Snoskred-land Lately

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We are more than halfway through No Buy July – for me that means no buying of clothes. The very last thing I needed to do clothes wise was to update my sleep wear because that was anywhere from 4-6 sizes too big for present size me. Kmart was having a clearance and on the 30th of June I picked up 4 very comfortable new nighties in size 10-12 for $5 each. YAY!

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As we walked through the shopping centre to pick up one item from the supermarket that same day, I said to the other half – “I might just check Noni B. They had that dress in my size on the clearance rack when I was there yesterday but it was still very Up Money.” As I walked into the store the staff member greeted me and then told me everything on the clearance rack was $20. “Even the dresses?” said I? “Even the dresses” said she. I grabbed that thing so fast nobody saw it. I am sure if you could watch it on CCTV I became a blur of movement. I dashed into the fitting room so quickly The Other Half was messaging me “where did you go?”

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I fits, I buys. I had been wanting this dress for over 6 months, I even mentioned it here on the blog. And I got it for $20. That is CRAZY TALK I am telling you. :) The material feels amazing, it has kind of a crimp in it is the best way I can explain it.

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I did pick up another gorgeous top for $20 at the same time, and I pointed out my next wanted dress to The Other Half..

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Unknown to myself, I had matched my new kettle to my upcoming new outfit. This is the Breville 1.7 litre kettle in Dragonfruit. She is a sparkly delight. We’d had our previous kettle for over 10 years and the spout was plastic and beginning to biodegrade somewhat meaning hot water would go everywhere when I tried to pour it. Very dangerous, it had to be replaced. I was worried because my Mum had bought a stainless steel kettle which is the noisiest kettle ever, you have to shout to talk over it. But this one is whisper quiet and it makes a gorgeous BING sound when it is finished boiling. I love it.

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Speaking of things I love, no, I did not enjoy spending some serious cash on a new coffee machine but I love the one we’ve ended up with. We’d had the previous one for 6 years and when we did the maths, it cost us 12 cents a cup. I’d like a bit more than 6 years out of the next one, thanks appliance deities! We do use it quite a bit – 4 cups of coffee a day minimum, plus occasional extra shots for iced coffee or adding to a smoothie or milkshake.

I’ve been cutting down on dairy lately because I had a bad flu which just dragged on and on. It seems to be uncooked cheddar cheese which is my main problem – if I eat it I have a stuffed up nose for the rest of the day. I figured while I was eliminating things I would give some different milks a try for coffee. The new coffee machine froths coconut milk perfectly and almond milk not quite as well but it is do-able. I am loving my coconut milk cappucinos. You get a coconut flavour as a bonus. Our afternoon coffee is accompanied with one serving of Dark Kit Kat.

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June is my birthday month and Crabtree and Evelyn were having a sale plus they sent me a $15 birthday voucher, so I grabbed a couple of hand creams and some salted caramel fudge. They did not quite bring enough salt for my liking. Rose and Pineapple hand creams smells like a toilet freshener according to the other half – it just so happens that is the one I most love. ;) I gave him the Spiced Earl Grey to try and combat his winter hands. Carribean Island Wild Flowers is super loud in a good way and the fragrance sticks around through several hand washings.

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TVSN were also on sale. I am clearly not the only addict to this channel in the family but my biggest addiction is to their clearance pages. Grumpy suggested I buy this top.

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While I did not take that particular advice as I felt it was slightly up money though I may well buy it later on when it is reduced if it is still available in my size, I did purchase one Diane Gilman top which I had been watching for months in clearance that suddenly jumped down to $9.95, and one set of tops with rainbow holographic sparkly sequins. I am always impressed with the quality of the goods once I receive them.

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The Berry Bypass is now officially open – one lane of cars each way with a speed limit of 60km/hr. We ventured over to Berry on Saturday to check out the town minus all that traffic – seems like most other people in the world had a similar idea. We drove the bypass on Sunday on the way to Costco, it was brilliant.

Home

Berry Bridge Walk

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We went for a lovely walk with about 6,000 other people and quite a few doggies.

