The Label Maker

I bought Mother a gift voucher to have her nails done for Mothers Day. She wasn’t sure about it – she thinks she is not a person who has their nails done. I used to think that, before I learned I am actually someone who likes to have their nails done.

With Mother it takes 5-10 years to convince her I am right about anything. Then she tries the thing I suggested, and raves about it constantly forever. I can give endless examples of this. My current favourite is putting a screen door on the house. I suggested it when they first bought the house which is over 10 years ago. They finally put a screen door on last year and now all you hear is how awesome it is.

I gave her the voucher and said think about it, if you don’t want to have them done you can give the voucher back and I will use it. The next time I saw her I asked if she had decided and she wanted to give the voucher back to me. Well now what present should I get you?

She told me about a reed diffuser which was given to her for Christmas that she really liked but she had no idea where to get it. I had been given the same one, so I did some googling and found it at Bed, Bath & Table. We do not have one of these stores nearby.

The Other Half was to go to Shellharbour (120km/75miles or so round trip) that next weekend to get potatoes. I was staying home, because he planned to drop in on his best friend who lives up that way and do man cave things. The conversation went like this –

Me : Could you pick up a present for Mother at Shellharbour.

Him : How about we go together on Sunday instead and you can get it.

Me : That would not fit in with my planned no-spend days.

Him : Well, your no spend days are going to be screwed up anyway because of Tuesday (Gruen filming). So suck it up.

Me : Why don’t YOU put your big man pants on and suck it up? Surely you can purchase an item from a store, it will be no different to buying the potatoes.

Him : Won’t I have to spend my money?

Me : I’ll transfer the amount across to you.

Him : How will I know what to buy?

Me : I have one right here, why don’t I put it on your desk so you can look at it?

Him : You have one right here, unopened? Why are we going to buy another one then?

Me : blank stare, total silence, pause, much laughter.

WHY INDEED. Why had this concept not even occurred to me? Was I so anti regifting that I could not even comprehend this?

I was given the exact same one by the same person, but we are still using the Tahitian Lime reed diffusers we got from Costco, so our gift has been sitting on the shelf waiting for those to run out. So I have an unopened one which I will now re-gift, *and* I have a nail voucher which I already bought, which means my next nail visit was a no-spend day. I am now officially a re-gifter.

If you are unfamiliar with the term regifter, here is a quick one minute rundown of the Seinfeld episode. Featuring a young and much less wrinkled Bryan Cranston.

I love how Elaine says the word, just the level of anger and spite there, it kills me every time. Elaine is my favourite Seinfeld character. Mother was very happy with her reed diffuser, and I saved $39.95.

Bonus gift, now Mother knows where she can buy them in the future. I fully expect she will go on a reed diffuser spree next time she is near that shop. Mother is like me, she likes to stock up on things she loves, especially when they are not easily purchased nearby.

Now if only she could become like me in knowing I am always right and trusting me when I say things. :) Hasn’t she learned by now, after my many stellar years of always being right?

family, Manicures

The Grocery Spending Spreadsheet

This is month 5 of The Year Of Buying Nothing. Inspired by An Exacting Life, I’ve now been tracking our grocery spending via spreadsheet for four months. It is past time to give you an update. I wrote about it initially here.

Line Items

Each item we purchase gets a line. Aldi gives each of their items a 4-6 digit number which appears on the receipt, that makes life SO easy for us. We’ve had to make up our own numbers for the Coles items. After 4 months of shopping, I can now say how many lines we buy from each of these stores. It is far less than I imagined it would be, especially from Coles.

It is important to note that this number is constantly changing – each shop may add up to 10 new items at Aldi or 3-4 at Coles. Also we keep note of identical items and the price we paid for those. When an item is the same brand just a different size, that gets a new line, eg Manning Valley eggs account for 3 Coles line items because they are available in 3 different sizes (600g, 700g, 800g) at 3 different prices.

