Monthly Archives: August 2015

Back to work!

So tonight is my last night as a stay at home mom!  I heard last Monday that I got the job at the International Baccalaureate office in Cardiff.  Yay!  It’s a three month contract to help with some project scoping….  as usual, business analysis type stuff, trying to understand the gaps between old and new processes and provide advice to the business.  Anyways if you’ve never heard of the IB, it’s a non-profit educational foundation which supports international schools around the world to deliver a pretty rigorous curriculum.

I’m both excited and nervous about going back to work but mostly just excited.  Hahaha who would have ever thought one would prefer work over staying at home?  Of course I’ll miss some moments with Morgan and Aled but it’s an exciting next step and I’m just ready to get on with it!  And it would be nice to see some money coming into the bank account rather than the steady stream out… just quietly.

The last week at home has been as busy as the first three with DIY and settlement activities continuing at a very fast pace.  My husband continues to amaze us all with his versatility.  Here he is at work on our inbuilt bookshelves:


Well better said, my bookshelves… for all my books from various phases of my life which I’ve never had all in one spot.  As I may have previously written, I never shipped my belongings from New Jersey to New Zealand so this is the first time since leaving college in 2002 that I’ve seen all my books and belongings in the house where I’ve actually lived.  It was a big moment and kind of emotional to admire all the titles that have shaped my outlook on life.


While Aled constructs, I destruct.  (Let’s face it.  I’m the unskilled DIY labour in this household!)   We’ve detested these tiles since we saw the house in February and it was time for them to come down — mostly because the builder needs to investigate that strange bit of the wall sticking out above the stove.  Any guesses on what it is?  (Note the J. Crew green pants from 1996.  Yes.  They were shipped from NJ to NZ and now to Wales and they are still going strong!!  I tell you they don’t make things like they used to.)


We’ve also had double-glazing installed on the back side of the house, which is something we’ve been waiting for for years!


While the windows went in, Morgy and I took a trip down to a beautiful beach on the south coast of Wales called Southerndown.  It’s about a 45 minute drive southwest of Cardiff.  Morgy loved it because there are plenty of “rah rah” (rocks) to throw in the “wa wa” (water).


As if this wasn’t enough action for one week (!) we also had some kiwi visitors, Morgan and Anna.  Anna’s been working in London for about 2.5 years and Morgan’s just arrived.  Here they are with Aled and Morgy at the National Museum Cardiff.  It’s always so nice to see some familiar kiwi faces and I haven’t heard the “accint” for a while so I was laughing when I caught Morgan saying “ahrickin” (I reckon).


Well I am “cream crackered” and have missed most of the Dragon’s Den so will stop now.  Wish me luck for my first week back at the coal face.  I will try not to miss this too much:



Cardiff in August

Lots and lots is going on here.  We’re in a race against time to get the house sorted before one of us gets a job.  As I’ve been out of work longer, I’m putting my CV out for any job that looks suitable.  I’ve probably applied for about 50 jobs by now but it seems like sometimes I am launching my CV into outer space.  A fair number of recruiters call me back, which is good, but more often they want to have a conversation with me rather than to let me know I have an interview.

It’s not all bad news though.  Yesterday I had two interviews — one at Cardiff University and one at the International Baccalaureate, both for change management/business improvement type work.  Annoyingly, I was second best for the Cardiff Uni job, but they have shortlisted me for a similar job in another project so perhaps that will work out.  It was a particularly grueling interview — especially considering it was only for a one year fixed term contract.  First I had to do a 30 minute writing assignment, then deliver a ten minute presentation, and then do the 45 minute interview.

Anyways I am not too upset about it but wish I could land myself a perfect job without having to jump through all these silly hoops!  Interviewing definitely is exhausting.

On the home front!  The loft has been vacuumed high and low:


And the skip removed.  Morgy loves this sort of action:


We’ve had a few visitors too which is always nice.  I’ve only got pics of William and Claire’s boys. They’re Morgan’s oldest cousins in this country and he loves hanging out with them.  Turns out Cardiff is a perfect place for a rest if you’re heading towards or away from Pembrokeshire.


To be honest, the weather has been pretty terrible since coming to Cardiff, so we’ve made every effort to get out on the nice days (or in the breaks between the rain!).  This was last Friday’s forecast (and that’s Derek the weather man):


Top of Aled’s list was the Brecon Beacons, the national park about an hour north of Cardiff.  You can see Pen y Fan in the distance there, which is the highest peak in South Wales at 886 meters.


There’s a bunch of reservoirs in the area so we walked up to a pretty one called Upper Neuadd Reservoir.  Look!  Even the dams in this country look like castles!


Strangely, there was very little water behind this dam which was first and foremost quite worrisome, but also disappointing because Morgan’s favorite activity of all time is throwing stones in water.  So we walked back down to the Lower Neuadd Reservoir and found some stones there instead.  Here I am, about to throw Morgy in the water.  (Just kidding!)


On the other non-rainy day (last Wednesday!), we went down to Cardiff Bay to do some more exploring.  Had I known there was a carnival set up down there, I’m not sure we would have gone but hey, we managed to find a parking space so it was all good fun.  I love that red building — which I’ve just wiki’d and found out that it’s the Pierhead Building, which is used by the Welsh National Assembly.


Another interesting building down there is the Millenium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera.  Usually this sort of architecture isn’t my style but this building really is an impressive site.  It’s got such an imposing, powerful presence.  Very cool.


So that’s about it for now.  We’re having some furniture issues which is annoying.  We ordered some bedroom stuff off the internet (please spare me the lecture I am mad enough!) and unfortunately it’s a few shades to brown/orange?  So it’s going back.  We found some much nicer stuff today but that’s three weeks away.  Suffice it to say I am very sick of living out of our suitcases!





The loft

Back at the ranch, the DIY continues. Next up is the loft space (also known as the attic!), which is in sore need of re-insulation. What?! you ask. Yes. I too was expecting it to be fully insulated to a very high energy rating but alas we have some work to do in that department to ensure we are toasty next winter.  But that’s ok.  By now Aled and I are insulation experts so we’re just getting on with it as soon as we can so we can move on with life.

This is what the attic looked like two days ago.  I must say I will never understand how or why people think that attics are dumping grounds.  Especially when they are selling a house.  Do you honestly think I want all this crap laying around?


On the up side, there are sometimes treasures to be found, such as these china plates which are now on our Welsh dresser (along with a caulking gun):


It’s always fun to find some blasts from the past to remind us of days gone by:


And even some interesting news articles…  this one is from January 1982.


Aled also found this wasp nest… luckily EMPTY!


After all the random bits and bobs were removed, it was time to start on the old insulation.  As usual, we had one very keen volunteer…


That’s after our first go.  Now I’ll need a trusty wet/dry vac.  You all know how much I love vacuuming!


It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it…



Right, that’s been a nice break.  Aled did the morning shift so I better get suited up.