Thursday, May 31, 2007

Girls Road Trip to Wales

This week was mid-term break and the only thing I had planned to do was move and catch up with Connie. I hadn't heard from Connie for a while so I figured she had forgotten about our plans to catch up this week.

On Sunday, I get a call from Connie while I was trying to race to my new job (which I don't think I still have) and she invited me to a cheese rolling festival in Gloustershire which is about 2 and a half hours out of London. Of course, me being one to never say no to anything that sounds remotely interesting, agree to go with her and 2 of her friends.

They'd hired a car so we drove down there and it was so exciting just to be in a car made our way to the festival and laughed so hard at the people who were participating. Basically, people volunteered to participate in rolling down an extremely steep hill (Coopers Hill) to chase a piece of cheese. The cheese was quite large, weighing around 2.5kg and the first person to get the cheese got to keep it. The second person down the hill got £10 and the 3rd person got £5. The prize isn't really worth it after what you have to go through to get down the hill - but amusing for us watching it!

We got quite annoyed because people kept trying to walk past us and we eventually started shouting at people 'We are NOT a path. This is a standing in one place, place!' and we pointed to the section which was a path. People were not happy at us.

After the cheese rolling was over we decided to head somewhere for lunch and headed to this quaint little English pub which was in Sheepscombe Village. We were thinking that because we were on mid-term break and the car was so cheap to hire that we'd keep the car for an extra day and go to Wales.

Now, I was absolutely thrilled but we had nothing on us except our bags and the clothes we were wearing.

So, we had to 'rough it'.

Now, our idea of 'roughing it' consisted of us going to ASDA and buying (this is between the four of us mind you)
  • deodorant
  • tooth brushes
  • tooth paste
  • concealer
  • eye liner
  • fresh undies
Kate even bought a new top and I must admit I was tempted to buy a new pair of pants! We had to stop ourselves from buying more.

We also didn't have accommodation so while we were driving (and getting lost along the way) to Cardiff, Kate was looking up accommodation on her phone. Now as we were 'roughing it' we didn't want to stay somewhere expensive so... we ended up at the Holiday Inn - Cardiff. Full bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities, mini-bar etc!

I have learnt that I really can 'rough it' well!

Wales itself is absolutely gorgeous. We saw Chepstow Castle (only from the outside) and we went inside Cardiff Castle (see photo) which was gorgeous. We climbed to the top and had an awesome view of Cardiff.

Kate wanted to go to this place called Barry which is along the coast so we went there and dipped our feet into the ocean. The water actually wasn't that bad and there were people there enjoying the sun and playing sports along the beach.

We then ended up at this gorgeous spot (see photo) for a picnic lunch of sandwiches and chocolate bought from Sainsburys. The view was amazing. Wales is so green and lush. It was also nice just to be out of the hussle and bustle of London.

On our way home from Wales we passed Tintern Abbey and of course we had to stop and take more photos. We also ended up in a graveyard in Usk and cleared up the grave of a man called John Dunn because his grave was covered in weeds. It was weird because his anniversary was today - the day after we got back from Wales so we uncovered him for his anniversary and now he can see the sun again.

After such an awesome trip we are back in London and are planning to catch up next week sometime to exchange photos. I'm off to Amsterdam tomorrow so you will hear all about those adventures once I'm back!

Monday, May 28, 2007

My New Job!

I can now say that I have cruised down the river Thames! For free.. actually... I got PAID to do it. I had my first shift working in the bar on a boat that has function cruises down the Thames.

In typical style though things did not go to plan... I was meant to be at Temple by 12.30pm which was fine and I was perfectly on time (ok, so I was 'just' on time!) until I got to Notting Hill Gate where it took me 20 minutes to realise that a Circle line train wasn't going to come... So, after considering my options and sending a text to Matt (boss) saying I wasn't going to make 12.30 I took an alternate route to Temple. I eventually arrived 20 minutes later, which I thought would be fine because I thought Matt had asked me there at 12.30 so that he could brief me on what would be happening...

Well... turns out the boat actually LEFT the pier at 12.30 so I had missed it. Matt told me to catch the DLR to Cutty Sark and meet him at Greenwich Pier which took another 30 minutes but eventually.. I was on the boat!

As it turns out, the boat didn't actually leave for another hour after I'd arrived so we could all have left later anyways.

