The Chicago Trip, Part 3

After what proved to be a very long Friday, Saturday came early, with alarms set left, right and centre as to make sure I was out of my hotel room in time to get to my 9AM yoga session, and I was successful, being up around 6AM and on the train by 7:45.

Getting off at the station, I was presented by what used to be these payphones, now replaced by a small mural of public phones around the world. Nice art, but not terribly helpful if your mobile is flat! :)

A short bus ride and walk later, I made it to 875 North Michigan, and headed to the 94th floor to get checked in for the class. The class was a straightforward yoga class; the highlight of which was doing tree pose with a partner – in this case the leader’s second-in-command was my partner. While tree pose can be quite treacherous, with a partner it’s quite a refreshing move, and so much easier.

After the class was over, I left the yoga mat behind as I had planned, but it wasn’t alone as there were other yoga mats in the corner for those who may have forgotten to bring a mat, which is a good tip especially if you’re travelling from further afield.

With the fog as thick as it was, there wasn’t much in the way of photo opportunities outward, unless you’re interested in the lake and seeing Lake Shore Drive.

Then we come to this – the actual skystone (not cornerstone) that was installed in the building when it was going up. The inscription states “This Skystone in the shape of a contemporary space travel vehicle was raised to the 100th story of the John Hancock Center on May 6, 1968. After public display, it will be secured and sheltered at the top of the building. Members of some future generation will break the time capsule’s seals and find within a collection of artifacts and microfilmed documents and photographs reflecting interesting aspects of the history of Chicago, Illinois, and the United States of America”

The “some future generation” happened to be my generation, as it was opened on March 12th, and the items in the Skystone, including baseballs signed by the two teams as well as a piece of the Eiffel Tower, are on display right next to it.

I wasn’t nervous about going on TILT, but if you are, there is a solution to it. Alcohol. ;)

The line goes pretty fast, and not much later it was my turn to get in the booth. At first, it’s not too bad, as they start you out with a very small angle, but after a moment or two, you’re leaning out over the city at about a 45 degree angle! It seems scary, but the adrenaline carries you through the experience – an experience made better by the fact that you have grab bars to hold and, as such, are not permitted to take your phone or camera to put in your hand.

If you’re in Chicago, it’s well worth buying a ticket to not only 360 Chicago, but spend the extra $8 and go on TILT…for such a thrill, it’s really a bargain, and make sure to buy the commemorative photographs they make of you on there. In fact, the only souvenirs I purchased in the entire trip were the photographs and magnets of 360 Chicago.

I was off to Navy Pier, but I needed fuel both for myself and my phone. The phone got situated with a stop at Best Buy for a portable charger, and I fed myself via the different shops in Water Tower Place – namely foodease, which features items from different restaurants and local sources such as appetizers from Joe’s Crab Shack and vegetarian quesadillas, plus “pickled things”, and Wow Bao, featuring steamed buns in an Asian style and Thai iced coffee.

I enjoyed my meal in a small park next to a fire house across from the Children’s Hospital. A block down the street was the beginning of the Northwestern University Chicago campus which houses the Law and Medical schools. Around the corner was one of Chicago’s Divvy bike sharing points, and I decided it was time for a change, so I rented a bike…the last time I rode a bike was three years earlier in the same situation.

I was still rusty. So rusty that I didn’t even pedal the bike, just walked it and glided along, almost crashing into a wall while going downhill, so the bike was quickly returned to the next station and I walked the last couple of blocks to Navy Pier, ready to begin my Pokemon adventure.

While my initial plan was to be solo, I actually wound up spending the entire time with 3 folks from out of town, and then our group seemed to expand one by one, but the core group of the four stayed together catching these little guys –

The highlight of the time for me was when one of the major raid bosses popped up, there was a mass of humanity that descended upon the site, and at least 3 groups of 20 formed right away. Nearly everyone in this picture is playing the game here!