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Everyone went at their own pace, there was no rush and thankfully it did not rain, though you can see the people of Berry were well prepared in case it did. We also were carrying an umbrella.

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The local politician put on a sausage sizzle for gold coin donations. There are not many towns where the free sausage sizzle would offer vegan sausages and gluten free bread.

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Water and sunscreen were also available for free. and there were port-a-loos available too. It was very cold so layers and beanies were the big trend of the day.

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There was a free shuttle bus service which we had taken over to the walk, but we chose to walk back to the showground as it was quite a lovely day and we had enjoyed our walk thus far, and the sun chose to make an appearance.

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The last part of the bypass is still being worked on. They are estimating mid-July for this part to be completed.

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The Berry Markets are on this Sunday and it looks like the weather might be beautiful though slightly chilly. This might be the last ever markets where the highway is still running through the town, if the bypass really does open in July. If you are going, BYO tote bag to put your purchases in!

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Bernie’s Diner, Moss Vale

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Some years ago I began reading Sydney food blogs. The main reason was so that I would know the great places to go when we visited. As we usually day trip and somewhat rarely at that, I want to know where the great places are so we can visit.

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Sydney food bloggers often blog food from regional NSW when they travel and this is how I found out about Bernie’s Diner sometime around 2012/2013. I do not think it was very long between my reading about the place and us visiting. We have been back at least once a year since then – well it is about a 60km drive otherwise we would go more often.

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The owner was featured on SBS about a week before we went this on most recent visit so it was absolutely packed. Standing room only as you can see in that top pic there – all the booths were full and people were waiting for other people to leave so they could grab a booth. We just got a couple of chairs at this kind of breakfast bar that runs along behind one side of the booths.

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We usually go for the burgers here. I get the Waikiki, the other half changes up his order each time. This time he did a double cheeseburger with bacon and egg. We also get a serve of cheese fries. These are amazing. The regular fries are also excellent. I also splurge and have my one occasional soda – so occasional I can tell you exactly when the last one was – November 2016, when we last visited Bernie’s with Sephyroth.

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The things you need to know about Bernie’s Diner – BYO paper towel or napkins, because the provided napkins while authentic to the diner experience are not exactly built for cleaning up after one of these great burgers.

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There are bathroom facilities hidden out the back after you walk through a spare empty room – I would expect that room might soon be in use with booths and seating and quite rightly so given the amount of people visiting here these days. The sink in the toilets is only a half sink so that is also not very helpful with a good after-burger clean up.

Here is the owner, Ioannis Benardos, being interviewed on SBS. Here is the website with the menu, and here is their Facebook page but I warn you, liking it is going to make you hungry whenever food pics are posted. :)

food, Southern Highlands

The Berry Markets

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Berry 1896

There are exciting times ahead for the little town of Berry on the South Coast of NSW. The Princes Highway has run right through the centre of town for over a hundred years now, making this section of the highway a slow and tiresome part of the journey to the South Coast and making life dangerous for the tourists who visit and cross the highway without a pedestrian crossing or set of traffic lights.

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Soon, the Berry Bypass will open which will remove much of the passing traffic – a lot of that being large trucks – from the heart of this gorgeous town, leaving the traffic of those who actually want to visit Berry. This coming Sunday people will have the opportunity to walk the new bridge.berryloop2
You could catch the train down from Sydney if you wanted to do this walk – there will be a shuttle bus taking people from the station to the new bridge.
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The new bypass might not make a great deal of difference to the busy-ness of Berry on the first Sunday of each month, though – with the one exception of February.
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The Berry Markets are held at the Berry Showgrounds that day – depending on weather, they are sometimes cancelled if it is too wet underfoot – which is just a short walk from the main street and also a short walk from the train station which makes it easy for people to visit from Sydney. If the weather is good you can expect many people to descend, all decked out in their Berry appropriate outfits.

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You may see a lot of dogs. You know that saying every man and his dog was there, this is almost true at the Berry Markets. There are so many dogs, they get a cupcake stall. Sounds delicious!

