Jul 1, 2016

The Democracy Sausage. Other Things.

It's not been the most exciting lead up to a Federal Election, Australia.  Admittedly, it was a big ask to have Mr Shorten and Mr Turnbull come up with internet breakers / meme generators that could compete with Brexit or The Donald but I'd secretly hoped something would've happened by  now.

via Twitter

Thank goodness, then, for our fellow Australian voters and their passion for the best part of election day... the sausage sizzles and cake stalls held at polling places.  

Democracy Sausage  is the official website of the Council of Australian Sausage and it's an invaluable, real time map of what's on offer at polling stations all across the country.  There's a legend featuring self explanatory symbols to help you decide where to go to cast your vote plus extra notes about additional events that may be held on the sidelines too.  I'm ecstatic that my local primary school will be offering cake, sausages, a coffee cart and a market.  Having my say on what's forecast to be a cliffhanger between the major parties, getting breakfast while I'm there and  contributing to school's fundraising - I like the way our elections roll.

The first day of a new financial year always fills me with the resolve to spend smarter and to spend only on what I need.  It's early days yet but I think I've nailed the spend smarter thing.

I found this lip gloss at Chemist Warehouse yesterday.  It's from budget brand W7 and it's called Squeeze Me.  The packaging describes the finish as vinyl gloss but what I was most intrigued about was the brush tip applicator.  A $4.99 lip gloss with the bells and whistles trappings of their more expensive competition?  Of course I gave it a go.

The shade I bought was Nearly Nude.  Application wise, it was as easy as its name suggested.  I squeezed the barrel and gloss came through to the brush easily.  It was easy to apply and seems to be wearing pretty well so far (still wearing traces of this morning's application at lunchtime despite having had a coffee and a banana).  The tackier texture hasn't dried my lips out either.

I think I've found myself another star performer W7 make up bargain in their Squeeze Me lip gloss.
Stila's Lip Glaze (which I think W7 has quite heavily referenced for Squeeze Me) retail for $32 in Australia right now but I don't know if I'd get six times as much joy or performance for it's 600% price difference.
And it goes without saying that I'm not even close to the demographic for Kylie Jenner's lip range.  It apparently sells out as fast as it gets restocked anyway.

Back to Chemist Warehouse..
via iTunes

I've just discovered how handy their smartphone app is.  It's free to download and use.  Besides enabling you to shop from the app, it also contains useful health and drug information (including a tab for you to enter medications so you don't forget to take them each day).  There's also the option for your scrips with Chemist Warehouse to be stored in the app so you know when you might need to refill them.  You can even order repeats from the app too.  To sign  up for the prescription service, register in store and wait for the text message that contains the code you need to enter into the app.

Party feet - leopard print flats from Ecco.

I can't comment about Offspring from Wednesday night because I was (excitingly) out on the town.  I caught up with some girls from work at The Gretz in Enmore.

Stopped to say hello to La Liz on the way....

Much cava was sipped and many big issues were explored.  We also had the most amazing tapas featuring foods I normally avoid.  Who knew haloumi and olives could taste so delicious when crumbed and fried?

Motivated by the real woman fitness inspirations of my Instagram, I've been embracing 'leg days' at the gym.  And wouldn't you know it?  It doesn't just mean you get to wear your favourite leggings to train in for the day.  I'm quite enjoying doing leg curls and extensions.  Do you have any other exercises to recommend for leg day?

It's been all about the scarf for me since the temperatures dropped to (what I consider to be) freezing.  Chunky knit scarves on the weekends and hastily draped over coats for the drive to work and heavy silk scarves in lieu of necklaces at work.  I've ended the week in colour with the Zabavushka scarf from the good old House of H.  It's an oldie but a goodie and as I edge closer to that 41st birthday of mine, I'm holding that thought nearer and dearer to my heart.

Have a lovely weekend and may the sausage sizzle and cake stall game be strong wherever you may be voting tomorrow.

Jun 28, 2016

Unexpected Joy and Beauty. It's Tax Time.

There are those days of winter that are just made for

Necklaces - Red Phoenix Emporium, skirt - Banana Republic, leather jacket - heavily discounted Burberry (the best kind!!) from the sometime during the pre mummy years of my life.

refusing to wear fancy-ish work clothes

and stepping out in your best all weather gear instead.

Today was one of those days.  I sat out the early hours of the morning at home doing exciting things  like the receipts for my tax return.  Don't get too excited, people, the ATO isn't coming to the party as much I would've liked with regards to handbags being tax deductible as a work related expense.  My accountant was every bit as inflexible as the article I linked to so I guess it's back to the drawing board for the next financial year.  But still, at least I know what I need to be shopping for.