Line Items Coles = 55

Of the 55 items we buy from Coles, 9 of these are non-food eg patty pans, deodorant when it was on super special, or baking paper in a size we cannot buy at Aldi.

I can now state that 16 of the items are “junk” foods. When I say that I specifically mean highly processed bad foods that we really should not eat like “twisties” and “french fries”. Some of those are items I personally do not eat, like Cinnamon Doughnuts. The Other Half likes those, it is his fortnightly treat, some of them go to work with him the days after we shop which gives me a couple of days to bake his cinnamon muffins or his from-scratch low sodium biscuits.

2 of the line items from Coles are potatoes when they were cheaper at Coles. 4 of the line items from Coles are tea or coffee related. 2 of the line items are chicken treats – yoghurt and mealworms. 3 of the line items are Manning Valley eggs.

Line Items Aldi = 143

Of the 143 items, 18 are non food eg deodorant, shampoo, toilet roll, tissues, even reed diffusers. Aldi make a fantastic reed diffuser FYI – we love the coconut and mango one, it smells amazing.

Only 14 of the 143 items are things I would consider to be “junk” foods.

32 of the line items are fresh fruits and vegetables.

18 items are dairy eg cheese, butter, cream. 8 of the items are meat/chicken/fish.

How Does It Work?

Each week before we shop, I create the new pages for that shopping trip. Each shop at each store gets a page in the spreadsheet.

It is fairly simple – you have to copy the blank spreadsheet page and give it a new name. But I have from time to time messed it up and left it on move instead of copy. Lesson has been learned, I am very strict about selecting copy now!

Once we have done the shopping, I sit down with the receipt and enter in all the item numbers first, when I hit enter it pulls the description from the lookup sheet then goes to the next line so I can put in the next item number.

Once all the items have been entered, I move across and add in the prices, then the quantities. Most of the time the quantity will be 1, but in cases where it is $ per kg, I enter the amount purchased and the spreadsheet does the maths for me.

When I’m done listing the items we purchased, I add in the CC surcharge in and make sure the total amount matches the receipt. I have the Coles Mastercard and thus anything I spend earns me flybuys points. It does add up over the course of the year, so that is the main card I use now.

The Coles spreadsheet is slightly different – as I do not get charged a surcharge for credit card there, we have added a field where I can minus the $10 flybuys discount we use from time to time. This will allow me to track when we do this and how much it saves us over the course of the year.

How Does This Spreadsheet Help Me?

I am more familiar with the pricing of items overall thanks to this spreadsheet. That is mainly because I am the one entering all the data. We were out at dinner recently and someone was talking about an item and I was able to name what we last paid for it off the top of my head.

I can spot mistakes easily and go back for a refund, as I did in month three – “Aldi had weighed our one lot of sweet potatoes twice, and charged us twice for them. We only bought one lot of sweet potatoes. I am not normally someone who asks for a refund but it was nearly $10, so I took the receipt in and explained what happened. They gave me a refund.”

That event taught me to stand in a particular spot and watch as we check out, so I can spot any mis-keys and prevent us buying 2.5kg of red capsicum when I purposely chose green because it was cheaper, or accidental double ups like above.

We are far more conscious about how much we buy and how much we use. We have a good idea of the base number of items we need each fortnight so that we do not run out of essentials like milk or toilet paper.

There is less food wastage than ever before in our kitchen. Part of that is due to freezing more items – in particular mushrooms.

We are better able to purchase items on special and bulk process and freeze them. Last fortnight I bought 2kg of mushrooms on special at $3.99, part cooked them and froze 7 packets, which will give me 7 weeks of pizza mushrooms. If they are on special again in the meantime, I will buy more and process them. In the meantime I can enjoy not having to buy them for $4.99.

This spreadsheet has been extremely useful for us and I cannot imagine we would stop doing this.

What Next?

The Spreadsheet Maestro has already begun creating useful ways to look at the data we are collecting. At the end of the year we will have a lot of data to play with and it will be interesting to see exactly where our grocery shopping dollar goes.