The actual shift was great. I had forgotten how much I liked working in a bar. Except the people we were serving were upper class snobs who waved their money around like it was nothing. I said to one guy who'd asked for a tequila shot that it'd be £3.70 which for a shot is bloody ridiculous and he looked at me as if I were crazy to even bother mentioning the price!

On the way home I was walking down my street and because I live quite a fair way down I always make sure I know what's going on in my surroundings - I heard fast walking behind me so I turned to look behind me and a guy (a HOT guy) says 'it's ok, don't worry' so I make some comment back and keep walking. I'm almost home and this guy who'd just walked past me into the same house as me... he lives in 85B (downstairs) and I live in 85A (upstairs). He didn't believe me at first until I pulled my keys out and opened the door. Fucking unreal, I have a hot guy living underneath me! I need to make sure I bump into him more often but damn I bet he has a girlfriend!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm a teenager again!

Kirra and I decided that we just had to go out and dance! We've been spending too much time at Jade's house on the weekends and doing house parties or going to Belushi's in Shepherd's Bush that we were just itching to go somewhere that had good music, great atmosphere and cheap drinks.

We had a few drinks at my place before heading to this pub in Hammersmith that someone had told Kirra about. It is meant to be a pub down the bottom and more clubby upstairs - and the best news of all - it was open til 2-3am which is so rare for London! We were so excited and we trek off to this place, already slightly tipsy due to the 3/4 bottle of wine we'd each drunk!

It was such an awesome night because they played so many good songs and we danced so much! The drinks were reasonably priced as well (£2.95 for a double shot of Jager and 1/2 can red bull is great) although we didn't really need to drink much once we were inside. I spent about £10 over the course of the night and that's only because I bought a kebab on the way home (man did I regret that in the morning!)

Anyway, when we were inside Kirra started talking to this guy because he seriously looked as though he was 16 and she was laughing at him, doubting that he really was legally allowed to be in the pub. While she was talking to him his friend started chatting to me (he also looked 16). He asked me how old I was and me, being me, asked him to guess how old I was... Can you believe that this guy seriously thought I was 19... It made me laugh so hard. When I told him I was 23 and a teacher he started laughing so hard I thought he'd fall over. I had to show him my teaching registration for him to believe me. Turns out he was only 17 too! It made me laugh and he thought Kirra was older than me when she is actually younger than me! I can handle being told I look like I'm 19.

For the life of me, I could not tell you the name of this pub though. Kirra and I definitely plan on going back so when we go back I'll let you know what the pub is called.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Flat mate dramas

After posting our ad on the Gumtree website and having a load of people view the flat, it seems like we have two suitable candidates for the room... One is a German guy who seems lovely and he and Stefan would get along really well... the other is a British girl who I would love to share a house with (too bad I'm the one moving out and not Stefan!) but she wants to move in 2-3 weeks which doesn't suit me at all.

So, I am pushing Stefan towards the German guy who... haha... is also called Stefan!!! I had to ask him to repeat his name when he spoke to me on the phone to ask if he could view the room.

I have actually found a room in Shepherds Bush which is actually a pretty dodgy house in regards to the fact that it is small and the kitchen is tiny but.. the room is HUGE - comes with a double bed, desk and wardrobe which is great and it is around £130 less a month than what I'm paying now. There is also no deposit, only the first month's rent which is amazing for London. I can move in ASAP, hence why I want Stefan to get this guy in on the weekend.

Because my ad was placed on the Gumtree, we also got someone for Sarah's room which we weren't planning on advertising for another couple of weeks so that works really well. He is downstairs at the moment but I want him to go so I can talk to Stefan about MY room since that is the more pressing issue at the moment.

So, all looking good on the moving out issue. Not the big drama I thought it could be.

Random notes about my travel plans for the rest of the year...
Amsterdam in June for 5 days!
Germany in June for a weekend (just to visit family but I really should try to get to Berlin or Munich for a weekend!)
Mum comes to visit me in London at the end of June for her birthday :)
Jade and I are discussing Spain for the Running of the Bulls but not sure that's gonna happen :(
Hopefully Ireland at the end of July
Greek Islands in August
Seattle for Christmas with Mum!

I need the rest of the time to save my money and pay off my credit card! I honestly wanted to do more travel than this but realised it's just not realistic. I am actually doing a fair bit and I hope Jade and I can fit in Spain. Not sure how I'm going to afford it all but I will manage. Budget is becoming a key word! I have spent so little money this week because I went shopping and I have only eaten at home and taken lunch to work with me. I haven't even bought any drinks at the tube station on my way to work which is awesome for me. I am doing very well. So, hopefully my credit card situation won't be so threatening within the next few weeks!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finding a new house - AGAIN!

