Wombat2

We have been here in Oz one year today now. Here’s a look back at what we’ve been up to so far.

Way back in February we left the UK on the 12th, having not had snow long before, and arrived on the 14th at silly o clock. We got sorted in a temporary flat in Glebe for the first month and got in with acclimatising to the heat, checking out the different food in the ships,learning what stuff cost, setting up all our finances, started out new jobs and of course went flat hut gong for somewhere to live! We also saw our first semi-wild kangaroo in a nature reserve and a giant diamon python!

In early March we moved into our new flat and spent a weekend with a hire car buying bits and pieces so we could live in it – plates, pillows, food, towels, pots and pans, all that malarkey. After a couple of weeks we got our fridge delivered, followed closely by the wooden lounge furniture and new corner sofa – it was an expensive month! ~Matts sister Lizzie and her friend Steph stayed for a few days after that – good timing! We had our first trip to the Blue Mountains over Easter, camping in a  tent my boss lent us and I discovered the wonder of chocolate hot cross buns

In April we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean at the Opera House and had the excitement of Container Day when all our stuff from the UK turned up!

In May I made myself an epic 4 layer birthday cake and we tried out snorkelling. We checked out lots of exciting animals at Taronga Zoo for my birthday too.

June was the super cool Vivid light festival and my friend Ellie came to stay from the UK. The family expanded to include Jeffrey the car.

July was a fairly wet month with a lot of board games. We also had a pretty chilly ‘Christmas in July’ up in the Blue Mountains with the Rockies climbing club.

We took another step on the road to Australian integration in August by buying an Esky and spent a long weekend down the coast in Jervis Bay with a lot of wild kangaroos (very exciting) and the whitest sand in the world.

Our first trip to the Hunter Valley wine area was in September, followed closely by another one in October where we hired bikes and cycled around. We went to a lovely restaurant (Sails at Lavender Bay) for our second wedding anniversary with views of the bridge and opera house .Matt competed in a Dragon Boat race with Thales and we got some plants to brighten the patio up a bit.

After being given a Wombat Guarantee we headed for the Wolgan Valley in October for some climbing and a sheep road, and I was not disappointed. We also got our BBQ which we have been using a lot ever since.

November was pretty busy. Phil and Rhiannon visited us from the UK which was excellent, and we hijacked some of their holiday to visit Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and Grampians with them. We also had a visit from Kat Banyard and spent a weekend down in Canberra checking out museums.

Of course in December it was time for Summermas (hot Christmas) and a holiday around Tasmania with lots of wildlife, walks, countryside and food.

Summermas continued into January with a road trip back up the Sydney from Melbourne, we went back to work again and we went to see the Lion King show.

And here we are, one year on! We have decided to stay another year as there’s so much else to see and do, so were busy trying to see if we can find a place to rent in a different area with a view now. Rather than just summarising what we’ve done, stay tuned for another post on some thoughts about how it’s been going so far.

firework

Happy New Year blog fans!

Hope you’re all having a fab time. We are currently down in Tasmania away from lots of computers at the moment, so I wrote this in advance and scheduled it (like a lot of the posts).

I suppose as well as a big party its natural to reflect at New Year on how the year has gone, what you’ve been up to and what lies in the year ahead.

So last year started with an excellent M themed fancy dress party with our friends The Pauls from round the corner in Horsham. Not only did we have outfits, staying awake till gone midnight was a pretty good achievement as we landed back from New Zealand that day with some serious jetlag. It seems like ages ago now – this year has gone so fast!

Obviously a lot has changed with our move over to Sydney on 11th Feb, both starting new jobs and setting up in a new flat including buying a lot of new furniture and bits and pieces (and new Short family member Jeffrey the car). It’s all going well here which is great and I’m glad we were brave enough to come. Time will tell what happens next.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, here are some wise words to think about (I couldn’t choose one!)

‘Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it…unless is agrees with your own reason and common sense.’

‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.’ 

‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.’

Strange beasties

Strange beasties

Here we go again:

Liking: Having friends Rhainnon and Phil from the UK to stay and holidaying with them down to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road.

Disliking: Postal charges to the UK! You think they’re bad your end, here its crazy. After the first couple I started weighing things at home first to make sure I worked the system – although then the scale battery died so then I went back to guessing.

Watching: We’ve been too busy to watch much really. We saw Despicable Me 2 on DVD which I enjoyed a lot (I’m a kid inside really) and are off to see Hunger Games 2 at the cinema tonight.

