Jun 22, 2017

Lovin' Life 22/6/2017: A Day Off In The City. MINISO. 'He Said / She Said' by Erin Kelly.

I don't get out much.  But when I do, I do like to write about it.  Be warned, this is one of my essay length posts.  It covers a lot of territory as well.

I had a day in the city earlier this week.

A Day in The City.

On My Own.

On A Weekday.

The capitals and one sentence paragraphs I've already flung around in this post with such abandon feel entirely appropriate and suitable for the occasion.  Even if they may not be grammatically correct.

It felt so grown up and sophisticated walking with purpose between pods of dark-suited city people with their security badges clipped to their waistbands. I'm a lanyard around the neck person myself (a bone of contention between occupational health and I but the men wear ties to work and other women chunky necklaces, actually I wear the necklaces too..... never mind).  I guess they do things a little differently in the city.

My first stop was MINISO which is in the basement level of one the central malls, I think it's Galeries.

So much to discuss.

A little more upmarket and with a noticeable difference in quality than Daiso (who I will always have a soft spot for), Miniso was doing a brisk lunchtime trade when I stopped by.  Selling a little bit of everything, I succumbed to their clever marketing strategy and walked out with quite an eclectic range of things.  All essential to everyday life, of course.  Prices seem to range from around $5 to around $25.  K Mart and Target, meet your beautifully designed and made competition.

These rainbow hair brushes were $5.  They have dazzled my thick and unruly hair with both their vibrantly coloured bristles and superior bristle strength.

If I needed a new fry pan, this is the one I would have bought.

Mini So lego for $4.

Handbags and soft toys, all around the $5 mark.

My haul. If there was any uncertainty regarding my Chinese roots, let this photo reassure you.  Footlet socks, hand sanitizer and cheapish ($25) blue tooth devices (because who wants to pay hundreds for stuff that will be obsolete by the time the warranty runs out).

I've tested out both the headphones and speakers, by the way.  They're easy to link to iPhones, sound quality is excellent as well.  Be warned that while charger cables are included with each, you will still need to find USB enabled power sockets if you like to charge things at the wall . The headphones are a bit of a small fit though or maybe I just have too much hair.  All in all, very happy with both.

Life enhancing shopping done, it was time for lunch.

By the way, this is how hot green tea is done in city food courts.  Warmed and pre-bottled.  It wasn't too bad actually.  I just had to get my mind to shift from the preconceived idea that all bottled drinks must be served icy cold or with a cup of ice.

Dessert was done the traditional South East Asian shopping mall food court way with a bag of pre-chopped fruit.  Singapore, I need to return to you soon.  I miss those little bags of pineapple, paw paw and watermelon.  The chocolate isn't a traditional food court thing.  It's just me.

Sephora was my next stop.  But isn't the music so loud?  Screens were flashing everywhere which only added to my hot and botheredness.   It was all so distracting that even though I found a whole display of roller ball perfumes, I couldn't focus well enough to pick a favourite. I might just have to go online one of these days and hope I didn't confuse the names of what I tested in store.

As much as the day was fun and exciting, it was also a relief to be able to take my old lady self away from the main shopping and eating hubs and slightly off the grid to the quiet 'back streets' of the city.  By which I mean the ones which are mainly lined by quietly industrious offices and discrete serviced apartments.  The sensible foundation undergarments of the CBD so to speak.

Soft ribbons of sun slipped through between the shadows of trees and buildings that were less sharp edged and glittery than the office towers and shops a few streets across.  There were flashes of warmth here and there by way of little hole in the wall cafes to break up the seriousness of the office blocks.  I relished the luxury of the empty space around me as I walked between my fellow pedestrians.

There were no headache inducing flashing flat screens of the high street retailers.  The only music to speak of was the chatter of people against the sounds of espresso machines and the occasional bus or taxi.  It's how the work day city does peace and quiet and I rather like it.

My little wander put me in the right frame of mind for the train ride home and the little walk afterwards back to my suburban life.  The one that I sometimes feel is a bit predictable and greige but that I know I secretly love all the same.

Not that I can't wait until I get to do it all again....


Day off Tuesday was also consumed by a new page turner I highly recommend.

