Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Monday, 31 December 2012

Checking in for the last time in 2012

I honestly thought I wouldn't get to blogging today. That was until yesterday. Then I made the time to do it.


This summer, I want to wear a swimsuit. Well guess what? I DID IT! Cannot believe it but I did it! I can now wear a swimsuit! I debated about whether or not I would post a picture, but then I thought "Wearing in public is like posting on internet. Everyone will see me regardless." Mr. A encouraged me a great deal to do it too, so without further ado, here you are (Nb. this is not actually a new swimsuit, but one that has hardly been worn (and my cleavage wasn't as big when I bought this many years ago)).

I weighed myself today and weighed in at 81kg, so just 3kg from my 78kg goal. Pretty damned happy with that!

Until next year, stay safe and enjoy the last day of 2012.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

"I'm sittin' here in the boring room..."

It's just another windy summer evening moon...
Yeah that's where I stop trying to rewrite lyrics to songs. Do you remember Fool's Garden's song, Lemon Tree? Here it is if you don't recall or know it.

Food Stuffs

'Twas another lonely Friday eve at our house, and because of the mild weather we've been having, I was laying under the covers in bed. I was contemplating all that has happened this year. I arrived at the fact that I have been mighty slack the last four months and haven't lost  much or achieved a great deal in terms of weight loss (finally I hit this realisation...but that didn't stop me from having a few more little bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk - the fun size ones, or some chips at A's work tonight). One last hurrah.
Anyway, finally admitting to myself that I have been slack is just what I needed to kick-start again. I went to my favourite recipe sites - Taste, Pinterest Food and Drink, and my Pinterest Food Boards (there are multiple, so pick which meal/food type you are after accordingly) - after perusing the freezer contents, and started from there. Admittedly, it was a little difficult to get started but I now have meals planned for every dinner slot for the next two weeks! Hurrah. Breakfast for the next week is planned, but now I just need to do the lunch planning. I always find lunch planning hardest, even when I'm home.
So, from 31 December to 13 January, here's what our dinner plan looks like (links provided where possible):

31 Dec: Homemade pizza (at our friends' place for NYE celebrations) 
1 Jan: Paprika chicken with quinoa tabbouleh
3 Jan: Frozen meal or leftovers as A is at work
4 Jan: Frozen meal or leftovers as A is at work
5 Jan: Wedding!! Our friends having the homemade pizza NYE celebrations get married on this day!
6 Jan: Thai prawn and avocado salad (I'm also going to mix some quinoa through for a bit of extra texture) 

7 Jan: Homemade hamburgers with salads
9 Jan: Stirfry (with enough for leftovers)
10 Jan: Crumbed fish fillets with salad or veges
12 Jan: Homemade pizza
13 Jan: Roast and veges

It's possible that leftovers will be had on any of those nights, it really just depends how tired we both are. I now work til 1900 Monday - Thursday so A is home first usually...but might be too tired to cook. That said, maybe if I prepare everything beforehand with our new Global knives purchased on our outing today (pictures to come), things might not be so difficult.

So, today's outing! Rather excited really. Without our wonderful family, today's shopping trip would not have been possible. We received cash and vouchers as Christmas gifts from our family (well, my folks, my brother and his girlfriend, and my pa and his partner...but still our family). We knew we wanted to update our wardrobes so today was the day we did so. 
Note: Global Knives did not come from said cash and vouchers.

Poor A has been a bit ill this week, but once he was better, he had to get back to work. Today was his day off, and as we had plans for Monday evening, I had an inkling he wouldn't really want to go to the shops on Monday. So, being the sport that he is, off we trundled to DFO Moorabbin and Southland. Neither of us are really fans of crowds, but I'd held off as long as I could to go shopping. I've never taken the 'opportunity' to go to the Boxing Day Sales, I tend to wait a few days after. Three days after isn't too bad, I'd say. Parking was pretty bleurgh at both destinations, however we didn't have to cut laps around the car parks thankfully. We had one aim at DFO: the Dangerfield outlet. However our first port of call was General Trader Outlet. Just went for a look, and walked out $249 lighter, but saved $351. Here are said awesome knives.

Here is a happy Mr. A opening and playing with said awesome knives (apologies for shitty grainy Samsung Galaxy S pictures...upgrade is a few months away).

We made it to Dangerfield, scoured the racks and found a few things to try on, but both walked out with only one thing (apologies for stock images, my camera is quite grainy in this poor light). A got a really lovely grey and white striped Jack London casual/business shirt (of which I cannot find an image for), and I got this lovely lace top.