Consuming: Messina gelato (again!) and the comic Gaytime ice cream too – that wasn’t worth it! Matt’s been having coffee from the new machine. I’ve also been eating a lot of passion fruits. They are so yummy and 10 for $2 so cheap too. I don’t know why I didn’t buy them before. Are they super expensive in the UK or maybe they seemed too exotic!

Buying: Not a lot apart from Christmas presents. Matt has set up Spotify on my phone (although we pay for it already) so once I learn how that works I can have music I want in the car on our road trip. Update: I also caved in and bought an iPad so I can stop stealing Matts tablet. Shiny!

Working on: Bits and pieces mainly. Outside of work Matt has become the Sydney Rock Climbing Club librarian, so we now have 14 boxes of climbing books, minutes and DVDs to look after. I’ve been working on our UK friends to come out so we can have some more visitors (who can bring me Marmite!)

Thinking about: Our Christmas holiday to Tasmania and my road trip after including Philip Island (Penguin central!) I’ve also been thinking about how weird it is having a warm festive period. It was a warm December and Christmas for us last year in New Zealand, but because we were driving round on holiday we weren’t quite as exposed to it.

Visiting: Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and the Grampains mountains. They have weird creatures there (see pic). More about our adventure there in future posts! We also took a sailing trip on the Harbour with Captain Andrew and are heading to the beach for a Christmas Party and barbie soon – santa suits optional!

 

Looking forward to: Tasmania and Philip Island.

Kangeroo

Today its six months since we arrived in Australia, which seems like a good time to reflect on how its going.

First off, its gone pretty quickly, and we’ve done a whole heap of stuff since we got here. Here’s a quick roundup of the dull and less dull bits:

  • Found a flat to rent, and moved house into it, using the bus and train. Kitted out the flat with mainly new furniture, appliances, crockery and all the other bits and pieces you need, took shipment of our kit from the UK and bought a car
  • Work wise, I prequalified on two bids and finished RoadsPlus’s first major bid (due tomorrow!). Matt got promoted.
  • Joined the climbing club, became ‘semi-rad smoogers’ and been on loads of climbing trips
  • Done a whole heap of touristy stuff around Sydney itself (Reptile Park, Taronga Zoo, Maritime Museum, Vivid fesitval, Tower Eye, Art Gallery, Aquarium…..)
  • Visited Brisbane, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and Ku-Ring-Gai
  • Had visits from Lizzie Short and Ellie Biggs, as well as meeting up with Toby Jeffries who also moved here from the other side of the world

At the moment its winter. Apart from a really wet week back in June, its been pretty good really. I’ve put the heating on for maybe an hour about ten times, and that’s it. Sure, you need to wear a coat outside, but its never been below 8 degrees. It seems to hit 20 in the day time a fair amount still too. We’re getting to grips with the local shops and products, different road rules and funny words for things.

What to we miss about the UK? Our friends and family are definitely the main one there. There’s some big weddings and events going on at the moment which we’re missing – boo! Other than that, a whole host of small stuff – decent TV, the ubiquity of baked potatos, countryside, our garden and mud (Matt said that one).

What would we miss about Australia if we left now? Here’s the top 5:

  • Exploring new places: I really enjoy seeing new things and going to new places
  • The better weather: its really makes a big difference to your general mood and ability to do stuff when its warmer and less rainy. I might have a different view come summer!
  • Modern, open plan living: I think it would feel quite weird going back into our 1970’s house now
  • Food things: the variety of cuisine is awesome here, not only for eating out but in shops too. And as well as the decent food there is of course also Twisties,Tim Tams and raisin toast!
  • And to be materialistic for a moment – our shiny car. Its just way nicer than the ones we’ve ever had before and so much less hassle to look after.

We might move when our lease is up – try out somewhere different, escape the noise building work next door, downsize to one less room and upgrade to a decent view. Time will tell though, flat hunting is a right pain here!

I’m glad we came out on an adventure and we’ve got plenty more exploring to do. I’m looking forward to visiting Melbourne, Canberra (not very exciting, but we should go) and Darwin, hopefully in the next 6 months. After that, more things on the list are the Barrier Reef, Uluru, Tasmania, Fiji, Perth, Bali and of course the Short/Millis Southern Hemisphere reunion!

