Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I'm currently in my second week of leave from work. Like most of my work "holidays", I'm not actually "going away" on holiday, just hanging out at home. I believe the trendy word is "Staycation".

Actually it is more what I told my new big boss - a "mental health break". I strongly believe that too much 9-5 Mon-Fri work takes a toll on me so I try to have at least a week off at least every 6 months. This time I took two because I had a lot of leave accumulated, and I had intended on visiting hubby in Townsville, but now he is home.

So what did I intend to do with my free time? Of course I wanted to be "productive", and "get stuff done". You know, all those things you never seem to have time to do when you're working full time? I wanted to declutter the house, work on my blog, take naps, do all the things I love to do (eat all the things I want to eat!).

Some of that has happened. I've op shopped, painted a bookcase and slept in a lot. I even scrapped a bit, making a card. The decluttering hasn't really happened but I have also had two wonderful nights away at the Gold Coast, one for a Hen's Night and again for a wedding.

Today I am sick. Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and by last night I was fully blown ill. So I have been lolling about on the coach, trying to watch a ton of shows that are clogging up my Foxtel IQ (which I am always in trouble for!).

The rest of the week is open. I think I'm going to do more of the same - whatever I feel like. Just for a few days, until I have to go back to the work grind.

What do you do with your time off? Are you into the "Staycation"?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Save dollars with Op Shopping

I haven't had much of a chance to go op shopping lately, but yesterday I hit up four local shops on a mission to find some wedding outfit accessories. 

Although I wasn't successful in finding exactly what I wanted (note: op shopping is not great for this kind of thing) I did find some great bargain items. 

I thought I'd share with you because by my calculations, I saved at least $110 than if I had shopped retail!

The first item I bought is a red TS dress. I'm guessing it's part is the TS14+ range but the tag just says "TS". I usually do not like this label at all due to the tendency to have everything cut on the oblique but I tried this on and thought it was nice. TS14+ dresses retail for anywhere between $89-$200+, on sale for about $60. I got this for $6. Saving? I'm going to say ballpark $50 at least. 

The handbag is Basque, a label from Myer that I adore. I have a few pieces of their plus size label Basque Woman that I have picked up op shopping and they are always great quality. Their handbags retail for $89-119. On sale the smaller ones are about $59. I paid $10. It has a tiny, nearly invisible pink mark on the front. Saving? I'm going to say about $50. 

The gold chain is of mysterious provenance but it's pretty solid and heavy. I've seen similar in places like Colette or Lovisa retailing for $15-20. I paid $4. I reckon I saved at least $10. 

So by my calculations, I got a great versatile dress, cute bag and chunky chain for a song, saving approximately $110 overall. 

I'm really sorry about my dusty mirror!

Another op shopping win in my book. And I left behind an Olga Berg clutch!

Have you got any major bargains lately? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sarbi the War Dog

Do you remember the story of Explosives Detection Dog Sarbi? In 2008 she was lost, presumed dead, during an action in Afghanistan. 

14 months later, an American noticed a dog following a citizen and tried some military commands. It was Sarbi! She has now been awarded the RSPCA Purple Cross for Bravery (the only other recipient is Simpson's donkey). 

On the weekend, we heard that Sarbi Park was going to be dedicated at Warner Lakes. A large part of the estate is made up of Defence Housing and a sculpture of Sarbi had been commissioned. 

We decided to go down and take a look. There were so many people! I think we were the only ones there without kids or a dog. Or both. 

Sarbi seemed pleased by her statue. She happily posed for pictures and got lots of pats. 

It was a really lovely morning. Great animal story for the local news too!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kicking the Bucket List

Oh, I had such fun looking through all my old photos for this post...!

I was listening to the radio yesterday, and the segment was on "Bucket Lists". People rang up to share things that were on theirs, or that they had crossed off. Some were dangerous things, others unique experiences, or places to visit.

Not to be too Carrie Bradshaw about it, but it got me thinking...

... I've actually done quite a few amazing things that were on my informal "do before you die" list. It was kind of a cool realisation. 

- patted a tiger

- ridden an elephant

- had a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at Raffles

- stood in front of the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh's Sunflowers
- been up the Eiffel Tower

- had a beer in the Eagle & Child in Oxford where the Inklings used to meet

- been to New Zealand, twice

There have even been some amazing experiences that happened quite by accident that I didn't know would be once-in-a-lifetime things I could add to my Bucket List:

- hiked a Glen in the Scotish Highlands

- napped in a hammock in a 200-year-old former Opium Den in Malacca

- went down the River Kwai on a bamboo raft
- got lost in the back streets of Venice and stumbled on the world's most amazing pizza
- watched the blackjack table in the Monte Carlo casino

And perhaps the biggest and cheesiest Bucket List item of all, amongst it all I somehow managed to meet the love of my life!

