Sporty Sunday!

We’ve had a lovely day. I picked up a badminton set from Aldi a few weeks ago so we set that up and had a family game! I think I need to invest in some decent shuttlecocks though as they are a bit cheap and nasty so go a bit wonky all the time.

I then decided to take the kids for a walk and explore in a direction we hadn’t been before along the sea front. Louis took his scooter and Josh his ripstick. You can just about see Josh’s head rounding the corner in the distance!

This is a view of Kiama’s little harbour – so gorgeous. The famous blow hole and old lighthouse is on the far side of the hill.

When we got to the end of the path we discovered a rock / ocean pool that I didn’t know was there. They wanted to go in and as summer is coming to an end I decided to let them! As you can see from Josh’s face it was a bit nippy so they didn’t stay in too long!

Ahhh lovely end of summer days, not too hot so you feel like getting out and about!

I hope you have all had lovely weekends too xx

Well well well, I’m still here! A little update!

Sorry for the total lack of blogging in the last few (many!) months. Life has been crazy.

September saw the last of my clinical placements (including lots of night shifts which really tipped my sanity over a bit!).

October brought my final assignments and exams for my nursing degree (enough said!). It also involved a lot of soul searching and many days / weeks of discussion and heartache and tears, which cumulated in us making the decision not to move back to France at this stage. The political and financial situation in Europe at the moment is just too scary (even with the strong Aussie dollar making it in some ways more appealing!). My qualifications wouldn’t be recognised so I would be back in the situation of not being able to have a decent career and we decided that the risks of everything going pear shaped just outweighed our love of France and the life that it offers us at the moment. On the positive side this spurred me to follow my almost life long dream of becoming a midwife and I applied (and was accepted) to start my Masters of Science (Midwifery) at Wollongong University (I had my first class today!).

November had the last of my exams (woo hoo!) and I was thrilled to come out with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 6.0 – this is an international score out of 7.0 and to put it in perspective I needed 5.5 to get into medicine in Queensland! So I was thrilled with the results and pleased that the hard work paid off! We decided that we needed to make a trip back to the UK and France so planned that around our departure from Hervey Bay. Within about 10 days of my exams finishing we moved out of the house there. We had a garage sale to get rid of the furniture and gave our boxes to a removalist to deliver to my sisters garage in Sydney. We cleaned until 7.30pm on the last night then with the car ladened with boxes and towing a trailer we set off for Brisbane airport, stopping late at night in a hotel in Caboolture to get some sleep. Joel dropped the kids and I early next morning at the airport to fly to Manchester (via China and Holland!) and carried on with the car and trailer to Sydney which he then flew out of a few days later! We had a fantastic trip which I’ll blog about very soon.

December was spent visiting friends and family in the UK and France (and shopping of course!) I’ll fill you in on that soon.

January we returned to Oz and spent the month searching for a/ and area that we liked around Wollongong and b/ a house for rent that we could afford among the handful that where available. We fell head over heels in love with Kiama and Kiama Downs but I held little hope of securing one of the 2 houses that we liked, could afford and were available as each had about 8 other couples at the viewings! We were thrilled to get a call about the house that we are now in that was J and the kids first choice! It has issues (like being on the steepest hill you have ever seen, no garage, a bit flight of stairs down to house then back up to get in, no storage and cathedral ceilings (am thinking freezing in winter!) as well as a garden that needs a lot of TLC) but it is all made up for by stunning sea views from the wrap around deck and the whole of the open plan living and dining room! Will do a post with pics and more details!

Early February we moved in and the rest of the month was spent getting the kids settled into the local school (WOW I love it and have even joined the P and C (or PTA as you may know it)!), finding furniture, fridge etc. When my lovely mother in law asked what I wanted for my birthday when we were in England I said that I wanted to be in my own house and spend the evening on my sofa. Well we moved in 2 days before my birthday and we didn’t have a sofa but spent the evening on the deck looking at the sea, with mum visiting, a takeaway Chinese and and bubbly – bliss! We still don’t have everything but we have the basics so that is the main thing and we are comfortable and happy :).

Uni has just started and I’m in the process of finding some nursing shifts and still getting organised but life is good!

I’ll be back soon – promise!

Whale Watching – September 2011

Oh dear my blogging is a little random and I’ve obviously not kept up with it as I’ve just found this post in drafts!!!

