Heads Above Water


  • Before
    Our house in Ireland.
  • After
    France at first sight
  • After
    The interior
  • Better
    It gets better
  • Better
    It gets colder

Heads Above Water is the account of our first couple of years as expats in France. And yes, there are lots of books about living in France out there already. But a lot of these are the short-term adventures of single people or retired couples. Moving abroad with a family, and without a pension, is a whole new ball game. That’s what makes Heads Above Water different. It’s about a family with three children who stick the hardships out and make things start to work. It’s about actually making a living in a new country. It’s realistic and gritty – but also fun and very entertaining, and, I hope, ultimately inspiring.

The story....

In 2006 we left Ireland for France. ‘We’ are Stephanie, my husband Chris, eldest son Benjamin (then 14), daughter Caitlin (then 12) and youngest child Ruadhri (then 5). Nessie our border-collie cross came along too. We had sold our beautiful, new, enormous house near Bandon in Co. Cork. We moved to two hovels with a barn and three lakes set in 75 acres of rural Creuse. Why? Well, we asked ourselves that question a few times too during our first few months in France. But ten years on, we’re here and we’re happy and we’re making a living. Heads Above Water is the first book in the series describing how we got here, what we did and where we go from here.