Friday, 25 November 2011

london calling

We've had a very busy week since sunday. Carol drove us, as I said, to Whitby where I spent too much money on a stunning victorian Whitby jet brooch. We walked up to the Abbey ruins and got in free because of our English Heritage cards. Stayed at the Ravenscar Hotel and had a lovely night.
Monday morning we had breaky then walked around the grounds. I want to live here. The moors rolling down to the cliff edge, the crazy wild and cold wind, the sound of the ocean down below crashing against the rocks. My idea of perfection in a location.
Monday we drove to Fountains Abbey and had a wander through the fog encrouching grounds. Very atmospheric indeed and such a huge complex.
We arrived in Harrogate in the early evening, checked in to our little bnb and then walked up the road to "Graveleys" the BEST fish and chips resturant I've been too in ages.

The next day we went and visited my good friend Sonia's mum and dad. They are such lovely people. We had a "light" lunch of soup, quich and potatoes then poached pears with icecream and choc sauce. I think we rolled out of their beautiful home. We then went to art gallery in town that was displaying the viking hoard found back in 2007. Believe it or not we then had tea and SHARED a toasted teacake at Betty's. It was lovely in tea and location and setting-I want to go back next time.
Stayed that night too and the next morning Carol drove us back to Nottingham Train station on her way home so we could catch the train to London for the day.

London train was a very easy and pleasant 2hr journey. Caught the bus to the royal albert hall and then walked alot further then I thought to the hotel. NOT the nicest but at least the bathroom was clean and ensuited. the sheets were clean too. Just full of young rowdy people that thought ringing the fire alarm at 2am would be funny. It wasn't!
We got ready and changed and walked back to the Albert Hall to see the Princes Trust Rock Gala. Overall quite enjoyable. I found Chris de Burg and Pete Townsend living in self absorbed bubbles (sorry fans) and Boy George's voice has not really held up through the years. Alison Moyet sounded wonderful and looked SOO hot. Nik Kershaw (yes NIK KERSHAW) performed guitar with the house band and sang "Wouldn't it be good". I being a child of the 80's was in a bit of bliss while he sang. Voice still really strong- possibly better now.
Tim Minchin (the reason we came to the concert and London) was great. Veryy happy.
Walked back to the hotel chatting with G all the way. After having had dinner before the show and the chill night air I was just really happy. Dont like London though.
The energy is anxious and frantic and unhappy all mixed together and I just felt unhappy most of the time we were there.
The next day we spent at the Natural History museum and V&A. Saw the newly opened medieval and renaissance display at V&A and was a bit disappointed. It used to be crammed full and now its streamlined and shmick and alittle lacking in personality. Why does this happen every time things are "renovated"?
Tired and full of Pret-a-Manger food and coffee we caught the 8pm train back to Nottingham.
Tram then to Moores bridge where Carol collected us(she is wonderful). We got in and went to sleep. I slept right through for almost 9hrs. Sooo tired but a very successful 5 days was had by us both.
Also know that I really dont want to visit London again except for special events. Give me Paris or Whitby or Harrogate!!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Our 1st week in uk

So a while week has gone by and it feels like so much longer.
It's taken about 5-6 days to really get over the jetlag and G is still a bit tired due to the virus he's had.
Sunday we just got to Nottingham sorted and slept.
Monday was a rest day with me waiting for a collection of my broken suitcase and G went to the dr for the virus. It's becoming a habit for one of us having to see medical assistance on each trip.
Tuesday we did a bit of shopping and slept
Wednesday we waited for the new replacement suitcase. It came early and we went for a walk.
Thursday we headed into Nottingham for shopping for boots and a great coffee and lunch at Pret.
Friday we went to castleton and did the Speedwell cave then onto Buxton after a lunch at a pub at Sparrowpit. Went with Carol and Terry. The cave was almost 200 stairs down and up and a little boat down a narrow water filled cavern. Quite interesting.
Sat morning we went to the Bestwood winding house for a look see then a lovely walk to the Bestwood park hotel for a drink and walk back.
Sunday we drove (Carol that is) to whitby. The fog was thick Til halfway up the moors. Whitby was wonderful and the many stairs up to the abbey was worth it. Stayed the night at Ravenscar hotel and had a lovely venison dinner.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The amazing business class experience!

