Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween everybody!

(Don't you just wish you had these as YOUR Halloween costumes?!)

Well it won't be Halloween just yet for you Americans, it feels strange how Australia almost lives in the 'future'. I was sceptic we'd actually have any trick or treaters visit this year but we bought three packets of lollies just in case and good thing we did as that almost wasn't enough! We had three sets of kids come trick or treating, the second group was 6 little kids all dressed up in fancy costumes, two were Michael Jackson which I thought was very sweet. They were so excited when I gave each of them their chocolates and lollies. There was one tiny little boy with them and as the others ran off to the next house I gave him an extra two lollies, and told him not to tell the others ;) Apparently in America you're only allowed to give out wrapped sweets but the rules aren't so strict here so I didn't think the kids would mind having some 'exposed' gummy worms. I've also heard in America you can't gives kids apples as people have slipped razor blades in them! Honestly, why does someone always have to ruin these things?! But on the other hand, Halloween is supposed to be all about the unhealthy, cavity-prone, sickly sweetened candy; not boring old apples.

Anyway, I saw the group of 6 little boys come back down our little cul-de-sac once they finished trick or treating the other houses and we still had candy left so I ran out and asked them if they each wanted one more piece of chocolate, a big "YES!!" came the reply and they all ran up to our front door again. Seriously, you should have seen their faces!

Later we had to drive over to my dad's house and on our way home we got a lovely surprise, a nice big splatter of egg across the windscreen. We stopped the car and tried to look to see who threw it but the nasty people who did it were probably long gone. The least they could have done was say "Trick or treat?". We most definitely would have opted for the "treat" option. But on a more serious note, it was extremely dangerous; it was very dark, very sudden and splattered across the windscreen making it hard to see. Plus it looked pretty revolting.

Thank goodness Halloween only comes once every year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Art Of The Boo

I recently had my third article published in the online magazine Snippets! I seem to do articles on how to DO things, rather than about things. Rather ironic considering I'm a huge procrastinator. But I guess it makes sense, I write/talk about things but actually following through with them is the hard part. In the latest issue which was a horror theme I decided to write about a new Halloween craze that's starting to grow in America and it's called Booing. Have a read of my article so you know what an earth I'm going on about. To briefly explain it I would describe it as "...a cross between a Knock-and-Run and a Secret Santa." I originally heard about Booing from several blogs and decided to do a little bit of my own research on it. I think it is a fabulous way for people who are too old/too shy to trick or treat, to be able to participate in Halloween as it is anonymous. It's also just another great way to celebrate Halloween and since the holiday isn't really celebrated that much here in Australia, I think it's a perfect way to inject a bit of spookyness into the neighbourhood. And lastly, it's a great way to be a part of the community(even though it is anonymous) as you feel connected and it's a great way to give back/say thanks.

I decided to actually take heed of what my article was about and went Booing myself, the other day. It was a bit close to Halloween and I should have done it earlier but 'better late than never'. I packed up two felt bags that I bought for $2.50 each at a discount store, with some different flavoured freddos and gummy snakes(I hope my recipients enjoyed them, I don't eat sweets myself so I was a bit unsure of what to buy). I also added some halloween stickers and a witch's nose to each one. I taped the Booing poem to the outside and popped an "I've been booed" sign in with the gifts. I originally wanted to go Booing at night but I seemed to have forgotten about my fear of the dark and almost wet myself when I went outside. So instead I went around 4pm the next day. I had to keep walking around for ages to find a street where no-one was checking their mail, riding scooters or arriving home from work though. Once I eventually did find two available houses and left the goodie bags on the doormats, I sprinted off just incase I was spotted. Now all that's left is to wait and see if anyone else passes on ... the art of the Boo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Swap Meet

The past weekend was definitely a long one but the most enjoyable weekend that I've had in a long time. For some time the mum and I had been wanting to sell our old 'junk' at a swap meet. A pile had been gradually growing over the past year in the games room, compiled of old items we no longer wanted/used. It was mostly pre-loved(but well-kept, might I add) toys from when my brother and I were wee bubs, there were also a couple of housewares such as a blender and sandwich press but a large component of the pile was 'ugly' gifts. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but honestly I have no use for a hideous metal dog shaped bookend(that item didn't sell) or a wire tree decoration with dyed sapphire leaves. The great thing about a swap meet is that you get rid of your 'junk', someone else gets a 'treasure' plus at the same time the customer is getting a bargain and you're getting a bit of extra cash on the side.

