Monday, July 30, 2012

Counterfeit makeup

Buying counterfeit makeup and stuff is illegal. If you do buy them then you are supporting a fake brand and not the real thing.
Also buying counterfiet items might also make you really itchy and disfigured and it will be costly to fix. And it might require more stress on your part and might require you to apply for special consideration which might not be granted by the uni
The real thing wont be:
1) Cheap as
2) Sold at the market
3)Broken

The real thing will be:
1) Packaged properly
2) Sold in real salons and shops
3) Expensive or correctly priced

So buy the real thing and not the fake and save yourself all the hassles

working in hospitlaity

Working in hospitality can be fun but also very tiring.
You are on your feet all day.
Depending on where you are working you might get paid low wages especillt in Asian restaurants.
Crown casino is a good place to work. Some of my friends work there. It is luxurious but sometimes there are a few drunken fights.

If you are working in a restaurant, cafe, bar then good English is a must. There are always a number of complaints about bad English and service skills on Urbanspoon so they are a must. No one likes the long waits.
And you must be really knowledgeable about the food that the cafe serves, otherwise people will complain about that too. So if you are thinking of working as a wait staff it might be a really good idea to volunteer at Realfoods or Melbourne Uni food co-op as they are always looking for new people. And you can learn all sorts of new skills for the restaurant world

Where to buy cheap but decent looking shoes

For casual shoes.... I suggest Sketchers at DFO. Comfortable and won't cost a fortune. I got my pair of shoes for about $39.95 and they lasted for just over a year. I was walking everyday in these. I loved mine to bits.

For comfortable shoes.... I suggest Rivers. Rivers is a clothing and shoe shop all over Australia. Cheap about $30- $50 and very comfy. They have really good boots. www.rivers.com.au
They have an online shop where you can buy shoes and comfortable clothes. They often do have weekly specials on shoes and other things.

For work and special occasions. I suggest Zoe Wittner. But don't go to the normal stores. Instead visit DFO or wait until their end of season sales where everything is drastically reduced. http://www.wittner.com.au/shoes/shoes-sale.html. Most of the shoes on special costs from $39-$100.

I'd also visit zu shoes as they have cute shoes. They have a direct factory outlet in Richmond where everything is 50-75% off the retail price. I have bought a pair of heels for $59 once and I wore them time and time again.

Diana Ferrari is another shoe brand that I'd go for. Here they have factory outlet in Moonee Ponds where you can buy the shoes for like $50-$70.
Most of the shoes purchased in Aus are all in European sizes. Hence a size 5= to a European size 36. If you are not sure of the shoe sizing here best to go to the shop and ask the shop assistant to help you with sizing. that is what they are there for.
This should help you too http://www.wittner.com.au/help/size_guide/

The world of tea



Tea is one of the popular drinks of Melbourne, namely chai.
Chai is found at most good cafes and shops. And even David Jones has chai.
Chai can be good or bad depending on how you like it. I like mine sweet and frothy. Hence I didn't quite like the Twinings chai tea that I sampled at home. But I did love the Afternoon surprise one with so many different notes to it. It tasted a little bit like earl grey except for a tiny hint of lemon.
A packet of 10 bags of tea costs about $2 in the supermarket, and a packet of 50 teas costs about $4 at the supermarket. But at the market a packet of 50 tea bags costs a $1 each.
But of course a pot/ cup of tea costs $3.50. You can get refills for free if you need. Still a little pricey, but I suppose one needs to pay the wages and the water bill.
Tea has been around for years and is drunk worldwide.
Green tea is another popular drink and has been around for quite some time. You can find it all over Melbourne.
T2 is another place that sells tea. They are an chain store which just sells tea in boxes and bags. Their packages range from $14-$28 and they have all sorts of flavours
Lupercia in QV is another tea shop, but only this time run by Japanese/chinese. Their teas are a little more expensive but authentic
Teh tarik is another type of tea which is Malaysian and pulled. This is found in many Malaysian cafes and restaurants not so much in shops.
Chinese tea is found in shops.

Join a Union

Why?
Because you know that they are great for you. Not only do you get discounts you also have people to turn to if something is not right. They can help you argue your case to your employer or uni

There are many different types of unions such as student union and workers union. You have to pay a fee to join but you would get all the benefits.

Sometimes the unions will hold barbeques every now and then to get members to join.