06. July 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Settling In · Tags:
Our Hyundai i30 (and balloon!)

Our Hyundai i30 (and balloon!)

After about three months in Sydney without wheels, we finally gave in and bought a car – hurrah! Here’s a Q and A style summary.

What car did you get?

Its a Hyundai i30 Elite. Petrol. 5 doors. Automatic. MY13 (=new) in metallic blue.

Automatic?! Elly, what were you thinking?

It turns out automatics are a lot more popular here. The majority of people learn to drive in them, so only have automatic licences. That means reselling manuals is much harder and they don’t retain their value so well. Also, Sydney traffic is a right pain, so we were persuaded into taking the lazy option. It does have a manual over-ride although I’ve yet to work out how to use it.

Why didn’t the car club work out?

There were a few reasons we decided to get our own wheels. The main factor was that we will mainly use a car for weekends away, which work out very expensive in the car club. The sheer convenience of our own car was a big factor too, and if we see it an an investment, we can get a big chunk of money from selling it when we come home. Also, the car club people annoyed me with their silly rules on fuel receipts and cheated me out of money – grr!

How did you pick what to get?

We did a fair bit of research and looked at SUVs as well for ground clearance for dirt roads, but decided we didn’t need one of those in the end. We narrowed it down to the i30 (voted Australia’s best small car) and the Honda Civic spaceship model. After driving both of them, making an Elly style comparison table and haggling with the salespeople about what the price actually was, the i30 was l round value for money (although not quite as cool looking!)

How come you went for something new? 

Well, it turns out the car market here is quite different to the UK. I would never have got a new car in the UK. Our starting point (having come from having two cars about 10-12 years old, which both had a lot of problems and ended up costing a lot of money) was we wanted something about 2 or 3 years old. Looking into it, depreciation here is much less for some reason. There aren’t a lot of cars for sale that a few years old, and the ones that are are only about  $2,000-3,000 the cheaper than a new one. Bearing in mind that the new ones are new (having had no thrashing about or other unknown history), come with full warranty, capped priced servicing, green slip, stamp duty (yes, see below!) and breakdown cover all chucked in, going new is a pretty sensible plan once you’ve saved up the money.

I thought Stamp Duty was for houses?

Me too! Here, when you buy a car (even a used one) you pay 3% of its value to the Government as stamp duty! For new cars this is included in the price. You also pay a ‘rego’ (car tax – also included on ours) and need a Green Slip which is basically third party insurance. Then you can add on more insurance to upgrade to fully comp if you like (obviously we did this for a new car!). Also, you pay more for black and white number plates rather than yellow ones – weird!

How were the salesmen?

Pretty much as you might expect! We met some pretty useless ones, and had an interesting (fun?) time haggling with them at the end. I was fairly pleased with my overall negotiation skills.

What features has it got?

There are many features. My favourite ones are:

  • Dual zone climate control – I am always cold in the car, Matt is normally too hot. This is great! 
  • Automatic mirrors and welcome – when you have the keys in your pocket, and wander near by, the mirrors (ears) fold out and the lights flash at you to say hello!
  • Push button start – This makes me feel like being in a space ship!
  • Sat nav – we have no idea how to get anywhere at the moment! 

There is also Bluetooth which Matt appreciates. Oh, and it came with a free balloon! (That’s now no longer with us).

Hows  it going so far?

Good! I am loving having our own car again. As well as getting out and about to cool places I’m happy just to be able to go to a supermarket that isnt the equivalent of a Tesco Express which is pretty much where we have done most of our shopping so far.

25. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Recently... · Tags:
Starky!

Starky!

Lately, in June, we have been:

Liking: Vivid festival, planning visitors and Starky. Vivid is a light festival where they project onto cool buildings and the Opera House. There’ll be a post coming up when I sort through the hundreds of pics! Some of our friends from Horsham (UK) are planning an epic holiday early next year, hopefully to Australia, which i’m pretty excited about! I am also living my new cuddly koala, Starky, which Matt got my for my birthday. He is sooooo cute, and named after both the legendary Stark family from Game of Thrones which we have been watchiong recently, and Tony Stark from Iron Man which we saw on my birthday.

Disliking: Pneumatic drills. The block next door to us is being demolished and it is damn noisy! They work weekdays 7.30am – 5pm so on the odd days we are home its a right annoyance. Grumble grumble.

