A Couples Journey to Coliving

A Couples Journey to Coliving

NOVEMBER 25, 2020 | BY UKO

Co-living is not only for singles, the experience for couples 

We caught up with Paddington Village couple Sara and Diego about their experience with Co-living and life in their UKO Paddington Village Gallery Studio. Co-living is not only for singles, it’s couple friendly too! Save on dollars and gain the benefits of the Co-living community such as drinks and nibbles on a Friday, a much loved touch for UKO members when the weekend comes around! Here’s a couple’s personal personal journey to, and experience in, coliving. 

Diego, how did you meet Sara? What have been some of the biggest benefits and challenges living together as a couple in a coliving studio?

Sara and I were born in the same city but met here in Sydney, whilst we were on our own journeys. It’s like life laid out the best pathway in front of us to follow. We’re now living together in a coliving studio. When living as a couple, you start to know one another much more such as one another’s individuality that comes out through manners and customs. When you share space, you share time and even your moods! But we have fitted together so well. 

The studio gives us the option to “customise” it to our liking and we don’t tend to have much furniture or many decorations. I like how the place was initially set up. I’ve tried to keep the layout as it leaves enough space to move around and not feel like you’re getting out of bed and walking straight into the fridge! For us it’s great to have a balcony, we chat whilst watching beautiful sunsets before moving onto the couch where we keep chatting or watch YouTube. We’ll cook something and eat at the dining table. We’ve even had friends come over and we didn’t feel there was no space. So far I haven’t struggled with anything, so, there’s not much to talk about regarding challenges.

Why did you move to Sydney and what do you do in this city?

Diego – We’re from South-America. For us it’s important to learn the English language to open up more opportunities, whether that’s professional or personal. It was a great decision that we made to come to Australia rather than the United States. Here we’re able to study and work and afford the experience, which is not possible in the States. The quality of life we experience here is a blessing, and Sydney is one of the best cities to live in the world. We also love the opportunity to meet people from everywhere and learn from their culture. And of course, to be able to have a beautiful place to come home to after work!

Sara, so how’d you come across UKO?

I’d planned to spend some time outside of Sydney in the Blue Mountains around the time that Diego and I met. When I came back to Sydney, and we planned to move in together, we went to a few open inspections and nothing was suitable. I’d seen the photos of Paddington Village on the UKO website. I was super excited and said to Diego, I want to move here!

Why Paddington Village?

Sara – I’d been living in Killara, which is nice but not the most convenient place to live. I knew Paddington quite well and how much of a great location it is! Walking around Paddington Village there are such beautiful streets and houses!

Diego – We knew about the co-living concept for a while before we moved in. I’ve personally found it amazing as I like to socialise. In a regular flat you rarely have the chance to with flat mates as everyone has busy and varied schedules. For the first time, as our fellow UKOers are always friendly and happy to say ‘hi’, I often have short conversations. This makes me appreciate how good the people are that I share the building with. I’ve only attended one event, but it was enough to meet everyone and become excited about the UKO experience.

What has your experience of UKO been?

Sara – When we went on a tour of Paddington Village we were surprised, Diego especially, to find that the photos on the website were accurate. Everything in real life looked as it did online. This is rare with rental apartments in Sydney! Everything was brand new and the sign up process was easy. I’m super busy with my work and study so I love how Jorge (the Community Host) leaves sweets in our communal lounge area and drinks and nibbles in the fridge on a Friday! I also love having fresh sheets every two weeks. OMG this is unbelievable! 

 So, co-living and micro apartment living is working well for you two

Diego – I have to say that it’s more than I expected. We are both pretty organised people and like to have a harmonious place to live. It’s a winning combination to have a micro apartment – our own space which is easy to clean. 

Living here has also taught us to own less. Previously, when we had a large room, we were able to store many things which we never really used. We found it incredible that the studio had all the necessary space! Before moving in, the first thing we did was decide what we needed to keep and what we could get rid of such as clothes, bags, etc. Another benefit was the kitchen appliances were brand new. The experience from the beginning has been incredible and it continues to be. 

Have there been any unique benefits to co-living as a couple that you didn’t expect?

