Alternative Aussie Facts

Happy Australia Day!

Today marks 230 years since Captain Cook landed in Australia, and many of my fellow Aussies are out celebrating the day. All politics aside I have some great memories of past Australia Days, and so to celebrate this year I thought I would put together my top 20 alternative Aussie facts!

  1. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Hawke later suggested that this was the reason for his great political success.
  2. Australia’s first police forcewas made up of the most well-behaved convicts.
  3. In 1832, 300 female convicts mooned the governor of Tasmania. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”
  4. Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world.
  5. Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.
  6. There were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control.
  7. Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms. Speaking of, Australia is one of the only countries where we eat the animals on our coat of arms.
  8. Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population outside of Athens.
  9. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure, and it has it’s own postbox!
  10. When the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
  11. Wombat poop is cube shaped! This helps it mark its territory.
  12. The wine cask (goon sack) is an Australian invention
  13. The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
  14. The Box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
  15. In 2005, security guards at Canberra’s Parliament House were banned from calling people ‘mate’. It lasted one day.
  16. In 1932, the Australian military waged war on the emu population of Western Australia. Embarrassingly, they lost.
  17. There have been instances of wallabies getting high after breaking into opium crops, then running around and making what look like crop circles.
  18. There currently a chlamydia outbreak among koala species, which has led to a 15% drop in koala populations.
  19. In NSW, there is a coal fire beneath the ground which has been burning for 5,500 years.
  20. An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay.

Free-Australia-Day

Family

This is a post from my mum’s blog, one of the great things about the 21st Century is our ability to keep in contact and share our lives with friends and family all over the world through the magic of Facebook, Snap Chat, Whats App and Word Press…. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been when mum was 17 going to Europe on her big adventure! – Charmaine

 

Even though  Charmaine and I worked for the same organisation for a number of years before her big move to Ireland we weren’t in one  other’s pockets. She flew the coupe shortly after leaving schoo…

Source: Family

Irish Banking – Welcome to the 18th Century

Today marks 29 days since I arrived in Ireland and finally I have all the paper work I need to open a bank account. Navigating the Irish bank system has been an experience to say the least, in the 8 years since I last opened a bank account in Ireland the country has tightened its rules on proof of identity and proof of address for new accounts. No longer does a letter from your employer (or the manager of the hostel you are living in as was my case the first time round!) count as proof of address. This can make proving your address especially difficult for someone new to the country who is currently living with friends/family or in shared accommodation.

Finally after being employed for over a fortnight I have the letter from Revenue (the Irish tax department) providing the proof of my address I need to open my bank account. I have made an appointment at a local bank and fingers crossed I will have my account open in another two weeks… yes that’s right two more weeks! Why? Because it can take up to a week to get an appointment with a bank and then a further 7 days to “process” your information and set up the account. But then I shall only have an account, it will be up to another 7 days before I have a debit card in which to allow me to access my money without having to go into a bank. It really is not a quick process…

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So what have I been doing in the meantime to access my money?

So far I have been living off my Australian savings but that is not ideal. For every cash withdrawal I make it cost me $5 in bank fees and for every transaction 2.5%, I am also limited by the Irish ATM’s to a maximum 600€ withdrawal a day. This can make things difficult if you are wanting to provide a cash deposit and/or one month’s bond to someone for a share house to secure your accommodation.

As I have been working for the last fortnight in Ireland and I don’t have a bank account, I am paid by cheque. I received my first cheque last week and having been told that cheque’s could only be cashed by the bank who drafted the cheque I headed off to my nearest Bank of Ireland branch. On arriving at the bank and spending half an hour in line (it was lunch time so there was only one teller on) I was finally served. I was quickly disappointed again as the cashier advised me that not only did a cheque have to be banked within the same bank but also within the same branch in which it was drafted. In this case a branch about 40min walk from my workplace and nowhere near my home.

