5 Things I Love About England

Five Things I Love About England

Whilst I've loved living in Australia so far, there will always be little bits about England that I particularly like and miss. I decided to list 5 of my favorite things I love about my home country.

1. The Attitude Towards The Weather- Everyone has an obsession with the weather and complains about it, no matter what season it is. We love to hate it. In the winter it's far too cold we're never ever prepared as a country for the snow, in the spring its raining too much, in the summer it's too hot and in the autumn it's downright depressing- we go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. But what is great about the weather is that England actually gets the seasons. Here in Australia, it just feels hot ALL of the time!

2. Tea- It solves everything. Upset? Let me get you a cup of tea. Celebrating? A good cup of tea is in order. It is essentially a big hug in a mug and there is very few English people who'd disagree! Over here in Australia I've managed to source Yorkshire Tea (aka the best tea ever) which has been essential for those rainy Queensland days.

Cup of Tea
Source
3. English Liberalism- We're arguably a pretty accepting country, and I really like that. We're also pretty open minded and welcoming of all things weird and wonderful. We don't just welcome it though- we seem to embrace it so much more than other countries.

4. The History- You're surrounded by it, and it's actually really cool. I had the pleasure of living in York for the past year whilst I was studying my Masters degree and I loved living in a walled city full of Roman and Viking history. Christmas is always particularly atmospheric, with Christmas markets across the country. I actually really missed Christmas here in Australia as I find the UK really go all out and you can't help but feel festive. There's something just not so festive about air con and the blistering sun here in Australia.

The Shambles, York
Source
5. The BBC- It's weird; a state funded broadcasting company, but it's pretty good. I only really fully appreciated it after spending extended time in France and Australia but it really does pump out some of the best TV and radio programmes and documentaries I've ever seen (hello Louis Theroux). Radio 4 is particularly good and something I can't wait to get back listening to once we have an unlimited data plan.

What are your favorite things about the country you're from?

How To Survive Long Haul Flights

How_to_survive_long_haul_flights


1. Make friends on the flight
On my first long haul flight to Australia several years ago, me and the woman I was sat next to got talking and it made the first leg of the journey go so fast. She actually told me how she ended up in Australia; after going through a messy divorce she took the opportunity to travel and met her future husband there. She was really nice and offered to let me stay with her if I ever went to Sydney (I didn't in the end but what a generous lady!). My most recent flight to Australia ended up a bit of a nightmare, however amongst the madness I ended up talking to a girl who was also flying to Brisbane, bonding over the ridiculous journey. Since then we have stayed in contact. Having someone to chat to on flights makes them go so much quicker and gives you someone to rant to when travel itineraries don't go to plan!

2. Try and book good seats on the flight
Check out Seat Guru to find out what the seats are like on the different airplanes and try and book ones that don’t look too full up. The website shows the most desirable seats based on different model aircraft's and so far they've been pretty accurate when we've used it. On our last flight we were really lucky and managed to get a 2 seater for the first leg of the journey from Heathrow to Singapore (so no clambering over the third awkward person in the row), then booked a 2 seater from Singapore to Brisbane near some aisles in the middle that were completely empty on the upper desk of the plane. This meant as soon as the seatbelt light went off Mr. Nomad rushed to the seats and managed to lie down on a four seater and meant I had 2 seats to sleep across myself which was great. When we were landing and Mr Nomad returned to his original seat I genuinely thought I wouldn't have been able to do the flight if we had been sat next to each other as the space was so small.

3. Wear comfortable clothes
I always see business class people boarding the flight looking prim and proper but honestly, especially if you’re in economy, it’s not worth it. Unless you're trying to get a free upgrade I just wouldn't bother. I always wear a loose top and leggings and shoes I can take on and off. I also keep makeup to a minimum or not at all, and I tie my hair up. Another option is to wear pajamas. I saw a woman this time board the flight in her normal clothes and get changed as soon as the seatbelt light switched off. I also pack a change of clothes for the middle stop in the airport to freshen up.

