Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stratford-Upon-Avon & Oxford

It's been almost 9 months since I first set foot on British soil and I feel like I've spent most of that time getting pissed on the weekends and not really making the most of what Britain has to offer. So, I've begun to organise day trips out of London to all of the places that I'd like to see before I go home.

The weekend just gone I'd booked a day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Oxford and it was amazing. Not only did we get decent weather (it was cold but didn't rain) but both places were beautiful. Stratford-Upon-Avon is where Shakespeare was born and raised so I got to see his house before exploring the town of Stratford.

Oxford is the city but there actually isn't a university called Oxford... There are approximately 39 different universities within Oxford which is why people refer to it as 'Oxford University'. Another bit of history for you as to why Oxford is called Oxford... Apparently there was this ox crossing which they called ox ford and people started refering to it as 'are you going past the ox ford' and it just ended up as one word. Not entirely sure about that though but it would make sense.

I would loved to have spent more time in Oxford because it is huge. I went to Christ Church which is where the Harry Potter dining hall is and the actual college is the most famous in Oxford. I also climbed a church tower to get a view of Oxford and it was great because I got to see an ariel view of the city with the colleges surrounding me. Apparently it is called the city of spires because of how many spires the city has - and after seeing the view from the church I can understand that.

I don't feel like this entry has made a lot of sense but hopefully the photos will get more across to you..

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brick Lane

Brick Lane is in East London and it is renound for its amazing curry restaurants where you can haggle to get the best deal because there are just so many restaurants. Most restaurants offer you a free round of drinks and 30% off the bill - although the prices are marked up to represent the 30% 'discount' they offer you. So, to get a good deal you haggle. Well, I went with a group of my girlfriends and we walked up and down trying to bargain the best deal out of the men at the door. We were offered two bottles of wine and a discount, a bottle of Baileys and a discount, we were offerered three bottles of wine and a discount but the restaurant didn't look very nice so we declined. We ended up at this really nice restaurant and got three bottles of wine included and 30% off the bill. I got the nicest mango chicken curry. Our bill ended up being something like £40 for 5 people which is so cheap for such a good meal considering we got naan bread as well. We were stoked. I would love to go back to Brick Lane and get more curry and try some other restaurants.

I am on mid-term break now so I haven't been doing alot. Today I went and roamed the streets of London just because I can. I ended up buying a pair of shoes which are really not practical for the upcoming winter months but so cheap and so gorgeous! I also bought a pair of Wellies at Camden market on Saturday because when the weather starts getting cold here and rains my feet won't get wet cos I have Wellies! Yay!

p.s thanks to the person who informed me that Brick Lane is in East London and not North London! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Work, Fights & Travel Plans!

Oh man, what a crazy week so far! I've never screamed so much in my life as I have in these past 6 weeks! I never knew my voice could get so loud - yet these kids think it is hilarious and they just don't care. Because they have such an 'I don't care' attitude to learning and school, I seem to slip into that routine as well. It doesn't help that I have 3 different classes a day at one of the lowest schools in London. It is tough and I really hate it. I've discovered that I really don't think teaching is for me. I didn't mind it so much back home as I had my own class and even supplying was ok when you had your own class for the whole day but I underestimated how tiring it could be by having 3 different classes a day. It doesn't even seem to matter that I have the same classes the same time each week because they are still little horrors. I've never encountered a school with so many terrors before! Seriously, in each CLASS there are the same amount of trouble makers you would expect in a small school. Every class has AT LEAST four extremely challenging behaviour children. There are nice kids too but they are overshadowed by the horrible ones. I feel so nasty saying that but it really does stress me out!

Luckily, next week is mid-term break which means I get a week (unpaid) off! I am planning to go and see a musical, go on the London Eye, wander down Oxford Street (for the millionth time) and do some window shopping and check out some more museums. May as well make the most of my time in London.

On Saturday, Kelly and I went out to the Reddie (Australian bar/dance club, think cheesy but loads of fun!) and we were pretty pissed before we even left home, although we thought we were fine even though we'd polished off a bottle of wine and who knows what else in a couple of hours. Anyway we got to the Reddie and were having fun dancing and giving each other random dares when Kelly decided she needed to go outside to have a smoke - but they wouldn't let us back in. So, we decided to call it a night and go home. We stopped off at a chicken shop to get chips and a chicken burger (although we took about 10 minutes to place our order as I kept insisting I wanted a cheeseburger when they didn't have it on the menu!) and then headed to the bus stop. Got to the bus stop and saw our bus drive past just as we got there - bummer. We waited around and decided to walk to the next bus stop but we missed the next bus because we walked past the bus stop. Kelly got angry at the situation and took it out on me so I stormed off on her and decided to walk home. By this stage it was 3.30am and I was wearing high heels. Both of us were too stubborn so I walked home (sobbing the whole way, hehe) while Kelly caught the bus. Funnily enough I got home 10 minutes after Kelly even though I walked. I had to call Trudy though because I got lost walking home and needed her help to suss out where I was and direct me as to which way to go. A funny night!

