Road Trip

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I ran out of candles. That is as good an excuse as any for an IKEA roadtrip! Plus of course the crossing songs off our list thing, which I mentioned here last week. River commented that it might be better just to download the songs we want in .flac format. My problem is, I do not always know what songs I want until I hear them. I am bad like that and The Other Half is even worse, so this kind of project is a great way for us to recognise what songs are missing from our playlist.

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We stopped at Heatherbrae’s Pies twice on this trip. They are kinda hidden away at the Exeter/Bundanoon exit of the Hume Highway behind Mcdonalds. We first met Heatherbrae’s at their Newcastle location and we are so happy to have them locally.

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The reason we stopped twice is because I got a Chai latte on our first stop and it was *incredible*. That may have been the best cup of coffee I ever had in my life, and I have had a lot of coffee. It is definitely in the top 10. So on the way home I said lets stop again and have dinner. I got the bacon, tomato and cheese quiche. I like how they hide the tomato at the bottom.

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It is super dry everywhere we go at the moment. We have had very little rain this year. We have been advised that this is going to be a very dangerous bushfire season, and as I type this they are putting out a large fire within Booderee National Park, close to one of our favourite bushwalks. More on that in my Wednesday post this week.

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On the way to Canberra there is a large former lake. Actually I don’t know, do you call something a lake if it has no water in it presently? I have not seen much water here for some years now. I remember one time seeing this as a lake, but every other trip it has been grazing land for sheep. And now someone has stuck a bunch of wind farms way out there. One day we will drive to see them, but I have no idea where they actually are or how to get there. :) This is a terrible photo by the way, taken while driving, and the horizon is skewiff. :)

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On arrival at IKEA there were swedish meatballs for lunch. The other half chose to have the meatballs as well, and at some point I said, you know this gravy would be awesome in our cottage pie, and I can buy it in a packet mix from the food section here.

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Which of course I did. ALLEMANSRÄTTEN is everyone’s right to field, forest, and a fine meal with savory sauce, apparently. According to the packet, anyway.

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These Sinnlig candles are very good value at $1.69. I got one of each flavour. Normally I buy the candles at Aldi for $2.99 but these burn almost as long for a smaller price.

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I also bought many Sinnlig $2.79 for 30 tealights, which will be dotted in with my cheaper Glimma $4.99 for 100 tealights.

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The other half picked this little mini-cactus because it spoke to him. And shall we now tell the fascinating story of my dream mini-farm? It will have mini chickens, mini turkeys, mini ponies, mini pigs, mini cows, mini every possible animal. Plus now I will add a mini cactus farm and a mini garden. One day!

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And finally, I got some Frajen bath sheets as a gift for my Mother. These are huge yet quite thin so they dry very fast. I have been using mine all winter and they are great value at $10.99. We dropped in at Costco, grabbing some cheese and a few other treats. It was a very quick stop and soon we were on our way back home. There were kangaroos in the fields everywhere, making me realise that this would become something to watch out for once the sun went down.

We made it to Heatherbrae just after sunset, and picked up a piece of vanilla slice and a custard tart for my parents, the other half got a cream filled donut, I got a cherry and apple pie which I ate the following day for dessert. Soon after leaving Heatherbrae, we met our first wildlife friend.

Happy moments and a fun road trip for us! :) Even with all the wildlife encounters.

Costco, IKEA, shopping

So That Was August

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Bargain Beanies – these were $3 each from Cotton On. I wear a lot of beanies around the house these days and I figured for $3 each I might as well have some stylish ones. Why have I been wearing beanies around the house, you wonder? Wonder no more – here are our temperatures for the month of August in celsius –

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No wonder I was freezing cold much of the time. Two days where the low was over 10C (50F) – that is very cold for where I live. We have not had much rain at all. We have had many days where there were no clouds, so as soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped.