Saturday evening was spent sorting through the swap meet pile, deciding what prices to sell things for, what boxes should they go in and what was just so bad that it had to simply be thrown away. There was a lot of the latter. By the time it was all packed into the car, it was about 11:30pm. We'd been told by a family friend that we'd have to wake up at 4am in order to get to the swap meet which was held in an underground car park by 5am to get a good spot in the queue. Well, I reluctantly awoke a 4am and got myself ready. We headed on down to the shopping centre and had to wait in our cars in a line until 5:30am when they'd start letting the sellers in to set up. It was 5:45am when they finally started to let people go through and some nasty young lady decided to cut the queue instead of waiting her turn like the rest of us and everyone started honking their horns at her. It wasn't exactly a relaxed environment. We waited for another half an hour in our cars, not sure if we were allowed in or what. Mum decided to get out of the car and ask one of the officials what was going on. Apparently they were all full up and he was sending people home! All that effort and lack of sleep for nothing! And there weren't even that many people who'd gotten in!

We couldn't just go home after all that so we decided to take a chance and see if another outdoor swap meet was on, but it was usually only held once a month so we really were taking a chance. As we travelled down the highway I noticed some other cars that were full to the brim with 'junk'. It seems we weren't the only ones who'd been driven away from the underground swap meet and were hoping that the outdoor one would be on. We arrived with a warm welcome at the outdoor oval/park and the swap meet WAS on. Apparently it's open every weekend until Christmas!

Well anyway, we had a lovely day. Lots of lovely people, warm sunny weather(although it was quite windy so we were constantly on the lookout to make sure none of our stuff was blown away)and good food. We sold more than half of our stuff(which was a lot more compared to some of the other sellers) and all the big items went. We made $124 altogether which wasn't so bad. I loved how all the children were using their pocket money to buy items and were being very scrupulous with it. One little girl was deliberating whether or not to buy the Kelly Club treehouse we were selling for $5 or buy 2 smaller items, as she only had $5 altogether. We decided to give it to her for $4 so she could buy something else,she seemed very pleased. :) I collected all the money from customers in my lovely bright Teletubbies waist bag(I'm surprised it still fits!), while my mum sported a Wallace & Gromit one! Unfortunately I didn't really look around at the other sellers 'treasures' as I was too tired but I'm sure we'll go take a look around another Sunday morning.

While we were selling I spotted this old book amongst our sellables, There's A Mouse About The House. It was one of my favourite books from when I was little. It comes with a little cardboard mouse that slips through the slits in each page of the book, as if the mouse is travelling through the house. I couldn't bear to sell it(and it was heavily taped up from wear and tear so I doubt it would have appealed to buyers) so I whipped it out of the box and put it back in the car. Some things you just can't let go of. Am I right?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Pretty Little Package

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and this parcel I received in the mail last week was no exception. Such an eco-friendly/nature vibe to it. And indeed it was, a birthday gift from Aunt & Uncle all the way over in England from this aussie online shop Biome where they sell nothing but stuff that's good for Mother Earth, pretty much an eco department store online.

Inside the beautiful parcel, that I could hardly bare to open was a stunning little teardrop necklace that will go with pretty much anything and....wait for it... is made from 100% recycled materials! Amazing! (I wonder if they'd recycle it if I put it in the recycling bin....not that I ever would part with it!) Even the little pouch it came in is made from certified organic cotton with a bamboo and soysilk yarn drawstring. Fancy!

Just been having a nosy round the site and these are some of my favourite items:

A solar powered mobile phone charger

Recycled paper pens

A stainless steel food thermos (keeps food hot for 5 hours!)

Stainless steel water bottle (won't leach hardmful chemicals into your water like plastic bottles do)

Last but not least, a bangle made from old knitting needles melted together!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Miss Shop

I had a really lovely birthday this year. I received some DVDs and Cds as a well as a scooter(!). When I was younger I had a scooter but it was a really big and bulky one with rubber tyres that I was much too embarrassed to use as everyone else had these fancy little slimline ones with tiny wheels. Eventually we sold my old ones as I think there was a hole in one of the tyres(and the fact it was barely touched). And well now I'm older and much more grown up so I think I'm ready to handle the responsibilities of owning my own scooter and acting like a child once again. Who can blame me for wanting a more interesting way to exercise?!

