Saturday, 5 December 2015

Black Friday goodies

UK Black Friday sales are nothing compared to the US.  But a tonne better than Australia.

After MUCH deliberation I ended up with the purple Ted Baker coat instead of the camel.  As much as I loved the camel I felt like it was too similar to my skin colour and I have irrational neurosis about that.

Ted Baker Lorili long wrap coat

Hopefully this 70% wool & 10% cashmere long coat will get me through London winter.  It cost me a bomb but it was my self-gift for finally landing a job after 6 months of no income.

One of the first lessons I learnt when I moved to London was: always carry an umbrella in your handbag.  The weather over here has bipolar and will change in an instant.  After my cheap Prague markets umbrella didn't survive the freak hailstorm that came and went in 10 minutes flat I decided to invest in a Fulton umbrella.

Fulton Minilite umbrella

I'm embarrassed to admit I've been sleeping with just a doona insert on my bed.  I deemed a doona cover one of those non-necessities that I could wait til I was earning pounds to buy.  I'd wanted a plain navy one (was eyeing Ralph Lauren Home but hella exxy) but ended up with this from Sheridan:

Sheridan Newmark Sterling Duvet cover
Side note - in the UK they call doona 'duvet'.  I thought a duvet was something else entirely.  I stand corrected,

I finally jumped on the NARS Audacious bandwagon - I "need" a berry lippie for winter.

NARS Audacious in 'Fanny'
The staying power is pretty good and I love the creamy texture with matte finish.  Very happy with this purchase.

BOOTS.  Cannot survive London winter without knee-high boots.  Comfy knee-high boots.

Faith black wedge boots
Also picked up a cashmere beanie and some ear muffs - London winter come at me!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Settling in

It's taken three long months but I think I am finally settling into London life.

A HUGE part of that is finally securing a job - unemployment is an enormous factor in happiness when you're in a foreign country without your network of friends and family.  And job hunting in London is so much tougher than it ever was in Sydney.  For a contract role at a Telco I had 3 rounds of interviews, a psych assessment, a case study and a presentation.  Only to be rejected for an internal candidate.  So it's tough, but I have finally secured a contract with a retail bank in the UK and I start next week so I'm totally stoked.  I can honestly say that since securing a job I finally had my first decent night's sleep since March.

I've been slowly making friends and getting out a bit more.  Reformer Pilates has been my saviour whenever I've been frustrated with the work situation.  I've been pretty diligent with my home life - doing laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning.  I have to admit I did let the eating habits slide a bit.  I was eating out of boredom which resulted in eating 5 meals a day and eating chocolate, pastries, cookies - foods that I never used to eat back at home.  It all came to a head a few weekends ago when I ate so much lunch I almost felt like throwing up.  I decided immediately that I would get back to 3 reasonably healthy/normal sized meals a day and it was surprisingly easier than I expected.

I'm slowly learning the names of the different tube lines and roughly where the main tube stops are.  I've started getting annoyed if I have to wait more than 5 minutes for a bus.  BUT I haven't started complaining about the weather (give it a few more weeks) and I certainly am not used to queueing for everything.  Brits love to queue.  Everywhere.  For anything.  I don't know whether the queueing culture has created a culture of slow service workers or vice versa but it's bloody frustrating.

I had been keeping a shopping list on my phone and I said to myself I would reward myself when I finally got a job (and also because when you're unemployed for 6 months, how do you justify buying all the fancy things?).  Of course my new job confirmation came at the same time as Black Friday and I may have gone a little crazy.  That's another post....

I have a few things planned for my final week of unemployment and if I stop being lazy I will actually blog about it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Dubai / Abu Dhabi

If I were to go back to the UAE I wouldn't go in summer.  Yes it's hot which is annoying but because of the heat you really can't do much except leave your air-conditioned hotel to an ACed vehicle to an ACed shopping mall and then back home.  Which, really, you can do in any city.