Where to buy clothes

Do you need new clothes? If so here is where to buy them without breaking the bank.
1) DFO- they often have 30% to 50% off even more sales. So you can buy everything for cheaper. Like that pair of sketchers shoes for $39 down from $169.
2) Vintage sales like Hello sailor that is always on in the Shot tower. Hello sailor runs every once in a while and their clothes are decent and cheap
3) Op shops such as Savers and Salvation army. You can often find clothes for $5-$20 and they have been only worn once or twice so they are still in a brand new condition. The money that you give goes to charity.
4) Just jeans- they often have specials, such as 2 for 1.
5) Jeanswest have really good jeans for under $100
6) End of season sales- Usually at the end of a season a lot of clothes are marked down so this is a great time to grab a bargain on the things you need

Melbourne Central has a student club which all uni students can join. Here you can 10% to 15% off Melbourne centrals most expensive stores. Even with the 10% to 15% off items the clothes might still be expensive. Sigh. Some of their stores have pretty good deals though such as if you spend a certain maount you get a voucher of gift free.

Some of the fashion magazines might have a voucher for a particular clothing store which you could use and save money

Or if you know how to sew you can make your own.
Here's where to go to get your stuff: Lincraft stores. There is a big shop in the city full of fabrics and other things for cheap. You can buy the fabrics for $5-$8 per metre.

RMIT has a whole lot of market days where you can buy really cheap clothes from and support the students who run the stalls. Most of them sell for like $10-$15 per piece depending on the item. Check out: www.su.rmit.edu.au for more information. Also do you have things to sell? If so you can have a stall at the market days.
Also Melbourne Uni has market days too where you can buy clothes and accessories for cheap

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chocolateria san churro at Fitzroy

I doesn't like it. Why?
I think you know what it sells becuase it is a chain store. I went in waiting for Naked for Satan to open and thinking that I'll enjoy a good hot chocolate whilst waiting.
Well I was wrong.
Well for a start the ambience of the place is really cold and cheap and very dim.
The staff just seemed like they wanted to go home and really unhappy.
I hated the free cake- it was dry and lacklustre. What was with it anyway, when the city actually sells this and much better.
I got the Spanish hot chocolate and it was bit meh. I can get better at the city store.
Avoid like the plague.








Chocolateria San Churro on Urbanspoon

$7.30 prezel and coffee deal at Pretzel world

I forgot the camera at home. Darn... I would have liked to have posted photos of the place and how big the pretzels areand the freebies.
 Altogether the hot chocolate and pretzel was $7.30. I didn't mind paying as the portions were huge and filling
  
 The pretzels are made  freshly when people order them. But the hot chocolate was a bit milky and powdery. The pretzel was very filling though. yum heavenly.  There was virtaully no service . I had to call them and wait a while. It  is run by Chinese. But they are a franchise and I discovered them  in 2008. But I hadn't written up about the place

 If you are there don't order the coffees though as they are not good. Instead order the pretzels. You can order sandwich/savory ones or sweet ones.









Pretzel World on Urbanspoon

Proud Mary

Proud mary is a very big coffee place in Collingwood. It is rated number 20 on Urbanspoon. They are also featured in the Age Cheap eats guide as well as the Cafe guide.
Here they really specialise in coffee and you can buy a bag of beans to take home.
You can watch them make coffees at the bar.
Despite what people say on Urbanspoon the service is fast and friendly. But I was a bit confused about whether it was table service/EFTPOS etc. Maybe some clearer signage would be good.
The place was busy as when I got there. I wonder what it would be like over the weekend when more people come.





Someone else's breakfast which looked really good and made me go wow





Look you can see them making syphon

My sample of Syphon coffee

The ricotta panckes were huge ($16.50). I couldnt finish them.  But they were lovely and smooth and soft which I loved. But I couldn't stomach it all. I didn't really like the combination of mandarin and fudge; it tasted way too strange for me. The mandarin was tangy and the fudge was sweet. I'm not really much of a cream person so I didn't eat up all the mascapone. The mocha magic was huge ($4.50). And there was the right amount of coffee and chocolate to it which was brilliant. 
I also got to try a sample of their filter coffee and it was really strong, winey and bitter.