St. Lenny 'My Lenny Cares About Me' 
Talk about terrible service though at ClearIt DFO (Dangerfield's clearance outlet). Got to the register. One attendant was serving, which was fine. The other? Standing there texting, looks up at us, continues texting, then turns away and sorts out coat hangers. Ahem. Then the attendant who was serving served us. He was a bit ho-hum with his manners, but I let it slide. That was until he just shoved the two items into the plastic bag all messy-like (and I mean shoved). We walked outside and I folded them properly so as to not have them crumpled and require ironing when we arrived home.
We continued on our merry way around DFO, stopping at a few shops here and there. Our next success story was found at Forever New. My mission for the day was to find some really nice tops to be worn for casual or business. Guess what? The only top I found that I liked was the one above. The Forever New success story was a beautiful dress that may make an appearance at one or both of the January weddings we will be attending.

Alexia Textured Ponte Dress 
Forever New on Polyvore

Click the link. This picture is way too small and I couldn't copy the image URL from Polyvore, so got stuck with the shitty Google images one. 
DFO continued to disappoint. Last time we both were there, and I'm sure it was there last time I went, Country Road was there. This time, not the case. Also the case for Ojay which I am really disappointed with. Good thing there is currently a pop-up clearance shop near my work, and the South Yarra HQ/Clearance Centre is close by. We were over and done with DFO in about an hour. Thank goodness Southland wasn't too far away. First port of call: Country Road.

As we were on a mission, and were reaching our limits with crowds, a map was needed. If we had the GAF to stroll, we would have. We found Country Road, and made a bee-line there. That was, until Jeanswest distracted us. I'm a big fan of Jeanswest, having bought three gorgeous dresses there earlier this year, and many things over the years, but my intent for this visit was for one person only: A. 
I'm really lucky when it comes to clothes shopping - both A and I trust each other enough to pick clothing out for the other to try/wear. A was also on a mission: shorts and casual shirts appropriate for summer. 
Walking in to Jeanswest, the first thing I notice were shorts. Bingo. His size. We both like. First thing to try on. Next, shirts. There were a myriad of shirts to go into the change room. Here's what we walked out with.

Gabriel Stripe Shirt
Castelreagh Check Shirt
Apollo Walk Short
A: Mission accomplished!
The sleeve ends on the check shirt actually fold down - thank goodness, neither of us were keen on the denim/chambray look at the end.
I managed to find some lovely items too, and wish it wasn't poor etiquette to wear white dresses to weddings, because this dress would be awesome. It's also available in coral. I tried that one on too but this was better. That said, I might go back and get the coral one too.

Dina Lace Dress in Eggnog
Shay Cardigan in Coral
Unfortunately, the link provided for the Shay cardigan is out of stock in the coral, but has the black. Let me tell you, this cardi is SUPER soft and super cute. There's button detailing on the cuffs (damnit, that's the word! I'm not going back to change 'sleeve ends' to cuffs. Having serious brain fail tonight) and it's that perfect cardi to keep your shoulders and arms warm on those brisk Melbourne summer nights.

We persevered and looked at a few more stores, including Country Road, without success. On the outward journey to the car, I stopped at the OPI nail polish stand at Petra. The last few days, the OPI shade I'm Not Really a Waitress has popped across my screen more than once. I took it as a sign that I was meant to buy it. I'd been meaning to buy myself OPI polishes for a little while, however always balked at the price. Today though, I decided to treat myself to not one, but SIX bottles, and then I got three free. Free for free, you say? Yay!

My Instant OPI Collection
Now, for the closeups (again, apologies for terribly poor images).

Free Shatter Polishes (L-R) - Shatter the Scales (Spiderman Collection), Black Shatter (Shatter Collection),
Super Bass Shatter (Nicki Minaj Collection)
Limited Collections (L-R): Moonraker (Skyfall 007 Collection), Care To Danse? (New York City Ballet Collection)
Everyday Collection (L-R): Cosmo-Not Tonight, Honey!, I'm Not Really A Waitress, My Private Jet, Blue My Mind
View interactive colours here

I didn't get the base or top coats as I have one already that does a good enough job. So, that's my little shopping splurge for the day. A got his knives, I got my polishes!

Now, back to the weighty stuff

A very dear friend of mine had a wardrobe clearout because she's been doing the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation and has lost a heap of weight (well done, K, so proud of you!). K has very generously given me a rather hefty bag filled with stuff that no longer fits her. I was so chuffed, I came home and tried the stuff on straight away. However, I found that I'm still a bit pudgy around the edges and that not everything fits me nicely. Nothing like a wake-up call that, although I'm happy at 82kg because I have some beautiful clothing again and it fits me, it's not going to stay that way. I know this, but I just didn't really have anything to work towards (yeah, I had that goal to be 78kg at the end of the year but I didn't have the motivation to get there). This bag of stuff from K is my motivation! Hurrah!

