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Everything posted by LKC

  1. LKC

    Moving back with teenagers

    My kiddos were quite a bit younger than yours when we moved back, so I can’t answer your schooling questions. However, we did move to Scotland, despite never having lived here before, and it is by far and away the best place that we have ever lived. If you have family/links here, I’d imagine it’d be even better! my husband and I separated shortly after we got here, but I don’t regret moving here, for a second!
  2. LKC

    Melbourne or perthshire(Scotland)

    I moved from Sydney to Perth & Kinross in 2017 - hands down the very best thing I've ever done! Things are a bit difficult here at the minute, but we've not been hit by Covid as badly as most other places in the UK, and hopefully things are starting to look a bit brighter. We'd not lived in this area before, but chose it partly because my (soon to be ex) husband had been offered a job, and because we didn't want to move back to anything, but rather on for another adventure. Despite Coronavirus, I've managed to retrain for a new career and find a new job, kids are happy and settled (although of course not at school at the minute), and I've made lots of friends, which is something that I found quite hard in Aus. I never really missed family, we weren't close, but I was very homesick for the UK, and I am beyond relieved that we moved back before my marriage went down the pan - I can't even think about how awful things would have been if we'd separated there and he'd not give his permission for me to return to the UK with the kids. In summary - life is good here in rural Perth & Kinross, and I'm really happy I took that leap of faith!
  3. LKC

    Moving Cat to UK

    Try Dogtainers. We paid $6630 for four cats (in two crates) from Sydney to Scotland about 3.5 years ago. Great service from them, cats arrived safely. They were just moggies though, not a special breed (I don't know if that affects things).
  4. LKC

    Moving home with older kids

    It was almost a relief when I found out that other people felt like this too. I spent years blaming myself for not trying hard enough to make it work, although I know that I did. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the place or the people, it is a beautiful country and I met some wonderful people, but I just couldn't shake that feeling of it not being my place. It was something deeper than there being things that I didn't like about Aus or preferred about the UK, if that makes sense?
  5. LKC

    Moving home with older kids

    It was never about family for me. I left home at 18, and lived 100's of miles away from family for my entire adult life. After my dad (who I was really close to) died when I was 24, I saw my mum/sister/grandma maybe once a year? I never missed them at all, nor my ex-husbands family, who we also lived 100's of miles from. Being 10,000 miles or whatever away from them didn't matter. Of course I enjoyed seeing them when we visited the UK, but they weren't the source of my homesickness at all. When we moved back to the UK, we chose Scotland, which is almost as far as you can get from family in Kent and the Midlands! I haven't seen mum or my sister since my grandmas funeral in January (although obviously I couldn't even if I wanted to at the minute). Yep, I can't even really explain how it feels - it never really hit me until we'd been in Aus for maybe five or so years. I'm not a believer in woo or magical thinking at all, but it's almost like your soul is just in the wrong place or something. Like your feet are walking on ground that you don't belong to, or you're in a place that you aren't part of in some way. And although I now live in Scotland, even though I've never lived here before, it's still part of my island, and I feel like I'm meant to be here or something. It's really hard to describe. It's a really deep sense of...everything.
  6. LKC

    Anybody instantly regret the move back?

    I'm probably not going to be much help, but my first thought was not to make a rash decision in the middle of a difficult time, but then my second thought was life is too short to be living somewhere that you don't want to be! I moved back a bit over three years ago, and my marriage broke down soon after we arrived back, but I don't regret moving back to the UK for a second. That said, we moved to a completely different area of the UK (Scotland, where we'd not lived before), rather than moving near to family/friends, so we never got the feeling of going back, or that everyone else had moved on whilst we were away. It just felt like a fresh start. I think that helped in a way, because we weren't trying to recreate something that had gone. Maybe think about moving back, but rather than look at it as a move back, look at it as a move on. To something new and exciting! You never know what's round the corner - since we moved back I retrained for a new career, got a new job working for a really great company in an industry I'd never have thought I'd be in, do self-employed work on the side, and met the love of my life!
  7. LKC

