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Friday, September 12, 2014

Op Shops of Brisbane: Save the Children Kallangur





Op Shops of Brisbane is a series where I talk about charity shops I go to. Feel free to suggest a good one to me - I live on the north side but have been known to drive great distances for a good browse!


This week we're looking at Save the Children Op Shop in Kallangur. It is a relatively new store to me, having only noticed it a few months ago. Either it has always been there and recently gotten a facelift, or it's new in the premises. Either way, it's great!


Parking tip - if there's no space out the front on the main road, turn into the shopping centre and park in front of the Salvos store next to the Red Rooster. Then you can hit both op shops at once!


What struck me when I first entered the shop was the extraordinary level of neatness and organisation. Although since this visit I have seen it in a few places, this was the first op shop I'd seen where clothing was organised by colour. It's very striking and so wonderfully convenient if you're looking for a particular shade!


There is a plus size clothing rack too (always an extra brownie point in my book) and a wide range of clothing for the whole family. I have found upon subsequent visits the clothes are mostly of the modern chain store variety, with a wide range of low- and high-end labels represented.


There is a wall of books and mags, and a few shelves with a small collection of bric-a-brac. I've seen Johnson of Australia there, along with some other nice crockery but not many other collectables. The majority of the shop is clothing.

I love visiting this shop because it is invariably clean, tidy and bright. Although small, I can often find something to buy. It's also one of the only two op shops within a half hour drive of my house that are open Sundays!

Save the Children Op Shop is at Shop 1, 1469 Anzac Ave, Kallangur QLD and is open Mon-Sat: 9am-4pm and Sun: 10am-4pm.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Living a Bloggable Life


Pinterest is a great place to find out stuff about blogging, and last night I stumbled across a little list of tips for beginning bloggers.

Most I had read before, some were just common sense, but the one that really struck me was "LIVE A LIFE WORTH BLOGGING ABOUT".

Wow, pressure.

Ok, ok I get what the author is saying. It's probable that people don't want to read about your mundane daily life - but then again look at bloggers like Mrs Woog of Woogsworld. The mundane, if I may be so bold, is her bread and butter - it's where she finds inspiration and really connects with their blog community. It's even in the blog tagline.

You only have to look at my instagram feed to know that I don't lead an exciting life of travel and intrigue. Nor do most people, actually! I thought about my life a bit and realised that I don't only blog about "things that I do", I also write about "things that I like". Subjects I'm passionate about or find interesting. I don't need to travel to garment sweatshops to blog about supply chain slavery. Similarly, you don't have to be a sufferer of a given disease to write about a charity that focuses on it. If experiencing something was a criteria for writing about it, there would be far fewer writers!

I'm going to this blogging mantra and expand it a bit. To something like "LIVE A LIFE THAT'S CURIOUS AND INTERESTING." Not as catchy, but possibly something that's a bit more do-able.

 Be passionate about things. Go forth and do things that excite you. But also research and read. Explore the world from the comfort of your own home and in your imagination if you like. You don't have to spend a lot of money or be a professional photographer to capture these moments of inspiration - just write.

And share - if you want.

What do you think? What is a "bloggable" life like?
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Op Shops of Brisbane: Footprints in Bracken Ridge



 

Op Shops of Brisbane is a series where I talk about charity shops I go to. Feel free to suggest a good one to me - I live on the north side but have been known to drive great distances for a good browse!

"Footprints" is my little charity shop secret. I overhead some women in another op shop talking about it once so I drove over to Bracken Ridge and managed to locate it behind the strip of shops on Gawain Rd. I think it is run by the Uniting Church, as part of their Uniting Care program.


And it is pretty gold. Chockers from floor to ceiling with stuff, actually. I used to just look at the bric-a-brac (mostly standard throwaway stuff but you can find the occasional Pyrex gem) but after I evolved into op shopping for clothes I started buying quite a bit of stuff here. The brands are of the middle-aged lady kind - ie. lots of Millers, but there are plenty of other labels to be found and the odd vintage piece too.


They have a large kids and menswear clothing, toys and a small range of tupperware (at the usual exorbitant prices) too.


I like this shop because the lady volunteers that man it are always lovely and chatty, and it feels like a little Aladdin's cave tucked away in the suburbs.


I hope you appreciate me sharing my secret shop with you all! Do you have one? Do tell!

Footprints Bracken Ridge Thrift Shop is at 57 Gawain Rd, Bracken Ridge QLD. I could not find the opening hours but it is definitely open Saturday mornings.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fighting Food Waste: Vegetable stock

It's one of those things that I have always meant to do but never really got around to it: making my own stock.

I got the idea for this stock after chopping a truckload of vegetables to go into a beef stew. I had so many scraps it really seemed a shame to bin them all.


So I googled a bit and came up with the idea to make a stock out of them! You can virtually put anything in this that's a vegetable - I had the ends of carrots and onions, celery stalks and various peelings.



Essentially, I just put all the vegetable scraps into some water and brought it up to the boil. I didn't add any salt because I prefer to add it when I'm cooking a meal.

I skimmed the scum that rises to the top after a few minutes and then left it to simmer for about an hour or two.