Today was the first time in months I logged what I ate. I felt like I ate lots, but apparently I only just hit the 1200 mark, and that was including chocolate and pfeffernusse! MFP is telling me I need to consume 1370 cals per day. Maybe my trouble of late is that I'm not eating enough for my metabolism to work. 1200 calories per day is the minimum intake required for a sedentary adult. Obviously the more active you are, the more calories your body requires. As we were shopping today, we spent about 3 hours walking at a very leisurely pace. According to MFP, I burned 738 calories, meaning my total caloric intake for today is 1370 + 738 = 2,108 (and yes, I did that without a calculator!). Like I said though, I struggled to hit 1200, I'm sitting at 1294 at 22:45. I don't like to eat before bed, and I've just brushed my teeth, so there won't be any more eating for me tonight. Going to bed hungry isn't a bad thing though.
We've run out of bran for breakfast tomorrow, so it will either be plain old Weet Bix and milk (usually we mix bran in with the WB), or will be toast and some sort of condiment.
Tomorrow I am in two minds as to whether or not I go shopping for some nice shoes to wear to the weddings we have in January, or if I go for a big walk and perhaps a swim. I really miss walking, so perhaps I might give that a go tomorrow. My Kris Kringle at work gave me some wonderful in-ear headphones for the iPod, so I should use them wisely, as well as the alone time.

So, there you have it. Shopping and food and weight and stuff. Long post. Probably the last one for the year. I hope 2012 progressed in some way for you, because, let's face it, it's not all roses and perfume all year round. Here's to a better 2013, and what do you know!? I've just realised that this blog is 6 months old! Here's to making it through another 6 months and adiosing more kilograms!

From XciteFun

Saturday, 15 December 2012

"You look like you've stepped out of an Alannah Hill magazine!"

Last night was my work's Christmas function. It was the first function I'd been to, given that I've only been there four weeks.
I rocked up an hour late (traffic and appointments booked well in advance held me up) but slipped in unnoticed during speeches.

Figuring out what to wear was a curse. I had wanted to wear the red dress with white polka dots, but it didn't look flattering, so I was going to wear my gorgeous Sweet As A Rose Princess Highway Dress. Problem solved. Then I had a stroke of luck and was able to wear the red dress with white polka dots after all.
This outfit is styled almost exactly to what I wore last night, but only a few things are exact: cardigan, makeup, perfume, nail polish, and watch. The dress and remaining accessories are the closest matches I could find on Polyvore.

I found my friends, and one of them, who is quite gorgeous herself, said to me: "Oh my God, you look hot! Gosh, you look like you've stepped out of an Alannah Hill magazine!" Well, that was it. My night was made. I didn't care about anything else. I finally feel like I've made it in the world of fashion! Never mind the fact I felt completely overdressed as most other people were in denim (they'd declared it a casual day at work), I finally felt amazing! Thanks, S!
I got quite a few compliments throughout the evening, so that lifted my spirits indeed  (along with the free moscato, cheers!).

For the record, it was not intended to look so Christmassy in my attire, and fortunately no-one picked up on the colour scheme/party theme. Further, the shoes I wore, from Zu's 2009/2010 summer range are aptly named Holly.

"You look like you've stepped out of an Alannah Hill Magazine!"

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Swimsuit Shopping

Polyvore Playtime

In my last post, I talked to you about Polyvore. Polyvore is this wonderful site that allows you to throw together outfits from things you see online, as well as many other awesome things like throwing together home decor, or digital artworks, or collages etc., though I'm not really doing the description any justice. Go and read for yourself. Then make yourself an account and play. It's all shades of addictive.

Le Swimsuit Challenge

Now that I've lost a game-changing amount of weight, it's time to step up to the plate and get a new swimsuit. Fact of the matter is, the one I got 8 or so years ago really just doesn't cut it anymore. It never was fashionable, but was very practical. That was an important quality for me in a swimsuit. I wanted it to hide all my yucky parts and still give me great support for the girls. I had a racer-back thing from Target. It's still in my wardrobe, and was great for doing laps. It's now got a few small holes from its travels though, so perhaps I'll be on the hunt for two swimsuits. Pretty, and practical.

Below is a slideshow (thanks, Polyvore!) of a few swimsuits that I really like the look of. Pretty, yes. Practical, hell no! Most are available from Australian retailers, there are just a few that are from OS online stores. Click the slideshow, or the links below, for more details.