The time has come for me to start advertising my room and my search begins again to find another place to live. So, I have been checking The Gumtree every couple of days just to see what's out there at the moment but I'm not sure where I want to live. I really like where I am at the moment but I've found it too expensive.

I hate house-hunting - Wish me lots of luck!

Stefan and I had a huge argument today because he repeats everything 40 times a day and it's beginning to get on my nerves. But the even more annoying thing is when he comes downstairs half an hour after we've argued, he acts like nothing has even happened. Does he not get that he shits me??? I really don't think he does.

My move out date has been set as the end of May - ouch. Gotta find somewhere fast otherwise I'll have to doss at a friend's for a few days until I get myself sorted. Oh fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Money issues resolved!

I'm thinking about getting a second job! I applied for one working in the bar on a river boat down the Thames and I have a trial shift in a few weekends. How fun would that be!

I have decided that teaching in the UK sucks and I hate being a supply teacher and I would love to work in a bar or something fun full time except for the fact that it pays shit wages. If I did this boat cruise thing I would get £9 an hour - well, way less considering it would be a second job and therefore taxes are higher.

Anyways, I am so excited and I hope that my trial shift goes ok. Knowing me I will get bored of it in a few weeks but at least it would be some extra money over summer!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pirate Eye!

Firstly let me just start off by saying that when you're drunk, anything you don't remember didn't happen!

This weekend was huge... Saturday night I headed out with a few of the gang for a few drinks down at Belushis. We then ended up going back to Jade and Anthony's place for more drinks where I had two bottles of cheap and nasty wine to drink. From this point onwards I do not remember a thing! Seriously, I remember nothing!

Apparently we went to this party at someones house and Anthony told me the next morning that I had apparently tried to go to the toilet on someones bed - that was the rumour floating around anyway! I seriously don't believe that drunk or not that I would ever do that so I think someones messages got a little bit screwed up. Anthony had been told by one of the people who lived in the house that he had to take me home because apparently I was too drunk or something - as I said, I have no recollection at all!

We ended up back home after losing Anthony's precious stubby holder (seriously I don't get why he had to take it with him anyway so really it wasn't my fault that I lost it...) and woke up in the morning to discover that my hand bag was MISSING! Ev and Anthony searched high and low for my bag but it was gone so Anthony concluded that someone had stolen it. I tried to convince him to go back to the party house to see if it was there (because I couldn't go back due to shaming myself so bad the night before!) but he was passed out on the bed and couldn't move!

So, I canceled all my bank cards and then got a message from a guy who lives at the house that said they'd found my bag. Thank gosh for that but how annoying that I canceled my cards.

An eventful night and I probably cried a million tears for a million different reasons. Everyone was really supportive though, especially Jade and Anthony which made my night better :) I woke up in the morning and spoke to Dan who had already heard the story of my bed toilet shenanigans - word travels fast and I hate rumours about me, especially one like that! I did wake up to find that I had scored a white beanie, no idea who it came from but I probably picked it up unknowingly at the party. How did I get so drunk?? Least I didn't get good old Pirate Eyes.... ;)

I have since decided that I probably shouldn't drink so much next time but someone (I think it was Josh or maybe Chris) gave me some sound advice and told me that when you drink and don't remember it means it didn't really happen! I like it!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thorpe Park

I mentioned in a previous post that a few of us would be going to Thorpe Park. Well, we went last weekend and my goodness.... talk about dramas…

Firstly.. I was meant to meet Jade at 9am. After this day I have learnt never to listen to Jade’s time and that I should always extend it by AT LEAST one hour. We didn’t end up leaving until 11ish – this was by no fault of Jade’s. We ended up arriving at the theme park around 1ish (our plan was to be there by 11.30!) but no worries, we were just excited to be there.

Well this is where the real drama begins. Alice had booked the tickets on which gave us £18 tickets instead of £32. To confirm her online booking it said that she just needed to collect her tickets on the day. So we went to the ‘pre-booked ticket’ offices and gave them all the information for our tickets…

Only to be told that they had no information regarding Alice’s booking and that there was nothing they could do.

We had travelled all this way only to be told that the booking through hadn’t gone through and we had no tickets to get inside the theme park. If we wanted to go in, the manager was saying that we’d have to pay full price. We were furious and tried calling but they were SO rude and unhelpful. When the manager saw us again (an hour later) he offered us £22 tickets which we took.