Aldi keep adding more products to their range meaning we have less to buy at Coles – just recently they added lactose free yoghurt. It would be fantastic to be able to do all our shopping in one place, however I think the reality will always be as it is now, most of the shop at Aldi with just a few items from Coles.

If you would like a copy of the spreadsheet with all the Aldi line items let me know in the comments and I will email it to you. I will take out all the Coles data and also all our shops.

2018yobn, spreadsheets

Things I Did Not Buy April

In April I did not buy an item of food. At Christmas we had family and friends over, and one of them brought a double cream Brie by Castello. I’d not eaten any cheese at all in over 6 months but planned to cheese board it up on Christmas Day, so I had heaps of cheese already available.

The brie went into the fridge where it stayed until mid-February, when we had family and friends around again and I thought I would use up the left over cheese. And wow. WOW. That cheese was amazing, probably the best cheese I have ever eaten in my lifetime.

So at our second April shop, I thought maybe I would buy one of these. I went to pick it up from the fridge but was stopped by the price – it was $7.40 at the time. Err, no thanks, that will blow our budget and it is a tiny amount of cheese for that price. I gave the cheaper Aldi version ($4.99 for 200g) a try at our first May shop. I think it tastes just as good.

The one reason I was going to break my self enforced cheese abstinence was that I had some Beerenberg quince paste to go along with it. I am only a recent soft cheese and quince paste convert and I think it is lucky that I have given up cheese for the most part, with only an occasional cheese eating, otherwise I would like this for a snack every day. I’d like to do a brie & quince paste chicken kiev sometime. Maybe with the strawberry and champagne paste pot.

If this were not cold shoulder I might have been tempted, just look at that gorgeous print! They are lovely and long, too. Why, designers, WHY?

Last winter I got very cold due to my thyroid issues. I mostly survived thanks to hoodies, beanies, gloves, scarves and these Ghanda crew neck long sleeve fleece jumpers. I had one in this same shade of pink and one in blue for around the house wear, and they are looking pretty ratty. I am thinking about replacing them but I might have to go in store and see if they have anything different this year. Sometimes they do not put everything on the website.

OMG TVSN WTFBBQ!!!!Q!QQ!! This is the worst thing you have ever done to me. Long sleeve tops that have some sparkle, length and a decent neck line? If this was not The Year Of Buying Nothing, I would have been tempted to purchase this top in all four colours.

And I would purchase this top in both colours. While I am not a big fan of the V-neck, I do love a stripe, plus it has sequins. If you have been looking for this kind of top maybe you can head over and grab it if they have it in your size.

2018yobn, TVSN

Black Box Review

For those of us who like receiving free samples of things, Black Box is a new FREE sample box service. I first heard about it via Sydney Shop Girl, and I signed up right away. It was not long before my first box arrived.

It was super exciting to unpack everything and see what is inside. I find I tend to get into a rut of using the same products over and over and it is awesome to try new things without having to lay out any $$. We have found some of our most favourite products thanks to samples – most notably my deodorant and Fairy Platinum which we are die hard fans of these days but never would have tried without a sample.

So what do we have here? Lavazza instant coffee, Vitasoy Coconut Milky, Mist Wood Gin with orange and bitters, Twinings Morning Tea, Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets, Ryvita thins in cheddar and black pepper flavour.

We’re not instant coffee users for the most part but The Other Half does use it when camping and at work. We LOVE Lavazza coffee beans but they are Up Money so we don’t tend to buy them very often. This coffee is a nice compromise and they did not send a sample size. This is the full size product you can buy for $10.99 at Coles though it was $4.99 on special there last week. That is when I would likely buy it..

This coffee has a great flavour, very dark and intense which is how I love my coffee. I like this better than any instant coffee I have tried before and I have tried a lot of them. We buy 1kg of dark coffee beans from Aldi for $11.49 and that keeps us going coffee wise for quite some time – we get 100 cups of coffee out of 1kg of beans. If you instant and you like it dark, I think you would like this, especially if you can get it on special.

