Nail Tree

A recent manicure photographed at Minnamurra Rainforest.

My nail artist was not feeling the best when I visited her to get this manicure. I could tell from the moment she touched me that she was running a fever. But she also had a shop full of somewhat impatient people trying to get their nails done all at once and she was trying to get out on time this particular day. She knows I am patient and willing to wait but not everyone else is.

I did not notice until she had finished the small error that she made. Can you see it? It does not bother me at all, because this is my favourite nail colour.. This purple has holographic glitter throughout, which reflects back a rainbow of colours in certain lighting. I’ve had it as french tips a few times now and if in doubt about which colour to pick, I choose it.

She saw it, frowned and immediately offered to redo her work, I said heck no, you want to get out on time and it does not matter. I know it bothered her because she is a perfectionist. But sometimes it is worth living with imperfection. :) I won’t send her these photos. I know it would drive her up the wall. You can see more of her work here.

I’ve been getting gel manicures since late 2016 now, and I have learned a few things along the way. In particular what tends to damage or scratch the gel, and how to avoid breaking a nail. I know when to be extra careful, like loading and unloading the dishwasher and washing machine, opening boxes, that kind of thing.

I’m mostly able to get 3-4 weeks out of most of my manicures and the current pedicure I have was done on the 30th of January – it is still going! There was one recent exception where my finger nails just went on a big growing spree and within two weeks needed to be redone, they had grown so much. I do get them cut right back each time because if I am leaving them for 4 weeks they will grow anywhere between 3-5mm during that time.

There is a new system for doing nails called the dip manicure which I might give a try soon. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Nail Art

The Sock Project


As mentioned in Monday’s post, socks are my kryptonite. I also said “But not buying these socks was one of the harder moments of this challenge for me.” My brain said – You might need socks later, and Aldi do not always have them available. It is just $6, what does it matter. You better get these now!

The way things work right now, I tend to have 7-10 pairs of socks that I wear over and over until they get a hole in them, then I either buy more because they are on Special Buys at Aldi, or dig some out of the Long Forgotten Socks drawer.

Rather than buying more socks, I figured it would be a good time to catalogue the socks I have and try wearing one pair each day.So the first task was to pull out all the socks from the Long Forgotten Sock Drawer, wash them, then pair them up again. I discovered I actually had two Long Forgotten Socks Drawers.

When I pulled the socks out of the dryer, The Other Half laughed at me and said how are you going to pair all these up? I did not initially comprehend the magnitude of the problem. After 40 minutes of sock pairing, I had to take a break, and I still had half the basket to go.

51 pairs of thin socks I can wear around the house.

13 pairs of long socks for wearing with boots.

8 pairs of bed socks.

5 pairs of fluffy long socks for house wear in winter.

17 pairs of black sports socks.

45 pairs of socks I can wear for workouts.

Plus 5 extra ones I had washed and forgot about, not pictured
The pair I was wearing at the time I did this – not pictured =

Total = 145 pairs of socks.

Dear Brain, I do not need to buy any more socks right now. So please shut up. ;)

If I wore only one pair per day I would be set for 145 days. The truth is, I do not wear only one pair per day. I wear one workout pair, then I have my shower, then I wear another pair of thin socks for the rest of the day. So in reality I am set for about 50 days.

You can expect the occasional Sock Friday where I montage together some of the cuter pairs, during this project.

No socks were purchased in the making of this post, but many, many, MANY socks were paired.

2018yobn, Aldi, shopping, Snoskred Socks

Things I Did Not Buy – February


Noni B had a $20 sale, luckily none of the dresses I love were included. I already own one of the above tops – the Effie – I did like the Candice and Shelly but KTHXNOBUY. :)


We went to the local cheap shop to buy, of all things, Isopropyl Alcohol which we use for cleaning laptops, phones and tablets. As this is a cleaning item it is not on my Can’t Buy list. ;) Last time I’d paid some ridiculous amount for it at Bunnings for what seemed like a tiny bottle of it – here we got double the size for half the price. While there I spotted these colourful hanging things for $12.99 and the pompoms were velvety and so gorgeous, but KTHXNOBUY.


You guys, YOU GUYS. Socks are like my kryptonite. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many socks and this one time I bought a truly magnificent set from Aldi, when I went back the next week to get more they were totally sold out.

Aldi socks are perfection in my opinion especially the workout socks. They have never once let me down yet, not a single blister ever, and they are my main go-to for a workout sock. PLUS you get three pairs so they are $2 a pair which is CRAY CRAY.