I plan on doing a few more fashion-type posts as times goes on. I do have a few up my sleeve but I've been waiting for the right moment. Once I'm into a routine, I think that will be the beginning of my fashion-type posts. Not only does a girl need a swimsuit, but a new wardrobe too!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Swimsuit season is upon us...

...and I've lost 12kg since starting this blog, and 16kg since starting my journey, so guess what!? This summer I WILL buy myself a new swimsuit!

Just under six months ago, I started this little blog about my weight loss journey. There's been ups and downs like every other time I've been riding the weight loss train. Somehow though, I never let it get the better of me, and I've persevered. I might have fallen off the wagon in terms of tracking, but I haven't yet blown out entirely. I'm not sure why this is, but I think it's because I haven't deprived myself of some of my favourite bad foods: pizza and ice cream. I just don't see the point. I am still leading a healthy lifestyle and have made the changes to enrich my quality of life. But, I digress.

Time to go shopping!

I am actually really excited to be going shopping for a new swimsuit. All this time, I had almost forgotten what it was that my blog was all about. I was reminded a little while ago by the lovely Ms Puggy at A Girl and Some Clothes by her Retro Glamour by the Pool post that I really ought to start thinking about looking at new swimsuits, but it wasn't until yesterday that I looked at my profile in the mirror and realised how fantastic I look. Yes, you did just read that. I called myself fantastic. Quick, take my temperature, those words won't type themselves too often. I feel so damned great that I am finally ready to take on the daunting yet exciting task of trying on and purchasing a new swimsuit.
Thanks to the world of online shopping, I can do a bit of window shopping to see what it is that I really like the look of. I'm finding a lot of sites (like Birdsnest (again, thanks Ms Puggy), Roxy and Seafolly) have really good measurement and size charts that enable you to see what might be a good fit for your body shape.

The only thing that looks good on me is...

Let's face it. When the girls are prominent features on your body, and your tummy isn't quite like a washboard, a bikini is never going to be your friend. It's my end goal, of course, but it's not the end of the world if I don't make it. Ergo, the only thing that looks good on me is ... generally speaking, a one piece. Occasionally, a tankini might work, but generally a one piece. 
When I was younger, as in a little girl up to the age of about 11 or 12, I wanted to wear a bikini and although I knew I was bigger than the other girls, I always felt sad that I could never wear one. Today, I embrace my curves and revel in the fact that there are swimsuits out there that suit my body shape and give me definition and, alright I'll say it, have the ability to make me look as sexy as someone in a bikini. Maybe I might not be everyone's idea of sexy, but if A digs it, then I dig it. He saw the window shopping on the screen before and got excited at the styles of swimsuits I've been looking at. 
Polyvore is something I tried to get into earlier this year, but when I was feeling fat and frumpy and poor, it really wasn't up my alley. Now that I'm not so fat and frumpy, I'm finding it's awesome to help me style outfits that I'd love to wear. Note that I left out the word 'poor' from the statement '...not so fat and frumpy'. Polyvore still makes me feel as poor as ever, but like Ms Puggy's Capsule Wardrobe collection, I've started a collection of my own:  In My Wardrobe. Polyvore lets you mix and match items in a similar fashion to what Alicia Silverstone did in Clueless when she was putting together an outfit for school or the mall or lazing about the house. Further, I digress. 
Polyvore is also helping me with the task of window shopping for an appropriate swimsuit. Admittedly, some of them may be a little far-fetched in price, but a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, it's getting late and I want some sleep, so keep the eyes peeled in the next few days for some swimsuit window shopping, courtesy of Polyvore.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Routine? Ha! Cassie and Anna, this one's for you!

"Hi, my name is Hollie, and I'm a blogger. It's been 27 days since my last blog-post."

Now, I'm really not meaning to take the piss from any kind of 12-step program, but for someone who's meant to be keeping themselves accountable, the above-mentioned statement is kind of in reverse to how it would be heard in a 12-step program. People would offer words of encouragement at the fact that 27 days of abstaining from something is wonderful. In my case, 27 days of not blogging has resulted in serious weight fluctuation and plateauing - not a good thing at all.

