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Everything posted by Lisa&Martin

  1. Lisa&Martin

    Excess Baggage at the airport

    Hi Spenner. I must confess i didn't come across anything that mentioned not being able to send personal items so I was honest about what was in there. I put 'clothes (used) - no shoes' and also 'craft items', 'pram accessories' 'children's books and toys - used'. The reason I put no shoes is that I know this is something quarantine like to look at in case there is mud or plant material on them. As far as I am aware you can bring items of a value up to $1000 without incurring customs charges, but I put the items as used and a total value of £350. There were no charges incurred this end at all, and the service was door to door.
  2. Lisa&Martin

    Excess Baggage at the airport

    Not necessarily cheaper than using a courier. I just returned from the UK with 60.6kg of excess luggage. I booked it through www.transglobal.org.uk and then selected the option to use TNT as the courier. It was picked up last Tuesday at 5pm UK time and delivered to me in Sydney last Friday at 10.30am AUS time and I could track it all the way online. Cost was £213.
  3. Lisa&Martin

    British Passport for Aussie born daughter?

    The information about filling in the C2 is correct, from memory the paperwork doesn't go to the UK and back, it only goes as far as New Zealand (the address will be given on the forms) so it may not take as long to get back to you as you'd think. The only hiccup I found is that the form asks for specific documents and ID for parents and baby, but when you get to your appointment with Australia Post they have a checklist that they have to go through and their list is slightly different, if you don't satisfy their list you get rejected and you've wasted a visit. I can't remember what the differences were, I'm afraid, I have a suspicion that it was something about taking both the parents passports AND birth certificates, I think form C2 only asks for one or other. So take more ID than you think. The Australia Post website has a page which lists which POs deal with the passport applications.
  4. Lisa&Martin

    Antenatal classes in NSW

    Hi there, I had a baby in Sydney a year ago. Must say I felt completely out of my depth to start with but as time has gone on I have been so impressed with the services and resources available to new Mums here. In terms of buying things second hand, I did get a lot on Gumtree and Ebay, there is also something called the Baby & Kids market that is on in various Sydney locations every month or so. The hospital / obstetrician / doctor generally put you in touch with pre-birth info and resources, and post-birth there was a Early Childhood Centre at the local shopping centre where you went for a once-weekly meet-up for the first 12 weeks (the post-birth visit midwife gave me the details). I got to know a great group of Mums through that, we all still meet weekly, and different groups have formed swim groups for the babies, dog-walking groups etc, we do 'babes in arms' cinema trips (check out the local cinema listings, most cinemas do them). Other people go to a library service called 'Baby Bounce' which is free, involves songs and rhymes, there are also quite a few churches in the area that also host meet-ups which are not religious in content. I have also been so impressed by the parents' facilities in the shopping centres. Other friends who've had baby care & sleeping issues have called the Tresillian helpline or even been for a residential visit, I believe St John of God and Karitane also offer a similar service. There's a good link here: http://www.bubhub.com.au/directory/find/early-childhood-health-centres-sydney I think basically when you are pregnant you feel like you are pretty much on your own, especially as a new migrant, as time goes on and especially after you give birth you start to find out about all the various resources, it's been great, if your friends are sociable types they will have no problem at all. Lisa x
  5. Lisa&Martin

    Dog food

    We also used James Wellbeloved for our black lab in the UK, he has always had a sensitive stomach and would get the runs if we fed him anything else. the only exception was Burns, which is also only available in the UK. Here we use Nutro Natural Choice with no problems, available in local pet store, and he has still kept his ridiculously shiny coat, always a good sign :-) They do lamb, chicken & fish versions.
  6. Lisa&Martin

    Finally landed in Sydney

    I assure you your experience is entirely normal. Despite the fact that they speak English here, it is still a foreign language. You will be missing all the background knowledge as to how to do things, where to find things etc that you had in the UK, so doing some things will feel like an adventure, other things may feel like hitting a roadblock. And get used to using Satnav to drive everywhere, that way you will know the day you turn it off you have really become a local :-)
  7. Lisa&Martin