This did lead me to do a big clean out of the sock drawer which provided me with an extremely shocking discovery, I will tell you about that on Wednesday. In the process I re-discovered a few old favourites that had vanished. I do have enough socks to last the year. I really do. But not buying these socks was one of the harder moments of this challenge for me.

PS Sorry if I am absent a little bit last week and this week, The Other Half is on holidays and we are catching up on some chores and activities we have been meaning to do. :) There are several emails I have not replied to and I am not leaving a lot of comments. I’ll get to it soon, I promise!

2018yobn, Aldi

I Bought Something(s)


We all knew this moment would arrive eventually. We’ve been holding out hoping that we could just struggle on with the current batch cooking pan and we made it two months, nearly three, but you tell me, would you like to keep eating out of this?


Yes that is supposed to be a non stick cooking surface, but as you can see parts of it have flaked off leaving the surface underneath exposed, and unfortunately that surface underneath is rusting.

We had two cooking pans which I could use for batch cooking, the first one rusted to a point we were uncomfortable with some months back, and we were down to just the one pan.

We tried using baking paper hoping that would solve some of the issues, at the very least keep the rusted area away from the food, but that did not work out for us. Paper + Gravy = soggy mess. I was able to rescue that particular cottage pie with a lot of skill and talent, but clearly this was not an option for future batch cooks.


The hunt was already on for a pan we could use which was dishwasher safe – the reality is, we are not going to manually wash a pan. We are dishwasher users and we know it. So some of the options were out before we even began. I was looking online at some options via commercial cookware shops in Sydney, and due to The Other Half having two weeks of holiday we planned a trip up to buy a new baking pan.

Then fate stepped in. We listed our tandem kayak for sale on a couple of local secondhand sites in November 2017, after buying a second single kayak. I’d had a few enquiries, mostly from people who wanted to pay $500 for a kayak that currently retails for $5,000. Second hand prices on our particular kayak were mostly $2,500 or so, and we wanted to get at least $2,000 for it.


There was no particular rush and we were happy to sit and wait for the right person to enquire. On the last day of February, they did, but they were in Canberra. They wondered if we could bring it over to them, and we decided that we could kill two birds with one stone – sell the kayak and buy some new cookware. So I began looking at commercial cooking places in Canberra, and I found this one with some aluminium pans that might work.

On further googling it turns out these are not dishwasher safe, and The Other Half said to me, can’t we get something stainless steel, like our two fantastic Sunbeam Banquet frypans which get dishwashed regularly without any issues whatsoever?


Honestly, if I still had the box this came in, we could box our Ellise up and sell it as brand new and nobody would ever know. They are costly up front but you get your moneys worth long term. I’ve cooked in that frypan 2-3 times a week for over 18 years now. It performed so brilliantly and dishwashed so well, we bought a second one, though I managed to break the lid on that one sadly. Glass & Snoskred = a very bad idea.

Apparently no, commercial cooking places in Canberra did not seem to have anything stainless steel. I ended up looking at IKEA and I found the KONCIS which claims to be dishwasher safe and half the price of any commercial options. We thought we would give this a try, so we planned to stop at IKEA for lunch after dropping off the kayak.


We took the “back way” over to Canberra. They have finally finished sealing it and Google Maps will now route people this way BUT I have to say it is Not Great, Bob. Do Not Want. Cannot Recommend. I nearly wore a hole in the passenger side floor trying to brake, even though there is no brake on that side of the car, which is clearly a design flaw. :)


On the other hand, you do get a closer view of those wind turbines that Joe Hockey was so upset about, out near Tarago. Not much closer, but closer than you see them on the Federal Highway.


Also out near Tarago, we saw this large air force plane doing loops. I’m pretty sure it was a C-17 Globemaster.

We dropped off the kayak, spending nearly two hours with the new owners chatting and taking them through how it works. Then we headed to IKEA for a Swedish Meatball lunch – The Other Half had a chicken parmagiana which was one of the best he has ever had, he rated it a 9 out of 10. They did have this Salted Caramel Tart which tempted me but we had other dessert plans.


I have never once been to an IKEA without buying candles, but this was my challenge to myself today – only buy things we need, not things we want. I have enough candles to last the year if I ration them effectively. But to make sure we were good and tempted, we walked through the entire store. I took some photos of items I did not buy – a post for another day. What did we buy?


2x Koncis $14.99.


1x Vardagen $9.99 as we had an incident with our current muffin tray and we wanted to try out the anodised aluminium.


This Lyckad $9.99 and this Lyckad $6.99 to replace long-ago broken baking dishes, 2x Vildkaprifol @ $4.99ea as these are much better fitting oven gloves than the Iris we own now and those Iris are a bit stained, 3 sets of Plattboj $3.99.