Making yourself accountable

When I started this blog almost 5 months ago now, it was all about making myself accountable. I've had a Floptober and a Fauxvember. What will December hold?
I started this blogpost 5 or 6 days ago, and progressed no further than "What will December hold?"
My girl R and I decided that this week we really needed to get back on track with our MFP tracking. She's been doing fabulously, while I've been going along really crappily! I still have no routine, which is really killing me. I think that over the weekend at some stage, I need to sit down and work out a daily planner so I can make sure that I am accounting for everything: VTMB work, exercise, housework, LGIS work, relaxation, time with A, and so forth. The other thing I need to plan again is meals. Accountability. I should put a sign up in the bathroom with that word. 
Accountability score for week ending 2 December: 3/10

Finding out people are reading my blog

I started this blog hoping that people would read it. I'm not sure how many people are reading it, or how many people are bloggers themselves, but it tells you how many people are reading it in the back end maintenance areas. I'm not going to tell you how many people have viewed/read my blog, but the figure is more than I ever expected.
At my girl M's hens night last weekend, I saw some girlfriends I hadn't seen for quite a long time (life gets in the way, but no matter what, I still feel like a terrible friend. I really want to make a concerted effort to see these people more, because I really and truly miss them). As you do, you talk about what you've been up to - work, family, moving house, new jobs, the weather, clumsiness, and reading my blog. I was really, really surprised that my girlfriends read this, and more to the point that they enjoy it. I guess I am surprised that ANYONE reads it.

Now, without wanting to sound conceited (honestly, anyone that has told me this really does make me blush) these girlfriends told me how much they enjoy reading my posts and that I'm a good writer. Again, cue blushing. It made me realise that there really are people who read my blog, and I may have got a little warm and fuzzy.
Blog-writing has kept me accountable for such a long time, so why am I all of a sudden having a hiatus? The same can be said for meal planning and tracking my food on MFP.
Just because I have lost 15kg doesn't mean that I have to stop. I enjoy writing here, I enjoy seeing what food I'm consuming (in terms of calories), I enjoy meal planning, and I enjoy trying new foods. So why on earth am I not doing any of them?


I think what I need to do is reset myself. I don't know how or why, but I haven't gained any weight, aside from the fluctuation. My diet hasn't been fantastic but it hasn't been terrible either.
I mentioned earlier somewhere along the lines (and right now, it's almost 2300 and I really can't be bothered to find the link) that I had been reading Mirelle Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat. Mirelle talks about resetting, so I think I'm going to have to revisit that particular chapter, and reset. However, be stuffed if I'm going to be making soups when yesterday was 40 degrees and today was around 30 degrees. Not on your nelly. Instead, I'll have to trade for something more summer friendly.

Sleep is important in weight loss. Eight hours really is best.

It's bed time now. Tomorrow, I'm going to come back and write something proper. I have 31 days to lose 5kg.
Sweet dreams everyone (and please, I really would love if you could take the time to leave a comment!), stay safe, and cool!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Back on deck

It really feels like forever since I've written anything decent about my weight loss journey. This can be attributed to things like uni assignments taking up all my time that wasn't spent sleeping.

My last recorded weight loss was 17 October 2012, when I weighed in at 83.5kg, just 500g from my 83kg goal set for 31 October 2012. Key words recorded weight loss.
In those two weeks, in fact, in just one week, on 24 October 2012, I weighed 85kg. I put on one and a half kilos in a week. I wasn't surprised, I'd barely slept, had consumed obscene amounts of carbs and sodium, and was stressed to the max so was in lots of pain. Thanks, uni, thanks. Go back and read all about it here

Enough of all that sourness and negativity already. I'm back, and I'm ready to do this shit! Not that I haven't been ready all along, assignments are just pooh and occupied my free time.

On Sunday, my girl F posted a picture of her dinner on her Facebook page. Now, I'm pretty sure I had already eaten by that stage, but I became all shades of hungry again when I saw it. What did she make for dinner? Oh, just the tastiest prawn salad ever.
Warning: am really not happy with this photo. My phone was flat and I had to resort to using A's, which I'm not particularly fond of. Add this to the fact I was ravenous and I was getting pretty darned shitty with the photo-taking procedure.

Prawn and Mango Salad
So, like I said, this recipe came from my girl, F. Also, I am terrible at remembering to take step-by-step pictures. I like to get things done without any interruptions, perhaps that's why. I think we did this slightly different to F, but the results were pretty impressive. I'm also not a whiz in the kitchen, so my terminology may not be so sound.


  • Green prawn meat (thawed)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Bean sprouts/shoots (whatever they're called, I'm too lazy to go to the fridge and look)
  • Mesclun salad mix
  • Canola oil (so the prawns don't stick to the pan)
  • Olive oil (for the dressing)
  • Lemon (fresh juice for the dressing) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste (we use rock salt and peppercorns in our grinders)

  1. Heat canola oil in pan
  2. De-vein prawns, cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Cook prawns; add tomatoes once prawns are cooked and heat through.
  4. Rest prawns and tomatoes; rinse mesclun mix and bean shoots.
  5. Dice mango.
  6. Add olive oil and fresh lemon juice as desired to prawns and tomatoes, stir through.
  7. Layer salad: Mesclun, bean shoots, mango, prawn and tomato with dressing mix.
  8. Serve.
That's it. Really simple. My kind of cooking. Mind you, all I did was steps 1, 3, 7 and 8. A did the others as he's a champion in the kitchen (kinda comes with being an ex-chef, I guess).

