Tonga

I am sure you will be aware that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are touring Australia and various other places at the moment. Yesterday they arrived in Tonga.

I have no idea why this skit from D-Gen The Late Show has stuck with me all these years, nor why I still find it so hilarious now. But this was the first thing I thought of when Tonga was mentioned.

funny

Canberra Part 4

Last week we had just back to the hotel for a short afternoon rest in the warmth before deciding on dinner. I’d picked out a few possible pizza options and we ended up choosing Briscola. OMG it was freezing out there, and Briscola was a bit of a walk from the hotel in the icy cold Canberra evening. The restaurant was quite busy and to keep warm while we waited, we did a large lap around two blocks. Specifically these two blocks.

I am sure they have a name but I have no idea what it is. The buildings are very pretty and quite old. Every time we visit here they are filled with new restaurants and sometimes there are empty spaces. I think there are maybe four places here which were here on our last visit. Mamas Trattoria might be the one that has been there the longest that I am aware of, because we went there with Sephyroth when he visited in 2011. If we had felt like eating out that would have been our pick – but we had Harry Potter waiting back at the hotel. :)

The next morning we grabbed a quick McMuffin but I flat out refused to purchase coffee there. While waiting to place my order everything I saw from the two staff members screamed at me not to order coffee there and the final straw was the use of a grotty cloth to wipe out the portafilter. Thankfully we will never know if I was right and buying coffee there might have been the death of us. We chose wisely and went to Oliver Brown instead. It was a short walk away but well worth it in my opinion.

You may recall me mentioning the Day Of The Dead skull planter in post #1 of this trip. We kept thinking about it and talking about how we regretted not buying it.. so on our way out to Tulip Top we quickly stopped in to the Canberra Outlet Centre and grabbed it. While there I saw my next regretted non-purchase.. how beautiful is that side table? It was all mother of pearl and I am a sucker for that, but we resisted the urge and left it in the store. I had never seen anything like that before and I thought $79.95 was a tiny price for it. You can click on that image for a larger view.

Back in the car and on the way to Tulip Top at long last. Above and below, you are about to see some shots taken with the Oppo phone camera. I have not edited these other than to make them blog size friendly.

I always enjoy the posts Elephant’s Child does about Floriade and Tulip Top and every year I would read them and think how much I would like to visit.

I was not sure about the walk to the lookout but we made it up easily. Back down was a bit harder for me than going up, I kept feeling like I was going to fall forward. This panorama above can be made larger by clicking on it. That is the final Oppo shot for this post. Now over to my Samsung phone.

Once again we were those super annoying people who took ages taking photos and framing shots perfectly, etc. We probably spent a good two hours here.

We loved the planting here (better than the planting at Floriade, we thought) and I especially loved the weeping willow trees.

The cherry blossoms were gorgeous too.

I have no idea what this plant is, I am sure someone who does know will chime in with the name in the comments.. I loved this plant/flower being included here.

It was a gorgeous day for the drive home..

..with our usual stop at Heatherbrae for the crispy creme donut. I had one third, The Other Half had two thirds. :)

Canberra

Berry Rainy

Last weekend we dropped over to the Berry Markets.

It was raining. We did not mind but the stall holders were Not Thrilled and many had packed up and gone home. On the way back to find lunch this wall of flowers caught my attention. How pretty!

We ended up at Il Locale for some sourdough toast with Smashed Avo plus Tomato & Fetta. Smashed Avo is practically an Australian tradition now, if you ever visit you must have it in a cafe somewhere.

Plus one of the best coffees I have had in a while.

We had a lovely day out, and this area – most of Australia, in fact, at this time – desperately needs the rain so when the sky opens up one must simply rejoice in the water falling from the sky, not begrudge it for even one second..

Berry

Tick F***ing Tock


Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson, Richard Fidler = DAAS.

For those in Australia, there is a DAAS documentary Tick F***ing Tock you may have missed on ABC iview.

I grew up watching The Doug Anthony Allstars AKA DAAS. They were the perfect thing in my teenage angst years. They swore. They shocked. They caused outrage. They said things which probably should not be said. Loads of swear words.

At some point they broke up and many of us who were fans were upset by this news. We did not know why – it turns out only Tim knew why – he had been diagnosed with MS and he did not tell Paul and Richard.

The first part of the documentary revisits the DAAS early years and gives you a tiny hint of some of the comedy they performed. Right at the end of that first episode, Paul says something which had me in tears and I knew that second episode was going to be a tough watch. I was right.

