Sydney Bucketlist

During my time in Sydney from when I first got here back in October to coming back again in June I’ve tried to tick off as many activities that are special to Sydney as possible! Having this kind of list kept me nice and busy in the summer and I always felt like I was making the most of my time and not just lazing about in my room. So to any of my friends who are still in Sydney or to any of you who are coming here, this is my bucket list!

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1. Have a drink at the Opera Bar (beside Opera house with best view of bridge)
2. Go to Bondi beach (I became obsessed with Bondi Rescue when I was out here)
3. Golf at Holey Moley (Crazy golf with drinks)
4. Hermitage Foreshore Walk (amazing views)
5. Speed boat round the harbour ( done this twice, so much fun. Look on groupon)
6. Catch a ferry to Watsons Bay, get a takeaway Doyle’s and do the Lighthouse walk
7. Wendy Whitely Secret Garden
8. Go to Surry hills, explore the cute shops and have a bakery stop at my fave Bourke Street Bakery
9. Head to Newtown, explore the cool shops and have a drink at the Newtown hotel
10. Have brunch on the water at Celsius
11. Bondi to Coogee walk
12. Go to the weekend markets like glebe, the rocks or paddys markets
13. Grounds of Alexandria ( Insta heaven)
14. Enjoy the Happy hour deals all over Sydney ( Darling Harbour is fab and El Camino do margaritas cheap)
15. Have cheap bubbly at icebergs Bondi
16. Explore the Rocks  (old town)
17. Watch the boats go by at Circular Quay and then have a drink at Quay Bar (my old workplace)
18. Have as much Messina ice cream as possible
19. Spit to Manly walk (only recently did this and I loved it)
20. Chill in the Botanic gardens right in the city centre
21. Go to Manly and eat fish and chips (even in the rain)

Obviously there’s so much more you can do than what’s on this list but these are in my eyes some of the best things you can do to get a feel for the city. I’m going to miss living here SO MUCH.

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Bubbly with a view at Icebergs

Have a good week!

Mairi x

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Update Round Two

HELLO AGAIN! A few months have passed since I was last on here so thought I would write a little update for you all! When I last wrote on my blog I was still living in Melbourne and although I did have some amazing times in Melbourne and love the city I just couldn’t settle. I was pretty much jobless for a lot of my time there and then when I did get a job I literally worked all the time and didn’t have a balance. Along with it being grey and cold it made me really start to miss Sydney. I could have stayed in Melbourne but thought why not just move back to Sydney for one more month before I leave?

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And I am so happy with my decision. As soon as I came back I felt like I was home. Along with the blue skies, seeing old faces and getting my old job bar back it just made me happier. So pretty much since June I’ve just been enjoying my time back in Sydney before I head off on Saturday (AHHH!) to start my travelling. Yep that’s right for the foreseeable future I no longer will have a job (scary as)! My first stop is Perth before travelling up North to Broome in a bus full of backpackers. I CAN’T WAIT. Although trying to squeeze in everything from my suitcase in to a backpack will definitely be a challenge…

If anyone has any tips for Perth or the West Coast let me know!

Catch up with you soon

Mairi x

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How to spend a sunny day in Edinburgh

It’s been 9 months I’ve been away from home now and although I’m not home sick I am missing home, especially when Edinburgh is sunny. This time of year is always my favourite, when it changes from being dark and cold to long summer evenings and days. Australia is coming in to winter now and kinda cold. Never thought I would miss the heat! Anyway for all of you enjoying the sunshine back home I thought I would put together my ideal sunny day in Edinburgh and how to spend it.

Start off with a brunch

Obviously. This is me we’re talking about and an ideal day would always involve a brunch and Edinburgh has no shortage of amazing spots. In the city it would be Urban Angel for a spot on Eggs benny, Hula in Grassmarket for amazing avo or The Pantry in Colinton for something closer to home. I also love trying out new places so also on the list would be; Dishoom (breakfast naan yes please), the Haven Cafe ( pancakes look amaze) or Salt cafe in Morningside (been on my list for ages!). I’m drooling.

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Stroll around in the Sunshine

After filling up on brunch a wander round the city is needed. There’s so many good walks you can do right in the centre including up Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat for views (be prepared for a hike up Arthur’s though). Meadows is a given or even head down to Stockbridge and walk along the Water of Leith to Deans village.

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Shopping

I love to look around the shops and there’s no shortage of them in Edinburgh. Princes Street for your high street, George Street for your higher end and then there’s the hundreds of cute independent shops around the city. Some of my favourites for looking round include; Hannah Zakari on Candlemaker Row for unique jewellery and cards, Curiouser and curiouser in Bruntsfield/ Broughton Street and also The Red Door Gallery for gorge prints.

