What’s the story – mornin’ glory?

It came to my attention last week, as I was gleefully frolicking around on the beach, that I could no longer run after my 11 year old son without clutching at my chest and gasping for oxygen.  Being that he is probably not the most athletic of children (without sounding cruel, he does constantly stumble in at last place in every school sports day race) it was more of a wake-up call to me that I should perhaps look into starting up some type of fitness regime.

I have been here before though…. 

Many moons ago, I decided to get up when dawn’s cackling crows interrupted my restful sleep…  I thought I should take the opportunity to go for an early morning walk.

So dragging myself out of my comfy bed, I squeezed my nether regions into a pair of trembling Lycra cycling shorts, screwed my tangled mop of hair into a top-knot, donned my bottle-end glasses and headed out into the warm morning sun for a spot of exercise.

What I didn’t bank on was a whole fleet of slick, toned, tri-athlon style power walkers, all bright and merry and exceptionally happy to greet you on passing….  I certainly wasn’t expecting such a social event – I just wanted to rid my thighs of the cellulite I had accumulated whilst sitting writing a book…. I still had sleep in my eyes, I didn’t want to converse.

After about 15 minutes of painful hill-walking I gave up on the whole fitness-thingy, not only was I perspiring from my knee-caps – I just wanted to escape from these super fit people and their jolly greetings until I was suitably washed and had mascara on….

So making a decision to become fit again and not have to reach for an oxygen mask every time I wanted to play with my children, was one I really wanted to stick to. So this week, I have taken up walking again. But don’t think I am glutton for punishment, this time I had a cunning plan!

Instead of joining the masses for a dawn dash, I wait until everyone is tucked up in their homes, watching CSI Miami/NY/Florida/Omaha or whatever it is they do, then I creep out, and have a 20 minute exhausting power-walk… holding weights and everything…and come home feeling absolutely great. Without anyone seeing me.

The point to this story is though, not only do I feel great for finally doing some exercise, but that the most amazing sight greeted me when I reached the top of our hill…

The street lights in our area are not very bright, so although I do panic in case I squish/trip over a cane toad, when I reached the top of our hill, I gasped at the beautiful night sky…. the array of stars that blanketed above me was breathtaking.  I know I have seen this sight before, but I had taken for granted just how unimaginably wonderful the southern night sky was.

I love my evening walk now, I feel fitter, enjoy a fabulous setting and never have to compete with the greyhound bottomed athletes and their mighty-medicine-ball-breasts…

And one last note…. although my son isn’t the typical Aussie sportsman, he can play the guitar wonderfully!

Simply strummin'

Simply strummin'




How to park a car – Aussie style!


Parking in Australia is free in most places, barring airports and Hospitals. Unlike in Essex where I was horrified to discover that I had to pay and display at my local Somerfield store, even when I was just popping in for a pint of milk and some peanut M&M’s.  I was reimbursed when I produced the other half of my ticket at the checkout, but that really wasn’t the point, it’s extremely inconvenient and if you don’t have a 20p coin on you, you’re buggered and forced to shop elsewhere.


Anyway, all you have to do here in Oz is observe the clearly marked signs that tell you how long you can park – and on which days. Car park bays are spacious and you no longer have to squeeze carefully out of your car to avoid banging into the car next to you with your door.  The child parking bays are ridiculously oversized and you feel unworthy of using them unless you have a minimum of three children, a dog, two goats and a couple of loose chickens.


One rule that must be obeyed, which is totally different from England is that you can only park your car on the road the way the traffic is flowing.  So you can no longer eagerly hop across to the other side of the road when you spy a space, you must first turn around and then go into it. Otherwise you may face a fine and even some penalty points.


Reverse angle parking seems to be the rage in Queensland – but this varies from State to State. If you do come across these type of bays, never park ‘nose in first’ – you will be frowned and tutted at, but only by Australians as they are justifiably fed up of seeing Poms hopelessly manoeuvring their 4WD’s into relatively easy spaces. You will probably find though, that fellow Poms will recognise you as a ‘newbie’- wonder over to introduce themselves and maybe even become firm friends!







The irony…..

So after all the many months (actually, years) of research, interviews, liasing with government types and tracking/hunting down a publisher who was actually going to give me a ‘fair go’….. my book was released this week!

