Moving Day!

In comparison to the events surrounding my move across Manly, the actual moving in day itself was very unstressful, if tiring. The drama started a few months ago, when Andrea’s flatmate announced that he was going to start looking for a new place. Having been coveting her beautiful view for months, I was really excited!

Having small, furry, rather noisy and sometimes smelly housemates was starting to wear on me, and it wasn’t long before my impatience got the better of me. When Rachel’s room unexpectedly became available, I decided to change my plans and move in to her place in Little Manly. It also comes with a beautiful view, not as amazing as Andrea’s, but from the bedroom itself which is rather nice.

The view from my room

However, Andrea was less than amused! Luckily for me she is also the forgiving kind though, and plus she eventually realised that she’d probably had a lucky escape.

A couple of weeks before the move, I had arranged for the internet to be connected at the new place … sadly, they also cut off the wireless at my old one! Cue a week or so of frustration – it’s amazing how I now feel totally lost without super fast internet at my fingertips wherever I go. Possibly something to do with also wanting to make Skype calls on a regular basis.

Over the next few days, Rachel was away so I stayed in what would be my new room, admiring the view from the bed, and counting down the days until I could move all of my stuff in! I made endless phone calls to the internet company, and unplugged and replugged in every single cable to my modem at least a hundred times until finally they sent a technician. On Friday morning, Vivi and I sat with our laptops and a 3G connection while he took apart the phone socket, discovered the phone line wasn’t connected properly, and promptly sorted it out. We stared and crossed our fingers as the modem light went from flashing red, to blue, and then back to red, until finally it stayed blue. We named our home network magicworks, because at that point in time I think we both believed it!

I went back to my own place for the last two nights, then finally the day arrived! We had a great girls night out on Saturday, with the result that I wasn’t feeling the best on Sunday morning, but I had a long day ahead and there was no time for hangovers. I left the house to get the car, only to return two minutes later having forgotten my glasses. This pretty much set the tone for the day …

First stop, IKEA

My first stop was IKEA: I needed a set of drawers for some extra storage space. I haven’t been to IKEA in ages – I haven’t really done much shopping in ages either, but I had to curb my shopaholic tendencies and stay focussed on just buying what I needed: drawers, and some storage boxes. I left with just $4 worth of impulse purchases, which must be a new record.

Next stop: Harvey Norman to pick up a tumble dryer. I found the shopping centre in Chatswood, found the right floor, went to get out of the car, and couldn’t find my key (GoGet have a really cool system, similar to Street Car in the UK, where I have a credit card sized “key” that locks and unlocks the car – the actual ignition key is secured inside the car). I searched my bag and pockets, but nothing. I was beginning to panic: I couldn’t even leave the car unlocked because it would automatically lock itself after a few minutes, so if I closed it then I wouldn’t be able to get back in. I didn’t understand how I could have dropped it at IKEA … eventually reason set in, and I found it down the far side of the passenger seat. Phew.

Shopping done!

Back on track … dryer collected and loaded into the car, and back to the new place to drop it off. I arrived, and nobody was there, they’d all gone out for breakfast … I managed to drag the heavy boxes out of the car and into the garden on my own, but it’s been a while since I wished that much for a strong man to help me!

Back to Pacific Parade, and the first car load took nearly an hour to load, but most of the big stuff was in. The drive across town took less than ten minutes, but included about twenty sets of traffic lights … luckily I wasn’t really in any hurry, it was still early afternoon. By the time the first lot of cases and stuff had been emptied, I could barely get in to my bedroom (not because I have THAT much stuff, but I didn’t do a great job of arranging it).

First load ready to go

Andrea was also moving stuff the same day, she’d hired a ute to pick up a fridge and some larger furniture from across town, having sourced it on Gumtree (her flatmate was moving out and taking all of his furniture, so she was about to have a pretty empty flat!) We decided to go together to the mall then to drop off her ute, so that she didn’t have to walk home. She was jetlagged, and exhausted … I suddenly realised that I was actually pretty tired already too, and I still had another car load to go, and furniture to build!

The car all stacked up for the final run

We made it to the mall, and finally the last car load was emptied. I dropped the car back in its spot near Pacific Parade, and collected my bike and my surfboard, which was too big to fit in the car so had to be moved on foot. I wheeled the bike over to Andrea’s, where my surfboard was going to stay in her garage at least until the summer! Finally I biked over to the new place. It was kind of strange to finish off the move on my bike :)

Viv was home by then, and together we got the new dryer into its new home and reconstructed my small shelves in the utility room, they looked pretty cool actually and Viv was delighted.

The new dryer

I managed to clear a way through the stuff into my room and stacked the cases against the windows. I was still determined to finish putting together my new drawers, even though both Silvio and Viv had told me to take it a bit easy, it had been a long day, but I was stubborn as ever …! Eventually, with the help of a couple of glasses of wine, they were done. And they looked good too!

I do follow instructions …

Getting there with the drawers

Moving fast!

By ten thirty, finally, I had managed to unpack enough clothes to last a couple of days, make up my bed, and bring enough order to the room to be satisfied. My eyes were almost closing …

It took a few more days to clear out the rest of the suitcases but I’m delighted with my new room! It’s light and quiet, and I can’t imagine a better place to wake up in :)

New home

Green Fingers.