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Thank the deities I found these gorgeous and extremely comfortable boots on sale at Mathers – these are the Colorado Caffara which I managed to score for the massive price of $40 during a sale on an impromptu shopping trip with my parents which came to me as a surprise one Saturday afternoon.. They were originally $249. I have been wearing them a lot lately.

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I found this goldstone ring for $10 at a local place – I cannot resist goldstone. It is one of my favourite things. I am planning to see if my favourite rings can be resized soon but until then, I can wear this one. It matches my new boots too.

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As mentioned in my No Buy July post, I intended to buy this pin from Noni B, and buy it I did, though I got it for just over $17 during a sale. It does pay to sign up for their email mailing list and rewards card thingy, if only to be told when things are going to be on sale. :)

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We did a little reorganizing and created a nice sun trap for the kitties which happens to sit right next to the chickens favourite place to hang out and dust bathe when they are free ranging.

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They can relax and enjoy the warm sun PLUS have chicken entertainment. Most mornings now they are both found somewhere here.

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They take it in turns for the cat tower, the other cat usually sits on the chairs which are covered by an IKEA bath mat.

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Meanwhile the chookies have just experienced their first blueberries for the season and they were very happy about it. Delicious blueberries = happy chook moments.

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There were two manicures in the month of August – my nail artist opened her own shop this month which was super exciting for her and I am so happy for her. The first manicure was blue with a holographic glitter in it, which threw a rainbow of colours. I got 3 full weeks out of this mani, but in the next photo you can see why I like to stick with tips only – see the new growth which has no polish?

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This particular nail colour also showed me exactly where I use my nails to do things, as parts of it turned pink with wear towards the final week of the manicure. The pinky finger in particular got a lot of wear – I figured out this is where my finger meets my tablet cover and I use my pinky nail to hold it upright while reading at night. It was so weird, there was no change in the thickness of the polish or the quality of it, not at all. Just a colour change.

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I mentioned the other manicure last week, but here it is pictured resting on the outfit I mentioned. Again it is difficult to take photos of these things and do them justice. You can almost see how it matches this dress perfectly. That is a chiffon tank dress from Millers which I bought in late summer and then the weather got too cold to wear it. I have been thinking about this dress for months, waiting to wear it and finally we got a warm day.

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The dress and I, plus The Other Half, went to Shellharbour, then we took our new “long way home” which goes via Robertson, where I took the obligatory Big Potato Photo. It was a beautiful day, reaching highs in the 20s. The next day it SNOWED in Robertson, and we suddenly went from 16C to 6.6C here.

Home, shopping, sparkly

No Buy July

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When I read about No Buy July over at Almost Posh I thought I would get on board and see whether I could go an entire month without buying any clothes, jewelry, accessories or shoes at all. I’m not going to lie and say it has been easy, and I have had to resist temptation many times. But when I decide to do something, I JUST DO IT, folks. Here are the things I likely would have bought, if not for No Buy July.

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This top is incredibly me. If you looked Snoskred up in the dictionary, there is a photo of this top. I mean, red leopard print, need I say more?

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The price was excellent, and it sold out before the end of the Cordelia St show. I did not buy it.

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I had been eyeing off this similar top which is in clearance for a while now, waiting for the price to go down again, but it is sold out in my size.. Sometimes the Fashion Gods have other plans. ;) If you want to check out TVSN clearance I recommend using the drop down box and choosing lowest to highest price.

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As a result of all my hard work weight loss wise, none of my rings fit me anymore. Even one that used to fit on my pinky finger only now does not fit on my largest finger. I will have to bite the bullet and get them resized soon. This ring tempts me because I love Drusy and it reminds me of my mystic topaz triangle ring.

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A huge temptation for me this month was the gorgeous jewelry of Katherine Kelly Lang. Yes, Brooke from The Bold and The Beautiful has a fashion and jewelry side business. Unfortunately I did not take any photos at the time and once it is sold out it is taken off the TVSN website, so here is a screenshot of a page from the July shoppers guide.

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I saw this denim jacket in person when passing by a Rockmans earlier in the month. It is definitely on my to-buy list, this colour is one of my favourites. And I could have had it for $20. But, NOPE.