How utterly ironic then, that I have had to recover from jet-lag in the same week…..

I have been waiting for this moment ever since I first arrived in Oz and got wholly perplexed with the Medicare system and it’s bulk-billing-thingy and after taking the theory driving test… when I didn’t need to! AND failed consistantly, among numerous other discouraging episodes… I thought there really should be a book about this.  

So my excitement has been slightly blurred, as although I am extremely proud that I have actually acheived an actual published book, the problem has become that in my tiredness – reality and dream-like-coma seem to be fusing together.

Conversations with Richard and Judy about the book becoming one of the best guides on moving to Australia, with a comedy TV show bringing up the rear…

And phone calls in the middle of the night, telling me that the book has just topped the Amazon best seller list…

Can be a little disappointing when you wake up.

But, fortunately as the fluid in my middle ear becomes a little more balanced and the jet-lag slowly eases away, so does the need for napping at various times of the day.

Thank-you for sharing my thoughts of the day, I am going to carry on with real marketing stuff………. ZZZzzzzZZZZzzzz

Comfortable slippers.

I’d like to start this post with an apology.  Up until now, I have been happily adding  a new blog each week, but for the past 12 days I am sorry to say I have been physically unable to get to a computer. I would like to tell you that I have been climbing Kilimanjaro with a host of (other) celebrities, raising money for comic relief – but as I am not quite well known enough for anyone to care, I will tell you what I have really been up to.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an emergency phone call, it was the news that anyone who has migrated to Australia would dread. It was my sister – to tell me that our mum had been diagnosed with cancer. As you can imagine, we were both overcome with sadness.

Now I wouldn’t dream of broadcasting this information for the sake of being morbid or looking for sympathy, but the reason I have decided to write about it, is because when you receive a call from the UK of this nature, all you want do do is run home.

So run home I did.

I booked a flight with Emirates and within a few days I was flying to Dubai to get a connecting flight to Manchester with a pocket full of soggy tissues; a suitcase of confused clothes and an 18 month old toddler, all polished and shiny ready to meet his Nana for the first time.

As if the trauma of visiting my poor mother wasn’t enough,  I also had to leave behind my other two children which had been a further heartbreaking experience. As I departed through the gates at Brisbane airport with my five year old daughter sobbing for her mummy…. it was then made worse –  no sooner had she been suitably consoled by my husband, than I re-appeared because I had gone through the wrong gate, causing her to be distraught all over again when I bid goodbye for the second time. The sight of her tear soaked face pressed against the glass lift that I was displayed inside, will be etched into my memory forever.

I had 10 days to recover, re-energise and reminisce with my sisters and my mum. Emotions were at their peak and for most of the time I was blubbering uncontrollably, the overwhelming excitement of my new book was so far away from the reality I was having, but I felt so lucky to have had the time to spend with my mum… and the oncologist, district nurses, ‘fleabottomists’ and GP’s that traipsed through her street door.

This may all sound rather depressing, and it is not my intention to bore you with tales of illness and sadness, but to show you that even when you are faced with the biggest dilema that living on the other side of the world gives you – you will get through it, it is possible to pop back  – even though it may cause emotional scars… 

And when it’s time to return to Oz?

Everyone is going to find it difficult to say goodbye, especially when you are not sure when you will see them again. But Australia is a fabulous country, and the positive sides far out way any negatives in my mind. So hop on board and come back ‘home’ – it sometimes may feel unbearable to be away from your loved ones, but going back to visit the UK is also a wonderful, comfortable slippers feeling, that I doubt you would be able to fully appreciate if you hadn’t moved away at all.

Moving to Australia

Viva la visa!!

For many of us, the thought of moving overseas is pretty daunting.  When you factor in the whole ‘selling up’ process; looking for a new place to settle; finding new employment; searching for the right school.

Then there’s the worry of  – will the dog be OK on the flight?…  will the kids be OK on the flight?…  will we be able to cope in the heat?….  will we be attacked by all those dreadful creatures?… will the kids settle?… what shoes shall I wear to go in?…  will I settle?…  are we doing the right thing? what if it all goes horribly wrong… OK, so I’m going overboard now – But you can see what I mean about having enough to think about.

The last thing you need, is to start having the added worry of organising your visa application.

I have met several people who had the ability to be able to fill in their applications themselves, it did save them money and they found it pretty straight forward. Good on ’em.