    Moving back to UK after 13 years

    We did this the morning after we landed - I don't think I slept the night before, and I honestly look like a serial killer on my photo That said, it was really handy to have for ID purposes. We went into a post office that had a kind of booth/kiosk thing, which did the photos and electronic signatures for the licence, they checked it and sent it, and we had them back within the week. If you look on the Royal Mail website for driving licence renewals, they'll tell you the nearest one that offers the service. Money transfer wise, we used OFX. Due to the amount of money, we had to do several transfers, but we had spoken to the bank (went into the branch in Aus) beforehand, and they increased the limit. They (Westpac) also gave us a little gadget thing (SecurID Token) that generated a unique passcode every time we logged in to do a transfer, just as a second security measure, in case we weren't able to use our Aus phones for the SMS passcode. As it turns out, I managed to somehow lose the Aus SIM cards soon after we arrived (they were in a plain envelope, I think I must have thrown them away by accident), so I'm glad we'd sorted out the other thing! Our house sale in Aus didn't go through until about two months after we left, due to our buyers needing an extended settlement, but the money transfer side of things was really no bother to arrange from the UK.
  8. LKC

    Returning home with kids during covid

    This with bells on! My mum once said to me 'It's alright for you. You live in a holiday place', because she'd assumed that living in Sydney meant that we spent every minute at the beach, in the pool or having barbecues in the sunshine, while she was living a life of every day drudgery back in the grey old UK. That might be true for some people, but for the vast majority, the phrase 'same sh*t, shinier bucket' comes to mind. You still have to go to work, take the kids to school, mow the lawn, do the housework, the shopping and the cooking, and the thousand other banal tasks that everyday life throws up. For me, it wasn't even a shinier bucket in the end. I've lost count of the number of people who've told me we were mad to move back to the UK, both before and since our move. However, unless you've lived it and experienced those feelings for yourself, it isn't really possible to understand them. Life here is immeasurably better than it was in Aus, and I don't regret moving to Scotland one tiny bit!
  9. LKC

    Returning home with kids during covid

    We moved back three years ago with an 11 year old and a 9 year old. The goodbyes were hard, of course, but new friends were soon made and they settled easily into life here. They stayed in touch with their Aus friends for a while, but it petered out eventually. We live in Scotland, eldest has an English accent (ex and I are both English, and she never really picked up the Aussie accent despite having lived there for 9 years), and youngest has an Aussie accent, and neither have been picked up or singled out because of how they speak. I know we're in Scotland rather than England, but really life is great here. Yes, there is uncertainty with regards to Brexit, and of course we're in the midst of a pandemic, but I'm honestly of the opinion that moving here was the best thing I've ever done! We've settled, made new friends, I've retrained for a new job and got the first two part-time jobs I interviewed for (after 12 years at home with the kids, with no actual experience in the field, and in the midst of the Brexit/pandemic uncertainty), and although ex and I separated, that would have happened wherever we had been, and I am thankful that it happened on home soil, as it were. Life is too short to be unhappy.
  10. LKC

    Best company for pet transfer to UK

    We used Dogtainers for our four cats, and they were absolutely awesome! The cats were collected on the Monday morning (we flew Monday pm), and were with Dogtainers for 24 hours as the rules required, were vet checked, put into two big crates (two cats in each), and flown to Dubai, to land at night when it was cooler. They were then let out into a pen for a stretch, water, and for their crates to be cleaned, and were then put on their onward flight to Glasgow. In Glasgow, a Dogtainers associate collected them and completed their paperwork, and then delivered them to our door. They were a bit crumpled and smelly, but otherwise in very good health. They were pretty confused and slept a bit on the first couple of days (jet lag, I guess like VS's dog), but they were soon back to their usual selves. Like VS, they sent photos of the cats to us en route, so that we could see they were okay. I was really stressed about bringing them back, because our eldest daughter is autistic and pretty much worships the cats, and I was worried that something bad would happen, but it all went very smoothly. This was in September 2017, so way before Covid and the reduction in flights, but I'd imagine that the various companies would take this into account.
  11. As the others have said, just rock up to the GP practice and register. I'd got NHS cards for three of us from before we left, but had somehow misplaced one kids card. It wasn't a problem, she actually needed to go to the doctor three days after we landed, and I just filled out a patient registration form. I also agree that you should start decluttering ASAP. I actually started packing well in advance, and put some things in storage before the house went on the market. I used an app called Sortly, which you put an inventory on, then you can print out a label with a QR code for the front of the box - made unpacking at this end really easy, as we were in a rental to start with, didn't want to unpack everything, but occasionally needed to find something from the boxes. Good luck with it! Moving back to the UK is the best thing I've ever done!
  12. LKC