I was astonished and infuriated. I couldn’t understand – it was the same bank! I asked the cashier to explain why this was to me, but they could not say more than it was bank policy. My past experience with cheques has been limited to the annual Christmas/birthday cheque from the grandparents living on the other side of the country. Never have I had to fly across the country to bank my $50 cheque, so why could the bank that issued the cheque not also cash it? – the answer I may never know. So my cheque continues to sit in my dresser until next week when I go to pick up my next cheque and I will then proceed to walk the 40 min to the bank and cash both cheques at once.

Maybe it’s my “first-world problem” but I feel as we continue to storm through the 21st century the Irish banking system is providing us with a little taste of 18th century life.

Remembering what I have already achieved in 2016!

So as 2015 drew to a close and I was planning what I wanted to do to celebrate 2015 and bring in the New Year I started Pinterest-ing New Year’s Eve ideas. What I found were memory jars and this was the beginning of my inspiration for my 2016 New Year’s Resolution. Now this was my new years resolution but it is something that you can start at any time of the year, and if you love my little story to come I strongly recommend you go out today and start your own memory jar!

But back to my story. The idea of a memory jar is that you get a jar and all through the year whenever something good happens, whenever you do something that makes you happy, you have a good day, you get a compliment from a stranger – whatever positive thing it is, you write it down on a little piece of paper and you put it into the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve you empty out the jar and read all the great things that happened to you that year.

I thought this was a brilliant idea, I had been feeling 2015 was not my year that is had been pretty average but when I sat down and really thought about it I realised 2015 had been a great year. I had lost 25kg (now its 32kg!), I had moved into my first apartment all on my own, I had gone on an amazing holiday, went to a friend’s wedding in Singapore, decided I was going to move to Ireland, had almost finished paying off my 5 year loan (I ended up paying it off in 5 months! Yay!), and they were just the things I could think of off the top of my head. Imagine if I actually took the time and wrote down the positive things that happened in my day to day life that made me happy.

So that was it, I was making a Memory Jar. I decided I wasn’t just going to make a memory jar though for me, I decided to make it for three of my friends as well to help them see all the amazing things that happen in their life each year too. So I went to the store and brought the beautiful jars you see here.

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While I was standing in the cue waiting to pay for the jars I was flicking through the local free city magazine and saw the 2016 yearly horoscopes. I read mine and liked what it said so I grabbed the magazine and decided I would cut out the horoscopes for each person and put them in the jar as well. Then on the way home I was thinking about it a bit more and decided that I would also add a note to each memory jar with a positive message to each of my friends and in my own jar saying what I hoped they would (and I would) achieve in the coming year.

I went home and I put the name cards on each of the jars for each of my friends and had them ready to give to them on New Year’s Eve. The jars so far have been a real success for myself and most of my friends – one of my friends was overseas for New Years and will only be finding out about her memory jar as she is reading this post so she will be starting it a little late, but I am sure she will have so many things to put in it from her adventures this year already!

With my big move to Ireland at the beginning of March I have had a lot to put into my jar already this year. From my last sunset sail with Momo and the crew from Unhinged before leaving Townsville, hiking through the Blue Mountains with my best friend, to getting my first job in Ireland, writing my first blog, making my first new friend… all of these have been included into my memory jar. The jar also has served as a reminder on my harder days that I have had so many good things happen in my life this year that I do have so much to be grateful for, and you can’t have a rose garden without a little rain sometimes.

So go empty out that pickle jar (pickles are yucky anyway), wash it out and start writing down those little things each day or each week that bring a smile to your face, write about that new person you meet, the fun thing you did on the weekend, or that promotion you just got at work. Just write down all that positive stuff that is happening in your life every day that you take for granted, and come December 31st we will see just what amazing and lucky lives we get to live.

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Momo & I enjoying the last sunset of 2016 from the top of Castle Hill in Townsville, North Queensland – this is where we wrote  down what we wanted to achieve in 2016 for our memory jars!

 

Meetup – Starbucks, new people and Lilli’s Bordello

The weekend is here again so that’s my cue to launch myself on the general public and try to make some new friends. After last weekend’s fail in the local pub’s I decided to give Meetup another go and tried another coffee and chat Meetup group who meet weekly at Starbucks. This one, I am happy to say was a success!