Up the stairs in our garden is another space with lots of sun ...

Living in Manly, I love the fact that we have a small outdoor space, and I’ve been determined for the last few weeks to start growing something. Every time I go to Harris Farms for food shopping, they have various herbs outside and more recently tomato plants, and I’ve been so tempted! My Grandad always grew loads of tasty vegetables – I don’t have enough space, or time, to grow many, but I do love the idea of being able to eat something from my garden. Hopefully I’ve inherited at least one or two of his green fingers :)

When Andrea left for a few weeks away in the UK and Chicago, she entrusted me to look after some of her herbs. Two weeks in, I’ve managed to at least keep them alive, and love having fresh basil for cooking, and used the mint for tea.

It was all a bit overgrown

I decided this weekend was the time to set up my herb garden. As part of our garden we have a small area on a higher level, with a steep wooden staircase leading up to it. It was really overgrown but gets plenty of sun (and rain, these last few weeks …) so I made it my mission to clear it out so that I could grow some herbs up there. Starting, of course, with shopping!

I headed out to the market in Manly, where I knew there was a guy selling herbs and chilli plants. After that, I cycled on to Harris Farms to buy tomatoes! I brought them all back on the handlebars of my bike, had to cycle really slowly until I got used to the steering.

Herbs on the handlebars

My steering was all wonky from the chilli. It bashed my knee too!

Chives, Basil and Mint from the market

Ready to attack the plants!

I ended up with: chilli, basil, lemon thyme, chives, mint, and coriander. I also got some cutters for the more determined plants, and girly gloves to protect my nail varnish … all set to go gardening! By the time the shopping was done it was nearly five o’clock, so I spent just over an hour randomly pulling up herbs and hacking down the dead old palm leaves from the tree by the top of the stairs. There was a kind of creeping vine plant wrapped around everything, I think it was a blue dawn flower but I wasn’t too sure. It seemed really invasive, which was a shame as it had a few lovely flowers.

By the end of Saturday I was tired and getting bitten, so left the weeds alone until Sunday, but I did put all of the herbs into new larger pots. I still need to get some stakes for the tomato plants though. I ran out of potting soil as well, so some of them are a bit low!

All ready for new pots, just need planting

Basil and Mint in nice bright pots!

The coriander looked a bit sorry for itself after repotting, it's perked up since though!

Chilli plant in its new larger pot

Mau contemplates munching on the chives

The sun was shining on Sunday although it wasn’t boiling hot, perfect for doing a bit of gentle weeding in the garden. I started by clearing the steps, then moved into the main area. By about 2pm it was finally done and I could bring up the herbs – fed with a bit of fertiliser in the hopes they’ll grow big and strong! I brought Andrea’s plants up too – hope they all do well in their new home.

The steps looked nice when they were finally cleared.

The herbs in their new home!

Just need some sunshine!

The original area was so overgrown!

View across the steps before much was cleared

My new home, and furry housemates.

My temporary office last Friday

Just over a week ago I moved to a new house in Manly, sharing with Chelsea and three furry housemates – Marble and Mau (sp?) the cats, and the boss of the house: Harry the dog. I love the back garden, and have already been known to use it as a temporary “office” when working from home!

The cats live outside, and Mau is the most vocal kitty I’ve ever known, I think we call her that because that’s the noise she is always making, unless she’s sleeping or eating. She only has three legs, but that doesn’t stop her moving pretty quickly when there’s a bowl of food! She’s also very affectionate, and will rub against my legs and miaow as if to say thank you when I feed her.

Harry da Boss enjoying the sunshine

Harry is adorable, he has so many expressions for a small dog, and for one who supposedly doesn’t like being photographed he has been a bit of a poser so far. Perhaps he likes to show off his new haircut?

I haven’t lived with any animals for a while now, so lucky for me Chelsea has everything well under control with regard to feeding and walkies! I’m enjoying having them as company when I’m alone in the house, Harry even jumped up for a cuddle last night … lovely, until I had to move him off so I could eat my dinner!

New bedding and wardrobe

Finally, last week with the delivery of my new wardrobe and purchase of new bedding, my own room was complete! I wanted some bedding with light green to make the room look fresh and calming, in contrast to the lovely warm yellow walls. The wardrobe is white with a massive mirror, luckily with the high ceiling the room still looks great.

I’ve finished unpacking my mountain of suitcases and amazingly everything fits! I still have one corner of the room that looks a mess (not in the photos :)) – haven’t decided yet quite what to add in to make it look nice, although in some ways it’s good just to have a space.

It’s been a busy few days since I last blogged.


Marie-Claire getting married to Richard on the beach

I moved into my new home in Manly … then went to a wedding party for the afternoon! The move was the quickest I’ve ever done – then again I only had a couple of suitcases to take.

Marie-Claire was-Jenkins-now-Dean got married in the morning on the beach, after skateboarding to the wedding. She had been the most chilled out bride-to-be I’ve ever seen all week at work, the biggest stress had been figuring out how to transport home the mountains of flowers that arrived at the office on Friday afternoon.

