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About mumoffour

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  • Birthday 21/12/1976

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  1. If the medical matter is straight forward, then you could visit a bulk billing Doctor, where you don't have to pay. The prescriptions are not free even for children which is a change from the UK for us but we are lucky that besides asthma, we don't have any recurrent problems in the family. If you had an ongoing illness with several medications, it could start to add up, but there is also a safety net for families where its cheaper or even free once you have spent a certain amount that tax year. Check out the medicare website. Dental - we use the public system where it is $30.50 which covers all appointments needed to resolve the problem ie the check up, the filling and the follow up for example. Obvs you can go private, but there is a gap to pay between what is covered by medicare and what is charged by the doctor/dentist etc. Not everyone gets charged more tax if you don't have private healthcare - there is an income threshold and its also affected by the number of kids.... see the ato website for info. If either of your teenagers need braces - get them fitted and finished before you come because that costs a bomb over here (do a search on here to read up!) Mortgage rates are higher but then so are savings rates. I have taken a year to get out of the habit of buying everything from the supermarket but I now save money by using the fruit and veg shop and the butchers. Not sure how relevant it'll be for the age of your children but zoos are free for children in the school holidays and on Sundays which saves us a packet! We have found local fb groups exist for most things and you can pick up surfboards/surfski etc really cheaply and hey presto = a new free hobby!
  2. mumoffour

    Insurance for empty house in UK?

    We had our empty house insured with the Co-Operative. Hope they can help you out.
  3. mumoffour