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Big dogs, medium dogs, small dogs, all of them will be on the leash which I deeply appreciate.

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There is quite a range of things for sale at the Berry Markets. Everything from $300 real rabbit fur ponchos to plants and local produce to locally made jams and chutneys to glass paperweights.

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I suggest you bring a tote bag to place your purchases into. Depending on the time of year, in winter I recommend a beanie, scarf and gloves, and in summer you should bring sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat or baseball cap.

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There is also quite a range of food available, from locally made sausage rolls with gorgeous relish to corn on the cob to gozleme to Shanghai dumplings.
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The dumplings are awesome, FYI. But as the sign says, beware the hot soup inside!

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My personal must buy items from these markets are Lemon Myrtle moisturiser and Wasabi and Seaweed macadamia nuts from Batemans Bay Nut Roasting Company. But you can try all the flavours of nuts so don’t just take my word for it, pick the ones you like the best. The salt and vinegar ones are pretty awesome too.
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And when you are done at the markets, you can grab a gelato from Il Locale and then explore the town itself which I personally believe is one of the best shopping towns in Australia. And I have been shopping at a lot of places in Australia. You can buy everything from coffee mugs for less than $5 right up to $400+ reindeer furs.
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Yes that building is in the photo from 1896 – many of the buildings in that photo are still alive and well today. Berry might be able to get creative now with events held in the main street, something which they could not do without closing the highway in the past. I certainly hope they will and I am excited to see what will be possible once they open the bypass.

Berry, shopping

Quick Note

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No movie post this week, we have been too busy to watch movies. Part of the busy was an overnight trip to Canberra. We went to IKEA and picked up a few things, including another HODDE.

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One presently resides on the floor in front of my recliner. Something about this rug just makes me happy. If I could, I would cover the entire house with them!

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For now, I have settled for replacing an older rug in the Kitty Hang Out Area. This is a spot where the sun shines for much of the day. There are places for cats to sleep at varying levels, many including floor mats placed inside or on top of cardboard boxes.

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There is a pot of all the vegetables we did not eat over the last two and a half weeks bubbling away on the stove. Red capsicum, leek, one lonely carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts and potato. It will be ready for lunchtime. Happy moments here!

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A Day Out & Il Locale, Berry

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I’ve had laryngitis and bronchitis this past week so I have been sticking close to home. But now The Other Half has two weeks off and this past Saturday we got out of the house.

At first we were just going to the chemist and to Bunnings, a local hardware store for those of you not in Australia. But one look at the carpark of Bunnings and we decided it was a HELL NO situation. Even the chemist carpark was packed, so much so the other half chose to stay in the car.

When I got back to the car we looked at each other and said what now – do we go back home? My outfit was not quite ready for that, so I suggested we head over to Berry to pick up some hand cream I have been wanting to get.

I am a member of a local food group here in the Shoalhaven – it is usually how I find all the local gems – and someone had recently posted photos of their meal from Il Locale. So as we were wandering about reading menus, I suggested we check out the menu at Il Locale. It turned out to be a great choice.

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Il Locale is best known for the amazing gelato they make on the premises. In fact strolling past you might not be aware that they do actually serve delicious food and coffee and they do it at very reasonable prices for Berry. Berry is the kind of place where a simple ham and cheese croissant could cost you more than $10. It is a bit “Up Money” on occasion.

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The Other Half chose his usual Egg and Bacon Roll. For $8, it was a bargain. The tomato chutney was *incredible*. It was so good I actually would have liked to buy it and take it home. I am not sure if it is for sale and they were quite busy when it was time to leave, so I couldn’t interrupt and ask. Next time.

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I went for the BLAT – Bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato. It was so delicious. We also had coffee which was the perfect temperature and so, so good.

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There are a couple of side rooms with tables for people to sit and eat, which you would not necessarily know from the street.

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They also have take away sandwiches ready to go. And sorbet and gelato. Don’t forget about the gelato! It was a nice – and rare these days – treat. We do not eat out very often since changing our diet to low sodium.