In terms of Dubai vs Abu Dhabi - Dubai is very glamorous; huge flashy commercial and residential buildings everywhere you look, 8-lane freeways, hotels, shopping malls.  Dubai is quite small so everything is tightly packed.  Sadly no character at all - apart from some signs written in arabic you really could be in any metropolitan city.  Abu Dhabi somehow feels more homely - far less showy, more calm, and more real.  It's more of a sprawling city and you can see huge empty sand-filled lots everywhere.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

If there is only one thing you see in the UAE, make sure it's the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.  It is truly breath-takingly spectacular and absolutely free.  You should know their dress code is strict.  The website says
Long, loose fitting, ankle length trousers or skirts for women and men. Women must wear a headscarf.
I thought I would be ok in ankle length pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt and scarf. But you actually need to be covered down to your wrists, so I was ushered into the basement to line up for an abaya which you just slip on top of what you're wearing (yes SUPER HOT). It may have been way too big for me but being in a mosque I actually found it comfortable. I would have felt out of place if I was wearing my normal clothes.

The mosque is made predominantly of a white marble with gold accents.  The beautiful blue reflection ponds on the outside reflect the blue skies.  The main prayer hall features humongous crystal chandeliers, beautiful carpet, stained glass windows and pearl inlays into the thick marble pillars.  

I would most certainly go back again.  I'd love to be there around sunset and get some pics with the lights on.  I'd also like to do the free tour they offer 3x a day.  I'm pretty sure this is just a tourist attraction and isn't actually used as a mosque but don't quote me on that.

Desert Safari

I did this in Abu Dhabi but you can also do it in Dubai.  There's a few operators but I think they are mostly the same.  They take you out to the dessert and do some 4-wheel-drive dune bashing.  It was a thrill and super crazy at times but honestly it went for too long.  I was done after 2 minutes but it it went for an hour!!

Finally it was dinner time - a classic arabic buffet which was phenomenal (probably average by their standards).  After dinner a belly dancer came out and wowed us with her hips.  They move as if independent from her body!!  Finally we ended the night with shisha (my sister choked on the smoke and couldn't stop coughing - hilarity ensued).

Not to be a complete Debbie Downer but if you're pressed for time, I would just do the two things mentioned above.  The rest of what we did was mainly to pass time (we were there for 4 days).

Burj Khalifa

Here you go.....

That's all folks

Friday Brunch

Friday is the first day of their weekend as their working week is Sunday - Thursday.  Many expats will go for Friday Brunch which involves a late boozy lunch at one of the million hotels (alcohol can only be served in hotels in the UAE).  It cost AED500 which is about AUD$180 so not at all cheap but it's a 3 hour all you can eat/drink fare with light entertainment.  Great if you eat/drink a lot which sadly, I don't.

Emirates Palace

I only really went to see the ATM that dispenses gold bars.  And I did.  And then I was done.

Old Town

Well it was really bloody hot when I went (50 degrees celcius) so I really didn't last long.  It's kinda like a ghost town there anyway.  Beautiful, but ghost-y.

Dubai Mall

Everything in Dubai is grandiose and over-the-top opulent.  Dubai Mall is a great example of that.  Yes that is a real dinosaur inside the mall.  Because why not.  It's Dubai.

Also a huge aquarium inside the mall.  Because why not.

Hierarchy is huge in the UAE.  Expats are clearly at the top of the pyramid and migrant workers are at the bottom.  Due to this, service is impeccable bordering on pushy.  I had a waiter literally standing nearby staring at me til I finished my cocktail and before I could place the glass down he had already taken it out of my hands and offered me another.  It's great in some respects but I found it quite annoying.

Cost of living is pretty high - at a nightclub they charged AUD$30 for a gin and tonic.  I guess if you work here and don't get taxed it's not that bad but it's a different story for tourists.

There is pretty much no crime but here is a freaky story.  I remember reading in the SMH a while back that a local Emirati woman stabbed an expat to death in the bathrooms of a shopping mall.  One morning my sister and I decided to pop into the tiny shopping centre round the corner for a coffee.  At some point we split up and I found myself walking through the mall by myself and randomly, the story of the expat being stabbed just came to me.  A few days later my cousin and his girlfriend were talking about the stabbing and how the perpetrator was executed and my cousin said to me "Oh yeah that happened at the shopping centre round the corner."

Oh WTF.  So creepy.