    1 year by the sea in VIC

    Dear all We arrived a year ago today. 4 kids (8,7,4 and 3), hubby with job offer and a desire to live by the sea. We hadn't done a reccie because of hubbys work commitments and sheer expense/ hassle factor of our family size. About a month after arriving, hubbys company announced redundancies in the hundreds and last month announced that manufacturing would cease in 2016. When hubby was interviewing for the job by phone, he was told initially as a contractor with a view to becoming permanent - which obvs now looks overly optimistic..... Still he has a job and has settled well into the work place, likes the work and his colleagues. We stayed in a holiday let for the first 3 weeks and moved into our permanent rental a smidge before the end of the 3 weeks. The holiday let was SO cold and we were moving a single electric heater into whichever room we were in at the time. The first rental seemed like a palace! It has heating - however despite the wall panel saying heating/cooling it doesn't have cooling which we only discovered on the first crazy hot day. We are moving next week into a newer house with air con, solar power, in a cul de sac (never thought I'd ever say that!) so the kids can play out the front (there's a communal basketball hoop etc). We have dreams of buying a house eventually but it just isn't sensible with work being a bit flaky (we've done the whole selling a house from the other side of the world and have no desire to rush back into that situation - so will stick to renting for another 2 years and then see...) Best buy so far without a doubt was a satnav for getting around - still use it now! The kids joined a school at year groups appropriate to their academic levels not age group (big mistake as the culture in our local area is very much "hold them back" and "give them 1 more year at home" so right now, the kids class peers are about 12 - 18 months older than them). Now the house has sold in the UK we are moving them to a private school (and dropping back a year level) which we hope will help our son with AS blossom. The kids have loved living at the beach, heading to the park and skate parks after school. They have tried Nippers and several sports that weren't on offer where we lived in the UK, basketball, tennis courts are free, dvd rental from the library is free. We're the family at the beach in winter in coats and hats running around trying to look like we know what we're doing with an AFL ball (we're getting much better!!!) Cost of living is tricky - we use Aldi, Woolworths and the local fruit shop, are concious that water is metered and are extremely stingy with heating and lights. Cost of prescriptions can be a shock but we also use the public dental system where there is a long wait for appointments. What you save in one area (on food, for example is spent on another such as paying for school book lists) We have saved money since we arrived but now have chosen private school for the kids so no more savings for us! We had to be very careful with money when we first arrived and that mentality has hung about but it's also a testimony to having settled that I enjoy my weekly breakfast out at $11 for scrambled eggs on toast and$4.50 for a hot choc, which I think would've given me a heart attack in our first few months (when we were also still converting all $ amounts to £!) You just gotta not do it because it's just not relevant once you're earning $. Some stuff is way cheaper and others much more but it all evens out (for us anyway!) We're a bit over an hour from Melbourne so head up there a few times a month for museums, AFL and the odd concert (Manics this Friday!!) We never did concerts or football games back home (kids were younger I suppose?) Hubby just bought a 4 x 4 so we can re-start doing that at weekends - lots of trails near by and once I get over the fear of snakes getting into the tent, attracted by the camp fire phobia = we may even camp??? About wildlife, we've had 2 whitetails in the house despite spraying pesticides around windows and doorways etc. Seen no other spiders whatsoever. Have seen one snake dead on a road and a dead baby snake on our drive that looked like a bird had dropped it there (about 20cms) so besides still reminding the kids to stick to the path and stomp stomp stomp their feet - it looks like that worry is starting to wear off too :-) Youngest child is getting a stronger Aussie accent than the others. Other kids are using the aussie terms for stuff - even I find myself saying "How you going?" We joined a playgroup that was recommended to us by a fellow PIO'er but apart from that, I find we don't make a conscious effort to socialise with others from "back home". The society down here is very varied in origination which we love. I volunteer at the school and deliver the local neighbourhood watch newsletter and somehow have joined a gym, adult ballet and 2 book groups. I made sure we had learnt the national anthem before we arrived which was helpful as it is sung every Monday at assembly. We even have an Australian flag for our flag pole and only fly the St Georges flag on a few odd days a year. We have 3 years till we can become citizens which we shall be going for. We have no desire to return to the UK though with hubbies job looking increasingly dodgy we may have no choice, in which case we'll be squeezing all we can into our time here rather than sitting home saving every cent for moving costs which would probably be the sensible option! We have bought many bargaintastic items from the local secondhand facebook page which has saved us a small fortune and people gave us free-tv boxes and tvs when we arrived. Life could be very expensive if you are used to buying everything new. Hubby loves how the fans are seated together at afl games and the atmosphere hasn't felt threatening at all. The kids love that the postman drives his motor bike along the pavement to deliver the letters. I love that the current pm is the daughter of immigrants. I think we've settled fairly well though we still see something and say "That's so aussie" (in a good way!) so I guess if we had properly integrated, we wouldn't notice those things??? We worry more about the future now because we did give up a secure life back home and here is looking increasingly tenuous but we're still relatively young and hubby is skilled so we'll just have to move again if we need to. I would recommend anyone thinking of coming over to come and give it a go but to expect to have some really dodgy days of homesickness but also to commit to trying to immerse themselves to really give it a go. I don't think you can be really open to your new home if you're up half the night on fb chatting to friends from back home so you're too tired to go for coffee when invited the next day :-) If I can be of help, please just drop me a pm and I'll try and help out with any specifics :-)
  4. My kids are Jan, 2 in Feb and 1 in March - the eldest 3 are all the youngest in their classes and we succumbed to the local pressure to drop our youngest back from 4 year old kinder in 3 year old kinder. Agree the cut off is 30 April but if they are close to it; they may well be the youngest (may or may not work for them depending on their personalities?) Most people where we live hold their kids back a year if their birthdays are Jan - Apr so they are the oldest in the year below (especially boys). We kept our kids at their academic level (finished year 3 in Uk and then joined here halfway through year 3) and now regret it as their friends are all at least a year older and it means that they are being judged in sports and academia against kids that are so much older (makes a difference at this age). Also think about the other end of schooling - some people do fine going to Uni at 17 but some would benefit from starting older (hence dropping "back" a year to be with their age peers).
  5. mumoffour

    Lost In a Pile of Paperwork

    We did ours ourselves (under the old 175 visa) not sure of the process nowadays but I went through and made a list of who needed copies of what and whether they needed to be certified or not, so that I could minimise trips to the JoP chappie who did ours. Check twice the order things need to happen in; for us it was IELTS first, then skills assessment (incl transcript from Uni they had to find in the archives) then police checks from UK and Dubai (involving bank orders in US$ which needed ordering in advance and collecting before recorded delivery posting to Dubai) then dragging all 4 kids to the medicals ..... However - I would say it is all worth it - we've been in VIC for 9 months now and I'd say we are just starting to feel a bit settled and we're getting the first traces of Aussie accents for the kids :-D Keep going - logic and preparation will get you through!
  6. mumoffour

    Hiring Child seats for our reccie / holiday....how much???????

    I don't think UK car seats are legal for use over here so don't waste your baggage allowance on it. We hired the car and risked the short drive to Kmart to buy 4 seats (2 boosters, 2 full seats) NOT the most fun drive of my life HATED EVERY SECOND!!! DO NOT RECOMMEND IT :-( Especially after such a long flight, on unfamiliar roads, in an unfamiliar car despite the legalities.... Do you have any friends who could meet you at the airport? Sorry - we're nowhere near Sydney else I'd help you out :-)
  7. mumoffour

    Confused about where to live?

