Canberra Part 3

Last time, we had just returned to the hotel room to drop off our shopping before heading out for dessert. Canberra has just got their first Gelato Messina and if you have been reading here long enough you know I am a big fan.. but we had another destination in mind tonight. Lucky for us as there was a massive queue at Messina as you see above in my blurry photo.

We were headed for Frugii Dessert Laboratory. It was only a short walk but quite a fascinating one, loads of people were out and about, and we discovered an impromptu food truck corner at the nearby carwash. Lonsdale Street is a very interesting area.

I had salted caramel and chocolate, as I so often do. The flavours here were really clean and extremely delicious. Frugii is definitely worth a visit.

The next morning we were in the mood for some old school pancakes. Canberra has a version of a place that I grew up with in Adelaide – Adelaidians will know I mean Berties AKA The Pancake Parlour. Capital Pancakes has departed from the Pancake Parlour franchise to keep their prices low. The pancakes were great, the coffee was decent, and it was not too expensive. Plus it was conveniently placed for our walk to Floriade.

We were at Floriade for several hours. Yes, we are those annoying people crouching down taking photos, framing photos, using more than one camera, using our phones as well. We took probably 300+ photos each. I will not bore you with a multitude of flower photos at this time, they will come to you as a surprise on upcoming Fridays. I have put one photo here, as you see above. I was fascinated by the use of parsley as a decorative plant.

It was icy out. Super icy. And windy. I was very glad I had worn all my warm things. Even so we had a lovely walk back to the hotel via City Walk. We discovered a carousel. I sat down and sent a message to Sephyroth to see if he could find out whether this one was originally from Magic Mountain in Adelaide, then got up again to walk some more and found the answer on my own.

This sign told me everything I needed to know, except it did not tell me where the carousel from Magic Mountain went. I did a little googling and it is still at Glenelg, at The Beachouse. This place comes to me as a surprise.

We chose to make another stop at Via Dolce for afternoon coffee and a small snack.

So many choices! The Other Half chose the cheesecake again, which we had shared the day before. When he finds something he likes he tends to stick with it. He paired it with a latte.

Today I chose the passionfruit and coconut slice. It was gluten free and very delicious. Apologies for my photography mishap, I think my photographers eye was worn out by this time. I should have put it in the sun for a better shot. :) I chose the dirty chai and it was amazing. We still did not steal any plates or mugs, we just admired their beauty. At least until we were driven from the white box by some very inconsiderate noisy people.

By this time it was getting very cold. We headed back to the hotel for a short afternoon rest in the warmth before deciding on dinner. Next week, Tulip Top and our journey home – and you will get some flower photos from there.

In case you missed the previous posts – Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Canberra

The Signature Fragrance

When I took on this new work role, one of the first things I had to do was clean out the work area and get things organised. The previous occupant of that space left behind an almost empty perfume container for Beyonce Heat. It made me realise that I did not currently have a specific scent for work.

Sure, I had plenty of scents available here at home but none of them were especially work appropriate. Some of them I like to keep for going out, they are too expensive to wear daily to work. Unlike my previous warehouse role where everything I wore would go in the washing basket when I got home, parts of my new work uniform do not get washed after each wear and they will retain any scent that I wear.

I also now have two lanyards I need to have around my neck at all times, and they hold on to scents too. So my old “wear whatever I was feeling like from my fragrance shelf because it will be going straight in the wash at the end of today” was no longer very practical.

My Dad is someone who LOVES fragrance. As a former smoker he never wanted to smell like cigarettes and so he would overapply whatever fragrance he was wearing. This habit of his continues. To the point that when I went over to start up his car two weeks into their Canada & Alaska adventure, it smelled like he was sitting right next to me in it. He smells fantastic 24/7 and people always ask him what he is wearing.

Dad alternates between 4 different Paco Rabanne fragrances – my favourite being 1 million. But it is quite Up Money and not something I would be happy to wear every day. That is more of a special event fragrance.

I wore quite a few Avon fragrances in the past – Night Magic being my favourite. However Avon is no longer available in Australia and I have just a few last sprays of Night Magic left. I will save those for a special event, too. If this were available I would have gone with it. It wears well, it smells good, it is reasonably priced and you can get other things like body lotion or a purse roller in the same scent.