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Pizza Stop

Hungry work walking and shopping so time for some pizza. Two of the best stops in the city for pizza I would say are Civerinos slice in the Old Town or Dough on Rose Street. Grab a slice or two and enjoy while sitting outside getting that vitamin D.

Drinks

Of course the day wouldn’t be finished without a cheeky cocktail or two and when it’s still light outside it would be rude not too. Seeing as it’s sunny we want to sit outside. Some bars with great outdoor seating include; Candy Bar on George Street, Copper Blossom, the Blackbird (has a great beer garden) or the Three Sisters for good atmosphere.

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Loving my time being away but I do miss Edinburgh and spending days like these! If you have the time try one of the spots I recommended and let me know what you think or if you have any other recommendations let me know. I have a massive list for when I return of places I want to try in the Burgh!

Mairi x

Update: Living in Melbourne

Hello from Melbourne! I’m currently eating a massive donut and drinking a latte (yes I have only just started to like drinking coffee at the age of 23) as I write this long overdue blog post…

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So in my last post I mentioned I was moving to Melbourne. I’ve been living in Melbourne for over a month now and just like when I started in Sydney it’s taken some time to adjust. The main issue really being that it’s insanely hard to find a job right now in Melbourne. I was super optimistic at the beginning, handing out CVs round the city thinking I would get something probably in a week. But it has been so much harder to get a job this time round, seriously! Literally every cafe in Melbourne wants you to be a barista (which I’m not) OR they don’t take backpackers OR it’s just getting in to low season and no one is hiring. It’s not just me either that’s found it hard, nearly every other backpacker I’ve spoken too has found it difficult/taken them a good while to get something.

Luckily I did get a few days work at the Formula 1 Grand Prix which was good fun and good hours.

Then came my week long cafe job. I feel guilty because here I was needing a job and after a week of being there I quit. I was in charge of making sandwiches as well as toasting everything and I know I wasn’t great but the owner put so much pressure on me I literally was crying after work in the street ( over sandwiches). I’m here to enjoy myself and wanted a job where I didn’t dread going in so I never returned.

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And here we are now, finally a bit of luck has come my way and I had a meeting this morning with a recruiter with potential work, after an interview on Monday, as well as a trial at a bar tonight. Phew! Originally I found recruiters unhelpful but maybe I’ve changed my mind haha.

Apart from the job stress I am slowly getting to enjoy Melbourne. It’s such a cool city and a foodies heaven. Me and my good pal Ella (whom I met in Sydney) are also now living together in a flat share in St Kilda.

Speaking of Ella (@elmonroetravel) thanks for being a good friend. I’ll buy you some red pesto.

Right back to eating one of the best donuts I’ve ever had!

Mairi x

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Shortstop Coffee & Donuts

Tips for getting started in a new city

I’ve never properly lived away from home before. I stayed in my hometown for uni and lived in Edinburgh all my life. So when it came to moving to Australia I hadn’t had any experience of having to find a place to rent or to find a job in a different country. It can be overwhelming and scary to completely start over and being honest it was tough and stressful when I got to Sydney. I’ve had a couple of messages recently about how I got myself settled in a new city so here are some tips that could hopefully help a few of you if you’re planning a move…

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1. Start in a hostel

I came back to Base hostel in Sydney after doing the East coast and I thought it would be best to stay here while I looked for a more long term place to stay. I know a lot of people stay in hostels long term but for me that wasn’t something I was keen on and wanted to find something more homely. Staying in a hostel is a good place to be however while you get yourself sorted in terms of looking for jobs and room shares. Hostels are pretty central and gives you a base while you go from place to place. Hostels can also help you get started in making some pals too! I met my friend India in the hostel and we’re still friends today.

2. Finding a room share

I decided to look for a place to stay first before I looked at jobs. Some jobs want you to have an address and I also wanted to get out of the hostel as soon as I could! With so many suburbs in a city as big as Sydney it was hard to know where to start looking. From research I knew I was keen to live in Surry Hills, Newtown or Bondi (these are good suburbs for being round other backpackers too) so I tried to keep a lookout for any room shares in these areas. Facebook groups are the best way to find accommodation for backpackers so I was on these everyday all day stressing trying to find some thing that would suit me. After a disastrous first viewing I got lucky when I found a shared room going in Surry Hills sharing with 8 other girls. I asked to take the room as soon as I viewed it! There’s so much competition for accommodation in Sydney, I recommend don’t dither and take it if you like it. Room shares are great too and it’s where I met the best roomie ever.

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3. Finding a job

Next stop job searching! Finding a job in Sydney was harder than I thought after many people told me it would be super easy and quick to find one. At first I was keen to get an admin/ reception job and met up with a couple of recruitment agencies. However I personally found these really unhelpful and never heard anything from them. Disheartened I then decided it would be easier to find something online using websites like Seek. I applied for a number of things and still didn’t hear back. Thinking it would be better to do face to face I handed out CVs round the city and in the suburbs to bars and cafes. Luckily I ended up with a job at a bar in Circular Quay! I have so many good memories from working there and it also gave me time to enjoy Sydney too. One other tip I do have when you look for a job is don’t waste your time on job search companies. I paid money to join the one attached to the hostel and it was a complete waste. It takes time but find a job on your own terms.

