After three Valium and two glasses of wine I made it to Melbourne; I didn’t remember the flight at all – it was great!
The weather change wasn’t the best as it was freezing, rainy and grey when I arrived. I immediately missed the 30 degree heat in Alice!
My first stop wasn’t another weird hostel (thank god) but with distant family. Here’s a wee breakdown, my cousin’s husband’s cousin called Lee – you got it?
I arrived at Lee’s awesome townhouse in the heart of South Melbourne and got reacquainted with his family, with whom I met very briefly back in Scotland. There was his lovely wife, Sheree and their two adorable sons; Lachlan and Cameron.
It was such a random meeting as I didn’t really know these people and I was asking to stay at theirs since I had run out of money (again, shock!). However as Lee was Scottish and Sheree had been a backpacker too, they were so understanding and hospitable.
The first thing I did was, you guessed it, brunch! I had missed my weekly treat so much, so I made up for it over two days.
The first day I went to Foddies and indulged in eggs benedict with slow cooked beef brisket and a side of avo (obviously):
After I was well and truly fed, I spent the next few days being a tourist and flat hunting, but to no provail. The flats were either too expensive, not furnished or had questionable roommates; two 35 year old guys, who were actually in their 50s, wanting to live with a 25 year old girl?
Being a tourist was working out better though as I ventured around St Kilda, Southbank, the CBD and South Melbourne. I even managed to somehow end up in the South Melbourne markets, right by the food section with all the samples. How strange?!
The highlight of the trip was trying blue cheese that was drizzled with truffle infused honey. It was delicious!!
During my trip, Sheree asked if I could pick up some sourdough and marscapone as she was hosting a dinner party that night. I felt like I was in come dine with me, buying fancy ingredients from a place I pretended I shopped at all the time (instead of disclosing that I usually shopped at Aldi).
The dinner party came around and I got to meet Lee and Sheree’s friends, song with their kids. It was a lovely mix of aussies and Brits, the food was great too! We had lamb that was slow roasted in beer for a main and strawberries with marscapone and balsamic for dessert. The evening finished to all the parents and kids dancing to some old school house music on Lee’s cherished record player; it was awesome!
The next day I was back flat hunting and on a mission to find a winner. I was back down at st Kilda as I wanted to live by the beach again and viewing the first option. The place was gorgeous and in an amazing location but there were drawbacks; it wasn’t furnished, the lady I lived with said no junk food as she ‘didn’t want to be tempted’ AND I was interviewed by her bloody neighbour too. I felt very uncomfortable so left the place as soon as I could.
I wasn’t hopeful for the next viewing as it was a street down from the previous. However, I was pleasantly surprised! The flat was gorgeous!! Open plan, garden, furnished room and a male roommate called Ori who didn’t dictate my diet. I immediately stated I wanted to move in so my move in date was stated in just over a week.
I asked Lee and Sheree if I could stay with them a bit longer (feeling so cheeky) and they happily agreed, asking for a babysitting favour in exchange.
So I had found a flat; next up was work! Luckily this time it came to me, as my university tutor, Grant, from back home had moved to Melbourne and had started a business. He offered me a job to be his marketing manager, which was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I started working with him and got used to being in an office again.
The next few days were spent working and settling into city life again.
On the Sunday I went with the family to watch the boys’ football awards ceremony, which was so adorable.
We then all packed up and went to the pub for a Sunday sesh. The first stop was a gorgeous rooftop pub:
We then moved to another bar and I got acquainted with some Aussie parents. Honestly, I felt as if I was in the real housewives of Melbourne – they were all so fabulous and knew how to enjoy life.
After the Sunday shenanigans, the next week was pretty chilled. I babysat the two boys on Tuesday, as Lee and Sheree went to see Kevin Bridges. We played operation and watched Peter Pan, it was so cute.
I made a healthy rainbow salad with tuna and accompanied that with a berry smoothie:
I had planned to spend my weekend chilling as I had no money, but fate had other plans.
On Sunday, I received a phone all from grant, thinking it was something about work. It wasn’t! Instead he asked if I’d like to accompany his girlfriend Cherie to see The Bodyguard and of course I said yes!
Oh my goodness, the show was fantastic!!! The actors were so talented, brad Willis from neighbors was a babe and the whole theatre got up to dance during the finale. The show also helped Cherie and I to bond too, so much so we went for happy hour cocktails down Southbank:
The new week came around and it was time to move into my flat! Lee helped me moved in and, being the policeman he is, sussed out the place and interviewed my new roommate. He then took me to Woolies to buy some groceries, I thanked him for being so kind and we parted ways.
My room was very basic and had no bedding so I spent the first night sleeping under a very questionable, old blanket.
The next day, I was on a mission to make my room all cosy so, after work, I headed to Big W to buy a ton of stuff. It was a VERY stressful experience as they had no trollies, so I had to walk around the shop with duvets, pillows, baskets and picture frames all in my arms. Finally, I made it to the checkout and headed home to decorate my new pad.
Here’s the before and after (I feel as if I’m on House Rules!):
My flat, my room and my job were now all sorted; next up was my social life! Luckily Grant and Cherie took pity on me and invited me out for drinks a couple of times, including the AFL grand final. We went to South Bank and met up with Cherie’s touch footie (touch rugby if you’re British) team and spent the day drinking.
It was a fantastic atmosphere, the sun was out and everyone was a little bit sloshed! The Melbourne Tigers won so it was an even better turn out. After the game ended, we headed to the Crown casino to extend the night, I had run out of money again so I watched people bet. It was still fun though! The night was coming to a close, I had met some great new people, got far too drunk and even agreed to join their team! Successful night I’d say.