As the time wound down, I noticed that my feet were starting to hurt. Why? I decided to wear my new shoes. Not a wise idea when you walk over 7 miles in a busy city. Nevertheless, I still had one thing to do before going over to the theatre, which was to go to Millennium Park and the BP Bridge. Since the original plan was to go there during the 3 hour event, I was somewhat behind. I still made my way down there by foot with a cameo from the President of Poland’s motorcade, along with hopping on another bike and actually using the pedals this time, instead of acting like Fred Flintstone.

The parks connected by the BP Bridge are a bit different to each other. On the east side is Maggie Daley park, designed for families to have a nice day out with miniature golf, a rock climbing wall and a whole playground for the kids. You then cross Columbus Drive via the BP Bridge to Millennium Park.

Millennium Park is just about one square block of green space, along with two buildings that are waterfalls with illuminating faces on them. The folks and I who were watching tourists get into the water in the centre didn’t quite get it…especially on such a cold day.

Next up, I took a quick swing a block south of Millennium Park to the entrance of the Art Institute of Chicago to get a picture of the Lion (One of a Pair, North Pedestal) in front –

Getting somewhat drained, I managed to find myself at a coffee shop to enjoy a mocha while getting the chance to give my feet a rest for a bit before walking on to the next stop, which was at Luke’s Lobster City Hall, which I managed to actually miss the first time past and had to backtrack around the corner back to the restaurant. I had the Luke’s Favorite – a lobster roll, coleslaw and bag of crisps (salt & vinegar). I also had myself the rare soda, in this case a local ginger soda.

There really are no human terms to describe how amazing the lobster roll really is. You just have to try it; you won’t regret it!

It was finally time to go to the show!

What can I say about the show? Rob Lowe is freaking hilarious, especially when he tells stories about sharing his After School Special, “Schoolboy Father” with a girl who stated her dad was an actor. His name, not known to Rob until rocking up at their house? Cary Grant. He left after watching the show with nearly a lifetime supply of soap on a rope shaped like a microphone. He also shared the story of when he was a part of, well, this:

He told so many stories, but I’m not going to spoil much of what he said here :) Though the concept of a porterhouse steak requiring a “hat” made of butter is, well, different. It was something that Chris Farley did when he was eating at a restaurant with Rob and some other cast members on a show they were doing together.

The show lasted about 2 hours, including a Q&A session with Rob, where I was mildly disappointed that his dad didn’t ask any questions of him, which I’m sure would have been a blast! I now want to (finally) read his two books – Stories I Only Tell My Friends, and Love Life.

I picked up my bag from the coat check, and hopped on the train back to the hotel via the O’Hare station and these neon signs –

I was ready for another good night’s sleep to be fresh for the drive home, with a few more surprise stops along the way.

guest post, Sephyroth

Things I Did Not Buy May

Nothing over $40 at W.Lane was interesting to me. I’d been in there a couple of weeks ago and I saw a peacock themed tunic. I was not able to find it on the website sadly. I choose to take that as a sign I should not buy it – and I took a photo the next time I was there. Finally I did find it on the website in case you want it.

Now that I have the photo I realise I don’t love it as much as I thought. I love the blue and green parts but not so much the olive and brown parts. This leads me to think once the Year Of Buying Nothing is over, I might try a policy of photograph and consider before purchasing.

While looking through the website, I did find this which looked quite nice. Unfortunately in the store there was not one in my size and the one that was closest to my size had a pull in it. Another message from the universe to me? :) They do have this in a range of colours.

I saw a lady walk past wearing this while getting my nails done, it was very tempting to me. You can’t see on the website but there are gold zips on the sides. It seems like they may have sold out of the green one now.

I love a good ombre. This ombre top from Rockmans was somewhat tempting.

At the local cheap shop I was shocked to find this piece of merchandise. I had never heard of the Milwaukee Bucks however I grabbed a shot and sent it to Sephyroth. I like their colours, I love a hoodie with pockets in that exact spot especially at this time of year and $9.95 was quite tempting. I did not buy it because #yobn but let me make it very clear, I would have. This is exactly the kind of impulse purchase my challenge is saving me from.

