The Simply Team

Back in late 2016, ever the travelling EXPAT, Brit Donna decided to develop a blog called ‘A Very Unfrench Wife’ at her then Saudi based dining table. With a move to France on the cards in early 2017, she felt the need to build a community around her, to help with her integration into French life. Her personal blog soon became very popular with like-minded people and later morphed into a shared community hub with a global following.

 

In September of 2021, the admin team decided we needed to stop talking about a magazine and actually do something about it! 

 

We had always wanted a magazine, talked about it endlessly, hoping to create a magazine that really reflected the needs and interests of our social followers, created for our unique community, written by the community, home and abroad. For those dreaming of a life in France, lovers of the French lifestyle, second homeowners and of course the EXPAT global community that already live here. Donna has always wanted us to be real about the good, the bad and the ugly. Her warts and all approach has always been popular, She takes a no holds barred approach to talking about living abroad. Donna likes to be all-inclusive but balances inclusivity with keeping the community safe. 

It has been an incredibly exciting journey to date and we are very proud to present our digital only magazine to you!

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Donna Jones Holland

Simply Editor

What is it that fuels me? That's an easy question to answer, it’s the Simply community and Simply Living Magazine. I love writing about my passions, what interests me, what interests others and sharing all of my thoughts with our readers. I equally love reading about our commutes adventures. We help each other.

After many years of building online communities, I realised that we needed to bring it all together in the form of a community magazine, not just for EXPATS already living in France but for those still dreaming of life here or simply those that covet the French lifestyle. I hope you enjoy browsing our site and all of the unique content we have to offer, written by the community for the community, home and abroad. Please, read on and enjoy!

Tia Malcolm

Simply Editor

For years, I have served as a useful source of information to those seeking inspiration, help, or advice whilst living in France. I finally decided to own that role and be intentional about it. I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s crazy world; your personality, your sense of humour, and most importantly, your heart. I love helping others to connect or expand their social circle whether that be online or in person. Simply Living France is truly my passion, gaining more and more traction each day, I'm loving seeing it grow. I hope you enjoy browsing the magazine and I look forward to working with you on future projects.

Lifestyle Writer

Pam Gagiano

Bonjour á tous, I've been a member of Simply Living France since its inception. We have five children, three of whom live in Europe and eight grandchildren. We also have a few grand dogs. Lover of all things French, I speak the language and really enjoy interacting with everyone.

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Di Phillips

I live in Winchester, Hampshire. I am currently the only member of the team who lives in the UK. I am a retired special needs teacher, married to Anthony for over 46 years, and we have a daughter Rowena. Rowena is a single mum to Maisie (12) and George (8); they live in Alresford, a small Georgian town close by. 

We all love visiting France and try to holiday in the Dordogne most summers; we have already booked for 2022! I enjoy knitting and have made baby blankets for friends future grandchildren, woolly hats for their children and jumpers for family and friends. 

In addition, I enjoy cooking and reading and recently revisited cross stitch making a wedding sampler for our Tia and a christening one for my great-niece. I also enjoy having a glass of wine or a refreshing gin and tonic in the evening (not every evening!)

Rebecca Claridge

Hello, I have lived in Brittany, France, since 2008. I live here with my husband and our three children. I am a fully qualified beauty therapist, reiki master and sports instructor, and I have my own beauty business. I believe health, beauty and wellness should be available to everybody; that's why I love to share things you can do to help with this. I love living in France, and even though I still struggle with the language, I try not to let it hold me back. I am happy to be part of the Simply French team, and I look forward to working with the extraordinary ladies who make this all possible.

Kirsty-Anne Bissell

I am Kirsty-Anne Bissell, 53 and have lived in the Haute-Vienne with my hubby Lee since 2015. Originally a project manager from Yorkshire and mum to Joshua 30 and Elliott 25, I now run a Chambre d'hôtes and licence IV bar with my husband.
I am the vice president of our committee des fetes, helping organise our monthly commune events. I enjoy crafting (when I have time), cooking and music.

Doe Evans 

Hello, I am Doe Evans, one of the newer members of the Simply Team. 

We’ve had a holiday home in Charante Maritime Dept 17 for 27 years and last year we were lucky enough to make this our permanent home.

I’m Mum to two grown up sons and Granny Doe to three amazing grandsons.

I love painting, needlefelting and there’s nothing better than a good crafty project.

I’m happy when all the seats round the dining table are occupied as I love cooking but I’m not a fancy cook. I’m looking forward to exploring this fabulous country we now call home and capturing some of the sights on paper. 

Philippa Gratton

Hello, I’m Philippa, an Anglo/Belgian, born in the U.K. but have spent 37 years living in Belgium. We bought our house in the Hérault Dept of Occitanie when my husband retired seven years ago and spent our time between our adopted home in Belgium and France. Cooking is my passion, both countries provide lots of inspiration, and we love the opportunity of discovering France on our travels. It’s a far cry from my original career as a high school maths teacher, but I know I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I do.