I’m already a big buyer of Vitasoy products – in general we buy something like 5 litres of soy milk and 3-4 litres of almond milk each fortnight – overall I prefer using the products that one keeps in the fridge. It is very handy to have things like this UHT version in the cupboard as long as I remember to use them every now and then. I tend to use these UHT milks for cooking if we are running low on fridge milk.

It is unusual for me to receive alcohol products in a box like this, but to be honest this is the only way a product like this has a chance of getting on my radar. I am not a big drinker of alcohol at all and I have never tried gin before. I may have an occasional lemon, lime and bitters if we go out – mainly because I like the bitters – and once in a blue moon I might drink a vodka cruiser of some kind, usually a cheaper Aldi version.

I made sure to open this when The Other Half was here firstly because I have no idea how to open this kind of bottle and secondly so he could try it. The verdict was surprising to both of us. We quite liked it. I’m not especially surprised that I liked it – except gin – because on reading the label the number one ingredient is my most favourite thing – sparkling mineral water. But that The Other Half liked it? That was a shock.

The best thing about this drink was that it was very “dry” and not sweet at all to my tastebuds. I mostly drink mineral water because I find everything else far too sweet now. I will sometimes drink ginger beer, maybe once a month or so.

I found the Nivea firming body oil to be fantastic and I will definitely be buying this when I see it on a decent special because $16.45 is up money BUT having said that I got several applications from the 8g sample size so I suspect value for money is high here. I hated trying to use it out of these sachets. I made a heck of a mess each time.

If I’m going to have tuna for dinner it will likely be a pasta bake or tuna mornay. This was tasty but not something I would be likely to buy on the regular.

During winter we usually have a cup of tea around 9pm. We usually drink Twinings for that cup of tea – Assam Bold is our choice. But I also sometimes have Nerada Chai. I wasn’t a huge fan of this new morning tea flavour but I could not put my finger on exactly why. I’m glad to have tried it and now I know it is not for me.

The Fairy Platinum went straight into the dishwasher tablets container, joining 100 or so of their friends. Why do I like them so much? Not only do they clean the dishes beautifully but they clean the dishwasher as well. Squeaky clean. Like it will actually squeak.

I like the idea of a flatbread so I was excited to receive these Ryvita ones. However the execution was far too peppery for me. And I LIKE pepper a lot.

I have already received an email from Black Box saying my next box is on the way, so I will be excited to see what arrives! Everybody likes free samples so if you are in Australia or New Zealand you might want to sign up to receive your own box.

I used to be a member of PinchME and I received quite a lot of samples via that format. However that site now does not exist in the format that it once did, and I have no idea what it is meant to be now.

Black Box, reviews

Dip Nails

On Wednesday the 28th of March I got my first set of dip nails, also known as SNS nails. It was an interesting experience. This is an acrylic powder which bonds to the nail. It is not acrylic nails as you know them, though. They feel a lot lighter and you don’t do infills, the powder is removed and completely replaced on your next visit, similar to how gel nails are removed.

First of all the manicure overall is less “invasive” – they do not do all the filing, buffing and cuticle paring they normally would. This may be better for the natural nails underneath long term.

After the previous nail polish is removed, a base coat is put on but not your normal base coat, then the nails are dipped into a container full of powder. Surprisingly the powder does not stick to the finger, just to the nails. The finger is tapped gently to remove excess powder. The powder may be coloured and even in some cases sparkly.

Because I chose to have french tips, the white you see here is also powder in a different colour. Only the tips of the nail are dipped in the white powder. Underneath the powder are my own natural nails.

Some thoughts on this manicure –

Thursday 29th – After 24 hours – My nails are a LOT stronger with dip powder on them. Over time having gel nails I have identified times of the day where I have to be more careful – number one being after getting out of the shower. Time in the water does tend to soften both my real nails and the gel polish. That is not the case for dip nails.

Saturday 31st – I am loving this manicure. The one possible downside is if you look very closely you can see dots in the clear area of the nails – so you can actually see the powder. But that is far outweighed by the strength of the nails.