We had to fly the long leg from Brisbane to Dubai in economy. Which was. Fine because we fly with Emirates and Ecomony is as pleasant as it can be. Food not bad and water whenever we needed it. Due to the flights we've been doing the last few years g has been upgraded fro. Blue to silver clad with the rewards programme so in Dubai we went to the business lounge. Big toilets and free food and drinks.
Strange observations in Dubai airport- the ladies toilet had no mirrored benches seperate to the sinks. So when I came out of the loo needing to wash my hands I had to push women doing makeup out of the way.
Also people do not seem to have a sense of space in airports. So many just stop in walkways and don't move to the side. It's a bit irritating.
So after about an hour in the lounge we headed to our gate via the swatch outlet for my ritual of buying a swatch watch each time I fly os. This is my last time doing it. I'll. Be flying the other way from now on so a new ritual perhaps. Got a chrono automatic. Just. Red it resized to fit as its about 3-4 links too big.
We checked in at business class because G the awesome upgraded us to business class for the Dubai to London leg with points we'd earned. OMG. The seats were the flatbed ones in individual pods on the upper floor of the airbus 380. Sooooo wonderful. I actually slept for about 2 hrs.
Food was amazing and served on linen covered trays. Linen napkins in metal napkin rings, proper cutlery and glasses, Verv Cliquot champagne flowing and so many attentive staff. Noise reducing headphones that really worked, tea warm and tasty. All in all I wouldn't have said b4 that the over double cost would have been worth it. I was wrong. There's a bar area with seats to sit and chat if you want. Toilets are bigger and they have combs,razor kits and full size toothbrush kits. I honesty dont think I can fly economy again. That sounds pretentious I know but it was SO different. Just wonderful. I felt less insane when I left the plane.
I felt calm enough that when I got my new luggage off the conveyor belt and found massive cracks in it I was able to calmly report the problem to the luggage people. Hopefully j will get a replacement for the $189 bag as its samsonite so to crack it like they did and leave massive drag marks on the front the baggage crew must have rolled over it or something. Also my moisturisers were smashed because of the cracks/rents. 2 to be precise.

Uk stopover

Such an adventure so far and not even on French soil yet.
This last week has been so crazy. We and I actually mean Chris sold his scooter on tues and then thur night he successfully sold the Fiat. So we had to get a roadworthy fri afternoon amidst everything else. It was nice to sit for 1/2 hour actually so it ended up not being a problem at all.
We stayed with my wonderful mum for just over a week, exploding possessions all over the place when we arrived and mostly cleared up on the day we left. Everyday we drive up to Brisbane from Waterford to spend the days doing soooo much. I also did my lat 2 French classes and thur G spend the day with his wonderful daughter. I got to spend the afternoon with them both and I have to say she is a treasure and a peach. I love her and so love seeing her with G ( & me).
Sat we had a lovely lunch with friends. Booked an outside table at Vagelis cafe (I keep calling it vagina cafe- it does look very similar you have to admit ). When we for there the table was too small and so we HAD to use the airconditioned function room. It was lovely. Food was great, service damn fine and company of the friends that could make it was just perfect.
Dearest Jane drove us to the airport and her plus the Maynards stayed for a short time before we headed through customs. Then a 2 hr wait and we boarded the plane.

Friday, 4 November 2011

one step closer

We have moved and handed back the keys at our place in Bardon QLD. It took about 2 weeks to get everything shipped off, garaged saled, cleaned and packed and now it looks like we've exploded ALL OVER my mum's little house.
Very VERY big thanks go to Mat, Jane, Garth, Shaun, Sue and all our friends that bought stuff.
We have just over 1 week til we fly and have lots of little things to sort and throw and sell.

The cargo box pack was strange. 2 people came and within 7 hours they had packed everything in our house- upstairs and downstairs. It took them then 4 hours to put all items in the container. It felt strange to have an almost empty house and then to have strangers through 2 days later and buying our leftover stuff.

this weekend is our farewell party. then lots of appointments and the flight on sat.
wow this is coming on too fast now......but bring it on

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Packing the blighters for franceland

Hello again. Tomorrow is the 1st of 2 days of packing by the professionals so all our personal goodies can be shipped over to our french house.
I have been sorting and packing for weeks, between french classes and other bits of life and now that the day is almost upon us I don't think I've done enough.
the fabric is still in boxes and not in bags, the computers aren't yet packed, there seems to be things everywhere and not all in one place. eeeekkkkk the mess.