Next time Proud  Mary should have a smaller- kid sized hotcakes and meals for people with small appeitites. And with berries. They were seriously huge!
But the coffee is great and I'll be bringing my international students here.
Proud Mary on Urbanspoon

Naked for Satan

Naked for satan is a cheap place to have lunch. But it is also a bar serving vodka and Sangarias (A Spanish/Mexican drink).
Well I haven't really written up many places which are Spanish but this is one of them. about 60+ blog posts have been written about this place so I won't bore you about the ambiance of the place. It is in Fitzroy about 10-15 mins by tram or by bus and within zone 1

But I will say that the service is fantastic. They are quite busy on the weekends and everything here is super cheap except for alcohol. But I don't drink alcohol so I can't rave on about this.






Naked For Satan on Urbanspoon





What is the purpose of these cups sitting here?


I went for more




But I can say that the food is fresh and the bread is yummy as well as the fillings. I got my fill for $9. I kept on wanting more but I was full after 9 pintxos. Pintxos is a Sapnish snack where there are small baguette pieces with filling on top.
I loved the blueberry cannoli. It was the bomb.
All in all I 'd come here with some friends. You can book the place if you have 30+ people coming. Hence it is good for a function.

Tea-up

I finally got to try this place a few after it was advertised as a lovely, bustling Asian tea place. It looked really nice on the front of the store and I can see that they use fresh ingredients so thats good. And its right near the new Swanston Academic building so RMIT need not build nine restaurants as all the places are near by. This place caters for Asian students. There is so many tea places in the area


Tea-Up on Urbanspoon



But there was not that many people there why? It was 2pm when I got my iced green tea with orange ($4.50). NO indication of pearls but freshly squeezed oranges and tea and ICE!!!! What is with ice at the bottom of the cup???? WHy????? I t could have come with pearls like the ones at Easy Way does for $4.50
And the waffles there are $8.50 a plate and the cakes looks measly and disappointing.

Service too was bad. The lady at the counter was not friendly. Hello I work in hospitality and know that it is rude not to smile and acknowledge bloggers. She didn't even smile... she just wanted me out of there. Next time I want tea I'll just go to Easy way on Bourke st.  Better service for a much affordable price. Witht eh bad service I think they will lose out to better tea places

Friday, July 27, 2012

Effective study space.

The things that you need for this space:
1 or 2 big bookshelves
1 strudy desk
1 computer
A few usbs
Pens
Pencils
Rulers
Erasers
notebooks
Student diary
Desk chair
Clock
Flowers if you grow them. They would light up the room greatly.
Sharpeners
Your textbooks
A few stress balls are handy.
A small heater in winter

Notes:
The RMIT village and other student apartment complexes will have all the furniture you need. Some of them might have internet access.

You might already own a laptop but if you don't you can buy them online for cheap.

It would be a great idea if your desk was close to a window so that you can open it for fresh air.

Officeworks has some cheap back to school sales at the begginning of the year where you can pick up pens and things for $1- $10

Some of the pens, pencils, rulers, notebooks, usbs, erasers and the student diary you can get it for free if you go to RMIT's Odays from some of their sponsors.

The stress balls you can get for free at RMIT careers days from prospective employers.

You can buy small heaters from Target and Harvey norman for your room in winter. don't get secondhand ones as they are likely to be overheated and catch fire. If you live in the RMIT village you can buy one for $35.

You can buy a cheap clock from a $2 shop.

You can get desk chairs and tables and filing cabinets for free from RMIT student union

How to keep your room tidy for cheap

Image courtesy of Wikihow.com
Your rooms always in a mess each day when you come home from uni. You just want a simple way for your room to be clean.

