The Aldi Cat Bed

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Grumpy is appreciating this Aldi cat bed very much lately, especially since it got very cold here.

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We were lucky to find this on special for $9.99. I bought one. I put it in the bedroom the first night and Grumpy discovered it and settled in. The next morning I carried it out into the lounge and put it in front of the gas heater and she spent the entire day there.

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A couple of days later we had to go back into town and I sent The Other Half to buy a second one if they had it. He returned with two more!

Aldi, kitties

Softsole Express VS Milky Foot

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In Australia, it is heading into that time of year again where you might want to get the feet out of their shoes and socks. I like to do a foot peel from time to time in spring and summer. I’ve used Milky Foot before – it is usually $25+ where I live, so when I saw Softsole Express for $8.99 in Priceline, I thought I would give it a try.

I found it to be slightly less efficient than Milky Foot but at that price you can nearly have 3 of them for the price of one Milky Foot. You have to leave it on for longer than Milky Foot. I would buy Softsole again. Weirdly it cannot be found on the Priceline website. Maybe that is a lack of talent on my part, though.

Six tips I would give you –

1. You need to get yourself organised before you put these things on your feet, because walking will be virtually impossible in fact it is downright dangerous. Use the bathroom first. Have everything you are going to need for the next 60-90 minutes handy eg water, your cup of tea, a snack, whatever. Make sure your phone is nearby.

2. If you have a spare pair of older socks which you don’t mind if they get the solution on them, you can put socks on over the booties. This will not enable you to walk safely, but it will keep your toes warm if it is a cooler day.

3. Keep your feet flat on the ground while you have the treatment socks on, otherwise you may notice some solution begin to leak out of the back.

4. After the treatment moisturize your feet twice to four times a day for the first few days as you will get a better result this way. It can take 3-4 days for the skin to begin peeling off. You will probably notice small bits coming off to begin with usually on the underskin of the toes.

5. Once your feet start peeling, if you want to speed up the process a little you can soak them in hot water with some peppermint oil added.

6. Don’t do this treatment if you have a special event coming up in the next couple of weeks where you will have your feet out on display. The peeling can happen for 2-3 weeks.

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Here is a review of the product you can read, and also the Softsole website, if you want to know more.

Milky Foot is excellent and worth a try but at the price you will likely only want to do it once over the summer. That is not a bad thing because you don’t want to do a foot peel more than once a month. Here is the Milky Foot website.

Between the two – softsole smells a lot better than milky foot does. The softsole packet is less optimal than the milky foot one is – it is more prone to splitting on the top. I could walk very carefully with the softsole packet on, I could not with the milky foot one. I think there is a lot more liquid in the milky foot packet.

My Korean friend tells me these treatments are super popular in Korea. My Chinese Aunt tells me these treatments are very popular in China. A couple of years back Milky Foot did a big advertising drive here in Australia and that is where I first heard about them.

health, reviews

Lone Star Shellharbour

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Loco cheesy land trout garlic bread & Amarillo cheese fries

We were so excited to hear Lone Star had opened at Shellharbour. Even though it is an hours drive away from us, we have many good memories of the old Lone Stars we used to visit years ago. We made a booking the day before our visit for the 6 of us. Lucky we did because the place was absolutely packed when we got there on a busy Saturday night.

We go to Shellharbour once a month or so but we had never been at night time. If this is the case for you, maybe you will wonder the same things we did – where do you park? Is the shopping centre open to walk through? You can park in the normal carpark near the food area which is open till 10:30pm, and part of the shopping centre near the restaurants is open – they have security gates locking off the non-open area. Kmart was open, as was Coles.

The atmosphere was brilliant. It was a little noisy. There is not much in the room to soak up the sound. The Old West theming of this restaurant is very well done with lots of wood and big wine barrel tables at the bar.

From the start our server Grace was constantly checking in with us, making sure we all had drinks and taking our order for entrees. We chose the Amarillo fries x1 and the hilariously named loco cheesy land trout (bacon) garlic bread x3.

While waiting for this to arrive I saw the garlic bread appear at another table and I began to be concerned we might have ordered too many as they are 2 slices in the serve but the slices are quite long.