    At 20 the world is your oyster - try some other cities/countries - go where you can both get jobs you are happy with. There is more to England than Birmingham and more to Australia than Brisbane. Make your mistakes now before kids(?) affect the fluidity of your decisions..... Good luck - and don't forget it takes a while to settle into any new place x
  8. mumoffour

    Modest savings and no UK property to sell

    Once you get here ( maybe visa dependent???) you can open a first home saver account where the Gov't contribute 17% of what you put into the account - there are timescales involved and the tax on interest is set at 15% (same as on your superannuation) so that's an incentive. Check it out - it'll sure help us to save up for our house! Don't tie yourself to a house in the wrong country that you might not be able to sell or maybe make a loss on. Also when you rent over here (check you qualify on the centrelink website) you might get rent assistance to help pay rent. Also renters don't pay council tax/rates here in Vic. There are grants to help you buy your first home here and they are more for building a new house than buying an established house - check google.....there can be a substantial saving in buying a "house and land package" - you only pay stamp duty on the value of the land. Also first time buyers are gradually getting more and more discount off stamp duty in Vic. These things all vary by State - so keep researching. Google is your friend! :-) http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/pathway.aspx?pc=001/002/066
  9. mumoffour

    Help!!! Moving to Melbourne around Easter

    Try real estate.com and gumtree and we booked our arrival accommodation through stayz.com We're down in Torquay which is nowhere near where you want to be but I do remember trying to organise stuff from the UK (on the internet a lot and making calls in the middle of the night!) You'll get there!!! :wink:
  10. mumoffour

    Utterly depressed....

    Bit chilly in winter and the odd day we had to wear rain coats walking to school but never had to don the whole fleece plus coat and hat, scarves and wellies kit that was the winter staple in the UK. You will probably never have to scrape your car clear of frost again (depending how far inland you'll be living) Even in winter you can wear a wet suit and still swim and surf - though that will "out" you as a Pom ;-) Personally I'm not a big fan of the plus 35 degree days but there's not been more than 5 of those in our last 7 months - the climate is one of the reasons we chose Victoria over other States. I do find it nicer to get on with life when the sun is shining - even makes grocery shopping more pleasant :-)
  11. mumoffour

    Our puppy died yestreday

    Your puppy was gorgeous and I'm so sorry they've been ripped from your lives by such a stupid act. Can I suggest you ask a friend to go through the house and collect together all toys, blankets, brushes etc so you don't keep finding little reminders at random times of day? So sorry you're not getting a great deal of understanding from folks back home - doesn't help that the sun is shining if your eyes are too swollen from crying to see it. People do say some stupid things sometimes x
  12. mumoffour

    AUTISM Is Australia on board?

    Made me cry with happiness for you! :hug:
  13. mumoffour

    Childcare/after schools clubs

    Vacation care is also available in our town - as well as breakfast club and after school care (would be from 7am till 6pm wrapped around school hours) from what I am aware (haven't used it myself) but the school playground is cleared of non-ASC children at 3:30 to allow the ASC children exclusive access to the playground and they use the indoor gymnastics equipment and basketball facilities - the children are not just sat in a classroom doing their homework. If you qualify you can get at least 50% of the cost of such childcare rebated to you. Good luck with the move!
  14. mumoffour

    Schools enrollment Point Cook

    FIGO: Where we chose to live there was only 1 state school - I contacted them via email from the UK; arranged a meeting for about day 4 after arrival in Oz (had to be quick before the holidays between term 2 & 3) Had a meeting and tour round the school, kids had a sample afternoon in their classes and then started properly on day 1 of term 3. Very welcoming school and staff - several new families started at the same time as us and the school held a new families coffee morning. Kids have settled in really well (they are pretty much the youngest in their year groups though but we transferred them into the appropriate academic level rather than age group peers, if you see what I mean? Only issue for us has been handwriting - they use Victorian cursive here that my children hadn't seen before (I'd been filling them in on aboriginal history, geography and slang - didn't even think about handwriting lol! )
  15. mumoffour

    Scorcher today in Melbourne

    I took the kids to the park and library yesterday and stocked up on books and DVDs - we're staying in today (may venture much much later?) I have blinds shut and a window open for breeze but am just about to shut it cos it's getting to be a hot breeze..... No cooling in our house (except 2 ceiling fans) :-( It's our first proper scorcher today since arriving!