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I need a pin like this for a multitude of reasons, mainly in order to close cardigans stylishly. This one from Noni B is now on my wishlist, I had been looking for a little while and not finding anything.

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Noni B also had a clearance sale and these tops had been on my want list for a while. I felt like $20 was good value. But they did not get ordered and shipped to me, because No Buy July.

I also avoided my favourite little boutique in town which happened to be having a huge sale this month. I might head in to check out what is left over. I was tempted by socks at Costco but I was determined to stick it out and not buy them.

Happy moments, I made it through the month of July without buying any clothes, jewelry, accessories or shoes.

shopping

Spreadsheet Grocery Shopping

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For the past couple of years I was using a very cute meal planning and shopping list set. At the start of 2017, I went to print out a set for this upcoming year and could not find the file on my computer. I went to the blog I got it from originally and that blog had vanished. The file could no longer be found on the internet. And thus it was time to create something ourselves.

However, we decided to take one giant leap into the computer age and create a shopping spreadsheet. You have no idea how much time this saves me – and how many times it has saved me from arriving home without the items I need. And today we are providing you with a spreadsheet you can modify and use for yourselves.

When I would write the Aldi shopping list down on paper, I would mentally walk around the store in my head so that the items on the list appeared in the order I will find them in the shop. They have not changed the layout in our Aldi for many years so this is easy to do. Some of you will have the exact same layout as we do.

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It is not quite so easy for Coles because they are forever moving things. The amount of items I buy from there is constantly decreasing – they are now removing a lot of the items we like from the shelves. In recent weeks, my favorite blueberry scented rubbish bags, peanut butter powder, and now BEERENBERG tomato sauce have vanished entirely. I do envision a day when we do not go there at all. There have been weeks where we only bought Manning Valley eggs.

Guess what happens when you take away the items I want, Coles? No, I do not buy your down down version. In many cases I try out the down down version at Aldi, which usually happens to be cheaper and better than yours anyway. For items I am not willing to compromise on, like Beerenberg tomato sauce, I go elsewhere and I buy in bulk when I do that. At least two other places stock Beerenberg locally, so I will buy it there. Less money in the Coles till. Whoops, Coles!

I am not a spreadsheet star but The Other Half is. Magically he created a spreadsheet that only prints the items I need with a number next to them on the final version. So how does this work?

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Step 1 – I go in to the spreadsheet and save it with today’s date, so I do not screw up the original and I don’t have to remove all the numbers I added later..

Step 2 – I enter in how many of each item we need to buy. For things like vegetables I usually just put a 1 if we need it because I know how much I will need to get of each item.

Step 3 – I click on the print tab at the bottom which takes me to a new screen where only the items with a number appear.

Step 4 – I check over the list and make sure it is correct, then we print it out double sided – Aldi one side, Coles the other.

We are creatures of habit here in this house, so the things we tend to buy are usually the same each fortnight.

Here you can grab your very own all set up, empty and ready to customise Shopping List Empty – The Other Half has put in some notes for you about how it works. If you want my version which includes all the things we regularly buy, you can grab that here – Snoskred Shopping List. You can also grab Libre Office which is like Microsoft Office only completely free here – that is the program we use for all word processing and spreadsheets.

Happy shopping!

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TK Maxx Shopping

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TK Maxx arrived in Australia in late April 2017 after buying out Trade Secret. Slowly the 35 Trade Secret stores have been rebranding across to TK Maxx and there are now stores in NSW, VIC, ACT and QLD. When visiting Oahu in 2013 I was lucky enough to visit the US version of this store – they are known as TJ Maxx over there. We got some seriously discounted Samsonite luggage and I found a gorgeous dress there.

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Shopping at TK Maxx is not for the faint of heart. It is not the kind of place you can go into for a quick visit. You need to have time on your hands – plus a heck of a lot of patience – to wade through the racks of fashion. Almost everything is jumbled together into “sizes” but you cannot always rely that the other shoppers have put back items into the correct place. They also do have some areas where identical items which they have in a quantity and variety of sizes of that same item are placed.

