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excitedbutterrified

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  1. excitedbutterrified

    Swimming pool - asset or liability?

    If you are "handy" a pool is amazing, and doesn't have to be a bank breaker. We moved into a rental which had a disused pool which had been emptied by the owner, (well 90% emptied, the remaining 1 ft of water in the bottom was black sludge) who didn't know what to do with it and I thin was going to have it removed at some point.) I asked if I could have a go at bringing it back to use, which they accepted (why wouldn't they?) It took a lot of hard graft to empty the sludge, jetwash the sides, fix up and clean the pump / filter and about $300 of water to fill it, and then find and fix all the leaks. I got a second hand solar heating system for ~$150 and installed it myself on the roof - replacing a completely knackered home made one (I did this without telling the owner - but I did a neat job and I doubt he would ever notice) Once it was all up and running, it worked a treat. This took a couple of months which I did over the winter. The main work though is keeping the water quality up to scratch, but again this isn't brain surgery, you just need to take regular samples, the machine in bunnings tells you what quantities of chemicals to add, key is to do it regularly. I had several occasions where I failed to keep on top of water quality (either didn't remove fallen leaved during winter, or allowed the solar heater to get the water over 30 degrees - it went green) Its no big deal if it does go green / cloudy, but preventing is better than curing. I'm sure it can be very expensive if you have a company in to manage, or if you have a major problem like an underground leak, but as I said, normal maintenance isn't complicated, just a little work.
  2. excitedbutterrified

    Traveling back to the UK with a 9 month old

    We have flown UK/ Oz and back with the following combinations of our kids ages : 4 month old 2 year old & 4 month old 3 & 1 year old 4 & 2 year old 6 & 4 year old Its never easy when they are young. My advice is : Get the bassinet seat anyway, and try to use it. having just a little time not attached to your kid is bliss, and they will likely sleep better too. Even if you cant use it, you get a little extra space and your little one can play on the floor (if the flight attendants allow) Those are premium seats for a reason, so if you are eligible to have them for free, go for it. We took a perverse pleasure in watching the faces of people who had paid extra for the legroom realising they were sitting next to a baby for the next 14 hours (maybe we are a**holes). If you are going to stop halfway, make it a decent one, with a few days. Our worst trip had a 1 night stop in Dubai, It didn't help jetlag (particularly for the kids) and we wish we had just got it all over with in one go. For us it just extended the pain, and we weren't in Dubai long enough to enjoy it. - we spent one night in a really nice hotel - and didnt sleep great, plus some hours in Dubai mall and went up the tower (which is worth it!) Either stop properly, and have a mini holiday - or don't stop. Since our trip with the long stopover, we try to have the shortest possible transfer time, 2 hours is plenty for us. Agree with Wonderingaloud , sort your own food out, the airline will give you baby food, but if your little one is fussy, there ain't many other options once in the air, so sort something you know they will eat in advance, lots of snacks and their favorites to shut them up when crying. Make sure you dispose of all your non allowed food on the plane when you return to oz as the customs people will make you bin it anyway and aren't as nice! On the plane, try not to be too self conscious when your child cries (and they will), most people are generally quite generous and understanding, if someone offers to help and play with your baby for a while - do accept and get what rest you can. This has happened to us a lot, and we have offered to mind someone else's kid when the parents look frazzled. If you can afford a third seat, you may find it worthwhile (maybe you are rich??) but personally, I would rather go through the 24 hours of extreme discomfort and save some cash! Although 24 hours sounds a lot - and during the trip it can be hell - its over quickly and you can and will forget about it. Main thing for me is to relax - share the burden with your wife and try to enjoy it as an adventure.
  3. excitedbutterrified