That's the end of my UAE story.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

London Postcodes

At first glance, a London postcode looks so odd.  They comprise of numbers and letters and have a space in between.  Now that I've been here a few weeks I've kinda worked it out.


London is neatly divided into different areas - the city centre and then radiating out from there are postcodes starting with N(orth), E(ast), and W(est).  There are further breakdowns such as NW, SW, SE.

Here's a postcode I made up:

N1 8JK

N1 refers to the area just north of the city.  Strangely enough, these postal code areas don't seem to align with boroughs (think 'groups of suburbs' in Sydney speak).  For example in the area in which I live (Angel), most of the suburb has a postcode starting with N1.  However there is a part of the suburb towards the southern end that uses the city postcode EC1.  I'll discuss city postcodes later.

There is then a space to indicate a break between the general area and the more specific area.

The letters after the space seem to be a random combination of letters and numbers that literally identifies the street in N1.  In London all you need to do is know the street number (let's say 12) and the postcode N1 8JK and it's possible to find out exactly which building it is.  Oh but of course there are exceptions.  One street (depending on the length) might have a number of different postcodes.

Because postcodes are so specific, there is no need to list your 'suburb' or 'borough' on your address.  London addresses commonly look like this:
Mrs Jane Doe
Flat 8, Amber Court,
London N1 8JK

City postcodes
I expected the city postcodes to start with C.  Instead, they are broken down into EC (East Central) and WC (West Central).  There is no C (Central).

Taxi Drivers
Apparently these guys go through intense training and have to sit multiple exams in order to work as a cab driver.  They are tested on the aforementioned postcodes.  Cab drivers will know from memory, exactly where to take you if you say '10 N1 8JK'.  Insane.

Outside London metro
As you can see from the diagram above, once you leave the London metropolitan area the postcode prefixes become less neat and orderly.  They do, however, stand for what the area is called.  For example above N is the postcode EN which stands for Enfield which is the area just outside London metro to the north.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


A few days ago I was able to move into a flat and finally unpack after living out of my suitcases for the past 9 weeks.  Relief is a huge understatement.  Never before have I appreciated having a towel rack to hang my bath towel or hangers to hang my clothes up in my wardrobe.

The flat is a 2 bed/2 bath so I get my own bathroom.  The room itself is smaller than any room I have lived in in Sydney but decently sized by London standards.  There is a TINY built-in wardrobe, a bed, a chest of drawers and shelves.  There is no way I could have lived like this in Sydney but having almost nothing in terms of material possessions in London, the storage in the room is more than enough.

The bathroom is absolutely huge, even by Sydney standards.  I love the mirrors, the generous benchtop space, the stone tiles and the heated towel rack.  

I bought myself this acrylic makeup storage from MUJI as a little housewarming present to myself.

The flat is in a gated area with concierge (who signs for all packages and I just pick them up whenever).  There is also a Virgin Active in the complex so when I start earning pounds I will probably sign up.  I really would have no excuse not to go to the gym given it would take me 20 seconds to get there.

I've moved to an area called Angel which is about 4km north of the main financial hub in the city where I will (hopefully) likely be working.  I should be able to walk to work in 35 mins or so.  The closest tube station is a 7 minute walk down the road.  Being so close to the city also means buses are aplenty (and much cheaper at £1.50/ride instead of roughly £3 for a trip on the tube).

Angel itself is buzzing with activity.  There are 2 supermarkets within a 30 second walk from my flat.  There's a multitude of shops - H&M, GAP, French Connection, Marks & Spencer, Accessorize, MUJI, Reiss, Boots, Argos (which is a department store on crack).  There's a few cinemas, I think 5 supermarkets in total, markets on the weekend, and a ridiculous number of cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


