Merry Christmas To All

That about sums up how I am feeling today, less than 5 hours after I completed what I have secretly nicknamed “The Santa Obstacle Course 2018”.

When I realised I had finished it, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, and I felt like dancing. But I still had two hours more work to do, stocktaking our little area, tidying up because my offsider is a bit of a hurricane at times and also forgets to put things back where they live, cleaning, sorting, fixing.

After that I caught a lift home, made coffee, cleaned some in preparation for tomorrow – we are hosting Christmas – snuck out for a quick take away dinner, had afternoon coffee at the late hour of 7pm, cleaned a little more, and I still have a bit more cleaning to do.

I had no idea it was possible to be this tired. I’m ready for sleep already. It isn’t physically tired, though there is some of that. I’ve been getting my 10000 steps every single work day these past weeks. I’ve actually kicked the chair out of my area because I don’t have time to sit and I don’t have room for the chair.

It is 90% mentally tired and part of it is Aspie tired. You see, usually at any given time in my job, I might have 20-50 items with various names on them, waiting for the customer to pick them up. All of that is mentally catalogued via my Aspie Super Powers, filed away neatly in my brain. When the customer arrives, I ask for the surname, and it takes me mere moments for my mental file system to tell me exactly where that item is.

Over the past 5 weeks, I have had double to triple the amount of items with various names on them. I’ve also had 200 or so extra items with names each week to catalogue. I’m not the only person working there, either. I’ve had to create “maps” of where everything is, so the other folks can find things fast when they need to. That plan seems to have worked really well.

I did get my Christmas Glitter Nails, and promptly forgot to take any photos. Here they are two weeks in. You can’t see the rainbow holographic glitter on the thumbnail but believe me it is there. I’ve been loving these nails, even though they are “mismatched” and somewhat weird to some folks. My nail lady thought I was cuckoo, she is probably right. ;)

I wish you all the compliments of the season and hope you have a lovely Christmas day filled with whatever floats your boat. I’ll try to remember to take some photos to share with you this year. :)

Nail Art, work

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #10

No Spend Days

16 out of 31 days in the month were spend days. For the most part these were preparing for November & December expenses. In the lead up to Christmas we will both likely be working 5 days a week – and I might even have to do 6-7. The good thing is the shifts are relatively short – 5-6 hours – but the bad news is I will be working every single weekend while The Other Half will be working all the weekdays.

I took some surprise opportunities both to save money buying in bulk (Petbarn, Nowra Fresh, one of the Aldi trips was 9 punnets of large mushrooms) and to save future time by food prepping and freezing. I also did some Christmas shopping while I had the chance. More about these things later in the post.

My spending saboteur has now returned to Adelaide and I will be busy working, but I do have a couple more Christmas shopping things to do yet.

No Spend Goals For November

I would like to get back to 2 grocery shops maximum each month, and 2 other spend days. As we are already halfway through November, spoiler alert, I have failed the November goal before I even set it. :)

But now, for the great news –

Grocery Spending

Coles – 13.50
Aldi – 477.53
Woolworths – $3
Total grocery spend – $494.03
Grocery cost of $15.93/day.
Bulk food spend – $72.04

The grocery budget for October was $620 and we came in well below that – $125.97 below. I counted the mushroom bulk buy in with the normal Aldi shopping because that is where I got them from. Part of this was using two $10 off my shops at Coles, part of this was eating out of the freezer more, part of this was a couple of meals out which we did not pay for ourselves, and I was at a conference overnight where all my food was included.

Why did I spend $3 at Woolworths? We needed pizza bases, and neither Coles or Aldi had them.

Grocery Spending Goals For November

November has 30 days = $600
Bulk food budget $100

October Thoughts

The big field mushrooms were on special for $2.99 at Aldi when I dropped in there with my Aunt to get something she needed – I had not intended to do any shopping but when I saw that, I thought maybe I could stock up, cook up, freeze up, and be set for a while. That is $1 off per punnet, so I went a bit crazy and bought 9 of them. We had a couple of hours to kill before our nails appointment that day, we went home, rinsed, chopped, cooked and drained all 9 punnets in the space of an hour.

I put them into a very large bowl and into the fridge till I could return. Later that day, The Other Half and I measured out equal amounts and put them into foodsaver bags. I now have 12 vacuum sealed bags of mushrooms which will give me mushroomy Pizza Fridays until mid-January.