For me, the process of finding a new signature fragrance is not as easy as one might think. I can’t just walk in, spray some stuff on myself, and say that’ll do and wander up to the checkout with a perfume bottle. I want to spray on the fragrance and see how it wears on me. In order to do that, I was keeping my wrists fragrance free and visiting a nearby chemist on my break to try a different perfume each day. This was a scenty time. Some of the perfumes I tried were just ok, one or two were possibles.

What I really wanted was a cheaper version of Spicebomb. But I wasn’t finding it. And Spicebomb is Up Money at $95 for 50ml, even more up money than something like 1 Million. It is a mens fragrance but I love the cinnamon-y spicy scent. I have often worn fragrance meant for men – Cool Water was a favourite of mine growing up.

One day I tried an old perfume I once wore – Maroussia. It is a lovely scent, I was just not sure I wanted it to be my daily scent. The Other Half was not the biggest fan of it but after a bit of discussion we agreed it was the best option I had tried thus far.

I don’t know how many of you watched Gruen this year but they had a completely hilarious episode on Chemist Warehouse which my Mother and I have been laughing about since it aired. If you missed it and you are in Australia, you can still catch it on iview here, it is episode 3.

One August day while out and about with my parents and my Aunt, I jokingly suggested we go and see “what’s on in the warehouse” and they actually wanted to go.

Perhaps Dad was down to 4 bottles backup of his usual scents rather than his usual 20. I am not kidding, he stockpiles. His storage cupboard is like a mini Paco Rabanne warehouse.

Chemist Warehouse had Spicebomb out $69.99 for 50ml so I grabbed one. Maroussia was the crazy price of $12.99 for 100mls, so I got one of those too.

I am still hoping to find the ultimate in signature fragrances for work, but these will do for now. I can wear Maroussia much of the time and occasionally treat myself to a day of Spicebomb. The two scents do work together if there is a lingering trace of the other one, but Spicebomb does not linger quite as much as I would like.

fragrances, Things I Did Buy 2018

Canberra Part 2

Ah yes, where were we? We’d just finished up at Kiehls which was in Myer. The layout of Canberra Centre is a little unusual – on the ground floor there are parts which are interrupted by streets but if you go up to the second floor sometimes you will find stores built above the streets.

I had been looking for a unique USB stick, preferably something gold or glittery. Everyone has the same USB sticks where I work and I want to have something which nobody can mistake for theirs. We went into Typo as someone had suggested they might have one. They did not, but they *did* have a very pretty water bottle and that was another thing I needed for work. So I got that on special for $10, and a little packet of tissues which I could carry around with me for $1.

We found a cute little store called Mineshaft which was full of gorgeousness, and here you can see some of it. My Aunt loves rose quartz so I took these first two photos for her to enjoy later.

The book ends are up money but so gorgeous! ;) Though I guess if it is both for $175 that might be ok value given that huge hunk of rose quartz x2?

I have left this photo a bit larger so you can click on it for a closer view of the rings. So many and so pretty and a very varied range of items here.

They had a large range of gemstones which have been carved, most by hand but there are machines out there which can do this kind of thing these days and I believe we have one in the Mancave which might be able to do something a bit like this if set up correctly.

Here you see some Labradorite which makes me think of Meshel from The Muffin Queen’s Closet. I believe if I remember correctly she is getting a kitchen benchtop of Labradorite.

The Other Half had been talking about getting a new phone as he was out of contract on his present phone, and we decided to drop into the Telstra store. Our experiences with them have generally been Not Great, but this time all went well and he walked out with an Oppo which is just as good as a Samsung or iPhone etc but quite a bit cheaper.

He would tell you, after a couple of weeks experience with it, that it would probably be easier for iPhone people to transition across to, as the layout of things is somewhat similar even though the Oppo is Android. He would also say that it is brilliant for people who forget to shut down all their apps – in fact it was so efficient at doing this it kept shutting down our Kakao app that we use to communicate for free and we had to look for a solution. He would also tell you – and next week I will show you with some photos – the camera is fantastic.

Two more quick stops – Bed Bath and Table just to wander their beautiful homewares wall and I found a present for Mother whose birthday was the next week – and H&M, where I found these gorgeous bright red earrings.