4. Try find showers in the airport
Normally the layover on the cheaper long-haul flights are a couple of hours in the airport and there’s nothing nicer and refreshing than having a shower. Last year when Mr. Nomad had lounge access I couldn't believe how much better I felt after a good shower and some food. It made the journey feel so much better. Do some research on the airport you have a layover in to see where the showers are located. Also I know some airports have swimming pools (Singapore) which is a great idea for those who feel cramped up after a flight.

**Changi transit programme- Singapore airlines actually offer every transiting passenger from a vast list of origin countries s$40 to spend in the airport, which can also include lounge access (showers, food etc) which is an AMAZING deal I wish i'd known about sooner. A lot of people don't know about it, but apparently it's been going on for years!

5. Get clued in to what food you should order
I’m actually vegetarian and gluten-free as I have coeliac disease which is a concept no airlines so far have been able to grasp or cater for. Previously this has caused some issues with not being able to eat most of the things on the flights which has been really annoying. Etihad actually said they would cater for gluten-free and vegetarian when we phoned up as long as we got in contact them once we’d booked the flights but after purchasing the tickets backtracked on this so we complained and ended up getting some food vouchers for the airports. I actually found on both the Etihad, Singapore and Emirates flights that ordering a vegetarian Indian meal gave me the most options of things I could eat as I got curry and rice for most meals (and I actually enjoyed them- I love spicy food). Also if you’re impatient with food, order vegetarian as you will get served first. My uncle tends to do this now on his long haul flights so he can eat then nod back off to sleep. Ensure to keep drinking lots of water to keep hydrated, especially with all the air con on the flight. You can actually check Airline Meals to find out the kind of food you're likely to get served on the different airlines which can be handy if you’re a picky eater.

What tips do you have for surviving long haul flights?

A-Z of Australia Living

A-Z of Australia Living

Moving to another country and living day-to-day life makes your realise the quirks of life abroad that you'd often miss if you were just on holiday somewhere. Here are the ABC's of my experience of living in Queensland, Australia so far. Some of them are not so weird, but some of them I still find utterly strange!

Arvo and air con- slang for the afternoon my new best friend in the baking Queensland heat.

Brothels and bogans- a common feature I've seen around and about Australia. It's odd as you don't really notice most of them, but once you know what one looks like you suddenly see them around and about. Coming from the UK where brothels are illegal, I find it so peculiar. We actually turned around and drove back past one the other day as I found it so odd, and quickly realised a lady working there was walking towards it so spectated from a distance. This probably sounds a little weird to people who have grown up with them being legal I realise! Bogans are basically chavs or red necks. 


Chook- chicken. Gives a new meaning to the Yorkshire saying "ey up chuck".

Doonas- A duvet or quilt. I doubt I'll have a use for one of these ever again.

Echidna- One of only 2 mammals that lay an egg instead of giving birth (the only other is a platypus)- gotta love Stephen Fry on QI for fun facts .

echidna

Fifo- Fly in fly out work. Perth is full of FIFO workers due to all the mining in Western Australia. It's a funny idea flying to work.

Golden Gaytimes- Ice cream lollies.

Golden Gaytimes

Heat- Something I've had to try get used to (but failing pretty badly). I think I'm somewhat acclimatising, but as soon as it hits the mid 30's I'm pretty much done for!

Ice- A requirement in every drink. I don't drink anything without it (apart from tea of course). Talking of tea I've managed to locate Yorkshire Tea in the supermarket Coles

Jumbuck- A sheep made famous in Waltzing Matilda (the unofficial national anthem of Australia).

Kangaroo scrotum's also referred to as 'truck nuts'- I kid you not, I've seen so many of these 'souvenirs' underneath people's cars on the tow-bar- odd... very odd.

kangaroo scrotum car

Lamington- An Australia cake covered in chocolate sauce and then desiccated coconut- yum!

Mate- I often get called 'mate' now- in Britain you seem to only get referred to this as a guy.

Nipper- A young person/child.

Oiled; Drunk, intoxicated.

Possum- The creatures (most Australian's refer to them as pests) that have already managed to dent our new car- annoying!