So what's left? There are so many amazing things in this world that I want to see and do. Most of my personal Bucket List wishes involve travel. I want to see Egypt, the Galapagos, Machu Pichu. I want to visit the Smithsonian and eat a bagel in New York. I've never seen Uluru and want to photograph the Red Centre. 

It occurs to me that I have not done anything Before-I-Die amazing lately. Need to get on that.

And if I had unlimited resources and could let my imagination run wild? I would love to go in to space. That would be the ultimate Bucket List item for me. 

What's on your List? Have you crossed anything off lately?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Opting out of Valentine's Day

My husband and I have never really "done" Valentine's Day. Not because we're not romantic, more because we don't think it's something to get excited about.

Basically, because we show and tell that we love each other every day, it seems a little ridiculous to make a special fuss about our relationship with flowers and/or chocolates on a certain day of the year. The idea is a nice one, but I think it's the commercial fuss and pressure that puts me off as well. 

When I was single, I was vehemently Anti-V-Day. I hated it. Because all it did was remind me very painfully for a seemingly interminable amount of time every year that I was alone. I found it horrific. I always secretly dreamed of a partner who would show up with a bunch of red roses though.

And guess what? My husband has never bought me flowers. Not once. Once his mum picked roses from her garden and told me they were from him. He is of the opinion flowers are for "when you've done something wrong". Nothing I can say will convince him otherwise!

But I get lots of other little gifts and gestures, so the flowers thing does not matter so much any more. 

Thus, Valentine's Day pretty much gets ignored in our house.

What do you think? Do you see it as a good excuse to do something nice with your partner? Or have them do something nice for you? Or do you hate it?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Costco Fun

After my last disastrous expedition to Costco, I was looking forward to hitting it again at a little less chaotic time.

My suggestion to hubby that we go on a weekday evening was met with an affirmative grunt so off we went. 

The store was refreshingly empty, so we were able to amble about at leisure. Hubby immediately found the tool and hardware section so that put him in a positive frame of mind straight away. 

I was just grateful to have a proper look at everything, and let my other half push the trolley (those things take some practice!)

I agree with those who say that Costco is a great place for catering a party - the platters are amazing. Where else can you buy a massive tray of prepped buffalo wings?

We ended up spending just over $100 on random stuff. I didn't really have a list so we decided to get things that struck is us a bargain or we really loved. 

Here is the haul. Ignore the other crap on my bench, I beg you.  Not pictured: 48 rolls of toilet paper that I do not have a storage solution for. 

The only thing I regret buying was the tray of Danishes (they're under there somewhere), 10 of which are now in the freezer and I'm not sure how well they will defrost. 

Best buy: Pop Tarts. Where have they been all my life?

My novice tips for Costco: don't go on a weekend, and know your prices. Other than that, just have fun! Aussies aren't used to seeing stuff in bulk, so a lot of the stock may be a novelty. 

Is it worth the yearly membership? Yes, if you team up with some family and friends and split up some purchases. Or if you have a family of ten or more!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Death to Stools

Yes, you know what I'm talking about. The Abominations that are Backless Chairs.

They lurk, waiting for all other "proper" seats to be taken, then somehow appear, making themselves appealing to the weary. I don't know about you, but about one minute on one is enough for me before I'm squirming and complaining.

Oh I know, I know, I should sit up straight and use my core strength or whatever but unfortunately I'm a sloucher who enjoys relaxing when I am seated.

Our lunchroom has some, a tribe of red plastic monsters that are forever being dragged out of the way and are generally the last seats to be taken. But it is at cafes that they really get my goat.

Nothing ruins my occasional "breakfast I didn't make myself and don't have to clean up afterwards" treat like having to eat it while sitting on a stool. The ones at my local place are all rustic wood and look quite inviting, but a few minutes bent over the Saturday paper sipping my cup of Earl Grey are all it takes for regret to set in. Especially as the foot rests are the wrong height. Knees higher than hips is a bad bad thing.

Just wrong

The funny thing is, at a hipster coffee place recently, a stool was the best of a bunch of poor choices. A mix of mid-century modern furniture, tip-shop chic and repurposed industrial design meant that I chose a tall stool at a long table made out of a door rather than sit in a low chair at a tiny spool. Yes, an actual electrical cable spool.

Do you hate stools as much as I do? Or am I simply prejudiced? And what the hell is up with spools?


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