My name is Claire, originally from Dublin. Having moved away from Ireland as a teenager, and travelled around a bit, I decided to settle in Sydney 20 years ago. I met my husband a few weeks after I arrived, in Surry Hills, and we now have three kids aged 14, 13 and 10 which keeps us nice and busy. The kids are at three different schools, and I am a Careers Advisor at a school in the Eastern suburbs too, so we have four lots of school logistics running through our household, which at times can be intense!

I recently set up my own sideline Careers Consultancy focussing on three main areas: students between 15-25, people with ADHD needing some careers organisation and help, and career-changers.

I spend a lot of time in the sea, in pools and swimming when I can, and fitness is a big part of our lives. For me living in the Eastern suburbs, encapsulates the main reasons why I wanted to emigrate to Australia: outdoor lifestyle, the ocean on tap, an amazing food scene and a great place to bring up kids – what more could you want!

Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east?

I have lived in Sydney for 20 years, nearly all of them being in the Eastern Suburbs, moving from Surry Hills to Randwick, Kingsford, and now Maroubra.

Three words that describe what it’s like to live in the eastern suburbs?

Natural, Fun, Easy

How many children?

3 children. Two girls and a boy. Being one of three kids myself and my husband being one of four boys – a busy and noisy household was something that we were both used to.

Favourite Park:

Centennial Park is probably my favourite park, but I am not in it as much these days. I probably spend most of my free time in Heffron Park with various kids’ activities and a new dog to tire out. Malabar headland is also a great part of the East with lots to do at either end of the walks.

Favourite Beach:

Malabar, by a long shot as I love ocean swimming.  This is where the aquatic life, for me, is at its most pristine (just don’t mention the sharks!). Coogee would be my second choice for fabulous ocean swims and swimming into Gordons Bay. An early morning swim at Malabar with the flattest and calmest waters, with huge rays to swim over, is one of the nicest ways to start a day.

Favourite kid friendly cafe:

We tend to go to the Pool Café a lot.  The kids think their pancakes are the best in the world. The eggs Shakshuka at the Grumpy Baker are a big hit for me too. And the Lion and Buffalo is a regular for me with friends.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

Probably Café Twenty35 for drive by take away coffees.

Favourite date night place:

I am a sucker for the Spot in Randwick because it is so easy. I love The Spanish Fly, with a quick bevvie at Bat Country beforehand. Barmilano in Maroubra for great Italian, or Sugarcane in Coogee if it’s a special occasion

Where in the east have you yet to explore and would like to? 

I need to get back on the Coogee to Bondi walk, as I haven’t done it in a long time. I took my son and dog there last weekend and remembered how stunning it was. The ocean around Gordons Bay looked like the Greek Islands on a sunny day. Cycling out to La Perouse was my lockdown therapy, so I need to get back onto those nice habits.

What would you like to see improve in the eastern suburbs?

I would love Maroubra Beach to have a bit of a spruce-up – it has so much potential, but that is also part of its charm. As I work in education, I’d love to see better co-ed options too. Otherwise, I feel we are spoilt for choice.

Favourite Local Shop:

I am not a big shopper, so nothing comes to mind. But I do love ‘Taste Ireland’ to get my Irish Barry’s tea bags and treats for the kids. At the beginning of each school holidays, we go there for some of the Irish treats I had as a kid – and I like keeping that connection to my homeland alive.

Favourite wet weather location: The Ritz Cinema for the best value in town, in an oldy worldy setting and a tea and cake at the Spot afterwards (preferably at Kurtosh).

Favourite Local family Weekend Activity?

In summer we love Malabar for a late afternoon dip. Like everyone else, we bought a SUP (stand up paddleboard) in lockdown, and are utterly un-coordinated and have not mastered it at all. Or Mahon Pool at Maroubra. And having friends over for a BBQ and seeing the kids hanging out with their mates.

Work or SAHM? 

I took 6 years out of the workforce to look after the kids when they were little, as neither my husband nor I, have any family in Sydney and I wanted to be around them when they were young. These were definitely special times, but also busy, tiring and we were absolutely broke!

Now, I am a Careers Adviser at a school in the East. I work part time at my school and then also for myself at which I have just recently set up.  I have worked in education for over 20 years, and I absolutely love it. I have a personal and professional interest in people who have ADHD (an often-misunderstood area) and I am currently studying a course with Kings College, London about current research in this area. My aim is to help students, and adults, who struggle with the planning part of getting their career off the ground and this can be overlooked in current educational settings.

I feel so lucky to have found an area that I am passionate about and to be a part of the decision-making process for students. It is something that I never take for granted. 

Motherly advice?

This is the only question in the list that I struggled to answer, as I think there is way too much advice out there already, and the last thing I want is to be, is the cause of any more eye-rolling. So maybe I will leave this answer with advice that was given to me once.

When we were in the thick of babies and nappies someone said to me ‘the days are long, but the years are short’ and I had no idea what this meant. Now that our kids are a bit older and we are out of the baby years, I now totally understand what they meant and I suppose it is all about making the most out of each stage of the parenting years.