Thursday, 10 February 2011

Meet the Expats: The Hope Tree

We all know the lovely Hayley from The Hope Tree. I always admire her new French finds in her vintage shop.

The thing that always strikes me about Hayley is her kindness. Whenever I 'talk' to her online a very thoughtful, kindhearted person comes through.

She also has a habit of posting about being grateful on Twitter. Something that always makes me pause and think about all the things I'm grateful for. Today, it is all the wonderful people I've met through the Etsy Expat team.

I don't think everyone knows this, but Hayley is also a brilliant artist.

She was kind enough to answer my questions.

How do you manage to juggle art, vintage and your family life?

Honestly, in my eyes, I don't! I guess you just have to do what you have to do. My little 2 year old comes first of course. The rest of the time is shared between a part-time job I have and my vintage shop.

Sadly, my art gets left behind. I think that is mainly that I don’t really a place to paint, I paint on our bed when my son is sleeping or at crèche. Luckily  I have the support of my husband and he helps out all the time.

All the things in my life are important to me and I somehow give just enough to each area even though as many do, I wish I had more time.

Why did you move?
My husband is French and so we first moved to France from South Africa straight after our marriage to try it out. During the first year we lived on the French Riviera and it just didn’t work out. So we scooted over to England and all was dandy until our son came along, then it was too expensive.

At this point we could either move back to South Africa (yay!) or move to my husband’s family in the north of France. At this point I had to follow my head and not my heart as France just had a better way of living (schooling, healthcare) for my son. So here we are!

Biggest challenge being an expat?
There are two major areas for me. As most expats will tell you, it’s being away from family.

I didn’t realize I was such a ‘home bird’ until I was living in a different culture. My father passed away a few years ago and that just made my mother, brother and I extremely close. But as they say ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!’

The other thing that I find truly challenging is how hard it is to relax and be one’s self in a culture which is extremely different to one’s own plus a foreign language. It find it very hard to just relax with others and even when one goes shopping, you are always aware of the difference.

Biggest joy being an expat?
You know, its growing to be a great joy. That is my discovery of the French culture, my way. With my etsy shop I am slowly discovering the French and who they are. Each vintage item I find is like reading another page of the French history and who the French are. It might even become a love affair, who knows.

Find The Hope Tree:

Are you a soon-to-be, been-there-done-that or currently doing that expat? If you sell on Etsy come and join our team.

Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)

Photo credits: The Hope Tree


  1. Lovely to read about our kind and giving Hayley what would we do without all her kind comments and reminders of all we have to be grateful for. Excellent post

  2. What a lovely peek into your life Hayley! I think we all appreciate how difficult it can be to be away from family and to be stramgers in a strange land, but you do it in such a selfless way.
    I hope that one day you can be in a place where you can truly relax!

  3. Hi Hayley...:D I just bought the little yellow bowl from your shop and it arrived today. Nice to find out a bit more about you!

  4. When I go on Twitter or Etsy, I always check Hayley's comments first. She is so kind, always positive - I love the things she has to sell. And, I always think about what I am grateful for!

  5. Great t read about you-and I lurve your items,and love finding out more aout our team members!thanks so much! Marilyn