About us

We are a family of four. Sarah, Andy, Finn & Isla and we are on the emigration path to Sydney, Australia from Somerset, England. We arrived on Tuesday 24th August 2010 and this is our story.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Early risers

I have heard that in general the Aussies are early risers.  Something to do with the heat and getting out and about before you get completely fried.  

Now if things continue as they are then we will definitely be in that demographic.  Finn & Isla seem to be relishing being up with the larks at the moment.  The other morning at 5:45 Isla was chirruping from her cot, I kid you not.  5:45, what was she thinking?

The trouble is that while we are living with my Mum, Finn has his own room but Isla is in sharing with us.  Now she is still in a cot so at least she can't wake and roam around, however she has ears like a bat and the faintest rustle of the duvet from us and she sees this as green.  She turns on the full Isla charm and starts addressing us with 'Peepo' and 'Morning' in her adorable, heart melting, sing song voice.  We immediately fold and invite her into our bed (before she wakes Finn - who also has bat like hearing).  She sits in-between us as we do our best to feign sleep, poking first our noses and then our eyes.  What can you do?  There is no resisting her when she is being so cute.

A 6:45 rise on Saturday resulted in me commenting to Andy that this should now be considered a lie in!  All these early starts are making me no good to anyone and having to resort to climbing the wooden hill even earlier - recently once at 20:45!

Anyway.....it's 20:57 and I'm quite sleepy..... 

Family snap today:

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

One door closes...

...but the next one hasn't opened yet.

No, your eyes do not deceive you, I am in fact making a post!  I've not done any recently as, unlike Sarah, I couldn't think of anything that I really wanted to talk about and didn't want to just blether on - perhaps this makes me a bit shallow?  Hmm.

Anyway, even I ought to be able to make something out of leaving my job of the last 9 years, which I did yesterday.  I started at the Avon and Somerset Constabulary in May 2001 as the Exchange Administrator and have been part of the 3rd line Windows Server Team since then, although becoming seconded to SouthWest One mixed things up a bit :-|

When Sarah and I had fully decided to make the move to Australia and were sorting out our timeline, we agreed that I'd stop work a while before we actually leave so I'd have the time to update my IT certifications - there are four that I really need to get done and two more that would be 'nice to haves'. 

I've already talked about the day when I handed my notice in, about three months ago, and yesterday came around pretty quickly but it didn't seem to arrive with a bang - more of a whimper!  I went to bed the night before without any major excitement/concerns about my final day, I got to work at about the same time as usual (albeit with a load of cakes as per tradition), I actually did about three fifths of a days worth of work (final documentation, mostly), had the usual exit tradition of everyone gathering around my desk while a senior manager talks about my history (which was fine) and then watched with the team while my countdown timer (which had been counting down for 31 days on the 40" monitor behind me) ticked down to zero.  A few handshakes and hugs later and I'm out of the door and on my way home.

Would you trust your IT to these people?  Note the countdown!

I don't want to cast aspersions re my relationship with the rest of the team - we all get on really well and I'd certainly count them all as friends rather than colleagues, and I know that at least a couple of them regularly read this blog so I'd better be nice (haha, not really!), and I know I'll be seeing them at least a few times before August but I did think that this fairly major event in my life (this was one of only two major jobs I've had since I was 18, after all) would have more of an impact on me than it apparently has... maybe it's too soon yet to make any assumptions about the medium-term.  The next few weeks will probably feel more like normal time off but as those weeks pass and the social aspect of work gets further and further away I might start to miss/think about my old workplace more... I don't know, perhaps as I said at the beginning I'm basically just a shallow person but I hope not... :-(

The last time we were all together at work

[Phew, this is all a bit bleak, I'd better end on a high note]

But... the good thing about now being an unemployment statistic is that I get to spend more time with the wee ones, Finn and Isla.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are now going to be spent looking after/entertaining/providing for them as those are the days that Sarah works.  Today was my first day and they and I had a great time!  Isla woke me up at 0615 so we had a bit of a chat and a play before I got Finn up so we could go through the usual (but more prolonged as it's me in charge, not Sarah) ritual of getting washed, dressed and breakfasted. 

Tuesday is one of Finn's nursery days so I drove him there and then went on to Taunton to have some Isla and Daddy time which we don't get to do very often.  It was a lovely sunny (but slightly nippy) day so we went to Vivary Park and spent an hour or so on the swings and climbing frames there, followed by lunch in the local Subway.  I then picked Finn up, went home and put Isla to bed so Isla/Daddy time turned in to Finn/Daddy time and we had a fab time on the farm 'helping' Uncle Steve.  A slightly fraught tea time (with me cooking, urk) was finished off with a nice bit of triking on the patio and that was us all done - good times and I look forward to more of those :-)

Oh, and I washed four work shirts this evening - I guess I won't be needing those for a while...