On Sunday the 1st of April planned life changed somewhat with the illness of BeeGee. This actually changed how I live life for the next two weeks. Anytime I touched the chicken, there was a handwashing. I’m a bit more handwashing orientated than your normal person but even I do not usually wash my hands several times an hour unless I am cooking.

Dip nails may work great for people who have their hands in water a lot.

I thought this would be an excellent test of the dip nails and I was right. The best thing about them – during the BeeGee time, I did not even have to think about them, or be concerned that I would break one. I did not baby them at all like I usually might with a normal gel manicure.

They grow out just like the normal gel nails do. This pic is the day before I got them redone, so you can see the gap of regular nail between the dip manicure and the cuticle. This photo does show the dots a little bit better than the previous pic too. You can also see that the white tips have grown out and you can see the normal nail underneath.

When we usually do a french tip manicure, my nail artist will paint the tips artificially a lot lower than they really are, so as the nail grows out you don’t see as much of the normal nail underneath.

I did manage to crack one approximately two weeks into the mani but unlike a regular manicure, this did not mean I had to run off and get it fixed right away. It was only the dip coating that I cracked and not the nail underneath, and the crack did not seem to have any effect on the strength of the nail at all..

After this great experience I decided to get another dip manicure and this time I decided to keep all the length my nails had grown in the past 3 weeks. Removal is done exactly the same way as gel nails – cotton wool soaked in nail polish remover is placed on top of the nail and aluminium foil placed over the top. I found that the powder comes off a lot easier than the gel does, so there is a lot less grinding and scraping.

Two days after having this done I am still on the fence about whether the length is a good decision for me. A week after having this done I am having some trouble doing some things with this length of nail. I’m worried I might not get my full 3-4 weeks out of this manicure due to the length – lesson learned for next time.

I am not especially worried that I will break one – dip nails are pretty incredible strength wise. I’m starting to wonder if it is possible to break them. I think if it could be done I would have managed it by now. I am wondering if one may be more likely to rip ones own nail out of the nail bed rather than break one of these.

I chose to go with a full colour rather than just tips this time. I’m still on the fence about the length of this mani, but we will see how it goes. :)

Manicures, Nail Art

Ikea Non Buys

LOOK the deities are trying to show me the way to IKEA. Sorry deities, I am 100% aware of where IKEA is thanks! ;)

And Now Snoskred Presents – Things I Did Not Buy From IKEA In March. Written towards the end of April, because time completely got away from me recently. Actually I have a stack of posts in part-finished format and I will need to focus in on that in May.

Overall, what I did not buy was a lot less stuff than I thought. We definitely need new black out curtains for our bedroom and my lounge room. These SOLIDASTER are beautiful. The black part feels like a flocked velvet. #tobuy2019 :)

We already have two MATLUST chopping boards so I resisted buying another one or several. These are great for pizza night, they do not curl up with the extra heat.

The MOLGAN is very handy for night time. We have a version of this in our ensuite and I would like to add in a couple more to other parts of the house, maybe the hallway and the other toilet.

I could have bought all the candles but I restrained myself and did not buy a single one. These NJUTNING were a bit up money but they did smell fantastic. The website says – A spicy scent of bergamot and tea with warm milk. When the candle has burnt itself out the cup can be used as a tealight holder. – I have never had any success turning one of these cups into a candle holder. There must be a way to do it, if I ever buy one of these I will google that. :)

You can see what we did buy here – I am happy to report that after several bulk cooks, these KONCIS were exactly what we needed and they dishwash beautifully.

2018yobn, IKEA

The Sock Project

socks

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

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

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

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

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

13 pairs of long socks for wearing with boots.

8 pairs of bed socks.

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

17 pairs of black sports socks.

45 pairs of socks I can wear for workouts.

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

Total = 145 pairs of socks.

