Monthly Archives: April 2014

Aussie Abode

After our many, many, many moves over our comparatively short marriage (Durham to Atlanta, Atlanta to Charlotte house #1, Charlotte house #1 to Charlotte House #2, Charlotte to Dubai, Dubai to Perth all in just shy of 3 years), we’ve become expert movers- I should hope so anyway! 🙂 Thankfully, this move was relatively easy as we didnt have to fuss with any furniture and our new landlords have been gems (this hasnt always been the case for us!) Yay for a move without having to pack or unpack boxes!!

Our new house is in a southern suburb of Perth – we actually have closet space and a non-gally kitchen (with a gas stove! And a KitchenAid mixer!) There’s a little “village” right around the corner with a grocery, butcher, coffee shops, boutiques, a chemist, etc, as well as plenty of bike and running paths. The location (so far) has been ideal. And until we get a car, there is a bus stop right around the corner – easy!

Without further ado, here are a handful of snaps:

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bath

Master bath

Front living room/parlor (?)

Front living room/parlor (?)

A REAL kitchen - complete with a KitchenAid mixer :)

A REAL kitchen – complete with a KitchenAid mixer 🙂

The pool! A little chilly for this time of year, hence it is covered

The pool! A little chilly for this time of year, hence it is covered

Backyard seating

Backyard seating

Updated Header!

Exciting aesthetic news for Abby’s Roads – an updated header! You may recognize the lovely work of Karen Ferris (KJane Studio shop on Etsy); Karen also painted the picture of the Dubai skyline, Barr, Dash and I from the previous blog header.

I emailed her when the move to Perth was confirmed to see if she could do another lovely skyline of our new city, and of course, I wasn’t disappointed with the finished product (no surprises there!) 🙂 I’m looking forward to hanging the framed version next to the Dubai skyline.

The Perth skyline by Karen Ferris of KJane Studio

The Perth skyline by Karen Ferris of KJane Studio

I love how she captured the iconic black swans paddling down the river that bears their name (the Swan River), as well as the festive ferris wheel from Fremantle (a bit south of Perth), and the fabulous greens and blues that I’m coming to associate with this lush town.

We’re moving into our new place (and out of the hotel!) later today – I can’t wait to unpack and cook a real dinner. Ill definitely post a few pictures later this week of our Aussie abode. Until next time…

Segue to a Perth Segway Tour

I have wanted to get on a segway ever since they first came out several years ago, but never found a good opportunity (or price point). That is until we moved here – I knew most larger cities had segway tours and lo and behold, Perth did! I signed up for a 1 hour morning tour along the Swan River. I showed up a bit apprehensive as anyone who knows me well can attest, I am a fairly clumsy individual – and it seemed to me that navigating a segway took a large amount of balance and grace – two things that I lack at times. 😀 Here is an image of Gob (of Arrested Development fame – one of my favorite shows) rocking his segway – I could only hope to look this cool:

Gob and his segway (via Zimbio)

After a 15 minute introduction to the segway and a mini obstacle course, we were ready for the tour! It was a little chilly and windy along the river, but the views were great and the segway was super easy for even the most clumsy of people to use.

Look Ma - no hands! Do I look as cool as Gob?

Look Ma – no hands! Do I look as cool as Gob?

I went through Segway Tours WA for this particular tour and was pleased with it! The tour was fairly short (1 hour), so I’d try a longer one next time – now that I’m an expert and all 😉 The guide went through the naming of the Swan River by the first Europeans who landed in Perth (the Danish), many of the indigenous trees/plants/animals (there are thousands of species in Australia that can’t be found anywhere else in the world), the aboriginals, as well as new projects for the city (growing at a huge rate!)

A black swan family: mom, dad, and two cygnets

A black swan family: mom, dad, and two cygnets

Part of downtown Perth from our tour

Part of downtown Perth from our tour – and one of the MANY foot/bike paths that traverse the city

Until next time…

How on earth is Perth?

In short: great! Here are some pictures of our afternoon meandering around downtown and south Perth – as you can see, the weather was picture perfect and we managed to get in a nice little walk around the Swan River. I wish we had made it to the ANZAC Day parade, but we saw plenty of veterans and Australian flags during our afternoon out. Until next time…

A true Chamber of Commerce Day

A true Chamber of Commerce Day

Barr strolling down one of the pathways around town

Barr strolling down one of the pathways around town

Downtown from South Perth

Downtown from South Perth

South Perth foliage

South Perth foliage

Happy AZNAC Day!

Happy ANZAC Day!

How inspirational!

How inspirational!

So what’s up with Perth?

Touch down in Perth! We arrived to Western Australia earlier this week and were struck immediately by three things: the vast amount of green space (park after park and plentiful grass isnt exactly Dubai’s forte), the public holiday for Easter Monday (a nice reprieve for Barr upon our arrival), and the chillier weather (65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is a far cry from the 90-100 temps we left behind). We’ll definitely miss certain things about Dubai (especially the wonderful friends we made there), but are really excited about “our” new city 🙂

So let’s get acquainted with Perth, shall we? Here is where Perth can be found in the grand scheme of Australia – the city is the capital and largest city in the Australian state of Western Australia (the other Australian states are Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, just as an FYI).

There she is!

The population of Perth is just around 2 million and has really experienced a population boom in the last 5-10 years or so as the energy/mining industries have expanded in the region. Honestly, since we were here 7 years ago, things have really changed and grown – the airport terminal we flew into seemed brand spanking new!