Along with cooking that delicious dinner last night, this morning is Wednesday Weigh In. Wasn't too sure how things would look this morning. I stepped on the scales with trepidation (okay, maybe trepidation is a slight exaggeration, but you understand what I mean). I waited til they stopped before looking down. I could see the line that represents 85kg AND the line that represents 84kg! Woohoo! I made it, even if only a week late! I got to 83kg at long last!
Writing that sentence, it has just dawned on me - I HAVE LOST 15 KILOGRAMS since 18 April 2012. When I was weight myself this morning, I was just excited to see 83kg and the fact I was one step closer to losing 5kg by NYE this year to have lost 20kg. I clearly did not switch my brain on til now: 20 - 5 = 15.

Anyway, enough with the numbers, and back to food.
Routine has been missed so much in this house over the last few weeks, possibly even the last month. My half-arsed attempts to meal plan have been exactly that, half-arsed, and we've eaten lots of carbs in the evening, something my body doesn't understand anymore.
Today, I'm able to get back on the meal planning bandwagon, and so far, we have the following on the list (please note these are mostly dinner ideas):

  • Wednesday: home made pizzas
  • Thursday: One-pan chicken and chickpeas
  • Friday: Meat curry 
  • Saturday: Fishy wraps
  • Sunday: Lunch: Green Bean and Quinoa salad, meat and salad rolls/wraps, crackers and other assorted healthy snacks Dinner: Whatever we buy at Harvest
  • Monday: Lamb with spicy chickpeas
  • Tuesday: Roast with veges
So, now that list is actually written, let's see how well we can stick to it. I am fairly confident everything will be fine though. On that note, I best go check out the kitchen situation so I can compile the list of items required in the groceries this afternoon!



Saturday, 3 November 2012

Life... Part Two

Continued on from here

So, while A disassembled the desk, I untangled the tools Ikea had wired to a utensil holder, but were tangled up by careless customers. The hour A took to disassemble the desk (because, let's face it, when there is only one suitable tool available for use, and that tool is tangled in the above mess, there's only room for one person) I untangled the tools. Yup, an hour of my time I'll never get back.

We call ahead to A's mum to let her know that there is more of our furniture coming her way. She was only too happy to hear from us and took us out for a bit to eat! Before dinner, as we were about to walk out the door, she helped me with what I needed from her for the wedding gift (you see, I am getting there)! Dinner wasn't too bad, not flash, but filled the hole. We went to The Little Hungarian in Caulfield South. We did get there just as the kitchen was closing, so that might have had something to do with it, but A's and his mum's dishes were quite tasty. Once dinner was in our bellies, we dropped A's mum at home, and went on our merry way. We had a desk to reconstruct! Wanna see it? Good (and tough if you didn't!).

Just set up - Ikea's Micke desk

It's so cool, much smaller in footprint but with all that storage space, it's also bigger! 
Underneath, it has a cable tray, so we've got a 6-port power board there with all the cables running from it. Like I said here, a bargain not to be missed!
The next image along is what it looked like this morning. We're now in the process of rearranging everything so I have more storage space for all my craft stuff (because I have my own small business). Only thing is, now that A moved all his texts to his desk (see below pic), I have more space than I know what to do with, unless I buy more things to craft with - but that's just not possible! 

Messy because we're now rearranging!

As you can see, we have a BIG window with sheer-ish curtains for privacy, but no shortage of natural light. 
We substituted two of the Vika Amon/Vika Adils legs with the Antonius (which is now discontinued and has been replaced by the Algot range) for cheaper storage. Big tub in the bottom is our techy tub - the drawer filled with all things tech (think cords (electrical, USB, etc.), original phone packaging, and lots of other techy things.
The mess you see on the return is me sorting out my craft stuff: what is scrap to be used and what is scrap to be put in the recycling, what is to be packaged for sale, and just general crap that needs to be found a new home.

Tip: housework burns calories, so moving furniture and tidying up and all that stuff totally relates to me getting a new swimsuit (which I should maybe think about doing).

Now that that story is out of the way...

