After a career in social work and then research at the University of Liverpool, I moved out to France 8 years ago to build Astrofarm, a residential astronomy centre, for UK astronomers to stay and enjoy our spectacular dark and clear skies. The death of my husband 4 years ago, who was the astronomy expert, meant that it was a struggle to keep the business and the facilities going on my own.

I was then faced with the double edged sword of Brexit and Covid, the latter closing the business for 2 years. Whilst of course it was harrowing watching my hard fought business slip away, it also gave me a chance to rethink my life in France.

I knew I wanted to stay here in France and was able to keep the astronomy business going with the groups that came out regularly. However, I needed to build the business in a more sustainable way. Joe finished university at around the same time and came and spent time here with me before returning to England to start his musical career. Then 6 months later Covid stalled Joe’s performing and with the additional pressures from Brexit, Joe made to move to France. This was the perfect solution for us both.

We had the residential accommodation and a successful business with all the structures and processes in place. We had the space in the barn to construct the studio so it wasn’t a difficult decision to add the music to our business. I was already providing the hospitality and all the administration for groups visiting and so the division of the business was simple. My responsibilities were for the accommodation and meals and Joe for the music. We work well as a team dividing up the tasks to suit our strengths and to provide a fully rounded service to our guests.


I grew up in a home where music was the backdrop of our family life. Both my parents are passionate about music, singing and listening and so rather than nursery rhymes to go to sleep, I preferred the Who’s greatest hits! Living in the NW of England, I was privileged to be on the doorstep of so much great live music and I attended my first concerts while I was still in a pushchair. From Mathew St Festival to African street parties, from the ballet to Cats, I absorbed every kind of sound into my soul.

I told my mum when I was just 4, after seeing the orchestra play Swan Lake at the Liverpool Empire theatre, that I was going to be a musician. At just 5 years old I had my first drum lesson and fell in love with playing. At 8, I began piano, which was to be the start of my deep interest in music theory. At 11, I found an old guitar in the garage and learnt all the best rock rifts through YouTube.

All through my schooling this decision to be a musician never faltered. I played in the school orchestra, performed shows, sang in the choir and at 14 played my first live gig with a 4 piece band. I was hooked! Taking 2 music A levels along with Maths and French, I was perfectly prepared for taking my studies further with a degree in Music and Technology at Salford in Manchester. That’s where I discovered a calling to recording and production, alongside performing.

Meanwhile, my mum had moved out to France and set up a residential centre, where I spent my holidays and breaks. And then Covid brought my post-university musical career to a complete stop! Moving out to France to open a music studio with accommodation was the perfect solution and I’ve never looked back.

I feel so fortunate to have my own music studio, to be playing in several bands, to be writing and recording my own work and that of others and having a complete ball doing it. I love having bands out to stay and working together on their projects, co-creating their tracks and sharing my home in this beautiful part of France.

You can follow our story through all the ups and downs over the last 8 years on Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun. We were featured in series 1 and then followed up with 3 updates, the most recent going out on 23rd of February at 4.00 pm and starring Joe and Studio Alouette!