    Childrens Car Seats

    I am on a bit of a learning curve on car seats here at the moment as i am due to have my first child in Sydney in August. The fittings appear to be different, safety standards different, they have never heard of ISOFIX and the tether thing seems to be a legal requirement for insurance purposes. That's what gets you in the end, that whatever you judge to be best is not necessarily covered by your car insurance here. Some hospitals even require a certificate of fitting from an authorised fitter before they let you take your baby home....!!!! The previous poster was right in that you can pre-order child seats for a hire car as part of the package, and then when you get your own car if you haven't found anything locally to buy there are lots of hire companies for child seats, you either go to them or they can come and fit at your home. If I were you I would leave the UK ones behind, these are big items to try to bring with you if you are talking about bringing them on the plane, then go to one of the baby shops here and quiz them about all the fittings and options. You can then either buy new here, buy second-hand or rent, whatever suits you.
  8. Lisa&Martin

    What to take to oz? - everything!!!

    As a super-king size bed user I would recommend you bring some over, you will probably have found there aren't many outlets for this size in the UK anyway. Debenhams and John Lewis are good, I would imagine M&S do that size as well. Debenhams alraady ship to Aus for a reasonable fee, but you will find a lot of bed linen on their website says this size not available, when you can get it off the shelf in their shops. John Lewis has plans to ship to Aus later this year. So stock up a few year's worth in the meantime. I would also consider putting in a couple of good quality mattress protectors from John Lewis.
  9. Having read the various advice on vacuum packing I decided to use common sense and use the bags for all our bedding & clothes. Silica sachets just thrown in a box will saturate quickly and won't make a lot of difference over the 2 to 3 months your container is on the water. I put a few inside each vacuum bag and had no problems. Putting stuff into a vacuum bag is not really seen as 'packing' by the shipping companies, and anyway the sales rep will often give you completely different information to the blokes that come to box it all up. I found the packing blokes were focussed on getting the job done as fast as possible, and wrapping stuff up according to their training. It really doesn't make any difference to them if you don't fit everything in the container, that is between you and the sales rep, and when they have your wordly possesions and are asking for a few extra hundred quid to take the bits that didn't fit in, you are over a barrell. Don't be surprised if they don't busy themselves making sure all that empty drawer space in a chest of drawers is filled up, take the initiative and do it yourself. Just make sure it is obvious what is in the space so they can list it correctly on the inventory.
  10. Lisa&Martin

    All over after 15 years

    I realise that the finances are only a part of the bigger picture right now, but I would have thought that both assets and debts whilst you were married were joint? Seems very generous of you to own all the equipment debt, and take it off 'your half' of the house equity when it was the use of the equipment that provided an income to you both, and the funds that paid for the house renovations to be completed.
  11. Lisa&Martin

    Sydney Hills District - Furniture for Sale

    Can you PM me to let me know if you've still got the 5 small coffee tables. thanks, lisa
  12. Lisa&Martin

    Nightime cramp.....any cures

    Magnesium supplements are supposed to be better absorbed and used by the body when they are rubbed on the skin in an oil form. Google magesium oil for info and here's a couple of sites that sell it: Nutri-Tech - MagSorb transdermal magnesium oil 250ml http://www.alternetdetox.com.au/shop/index.php?cPath=129&osCsid=8e57d46821e3b36a20155813ac7d9710 I researched it for a friend of mine who has ME (chronic fatugue syndrome) and she now swears by it for a quick fix.
  13. Lisa&Martin

    business 163 granted

    Hi Niki Just wanted to add our congratulations. It is a long, arduous road just to get a temp visa on a 163, but that makes it so worthwhile. We arrived in Sydney in Dec 2009 on a 163 and you couldn't drag us back to the UK now. Martin has nightmares in which the State Sponsorship people deny him a permanent visa.... Well done and enjoy the rest of the journey. Lisa :cute:
  14. Lisa&Martin

    Where to take 2 poms to see Sydney

    You could try the Rocks market and a ride on a Harley bike / trike from there.
  15. Lisa&Martin