We took a while to choose mains and Grace was very patient with us. In fact just as we finished ordering our mains, all the entrees arrived. The garlic bread was actually one of the best garlic breads we have eaten, ever. Smooshy bread, lots of flavour. We did not leave any behind. The Amarillo cheese fries were just as we remembered them, the ranch dipping sauce delicious.

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Because we were late ordering our mains we did have a bit of a wait to receive them. We were right up the back of the restaurant near the food pass and it turned out this was a very interesting spot to be. There seemed to be a bit of confusion going on at the pass at times – I do not think that pass is big enough for a restaurant of this size when it is a busy night. All the other food going out past us looked great.

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Our mains arrived and they were delicious. Absolutely no complaints, those who ordered steaks got them exactly how they wanted them, mostly medium or well done, they were cooked perfectly. I had the chicken which was yummy. I missed out on taking pics of two of the meals, sorry! ;)

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We did not have any dessert intentions but Grace changed our minds by offering us a look at the dessert menus, and we ordered 4 to share between us. Raspberry cheesecake at the top, the chocolate brownie in the middle, and then pecan pie at the bottom. The pecan pie was served warm and was incredible, I had the cheesecake which was also great however once I tried the pie I had some order envy.

The bill was a little more $$ than we had expected, however two of our party were ordering some expensive beers. Food wise it worked out at less than $50 a head for entrees, mains, and dessert.

They still do the birthday clapping thing with the sparkler on the brownie, but the hourly boot scooting dancing was not seen. I kinda think that is a good thing in some ways. The staff have other things to be doing!

Oh, I nearly forgot, there was a magician named Jordan who visited our table, who did a card trick for us. We are still trying to work out how it was done. He was lovely.

The only negatives we experienced – no name badges for the staff, the wooden booths can be a bit uncomfortable for longer visits (BYO seat cushions!) and the plates for the mains are a bit too small and fancy and make eating a bit difficult because of the lip, especially with the ribs as they are longer than the lip of the plate.. I would say they are fine for entrees but a larger mostly flat plate would be better for mains in my opinion.

I was worried when I read the reviews before we went, however I did have a feeling that most of those complaints were due to teething issues as the restaurant was quite new and staff training issues. It seems they have heard the feedback and taken it all on board, because many of the previous complaints mentioned on the web did not appear for us – eg missing cutlery and napkins, not checking in about how the food was, checking we were ok for drinks, all of that stuff went great for us.

We loved it and we will be back, for sure

Here is the menu which is presently unavailable online. You can visit the Lone Star website here.

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food, reviews

IKEA Haul 2016 – Part 2

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Our kitchen does not have a lot of storage. Fed up with trying to find homes for things, I decided we needed to get some kind of shelving to store all the casserole dishes and oven trays. We ended up with the $199 REGISSÖR. It is very tall and it has solved our storage issue nicely.

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We picked up the $69 RÅSKOG which I have wanted for a while. It is actually perfectly sized to hold our large containers with cling wrap, aluminium foil, and baking paper. I’m using the second shelf to store antibacterial wipes. I was using the third level for plastic supermarket bags but the kitties put a stop to that concept by stealing them at sleeptime, making too much noise.

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We also grabbed the $99 DETOLF for my lounge room area. This gives me yet another place I can safely use candles far from prying kitties.

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Here it is with some of my collectibles inside. Part 1 of this post can be found here.

IKEA

IKEA Haul 2016 – Part 1

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When we dropped the parents off for their flight to Vancouver back in July, we made a visit to IKEA Tempe. The restaurant there is perfectly situated for plane geeks like us if the wind is right – planes fly right past the large picture windows on their way to land on the big runway.

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When the planes aren’t landing, you can enjoy the hilarity of people trying to load things into their cars, in the carpark. It rarely goes well. Somehow people think their cars are a LOT bigger than they actually are. :)

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This IKEA now has a cafe where you can get proper coffee, sandwiches, muffins, cakes and slices. I’m not sure if this is present at all IKEAs yet.

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Of course the Swedish meatballs are always awesome. So what did we buy?

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Candles are always going to end up in the trolley.

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We needed some more KALAS cups. They hold 250ml, are microwave and dishwasher safe, and are plastic, thus Safe For Snoskred Use. We also got some more of the plastic bag sealers. These things are super handy!