In the same cheap shop, this lovely display of candle holders was tempting to me. Prices started around $9.99. But I chose not to buy.

These candle lanterns were more pricy starting around $44.95 and very beautiful. Exactly the kind of thing that would have tempted me last year. But not this year.

On a visit to Berry I saw these crystals and thought $14.99 was quite reasonable, but declined a trip to the magical forest at this time. Next year. :)

Things I Did Not Buy

The Chicago Trip, Part 2

Having been to IKEA, the next goal for me was to find a Walmart to buy a Yoga mat, and then make my way to the Outlets for new shoes from the Adidas Outlet, and they did not disappoint. The instant that I walked into the store, I spotted an awesome pair of shoes that screamed my name. Two pairs of shoes, and a new long-sleeve workout shirt later, I was all set and pleased that I had only spent half as much as I expected.

With that stop done, it was time to venture into Illinois…and head into the Hell that is known as Chicago traffic on a Friday afternoon. But first, I made another stop.

One of my favourite things about the Illinois Tollway are the Oases along the highway. It’s like taking the shops and restaurants from an airport concourse and melding them all into a single building right over the tollway, and then putting a gas station on each side of the highway for fueling up at. A major plus is the view out of the windows –

While there, I organised the coins that I would need to pay the toll when I exited, since their automated machines only accept 5, 10 and 25-cent pieces. No notes or cards accepted. I also grabbed a Chai Latte from Starbucks to sip on while driving in the traffic on the way to the airport.

A quick musical interlude: since the car can search tracks in Google Play Music, I asked for it to play, by title, “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads. Google mustn’t have been feeling well on this day, as this starts up:

Maniacal laughing ensues, but I quickly recover and coax it to the right song, and then decide that it’s time to load up some of the club and trance music that I have in my library to help with focussing on the rush hour traffic in Chicago. I get off the tollway via this ramp with 4 payment lanes.

Four payment lanes are great, until you see what’s ahead. Within 300m, you have to merge into a single lane, and then keep an eye out for traffic from the left that could be entering your lane to exit at one of the two exit ramps that are immediately after the merge point. It certainly isn’t the greatest moment in Civil Engineering. The positive for me is that I needed that first exit to access the remote parking lot.

I’m greeted at the parking lot with a recorded announcement in the classic Chicago accent; it’s really a ‘ting’ of ‘bewdy’. The next challenge is to find a parking spot. The first spot I find is in section D12 and right next to a tree, in the blue circle. It was quite a hike to the people-mover to get to the airport.

After reorganizing my items to carry them to the airport, I make the jaunt to the people mover and travel to the airport. The check-in at the hotel was straightforward, and I was up in my room on the 9th floor with a runway view after just a few minutes.

So, what’s the view like? Look one way and you see one tower, the other way you see the other tower :) Here’s the tower to the right –

After taking a few minutes to get myself recombobulated, I had a chance to study the tarmac and had the opportunity to see the Queen of the Skies in one of her cargo configurations –

It was now 7PM and time for dinner, so I hop on the train and head to Logan Square, and then on to Fat Rice. During my walk, I was keeping my head up, and the early-1900s flats caught my eye –

Even though it was raining very lightly, it was still good weather for a walk, and I get to Fat Rice only to find out that it would be an hour for a table to open up, so I went searching for another restaurant for dinner. I find Restaurant Ecuador, which has a high rating on Google and, more helpfully, its menu posted on the window, so I chose to pop in and have dinner there.

A tip if you find yourself at Restaurant Ecuador – Spanish knowledge is a major plus. Even though you’re very much in Chicago, you have to specify to the waiters that you speak English; otherwise, it’s assumed that you know Spanish, which is something that I do know, so I had a relatively easy time chatting there.