2x Bastis refills. I use these to remove cat hair from various surfaces, then I discovered that you could go straight to the source and lint roller the cats themselves. They absolutely love it!

We got out of there for less than $90 and not one candle purchased. We were going to go to Frugii Dessert Laboratory as we thought it was near to an IGA store and we have been on an IGA tour looking for their carpet cleaner. However it turns out that was a SupaBarn, not an Supa IGA. So our dessert was cancelled. We dropped into Heatherbrae on the way home instead.


The obligatory chai latte fingernails shot.


Dessert was a small crispy donut with cream. I also picked up a cherry and apple pie for desserts this week as The Other Half has gone camping – which makes three dinners and desserts where I can have what I love without having to worry that he does not love it too.

I made a massive Chicken Cacciatore filled with things The Other Half does not eat AKA olives, mushrooms, and anchovies on Monday and there are leftovers for the next two nights and maybe even nights after that. It is so nice to not have to cook for a few days.

So, I will have to make a new graphic for the end of month #yobn post this month. Nay, something bought in March. Rule No 1 of this challenge went as follows – If we both agree that we NEED something, we will buy it. Everything else here was also a need, not a want.

I was down to one ceramic baking dish after some of our old ones cracked and broke last year, the oven mitts were too big for our hands and food stained, and I won’t post the photo of the muffin tin because it looks so bad, after some of the coloured Coles patty pan liners left their colour behind – yes I did not even know that was a thing that could happen, but it has not washed off even after several dishwashings. Only plain white ones from now on, but the coloured ones were handy to tell my baked goods apart from his baked goods.

2018yobn, IKEA, shopping

Movie Catch Up – Oscars Edition

The Post –


A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. IMDB.

I found this movie difficult to engage with. Maybe you have to know the story better to understand all the moving parts going on here. I did love the acting overall. Seeing Bradley Whitford and Meryl Streep together on screen was even better than I expected it would be, and it seemed to me that he worked on that character to make him as Non Josh-Lyman as possible, the voice was different to the point I did not know it was him talking at times.

Meryl gave her usual fabulous performance but for me, watching Meryl play a lovely person is not at all a stretch of her abilities, nor is it half as much fun as watching her play someone unlikeable or someone who is demanding and even dare I say it bitchy. To date my favourite performance of hers is in The Devil Wears Prada. That character was something amazing to see.

Bob Odenkirk was great in this movie and if you are not watching him in Better Call Saul you are missing out on an amazing performance from him there, too. Jesse Plemons – another Breaking Bad alum – was equally brilliant, and of course Tom Hanks was fantastic as always.

Overall there were too many characters and too many balls in the air and at some point I gave up trying to follow along with the story and just sat back and admired the performances. Usually when I watch a movie like this I want to know more about the events when the credits roll I am already on the Googles and Tubes looking things up, but this was not such an occasion for me.

I’m not sure this particular story required a two hour film to document it and I certainly do not think it required a cast – and crew because when it is Spielberg you know that is a big deal as well – of this magnitude.

Definitely not the best movie of the year, nor the best newspaper movie of recent times. Spotlight was my personal favorite and I think one reason for that was keeping the cast smaller and also not letting the story go off on so many tangents unrelated to the story being told.

Meryl being interrupted mid-speech for some random persons retirement in order to take a very important phone call involving most of the incredibly large cast in various different locations was a little out there for me. Not sure whether that really happened, it may well have, but it seemed like a bridge too far.

There were also some moments where I was reminded that I was watching a movie. I don’t know about you but when I drive around in my car there is no special light that shines on my face in order to light it just so, and then just to hammer the point home they zoomed in. I know Spielberg is a great director but sometimes less is more. :)

Out of the three movies I mention here today, this is the one I did not love. I liked it and the cast was great, but given the choice I would suggest one of the other movies below.

I, Tonya –


Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. IMDB.

This movie is marketed as a black comedy but if you have ever experienced any kind of abuse in your life there is not very much funny about it. I am glad I did not see this in a cinema with people laughing at the abuse scenes, I did read reports of that happening.

I found this movie to be terribly sad in a lot of different ways and I have always felt very sad about this particular story. There is a moment in the movie where Margot Robbie as Tonya summed things up very tidily as follows –

“I thought being famous was gonna be fun. I was loved, for a minute. Then I was hated. Then I was just a punchline.”

– but there was an aspect she forgot to mention. The years and years of training and competition that both Tonya and Nancy had put in to get to the Olympics in the first place. The many years of getting up at the crack of dawn, the hard work, all that effort..