    How will be life in melbourne with under 1 year old kid

    We used long daycare (7AM to 6PM) up until January 2018 as both parents were working, so a little out of date, but we were out in the suburbs, in a place called Glen Waverley / Wheelers Hill. Here we payed $109 per day, per kid - and with 2 in full time, we payed over $1000 per week, ouch. Shopping around, some childcare places were slightly cheaper, some (much) more expensive, but we found one we really liked and suck with it for 3 years. Also bear in mind if you are on a PR visa and working (plus some other conditions), you can claim child care subsidy, we didn't qualify as we were only temporary residents, but this can provide a huge discount so your budget may be better than you think. Don't worry about your child being "annoying", I'm sure they only annoy you! Melbourne is great for families with little kids, loads to do, play areas everywhere, very child friendly. We found a good community of other families with similar aged kids, and were never bored. My wife joined some mum and baby groups and once our eldest was old enough, she joined an aussie rules club (auskick) which was fantastic. On suburbs, normal rules apply, the closer to the city centre you live, the higher rent you will pay, and for less space. As you move out, housing gets more spaced out, but there is less to do. You have to find your balance. You can get away without owning a car if you are very central, but out of the centre, a car is essential. We had a big 4 bed house with a swimming pool and paid $600 per week rent. Glen Waverley is quite far from the city, being 40 /45 minutes by train, but (like most melbourne suburbs) is quite vibrant with nice restaurants / cafes - much quieter than central suburbs but still great. We lived there because we fell in love with the park (Jells Park) and the density of housing is quite a bit lower than the more central suburbs. Its a very "Asian" suburb, which suited us fine, but some people can find that jarring if they have lived all their lives in a majority white environment (We loved living in a multicultural place where our kids mixed with kids of all different colours, and you get the advantage of amazing Asian restaurants etc... but our parents found it uncomfortable to be in a minority for once - maybe its a generational thing?) We always hankered to live closer to a beach, as during the summer months we would be at the coast most weekends, but that also comes at a premium price, depends on personal preference. For groceries, everywhere will be well covered by the supermarkets, (coles, woolworths, aldi) but also look for independent Asian supermarkets for fresh fruit /veg which are much cheaper , and seem to be everywhere too. A trip to Queen Victoria markets in the city was like a day out, and you could buy pretty much any food item you can imagine! Anything else you want to know about living in Melbourne with kids, please ask.
  4. excitedbutterrified

    Removal Firms UK - Australia

    Not extremely recently but we used OSS to both move ourselves out to Melbourne in 2015, and move back in 2018. Both times we had a full sole use 20ft container, and the cost was about $7,500 Aussie dollars each time. Luckily we had the costs covered (and flights etc..) by our new employers both times we moved. The process was really very straightforward, and the moving companies are really slick and efficient. Absolutely no complaints about either move. At the UK end, OSS subcontracted to Britania movers who were fine. Are there any specific things you want to know?
  5. excitedbutterrified

    Missing transcript for skills assessment

    Which Uni did he attend? I recently had the same situation, and my old university (uni of liverpool) sent out a new transcript - which wasn't 100% complete - it was missing some module names during the first year, but had the module codes. Engineers Australia were happy with this. I graduated in 2003 and I think its a basic function of a university to keep such records.
  6. I sat the PTE-A last week in Manchester, so here is my advice. Most of this is obvious, and already out there, but here it is anyway!. The test is taken entirely on computer, and marked by computer. This is good because it is scrupulously fair. Its a bit impersonal because you wont speak to a real person. - this was a plus point for me, as I am a shy antisocial type! It also carries with it, quirks of how it is marked. Some question types are totally straightforward and there isn't much you can do to prepare, but some questions are tricky and require knowledge of what the computer is looking for to do well. Even if you are a native English speaker, you should at the very least familiarise yourself with the question format, and have some strategies of how to deal with those questions. You have to remember you are looking to satisfy a computer algorithm rather than a person. You should take an official PTE-practice test very early on, so you can focus on areas to improve on. The practice test was exactly the same format and "feel" of the real test, and the scores done in the same way, by the same marking algorithms. My scores were almost identical between the practice and real test. The question types I would spend most time preparing for and practicing are : Essay - use a structure ( intro, argument for, argument against, my opinion / conclusion) Re-tell lecture Summarise lecture Describe image I found the speaking parts of the real test very challenging, as you take the test at the same time as many others in the same room, and you can hear them speaking. Everyone is trying to do their best, loud, clear BBC newsreader voice so it can be very distracting. You need to just focus on your own test which is hard to do. The test can take up to 3 hours, but I was out of the room after less than 2 hours, I don't think I rushed anything, but I didn't use the 10 minute break, and after I answered each question moved immediately on to the next. I guess pacing is a personal preference but once I was in the zone I felt better banging through the questions rather than dwelling on them. For preparation, I used "E2 PTE Academic" free videos on youtube, where strategies for all the question types are presented, and which worked really well for me. Highly recommend their youtube channel, I have no idea what their paid courses are like.
  7. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Well, we have put our EOI in yesterday, but we are slightly (majorly) deflated that our chances don't look fantastic at the moment based on the online reaction to the August invitations. We have 75 points, (25 Age, 20 English, 15 education, 15 experience) which looks to be very sketchy for getting an invitation at the present time. Let the waiting commence!
  8. excitedbutterrified