After all this it was time to grab some dinner. It was Friday night and at home that usually means Pizza night – and for the past 7 or so Fridays, a Harry Potter movie. I had not seen them and we have been watching them together. These are not movies for children, in my opinion, but they were excellent. We had originally planned to do this at our hotel but then discovered the shops were open till 9, so we decided to swap Pizza to Saturday night this week.

When researching places to eat on our daytrip to Sydney, I heard about Pepper Lunch. We didn’t end up going there because we went to the food court at Westfield Sydney instead. When I saw it in Central Canberra across from Via Dolce, we decided this would be our dinner. The food is served on hot iron plates and you cook it right there on your table. The Other Half chose Waygu Pepper Rice

With its unique design patented in Japan, the iron plate is part of the successful formula of Pepper Lunch. Using a special electromagnetic cooker also patented in Japan, the iron plate will heat up to 260°C in 70 seconds and remain hot at approximately 80°C for more than 20 minutes. Meat that is grilled at this temperature range remains tender and juicy. The hot plate also keeps food warm for a longer time such that customers can enjoy the full flavour of the dish.

I chose Prawn Pepper Rice. The prawns arrive in a bed of egg which is cooking as it arrives on the table. I think the best thing about this meal was the last grains of rice which had been on the hotplate long enough to become super crispy. It was delicious and even more so about halfway through when we gave the sauces on the table a try, our meals suddenly became even more delicious. This is a franchise with literally hundreds of stores in Japan – they are in several states here already. We would go back for sure, even though the Canberra location is quite tiny.

We were out wandering Canberra Centre for several hours and had a lovely time just looking at things and not buying them. I was surprised there were so few purchases, though of course the phone and the shoes are not seen here. I think that has been our biggest takeaway from The Year Of Buying Nothing – we quite enjoy looking with our eyes and not buying things we see.

Some items we see and decide right away that for us we need to buy them because they will likely never be seen again, like the H&M earrings, sometimes the bargain rule applies eg the shoes, other items are things we genuinely need – I’d just taken 4 plastic water bottles home from work for recycling. Spring water is supplied to us, I just needed to get a decent bottle. But sometimes the unpurchased items linger, and haunt, and this was the case for us on this weekend away. But more about that in a later post.

Canberra

Something I Bought In August

Above you see some of my rings which once fit me like a dream. In particular my favourite triangle Mystic Topaz. Thanks to protein shakes I am 25kg lighter but that also means many of my favourite rings no longer fit. I have one ring that used to fit on my pinky finger which now fits on my middle finger. Most of the rings I used to wear on my ring finger are too loose to wear.

I can still sometimes wear my Mystic Topaz on my middle finger but only if my hands are puffy from water retention. The green one seen above does not fit on any finger, even at my most puffy. For the most part I have no rings to wear and that is SO NOT ME.

In fact there was one occasion – the Take That concert, where I put a ring on right before leaving. Then once I got into the car, I realised I must have lost it in the process of getting into the car. We looked everywhere for that ring. I thought maybe it had fallen into one of my bags and I would find it when I unpacked.

When I got back home, I found it sitting on my dresser – I had decided it was too loose and took it off, then in the rush of getting out the door with all my stuff, I totally forgot about having that little conversation with myself in my head. If I am out in the world without a ring, I feel a bit strange.

I had intended to buy one at the start of 2019 at the end of the year of buying nothing, but out with my Aunt in Berry on the 13th of August, there was An Incident. An Opal Incident. It began with this ring –

I liked it and wanted to know more, but it did not fit me. In fact none of the rings in the entire cabinet fit me. The lady in the store said she had some not on display and she pulled out a box filled with rings – most of them did not fit me, but *one* did, and it turned out to be a very fiery gorgeous opal, which had many colours in it.

Greens, blues, reds, oranges, yellows.

It depends on the lighting which colours fire up.

The ring does have a flaw in it but for me that makes me love it more.

Sometimes you even get pinks, purples, and aqua. For me, one of the reasons I will treasure this ring was the time spent in the store with my Aunt choosing it. It was a special happy moment after trying on many rings to find one that actually fit me, too.

