9 THINGS I LEARNED BEING AN AU PAIR

Before I flew out to Oz I had done a lot of research (read: created multiple Pinterest boards) on traveling Australia alone and working whilst doing so. Au pairing was mentioned in multiple articles when talking about ways to experience the country more like a local than a backpacker, so it had already been on my mind as a potential job before arriving.

When I first moved to Orange I had no idea what to expect. I was putting all my trust into a family I had never met before and they were putting their trust in a backpacker they didn’t know to look after their most precious thing in the world; their one-year-old daughter. Yeah, Australians are weird…

So anyway, fast forward 7 months and I was heading back to England and making the most heartbreaking goodbye to Poppy; my little partner in crime, my number one gal, my BFF. I had the most amazing time looking after her and watching her grow and develop was truly wonderful, so I wanted to share with you guys a round-up of the main things I learned from being her au pair and add a few of my many favourite photos of my time with her too.

Kids are a hella lot smarter than you think.
They know that phones are meant to be put up to your ears, they know when you’re trying to hide something from them (read: biscuits), and I don’t know about any other child, but Poppy sure as hell knew when a camera was out and made sure she was looking her best.

Parents work bloody hard at what they do…
…and we need to give them more credit for it. Especially when their kid is throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store and they’re trying their best to calm the situation.

Peppa Pig is a bad influence.
She’s a brat. End of discussion.


I’m more responsible than I thought.
I no longer joke about how I’m not cut out for adult life because let’s face it, when you’re thrown into the deep end your instincts kick in and you realise “actually yeah, I’m pretty damn good at this whole adulting thing”.

I’m broodier than I thought.
This one makes me laugh because although I don’t want a child of my own for at least another 6/7 years, I just wanted to take Poppy back to England with me because I got so attached to her. I am excited about having my own kid, don’t get me wrong, but I think for now I’ll just stick to dogs.


Kids bring you so much joy.
My Mum always said this to me (because I’m the light of her life of course) and every time I would respond saying I very much doubt it. But through au pairing I’ve realised they will bring you all the happiness in the world when, for example, they say novel words or choose to bring a book over and cuddle with you rather than playing with toys.

Patience.
I’ve always been a relatively patient person, but that was truly tested over these seven months. I will never again take for granted how little time it takes for me to leave the house or how I can just run into a store to do a quick food shop, because a toddler who’s adamant on carrying the basket and making a run for it down the frozen isle when all you need is a carton of milk will get tiring very quickly.


Kids are not adults and we shouldn’t expect them to behave or understand like them either.
Before I became an au pair I would talk to young kids (by young I mean 1-3) using full sentences and expecting them to understand, but now I realise that using few-word sentences with only keywords such as “more or finished?” makes it easier to understand and respond. I would also expect them to behave as if they knew the consequences of their actions, but kids don’t, and that’s all a part of their innocence and they’ll learn as they go on.

Being an au pair is hard work…
…but it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I would fly back out to Oz to look after Poppy again in a heartbeat.

If you’ve been considering au pairing during your travels let me know in the comments below, especially if you have any questions you want to ask before applying! I seriously can’t recommend it enough.

 

Until next time,

Liv

xo

BLOGMAS DAY 5: DECEMBER BUCKET LIST


Hello hello! Seen as we’re still only a few days into December I still have time to make a list of a few things I want to do this month and try to get through them all. Whilst I’m writing this there’s a huge thunder and lightning storm going on outside and I think every British traveler in the hostel is rejoicing because now it feels more Christmassy, even if it is for just one day. Anyway, on with my December bucket list!

See the Christmas tree light show at Martin Place.
The light show at Martin Place is on every night so I’ll be able to do this one at any time before the 25th. They had a big switch on show at the end of November but I was working so didn’t get to go, but I’ve seen the tree in the daytime and you can send a text message to it and get it featured on the banner that wraps around the tree. They have a choir performing every night along with the light show and a cafe serving hot food and drinks so it should be a lovely night.

Bake festive cookies or mince pies.
Helen and I are using the oven in her house to bake this week but we’ve not decided what we’re actually going to make yet. There’s plenty of time to try out a load of different treats but it’s difficult to narrow it down to a select few considering there are so many amazing looking recipes on Pinterest.

Have a BBQ on the beach wearing a Santa hat.
This seems very specific but it’s a tradition every year here that around Christmas you go to the beach all wearing Santa hats and have a classic Aussie BBQ. I don’t plan on skipping over this tradition as it’s something I’d really like to experience while I’m here and really get into the Aussie way of life.

Go ice skating.
That I know of there are no outdoor ice rinks in the city, however Maya and I had a quick look online and found just a normal, indoor rink in Alexandria near to where we went trampolining. It’s only a few stops away on the train so to remind us what the cold actually feels like we’re planning on going ice skating within the next week or so.