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On my first visit to our “local” store, I had a goal in mind which was to find some warmer leggings to wear around the house. I was surprised to find workout leggings with a thin fleecy inside layer and they have done the job perfectly. I also ended up with a couple of scarves and a gorgeous sparkly sequinned beanie.

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There is usually some Michael Kors to be found, but the way TK Maxx buys you can never be sure what is going to arrive in the store. I have seen all kinds of brands there in my three visits so far and many of the brands are ones I did not know before but on research they are popular brands in both the US and UK – with the brands I know being things like Christian Siriano, French Connection, Rag and Bone, Cynthia Rowley and I even spotted the occasional Australian brand like Philosophy. At the moment there seems to be a large amount of Ivanka Trump and I expect we will see more of it as less and less people are buying that brand worldwide.

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However ladies clothes and shoes are not the only thing to be found at TK Maxx. They also have kids and mens shoes and clothing. They have a great section of socks and underwear. They have a beauty section with marked down hand wash, creams, soaps, etc. They have plenty of accessories – everything from scarves and beanies to handbags to luggage and travel accessories. They have a range of food items, candles, reed diffusers, picture frames, bedding, scatter cushions and even some furniture items.

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I loved that green plush velvet bench there. It is my Mother’s favourite colour and if it is there on a return visit I may have to seriously consider buying it for her.

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On my first trip here they had some chromed feet statues on marble bases. I thought they were kinda cool and funky and had never seen anything like it before. I did initially mock them somewhat but they grew on me and I did consider buying them. On the way there for my second visit I said if they were still there I was going to seriously consider them but of course they were all gone.

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I thought about this smoky grey crystal candle holder. The photo does not do it justice at all and it is quite large which you don’t really get from the photo either.. I also found this bathroom set below to be pretty funky and very reasonably priced considering it is four pieces. Especially when the only other example I can find on the web is selling for $130USD+ on Ebay.

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As it says on the wall in one of the shots above – if you love it grab it now, once it’s gone it’s gone. I had hoped to pick up some more of the Kyodan herringbone running leggings I found but they were all completely gone. I was not surprised because they are amazing and can double as “normal” leggings.

I love visiting TK Maxx and browsing through the racks but it is a good hours drive away. Thankfully we love to drive in the new car enjoying the music, plus it is near to friends who just built a house, so The Other Half can drop me to wander while he goes and “helps”. I envision trips at least once a month. However I will not always be buying anything – I came home empty handed on my most recent trip.

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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

A Quick Canberra Trip

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A small interruption to the Movie Catch Up files – it has been nearly a month since our Canberra visit and I have not managed to tell you about it yet! We left home super early on a Sunday morning to make it over to Canberra before lunchtime. canb2a
Canberra put on some gorgeous weather for us but it was very cold. Our plan was to visit the Old Bus Depot Markets, IKEA, Costco and the Canberra Outlet Centre. When we arrived at the markets it was 11:30am which is peak market time and the carparks were absolutely packed. We decided to head to the outlet centre instead of driving in circles trying to find a park and drop back into the markets later if we had time.

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TK Maxx has opened at Canberra Outlet Centre and that happened to be the first shop we visited. I’d gone to the American version of this store on Oahu and loved it. However this is not a place you can just quickly drop in and visit. You need to allocate some time to flick through the racks and find the bargains.

As my main shopping task for Canberra was to find a pair of winter boots, I did not have the kind of time needed for TK Maxx today so we just had a quick look around. These sneakers were $600 or so and as much as I would love some crystals on my feet, I said heck no to that! ;) They have such a range of items at all kinds of prices. I took a leisurely trip to the Warrawong store the following weekend where I spent 2.5 hours browsing, but that is a story for another blog post.
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There is now a Coffee Club at the Canberra Outlet Centre – we find the food to be reliable and tasty and the coffee is very good here. I had the smashed avo with feta just like a proper hipster doofus.

