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, 24 July 2010

My name is Andy, and I am an addict

I think I have a problem... I have an addiction.  It’s not causing a problem yet but some time in the future I know this is going to cause a rift between me and the rest of my family.  I have a dark secret... I’m addicted to Steam sales :-(

For those that don’t know, Steam is an online game platform developed by Valve software (one of my favourite developers/publishers).  For a price you can download games directly to your PC and play them, but what’s more you’re buying the right to download and install to as many different PCs as you like whenever you like.  It’s really, really convenient and when it’s linked to Paypal it only takes about two clicks to buy something (always fatal)... which is where the sales come in.

Every now and again (most recently Christmas and the Summer holidays) Steam has a massive sale.  Almost everything is reduced, sometimes by as much as 80%.  Who couldn’t resist money-saving offers like that?  Certainly not I.  Since November I’ve bought and paid for 24 games.  The galling thing is that due to our emigration, work, studying, family, life, et al I haven’t had a chance to play any of them yet, and in fact my PC has been in a container since January!  They’re all stored up waiting for some undetermined point in the future, when everything is unpacked and all the important tasks (find a house, job, kindy, supermarket) have been done and I can sit down and think ‘Right, nothing needs doing, the kids are asleep, Sarah is otherwise engaged enjoying the sights and sounds of our new life... time to play a computer game’ – which you know is never going to happen.  They are going to sit there and sit there being picked at here and there and will always be taunting me.

To make matters worse I’m the kind of person that likes to stick with a particular game until it’s finished.  I don’t like to jump around between different games so I’m going to have to come up with some kind of ranking plan to decide what gets played first.  I know, it’s a major conundrum up there with the likes of Fermat’s last theorem.

At least I’ve been quite picky, IMHO.  There’s no rubbish in there, it’s all quality stuff (although some is quite old).  For those that are interested, here’s the complete list...

Nov 24, Plants vs Zombies (£3.49)
Nov 26, Osmos (£2.00)
Nov 27, Star Wars: KOTOR, Geometry Wars (£4.73)
Nov 28, Left 4 Dead (£6.24)
Nov 30, Evil Genius, Mirrors's Edge (£4.98)
Dec 29, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor (£2.49)
Jan 03, Bioshock, Red Alert 3, S.T.A.L.K.E.R:Shadow of Chernobyl (£5.49) - that was a good day!
May 09, Civ 4 plus Warlords, Beyond the Sword, Colonization (£6.25)
Jun 16, Command & Conquer 3 plus Kane's Wrath (£14.98)
Jun 19, Mass Effect (£3.24)
Jun 26, GTA: Episodes from Liberty City (£9.99)
Jul 02, Star Wars:Empire at War Gold, Thief: Deadly Shadows (£3.74)

24 games (including addons and extras) totalling £67.62.  At least my addiction isn’t going to put us all on the streets.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Secret blogging world

I started reading expat blogs in Australia around 2 years ago. I searched and searched as I desperately sought out other people who had already been on our journey and had something to share.  I frantically Googled and generally kept coming across the same hits and blogs, some of which I still read now.  However I wanted more and had trouble finding them.  Then I decided to create my own blog at the beginning of this year for many reasons, one of which was to give a bit more to bloggers while I enjoyed theirs.  One of the lovely things that has come out of this is other people reading what I have to say.  And with that I can see their blogger profiles and read what they have to say.

And now the blogging world has really opened up as more and more people comment and I find more people who have been in our position.  It's great to know that other people totally get how I feel at the moment and can empathise.  I am always grateful when a new person comments and adds their thoughts on my journey.  I love to follow the blog chain and find new people.

The other day I wrote of the Kookaburra and Hush little baby songs that I sing to my children and one of the people I have "met" through blogging commented and made a recommendation of a book.  All the way over in Australia, Jenny read and shared.  How very cool is that!  A great recommendation was made and then purchased by me.

A whole new virtual World has opened up to me and I love it.  Where are you from?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree....

...eating all the gum leaves that he can see....