We went for a stroll through our favourite shops, I got my hand cream, and by the time we were done the Bunnings carpark was suitably empty. Win win all around! Happy moments for all.

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Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Getting Organised

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Sometimes you just need to de-clutter and reorganise. This process is happening all over my house at the moment. Everything from getting a new fridge to cleaning out the cupboards to reorganizing my wardrobes and letting go of a lot of clothes that no longer fit me, and welcoming in new clothes, shoes, even underwear that does fit.

Part of this process which came to me as a surprise on a recent Saturday was organising our movies. There are a lot of movies which The Other Half likes which I do not enjoy, and vice versa. We went through the list to organise my movies into two groups – watched, and to be watched.

After the sorting, I now have a directory on the server with over 70 movies that are marked “to be watched”. These are movies I have never seen that somehow got lost in our movies directory. When I would go in there to pick something to watch I would often get tempted by something I have already seen and love, or there would be so much choice I could not choose.

My plan now is to work through these movies one by one. After I watched the first one, I thought maybe I would keep a little list, maybe once a fortnight – or once a week depending on how much watching I get done – and post it here on the blog. I might organise it similarly to how Zandria does her book posts, but maybe with loved, liked, disliked.

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Here is a fridge preview – on Monday next week I have a post where you get a closer look.

Movies and maybe some music will be Wednesday posts for a while, going forwards. I am slowly getting my blogging mojo back. ;)

blog housekeeping, Home, movies

What Happens In SnoskredLand?

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There’s a chook lurking back there!

So much stuff, almost too much to type. Things are very busy and I am not sure when I will get back to regular blogging. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits that might eventually work their way into posts of their own.

– We got a new fridge, which is all fridge no freezer.

– The reason we most needed the new fridge – eating so much of our food prepared from scratch takes up a lot more space

– Buying things in bulk saves us money but things like potatoes keep better and longer in the fridge.

– I have been shopping for clothes at my new size and you can bet that is going to be a post by itself.

– I have discovered a new snack – peanut butter spread on apples. I like to eat this at 9:30pm while watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover reruns on the Style channel on Foxtel. The Other Half believes this is a freakish snack, not eaten by “normal” people. He has never seen Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, but I am sure he would think that is freakish as well.

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– We have had so much rain, the chook pen is a flooded mess. This means we are in the process of planning a new chook pen.

– The chooks have been getting a lot of treats as a consequence. They had lactose free yoghurt today.

– The colonoscopy did not happen as scheduled. Unfortunately all the “low fibre” foods I was told I had to eat to prepare actually cause a lot of irritation and inflammation in my bowel. I would have been better off sticking with my protein shakes only but they were “not allowed” even though chicken and eggs were.

– We have been revisiting the 80’s and 90’s musically – our car stereo is like a Delorean, taking us back in time.

– My oldest nephew has decided to become a pilot. This is terrifying news for me but happy and great news for him.

– The chook pen rebuild may mean less time for blogging but I will try to keep you updated.

Reading – Persuasion by Jane Austen, previous to that I re-read Game Change which is such a great book about the 2008 election campaign. It is not just about McCain/Palin as it was in the movie – it covers the democrat side fairly comprehensively as well and says some very revealing things about the Clintons. Worth a read if you like US politics.

Watching – Season 2 of Billions – Season 6 of Homeland – Big Little Lies which is just amazing.. I loved the book but the show is even better.

Drinking – We did an overnight trip to Sydney recently for a wedding and I had a glass bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water. It was perfectly chilled and in a glass bottle which made it feel very fancy and awesome. The next day we were at Costco and they had a 24 pack of San Pellegrino in 500ml plastic bottles on special so I bought it and once a week or so I treat myself with one.

Eating – just cooked the first Brussels Sprouts for 2017 tonight. So glad they are back on the shelves!

I’ll try to post at least once a week for the next month, we’ll see how it goes. This post might actually inspire a few more to be written. :)

Chickens, country life