  • They don't lay-by here.  Fullstop.  They don't even understand what the concept is.
  • Poundland only sells things for £1, unlike the Dollar Shops in Aus
  • "Hi, how are you going?" is ALWAYS met with a blank stare and silence.  They don't know what you're asking.  Try "Are you alright?" instead
  • UK gogglebox is terribly unfunny compared to the Aussie version.  Also no eye candy.
  • Online shopping here is set up so well.  You can buy online and pick up instore, you can have it delivered next day or elect a specific time and date for delivery.  You can get your groceries delivered.  You can get refunds for most things no questions asked.  If you need to return anything there are multiple ways of doing this and they are all free for the consumer.
  • For someone who is petite with wide feet, I can actually buy clothes and shoes that fit me well here.  A number of retailers have petite lines of clothing and wide fit shoes.
  • Food in general is pretty bland.  For a good feed I'll choose an ethnic restaurant (any ethnic restaurant from Chinese to Lebanese to Thai).
  • Coffee is rubbish.  I'm trying (slowly) to switch to tea
  • I know I've said it before but public transport here is reallllllly good and efficient and quick
  • You can pay for public transport by just tapping your credit card instead of tapping your Oyster card on the card reader things
  • Always take an umbrella.  Always. Take. An. Umbrella.
  • There is so much on - every day.  I absolutely love that.  I've always been a big city person, can't ever imagine myself living in the country.  And I often felt like even Sydney wasn't big enough.  On a rainy weekend there wasn't much to do.
  • Oreos taste better in London.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

London shopping list

I'm not buying anything at the moment because I would have to pay for it I AUD at the current horrendous exchange rate, but I've been collecting a list of things to buy once I'm earning £ (please employment gods let that be soon).

New Look Faux Fur Parka £39
Asos Petite Ultimate Parka $55

Miss Selfridge Khaki Parka Coat £69
Black wedge sneakers:
Nike Dunk Sky Hi - £85 but seems to be sold out in London so I might have to stalk ebay
Ash Bowie suede wedge trainers £175
Long down jacket:
Uniqlo long down jacket $79
Long wool coat:
No idea yet - just a standard long wool coat in a boring neutral colour

PS - it seems we can finally post non square photos to Instagram. As much as I've been waiting for this day, now that it's come my OCD has kicked in and I want them all to be square #ocdlife

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

London: the good, the bad and the downright ugly

First impressions count.  And unfortunately my first impression of London is lukewarm at best.

The Good:

  • Public transport - between all the different modes of transport London has got this down pat.  You can literally get anywhere in London using public transport.  It's easy, quick, reliable and reasonably-priced
  • Consumer's dream - customer service is much better here than Australia.  With most online retailers you can get free shipping or pickup from one of their stores.  Their sales are more impressive too.  Not to mention a lot more variety/options.
  • Public spaces - they have loads of parks and public spaces where you can sit and eat lunch/read a book/people watch.  Just a shame that it's not park weather for most of the year :(
The Bad:
  • At the current AUD/GBP exchange rate everything is soooooo expensive.  From my AUD$7 small takeaway coffee to my AUD$850 500 thread count sheet set (also - bedding is hideously expensive here - no idea why).
  • It's cold.  Yes I'm being a baby about it.  But I caught a cold one week after summer ended.  What is up with that.
The Ugly:
  • Ok.  Where do I start.  I am currently living in a room in a flatshare.  I'm paying £330/week for a room that's half furnished, about 3m x 4m, in a flat that doesn't have hot water or wifi, has a broken (ie warm) fridge and broken furniture.  Oh I forgot to mention the toilet that's blocked/when you flush it, it comes back up the shower drain into the shower.  A fortnightly cleaner was promised who hasn't come in 6 weeks.  The door to my room is broken and I can't close my bedroom door.  I'm sharing the flat with an inconsiderate couple who have not washed their dishes in about 5 days, who leave yoghurt and ham out for days on end, who have made the floors in the flat black with god knows what.  Not loving real estate agents right now.

Friday, 4 September 2015

New City, New Hair

If I'm honest, I'd been wanting bright pink hair for some time. And what better time than when you move country and have a month off in between (so your investment banker manager doesn't have to reprimand you for the inappropriateness of your hair colour).

It was a DIY job and by that I mean I have an awesome sister who DIYed it for me. 2 rounds of peroxide and a jar of Manic Panic later....

Of course the colour faded after only a few days. By the time I reached the end of my month off, it looked like this:

As much as the pastel pink and peach hair was actually growing on me, I knew it was time for the chop.

