Renee and her husband moved to Oxford at the beginning of 2010 from Melbourne, Australia for what they thought would be just a one-year adventure. However, like so many that have come before them, they have found their time in ‘Wonderland’ so enchanting, that more than two years later they are yet to emerge from the rabbit hole!
Having relocated several times during her childhood, Renee was no stranger to adventure and her most recent move to Oxford proved to be both an exciting and challenging one. During her first weeks and months in particular she learnt a great deal about the ups and downs of life in Oxford, most specifically, the shrinking qualities of the British bureaucracy. However, unlike Alice in Wonderland, she did not find a tiny golden key with which to unlock its mysteries.
Whilst the odd glass of red wine certainly helped (no paper label with the words ‘DRINK ME’ required), there were certainly times when Renee felt helpless. Rather than drowning in her own pool of tears, she pulled out her note pad instead! ‘The Oxford Fresher’ was launched in October 2011 as a way for her to share these experiences and help others moving to Oxford.
Having seen her blog, you will not be surprised to learn that Renee originally trained as a graphic designer. Whilst her career began in a small Melbourne studio, her love of fashion soon drew her back to her studies and after completing further qualifications at The Melbourne School of Fashion, she spent many years working for the Australian fashion label, JAG. Here in Oxford she continues to work as a freelance graphic designer with particular interests in fashion, illustration, interior design, photography and travel.
More recently, with ever growing requests from friends, colleagues and strangers alike for information ranging from, “Where’s the best place to live?” to “What’s a MOT?” Renee decided to use all her notes to start writing a guide book for others moving to Oxford. She has spent the past twelve months creating the first edition, which she now updates regularly with the help of feedback from her readers.
Renee aptly describes The Oxford Fresher’s Guide as a ‘Lonely Planet’ guidebook that has decided to stop being lonely… and has instead settled down in one place – a book for living, not visiting!