Thursday, November 27, 2014

Op Shops of Brisbane: Vinnies Eagle Junction

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!

There's a bit of an urban legend about opshopping - that the nicer the suburb, the better quality the items you can find. I was over the posher side of town recently so my cousin and I decided to check out the closest op shop to Ascot we could find - Vinnies at Eagle Junction. 

Situated on the main road, parking is off street or across the road at the shops near the train station. Though a small shop, I found it to be packed with goodies!

Straight away I gravitated to the plus-size rack (yes, they have one) and found the urban legend to be real - Gucci, Ralph Lauren and the like were readily available! Of course, I can't tell the difference between a real and a fake when it comes to these things, so use your discretion.

They have a small bric-a-brac section, books and toys in the back rooms too. I didn't see much to attract the eye in the home/kitchenware department when we were there unfortunately. 

The volunteers were extremely lovely and helpful and everything was nearly organised. The front clothing section is more like a small boutique than a thrift shop, frankly! 

I highly recommend a look at this op shop if you're in the area - you never know what treasures you may unearth!

Find Vinnies Eagle Junction
281 Junction Road, Eagle Junction QLD 4011

Open Mon - Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sun Closed

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Mailing of Junk

Every year it's the same. The incremental increase in junk mail that goes almost unnoticed until your mailbox is groaning with Christmas catalogues in a daily basis. 

This afternoon as I pulled into my drive I noticed a gentleman strolling along with a bagful of catalogues I recognized him as a letterbox dropper who I'd seen in my street before. I put the car away and scurried to the mailbox to see what surprises he had left me. 

You know the tube where a newspaper is supposed to go? Ours has a pretty generous circumference but I must say it was struggling with the roll of shiny paper that had been crammed unceremoniously into it. 

Now, when I first moved to the city from the farm, I LOVED junk mail. It was a novelty. It was so colorful AND full of beautiful products I might like to purchase! 

A few years later, I'm on the couldn't-care-less bus. I usually just keep the Aldi brochure (I love me a weekly special) and bin the rest. 

But today I felt bad for the man that delivered them, he obviously walked so far to deliver the fat roll of marketing material to all the ingrates in my street. I spared a thought for the pittance he was probably paid for doing such an awful job. 

But after a few moments consideration, I put it all in the recycling anyway. 

What do you do with junk mail? Do those stickers actually work? Why do you think companies spend so much money on print marketing in this digital age?

In and Out

I go through phases with things. Here's what my TV watching schedule is like lately.


The 100 - started watching this because I heard it was based on a YA novel/series and was intrigued by the premise. Though it's not making me fall in love with the characters I'm persevering.

Penny Dreadful - I suspect I don't know nearly enough about Victorian horror to fully appreciate the nuances of this show but at least I have seen Bram Stoker's Dracula so I kind of know what's going on. Eva Green is ace and Timothy Dalton is aging well.

The Newsroom - I know it's a bit wanky but I do love the fast pace of this show. I have knots in my stomach the entire episode every time I watch it. Jeff Daniels is magnificent in this. I find it hard to reconcile that he is the same person as Larry in Dumb and Dumber.

The Leftovers - I love a good world-is-ending story and this one had a hook I hadn't heard of before -2% of the world's population just disappear into thin air one day. Then the rest of those left behind have to deal with it. I'm liking it so far, even Liv Tyler isn't getting on my nerves too much.

Criminal Minds - I boycotted this show for a while when Reid's One True Love was murdered and I got very upset by it (too emotionally involved in the characters) but I'm back on board now. I enjoy the keen minds, the problem solving and Garcia.

NCIS - though I miss Ziva the new girl is pretty cool. Even though this show has had countless seasons I continue to watch because I love the characters and I care about them. Abby (along with the aforementioned Garcia) is one of my fave female characters of all time. 

The Walking Dead - Yes, another end-of-the-world show, but I do love a good Zombie or two. I didn't think that the creators of this show could do much more with the rag-tag bunch of survivors we've all come to know and love but I continue to be surprised, intrigued and invested. I always want to know what happens next.

Long Lost Family - Who'd have thought that I'd fall in love with a show that reunites children, siblings and parents? But every episode is a real and touching story. And it usually makes me cry.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD - Coulson is the man. I adore this show so much. 'Nuff said.