Our co-living experience has been minimal as we haven’t attended every gathering, however, after being to a couple at UKO Paddington and UKO Paddington Village, the opportunity to know people who are similar to you is a unique benefit. In this environment, everyone is willing to share the benefits that UKO provides within the spaces. Sara and I discuss personal challenges, this is not speaking native English. However we feel proud when we’re interacting with locals and holding these conversations! So we’re really fulfilling our purposes coming to Australia! 


15 Steps to a Better You

15 Steps to a Better You

NOVEMBER 25, 2020 | BY UKO

Developing one’s self and finding balance 

Get back on track with 15 steps to a better you: make plans, make money, get into a good routine… etc, just follow these steps and there you’ll have it; a better you. No, well we all know it’s not so simple. We want our lives to be exciting and fulfilling however there isn’t any guide for how to exactly achieve this. We can get caught up in work and even lose track of time, to the point where we wonder where the years go. Juggling study, work and life… the old work-life balance is challenging. At the best of times, work won’t clear your mind, so we need to find this excitement for fulfilment elsewhere… but how!

Balance The Grind is a website entirely dedicated to showcasing healthy work-life balance through stories of people all over the world in different careers and lifestyles. No individual is the same, hence talking anyone through an ideal step-by-step process just won’t work. However by looking at others as examples, we might be able to garner the ideas that we need to coordinate all of the things that make up our work and our lives. 

Balance The Grind’s Daily Routines series explores the daily routines, schedules, habits and rituals of successful world leaders, artists, startup founders, business executives, writers and world class athletes to uncover the key learnings. I took a look at Sydney local entrepreneurs Manda Kelly, Co-founder of Freelancing Gems,  Lauren Crystal, Co-founder of Hassle and Liam McNally, Diversity & Inclusion Partner at GitLab. These people all have such busy days! Back-to-back meetings, small time slots to produce work, guest speaking on webinars and then they’ve got their families, friends and health to sort out! How do they do it? Multitasking, juggling follow-ups… they’ve all had experience stopping and starting routines and practices to adjust and adapt their lives. 

The key is to give yourself the time.

Time to work out what it is that you need to balance work and life. This is because balance is going to be different for everyone and dependent upon commitments, health and family situation. Central aspects of Manda, Laren and Liam’s lives are exercise, work flexibility and breaking work down into smaller pieces. No university assignment work style all-nighters! What a relief! 

Manda, Lauren and Liam all exercise in the mornings at some stage. It may be first thing at 6:00 am, at 8 am… or later in the morning at 11 am. Flexibility is something that these people have across the board which allows for different intersections of work and life. Work flexibility means that you don’t have to wait until 6:00 pm to get to the gym. It also means that you can work globally, Liam’s company is US based and Manda has recently spoken at the UN World Entrepreneurs Day webinar. Flexible work means they can all make their personal appointments which are often scheduled during work hours. Their work patterns are broken up into 1-2 hour slots and regular breaks such as gym, groceries, walks or coffees are integrated around slots. The experts say productivity is then increased and the mind is cleared.

So what does balance mean to Manda, Lauren and Liam? For Manda Kelly, balance means “personal balance in mind, body and spirit! I am pretty high energy so I need my down time and mindfulness.” Lauren Crystal says it’s “ loving your job, whilst at the same time your work environment and respecting the boundaries of your personal life.” For Liam McNally, “it’s very important for me to have that integration in order to be productive. I achieve this by being strict with my flexibility.”  

These may not be your answers but here are the top tips from the experts: 

  • Turn your phone on airplane mode so you don’t get calls during your personal time.
  • Use tools such as Hassle to reduce emails to a minimum.
  • Focus for 1-2 hour intervals of work and take breaks to maximise productivity. 
  • Never compromise your exercise or your health. 
  • Catch up with friends to break up your day for exercise, walks or coffees. 

Balance to maintain both our mental and physical health is essential. If you’re not healthy you can’t do much at all! By burning the candles at both ends you can get run down, exhaust yourself and potentially bring out illnesses. Keep that balance! It’s not as easy as following any step by step guide as we all have different responsibilities and commitments as well as heath levels. So, ensure that you take the time to work out what you need to get your balance right!