However, when I decided to have a go at applying for our visas, bearing in mind I am usually really good at that sort of thing, and our application was an easy one (‘formative years visa’ as my hubby, Max grew up in South Australia) I still found it fraught with problems, and having the time to solely concentrate on it wasn’t an option when I had children to organise; two businesses to sell – plus the house sale.. etc…

Fortunately, we decided to enlist the help of a migration agent and that was probably the best move we made. He dealt with our application with speed and professionalism, keeping us updated every step of the way, he was straight on to us if we needed to supply him with further information plus he spoon-fed us anything we didn’t understand…. which happened more than I thought!

So if you are in two minds about using a migration agent, just think about all the other aspects of relocating you have to deal with, then ask yourself, do you really want the hassle?

Personally, I would rather let someone else handle the red tape… and go down the pub!

For more information on the migration agent we used, I can highly recommend..


For loads more info on this subject as well as  many other oddments, don’t forget to grab your copy of my book!!

Have a great day. x

7 (trival)Things I’ve learnt since Living in Australia…

When I first arrived in Oz, I had a certain amount of knowledge that I was armed with, most of it was absolutely vital to get by in the first few weeks.

However, once I began to meet friends, aquaintances and get to grips with the local way of life, there were a few trivialities that I soon realised I simply had to know.

  • 1.  Learn (or at least recognise) your aussie celebrities, no matter how minor, this will save you from having awkward moments when you a) have no idea who your friends are talking about; and b) reverse your car into the car of the newsreader from channel 7  in the car park.
  • 2.  When you are invited round for a coffee (or morning tea, as it’s known) NEVER go empty handed. If you are incapable of baking anything even half edible (like me) then buy something from the bakers – it’s just not worth the looks you get if you don’t.
  • 3.  It’s ok to kill a cane toad.
  • 4.  Make sure your kids can swim, your eight year old does not want to be wearing arm-bands at a friends house when you are invited round for a barbie and a swim, when their three year old is freestyling up and down the pool at a rate of knots.
  • 5.   Don’t refer to a child care centre as a ‘nursery’ – your friends will think you are taking your child to garden centre and will look puzzled.
  • 6.  Buy a car with tinted windows.
  • 7.  Never refer to a toasted sandwich as a ‘toastie’ unless you are talking to someone under 5 years old.

7 things I wish I’d known before I came over…

1. I wish I’d brought over my warm woolie NEXT jumpers, I happily gave them away to grateful chums, thinking I was heading for year-round sunny weather, the reality is that it does get chilly in winter in Oz…

2. I wish I knew that ‘Manchester’ meant bed linen…(huh?)

3. I wish I knew not to look for a rental property in January, there is such a great demand for rentals at this time (parents frantically to get their kids into good school zones ready for the new school year) and so you might end up with property less grand than you’d imagined.

4. I wish I had known that I didn’t have to take a theory driving test…. especially as I failed it so many times. If you hold a current UK licence, you simply have to get it changed over to an aussie one within 3 months of arriving.

5. I wish I had known that UK childrens car seats don’t adhere to aussie standards. Unless you have a new improved version that bolts into the rear of the car with great big straps everywhere, they won’t be legal.

6. I wish I’d known how to convert miles into kilometres and pounds into kilos.

7. I’m glad I didn’t know, that homesickness is enevitable, but glad I didn’t give in… Australia is absolutely amazing once you are over it!

simply paradise.....

simply paradise.....

Excuses, excuses…

Ok, probably not the best way to start a blog, but I a currently at ‘critical stage’ of my book… so, although I know I should have been blogging from day one… I have had a steady stream of excuses…

1. All 3 children started new school year.

2. Mother-in-law arrived with exciting tales of Tuscany.

3. Book needed editing, spent countless hours trying to figure out how to work editing program on computer.

4. Once figured out, couldn’t send it back ’cause file had increased in size by 2 million per cent.

5. Ran screaming to unsuspecting IT man, who sent it back for me in two minutes flat.

6. Child number 3, sent home from day care with ‘foot and mouth disease’….. (what??)

7. Couldn’t work out blog site, and was too embarrassed to ask publisher to help me with it (again)

The list could go on, but I don’t wish to sound like your typical whingin’ pom… I have made a mental note to never write about excuses again.

Until the next time.