We sing this song at the moment.  A lot.  When I sing it to Isla she finishes that last word in the song when I leave a gap.  Finn always asks for this song at bed time.  We lie next to each other in his bed and he asks for the Kookaburra song.   He has started to sing it with me as he knows it by heart.  Mum used to sing this song to me and now I sing it to Finn & Isla.  It's nice.  When I give this printed blog book to Finn & Isla in 20 years or so hopefully they will keep it for their families and sing it to their children.  I would like that.

The other song we sing at the moment every night is Hush, little baby.  Unfortunately we don't get past the 2nd verse as I can't remember what comes next so I tend to mumble a little and Finn asks me to sing the song again. I dutifully do and he often tells me I need to learn the next bit.  I must.  Have the lyrics so must learn them and surprise him by getting past the diamond ring bit!

One of the 1st goodbyes to people I have known for many years and Andy for much longer today.  It's sad.  And now it really begins.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Honeymoon eyes

In late 2004 Andy and I honeymooned for 6 weeks in Australia.  This is when we fell in love with the country.  It was truly an amazing holiday and I long to be able to see some of those places that we visited again.

We arrived in Perth and spent 4 nights or so here and explored my birth place a little, caught a flight to Uluru for 2 nights, watched the sun set over the big red rock.  Then flew on to Cairns and had 5 nights or so, we explored the rainforest and then on to the truly Great Barrier Reef.  Which is the point of this blog.  I will come back to this in a bit!

We then hired a camper van for 2 weeks and drove from Cairns to Sydney stopping and exploring all the amazing East Coast along the way.  We camped (for anybody that knows me that was a bit of a departure from the norm but I loved it and have been bitten!) in amazing coastal sites just a few steps from the beach.  We went to a lovely place just South of Cairns called Mission Beach and I will always hold this place in my heart and I long to see it again.  We were approaching Christmas and there were carols being sung in the shopping centre and we were sat in a restaurant lit by candles only.  I have never been that relaxed since!  Wonderful beach and if Andy and I have the chance to renew our wedding vows then this is where I would like to be.

 Mission Beach

Spent Christmas 2004 on a beach and New Year in Sydney.  Wow, just wow!  Can't wait to spend New Year again there this year.  It was the best celebration of a New Year I have ever seen. 

 One big party!

We did go down to Melbourne as well but didn't get on too well and I strongly suspect we actually missed the city and I am looking forward to visiting again and doing it justice.

I digress.  Massively.  Anyway, the point of this entry was that visit to the Great Barrier Reef.  We took a boat journey from hell on rough, rough seas for 3 hours.  And then we arrived in paradise on the reef.  White coral kay island with the most amazing fish I have ever seen.  Turtles, clown fish, blue tangs, etc.  The water was so warm it was like stepping into a bath.  Heaven.  I tried my hand at snorkelling for the 1st time ever.  I must have been in the water for around 10 minutes when I lost a contact lense.  Can you imagine it???!!!!   The horror.  I could now no longer see the amazing sea scenery around me and the fish became blurry and unclear.  I was so dissapointed.   It was still an amazing day but my eye sight uncorrected was really not good enough to appreciate the beauty of the reef.  To top it off the journey home was equaly stormy and even the crew were ill!

So, it was then that I seriously thought about having laser eye surgery.  I wanted to be able to snorkel, swim and generally be in the water in Australia when we emigrated.  For this to happen with the ease that I wanted the best option was surgery.  So, 4 weeks ago I had it done.  It truly is amazing and one of the best things I have ever done.  I have better eyesight now then I had corrected with contact lenses and absoultely no hassel each morning and night with lenses.

In preparation for the water based activities I intend to partake in in Australia, I have bought goggles and a nose clip.....attractive!  Last time I tried them on Isla wouldn't talk to me for a good 30 minutes after so I have some remedial work to do with her!

I cannot wait to get my eyes in goggles and snorkel off the beach on the Northern beaches in Sydney and be able to see all the fish!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Burning the candle at both ends

I almost need to go back to work for a break.  Almost.