I can get back to telling you about the wedding gift! 
I mentioned before about seeing A's mum. As well as bringing our other desk to hers to be put in storage, I was also visiting to get things for the wedding gift. Shoe string budget, remember? A's mum was so thrilled I came to her for help with the gift! I had so much to choose from, but let her be the best judge. I even have enough left over to do one for A and I.
Saturday morning, my alarm went off at some awful hour (anything before 8am on a Saturday is awful). I had no idea how long this gift would take to make, so I got straight into it. It probably should have been done outside, but it was too cold so I did it in the kitchen. Wanna see what I made!? Good. There's no step by step images though, just the final product. Maybe when I make the next one, I'll have some step by step images for you.

My First Terrarium
No more digression. Here it is. The wedding gift. 
It's quite a deal bigger than it looks here in the photo, there's 1.5kg of sand, approximately the same of dirt, and about 1kg of stones, plus the succulent cuttings.
Two blog posts just to get to this one little picture! Apparently now that I have finished uni, I want to continue writing essays. Hrmph.

To recap:

  • Bubble Ball vase - K-mart (sorry, no linky)
  • Potting mix - K-mart (again, no linky)
  • Florera sand - Ikea
  • Knaster stones - Ikea (every time I see the word 'Knaster', I think of Canasta, though I'm sure it's a silent K)
  • Cuttings - A's mum's garden
Tip: carrying a bag of potting mix is good strength building work. 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Life as I know it is officially over... least for the next 3-4 months it is!

Hurrah! I did it! I submitted my final assessment over 10 hours ago now, and the feeling of euphoria washed over me instantly. Last night, I slept comfortably for the first time in 12 weeks. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but it really doesn't seem far from the truth. I actually had to pry my eyes open (in fact, they're still not properly open) at 08:00. Usually I'm champing at the bit by then. My body knows that it's rest time, that's for sure.

Yesterday was a different story though.

Urgh, yesterday I was up just after 07:00. It sucked. I had SO much to do though: needed to make a wedding gift, make a first birthday card, vote, go to said first birthday party, go to said celebration of wedding (that happened in June in NYC) and then come back home and finish the dreaded assignment. 
First cab off the rank was a wedding gift. I'd been toying with ideas for months as to what we would gift these newlyweds who have everything and married in NYC. A photo of them from their wedding day in a lovely frame with a map of NYC as the backing, a piece of string art in the shape of NY state, stitching their North American trip (or part thereof), or perhaps three maps of NYC and Australia in heart shapes in a frame, but the thing I wanted to do most was a cool Sharpie project. I hunted (though not too much) for plates suitable to bake in the oven, but the white plates I found did not say they were oven safe, only dishwasher and microwave safe (thanks to the convenience of modern technology). I quickly canned my Sharpie project idea, and continued to walk the store. Talk about thinking on my feet. Walking around, I had millions ideas going through my head, but with a serious shoe-string budget and very little time, I had to shelve most of them. I found a shallow round woven basket that I picked off the shelf, and proceeded to wander aimlessly around the store. Oh boy, filling this thing would be difficult. I weaved in and out of aisles, screwed my face up at things, and then looked up. THERE IT WAS. The base of the gift I would make - a bowl-shaped vase. I put the wicker basket back in the place of the vase (usually I would have put the basket in its proper place, but I had a bad case of the CBFs), and trotted off to the garden department (I was in K-mart, by the way). I searched the shelves for small quantities of potting mix, only to find that they only sold BIG bags of it. I was too lazy (again, serious case of the CBFs) to go and get a trolley, so I balanced the round glass vase on the potting mix precariously and proceeded to the checkouts. Talk about thinking on my feet. I didn't even whip out my phone to look at my Pinterest Boards.
Wandering back to A's work (it was late night shopping on Thursday night) was an effort. I probably shouldn't have been carrying the potting mix, it was slightly heavier than what I'm allowed to carry, but again, CBFs. Further, I digress.

Time travel - first it was back to Thursday, then on to Friday (so I can finish my Saturday story). It's all a little timey-wimey here.

