Making your House a Home, wherever you are in the world

Moving house is part of expat life, whether its to move abroad, or because your landlord decides to sell. No matter how many times we do it, the chances are there will be some tears, and a lot of stress. But once you are all in - here's our top tips on creating your home. 

Creating your Home, moving to South Africa


1.    Memories are important, the physical objects not so much. 

There are a few items we will always pack with us where ever we move. Our dinning room table is the most important. This is where we have had our most precious family time, when we are sat around together, thats home for us.   

Maybe you love your gardening tools, or your kids boots and umbrellas, make a feature of them, by adding a beautiful coat rack or hat stand in your entrance, so the whole family see them whenever they come in.  

- What objects do you have that bring this same sense of home? Maybe is a cuckoo clock, particular children’s books?  

    2.    Display your Memories, asap

You will be amazed how quickly a building becomes yours once your artwork, and photo’s are on the walls. Get them up asap, you can always move them around later.   

    3.    Re-create your routines / habits 

If you have your medicine’s in the same cupboard as your linen, and lightbulbs then recreate that in your new home. Try to keep similar things together, if you don’t have a shoe cupboard now, then make a similar cupboard in another room, containing the same items that used to be in your hallway.  

If you are always loosing your keys and wallet, create a space for them as soon as you come through the door, a tray or small box works perfectly.  

    4.    Get Inspired, search on Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, hotels, lodges.......

Get inspired by the local design and architecture. There are so many beautiful images online now, you can see how to make the best of your new home. For example in South Africa, you will spend most of your time outside and entertaining, so you will want to have nice patio furniture, whereas if you are living in Tokyo, you will want clever storage solutions.  

    5.    Go "local" 

Whilst I am a big fan of decluttering, buying a local piece of art, or homeware is such a lovely way to remind you of your previous homes and experiences.  I still spend hours wondering through antique shops and interior design outlets, learning about particular features of african design.   

    6.    Buy flowers

A bunch of fresh flowers, whether picked from the garden or brought from the florist just brings a smile to my face every time.    

For more inspiration and interior design tips - come join us on 25th at our next Translating Joburg Interior Design event.  Not in Joburg - no worries we will be sharing all our tips on Instagram stories - so come say hi, and ask your questions.  

BEST Christmas Markets in Joburg

Christmas comes early in Johannesburg, mainly because the schools finish for their main summer holiday at the start of December and soon after everyone flees. My first year here I found it lonely and sad with the lack of Christmas Festivities. My favourite home comforts (Christmas Songs on the radio, Christmas parties, Christmas Specials on TV) weren’t here. Now I actually find it quite refreshing, and low key, with the celebration being about holidays and family time rather than the whole commercial take that there is in the UK and US. 

What I have come to love about Christmas Shopping here, is the ability to buy your presents from local small businesses, through the wealth of Christmas Markets that take place across Joburg. Some are better than others, but here is our list of whats on when over the next few months!  


By Word of Mouth Festive Market - Sunday 8th and Monday 9th October  

Hosted at The Polo Room at the Inanda Club. Word of Mouth host fantastic workshops sharing, decor looks, edible gifts and weaths, along with christmas food ideas. 

Sanlan Handmade Contemporary Fair - 13th - 15th October 

If you only get to one Christmas Market, make sure its this one! They alway curate the best of South African design (plus food and drink is amazing!)  

Glenshiel Christmas Market - Westcliff 27th - 29th October 

Catch the tail end of the Jacaranda's in this spectacular property. This annual fundraiser for St Johns Ambulance service hosts a high end carefully curated market and tea garden.   



Bryanston Organic Christmas Night Markets - Every Tuesday from 21st November 

Disc Craft Fair - 22nd November The Pavilion Dainfern Golf Club   

Parkhurst Late Night Christmas Shopping - Thursday 23rd and 30th November 

Parkview Christmas Market 24th - 26th November

Community Market, with carols sang by the local primary and high schools. Lovely outing for the whole family.  

Boutique Christmas Market - Hyde Park -  25th- 26th November 

Melrose Arch Christmas Market - Thursday 25th - Friday 26th November - TBC 



44 Stanley Christmas Market - 1st December - Date TBC 

Monte Casino - Christmas Village - 1st December - 3rd December

(+ outdoor screen showing family christmas movies) TBC

Kamers - 5th - 10th December Pretoria. 

From fashion to food… skincare to ceramics… jewellery, lifestyle, music and more – at Southdowns College, a trendy venue that perfectly reflects this uniquely South African event. 

The Sheds 1Fox St Christmas Night Market - 2nd December

Linden Market - 2nd December. 