Having said that, there are so many excellent things said in that second episode, it is worth watching. Tim bravely shares some of his current daily life with us. If you were ever a fan, or you need something to kick you in the rear with inspiration, this is a documentary you should see.

DAAS

Canberra Part 3

Last time, we had just returned to the hotel room to drop off our shopping before heading out for dessert. Canberra has just got their first Gelato Messina and if you have been reading here long enough you know I am a big fan.. but we had another destination in mind tonight. Lucky for us as there was a massive queue at Messina as you see above in my blurry photo.

We were headed for Frugii Dessert Laboratory. It was only a short walk but quite a fascinating one, loads of people were out and about, and we discovered an impromptu food truck corner at the nearby carwash. Lonsdale Street is a very interesting area.

I had salted caramel and chocolate, as I so often do. The flavours here were really clean and extremely delicious. Frugii is definitely worth a visit.

The next morning we were in the mood for some old school pancakes. Canberra has a version of a place that I grew up with in Adelaide – Adelaidians will know I mean Berties AKA The Pancake Parlour. Capital Pancakes has departed from the Pancake Parlour franchise to keep their prices low. The pancakes were great, the coffee was decent, and it was not too expensive. Plus it was conveniently placed for our walk to Floriade.

We were at Floriade for several hours. Yes, we are those annoying people crouching down taking photos, framing photos, using more than one camera, using our phones as well. We took probably 300+ photos each. I will not bore you with a multitude of flower photos at this time, they will come to you as a surprise on upcoming Fridays. I have put one photo here, as you see above. I was fascinated by the use of parsley as a decorative plant.

It was icy out. Super icy. And windy. I was very glad I had worn all my warm things. Even so we had a lovely walk back to the hotel via City Walk. We discovered a carousel. I sat down and sent a message to Sephyroth to see if he could find out whether this one was originally from Magic Mountain in Adelaide, then got up again to walk some more and found the answer on my own.

This sign told me everything I needed to know, except it did not tell me where the carousel from Magic Mountain went. I did a little googling and it is still at Glenelg, at The Beachouse. This place comes to me as a surprise.

We chose to make another stop at Via Dolce for afternoon coffee and a small snack.

So many choices! The Other Half chose the cheesecake again, which we had shared the day before. When he finds something he likes he tends to stick with it. He paired it with a latte.

Today I chose the passionfruit and coconut slice. It was gluten free and very delicious. Apologies for my photography mishap, I think my photographers eye was worn out by this time. I should have put it in the sun for a better shot. :) I chose the dirty chai and it was amazing. We still did not steal any plates or mugs, we just admired their beauty. At least until we were driven from the white box by some very inconsiderate noisy people.

By this time it was getting very cold. We headed back to the hotel for a short afternoon rest in the warmth before deciding on dinner. Next week, Tulip Top and our journey home – and you will get some flower photos from there.

In case you missed the previous posts – Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Canberra

The Signature Fragrance

When I took on this new work role, one of the first things I had to do was clean out the work area and get things organised. The previous occupant of that space left behind an almost empty perfume container for Beyonce Heat. It made me realise that I did not currently have a specific scent for work.

Sure, I had plenty of scents available here at home but none of them were especially work appropriate. Some of them I like to keep for going out, they are too expensive to wear daily to work. Unlike my previous warehouse role where everything I wore would go in the washing basket when I got home, parts of my new work uniform do not get washed after each wear and they will retain any scent that I wear.

I also now have two lanyards I need to have around my neck at all times, and they hold on to scents too. So my old “wear whatever I was feeling like from my fragrance shelf because it will be going straight in the wash at the end of today” was no longer very practical.

My Dad is someone who LOVES fragrance. As a former smoker he never wanted to smell like cigarettes and so he would overapply whatever fragrance he was wearing. This habit of his continues. To the point that when I went over to start up his car two weeks into their Canada & Alaska adventure, it smelled like he was sitting right next to me in it. He smells fantastic 24/7 and people always ask him what he is wearing.

Dad alternates between 4 different Paco Rabanne fragrances – my favourite being 1 million. But it is quite Up Money and not something I would be happy to wear every day. That is more of a special event fragrance.