The group was great. They meet in an upstairs area of Starbucks every Saturday and pretty much have the place to themselves, which means you know everyone there is there to chat and meet new people. The organiser is an energetic Irishman who introduced himself to everybody and helped introduce new faces to other people in the room. Walking in was initially overwhelming, although an outgoing person I do find it difficult to introduce myself to new people when I don’t know anybody in the room. But I had a crack at it, and have to say I am getting better at it. As the afternoon progressed I felt a little more confident walking up to complete strangers and introducing myself.

By the time the event was over I had a small group of new acquaintances and we decided to head down to a nearby pub for a drink and some dinner going to other Meetup groups. In the end three of us decided to head to the Meetup group I had wanted to attend, Saturday Night Drinks and Dancing at Lillie’s Bordello… in hindsight the name really should have given it away, this wasn’t a meet new friends, have a drink and dance meetup group like I had assumed. The type of “friends” you made here was usually only for the night and the average age of last night’s patrons was probably 35 – 55 years.

After some very awkward encounters – imagine a man who reminded you of an Australian trucker telling you about the effects of cider on your bowel movements while ignoring all of your blatant rejections – and within 10 minutes of walking through the door we were about to leave when some of the other younger people we had meet at the Starbucks showed up with the same misunderstanding of what this group was about.

Lillie’s Bordello is a swank little night club and the drink prices weren’t too bad so we decided to grab a corner lounge and isolate ourselves a bit from everybody else. As the night went on, a few other younger people came in and joined us and we ended up having a great night chatting, learning about other Meetup groups of interest, laughing and some causal drinks. By the end of the night we were all exchanging numbers or sending Facebook friend requests and not entirely regretting our choice of meetup event.

lillies bordello

Lesson learned: Meetup groups that have social events on during the day are more likely to be focused on meeting new people / making new friends. Meet up groups that are on after 8pm at night in a nightclub are more about “hooking up”. All in all it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon/evening and I definitely think I will be heading back next week for the coffee and chat at Starbucks.

 

If you are interested in the Meetup groups I went to this week I have linked their pages so you can find out more about them:

Coffee, Chat and Cake @ Starbucks 

Saturday Drinks and Dancing at Lillie’s Bordello

 

 

How do you spend a weekend in a new city?

One thing I have to say about moving to a new city on your own is that you have to be prepared to spend a LOT of time by yourself. This is my third weekend now in Dublin since I moved here and again I have spent the majority of it by myself.  Meeting new people is difficult and you really do need to be constantly putting yourself out there if you want to build new friendships and social networks. If you want to sit at home and watch television all weekend that’s cool but that’s not me.

This weekend I planned to do three things which I hoped would help build my social network or at least push my comfort zone a little. I attended a Meet Up group event, went to the Andrea Roche Modelling Commercial Open Day, and went to a new pub to watch the Six Nations Rugby.

The Meet Up group were meeting at a coffee shop in the city center about lunch time Saturday and I had the Open Day after that so I threw on a more dresser outfit then I usually would have worn and headed to the catch up. The Meet Up group wasn’t the right group for me, a little too old and a little too bitchy about life, so I was only there for 45min before I left and headed across town to the Open Day.

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I wish I had thought to wear my little red cap into my mini photo shoot!

I really had no idea what to expect with the Andrea Roche Modelling Commercial Open Day, and it did push my comfort zone buttons a bit, but in the end I am happy I went along. I had found out about the open day after being side tracked looking for a new hairdresser (I figured modelling agencies and Dublin fashion bloggers would be the best people to seek advice for in where to find a good hairdresser experienced in working with blonde hair). I was nervous about going, I am not a 6 foot, size 2, busty blonde but I figured it wasn’t going to cost me anything but my time, it was something different, and I may actually enjoy it.

I walked into a small conference room with about 30 people from 2 – 40 years of age. It was mainly teenage girls, women in their 20’s, and a couple of parents with their children, and everyone critically judging everyone else who walked in the door. There were five people in particular who struck me the moment I walked in; a blonde with a dream-catcher tattoo on her back and the most amazing black and white chequered overalls; two 6 foot brunet’s who instantly reminded me of a BooHoo campaign; and a couple who completely looked the part for a modelling agency.  Later I found out that the guy from the couple was a Dublin YouTuber (Rob Lipsett) with a pretty big following, so I wasn’t far off the mark.