    Visa grant for 189

    Hi Didizza, I am wondering if you can tell me if you had to supply police checks / medicals at the application stage, or would the system let you wait until the CO requests them? I'm about to submit my EOI, but I would like to string the process out somewhat to delay first entry to oz!
  9. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Thanks Nemesis, I suspected as much! I guess that's the nature of bureaucracy! Is there anyone who has recently been through the process for 189 who could tell me the exact stage that police and medical checks have to be submitted. I have heard slightly conflicting info, some info states the CO will request both towards the end of the process as the last steps, other say the police checks need to go in with the initial application, with the medicals later. Probably over-thinking this stuff, but I'm a worrier. Thanks again!
  10. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Thanks for comments Does anyone know if the COs are ever flexible on the timing of the process to fit in with plans such as ours? As I understand it, the first entry restriction is based on the expiry of police checks and medicals. I imagine, that even if we were invited to apply tomorrow, we could easily expect the application process to extend beyond December (by using up all of the 60 days to put in the application and not front loading all the documents) However I'm not sure at what stage the CO would request police checks and medicals, and if we did have to provide them earlier than the end of this year that would present a problem, but we could obtain new police clearances etc.. Just a thought. As I say, at the moment, our points tally isn't enough at 75, so this may all be academic anyway!
  11. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Yesterday I sat the PTE english academic exam and got good enough scores for "superior english" - which my wife laughed heartily at! And with a positive skills assessment, I'm ready to put in an EOI for a 189 visa. We are looking to go on holiday to Melbourne over the Christmas period next year so flying out mid / late december, and we would want this to be the first entry visit to validate the visa (we would actually emigrate permanently in 3/4 years from now) . I understand the last date of entry is usually set at 1 year from the date of medicals and police checks. My question is : how long after receiving an invitation - or submitting the application proper - would medicals and police checks usually need to be completed? I am itching to put in the EOI as its something ive been wanting to do for ages, but we worry that if we received an immediate invitation, in order not to waste it, things could move more quickly than fits in with our current holiday plans. That being said, I want the EOI in ASAP to give the greatest chance of success - after all we can change our holiday plans. This may all be academic as I wouldn't have had enough points based on the last invitation round (we have 75 and looks like the minimum was 80) but I see that this threshold changes month by month!
  12. excitedbutterrified

    Proving skilled employment, Engineer

    Thanks for replies. I'm going for 189 or 190 visa, as an electronics engineer. This is an occupation with a pretty harsh ceiling imposed on visa numbers. So im aiming for 75 points. (which it seems is no guarantee of an invitation, but a reasonable chance) Experience wise, I'm going to be claiming 5-8 years UK experience (10 pts) and 1-3 years of Australian experience. (5 pts) At 38 years old, I also need to get cracking as in a year and a bits time, my points tally will decrease to 65, which pretty much would count me out. After that, its not all over! We could then switch to my wife as the main applicant , as she is a consultant doctor, From what we have read, its slightly more involved to get a skills assessment as a doc - which is why we are starting with me. We aren't in any huge rush to emigrate, so if we can get back to OZ before we turn 45 it would all work out pretty well! Ive submitted the skills assessment without the experience review. Next on my list is to sit an English test
  13. excitedbutterrified

    Proving skilled employment, Engineer

    I am getting together the documents to apply to Engineers Australia for a migration skills assessment under the Washington accord, In fact I have everything together to make the initial application, (certificates, transcripts etc.. ) and was about to submit and pay. However I note that there is a "Relevant Skilled Employment Assessment" section, which is optional. I do have 15 years + of work experience in my particular specialty, and I do need that experience to achieve the points for skilled migration. I was wondering If I need to prove experience years to Engineers Australia at the EOI stage, or is that normally done at the application stage directly to the immi people? I haven't told my employer Ill be applying for a visa yet, and not to keen to ask for a reference letter at this stage! Thanks!
  14. We are looking at moving to Melbourne from the UK in about 3/4 years, and also right now looking to replace one of our cars here. It would be interesting to know if we could buy something here that would be worthwhile importing when we move. Considering a Nissan Patrol or similar (we still have a camper trailer in Oz from last time we are there and use for holidays, we used to pull that with a -much beloved - patrol). Cost for a 2005 3l diesel in UK is £6-£7k for a great condition one with 100 - 150k miles.
  15. excitedbutterrified

    Etihad, Pre-booking seats travelling with kids

    Hello, We have booked return flights from Manchester to Melbourne for april 2019. Just a 3 week holiday to visit our old friends. When booking prices seemed highly volatile, huge variation between airlines / days (I guess because of the easter holidays) and we managed to find a particular combination of Etihad flights for ~730 each, where the next cheapest over 1000. As we need 4 tickets, that made a big difference. We have flown Uk to OZ and back about 5 times over the past few years, but what has surprised us this time is that we cant pre-book our seats on the plane without paying a fee. Pre booking the cheapest seats would be £344 for the family, and being a mingebag I cant bring myself to pay it. Travelling alone, this wouldn't bother me, and we don't care where we sit on the plane, but it is important that the kids sit next to us. We have 2 girls, age 7 and 4. It would be ok for us to be separated into 2 -2s, (and obviously a row of 4 best) but would be difficult for us to manage them if we had a single one split off. My question is, has anyone else recently left it until 24 hours before departure to check in on etihad? And if so, what was seat availability like? I don't doubt that if we do end up split up, my wife will hound the etihad staff until they move us into seats near each other, but I'd rather avoid the stress. Cheers!
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