'He Said / She Said' is Erin Kelly's latest and you can read The Guardian's review here.   It's a slow-burning, suspense read.  The kind of thing that Erin Kelly does so well.  It took me a few chapters to get my bearings and pick up the momentum but once I did, I couldn't stop reading.

Laura and Kit are a young couple who travel the world watching and photographing eclipses.  It began as Kit's obsession but Laura caught the interest along the way.  The book is divided into sections based on the phases of an eclipse and told through the eyes of Kit and Laura.  The plot shifts in time from the beginning of their relationship, to the time their paths crossed with the enigmatic,  changeable Beth and the present time / aftermath of the couple being witnesses in the trial precipitated by the conviction of Beth's rapist.

For whatever reason, Laura can't seem to let go of Beth even after the verdict has been reached.  Beth stops by Laura's work one day.  The encounter moves on to drinks and before long, Beth is having adult sleepovers at Laura and Kit's house.  Laura justifies much of Beth's behaviour as a way of coping and moving on after the rape and the trial.

On his part, Kit seems to have an animosity towards Beth that is out of proportion to a reasonable annoyance at her invading his house and relationship with Laura.  He does thaw slightly though when Beth begins showering the couple with thoughtful and extravagant gifts.

Is Beth really as disturbed as Kit and Laura's narratives imply or is it Kit and Laura who have the secrets to hide?  Initially, the 'he' and the 'she' doing the 'saying' of the title may well have been Beth and her attacker but as the years pass, so much of Kit and Laura's relationship seems based on their assumptions with the facts behind them open to interpretation.

To say any more would give things away and spoil the book for you.  Astronomy is a pretty niche topic but in Erin Kelly's hands, it's the perfect backdrop for her plot and its characters.  The nomadic life that is required to be a dedicated eclipse chaser adds depth to the unpredictability and unstability of Kit, Laura and Beth's lives.  The references to how our social media footprints are 'forever' and can be used to track us down when we mean to hide and be anonymous gives the novel currency and its readers food for thought.

You just have to read 'He Said / She Said' this winter.  Preferably under your doona in either the dark of night or in the eery light of the dawn.


  1. I love visiting the city on my own on a weekday but I haven't done so for quite some time now! I'm taking my daughter in to an Exhibition in the city on the weekend and may explore a bit afterwards but it's not the same as doing so on a week day and alone which just seems so much more of a luxury!

    My daughter would love that rainbow hair brush!


  2. There's something so truant-ish about being in the city on a weekday when everyone else is working... One of my fave street food outlets in the city is the Asian (Jimmy's, I think it's called) at Galeries. The Hainanese chicken is fabulous. #TeamLovinLife

  3. A day off during the week is heaven isn't it especially if you are on your own and can please yourself what you do. Thanks for the book review I must check it out. My granddaughter would think the rainbow hair brush is cool - I might have to get her one for her birthday next month. Have a great week, SSG!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  4. I hate shopping so I can't think of anything worse than crowds and the city. I worked in the city (though just in Brisbane and Canberra) for years so usually avoided it when not working. It's weird now though... since my seachange... the city seems such an unfamiliar place. I was in Melbourne earlier this year and had forgotten that everyone wore black (I do, but wear more colour than I once did) and I felt very light and ethereal compared to those around me.

  5. It's oh so exciting to have a day in the city on your own! I can't remember the last time I did this. I love the rainbow brush from Miniso... will have to pay a visit next time I'm in Sydney :) #TeamLovinLife

  6. I love big shopping expeditions in the city on my own. It is a wonderful way to self-indulge. :) #TeamLovinLife

  7. Oh SSG! You have lived up to your bloggie name so well in this post. Where is this Miniso of which you speak? I want to go shopping with you! What are you doing next Tuesday? #teamlovinlife

  8. Those hand sanitisers remind me of the Bath and Body Works ones. I preferred those to the newer versions. I might have to check out that store! :)

  9. When we got out for sushi, I love the complimentary green tea they serve. I've made green tea at home but it's never as good so now I don't bother. But to have it served in a bottle? That's weird!

  10. I need to go to Singers with you.


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