7 Days Of Jervis Bay

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Day 1 – a group of tourists take a selfie on the beach while the dolphin boat heads out.

I have lived near Jervis Bay for over 10 years now. You would expect that the stunning effect would eventually wear off. I’m here to tell you, it does not. There are days when the beauty stops me in my tracks and I cannot help but stare.

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Day 2 – swimmers are surprised by a pod of dolphins on their way to meet the Dolphin Boat.

There are days when I reach my “goal” of however many KM that I set myself, and decide to just keep going instead. However the past 2 days I have not been able to get to the bay due to a long weekend and I knew this would happen so I made sure to add on an extra 5km to my 10km walk on Friday. Traffic was bad on Friday. I got stuck at one notorious intersection for over 20 minutes.

Long weekends are great times to do a lot of work at home when you live in a holiday destination but you have to plan ahead, make sure you have everything you need well before the weekend, and choose your moments – and places – if you do need to get out and get something as a surprise. Between 5-8pm on Saturday and Sunday are generally good times to go places as long as you are not wanting to eat out in a restaurant.

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Day 3 – The dolphin boats await their passengers.

I have been trying to get to the walking tracks at least 6 out of 7 days for the past 3 weeks. The weather has been excellent. I would actually prefer it to rain because we really need it. If it did rain, I would still go for my walk. Thunderstorms and lightning, not so much.

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Day 4 – Kayakers head out into the bay.

Lately my photos have not been doing any justice to what I am seeing with my eyes. It might be time to replace this camera. Here you see 7 photos from my most recent 7 days at the bay. Most of the photos should enlarge if clicked on, except for day 6.

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Day 5 – Rays of sunlight break through the clouds.

It is school holidays here. I don’t mind the extra people about. It is so lovely to see more people enjoying the bay. Everyone I pass says hello. I do mind them being endlessly inconsiderate of others walking the path – and alternately being completely unaware of anyone around them which means I tend to scare them when I walk or run past them – littering – and somewhat memorably last week someone set fire to the toilet paper in our public toilets.

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Day 6 – I made a lizard friend.

I do think sometimes I could use a bike bell to let people know I am approaching, but I wonder exactly where I would put it. Both my wrists are spoken for – one with my fitness watch, the other with my camera cord. Maybe I should wear a bell around my neck, like a cat or dog.

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Day 7 – Shark Net beach is usually very calm, perfect for swimming.

I also do mind when they cannot allow the beauty of the bay to distract them from their problems and issues. I overhear things. Who cares about work, you are not there right now, you are here in the bay, enjoy it!

Sure, none of the overheard things are “No Mummy, PLEASE, NOT the mineral water, Mummy!” which was our most remembered overheard snippet of conversation ever, in a supermarket in Adelaide and we have been laughing about that ever since. We have no idea what Mummy does with the mineral water but we have imagined many things. More than likely the child wanted Coca Cola instead.

What is your most remembered overheard snippet of conversation?

exercise, Fitbit, Jervis Bay

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

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