Watching: Rome. After finishing Game of Thrones Season 2, we got this as the next series. Obviously it’s hard to be as good as GOT but its still pretty enjoyable and I’m learning some history too. We watched Iron Man 3 for my birthday too – I enjoyed the cheesy action-ness and Sir Ben Kingsley was great!

Consuming: Frogurt. For my birthday trip to the cinema we went for frogurt first from Yogurberry (other frogurt chains are available)! It seems to be a big thing here). It was yummy – you choose from 8 flavors on tap, add your own toppings and pay by weight. The massive tubs encourage you to get way too much, so we’ll remember that next time.

Buying: Cake tins and a car! For my birthday I made an epic 4 layer cake (see post here). I needed a way to transport it to work, and for other general cake storage, so invested in some cake tins. I got these total bargain tins for $12 from ‘Victoria’s Basement’ which is a place jam packed with discounted kitchen goodies. I eyed it up on the shelf, thought it was a bargain and then realised there was another tin inside too – whooop! When I got him my excitement further increased with the revelation of a third tin! Delightful.

Three cake tins for $12!

Three cake tins for $12!

We also bought a car! After much deliberation it cane down to a Honda Civic VTi-L or an i30 Elite. We ended up with the i30, as although its not as stylish you get many more bells and whistles for your money. We went with a new one as here the nearly new prices aren’t much different and you don’t get a warranty etc. I’ll do a more detailed post about the car (name TBC) soon.

Working on: Our second EOI and actual bids!  In May we put in a second Expression of Interest for some upcoming contracts. We also got the fantastic news we have been shortlisted for both the contracts we put in for, which is great! Now the really hard work starts to make sure we win!

Thinking about: Buying a car. This took up a fair bit of time, and is now sorted! I’ve also been thinking about plans for a ‘fake Christmas’ on 26th June which is the depths of winter here.

Visiting: Brisbane and Goat Island. Recently we went for a weekend in Brisbane and I went on a tour or Goat Island in the Harbor. I’ll do separate posts about these.

Looking forward to: Getting the car. It’ll be great to get out and about with the car – there are so many places to go! I’ve also been looking forward to my friend Ellie’s visit and

What have you guys been up to?

19. May 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Recently... · Tags:

Lately, in May, I have been mostly…….

Liking – Lots! Sorry, that’s cheating! Some recent highlights have been swimming on the artificial Brisbane South Bank beach at night with all the city and London eye equivalent all lit up, nice warm water and birds flying about; seeing a possum in a tree in the park and

Disliking –  Working too much: Its pretty busy at work at the moment. I don’t mind that as the projects all good, but I’m not fitting in much exercise which is making me feel a bit lethargic. Will try harder.

Hoyts film booth

Hoyts film booth

Watching –  Game of Thrones, Season 2: This is our only Blue Ray at the moment. I have read all the books (apart from the last one which irsn’t out yet), and am loving the TV show. I’m not sure what well do when its over as the Australian free TV isn’t very inspiring. We’ve also rented a couple of films from the booth by the train station. The choice is a bit limited but its quite handy to get films out and pop them back by 9pm the next day for $3.50.

Consuming – Yeast Extract: Our last visitor (Lizzie Short) was kind enough to bring us both Marmite and Yeast Extract. Last week we finished off the far inferior Vegemite so have cracked open the Yeast Extract. Its so much better! 🙂 Matt has also invented a DIY pizza with a giant Turkish bread base, so we have had a couple of those too. Chocolate orange Tim Tams are also going down well.

Buying – A watch and a dressing gown: My watch broke before we left England and I’ve been struggling with the time ever since. I quite like it generally, not worrying about exact times, but when you need to be somewhere at a specific time its a pain. After ages of searching I finally found one I like which doesnt look too silly on my skinny wrists. I also got a dresing down for evening lounging about as I miss mine from the UK and as I feel the cold its just about evening dressing gown season now. On the same shopping trip I gave in on some lovely Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream too – going in the shop was just like walking into England, it smelt so nice!

My new hand cream, dressing gown and watch

My new hand cream, dressing gown and watch

Working on – our second bid: Our first team bid went in at the end of April, whoop! We hear at the end of May if we made the short-list for the next stage. We are working on the second bid now, due 17th May so pretty busy times.

Thinking about – holidays: I was thinking about these last time, and I still am! We have a weekend in Brisbane planned (Australia Zoo or the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary) and now need to line up a longer summer trip too. I have also been trying to gloss over the fact it is my birthday coming up.

