved every moment of it, especially when I persuaded my Mum to start blogging, it was a double pleasure, I lost heart in writing after she died, but her blog is still 'live' in memoriam and I like to drop by unannounced! I am ready to write again and bring back blogging how it used to be, not selling anything, no call to action, no gimmicks and not too many selfies I hope! Just a space where a group of like-minded experienced bloggers, have their say, share their experiences and if any of our words inspire or help, soothe or excite, inform or assist, all the better! 

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Toni Summers Hargis/Expat Mum

Well hello! I've been blogging as Expat Mum since 2008 and believe it or not, the blog is still going. The Expat part was due to me (a Brit) being located in the USA from 1990........ but I returned to the UK in 2017, making me Repat Mum I suppose.  Speaking of........I'm also the mum/mom to three Yankee Brits, only one of whom I brought back to the UK with me. Sob. You can find out lots more at my grown-up web site. 
Originally from the NE of England (God's own country), I now  live in leafy Surrey with teen Yankee-Brit, an ageing but defiant Dusty-Dog and an American husband who will always be referred to as the Ball & Chain in blog-land. I am a published author and sometime columnist, having written for BBC America (Mind the Gap) for a few years, as well as the Wall Street Journal Expat section, Expat Focus and Global Living magazine. I now blog occasionally at the Huffington Post and am a columnist at the US Anglotopia web site.
Like Saz and Fhina (Sara and Carol), blogging was, and always will be, about the writing and the camaraderie. While we won't be giving out awards like back in the day, I'm looking forward to highlighting guest dog-eared bloggers who are not only great writers but who capture the spirit of "Take It From Us".  
So, in summary, I'm delighted to be part of this wonderful, weathered group - and hope you can all get something out of this blog, - whether it's sage advice, a reading recommendation or a bloody good discussion. 

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Carol Ann 


So,Fhina is my alter ego. I live in rural Northumberland, in a community that hasn't changed much since the Fifties. The Eighteen-Fifties, that is. I love it, actually.Only child, adult orphan, had a working class upbringing on a tough Council estate in the area, which gifted me with a strong Protestant work ethic, so I push myself pretty hard and worry about almost everything.I am University educated, with a long career in Public Service; spent the past 7 years working in the Voluntary Sector, amid training as a Psychotherapist, and no, I can't read your mind, so don't worry.

Married for 30+ years to GJ, and so I have vivid dreams where I look glamorous beside a six feet long grave, clad in black widow's weeds, that sort of thing. GJ was made redundant last year after 20+ years in a high-powered IT job. We're still finding our way home from that... Son G is 26, caring, warm, open, honest, sometimes angry, and still living at home, trying to get a good start in life. Did I say, I worry? A lot. In my life I've experienced love, loss, bullying, sexism, nepotism, snobbery, sometimes inverted, and wonderful as well as awful people. I like to know what makes people tic (if it's Tourette's), or tick. I don't think I've ever fully recovered from the gried of losinig close family members. I don't think you can. I've been made redundant twice, last time last year in March, a tragic ending to a brilliant job. I was recovering from serious back surgery in 2007/8 when I started writing and blogging as A Woman of No Importance, to keep in touch with the world, and I met some fabulous friends through it, across continents, in fact. And some I've yet to meet. Our partnership blog, Mad Mannic Mamas, helped us thgough a torrential time when we were living with Teenage Terrorists. Plus ca change! I am knackered, skint, left win. I grow and show leeks, and over-commit myself to too many commitees. I adore music and gigs. I am a Stevie Nicks wannabe, Germanophile, and French speaking. I'm a failed GOdmother, good-enough Mother, and a reasonable wife, but I loathe the housewifely stuff so my little miner's cottage looks like Miss Havisham's nest. I am hopeful. Pleased to meet you.
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Mike Harling

I’ve been blogging consistently for twenty years, and I see no reason to stop now.
I started blogging while living in America (and planning to stay there, thank you very much). In those days I blogged about Irish Step Dancing and the cigar culture. In August 2001 I met a British lady while on holiday in Ireland, and on the 1st of March 2002, I moved to Sussex and married her. My blog then became Postcards From Across the Pond, and I became an accidental expat.
Blogging about expat life served me well. I got three books of humorous essays out of it, as well as a novel. 
A few years ago, I traded in my job as a project manager for a Brighton-based software company (actually, they asked me to leave) and recently became an accidental choir director. Otherwise, I’m still writing, and still blogging, and still living with the woman who lured me away from America.