Our wanders to the shops always include a special lunch – on this day we chose croissants with smoked salmon, a poached egg and avocado and cucumber salsa from the Milkwood Bakery. Special time spent with a special person who we very nearly lost a few years ago. There really are no words for that.

family, jewellery

A Small Whoops

Coconut icecream suddenly appeared on the shelf at Aldi. Seems nice, said I, at the end of our shopping trip. I assumed healthiness, like Kramer assumed that his tupperware would be returned.. That was one heck of a mistake on my part.

I normally check the labels before I buy anything, but it was late, the store was about to close, and really how bad could it be?

It could be REALLY REALLY bad.

In a 500g container of icecream, these folks packed in just over 125g of sugar.

AKA 30 teaspoons. AKA Half a cup.

So when I finally went to eat it, I looked at the container and was horrified. That is insanity. I’ve made coconut icecream before in my own icecream maker and I added 0 sugar. Absolutely none. It does not need it. I do not need to eat this icecream. I will just make my own instead. ;)

food

Canberra Part 1

We set off on Friday morning – not too early, we were not in a rush today. As always on a Canberra trip, our first stop was Heatherbrae Pies at Sutton Forest for my favourite Chai Latte. We usually share one of these crispy donuts filled with cream and jam.

I do not usually get my full nails painted – I am more a french tips kinda girl – but on this occasion I went a little wild. My nail lady has some new colours. Photos do not do these justice sadly, and this photo above was taken about 2 weeks in when my eyes start to twitch at the gap of newly grown nail without any paint on it. You don’t notice it as much with tips, that is why I tend to go that way, I can usually get 3-4 weeks out of those.

Our second stop was the Canberra Outlet Centre and TK Maxx, where they had a great range of Halloween items. We do not do Halloween in this country for the most part, though many retailers are trying to make it a thing. This Day Of The Dead skull planter literally screams the name of My Other Half, it was just $12.95 and yet we did not purchase it. We did get some cute coffee mugs with a skull design specifically for work as our work mugs needed replacing.

It is a lucky thing these sparkly Skechers are not my style. How could I do anything or go anywhere? I’d just be staring at my feet all the time. I suppose trying to look at ones feet is marginally better than trying to walk while using a mobile phone – which I strongly do not suggest to anyone!

We were looking at shoes because some months ago The Other Half lost one pair of his Skechers to “an incident” at the very dog-friendly Berry Markets involving the item you least want to step in and which shall remain nameless here for those of you who might be eating at this time.

That left him with two pairs, one he uses for walking and one for running. He did not really have a backup casual pair for general outings, so we have been looking for one pair of shoes for him for a while now.

The Other Half is possibly even more picky than me when it comes to a pair of shoes. I support him in everything but when we visit the 8th shoe store in a row and he likes nothing he sees and/or the things he does like are very Up Money and a price he is not willing to pay I begin to lose hope these new shoes will ever be found..

On this occasion we were very lucky – a shoe store was closing down and they had some lovely Saucony shoes at the insane price of $39. He tried them on and loved them so much we bought the last two pairs in his size.. and then.. there was another incident..

But this time a much more awesome one! I’d looked at similar Adidas shoes back in June 2016 because Sephyroth was going to the Adidas clearance store and he was visiting just a few months later – I took some photos and I asked him something like “if you see these at a good price pls to buy them for me..” They were $240 at that time which is a price I would not be happy to pay for a shoe.

These are a slightly older model than the presently available shoes and some stores have sold out entirely but they are in my favorite colours and I scored them for a tiny $99 instead of $249. What an incredible bargain! I have put them aside to eventually replace my running shoes. For now I will just admire their beauty.

We had spent a couple of hours happily wandering and it was time to head in the direction of our chosen accommodation for the weekend. The entire reason for this trip was because I found an amazing price for The Avenue. I had stayed there once before when visiting Canberra with my parents.v The Other Half was not on that trip.

I was very impressed with The Avenue and the layout of the 2 bedroom apartments, which they can rent as a one bed apartment and a king studio, or as a two bedroom. If it is a two bedroom, the double doors are opened with your key – if separate, then the double doors are locked open and there are two separate entrances – your key only opens your room and someone else has the other bit. What a great idea that is.

