The Best 90's PC Games

Oh nostalgia, how I love to dwell on the memories you give me. Luckily for me, Mr. Nomad really loves reminiscing as well so at least he knows my frustration when I can picture a game I used to play in my head but have totally forgotten the name of it- there's one I specifically remember playing with my best friend in primary school on her computer which involved a bunch of scientists that had to survive on either another planet or an island. My memory ends there unfortunately! Here are a few of my favorite games I used to play as a 90's child who was obsessed with the computer.

1. Theme Hospital- The one I still play now. I even learnt how to use cheats and would play the bonus levels where you would have to shoot as many rats as you could.

2. Command and Conqueror: Red Alert- The game none of the boys would let me play (I was only allowed to spectate). It involved building a 'base' and from what I gathered was pretty similar to Age of Empires.

3. Prince of Persia- I only got to play this when I went to my mum's work as it was on her classroom computer (she used to be a special needs teacher). I used to alternate between playing this and playing pinball as our computer at home didn't have it.

4. Wolfenstein- The game that divided my mum and dad. Whilst my mum hated the game so much I used to listen out for her footsteps and quickly hit Esc, my dad was impressed that I managed to find it on the second hand computer and use MS DOS to start it up. My mum was unable at this point to delete computer programs which worked in my favor. It was basically a first person shooter and involved killing Nazi soldiers in a castle full of swastika flags- very odd and I was way too young to understand any of this, but I managed to complete it!

5. Roller Coaster Tycoon- I fell in love with Roller Coaster Tycoon when I went to my cousin's house at Christmas and they'd just got the game. When I got home I purchased it ASAP and loved it to pieces. This soon led me on to getting Theme Park World on both the PlayStation 1 and PC. I soon got acquainted with making the fries/chip shops use extra salt to make customers buy more drinks, and got well acquainted with the picker tool and drowning some of the visitors in the lakes, ha!

6. Simon the Sorcerer- One of my dad's friends got this for me but unfortunately it was a little too difficult as I was so young. Even so, I did really enjoy it. It was a point and click game which i'm sure could only be completed by the whiz kids.

7. The Sims- Ah The Sims, the basis of most 90's kids childhood. I still love it now, and don't think i'll ever fall out of love with it. I managed to pick up a load of expansion packs from a car boot sale in the UK and have rekindled my love for the game. Unfortunately I could never afford the expansion packs but my friends got them as soon as they were released so I quickly learnt the trick of installing the new expansion pack (with serial code) and then installing the one I had over it so I didn't need the new discs to play it! Oh the things you would do as a child.

8. Kid Pix- This was on my primary school computers which we were allowed on for about half an hour once a year. And trust me, those 30mins were the best ever at school- you could do amazing doodles and shapes. It was basically a glammed up version of MS Paint, and it was THE BOMB!


9. Age of Empires- I loved and still love this game. Mr. Nomad also enjoys it so we play co-op against the computer *ahem geeks*. I got pretty good at this as a child, and somehow I've managed to remember most of the controls etc which has come in handy when I play against Mr. Nomad.

10. Tomb Raider- Lara, oh Lara, how I love you! You basically shaped my whole childhood from the camo trousers I got my mum to buy me from Millets to the crop tops. She taught me that being a 'tomboy' was both cool and more importantly acceptable. I've spent so many enjoyable hours on this game including doing the assault course, getting to the middle of the maze and of course locking the butler in the fridge.

11. Theme Park World- Me and my friends played this a lot when we had sleepovers. We'd stay up for hours hoping we'd be rewarded the precious golden tickets which would give us the golden keys to unlock new worlds. It was actually pretty difficult and took a lot of work!

12. No One Lives Forever- Another game that still appeals to me and in a way was a more up-to-date version of Tomb Raider. Set in the 1960's, it includes lots of funky outfits and swanky locations for shootouts and missions as well as being an attractive female protagonist, Cate Archer, who has cool things like exploding lipsticks. What's there not to love really?

And don't even get me started on Worms or Lemmings. I was useless at both and blame the fact they were both based on small creatures.

What were your favorite PC games as a child? Do you still play them now?

Expat Milestones #1

This is the start of a new series to document the different milestones I have made as a new expat to Australia. Most of the following milestones I managed to complete in the first couple of weeks since arriving in Queensland, but I intend on carrying on this series to document our settling in. 