When I looked at the menu, one dish sparked my interest right away: Churrasco, which is Steam Steak served with 2 eggs, french fries, lettuce, tomatoes and white rice. I chose that for main main, and also selected an appetiser of Bolon de Verde, which is Plantain mixed with pork skin. The waitress was suggesting that I try it with cheese, but I chose not to this time. While waiting for my food, I had a chance to look around at the surroundings. You can tell that this is a small operation since you have some basic decorations, but nothing outlandish.

After about 10 minutes, my plantain arrives with a small container of salsa:

The plantain was soft and the pork that’s in there is crispy to give a nice contrast of textures. What about the salsa? Holy cow, this is knock-your-socks-off levels of spicy, but something that I would definitely have again. Just as I’m finishing up my plantain, the Churrasco arrives –

Snoskred and I had been talking about putting an egg on top of my pizza, so it was only fitting that I did get the item that had the egg on top ;) The steak was cooked about medium-well and was quite tender, especially when you combine some of the egg with it. The lettuce and tomatoes on the bottom were a good accompaniment. The only suggestion I would have is to include some different vegetables for more contrast.

Having completed just about half of the plate, I paid the check and chatted for a couple of minutes with the waitress in Spanish about how I wound up enjoying their restaurant.

While I was having dinner, the rain picked up a little bit so I decided to catch a bus back to the train station. A quick look to the east reveals that there isn’t a bus imminently arriving, but it couldn’t be too long, right? I wound up standing out in the rain for close to 15 minutes before abandoning that idea in favor of walking back. It was fortunate since in the time it took for me to walk to the station, I saw two busses heading the other way, and nothing my way.

Getting back to the hotel around 10:00, I wasn’t tired so I decided to take a walk around the parts of the airport that I can access, and come across this sign offering Indulgence, Love, and Beauty at O’Hare-

Indulgence – “Nuts on Clark”; Sarah’s Candies; and McDonald’s
Love – Hoypoloi, an uncommon Gallery; Seaway; and Coach.
Beauty – MAC; Sunglass Hut; and Hudson.

Let’s look at this a bit deeper. Each of the categories features one really strange inclusion…for Beauty, we have Hudson. Hudson run the convenience stores in numerous airports around the world. Now…Love. What the heck is Seaway? It’s a bank. Maybe you can use the money you get from Seaway to love a new bag from Coach, if you can get through the barrier.

McDonald’s for “Indulgence”? It’s a bit of a stretch to consider anything there indulgent. Surely you could find something different, like Eli’s Cheesecake. Or, if all else fails, Dunkin’ Donuts:

Making it back to the 9th floor, it’s time to settle in for a night’s sleep in preparation for a full day on Saturday, which will come next week. :)

guest post, Sephyroth

Lava Chaos

You are probably aware that Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has been erupting once again – though you may not be anywhere near as fascinated by it as we are in this house. On our visit to the Big Island in 2013 we visited Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and visited Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

I also stood on lava while on this island, and that was a story in itself.

There was a live feed of lava on Youtube for a while.. you can still view those live feeds though they are no longer live.

I’ve been keeping an eye on a few different Facebook groups like Puna lava updates. Some of the footage there has been incredible.

Some bright spark took some pieces of lava from this present eruption and was selling them on Ebay. There is a large superstition around Pele’s Curse – Pele’s Curse is the belief that anything natively Hawaiian, such as sand, rock, or pumice, will effect bad luck on whoever takes it away from Hawaii. In 2017, over 1200 lava rocks were returned to Haleakala National Park which is located on the island of Maui.

I did not take the sparkly lava rock home with me for a different reason – we have a life rule. Take only photographs, leave only footprints. But even so, on the way home from Hawaii I gained a life threatening illness – on the plane I developed a deep vein thrombosis and two weeks later that landed in my lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism which tried to kill me.

It was not until I told The Other Half the story of this bright spark trying to sell the rocks that I realised – perhaps my DVT and pulmonary embolism were a curse from even just standing on the lava and touching it. That blew my mind a little bit.