Looking forward to – our next visitor! My friend from Uni Ellie is coming to stay for a fortnight in late June which will be good. She’s been to Sydney before so can do some different tourist things we haven’t done yet like the Bridge Climb and Palm Beach.

What are you guys looking forward to? Who is going to visit us after Ellie?

Our container of stuff arrived about two weeks ago. I thought I’d do a video before we put it all away, so here’s what we brought with us!

What would you take with you if you emigrated?

17. April 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Recently... · Tags:

Following on from the recent ‘Love Hate/Dislike’ post, I’ve decided to change it! I think the dislike is basically always going to be the same thing (being far from the UK for one reason or another). So, I’ll carry on with these each month (ish) a format idea I pinched from my friend Bex over at her blog (check it out here if you have a chance! Not to mention her fab shop, which sells a lot of very cute things!)

Lately, in April (and late March), I have been mostly…….

Liking – Workplace fruit and booze: My work have fruit deliveries twice a week for people to tuck in to. I’ve been making the most of this healthy, free food! Generally its apples as I don’t like bananas unless they come with toffee sauce, but we have also had nectarines. On the first Friday of every month there are First Friday Drinks where we listen to a short talk and then all drink free wine and eat pizza! I’ve been to two now, and there is a serious amount of pizza.

My office block

My office block

Disliking – Not having a car: Not having a car is generally fine in the week, as the train to our work and back is convenient and cheap too. But at the weekends not having a car is a bit frustrating. We’ve hired then twice for buying things now which was fine. We’ve really enjoyed the trips we have done with Toby and Ritchie out of the city and are keen to do some more of these. What is good though is there is a Go Get Car Club with lots of cars near by, so we have joined up and will see how that  goes for a while while we save up for a car. And if that works out well we’ll have a load of money for something else!

Watching – Nothing! The TV is not here yet, so not a lot of watching for us. Some bits and pieces about snorkeling and board games on You Tube. The best watch has been the Easter Jonathan creek special from the BBC, which we got via iplayer – I think I might even appreciate iplayer even more when we get the real TV and get familiar with Australian programming!

Listening to – Spotify: We had this in the UK, and Matt convinced me to sign up again for $10 a month. Its been pretty good, although I do need to learn how to make it myself!

Consuming – Decafinated Tetley tea and Easter chocolate: These things are both very exciting! I love tea but don’t drink it after about 4pm as I am bad enough at sleeping anyway! Finding decaf Tetley was awesome for when I want tea of an evening. Sadly Easter chocolate is not all that, but I did get Dairy Milk from the English Lolly Shop from a work colleague which was yummy .Also, here they have chocolate hot cross buns (yes!!). They are good, although I like mine toasted, which needs careful attention to avoid a big melty mess in the grill. Alternatively I ‘invented’ toasted regular hot cross buns with nutella which are also pretty awesome.

Chocolate Hot Cross Bun and Tetley - yum

Chocolate Hot Cross Bun and Tetley – yum

Working on – our first bid. The first stage of the first bid is going on at the moment, keeping me out of trouble at work.

Thinking about – holidays: Although its sort of like we are on holiday  I’m excited to plan some long weekends and actual longer holidays to cool places.

Looking forward to – our container arriving! It is now in Sydney apparently, so we just need to wait for it to go through customs (2 weeks apparently). I am most looking forward to getting the bed, but also things like extra clothes, outdoor stuff so we can go on more adventures and the TV for Game of Thrones series 2 (although we need a Blue Ray player for that).

What are you guys looking forward to?

15. April 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Settling In · Tags:

When is your stuff coming?

It is Container Eve! Container Day is tomorrow and I am excited!

Our things left England about a week before we did, on the 5th February. They shipped their way across the Seven Seas, to arrive in Sydney on Easter Sunday (late March). After getting through customs without any problem, they arrive at our flat tomorrow.

After a long 2 1/2 months of the air bed and sleeping bag we were finally getting our  bed back! It is like Christmas waiting for the container to come. After quite a long time, I forgot a lot of what I packed!

What did you bring?

Elmo hitched a ride on the container - minus the tiarra

Elmo hitched a ride on the container – minus the tiarra

We didn’t bring a lot of our furniture, becasue it was either old (but not old enough to be antique) or not really worth shipping. We managed to sell a lot of it before we left via Gumtree for some cash and got new stuff over here which we like a lot and will probably bring back to the UK with us. The only item we did bring was the bed, as it turned out the cost of bringing it wasn’t much more than all the other stuff we wanted to bring.