By mid morning, the chill had been completely driven from the air by sweet, glorious winter sun.

Preschooler SSG and the rest of his class had an excursion to the local beach and I was lucky enough to be able to join them.

The aim of the morning was to clean up the beach.  The activity had been organised by the class teachers as an extension on what the preschool group have been learning about in class with regards to recycling and respecting the environment.

The beach was actually pristine but together we managed to find bits of plastic to put in our rubbish bag.  It was one of those beautiful mornings of unexpected joy and beauty that I would otherwise never have experienced if the beach excursion hadn't been planned.

It was more errands after the beach and I was sad to discover that my local Hot Dollar discount store is closing down.

More than one ornament at my place came from the shelves of Hot Dollar...

I don't know where I'll get my fix of whimsy and kitsch  now that it will be gone.

A typically eclectic shelf at Hot Dollar.

The colour and randomness of its stock always makes me smile.  Even if I don't go in, it's nice to have something a little unexpected to look at as I attempt to guide the wonky trolley I always get from the supermarket down to the carpark.  You will be missed, Hot Dollar but thanks for the half priced screw top glass jars I scored today.

How's things going with your tax return?

Did you find unexpected joy and beauty somewhere in your travels today?

Jun 26, 2016

Lovin' Life 26/6/2016: All the Fun of the Weekend.

Well hello, Lovin' Life linky readers.

It's been a while since I last wrote for Leanne's link.  I've been away, I've been working weekends, it's all been a bit crazy.  But I'm here today, better late than never.  It's been a lovely weekend.  Busy but full of fun and good things like this Margaret River Chocolate Company sea salt caramel chocolate mum brought over to me from Perth last month.

Basically, I'm lovin' that my weekends are both relaxing yet busy these days.  There's never a dull moment and while some things are routine each weekend, there's a whole lot of variability in between the set in stone things - and that's where the fun begins.  Like how I wanted to make sweet potato toast this morning....

It all began yesterday while I was feeling nutritionally enlightened and superior as I zoodled a couple of zucchinis for last night's spag bol (or should that be zag bol).

Given how easy it's been to make zoodles, how about I try the latest vegetable makeover that's been breaking the internet?  Sweet potato toast?  Not the kind using bread made out of zucchini  but the kind where raw slices of sweet potato are popped  into the toaster as you would a couple of slices of bread?

All of which explains these decidedly unglamorous keeping it real photographs of my attempt at making it for breakfast this morning.  The cause of creating gluten free toast wasn't helped by the fact that I was both hangry and almost frozen on account of the cold snap that's hit Sydney (the one that I've been complaining about since Friday).

It looked so simple.  All I had to do was slice my raw sweet potato into thinnish, even slices and pop them into my toaster.  I was planning to top my sweet potato toast with peanut butter, banana and cinnamon so I had everything laid out in anticipation of the rounds of perfectly toasted sweet potato slices I'd be creating with nothing but my toaster.

Well.  Sweet potato toast hasn't only nearly broken the internet, in nearly broke my toaster.  I wasn't counting on one of my slices wedging itself into the gap between the bread holding wires and the heating elements and it wasn't long before I could see smoke and embers in my toaster.  A  bit of furious prodding (with toaster unplugged) saw three of my slices salvaged from the toaster.  The problematic fourth slice got wedged into a non heating crevice of the toaster and I'm hoping it will dry out and crumble out in coming days as only real bread gets toasted.

Twitter has since told me that baking sweet potato slices in the oven is a more reliable way of making the toast but in the heat of the hangry moment, I reached for my English muffins and embraced their gluten rich, highly refined carbiness.

Fortunately, the sweet potato toast debacle has been the only drama of the weekend.  A sense of calm has been restored in the manor kitchen with this new wall clock from Target.  The good news is that I got it for the bargain price of $10 (down from $20).  The not so good news?  Looking at how bare the homewares corner of my local Target was.  There's been a major restructure in Target Australia's management recently and it looks like stores are already clearing the decks in anticipation of the new more profit driven direction Guy Russo intends to take the chain.

I hope Designers for Target stays.  Ditto their always reliable range of licenced childrens wear and their nicely priced ladies knits.