1. Getting a tax file number- I managed to get this the first couple of days that we arrived in Australia. We went to the city centre and found the myGov centre which was able to provide me with a tax number to allow me to start working and to also get a medicare card.This is really important for anyone that is on a working holiday visa or any visa that allows you to work really, as you never know when you might be offered a job! 

2. Getting a medicare number and card- I also managed to do this at the myGov centre. Medical care in Australia is quite different to the UK in that most people have private cover, whereas most people in the UK use the NHS. You basically have to have this green medical card to receive a rebate of medical expenses under the Australian medicare system. The one time I've had a doctor come visit me at home, I simply had to present this card and the visit was free due to them able to bulk bill. You also need to present it at hospitals if you need to go there. This is so important for anyone who moves to Australia as you will need it to receive medical care in an emergency. Luckily as a UK citizen, Australia and the UK have a reciprocal healthcare agreement which makes things super easy.

3. Getting an Australian bank account- This one was simpler than I thought. I just went into my local Commonwealth Bank branch and they were really helpful with setting it all up. I only needed some ID and proof of address (I used my tax file number letter) and it was as simple as that. I think you normally have to pay a small annual fee, however as I held a PhD offer at the time I was classed as a student so got it for free- win!

4. Getting a car and insurance- After looking at many cars we managed to find a Ford Focus on Gumtree which we really like. Getting a car involves quite a lot of paperwork here in Australia including car insurance, ensuring it's registered in the correct state (which is an annual fee you pay), transfer of name costs and servicing costs. All in all it's a pretty expensive but it gives you so much freedom! We're so glad we got a car early on so we could explore our new stomping ground.

5. Getting a job- After Christmas, I managed to get a job which fulfills the criteria of my working holiday visa (which is pretty tough) as well as being suited to my qualifications- this is definitely a big one and one I didn't expect at all. I wouldn't say it was completely easy as I spent a lot of time writing up my CV and cover letters and sending them off to potential employers, but it worked out and I'm pretty happy. I'm getting paid way more than I would for the same job in the UK, and it relates to my degree yeah. Hopefully it strengthens my CV and future job applications because it is so relevant to my desired career path.

If you're an expat, how long did it take you to sort all this kind of bureaucratic stuff out?

Life Lately; starting a new job, saving dogs & garage sale bargains

Firstly, apologies for the lack of blog posts around Nomad Notebook as of late. I thought I was doing so well at the beginning of 2015 in posting at least once or twice a week, but these past few weeks have got the better of me. I think it was just a combination of stress and blogger burnout.

So what have I been up to aside from neglecting this little old space on the web? Well, to start off I got myself a new job and officially started two weeks ago. It's been pretty stressful and has taken up a lot more time than what I'm getting paid for but I'm so far really enjoying it. Without going into too much detail, I've started working at a university. It's odd- I graduated with my Masters degree in January and now I'm working on the other side of the lecture stand which has taken a lot of time getting used to, and to be honest I still can't quite believe it, but thankfully my nerves and anxiety about it hasn't completely taken over! It's the first time I've had a job that's actually related to my degree and where I think I want to go in terms of my career direction, so it has been quite daunting and exciting at the same time.

Alongside this pretty major life change, we've been going to loads of garage sales the past couple of weeks which has been really fun. Today I was pretty lucky and stumbled upon some makeup bargains- packaged mascaras, foundations and concealers all for $2! I also picked up the Harry Potter series (I'm ashamed to admit that I never read it- I tried reading the first one in primary school but I was just that bit too young to read it on my own and then I always seemed to be reading something else. I've listened to all the Stephen Fry audio books but I still need to read them), and a clutch bag as I left all my old ones in the UK when we moved. Last week we picked up a desktop computer for $20 (crazy) which we've jut finished watching Six Feet Under on and which will come in handy when we move out and I need to do more significant pieces of work on a computer (so much easier than a laptop). We've also been playing a obscene amount of Age of Empires on it too, with Michael using his laptop and us playing co-op through the LAN (total nerd here). 

And today we found ourselves amongst another Queensland tropical thunderstorm which had us sitting by the window in awe of how nature can change so quickly from one extreme to another. Whilst doing this we saw a lost dog in the road that seemed to be limping. After going after it for a while and establishing it's owners were nowhere to be seen, we rang the council and RSPCA as it had no collar. After finally getting it back to our house (using a rope as a leash and it taking half an hour to walk a couple of hundred of meters due to it's limp), the RSPCA said it could come out and take a look at it. Luckily it had a microchip and we were able to contact the owners who were over the moon we had found 'Sammi' and presented us with a bottle of wine later on in the evening which was nice. I honestly don't like dogs at all/i'm completely terrified by 99% of them but there was no way we were going to let it roam the streets.