We used Crown Relocations, a professional moving company arranged by my work. They repacked our stuff into their fancy boxes, and made a nice list of it all. According to the inventory, we had 20 boxes. Here is what it says:

  1. Samsung TV
  2. Speakers
  3. Quilts and speakers
  4. Bed slats
  5. Bed rails and screws
  6. Rock climbing equipment
  7. Wooden chest and camping equipment
  8. Mattress
  9. Head and foot-board
  10. Crate with camping equipment
  11. Crate with clothes
  12. Crate with clothes
  13. PC Tower
  14. Holdall with clothes and TV stand and kitchenware
  15. Suitcase with shoes and clothes
  16. Kitchenware
  17. Shoes and camera and magazines
  18. Jewellery box and cables
  19. Printer, boots, linen and board games
  20. Crate with (non-hazardous) toiletries

I guess this is an interesting insight into what we thought was important to us when we left! Weirdly Elmo didn’t get a mention.

More about what we are looking forward to getting is here. 

 

 

 

11. April 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Settling In · Tags:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The majority of the container contents

*** STOP PRESS!!***

This is a totally unscheduled, hot of the press post announcing… Container Day!

Our container finally arrived in Sydney on Easter dunay, after leaving the UK in early February. I had the cll earlier today confirming it will be through customs on Monday, and delivered to our flat on Tuesday. This is very exciting!

The top three things I am looking forward to from the container are:

  • Our bed and associated ‘Manchester’ – two months on an air bed in a sleeping bag is wearing a bit thin now!
  • More clothes – I’m bored of wearing the same things over and over again, and have been pretty good so far and not bought more clothes over here
  • Cuddly wedding Elmo and Tristan the lion – Roy the Pengiun wants his friends back! Hopefully the poor little guys had a good time on their cruise by breaking out of their box and exploring the ship, rather than suffocating in a box! (Becasue Toys come alove at night you know – it says so in Toy Story).

The top three things Matt is looking forward to (I’m not sure of the orfder of preference) are:

  • Climbing kit including rope, gear and boundering mat
  • The computer
  • The TV

Stay tuned for more container updates. What else did we bring? What didn’t we bring that we should have? Will it get through cutoms with no fees for cleaning mud off tents or shoes? Where am I going to put all the extra clothes when they arrive?

04. April 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Settling In · Tags:

Until recently, our lounge area looked like this – empty!

Our furnitureless lounge

Our furnitureless lounge

We now have some furniture which we got from Early Settlers and a sofa from Plush. Early Settlers had a set we liked, and it was pretty reasonable for what it is too. In the UK we had a lot of furniture from different places which didn’t really match, so its nice to have a set now. We got a coffee table, TV stand (empty for now apart from speakers), bookcase, extendible dining table and 6 chairs (for when we have friends)! We got a lovely penguin picture from our new nearest relatives  the Millis’s in Wanaka, New Zealand which has taken up residence on the book case – thank you! 🙂

Bookcase complete with penguins and Robin from The Pigeons Nest in England!

Bookcase complete with penguins and Robin from The Pigeons Nest in England!

We took a risk on our sofa – again! In the UK we got a total ebay bargain with a four piece leather suite worth over £1,000 for about £300 and a van. This time we had the sofa we wanted picked out, but when we went to get it it was only available in lime green, unless we wanted to wait 12 weeks. It goes without saying, neither of those were good options!

After some discussions with the sales assistant we ended up with a choice between a more expensive corner sofa with integrated sofa bed we don’t really need, or the ‘mystery sofa’. The Mystery Sofa was the last one left. It has a corner facing the right way we wanted. It was half the price of the sofa bed sofa. It came in an acceptable colour (grey). And, we could have it in a week. Becasue it was the mystery sofa though, we couldn’t see it or sit on it. It was in the warehouse, not the shop.

After a quick wander about the shopping centre and some deliberation we were totally sucked in with the cheap mystery option. And here it is…..

Our new mystery sofa, coffee table and dining table

Our new mystery sofa, coffee table and dining table

I’m pleased to report it is pretty comfy! Having not had a sofa for a few weeks probably anything would feel comfy, but we think its genuinely good. The colour is a bit darker than I wanted really, but then darker should be nice and practical  Its bigger than I expected, but really good as we can both easily lie on it at the same time. I think the back looks a bit weird with the bumpy bit, but for the price I can definitely live with it.