Mum came for a visit last week back in September when we were still living in Hervey Bay and we had a girly day and went whale watching – it was fab – we went on a nice boat that only had about 40 people on it (as opposed to the big one we went on last time that had over a 100 but was great for toddlers at the time!). I thought I’d share some pics of the day.

Here was one of the first whales that we saw:

Mum and baby whale:

Here is the first time I saw whales actually breaching – there was a clipper ship that sailed over to see what was going on, it was very cool and came quite close. The splash was the whale hitting the water – was so hard to get the timing right and I’d stupidly forgotten my camera and only had my phone!:

Luckily we had a great time with a lovely couple from Sydney who were kind enough to send me a great shot that they took with their fantastic camera, I can’t stop looking at the photo and remembering how magnificent it was to watch in real life:

The boat itself was a big cruiser – you could easily and happily live aboard with a great kitchen (sorry mum – galley!), bathroom, 2 en-suites to the main bedrooms, big living areas and great decks fore and aft.

If you ever get a chance to go whale watching please do it is good for the soul!

School Fete

Things have been even more crazy than normal around here, finally finished all my placements and the paperwork for it so I am hoping I can actually have a week or two to relax (and perhaps even do some blogging 😉 ) before I get back into it in the lead up to final assignment, practical exam and theory exam. 2nd of November I should all be done!

Last weekend was the kids school fete. There are 1000 kids at the school and they had about 6 rides so that worked well – NOT! Josh was determined to go on the gladiator fight thing but of course as there is only 2 at a time for 5 minutes each he was lined up for the best part of 1.5 hours – I would have given up long before!

This is when we finally got to the end of the line and they were next and had to put the very attractive hats on!

Finally they were on and at it – for all of 5 minutes! He assures me that it was worth the ridiculous wait time and he got 10 points for tenacity! I only took a couple of pics as I did a video which then didn’t work – very disappointed about that but at least I got the pics!

While we were hanging around waiting for Josh Louis went on a big blow up wave (what on earth will they think of next!) – we only had about a 15 minute wait for that – much more reasonable (although I would have been furious if I’d actually bought the ‘unlimited ride’ tickets at $23 a pop).

And just because he is a bit cute!

We bought a lovely home-made cake and a few bits for father’s day (which was last Sunday here in Oz) but missed out on food as we were in the line so long! The kids had fun so that was the main thing!

Looking back to May 2011 – Fraser Island – Day 1.

We’d never been over to Fraser Island so when we heard James and Naomi were coming to visit we knew it was a fantastic chance to do it – so it was a hugely exciting trip for us all. Josh had recently been over on a school trip and we didn’t have room for us all in the 4WD so that worked out well as he was more than happy to stay with a friend. We got off at Wanggoolba Creek which had nothing other than the ramp to get off the barge and it was straight onto the dirt roads which were fantastic – freshly graded and really easy driving.

First stop was Central Station which was the main logging area back in the day. It had a kind of open-air museum with all the old buildings, and a rain-forest micro eco-system with a stunning creek and a board-walk through the rain-forest.

The water in the creek was so clear it took us a minute to even realise it was there! We were told by a guide we ran into that Fraser Island has some of the purest water on earth due to the filtration through the sand.

CreekThe board-walk enabled us to get right up close in the forest without damaging the fragile eco-system. There were longer walks you could do but we were very aware we only had the 2 days so had to keep moving so just took the shorter option.

BoardwalkStunning flora was everywhere we turned – and it was wonderful having the talented Naomi to take the pics!

We were then told by the same guide to skip Lake Mackenzie (the famous one where all the pics are taken and I believe I saw Billy Connelly dive naked into on one of his travel shows!) and go to Lake Birrabeen instead so we headed there from Central Station. There was one couple leaving as we arrived to this:

Steps to lake

Lake B FraserFraser is famous for it’s perched lakes, formed by organic matter breaking down and forming a crust over the sand which enables a lake to form. The water is so clean and so clear after being filtered by the sand that you can see the brown tannin stain in the crystal clear water from leaves breaking down – just incredible! The sand was so white it just didn’t seem real and it even felt a bit strange (and squeaked when you walked). We had our lunch here, being very, very wary of any dingoes and keeping Louis in arms reach at all times – there had been another attack on a child only a few weeks earlier.

Tree by the lakeA rare photo of the ‘little’ brother and I (I still smile when I remember their visit and can’t wait to catch up with them back in Europe!)