I wore quite a few Avon fragrances in the past – Night Magic being my favourite. However Avon is no longer available in Australia and I have just a few last sprays of Night Magic left. I will save those for a special event, too. If this were available I would have gone with it. It wears well, it smells good, it is reasonably priced and you can get other things like body lotion or a purse roller in the same scent.

For me, the process of finding a new signature fragrance is not as easy as one might think. I can’t just walk in, spray some stuff on myself, and say that’ll do and wander up to the checkout with a perfume bottle. I want to spray on the fragrance and see how it wears on me. In order to do that, I was keeping my wrists fragrance free and visiting a nearby chemist on my break to try a different perfume each day. This was a scenty time. Some of the perfumes I tried were just ok, one or two were possibles.

What I really wanted was a cheaper version of Spicebomb. But I wasn’t finding it. And Spicebomb is Up Money at $95 for 50ml, even more up money than something like 1 Million. It is a mens fragrance but I love the cinnamon-y spicy scent. I have often worn fragrance meant for men – Cool Water was a favourite of mine growing up.

One day I tried an old perfume I once wore – Maroussia. It is a lovely scent, I was just not sure I wanted it to be my daily scent. The Other Half was not the biggest fan of it but after a bit of discussion we agreed it was the best option I had tried thus far.

I don’t know how many of you watched Gruen this year but they had a completely hilarious episode on Chemist Warehouse which my Mother and I have been laughing about since it aired. If you missed it and you are in Australia, you can still catch it on iview here, it is episode 3.

One August day while out and about with my parents and my Aunt, I jokingly suggested we go and see “what’s on in the warehouse” and they actually wanted to go.

Perhaps Dad was down to 4 bottles backup of his usual scents rather than his usual 20. I am not kidding, he stockpiles. His storage cupboard is like a mini Paco Rabanne warehouse.

Chemist Warehouse had Spicebomb out $69.99 for 50ml so I grabbed one. Maroussia was the crazy price of $12.99 for 100mls, so I got one of those too.

I am still hoping to find the ultimate in signature fragrances for work, but these will do for now. I can wear Maroussia much of the time and occasionally treat myself to a day of Spicebomb. The two scents do work together if there is a lingering trace of the other one, but Spicebomb does not linger quite as much as I would like.

fragrances, Things I Did Buy 2018

Canberra Part 2

Ah yes, where were we? We’d just finished up at Kiehls which was in Myer. The layout of Canberra Centre is a little unusual – on the ground floor there are parts which are interrupted by streets but if you go up to the second floor sometimes you will find stores built above the streets.

I had been looking for a unique USB stick, preferably something gold or glittery. Everyone has the same USB sticks where I work and I want to have something which nobody can mistake for theirs. We went into Typo as someone had suggested they might have one. They did not, but they *did* have a very pretty water bottle and that was another thing I needed for work. So I got that on special for $10, and a little packet of tissues which I could carry around with me for $1.

We found a cute little store called Mineshaft which was full of gorgeousness, and here you can see some of it. My Aunt loves rose quartz so I took these first two photos for her to enjoy later.

The book ends are up money but so gorgeous! ;) Though I guess if it is both for $175 that might be ok value given that huge hunk of rose quartz x2?

I have left this photo a bit larger so you can click on it for a closer view of the rings. So many and so pretty and a very varied range of items here.

They had a large range of gemstones which have been carved, most by hand but there are machines out there which can do this kind of thing these days and I believe we have one in the Mancave which might be able to do something a bit like this if set up correctly.

Here you see some Labradorite which makes me think of Meshel from The Muffin Queen’s Closet. I believe if I remember correctly she is getting a kitchen benchtop of Labradorite.

The Other Half had been talking about getting a new phone as he was out of contract on his present phone, and we decided to drop into the Telstra store. Our experiences with them have generally been Not Great, but this time all went well and he walked out with an Oppo which is just as good as a Samsung or iPhone etc but quite a bit cheaper.

He would tell you, after a couple of weeks experience with it, that it would probably be easier for iPhone people to transition across to, as the layout of things is somewhat similar even though the Oppo is Android. He would also say that it is brilliant for people who forget to shut down all their apps – in fact it was so efficient at doing this it kept shutting down our Kakao app that we use to communicate for free and we had to look for a solution. He would also tell you – and next week I will show you with some photos – the camera is fantastic.

Two more quick stops – Bed Bath and Table just to wander their beautiful homewares wall and I found a present for Mother whose birthday was the next week – and H&M, where I found these gorgeous bright red earrings.