Then I strained the whole lot with a fine sieve twice, to make sure I got out all the solids. THEN I binned the leftover veges!


The remaining stock was a lovely dark colour. I froze it flat in a sandwich zip-lock bag for use in a future cooking endeavor! It made about two cups.


Do you ever make your own stock? What kind and how often?


Friday, August 22, 2014

Defining the Nerd

It was with interest that I read that the new series premiere of Doctor Who will be simulcast in Australia, so we get it at the same time as the UK. When did this show become so popular that this can happen? I remember when the series reboot started, only one of my friends watched it. Now everyone's a fan!

But I submit to you that there are not more nerds than there were before. I believe it's actually just more acceptable to "own up" to liking "nerdy" things now. 


Who knows why? I suspect it's the internet's fault. Well do I remember the joy and relief from 15 years ago of finding other people online who loved Star Wars as much as I did. It was so unbelievably reassuring. If you love something - doesn't matter if it's astronomy or Sailor Moon - you can find a community of people on the internet that you could never build in real life.

 Yes that's a very bad pic of me dressed as a Jedi for the premiere of Return of the Sith!

I find it interesting that only certain passions are considered "nerdy". If a nerd is a person who intensely likes something but why is a sports fan or motorhead not considered to be one? The definition of nerdiness seemed previously only to encompass scientific and pop culture interests. That's significant, don't you think? I wonder why.

I do however think the word is being applied in a wider context now. I have heard non-internetty people describe themselves as "family history nerds" or "gardening geeks". It's a slightly self-deprecating way of saying "I'm really into this thing that I think that you might think is slightly daggy or uncool".

I say we should embrace it. Ten years ago I would have been completely flabbergasted by the sight of a girl wearing Black Milk Harry Potter tights at the train stationg but now I think to myself "You are awesome and I'd probably like you".

Are you a nerd about something? Do you embrace it or are you still slightly embarrassed by it?
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Lady Test

About a month ago I got The Dreaded Letter. The one where you look at it in disbelief and cannot actually believe it's been two years since you last went and got The Lady Test. You know the one.

Yes, I mean a Pap Smear.

So I gritted my teeth and tried not to think about it too much and went and got one done. My GP is a lovely South African man who really doesn't bat an eyelid at anything, so it was fairly ok. There's always going to be a level of embarrassment and discomfort I believe, but I try to just build a bridge.

Today I went back and got my results - there was a moment of concern as he took a few seconds longer than was entirely necessary to read the pathology report, but I got the Big All Clear. Huzzah!

Unexpectedly, my dear doctor then started on a lecture about remembering to come back for my next test. I was thinking "Oh come on, I've only just got over this one, it's two years until I want to think about it again!". But he patiently explained that although each state has a register of Pap Smears that keeps a record of when you have a test and the results, very rarely there can be a problem the reminders aren't sent.

I didn't hear about this, but apparently recently it was reported that there was a failure of the Queensland system and there were almost 1000 women who failed to receive letters warning them about abnormal pap smear results.

This is why it's so important to take some personal responsibility for your own health, and get the test done regularly, whether you're reminded to or not. AND follow up to get your results! Women aged 18 to 70 who have been sexually active are advised to have pap smears every two years to detect early changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer.

So - don't put it off. Don't wait to be reminded. Get yourself tested every two years. If you don't know when your last one was or you have had a change of address, you can contact the register in your state.

I know some women find this test not only uncomfortable, but downright painful. I would encourage them to speak to their GP frankly and find out if there is anything that can be done to make the test easier for them.

Do you have any tips for reducing the emotional and physical uncomfortableness of a Pap Smear?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is pure genius


If you haven't heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, or just the ice bucket challenge in general, it's basically where you get a bucket of ice water and dump it on your head.

 [Source]

There is some confusion as to whether you should donate to the ALS Association within 24hrs or do the challenge, or do the challenge within 24hrs or donate. In any case, you get to nominate three other people to do it after you.

The ALS Association is a charity set up for supporting people with ALS and funding research into the condition (better known in Australia as Motor Neurome Disease, or less tactfully "What Stephen Hawking Has"). It has raised millions for them over the past few weeks.

So why has it become so popular?

- It's not hard or hurtful. The challenge is daunting enough to make the average person think twice, and cause some discomfort, but generally it's not going to hurt you (unless you stuff it up - and yes there are some people who have harmed themselves by being silly!).

- It's humiliating, and we all like to see people humiliated on the internet!

- The celeb factor. Everyone loves to see a celebrity get behind a great cause, but watching them dump cold water of themselves seems to send people into paroxyms of delight.

Negatives - most celeb Ice Bucket videos I've seen don't even mention the ALS Association or their donation. It wasn't until I saw Kochie do it on Sunrise yesterday that I realised it was a charity drive! However, the hashtag #ALSIceBucketChallenge is gaining traction and should make the average social media viewer realise the whole thing is being done for a reason.

Charlie Sheen just poured money on himself, which works.

And lastly, it's a massive waste of water when there are many, many people in our world who lack decent access to it.

However, I still think it's a great idea for fundraising and whoever thought of it deserves a raise. My faves so far are Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.








What do you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

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