Scorpion - I know it's ridiculous and cliched and I am really worried they are going to make Walter fall in "love" even though the whole time they take pains to underscore that he probably not emotionally capable of that, but I enjoy this show every Sunday night. The supporting characters are quite lovable and I do love me a bit of Robert Patrick.


NCIS: New Orleans - I tried. But I just couldn't. The original is a hard act to follow but it just didn't work for me. Scott Bakula is kind of a running joke in my house too.

Gotham - watched 1.5 eps and gave up. Didn't interest me in the slightest. There was nothing to draw me in.

Fashion Bloggers - this was not the show I thought it would be. I hoped for so much more but instead it turned out to be a half hour of thin women taking pictures of themselves in clothes so expensive the only people that wear it are gifted or lent it.

Save With Jamie- I'm sorry to say it but I'm almost all Jamie'd out. I don't believe his recipes are cost-effective or time-saving any more and the ingredients are sometimes just ludicrous.


Castle - The last season finale was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen - drama for the sake of drama. I know that when the UST between a show's couple is resolved, writers always struggles to create watchable storylines. But going down the path of throwing challenges in the face of the relationship is SO predictable. I have a long-standing love of Nathan Fillion though so I will probably keep watching even if it does go very bad.

Covert Affairs - another show where they recently resolved the UST. I have waited a LONG time for Aussie tv to show the new season and frankly it's gone to crap since the two hot leads got together. The plotlines, though always complicated, are now so convoluted they are impossible to follow. I'm frankly just watching for shirtless Auggie now.

Have you been watching anything good lately? What's coming from overseas I should know about?

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Day on Maggie

Townsville is a place I now know well. We spend quite a bit of time there since my husband's parents moved there a few years ago.

We are always looking for new things to do in the area and this visit I decided I wanted to go to Magnetic Island for the day. Known as "Maggie" to the locals, I'd been before when I was young but remembered absolutely nothing!

We took the passenger ferry across (a reasonable fare of $32 return, I thought) and before we knew it we were being turned down to hire a Mini Moke. Mokes are a little bit of an icon on the island but turns out you need to get there early to hire one!

In the end this was a good thing, as it was a blisteringly hot day and in the end I was very happy with the Ford Focus we ended up with (and the ice-cold air con!). I certainly would recommend hiring a car, because though the island is quite small and you can take the bus between townships, it gives you some independance and you don't need to wait around in the hot sun. We saw people walking but the distances between places eg. Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay are quite great.

We took a few snaps at Horseshoe Bay before heading up to The Forts bushwalk. More on this in another post - let's just say for now it was a personal challenge for me, being quite steep and long! Afterwards I was promised a lovely lunch so we drove down to Picnic Bay and ended up at the pub there. One steak sandwich and a glass of prosecco later and I felt revived.

The water is so impressive and every view delights on the island. You can't swim in the summer - one of North Qld's biggest disappointments really - because of the stingers. We saw a few kids in stinger suits splashing about but most people confined themselves to the stinger net, which a local told us they rotate between the beaches throughout the summer.

We headed home in the afternoon a little disappointed that there wasn't much more to do. While waiting for the ferry, we strolled around the marina admiring the boats and yachts and dreaming of a nomadic life. Maggie is a quiet place - people who live there obviously value this and holiday-makers must appreciate the slower pace. But I don't think it's for me unless I ever decide I want the kind of holiday where you do nothing but sleep, eat, read and go for walks.

Come to think of it, that actually sounds quite nice...

Have you ever been to Maggie?

PS - this is also my 301st post on this blog - nice milestone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss

The sound the engines were making changed. Was it my imagination, or were they were slowing down? I glanced out my window to see only clouds. Were we descending?

I'm not a nervous flyer by any means. I actually love take-off, that wonderful adrenaline-inducing moment when the engines fire and the plane leaps forward, gaining speed before delicately lifting from the ground and soaring into the blue sky. It's the stuff of wonderment to me. The sheer physics of it are astounding.

Unfortunately, it was those physics of flight that were on my mind when flying back from Townsville on Sunday. Suddently, I was gripped by the fear that for some reason, the engines would fail and we would fall out of the air like a 300 tonne brick.

There's a strange misconception amoungst the populace, some sort of false story sold to us by tv and movies, that planes can glide. It's true, most big planes can suffer the loss of one or more engines, but when all of them fail, there's no steady descent in which the pilot has the luxury of picking out a handy field to make a crash landing in. Nope. Commercial planes are not in any way, shape or form aerodynamic. They do not glide. The only thing that propels them through the air is the fuckton of thrust being generated by those huge jet engines. No thrust, no forward momentum. No forward movement, no lift. No lift, DOWN WE GO.