Would I want to undo it, given the chance to go back in time? I think probably not. That moment of holding the lava rock, then turning it over to expose a sparkly interior was incredible. I will never forget it and I can go back there in my mind anytime that I like. But I am very thankful I did not bring it home with me.

In the midst of all of this, I saw these bracelets for sale on a local buy and sell group. There is no way I could ever wear one. :) That concept scares me deeply. Perhaps I am quite superstitious about this kind of thing.

I am sad to see so many people losing their homes. I am angry that people were ever allowed to build there in the first place. The volcano is active and has been for many years. It is not a safe place to live and insurance is far too costly for many of the people who do live there, so many of them have lost everything they have been working to build for many years.

You can view live cameras of Kīlauea Volcano here. There is a live stream of the caldera here. If you want to keep an eye on the map seen at the top of this post, you can view it here, it is updated regularly.


Currently TV

Loving – Safe on Netflix. Michael C Hall with an English accent was weird to begin with but I got used to it. This show is twisty and turny and I have no idea what is going on much of the time plus I find the hair of his main co-star to be incredibly improbable, but the locations are gorgeous and everything else is great, so I’m enjoying this. Unusually Netflix were only releasing two episodes at a time – however all 8 episodes are now available on Netflix.

With the release of the last two episodes, everything was revealed and to be honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of how they wrapped the storylines up. However as they sometimes say – it is not the destination, it is the journey. I did enjoy the getting there. After 7 years of seeing Michael C Hall as Dexter, it was lovely to see him in such a different role – and really just great to see him again. Thanks to the accent I was not waiting for him to resume that serial killer role.

Liking – Picnic At Hanging Rock 2018 certainly made the most of the beautiful Werribee Mansion, at least the exterior of it. The show itself I was a bit meh on, a little too screamy and I don’t think we needed any nudity, that felt a little exploitative to me. The costumes were gorgeous and it certainly was a great ad for Australia. Don’t worry, you won’t vanish without a trace. ;)

Cringing – at the footage in Evil Genius. This is a documentary on Netflix that I stumbled on when I discovered only two episodes of Safe had been released. The Other Half was making lunch in the kitchen and he ended up watching the four episodes with me in two quick binge watch sessions across two days. Beware, there is graphic real footage in this documentary, and at least two *real* dead bodies shown, including real footage of one of them being killed.

Savouring – Like a delicious double cream brie, Billions season 3 is yet another feast of incredible acting. If you were to ask me to pick a favourite character I would not be able to, I love them all, even the odd one or two I love to hate to love. They have now cast in John Malkovich as a Russian oligarch. Things can only get more interesting from here.

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are amazing to watch but my special delight is Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhodes. A special shout out to Jeffrey DeMunn for literally putting it ALL out there this season. This show involves quite a bit of macho mine is bigger than yours dick swinging but usually not quite that literally!

Enjoying – Howards End is a beautiful costume drama, the story of which I was unfamiliar with. More gorgeous locations and costumes, I consumed this 4 part drama very quickly.

Reading & Watching – A series of crime novels written by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. C.B. Strike is now airing on Showcase on Foxtel. One of the main characters is played by my favourite Holliday Grainger. The books are great.

The TV show is not quite as great – they have compressed way too much story into too little airtime. The books are long and detailed and crackle with electricity. The show is a little too explain-ey detective-y for my liking because it has cut so much of the story out. The golden rule of this kind of show should be show, don’t tell. I do enjoy Holliday in it.

Listening – to the Westworld soundtrack and watching season two. I am enjoying seeing the new worlds but particularly loved seeing Shogun World. These violent delights indeed.

Constable Gary Hales holding the “cock of justice”.

Marvelling – at how brilliantly things are fictionally portrayed sometimes. You could throw the cast of The Bill into any of the episodes of 24 Hours In Police Custody and not only would they fit right in with all the slang and the words they use, but the real police stations look exactly like The Bill set and would work on almost any British police drama show. The one big difference I can find – there is a lot more stuff in the rooms in reality. Mostly folders.