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Here you see some ziploc bags, tealight candles, a cake tin, and some LED light globes.

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Chopping boards and glass containers that we use for lunches for The Other Half. He handles them for the most part, as I tend to break glass.

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And finally, some very large mugs. My favourite IKEA mug (scroll down to the bottom of that post) is getting on in years and it gets used every single day. So we bought these ones, which are just as large, to give that poor mug a break from the constant daily use.

Coming up next Monday – we bought two cabinets and a trolley thing. :)

IKEA

It Cost Me $$

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A few weeks ago, one of the buttons on our Foxtel remote stopped working. The up button. On reflection it is not a surprise to me as that happens to be the most used button on our remote. I used it constantly it to flick through the channel guide without changing the channel.

When it stopped working, I had to switch to the down button. Unfortunately this means you miss out on all the channels above the one you are watching. So I have been typing in channel 176 and then flicking downwards.

Channel 176 is the TV Shopping Network. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that it is sometimes very entertaining to me to watch these people try and sell things. They do sometimes have deals worth buying, and I have mentioned those too. If you happen to own one of the products they are selling, sometimes you can learn an awful lot by tuning in, as I once did re Laura Star.

I do keep an eye on their website because there are sometimes excellent clearance deals but in general I do not visit the channel itself very often. For weeks now, I have ended up there several times a day, and the channel stays on while I continue my flick through.

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One day I happened upon a Travelon show. Travelon is a brand of travel bags. They contain some pretty awesome security features. I wanted to get a new handbag for our upcoming trip and I love the lobster clasps, the carabiner, the cut proof straps.

First I did some googling and searching to see what deals were around on Travelon. I could not find anything around the prices TVSN had, nor could I find the items they had. I could find them on the main travelon website where they were priced higher than TVSN were offering them but in USD. Our dollar is so bad right now, it is not very cost effective to buy from the US at this time.

In my experience, sometimes TVSN sell out older stock, sometimes they do a deal with a company for exclusives, sometimes they just buy everything of an item so it cannot be found elsewhere. So I put in an order.

The shipping time on this was frankly UNBELIEVABLE. I ordered this on a Friday night. It arrived 2pm Monday. Someone posted it on Saturday morning! TVSN service is pretty amazing. The Travelon I ordered is brilliant. I am switching to cash free as much as possible and carrying as little as possible but that is a tale for another post. :)

Some of the items they sell are incredibly ridiculous. For example –

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Do not get me wrong, I deeply love this kaftan, the colours are gorgeous and it has sparkles. It is everything about me wrapped into one kaftan package.

I’m sure in the world of Silk Kaftans this might be reasonably priced. A Camilla will set you back more $$ than this and will likely be less sparkly. There is no way I would ever pay this kind of money for one outfit, unless I was going to wear it everywhere forever, until it disintegrated. ;) If I wore it for 479 days, that would be $1 a day. Plus, silk is a fabric I would kill very quickly.

However someone is buying them, because I never see these on clearance at all. I often see Kelly’s Kloset kaftans on clearance, but never the Silk Islands. If you ever saw The Bold and The Beautiful, Katherine Kelly Lang plays Brooke on the show.

The shows with shoes always crack me up, because the shoe modeling is hilarious to watch. Overall, the channel is entertaining with occasional moments of usefulness. I’m loving my new little bag, it is super cute.

TVSN

Aldi Buys

Many of you know I am a huge Aldi fan. I thought I would share with you some of my recent favourite purchases – some of which were special buys so if there are any left at your local store, they might be found for a discounted price.

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First up, some regular items found on the shelves – the flavoured rice cakes. I love the Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar flavour, they do have another one which I think might be sour cream and chives. They are cheap and my go-to replacement for potato chips. Australian made, too!

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The reed diffusers smell fantastic – they are not too overpowering which I sometimes find with the more “expensive” brands.

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They also have candles in the same flavours from the same brand. And now, some special buys.

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These pots are brilliant. Super light, beautiful to cook in, and we bought two of the smaller ones so I can make us separate casseroles now and still fit them both in the oven. I like mushrooms in my casseroles. The Other Half believes mushrooms are evil.