I always scoff silently at the air hosties' safety demonstration. Because honestly, the chances of anyone surviving a crash landing over the ocean are practically none. You won't need the lifejacket, the whistle or the little light because the plane will disintegrate upon hitting the water. At the speed it'll be coming down, the physical forces involved will make the water like concrete.

What? I'm sorry, but this is the kind of stuff I think about. I was growing panicked, and suddenly my heart was hammering so hard I could feel the thud of the carotid artery in my neck. After a few minutes contemplating a sudden and horrible plunge to my death, my brain finally decided to throw me a figurative lifeline and pointed out I should look at the hosties. If they weren't worried, why should I be?

They were acting perfectly normal. I therefore concluded we weren't going to crash and calmed down. Statistically, I was more likely to die in a car crash driving to work than in a plane crash. Chill, Sarah, geez. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

Do you love or hate flying? Got any good stories?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why I'm Investing in my Skin

I recently dropped a fair amount of dough on some fancy skincare products. Why? Spoiler alert: I got vain.

Ever since my early twenties, I've felt the need to take care of my skin, particularly my face. I wanted to age like Cate Blanchett or Nigella; and would do anything not to end up with old, tired, lined skin. Living in Australia, there was also sun damage to think of. I met women who'd spent their life in the sun, and it showed. Soon, ending up looking like a dried up piece of beef jerky was my worst nightmare.

Being somewhat financially challenged, I made do with a skincare regime that consisted of moisturising and putting on sunscreen in the morning and cleansing plus night cream in the evening. I found cheap products that did an average job and silently congratulated myself on being proactive in the FIGHT AGAINST AGING that we all seem to be waging.

I'd always been incredibly skeptical of cosmetic ads selling magical creams. I scoffed a little inside when I saw women spending $100 or more on a little pot of "creme" because I thought they'd been sold an idea, not a product that actually did anything. Well, was I wrong. Turns out that like shoes, when you spend a little more, you actually do get a better product.

Recently, two lucky things collided in my life - an improved income, and a friend becoming a consultant for a posh party plan skincare and makeup line, Arbonne (not sponsored!). I went to a party, she gave me a tester kit and after two weeks my skin was glowing, blemish free and feeling about ten years younger from the "regime".

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY, I told her (well, I actually said I'd have a party of my own to earn some hostess rewards and bring down the cost). I told my hubby I was spending more than usual on something for myself, he was fine with it! Actually happy about it. After so many years of making do with supermarket products, it felt very adult to spend a little more.

So now I wait for my investment to pay off. A few compliments wouldn't go astray...

So, I want to know - are you a skeptic or a believer? Do you spend lots on your skin or think that the average priced stuff does the same job?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Show Some Respect

Yesterday was Remembrance Day. In my office, someone with access to the building intercom reminds us of this on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month and we listen dutifully to the Last Post then observe a minute or two of silence.

It's a nice tradition, and not one you'd expect to find in today's corporate offices but I'm sure the scene was repeated in almost every tower across the city.

Except in my office, not everyone observed the Silence. Nobody stood up. I heard keyboards tapping throughout, which was easy because otherwise it was quite quiet. I also observed a manager continuing their conversation with someone, not bothering to stop and remember our dead.

I must admit, it irked me. Would it kill them to stop what they were doing for one minute? To take 60 seconds out of your otherwise busy year to think about the thousands upon thousands that we lost in the Great War, and all the wars since?

Then again, I guess I'm old fashioned. I dislike children swearing. I don't like you nicknaming me before we're familiar. I let older people go first. I wait to be introduced to a new acquaintance.

I still think there's a place for respect in this crazy, laidback world. What do you think?

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Weekend in Black and White

Weekends are my favourite time for Instagram - both following what people are doing and sharing my own pics.

During the week I saw a beautiful black and white photo in my feed and decided I'd capture some moments in this classic medium. It was an interesting experiment - it only took a few pics for me to realise that the things that I would normally take a photo of because the colours were pretty were not going to work.

So I looked more closely at shades and texture - and shared some different subjects from my usual.

This was a fun experiment - I really liked the way these turned out.

Do you ever "shoot" in black and white? What's your fave Instagram filter?


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