It was such a frustrating experience because the Brits are so damn rude when it comes to customer service. In Australia, the customer is always right even if they are completely wrong. In the UK no one gives a shit.

Apart from that minor setback we all had a great day. The rides were amazing. We went on one called the Samurai… I screamed my lungs out. Kirra was sitting next to me with her eyes shut and after the ride she told me off because she was bloody scared as it was (I told her the ride would be less scary then the roller coaster we just went on – pfft, how wrong was I!) and because I was screaming so much it freaked her out even more.

Eventually we hope to go back there to go on the rides that we didn't get to go on.

It's like a BiG Roller Coaster!

London is the biggest roller coaster that I’ve ever been on in my life. You have the most amazing times and meet so many awesome people which are definitely highlights of the whole big OE but at the same time, there are times when you can’t help but miss the security of ‘home’.

There are times when I just feel like I don’t fit in in London – yeah I have friends but it’s a Friday night and I have no where to go. It’s times like this that make me realise I need to keep developing my social network but it’s so easy to slip into a routine of hanging out with the same people because it’s easy.

Living here can be hard and frustrating at times but there is no way I regret coming here. Tough times aside, this has been the best experience ever and I’m discovering that I can survive on my own (well, apart from a couple of bank deposits from dad – but I swear I’m on my own from now on!) and there have been times when I would have loved to have packed up and taken the first flight back to Melbourne but I’ve stuck through it and ended up realising that things were never that bad.

You guys all know that I am a bit of a drama queen and am usually more sensitive to certain things then others would be but I think I’m doing pretty well given the circumstances!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Two crazy girls in London!

Belinda was in the UK this week and we finally caught up today! It was great because nothing had changed and it didn't even seem like we were in London... well, except for the fact that we went to Oxford Street, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey!

Me and Belinda on Regent Street
(in front of Hamley's)

Bel and I on the tube
Me and Belinda @ Piccadilly Circus

We had such a great time catching up and had so many laughs - just like old times. We went to Hamley's which is a massive toy store and ended up buying these funky cowboy looking hats with glitter all over them. We vowed that we would wear them for the rest of the day - which we did. Typical of us. So, we have all these photos of us at Big Ben and Trafalgar Square with our glittery cowboy hats on. We got a few comments from random people about our hats but the best reaction was walking to Trafalgar Square when a huge group of guys whistled and clapped their appreciation for our awesome hats!

It was a great day and great to catch up with my best friend but it's going to be hard in London without her for another 18 months. I've been trying to convince her to come to London but I'm not sure how well that's working :)

Tomorrow I'm off to Thorpe Park with Jade and a few others so that should be loads of fun! Will keep you all updated and thanks for the emails/comments - keep them coming!


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Joys of flatshares!

Oh my goodness... I rang Anthony the other day to whinge about this but my whinging is never compelte without a blog entry dedicated to the stupidity of my housemate - Stefan.

We need to talk about the future of our house cos I am moving out at the end of the lease because I can't afford to pay rent over the 6 week holidays. I told Stefan this and he said that we needed to talk to Sarah as well to discuss what was going to happen. He asked if I was available a certain night and I said I wasn't sure due to the fact that Belinda was coming to London for a few days and she might want to catch up that night, and if she did want to catch up then I would be seeing her. He looked at me and said 'so you're telling me that meeting up with a friend is more important than having a house meeting to discuss the future of this house?'... I looked back at him and furiously replied 'well actually, yeah it is considering I haven't seen her in 3 months and won't be seeing her again for another 2 years!'. I stormed out of the house about 15 minutes later and called Anthony (thanks for listening and laughing at me!) and came back home to find Stefan being all nice to me. Pfft.

He keeps asking me to clean the bathroom and move my laundery etc but he never does anything. The bins are never emptied by him and how hard is it to clean the bench after you leave some toast crumbs?? My other flatmate does heaps around the house and Stefan thinks he does but really he doesn't do alot!

I am thinking of moving to Hammersmith or Shepherds Bush because the area is nice there although nowhere near as nice as Putney. They are a lot more central though (hence, the central line train) and I have found Putney can be a bit far out at times.

Moving out is stressing me a bit because I'm traveling a bit during the time I need to be looking and it means I will still have to pay rent over the summer when I'm barely going to be home. Gotta figure something out and I need to figure it out fast.