On Friday morning, I continued with my 'research' into prepping this gift. Turns out I'd bought the wrong kind of potting mix, but there was a way around it. I just needed sand and stones. My girl Rach found me cheapy cheap but awesome stones and sand. Uh oh, that meant a trip to Ikea! Woohoo! A and I had planned to do grocery shopping on Friday evening once he finished work, but then I threw in a trip to Ikea. I was only getting stones and sand, we were totally safe. It also gave me the opportunity to have a look at their Christmas range as shared on Thursday by my friend Lauren at Love A Rhino (remember, timey-wimey).
So, we lived life on the edge because we wanted to be safe (contradiction in itself) from the Ikea monster. Sand and stones are located in the last department before the self-serve furniture aisles. Walking in through the registers is not usually my style, but today it was essential. Upon doing so, we walked straight into said Christmas range. Hurrah! Perusing this range was always going to be fun. A is not usually a Christmas fan, not because he doesn't like Christmas, but because growing up his upbringing was different to mine, they don't celebrate Christmas but in fact would celebrate Chanukah. A is about as Jewish as I am Anglican though, so it's all relative. Anywho, we were both looking excitedly at the Christmas goodies, when I found some new decorations for our tree!
Julmys Baubles from Ikea $2.99/12 pk
Our tree is a table top tree. It's a cream filigree design and comes with an inbuilt star. It's perfect for our little one bedroom apartment, and our mixed upbringings. It's not in your face for A, but it still lets me have my Christmas tree. Last year, I had lime green baubles in both a matte and a gloss finish, but they were just a little too big for my liking. Never fear, Ikea is here, and they have solved my Christmas tree decoration issue. 

We bought these teensy tiny baubles in silver and red. We thought the white might clash with the cream a bit much. Not going to lie, I would have preferred the baubles in matte (not a huge gloss fan) but beggars can't be choosers.

I had to fight myself to get so much more stuff, after all, we were here for sand and stones.

Borje Chair in brown-black/Gobo white from Ikea $39
Next cab off the rank was to quickly check the As Is Bargain Corner. The As Is Bargain Corner is a bit hit and miss. It's returned goods or shop-soiled goods or discontinued goods. We've had some great successes at the As Is Bargain Corners before. We picked up our dining chairs here for the bargain price of $35 each in February 2011 (originally $55 each). The pictures on the right show what we purchased. Did we care that there was three of one seat colour and one of the other? Heck no. And for the record, those chair covers are removable, so we can totally change them according to whatever our tastes are at the time! We also have the matching table but purchased that from eBay and it's a red-brown colour, but we'll sand it back and stain it to match the chairs (one day). 
Borje Chair in brown-black/Kungsvik sand from Ikea $45
There's also been some other successful purchases from the As Is Bargain Corner, but none as wonderful as the chairs. Until our most recent trip. Remember how I said that we entered the store to avoid the Ikea monster? Fail. Heck, I even told A to park at the pedestrian entrance (i.e. the entrance that doesn't have the capacity to cater for the Ikea flat bed trolleys) because we weren't getting anything. Wrong.
The Ikea monster got us in the As Is Bargain Corner. Completely off guard. Oy vey.
When A and I first moved out of our shared house in February 2011, we had been looking for a suitable desk for two uni students that wouldn't break the bank and was practical. We did really well. We got the Vika Amon/Vika Adils corner desk, and matching return, and were quite satisfied. It let us have the desk we both needed for study, and still allowed for living space, albeit small. When we moved in six months later because our bedroom was finding a cure for cancer or some other seemingly incurable disease (we had rising damp/mould), the desk allowed for the same space saving option in the living room, and we even had enough room to get a second return to make it a proper corner desk! Awesome. Again, I digress. This Ikea monster that grabbed hold of us REALLY grabbed hold of us. We'd been eyeing off a different corner desk at Ikea ever since that first 2011 move. However, we couldn't justify $250 on one corner section. Especially not when we purchased an entire corner and return combo for a heck of a lot less. That was until we walked into Ikea Springvale's As Is Bargain Corner and saw our Holy Grail of desks on clearance for $99. NINETY NINE DOLLARS PEOPLE. That's a $151 saving! We grappled with the idea of the impulse purchase for a good 20 minutes. You see, As Is means exactly that. The desk was fully constructed, meaning we had to either pay exorbitant fees for delivery ($89 for delivery + $25 because it is fully assembled) OR disassemble the desk to fit in our car. $114 for delivery, I think not. A and the As Is clerk got the desk onto a flat bed trolley while I raced to the sand and stone department. I thought I had grippy shoes on, but running across that polished concrete warehouse floor proved different! I had no idea where I was looking, other than the fact the desired products were in the candle section. Needle in a haystack, anyone? I asked the trusted employee in the yellow shirt for assistance. It appears his English was actually Anglais. C'est la vie. I was so frantic my Anglais was more Engjibberish; my usual stellar communication skills were well and truly out the window. We got to where we needed to be eventually, he apologised for his poor English, I smiled and said not to worry (he was so kind, it really didn't bother me at all), and we were on our way. Dashing back to the registers with about four kilos of sand and stones was fun. Calorie burning, anyone? A was just queuing to pay when I arrived. We paid, and then spent the next hour be continued