Perth is built primarily along the Swan River (named for the native black swans found here in Perth), expanding westward to the Indian Ocean coast:

Perth Metro map

The black swans sunning themselves on the Swan River

We found a great home to rent for the next few months – I’ll post a few pictures of it as well as the cute little village nearby once we move in next week!

I’ve been exploring downtown (where we’re staying until we move into our place) by foot and few of the outlying suburbs via the great train/metro system – couldnt have been easier to use and runs throughout the city. I have a feeling we’ll ultimately lease a car during our time here (yikes – watch out, Perth, as the Blantons navigate driving on the opposite side of the road!), but this absolutely fits the bill in the meantime.

Public transportation in Perth

I’m bringing my “big girl” camera around with me today, so tomorrow I’ll definitely have some photos of my own 🙂 Australia is also celebrating ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day (similar to the US Memorial Day – the day honors those “…who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”) on Friday, April 25, so we will get to enjoy another long week, hopefully full of lots of pictures and exploring. Until next time…

Guest Restaurant Review on FooDiva: Don Alfonso 1890

Another day, another restaurant review! 🙂 Check out my second review for FooDiva’s fab site about my trip to Don Alfonso 1890, a hot new Italian eatery at the Shangri-La hotel in Dubai, near DIFC. A true Italian experience: yay or nay? Find out on FooDiva – buon appetito!

Mozzarella souffle: To. Die. For.

The Don Alfonso mozzarella souffle: To. Die. For.

UAE Art: Spotlight on Amira Rahim

Just in time for our move from the UAE (yup, we’ve touched down in Perth!), I found an artist whose work really appealed to me: the colors, the style, and the subjects – everything just worked, you know what I mean? I follow a Dubai-based online marketplace called Little Majlis on Instagram, and they posted a photo of one of Amira Rahim‘s pieces from her shop within their marketplace – I went to her Little Majlis “shopfront” and adored her other pieces! In particular she had a wonderful painting entitled Hajib Figure Study, and as soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted it for our home.

Our lovely new piece of art


When we first moved to Dubai, Barr and I told each other that we wanted to leave the UAE with some unique art that really represented our time there, meant something to us. The seated woman wearing a colorful hajib by Amira was just the ticket. I emailed Amira the next day and requested the painting on canvas, and within a week picked up the painting from her home in Abu Dhabi – the process couldnt have been any smoother, and Amira was a real joy to work with – it was also really cool to meet her as she was a fellow American expat in the UAE – the world is small, yall! I cant wait to hang our beautiful painting 🙂 I particularly love the henna tattoos on the woman’s hands – such a special touch.

Happy, Sunny Palms: “This painting is a bright, happy illustration of palm trees that appear to be almost dancing. With the Dubai skyline in the foreground, it captures the essence of the UAE. Vibrant, bold, and ever-changing.”

Heat Wave: “This painting was inspired by life in the UAE. Hot, long summers with never-ending heat waves. A city as bright and vibrant as Abu Dhabi needed a contemporary abstract rendering.”

Definitely check out Amira’s Facebook, Instagram, and Little Majlis pages (as well as her personal website and blog) for more information on the artist, her pieces, and her story in the UAE. Her contemporary, abstract art is a true joy.

Amira Rahim's contact information

Amira Rahim’s contact information

Chasing Temperate Weather

My husband and I don’t do cold weather. He is naturally cold all the time (I, on the other hand, am struck with hot flashes – my mom and I have that in common!), and after my years in Calgary (where snow each month of the year is not uncommon), our dislike (disdain, hatred…whatever) for chilly weather is extreme. No skiing vacations for us! Now that being said, 100 degrees in April (+ humidity) is a bit extreme on the other end of the spectrum. Like today in Dubai. After confirming the current temps in Perth, it’s safe to say we are chasing temperate weather…


And while we’re fully aware that we’re moving to a city that is on the precipice of their winter season, we also know that it will be no polar vortex that the states experienced. A little shopping may be necessary, however, as when we packed for Dubai, boots/sweaters/the like weren’t high on the priority list…Off to do some last minute packing! Until next time…

Missin’ ‘Merica

I recently came across this amusing (and accurate) Huffington Post article entitled, “27 Things You’ll Miss About America When You’re Abroad“. Give it a look – I can absolutely relate to numbers 2 and 3 in particular! My chattiness gets me some eye rolls from time to time, especially when a long line starts to form behind me at the grocery store 🙂

I dont, however, miss expensive gasoline (we can fill Blanca up here for about $10 USD)!

What about you, fellow expats? Anything glaring that HuffPo missed?

No Plans for a Planner

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a planner. I love writing to do lists and ticking off the boxes. I love researching and studying before deciding which activity/situation would be best. My husband would say that this is probably one of the things that he necessarily love about me – and I admit, I sometimes take it too far.

So ever since we got the news about our move to Perth, I’ve been planning. Hello? It’s what I DO. Now I wish I could share (you know I love to share) with yall the plans for this particular move; however, not much has been confirmed. We have a plane ticket, but the date may be pushed. The Easter holiday is playing a bit of a game with us and the timing. So, here we sit – with bags (semi) packed, a car in Dubai we have yet to return (when?), and a housing situation up in the air in Australia. Marrying Barr taught me two things (well WAY more than two, but that’s another post for another day): you can’t plan everything and you have to take things as they come with grace. I have learned the former and attempting to execute the latter (hence my venting to this blog:)) So while we play this waiting game, I’m holding myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. Have a great week! Until next time…