 

10. March 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Settling In · Tags:

So another week gone down in Australia. Its been a busy one.

Moving 

We got confirmation on Tuesday that someone else could take on our place in Glebe on the Thursday, if we moved out. This would save us a weeks worth of rent on two places at once, so of course we obliged! Moving by bus and train with only a day and a half’s notice was a bit too much like hard work but we are in now. I got a few funny looks with my giant suitcase and Roy in my handbag on the train! 🙂

Moving with Roy

Moving with Roy

More shopping

We’re fully moved into the new place now and have been checking out the local area.  Unfortunately there is no ETA on the fridge yet, so no nice chilled beers or wine for us unless we go out. On Thursday we ordered a very nice matching dining table, chairs, coffee table, TV stand and bookcase for a pretty good price. We had a bit of an odd collection of furniture in the UK, so it will be nice to get a matching set. Its coming on the 21st, so under 2 weeks to go.

Saturday we hired a car again to go and buy more things as we’re  still short of lots of bits and pieces you need to live comfortably  Sadly it was a bit less flash than the upgrade we got the time before, but it did the job.

Micra

Micra

Many hours and another trip to Big W (=Woolworths), Bunnings Warehouse (=B and Q), Good Guys (=Currys), Freedom (=Habitat) and Ikea (=place of meatballs) later we are well on the way to a fully functioning flat! Key items we managed to acquire include breakfast bar stools; an outdoor table and chairs (to be used inside if we need them for now); nice crockery; a travel mug; microwave; drawers and shelves for clothes; a coat stand and a bin.

More purchases

More purchases

Our new crockery

Our new crockery

Being tourists 

We decided Sunday would be for stuff more fun than shopping, so we went to the zoo! (Last Sunday was climbing, so it was my choice!) There are two zoos in Sydney, Taronga Zoo (accessed via ferry) and Wild Life Sydney. We got annual Merlin passes for only $90 which get us in 5 attractions in Sydney as much as we like in the year, plus some cool places in other cities too. This is a massive saving on even just doing more than two of the things individually, so seemed like a good idea. It includes Wild Life Sydney, the Aquarium. Madam Tussaudes, the Sydney Eye and Manly Sea Life centre (where the penguins are). I can now see penguins all year for $0 additional cost! Wooo.

Wild Life Sydney was cool. There were lots of very cute koalas, lizardy things, kangeroos, a wombat (sadly hiding), a cassowary (like a colourful ostrich) and a ‘big boss croc’. It was low on scary spiders too, which was good. I have a lot of pictures to sort through, so I’ll do another post with them – here’s one for now.

Koala at wild Life Sydney

Koala at wild Life Sydney

After we shared a duck pizza for lunch in Darling Harbour looking at the water. The pizza was yummy although we got stung on the good deal by a $6 weekend surcharge – boo.

This weekend we’ve also been playing a new board game we bought called Dominon. Its very good and has lots of variety possible which keeps it interesting for 2 people. Current score is one all. We’ve not had much luck shipping our boat, so no idea where the rest of our board games are!

Dominon cards

Dominon cards

 

We’re just assembling flat pack this evening and hopefully off to try out the pool after dinner. We went earlier but it had about 10 people in it, which is about as many as I think it will hold, so second attempt coming up.  In the mean time we’re cooking baked potatoes. I’ve missed these as I ate a lot of them in England and they don’t seem to be sold as a separate thing over here.

How are you guys over in England?

Time for another emigrating update.

Last week I had a yucky cold and throat thing so had some fairly unproductive days off work in front the TV. This was quite frustrating when there is so much to be getting on with. Grr. Now progress is back on track though. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Flights: Finally booked! We fly on 12th February, Pancake Day. Only two weeks and a day to go. Eeeek. 

Seat - still for sale

Seat – still for sale

Selling the car: About a week ago I made signs for the cars about selling them, called one company that buys second hand cars, and that’s about as far as I got. On Tuesday I had a call from a man stood next to it outside the house, who was interested in Matt’s Focus. Deal was done there and then, deposit paid, job done. Its been collected and gone now, so just one more car to go.

Tenants: We have some tenants lined up. They are going through referencing at the moment, so fingers crossed.