I sat there for about an hour waiting to have my mini photo shoot, watching what the other people did waiting for my turn to came around. Finally my name was called and all that ‘I’m just here to give this a go and have some fun’ was out the window. I had no idea what I was doing and felt so conscious of myself with all these other people sitting there watching you. The photographer was great though, she was really encouraging and whether the photos where any good or not she made you feel like you were doing everything right.  After my photo shoot I sat down with Andrea and her commercial booking agent where we had a quick discussion about my being from Australia and then about commercial modelling, and then I was done and out the door. Now it may have all been a bust and nothing may come from my little adventure but I gave it a go and who knows, maybe the photos came out better than I thought!

After all that I still had the Rugby to go. After my failings in the pubs of Malahide I thought I would give the Old Borough in Swords a shot. I was running late after the Open day and arrived at half time for the Ireland V Scotland game and was disappointed to find the pub almost empty. I ordered myself a drink and sat down at one of the bars near the sports screen prepared to watch the second half of the game. The second half came and went (not a very impressive game I have to say!) and then it was time for the England v France game and another drink. Again the bar stayed ridiculously quiet, a few people came up and sat at the bar near me, a few people constantly stared at me from a across the room but again I could not get anybody to talk to me. Thankfully I was there to watch the Rugby as well and with England beating France I did not leave entirely unsatisfied with my venture.

After my busy Saturday, Sunday was a very much spent by myself. I am currently living out in the beautiful Malahide (not a convenient place for someone who wants to be in the middle of everything but it does have some amazing parks, running trails, the beach, and little coffee shops at your disposal). I slept in until 7.30am (I do really like being out and about and enjoying the day) before heading down to Devoted to Food in Malahide village for breakfast. This place is still relatively new and not well known, but if you are ever looking for somewhere to go on a weekend for coffee and scones I would highly recommend this place – it also has a locally sourced fresh fruit, veg and butchers attached to it which is remarkably good value.

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Hot Chocolate and buttermilk pancakes with bacon and Canadian maple syrup…mmmm

Apart from that I spent the rest of the day at Malahide Castle and on the running trails, it’s really hard not to want to workout and spend your day outdoors when you have beautiful places like Malahide to workout in.

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My housemate’s were having an impromptu BBQ when I got home from my run so I had a bit more of an opportunity to be social Sunday afternoon before we called it a night. A great way to finish off the weekend.

As you can see weekends in a new country can seem very lonesome, but I know they will get better. I have already started to meet new people and as I meet more people and get to know them better I will have more opportunities to go out with them and meet other people through them. But I am enjoying my time, and I am enjoying putting myself out there even if sometimes it does seem like a fail! This week I am off to look at some apartments in the city center and attend another couple of Meet Up events (this one is for 20 Somethings so may be a bit more eventful!), I also have some more blog idea’s up my sleeve as well so please watch this space!

Charmaine Xx

My first blog… 2016

Hi my name’s Charmaine, and this blog is about me. That may sound a bit narcissistic but the first piece of advice that seems to be given about writing a blog is write what you know, and I know me.

I know that I am: a woman in her late 20’s who has just moved to Dublin on her own from Australia and am hoping to achieve a complete career as well as life change all at the same time.  This isn’t the first time I have done this, at 19 I moved to Germany then Dublin before giving into family pressure and returning to Australia; and at 22 I was an exchange student in Canada.

So this blog will hopefully not only allow me to share with you my experiences  and adventures but will also offer advice to other women (and maybe men) wanting to take the huge leap and move overseas to a new country and ultimately begin a new life.  What else this blog may offer I don’t know yet, I am in the midst’s of trying new things and learning more about myself… Maybe this blog will include my own fashion views… guides to hiking the Wicklow Mountains… the top 20 pubs to pick up in, in Dublin… who knows but that is all in the adventure of discovering yourself.

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