The official population of Canberra is less than 400,000 people and these lucky people have access to some of the best and least crowded shopping in Australia. They also have access to a lot of other great things – museums, a great zoo, gardens and nature reserves, and some of the best roads with decent speed limits in the country. It is a fairly short drive for us – around two and a half hours – and we have often gone for a day trip before but this time we chose to stay overnight.
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We chose Grill’d for dinner as it was a short but very cold walk from our hotel. Grill’d, what are you doing to me? It was because of you I had to create zucchini fries at home, now you want me to create avocado fries at home? If you have a Grill’d nearby the zucchini & avocado fries are worth trying.
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I will have to consider this carefully before attempting my own version. I was served deep fried avocado once at a wedding in the early 90’s, in the days before I ate avocado. Who knew avocado fries would become a thing and that I would love them? Who knows what vegetable will be next!
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If and when you visit Canberra, do not waste your money on an expensive hotel breakfast. Head out to IKEA and grab their cheap offering (presently just under $6) which includes a hash brown and a sausage not seen here as I swapped it for the tomato on The Other Half’s plate, swedish meatballs, bacon and scrambled egg. They also have warm danish, if you are into that kind of thing, and the cafe serves excellent coffee as well as the cheap or free stuff you get if you are an IKEA member.
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The restaurant opens half an hour before the store itself which is almost exactly the perfect amount of time to eat, caffeinate, and make a quick bathroom stop. Then you can do a quick run or a leisurely wander through the store without the crowds you might find at one of their Sydney locations. We went with leisurely wander and were still through the checkout before 11am. We picked up a couple of LAIVA bookcases for $29.99 along with some other regular items and our HODDE rug..
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Just across the road from IKEA is Costco, we always make this our last stop before leaving Canberra because we like to purchase cold items like cheese and milk. They have 3 litre A2 milk for about a dollar more than 2 litres cost us at home. I grabbed a new rug for my chair, too.
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Winter boot achievement unlocked! Very reasonable at $159 from the clearance outlet. These are Diana Ferrari Supersoft and they are the most comfortable boots I have ever put on my feet. In fact it feels like I have no shoes on at all, and yet it is like walking on air. They are also a size and a half smaller than my other shoes – I used to be size 11 but these are 9.5 – I think my feet have lost weight along with the rest of me.
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Canberra may well be the best city in Australia especially when parliament is not sitting and therefore the accommodation is reasonably priced. We’ve stayed at a lot of different places over the years and my first choice here would be The Avenue however that is Up Money at the best of times. If you can get it at a good price I highly recommend it.

The second favourite is Vibe but that is out at the airport so you would need a car to get around if you stay here and parking can be a bit of an issue at this hotel if it is busy. I think Canberra is a place where a car is recommended and very useful.

We tried a new hotel this time – Rydges Capital Hill – and while it was mostly ok, we would not stay there again due to the shower going super hot and cold as a surprise while showering. So the hunt is still on for our perfect reasonably priced Canberra hotel. Aria is next on the list for us to try. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews for it.

It was super cold when we visited. Summer is the perfect time to visit Canberra weather wise in my opinion, any other time of year it has been my experience that you can expect the weather to be on the cold side especially at night, so BYO layers, gloves and hats are recommended too. We have been to visit so many times and yet we still have so much more to see. Canberra is a much under-rated destination and it has become one of our favourites.

Canberra, shopping

Sale Sale!

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The Long Sleeve Dressy Shirt Hem Sequin Knit is back on sale again at Rockmans for $29.99 as well as many other items. They sent me an SMS this afternoon to let me know nothing was over $40 and the website crashed for a couple of hours as a result..

The jackets are especially good value, many of them selling for $50-60 off RRP and one or two for nearly $90 off..

I might have to head into the local store and pick up a couple of these which are half price and a useful wardrobe item at $9.99.

No idea how long it will last. :)

shopping