    Dilemma: Stuck in Oz with spouse

    There are two thoughts I have after reading your post. Firstly, it sounds like your husband really tried to make things work in London. It can't have been easy for him searching for a job for 10 months with no success, all the rejections. It may have made him feel that what he had to offer to the job market wasn't worth anything, and he may have felt like less of a man as he was living off you. I can understand that when he was offered a job back in Oz (especially dream job in dream company) it would have boosted his self-esteem no end. He did give it a go to stay in London, but in the end you could both see that financially there was no future in it. I think it would be gracious of you to understand what he went through and at least give it as much of a go here in Sydney as he did in London. Perhaps his purchase of a house here was to try to offer you a home to come to and to be a provider again. Secondly I think you need to put a line under the past. It has gone, time has moved on. You went to London and found a fabulous job and an interesting life, but you are not defined by your work. If you went back now without him, having given up on marriage, child and moved away from family I doubt it would all look as rosy in London as it did 6 months ago. I don't want to sound like I'm taking soundbites from a self-help book, but your future in Sydney is really what you make it. It won't help you at all in your marriage or pregnancy if you are looking backwards and wanting to be anywhere but here. Try to see this as a fresh start, an opportunity to do many things well that you have never done before, don't do them half-heartedly or with regrets. Best of luck.
  16. Lisa&Martin

    Certifying documents nightmare!!!!!

    You will have to shop around for price and find someone a bit sympathetic to your cause! My approach was to try to make it easy for them, I had a big file of documents (due to applying for a business visa, having lots of investments, bank accounts and quite a few properties and related mortgages) - probably over 60 documents in all. I put together a file with the originals in see through filing pockets, with an 'ORIGINAL' sticker on the pocket, did the photocopying myself, and stuck these in a pocket behind each original with a 'COPY' sticker on it. That way they just had to view that both documents were the same and stamp them. I paid £50 for the lot.
  17. Lisa&Martin

    Short stay accomodation

    Try www.gumtree.com.au, there is a short-term section there under real estate.
  18. I think if you give some more background as to how many people are moving with you, their ages and what areas you are considering going to you will get some more specific feedback. People on this forum are happy to help but if we have the details then we know we are not busy offering information that isn't relevant to you. Do you have work sorted out that might affect where you can commute from? Do you have a budget? etc.
  19. Lisa&Martin

    Points or no points?!

    I got one of these just before i left (as did all my work colleagues) we were all people with 20-year squeaky clean licenses who got caught for the first time, it's a real loss of pride thing about having those points for the first time! Anyway, i thought the choices were (a) 3 points plus £60 fine OR (b) £70 course and no points. I did the course as i didn't want to be fussed with sending my driving licence off just before I was leaving. A colleague of mine rang her insurance company in the UK and asked if her premiums would go up, they said 'no'. Anyway, I think what mainly concerns people is what if it happens again and you end up with 6 points, as you only get the chance to do the course once. The course was informative and not patronising, just about an hour too long though.
  20. Lisa&Martin

    Weekly Expenses Sydney

    I pay $72 per month for contents insurance of about $100,000 including taking work equipment out of the house etc and with a low excess. Your UK life insurance policies can continue as long as you tell them you've moved and continue to pay the premium from a UK bank account. Probably cheaper than starting again on a new policy if you took out the original policy some years ago. Food costs are high but as a poster previously said, you learn as you go along. I now stock up at Aldi and do a huge veggie shop at Sydney markets once every few weeks, cook loads and freeze the lot. You can buy a box of tomatos there for the amount you'd pay for a bagful in Woolies, for example. I also get loo roll and washing powder there in bulk, & things like branded shampoos that are Far East imports. I think we all forget that we have years of experience of 'shopping clever' in the UK and we have to slowly learn all the new ways in Oz.
  21. Lisa&Martin

    move to Sydney - Help!