    Passport dilemma

    I don't think getting married changes your name, but you can use your marriage certificate as evidence of the fact that you can change your name, if you wish (if that makes sense). When I got married I had to provide my marriage certificate to change my name with the bank, for my passport etc., but I didn't have to change my name. I could have stuck with my maiden name. Now I'm getting divorced, I will probably keep my married name so that it is the same as the kids, until they are adults themselves, even if I remarry, although if I did remarry I'd just use my new marriage certificate to change it. your married name doesn't automatically revert to your maiden name on the event of a divorce. But I think I could use my marriage certificate and decree absolute to change it back instead of by deed poll if I wished. Obviously things like the name on plane tickets and passport, bank card and ID, name you gave to Medicare and any hospital visit etc. would have to match.
  13. Exciting times! We used Chess, and paid about $8,000 plus extra for insurance to move a five bed home from Sydney to Scotland. This was in September 2017. It seems quite a bit cheaper than yours, but given it was three years ago, and the fact that a large amount of our belongings were already packed and in storage (decluttered for the house viewings) so there was less packing to do, and that we didn't bring any sofas or mattresses back (we decided to get new in the UK), you might well find that a quote with them is a bit higher. Chess were great at the Aus end - nothing at all was broken or damaged. They used another company here (I don't actually remember which one), who tried to charge us more because we changed the delivery address at this end, but in fairness they did drop the extra charge once we pointed out that we were in fact much closer to the dockyard at Grangemouth than we thought we would originally be, and thus we should be getting a refund for the mileage not used! I would recommend having a good sort out. I have just unpacked 5 boxes of toys that the kids insisted that we bring back - they were packed in about March 2017, and haven't been touched since then! I'm sure there are more boxes of things in the garage that I could have done without bringing too! If you pack any of your things yourself, there is an app called Sortly, which allows you to list inventory and print out QR codes to stick on boxes, so you can see what is in each books at a scan of the QR code. I found that invaluable, particularly because we left much of our stuff packed when we arrived, as we were in a rental and decided not to unpack much of our stuff until we bought. It allowed me to easily find items that we did need in the mean time.
  14. LKC

    Taking your cat home

    We used Dogtainers to bring our four cats home - it cost $6,630 for the four of them with two cats in each of two large crates. It was really straight forward, they were looked after brilliantly, and arrived a couple of days after we did.
  15. LKC

    Considering making the big move

    I honestly considered Australia home, for maybe the first four or five years that we lived here - there are plenty of posts on here with me saying as much. I think the change happened for me when my marriage started going down the pan, which happened probably three or four years before we went back to the UK. My ex kind of withdrew himself from our marriage at about that time, and I started feeling intensely lonely. I had lots of people who I knew through school and so on, but no one that I could really confide in about what what happening - they were all busy with their own families, and I was always kept at arms length. It was only after we moved back to the UK and I had made some really good friends, that I felt strong enough to end our relationship, and things started to get better. I feel more at home in Scotland than I've ever felt anywhere else, even though I've not lived here before. I just seem to have landed in the right place at the right time, somehow.
  16. LKC

    Considering making the big move

    Do you know what? When I was still undecided about whether to move back to the UK, a friend said to me 'You are not a tree'. In other words, it is relatively easy to pull up your roots and move, but then move again if things don't work out. My partner said to me just this last week, that he can't justify not doing things, just because that thing didn't work out in the past. You are the only you that will ever be. Live.
  17. LKC