We’d bought two bags of kitty litter as we were about to run out on the 20th and a few days later I got this email –

This is a super great deal for us. We’re never going to NOT need kitty litter, we have room to store it in the shed, and $70 off is nearly three of the very large bags for free. I believe we got a deal like this late last year or early this year and this is why running out came to us as a surprise because we are so used to a new bag just being there when we need it. We bought every single bag they had in stock, which was 9 if I recall correctly, and we also got a bag of chicken food to take us over $250 and get the $70 off.

We bought chicken breast in bulk and made up some more kievs, and also chicken pieces as we were running out. I may have to do pieces again this month but if so I will like to buy enough so we don’t have to do it again in 2018.

Realising that Christmas is nearly here when I saw a gift for Mother that would work, I grabbed it. I know what I am going to get for Dad, and I will also pick up some spare things in case we have some extra folks arrive on Christmas Day. I had to buy Christmas themed things for myself for work, as Christmas is a bit of a deal where I am now.

I finally ran out of hair conditioner, so I had to get some more from “The Warehouse” and they had a special deal where if I bought shampoo I got the conditioner for free.

But in good news, I got reimbursed over $150 for some former work clothes purchasing, and I won a $50 visa gift voucher at the work conference.

I had to fill up the car again. This time I had to get the more expensive fuel because the other option was not available, and I was low enough on the gauge that I didn’t want to drive anywhere else. Still, I think filling up twice in a year is pretty awesome – if I need to do it a third time that is ok, and I may need to depending on how much I can carpool to work on the upcoming days.

2018yobn

Whipper.. what?

Something is not quite right there.. :) That is not the photo I was expecting for whippersnapper! That is a photo of what is commonly known in Australia as a “whippersnipper”

A whippersnapper = a young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident.

It has been busy here this week, I have been trying to write the #yobn end of month post from October but still have not managed to finish it. So here is your Friday post on a Wednesday, and I should have a chance to finish it before Friday.

Fail Whale

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 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

Train Day

When my Aunt arrived here in August we had talked about some things we would like to do while she was here. My Uncle had once caught the train down the coast after arriving at the airport and he enjoyed his train trip. I have always wanted to take the train just to experience it, and my Aunt was curious to see what it was like after hearing so much about it.

So we planned our train ride for a Sunday when Opal fares are a tiny $2.70 for everyone travelling. It is a great day to take long train rides. But perhaps 6 hours on the train may be too much for most people. It is 3 hours to Sydney and 3 hours back to the South Coast.

I had been researching possible lunches and we ended up meeting my training-to-be-a-pilot nephew at Din Tai Fung which is a lot of carefully made dumplings and wontons. I think we ordered too much, but we did manage to eat it all.

As we sat and ate we looked up to see the Sydney – whatever they are calling it now. Tower Eye? It will always be Centrepoint to me.

After that we had a lot of shops we wanted to see and very limited time – Uniqlo was first on the list because I wanted to look more closely at the puffer vests. I have become a big puffer vest person since finding a suedey one at W.Lane which I could wear to work – I need it there, because it is so dang cold all the time.

My Aunt found the color she wanted in her size and they were having a sale so BONUS.. It was around this time that my nephew chose to take his leave as perhaps puffer vest shopping is not the most exciting thing in the world. :)

I was not quite so lucky, but right next to where we were standing was a shelf of beige suedey vests with hoods. I did not want a hood, so I asked one of the staff to see if they could find the silver one in my size. She had to get a ladder and check the top shelf, then out the back. When she came back she could not find it in my size. I asked if she happened to have the suedey one in other colours or perhaps without a hood – she said no BUT then she showed me the hood comes off. Plus it was half price, so I was sold.

It is plush and not a colour I would usually pick. Then my Aunt tells me she is going to buy it for me as a gift and I said well in that case I can’t possibly wear it, I will have to put it into a glass case and hang it on the wall in order to treasure it forever. :) However I have worn it twice now, both times without ruining it forever by dropping food on it. I was very glad to have it in Canberra as it got super cold while we were there.