Mmmm, cake ... with coconut icing

The wedding party took place at their apartment complex, outside on the roof terrace with a pool. The weather was perfect, really hot and sunny (many people misjudged the sun and got sunburnt, I ended up with a small patch on one arm).

In the evening I hung out with Rachel at Manly Wine for a couple of glasses of bubbly, in a dress borrowed from my new housemate Chelsea while I waited for my luggage to arrive on Monday. It was amazing to just be able to walk from home to the bar, no need for a coat, no messing about tube trains, and on top of that a lovely walk by the sea to get there.


Furniture shopping day! I had planned to go to Ikea to hunt for a wardrobe, but after measuring up, Chelsea took me to Furniture Land and Harvey Norman. I found a huge wardrobe and she negotiated a discount and fast delivery!

No Ikea trip needed, it must be time to head to the beach – I met up with Rachel and a couple of her friends to go to Shelly beach, a sheltered bay just a ten minute walk around from South Steyne. It’s got more sand but less ocean, although I managed to take my first dip! The water is still pretty cold and it took me a good ten minutes to immerse myself in it. There were a group of divers floating around as well – I guessed they were doing an open water course, I’ve heard they use Shelly Beach a lot for the confined water skills, as it’s so calm. It made me impatient to get back into my scuba kit!

In the evening, on the way home from the offy with a couple of bottles of wine, I discovered Pro Divers on Pitt Street and decided to drop in and say hi. Turns out they might be grateful of an extra pair of hands sometimes, so I might even be able to get some free diving – yay!

On the way home, I bumped into Andrea, a friend from work who lives just around the corner, and she came back to see my new place and share a glass of wine.


My cases have arrived, all wrapped up!

My luggage arrived on Saturday, but I had to wait until Monday morning for customs to open and clear it. I headed out to the airport, easy enough to get there on the train but then I had to walk back and forth in the scorching sun, from Qantas Freight to customs, quarantine and back.

I tried to smile and be as polite as possible to customs, and luckily all my bags were cleared! They arrived on a forklift truck in the unloading bay, wrapped in layers upon layers of packing film – Dad had certainly made sure they were well protected!

After unpacking as much as I could, I had to work for the afternoon, then it was time for the beach! It was still steaming hot and such a relief to get into the cold water … still took me a while to get all the way in though. The waves are much bigger on North Steyne beach (the closest one to my pad), it was great fun playing around in them although a bit worrying as they have been known to tear away bikini parts … luckily I kept hold of mine :)


Andrea and I met for a morning run, I made it from Manly Surf club on North Steyne beach to Shelly beach and part of the way back (~2.5k) before getting too hot and puffed! I haven’t done much exercise in the last few weeks and it shows :( The best bit was jumping in the waves again once we finished!

I caught the ferry to work for the first time – it’s a lovely way to travel, especially compared to the tube – fresh air and lots of space, for a start.

During another quiet day on “the beach” at work (in other words, I’m not yet working on a client project) I searched ebay for a good deal on a bike. The walk from home to the ferry is just over 15 minutes, but so much quicker on a bike, and loads of people here have bikes with baskets to use for shopping as well. I found one for a really good price, located around the corner, and stopped by on the way home to collect it.

I cycled home in my flip flops, trying unsuccessfully to keep my dress from blowing up. I even got asked by a surfer dude, “Can I have a go?” – I’m not sure if he was referring to the bike or my dress!


Sunset from my back yard by iPhone ... better pics coming soon hopefully!

The highlight so far today is finding a new (and cheap!) battery for my DSLR camera – I seem to have lost the last one somewhere in my packing :( I miss Amazon here, but ebay is so far proving a good source for pretty much everything.

I’m hoping that I can now start taking some decent photos to include on the blog to make it a bit more interesting!

Note: Thanks to Marie Claire and Lizi Hamer for posting the photos on Facebook and letting me use them!

I found the beach.

Quackers enjoying a bit of North Steyne beach

Last weekend, I went out to Manly to meet up with some friends, and also managed to fit in seeing a couple of flats. Everybody had warned me that it’d be hard to find a place on the beach at this time of year, so I figured I needed to get going with looking for one as soon as I could!

It paid off, because I ended up going to see two places on Sunday! Both were really nice, the first one was a flat had a glorious view of Little Manly beach and a shared outdoor space, the room was a decent size and it had wooden floors. My only reservation was that the current tenant would want me to join her lease and sign up for 12 months … well, I’d only been there a few days and it felt like too big of a commitment, although I did like the place.

As I walked into the second place, a semi-detached bungalow, a small ball of fluff hurled itself at me enthusiastically, while Chelsea poured ice cold white wine into two glasses. I knew instantly that I wanted to move in! It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from North Steyne beach, with a beautiful outdoor space and a huge barbecue, and three fluffy housemates – Harry the dog and two cats.

With the deal finalised on Wednesday of this week and moving-in-day tomorrow, I’m so excited to be moving to the beach. The photos demonstrate what is going to be part of my commute and where I hope to spend a lot of my time, sunbathing, learning to surf and chilling out … life’s good!