Monday, 19 April 2010

4 Months

We are on the count down.  4 months today we will be 7 hours into our 14 hour flight to Singapore.  I imagine Finn & maybe Isla will still be awake as it is currently 19:20.  I can guess that the single person sitting next to us is probably wishing they didn't book that solitary seat on the bulk head for the extra leg room.  I hope that things aren't too fractious but little people on planes often means getting over tired and irritable.  We will be a bundle of nerves and excitement I'm sure.  It's getting closer.

Things are really starting to happen.  Andy has his last day at work tomorrow.  It seems to have come around really quickly and it won't be long before I finish work in June.  Andy has recently taken 2 more exams and been successful which is great.  Revising continues in earnest.  I feel the need to start creating lists.  Organising and categorising what we need to do when we arrive, Tax File Numbers, driving license changes, Medicare etc.  We drove up to Swindon today to visit Andy's sister and her new gorgeous baby (don't get me started... Broody....!) and we started talking about the practicalities of when we first arrive.  We both thought an excel spreadsheet of tasks to be completed including phone numbers and addresses and to pre load them into our Satellite Navigation system so we are ready to hit the road running when we arrive.  That's our inner geek shining through.

We have started to look for some temporary accommodation for the first 3 weeks quite seriously now.  There was a frenzied attack on the serviced apartments in Sydney websites last night by Andy and I on our laptops.  Much vigorous searching has brought up a nice little 3 bed villa in Eastwood which looks great.  Modern, clean, reasonably priced (which is proving hard to find!) and in a great location.  We are waiting for a couple of other quotes to come in but I think this place may be the one for us.

We had the 2nd BBQ of the year yesterday with my Mum which was so lovely.  The sun shone all day and their patio was a little sun trap.  The children played on their bikes for ages and had a great time in the sand pit.  Andy cut the grass on the ride on which Finn & Isla both had a go on.  Mum and I toasted many more BBQ's in the Antipodes and the British Isles in the future.  Cheers.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Is there anything quite as lovely...

...as cuddling your children as they drift into the world of sleep?  Recently Isla has become even more cuddly.  We have a story in our bed.  Andy often reads to Finn and I often read to Isla.  We had Each, Peach, Pear, Plum tonight.  It is a lovely story which we read to Finn when he was a little younger and he soon came to look for the characters as we read the story and would pre-empt the end.  Isla also loves the book.  She sits on my lap under the duvet and we have a story while she sucks her thumb and murmurs her responses.  My heart melts.  As I near the end she starts to snuffle in for cuddles so we lie back and I chat about the day a little.  She gazes at me in the way your children do.  Almost unblinkingly and most certainly adoringly. Her eyes start to drift and I know soon she will be asleep. 

I put Isla in her cot and go for a cuddle with Finn.  He pretends to snore as he wraps his arm around my neck.   I ask him what has been his favourite part of the day and numerous hilarious anecdotes come forth.  I tell him what we are doing the next day and that I love him.  He nods and gets into his favourite sleep position with his toy penguin Hugsy in his lap.

I love this part of the day and relish it.  

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The sun has got his hat on...

...hip hip hooray! I love it when the sun shines and it makes me feel great.  I have nothing as dramatic as SAD but I do find my mood affected by the atmospherics. I do dislike the long, relentless winter we experience in England. Therefore when the sun is shining I am generally a happy lady.  I'm hoping that the Australian weather suits me and in fact all of us, apart from the 6-8 weeks when it is absolutely baking and we move from 1 air conditioned room to another!  I wonder when faced with a more idyllic climate (in my eyes) if my obsession with the weather will dilute and become less of an issue as many more days will be lovely.  Or will I become more critical and what would be considered a lovely day to me now will become just an OK sort of day.  I wonder.

What a weekend we are having, the days are sunny and warm.  Finn has been in shorts, Isla in short sleeved tops.  BBQ'ing is taking place and we even cracked open the new paddling pool which we fortuitously bought last week in preparation for the good weather.  Having learnt our lesson last year when at the last minute we went to buy a pool during the hot weather and all the good ones had gone.

We have spent the day at home and the children have played on the patio, in the sandpit, run around on the grass, examined lots of bugs, played on their trikes, larked around and generally had a great time.  We had a BBQ for lunch and Finn and I bathed Bella (my childhood pony) this afternoon.  Isla has mastered going down the steps on the patio.

......and all of these lovely lovely moments have been captured on my "all singing all dancing" brand new Canon 50D SLR camera.  I have bought a companion manual to teach me the basics before I start a course in Sydney in January and so far I have managed around 20 pages of it.  I have covered the authors 10 top hints and already I think I have created infinitely better pictures than I ever have before and I am champing at the bit to learn and produce more.  My novice handy work from the weekend so far:

 An ice-cream fan.