I've been good and went to the gym twice this week so far and I walked home from work today because I hate the 272 bus - it's always late or not running or I just miss it and have to wait half an hour for the next bus - so I walked and it only took me 45 minutes. Too bad this is the school I want to quit working for.

No other news really. I'm looking forward to Stockholm with Kelly in November and also Brussles. Then, it is America for Christmas with mum which I'm really excited about. Paris for New Years with Kirra and then I will do Scotland with a group of us in February and then home in April and hopefully a massive two months of traveling in August and September and then either back to London to do a bit more supplying or I will head home for a few months and then trek on to Canada and work in the snow fields for a few months before heading home for good! So that's it guys, a basic summary of what my plans are. Either way I'm definitely going to be in London for a few more months after April!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Money Woes!

I feel the need to whinge even though it will change absolutely nothing. It is funny how I am coping so well on my own, living out of home and not being dependant on anyone but myself - except, money can be a bitch when you're getting paid for every day you work without sick leave and holiday pay!

I was trying to work out my budget today but gave up because I came to the realisation that I'm going to be stone broke basically for the remainder of my stay in London. It doesn't help that I'm going to Stockholm in a few weeks with Kelly and then Brussles a week later - that means, hostel accommodation, food, sightseeing, etc. Which is fantastic cos I want to travel but bad for the money side of things because it means I have to scrounge around and not spend money so I can pay my rent while I am away and not working!

It's tough but I am managing - trying hard not to use Aussie funds too. My main concern is going to America for Christmas. I'm exciting to be spending Christmas with my mum and Bob (and her gorgeous dogs and Mozart the cat) but it's going to be hell for my finances. Argh! It's a pain because it's 3 weeks where I'm effectively paying dead money. It comes back down to the thought where I think should I move into a hostel and find a new place to live, should I try to rent out my room, should I just deal with it! And I can't figure it out. More so, I can't figure out which choice will be the best choice to make - I hate making decisions in case I make the wrong one. I'd prefer someone to TELL me what to do and do it but unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. So, I'm stuck with a whinging blog entry and I will just hope for the best with my finances. I've already decided that my credit card is now for emergencies only and buying a new top does not count! I seem to forget about things like my gym membership and phonebill though which is always unexpected money although it comes out every month - you think I'd know by now!

My plan is to save and save and save and then do a massive travel over the British summer and see as much as I can though it will barely cover what I want to see but can't have everything I've come to decide!

I hope you're all well and April isn't that far off - which, after complaining about money, isn't such a good thing although I'm excited to see you all! Massive drinking session for sure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Horse Riding in Wales

I love how easy it is to travel while living in London, nevermind the fact that it isn't as cheap and easy as everyone would like to think! I just got back from a horse-riding weekend in Wales. I've been to Wales before and went to Cardiff and did some sightseeing but this time it was a pure relaxation weekend with lots of good food (Tony, our host, was a chef for 23 years before he did Bush Wakkers!) Actually, the food was beyond amazing! Yum!

Horse riding was good, we got a really nice day for it with a bit of sunshine and no rain! Perfect. We set off into the Becon National Park and went horse riding all day. I managed to stay on my horse without falling off although I had trouble getting up onto the poor horse. I felt terrible as I grabbed poor Roody's maine and tore at it with my life as my legs flailed around the stirrups until I finally managed to yank myself up onto his back. I must have looked hysterical!

Back in London again and stuck in a job I hate which I think I might quit 'cos it sucks that much! I'll keep you updated.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Simone and Kelly's Malteser Eating Competition!

I'm not exactly sure how this started but somehow Kelly and I got talking about who could eat the most Maltesers... Of course, I bet that I could win but she was adamant that she'd win... so we declared a war...

Down to the shops I went to buy 5 bags of Maltesers... I came back and we started counting out our Maltesers... We had 84 in our bowl each... the point of the competition was to see who could eat the most within 30 seconds...

So, we started the timer and within 5 seconds we were laughing so hard that we could barely swallow what was in our mouth, let alone add more Maltesers! We finished that run and ended up doing two 30 second intervals which I won.. we then went on to do a full minute where Kelly came first but I was the overall Malteser eating champion..

We were laughing so hard and to see us you would think that we were absolutely nuts! Two of our flat mates were watching us and thought it was hilarious!

Afterwards, I felt SO sick (Kelly felt fine!) and I was in the toilet for half an hour vomiting up Maltesers and the rest of my dinner... it wasn't a pretty sight! But it was worth it for the joy that it brought us...

Crazy - yes, but then again, didn't you always know it!