    Considering making the big move

    We lived in Sydney for almost 9 years, and it was only in the last three or maybe four years there that I started to feel unsettled. Not homesick as such, but just like I didn't belong. We had friends, but as you say they weren't the kind of friends you could rely on in an emergency. People were friendly, but those deeper friendships never developed somehow. I started to feel quite isolated and depressed, but didn't feel I could tell my husband because he seemed to be enjoying himself. We came over to the UK for a holiday, and that pretty much cemented my feelings. I confessed I wanted to move back, and husband admitted that he was a bit 'meh' about Australia anyway. We ended up moving to Scotland (where we'd not lived before - husband was offered a job so we took the chance), and although our marriage has since broken down, I'm sure it was the right thing to do. Although we're in a different place in the UK to where we'd come from, and we didn't move close to family and friends, I feel more at home here than anywhere I've lived before. I have made some amazing 3am friends (you know, the ones you could phone in the middle of the night), and am really enjoying being part of an amazing community. I think it's the best thing I've ever done! I completely agree with what Marisa says - don't get stuck. We moved back before eldest started high school for that very reason. I couldn't imagine being stuck in a place I didn't want to be (not to mention what might have happened if ex and I had separated over there! That doesn't bear thinking about!). Could you afford to go back to the UK for a visit, once this Coronavirus has done one? Maybe that might help to clarify your feelings.
  18. There's a sticky thread at the top of the NSW section that I wrote a few years ago that might help We moved back to the UK in September 2017, so some of the information might be out of date, but it'll give you a bit of an idea about Sutherland Shire.
  19. Those areas are pretty expensive, from what I remember. You'd probably be looking at quite a high rent. Have a look at www.domain.com.au, have a search for the type of property in the areas you're looking at, and you'll get an idea of the likely cost of housing. Most rental amounts are quoted per week, rather than per month as they are in the UK, which is a mistake I've seen people make in the past. If it's any help, we lived a bit further south of that in Sutherland Shire, and that was a bit cheaper as it's further from the centre of Sydney. Still a nice place to live though. You will find that beach/river side suburbs are MUCH more expensive.
  20. Yes, it sure does have a way of sorting itself out! We were in Sydney for almost 9 years. Sutherland Shire, more specifically Engadine area. We didn't return to Scotland, we'd been in Suffolk/Cambridgeshire before, but ex was offered a job here so we did it! Best move I've ever made! Eldest was 11, and went into last year of primary (they start a bit later here). Youngest could have jumped forward a year (birthday in mid-Feb, cut off here is end of Feb), but the council were happy for us to hold her back, so she is older than the cohort by 2 weeks.
  21. 100% agree that life is too short to live with regrets! I don't regret our time in Aus for a second, and I'd still go, even with the benefit of hindsight! It is part of my life story (and that of my kids). AliQ - I'm happier than I've ever been, living in an amazing village, retrained for a new profession, and I've met the love of my life...Everything is good!
  22. I'm another of those who found the heat (and the cold, would you believe) in Sydney unbearable at times, but you kind of have to learn to live with it. I don't mind the heat when I'm on holiday, and don't mind the cold with good insulation and central heating, but we had neither heating nor air-con in our house, and I didn't enjoy living in either extreme particularly, although of course the climate is lovely for large parts of the year. Our girls were little when we moved to Aus, but we moved to Scotland when eldest was 11 and youngest was 9 (so in to P7 and P5). There were a few holes in some areas of their education, and they were ahead in other areas, but it all kind of smoothed out in the end. Teachers are pretty good at sorting that stuff out. The only thing I would caution you about, is that migrating (even temporarily) is a hugely stressful and expensive endeavour, and you should probably have some frank conversations with your partner to make sure that you're both on the same page. The stresses and strains of living in a foreign country, along with the stress of moving back, definitely contributed to my marriage going down the pan. It's not often talked about on here, that one partner can be feeling trapped in an unhappy situation, whilst the other can be living their dream life. Thankfully we moved back before we separated, but the damage was done long before then. I know you'd be on a temporary visa (we were citizens by this point), but it is still stressful and worth talking through.
  23. LKC

    Filling In TOR Form as married person

    Hmm, that's odd. When I filled ours in there was a section for the applicants details (with name, DoB, NI number and things like that), and then further down there was a separate section for family and/or partner details. I've just had another look at my forms, and there was a question 'Is your family and/or partner also coming to the UK?', which when I selected yes, opened up another section for me to fill in my and our children's details. Then there was a section for our cats, which when I clicked yes to bringing animals, opened another section where I answered questions about them. Maybe the form has changed since then? Could you try and give HMRC a phone or send them an email? I work in tax/accounts/payroll, and have found them to be very helpful on the phone.
  24. LKC

    Filling In TOR Form as married person

    I've just had a look at my form (we moved back in September 2017 but I still have it on my computer). We filled in my (now ex) husband as the main applicant, as he was the one with a job offer that we could put down (not that I think you need to have a job in place), and then we put myself and our children in as the secondary applicants - there was no need to do a separate form. I just did an Excel Spreadsheet of belongings. I numbered all of the boxes, and put a rough list of what was in them (e.g. books, CD's, ornaments, kitchen equipment), and then listed any furniture etc. Then there was a section for our pets. I then sent the form with the necessary attachments which were scanned copies of passports, the spreadsheet I'd made, mortgage document, employment contract, proof of pet ownership etc. The TOR hadn't been in place for long before we went, so I'm sure I sent more information than was necessarily needed.
  25. LKC

    Shipping - how long?

    Ours took just over two months, if I remember correctly. Packed up first week of September, delivered mid November. That was Sydney to Scotland (Grangemouth) plus the time to arrange the UK end.