Linden market is a local boutique market, they have managed to source some of the best products out there. Set in Emmarentia Dam, its a beautiful setting with kids play area, and great food and drink venders there is something for everyone. 

Fourways Christmas Day and Night Market - 9th /10thDec & 16th/ 17th Dec date TBC 

The Neighbourgoods Market - Saturday Morning & 1st Thursday of the month 




Best Places to View Jacarandas

Its that time of year when Joburg and Pretoria turn purple. There is a saying amongst students that if you haven't started revising for your exams by the time the streets turn purple it's too late. 

The Jacaranda's dont last all that long, the best time is usually the second or third weekend in October, just after the first rains have come at the start of summer. 

Moving to South Africa,

Half day trips: 


Park in Rosebank Mall, and then head out towards Tyrwhitt Avenue, and across Oxford Road into Melrose. Take a stroll around the avenue's before heading back along Jellicoe. Finish up with a drink or meal at the Keys Mile. If you are looking for viewswe recommend Marble or Mesh Club (which is open to the public after 4pm), or the Milk Bar for great vibe.  

Picnic in Emmarentia Park 

Park in Emmarentia car park, just off Orange Road, and then stroll up Troon Road, up and over Barry Herzog, and into the beautiful Clovelly Road. You can stroll all around Greenside, before heading back into Emmerentia to pick up your picnic and head into the park. (If you have kids there is a great play area right by the entrance on Olifants Road.  

Take a Heritage Stroll

Bes places to view Jacaranda

Drive around the streets in parkview, before parking at the bottom of Westcliff Steps on Crescent Drive or the intersection of Wicklow Avenue and Westcliff Drive. The 210 steps are well worth the climb to take in a view across the whole of Johannesburg.

Westcliff is home to all the old "Randlords", its one of the oldest parts of the city. With its large properties with incredible views. It is also home to two outstanding (and over subscribed) schools; The Ridge (boys) and St Catherine’s (girls). The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation run wonderful guided walks. 

Where to see Jacaranda's

Lunch @ Four Seasons Hotel - Westcliff 

This is a must do at least once during your stay here. You can not beat the views from the terrace at this luxury hotel. But make sure you book, it is incredibly popular at this time of year. You may even want to go for a walk around the zoo in the morning, since its right opposite.  



Image - fellow blogger 2summers 

Image - fellow blogger 2summers 

Pretoria is usually 3 degrees warmer than Joburg, as a result the Jacarandas bloom a few weeks earlier than they do in Joburg. 

A great viewing spot is the Union Buildings, which you can get to via the Gautrain, take the Hatfield stop and then the H3 bus. 

If driving, head to the Brooklyn Area, and drive along Pienaar Street and Murray Street, amongst others. For the White Jacaranda's drive along Herbert Baker Street, and then up into the Klapperkop Nature Reserve to get an ariel view. 

For more info on 2Summers hunt for the White Jacaranda's Click here to read her post and see more beautiful photos.  

Continuing your Career in South Africa

30 of us gathered to have great coffee without overlooking a car park, meet like minded people, and take the time to rethink our careers! It was a fantastic morning.  

I so wish that Hannah and Translating Me Abroad was up and running when I moved to Johannesburg 7 years ago. Hannah offers so many amazing resources to get settled in and enjoy this amazing city and country. I highly recommend getting involved!”
— Tessa Graham, Brand Strategist

“You have given me so much to go away and think about, thank you so much.”  

As people arrived at the brand new Milk Bar, just off Sandton Drive, they ordered their coffee, eat some delicious brunch and then had a fun quiz to introduce themselves to new people.  

With new friendships made, and tummies full, we sat down to be welcomed by Hannah Pirnie, founder of Translating Me and visionary behind the event. She challenged us all to widen our approach to our career paths, that there is a whole host of opportunities available that can meet our passions and talents.  

Expat Career

Tessa Graham, followed with her own personal story of how she has worked her way around the world reinventing her career, and applying for many visa’s.

Her tip - to work out your why, what it is that will motivate you and why you are doing it.

Catherine, originally from Ireland, shared how to refocus and humble yourself to re-qualify in order to practice professionally here, before Diana shared her story of starting up a blog.  

Nicola founder of the Facebook group Trailing Spouse, shared how she has managed to focus on personal development in every country managing to learn new skills through a variety of projects and passions. She encouraged everyone to get started in something.   

The panel were then joined by Hans a immigration expert to answer all the questions on the best type of visa to gain, and possible solutions forward.  