As an aside, here's what else you can buy for a tenner these days.  A measly ten postage stamps for the domestic mailing of standard letters.  It's going to take me a very long time to simmer off the anger at the price hike.  By which time I reckon the rate will be up to around $1.50 per letter and then they're likely to be only delivered once a week...  We need to keep snail mail going, Australia Post.  Letters are like books.  Part of modern civilisation that we cannot forget or allow to become obsolete.  Just my two cents (not the greatest metaphor seeing as one cent coins have been phased out in Australia).

It's the unspoken rule of shopping at Target that you always reach the checkout with at least 400% more stuff than what you initially thought you needed.  Preschooler SSG scored a Thomas throw rug to make book time on the sofa more cozy.

As well as these, the official trackpants of 'Finding Dory' Pixar's latest blockbuster that is the sequel to Finding Nemo.  Dory is everywhere right now.  Our swimming school is doing a Dory promotion, Boost juice is featuring Dory and friends on their current range of sippy cups and here at SSG Manor 2.0, we've been making Dory and Nemo themed jelly cups.

We went to see 'Finding Dory' today with Preschooler SSG going in theme with those track pants and colour co-ordinated trainers.

It was our first trip to the cinema and it went rather well.  So well that Preschooler SSG managed to get a decent nap in the final third of the film.  Fortunately, I stayed awake for the full half and hour of ads and trailers (I actually enjoyed the wrap up of all the amazing new animation films coming out over the next few months, not to mention the clever car ads) as well as the film itself.

I loved it!  The animation was a pleasure to watch.  It was so lifelike yet filled with gentle humour.  It goes without saying that the cast were pitch perfect and in case you were curious as to who the actors are, I found this article listing the main characters' voices.

Have you seen 'Finding Dory'?  Any other animation films out at the moment I should know about?

Jun 24, 2016

Brexit. Thermals. Everything But July 2.

Brexit it is, then.

It's a result that has shocked the world.  The British citizens and residents in my network of friends are questioning the motives behind the 'leave' vote that the majority of their countrymen have cast, Prime Minister Cameron has resigned, the markets are in free fall and oh yes, it's just over a week until our own Federal election.

July 2 is beginning to feel like a bit of an afterthought to what's going on both around the world and in the non political spheres of Australian life.


It's State of Origin season and I don't think that last game on June 22 went well for NSW.  I understand that there's to be a third game sometime soon but it could be a bit painful for the team that's lost two already.  Which I think is NSW's dubious honour.

Said like a true Perthie.
via Facebook

Hope I read the situation correctly, Origin followers amongst you.


It's less than a week until season 6 of Offspring premieres.  And I still haven't gotten TV reception sorted out at the newish house.

But back to Britain.

I wonder what it will be like when (and not if) I visit next.

London is my favourite European city.

I love its pace, its people who've come from all over the world, its history and the diversity of its present.

What will the post Euro zone future hold for the people of Britain, I wonder?

Will the inevitable transitions in every aspect of life there bring them together or drive them apart?  Do they have a cohesive plan for what they're going to do now that they've left?  Is there a destination everyone can agree on?  Or was it change for change's sake?

Meanwhile, in Sydney, where some of us aren't as politically engaged as we should be this close to the election or as on top of the receipts as we should be this close to the end of financial year 2015/2016, it managed to suddenly get very cold in the city.  It never fails to catch me by surprise every year and I never fail to go all dying swan over the chill and the fact that it's already snowing in some parts of the state.

Today's dramatic moment involved me wearing a pashmina around my neck all day in the office.

The scarf (and snack) thing took me back to my student days at the freezing uni library.  I was actually all set up for a webinar I had signed up for.  It's one of the laws of the universe, doing continuous professional development stuff.  Learning and studying actually becomes fun when you don't have to do it every day for a degree or exams.  It employs a different set of skills to the ones you use at the coal face and sometimes it's nice to take a break from work and study for it instead.

Living the Kathmandu life... something I never thought I'd see myself do.

And then the weather decided to add icy winds to the cold.  Which is how I found myself on the Kathmandu site this evening.  In search of proper thermals to replace the ageing set I was wearing under my flannel pyjamas.  As luck would have it, I managed to score some sale bargains.


These ultraCore thermal tops and leggings are usually $70 per item but are currently on sale  - $60 for two!!


They're made of a polyester blend that's meant to feel like cotton, according to the product information online.  The reviews are great and while I'm only planning to wear them in Sydney (but who knows, perhaps I'll need them for day trips in London sometime soon) under pyjamas, it's good to know they'll work under jeans and track pants too.  Hopefully they'll arrive soon, this cold snap looks like it's set to stay for a bit.

It's getting late, I'd best be off, then.

How do you feel about Brexit?

Are you in your thermals yet?


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