These two ladies were both very talented skaters, Tonya perhaps even more so than Nancy. The loss of all of that for both of them due to “the incident”, it is incredibly sad.

There were times when I felt like this was a domestic violence operetta set to bad 80’s music. If not for the absolutely incredible performances of Margot Robbie, Alison Janney and Sebastian Stan, I could not recommend this movie. But given those performances, I have to recommend it.

Alison Janney plays the mother of Tonya Harding, LaVona Golden, who is a real person just as bizarre as the on screen version. Those of us who are Alison Janney fans already know she is incredibly talented and she has shown us her talent many times in too many roles to mention, the most notable and well known being CJ from The West Wing. But those past performances were eclipsed by this one. I have never seen anything like it and all I can say is WOW. Just, wow.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri


A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit. IMDB.

This was by far the best movie I have seen in a long time, and yet I am fairly sure that it will not win the awards that it should because of The Post.

Sometimes movies perform a bit of a magical trick with a character and this particular movie performs that trick with almost all the characters – where you feel one way about them to begin with, then they take what you feel and turn it completely around.

Most of the characters in this movie have moments where you think they are doing the wrong thing, and then moments where you think they are doing the right thing, or vice versa. And in the middle of all of that, there is a terribly sad story happening for one particular character. This movie will have you hating a character then absolutely cheering for them. It will leave you wanting more and wondering what happens next.

Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson all put in incredible performances though I believe in this instance Sam might be the winner of best performance in this particular movie thanks to some amazing writing and the character he is playing. Some of the supporting cast also shine brightly, and the town itself is almost a character in the story.

I do not want to spoil any of this for you by telling you anything which makes it difficult to write a review. I will just tell you to go and see it, and BYO tissues. And I want to see the sequel to this movie, there has to be one surely! You can’t leave us hanging like that pretty please?

You can see the Oscars today live from midday on Nine and it will air again from 7:30pm on Gem.

Here are the 2018 Oscar Nominees.

Remember last year, when The Terrible Incident happened? “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco.

While on the entertainment subject, here are two great articles about MASH. ‘M*A*S*H’ Finale, 35 Years Later: Untold Stories of One of TV’s Most Important Shows and Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings).


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I grew up watching MASH reruns 5 days a week. I really loved that show. :) Peace out David Ogden Stiers who played Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.

Movie Reviews, television shows

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #2


You would think that month two would be harder than month one, but my experience has been that it was even easier to avoid buying anything. Once I got into the habit of ignoring stores, I just kept doing it.


One thing I do receive is a lot of emails and SMS messages from various stores telling me about their sales and bargains. While I am tempted to opt out of those things for the duration of this year, that feels like it would not be quite cricket, to me.

It is good to be tempted, to be reminded to look at the websites for the stores I usually like to buy from. It feels great to look at things I would like to buy and say no, I don’t NEED that.

No Spend Days


I met my goal, which was – February has 28 days. Why not try to make 23 of them no spend?

We do not normally grocery shop on a Friday but The Other Half had to work on the Saturday, so we chose to get shopping out of the way. Magically the TVSN came out that same day, making one spend day for two things. Seems like it was meant to be.

This month was a bit more tricky on the nails front than usual. When I had my nails done on the 30th of January I got them cut quite short and I had hoped I could get most of February out of this set. I don’t know if it is due to better nutrition or taking my vitamins every single day but in just over 2 weeks they had grown as much as they usually would in 3-4 weeks. They do grow faster in summer – in winter I might be able to get 4-5 weeks out of a manicure.

Luckily, chicken breast was on special, so I killed two birds with one spend day. I would not normally have my nails done on a Saturday. I’m a weekday get my nails done kind of girl. But it worked out perfectly this time.

I also had to sacrifice a no spend day to a haircut. I tried to make it for our Saturday shopping day, but my hairdresser was not working that day, so a random Thursday it was. I’ve followed her to three different salons now and she does the best job plus she has an accent I adore. Had I been able to schedule it for Saturday I would have only had 4 spend days this month.

I would have liked a longer no spend stretch, but I feel like this month went pretty well.

No Spend Goals For March

I want at least 13 days in between shopping where I do not spend. I’m aiming for the 11th to the 23rd. This might be a little tricky though, The Other Half is on two weeks of holidays around that time. If I can’t manage that I would like two no-spend stretches of 7 days.

Grocery Spending


My goal for February was to keep Coles to $120 and Aldi to $440. The first week of February was the last week of my spend $60 for 3 weeks to earn 6000 bonus points. We really struggled to find enough items to buy in that last week, and in the end I said hey, why don’t we try to buy enough eggs and ham with long use by dates and stock up for the entire month, then not go to Coles for the second fortnight.


