Friday, 27 November 2009

The Initial Newtown Edition (thanks Gramp!)

Firstly, thanks to everyone who commented on the previous post... it's lovely to know you're all following it and (hopefully) enjoying reading about our adventure.

We have now been in our house for one week, although it seems like longer. After the nightmare that was Billabong Gardens it was bliss to get here and unpack and have a little bit of space to ourselves.
We are living on a street off the main road which runs through Newtown, so the location is excellent for both shopping and working. It is also a very quiet area, apart from the odd rumble from a plane overhead.

The first week has been taken up with lots of cleaning! There has been a complete turnaround of housemates, so we've been able to chuck out a lot of rubbish that had been lying around and, because Dan and I got here first, we've been able to set the standard and lay down some ground rules!
The living space, kitchen and bathroom are all shared, but the other guys seem to be out quite a lot so we've been lucky and had the house to ourselves most evenings. Being able to cook in an empty kitchen and chill out in front of the television has been luxury.
My favourite room in the house, unsurprisingly, is our bedroom. I love its wooden floorboards and big wooden bed, to me it feels quite Moroccan. We treated ourselves to the red leaf lamp as a moving-in present, which I think really suits the room. Not sure how we're going to get it back to the UK though....!
As time goes on we're gradually getting to grips with finding our way around Newtown. We've found Franklins, a much cheaper supermarket than the ones in the city, and a bargain chemist. Having said that, I still think everything is much more expensive over here. I was excited to find my shampoo on offer for $6 the other day, which is still about £3.50. The joys of being a girl...!
We have also found Newtown library, which will be very handy. I've really got back into reading since we've come over here and up until now I've been buying books from the second hand shop, so this will save me a lot of money.
After all the food pics in the last post, you'll be pleased to know I've since joined the gym (I have to burn off all those iced coffees somehow!). I was really lucky and saw an advert on Gumtree from a girl who was leaving Newtown and wanted to transfer her membership. As a result I didn't have to pay a joining or administration fee, saving me an absolute fortune. I've been three times so far, and am really enjoying it. I'm yet to try out any of the classes but I may go to body combat next week, as Jen is always raving about how good it is!!

Although our outside space is quite small at the house (just a small patio and bbq), we are lucky to have Victoria Park just down the road. We have been going there and sitting under the trees to read our books, or just stopping off there on the long walk to the city. Right in the middle of the park is an outdoor swimming pool, which we are going to try out soon. You can't beat diving into a nice cold pool on a hot summer's day. (p.s. the pic below is of the duck pond in the park, that's not the swimming pool!!)
At the moment we are enjoying our last few days of freedom before we start work properly. We may go shopping for Christmas decorations later.... I still can't get my head around the fact it's next month..... or just head off down to the park again to catch some rays... it's a hard life!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Slowly but surely...!

One month on and we nearly have our own pad, four days left! The latest plan was to stay at the Wake Up! until Friday, but we changed it to stay in a hostel in Newtown as it's closer to our new home, wrong choice! The place we're in now is known as Billabong Gardens. Don't be fooled by the exotic name as it is a bit of a dive to say the least...! Not only do you have to hire out cutlery, but you have to wipe your feet on the way out!
The past week has been really enjoyable. We stumbled across lots of cute markets scattered around the outskirts of Sydney, including Paddington, Bondi, Glebe and The Rocks (they all make Barnstaple Pannier Market look like a jumble sale!) There were so many stalls to look at and we managed to see lots of bits and bobs that we want to take home with us, just not sure how?!?

We are slowly exploring more of Newtown as the days go on. As Jo said it has everything we need. One particular shop that has stood out from the rest is a really old book store at the end of the road. It opens 9 - midnight 7 days a week which is crazy but they have every book you can imagine and there always seems to be someone in there!
If you didn't know, Jo started her new job the other night at Basil's pizza and pasta resaurant. It sounded like she was thrown in at the deep end, but she managed okay and is back in on Saturday full-time! I also have a  job at a frozen yogurt bar which is being built! Sounds crazy but should be up and running by the end of the week, fingers crossed. Even though we have jobs lined up we have been making our money last. We both love a good bargain. So when we spotted Milo (a Nestlé breakfast cereal ) on offer for $4 we jumped at it. Things seem to taste better when they're cheaper!
There have been numerous new shops opening up in and around Sydney the past week. When they open they all seem to have an offer on to entice you in. We have taken advantage of half price frozen yogurts and buy one get one free ice teas! The next store to open is a Ben and Jerry's shop in Manly at the end of the month. Ben and Jerry will be there themselves dishing out free ice-cream, so no prizes for guessing what we'll be doing?!? Let's hope the ice-cream tastes as good as the ice teas!
Now all we have to do is stick it out in here for a few more days until Friday. There will be lots of photos of the house in the next blog so stay tuned!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Coffee and Wigs

The past week has been busy busy busy! We’ve been trekking back and forth between the YHA and Wake Up! (two hostels in the centre of Sydney), as on some nights one or the other is fully booked, meaning we have to check out. We have now secured accommodation at the Wake Up! for the next two weeks, so room 206 is our home for the foreseeable future.

Last Thursday Dan and I both passed our RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) training, meaning we can legally work behind a bar now. We also took part in a barista (coffee making) workshop, as just saying you’ve worked in a café is not enough for the picky Aussies! Despite adding these strings to our bows, finding work has still been a slow process. I’ve currently handed in my resumé to about 15 places and haven’t heard back from one. Demoralising isn’t the word!! We haven’t given up hope just yet though, as we are still being quite fussy at the moment.... give it another week and Dan will be back at Maccas!!
Our lives were thoroughly brightened up last Wednesday when two crazy Americans from ‘Miichiiiigaaaaan’ moved into our room at the YHA with, literally, their entire wardrobe, every medicine they could possibly ever need and four months’ worth of cosmetics. Courtney and Cory had arrived! The four of us instantly got on and spent the next week hanging out together (we persuaded them to put 99% of their luggage into storage before we moved to the rather cramped room at the Wake Up!!) The highlight of our time together was a night out on Hallowe’en. We managed to cobble four outfits together for minimal cost and, I think you’ll agree, we looked ‘perdy darn good’! Courtney and Cory are now travelling up the coast, but they are hoping to be back in Sydney to join us for the New Year celebrations.
After realising we probably weren’t going to find work as quickly as we had hoped we decided to at least try and tick the accommodation box. On Gumtree (the ‘in’ website for travellers looking for somewhere to live) we soon stumbled across a house share that looked nice. It was in Newtown, about 10 mins on the train from Sydney Central, so we decided to book an appointment to view the room. As soon as we stepped outside the train station we decided we liked the place. The main high street is made up of loads of little cute independent stores (there seems to be some sort of rule against chains), selling really unusual jewellery and clothing. There’s a real community spirit which you don’t get in the city.

Looking around the house we could really imagine ourselves living there. It’s quaint, with wooden floors and bohemian furniture. This, along with the fact it has wireless Internet and bills included in the rent, was enough to make us sign on the dotted line. It sounds rash without having the regular income from a job lined up (Mum – ‘kick boxing’!!....private joke) but the rent for a week is about 200 bucks cheaper than we are currently paying at the hostels, so it really does make sense.

We are going back to Newtown in the next few days to ask around about jobs. Obviously it would be ideal if we could find work there but, failing that, it’s easily within commuting distance of the city and other major suburbs.

Two weeks today we will be moving in, so no doubt there will be lots of pics coming soon...