They both love their trikes.

Here I am trying to get a bit more "arty" with my composition!

Smiley boy.

I like how I can get the background to become out of focus.

So much fun was had by the 2 of them running though the duvet covers drying on the line!

Doing boy stuff and examining the bugs.

Just what I want to see; Isla learning from Finn what mischief they can get in to.

Bath time.  Finn had a ride on Bella on the way in from the paddock and showed no fear...I'm sure he would be good at a gymkhana in a couple of years!

In the paddling pool after I had helped up the temperature with 8 buckets of hot water!

My hubby.

I love Andy's smile here and Isla's exploration.

I have had to shrink all the photos from 5+ MB to 1 MB to make them manageable for this blog but I still think they look good.  I am having a good time learning and it's really really inspiring to have good results already.

I have already said but one of the reasons for writing this blog is to be able to provide something for Finn & Isla to read later on in life to know what we did and why.  Not just right now but hopefully we will maintain this and it will become a journal of our life during this amazing and wonderful time as they grow.  With this in mind I found a great website called Blog2Print which takes your blog and formats it for printing and binding by this company so you can keep a hard copy in a proper book format for prosperity.  What a great idea.  I started this blog in January as planned and I feel I am maintaining it pretty well and I'm sure it will be a great read for Finn & Isla in 20 years time.  So come December I'm going to print and bind a couple of copies of this blog and store it away for sometime in the future.  For each year I keep this blog I will do this.  Hopefully there should be around 18 or so journals to pass on to them.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A chocolate filled weekend....the best kind.

Successes this weekend:
  • Andy has ordered me a new Canon 50D SLR camera for my new learning adventures!  Should be here Wednesday.  I have my companion manual book at the ready...
  • Andy and I had great night out at a Comedy club with some friends from work - lots of vino consumed and many laughs.
  • Leaving that boozy night out with Andy on my arm and feeling very happy & lucky about that.
  • A lovely lovely day in rainy Wells, punctuated with coffee in Starbucks, lunch in Ask and getting a few lovely things from the gift shops around the square.
  • Seeing the children's amazed and excited faces as they found chocolate at the breakfast table.  The eggs were a great success (see pictures below) and it was nice to avoid commercial eggs for once.  I'm sure there will be a day when I can no longer dodge that bullet, but for now......
  • Easter Sunday lunch with my Mum and Grandad.
  • A good Sunday night film - The Proposal.  Predictable, clich├ęd but romantic fodder.
  • Getting out the sandpit as the weather was good and watching the children have such a good time playing with it.
  • Bouncing on the trampoline with Isla while she laughed and giggled like a drain.
  • Watching Finn follow (chase if he could!) the chickens around.
Things that were not quite so good:
  • Humongous hangover from hell that consumed the whole of Friday (personally I think I had an adverse reaction to a local anaesthetic at the dentist earlier in the day!).  I have not been that ill or felt that rubbish due to drink for around 10 years.  I only had 5 glasses of wine during the whole night.  What a light weight!
  • My ideas for blowing the cobwebs away were stamped on royally by Finn who really did not want to be on the beach in the wind and cold.  That boy really can complain!  I'm going to wait for it to warm up a little before attempting that again!
All in all a lovely weekend. 

 Chocolate for breakfast may have actually put Finn off completely.  Finn requested at bedtime that he didn't have eggs the next day!

Isla has no such qualms!

Chicken run!...or chicken nuggets as my sensitive boy was heard saying to them....

Trampolining fun!

I can see her on her own pony now....!

With a lightening quick push of the camera button I snapped this picture before Isla legged it out of shot!

The 17 months between them barely shows here.

Good times and a happy Easter.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


I have just spent a wonderful couple of hours reading a lovely blog by Kristi who now lives in Melbourne.  There is no doubt in my mind that she is a lovely person and she is creating a fabulous life for her family.  I come away feeling inspired and aspiring but a little self doubting.  I really hope that I am doing enough for Finn & Isla but I feel that I can and need to do more.  It will really help now the weather in England is turning from Winter to Spring.  The evenings are drawing out and the temperatures are rising.  My first step to getting them outside a bit more I think will be a visit to the beach on Monday.  The forecast looks promising and I will strip off their shoes and socks, roll up their trousers and have spare clothes at the ready for soon after.  Yes, most certainly inspired.  Time to shake off the cobwebs.

Kristi's children go to a Montessori school which really interests me.  I have been researching Steiner schools in Sydney and I definitely feel they are worth a look and think it may help to keep my littlies as children for as long as possible. 

 Soon, very soon, there will be days like this....

....and this....

 ...in beautiful places like this on our doorstep....

I'm looking forward.