profile image

Toni Hargis

Repatriated Brit. Author, blogger, observer of Pond issues and anything else that takes my fancy.

Toni (Summers) Hargis is a Brit who lived in the USA for more than two decades and is now back in Blighty. She is the author of "Rules, Britannia; An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom", and "The Stress-Free Guide to Studying in the States; A Step-by-Step Plan for International Students". Toni writes prolifically on "Pond" issues, blogs as Expat Mum and has appeared on TV and radio over the years, discussing everything from Downton Abbey to The Queen's Jubilees.

Anne Robinson, You're Dead Wrong (And Somewhat Confused)

On the one hand Anne, you're telling them they're whining, and on the other you're admitting that younger women need the help of the collective. A collective that includes you perhaps? That part you got right. Because if women like you continue with this "get some robust-ness", guess what? No young women will ever say anything and it'll be just like the your day all over again.
30/10/2017 15:44 GMT

Back in Blighty - Behind The Wheel

I've been driving for over thirty years. I realise I'm jinxing it when I say I've never had an accident, (if you exclude the idiot in Finchley, arguing with his girlfriend and ramming me up the back end), but I haven't.
11/09/2017 12:15 BST

Back To Blighty - There Are No Stupid Questions

If there's one thing repatriating after a twenty-seven year absence will teach you it's that there are no stupid questions. You might feel stupid asking them at the time, as I did when handed a green plastic disc in the supermarket, but if you're to make any headway, pride must be swallowed.
28/08/2017 20:33 BST

Back In Blighty - Shoes On Or Off?

I repatriated to the U.K. three weeks ago, after more than two decades in the United States. I'd been lucky enough to come back at least once a year for most of that time, so it's not exactly like landing on the moon, but there are a few things that are making me scratch my head. I'm not sure whether it's changed since I've been gone, or I just didn't notice it all those years ago.
03/08/2017 12:42 BST

The Green, Green Grass Of Home

When I left England, there was no Internet, cell phones were the size of micro-waves and couldn't be used for anything other than verbal communication, and self-check-outs, mercifully, had yet to be invented.
14/04/2017 15:33 BST

On Social Media? Would It Kill Ya To Assume The Best?

Not only does he incorrectly assume that she was "paying no mind" to the carnage, he has no idea what might have transpired only seconds before or after. As the photographer later revealed, the poor woman was visibly horrified and behaving exactly the same as many other people on the bridge.
26/03/2017 23:10 BST

American Words That Stun Brits

In my years of writing about British and American language and customs, "Don't say fanny" is probably my first instruction to Americans visiting the UK. "Fanny" isn't the only American word that can render a Brit gob smacked though.
10/03/2017 16:33 GMT

Americanisms In The UK: No Way Or No Biggie?

There's a reason the Oxford English Dictionary and others update their contents several times a year and announce, with increasing fanfare, their new additions. In 2016 the OED added over a thousand new words, including bathroom stall, cheerlead, team-oriented and yoga pants - all of which sound decidedly American.
03/03/2017 16:13 GMT

Trump's Tremendous Vocabulary

While Trump may ramble incoherently and speak in sentences usually associated with kindergarten, his vocabulary is the subject of much global discussion. Consider the newly popular words (including "tremendous") we're all throwing about with abandon.
23/02/2017 16:46 GMT

Phrases To Use In Social Media Spats

Like many, I've been a bit busy on social media these past few weeks. Most of the time I manage to have respectful discussions, admittedly with people who are not too far off my own social and political spectrum.
25/01/2017 16:04 GMT

Where Trump's Parents Went Wrong

Doesn't the phrase 'choose your battles' come to mind? You know, the one we use when dealing with tantrum-throwing toddlers and teenagers. His parents obviously forgot to drum that one into Donnie's little skull, and thus, my list of parenting misses committed by Mr. and Mrs.Trump - 
17/01/2017 16:18 GMT

Why I Resolve To Be Glued To My Phone In 2017

I have made the usual token 2017 resolutions - lose a few, drink less during the week, be more organised, and so on. One bandwagon I'm not jumping on though, is to be "less connected". I may vow to put the pies down, but not my phone.
05/01/2017 11:10 GMT

The Lies We Tell About Santa

I've had almost twenty four years of being a parent, and with a large age difference between the oldest and youngest, roughly twenty one years of fibbing my head off about various matters. At this time of year of course, the culprit is Santa Claus or Father Christmas.
13/12/2016 13:57 GMT

How To Buy Gifts For Other People's Children

Don't harass said parent into giving you a list within 24 hours of receiving your e-mail/phone call. Parents are busy, and they may even have to have a few sneaky conversations with the child to determine what would be a good gift suggestion
06/12/2016 16:37 GMT

Why It Pays To Ditch Your PJs When Flying

There are many reasons to dress nicely on a flight, and they're not just to do with self-esteem and other touchy feely issues, although doesn't everybody feel better in fresh, clean clothes? Nor are they to do with consideration for others around you, 'cause that clearly isn't a pressing matter.
30/11/2016 12:37 GMT

Ten Things You Might Not Know About U.S. Colleges

There's been a sharp increase in the number of British students attending American colleges in the past decade. As well as it being a completely different education system, there are other surprises prospective applicants might want to consider...
01/11/2016 16:47 GMT

Yankee-Brit Baby Naming - It's A Minefield

In case there's a Brit in America facing this dilemma right now, here are a few other names you might want to ditch for the sake of your sanity. Remember, these kids stick around for quite a while, as do the pronunciation peeves.
18/10/2016 18:06 BST