One reason I like to avoid Coles is because the food we buy there is generally junk food. The chocolate honeycomb went into a baked cheesecake and also mini no-bake cheesecakes – I had some cream cheese nearing the use by date and I saw a great recipe which I’ve used before for no-bake cheesecake on The Annoyed Thyroid.

For the baked cheesecake I followed this recipe, only I replaced the caster sugar with honey, and swapped the lemon for chocolate honeycomb. That little cookery moment fed us dessert for many nights afterwards. I’d say at least 12 nights, and one of those nights we had family and friends round and served it for dessert.

It seems like Coles knew what we were trying to do AKA avoid going there entirely, and thus they tempted us with this lovely offer.


There was no way I could have put together another $70 worth of shopping. So while it was tempting to get another $10 off our shopping it was not especially cost effective in this instance. Kthxno, Coles! But the local butcher had chicken breast on special for $6.99 a kilo, so we took the opportunity to stock up with the money we would have used at Coles.

After the first fortnight and the chicken breast, we were at $334.53 for our monthly shopping. This left us $225.47 for our final Aldi shop on the 24th. We spent $232.05.

Coles February – $60.40
Aldi February – $454.56
Bulk Meat – $51.62
Total grocery spend – $566.58
Grocery cost of $20.23/day.

While we went over budget and I did not meet my goal, I am counting this month as a massive win because we were able to keep our Coles shop to just once.

Grocery Spending Goals For March

March has 31 days. I want to try and meet the $20 a day goal this month. That gives us $620 to spend on groceries in March.

February Thoughts –

I’m really happy about the way the freezing mushrooms has been working out. This month I bought the button mushrooms twice, and somehow managed to get 3 packages of mushrooms to freeze around 200g each. This means I can completely skip buying and preparing mushrooms for one fortnight of March, or I can use the mushrooms in something else.

The Other Half goes camping in early March, so for 3 days it will just be me eating. This means I get to make the foods he does not love but I do love. I am going to try adding feta cheese and olives to my Muffin Tin Meatballs – he will take half the mince as burger patties for the BBQ – and I will probably make Chicken Cacciatore with anchovies, olives and mushrooms.


Fitness At Home


My main fitness goal for 2018 is muscle toning and core strength. I’m great at cardio, I can run a full 5km without stopping thanks to the couch to 5k program. I did a pilates and yoga class last year and it nearly killed me. For two weeks afterwards anytime I moved a new muscle screamed at me, one that I never knew existed before.

I decided it was time to invest in some new fitness equipment. In December 2017, I bought the Pilates Body Toner from TVSN. I have been using that at least 5 days a week and can feel a big difference. I’ve cobbled together my own workout which I follow, it is based on this 11 minute express workout, but I have added in some other exercises and removed some of the ones I consider to be quite silly, like the Statue of Liberty.


I combine that with yoga at least twice a week. I follow this youtube video “Yoga for Dummies” which is quite long time wise, it runs about 52 minutes and a lot of that could easily be edited out to make it shorter. What I most like about this workout is, she fully explains how to get into these positions properly. I’m already better at these positions, I can do positions I never could before eg Tree, and I tried her second shorter video, too.


I have always loved step aerobics. I used to go to the gym super early in the morning and do a step aerobics class, it was fantastic. Youtube has made it a lot easier to find step aerobics classes I can do without having to go anywhere. All you need is a step and a way to watch the video.

I grabbed about 10 different step classes and added them into a folder, and I have been working through them. My favourite instructor so far is Jenny Ford. She has quite a lot of classes available on her youtube channel.


If you’ve never done step but would like to give it a try, you could start with her beginner class – it runs for 25 minutes and it has 4-5 very easy to follow steps. I love the simplicity of this workout and it *really* is a workout. The music that kicks in when it hits 62% is my favourite and I love the side to side steps around that time.

I do find her shoes quite distracting and I don’t love that she waits until right before changing the move to tell you what the next move will be, but once you have followed the class once you can pretty much remember what the next move is. If you want to have a longer workout, you can just skip back to the start. I wait until I get to 83% and then I skip back, adding in an extra 20 minutes.

Another great channel which is a hard core workout and not recommended at all for beginners is Yvette Bachman. These are recordings of real classes, which is fun. This was the first step workout I tried and I made it about 25 minutes in. This is a very tough workout, and I am working my way up to being able to finish a whole class.


Happy cat is helpful. She likes to join me for any workout, and will quite often sit on my yoga chair and swipe at me while I am trying to do tree position.