Watch a Christmas film at an open air cinema
Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema has just released its Christmas schedule, with films like Elf, Love Actually, and Footloose being shown over the next few weeks. They’re even giving out free tubs of ice cream at every Sunday viewing! I’ve always wanted to go to an outdoor cinema so now seems like the perfect opportunity, especially because they’re showing Christmas movies.

Watch the fireworks at Darling Harbour.
Three months I’ve been in Sydney now and I’ve still not seen the Darling Harbour fireworks! They’re usually on every Saturday so my cousin and I planned to go on the 5th of November to celebrate Bonfire Night, but when we got there we found out they were cancelled which was pretty frustrating. That I know of they’re showing on specific dates from now until January 28th, so my next Saturday off work I’m going to head down to the harbour and finally watch them.
I’m sure I’ll think of a load of other things I want to do before Christmas, but for now these six are at the top of my list. I’ll do a review post when I tick each one of the list, so already that’s six days of Blogmas planned out!

Until tomorrow,
Liv
xo

BLOGMAS DAY 4: 10 THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR THIS HOLIDAY SEASON


Blogmas day 4 is upon us, and if you’re getting to these posts through my Facebook or Instagram you’re probably getting sick of me spamming your feed every night/morning, depending on whether you’re here in sunny Australia or back home in England. I thought I would care about annoying people with it but I don’t, I needed a way to get back into writing and blogging and this so far has been the perfect way, especially because it’s getting me into the Christmas spirit too. This year I’m spending Christmas thousands of miles away from home, which has made me appreciate everything so much more. So today’s post is dedicated to bringing to light 10 things I’m grateful for this holiday season and hopefully it will make others think about what they have too.

1. Friends
When I first came to Australia I was so worried I wasn’t going to find a good group of people who I’d be really close with, but as soon as I moved into Wake Up and met everyone in room 406 I knew I had been worried over nothing. Even after the original group had gone their separate ways I continued to make friends with the people coming and going, then became part of the family when I became staff. For Christmas we’re going to Coogee beach for a BBQ and a few of us are going to Helen’s for a traditional English roast, so right now I’m grateful that I’ve met such a wonderful group of friends and can create these memories with them.

2. The opportunity to travel
I had been planning on coming to Australia for two years prior to arriving, so to actually be here now still feels surreal. This year I’m grateful to have the chance to travel and spend New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks at the Sydney harbour bridge and opera house, which has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

3. Living in Sydney
This follows on nicely from my last point. Sydney is such an expensive city but I’ve been able to live here for the past three months. The city centre feels like home for me now and I love that I live in the heart of the city but can hop on a bus and be at a number of beautiful beaches within 20 minutes.

4. My job
I wouldn’t be able to live in Sydney if it weren’t for my job. I work 16 hours a week at Wake Up for accommodation and thank god I do because otherwise I’d be flat-out broke by now. Accommodation in Sydney over Christmas is expensive if you’re not living in an apartment, so to already have my living arrangements sorted is something I’m so grateful for. Plus this job has led me to meet so many amazing people.

5. Family
Moving away to university made me appreciate my Mum and everything she’s done for me, but moving to the other side of the world has amplified that and I now appreciate my family even more. I’m no longer just an hour’s drive away from my Mum and Dad in Blackpool or a 3 hour drive away from my Gran and Granda in Glasgow, so when I phone or Skype them it makes it all the more special.

6. Social Media/Technology
Nowadays it’s really easy to stay in contact with friends and family because of Facebook, Skype, etc. so I can Skype home on Christmas Day and show my Mum what I’m doing and see the house back home all decorated.

7. The weather
Something I really don’t miss about home is the weather, so as it’s dropping to -4 in Manchester I’m loving the 30 degree heat in Sydney then complain about it being cold when it drops to anything near 22.

8. Moments of peace
Last week Sonia and I took a trip to the Blue Mountains and there were moments where we’d just stand at the lookouts and enjoy the silence and fresh air. These are the moments I really love and I usually have them at the beach too just listening to the waves break on the shore. They make me feel relaxed and this gives me a second to appreciate what I’m doing right at that moment and take it all in.

9. No exams
This is my first Christmas in a decade where I’ve not had to worry about school, college or university assignments and exams. I miss being in education, I love learning and I miss everyone back at UoM, but right now I’m grateful that I have my degree and can enjoy this Christmas without getting stressed about passing exams or writing essays.

10. Having something to look forward to
Before writing this post I had a read through what other bloggers had been grateful for in their posts and this one really stuck with me. I have so much to look forward to right now and a bunch of opportunities that could take my life in a completely different direction. I’ll keep you guys updated on that front after Christmas, but at the moment I’m currently looking forward to Christmas Day on the beach and spending NYE watching the fireworks in good company.

Leave a comment below with what you’re grateful for around the holiday season.

Liv
xo