There is everything you could need for a short stay in the 1 bed apartment, plus you will find some luxuries like a Nespresso machine. It is just a short walk to Canberra Centre and City Walk and all the goodness right in the heart of Canberra. So much great shopping and eating combined with zero crowds. This is one big reason why we love Canberra. A lot of people are haters of Canberra because of the politicians but do not let them put you off this fantastic place.

A coffee and cake stop at Via Dolce – aren’t the mugs and plates gorgeous? I wouldn’t be surprised if people steal these. We did not thief them, tempting as it might have been. We were good citizens and sat quietly and calmly and shared our delicious cheesecake and drank our coffee in the heated “white box” which was a lovely place to be on this cool day.

I first heard about Kiehls from Sydney Shop Girl and was somewhat intrigued in Sydney when I saw they had a Kiehls area inside the Myer fragrance hall. They were advertising 5 free samples and a skin consultation. We did not have time for this on our Sydney daytrip, but I hoped perhaps they would have the same thing in Canberra where I would have more time.

Then, the week before we set off, I discovered the balm I had been using for my face was no longer available. I was mightily annoyed at this, I can tell you. So my possible drop in to the Kiehls area became a must do. I did a little research online before going there and had identified two possible options which I wanted to try – Ultra Facial Cream and Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. I was already pretty certain it was the latter I wanted, I like a gel.

I was 100% right – the gel cream is gorgeous. So light and sinks right in and does everything I want. I do not do a lot in the way of skincare – a daily cleanse in the shower and some good moisturizer is enough for me. I got the 50mls which is $40 and one only needs a tiny amount, so this will probably last me a while. I also bought the Musk body lotion which is a very unique fragrance and again I only need a tiny amount. I did get my 5 samples as well, and I will give them a good try.

Best of all, unlike the crowded fragrance hall at Myer Sydney, there were very few people about and I got to speak to someone right away. The Other Half wandered elsewhere while I did this, and right when I had finished he appeared on the escalator coming back to find me.

Next time – the rest of our Friday, and some of our Saturday. ;)

Canberra, shopping

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #9

Keeping the tally – Our record thus far – January, February, April, May, July = nothing bought. March, June, August, September = something bought. Out of 9 months, four = a buy month.

No Spend Days

Clearly that goal of 10 days was an epic fail. :/ 19 spend days.

I have never seen anything like that. :( I will not like to see it again!

No Spend Goals For October

For the remaining three months of the year, the spend goals are grocery shopping only and four spend days a month. My spending saboteur AKA my Aunt has returned but I need to be strong and just say no to.. well, everything.

Grocery Spending

Coles – 132.34
Aldi – 432.09
$total $564.43
18.81/day

Bulk Foods $111.99 <-- Over Budget Our Coles shops should be much less for the remainder of the year - to get our 10,000 points we stocked up on chicken roasts which are now in the freezer, and the only thing we *really* need to buy there these days is eggs, and the occasional vegetable which we couldn't get at Aldi.

Grocery Spending Goals For October

October has 31 days = $620
Bulk food budget $100

September Thoughts

I discovered that the moisturiser which I liked to use on my face was being discontinued this month, which sent me into a bit of a panic. I’m the kind of person who sticks with that thing she likes and if I had known in advance I would have stocked up. By the time I found out it was too late and not available at all.

I have to say I am a bit annoyed with the store because they closed their local store and moved everything into another shop they have, and they promised me faithfully I would still be able to get the things I liked. That has turned out to be a lie. :(

But sometimes one door closes and another door opens. I found a much better cream, which I like a lot more. I’ll tell you about that when I tell you about the Canberra trip.. soon. :)

2018yobn

Please Explain, Coles?

Spotted this in the Coles catalog. Aussie caught, but peeled, graded and packed in Vietnam?

My Mother objects to going a mere 7km from home for dinner – do we have to go ALL THAT WAY she says.

I must say, I quite object to having prawns go ALL THIS WAY to be peeled, graded and packed, and then ALL THAT WAY back here, and they are still $34 a kilo?

This is almost an 8000km round trip, if one were flying.

I really do not like – or understand – what is happening with food in this country. Fake honey, prawns caught here but taken to another country quite some distance away to be peeled and sorted, frozen fruits from far away countries making people ill, and 17.5 grams of sugar in a tiny pot of yoghurt. Sometimes I think we really have gone very wrong somewhere.

Uncategorized