After all this it was time to grab some dinner. It was Friday night and at home that usually means Pizza night – and for the past 7 or so Fridays, a Harry Potter movie. I had not seen them and we have been watching them together. These are not movies for children, in my opinion, but they were excellent. We had originally planned to do this at our hotel but then discovered the shops were open till 9, so we decided to swap Pizza to Saturday night this week.

When researching places to eat on our daytrip to Sydney, I heard about Pepper Lunch. We didn’t end up going there because we went to the food court at Westfield Sydney instead. When I saw it in Central Canberra across from Via Dolce, we decided this would be our dinner. The food is served on hot iron plates and you cook it right there on your table. The Other Half chose Waygu Pepper Rice

With its unique design patented in Japan, the iron plate is part of the successful formula of Pepper Lunch. Using a special electromagnetic cooker also patented in Japan, the iron plate will heat up to 260°C in 70 seconds and remain hot at approximately 80°C for more than 20 minutes. Meat that is grilled at this temperature range remains tender and juicy. The hot plate also keeps food warm for a longer time such that customers can enjoy the full flavour of the dish.

I chose Prawn Pepper Rice. The prawns arrive in a bed of egg which is cooking as it arrives on the table. I think the best thing about this meal was the last grains of rice which had been on the hotplate long enough to become super crispy. It was delicious and even more so about halfway through when we gave the sauces on the table a try, our meals suddenly became even more delicious. This is a franchise with literally hundreds of stores in Japan – they are in several states here already. We would go back for sure, even though the Canberra location is quite tiny.

We were out wandering Canberra Centre for several hours and had a lovely time just looking at things and not buying them. I was surprised there were so few purchases, though of course the phone and the shoes are not seen here. I think that has been our biggest takeaway from The Year Of Buying Nothing – we quite enjoy looking with our eyes and not buying things we see.

Some items we see and decide right away that for us we need to buy them because they will likely never be seen again, like the H&M earrings, sometimes the bargain rule applies eg the shoes, other items are things we genuinely need – I’d just taken 4 plastic water bottles home from work for recycling. Spring water is supplied to us, I just needed to get a decent bottle. But sometimes the unpurchased items linger, and haunt, and this was the case for us on this weekend away. But more about that in a later post.

Canberra

Something I Bought In August

Above you see some of my rings which once fit me like a dream. In particular my favourite triangle Mystic Topaz. Thanks to protein shakes I am 25kg lighter but that also means many of my favourite rings no longer fit. I have one ring that used to fit on my pinky finger which now fits on my middle finger. Most of the rings I used to wear on my ring finger are too loose to wear.

I can still sometimes wear my Mystic Topaz on my middle finger but only if my hands are puffy from water retention. The green one seen above does not fit on any finger, even at my most puffy. For the most part I have no rings to wear and that is SO NOT ME.

In fact there was one occasion – the Take That concert, where I put a ring on right before leaving. Then once I got into the car, I realised I must have lost it in the process of getting into the car. We looked everywhere for that ring. I thought maybe it had fallen into one of my bags and I would find it when I unpacked.

When I got back home, I found it sitting on my dresser – I had decided it was too loose and took it off, then in the rush of getting out the door with all my stuff, I totally forgot about having that little conversation with myself in my head. If I am out in the world without a ring, I feel a bit strange.

I had intended to buy one at the start of 2019 at the end of the year of buying nothing, but out with my Aunt in Berry on the 13th of August, there was An Incident. An Opal Incident. It began with this ring –

I liked it and wanted to know more, but it did not fit me. In fact none of the rings in the entire cabinet fit me. The lady in the store said she had some not on display and she pulled out a box filled with rings – most of them did not fit me, but *one* did, and it turned out to be a very fiery gorgeous opal, which had many colours in it.

Greens, blues, reds, oranges, yellows.

It depends on the lighting which colours fire up.

The ring does have a flaw in it but for me that makes me love it more.

Sometimes you even get pinks, purples, and aqua. For me, one of the reasons I will treasure this ring was the time spent in the store with my Aunt choosing it. It was a special happy moment after trying on many rings to find one that actually fit me, too.

Our wanders to the shops always include a special lunch – on this day we chose croissants with smoked salmon, a poached egg and avocado and cucumber salsa from the Milkwood Bakery. Special time spent with a special person who we very nearly lost a few years ago. There really are no words for that.

family, jewellery