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.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

3 years ago today

I was in labour with Finn and had been for around 20 hours!  Arrgghhh, I continued to be in labour for around another 20 hours.  Not full on progressive labour you understand.  The type that means you can't sleep and have to stop talking through a contraction and breath through it.  Not enough to be in hospital.  Not progressing.  You get the picture.  Sunroof exit in the end.

My baby is 3 tomorrow.  Here he is around 10 minutes old.

Here he is now...

Wow - where did that time go?

Absolutely one of the best days of my life when he was born - it changed me forever and I am amazed constantly by him.

We are off to London on the train tomorrow to celebrate, Finn is very excited and we have presents wrapped and packed to open on the 2 hour journey.  Lots of lovely things planned and all with the best of company!

Monday, 24 May 2010

"There was one tiny flaw in the plan"

Not quite bollocks.....but a quote that will probably make Andy smile.  Which is always good.

I originally thought it was a great idea to emigrate in the late English summer.  What could be better?  Enjoy some nice warm weather, expectations not too high as the last 3 summers here have been pretty bad but definitely in the very least some warm long days.  Then slip off to Sydney just as they are entering spring for another stretch of warm and then hot weather.  All the time thinking thank goodness we are going to miss another long hibernating winter of rain and cold that drags on for 6 months.  I find the winter here really, really hard.  It is 10 times worse for me since we have Finn & Isla as it is extra hard work having little ones caged up inside when my two really want to run, jump, explore, dig, poke and race around.  Of course, you can go out, but that means many layers and when they are all togged up they can barely move. 

Anyway, the problem is that I love the warm, long, sunny days we are getting at the moment.  Finn & Isla are in shorts and t-shirts and nothing else.  Often no shoes, playing with water on the patio.  So as our time reduces with our family here I think fruitlessly and unhelpfully that is is such a shame that we don't have more good weather here.  Rather than making it an easier transition, leaving at the time we have chosen is going to harder as the climate will be making me happier and we won't have started to descend into the bleak winter.

Of course there are many reasons for our emigration and the sun is one part of it but there are many other important reasons.  I have loved the last 4-5 days when all we have done is been outside in the garden.  I really hope that our life in Sydney affords us plenty of outside time in the National Parks, beaches & playgrounds while the sun is shining so we as a family can really enjoy our weekends outside as much as possible.

The time for our flight approaches and of course along with great excitement there is sadness at leaving people.  Hmmmm, a pondering post....

Ending on a high note with some pics of the littlies:

Of course, every parent thinks they have the most beautiful, gorgeous children in the whole wide world.  I really think I do!

One happy little thing happened today - Isla had bunches for the 1st time ever.  Cuteness personified.  My baby looked like a little girl.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

It's been too long...

..and I feel I am neglecting my blog.  Things worthy of note:

  • I have 8 working days left at work for a company who I joined at 17 and have been with for 15 years.  I used to love, love, love going to work.  Two things have changed that.  Having Finn & Isla, who I would much rather spend my time with in their formative years.  Also, it's not the place it once was.  Things have changed for the worse at a place where I felt we were once making a difference with innovation, effort, ideas and imagination.  Now we are making the wheels turn for an organisation who does not appreciate the effort it takes to make that happen or the people involved.  When I leave I will be sad for the place that was 4 years or so ago.  I will also miss some of the people who I have known for a long time now.
  • I have a very exciting party planned for Finn tomorrow at our house to celebrate him turning 3.  Finn's birthday is actually next week but we are going to London on the train and so his party is tomorrow and the weather forecast is great!  I am hugely relieved as the birthday plans are all based on the sun shining.  Andy has cut the grass to within an inch of its life.  I have made 2 teepee's and put up 2 tents on the lawn to fill with a blanket and toys for some den fun!  Trampoline and water table poised and ready for action.  A huge brand new New Holland tractor is lined up and ready to be parked in the field for the children to climb all over and explore.  Bella, the pony is going to be kept in on the yard for tiny hands to proffer carrots at her.  BBQ food all ready to go.  Lengths of bunting made to string across the patio.  Bubble machine stocked with batteries and liquid.  Bucket of ice and beer ready on standby!  It's going to be a good, good day tomorrow.
  • Andy has studied ferociously for 18 months now and yesterday it came to fruition as he was successful in getting his MCITP:EA (using last years' MCSE 2003 as a jumping off point).  Much kudos for all the studying and hard work.  I am so, so proud and pleased for him.  He said he was going to do it and he has.
  • Finn is thriving on independence at the moment.  He revels in the discovery that he can do something by himself.  At the moment he loves getting into the car and then his car seat on his own!  He is so pleased when he tells me his latest conquest.  However, he still fights me and wants me to put on his shoes! Finn & I talk about moving to Australia quite often.  He is really looking forward to a new house, our 'tainer arriving and getting all his toys!  I taught him today that we are going via Singapore and to hear his little voice pipe up that we are going there on a plane makes me melt.  I love that he is starting to get a concept of the world around him.  He remembers America last year and it is great to hear him talk about it.
  • Isla is the epitome of gorgeous, girly, chubby sweetness.  What a girl she is.  She totally embraces hair clips, bracelets, hair bands and anything 'pretty' as she puts it.  I love it.  On a Friday, Finn goes to nursery and Isla & I shop.  What fun we have.  Isla's thing at the moment is to put whichever her chosen toy at the time into the nearest water container.  Be that the bath, toilet or even a mucky old water trough on the farm, she cares not.  Lovely....!
  • I miss having our own home.  I miss my things.  I miss being able to potter around in our own space and take a whim to make or bake something.  I miss baking my own bread (our bread maker is in the container).  I miss having a study and being organised with our infrastructure in general.  I miss being the master of the kitchen!  I love having company and family around all of the time.  I love the greenness and countryside that we live in now.  I love the farm.  I love the garden and the children in shorts and t-shirts.  I love the sun and the warmth.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


I had a truly lovely dinner date the night before last with BFF - Bronnie.  We have been friends since we were 13.  I'm 32 now.  It's a long time.  I love her and we have a saying.  If she was in jail and needed bail then I wouldn't be around to get her out as I would be sat right next to her.  It's true.  Through thick and thin we have been there.

....and now I'm leaving.  This does make me sad and as we get closer to our flight each time I see her, talk or write about her I get a lump in my throat and have to take a gulp.  I know she feels it too.  This is the real downside to our emigration.  We are leaving people that we love.  I know it's not goodbye and that I will see her every time we come back to visit.  I hope she will make it to Sydney for a visit too - her brother lives there, so two birds with one stone and all that.

We met when we both had ponies and our families lived 1/2 a mile apart.  We would ride out together every summer evening and we would be out for hours and hours.  Talking non stop.  We have grown up, clubbed, holidayed (all round England, Scotland & Wales, Australia,France, Spain....), drunk, worked, cried and talked together for what seems like forever.  Married, been bridesmaids for each other, had children and always been there even when we have lived opposite sides of the country.  Now it's going to be the opposite sides of the world.  I can only imagine what it will be like on the last day that we see each other for the foreseeable future.  I will always have a spare room for her.

Our Wedding - December 2004

Bronnie's Wedding - May 2004

May 2004

Gatcombe Horse Trials 2003 - we met through horses and she has made a growing & flourishing career out of it.

The Three Musketeers - Me, Bronnie & Charms, with hubbies!  Wales 2005.

Andy, with Bronnie's son Tom when he was small enough to bath in a sink!  Late 2005.

Always BFF.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Cornish fun

We have spent the last 5 days and 4 nights in lovely Cornwall in the South West peninsula of England with Andy's parents.  The weather was pretty cold and there was a little rain but we had a great time.  This was the 1st of our holidays that we have planned with people to spend some time together before we emigrate.  