“The vision behind Translating Joburg is to encourage expats to leave Joburg in a better place than how you found it. By using your passions and skills to make an impact here. These monthly meetup events are just one of the many ways we aim to achieve this, through our Translating Joburg Membership Club.”  

If you would like more support on how to create a portable career, then sign up for our members club for step by step tutorials on creating your own business abroad. 

Freelance Business Toolkit

I often get asked for recommendations on software and programmes, so here is my list of tools and programmes that Translating Me would be lost without: 

Business Toolkit


Squarespace - website 

Google Documents - store all your files online to give anyone remote access 

Mailchimp - email software (or convertkit


Design / Photos:

Unsplash - beautiful and un stock like images 

Shutterstock - images and music. Plus they have a great design programme too 

Canva - simple graphic design 

PicMonkey  - i create all our blog posts etc on here. 

Pages  - I create all the workbooks in Apple's Pages 

Creative Market - have everything you need for your design. From fonts, to styled images, you name it they will have it! 

Online Course Platform 



Freelance Platforms 

FlexJobs - FlexJobs has over 50 career categories, with jobs ranging from freelance to full-time, entry-level to executive. The best part? They screen the jobs before posting, so you don’t have to dig through shady opportunities. The site currently hosts more than 20K job listings including part-time and freelance opportunities!

Skip the Drive - Good job listings, plus some good resources (and I like the name) 

Upwork - Wide range of job categories: from virtual assistants to mobile app developers. Plus they have more than 1 million companies, from Pinterest to OpenTable, use the site to hire remote freelancers.

Toptal - Focused on connecting top-tier former consultants with short-term engagements for high impact corporations, the Toptal Business (formerly SkillBridge) model is taking the traditional consulting world by storm. 

Fiverr - whether you want to advertise your services or outsource some of your own business - fiveer can be a great option. 

Recruit My Mom (South Africa) 

People to Follow 

Michael Hyatt - great on productivity and work / life balance

Carrie Green - I joined her members club 3 years ago, and its given me all the knowledge and training I have needed.

Bryan Harris - Practical advice on how to get you started in building an email list.  

Jeff Walker - If you want to create an online course, he is the guru to help you 

For training videos and step by step tutorials on setting up your business - join us over in the members club. 



Expat Entrepreneur: Veronika Nemeth

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Veronika Nemeth Founder & Creative Director at Style Coach . Veronika has recently set up her business in Milan. She shares her top styling tips with us, as well as what she loves about the Italian way of life. 

Veronika Nemeth.png

What do you love about your current city, what makes it special?

Milan has a very special atmosphere cause while it’s the economical and financial capital of Italy it’s also the most important city for fashion, food and design. It’s home to world renown fashion houses, furniture brands and exciting events so the city is always buzzing and never really gets boring. At the same time it’s a very liveable place with lot of green and lovely neighbourhoods that feel like little “towns”. It’s a great mix of cosmopolitan and classic Italian culture and therefore is easy for a foreigner to settle in.

In what ways have you changed personally or professionally since living abroad?

I lived in different countries all over Europe (UK, Germany, Luxembourg and now Italy) and worked with countless different nationalities along the way. This experience helped me in many ways. I became way more open minded and a lot more tolerant and it definitely made me a better person. Living abroad is a huge “comfort zone challenge” since you are put in a totally different culture and you have to “prove your worth” to be accepted. But it’s also a huge confidence boost cause if you manage to overcome the first difficulties you'll be much more prone to challenges. I always wanted to travel and live in different countries and work with different nationalities so I feel that it also helped me be more aligned with my true self.

What are some of your personal highlights since living abroad?

I think that wherever I went I managed to bring the best out of the actual circumstances but I feel that my experience in Italy was the most challenging. I arrived here with my Italian parter without speaking the language and having any personal connection. In 3 years I managed to learn Italian fluently, finished a post grad fashion course of my dreams (in Italian) and started my style coaching and image consulting business in one of the most important fashion cities in the world. Looking back it wasn't alway easy but I feel very proud of these accomplishments.

What was the trigger that made you start up your own business? How did you have the initial idea?

Actually, as soon as I relocated to Milan I instantly feel the urge to pursue my childhood dream and start a business in fashion. Few months before that I was with one of my girlfriends and we started clearing out her closet - something I often did in the past with friends and family. After hours of dress up we managed to ditch a large amount of clothes and created many new outfits. It was then when I realised that this passion for helping women look amazing could be taken to the next level.

What have been some of your business highlights / rewarding moments (why should others set up their own business).