Had an interesting experience at the hairdresser. In London if you don't make a reservation you can just walk in and ask for the next standby appointment. I only waited a hour or so (went shopping and came back). Instead of paying the full £66 (haircuts in London are fucking expensive) I just paid £28. Not bad for a consult, wash, head massage, blow dry, cut and style.

Fresh to death and ready to attend job interviews with my lob!

Monday, 27 July 2015

It's only 24 hours

This is what I kept telling myself to get through Saturday.

Saturday was the day I was meant to walk down the aisle.  It was the day I had been planning towards for over a year (and really, my whole life).  I secretly hoped it would be rained out and freezing cold.  At least that way I could pretend to be happy that I wasn't getting married in the cold and wet.  But no it was a gloriously beautiful winter's day.

I intentionally planned things for the day to distract me from thinking too much about it.  But it was hard.  The first thing I saw on facebook that morning was a friend had gotten engaged.  I felt like a selfish bitch that my first reaction was hurt/pain/sadness before being happy for her.  I knew I shared my wedding date with 2 other ladies and it was SO hard seeing happy wedding pics on facebook that day.

I ended up avoiding social media at all costs and instead read a book (this is something I should electively do more often and not only when people are getting married).  And whenever I started lamenting about "what could have been" I just told myself that the day would be over in 24 hours and I could get through it.

Luckily I was tasked with taking my aunts (who are in town from HK for said 'wedding') around Sydney to see the sights.  It actually worked out well because it gave me an opportunity to say goodbye to Sydney myself.

There was residual sadness yesterday but now I'm in the final week at my job and counting down the days/hours.  My departure is getting scarily close and I just have SO much to get done before I go.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Rise of the Phoenix

In the past few weeks as I prepare for the move to London I've found myself ticking things off my Sydney bucket list, despite living here for 17 years. It's good to have time to say goodbye to a country instead of hurriedly leaving with a few days notice and not be able to say goodbye, not even to school friends (leaving Papua New Guinea is a story for another time).

One of the things I wanted to do was finish a tattoo I had gotten some 8-10 years ago (so long ago I can't actually remember how long it's been). I'll be honest, it was not really thought out. I knew I wanted something to pay homage to the country where I had lived the first 12 years of my life. So I took the bird that's on their flag (google Papua New Guinea flag) and got that outlined on. Why? Don't know.

Thankfully my cousin married a supremely talented tattoo artist who saved me from a lifetime of embarrassment. I sent him a photo of what he had to work with. I was pretty difficult, not having much of an idea of what I wanted and giving him very little direction (stylised, I think. Maybe a bit phoenix-y with a bit of colour. Not sure what colours). A few days later I was sent a hand drawn draft. 'Rough' he called it. Beautiful is what I called it.

He was good enough to squeeze me in because he didn't really have any openings before I left for London. He lay his drawing on top of the existing tattoo and it literally fit perfectly - if that's not a sign, what is.

The tattooing of the outline wasn't too bad. I had a few "outline" tattoos so this wasn't much of a shock. Till he got to my spine. Oh sweet Lord the spine was painful. But shortly after the outline was done and it looked great.

He mentioned he would start colouring in next. I asked "the colouring in is less painful than the outline right?" He looked at me with this uncomfortable 'should I lie to her' look and I knew I was in for trouble.

He started to colour-in the dark edges of the wings. That was ok pain-wise. He did the red tips of the plumes. Still tracking ok. Then he brought out the light blue dye. Oh my gosh. It's like scratching into your skin in the same spot over and over again. My whole body seized up till I got pins and needles in my left arm. I had to take a break. I got up and walked around a bit to relax and prepare myself for more pain.

Back for more. I started to regret it. I wondered if I could stop right now and the tattoo miraculously wouldn't look like shit. Why am I doing this to myself. I started sweating and tensing up again. I needed another break.

As I wiped the tears from my eyes (I wasn't crying... My eyes were just moist...) I noticed my hands were shaking. Legit shaking. It took me 5 minutes to un-tense all the muscles in my body. In the background I think I heard him say "home stretch" and then "ten more minutes". Ok suck it up Kay. Ten more minutes, you can do this.