Finn & Isla are great sleepers (although they are still prone to early starts at the moment!) but the 1st night anywhere new they tend to not sleep as well and generally be a little unsettled. True to form at 23:00 on the 1st night Finn wakes with a coughing fit and hiccuping tears soon follow.  I go to Finn and he hugs me while asking if I am going to sleep in his bed.  So I get into his bed and we cuddle until he settles.  I tell him that I am going to get into the other single bed in his bedroom but will stay for the night.  He is very happy about this and we both get a great nights sleep.  However, in our bedroom where Andy is slumbering gently, Isla wakes and has trouble falling back to sleep.  She never does this and so Andy spends the best part of 3 hours getting up and down to her, moving her from her cot to our bed and back again!  I come into the bedroom at around 7 the next morning after being woken by Finn right in my face saying "Morning Mummy" to find Andy has around 3 inches of bed and Isla is spread-eagled across the middle of the bed crashed out.  I think I got off pretty lightly!
So that evening I give Isla her favourite monkey and ask her to put it in her bed, she toddles up to our bed and places said monkey in the middle.  I thought that probably didn't bode very well but thankfully all was fine.

We had a lovely day in Padstow and visited Rick Stein's Fish and Chip shop which was really fab.  Padstow is such a lovely place with a real cool beachy vibe.  Great shops and I discovered Seasalt and had to buy a few bits that will be suitable for the beach in Australia!  Lovely Organic cotton tee's and skirts which are made following Fairtrade guidelines.

We also went to the Eden Project which was just amazing.  So amazing that we are going to visit again next month when we are down in Newquay for the week.  I had my new camera so took lots of pictures and I came away with one that I am really happy with.   I really am a complete novice but I am learning!

Finn & Grandma

Isla Smiler.

Looking at this makes my heart melt.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Thoughts from far away

I am touched.  This is what I came home to today.

It was my birthday on Monday and someone special far away in Perth remembered me.  How lovely.  It is even more special as he lives so far away and he contacted a florist nearby and had these lovely balloons sent my way to make me smile. And they did.  Love you Marky.  Can't wait to see you on the sunny side.

I had some girlie time with Isla on Monday afternoon and captured her discovering the perfume of a daisy.

She delicately plucked daisy's from the lawn, sniffed and then passed to me for sampling.  She was so pleased with her discovery.  We wandered down the drive and admired the gorgeous Montana clematis rambling over the old garden wall which is on the cusp of full bloom.  So near but still very beautiful.

Finn looking pensive after an afternoon of examining bugs.

Happy days.

We go to Cornwall on Thursday and I'm hoping for warm, sunny beach days - any chance Mr weatherman?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Booked, confirmed and arrival details provided!

Every now and again I get a rush of "oh my god it's actually happening" come over me.  It happened today.  The booking confirmation for our 3 week villa to get us started arrived along with the details on how to access the house when we arrive.  My tummy lurched a little and then I felt really quite excited.  After 2 years of planning and a manic few months of execution it really is happening.  We are just in the process of opening an Aussie bank account (please make the exchange rate a little more welcoming!) and we are creating a list of what needs to be done as soon as we arrive.

Mum & Brian are on the cusp of booking their flights and they have decided to fly out via Singapore for 1 night and via LA on the way back for 3!  How very cosmopolitan!  I am already looking forward to their visit and Mum's exploration of a city that she lived in 34 odd years ago and the discovery of what has changed.

We watched a Griff Rhys Jones documentary last night - Griff's Greatest Cities of the World.  It was inspiring and confirming to watch as we reminisced about our previous visit.  We talked about how we can't believe how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live there.

Each night we cuddle the children and talk about their day.  Finn & I talked the night before last about what was his best bit, he told me that going to our local art, activity & craft session - Crafty Rascals - was his best bit.  I smiled and we had a companionable silence for a few moments and I then I asked him what he was thinking.  Finn replied "I'm happy Mummy".  What more could I ask for.