Here's how in 12 ways.
1) Clean your towels every one to two weeks. That goes for the sheets as well
2) Air your room once a week to two weeks.
3) Dust your room
You can use any cleaning cloth and water to do this. Cleaning cloths are sold at any supermarkets and they cost somewhere between $3-$7 to purchase
4) Paper recycling- you can use old boxes to put paper recylcing in. When it is bin night take it out
5) Mop your room- You can buy a mop from the supermarkets for about $10-$15
6) Store your books- here you need a medium sized to a big bookshelf to put all your three to four years worth of books in. You texts are heavy, mind you so it needs to be something stable. You can buy them on dealsdirect.com.au for $69.
7) Store your papers( and clean your folders) at the end of each semester- here you need some sort of a filing system. You should get 4 filing boxes one for each year and label each section. Howards storage and Officeworks have some sort of filling kits that you can buy. take advantage of the back to school sales where all the filling things are cheapest.
8) Empty your bin each week so that the room does not smell. And use a durable bin not a cheap bin that lasts as long as a month.
9) Put some flowers in your room to brighten the atmosphere. If you grow some outside- pick them
10) Use old empty jars as pencil tins, as it is free to reuse them again and save the enviroment at the same time.
11) Buy bag hooks that won't ruin the wall and make your landlord unhappy. If the wall is damaged the landlord may choose to keep your bond. You could also put your coat on it if it holds. Buy ones that are easy to take off without ruining the wall. You can buy multi ones for $35 at Howards Storage world. Then that way you can have heaps of things hanging on the wall.
12) Clean your wardrobe. Buy plenty of shoe racks and boxes. Howards storage world has some hanging storage spaces for $20.  Get rid of the clothes you don't need by donating them to charity or selling them at the Camberwell market. Or you can attend RUSU's clothes swap party and also get some new looks for free.
13) Buy a set of storage tubs on dealsdirect.com.au for $24.95. You never know when you might need them. Howards has them too 3 for $22.95

Now there is no excuse to be organised. You can ask your parents to buy the stuff for you from overseas if need be online.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

cheap comforts

Lets face it. We are students. We cannot afford heaps. So here are some cheap comfort foods.
1) Soup. Buy some pumpkin and sour cream and milk.
"The best thing is that is costs less than a violet rectangle of polypropylene polymer to brown slices of onion in a pot, add half a kilo or so of cubed pumpkin, and simmer over low heat with a couple of bowls of water. Whizz the whole concoction in a blender once its cooked and cooled down sufficiently to handle, season to taste, and eat!" (taken from Unisquare.me https://www.unisquare.me/coffeetable/article/291 - 20/7/2012). It costs about $12 altogether to make a big pot of soup.
2) Chocolate- You can buy blocks in store for $3 to $6 depending on the size. And sometimes they will have a two for one promotion
3) Curry for those that love spicy- You can make big pots of it at home.
4) Apple pie- You can buy them in packs at the supermarket for about $8. But its better to make and bake your own if you can. A bag of apples during winter costs about $5 and then puff pastry costs about $4. You can make lots of stuff with puff pastry.
5) Hotpot- Grab your friends and make it a hotpot night for about $20 per person. Buy lots and lots of ingredients in bulk at the supermarket and Asian shops and then have heaps of leftovers for the days afterwards
6) Mulled wine if you love drinking. But if you don't leave it
7) Fondue- invite friends over, buy a cheap block of cooking chocolate, two or three bananas, a bag of marshellows and a loaf of banana bread it should be about $20 altogether and that's not including the fondue machine

Monday, July 23, 2012

Moving in

So you've found a new place?
now you need to move in. but to do that you need to know a few rules:
1) Pay the bond on time. This is the first four weeks of rent. This will cover them should any damages or arrears in rent if they arise. Make sure you get a receipt for this and any other payments you make to the landlord.
2) Get the renters guide =$500fine for the landlord if the landlord doesn't give you it. And read it, it has some important things in there about leaving, eviction and your rights as a tenant.
3) Take good pictures. You can do this with your phone if you have a camera.  Do it accurately first time around and there'll be no troubles. This forms a part of the condition report. This is also evidence should the landlord charge you for the damage
4) Fill in the condition report. If you don't the landlord might claim that the damages in the house is yours and then they might keep your bond.
5) Inspect the place properly. Make sure that it is safe. Make sure that the smoke alarm works inside the building. Make sure that there are no cracks anywhere.
6) Get things fixed fast if need be

Visit: www.tuv.org.au for more information on tenant rights and what to do if things go wrong. The tenants union can help you if things do go wrong.
There are some unscrupulous landlords here that don't do the right thing such as overcharging without warning.