Surprisingly the last 10 minutes weren't actually that bad. He was just doing the yellow ink - beak, bit on the plumes and the 3 things coming out of the head. "Done" was the sweetest word I had heard all day. I had a look in the mirror. Wow. It was SO much better than I thought it could possibly be. I was absolutely thrilled with it and actually a little proud of myself that I did it (it's a bit sad, I know).

Got myself bandaged up (bepanthen and cling wrap became my best friends) and checked my watch. It was 3pm. I had arrived at 10am with little more than one slice of toast in my stomach.

It's been a few days and I'm being super diligent about the after care. Sleeping and showering are challenging and soon the itchiness is going to set in. But I'm absolutely thrilled with it and so glad I did it. The clever Court mentioned how apt it was that my bird of paradise transformed into a phoenix, just as I am about to embark on a new chapter in life.  Had not even thought about that myself but very fitting!

(Note to future Kay: you are re-reading this because you are contemplating another tatt.  Don't do it.  This is enough!)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

When smashed blush happens to good people

I'm super duper clumsy and really good at smashing makeup on my makeup table/on the floor.  The item that fares the worst is anything pressed.

I did some googling and found this method to re-pack smashed blush back to its original state.

You need:

  • broken blush / bronzer / pressed powder (basically anything that is meant to be but is no longer 'pressed')
  • stick-type object (I used a nail stick pusher thingy)
  • isopropyl that is 70%-100% alcohol (or rubbing alcohol if you can't get it)
  • tissue / paper towels
Ok the reason why I said use 70%-100% isopropyl alcohol if you can get it is because it has a higher alcohol content.  Rubbing alcohol (Isocol is the main brand we have here in Aus) can have up to 50% water.  I used rubbing alcohol the first time I did this and the blush crumbled again not longer after.  I suspect this is due to the water content - I'm sure someone science-y can explain it.

Step 1
Ok this is going to seem instinctively wrong but just trust me.  Get whatever stick you've chosen and smash up the blush until it is literally all loose powder.  Do it.

Step 2
Add the isopropyl to the powder til you get a consistency like this...

At this point you are wondering what the fck you have done and you're trying to work out how to Ctrl-Z.  Bear with me...

Step 3
Once all the powder is integrated into the paste start to flatten it back into the tin and smooth down the top

Step 4
Blot blot blot.  Use tissue or paper towels to start blotting the mixture.  You'll get some colour come off but this is normal.  I used paper towels with a pattern embossed into them to give the blush an embossed finish.

Step 5
Let air dry for some time.  I'm not sure how long exactly but you'll be able to tell when it's usable again.  Ta-da

(PS I cleaned the excess blush off the rim because I'm neurotic like that).

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


The news of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's divorce hit me hard this morning.  I could almost feel a tiny sliver of what they must be going through and it's awful - I don't wish it upon anyone.  However it did give me a good opportunity to put things into perspective.  Unlike them, I don't have huge assets that I need to divide up, don't have a marriage I need to dismantle, don't have kids I need to look after or fight over.  I'm not in the public eye so don't have thousands of people chasing me for a story or meet random people and have them not know what to say to me.

It got me thinking about my situation and made me realise how grateful I am that my situation really isn't that bad (even if some late nights when I'm alone in my room it seems like my life has ended).

I've also had so many amazing people around me who I have to take a moment to thank.
  • My 3 beautiful sisters who dropped everything to help me move back home at 12 hours notice and provide unconditional support along the way
  • My parents who welcomed me home with open arms and made the transition so easy for me
  • My friend who sat with me every lunch break for a week, just sitting in silence and watching me cry on Martin Place steps
  • My friend who came over with pizza and de-briefed with me, answered all of my emotional text messages at odd hours of the day/night
  • My friend who was on standby to have lunch with me, have a drink with me, have a cry with me, whatever I needed whenever I needed it
  • My friend who I hadn't seen in over a year clear her schedule to help me move home
  • My friend at work who was happy to step out of the office whenever I just needed a sounding board
  • My other work friend who pulled me into the ladies bathroom when I burst out crying at my desk one day
  • The people who I had previously considered acquaintances but have shown more support than I ever imagined I would receive from them
  • All the texts from my cousins, friends, acquaintances - even though they were hard to receive at the beginning it was still lovely to know so many people cared about me and wanted to make sure I was ok
  • My twitter/instagram/blog families who don't really know me from a lump of wood but have been so supportive when they had no obligation to be
  • My Manager/Team Lead who I am leaving high and dry by moving to London 3 months before our huge project is going to be implemented - I'm sorry!!!