Queenslanders- A type of house common around Queensland surprisingly; generally wooden-clad and have a balcony deck around. An Australian equivalent of a Victorian house in the UK and regarded as 'old-fashioned' and 'vintage'.



Roo bars- Many 4x4 vehicles (and small cars actually) have these bars on the front of cars so that damage isn't done to the car in the event of driving into a kangaroo. 

Snags and snakes and sex shops- Sausages are the staple BBQ food and snakes are something I've seen one too many times and of all places in a Domino's car park off a main highway. Sex shops are EVERYWHERE, seriously. And they all seem to be multicoloured.

Thongs- Definitely already had some embarrassing moments getting this confused.. although I've worryingly started to adopt the term instead of 'flip flops'.

Utes- A vehicle that so many Australians seem to drive.

Ute

Vegemite- Basically a bad version of Marmite. 

Woop woop- An isolated place; "oh I just live down in woop woop".

Xxxx- Queensland's famous beer.

Yobbo- Basically someone you wouldn't want to cross paths with. Aggressive and anti-social.

Ziff- A beard- although i'm yet to hear this in person yet!

What quirks have you experienced travelling or living abroad? Are brothels legal where you live? Am I the only one who finds it odd?

DIY Dinosaur Toothbrush Holder


I made this easy DIY dinosaur toothbrush holder for Mr. Nomad's birthday after being inspired by something similar on Pinterest and i'm really happy with how it turned out! Its a great quirky gift for someone who likes dinosaurs (although you could use any other animal for it). 

Here's my tips for making the perfect little dino toothbrush holder: 

1.       Find a suitable dinosaur. This actually proved more difficult than I had imagined as they annoyingly tended to be soft rubber ones (as a child I remember seeing plastic dinos being sold everywhere). It took me a lot of searching to find the one I used I the end (I also wanted if possible to get one that looked like a brontosaurus as Mr. Nomad really likes them, so settled for the brachiosaurus as it looks very similar). I eventually found one in Toyworld but they weren't available in all branches. It was by a brand called Schneider and was more expensive than I hoped and imagined (around $12) but it was worth it for a personalised present.

2.       Mr. Nomad’s dad actually helped me to drill a hole into the dinosaur for the toothbrush. This was difficult with a handheld drill due to the thin shape of the dinosaur (although I would imagine it' d be a lot easier if i'd have chosen a stegosaurus or a bulkier animal) so in the end he used a drill with a clamp. At this stage make sure you choose a drill with the diameter of a toothbrush and make sure to drill far enough so it actually holds the toothbrush. You can keep checking this during this process though.


3.       Brush off any dust from the dinosaur and there you have it! I actually rolled up a piece of paper saying ‘I like to hold toothbrushes’ and put it in the drilled hole so when he opened the present he knew what to use it for. 

Have you made any DIY presents or gifts?

2014 Roundup

Apologies for the absence on Nomad Notebook as of late. This Christmas has been a little crazy with a last minute trip to Tasmania to spend Christmas with Mr. Nomad's family and then trying to organise jobs and car shopping since arriving back in Queensland. Thankfully things seem to have calmed down a little now and we've managed to purchase a car we're really happy with so it's been a good start to the new year.

This year has flown by for me (as many other fellow bloggers have mentioned!) and I can't quite believe it’s now 2015. It's been a great year for me, and quite life changing in a number of ways. I've lived with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, graduated with a Masters degree and moved to the other side of the world. I like reminiscing over all the things that have happened throughout the course of the year so thought I would step back into blogging with a 2014 roundup post.

January
Dublin






January started off quietly, with me and Mr. Nomad celebrating the new year at my mum's house after spending a lovely Christmas there. We went to Dublin in late January to sort out Mr. Nomad's visa at the UK embassy which was quite stressful and ended with him having to say an unexpected goodbye to me as I boarded the flight back to Manchester on my own and he went to Paris to renew his visa. 

February
Mango Wetherby




February saw our first Valentines Day together. We spent the evening at Mango Vegetarian Restaurant in Wetherby which was amazing. They also did so many gluten-free options which was great for me as I have Coeliac Disease. 