This show is so fascinating and most of the episodes are available on youtube. Here are quite a few of them on a playlist. Just as a bonus here is a link to the most recent one with the cock of justice. I love this detective, well I love them all I won’t lie.

Binging – The Sinner on Netflix. What a rollercoaster ride that was! I also loved Ozark and The Alienist not quite so much but the costumes were great.

Wondering – if they truly did kill off a main character on Animal Kingdom. I was watching the tag on twitter as the episode aired and was not very happy with what I was reading but I thought they might have left a loophole – when I watched the episode I am pretty confident this character is sadly no longer with us. I didn’t even finish the episode, I was so Not Thrilled. The levels of my Not Thrilled-ness are raised even higher when I see who they have added to the cast this season. I have never been a fan of Denis Leary. With so much television to watch, nobody has time to watch people they adore be killed off while people they do not like are added!

Waiting – For Better Call Saul which now has an airdate of August 6th, Mr Robot, Bosch.

Skipping – Homeland. No Quinn, no me!

television shows

The Chicago Trip, Part 1

So, as I said last week, I’m planning to head to Chicago to see Rob Lowe. The plan is simple…drive my car to O’Hare airport, park it, and have a good couple of days in Chicago. There’s a lot planned, and the time is nigh.

Except there’s some problems…on Wednesday, my car decided to not start, so I wound up getting a free loaner car from the dealership, which I drove for the weekend. It’s not a problem since it’s a hybrid and it has some really cool features :)

To get to Chicago from where I live is dead simple – follow the freeway until the Illinois border, then follow the tollway – a task that would be slightly less expensive had I had my car, but it’s still worth the convenience to pay full price for the tolls (in Illinois, you pay full price if you pay cash, but if you use their electronic tolling, it’s half price).

However, I’m a bit of an odd duck when it comes to driving from here to there – detours are not uncommon for me; the first detour is to drop off a package, which is just a quick stop, and I’m back on the road again.

One thing about the loaner car is that it ties into my phone, and all I have to do is press the voice button, say “IKEA” and it immediately suggests that I go to the one that just opened the other day, no faffing about choosing one down a list.

It was no surprise that when I arrived at IKEA, the parking lot was nearly full, but there is attention to detail, even down to signs made up by IKEA telling you not to park alongside the road.

Getting closer to the parking lot, there are marshals directing you to your parking spot – you didn’t get a chance to choose your spot. I get parked, and notice something strange…an RV in the parking lot – as in someone actually came to IKEA in an RV…not a huge Breaking Bad style one, but one nonetheless.

Picking up the map, I realize that it’s in the design of the more recent IKEA maps in that it is the transit map, designed to make you spend more time in the store browsing through the showroom and marketplace, maximizing revenue for the store. One handy feature of the map, though, is that it does have the shortcut lines in it, showing how to jump to the restaurant from the entrance. The restaurant line was crazy long, and I think that they don’t have the restaurant as well planned as it could be – in the other restaurants that I’ve been at, you just queue up at the item that you want, say the meatballs, and then you get it.

I waited patiently in the line, perusing the choices for lunch, and I come across the Daim cake on the screens, so I picked that along with the Swedish meatballs and a Latte to drink while sat comfortably on one of their couches in the restaurant.

Some IKEAs have great views out of the restaurant while some others have no windows at all. This IKEA has this view out of the restaurant.

It’s definitely no IKEA Tempe…

After lunch, I took a quick trip through the rest of the store, picking up some things that I needed like plastic bags and a new kitchen brush before taking the second shortcut to the collection area, and the Swedish Food Market, now before the checkouts, a move likely designed to increase sales just that little bit more.