Culture shock and the things I learnt in Australia

These are some of the things I learnt whilst in Melbourne. I know I had a hard time settling in but things are much easier with this guide.
image courtesy of Google images

1) People love to walk barefoot. In China everyone wears shoes.
2) People love to walk their dogs in public- in China not so much
3) The different cuisines. In Hong Kong there are a few different cuisines, but Melbourne has much more. In fact it is a little like Europe.
4) The bus stops have no name but a number, so it is hard to know where you are or where things are. The bus drivers can sometimes be of no help.
5) Everything comes late all the time and everyone stresses. In China all the trains come on time and they are really fast and clean. Where as in Melbourne the trains are overcrowded and dirty.
6) People speak in Aussie slang and they speak English fast. The Aussies would say g'day mate for hello and other things.
7) Melbourne has four seasons and it can rain unexpectedly. So true so bring a brolly (umbrella) everytime you are out or risk getting soaked.

8) There's free paper at the train stations for you to pick up and learn English.
9) There's no conductors and you have to buy a ticket yourself using the machines. The machines can be a little ticky to understand by as time goes by it gets easier. In China there were always conductors and tickets were very cheap. In here an adult ticket costs around $7.60= 48.62CNY. But if you were to get a Myki ( a reuseable plastic card) it is $6= 38.39 CNY and then you have to put money on it as it comes without money

10) There's no concession ticket for students, unlike in China. If you buy a concession ticket without a valid Victorian concession card then you'll be fined $207. Which equates to 1150.98 CNY (http://www.ozforex.com.au/currency-converter). A full fare monthly myki is $120 which equates to 767.13 CNY
11) No spitting is allowed in the street or otherwise you'll be fined. In China and Hong Kong it is ok to spit anywhere in the street.

12) Strangers talk to each other and can ask for help. You can walk into a store and ask for help. Australians are generally very friendly and willing to help you.  In China this never happened much. In fact Australians are laidback, friendly and relaxed people in nature.

13) Atlhough everyone is friendly, there are a few racist people. Racism is everywhere at night in the city. A few Chinese students were beaten in Sydney earlier this year.

14) The ticket machine always breaks down and the drivers do not care- they just drive off and leave everyone in the lurch, hence the ride would be free
15) We have to save water and water is very dear here. Melbourne has been in drought season for quite a few years, but that's about to change.
16) The air in which we breathe is clean but dry at times.
17) Smoking is banned here, but in China people smoke everywhere.
18) The academic system at RMIT is less formal. People call their teachers by their first name, wear casual clothes to uni and learning is by understanding not by rote.

19) There are quite a few homeless people in the streets of Melbourne compared to China. They usually beg for money.
20) We have a lot of pubs here and unlike China they serve English food such as Parma and Fish and chips, not so much in China.
21) It takes a few months to settle down properly and not be so homesick.

What can you work as whilst you are here

Well whilst you are here there isn't many well paid jobs as they are usually for people with PR (Permanent residency) which is really sad. Most banks and businesses require work experience.
Work experience can be hard to get here.

But there are several jobs some of which pay well and others don't.
Here are some of the most common ones that students here do
1) Waitressing- some of the Asian restaurants don't pay well but most of the European ones do. But they require good English.
2) Working at 7-11 and other retail stores- now 7-11 doesn't pay well but other retail stores do. When you go exploring have a look around and see what jobs you can do as they are often not advertised in the paper.
3) Taxi driver- the hours are not great and it is often unsafe at night, especially with all the violence on Friday and Saturday night.
4) Work at RUSU- Student union always employ people from time to time.
5) Door to door salespeople often work in the cold and wet selling stuff and they don't earn a lot of money. The hours can be long and tiring.
6) Call centers- the hours are long but good pay. There are far and few jobs in between for this occupation.
7) Fast food- they don't pay much and there are long hours standing on your feet. Sometimes you can be covered in dirt when you go home from all the cleaning. And in some places for example Hungry Jacks late at night can be violent
8) Cleaner- some of the jobs can require a car whilst others are close to public transport. Cleaners don't get paid a good rate. You can be covered in lots of dirt and smell. You can also be expected to walk about 8-15 kms in a day carrying heavy equipment.
9) Admin staff in an office- some of the jobs require PR and others don't. There are quite a few part time jobs.
10) Blogging- this is the best job of all. Not only do you get paid you also get invited to many events and product launches. Think Nuffnang and Weekend Notes where you get paid about $0.01 per view. Get lots of views and ad clicks and you can be earning a nice profit. You get to work as many hours as you want and when you want to in the comfort of your own home. Its a great way to practice your English. You might find it hard to start off with but as you go it will be easier.

Good luck in looking for jobs as they are hard to find nowadays.

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