Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Settling in - Sydney style

I can't believe it's been a week already since I arrived in sunny (the majority of the time) Australia! And what week it has been. Amongst checking out the famous opera house, some of Australia's most popular beaches, I've even managed to fit in some personal shopping. But when is there not time for shopping?!



So life as a 'Pom', isn't so bad after all. For starters, people here are so much friendlier than they are in the UK. This may be helped by the fact that I am female and a solo traveller. Nevertheless, I feel so much safer here than I did back home, and have met some great people already. I love big cities, hence why I have always been drawn to London as a potential place to live. However, Sydney has so much more to offer than the skyscraper buildings and tacky tourist attractions you often hear about. The real beauty lies within the suburbs, like the one I am staying in. Newtown is such a fantastic place, and I have only just touched the surface. I am so keen to check out the rest of the city, but for the next few days, it looks like I may be stuck in my room, which may I add is luxury compared to my Harry Potter room back home. If you haven't guessed already, it's raining here. Nothing like the UK weather, but it hasn't stopped for the last few days which makes me think I should have packed some more layers...

For the next six months, I will be working as an au pair for a lovely host family. They have three children who I'll be responsible for, and a very cool house, not far from the hustle and bustle of the city. I think being an au pair is one of the best ways to explore Australia (or any other country for that matter) as you get the most expensive things covered, including your food and accommodation, and also get a feel of what it's like to actually live amongst the locals. It certainly beats staying in a overcrowded and overpriced hostel that's for sure! I've even managed to expand my cooking skills this week, which I've always been keen to do. It looks like I'm in for a great few months, as long as the weather changes that is! For the time being I am going to make the most out of my time here by getting involved in as much as possible, and hopefully meet heaps of new and exciting people. 



Bye for now.


Travelling - What to pack (the essentials)

As you may be aware, (thanks to my countless tweets/photos, and not forgetting my previous post), just under a month ago, I embarked on my year (or more) trip to Australia; first stop Sydney. The trip itself is something I had been planning for many months beforehand, along with the packing that is...

However, for those of you who've been travelling yourselves may know, it's hard to know exactly what to pack, especially when you don't know how long you are going to be away for. Like many other travellers, I searched high and low for the ultimate packing list to assist me with this. Lets just say, it wasn't easy. Taking inspiration from various different sites, I decided to come up with my own exclusive guide on what to pack, which will hopefully be useful for all sorts of travellers out there; whether this is a 4 week trip around Europe, or a gap year globe trotting across various continents. Obviously feel free to comment and make your own suggestions as I am quite the novice still! 

Just to give you an idea of what I am letting myself in for over the next year, I am  currently working as an au pair in central Sydney for six months. Come September time, I will be embarking on my next journey driving along the East Coast for several months with two of my very best friends from the UK. After this, I will fly across to South East Asia for a couple of months exploring the likes of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos to name a few. I'm even making plans to stop off at Fiji and New Zealand, but I will see how I get on with managing my finances first! I am likely to be faced with a multitude of weather conditions along the way, so bear this in mind whilst you take a read through some of my travelling essentials...

  • 1 strong large rucksack. I bought a new one especially for my travels from a camping/hiking shop called Trepsass. This cost me just £40 which is a bargain considering how pricey some of these can be. Mine holds 65l so it's a little on the larger size. However,it all depends on how much you are willing to carry. Personally, I think anything between 50l and 80l would be feasible. 
  • 1 smaller rucksack/ small case. This is particularly useful for day trips/weekends away, or simply as hand luggage. Remember to check the sizing if you do decide to use this as hand luggage, as different airlines will have their own personal requirements on this.
  • 1 small/medium bag - for everyday use. Lugging a rucksack round all day can be tiring, even those smaller daypacks. Therefore, I would certainly recommend purchasing a smaller hand held bag to get you from A to B. 
  • 1 bum bag - again for everyday use. This will be particularly useful when I start moving around more, when keeping my personal items secure.
  • 1 clutch bag - for those evenings on the town. Remember to pack as lightly as possible (flatpack bags are much easier to pack) and to never bring your best pieces with you, even if you want to remain fashionable. You can always buy more if you need to when you arrive.

  • 1 waterproof jacket. For some reason I didn't trust my mums 'rainmac' after getting soaked through at Glastonbury, so I purchased a new one, again from Trespass. This cost just £25 and has been my most valuable item to date. 
  • 2 pairs of trousers/jeans/leggings- for those colder days/evenings. Again, I have found these items particularly useful as believe it or not, it does rain here! Leggings particularly are very versatile and lightweight, so stock up ladies!
  • 1 jumper/ hoody - again for those chilly nights. 
  • 3 pairs of shorts - it will be hot enough to wear these eventually so I've been told...
  • 5 Tops. T-shirts, vests, bralets; whatever tickles your fancy. I've brought quite the collection again as these are extremely light to pack. 
  • 5 dresses. I love dresses and most of mine are lightweight too so I managed to squeeze more than I probably needed in. 
  • 5 bikinis/swimsuits. I like having a selection when it comes to swimwear, but again, less would suffice.
  • 2 yoga pants - for working out. I've also bought two pairs of shorts for working out whilst I've been over here. Even though it can get chilly, it's ridicously humid too. I may not need these when I start backpacking, as I presume I won't be working out too much then, but they can be used as extra layers if needed.
  • Underwear (socks, bras, pants). Remember you can always wash these whilst you're travelling so only bring enough for up to two weeks. Saying that, I think I counted over 30 pairs of undies the other day... Okay, so I don't travel lightly. This isn't to say that you should follow my example...
  • Pjs. I didn't think I would be needing any long pjs but it turns out I was wrong once again! It is so chilly here at night at the moment so definitely not okay to let it all hang out!