We had to keep moving so carried on across the island as we were camping on the eastern side and needed to be wary about the tides as we had a set time we could safely get up the beach. The roads were surprisingly good having just been graded – we were there mid week following 2 extra long weekends, where they had stopped issuing permits to go out there it was so busy. We were so blessed with our timing as we practically had the island to ourselves! We had a quick pit stop at the last of civilization at Eurong for a coffee before getting out onto the beach.

WOW is all I can say – we were all euphoric it was just the most amazing experience from the second we hit the beach. The Pacific Ocean pounding the beach to our right and the sand stretching ahead as far as the eye could see – we all had silly grins plastered on our faces and kept laughing with the sheer joy of it as we speed up the sand highway!

75 Mile BeachOf course we made James get out and get a pic!

Car on beachThe map insisted that we don’t go swimming along this coast as there is huge packs of large and deadly sharks that patrol the beach, it also warned that we needed to keep our eyes out for and give way to planes landing on certain stretches! Errrr – J – please avoid the one ahead!!

After managing to get around a rock outcrop (you can just about see it in the first picture of the beach) without getting too wet we soon saw something on the beach ahead – The Maheno – wrecked on the the island many years ago and slowly rusting away – just amazing.

MahenoHere is a rare couple of the hubby, Boy 2 and me

We had to keep moving to be at the campsite well before high tide where the beach becomes unsafe and undriveable. We chose one of the few dingo fenced sites as we weren’t taking any risks traveling with Louis.

Darkness falls quickly in Queensland so we only just had time to get our tents set up and organised before night fell and we settled down for a BBQ and an evening playing Yatzee!

Thank you to James and Naomi for the pictures 🙂 – we decided that 3 cameras on the island was overkill so we left ours behind!

Looking back to May 2011 – brotherly visit from the UK!

We were so excited to have brother James and lovely sister-in-law type person Naomi visit us from the UK back in May. Initial concerns, before their arrival, about not being able to understand a word that Naomi said in her lovely Welsh accent were largely unfounded – no doubt in part due to me now being an avid Torchwood watcher and therefore quite used to hearing Gwen since last meeting Naomi! The only slightly sticky moments were when she sped up after a few wines but that would have gone both ways no doubt!

We started their visit as soon as they got off the plane by taking them to the Boat Club here in Hervey Bay – we figured it was difficult to fall asleep if you were having a beer overlooking the sea, Fraser Island and the marina!

Boat Club Hervey Bay

Naomi and I were most excited to see someone with a fun cocktail and our sensible white wine spritzers suddenly looked a little boring – nothing that an umbrella wouldn’t fix 😉 !

Next day we headed to the beach to show them the difference between a Welsh and Queensland one:

Hervey Bay beach

Not sure if we had them convinced with that first beach so we organised a trip out to Fraser Island for later in the week!

Louis’ Life

I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of recent Louis happenings. Last week he won a principal’s award for being an ‘Enthusiastic Learner’, I went along to assembly to see him collect it and it was too cute – he was so proud of himself!


Then this week it was pirate day at school and we had great fun dressing him up for it. I know I’m biased but I thought he was a gorgeous pirate!



Yes it is winter – and yes they are thongs / flip flops walking past and shorts that Louis is wearing! Oh we are going to get a shock when we get back to France!


France – here we come again!

I think this is take 3 of me trying to start blogging – finally I think the time is right! Life is taking some exciting turns in the next little while and I want to be able to share with family and friends who are interested – and maybe even others one day if I am interesting enough :).

We (hubby, myself, Boy 1 and Boy 2) are returning to live in France later in the year, or early in the new year, which is going to involve another big renovation project, a big garden to tame and make productive, chickens and children to raise and lots of sewing, crafting and creativity to share and blog about! The aim is to live the good life and become as self-sustainable as we can – veggies, chickens, solar panels and anything else we come across on the way.

Brittany is where we have decided to make our new home. We love the Aude, in the south of France, where we lived for 10 years – the long, hot summers and the proximity to the mountains for skiing, the Med’ for the beaches and the stunning scenery. The down side was that it was so damn far away from all our family and friends in the UK, meaning flights and car hire for us going back for visits or for those coming to visit us. We hope that by being in easy reach of the ferry ports we will be able to see more of the people that we care about!

In the meantime we are living in Hervey Bay, Queensland and I’m in the last few months of my nursing degree. We have had some great times seeing our area here and have some more trips planned so I’ll make sure I blog about those too!

Here is a recent photo of the boys on a day out in Maryborough, I think they are pretty cute 😉

Boys at Cafe

I hope you enjoy sharing our journey!