I'm not sure if I've packed waaay too much in my suitcase and the hope is that everything that's left will be sold on sat morning in our mother of a garage sale.

G is off at sewing class and I SHOULD be packing and eating dinner and packing but I'm posting this blog.......hmmm do I sense a touch of procrastination?

We did spend over $500 today on meds for G and with both of us not working the money seems to be just pouring out of us. I really hope that once this uplift is done, the garage sale sells everything else, someone buys the Fiat the VW and the scooter I can relax a tad and ready myself for leaving my mum and friends and other family. Hope I don't cry too much at the airport.

Friday, 7 October 2011


we got our visas!!!! yippeee
So the shipping can go ahead, the packing can be sorted, the tickets will be used and we fly out in 5 weeks.

that's a good mark to being organised.
the pictures even look nice so it was worth dressing up with makeup and the sort for the pictures. I think I look a bit french already.

only short toninght - now back to sorting papers into rubbish piles taller than me.
we seem to collect so much detrius. I'll talk about this later.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Visa applied for!!

We flew down to Sydney on sunday and spent a lovely time with friends having brunch. The hotel we stayed in overnight had everything we needed and was very close to the consulate.
We got up in the morning and ate breaky in the room before getting very smartly dressed. You see, I thought that by making an appointment we would be taken into a room for the visa application. I was wrong. It was a much more casual affair.
We went and handed in our appointment letters to the wonderful security gentleman then sat in the waiting area. There was an australian woman asking questions in very good french to a staff member and that made me feel so daunted. Every bit of french just left my head. I don't think I even used bonjour to the staff member - i just don't remember.
Chris was up first, and he looked wonderful. Stylish black shoes all a shiny and pants firm and fashionable. Great blue pinstipe shirt and dark purple velvet jacket. So handsome. The woman grilled him over most things so when it was my turn I wasn't asked as many questions. I was surprised because we stood at something very similar to a bank teller. Stood at the counter with a very heavy glass screen. the biometric fingerprint machine right in front of me and a seat to the side for the picture they take. So I was dressed up for no real reason but hopefully the visa picture will look good.

It took 45 min for our 2 appointments and we had the rest of the day in sydney to fill.
It's going to take 2-3 weeks before we hear the verdict and the consulate have our passports until then.
We've booked and paid for the tickets so we're on our way to being expats!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Time is ticking down for our visa appointment. Monday is the day when we and our small novels of information will hopefully impress the consulate and they say Oui, Oui, Oui!!!

All our documents are got and copied twice. Our travel insurance is got for 12 months (we will have to explain that it will be extended to cover the rest of 2012 in the new year (we can only by exactly 12 months from ordering the insurance).  Tomorrow I book our tickets for a 3 week visit to UK before entering France for our year of immersion. See I'm still being positive about us getting the visas!

Moving wise our rental house may have sold- the buyers are waiting on finance. So if the house sells we're able to stay put for another month and the shipping of our gear can wait until visa confirmation!! Yay.

C's burnt ankle is slowly on the mend and we've been slowly packing stuff and selling stuff. But it's late now and I need sleep. I'll update again after the appointment.

Wish us huge luck!

Friday, 26 August 2011

why can't the words stick?

So I've just started the second level of french classes at AF Brisbane. I come out thinking that it's going in one ear and catching the TGV straight out again. So many verbs and not enough conversation.
Also the house we're renting is now having open houses every sat til it's sold. I'm getting really tired of it all. Only good point is that it's keeping us keep the house tidy.

Only about 3 weeks until our visa appointment. I've sorted my outfit and G's. Got the all clear from the cops (never a doubt but nice to have the official paperwork) for us both and most of the paperwork is all copied. Just the tickets to buy the week before and print out the bank balances.