The next weekend, I had managed to find even more friends! My friend Lea, who I’d met on our trip up to Alice Springs was based in Melbourne so she invited me out on Friday to go to some bars with her and her friends. We went to the city center and headed to a place called ABC. We played a few drinking games to get the night going, which worked very well, and after a whole jug of beer each – we went to go dancing in a place called Lions. Here we are:
We stayed out till 5am. I am getting way too old for this. It was a great night but the whole next day was a write off as I just recovered in bed.
I finally felt human again by Sunday, so Lea decided to be my tour guide and take me around Melbourne. Our first stop was the famous graffiti alleyways:
They were so cool, we even got to see people adding to the walls. I did try my best Insta poses but I did not look as good as the other people doing it around me.
Next up was Brighton Beach, we had a lovely walk to the beach huts and a few photos with them:
We were pretty parched after that walk so stopped off for some cocktails in Brighton; I decided to get a Bloody Mary to help my lingering hangover.
Then it was dinner time; we ended up back in the city and found a cute wee Mexican restaurant called ‘Taco Bill’. There were no more than ten tables in that place and it was so well decorated. We ordered some margaritas (because you have to, obviously) and I ordered fish tacos:
It was the perfect end to a great day.
The next weekend, I caught up with Lea again and we went for dinner in a place literally called ‘Meatball’, mmm wonder what they served? It was such a cool restaurant, it felt very SoHo in NYC. The concept was great; you selected a meat to go in your ball – I chose fish, then you decided on a sauce – I had Alfredo and then you picked what your balls rested on (their words, not mine) and I had creamy polenta.
It was delicious! But expensive for a backpacker. Due to the cost of dinner, we didn’t really fancy spending a lot more money in a bar, so we went old school and drank outdoors in the botanic gardens. Here’s the Shrine of Remembrance we took refuge in (FYI we did not leave any rubbish or do anything disrespectful to the monument, we’re not dicks):
We even got caught by security but managed to use our charm to get out of a hefty fine. After that we thought we’d better drink legally, so headed to cool bar down an alleyway, where a graffiti painting of a naked Kim Kardashian greeted us. So Melbourne. The bar was awesome, it was very artsy and had a cool vibe. We even met this random guy called Cosmic Valentine. So Melbourne. The night was going swell, until around 2am when I somehow become wasted. I had to go home and that 40 minute tram ride back was torture. I am really getting too old for this.
My social life was going pretty good, so next to get sorted was my fitness. I had been used to working physical jobs, which enabled me to lose two stone – so I was not wanting to gain that all back! I was straight on it: I had touch footie in my calendar for every Wednesday; I joined my local gym, which was right on the beach, and I signed up for a personal trainer. Here’s a summary of each so far:
So far I have played two games; the wing is my safe place as I like defending and I’m still terrified to get the ball. I’m still getting used to running forwards, backwards and sprinting constantly. And the rules are something to get your head around. However, the team are really nice and it’s fun to try something new!
I was very intimidated at first, as I’d not set foot in a gym for over a year but getting back on the running machine was great. I even tried a ‘Warrior Workout’ class, which Cherie suggested but didn’t attend, that I was no way ready for but powered through anyway.
This isn’t a long term thing but it’s a great way to get goals set and learn some new workouts. So far, I’ve had three sessions and I’ve been in pain after every single one – that shows how fit I am! I’ve also been giving my PT a tough time because he’s working me too hard, I always try to get out of things…
Along with the fitness, I am now on a healthy eating regime too! Who am I?? If you bump into me in a food shop, you’ll only find fruit, veggies and meat in my basket!
My lunch one day was a colourful salad; tomatoes, red cabbage, olives, carrots and a four bean mix, all drizzled with my favourite condiment – Kewpie:
Dinner another day was beef tacos; heavily seasoned beef mince, courgettes, red and white cabbage, tomatoes and onions, drizzled with Kewpie again and some Sriracha to make things spicy:
The final thing to sort out in my new home of Melbourne is my love life. A few exes back home decided to contact me, purely for selfish reasons though – so they have been told where to go. Tinder was the best option for me, as I didn’t have the money to go scouting for guys in a bar and I’m lazy. A few matches led to some good conversations and planning of drinks, but none ever panned out. I was wanting to give up when a rather chatty match popped up. The conversation kept flowing and didn’t show a sign of fizzling out so I thought meeting up wouldn’t be a bad idea. We met on St Kilda beach and watched the sunset, I then suggested to get some vino as I was extremely nervous (wasn’t telling him that obviously) but he didn’t get anything! So we headed back to the beach and drank by myself on an empty stomach (great idea Lucy) while he laughed at me (in a nice way). We people watched, exchanged our farmwork stories and discussed our travel plans – he’s an English backpacker too. It was a very chill night, that could have done with less wine but oh well.
The next morning, I was so unbelievable rough and remembered how I portrayed myself as an alcoholic, thinking I had definitely blown it with him. However, I woke up a text message making plans for later on in the week. Result! I don’t know how I’d done it but I took that as a lesson to not be drunk during the next date.
I followed through with that plan, as he watched me carve a pumpkin, make soup from it and roast the seeds – all sober. He didn’t help, just laughed at how I love Halloween so much.
Things are going well, I’m trying to not be a bloody female and think too much into it, but I’m happy.
So in just over a month, I’ve managed to settle in Melbourne and get all the important aspects of a good life up and running; its keeping them going that’ll be the issue!