#BlogTour Bloom Where You’re Planted; Life the Expat Way by Lasairiona E. McMaster

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Bloom Where You’re Planted; Life the Expat Way by Lasairiona E. McMaster. It’s a travel guide or rules for living abroad meets expat expertise.

About the Author

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years.

Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Follow Lasairiona @QueenofFireLas on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Goodreads,

Buy Bloom Where You’re Planted

About the book

Are you contemplating a move abroad? Don’t panic!

From culture shock to capable, from language barriers to lifelong friends, and from foreign land to the familiar. Being hurled into life in a strange new place can be daunting and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and enjoyable.

Rich with tips on how to expat like a boss, Lasairiona McMaster’s “Bloom where you are planted”, takes you on a journey from packing up her life in Northern Ireland to jumping in at the deep-end as an expat in two countries.

An experienced expat from a decade of living abroad, her honest and uncensored tales of what to expect when you’re expatriating, are as funny as they are poignant, and as practical as they are heartfelt. If you’ve lived abroad, or you’re considering the move from local to expat. If you’re looking to rediscover yourself, or simply wondering how on earth to help your children develop into adaptable, resilient, and well-rounded people, this book has something for you.


I am an expat, now a repat. I spent over three decades overseas in foreign countries, so I absolutely get the sentiment of the title and this book. Bloom where you’re planted is the best way to assimilate the culture, language, people and country you choose to live in. Or if you are part of a military family, as I was, you go where you are ordered to go as part of the family unit.

You get two types of expats. The first type tries to create a small version of the home country. There is a steadfast refusal to adapt to the surroundings. That often means no real effort to integrate or comprehend how your adopted country works.

The second type tries to become part of the new community, that includes learning the language not just associating with your own countrymen, and trying to eliminate the boundaries between yourself and the native inhabitants.

The truth is either way you will always remain the expat and foreigner to them, even if they appreciate the effort to fit in and respect their culture and country. In the best case scenario you make friends on both sides of the fence. You do however tend to be drawn to people who are in similar situations to yourself. Expats become magnets to other expats.

A perfect example of that are the statements and stories McMaster has included at the end of the book. Many of her friends, both online and real life, have written about their own experiences as expats and have added words of friendship and support.

Aside from the banter, the witty remarks and the attempt to put a more positive slant on what must have been some quite difficult moments, the author includes helpful tips for others embarking on similar adventures. There are some really good suggestions and advice for expats. The nitty-gritty bureaucracy you might not think of or just small things that might help to make you feel less homesick.

This is more than just the meanderings of an expat with a taste for new experiences, it’s also a helpful handy guide for people who are in similar situations or planning to move overseas. It’s a travel guide or rules for living abroad meets expat expertise.

Buy Bloom Where You’re Planted; Life the Expat Way at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.

About the Author

Fiona Stocker is the author of travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, published by Unbound in 2018.

Raised in England, Fiona Stocker now lives in Tasmania where she writes freelance for magazines, newspapers and online publications, and runs a niche farm, food and tourism business in partnership with her husband.

She occasionally works as a ghost writer and editor, and was a judge in the Tasmanian Short Story Competition in 2016. Her first book, A Place in the Stockyard, a history of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture featuring its members, was published in 2016.

Read more and subscribe for a quarterly newsletter at http://www.fionastocker.com/ or read Fiona Stocker’s blog at http://www.appleislandwife.com/

Fiona Stocker lives in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, with her husband, two children and around forty-five pigs. Apple Island Wife is her first travel memoir.

Follow @FionaCStocker @Unbound_Digital on Twitter, Visit appleislandwife and fionastocker

Buy Apple Island Wife: Slow Living in Tasmania

About the book

What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who s an aspiring alpaca-whisperer, and a feral cockerel for company? Can you eat the cockerel for dinner? Or has it got rigor mortis?

In search of a good life and a slower pace, Fiona Stocker upped-sticks and moved to Tasmania, a land of promise, wilderness, and family homes of uncertain build quality. It was the lifestyle change that many dream of and most are too sensible to attempt.

Wife, mother and now reluctant alpaca owner, Fiona jumped in at the deep end. Gradually Tasmania got under her skin as she learned to stack wood, round up the kids with a retired lady sheepdog, and stand on a scorpion without getting stung.

This charming tale captures the tussles and euphoria of living on the land in a place of untrammelled beauty, raising your family where you want to and seeing your husband in a whole new light. Not just a memoir but an every woman’s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.


The author has a knack for telling a yarn, no pun intended. There are some people, I think we will all know at least one person this applies to, who can make even the most mundane of tasks become an entertaining story. This is what Stocker does with the stories of her family and her anecdotes. In fact she is probably a written advertisement for upping roots and moving to New Zealand.

It’s amusing, albeit probably unintentionally so. In a way the author downplays the difficulty of adjusting to such a different way of life, climate and culture, with her entertaining stories. What is lost in the midst of it all is the strength and endurance it must have cost them to deal with every situation and new challenge.

What does come through quite strongly is the support people in remote areas need from their neighbours and friends. The advice, the many years of experience and of course the oddities that come with being a person of the land.

I can’t decide which part I enjoyed the most, but there were a fair few laughs along the read. The temperamental alpacas, the cockerel named Vlad or the snake pretending to be a long tailed rat. The neighbour with an affinity to sniff out dead trees, the child-herding dog and the subtle art of wood stacking. Just a small taste of the light-hearted tales within the book.

I enjoyed the way Stocker had no problems taking the mickey out of herself, her husband and their friends. It’s done in a playful and respectful manner, but it doesn’t make it any less funny. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.

Buy Apple Island Wife: Sow Living in Tasmania at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 4 Dec. 2018

The White Nile Diaries by John Hopkins

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The book follows the travel of two Princeton Graduates called John Hopkins and Joe McPhillips. They are typical affluent men of their time with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed view of the world.

It is written, as the title aptly says in diary form and also filled with correspondence between themselves, some of their hosts and the contacts, who enabled part of their difficult travels.

You can feel the innocence of youth, the burning desire to conquer the unknown and the flame of independence. The two of them plod on through armed borders, endless deserts, tropical diseases and even the occasional dangerous group of rebels. Often the escape conflict, death and prison by the skin of their teeth.

Their travels take place during the 1960’s, a time of great upheaval and development. At the same time they are able to experience certain places in a way you can’t any more.

One of their more bizarre experiences is at Sam Small’s Impala Ranch. I think that particular passage in the book gives the reader an excellent feeling of the vast space and feeling of loneliness foreigners, who chose to settle there, experienced.

That feeling of being surrounded by nothing but wild country and despite the fact the native inhabitants put up with the pesky colonialists, there was always the underlying feeling of not belonging.

Hopkins gives a realistic flair, taste and colour to the places they travel through. It is almost as if the reader is sat on the back of the sturdy motorcycle they called The White Nile.

This is a ride through history written by Hopkins during the actual travels with a great dollop of energy and the devil-may-care attitude of youth

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and I.B. Tauris