I honestly have not stopped since I finished which is nearly 4 weeks ago!  The afore mentioned holidays took up 2 weeks and then we returned and got straight on with all of the wonderful things we have had planned for so long with our nearest and dearest.  Finn has been to numerous birthday parties which he absolutely loves.  I have been to a spa with one of the best girls.  We had a massage and a manicure over lunch which was amazingly relaxing.  Then Mum and I headed off to London on the train for the day to go and see Wicked the musical which was such fun.  We walked to the theatre from Covent Garden and took in the National Gallery on the way which was a very interesting couple of hours and for a moment I felt like an adult!

We have cooked for people, been out for dinner and we even did a barbie today.  It was such good fun and all of the children played in the paddling pool and messed around on bikes together all afternoon.  It was brilliant.  We, as a family are having such a good last few weeks.

If I look in my diary it is packed for the remaining time we are here and to be frank it's quite exhausting but I struggle on!  However, the other day I looked past the 18th August in my diary and apart from 1 weekend when we have visitors over from Perth it is empty.  There is zilch planned and nothing organised.  To quote my best girl Bronnie, we have nothing planned as "we won't know anyone".

Now that is actually a little scary.  We will travel around the globe as a family of 4 all on our own for the 1st time ever.  We will have no-one.  We won't even have a house to start with.  I hope it's going to be OK and we start to fill our diary again quite quickly.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Our ship is sailing

Our container gets packed on Wednesday and sails a week on Saturday to arrive in Sydney 1 day before us and then it should clear customs around 11th September which is when we hope to move into our rental house.  We fly 6 weeks on Wednesday.

Mum told me that she copes with the fact that we are leaving by thinking of us just going on holiday.  An extended holiday but not for the long haul.  I suppose in my head I am not thinking about it permanently or for ever as I can't really until we have lived it for a while.  At the moment it is a little of an unknown quantity as we have only ever holidayed in Australia, for 6 weeks which is a while but still not the same.  I hope that it is all we want it to be for the 4 of us.  Mum then went on to say that she is also so excited for us that we are going off on an adventure.  To try something new and different.  Where there are new experiences and challenges to be had.  I think it really helps that she did it herself in the 70's so can understand a little of what we are trying to achieve.

I don't think I will be able to see it as a move for life until we have created our lives over there again and we are settled.  I feel a little like a nomad at the moment and that isn't going to change for some while yet.

I mentioned to Andy the other night that hopefully in around 9 to 10 weeks time we will have moved into a new home, unpacked all our stuff and will be about to welcome our first visitors and dear friends, Marky & Kat from Perth who we haven't seen since Christmas.  I am so excited about seeing them.  Marky is a dodgy car salesman (hope he reads this one!) and has offered to negotiate a price on a car when we find one we want.  After all he does this for a living so should be pretty good at it!  He even offered to buy one in Perth and drive it over to us, now that is dedication at 3000 miles or so!

I have wobbles of confidence as the day gets closer but on the whole it's all good with us at the moment.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Stay at home Mum: a wife who manages a household and looks after the children while her husband earns the family income.

Which doesn't sound quite as liberal woman's front as perhaps I would like.   However, I realised last night that after 7 months of extracting myself from work I am now at the point where I can class myself as a stay at home Mum. 

When I was first pregnant with Finn I thought that after 9 months I would be striving to get back in to the cut and thrust of my IT job.  Then he arrived and everything changed.  We decided pretty early on that we would have a brother or sister for Finn with a small age gap.  We were very fortunate and Isla arrived when Finn was 17 months.  We decided that part of the plan to emigrate to Australia would facilitate me being able to stay at home with the children until they are at school.  After this time I hope to be able to do something with photography.  I have until Isla is 5 and at school to get some sort of photography qualifications and experience to allow me to get some part time freelance type work to fit around the school hours.

Things have changed so much and I want to be the one taking them to school and picking them up.  Taking them to clubs and just generally being around consistently.

The fact that I have finished work and now fall into the demographic of SAHM shouldn't come as a huge surprise as we have orchestrated our lives over the last 2 years to get to this point.  However, last night at about midnight it suddenly hit me.  We have achieved it and I am so happy to be able to do this for them.