British Expat Living in Portugal - Interview with Suzy

Published: 25 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Portugal
Suzy Turner is a British blogger and author living in Portugal. Before becoming a full-time author (she has published ten novels) and blogger, Suzy worked in the publishing industry where she climbed her way up from trainee journalist to magazine editor. She loved her job, but when she was made redundant during the recession, it gave her the push she needed to begin afresh. Writing was her new career of choice, one which has blossomed, giving Suzy even more confidence to reach for the stars (hence her blog's logo). Some of her loves (besides her husband, of course) include travel, style, shopping, yoga, food, wine, beauty and more. All of which she writes about on her blog, which was created in July 2015 and is quickly becoming well-established in the blogging world. Suzy's expat blog is called Suzy Turner (see listing here)

Looking out across Praia do Vau
Looking out across Praia do Vau

Here's the interview with Suzy...

Where are you originally from?
Rotherham, South Yorkshire

In which country and city are you living now?
In the countryside of Portimao, Algarve, Portugal

How long have you lived in Portugal and how long are you planning to stay?
I've been here since I was ten years old - 30 years! I live here with my husband, we occasionally talk about moving elsewhere but we'll definitely be here for the foreseeable future.

Across the water from Ferragudo
Across the water from Ferragudo
Why did you move to Portugal and what do you do?
I came here with my family when I was ten years old - my dad won the Pools (a UK lottery) so he and my mum decided it would be nice to move somewhere warm! Sadly, my mum died when I was 13 but we stayed here and I became more 'European' than English. I've grown up here. I now live with my husband (also British), he runs his own very successful property renovation business and I write books and blog for a living. It's a great life!

Did you bring family with you?
I came with my family when I was a kid. My brother and sister have since returned to the UK but my father is still here.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It was quite surreal to be honest. I was only ten years old and we went from living in a Yorkshire town with friends living close by, to living in the countryside where none of the locals spoke any English. I went to an international school where all my classmates came from different countries. It was hard but I soon learned to love it.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I think making friends is easier when you're that age! We just met at school and became buddies. Now though, we have lots of friends, both expats and Portuguese. Our closest friends tend to be expats - not because they're expats, it just seems to happen that way!

Suzy and one of her beloved dogs
Suzy and one of her beloved dogs
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There's golf, the beach, lots of fabulous restaurants, some nice shopping centres. There's a really lovely cafe culture here so lots of meeting friends for coffee. My husband is a biker (motorbikes) so we do hang out with other bikers - get together for dinners and stuff. There's also lots of groups for all kinds of interests like yoga (I'm a yogi too!), dance, aerobics, sewing, etc).

What do you enjoy most about living in Portugal?
We have a marvelous climate - although it can get a bit too warm in the summer and quite chilly in the winter. But it's a really laidback lifestyle which I love. Also, there's not a lot of traffic compared to the UK.
I should also mention the wine - Portugal happens to produce some amazing wines!

How does the cost of living in Portugal compare to home?
Much cheaper than England - eating out, groceries, tax, rates, etc.

On her husband's BMW bike!
On her husband's BMW bike!
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Portugal?
Sometimes the bureaucracy can be a pain in the backside but if you're chilled out and accepting that things take time (especially in August), then it's not so bad.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Portugal, what would it be?
A lot of expats come here assuming they can just start a business, like a restaurant or bar, and it'll be easy. It won't be. It takes hard work and perseverance to make a success of it out here. And you must be prepared to do it the Portuguese way - you have to fit in. And perhaps most importantly, make an effort to learn the language. Even if you struggle, the Portuguese will respect you so much more if you make that effort (and most will answer you in English but they like it when you try).

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Not having certain family members and friends here. I miss them terribly sometimes.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Home? Portugal is my home!

With her husband, Michael
With her husband, Michael
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn the language
  2. Mingle with all nationalities
  3. Make friends with the locals
  4. Don't think because something works in England, that it'll work here. This isn't England.
  5. Don't think that living here is like a constant holiday. It isn't.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Having just turned 40 herself, Suzy aims her blog posts at women 40+ – encouraging them to get out more, to be positive, more stylish and to have fun with their lives in general. Many of these women are based in Portugal, but she also has a huge readership in the US, UK and beyond. Suzy's blog is fast becoming the Algarve's leading lifestyle blog for women over 40.
Her posts cover a wide range of topics including:
• Hotel / restaurant / product reviews
• Fashion & personal style
• Travel
• Health & beauty
• Recipes & food
• Interior decor

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Email, twitter, via the blog

About the author

Expat Blog ListingSuzy is a British expat living in Portugal. Blog description: A 40+ lifestyle blog by Algarve based author Suzy Turner
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