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The rainboots I got are black and shiny and just gorgeous. My two older pairs are five years old and best saved for the truly grotty chook jobs now. Plus one of those pairs got stabbed by a cactus and I am always worried that water is going to leak through, if and when it does I will not have to go hunting the Shoalhaven for a new pair – for some reason gumboots are either very difficult to find here, or HUGELY up money. Like $30 for a pair!

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And now a sad story of a fail on my part. I bought one set of these socks because I wanted to wash them, try them out and see if I liked them before buying more pairs. When I discovered that I loved them, I went back and they were all gone. I am not surprised because they were a great price and very comfortable.

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I do not use very much sugar anymore, just in my coffee. I prefer the darker kinds of sugar as they have better flavour. I got three different flavours – rapadura, moscovado and panela. I already had coconut sugar, so I did not get that one.

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I cannot resist a lip balm. I bought one blueberry flavoured one and found it to be fantastic, so on our next visit I got the pineapple one, and the visit after that I got the remaining two flavours – honey peach and mint.

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These were $2.49 each and worth every cent. They will last me a long while.

Aldi

Challenge Me, Fitbit?

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Recently Fitbit did an update and added a new box to the dashboard. The concept of this box is to try and get 250 steps an hour. I thought this was a great goal for me!

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You can customise this to suit yourself, as well. I especially like it at night time as a reminder to get up and move because once I have done my exercise for the day and made dinner I can often “forget” to do anything more. I customised mine to involve 12 hours a day, and I set alarms for 45 minutes past the hour. When that alarm goes off, I get up!

250 steps is around 200 metres on my treadmill. This takes me about 2-3 minutes.

Fitbit

The Five Week Challenge – Week 2

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Another fitness week! This is more for my own records and to put all of this together in one place, so you can feel free to just skip past this post.

Friday April 15th –

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Todays workout was in two parts and was different to the normal. I did 1k treadmill, 10 mins elliptical, 1k treadmill, 10 mins elliptical, then 1k treadmill. There were also some floor exercises for abs. YAY. Above is part 1.

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This is my personal best for a 1km since getting back into exercising. 8:06 – sorry my treadmill quite uncooperative, with the photography! Above you see todays first km..

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And here is part 2. 552 calories burned total.

Saturday April 16th –

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Todays 6.5km walk brought to you by the Volkswagen Polo, plus Psycho Killer by Talking Heads which was the last song that played in the car before we got out, and thus, played in my head the entire 77 or so minutes.

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Plus, I took a couple of pics, for you. Cloudy day, warm-ish, excellent for walking. YAY CLOUDS!

Sunday April 17th –

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Todays workout brought to you by The Village People, specifically U can’t stop the music – Queen, specifically Don’t stop me now – plus my chicken Rosie who decided this music meant she should make a run for it into an offlimits area! This was a super tough workout involving circuits between the elliptical and the treadmill.

Monday April 18th –

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Todays “rest day” slow walk brought to you by episodes 18 and 19 of The Good Wife which I am hate watching now, and Skye from Tinykittens, I am watching and waiting for her kittens to arrive. I got on again for another 16 minutes later, just to get some extra steps in and watch the last of episode 19.

Tuesday April 19th –

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I don’t know why my iPhone hates me. Every time I think I will walk a little slower, it plays yet another tune of awesomeness that makes me speed up or even run. And today it made me have a personal best ever time! 7.45 for the first 1k, and then this great time for the 5k.

Wednesday April 20th –

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Todays workout brought to you by umpteen annoying boy children at the pool, plus 5 annoying girls. I set a goal of burning 800 calories aqua jogging, and I very nearly did a u-turn in the carpark when I saw this busload of boy children being lectured by one of the adults. But then I thought, piffle, ain’t gonna let no noisy kids stand in the way of my exercise! :) YAY WINNING. There is two tracks – the above one for the jogging and one to follow for the cool down —

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Thursday April 21st –

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Todays workout brought to you by new water shoes! Yay 713 calories burned total. I’m showing you a different screen today.

Another highly active week. Weigh in at the end of this week was 83.2.

Week 1 is here.

2016 Goal, exercise, Fitbit