From Sydney’s eastern suburbs to East London, Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor are loving their new home on the other side of the world.
The Bondi couple, who played Summer Bay lovebirds Ziggy Astoni and Dean Thompson, chose the area because they have a network of Australian friends nearby.
“They can tell me where to buy socks!” Sophie, 29, laughs.
HEART & HOME
When Woman’s Day caught up with them, their beloved toy cavoodle Winnie had just arrived from Australia, shaking off his jet lag by chasing squirrels.
“It was fine just the two of us, but we always felt something was missing,” says 30-year-old Paddy. “So when he joined us it did make it feel like a home.”
After a well-earned break, Sophie – whose dream is to perform on the West End stage – is itching to get back to work.
“I was told by an acting teacher that I don’t have the look for television because I had a fat face,” she reveals. “That was a great confidence booster for a 21-year-old trying to find themselves! So I assumed I’d only be doing theatre and character work. Lo and behold, I got TV anyway. But I would love to be in theatre here.”
In the meantime they won’t forget their Summer Bay roots – excited fans are flocking to meet them!
“One man travelled seven hours with his puppy Ziggy in his backpack so we could get a photo together,” says Sophie. “It’s been quite overwhelming to see just how much people love the show.”
The couple are making the most of having Europe on their doorstep.
Since leaving Australia in January, they’ve already visited Scotland, Ireland and Portugal, and have been snowboarding in Italy.
“We get a little bit overwhelmed with the choice,” says Paddy. Next up, a road trip through France and Spain with Winnie. “European dogs can get a pet passport, which kind of blew my mind!”
At home in London, they enjoy seeing a show, visiting markets, cooking and pub crawls with friends. With so much to see and do, proper homesickness hasn’t kicked in yet but Sophie pines for the ocean and Paddy misses the ease of getting around in Oz.
“London is so big. And there are a lot of people to get past to get where you’re going!”
After working so hard in their 20s, the couple are enjoying their freedom before considering starting a family.
“I’m 30 [soon] and have to think about my eggs dying, apparently!” says Sophie, who struggles with endometriosis. “But I know that if I start a fertility journey at some point, there won’t be room for spontaneous travel.”
“For so long we essentially played someone else far more than ourselves. Now we just want to see the world.”