Sammi in all his glory.

Life has been pretty good, and although we're still getting used to the hot weather, it seems to be cooling down now as we move into Autumn here in Australia. Hopefully there'll be a few changes over here on Nomad Notebook in the next coming weeks as I plan to completely refresh the design and tweak all the design faults on it, so watch this space! 

What have you guys been up to?! I feel so out of the loop.

9 Tips for Conquering New Job Nerves

Tips for Conquering New Job Nerves

This week I started my first 'proper' job, and it was goddamn scary. Whilst I've had plenty of part-time jobs in the past, this was the first job that actually relates to my degree and in the realm I want to work in. I've always been a shy and introverted person, so when it's come to job interviews I've always been nervous, but this was next level. My new job involves presenting (which has always played majorly with my anxiety, especially during university), but doing what makes you nervous and scared only helps you grow as a person, right? So here are a few tips I used to try calm my nerves when I was feeling completely nervous and anxious:

1. Fake confidence
Don't let everyone know that you're completely nervous; fake confidence and no one will ever know you're even nervous! I think this is especially important if you're in a job like me where you have to present in front of big groups of people. Remember that your employers were confident enough to give you the job, so have some confidence in yourself! 

2. Practice deep breathing
Focus on your breathing for a few minutes and take some deep breaths in and out. This really helps me when I feel like my heart is beating a million miles an hour, and relieves that 'I'm so nervous I feel sick' feeling. 

3. Be prepared
Being prepared will make you feel more confident. I made sure I left plenty of time to get to my new job which is a bit of a drive away, and made sure to take anything I might need.

4. Talk to other people
This might be really scary, but try and converse with other people. You'll establish work friendships a lot easier, and of course they will help you with any initial issues you have!

5. Go easy on yourself
Remind yourself that you will not be expected to know everything at the beginning. It's hard being thrown into a situation where everyone else seems to know what they're doing, but it will take time. It will become less daunting after a while.

6. Don't expect the worst
I'm really bad for being pessimistic about situations when i'm really nervous, but try and channel your inner voice to tell you "what if they do actually really like me?". I can assure you think things won' go horribly wrong, so what's the point worrying about it?

7. Wear clothes you're comfortable in
This was something that made me feel a bit more confident. I went out and bought some clothes specifically for my first day as I wanted people to take me seriously and I wanted to feel professional in my appearance. 

8. Use your initiative
If you don't know the answer to something, have a bit of a search yourself before asking. At least if you still can't find the answer, you can say "I tried X, X and X but still couldn't find X", instead of asking for help every time you run into an issue.

9. Try and enjoy it!
The first hour or so was so scary for me, but once I got over those initial nerves of not knowing how it was going to go, I became more confident and actually enjoyed it a little. Try and hold onto these moments of enjoyment so you'll feel more confident the next time.

Here are just a few of my tips for conquering new job nerves, I'd love to know your tips!

The Start of our Record Collection

My parents, especially my mum, has always had an extensive record collection since being a teenager. I remember as a child watching her lift the dust cover and putting her record of choice (usually Sister Sledge or Hendrix) on the turntable and lifting the tonearm and placing it on the record. There was something so good about the crackling of the record and the authenticity of it. 

Until this day, mine and my mum's music taste has always been pretty similar. I've been lucky in bring brought up with parents with a great taste in music (I think anyway!), and have such fond memories of us all listening to Bob Marley, James Brown and The Beach Boys. With that being said, a lot of my music taste is pretty old school, and me and Mr. Nomad have always liked the idea of having our own record player. Whilst he's not into a lot of the old classics like I am, he has collected quite a few Foo Fighters and The Killers records which he's keen to be able to play. 

With that being said, having just moved to Australia armed with just a suitcase of belongings, we have been scouring some local garage sales the past few weekends to pick up some bargains for when we eventually move into our own place. I hit gold last weekend when I finally found two records I wanted which would kick off our record collection together. Usually the ones in charity/op shops are pretty bad (think Christmas carols and Rod Stewart) but garage sales seem to be the place to pick up some decent beats! I'm so looking forward to adding to the Pink Floyd and Al Green album we found last weekend.

Do you have a record collection or memories of your parents listening to them as a child?