For me business is about making and impact and helping women up level their lives. Therefore the best moments are when I see my clients come into their full power and shine. I’m still in the beginning, currently I’m working on refreshing my website and my packages in order to make it available to more women online. But recently I launched a free downloadable guide - Find Your Authentic Style that’s already impacting lives and also helped me to connect with more amazing women whom I can help to create a confident, authentic and stylish personal brand.

Can you share with us your top tips on how we can all look and feel great.

I believe that beauty in an inside job. You have to feel great on the inside to project happiness and confidence and it only comes when your appearance is truly aligned with your personality. When you feel good in your skin, your body language, your behaviour and even your facial expression changes! You don’t need to be a supermodel to have a great style. Simply learning what’s flattering to your body shape and what colors look best on you will help you to feel more confident about your appearance. Building a signature style also helps you in professional life cause it makes you more memorable and puts people at ease by knowing what they can expect.

What is the best bit of advice you can give for others wanting to set up on their own?

Be persistent and never let others influence your decisions. Listen to your “inner voice” and keep going till you see the light. The biggest lesson I learnt over the past years is that there isn't anything more powerful that being your authentic self. My business started to turning around when I gave up thinking that I had to please others (because it’s impossible to please everyone!) and just started focusing on the value I could give. Also, find your niche! You’re products or services and you in general in not for everyone and that’s OK. If you find your true self you will connect with the right people.

Expat life in South Africa

Have you adopted any new customs or traditions from various places you have lived?

It’s hard to say cause I spent entire summers in Germany already as a child so probably more than I think. But I might have picked up business culture in the UK (and later when working with Brits and Americans) and definitely the love and respect of food in Italy. Also, Italians know who to live a good life and that’s something that I’m learninig every day :)

What is different about your normal routine currently compared to what it would be back at home?

I think that my current routine is different mainly cause back home I worked in a stressful 9 to 5 while since I live in Italy I’m working on building my business so working from home. There’s one tradition that I really love here though! There’s a huge thing about the so called “apertitivo” that’s usually a “happy hours” between 6 - 8 pm, right after office hours but just before dinner. In Milan people are very social and they love to sit in a bar and have a drink and wind down before going home to dinner. The bars usually give you either finger food or buffet of various hot and cold dishes and they are filled with businessmen and women, youngsters and even seniors regardless of the season. In Italy people usually eat later than in the northern countries (around 8.30 - 9 pm) that’s also a little later than I used to eat.

When I feel homesick I ………

Call my mom :)

What is your:

expat life in South Africa

Fav book: There are so many! But most life changing - Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Podcast: Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins, Success Talks

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel - Maya Angelou

Instagram account: Dean Street Society - Hilary Rushford

If visiting Milan where are your favourite spots to go for:

DInner:  Casa Lucia (via Ravizza) 

Drinks: Roof top bar of Brian & Berry at San Babila

Day trip: Lago Maggiore

Must see: Top of Duomo (Cathedral of Milan)

Coolest Shop / Brand: Luxury - ANTONIA Boutique; Eataly - food & gadgets (+ for bargain hunters: D Trend - outlet of all Max Mara brand’s in the city)

Best entertainment: shopping, football (Stadio San Siro), opera (La Scala), museums (Triennale, Pinacoteca di Brera, etc.) + fashion and design events (Fashion week, Design week)

Favourite way to stay fit: walk + yoga

If you could go back and give yourself advice what would it be?

Don’t miss Milan on your trip to Italy. It might look less interesting than the classics (Venice, Rome, Florence) but you will be surprised how lovely city it is.

Also if you’re a business owner or and ambitious professional women, don't fail to invest in yourself. Determine your your style desires not only helps shop with ease & grace but it maven influence the direction of your business.  

To learn more about Veronika's business visit her website here:

Or on Instagram:

YOUR favourite spots in Jozi

Our August monthly question was: What is your favourite spot in Johannesburg? Thank you to everyone who participated! These are YOUR favourite spots in Jozi!

Pack a picnic basket with tasty goodies and some good wine and head to Lucky Avenue in Northcliff. The view at sunset will

On the 9th floor of the Holiday Inn Sandton, the Skye Bar is one of the best spots in Sandton for unforgettable panoramic views of Johannesburg.

Prawns at Parreirinher


In South Joburg, ties hanging from the ceiling give added character to this old family favourite institution. Try the prawn cakes - they are out of this world!  


Monroe Drive, Houghton

Taking a drive long this road during Spring is exquisite! Definitely a must!


Rosebank Road

A beautifully tranquil tree tunnel road to drive along. 

A lovely family experience, with large jungle gyms and lots of space to kick a ball!

Want to discover more of Johannesburg - come join us on our next Hidden Joburg Experience - Click the image below for more information. 

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