After checking out and grabbing a coffee at the Bistro, I went back out to the car, and noticed something else in the parking lot – U-Hauls…people actually rented U-Hauls to go to IKEA. Not just one, but five of them were in the lot! Crazy time! I will grant that if you are buying a lot of furniture, as I did last year, it may just be easier to fit it into a U-Haul instead of trying to cram it all, plus two other people, into your hatchback ;)

Now, to keep everyone sane, and to avoid having a never-ending post, we will stop here momentarily and pick things up next time. We’re only at 2 PM on Friday, and there’s still 80 miles ahead of me :)

guest post, Sephyroth

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #5

Another successful no-buy month. I was sure it would be a buy month as the weather turned very cold and I did not seem to have enough warm clothes but then I did a cupboard cleanout and found some extra things. I also found that my Ghanda round the house jumpers were nowhere near as “ratty” as I thought they were, and they really do not need replacing.

Keeping the tally – Our record thus far – January, February, April, May = nothing bought. March = something bought. One out of 5 = a buy month. Can I make it 1 out of 6? We will see.

No Spend Days

I have not been keeping a tally of meeting goals for no spend days and it occurs to me this is where my struggle is the hardest. I did not have a January goal. I have only met my goal in one month which was February. Though the April fail was due to an automatic payment and not something I could control – if we did not count that payment I did meet the goal that month.

For May my goal was four no spend days and I had 7 spend days. Epic fail, though one of those days I will not begrudge as it was an experience spend (May 10th for Gruen). The final spend there I got paid back for right away and it was an epic WIN actually – after 5 months of trying I finally managed to get my parents to buy new mobile phones.

We ran out of milk in our first fortnight this month, which caused an unexpected Aldi spend on the 17th. I have upped our milk buy for each fortnight. We are now up to 6 litres of milk each – mine is soy, the other half drinks A2. In the cooler months we like to have a cup of tea before bedtime and this is where the extra milk is going.

What the heck was I doing at Woolworths, I hear you ask. Didn’t I break up with them years ago? They had the Nivea oil I wanted for $7.50 instead of $16.45 I would pay at Coles, so I bought that and saved $8.95, and they stock another item I was sent in the next Black Box which I wanted to buy in other flavours. More about that when I review the box.

We bought some material to make up new door curtains from Spotlight, and have since blocked off the spare room door. We also got some weather strip at Bunnings (on The Other Half’s card so not seen here) to stop drafts from particular doors.

No Spend Goals For June

I would like to manage 5 spend days in June. I know I can do it! Now is the time to focus in on this goal because I have the grocery spending under control.

Grocery Spending

May grocery budget = $620

Coles – $88.70
Aldi – $468.71
Woolworths – $16.50
Bulk items $15.97
Total grocery spend – $589.88
Grocery cost of $19.02/day.

That is $30.12 under budget for the month. Potatoes were the bulk items.

Grocery Spending Goals For June

Grocery spend = $600
Bulk Items Budget = $120

I have set a bulk items budget for June. If Coles has the chicken mini roasts on special we plan to stock up. If they had them for $12 each, we might buy 8-10 of them and freeze them. This would save us $3 per roaster – if we bought 10 we would save $30 in total.

The truth I am beginning to see – bulk meat should probably have a separate budget because we do not eat all the meats in that same month. We have chicken still in the freezer from our bulk spends in January and February.

When we bulk buy chicken we prepare it in three different ways – breast steaks, breast pieces, and chicken kievs. If we are doing kievs, that time we might only prepare kievs and pieces. If we have enough kievs we might only prepare steaks and pieces. If we have enough kievs and steaks as we did the last purchase, we only made pieces.

At the end of our first 6 months I may be better able to estimate a good yearly bulk meat budget by looking at what we have spent so far and adding on an amount for the items we already had in the freezer. It might be better to track that separately from the grocery spend.

May Thoughts

Lurker Cat lurks in the background

We did some bulk buying this month – I bought 2kg of mushrooms on special which put 7 packets in the freezer, we bought two smoked hams from Aldi and sliced them up and froze 8 packets. The small hams you can get from there are incredibly tasty if you have a way of slicing them and they are great value at $12.99 a kilo. We have a meat slicer.