People aside, I'm grateful that:
  • I'm young enough to go to the UK on the 2 year visa
  • My situation isn't as bad as it could be (refer to Ben & Jennifer above)
  • I've been able to sell most of my crap which has been therapeutic as well as practical because I can't take it all to London
  • My sister also decided to move to London so I have a buddy with me every step of the way on this terrifying journey
  • My health has been improving after seeing an acupuncturist and chinese traditional medicine practitioner who has taught me to listen to my body and made me realise just what kind of impact stress has on my physical health
  • I've really been getting into Reformer Pilates which has been such a great outlet for me.  I've even started back on the hot yoga but being very careful not to over-extend myself
  • I've had the opportunity to learn SO much about myself in the past few months.  I've always been a reasonably strong, confident person but nothing can prepare you for having the rug pulled out from under you when you're not expecting it.  I do think it's made me stronger and it's also made me look at myself and make some changes for my own benefit (have more patience, be more compassionate, push myself out of my comfort zone and force myself to do things I usually wouldn't do, learn to let go of things)
It's been an absolutely crazy few months.  Hopefully once I get to London and am settled I can actually breathe for the first time without stress/anxiety/fear.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Bucket List

I have added a new page under the banner of shoes called 'Bucket List'.  The first is a Europe travel bucket list and it should be easier to tick items off when I move to London.

The second bucket list is stuff I want to do once I've move to London.  I feel as though my life has been put on hold for a year because of the wedding planning and now I'm getting back to 'life' and doing the things I want to do.

If you have any recommendations that I need to add to either bucket list please comment and let me know :)

Friday, 26 June 2015

You know what is super daunting?

Knowing that you are packing all your worldly possessions into TWO suitcases, especially for a materialistic person like me.

Thankfully I've been going through a huge purging exercise recently and have managed to get rid of more than half of my shoe collection, and made many trips to drop off clothes at Vinnies. I have literally bought TWO things in the last 3 months - a pair of work pants because my sister said my current work pants are so worn they look like jeans, and a Bulgari ring because.... well why the hell not.

Does anyone have any packing tips?  What to take, what not to take, how to pack so that I maximise my suitcase space?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

My battle against Births Deaths and Marriages

29 years ago my mother gave birth to her first child. My dad was tasked with registering the child's name. Being the great Chinese man he is, he misspelled his daughter's Chinese middle name (and people wonder why I'm not more Chinese...)

3 months ago I decided it was time to rectify this mistake. I submitted the Change of Name form along with all the required documents. One week later my entire life plan changed and I decided to move to London. This meant I needed a visa, which meant I needed a passport. My passport was due to expire but because of my impending change of name I wasn't able to renew the passport but had to apply for a new one. I couldn't apply for a new passport until my change of name came through.

The very helpful people at Births Deaths and Marriages told me I had to wait the 8 week average turnaround time before being able to enquire about it. But I could pay a fee for it to be expedited. The expedited average turnaround time was also 8 weeks (seriously BDM someone needs to look at that). So I sat and waited patiently. The day after 8 weeks I called again. No one has even looked at it. But someone must have looked at it because my credit card was charged $174 I told her. Yes she admitted, my form had been opened but only to get the credit card number and then my form was closed again.

I escalated the case. One week later still no one had looked at it. Have I mentioned I love BDM?

I decided to pay them a visit. If I'm standing in front of them they HAVE to do something right? Wrong. "please come back on Monday at 8.30am PROMPTLY. do not be late" she said.
So I was NOT late. In fact I was 10 mins early. I was rewarded for being early by sitting and waiting for 40 minutes. Finally my turn. After the male officer said "never trust a woman" and proceeded to check all the information given to me on Friday by said 'woman' he kindly informed me that my application was processed on Saturday and sorry for wasting your time coming down here. I love BDM.

So I have 6 weeks on the clock to get my new passport and a 2-year UK visa. Wish me luck.