Moving To Orange – Our Tree Change Sabbatical

Orange food and wine

A glass of bubbly and a cheese board at Phillip Shaw Wines in Orange – is this every mum’s idea of heaven or just mine?


Hello from the Central West city of Orange, four hours due west of Sydney but a world away in terms of traffic and stress.

Birthplace of Banjo Paterson, foodie paradise and cool climate wine growing area, Orange will be home to myself, Teen17 and the twins for the next three school terms.

We’re calling it our tree change sabbatical.

Our eldest son is staying in Sydney, with support, and ourDad/husband is about to become an International Man of Mystery again. He’s off to Oman for three months; I am dying on envy.

So it’s all change and family scattered to the winds, and all fine, one day at a time.


Don’t worry though, the blog’s still about Sydney!

I will be popping up and down to Sydney and writing posts about the best family fun, as will the other lovely mums who contribute to Hello Sydney Kids.

And we’ll all be back towards the end of the year.

So, renting a house in Orange

From a Sydney perspective, renting a house here is super affordable.

We are in East Orange, very close to the city centre in a renovated cottage.

It’s a three bedroom house with a huge garage/workshop.  The inside is really well done up and it has gas reverse cycle AC.

The rent is $420 a week, which is actually quite a lot for a three bedroom place in Orange, but well worth it.

Yes, we still look like we’re camping. I’m still on a mattress on the floor in my bedroom.


Twins going well at new school

It’s the wee ones who have had to make the biggest change and it’s  definitely been stressful for them. They have got on very well in these early days at their new school and their Dad and I are very proud of them.

The stress does show at home, but we’re doing all we can to keep their life steady and calm… with loads of gymnastics and sport.


Short hair – if you’re going to have a change, make it a big one

This is the shortest haircut I have ever had in my life. It feels weird, but cool. Blond streaks are coming, possibly a full head of platinum one day. It’s just a menopausal stage I’m going through.

Actually, I’ve realised that I often have a big hair change after coming back from trips to Scotland. It was terribly painful leaving my Mum and I don’t why a haircut is soothing but it is.

Never argue with what works!


Less stress, more vegetables and exercise

Life really does feel much easier here, there’s more time. Plans are to exercise more (me, the kids never stop moving) and to cook more meals with healthier fresh food. I wasn’t great in the kitchen in 2016.

There will be many more recipes coming here as part of this healthier lifestyle. That’s the plan anyway.


Meet Lola

The other member of the family here is Ms10’s dwarf lop rabbit, Lola. She is a little sweetie, very friendly. I’m not sure she is enjoying the heat at all, we put frozen cooler blocks in beside her to cool her cool.

More Lola to follow!

So, I will write more about Orange, and please, and this is totally serious, if you are planning to come to visit please do get in touch as I’m always up for a coffee or a glass of wine at one of the many great cafes in Orange, or a child-friendly winery… don’t know them all yet but have big plans.

Do you know Orange well?

Or long for a tree change?

Does anyone else get a haircut when emotional?










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Posted on: February 8, 2017


  • Reply February 10, 2017


    I look forward visiting Orange in Autumn this year! totally jealous you can live there 🙂
    Looking fwd for your updates around places to check out there soon!
    Ive been one of the many readers on your blog too since we moved here in Sydney and enjoying all your helpful tips! Cheers x

    • Reply February 12, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Cheers Josephine, maybe we could have a cuppa when you visit.

  • Reply February 10, 2017

    Annabel Candy

    The hair looks gorgeous – can’t wait to see what colour you add and Lola is adorable. I want one! Hope you all settle in quick ?

    • Reply February 12, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Yes not too bad. Massive heatwave this weekend but luckily house has good AC and we love the pool here.

  • Reply February 12, 2017


    I dont really know much about Orange, but I hope the move goes well! I definitely subscribe the the ‘big change=new hair’ and have done it several times in my life.

    • Reply February 12, 2017

      Seana Smith

      It works, doesn’t it Jess. Must change all my profile pix. Cheers

  • Reply February 12, 2017

    Shari from GoodFoodWeek

    I hope that you have the best time in Orange! We think that we will probably be making another move in 2017 – this time closer to Bondi. I better start brushing up on all there is to do in the Eastern Suburbs with little ones. Thanks for linking up with the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

    • Reply February 12, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Hi Shari, Bondi would be so great to live in with kids. Ellaslist is fab for all of the goings on there and there’s Eastern Suburbs Mum or Mums too. Cheers

  • The new house looks fab and Orange is such a wonderful spot. I’ve never cut my hair shorter than my shoulders, I’ll be a granny with a ponytail at this rate! Short hair totally suits you – good haircuts are another reason to go to Scotland more often! And how cute is Lola?! Send me some snaps and she can be the face of the rabbit hole! Hope everyone stayed cool and managed to beat the heat this weekend x

    • Reply February 15, 2017

      Seana Smith

      I will take some pix and send you and must write a post about all we have learned about bunnies… e.g. the cage we got is FAR too small… live and learn. I’m getting good at making outdoor runs for bunny.

  • There’s something about seeing a completely different reflection in the mirror that helps adjust to big changes I think. I’ve definitely done it. And you look amazing.

    Wishing you all the very best with the massive changes you’re coping with at the moment. I’m sure school is missing the twins very much.

    • Reply February 15, 2017

      Seana Smith

      We are definitely having some ups and downs, well, the kids are. They are getting on so well at school but stress shows outside, and Paul is about to leave for a few months so I need to work extra hard at being calm and caring and keeping focus on the kids.

      About to go very blond… I got a shock when I saw how dark my hair is!

  • Reply February 13, 2017

    Sanchie @ Living my Imperfect Life

    Nice! I haven’t been to Orange but I hear the wines there are pretty damn good. I hear you about the tree-change…I made a sea-change in October and I don’t miss Sydney much at all. I do miss the shire where I lived but that’s it. Happy exploring! 🙂

    • Reply February 15, 2017

      Seana Smith

      I do miss my friends at home, so like you miss my suburb and I miss the beaches, but not the traffic and the hassle… and ours is a short-term one so we know it’s precious too.

  • Reply February 15, 2017


    Orange sounds a wonderful place for a sabbatical, and your cottage in the country looks just right 🙂 Hope all goes well 🙂

  • Reply February 16, 2017

    Rebecca O'Farrell

    So looking forwrd to more posts about Orange, it’s such a great place. And I love your new do!

  • Reply February 22, 2017


    If you want to give the kids (or yourself) a new and different hobby up there in Orange then what about dog agility? A friend moved to Orange last year (from Sydney) and has a business called Drage Dogs. Yep this is the sport where human and dog negotiate an obstacle course. Human directs dog thru body language and sometimes words across jumps, thru tunnels and over dog walks and A-frames. Don’t worry human doesn’t actually do the obstacles just directs the dog. Lots of fun.
    We were up there in January training with her. Great place.

    • Reply February 22, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Great to hear about this. I can imagine that I would certainly enjoy doing dog agility… we haven’t got our own dog at the moment, but cats and a rabbit. But I’d like to get a dog one day and can really see that this would be a good activity for myself and kids too.

  • Reply October 18, 2017

    Linda Muir


    I am from SCotland too (Dundee) and waiting on confirmation of a job in Orange and would love to meet if and when I eventually get up there from Sydney.

    • Reply October 18, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Hello! Yes, do get in touch. Just send me an email to seana at seanasmith dot com. When will you know if you have the job???

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