Next we went to Sephora – being not a makeup person this is a shop I had never been to in my life before. I was looking for their hand masks which are a glove filled with moisturiser. I found them, and bought two, one each for me and The Other Half to try. He is struggling with the cold weather causing his hands to dry out and crack. This was not perhaps the best choice of shop to visit for my Aunt, who went a little cuckoo picking out various awesome things. They do not have Sephora in Adelaide.

These hand masks turned out to be 100% fabulous and well worth the $$ – I highly recommend these though I believe in store they were $7 each. I found them to be reusable and have used the avocado one three times already. The Other Half finally tried his and he is a believer too, though he thinks having two weeks off from work might have helped his hands repair themselves somewhat.

Next we dropped into H&M for a quick wander about. I was fascinated by the earrings many of which seemed like they would be very heavy to wear, like this pair which are clip on earrings. I rarely see those anymore!

But it turns out these are made of a very light metal and actually are some of the lightest earrings I have ever experienced. Spoiler alert, I ended up getting a pair like this when we visited Canberra for Floriade. I could not resist them as they were flowers.

A quick walk through the Myer fragrance hall which was absolutely packed with people, we could barely move, which surprised me. It was Fathers Day, did everyone just leave their shopping a bit late, or is it normal for this to be so packed on a Sunday?

We grabbed a coffee and then went to the train station way too early, as those of us who have so far to travel and are a bit worried about missing the train home likely tend to do. Just over three hours later we arrived back at Bomaderry Station and then home to my parents for a Sunday Roast which was very delicious.

It was a good experience and useful for me as I have to go to a conference in Manly in October, and there is NO WAY I am driving anywhere near Sydney, so I intend to catch the train. That is overnight so at least it will be 3 hours travelling on the train each day and likely a work colleague will be travelling with me.

shopping, Sydney

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #8

Keeping the tally – Our record thus far – January, February, April, May, July = nothing bought. March, June, August = something bought. Out of 8 months, three = a buy month.

August while great in many aspects was a tough month for this challenge for many reasons. I actually thought maybe it is time to put the brakes on and quit the challenge. Never quit, never delete, never surrender! I’m going to keep going BUT I do need to recognise that I am not super woman.

August No Spend Days

Yet another spend month. As I mentioned recently I will not begrudge any of it because it has been shopping time – and walking time, and lunching time, and dinner time – spent with a much loved one.

13 days of spending in total *boggle*.

No Spend Goals For September

It would be easy to say lets just give up and not set a goal, but I would like to try and keep spending days to 10 next month. I’m allowing a couple extra as we are travelling to Canberra for 2 nights.

August Grocery Spending

August –
Coles – $131.45
Aldi – $417.95
Woolworths – $11
Total Grocery Spend $560.4
18.07/day

You won’t believe this but I am now so used to shopping once a fortnight only, we completely forgot to spend our $50 at Coles to complete 4 weeks of spending $50. I was so mad at myself. But they’ve offered us the same offer again and we are now two weeks into that one. I’m setting reminders all over the place to make sure we achieve it this time. Mostly I am stocking up on our favourite roasts with these $50 spends as we really do not need much else at Coles these days.

Grocery Spending Goals For September

September has 30 days = $600
Bulk food budget $100

August Thoughts

For the first time in 2018, I put fuel in my car. There has been an increase in driving due to work, plus all the “toodling” my Aunt and I had been doing. I paid the rather obscene price of $1.81 per litre for the really good fuel, as I felt Polo deserved such pampering given the excellent fuel efficiency thus far in 2018. I am sure that the tank will receive at least one more fuel-up in 2018, possibly two given on how much I can carpool to work with others.

The biggest reason August was tough was due to a big increase in the days and hours I am working. There was one week in August where I worked 7 days in a row. Most weeks were at least 5 days of work. When you add in the massive learning curve I have been on learning a new job I had never done before plus all the from-scratch cooking I have to do now that The Other Half needs less sodium, it was a huge month.

Throw on top of that – The Other Half has decided he would like to do some online University studies, which means I lose him – and his chopping skills in the kitchen – for at least 2 hours most weekdays. He is kicking off with an advanced math course for the next 6 months, and then next year he will be starting a degree.

I’m going to increase use of the food processor rather than his chopping and I’m trying to do even more batch cooking where we have leftovers for dinner another day just to give me less time in the kitchen.

2018yobn