    hi there we moved to St Ives in December 09 and love the area. My partner is a business consultant so often has to go into central Sydney, and also drive to Ryde (about the same distance as Lane Cove). The trains are frequent and reliable (and cheap!) to the city, he drives to Gordon and catches the train there but there are also city buses etc which go down the Mona Vale Road. I get the impression that people avoid driving into the city due to the difficulty & expense of parking, and because the route can get rather gridlocked at rush hour. I agree with the previous poster that your budget is realistic, this is an expensive area, we pay $1150 per week for a 4 bed house with a pool, thet includes pool servicing and garden maintenance, although when I was looking there were many comparable (and even some grubbier) houses up for $1200 with none of the services included. We found that the real estate agents did not want to talk to us prior to us moving here and could not be persuaded otherwise. I managed to find a really nice furnished rental unit on a week to week basis in St Ives which we stayed in whilst we were house-hunting and until the furniture arrived, although these things are really rare and we just got lucky on that one. It was a 3 bedroom so if you think the contact would be useful just drop me a line. The other alternative is to get a short term rental and hire furniture, i have contact details for that too. We were house hunting over the Chritmas period which we thought would be quiet, everyone on holidays etc, but it was quite the opposite. People were desperate to get their kids into school around here (very good schools in St Ives, Pymble, Gordon etc) as January is the start of the new school year. There were 4 applicants for the house we are now in. However we didn't always play by the rules and go through the estate agent, most rentals were empty so we just went looking through windows or knocked on the front door etc to figure out of it was worth booking a look-see and sometimes we would bump into the owner or neighbours who were more than happy to talk to us. Hence we got this one - the owners liked us and we liked them, they told the agent to ignore the other applications and go ahead with ours. :-) The dog thing - we shipped a black labrador over from England. We left him with friends for 2 months so we could get our furniture and house sorted by the time he came out of quarantine. This really took the pressure off and was a good move, he was very settled as soon as he got here. The house we are in was advertised as 'no pets' but I can only advise that you apply for the ones you like anyway, and be realistic that owners who have houses with immaculate polished wood floors will not bend on this (a favourite flooring type here!). The owners of our house said that it was the agent who had advised them to go with the 'no pets' listing, our dog is very well behaved and we said we were prepared to provide refences and an extra dog damage bond if required. Our landlady loves our dog and is well aware he lives inside. I know other people have found this less than easy, I can only think they didn't ask or try to negotiate at all. I'm sure everyone's experience is different but we found, and friends have said, that once you go through the emotional and physical turmoil of having to pack up & leave the UK, get here, have your worldly possessions arrive in a container and unpack them all, you can't even conceive of moving again in a year. My advice would be to work to get a house you are really happy with as you won't want to be packing up boxes again. This might mean you are somewhere temporary for a short while, but better that than make a long-term mistake. I don't have children so can't provide any school info - sorry. Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions if you can think of anything, or drop me a line if you are coming for a pre-move visit. Best wishes, Lisa
  22. Lisa&Martin

    Should I get Foxtel?

    I can't believe no-one has mentioned a Tivo box - we hated the thought of paying the monthly subscription to Foxtel but also thought the TV was rubbish most nights of the week. Then suddenly you might get a good night with 2 or 3 movies on. We got the upgraded Tivo box and it will record what you want it to (including automatically doing every episode of a whole series at the press of a button) and also will guess what you might like to watch and keep recording 2 channels worth of TV from the last 4 or 5 days. You can train it as to what your preferences are by pressing the 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' buttons. So even if there's nothing on now you can go to either your previous recordings or have a scoot through what it's decided what you might like to watch from the last 5 days. Better still - you can pause for a cup of tea and then fast forward through the ads. Priceless. We got the Tivo birthday bundle for $750 from Harvey Norman including 3 new music DVDs and $50 cashback. That was in the Jan sales but they will do a deal if you ask them.
  23. One other option no-one has mentioned is to get in touch with all the real estate rental offices in the area in which you plan to live. Sometimes they have houses available for short term let, either because people are having extended 'round the world trips', or they have bought a large property and plan to subdivide the plot and are waiting for planning permission, or people have a second home and rent it out from time to time so as to keep it from deteriorating by being left empty. I did this and we have come up with a fabulous furnished apartment for a 3 month rental in Sydney. Belongs to a couple in London who don't advertise it on a commercial basis as they also use it themselves. The estate agents tend to have their fingers in a lot of pies and will know if there's anything available or coming up. Although it might not be cheap it will probably work out cheaper than a holiday let, will feel more 'real' and will be nearer the area you want to settle in.
  24. We used John Adams at Immigration2oz. Small company but that worked in our favour as we felt we were getting personal attention throughout. I have also been in touch with other people who used him and were successful in getting visas, they were all very happy. He comes across as a patient, well-considered man and will give you an honest assessment of your chances. He suggested a visa route for us that we hadn't even considered and it all worked out. His office is based in Guildford.
  25. Lisa&Martin

    Credit Check / History

    If you have an American Express card and you go to their web site you will see a section where you can transfer your card to another country. Haven't done it myself yet but will be looking into it as I have a long history with them and generous monthly limit.