March
York Flooding

March was filled with essay writing for me and lots of rain in York. The city centre completely flooded making it impossible to walk along the river into town!

April
Age of Empires

April was also another month where we didn't seem to document much of what we got up to. However, we did manage to set up many LAN games between the desktop computer and Mr. Nomad's laptop to play Age of Empires, where as demonstrated above, I managed to beat him once! We both used to play this game as children so it was nice to reminisce and re-live the experience!

May
Chess by the river



In May we had really nice weather in York! We made the most of it by having lots of BBQ's by the river playing chess and soaking up the sun. We also went flexwing flying which was amazing. My mum got us the flights as Christmas presents which was great fun.

June
Alton Towers


For my birthday we went to Alton Towers and then Mr. Nomad surprised me with taking me for a romantic night away in Chesterfield and to Go Ape in Sherwood Forest. Little did he know that I had done a similar treetop adventure before (and may have hated it as it made my anxiety go off the wall!), but we still had fun. 

July
Dordogne



In July I got to introduce Mr. Nomad to the Dordogne region of France where I have spent a lot of my childhood as my parents used to have a house together there. We did lots of swimming and exploring and was so happy that he liked it as much as me. My mum has now bought a holiday house there so hopefully in the future we can spend more time at both my mum and dad's houses there. The only bad thing about the trip was on the way home we had a run in with immigration coming back from France to the UK which proved to be some of the worst 6 hours of my life. After 6 hours of interviews and tears, we were allowed to enter the UK together under the same visa as we initially wanted (they initially said Mr. Nomad would be on a boat back to France for them to send him to back to Australia as they didn't believe he was a genuine visitor to the UK) which filled me with anger and upset. It simply seems like we had caught the immigration officer on a day where she had a major bee in her bonnet. It was about this time that I also started to panic slightly about the lack of written work for my dissertation I had produced yet.

August
The Forbidden Corner


I spent most of August as a social recluse, only leaving the university library to work at my part time job and to sleep as I was working solidly on my dissertation. I actually started Nomad Notebook too in August in an attempt to escape from the monotonous style of dissertation writing. We managed to take one trip out to the Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire which I highly recommend to anyone (just check out the amazing reviews if you don't believe me!) for my sister's birthday (its a massive maze/garden full of wobbly stepping stones, dead ends, sneaky fountains and hilarious tricks). August was also the month I got offered a PhD position for my proposed project which unfortunately I had to postpone and put on hold due to funding issues.

September
Dissertation

September saw the completion of my dissertation and subsequent hibernation to gain all the sleeping hours I had lost. I did my first collaboration on my blog with Thierry Mugler and started to have a few followers which was lovely. I also left my part time retail job and moved back home in preparation for our big move to Australia.

October
Climbing Snowdon


October was all about catching up with friends I hadn't seen whilst living in York and preparing for the big move. I went down to Northampton to see friends from France once more before we left and also caught up with university friends in London. Me and Mr. Nomad also did a roadtrip around North Wales and climbed Mount Snowdon.

November
Scotland


We also did a roadtrip around Scotland in November which we both thoroughly enjoyed (even though it was typically raining 99% of the time). I also caught up with my university friends again for an early Christmas dinner get together and to say goodbye to them for the last time. I had the weird misfortune of running into George Galloway twice in one evening as I caught up with friends from back at home. The two most significant things of the year also happened in November, with me finding out that I gradated with a Masters of Distinction from the University of York and moving to Australia.

December
Brisbane


December was all about settling into Australia and trying to cope with the Brisbane heat! I experienced the worst storm of my life the second day of being in Australia with hail the size of golf balls destroying cars and buildings. I did my Christmas shopping in 35degree heat and found it difficult to get into the Christmassy spirit but enjoyed how the exposure to the sun was making me feel (back home I used to find the lack of vitamin D definitely had a negative impact on my mental well being). I also published my first piece of academic work and had the most lovely Christmas in Tasmania where the milder weather was most welcome!

2014 has genuinely been a life changing year and i'm really excited to see what 2015 brings.

What have been the highlights of your year?