4. Making friends

Lastly not knowing anyone in a big city can make you really lonely so it’s important to make that effort to find friends. I managed to make some really good friends through lots of different situations! I messaged my friend from Uni who was also out here and we became really good friends after finding ourself in similar situations! I also met my friend Catherine when a mutual friend back home put us in touch! Then living with 8 other girls provided lots of opportunities to make new friends. Try to make the effort and you’ll find yourself with a good group.

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There you have it! Once you have your accommodation and job sorted you can start to enjoy yourself and make memories with your new pals! It took time for me but once everything was in place I felt settled and had the best time in Sydney!

Scary to start this all over again in Melbourne but hopefully now I know what I’m doing it will be easier!

Mairi x

P.S I didn’t include setting up a bank account/ Medicare card but these are important too so make sure to do them first week you arrive wherever you are.

Leaving Sydney

Hello again! Sorry again for the lack of updates… In the last few weeks I’ve been doing some travelling with my parents who are over from Scotland resulting me in neglecting Mairi Writes. Along with my parents arriving it also means I’ve now left Sydney, my beautiful home for the last 5 months.

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It was a super tough decision to leave Sydney. It’s hard and overwhelming starting in a city where you barely know anyone without a job or a place to live. There were a lot of tears and stress at the beginning of my adventure in Sydney.

But over the time I was there everything came together. I managed to get a job I actually really enjoyed and also made some fabulous friends who I adore. It would be so easy to just stay in Sydney where I feel settled and comfortable. But I kept telling myself what was the point in me coming to Australia if I just stayed in the same place for the whole time? So after a lot of back and forth I’ve decided to now move to Melbourne! I’ve heard great things and with an endless amount of cafes I think I’ll fit right in.

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If anyone has any recommendations for Melbs please send them my way! I can’t wait to start exploring!

Mairi x

How to spend 3 days in Byron Bay

Oh hey there sorry for the lack of posts recently! Time got away with me and I hadn’t yet set up a routine for writing so I’m back and planning on getting back on track with the blog.

First up a guide on how to spend 3 days in Byron! On my East coast trip I only made it as far as Brisbane as I then headed to Canberra to visit family which meant I missed out Byron. This is one of the main stops if you do the East coast and so I wanted to make sure I came back to it! Luckily a couple of other friends hadn’t been to Byron yet either so we planned a trip! Originally we planned to drive but with the cost of renting a car, petrol and the 8 hour driving time on top of that we opted to fly! Only an hour from Sydney it would give us much more time to enjoy what Byron has to offer…

 

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Where we stayed: Aquarius Backpackers

There’s quite a few hostels to choose from in Byron including the “famous” Inbetweeners hostel ‘The Arts Factory’ which we were super tempted by. In the end though we chose Aquarius and it turned out to be great! Super central and close to the beach, nice big rooms, free dinner and two for one drinks (YES). If you head to Byron I would recommend staying there. It cost about $100 for our 3 nights.

What we did:

Unfortunately the weather was grey and rainy for pretty much our whole time in Byron so lying on the beach and sunbathing was a no no. Instead on our first day we explored the main beach at Byron, walking along to the far right end to Fishermans Lookout and watched the surfers. Another must in Byron is to walk to the Cape Byron lighthouse. Unknown to us before we started walking there’s actually two tracks to get up to the lighthouse! We walked along the coastal track up there which was pretty tough and sweaty, taking us more than an hour. Worth it for the great views at the top and to get to the most Eastern point of Australia. Once we made it to the top though we realised you could actually walk up the road which would have been much quicker. Personally though I liked the coastal track better! Lastly the shops in Byron are FAB. If you like your vintage and cool beachy clothes this is your place.

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Where we ate:

There are so many nice cafes in Byron it was hard to choose where to go! Our first stop was Mokha cafe, 5 minutes down the road from the hostel. Nachos and sweet potato fries how can you go wrong? We also returned here for breakfast one morning which I didn’t have but my friends pancakes looked insane! Miss Margarita was another one of our favourite spots and we came back here twice too! They had the best nachos and burritos along with a decent cocktail happy hour. Mojitos and margaritas are my favesss. Byron Fresh also did a fab brunch, bit pricier but gorgeous inside and a nice way to start Friday morning.
(Also shout out to the 24 hour bakery that provided us with sausage rolls after our nights of drinking).

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We all agreed that Byron was a great place to visit and all want to go back! Let me know if any of you are heading there soon, hopefully you get some sunnier weather than us…

Mairi x

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