Expat Interview: Why Hannah Moved Back To England

In a series we’ve created to interview other expats, this is Hannah, a British expat who has moved back to England after she and her boyfriend realised they missed their friends & family too much.

Name and Age – Hannah Ward, 26

Where are you from? Bude (which is in Cornwall) England

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself? In my teens I was an extra on Doc Martin

Why did you move to Australia?

On a bit of a whim really. My boyfriend and I were starting to get bored with our jobs in the UK and at the time we had a number of friends living in Manly (Sydney). As I had never been traveling, we thought it would be fun to move out to Sydney for a while.

How long did you live in Sydney and what was your favourite/ worst thing about Sydney?

Just over a year and a half. My favourite thing about Sydney was being able to live in a city while still being right on the beach, something you can’t really get at home. And of course the weather.The worst thing was the fact that they didn’t sell Galaxy chocolate (am a bit of a chocoholic)

Where was your favourite restaurant and bar in Sydney?

Sydney Shady Pines Saloon Darlinghurst photo by Jamie WilliamsCity of Sydney

I loved going to The Rice Pot in Bondi Beach, their food is amazing and really reasonably priced It’s also bring your own wine which is always a winner with me. Shady Pines off Oxford Street was my favourite bar, loved the music, surroundings and peanuts.

What would be your perfect day in Aus and in UK?

Perfect day in Aus would be getting up popping to Westfield for a quick shop (unlimited funds of course), heading down to the beach for a bit of tanning and swimming then heading out for some drinks in the evening.

Perfect day in the UK would be potentially the same thing though currently the shopping would need to be online and the swimming would require a wet suit.

What did you miss most about UK and any reason why you moved back?

I missed everyone there, my friends and family were a real draw back to the UK. I actually started to miss the cold weather! (I know I’m a bit crazy there). We simply decided that we didn’t want to make Aus our permanent home so moved back to start setting up roots in the UK.

And so now onto the fashion questions…

How did the name Heelbillie come about and how long have you been blogging for?

The name came about because my circumstances when I started the blog. I was struggling to find work, between flats living out of a suitcase and missing my shoes collection at home. Thus the name Heelbillie was suggested and I decided to go with it.

When I first moved to Sydney I was doing a lot of temp work which left me with a lot of free time. I was using a lot of this time looking at different fashion and style blogs and eventually started to think that it was something that I wanted to have a go at. I’m a bit of a newbie at ten months.

How would you describe your style and where do you get your inspiration from?

Quite dark, I don’t like a lot of colour. Simple basics with a few extra touches and always involving either black, leather or studs somewhere. I take inspiration from Sienna Miller and if I could buy any collection it would hands down be the  3.1 Philip Lim collections.

The first blogs that I started to read and gave me the inspiration to start myself are Dulceida, Collage Vintage, Mediamarmalade and Nicola Claire. There are so many more that I follow now including Fashion Me Now, The Little Magpie and Beauty Crush.

What is your most treasured buy?

A leather jacket from the original Kate Moss collaboration with Topshop that I picked up in the sale. It just keeps getting better with age. It looks quite beaten up and battered now but that’s what makes me love it more.

Where did you buy your clothes from in Sydney?

A mixture of on the high street, online and from markets. I have to say that I was still addicted to Zara and Topshop while I was in Sydney and went there a lot. Two places that I got a number of things from were Atikk which is on Pitt Street and in Manly and Home & Wardrobe which is in Manly. I loved the markets around Sydney and really miss them already. My favourites to visit were Kirribilli and Manly where I have picked up so many bargains.

What is Australian style and are there any difference between Aus and UK styles?

I personally don’t feel there are many differences between Australian and UK styles. If I had to pinpoint something it would be that Australian style can be more casual and laid back than the UK presumably deriving from the beach lifestyle and culture there.

With online shopping and global chains having stores in Sydney there were no big differences for me between available styles. One change between the UK and Aus isn’t styles but seasons. While European and American stores were bringing out the latest knitwear and winter boots in Aus you’re in your bikini. This often left me wanting new styles for the wrong season and a lot of pre-buying for winter or summer happened.

Did your style change when you moved to Aus and how?

Coming from a beachy area of the UK I have always had elements of boho in my look but I think living in Sydney highlighted that relaxed style for me. A number of more casual pieces were popping up in my wardrobe. I also spent half my time there searching for ‘the perfect’ playsuit, I built up quite a collection while I was there.

What are your favourite current trends and can you predict what will be a future trend to look out for?

I’m loving everything off the shoulder at the moment. For me I think sleeveless jackets will be big this Autumn/Winter ’14.

What is the most common fashion mistake you see girls making?

Not wearing clothes that fit or suit their shape.

What is the one piece every woman should have in her wardrobe?

A leather jacket.

And lastly just a couple of travel questions…

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

New York, I have always dreamt of moving there.

Favourite country and why?

England, it’s home.