KAREN Bates spent 11 years in Normandy, slowly working on her own house while handling the paperwork of her partner's joinery business.
The couple had crossed the Channel with Karen's young son, leaving his older sister in boarding school in the UK, and had high hopes of making a success of French life.
But rarely do plans run smoothly and despite working hard on the business, Karen slowly began to see a change in her family and herself, taking to writing in her journal to help tackle some of the problems.
Soon the journal became a source of relief, ensuring Karen stayed clear of the gin and anti-depressants, and formed the framework of a book that she went on to publish just before moving back to the UK called Faking It In France.
Here Karen talks about her time in France.
Craig McGinty: What was the reason behind your move to France?
Karen Bates The reason we moved to France in the first place was. It was really on a whim. I mean, it might sound absolutely crazy, but we sold our business and we had some money in the bank, and my brother already lived in Brittany.