Mum took me into the city for the day to go clothes shopping. I've been wanting to check out the MissShop section of Myer for some time. Now I'm usually a chain-store girl and clothes from Target will do for me but deep down I've always adored and desperately wanted the expensive designer items in the magazines and it was my birthday so I thought I may as well check some out. I was not disappointed. We walked into this section called the Basement which was this beautiful little grotto decorated with all this amazing vintage furniture and home wares and had these beautiful spray painted graphics on the walls- I fell in love with one that was an enchanted tree that they had sprayed around one of the columns with all the leaves and branches splaying onto the ceiling. Here's some photos I sneakily took while I was there.

I wish I had taken more but I was worried they'd tell me off for taking photos in there as I have a friend who has a job at McDonald's and she was telling me once how some lady was going round and taking photos of everything inside the store(seriously odd) and they had to send here away as you weren't allowed to take pictures in there.

I couldn't leave the Basement without buying something, the clothes were just so beautiful. I was in heaven, it was the kind of clothes one could only dream about and I even spotted clothes I'd seen in magazines before. They also had these handbags that were in the shape of old fashioned telephones but at $60 they were a tad expensive for what they were. I ended up buying this Victorian-like denim dress plus an adorable Paddington style red coat which I'm in love with and it is so darn comfy with its silky lining. And I snapped up this printed t-shirt, which reminds me of pictures from the Little Golden Books range, for only $7.50! It was originally $30, is that a bargain or what?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Honest Scrap

I've just been nominated by the lovely, Courtney from Lock & Key Designs to participate in Honest Scrap where you have to post 10 random but also honest(not that I would have lied anyway!) things about yourself.

#1 I love questionaires and quizzes which is why I'm so buzzed to be able to do this survey! I just like sharing information with others and at the same time getting to know myself a little better.

#2 I seem to have a slightly larger than usual head as it seems every hat that I try on is always very tight.

#3 I hate plain clothes. I'm a pattern loving kind of girl.

#4 I seem to go through phases of obsessions with things, I can't just have a casual liking towards something, it always has to be full-blown.

#5 I could eat brown rice by the bucketload.

#6 For such a small person I eat a lot and I mean a lot. I'll go out with my friends for pizza and two of them will share one while I'll have a whole one to myself plus I'll eat any pieces they can't finish. Most likely I'll down a McDonald's softserve afterwards too.

#7 I really want to be a puppy raiser for guide dog pups but I doubt the mums would agree.

#8 I will only write my daily(ok,sometimes once a week) to-do list on my special to-do list pad that I bought which has little checkboxes next to each task plus a 'to buy' and 'to call' section at the bottom. Scrap paper just won't cut it.

#9 I've noticed my writing if full of "cliches". My english literature teacher has also noticed.

#10 I fiddle with things when I'm bored. Hence the following(a pinwheel out of fabric offcuts and a clothespin):

I'll be nominating my good friends at Kerri & Eva to participate next.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ginseng Oolong

More than a year after I bought this tea set and ACTUAL Chinese tea from Beijing(when I went there on a tour with my school) I have finally used it for the first time. I bought the tea and teapot as a gift for my mother and once the Ginseng Oolong tealeaves started to brew, all the memories started to come back; the hustle and bustle of China, the smog filled skies, the seahorses on a stick, the cheap gimmicky Chinese souvenirs, the Chinese french fries and just the general atmosphere. In particular it brought back the memory of the Chinese tea ceremony I went to with other students from my school. The ceremony was just so relaxing and beautiful and was held in this small room with ornate chinese drawings covering the walls,glass table and chairs. We tasted all these delicious teas and they told us all these interesting facts about tea in China such as the fact that you're meant to drink tea out of the miniature cups in three sips - which is very hard when it is boiling hot! Plus at the end we had the opportunity to buy things from the tea store next door which sold all these handmade clay teapots. I specifically remember one which looked similar to a pumpkin and another that had three life-like clay frogs attached to the outside.

It's school holiday time at the moment and I've been inspired by the lifestyle section in our local weekend newspaper to get fit and healthy before Christmas as they're having a 6 week week get fit/healthy guide. I try to eat healthily but I just find myself pigging out when I haven't organised meals and I definitely don't do any exerecise so there is most certainly room for improvement. I think what's really going to help is filling in this health contract that you have to re-write each week where it states what your goals are and you have to sign it at the bottom. I'm also going to be writing a health diary where you record how you're doing each day and how you can improve. I'll let you know how it goes once I get into the swing of things :)