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

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

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

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

2018yobn, Aldi, shopping, Snoskred Socks

Things I Did Not Buy – February

20salestyles

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

tempted1

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

socks

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

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

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

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

2018yobn, Aldi

I Bought Something(s)

yobnbase1000

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

rusting1

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

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

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

pans

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

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

roasting1

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

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

ellise

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

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

backway

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

windfarms

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

tarago

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

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

saltedcaramel

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

koncis

2x Koncis $14.99.

vardagen

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

part2

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

bastis

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

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

chaibee

The obligatory chai latte fingernails shot.

dessert

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

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

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

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

2018yobn, IKEA, shopping

My Favourite Aldi Products

aioli1

Wasabi Aioli

This is my favourite aioli that you can get from a supermarket. It is in the refrigerated section instead of just on the shelf and it is not too spicy, just perfect to add a little heat to our weekly fish and chips. The Wasabi one is light green and not pictured here as they had sold out – and I am totally not surprised. Made in Australia, too!

cleanser

Foaming Facial Cleanser

I use two items of skincare for my face every single day. One of them is this foaming cleanser from Aldi which I use in the shower while my hair conditions. They sometimes have a tea tree oil version in their special buys which I have used before and liked. Both this version and the tea tree smell great and do what they need to do. Made in Australia.

The other skincare item is moisturizer and I have a few different ones I switch back and forth between, including a cream that I credit with keeping my skin awesome which is actually a slightly up money hand balm for gardeners bought from Scully’s in Berry. It smells amazing.

aldihandwashverde

Luxury Hand Wash

If you like citrus chances are you would love this hand wash. I first bought this scent as a moisturiser when they had it on special buys and it smelled SO incredible, the next time it is in stock I am going to stock up big time. But in the meantime I have this luxury hand wash in the guest bathroom and at least once a day I go in there and treat myself to a big scenty lather up. The scent stays around for a long while and the sage adds a delicious smoky element.

I think this might be one of the best smelling hand wash products you can buy in Australia, maybe Aesop has something to compare but the Aesop one is seriously Up Money at $40 for 500ml. I’ll take the $5 version thanks! Made in Australia.

foamsoap

Foaming Hand Wash

My favourite is the passionfruit and guava but they are all good and I have one container of each flavour available in the house at all times. Both the pumps and refills are Made in Australia.

aldifoamsoap

For those of us who do a lot of hand washing, at $2.49 for 500mls these are excellent value and they smell amazing. A little goes a long way with this product, in fact more so than I realised and I was buying one refill each fortnight alternating the flavours until the other half pointed out I had quite a supply of them building up in the cupboard.

aldidishwashing

Dishwashing Detergent

More great smelling stuff from Aldi. The lemongrass and kaffir lime is great but the pomegranate and mango one is deeply intoxicating. I love using it. Someone has worked hard on all these flavours and it shows. Made in Australia.

aldicheddar

Vintage English Cheese

I went for six months without raw cheese in 2017. The one cheese I wanted and craved the entire time was this one. It is super strong and bitey which is how I like my cheese. It was the only one I bought the minute I decided to allow some raw cheese back into my life. Not made in Australia.

cheesekransky

Cheese Kransky

I do not normally like this kind of product but The Other Half loves a kransky or cabana. I actually do like this one and I will eat it without any qualms, just not too often because it is slightly higher in sodium than most foods we eat now. It is a rare treat for both of us.

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Brioche Awesomeness

I do not eat hot dogs but I love these buns and this is a rare bread treat I will allow myself, perhaps once a month. I like to poach a couple of eggs and place them inside the hot dog bun, and add tomato relish from The Treat Factory.

pizzabase

Pizza Bases

We buy two of these a fortnight, and we get four pizza meals out of each packet of two. They smell amazing, too. Just keep them in the fridge in the warmer months because there can sometimes be a little moisture inside the packet and we’ve had them grow mould before. Made in Australia.

Overall I am very happy with Aldi as a place to shop, especially considering how much effort they have put into sourcing products from our own country, whereas the other two big names tend to be looking to drop the prices down down by importing products from other countries.

Aldi