Got an updated quote on the moving. We have culled enough to fit into the 20" container. I'm very happy.
Now that G is getting better from a nasty burn to his ankle I can start to destress. Looking forward to the following week as it's MY BIRTHDAY!!! a biggy too.
Goth ball, day at the sea, dinner with friends, lunch with other friends. It should be a lovely week.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Well another development. We went out last night to the dutton park copshop and paid for our criminal name searches. Got to have them for the visa appointment.
Which we also booked last night. Sept 19 is dee day. Let's hope they see our passion and massive desire to live there and grant our visas.
I'm feeling very stressed about it all.

I also sorted out the CDs. Took them out of the crystal cases and into cd albums. The cover art is there too. Now we gave lots of empty cases.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

possible step forward

Got a letter on wed from the bank of the owner of the the house we're renting til the end of oct.
It appears that the owners have defaulted on the mortgage and WE have to vacate within 62 days (59 now). So that pushes the moving out up by a month. We're not really ready at all for that so it's a bit stressful.
On the down side we'll have no-where to live for about 2 months while we sort everything out.
On the plus side it's making us really push with the visa and shipping things.
Found a lawyer in Sydney that will hopefully help us once we send him the email details of what we want- for a fee of course.
We HAVE to visit Sydney to apply in person for the visas so a little visit will be in order- and fun I hope.
Getting our first international movers coming over on monday for a looksee and quote.
phhhhhhhhh. this is all very tiring.
I've been back 6 weeks from France now and it feels like I haven't stopped yet haven't achieved much either.
I think once I know whether we can get the visas for living in France I will be just a LITTLE STRESSED!!!!
It's going to work though. I am going to succeed. We WILL be living in France for xmas 2011. There- it's sent out to the universe and the universe will agree.

Friday, 22 July 2011


oh oh oh. We have got a website. It's under construction while I learn ANOTHER language- web speak but we have a business website. Told you I'd do it.

MEP house renos

This is a back dated post I guess.
I went overseas on a rush with C to get the house reins started. I mean a rush. We booked a flight to Paris 5 hours before the plane left. It was crazy and wonderful. I'd been having massive emotional issues and C was heading over on the friday. I KNEW I couldn't cope without him so we booked the flight. I had to fly over the day before and wait for him at a hotel but it was worth it. As I'd left before my interview for the job I'd been doing on contract for 2 1/2 years, I ended up staying 6 weeks in France as no job to come back to.

C only could stay 2 weeks so I had 4 weeks on my own, ordering tiles, getting loyalty cards at the Leroy Merlin and generally wrangling the wonderful British builders into getting a new bathroom upstairs. It's the 1st time either of us will have an ensuite AND walk in robe area. OOh aint we swish!!

So this amazing bathroom- It's going to have a clawfoot bath, a waistband of very fancy tiles and a WC that has the sink incorporated into the top of the cistern. Wonderful vintage styled taps and sink as well.
Originally when C and I were planning it, the location was to be the middle room at the top of the stairs. When the plumber arrived (C had gone back to Oz by this) I was told it could only be in the end room due to the sewage location. So within a few hours I had redrawn the design to fit the end room. Thus an ensuite was born.

During the next 4 weeks I had to redesign it 2 more times and source EVERYTHING for it, in french. Thank you Google Translate and my iphone. I would have been a monosyllabic moron without you both.
I came home 2 weeks earlier than planned (8 weeks away) as it was C's birthday. So the bathroom was unfinished when I left but 2/3rds of the way there. So exciting.

The start

So here is the 1st of hopefully many posts in this little blog about our trials and final success (I'm being positive) in moving to France.
So far we have been trying to get advise on the right visa for us to move our little costume business to our house in the Vendee. TO NO AVAIL. No one seems to be able to help us. We've been trying to get advice  for many many months and nothing.

Some background first eh...
Chris (hubby) and I bought a house in France back in Oct 2010 in the deep desire to move there. We are born and raised Aussies but love the culture in Europe and especially France. We have been making historical costumes for re-enactors for over 15 years each and now want to make it our sole employment. France is a much better place to be and have access to the European re-enactment community and all those museums. So we set our berets on the big move.

Problem is we have yet to set up the business properly with website, business cards and the like. We HAVE registered the business name though. I am trying to sort that all out now.
Also we're having the devils job getting visa info as I said above. gggggr

Now back to the present. I have left my job in Qld Health to get the business up and running AND get everything sorted for the move but I just seem to be hitting deadends and frustrations. I will overcome though. I must!