  • Trainers - for walking/working out. I am not usually a trainer sort of girl, but these have been a god send so far in the stormy weather!
  • 2 pairs of sandals - for everyday wear. I bought an identical brown and white pair from primark which I wear most days/ on an evening if the weather is nice. 
  • Wedges/ boots. It's not overly warm at the minute and we are entering Australia's winter so I ended up buying some black ankle boots over here to wear during the evenings. 
  • 2 pairs of flip flops or thongs (as you Aussies like to say). No need to break the bank with these shoes. Cheap and cheerful, you'll be surprised at how handy these are. Think shared showers and an alternative to slippers...

  • 2 pairs of cheap sunglasses. I think I have around 5 pairs with me, but I am a bit obsessed with sunglasses at the moment, and they were all off the high street so I'm not too fussed if they go missing or get broken.
  • 1 hat - cause nobody wants sunstroke. My black Chelsea hat is a classic and looks great in the day of on an evening. The perfect finishing touch to jazz up any outfit.
  • 1 lightweight scarf. Luckily my brother's girlfriend bought me a lightweight scarf as an early birthday present to bring with me, as this item has been virtually glued to my neck since I've been here. Perfect for those chilly evenings or even as a sarong on the beach, this item is light to pack and very versatile.
  • Jewellery (including a watch). I can't live without my jewellery including my classic skull ring so again, another essential on my packing list. Saying that, I've tried to keep this to a minimal as its so easy to lose, and not something you wouldn't be able to live without. 

  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Shower gel
  • Moisturiser 
  • Deodorant
  • Sun cream
  • Wet wipes including makeup remover
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Sunscreen
  • Sanitary products 
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Razors and cream

  • Immodium and Rehydration salts - cause everyone gets a dodgy some point whilst travelling.
  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen - for those aches and pains.
  • First aid kit including plasters. Hopefully I won't be needing this but you can never be too cautious.
  • Mosquito spray (and lots of it). It appears that the Mosquitos here are a huge fan of the English blood so I'm getting through this by the bottle.
  • Prescription tablets. Remember to label these clearly as you don't want these to be confiscated. 
  • Savlon/tcp for any cuts/wounds. We travellers like to take risks, and the majority of the time, these risks come with consequences. Obviously you can buy these sorts of things when you need them but in some places they may not be that easy to get hold of. 
  • Vitamins. I'm always getting ill so this is an essential one for me. However, I think it's a good idea to carry a supply with you as you are more susceptible to getting ill whilst you're travelling. 
  • Cold and flu tablets. Even though the weather is still on the warmer side, there are still some nasty bugs floating around, something I am well attuned to in the UK, I always seem to pick up the latest virus or cold so I was prepared for the worst when I arrived here (especially as I was arriving in the colder months).
  • 1 antibacterial travel towel which I've heard a life saver when travelling. They are not only absorbent, they are also hygienic and very easy to fit in your bag.
  • Goggles
  • Shower cap
  • Travel pillow
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Travel tissues 
  • Books
  • iPad/ phone/ camera and chargers
  • Plug adapters. Make sure you get a universal plug if you are meeting multiple counties. 
  • Selfie stick
  • Makeup
  • A Notebook and pen. This is so handy, especially when you're a blogger. You never know when you might need to write something down!
  • Visa - you will need one of these to enter most countries I believe. If you are thinking of working in Australia, this will need to be purchased and approved before your departure. 
  • Travel insurance including medical insurance - make sure you are fully covered for all the countries you are visiting including all activities too.
  • Money. Possibly the most important items on this list. Make sure you have some local currency with you, including a card of some sort to book flights etc on the go. Most of my money is loaded on to a travel card called mytravelcash who I would thoroughly recommend. Not only does this card convert straight into the local currency, it is also free for me to withdraw money using this card. I also have a credit card from the UK with me which I haven't actually used but is great for any slight hiccups.
  • Passport - make sure this has a good couple of years on it as you never know where you might end up in two months time!
  • Driving license/other form of ID. I wouldn't recommend carrying your passport around with you unless absolutely necessary, especially on a night out. Leave this in a secure place at all times.
  • Scans of important documents. These will come in more handy than you think. Documents are likely to go missing at some point so having a back up is crucial. You don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere without any form of ID or way of communicating!
  • Air tickets and hostel confirmation. Make sure you have all relevant tickets on hand and have printed out any hostel/ hotel confirmation so you are able to check in as smoothly as possible. 

I hope this has given you a little bit of inspiration for your next big trip, wherever this may be! Stay tuned for more travel posts over the upcoming weeks, including a REBRAND of my blog to tie in with the big move to Oz!

Until then, goodbye. 


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