Accommodation: We’ve been given some options for temporary accommodation when we get to Oz, and are hoping to get some more tomorrow so we can make a final decision.

Charity Shop Hoard 2

Charity Shop Hoard 2

Packing / sorting: I have managed to start sorting things out and packing has commenced. Weirdly I seem to be trying to get rid of more things than Matt wants too. It feels good to be getting rid of unwanted things, although we still seem to have a lot to store here. Hoard 2 for the charity shop are pictured, hoard 1 was about the same size. Its like there are boxes everywhere around the house at the moment, and still loads to sort. The shipping appointment is booked in for Weds next week so we can get a quote after that. 

Re-Homing: We’ve managed to re-home some of the furniture which is good. I feel a bit like Del Boy on the phone to people all the time about stuff we can sell them! 

Being newsworthy: A Press Release is out about the new consortium I am going to work for, which makes me oddly excited. See here.

Me, Bruce the snow Kangeroo and Owen my brother (left to right!)

Me, Bruce the snow Kangeroo and Owen my brother (left to right!)

And…. Over the weekend my brother and I made a snow kangaroo (and joey)! It was going to be a koala but then we were hit with kangaroo inspiration. He lasted well overnight, by the end of the second day his eyes had all gone.  🙁 Now he has no head which makes me sad. Best go and find a real one soon!

I thought it was time for an emigrating update.

We are getting pretty close to the 50% done mark now. Currently we’re on 39 (point 6) out of 85 done = 46.6% and there are some things which should be sorted pretty soon. Here is what we have been up to recently:

Friday (11th Jan): We went for leaving drinks with some Horsham friends who are off to Perth. It was a good night, and bought home to me how much I’m going to miss our excellent UK friends. Be prepared for crying at our party.

Last weekend: We went for a fun night of bowling, Waggamammas and board Games with the Shorts. Matt will want me to mention he won the bowling. Needless to say we also did a lot of DIY to the hall in preparation for the new carpet. We applied for our Oz bank account with Westpac which was actually very easy and found out on Monday it was open.

My visa granted note (as I found out when Matt was on the phone)

My visa granted note
(as I found out when Matt was on the phone)

Monday: This Monday night we found out our visa has been approved, so we can go as legal immigrants! 😀 Its all getting a bit serious. I’m keen to get flights booked now but the company is being sloooooow so we still don’t have a confirmed move date. Its looking like around 12th February. I’m keen to get this done as then we can start properly cancelling things here and arranging new landlord insurance etc. I got some quotes for the cars too, but currently am not sure whether to go to the hassle of trying to sell them privately for more money.

Tuesday: The electricians came and did our new fuse board and some rewiring, so we’re all safe and certified. Matt had some good progress towards getting a transfer to Australia with his company too. We also had our first two viewings for tenants, and one of them is booking in a second viewing (which annoyingly got moved from Friday due to the snow).

New carpet in hall stairs and landing

New carpet in hall stairs and landing

Wednesday: We had the new carpet fitted, and it looks fab (the pictures don’t do it justice). I can’t find any pics of the old one, but it was green (so not great to start with) and abused from our two years of us doing DIY without looking after it properly! Crocodile Dundee 1 and 2 arrived on DVD, so we can do some important research! After failing to find any boxes on Tesco I went to Sainsburys to pick up some bits and bobs and go on another box hunt. They had none either.

Thursday: I booked in a lunch with some friends who I’ve not seen for ages and researched flights. I went on a failed box hunt to the Garden Centre too, but it shut an hour before I got there. In something totally unrelated to emigrating I also made some lemon curd shortbread – yummy!

Bookcase sorting

Bookcase sorting

Friday: I sorted out the bookcase and luckily the pile for recycling / charity shop / donation (at the back) is just as big as the storage pile). So far the shipping pile at the front is very small.

Weekend:  My brother is coming over from Germany for the weekend, so we’ll be catching up over the weekend which I’m looking forward to.Hopefully he wont be too delayed by the snow.

Next week: I have a couple of key jobs next week. One is to get flights sorted and get more information on shipping and the other is to start thinking about when we actually get to Oz. I need to start a list of things to do when we’re there, and importantly do a budget so we can work out how much extortionate rent we can afford.

I’ve got next Thursday off and am planning a shopping trip to stock up on things to take with me, mainly wardrobe related I suspect. Suggestions welcome!